- Bill Perkins -
".... 'Have you (Gog/Russia) come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil?'" Ezek. 38:13
How much gold and silver would it take for Russia to be enticed to invade Israel to steal it all? A bunch. It would have to be a tantalizing amount, probably in the mega billions, if not trillions, of dollars.
But even if Israel were to discover a mega hoard of gold and silver, enough to entice the Russians, the timing of such an invasion (basically starting World War III), would have to be seen as the "perfect window of opportunity."
Well, the Bible says Russia WILL invade Israel to steal her gold and silver and this future invasion is described in Ezekiel 38 and 39... a fascinating read. And a great "opportunity window" will open for the Russians to make their move during the 50 chaotic days between Rapture and the signing of the 10-Nation Peace Treaty. (1)
Think about it-the United States is Israel's only true ally, and the U.S. will be decimated from the effects of losing key people in the sudden Rapture. So Israel will be alone in the world to fend for herself.
At least that's what the Russians will think. They will conclude they can invade and capture the vast treasure for themselves. But God comes to Israel's help in a mighty way to supernaturally protect Israel. And Russia goes down in an embarrassing defeat. (2)
Are the riches future oil discoveries? Nope!
So, if we're as close as I think we are to the Rapture, where is this great treasure that Russia will be trying to capture? For years I must admit I thought the treasure would be Israel striking huge amounts of oil. And indeed they have struck a great quantity of oil and gas.
But thinking about that reasoning, Saudi Arabia has a lot more oil with far fewer national defenses and I don't see Russia going after Saudi's oil.
Massive amounts of gold and silver? Yes!
And now, as I've reread the text of Ezek. 38:13, I realize I was wrong. It's not oil. The Bible specifically says Russia comes after "silver and gold." I'm quite humbled that I missed that.
However, there's a problem. At the moment Israel doesn't have vast amounts of gold and silver. They do have a great diamond-cutting business, world renown. But they just cut other people's diamonds.
So how in the world could Israel end up with enough gold and silver to entice Russia to invade? Well, as it turns out, the Bible says that amount of gold and silver treasure is already in Israel, they just need to find it-quite interesting, huh!
Hang with me as I back up a bit...
Solomon was the richest man in the world, literally. His treasures were unfathomable. God gave him his wealth because he wisely asked for wisdom, not riches, but God rewarded him for his humble answer and gave him both wisdom AND wealth...great wealth (1Kings 3:9-13).
The Bible, and even 1st century Jewish historian Josephus, mentions that Solomon had a fleet of ships that did business all over the Mediterranean. And each time the fleet returned to Israel they brought the trip's profit in gold to King Solomon.
Just how rich WAS Solomon?
Solomon had dominion over everything from west of the Jordan River to the Egyptian border in the south and north into present-day Syria. And God allowed him to be at peace with the surrounding nations (1Kings 4:24). He was in the perfect place to make tons of money.
In 1Kings 9:26-28, it records that a fleet of his ships returned to Israel with a profit of 31,500 pounds of gold! That's over $750 million in today's value. And that was from just one sea-faring business trip abroad.
In 1Kings 10 it says the Queen of Sheba came to Israel to pay Solomon a visit to hear his wisdom and see his wealth. She was stunned-so impressed that she was moved to give Solomon over $200 million in gold plus untold numbers of precious stones.
The amount of gold and silver that Solomon acquired during his kingship was beyond imagination, as you will soon see.
Solomon builds the 1st Jewish Temple
In 970 BC, Solomon built the first Jewish Temple to be a permanent replacement for the Tabernacle that had been carted around the Middle East for hundreds of years. The building of the Temple makes a good outline for a business plan, in writing, dealing with planning, labor, and materials management (1Chron. 28; 1Kings 5,6).
Solomon was so rich when he built the Temple that, rather than putting in just one solid gold menorah, he decided to multiply the contents on the inside of the Temple by 10.
So Solomon made nine more solid gold menorahs and lined up the ten in two rows of five each (2Chron. 4:7,8). This means there were ten 6- foot high solid gold menorahs in the 1st Jewish Temple. (See drawing of the inside of the 1st Temple made by the Temple Institute in Jerusalem).
Each of those solid gold menorahs was so heavy that the Temple priests estimated their value at $360 billion each, $2.5 trillion value for all 10!
Solomon also increased from one solid gold Table of Showbread to 10. Each of these solid gold tables held twelve loaves of bread. The Temple Institute says they would have been about five feet high, four feet wide and four feet long. That's a lot of gold. And a lot of bread to bake daily.
We don't know how much the Tables of Showbread weighed-they only had to each hold 12 loaves of bread-but they still were solid gold. See pic of man carrying the bread.
However, if they weighed 1/4 of the menorahs, that's another $500 billion in value for the 10 tables. And this doesn't include all the golden bowls, plates and such that numbered in the thousands.
Again, Solomon could afford to make all this because he had unfathomable riches. His wealth of gold, silver, precious stones and other things became legendary. So much so that ultimately Israel became a target for conquering by surrounding nations.
With all that success, Israel got her eyes off the Lord. Even Solomon brought in hundreds of foreign wives and concubines to pleasure himself. And 40 years later, 930 BC, Israel split into North and South.
The North, Israel, set up its own sacrifice system. But sacrifices could only be made on Mt. Moriah, and breaking that rule didn't last long. Three years later, the Assyrians conquered Israel's Northern 10 tribes in 927 BC. But Assyria was unable to capture the real prize-Jerusalem/Judah in the South with all her riches.
The South, Judah, held on for over a hundred years, but finally Jerusalem was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar's armies in 586 BC. History tells us that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, plundered the Temple and deported Jerusalem's wealthy and educated inhabitants to Babylon.
They looted what they found in the Temple. But apparently Israel had thrown a bone, leaving what seemed like a great treasure to find and seize, but it was actually only a fraction of the whole treasure, only about 2% of the total massive treasure.
The 5400 items that were captured were eventually returned by Cyrus, King of Persia, when he authorized their rebuilding of the Temple after Israel's 70 years of Babylonian Captivity.
The Bible is clear that Cyrus returned all that had been stolen, even listing out the items. But none of the 10 solid gold menorahs were mentioned, or any tables of showbread on Cyrus' list (Ezra 1:9-11). Nor was there any mention of the other tens of thousands of gold and silver Temple implements, or gold and silver bars from the treasury.
Now, since only a small fraction of all that gold and silver went to Babylon, what happened to the other 98%? Basically we're missing the entire fortune that Israel had accumulated under Solomon.
Where did the Temple treasures go?
In the Jewish Talmud, tradition says that King Josiah and the Temple priests hid the vast treasure, including the Ark of the Covenant, in secret winding passages under the Temple Mount 10 years before the 1st Temple's destruction.
Well, the Jews are a smart people, and Israel did have 140+ years to think about what to do if Jerusalem was ever conquered like their brothers in the north. And Zechariah, God's prophet of the day, was continually hammering the Israelites to wake up and clean up their sins or the Lord would allow them to be conquered like their Northern brothers.
Zechariah, unlike most other prophets, was also a Priest. He knew it was possible that Israel was going to be conquered. And he would have had first-hand knowledge of the vast riches stored in the Temple treasuries. He was in the unique position to approve plans to hide the treasure if it looked imminent that Israel would be conquered, his own predictions.
Zech would certainly want to protect as much of Israel's riches he could, including those 10 golden menorahs and 10 golden Tables of Showbread. Not to mention the hugely important Holy Ark of the Covenant that contained Moses'/Aaron's staff and the two stone tablets with the 10 commandments.
So apparently Zech approved the hiding/burying of the Temple treasures. And Israel was smart enough to throw the Babylonians a bone. They left in the Temple several thousand gold and silver utensils, which would normally be significant spoils of war.
The ruse worked. History tells us that Nebuchadnezzar plundered what they found in the Temple and deported Jerusalem's upper-class citizens, like Daniel, to Babylon.
However, Zech hid the rest of the treasure so well it's never been found to this day.
Qumran and the Copper Scroll
Since 1947, in and around Qumran down by the Dead Sea, thousands of pieces of parchment were found buried in caves in the cliffs surrounding the area.
Collectively called the Dead Sea Scrolls, their discovery came within months of Israel becoming a fledgling nation again, and Jews today readily admit the discovery helped awaken Jews around the world to their Biblical roots.
But in 1952 another scroll was found, one made not of parchment but of copper mixed with a tiny bit of tin.
This copper scroll wasn't found near any of the parchment scrolls, but rather by itself, on a carved out shelf in the back of a cave in the area of Qumran.
Since it was written on copper, whoever wrote it thought the contents so valuable they had to make permanent indentations in metal to stand the test of time.
All the other Dead Sea Scrolls contained Old Testament books, scripture commentaries, and general Jewish life observations. But the Copper Scroll was simply a list of instructions of where tons of gold, silver and precious stones were buried.
But, as Frank Peretti said in his classic THE CHAIR presentation, you have to have a "fixed point of reference" to know where to begin any journey. And there are no reference points in the Copper Scroll instructions.
Though many have tried, no one yet has been able to figure out the right place to dig. Probably they were written vaguely on purpose because once they find just one of the 64 locations, they can find the rest of the massive treasure.
Biblical archaeologists who've analyzed the Copper Scroll believe it to be written by five different people who apparently were in a hurry to complete the scroll.
Hebrew priests normally take great care in making each line perfect, but the Copper Scroll looks as if time was of the essence to complete it. Lines are not uniform, some letters are hard to read, there are misspellings, etc.
The Copper Scroll is most fascinating because 63 of the 64 locations described listed staggering quantities of gold and silver. There are even some large unnamed items that very well could be the 10 missing 1st Temple menorahs and Tables of Showbread.
In total, there was over 345,000 pounds of gold and silver listed, not counting the 10 menorahs and 10 Tables of Showbread. That's over $5 trillion! Certainly enough to entice the Russians to "devise an evil plan." (Ezek. 38:10)
But, as the commercials always say, "That's not all!"
More to the story...
2Maccabees 2:1 (granted it's not part of inspired Hebrew scripture, but heavily relied on and quoted by Jewish historians) mentions that Jeremiah, another of God's prophets at the same time of Zechariah, made records of the Temple inventory. He even warned those helping him make the records not to be "led astray in their thoughts upon seeing all the gold and silver."
The Maccabean text continues to say that Jeremiah then found a cave to store the treasure, including the Ark of the Covenant, and covered up the entrance saying the treasure would not be found until "God gathers His people together and shows His mercy."
Over the last 75 years, several Americans have raised and spent small fortunes looking for the Temple treasures in Israel. Most notably, John Allegro, Vendyl Jones, Oren Gutfield and Jim Barfield. Others, like Randall Price, go on yearly digs to find anything they can. So the area will eventually yield its fruit.
In the meantime, with each failure of discovery the chorus of naysayers who don't believe the treasure is real grows louder and louder. But all that gold and silver is hiding somewhere and will one day be found.
A Most Intriguing List
Several hundred years ago, some Hebrew scholars decided to try to locate these "other records" that Jeremiah mentioned. They found what they were looking for in the Emeq HaMelekh, which means "Valley of the Kings." In 1648, a Rabbi translated Emeq HaMelekh and his translations were discovered in 1992.
Emeq HaMelekh is a Hebrew account of five Temple guardians who hid the Ark, the Sanctuary and the Treasures of Solomon's Temple. Could those five be the same five guys on the Copper Scroll? Very plausible, to say the least.
Most importantly to this article, the Emeq HaMelekh has a lot in common with the Copper Scroll list of Temple treasures, but it lists about 100 times more pieces of gold and silver. Now we're easily into the mega trillions of dollars worth of gold and silver to be found.
To save space I have made an edited (but numerically accurate) recap of the Emeq HaMelekh. I have added calculated amounts in parentheses in today's dollars on some of the items to give you a feel for what it is saying.
[Note: A talent was approximately 75 lbs.]
These are the vessels dedicated and concealed when the Temple was destroyed:
The Tabernacle and the Curtain
The Holy Menorah
The Ark of the Testimony
The golden forehead Nameplate
The golden crown of Aharon the Cohen
The Breastplate of Judgement
The liver Trumpets
The Altar of burnt offerings
The curtain of the Communion Tent
The forks and the bread molds
The Table of Showbread
(The list continues with several pages of priestly garments)
These are the holy vessels and the vessels of the Temple that were in Jerusalem and in every place. They were inscribed by shimmer Halevi and his companions on a Lunch Nehoshef Copper Plate with all the Vessels of the Holy of Holies that Shalom son of David made. And together with Shimus were Hizkiyahu, Zidkiyah, Haggai the Prophet, and Xechariah, son of Berachiah, son of Iddo the Prophet.
These are the vessels of the Temple that were taken and buried in the ground:
The locking rods
The standing pillars of the courtyard
These are the Vessels:
1,200,000 silver Mizrakot (sacrificial basins)
50,000 fine gold Mizrakot (sacrificial basins)
600,000 bowls of fine gold
1,200,000 bowls of silver
500,000 trays of fine gold
1,200,000 trays of silver
500,000 bread mold of fine gold
1,200,000 bread molds of silver
On each of the molds there were 5 Margaliot/pearls and 2 precious gem stones. The value of each precious stone was 100 talents of gold ($180 million). The total value of all the Margaliot was 200,000 talents of gold ($360 billion).
36 golden trumpets
7 branched menorah of fine gold worth 100,000 talents ($360 billion)
77 tables of gold
7,000 talents of gold (Over $10 trillion)
3 rows of priceless stones, 7 cubits by 5 cubits
The counting of precious stones, Margallot gems, silver, and gold that King David dedicated to the great Temple was:
1,000,000 talents of silver ($18 billion)
100,000 talents of gold ($180 million)
600,000 talents of fine gold ($1.08 trillion)
All these were concealed, hidden and safeguarded from the army of the Chaldeans in a place called Borseef.
7 golden curtains with 12,000 talents of gold ($20 billion)
12,000 Levitical garments with belts
70,000 Levitical garments with belts, turbans and pants
All of these service clothes were concealed until the future to atone for Israel in the end of days.
David also made:
1,000 copper lyres overlaid with fine gold and 8 stones
All these were hidden and concealed in Ein Zidkiyah that the fittest men of Israel knew in secret, lest they fall, G-d forbid, into the hands of the enemy who hated Israel. These vessels are not to be used except to atone for Israel, thus concealed to prevent the Chaldeans from using them, G-d forbid. They hid them until the day when Israel will return to their former stature and reclaim eternal honor and worldly glory, and they find a man named David, son of David. The silver and gold shall then be unearthed to him, when all Israel shall gather and make a complete Aliyah ascent to Jerusalem. Amen.
These are the weights of silver concealed at Ein Kahal by Baruch and Zidkiyah:
1,200,000 talents of silver
1,600,000 of fine silver
2,000,000 pots of fine copper
1,100,000 pots of iron
3,000 frying pans of fine gold
Countless copper sinks and lavers
70 tables of fine gold
All those were concealed by Zidkiyah.
Treasures of gold and silver stored away from the days of David until Sidkiyah and until Israel was exiled to Babylon.
Hundreds of thousands of golden shields
Countless silver shields
353,000 precious stones
1,900,000 Korin of gold [no clue what that weighs]
All the prophets, wise men, and scribes in the world could not calculate the wealth and the glory that was in Jerusalem.
Twelve precious stones with the names of the Tribes engraved on them.
No king, prophet, or anyone else knew where they were hidden, excepting Hiluk, son of Shimus Halevi. All Israel concealed the Vessels until a righteous king arises over Israel. What's more, they all share a solemn vow never to reveal the whereabouts of these vessels until David, son of David, arises. All silver, gold, and Margaliot precious stones which were ever hidden away will be handed over to him when the exiles of Israel will be gathered from the four ends of the earth, and they ascend with greatness and exaltation to the land of Israel. At that time a great river will issue forth from the Holy of Holies of the Temple. Its name is Gihon and it will flow to the great and dreadful desert and become mixed with the Euphrates River.
End of Emeq HaMelekh
Well, there you have it. Trillions of dollars of gold and silver are still hidden somewhere in Israel. Not to mention those 3,000 gold frying pans! :-) And when they do find that incredible treasure, look up!
Luke 21:28 "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
The Feast of Hanukkah, History And Prophecy - By Jack Kelley - https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/holidays-and-holy-days/the-feast-of-hanukkah-history-and-prophecy/
He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. (Daniel 11:21)
In 175 BC Antiochus IV Epiphanes came to power in Syria by stealing the throne from his relative, Demetrius II, the young son and rightful heir of Seleucus IV Heliodorus. The original Seleucus was one of the four generals who divided the Greek Empire between them following the death of Alexander the Great. Thus Antiochus Epiphanes became the eighth descendant of Seleucus to sit on the throne of Syria.
Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant (Onias III) will be destroyed. With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South (Ptolemy VI of Egypt). The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him. The king of the North (Antiochus) will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country. (Daniel 11:22,25,28)
Soon after taking power, on his way to invade Egypt, Antiochus invaded Israel, stealing all the gold and silver furnishings from the Temple. He had Israel's last legitimate High Priest, Onias III, murdered and from then on the office was sold to the highest bidder, with the money going to Antiochus.
The Birth Of The Sadducees
He began to "Hellenize" Israel and before long many of the wealthy and influential among the Israelites adopted the Greek style of dress, cutting their hair short and shaving off their beards as well. They also argued for a blending of Greek philosophy and culture into the Jewish way of life. From these advocates of Greek thinking, the political party known as the Sadducees was born, eventually growing to a position of prominence during the time of Jesus. It was the influence of Greek philosophy on their approach to the Hebrew Scriptures that blinded the ruling Sadducees to the fact that Messianic Prophecies were being fulfilled right before their eyes during the Lord's life on Earth.
"At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant. (Daniel 11:29-30)
Initially, this accommodation with Greek culture encountered only vocal resistance, but that all changed when the Egyptians rebelled and, with the aid of the Roman Navy, defeated Antiochus and drove him from Egypt. In a rage, Antiochus again invaded Israel, this time demanding that he be worshiped as God. (The name "Epiphanes" comes from a title he gave himself, "theos epiphanies" or god made manifest. After this the Jews started calling him "Epimanes" which means the madman.) He outlawed the reading of the Hebrew Scripture, punishing by death anyone found with copies in their possession. Circumcision, praying, keeping the Sabbath, and worshiping the One True God were likewise proscribed with severe penalties for disobedience.
"His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. (Daniel 11:31-32)
Put The Hammer Down
In 168 BC Antiochus again broke into the Temple, converting it into a pagan worship center in honor of the Greek god Zeus (called Jupiter in Roman mythology). Instead of the blood of bulls and goats, he sprinkled water in which pork had been boiled in the Holy of Holies, and slaughtered pigs on the altar. Then he erected a statue of Zeus in the Holy Place, with his own face on it, thereby proclaiming himself to be God. Because it rendered the Temple unfit for worshiping God, Jewish historians called this act the Abomination that Causes Desolation, the only event in history so named. It triggered the Maccabean Revolt.
The Maccabean revolt was one of the world's first guerrilla wars. It was fought under the command of Judeus Maccabeus (Judah the Hammer). Regaining possession of the Temple in 165, the Jewish people smashed the polluted altar and the statue of Zeus, grinding both to powder, and then built a new altar from uncut stones.
Next they set out to cleanse the Temple and re-dedicate it to God, an eight-day process (2 Chron. 29:17). But they could only find enough sacred oil to light the Menorah (the 7-branched lamp stand in the Holy Place) for one day, and the law required that it be lit constantly for the entire 8 days. Because the preparation of sacred oil was a time consuming process, they decided not to wait, but to use the oil they had to light the Menorah immediately, trusting that God would find this acceptable. God was pleased and made the oil last for the full eight days until the new supply was ready and the re-dedication complete.
Eight Is Enough
Those who study the symbolic use of numbers in Scripture know that eight is the number of New Beginnings, and indeed the Maccabean victory over the Syrians ushered in a new era, known as the Hasmonean Dynasty. During much of this period, which lasted till about 64 BC, Judea, as Israel was known at the time, enjoyed independent nation status, having finally won their freedom from Syria. Following other Hasmonean victories, the Jews regained boundaries that nearly approximated those of Solomon's time. Jewish rule was exercised throughout the expanded nation and Jewish life flourished once again. A New Beginning for the Children of Israel.
The Feast Of Dedication
The miraculous burning of the oil is still celebrated in the eight-day Feast of Hanukkah, from the Hebrew word meaning dedication. It's also called the Festival of Lights and this year it began at sunset on December 12 (2017) on our calendar.
To celebrate Hanukkah, a special 9-branched candelabra is used, with eight branches commemorating the eight days when the oil kept burning. The ninth branch, called the Shamash, is usually positioned above the other eight. Its candle is always lit first and then used to light the other candles, one each day, until on the eighth day of Hanukkah all are lit. The Hebrew word Shamash means servant, so the Shamash is the servant candle that's raised up and gives light to all the others.
Incredibly, the Hanukkia, or Hanukkah candelabra, becomes a beautiful model of the Messiah and His church. It was the Lord Jesus, the obedient servant, who was raised up (John 3:12) and gives light to all others (John 8:12). For the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve. (Mark 10:45)
If you've read our studies on the Lord's probable birth date, you know I believe He was conceived during the Feast of Hanukkah and that His life, like all others, began at conception. If so, the Hanukkia is a fitting reminder that the Light of the World arrived during the Festival of Lights, ushering in a New Beginning for all mankind.
History To Prophecy
We know that the Levitical Feasts of Israel have both a historical and a prophetic fulfillment. For example, Passover commemorated the Jews' freedom from bondage in Egypt and looked forward to the Messiah freeing us all from the bondage of our sins. The prophetic aspect of the Spring Feasts was fulfilled in the Lord's 1st Coming, the summertime Feast of Pentecost commemorated the giving of the Law and was fulfilled in the giving of the Holy Spirit, and the Fall Feasts commemorated God's dwelling among them and will be fulfilled in the 2nd Coming. Hanukkah is not a Levitical Feast but I think it has an important prophetic fulfillment like the others.
In reviewing the history of Hanukkah, I'm sure you spotted the similarity to events yet future to us. One day soon a man will arrive on the world scene. He'll become very powerful very quickly, assuming a leadership position that's not rightfully his. Many will give their loyalty to him and he'll conquer most of the world. Even in Israel, many will favor accommodation with him, some even thinking he might be the Messiah. (John 5:43)
But then he'll stand in the Holy place and declare that he's God (2 Thes. 2:4), another Antiochus Epiphanes. He'll have a statue of himself erected and put in the Holy Place to be worshiped (Rev. 13:14), another Abomination of Desolation, the one Jesus warned about in Matt. 24:15. Just like his predecessor, he'll demand to be worshiped as God on pain of death, and make everyone swear a pledge of loyalty to him. He'll put a stop to the recently instituted Temple sacrifice (Dan. 9:27) and try to erase every trace of the legitimate God from the world. He'll wage war against those who oppose him, but they'll fight back in another war of resistance. After 3 ½ years he'll be defeated (Dan. 12:7) and the defiled Temple will be cleansed and made ready for use again during the Millennium, another Feast of Dedication. And Israel will again experience a period of untold peace and prosperity, expanding fully to its originally promised dimensions. Jewish rule will be exercised throughout the expanded nation and Jewish life will flourish once again (Isaiah 65:17-25), another New Beginning for the Children of Israel and for all the world. Happy Hanukkah.
The Last Days & Preparing to Meet the Lord: Part 4 - By Sean Gooding -
"Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law."
Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the end amongst conservative Bible believers. I have had many discussions about the end, and I find that there is an urgency that is driving us in many areas. I can say that it is invigorating to me and a bit scary as well. In Matthew 25:21 we find these wonderful words from our Lord Jesus:
"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!'"
These are some of the sweetest words one will ever hear. Just this morning my wife and I had a discussion about 'are we using our talents wisely?' Will we have profit to offer the Lord on the talents that He has entrusted us with as a family, she as a wife and me as a husband and pastor. Will I/Will we be able to offer our Lord a return on His investment in us?
This is where the proper teaching of the Bible is so important. When the scriptures are properly revealed to us, we can find the ways to live pleasing lives to and for our Lord. But every day we can see that there are men and women who abuse the Holy Scriptures by taking them out of context, using partial verses simply to make their point and - as we used to say in seminary - some preachers look for a verse to blame their sermons on.
We look at passages like Matthew 25:14-29, and we see that Jesus is picturing for us the kingdom of Heaven. Here we see that His servants are given monies according to their abilities, and each one then has to give an account of the way that he invested that money on behalf of the Master. It would be easy to make this a salvation passage if one does not take the time to study. But it is not. It is about saved people answering to the Lord for their lives after the point of salvation.
In many modern churches there is a lack of teaching on the end, the very times that we are in today. Many saved persons have no clue that they too will face a very harsh judgment - not about Heaven and Hell, but about being in the will of God and led by the Holy Spirit. I touched on this a bit last time, and I want to expand on it a bit today. The idea that we will be judged is foreign to a lot of God's people, and too many are not going to be prepared to offer God any return on His investment; sadly, they will suffer great loss. The loss of opportunity and the loss of responsibility in the coming Millennial Kingdom. This Kingdom is spoken about in Revelation 20:4-6:
"And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."
We again find reference to this Kingdom in Isaiah 11:6-9:
"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."
All throughout the Old Testament, it was prophesied about the new Kingdom that would come. Jesus spent the first half of His ministry life talking about the new Kingdom. The Jews could not see, and even the apostles did not see the gap between Jesus' first and second comings. But here you and I are in the gap. Almost 2,000 years have passed since Jesus ascension, and we are nearing the Rapture. There are a lot of writings about the Tribulation and the judgment that will be executed here on earth, but there are not many who talk about our judgment, our time to stand and give an account. Jesus was very, very adamant about our accountability. In 1 Corinthians 16:13 we see this charge:
"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."
Stand fast and behave like men. Be strong. The term stand fast is a military term; it means to stand your ground and defend that space until the death. Soldiers had to be adept at fighting and committed to orders in the face of great danger and loss of life. This is the command made to us. What happens when a soldier abandons his post? He is arrested. In the days that the Bible was written, he was executed. Jesus expects us to take the command to behave like soldiers and be men very seriously.
Too many men are not soldiers in the cause of Christ; we are cheerleaders on the sidelines. Some can't even do that. Sadly, too many are asleep at the wheel and cause more hurt than good. You may say, "Hey Sean, where is the call to women?" Men need to wake up and remember that God is not a SJW, and He is not, nor ever will be a feminist. Men, you will be judged first. God made you first; He gave you the first responsibilities in Creation; and He spoke to Adam first even though Eve ate of the fruit in the Garden first. Men need to wake up and realize that we cannot hide behind our wives. God expects us to behave like men and take some responsibilities and show some leadership.
While the inhabitants of the earth are going through the Tribulation down here, we will be answering to the Lord for our lives. Were we Light and Salt? Were we faithful servants? Did we love God will all our hearts, souls, minds, and our strength? Did we put God first in everything? You get the picture.
I want to expand a bit about the Holy Spirit in our lives. To do this we need to take a look at the church in Laodicea from Revelation 3:14-22:
"And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'-and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked- 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
"19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'
No era of the Lord's churches has had the wealth that many modern churches have today. The church I pastor, though small, can endeavor to do many things. Many of our members make a decent living, and the tithes are given faithfully. According to many surveys, the average person gives about $20 each time they attend a church service. For example, a church that has a regular attendance of 1,000 on a Sunday morning will collect about $20,000 each morning service. That is over $1,000,000 per year with 52 Sundays per year. I know of one of our Sister churches that annually collects close to $250,000 just for missions. This is not their general-fund income. Imagine what a church of 5,000 or 10,000 will take in for an offering each service.
It is clear to see that the Laodicean church is a picture of a lot of churches in our time. Notice verse 17: 'I am rich and wealthy and in need of nothing.' We have so much money and resources that we can indiscriminately do the work of the Kingdom and miss the point that if what we do is not led by the Holy Spirit, we are not in obedience. Look at God's assessment of the same church, verse 17(b) 'you are wretched and poor, miserable, blind and naked.' Why are they this way? Because Jesus is not the Head and Life of this church; their activity is. They are busy doing the Lord's work without the Lord.
Every decision we make should be Holy-Spirit led; Where do we send money? To whom do we send money? How much do we send? On and on we can go.
In Acts 16:6-10, we find Paul's call to go to Macedonia. Where he wanted to go was not bad, just not God's will at that moment for Paul:
"Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them."
This is an example of good works; the right work, led by the Holy Spirit for God's glory only. Paul wanted to go one way, but the Holy Spirit led elsewhere. The desire to go was good, but where to go was God's business.
Whether we are an individual or a local church, the same guideline should apply. We need to ask the question: is this Holy-Spirit led, empowered and God glorifying? You and I should live knowing that we will be judged by Jesus the Righteous Judge, and He will expect us to have profit to offer for His investment in us. Will you have something to offer Jesus? Will I have something to offer Jesus? The Bema seat of Jesus, as described in 2 Corinthians 5:9-11:
Therefore, we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences."
Notice that Paul tells us that we should be aware of the 'terror of the Lord' in verse 11. Yes, the terror of the Lord. The One who can rebuke the storms, rebuke the demons, stop the sun, multiply fishes and loaves, raise the dead and defeat the grave is the very same God to whom we will answer. Did we behave like men? Did we stand fast for the truth? Were we strong? Are you, am I ready to give an answer? Heed the warning of James 5:8; the Lord is near:
"You too, be patient and strengthen your hearts, because the Lord's coming is near."
Come and See - By Pete Garcia -
Clearly, the idea of the Rapture can be considered the most preposterous belief in Biblical Christianity. The situation regarding the doctrine of the Rapture is painfully similar to the famous quote by Dr. Richard Feynman, speaking of quantum physics: I think it is safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics... in fact, it is often stated of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is quantum theory. Some say that the only thing that quantum theory has going for it, in fact, is that it is unquestionably correct. Dr. Chuck Missler
Although Facebook and the internet have been useful tools in the spreading of the Gospel, they have become as of late, an increasingly hostile place for the Pre-Tribulation Christian. I wonder why so many who claim to be Christian (presumably loving Christ), have such hostility towards the idea that Christ will one day return for His Bride before the coming seven-year period known as 'The Day of the Lord'.
Some of the most visceral comments you will find, come not from the atheist or the Christian skeptic crowd, but come from other Christian's. Most unbelievers equate God to the 'Flying Spaghetti Monster' and reserve sarcasm for all eschatological views fairly equally. But it's the 'Christian', particularly those of the Reformed/Covenantal/Hebrew Roots/Amillennial/Preterist/Pre-Wrath/Post-Trib crowd who really, really hate the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Even more, hated still, is the Dispensationalist...Gasp!
As one who has often been at the receiving end of the blistering criticism, I am very cognizant of the fact, that most other eschatological views are at least tolerant of each other, yet remain united in their resolute intolerance towards the Pre-Trib view...which is telling. God does not give us complex, unknowable doctrine. (Eph. 3:3-5; Col. 1:9; 2 Tim. 2:7) God does not 'muddy the waters', but rather makes them clear. God does not give us confusing doctrine. (1 Cor. 14:33) He even gave us the Holy Spirit to make these things understandable for those who are in Christ. (John 16:12-15)
But Satan is still running this blue rock, (Luke 4:5; 1 John 5:19) and it means that the one view that has the most animosity towards it, receives the most derision, from the most diverse group of "believers" out there, can only mean that it is the one most under attack by our enemy for a reason.
So in order to prove why I know the Pre-Trib view, is the correct view...I drafted up a list of questions that other eschatological persuasions should attempt to answer to prove their side true. Now, I'm not offering a thousand dollars, this is simply for those who want to see if their view can withstand some simple reasoning.
Although many will attempt to refute the challenge I put forth here, they can't do so in any intellectually honest effort. They either have to twist the meaning or redefine terms to fit their eschatological viewpoint. The real issue in the varying eschatology's is not really eschatological in and of itself, but rather of one's understanding of ecclesiology.
For both the student and the scholar, there should be a desire to understand God's word, not simply for the sake of knowledge, but because growing in truth, promotes spiritual maturity. There are plenty of well-meaning, misguided believers out there that believe all kinds of things that probably aren't all that biblical, and that doesn't mean they aren't saved. Salvation is through the belief in and receiving of Jesus's atoning and redemptive work on the Cross. (1 Cor. 15:1-5; Romans 10:9-11)
Although we aren't saved by which Rapture view we hold too, we are either stunted or growing in how we mature as believers by which view we allow to filter our biblical worldview through. And although all the proof in the world will not convince those who obstinately hold to errant, eschatological views (the listed above), they will find out soon enough.
Jesus warns in His Olivet Discourse, that a time is coming, that is worse than ANY that mankind had ever seen before, or ever will. (Matt. 24:21-22) How then can the Christian stand in that day? The truth is, they can't, because they won't be there. That is not to say, that we will not be persecuted leading up to Daniel's 70th week, because we probably will. (Rev. 3:10) But persecution in and of itself is not indicative of the Church's need to enter into Daniel's 70th week. There has always been some form of persecution against the Church of God.
But that time was not designed for us; it is for Israel, the Jews, and the Christ-rejecting world. (Dan. 9:24; Jer. 30:7-11) Persecution just means that the world hates Christ, and we are Christ's body here on the earth, therefore, we too are hated. (John 15:18-25; Romans 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 5:30; Col. 1:18). And if we are Christ's body here on earth, don't you think at some point, He'd want it back? (John 14:1-3) Would He (who conquered death and hell) then subject Himself to the same judgment He unleashes upon the earth?
And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?" And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it...Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, "Come and see." Rev. 5:1-3, 6:1
The Last Days & Preparing to Meet the Lord: Part 3
- By Sean Gooding - https://www.raptureready.com/2019/11/29/last-days-preparing-meet-lord-part-3-sean-gooding/
"Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law."
We have clearly established the need for us to surround ourselves with the proper teaching of the Word of God. When there is clear, correct and regular teaching of the Word of God, society at large is restrained form doing evil. Sin is always there; we are sinners, all of us. But it is not as publicly flaunted as we see today. Sins that used to be done in the shadows, done in private and with some degree of shame are now flaunted as rights, and sin is paraded as normal; and all who oppose such liberties (rights) are intolerant. In Isaiah 5:20, the prophet laments the openness of sin in his day and comes to this conclusion:
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
No better statement describes us right now as a society; good is being portrayed as evil, and evil as good. The shame once attached to sin is now being lifted, and that sin is being promoted as good. If one took the time to research the rise of pedophilia in our time, we will see that this is the last straw of human sexuality. There are still taboos associated with this sexual practice, but once society accepts that pedophiles are born this way, just as they say homosexuals are according to the law, then pedophilia will become acceptable as well. Go for yourself and research how many women, especially teachers, have been arrested for sexual interactions with their students, and you will see that pedophilia is just as prevalent among women as men.
Folks, we are in the last days. In Genesis 6:5, we see this assessment of mankind on the earth from God:
"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
I fear that God would make the same assessment of us today. We are an evil people; and sadly, we are proud of it. We have no intention of repentance, no feelings of shame and no remorse. God is old- fashioned and narrow-minded, and we simply refuse to submit to Him. Jesus told us that as it was in the days of Noah, so it would be in the last days, and here we are. Matthew 24:37-39,
"But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so, shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
The world thinks they have overpowered God; they mistake His gracious patience with either apathy or evidence that He does not exist. Well, like it was in the days of Noah, soon the first raindrops will fall; and it will be too late for billions of people. When those raindrops fall, for us it will be the Rapture; this will signal the beginning of God's judgments here on earth for a 7-year period as He prepares a people for the Millennial Kingdom. But while God is pouring out His wrath on the earth, we, the saved, will be facing our own judgment. We are told this by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:8-10,
"We are confident, then, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we aspire to please Him, whether we are here in this body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive his due for the things done in the body, whether good or bad."
We "must all appear," we are told, before the judgement seat of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 3:11-13, Paul writes this,
"For no one can lay a foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, his workmanship will be evident, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will prove the quality of each man's work."
Here we have it; the foundation is Jesus. He is our salvation. In Him we have eternal life. If you are at this judgment, the issue here is not heaven or hell. But what did you do with the wonderful foundation that Jesus laid in His life, body and blood for you? Verse 15 tells us that if a man's work is burned up by the judgment of fire, he, himself is saved. But there is a loss of rewards.
This brings us to what we have been discussing over the past few weeks, the fact that - as the Lord's people, seeing where we are in history and with full understanding that we are in the last days - we should be living in such a way that shows we are prepared or at least preparing to be judged. Sadly, a lot of churches do not teach about the end times. A full 25% of the scriptures deal with the end, the return of Jesus is prophesied by the OT prophets, it is reiterated by the NT writers, and we should take these warnings seriously.
We have explored the verse from Proverbs 29:18 about the proper teaching of the Scriptures being a restraining power in the lives of a society and especially in the lives of the children of God. We also looked at 2 Timothy 3:16-17, verses that tell us the Bible is given by God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof and correction and then to equip us to do good works. These are the works that will NOT burn up when we are judged. See 1 Corinthians 3:11-13 again.
In addition to the above verses, we also looked at Romans 12:1-2. These verses give us the process of how we are transformed from doing evil works to good works as we grow in the Lord. Let us establish that normal people can do what appears to be good works on the outside. They can love their wives, love their children, serve their community and help their fellowman, and all looks good. But the problem is that they have not been reborn in Jesus (John 3:3). The inner man has not been changed, so all these good works account for nothing. However, once a person is saved, redeemed by Jesus and washed in His blood, these same actions now have the potential to become good works.
The process begins, as we discussed, with us surrendering ourselves to the Lord. Luke lays this out for us in Luke 9:23,
"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
Yes, you read that right; deny yourself. Once saved, we must begin the process of surrendering control of our bodies and lives with our dreams and hopes to Jesus. As we daily do this, the Holy Spirit takes the Bible and begins to show us 'reproof and correction,' helping us to stop being conformed to the mindset and actions of the world system. He, the Holy Spirit, begins to call us out on things with the intent on changing the way we think. This bring us to the final stage of transformation to aid us in doing 'good works.'
Transformation - Romans 12:1-2
The word for transformation in Greek is the root word from which we get our English word metamorphosis. In 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, Paul writes this,
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation."
This is the whole idea of metamorphosis. We know the process of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly; the caterpillar is cocooned, turns to liquid, and over a process of time transforms into the beautiful butterfly. One cannot have butterflies without caterpillars. Well, you and I are being transformed by the Holy Spirit in us, who changes us from the inside out just like the caterpillar, and makes us beautiful in Jesus. This is a process that affects every aspect of our lives, beginning with the way we think. Paul calls it the "renewing of our minds."
Let me give you one of the ways that we can be transformed, and I want to stress that this is a lifelong journey. Just read the Gospels and see how frustrated Jesus got with the lack of insight with the men who would become the apostles. But Matthew offers us this lesson in transformation from Matthew 6: 25-34,
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith?
"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Learning to stop worrying is a 'good work'; the idea of total and confident dependence on the Lord for everything is part of our transformation. Jesus will supply. He must; He promised to. We stop gauging our lives by the measures of the world: how big your house is, what car you drive, what clothes you wear and how big your bank account is. Rather, you seek to invest in the Kingdom of God first, no matter the cost, and learn to be contented with what you have here. Notice that this good work includes not doing something. This is part of the transformation that we are to experience. Not just that we do some things, but that we STOP doing seemingly insignificant things. How about this that we find in Romans 12:10-11,
"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Putting others first, thinking of how our lives and our actions will affect our weaker brothers and sisters in the Lord."
Paul writes this way about taking liberties. Galatians 5:13,
"For you, brothers, were called to freedom. Only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity to gratify your flesh, but through love make it your habit to serve one another."
In the garden of Gethsemane that fateful night before Jesus was crucified, He was there not for His own sin but ours; not for His redemption but ours; and not for His failures but ours. He tells Peter that in His freedom He could ask God the Father for 12 legions of angels, and they would show up and make an end of the Roman arrest that was going on. But Jesus considered our needs, He considered the Father's will, and He endured the cross. We are not in danger yet of being called to die for the cause of Christ, but we can begin by denying ourselves some of our liberties so as not to be a stumbling block to our fellow saved family. This is part of the transformation that takes place; I become second to the Lord and others. Me gets demoted to second, maybe third, maybe 100th, whatever it takes to build up a brother or sister. Good works always come from the heart of a servant to Jesus.
One day, maybe sooner than you and I think, we will be called to stand at the judgment and give an account of how we lived our lives once we found the solid rock of Jesus as our Saviour. Let us begin to be ready for this and give our bodies, our minds and our lives over to Jesus to be transformed into His image. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18,
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
The Last Days and Preparing to Meet the Lord, Part 2
- By Sean Gooding -
"Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law."
By now, I hope that we have established that the above verse is about the proper teaching and preaching of God's Holy Word. Even just reading the scriptures is so important, that the Devil will tempt you not to read because you don't understand.
I had a conversation with a lady from the church I pastor this morning. She was talking about reading in the book of Luke. As she was about to read, the devil comes along and tells her, 'you don't understand this anyway; don't read it.' But she perseveres; and lo and behold, the Holy Spirit teaches her about producing fruit from a parable of Jesus' in Luke 13:6-9. She, by the power of the Holy Spirit, was challenged to work at producing more fruit in her Christian life.
This is why it is important to read the Bible and to allow God's Holy Spirit that lives in us to show us the truth of the scriptures. The Holy Spirit always leads us into truth, to obedience and to change. He ever lives to guide us into a deeper and more open relationship with the Lord.
We have shown and the scripture teaches that when the Word of God is read, preached and made available to the masses, it acts as a restraint against the progress of evil in a society. This is not just about Christians per se, but all peoples are restrained by the proper teaching and ready access to the Bible. This why there is such a push to remove the Bible from the public forum.
Here in the Toronto area, we have a situation where a member of the Toronto city council is trying to make it either very difficult or impossible for a church group to rent a city facility to host a church service. The push to remove the truth from the public is very, very real. You see, it is impossible to lie to people who know the truth. It is like knowing authentic currency and then coming across counterfeit currency and being able to identify it. When we have the truth of God's word openly taught, openly and readily available to the public for consumption, then when lies come along, one is able to spot them and avoid them.
Let us take a look at a phenomenon that is happening right now; we see it in the malls, in the stores, we see it in classrooms and in very public places.
Exodus 20: 12, "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."
I was taught this as a child. I am commanded from the Ten Commandments to 'honor' my parents. To respect them, to carry their names well and to listen to them.
In the New Testament, we see Ephesians 6: 1-3, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth."
This adds fuel to the fire by further explaining the idea of honoring your parents. We are called to obey our parents in the Lord. I am to do what I am told. This implies submission and humility. But today we have a society that encourages kids to disobey their parents. The government has gone behind parents' backs and provided to their children things that the parents have not consented to. Children can get contraceptives and vaccinations that the parents forbid by going around their parent's authority through the schools. It happened to my wife and I as parents; we found out that our kids could and did get stuff at the school that we had forbidden.
There is a deliberate plan to subvert the parental authority. Many of the child protection agencies, both in the US and in Canada, have the position that the children belong to the state, not the parents. Thus, the state can subvert the parent's authority. They can only do this because the idea that children must obey their parents and the fact that the children belong to the parents has been removed out of the public sphere. Children used to be taught, even in public schools, that they should obey their parents. I was. Now they are told that they can threaten their parents if they do something that they, the child, does not like.
The entire chain of authority has been overturned. Now, we have a society of unruly, undisciplined kids that have been unleashed on our teachers, our police forces and our society. The children have 'cast off restraint' since there is no revelation of the truth.
Further, we discussed some verses from Timothy, verses of instruction and clarity to the young preacher about the power of the Holy Word of God. In 2 Timothy 3: 16-17, we see these verses:
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
The Word of God is profitable. This is very important. The world system says that the Word of God is outdated, no longer relevant; but God says it is profitable.
We talked in the previous lessons about doctrine and reproof, and we have begun to talk about good works; and we will get there today as well. But if you do not think that the Word of God is profitable, then there is no desire to read it, to study it and to obey it. So, our very mind frame must be in line with the mind frame of God. Just like the lady I mentioned from this morning, she had the mindset that the Word of God is profitable; thus, when tempted not to read, she was able to resist the temptation, and God made the reading of the Book profitable to her.
I am amazed at how many of God's people do not make even the reading of God's Word a priority. I am not perfect, far from it, but if I go a day or so without reading the scriptures, and sadly it can happen, I get the Holy Spirit in me calling me out on it; and then I repent and read it. The Bible is profitable and valuable; it is God's message to us, to mature us and mold us into the image of Jesus.
How do you view the Holy Word of God?
Since the resurrection of the nation of Israel in May 1948, we have been in the last days. We have seen the rise of the New World Order as a system that is subverting the sovereignty of nations, infiltrating religion and exposing compromise, trying to silence or squash true Godly churches and trying to unify the world under global strategies. Soon, either by death or by the Rapture, we are going to be giving an account of the fruit that we have produced in the life we lived after we were saved.
Last week we began to look at Romans 12:1-2 in conjunction with Proverbs 29:18 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17. We talked about giving ourselves as living sacrifices to the Lord, and we examined verses like this in Matthew 6:33:
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Or this one from the Gospel of Luke, Luke 9:23:
"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
These are powerful and profitable verses that remind us that God wants us to surrender our lives. There are many who think that they would die for Jesus. But most are not living for Him. If you are not willing to be a living sacrifice, you will not be a dead one. All the people who died for the cause of Jesus Christ, first lived for Him.
Today we will explore the second part of Romans 12:1-2. Let us be reminded of the verses at hand:
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Once we have made the decision to present our bodies to Jesus for His use, we are then instructed to 'not be conformed to this world.'
Have any of you ever made frozen lollies? You make a juice of some kind, then you pour the liquid into the molds, place a stick in them and let them freeze. The juice takes on the shape of whatever mold you put it in. The idea of being conformed is the same thing. But this is not really a physical thing; it is the mind that we are to work on. Notice that, in the next phrase, the transformation take place by the 'renewing of the mind.' In 1 Peter 1:15-16 we see this:
"But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'"
As well, see 2 Corinthians 6:16-17:
"What agreement can exist between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people. Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.'"
When we think of being holy, there is an idea of being pious. Most often, that is seen in a negative connotation. But God is Holy; the word really means separated. God is separated from us; He is perfect, first of all, and this separates us, so we need to be saved through Jesus. And when we are covered in Jesus' holiness, we can fellowship with God; He is no longer separated from us. But in a practical sense, God's wants our way of thinking and subsequently acting to be separated from the world; we are called to be Holy. Our thoughts, our opinions and our very framework for life should be solely based on the Word of God.
Many Christians want to transform the way they act, but actions are a symptom, not a cause. First, we must change the way we think. We must stop conforming to the thought processes of the world. Let me give an example:
The world teaches that a man and woman can live together without going through a marriage process; it is all the same. But it is not; God expects there to be a marriage ceremony of some kind. Whether big or small, civil or religious, there must be a ceremony of some kind and the legal acknowledgement that they are now one person. So, a saved person who is in a relationship must reject the mindset of the world and accept God's mindset. A young person who is being taught at school that they do not have to submit and obey Mom and Dad, must suppress these ideas with the truth of God's word and not conform to the world philosophy.
Once we have decided to surrender our bodies, the next step is to work on not conforming to the world system. This takes self-examination; you and I need to ask questions? What does God say about this topic? What does the Bible teach about this situation? How would God have me handle this? From time management, money management, how we exist in our marriages, raise our children, what friends we have, the church we attend, and on and on we go. What must I do to stop conforming to the world? Once you make the move, the Holy Spirit will step in and assist you. He is here to guide us into all truth, thus helping us to conform to God's holiness and not the world system. See John 16: 13-14:
"However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you."
Notice it says "He will guide you into all truth."
You and I must be willing to follow. Now we have surrendered our bodies; and as we are no longer conforming to the world, but conforming to the Word of God, we can begin the process of doing good works in our service to the Lord and be ready to face the judgment that for sure is coming our way.
The Butterfly Effect - By Pete Garcia -
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. Genesis 3:6-7
Unsure how to write what I want to say. It's very much on the tip of my brain's tongue but has yet to manifest itself in any real fashion. It is something akin to mankind's timeline here on earth being wrong. Well, not so much wrong, but off, if that makes any sense. We all know that the world that was intended, ended when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sin and death were introduced. So here we are now, some 6,000 years removed from that point, and things seem very wrong.
I feel very much like how Neo felt in the movie The Matrix. He sensed something wrong with the fictional world he portrayed living in and came to find out it was really a false digital simulation overlaying the 'world of the real'. Most people in the world today go about their daily lives, and think, this is how life should be, or this is how life has always been. Sure, people might have their gripes and complaints if life isn't turning out exactly how they wished it would, but, they don't necessarily question the legitimacy of the system in and of itself. For the most part, people have come to accept that life isn't fair. They all eventually come to accept the current state of this world as reality, as if all of this were the normal state of things. But in reality (as the late Chuck Missler used to say) we are living in an altered copy of the real, reality.
And it is almost impossible to see it now, because we are in the midst of it, like frogs in the proverbial warming pot. We are too close to the trees to see the forest. It is as if we (humanity) have spent all our time walking inside the eye of a hurricane, completely oblivious to the trail of destruction behind us, or the dangerous threat in front of us. Most people don't care, because all they see when they look up, is blue skies. Our proximity to the direness of the situation prevents us from seeing the big picture. Besides, the human race generally resets every seventy-years or so, and thus, we are perpetually having to relearn things the hard way. At least that's the way it feels.
I guess the point I am trying to get to is that where we are today, is not how we were intended to be. Obviously, we are here in the 21st-century and as a race and species, we have lived in a fallen state for so long that this is the way it was supposed to be. Setting the very real concept of sin as a disease aside for a moment, were we supposed to have iPhones, motor vehicles, electric Lazy-boy couches, microwave food, flat-screen televisions, an international space station, Facebook/ Instagram / Twitter, Siri, Alexis, quantum computers, life coaches, Socialism, Darwinism, Nihilism, 401K retirement plans, death taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, property taxes, Amazon Prime, goat yoga, Fashion Week, Shark Week, meaningless education, actuaries, bureaucrats, etc. etc., ad nauseam?
I don't think so.
Life has become overly complex, and unnecessarily complicated.
Which begs the question; Are we at the pinnacle of human evolution? Clarification: not Darwinian Evolution (i.e. slime->apes->cavemen), but technological evolution; our march toward modernity and the human condition.
Is this as good as it gets?
Where we ever supposed to be this modernized?
I don't think so.
Which made me think of Chaos Theory and the Butterfly Effect.
In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. (1)
In other, simpler terms...
The Butterfly Effect is the scientific theory that a single occurrence,
no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. (2)
Think about it this way, from Adam and Eve (circa 4000BC) up until the invention of the practical steam engine in 1814, mankind was limited to the speed of horse and the speed of wind. So, if you believe in Adam and Eve, and the rest of the Biblical account of human history, then mankind was limited to the speed of horse for around 5,814 years. Looking at the macro view, the major inventions dealing with travel and information processing specifically has not been very long in the grand scheme of things. From 2019, it has only been:
Needless to say, once man cracked the code on some of the more rudimentary developments (printing press, the steam engine, laws of physics, etc.), Pandora's box had been opened and there was no turning back. Although mankind generally resets every 70-80 years (Psalm 90:9-10), we are being inescapably thrust forward without any hope of stopping. Again, this was not a surprise to God. He predicted this very thing at the tower of Babel.
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, "Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Genesis 11:5-6
Most of you know the story already. God put a kibosh on what was going on and physically and geographically separated everyone by language and presumably, genetics. So what has brought mankind back to the tower of Babel moment?
"But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." Daniel 12:4 (circa 545BC)
Without a doubt, the prophet Daniel living in the 6th-century BC, lived in what we would call, the height of the progressive stagnation of mankind. It was the ancient world. People were limited to the speed of horse, and the speed of sailboats. Mankind's technology was progressing, but at a snail's pace.
However, Daniel was given some of the most specific prophecies ever given regarding the future of the world. There were two different pictures of the subsequent kingdoms that would follow the Babylonians. The first was the multi-metallic statue dream that Nebuchadnezzar had (man's perspective), and secondly, the monstrous, hybrid animals (from God's perspective). These are found primarily in Daniel 2, 7-8. And although most of these kingdoms are in our history books, there is still one kingdom left that has yet to rise. Historically, the Persians conquered the Babylonians, the Greeks conquered the Persians, and the Romans conquered the Greeks. The last kingdom has yet to come together in its final state, but we are starting to witness it take shape today.
What's of interest to the topic at hand, is not the rehashing of the order of the kingdoms, but what the unintended side effects were because of it.
The Medes-Persians were similar to the Babylonians, thus the transfer of language, customs, and culture was not all that dramatic. They might have changed a few of their god's names, but, the Medes and the Persians were still physically related to their southern cousins (the Babylonians). They largely viewed ruler-ship as that divine right belonging to the king and queens of their own royalty.
But the Greeks, in particular under Alexander the Great, began the process of Hellenization of the then-known world. From Italy to Afghanistan, Greek culture, customs, and language began to spread throughout the massive kingdom. Alexander understood the power of culture, and how to rule people without always having to use the pointy end of a spear. And thus, that was the way it was for several centuries until the Romans began to rise up as the geopolitical power the second-century BC.
Although the Romans conquered the Greeks through military might (or the threat of it), the Greeks conquered the Romans through language, sports, religion, philosophy, and culture. Hellenization became the subtle coup d'é·tat that really changed Rome from the inside out.
Roman elites began studying the Greek philosophers using Koine Greek and would come to embrace the stories of Greek heroes and of their Greek Gods. Although they would eventually change the names to more Romanized ones, yet, they were essentially the same. Even our Christian New Testament was written in Koine Greek and would remain that way until Jerome translated it into Latin (the Roman native tongue) in the 4th-century AD. In a way, the Roman Empire really just became an extension of the Greek Empire for another six-centuries.
From the 4th-century through the 19th centuries, we have seen the West, morph from that of Greek dominance, to that of Roman, to that of the Byzantines, to the Holy Roman Empire, to the rise and fall of numerous European superpowers (Portugal, Spain, France, England, Germany, etc.) to what we have today...a united Europe, better known as the European Union (EU).
The last two major empires the world has seen has been the British and the Americans. The British dominance lasted roughly from the 18th-20th centuries (e.g., the sun never set on their empire). American dominance has lasted from the 20th-21st centuries (our present). Essentially, the English language has dominated the planet for the last four hundred years (or so). It has become the most dominant language on the planet. You could say that the English language is the world's reserve currency of languages.
As for our own cultural coup d'é·tat, we have seen this same scenario play out here in the 19th-21st centuries. European Ivy league schools and seminaries become secularized and largely post-Christian. The American elite became enamored by the sophisticated Europeans, and begin importing their enlightened ideas (Darwinism, Marxism, Frankfurt School, etc.) and philosophies (Existentialism, Nihilism, British and German idealism, Anti-Semitism, etc.) back here to our own American schools and seminaries. And within a century, we too, have become as they; a post-Christian nation.
Back to Daniel.
So the prophet and statesman Daniel lived between the late 600-500 BC, which was 500-years before Jesus Christ walked the earth. Another way to look at it is, during that time period man was limited to the speed of horse. In Jesus' day (pre-resurrection), mankind was still limited to the speed of horse. The great cultures then were largely what we would call, Middle-Eastern (pre-Islam), while the rest of the world was largely divided amongst the barbarians and the far eastern kingdoms.
All Daniel knew (as a man), was what he was limited too in his own day there in the heart of the Babylonian kingdom (modern-day Iraq). He couldn't have known that man would get smarter and be able to travel to and fro across the earth, because, well, he was limited to the knowledge of his day...just as we are.
For example, go back and find some movies or television shows from the 1980s or earlier, and see what they thought the future would look like. Listed here are a few examples of movies that got the future very wrong, by the year they were made and the year they attempted to portray:
Granted, these are the only examples I could find without doing exhaustive research. Now, keeping in mind that these films were made for the purpose of entertainment, nevertheless, each of these films had tons of money (millions of dollars), expansive expertise, and massive resources thrown at them to make them appear plausible.
They (the writers/directors) wanted you to believe in their version of the future because that is part and parcel with selling you the entertainment. The only problem they had, was when they wrote and made these films, they were limited by the technology and information available to them of their day. The funny thing is that all these movies all get the future hilariously wrong, and that is only going back a couple of decades.
In Daniel's day, the only educated people were the wealthy. Travel rarely exceeded a 100-mile radius from where one was born. If Hollywood, with all of its wealth and resources, couldn't get their version of the future correct, and they were only predicting it by a few decades, how could a Jewish prophet, in Babylonian captivity, 2,352 years removed from anything other than a horse or a sailboat, possibly conceive of what the end of humanity would look like? The conclusions he reported were:
Now, consider some thoughts regarding Buckminster Fuller's 1982 widely accepted treatise on how quickly knowledge is accumulating.
Buckminster Fuller created the "Knowledge Doubling Curve"; he noticed that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II, knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not as simple as different types of knowledge have different rates of growth. For example, nanotechnology knowledge is doubling every two years and clinical knowledge every 18 months. But on average human knowledge is doubling every 13 months. According to IBM, the build-out of the "internet of things" will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours. (4)
While Daniel wasn't given overly specific information regarding what kind of technology we would possess (i.e., he didn't predict we would land on the moon or have high definition flat-screen televisions), he was given the general conditions which have been proven true. So true that many liberal critics of the Bible, have wrongly concluded that his book must have been written in the 2nd century BC. However, this is how we know that these prophecies didn't come from just a man's perspective...because remember, men are limited to the knowledge of their day, and mankind resets (so to speak) every 70-80 years.
IF Daniel had invented these prophecies apart from God and on his own, like Nostradamus, Helena Blavatsky, Edgar Cayce, William Branham, etc., we would know that his prophecies would be limited to the knowledge of his day.
However, given the fact that his prophecies didn't come from his own imagination, but from the angel Gabriel, then it's reasonable to believe why Daniel's prophecies were so incredibly accurate. And the fact that we have two other major prophecies accompanying them, well, then it lends credence to what Daniel was shown. We live in what Daniel describes as the Last Days.
Not to make this an exhaustive list, but I will simply lay out things in line with Daniel 12:4. Consider then the most obvious signs then:
The late, great Jack Kinsella once wrote something similar to what I'm attempting to back in 2014.
While in exile in Babylon, the prophet Daniel was given a vision of the future of Israel, up to the coming of the Messiah. Up to this point in the vision, those things that Daniel saw were relatively familiar, cities, events, people in a context that were not too far removed from his concept of reality. But then he was shown the things to come in the last days. The angel told him in Daniel 10:14 "Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days; for yet the vision is for many days."
Daniel was so staggered by what he saw it made him faint, verse 18 records that 'one like the appearance of a man' touched him, and strengthened him so that he could go on. Daniel tried to describe those things he saw using terminology that made sense to him, but it comes to us as a series of baffling symbols, images, and beasts. The things he saw terrified him. Because the visions were so completely removed from his understanding of reality, he was unable to describe them in terms that even he was able to comprehend. And so it remained, for thousands of years. Great Bible commentators like Calvin and Luther did not even attempt to interpret the books of Daniel, or the Revelation, for that matter, saying they were allegorical or symbolic books.
Matthew Henry, writing in the 18th century, did not fare much better. Even commentators on these books in the early 20th century admitted they had trouble fitting the pieces together. After all, they dealt with a restored Israel, a revived Roman empire, and a one-world government. Such things were deemed to be impossible, therefore to be interpreted as allegories. The revealing angel understood what Daniel did not. He explained in Daniel Chapter 12, verse 4; "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Today, Daniel and the Revelation are the favorite books of Bible expositors. Many of the mysteries have already been unlocked and many more grow less mysterious all the time. (5)
Without a doubt, our long march to modernity is a testament to both God's foreknowledge and our free will. God foresaw the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10), so where we are today was not a mystery to Him. He not only used the writers, prophets, and apostles to show where man came from, but where man was going with 100% accuracy.
However, where we are today, is not what was intended, yet, here we are. Not unlike the theoretical butterfly who flaps its wings in China and sets off a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, one little sin (Genesis 3:6) did trigger all of the subsequent events that have reverberated throughout the course of history. Did God mean for us to have nuclear-tipped ICBMs, drive-thru fast-food restaurants, and 5G wireless networks?
Yet, they were not a surprise to Him. Our corruption is both the outcroppings of mankind's fallen state and our free will. God saw man's future and the danger that it would one day come to possess, and nonetheless allowed it so that we could choose Him, over certain destruction. He has allowed our freedom to an extent, however, we are now at the end of this experiment in free will. Seeing as we have come full circle, and now nothing is being withheld from us, we have begun drifting dangerously into the realm of playing God. This was the exact same place (IMHO) where the antediluvian peoples (and Babel-builders) were just before they faced the divine judgment.
We have split the atom. We have CRISPR gene-editing technology. We are creating artificial intelligence. We are close to cracking the code on aging and immortality. We have the CERN particle collider being used to discover both the god-particle (the basic building block of the universe) and attempting to open dimensional portals. We are pushing further and further into space.
One day, Satan will use these same technological achievements to enslave the world in a global surveillance system so oppressive and vile, that there will be no escape. It will be as if the eye of the hurricane were closing and collapsing in on itself. The only escape is up. So if you are left here on the earth after the Rapture, there is no amount of prepping or survival skills that can stop Satan from completely taking over the planet (Rev. 13:1-7, 16-18). Things will become so terrible and horrifying, that should God tarry any longer than He does, no flesh would be saved to enter into the millennial kingdom.
We are not now what was intended. God had (and still has) so much better and grander plans for those who are redeemed.
Meanwhile, the world is busy patting itself on the back and admiring its own achievements, yet all these accomplishments are only drawing it ever nearer to the winepress of the fierce wrath of an almighty God.
"Let the nations be roused;
let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat,
for there I will sit
to judge all the nations on every side.
Swing the sickle,
for the harvest is ripe.
Come, trample the grapes,
for the winepress is full
and the vats overflow-
so great is their wickedness!"
in the valley of decision!
For the day of the Lord is near
in the valley of decision.
Are you ready?
Midst - by Randy Nettles -
"And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate" (Daniel 9:27). The prophet Daniel is clearly referring to the last 7 years ("one week") on earth before Jesus' 2nd Coming to the earth. This time period is known as the Tribulation and/or Jacob's Trouble. Numerous Old Testament prophets referred to it as the Day of the Lord.
Does the term "in the midst" mean the exact middle or could it mean near the middle? There are 269 times in the Old Testament that use that terminology. Very few of them refer to the exact middle. Most of them are in reference to close proximity to the middle or center.
For example, in 1 Samuel 16, Samuel the prophet went to the house of Jesse of the tribe of Judah to anoint one of his sons as the king who would eventually replace Saul. Jesse had 8 sons counting David. God informed Samuel that he was to anoint David, the youngest. "Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren..." (1 Samuel 16:13). With seven brothers, there is no exact middle, for there are four on one side of David and three on the other side of David. If there would have been 9 sons; then yes, David could have been in the exact middle of them, but as it was, he was only in their midst.
Daniel is using the original (prophetic) calendar that Moses wrote about in Genesis 7 and 8 which is in regard to the Great Flood of Noah's day. In the original calendar, one calendar year was equal to 360 days. The duration of Daniel 9:27 is for 7 calendar years of 360 days each for a total of 2520 days
The in the midst event of Daniel 9:27 is known as the Abomination of Desolation and is described in Daniel 12:11 and Revelation 13:14-15. Most Bible experts believe the A.O.D. will occur exactly 1260 days after the start of Jacob's Trouble. But what if instead, it begins 1,230 days after the start of the Tribulation? Isn't that also in the midst of 2,520 days?
Daniel 12:11 gives the duration of the last part (3.5 years) of the Tribulation, from the A.O.D. to the end of the 7 year Tribulation. "And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate setup, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days" (Daniel 12:11). Have you ever wondered why Daniel 12:11 is for 1,290 days instead of 1,260 days? To get a better perspective on the number of days, consider the earlier words of Daniel:
"Then I Daniel looked, and behold, there stood two others (besides the angel messenger), the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen (Jesus), which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and swore by him that lives forever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, and all these things shall be accomplished" (Daniel 12:5-7).
Later in Daniel 12:11, Jesus specifically informs Daniel of the exact amount of days that are in the term "time, times, and a half" (3.5 years)....exactly 1290 days. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that the first part of the prophecy is for 1230 days and the last part is for 1290 days. In other words, the Abomination of Desolation will occur in the midst of the 2520 days duration of the Tribulation, but not necessarily the exact middle.
There are two theories on the duration of the two parts of the Tribulation. Let us look at these as Theory 1 (1,260-1,260 days) and Theory 2 (1,230-1,290 days). Theory 1 starts 30 days before theory 2 does. Both theories have the same date for the in the midst event known as the Abomination of Desolation. Theory 1 ends 30 days earlier than Theory 2. Both theories agree that The Tribulation will last for 2,520 days.
Theory 1 is similar to Theory 2 in that they both believe that the Anti-Christ's total power over the Tribulation saints and the Jewish people will last for exactly 1,260 days or forty-two months (Revelation 13:5-7). Both theories believe that after the Abomination of Desolation, the remnant of Israel will flee into the wilderness of Jordan (Petra) where God will supernaturally protect them and sustain them for 1,260 days (Revelation 12:6).
Both theories agree that after the seals, trumpets, and vials judgments from God, Jesus Christ returns on a future Feast of Trumpets day at the battle of Armageddon. Daniel's 70th Seven ends there with theory 1 and does not really address Jesus fulfilling the 6th and 7th Feasts of the Lord. They occur after the Tribulation is officially over (7 years or 2520 days).
With Theory 2, the end of the Tribulation does not end with the battle of Armageddon, but rather 30 days later. This takes into account enough time for the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles to be fulfilled by Jesus after his return to the Earth on Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah. The Feast of Tabernacles lasts for eight days until Tishri 23rd. Seven days later the Millennium Kingdom of Jesus Christ will commence.
According to Daniel 9:24, the end of the 7-year Tribulation will not occur until six things happen: 1) to finish the transgression, 2) to make an end of sin, 3) to make reconciliation for iniquity, 4) to bring in everlasting righteousness, 5) to seal up the vision and prophecy, 6) to anoint the most Holy.
With Theory 1, there is no time for all of this to happen if the Tribulation is over when Jesus returns at Armageddon. With Theory 2, there is sufficient time for the before-mentioned six results to occur. Also, there will still be enough time for Jesus to fulfill the prophecies of Matthew 24:30-31 as well as Matthew 25:31-46.
In establishing timelines for both of these theories, there is only one hypothesis that must be met... the date that Jesus returns to the earth must be on a future Feast of Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah day. Most Bible eschatologists agree the date on the Hebrew calendar for the return of Jesus Christ (2nd Coming) to the earth, at the Battle of Armageddon, will occur on Rosh Hashanah (Tishri 1 on the Jewish calendar) in some future year. Throughout the history of the Hebrew people, trumpets always were sounded when a Jewish king entered into the battle arena. It will not be different this time as well, only the trumpets will be of a heavenly origin announcing the King of kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ.
The 5th Feast of the Lord, known as Trumpets, is the next one in line to be fulfilled by Jesus; as the first four (Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost) were fulfilled by him in 33 BC. Pentecost was fulfilled by Jesus sending the Holy Spirit to his followers 50 days after His resurrection on Sivan 7 of the same year, thus starting the Church Age.
No one knows the day or the hour of the Rapture, and no one ever will until it happens. However, by studying the scriptures, we can recognize the signs and biblical prophecies that precede it and know when it is getting close. We can be the watchman on the wall warning the people of immediate danger that is approaching, by blowing the trumpet (proclaiming God's word).
"Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he sees the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet, and takes not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head" (Ezekiel 33:2-4).
The Rapture will precede the Tribulation. How much time elapses between these two God-ordained events is unknown. It could possibly be weeks, months, or even years. After the Rapture, the Anti-Christ will eventually come upon the scene to set up his wicked kingdom and will fulfill the prophecy of Daniel 9:27. He should be obvious to identify by two facts: 1) His name will numerically add up to the number 666 as per Revelation 13:18. 2) He will confirm the peace covenant with the many (ruling government of Israel) for a period of seven years.
In the midst of Jacob's Trouble, the Anti-Christ will perform his act of the "abomination of desolation" in the newly built 3rd Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. He will also stop all the daily animal sacrifices that have been recently reinstated there. Many eschatologists suspect this will take place during the time of the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread when all male Jews of age are required to attend this historical and commemorative national event. 1260 days later, Jesus will return to the earth during the time of the 5th Feast of the Lord known as Trumpets, at the Battle of Armageddon.
If the Lord does return on a future Rosh Hashanah day, the time frame of the seven-years preceding it can now come into view. To begin the hypothetical dating process of the seven years of Jacob's Trouble you must travel in time to a future (a minimum of seven years from now) Feast of Trumpets day and work your way back to the past.
The earliest possible Feast of Trumpets date for the 2nd Coming of Jesus would be on Tishri 1, 5788 (October 1, 2027). 1260 days earlier, on Nisan 12, 5784 (April 19, 2024), the Abomination of Desolation occurs and the Anti-Christ acquires total control of world government. 1230 days earlier from the A.O.D., on Kislev 21, 5781 (December 6, 2020), the Tribulation period would officially start in this example. This date is only a little over a month from the 2020 presidential elections here in the United States.
If the Rapture happens sometime before the 2020 elections, I believe a Democrat will be elected into office as president of the United States. All the older conservatives (Republicans) will be raptured at a much higher rate than the liberal/progressive Democrats. This will leave the Democrats with a majority of voters. Most of the raptured believers will be older people and/or the very young (under the age of accountability). Those left behind will probably respond positively to the Anti-Christ's peace covenant with Israel that will occur soon after the Rapture.
Now let's go to a more likely timeline, as there will probably be more of a gap of time between the Rapture and the start of the Tribulation. A popular theory is that Jesus will return when the modern nation of Israel is 80 years old...in 2028. Of course, He will return on Rosh Hashanah. The date, in this case, would be on Tishri 1, 5789 on the Jewish calendar or September 20, 2028, on our modern Gregorian calendar. We must then count backward 1260 days (approximately 3.5 years or 42 months) to determine the in the midst point of the Tribulation, otherwise known as the Abomination of Desolation. This historic day would occur on Nisan 12, 5785 (April 9, 2025).
If you agree with theory 2 and believe that the beginning of the Tribulation takes place 1230 days earlier from the date of the Abomination of Desolation (instead of 1260 days), then the official starting date tales place on Kislev 24, 5782 on the Jewish calendar or November 27, 2021, on the Gregorian calendar. On the 25th day of the month of Kislev, the Jews celebrate the Feast of Hanukkah every year. Hanukkah commemorates the cleansing and rededication of the 2nd Temple of Jerusalem in 164 BC after the Jews won back control of Jerusalem from the occupying Syrian forces. On the day before the Feast of Hanukkah, the 24th day of Kislev, Israel has witnessed four major historical events regarding Jerusalem and/or the Holy Temple in Jerusalem:
1) The foundation of the 2nd Temple was laid in 520 BC (December 10, 520 BC).
2) The abolition of the Temple sacrifice by Antiochus in 167 BC (December 11, 167 BC).
3) The recapture of the Temple and the cleansing of the temple sanctuary in 164 BC. (December 8, 164 BC)
4) Jerusalem was freed from Turkish rule in 1917 (December 8, AD 1917).
What are the odds that the first day of the start of the Tribulation (when the Antichrist and the ruling government of Israel confirm a peace/trade covenant), might be on Kislev 24th of all days? Of course, odds don't really matter to God! This confirming of the covenant would allow the Jews to rebuild their holy temple in Jerusalem. Once the temple is built, the remainder of Daniel's prophecy can then become fulfilled.
As mentioned before, 1230 days later on Nisan 12, 5786 (April 9, 2025) the "in the midst" event, otherwise known as the Abomination of Desolation, will occur. The A.C. will do his dirty deed on or near the anniversary date of Nisan 10, (33 BC) when Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem on the back of a donkey as the true king of Israel. The Antichrist will emulate Jesus as being king of the Jews (and the entire world)...only he will try to claim his right to rule by force.
1260 days after the A.O.D., on Tishri 1, 5789 (September 20, 2028), Jesus will return to the earth at the Battle of Armageddon. This will ultimately fulfill the 5th Feast of the Lord known as Trumpets. The King of kings will have returned and the trumpets will be blowing for him. Jesus will have a greater victory even than the one He accomplished at Jericho approximately 3433 years earlier. After His great victory at Armageddon, He will fulfill the 6th and 7th Feasts of the Lord...Atonement and Tabernacles. Thus all seven Feasts of the Lord will have been accomplished and fulfilled by Jesus the son of God.
30 days after the last Feast of Trumpets, the Tribulation/Jacob's Trouble will have ended and the Millennium reign of Jesus Christ will begin. The date in this hypothetical example would be Heshvan 1, 5789 (October 20, 2028). 1290 days will have passed from the Abomination of Desolation (as mentioned in Daniel 12:11) to the end of the Great Tribulation and 2520 days will have passed from the start to the end of the seven-year Tribulation.
The 1000 year glorious reign of Jesus Christ as king of the earth will have begun. Hallelujah!
Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus.
The Rapture Comes as a Thief in the Night - by Pastor Mike Taylor - https://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2019/11/the-rapture-comes-as-thief-in-night.html
3 "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." (2nd Peter 3:3-4)
2 "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." (1st Thessalonians 5:2-4)
You have heard so much about the "rapture" of the church, but have up to this point, discounted the subject as irrelevant, or not to be taken seriously. Now you are searching sites, just like this one that deals with bible prophecy, as before you thought it was something to be scoffed at, and now it has happened right before your very eyes. Fear grips your every nerve and your inner most being. You do a Google search on your computer, if the internet still works to find out what is going on. You turn on the TV to find frantic reports of the most horrifying news story that a person can ever imagine. The greatest event in all humanity has just happened, and you search for answers.
People you love, people you know, have suddenly without warning, vanished. Your wife or husband that pleaded with you to take this man and God in the flesh Jesus seriously, is no where to be found. Your children who attended grammar school or kindergarten are suddenly not in class. Their teachers are hysterical. Your baby is not in their crib. You hear the news, the panic in the reporter's voice that try to explain what is happening all around you. You see the disasters of planes crashing, trains derailing and the accidents of vehicles going out of control. You see reports of government officials, leaders of businesses and common men and women of everyday life suddenly gone. There is no rational explanation that can be found in this natural world. What has happened as your mind swirls with a thousand thoughts?
WAS THAT THE RAPTURE?
Then it slowly dawns on you and you begin to scream in your mind. Maybe you see an open bible that your spouse had been reading. Maybe you're inspecting personal items of loved ones that were theirs in this life. Have you just missed the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in what they called "The Rapture"? What was it they kept telling you?
15:51 "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We all shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed,
15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." (Ist Corinthians chapter 15.)
You run to grab that Bible you thought was a joke. That book that spoke of fantasies, fairy tales you thought that no one in their right mind would believe is now in your hands. You may have been switching channels trying to find someone speaking what the Holy Book in your hands proclaimed and there is nobody on. The screens are blank and the men and women who proclaimed the coming "rapture" of the church of God are not on the air. Then by chance, you find one channel who said they were "Christian", and they are just as scared as you are. They proclaim what you feared, what your mind is becoming to understand, as you both missed it. This preacher who spoke uplifting words of personal development and the "purpose driven life" is now just as scared as you are...... you are left behind in utter chaos.
You fall to your knees with deep sobs and bury your face in your hands, as you cry out in deep remorse for your foolishness not to believe what you had been told all your life. Jesus has come and you missed it in all your pride and refusal to come to the knowledge of Jesus as you personal Savior. Is all hope lost? Are you and the rest of remaining humanity doomed and forever separated from THE God who just fulfilled His promise to remove His people from this earth? As long as there is life in you, you still have a chance and a choice to make. Will you continue as you have or make a change? Will you start on the road that you were pleaded with to accept before this world wide event that just happened is finished? How long do I have? You have 7 years of pure hell to endure. What is that word you kept hearing before this event? The word was "saved"? What does that mean, being saved? What do I do now? I can only imagine your fear and the events I can only give sketchy details, as it must be more horrible than anyone can describe in words. What do you do?
It starts with knowing Who and what you should have believed in before this hour.
3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.
3:17 For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him.
3:18 He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God."(John 3:16-18)
Final judgment has not yet come. There is still time to take Him at His word. To believe in what you had refused to believe in before now. At this time, I would like to point you to more passages in your bible that I want you to read for yourself and the surrounding text. First, I ask you to read what I am suggesting in all love and desire for you to join us in this unspeakable joy, but unfortunately you will have to wait until Jesus comes back in His glorious appearing to set up His Kingdom. What I ask you to do is start by reading the Gospel of John in that bible in your hands. Find out who this man Jesus was and is today. It will explain in detail of why He came and what He accomplished. It will show you what He wants to accomplish in your life, as well. Then turn to the following passages and read the surrounding context.
Acts 2:38 "And Peter `said' unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
You must believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. You must repent of your sins and ask forgiveness of those sins and request mercy from God to impart God's Holy Spirit into your life and heart. Then start living like it everyday you have left. At the present, you are outside of the grace of God and His mercy, but God may be using this event to shake you to your uttermost being, your very core. The Holy Spirit of God stills wants you to give Him entrance into your life. He is knocking. Will you open that door?
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." Revelation 20-21)
"For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life;
5:11 and not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the atonement (reconciliation).(Romans 5:10-11)
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY!!
There is no other way, no pathway through any religion, no feel good gospel can lead you to eternal life. Other men might have led you to believe that all religions lead to God, like a spoke on a wheel, they all lead to the axle which is God. That was the lie they wanted you to believe, what Satan wanted you to believe. You cry out, "I was a good person. Why was I not given that much credit?" Yes, you may be an upstanding citizen. You went to church on Sunday with your spouse and kids. You sat there with every thought but what was being preached, just to get through so you could go play golf, or go fishing, or any other activity apart from following what God was trying to draw you to. But what was it you were told? What was God trying to convince you of?
3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."(Romans 3:23-26)
No manner of good works, although honorable in itself, can remove the penalty of sin from any man or woman. God is holy and to stand before Him, we must be found holy. We must be clothed with the righteousness of His Son, who died for us. God the Father will see nothing but Jesus in us, and everything else will be forgotten and separated from us, as the east is from the west, so shall our sins be. You cannot be good enough, generous enough, or righteous in your own power to stand before Almighty God and be counted forgiven of being a person wallowing in sin.
10:8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
It is not good enough to understand the words, but a person must internalize them. They must believe them in their heart and mind that these words are truth and were made for the salvation of mankind, including you. You must take that step of faith, even in this terrible hour to understand, to believe that Jesus died for your sins and wishes you to spend eternity with Him and the Father in heaven and on a coming new earth. You must believe in your heart of hearts that God raised Him from the dead and seated Him in glory at His right hand.
James 2:19,"Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble."
He has now come, as He promised and you are left to face what will come upon the earth. What is coming? This is wrath, my friend and judgment from a righteous and Holy God. But what is this wrath and what can you do now?
"And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"(Revelation 6:16-17)
This wrath is the judgment of God upon a rebellious and unholy human race that professes all unrighteousness and have turned their back on their Creator and have turned to the worship of the creation. I would describe it as it was in the days of Noah. We all were giving in marriage, eating and drinking and life was status quo, until as in the days of Noah, the flood came and swept them all away. So it has happened now. God in His wrath will sweep away all rebellion. Two thirds to three quarters of mankind will be extinguished, the earth will be scorched, the waters will be turned unusable for consumption, and a madman will be hunting down anybody who professing any allegiance to God. That is why we have believed , on this site, the pre-tribulation return of Jesus, the One you just experienced that left the world in total chaos and upheaval. Jesus will return in approximately 7 years, but it won't be the world in status quo or the same as it was before Jesus came the first time. Before Jesus will come to set up His Kingdom, that world will be near total destruction and human annihilation. Unless Jesus shortens this time, no flesh will be saved, but for the elect, He will shorten it. (Matthew 24:22)
RISE OF THE ANTI-CHRIST
I give you a word of dire warning, my friend. There is coming a man, that you will see arise. . He will use words that will attempt to calm the storm all around you. He will give false promises and reasons for this calamity. He will try and convince you that all is well and try and explain away the disappearance of millions of people. I can only hear him in my mind saying "Alien abduction" or "being destroyed because they stand in the way of the evolution of mankind." He will resort to that kind of deceiving lies. Be not deceived. The Bible describes him. He is the Anti-Christ who will be a powerful dictator of the whole world for a very short period of time.
"And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."(II Thessalonians 2:8-12)
Believe him not. He will try and say words that will try and calm you, to deceive you, but the Word of God says that he is filled with the spirit of Satan.
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."( II Thessalonians 2:3-4)
He will try and convince you that your continued way of life is for the good of the planet. He will speak soft words and lure you to follow his master plan of a "greener earth", to banish global warming and promote salvation of humanity through human endeavor. He will make himself out to be a god in the flesh and demand a mark of loyalty. A further word of warning:
"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."( Revelation 14:9-11)
All who take this mark will do it with full knowledge of their actions. They may believe the lie, but will take a mark of loyalty and proclaim this man, as a god, to their eternal destruction. They may think of him as "the anointed one" a false messiah. Be not deceived, I plead with you. Therefore:
"Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
Be not ashamed of Him any longer. Now is the day of salvation:"(II Timothy 1:8-10)
II Corinthians 6:2, "For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2nd Corinthians 6:2)And again:
Luke 19:10 "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which had become lost."
You have come to a cross roads in your life and your spiritual condition. You can continue in this, your way of life. You can believe the lies that this charismatic man called the Anti-Christ has with his silky words of deception, or you can listen to the still, small voice that calls you to repentance and to follow Him, Jesus Christ. It won't be easy to do the latter, but to follow the former will damn you to a devil's hell burning with fire and brimstone.
"For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."(Titus 3:3-7)
If you are reading this and the horrible events that I briefly describe have not transpired as of yet, then there is still time to make that decision for Jesus Christ. It's a matter of your eternal destination and to soberly meditate on. Do it now while there is still time. Take each of these passages and devour the words preceding and following each quoted scriptures. Drink them in and let them fill you mind and your heart. Then take action by doing a simple sinner's prayer:
Lord Jesus, I ask you to come into my heart. I am a sinner and confess my sins to you. Cleanse me from all unrighteousness and give me the strength and faith to follow you to the very end. I believe you died and rose again, as you have come and I want to be with you, when you come again to set up your Kingdom. Allow me in your mercy and grace to be added to your Book of Life. I live to follow you, as My Lord and Savior. I ask these in the Name of the only begotten Son of God, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Note that you do not have to say these words verbatim, but you MUST believe them in your heart. To do otherwise, will throw you into what is coming.....Rapture when you least expect it and the coming Tribulation.
This is pastor Mike Taylor praying that you hear that still small voice calling. It is the Holy Spirit. I pray that you will heed His call, and this warning. If you need help with anything, prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, then email me at email@example.com , browse for more messages of the coming of our Lord and the only Way to salvation through Christ Jesus . God bless you all...TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
The End Times Unraveled - Jerry McDermott -
I have often wondered about the various aspects of the Final Days and have thought other Christians might have the same query. Certainly, we have been asked, "Watta ya mean, The End Times?" Perhaps other terms might be more appropriate such as: The Last Days; The Last Generation; The End of the Age; Final Days; Jacob's trouble; Daniel's 70th Week; The End of Days; Armageddon; The Great Tribulation; Pre-Trib Rapture; The Second Coming; or Millennialism. All of these terms involve the science of Eschatology which is a study of the End Times, our topic today.
The Kingdom in the End Times
The biblical forecasts of the End Times being revealed almost every day should be reflected in growing fervor among believers in Christ. Traditionally, such events are strong at first, but fade soon afterward. An example is 911 fervor which soon faded after the first increase in church attendance. The happening is apostasy or the falling away. To avoid confusion, the falling away pertains to those who were never true believers.
"They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us" (1 John 2:19).
By contrast, the true believer experiences a lifetime of spiritual growth in their relationship with Jesus.
This nefarious army of devils and demons probably began when Satan and numerous angels were thrown out of heaven. The story is the classic result of pride over reason or good sense as Satan wanted to at least be equal to God. He is described as having everything someone created could have, yet he wanted more. His first scriptural reference is in the Garden of Eden where he is revealed as the master of deception.
While Satan is still practicing his major role in the End Times, Jesus has warned us about his threat: "Take heed that no one deceives you" (Matthew 24:14). This modern deception is the introduction of semi-"Christian" cults and watered-down preaching/teaching in traditional churches, as well as fostering the apostasy, and especially Replacement Theology. In addition, he is blatantly and obviously pushing occult practices as well as the wiccan and pagan temples and ceremonies. The most obvious is the rise of Satanic churches and "Christian" witches, obviously oxymorons. Our Lord summarized this evil empire so well in a prophecy given to me November 10, 2013: "Seek me and my kingdom as another kingdom is being raised to gather you in. Seek only me."
After Christ's second coming and the start of the millennium era, Satan will be imprisoned only to be released 1,000 years later. He will then form a huge army which is divinely defeated by heavenly fire. He will then be deposed forever, joining the Beast and the False Prophet already in the fire pits of Hell after the tribulation. The following are the various areas of "down there":
HELL is the common name for the place for those who are eternally lost.
GHENNA (aka Gehenna) is the permanent dwelling for lost souls and the scriptural name of Hell.
Hades is the temporary holding place where all pre-Resurrection humans were placed after death. It has two sections: one for evildoers (Tartarus) and one for the righteous (Sheol). The comfortable one was known as Abraham's bosom and was visited by Jesus after His death when He brought the righteous to heaven, so it remains empty.
By contrast, the wicked will remain in Hades until their judgment and condemnation to areas of Ghenna. This is an area of constant torment that most people call Hell. It is totally devoid of anything Godlike, especially heavenly goodness. It is also called the second death where eternal separation from God occurs. It is the term for the eternal loneliness by separation from God.
Early Birth Pangs
Jesus proclaimed, "If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand" (Mark 3:24). You do not have to look further for an example other than the two American political parties and the recalcitrant Republicans among the Senate and House. The divisional aspect is almost universal and pervades politics as well as American History, anti-Semitism, atheism, and the profound lies against our Constitution and our Judean/Christian founding. This negativity is something we have to live with each day, a pre-Rapture tribulation for believers.
Jesus predicted these things would happen which was related in Matthew Chapter 24. Yes, they had to happen as they are the preliminaries to the Rapture and continue after the Rapture. In addition, Paul gave Timothy a prophetic warning of the end-time culture which is being fulfilled every day in our era (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
At the Last Supper, the apostles had mixed feelings. While they were gathered together to celebrate the feast of Passover, there was sadness. This was due to the recent knowledge that Jesus was due for death by the Roman cross. While Jesus tried to calm their dilemma by revealing that He would return for them to join Him in heaven, they did not understand.
Are we in the same situation of disbelief that we are heavenly bound? Yes, some people are not confident that they have a heavenly future. Others pick apart the Rapture, claiming it is a myth, or scoffing at the probability. The third predicament is the forsaking of the word itself or its translation, thus abandoning this revealed truth altogether.
To eliminate confusion between two major events: in the Rapture we go up (heaven bound); in the Second Coming, we come down after seven years in heaven (earth bound). Jesus has rescued us from the second death by His passion and resurrection. In a like manner, the Rapture rescues us from many potential deaths in the seven-year Tribulation. In neither case do we experience the wrath of God which happens throughout the Tribulation.
While Jesus talked about rescuing His people, it was revealed to Paul by Christ himself that He would summon the living and dead believers to join Him in the clouds. Once gathered there, we would always be with the Lord. Notice the word "always." It does not mean forever in heaven because seven years later at the end of the Tribulation, we will come back to earth with Jesus for the Millennium reign.
The Marriage of the Lamb
This heavenly event takes place in heaven before the Second Coming of the Lord. Paul speaks of the church as the Bride of Christ where Jesus is the bridegroom (Ephesians 5:23-24). The terminology is likened to a Jewish wedding, culminating with the indissoluble unity between the Bride and the Bridegroom.
Marriage Feast of the Lamb
This is the celebration of the marriage of the Lamb and His church. It takes place on earth after the Second Coming. An angel told John to write: "Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb" (Revelation 19:9).
How can you describe it, for heaven IS truly the HEAVEN! Our Lord knows we are curious, so He described it in Revelation 4:21 and 22:1-6. There is no light in heaven, for the glory of the Lord illuminates it. Perhaps you will see the green rainbow reflecting on the crystalline golden roads (Revelation 4:3). We will sing and adore our Lord with the choir of angels, interact with others, and learn from Jesus.
As far as what gifts we will exhibit with our heavenly bodies, scripture already gives us a clue. Jesus was transported from Jerusalem. "Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee" (Luke 4:14). In the story of Phillip and the eunuch, Phillip was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord to Azotus (Acts 8:39-40). Hopefully, we will be able to use the gift of the Spirit to move about as Jesus did. He also moved through doors or walls (John 20:19).
In Heaven, we will know our family and friends, but what about knowing Moses, Abraham, or the prophets and apostles? Regardless, how will we recognize anybody in this vast number of saints? I do not think we will wear a name tag for eternity. Again, we can turn to scripture. How did Peter, James, and John recognize Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration of Jesus? There weren't any drawings, paintings, or mosaics of them. The answer could be mental telepathy or a Word of Knowledge as the Old Testament heroes were introduced. Will we learn a new language, perhaps Hebrew? Or will we retain our earthly language and other people understand us by the Holy Spirit's gift of understanding. I also believe we will interact with angels, but how will we learn to cavort with them?
New Testament Judgments
The Historic Judgment
From the beginning, upon death, people were sent to either of Hades' two locations. Believers were sent to a comfort zone, and unbelievers or sinners to a pre-hell existence. The saved area was emptied when Jesus took them to the third heaven called Paradise at His ascension just as Jesus told the good thief, "Today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). Since the Ascension of Jesus, the souls of believers that have passed go directly to Paradise. The non-believers who died throughout history will be removed from Hades to appear at the Great White Throne Judgment after the Millennium period before being sentenced to the lake of fire.
The Judgment Seat of Christ (Bema Seat)
This event takes place in heaven after the Rapture. Rather than a judgment by trial, Jesus reviews the depth of our earthly Christian life. The purpose is an awards ceremony with distinct rewards including five crowns given for exemplary Kingdom endeavors. This is also known as the BEMA Judgment, the word originating from the Greek word for the winner's platform. Note that the rewards are only given to believers, as un-believers are not present (Psalm 62:12). The Bema Judgment is often called the Doctrine of Rewards. However, it is not about sin as all the people assembled have accepted salvation by the Lord's activities. Some are given rewards; others will be aware of what they could have done in their earthly existence. Regardless, all will receive heavenly eternal life with Jesus.
At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus and the armies of heaven are mounted on white horses to battle the army of the Anti-Christ (Revelation 19:11-14). Both the anti-Christ and the False Prophet will be captured and thrown into the lake of fire. Their army will be slain by Jesus as the Word of God (Revelation 119:20-21).
The Goat & Sheep judgment
This judgment takes place after the Great Tribulation. Jesus uses animal references as He judges the goats (those condemned) versus the sheep (those saved). The souls of the people who were martyred in the Tribulation due to their belief in Christ will go directly to be with Jesus. Their bodies will be resurrected when Christ returns to earth at the end of the Tribulation.
The Judgment takes place in Jerusalem where Jesus sits on His throne in the temple. The sheep at the right hand are saved, and the goats at the left hand are sent to everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:31-46). The ones saved will join the Millennium with normal human bodies while the Raptured people will have heavenly bodies. It should be interesting.
The White Throne Judgment
This heavenly convocation is a required gathering for unbelievers who have refused the life that the Son of God offered for redemption. In fact, Jesus proclaimed the differences: "He who overcomes shall inherit all things and I will be his God, and he shall be my son" (Revelation 21:7). He also declared that the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the fiery lake which is the second death (Revelation 21:8).
The dead non-believers will be resurrected to appear before Christ who will judge them. In addition, any unbelievers alive at this time will be part of the throng and also be judged. The absence of your name in the Book of Life means a condemnation and being thrown into the lake of fire. There will be degrees of punishment. The judgment for each is qualitative depending on the depth of unforgiven sinfulness. You can avoid eternal damnation by repenting of any sins; believing in Jesus Christ; and inviting Him to be Lord of your life before your passing. As a Born-Again Christian with infilling of the Holy Spirit, you will be led to further repentance, a change of mind and actions.
The Great Tribulation
Just by itself, the word tribulation is enough to cause concern. The dictionary describes it as grievous trouble, severe trial or suffering. While all of these meanings are part of the subject, they still do not represent the horror that is coming. Perhaps the prophecy of Jesus will convey the terrifying meaning: "For then, there will be great tribulation such as not been since the beginning of the whole world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved, but for the elect's sake, those days will be shortened" (Matthew 24:21-22 and Daniel 12:1-3).
Revelation begins with Jesus evaluating the seven churches. His remarks of the Laodicean church are prophetic as He says they are neither hot nor cold, which fully describes the churches of our era as well. In this book formerly called The Apocalypse, next relates John being brought to heaven as Jesus says, "Come up here and I will show you what must take place in time to come" (Revelation 4:1b). John then relates the events of the seven-year Tribulation including the Great Tribulation which starts after 3-1/2 years.
These seven years take place after the Rapture but the scriptures are silent about the exact timing of the Rapture. Therefore, we do not know whether it is days, months, or years from now. Regardless, some individuals have attempted to come forth with dates that are obviously spurious since it has not happened.
The Tribulation or suffering of this era is initiated when the Anti-Christ makes a peace treaty with Israel, only to be broken after 3-1/2 years. The book of Revelation gives a complete rendering of this era with the seals, trumpets, bowls, and incredible characters. The full seven years includes the wrath of God for not accepting His Son. During the Tribulation there are 144 Jewish missionaries formed as twelve from each tribe to preach that Jesus is the Messiah. They are protected from any harm by the Lord.
Joining the 144,000 in the first part of the Tribulation are two heavenly prophetic witnesses with awesome power. These two witnesses will be killed by the anti-Christ at the midpoint of the Tribulation, and their corpses will be viewed by the world for 3-1/2 days. They are then resurrected and ascend to heaven. The last 3 ½ years is the Great Tribulation, when events are amplified. The anti-Christ will proclaim himself to be God and cause all to take his mark of worship or be killed.
The major war in this era is Armageddon where the forces of evil come against Israel and God. Jesus returns with us and defeats this vast army from every nation.
The Second Coming
This is the big M, the Millennium or one-thousand-year reign of Jesus in Jerusalem as King of kings and Lord of lords. He rules over all nations in the new millennial temple after defeating the evil warriors. The anti-Christ is not Satan but is used by him for the evil empire of the anti-Christ and the False Prophet, both of whom are sent to hell after their defeat at Armageddon. The thousand years are exemplary for all the good things promised Raptured believers for eternity. In addition, those believers who survived the seven-year Tribulation will live in the Millennium.
Commentary on the Millennium
Since the Millennium is in the future, is it important to us today? Yes, our position in the judgments is contingent on our conduct in our era, the present time. Paul confirms this in a letter to Timothy that if we died with Jesus, we would live with Him; and if we endured, we would reign with Him. Likewise, if we dismissed Him, He will dismiss us (2 Timothy 2:10-13).
The Last War
With the termination of the Millennium, Satan will be freed and deceptively influences a vast number of people to join him in a war against God. The vast army is destroyed by fire, and they and Satan are sent to hell for eternity.
Revelation describes everlasting life as everything new and closeness with God. John relates that he saw a new heaven and a new earth, as the first had passed away along with the seas (Revelation 21:1). He also described the New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven. He exclaimed, "Behold the tabernacle of God with men. God Himself will be with them and be their God (Revelation 21:3). For eternity we will enjoy peace and freedom, basking within the glory of God and actually having companionship with our Lord.
This has been a brief summary of the timing within the End Times. "But as it is written, eye has not seen, or ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things God has prepared for them that love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9). However, Jesus did tell us that "In my Father's house there are many mansions" (also translated as rooms or dwellings). Interesting that house is singular whereas mansions is plural. Is Jesus describing the enormous New Jerusalem building? Is the building so vast as being necessary as there are that many saints in heaven? Or is our humble abode indeed mansion-size?