Our Father Knows Best - By Pastor Mike Taylor -
105 " Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.106 I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments." (Psalms 119:105-106)
When I was a child, I followed my parents teachings, because they said so. Being a little guy, these people I called "mommy and daddy" were relied on for everything. They were so much stronger and bigger than me and how could I not do as I was told? When my dad said jump, it was usually "how high?". Or at least in following his verbal command, I jumped at doing what he said because of fear.
All of us remember as being children, when our parents told us something to do, even though we did not understand why, we did it anyway. Remember being a little person and saying that often uttered word, "why"? In my house, the response was usually, "because I said so". And if we disobeyed the rules of our parents or the warning not doing as we were told, what was the end result? Correct, we got our behind tanned with a wide belt or a paddle. We obeyed out of fear. Fear of discipline and the pain it would result in.
42 "And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes."(Luke 12:42-47)
If you were around in the '60s, there was a show called "Father Knows Best"....it was a family show that dealt with family issues...in the end, the father of the family knew what was best for each of them. So it is with our Heavenly Father...He knows the beginning from the end and everything in between. He watches over us and gives us blessings that we don't deserve, if we follow what He has told us in His Word......
28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:28-29)
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)
OUR HEAVENLY FATHER
I remember growing up in church and hearing messages that could only be described as "hell fire and brimstone" sermons. A lot of people came to the altar to repent out of having the living daylights scared out of them. No one who came down wanted to experience a never ending judgment of torment by fire. Was their basis for repentance based on faith or pure unadulterated fear of an all consuming God? Of course, the answer was fear, but better fear than no response at all. Many of these same people when they felt that had appeased God, returned to their lifestyles, as if nothing had ever happened in their lives. Why is that? Because they got past their fear. Oh, they knew that to sin was not part of their "being saved", but hey, (I did it this time and nothing happened, right? If I do it again, maybe nothing will happen again. God doesn't see and I won't get caught.) So they keep doing the same sin, over and over and expect no discipline for their actions. They reason "God is love and He saved me, so I'm good". No need to fear anymore. I have many people email me and lament that the world believes that if they say a simple prayer, that they have a free pass now to do whatever they want and get away with it.
Let us make a bold statement. You can not offend God. God is not a God of meanness. You can not cause Him any injury or inflict harm on Him. God does not sit around just waiting for you to mess up and hit a button labeled "SMITE". But God IS a God of judgment. God will ultimately discipline all who He calls His children and those who do not belong to Him, as they have rejected the only payment for their sin, Jesus Christ death on the cross and resurrection., God will bring judgment onto every one of us, just as your human parents did, in love for those who are His. Why? Because He wants you to grow in His nature and His ways. He wants to spend eternity with His children and cannot abide sin in our lives. God disciplines on two levels, first in correction and then in final judgment. Question? How much can you push God, by repeating the same sins over and over and not have correction and final judgment? Yes, God is a God of mercy and patience, but there is a time when God's patience runs out.
11 "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
12 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:
13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God." (Ecclesiastes 8:11-13)
Those who have no fear of God and have no need for God, think they can do whatever they please, as they rely on themselves. Godly fear is a product of wisdom and those who do not fear God out of respect and reverence, God calls a fool. I didn't say it, GOD does.
1 "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one."(Psalms 14:1-3)
BLESSINGS AND CURSES
Looking back at the bible's example of a people most blessed, and those most cursed because of their disobedience, we look at Israel who disobeyed God and did not continue to fear Him.
1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.(Deuteronomy 28:1-2)
As you read this passage, God explains to the nation of Israel the blessings they will receive if they hearken unto the voice of God and follow His commands. But beginning in verses 15 to the end of the chapter, God warns them of not following His commandments. The curses and judgments are staggering
15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.
18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
20 The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.
21 The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.
22 The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.
Read the entire chapter of blessing and curses, but God will discipline those who rebel against Him until God says:
65 "And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:
28:66 And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life" (Deuteronomy 28:65-66)
Israel's disobedience to the voice of God affected the national character, until many years into the future, God had had enough of their disobedience of His Word and His people, the nation of Israel were sent into exile, not once, but twice until modern day revival of that nation. So it was with them, so it is with us...God does not change and the man who is wise follows after Him, as a sheep after a Good Shepard.
JESUS, GOD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT ON EARTH
Travel with me, many years into their future, after Israel had been returned to their homeland to be rebuilt at the end of the Babylonian exile into the time of the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ on earth. When Jesus began to teach, one of the most memorable of His sermons was the Sermon on the Mount. Here Jesus explained what was meant in the Old Testament of the commandments given to their fathers. What did Jesus say ?
5:18 "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."(Matthew 5:18-19)
In this sermon, our Lord developed what was written in the Old Testament, known to them as the Torah, or Teachings. These were the commandments given by this same God standing before them having fleshed them out in their spiritual intent so it could be understood plainly.
A CLARIFICATION OF MEANING
Let me make something very plain to the reader who may misunderstand. This is not about Law keeping, as no one can keep the Law. Paul spoke of this very fact, they were are not subject to the Law and it's penalties, because we have been saved by grace and the Law has no effect on us....in penalty. What does Jesus mean then when He spoke of the commandments of God, emphasized by Himself and preached with authority? Jesus was saying that if you follow the commandments as a way of life, to trust God that He knows what is best for each of us, then blessing will result. If we do not, then curses will follow. Let me illustrate.
Look at any prisoner in our penal system. Have any of these people followed the commandments of God? Of course not, as they have broken norms of society that are based on law. Man made laws came from one authority, Almighty God and based on the Ten Commandments and His judgments. If you follow the law, you will have blessings such as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and our Constitution, but if you break the laws, as each of these prisoners did, then you have lost your rights and have been cursed and are incarcerated for a predetermined amount of time. You have lost your freedom, your property, possibly your family, and ultimately some loose their life.
Turning to the born again Christian who follows after Jesus in belief and faith. What has happened to this person? They have become a new creature in Christ Jesus and they follow His example. What is His example? Following what He said beginning with the Law of God handed down to mankind and ultimately to His sermon on the mount. Jesus gave us commandments to follow for a reason. It is the recipe for a productive and meaningful life. The world follows after their own lust and do what is right in their own eyes. Right or wrong, they follow their own humanistic idea of what is good for them. They have no need for God. Why? Because they do not trust Him. They don't wish to know Him because they love their sinful ways. We who are called of God, have put our trust in our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus who knows the beginning from the end, and ultimately what is best and right for each of us.
Each of us choose consciously who we will follow. Jesus said:
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him."(John 14:6-7)
Our Father in Heaven, God Almighty, knew that we could not keep the letter of the Law. It is not in our nature or character to seek God or to know Him.
10:3 "For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.
4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
5 His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them."(Psalms 10:3-5)
Man by nature, who is mortal, and prone to sin, does not follow after God or search for Him. God seeks us and draws us to Himself, through the work of the Holy Spirit to see Jesus, the only payment for the sins that we commit.
10 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17 And the way of peace have they not known:
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes."(Romans 3:10-18)
But God's Holy Spirit is at work in this world, calling all who will heed the call:
44 "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."(John 6:44-45)
When we accept Jesus Christ by faith, as our Savior and Redeemer, we use that faith and belief to follow His way of life. Why do we follow His example and live His commandments? Because we TRUST Him! To follow after Jesus produces blessing in this life, and all of eternity. To not follow after Jesus, accept Him as personal Savior by faith, leads to the flip side of this life, curses in this life and for all eternity. Follow Jesus produces right living and being obedient to His command produces another by product of our belief......character. Through trials and life's never ending struggle to put on the new man and avoid evil, we become more like Jesus Christ and less like the world. It will never be complete in this life, but will be accomplished finally when our Savior and Lord changes us into what He is....Immortal Spirit.
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."(Romans 5:1-5)
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."(1st John 3:1-3)
As the individual decides to follow or to not follow after God, it permeates into all of society when a society has thrown the commandments of God to the curb.
I have seen what I never thought I would see, but I have. What I have seen in our nation is an apathy for doing what is right in political office. Never would I have thought to have seen that the office of the past so called "leader" of the most powerful nation on earth, the President of the USA be given a pass over lewd behavior, or lying to the people, or trampling on our freedoms. It didn't just start with this past "Idiot in chief" president, but has been going on for decades. We saw Bill Clinton who had an affair while in office and nobody held him accountable, they even glorified his behavior stating "When Clinton lied, nobody died" meaning GW Bush was guilty of lying and then gave a pass for a Liberal President for sexual misconduct and lying while in office. OH, Bush had his grievous errors in judgment and people blame him for starting unneeded wars, but this President that graced our TV's most every night, by and far, took the cake.
And we the people, do not hold our elected officials that are supposed to be speaking for us to a higher standard of conduct. This includes our Congressman, our Senators, and our local officials at the state levels. No, we have become them. They are a reflection of the moral decay and the departure from common decency and following after God's commandments, and the commands of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in both halves of the Holy Book we call the Bible. Remember what we just quoted in Deuteronomy 28 concerning blessing and curses? The national tone is one of moral bankruptcy and a decline in righteous living. No other nation has been given so much, as to require even the more.
48, " But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more."(Luke 12:48)
All the world knows better but ignores the God of the Bible. As for mentioning the USA, she has turned her back on the benefactor who made her great. Nation after nation has fallen because they did not follow the ways of God and chose not to honor or reverence Him. The USA is not any different. She has been blessed more abundantly than any nation on earth. She has had her zenith and her star has shown to the ends of the earth, but she has rejected her God and taken on pagan gods of idolatry and filth of perversions. Just look what is going on right now in this country with rioting, looting, murder, thievery, burning down property, the destruction of statues and even a call to demolish Mount Rushmore, as symbol of our history. Evil is growing rampant in this country with attempts to bring in Socialism/Communism all leading to a New World Order, or One World Government which will ultimately lead to the Anti-Christ.
It all starts with you and is a reflection of our national tragedy. You who read this, are you following the commandments of God? Have you followed His way of living based on the life of Jesus Christ? Have you believed in your heart, repented and decided that you have no hope apart from Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on Calvary's cross to be the substitute for what you and I both deserve, which is death? Put your trust in the only hope you have for blessings in this life and the next. If you feel down, depressed, hooked on drugs or alcohol to numb that empty feeling of hopelessness you feel inside, then look up from the bottom of that pit you are living in and see the outstretched arms of God in the flesh, Jesus the Christ. He seeks to deliver you from the life you are living and only wishes to fold you in His arms. Feel and listen to that still small voice who speaks to your inner being? Jesus is the way, the only way and there is NO other way to be saved.
OBEDIENCE BY FAITH!
Obey His voice and His calling by faith. Accept His invitation to repent of those sins you have committed and will commit in this mortal life. Stand before Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and ask for forgiveness and mercy to cleanse you from all unrighteousness...You know what? He will do as you ask.
37 "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day"(John 6:37-39)
Paul the apostle wrote in Romans
23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (ALL OF US, my emphasis)
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (substitution) through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
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)
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;
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 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
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."
3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."(John 3:16-21)
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I firmly believe that this coming election is the most important election of our lifetime. It will determine if we follow the path that God and our Fore-Fathers laid down to create this nation, or we will have a government that will lead us into loss of freedoms, and the rise of Socialism/Communism with "Big Brother watching you".
But nationally, we have a choice to make, although I don't see it happening, as I believe we are that close to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in the coming rapture of His church, the Bride of Christ...but just in case, the Father who knows best lets this go on for a few years, then we as a nation need to commit to following our Heavenly Father and the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.
14 "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."(2nd Chronicles 7:14)
The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
That Water of Life, is Jesus Christ. He paid the penalty for disobedience to His righteous law that convicts us all. To come to Him, is to make a personal choice to follow Him, to trust Him, by faith and actions to live as He lived to the best of our mortal ability TILL HE COMES. SO COME LORD JESUS.
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying you obey that still small voice calling you to repentance and accepting Jesus as your personal Savior, by FAITH.
If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at email@example.com . God bless you, till we meet at Jesus feet.
An Examination of the 'Day of the Lord'
- by Mark A. Becker - https://www.raptureready.com/2020/08/11/an-examination-of-the-day-of-the-lord-by-mark-a-becker/
[Note: This author is a pre-Tribulation rapture believer, and this article reflects that view.]
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (1 Peter 3:10).
This one verse of Peter's encompasses the entire "day of the Lord," and it does us well to study it in light of its prophetic implications for a better understanding of future prophecy.
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night;"
This is the front bookend to the "day of the Lord, and it begins with the rapture of the church.
The word "thief" is conveyed to us a few times in the Word of God concerning the Lord's coming, and it always refers to the rapture of the church. The significance can't be overstated. When something is repeated in Scripture, you can be certain it is of great significance.
Let's take a look at these passages.
"But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 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. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
"Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do" (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11).
Note the "they/them" and the "we/us" in this passage of Scripture.
"[T]he day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 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." But we will! (Emphasis mine).
"... [L]et us watch and be sober," looking for the Lord's return for His church, "[f]or God hath not appointed us to wrath [as He has the Christ-rejecting world], but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." (Emphasis mine)
What about the passages in Revelation before, during, and after the Tribulation?
"Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame" (Revelation 16:15).
This seemingly out of place statement is right in the middle of the passage of Scripture describing the last battle as Christ is preparing to come back to destroy Antichrist, the False Prophet, and the armies of the world.
Why is it there, and who is it for?
As with everything concerning the Word of God, Scripture has to be interpreted with Scripture. One isn't allowed to make their own decisions on the "who, what, where, how, and why" without consulting the rest of the Bible.
A well-known tool for studying Scripture is known as the "law of first mention." That is, we should always go back to the first mention of a particular word or phrase to get a better understanding of what those future word or phrase usages are trying to convey. In this particular case, the first time "thief" is used in regard to the Lord's coming is Matthew 24:42-44, right after Jesus taught the rapture of the "one taken, and the other left."
(Please see my article: "Is the Rapture of the Church in the Olivet Discourse?" https://www.raptureready.com/2020/07/19/is-the-rapture-of-the-church-in-the-olivet-discourse-by-mark-becker/ or https://www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=205125 for more on this teaching).
Here is the passage:
"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 24:42-44). (Emphasis mine)
It is obvious that this verse, seemingly popping up out of nowhere, in addition to the "law of first mention," signals to us that the target audience must be the church. Remember, for two thousand years, Christians have been reading this book, seeking its promised blessings (Revelation 1:3), and the Lord wants to remind them that He is coming back for them soon.
It's as if, right in the middle of John's writing about the sixth vial, Jesus shouts, "Stop the presses! I have a message for my church!" "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."
"Lest he walk naked, and they see his shame," refers to those self-proclaimed false converts that are left behind after the rapture of the church and have to go through the Tribulation. They still have a chance to truly come to Christ during the most horrific time the world will ever see, but those chances are very slim indeed.
"Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee" (Revelation 3:3).
This verse pretty much sums up the rapture revelation in association with Jesus coming as a "thief."
"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work" (Revelation 22:12).
This verse as well is to the church, as believers that survive the Tribulation will have no other reward (as far as Scripture reveals) other than to enter the wonderful Millennial Kingdom of Christ, which in and of itself will be quite rewarding!
A Helpful Note on the "Day of Christ"
There is a distinction between the "day of the Lord" and the "day of Christ" or the "day of Jesus Christ."
"Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ" (Philippians 1:4-10).
Paul is praying for the Christians at Philippi, and note how he urges the faithful to "be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ," and that "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."
What day is this "day of Christ" and the "day of Jesus Christ"? It can be none other than the rapture of the church.
"That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain" (Philippians 2:15-16).
Paul eagerly looked forward to "rejoice in the day of Christ," when we would all meet together in the clouds to be forever with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 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 Thessalonians 2:1-3).
The church at Thessalonica had been deceived in believing that the "day of Christ" was "at hand" and that they had essentially missed it. This was not the case, obviously, as Paul goes on to say that "that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first."
While there certainly is a "falling away" happening within the church in regard to pure doctrine and the infiltration of demonic teachings (1 Timothy 4:1), this, unfortunately, has always been a problem within the church. Paul's epistles often battled blatant false doctrines infecting the church on numerous occasions. But this is not the primary meaning behind the phrase, as rendered, in this verse.
Dr. Andy Woods has written a powerful book called, The Falling Away: Spiritual Departure or Physical Rapture? explaining that the Greek word translated "falling away" is "apostasia" and means "departure" or "departing," translated as such in seven previous English translations, including the Wycliffe, the Coverdale, the Tyndale, and the Geneva Bibles. This is most definitely the proper translation, and I highly recommend Dr. Wood's book for further information regarding this subject.
The 1599 Geneva Bible translates 2 Thessalonians 2:3, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a departing first, and that man of sin be disclosed, even the son of perdition." This departing is the rapture of the church.
"For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day" (2 Timothy 1:12).
"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" (1 Timothy 4:8).
"That day" is clearly the day of Christ: a day we are all waiting for with great eagerness and joyful expectation. The longing to be with our Lord Who gave His life for us is beyond human language to communicate.
The "day of Christ" - the rapture - that comes as "a thief in the night" is the event that initiates the "day of the Lord."
"[I]n the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
This is the back of the bookend; it completes "the day of the Lord" climaxing with the dissolving of the universal elements (2 Peter 3:11) for purification and cleansing from all the sin in our world, and the corruption of the cosmos for that sin (Romans 8:22), setting up the recreating of the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21:1).
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (1 Peter 3:10).
Now that we have seen how this wonderful verse is prophetic bookends of the entire "day of the Lord," you can now share this with your family and friends.
When they ask what the "day of the Lord" is, share with them this verse and explain what it means.
Explain to them that the "day of the Lord" begins with the rapture of the church followed by a gap of time, the seven-year Tribulation, Christ's Second Coming, His glorious Millennial Kingdom, the Great White Throne Judgment, and concluding with the passing away of the heavens and the earth.
Then joyfully exclaim that what follows is our Lord's re-creation of the earth and heavens. This ushers in the never-ending Eternal Kingdom where we will abide in the New Jerusalem that will be filled with love, joy, peace, and everlasting fellowship with our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, for all eternity! What a glorious "day" that will be!
Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!
American Pie - By Pete Garcia - https://www.rev310.com/2020/08/american-pie
The people of the great nations of the past seem normally to have imagined that their pre-eminence would last forever. Rome appeared to its citizens to be destined to be for all time the mistress of the world. The Abbasid Khalifs of Baghdad declared that God had appointed them to rule mankind until the day of judgment. Seventy-years ago, many people in Britain believed that the empire would endure forever. Although Hitler failed to achieve his objective, he declared that Germany would rule the world for a thousand years. That sentiments like these could be publicly expressed without evoking derision shows that, in all the ages, the regular rise and fall of great nations has passed unperceived. The simplest statistics prove the steady rotation of one nation after another at regular intervals.
Sir John Glubb, the Fate of Empires
America, the shining city on a hill. Her untamed lands offered for centuries, a home for the homeless. She became a nation of immigrants, who, fleeing the lawlessness of their ancestral homelands, embraced the ideals of a nation whose arbiter of freedoms, were not granted by some fleeting and transient government, but by the Creator of the Universe. She was the last best hope for mankind. She was the last great respite for the weary and beleaguered huddled masses. If she, as President Reagan once soberly noted, falls, there was nowhere else on earth to run too.
To our surprise, we learn of our Ozymandias end
Besides emerging victorious after two world wars, America's long list of crowning achievements made her the envy of every empire and nation. How could she lose? She conquered all of her domains- land, sea, air, and space. She split the atom, thus ushering in the Atomic Age. She put men on the moon, thus, ushering in the Space Age. She invented the Internet and thrust the world into the Age of Information. She was as indomitable as she was charitable. She was an impregnable fortress, guarded not by walls, but by her elastic resiliency.
America the beautiful could not fall, could she?
The end of the American dream did not come with a whimper, but with a gasp. The divinely destined and hard fought American dream, had by the mid-twentieth century, briefly offered life at the top of the geopolitical food chain for its patriotic citizenry. However, premiership came at a cost. Success would cause each successive generation to soften their moral resolve and despise their own position as the apex. Each new generation would feel, but ignore the birth pangs of gradualism, until finally; America gave birth to this generation's hideous twins, immorality and socialism. Were we better off that these two remained orphaned.
Holy Writ warned, reap the wind, and sow the whirlwind
This self-induced spiritual diaspora was by design. Unseen malevolent spirits, wisely spent the previous centuries reintroducing the foundation of humanistic "enlightenment" and "reason." These foul demons regurgitated Hedonism, Gnosticism, and Paganism to the 18th-19th century academics and ideologues, who in turn, recast these as new illumination on forgotten knowledge. In reality, they were just as vain and empty as the first time the pagan Greeks and Romans embraced them. However, piling onto these humanistic lunacies, was a new one brought about by emerging sciences. The new "scientific theories" prefaced that mankind's existence here was accidental and by nothing more than sheer, dumb luck, we somehow climbed to the top of the evolutionary food chain. Simultaneous to this, Marxism made its debut and offered up an economic model that guaranteed the equal spreading of misery and death. For both, nihilism was its religion and man himself became its god. It was here that the ungodly professors and ungodly pop culture iconoclasts religiously programmed their devotees to reject the good and embrace the growing counter-culture of Antichrist.
The whirlwind of lawlessness is now all we see
The American malcontents began asking the question anew, "Why should we have it so good?" Of course, this insane reasoning led to the need to rewrite history to reflect their ever-evolving positions of intersectionality and social justice. Post-modernism dogmatically rejected the tried and true, for the theoretical and subjective. The further they pushed the boundaries, the further they diminished their ability to understand truth and reason (Romans 1:18-32). This began the inevitable slippery slope of incrementalism. What was questionable to one generation became acceptable to the next. Feelings and emotions soon replaced logic and reasoning for the moral standard. This abandonment of reason, led to the inescapable introduction of the cancel-culture type cannibalism, evoking the Kristallnacht tactics of the Ku Klux Klan, the Third Reich, and the Taliban.
No one left to defend
The "progressives" began chanting that all cultures are equal. This of course, led to the demands that we abandon our own history and culture and embrace all cultures equally, especially, the failed ones despite the obvious and unavoidable conclusions. The result of course, is the unescapable end to the American saga. What began in Godly faith, and the blood, sweat, and tears of a pilgrim people, ended in air-conditioned malls, fast food, abortion on demand, and easy credit. Despite our last minute revival to Make America Great Again, we were already destined to become a relic of a bygone age. While we think of this perhaps, as an age of leisure, comfort, and dominance, will be known only as a cautionary tale to those who follow. The experiment that was the United States of America, like all its predecessors, would join a long line of momentary, but deceased empires.
Nowhere left to flee
To the unredeemed, this message reeks of doom, gloom, and biblical fatalism.
And that is partly true. First and foremost, the Christian faith is an apocalyptic faith. The Bible is adamant in its promotion of the believer keeping a 'loose grip' on terra firma. This current earth is slated for a total overhaul. Not just earth, but the heavens as well. All of it will go up in flames. (2nd Peter 3:10-11)
As Christian's, we shouldn't spend our time building our empires of dirt here, but rather, investing in our treasures in heaven, where neither moth, nor rust, nor thieves can steal or destroy (Matthew 6:19-20).
That is not the message this world promotes.
We are constantly bombarded with the inane propaganda to buy expensive things, wear expensive clothes, drink the finest drinks, and live in this place or that, to find happiness in this increasingly darkening world. We are told that unless we are living according to the world's standard, we will never find fulfillment. Many churches in the West, and in particular, the United States, have jumped on board with the ludicrous notion that we have to invest "financial seeds" in human ministries in order to build the kingdom up on earth. We have mega-pastor's promoting the ridiculous ideas of living our best life now, and / or being purpose-driven as if God needed our instruction.
Juxtaposed to these faux-Christian heretics, are the Bible skeptics who are divided on their messaging regarding the fate of America. Half of them hate the nation, and hope she fails. As of August 2020, they are still unclear as to what should replace America and whether or not that will be an improvement. Their malcontentment of their own American privilege burns like a hot coal on their consciousness. They want an endless revolution, they want to rage against the system that has given them the freedom to do so. What they really rage again, or should I say, whom they rage against, is their Creator.
The other half of Bible skeptics believe America is indomitable, and that present troubles aside, we are just going through a "phase." They will say, the way things are today, are the way things will always be. Life will go on as it always has. They say, even if Jesus were real, He is not coming back anytime soon. They are busy planning their 401Ks and retirements into the next fifty-years, as if, all of this will remain as it always has.
The truth is, God had a purpose for the United States, and nothing, not the British, not the Confederates, not the Nazis, not Mother Nature, nor the Progressives, will end this nation one second earlier than God has predetermined. God has used this nation in mighty ways in the past, most notably; both to help restore Israel back to the table of nations, and to produce some of the greatest revivals and missionary efforts the world had ever seen.
However, when God says that something will end, neither heaven nor hell, nor anything in between, will stop that thing from happening. Since the Bible makes no mention of a superpower like the United States in the pages of Holy Writ, we can conclude, the world's greatest nation is not in the picture at the end. Some would argue that the US was not in view when the Bible was written; however, God (the true author of the Bible) was well aware of all the nations who would ever come and go across the span of history. As the Apostle Paul stated in Acts 17:26,
And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings
Therefore, the end of our nation was foreseen and pre-appointed long before the first Pilgrim ever-set foot at Plymouth. In fact, our end was established long before God ever set the boundaries of the earth during Creation. The fact we as a nation, are not in Bible Prophecy, undoubtedly points to some less-than-desirable ending for our once great nation. This thought has always brought me back, strangely enough, to the verse in Don McClean's iconic song, American Pie.
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin' this'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die
At present, our spiritual levee is dry. Whatever America was, is long dead. At present, around half of America seems determined to vote in national suicide Vis a Vis radical progressivism and socialism. At present, around half of the American churches are caught up preaching the false social justice gospel for the sake of social relevancy. Ironically, in the age of prophetic signs, many churches seem strangely detached to what is going on, preaching something akin to the normalcy bias gospel.
Most of the world is not looking for Christ to return. Most in the West, but do not care. The most blessed nation to ever exist has almost conceded to wickedness in ever quarter. Where it not for the remnant, she would have conceded decades ago. However, when the Rapture does happen, America will gasp at the horror of what just transpired, and she will finally succumb to the lawlessness she had so long toyed with. The United States of America must decline, so that another may take her place.
Its name is The Beast.
It will rise out of the sea of humanity.
It consists of ten kings and kingdoms.
It tramples all before itself, reducing them to residue.
One man, The Antichrist, will eventually rise and lead it.
He must come from the boundaries of the ancient Roman Empire.
He will control ALL buying and selling in the world.
He will be fatally wounded, but resurrected by the power of Satan.
He will be possessed by Satan himself, and will desecrate the newly rebuilt Jewish Temple.
He will convince the armies of the world to finally rid the world of Israel.
They will form in the Valley of Megiddo, and will meet their inglorious end.
Israel's Messiah, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and followed by the armies of heaven, will tear open the sky, as Jesus pours out His judgment upon the world's armies.
The Beast and his False Prophet will then be cast alive into the Lake of Fire.
Satan will be bound in chains for 1,000 years while cast into the blackest abyss.
Christ will rescue the Jewish remnant and vanquish their foes.
Christ will judge the nations in righteousness.
Christ will bring His Kingdom to the earth.
The Rock built without human hands.
And we shall be His forever.
And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold-the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure." Daniel 2:44-45
QAnon: The Great Awakening & The Great Deception - By JD Farag -
As I mentioned in the last couple of weeks, today, I am going to address the "QAnon movement," specifically as it relates to what's known as "The Great Awakening."
Now, please know that I'm keenly aware of the many Christians that are involved in this, followers of this, or even just get information from this. As such, it is not my intention to pass judgment on those who do, but rather it is my intention to explain why it is that I believe said "Great Awakening" may, in fact, be a great deception.
For those who are unfamiliar with QAnon, it stands for Q, the letter Q Anonymous. QAnon is purported to be a military intelligence operation that provides hints to open-source information pointing ANON or anonymous researchers to what are known as "Q drops." Q began posting back on October 28, 2017, and since then has garnered many followers who decipher the coded information in these Q drops.
As for "The Great Awakening," it's a term coined by QAnon to suggest that the general human population is waking up during this time period to the fact that the power structures have been intentionally keeping them domesticated and controlled like sheep.
To those who are wondering why it is that this rises to the level of devoting an entire update to QAnon, I have three reasons for doing so at this time:
#1. I'm doing this out of obedience to what I believe the Lord would have me to do.
#2. The QAnon movement has become a source of division and confusion within the body of Christ, and sadly it's even dividing families and splitting marriages. Since I first mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, I've been on the receiving end of several emails from online members who are just pleading for prayer concerning their wife, their husband, or their son who is all caught up in this, and it is just tearing their family apart. It is tearing their marriage apart as well. Very divisive and confusing.
#3. The third reason and perhaps, more importantly, a sense of conviction from the Holy Spirit concerning my integrity before the Lord, such that I could no longer avoid the proverbial "elephant in the room" as it were. By that, I mean for me to not speak up at this time would be disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst. Furthermore, the swiftness with which everything is happening today, in the world, is most unforgiving of remaining silent any longer concerning the much-needed warning about what is coming.
In Ezekiel 33, God commands the watchman on the wall to warn God's people of what's coming lest he have their blood on his hands. If he warns them about what's coming and they don't take heed, then it's on them and not the watchman. I suppose I could be rightly accused of having a sanctified selfishness in this regard (notice I sanctified the selfishness), knowing that I won't have anyone's blood on my hands when I give an account to God because I sounded the alarm, I blew the trumpet, and I warned God's people. Now it's not on me. I did that which God has called me and even commanded me to do, and that is to warn you concerning this.
By way of a preface, I'm going to approach this the way I approached the unveiling of the long-anticipated Deal of the Century. The reason is I knew, after reading the 181-page plan, that I was going against many Christians who believed that the peace plan was good. In so doing, I found myself in the very uncomfortable position of the student in an experiment to get him to agree that 2 + 2 = 5. Let me explain this one.
Many years ago, I heard about this experiment. They conducted experiments like this. This particular one had a classroom of young students, and everybody was in on the experiment except for one student. The teacher would write on the board something like 2 + 2 = 5, and then all of the students who were in on it would raise their hand in agreement. Except for that one student who wasn't in on it, the one student who the experiment was on to see the power of peer pressure.
Can you imagine? I mean, that's so cruel first of all, but can you imagine? You're sitting there in the classroom, and the experiment is on you. The joke is on you as they say. You're going, "2 + 2 doesn't equal 5?" You're looking around at all your classmates, and they're all raising their hand, and then they're looking at you, and you think, "I'm the only one not raising my hand."
They're all looking at him like, "hello?! You're the only one not raising your hand!" Yeah, but 2 + 2 doesn't equal 5; it equals 4. So, he (for lack of a better word) sheepishly raises his hand because the pressure was too great. Because he wants to go along with the crowd and doesn't want to be the only one to say, "Hey, this doesn't add up."
That's how I felt with the Deal of the Century. I read the entire plan. I even had some help with some of the technical stuff that was in the plan. The Lord knows my heart; I wanted it to be good. I tried inside and out, every which way I could to find that this plan was good. When I got to a certain section and realized that it was the section on "End of Claims; End of Conflict," which basically says both the Jews and the Palestinians have to end their claims on Jerusalem in order to end the conflict, that's a problem, and it divides the land.
So instead of raising my hand, I put my foot down. Back on February 2, in that prophecy update, I stated that the Deal of the Century was, in fact, a plan to divide Jerusalem; and the problem is, of course, according to the prophecy in Zechariah 12:1-3, anyone trying to divide Jerusalem will themselves be divided.
So as a watchman on the wall, that was the warning concerning what I saw coming, which is why I sounded the alarm. Knowing that I was going to get a lot of push-back from those who did not see the plan as dividing Jerusalem, I made the following statement. This is back on the February 12 update, I said, "Time will tell, and if this is indeed the intent of the plan, then we will likely witness the dividing of America very soon."
I mean, wow, as I had suspected, it happened and is happening fast, which to me is a confirmation that the plan does, in fact, divide the land. The reason I'm approaching QAnon in this way is that once again, time will tell. If this movement is indeed good, and of God, and I've got it wrong, then I will publicly humble myself and ask for forgiveness from the pulpit as I have several times over the years.
However, if I'm right, I don't need to be right. In fact, the Lord knows my heart. So often, I wish I wasn't right; I wish I was wrong. But if I'm right, then I would argue that it shouldn't be too long before the "great awakening" is seen for what it, in fact, is - the great deception.
Kindly allow me to address a statement I made during the July 5 update concerning QAnon being a cult. Perhaps it would be helpful to define what a "cult" is according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Webster defines a cult as "a great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work." I mention that because it seems that not only is there a great devotion to the Q movement, there is now more recently those receiving the QAnon oath.
In response to part of a QAnon-related meme called "Take the Oath," which went viral after Q Drop Number 4510 on June 24, from the official qmap.pub site, which reads, "Take the oath. Mission forward," under the heading of "Digital Soldiers Take the Oath and Serve Your Country." Now, on the surface, this would seem to be a very good thing that we, as Christians, should want to be a part of and support, right?
However, when you look deeper into this, what you'll find is that it is Antichrist in the sense that it's in place of Christ. Antichrist does not just mean "against Christ." It actually also means "in the place of Christ." If you'll kindly hear me out, I would like to explain how I get there.
What follows are what's known as "Q Drops" from the official Q website at the aforementioned qmap.pub that, to me, are very telling. I want to draw your attention to the actual Q Drops, then I want to quote from Scripture in relation to that specific Q Drop. I hope to demonstrate and illustrate how these posts very subtly are designed to lead people away from Jesus instead of leading people to Jesus.
Let's start with this 1st one. It's Number 1797 (these drops are all numbered); it says, "Sheep No More." Now, this is a very well-known one from Q and is usually couched in terms of people being "sheep people." However, that's what Jesus said we are. So, if I'm "sheep no more," does that mean that the Lord is my Shepherd no more? We are likened unto sheep, and we are His sheep, and the Lord is our Shepherd.
In John 10:11, Jesus said, "I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." In John 10:7, "Then Jesus said to them again, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.'" And then in that same chapter, John 10:14-15, Jesus says again, "I am the good Shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me. Just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep." Well, wait a minute; I want to be a sheep if the Lord is my Shepherd.
Here's the next one, Number 3014, "Dark to Light." Now, at first, this sounds biblical and right. However, this is referring to the angel of light. It's kind of ironic that Q Drop Number 666 says to, quote, "Follow The Light." Now, this begs the question of who or what is this light Q says to follow. The answer is in 2 Corinthians 11:14, where the Apostle Paul says, "For Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light."
Could it be that this "light" is a Luciferian light vis a vis being enlightened, awakened, eyes opened? Moreover, this "Dark to Light" and "Follow the Light" presupposes that we, as Christians, are in darkness and need to be brought to light in order to follow the light. Sadly, this is in direct contradiction to what Jesus said in John 8:12. "When Jesus spoke again to the people. He said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me [listen very carefully] will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.'"
Listen, if I'm a follower of Jesus Christ, a believer in Jesus Christ, I'm not in darkness. I will never be in darkness; I'm walking in the light. The Apostle Peter, in 1 Peter 2:9-10, "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light, who once were not a people, but are now the people of God who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy."
Here's the next one, Number 3843, "Trust and Believe in Yourself." Really? I mean, wouldn't you agree that one would think this contradicting Scripture would be a firm grasp of the obvious? I mean, Scripture is replete with passage after passage about trusting in the Lord and not man, and even dying to self, not trusting in self.
Another one that you'll find often is "Trust the Plan." Trust the plan? No, I trust no plan; I trust no man. I trust the Lord. Proverbs 3:5, a very well-known verse in Proverbs, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" (Proverbs 28:26). We just finished our study through Proverbs; it was such a magnificent book. Proverbs 28:26 says, and I love this about the book of Proverbs that it pulls no punches. "Those who trust in themselves are fools." Are you calling me a fool? No, I'm not. God's Word says you're a fool if you trust in yourself, "but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe."
Psalm 118:9, "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes." Psalm 20:7, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses but we trust in the name of the Lord our God." Luke 9:23-25 says, "Then He [speaking of Jesus] said to them all, 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily [daily] and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world and yet lose or forfeit their very self.'" Their very soul, as another translation renders it.
Do you know what Jesus is saying here when He says pick up your cross? What He's saying is that, because the cross represents death, a crucifixion, you need to pick up your cross and die to yourself every single day. It's not trusting self; it's dying to self.
Number 2442, "You are the Saviors of Mankind." Not only is this not biblical, but it's also actually right out of the playbook of the New Age, which I want to talk about in a moment. Because the New Age is all about, I am God. Even as I say that many of you are replaying that video in your mind of Shirley MacLaine there on the beach, "I am God. I am God; I am my own God. I am my own savior." That's the New Age and nothing new under the sun.
Is this not what the serpent did in the garden (Genesis 3:1-6)? The whole thing was, "God is holding out on you! He knows that if you were to eat from this tree that He commanded you not to eat from, He knows that you'll be just like Him, and He doesn't want that. Because if you eat from this, then your eyes will be opened, enlightened, awakened, and you will be just like God. Just repackaged. You are god; You are your own savior."
I'm not going to quote a lot of Scripture; if I did, we'd be here all day. But I do want to quote Isaiah 43:11, "I, even I, I am the Lord, and apart from me, there is no Savior." In the Old Testament, there are so many times when God would command Moses to have Aaron speak to the people and say, "I am the Lord your God who delivered you out of Egypt."
What's interesting is it's repeatedly replete throughout the Old Testament that you hear again and again, "Command Aaron to speak to the people, 'I am the Lord your God who delivered you out of Egypt.'" Why? Why do you have to keep telling them that? Because they think that the golden calf that Aaron made when Moses didn't come down from the mountain was the god that had delivered them out of Egypt. And God has to remind them that, no, that's not your god, that's not your savior. "I am the Lord your God."
When I read Scripture - I don't know if you do this - I would recommend that you do this because I think it helps. By the help of the Holy Spirit, to grasp an understanding of where the Scripture is saying the emphasis is. For example, I don't think the emphasis is on, "I am the LORD your God." I don't think the emphasis is on, "I am the Lord your GOD. " I think the emphasis is on, "I am the Lord your God." That's not your god. They are not your god. "I am the Lord your God, and there is no other apart from me that is your Savior."
Number 2788, "Where we go one, we go all!" This is usually the #WG1WWA. This particular one is gaining quite a bit of traction. But the problem is that it smacks of this "One World" where all go and are united like they were at the Tower of Babel. One world; One language. It's almost a reversal of what happened at the Tower of Babel.
So, not only is it in direct opposition to God and His Word, but the other problem with this is, "where all go," may seem and sound right, but in fact, in the end, leads to death and destruction. Back to Proverbs 14:12, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death."
Then in Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus is speaking; listen very carefully. He says, "Enter by the narrow gate." Why? "Because wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."
This next one, Number 4249, is actually a quote from Scripture, and this is a common argument from those who follow Q. They will argue that Q quotes Scripture. You'll forgive me... But well, let me just say it this way: Make no mistake about it, Satan knows Scripture better than you and I ever will. Isn't it true that Satan quoted the words from God to Adam and Eve in the garden? Misquoted really. And so too did he also misquote out of Deuteronomy when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness.
Don't ever think for a second that Satan doesn't know Scripture. By the way, you'll forgive me again for this, but Satan really knows Bible prophecy. I mean, think about it.
You know the book of Revelation? It's the only book of all 66 books of the Bible that promises a blessing to those who read it, hear it, and take it to heart. Yet here's the thing; many Christians are so afraid of that book. It's so apocalyptic. Do you know what the word "apokalypsis" in the original language of the Greek means? Revealing. I know this is going to be deeply profound - revelation, reveal-ation. It's a revealing, an unveiling of what's going to come.
No wonder Christians don't read the book. Satan doesn't want Christians reading that book and being blessed by that book. The only book in the Bible that promises a blessing. I mean, think about it. Would you want someone to read a book that is about you and your demise, and ultimate destruction, and being cast into the lake of fire? I kind of don't want people reading that book about me and what's going to happen to me. That's what the book of Revelation is.
Well, here's the drop, quoting, "Peace for the Storm: Have Faith in God, Mark 11:22." Wow! Okay, conspicuously absent from these Q Drops is any mention of the name above all names, the only name given among men whereby we must be saved, the name of Jesus. Do you know what Mark 11:22 actually says? Well, I'm going to read it to you. This is Mark 11:22: "Have faith in God, Jesus answered." Jesus said, "Have faith in God." That was Jesus.
I know I've mentioned this before, and just indulge me for a moment... I'll try not to digress too much on this, but I think it's important. "god" is very generic. I know in my culture as an Arab in the Middle East, it's actually "allah," which any Arab in the Middle East, and Jews for that matter, will say is synonymous with the title of "god." Even if you had an Arabic Bible, every time you read the word "God," it would say "allah."
There's a problem; "allah" is not the title of God; it is the name of a god. It is the "moon god." Allah is not God; allah is a false god. Islam is a false religion, and Mohammed a false prophet. So, allah is the moon god that they worshipped and worship. Allah is not Jehovah God. You know that on the back of your money, it says, "In God we trust." I have a question. Which god? What's the name of the god? Did you know in Egypt they had over 3,000 "gods"? Did you know that? Man, that's confusing.
Well, again, I don't want to digress too much. I guess my point is simply this: it's at the name of Jesus that demons tremble. There's coming a day when every knee is going to bow and every tongue is going to confess that Jesus, Jesus Christ, is Lord and there is no other (Phil. 2:10-11, Romans 14:11). You know, when I pray sometimes, actually more often now, especially when the spiritual warfare is intense, which is like all the time now. I always pray out loud in the name of Jesus because I know that the spiritual forces, the wickedness in high places, they can't stand it. If I just say, God, they're like, hey cool, that's not very specific; but when I say, Jesus, they hate it! They hate it. Jesus said, do you know why they hate you? Don't take it personally. They hate you because they hated me first. It's the name of Jesus.
Number 2450, this is interesting. "A Beautiful Brave New World Lies Ahead." Oh, it does? Wow, cool. The problem with this is that it's not a brave new world that lies ahead; rather, it's the new heaven and the new earth that lies ahead instead. The reason being is that this so-called "beautiful brave world" is passing away and coming to an end.
The Apostle John in 1 John 2:15-17 said, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever." Understand that as we say in our day when somebody is dying, they're passing away or they passed away. That's what John is saying; the world's dying. It's passing away.
When our daughter Noel was born and we took her home, we knew, in just a matter of time, she was passing away. She was going to die; we just didn't know when. We had her for four months and six days. But we knew she was going to pass away. Would to God that we as Christians would come to terms with the reality that this world is dying.
In Revelation 21:1, John is writing; he says, "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away." It had already died. Wait a minute, a new heaven too? Yeah. Why? Oh, because that's when the first sin had entered. It was not in the garden; it was in heaven by Lucifer. So, God creates a new heaven and a new earth.
Well, Number 3858 is "The Great Awakening." It's this last one that I would like to focus on for the remainder of our time together. As I mentioned in the beginning, it is my belief that this great awakening is actually a great deception. This for a number of reasons, chief of which is that the Bible does not speak of a coming great awakening; rather, it speaks of a coming powerful deception.
The Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:11 (we just studied verse by verse through this epistle) talks about this very powerful delusion and strong deception. That's what's coming. Now, please know that I spent the better part of last week, really the last couple of weeks, researching, praying, preparing, and certainly seeking the Lord concerning this. I only mention that because everything in my research and preparation pointed to not only the "Great Awakening," but to what's known as "the Great Awakening Map."
The Great Awakening Map, which as I understand, was created in response to the leading QAnon followers who believe that this great awakening to the Illuminati agenda and its imminent overthrow will coincide with this massive cosmic event, including the release of energy from the sun that will awaken dormant divine DNA in the human body, accelerating our evolution, and triggering the ascension of humanity.
All of this is thoroughly detailed in this Great Awakening map, which illustrates QAnon's pivotal role in the larger New Age agenda. As a spiritual counterpart to the teachings of the New Age, QAnon is engineering a political awakening that will soon be joined by a spiritual awakening to "godhood." That's what this great awakening is.
The creator of the Great Awakening map, Parinya Champ, if I'm pronouncing his name right, talked about this map in an interview with ConspiracyFact.Press on June 29, 2018.
I want you to listen very carefully as I quote verbatim what the creator of this map said about it:
"I put Q as the biggest on the map because Q is in a secret alliance with many world countries. Everyone is awakening and realizing that there is an Illuminati and that there are extraterrestrials everywhere. And that it's all caused by this solar flash that's about to occur, and it's creating a leap of evolution of consciousness for everybody.
"The great solar flash is talked about in almost every ancient religion on earth, and it talks about an end-times that are about to occur right now, and the sun will release several series of flashes. It's supposed to happen any time, and the series of flashes basically evolves our DNA. When the solar flash comes, we need to be in a state of mind that is peaceful and loving, or it will make you go crazy because you cannot adapt. That's why [listen] in the Bible, you say you see prophecies of people disappearing off the earth, but the good people get to stay."
I mean, here again, I'm like that kid in the class going, is it just me? That's the Rapture!! Isn't that interesting? ... I'm sorry, people say your humor is inappropriate, to which I say, God has a sense of humor, and humor is medicinal. Besides, if I don't laugh, I'll cry. You don't want to see a grown man cry, again, right?
Give me just a moment here, but isn't this interesting? That's how they are going to explain it away. Oh, by the way, seems that Satan, again, he knows Bible prophecy. He's got to have a plan in place when Christians disappear off the earth. So they're going to say, "Cool! They're out of the way. We can get on with this plan because they were taken out of the way, and the good people get to stay. "
Quoting again, we're almost done. Hang in there.
"It's basically that same concept, and everybody that has a group mind has to keep peace in their minds and their hearts at all times. Because this is what's going to push our timeline into the most positive optimal timeline reality, and that's something I wrote really big on the map. It's happening right now, and if you look real close, you'll notice that everything is turning to light. The World War 3 scenario is not going to happen anymore. [That's not what my Bible says] Our thoughts create our reality, and we can use our thoughts and basically take back control of our planet."
Okay, I'll bring it to an end the way we began and reiterate that if I'm getting this wrong, I will humble myself, and I will publicly ask for forgiveness. The bottom line for me is, at best, this is the false teaching of NAR, the New Apostolic Reformation, and Dominion theology, which basically says that we have to take control, take back control, of the world. We have to take our country back. We have to take our planet back. From who?
That's at best. At worst, this may very well lead to what Jesus said in Matthew 24:24 about false Christ's deceiving [if possible] even the elect. If it's the latter, then we need to look no further to realize just how close we are to the end and the soon return of the true Christ at the Rapture of the church. One last thing here real quick. Please don't keep track of how many times I say, "one last thing."
Don't you find it interesting that in the Gospels and in the epistles, there's this common denominator, this common theme of, "do not be deceived"? In Matthew 24 in particular, as we just referenced, the disciples asked Jesus what are going to be the signs of your return and the end of the age? And before he lists or says anything, he says this; "Let no man deceive you." Do not be deceived (Matthew 24:4); there are going to be many that are going to come in my name, but they are going to be false. They are going to be false!
For those of you that have been with us for any length of time, you know we're going verse by verse through the Bible in the New Testament. We've studied the epistles written by the Apostle Paul, by the Holy Spirit of God, and replete in those epistles are the words, "Do not be deceived." When he writes to the Corinthians, he says, "don't be ignorant."
Don't be ignorant? Man, if somebody said that today, that's not politically correct, is it? You'd be hard-pressed in any church to hear an exhortation like that. Don't be ignorant. Don't be deceived. Don't be ignorant of Satan's devices. This is where I love the King James Version, "the wiles of the devil." Don't be ignorant.
The strategies, the devices, the techniques, the wiles - I mean, you can add to that list of synonyms all you want. The implication is that he is more subtle and crafty, super-intelligent, supernatural intelligence, by the way. He's very patient, too, by the way. Why do I say that?
Because the picture that is painted for us on the canvas of Scripture is that of a lion. He's like this lion, and lions patiently stalk their prey. Just waiting for the optimum time to attack, devour, and destroy. Sometimes we're unaware and vulnerable, and it's when we least expect it, from a place that we least expect it as well. That's how subtle and insidious Satan is. Never underestimate the enemy, the true enemy. "We wrestle not against flesh..."
What's really interesting to me is that QAnon has piled the Right against the Left, the Conservative against the Liberal. So now they're the enemy, the Deep State, this false New World Order. What do you mean by that? Well, let me share with you a true story. This is many, many years ago; many of you know that I spent years in the car business.
This friend of mine had a Jaguar that he wanted to sell for a very, very high price, and he knew it wasn't going to be an easy sale. So, here's what he did (this is very shrewd, very clever): he puts a fake ad in the paper. This is before the internet. I know this is going to date me, but this is back when we had newspaper ads. He puts a fake ad in the paper with a description of his car, but it's not his car. It's the same year, make, model, approximately the same miles, and this really high price. Then when somebody called, he said, "Oh, it sold right away! I think I sold it too cheap." He waited a little bit, put in the real ad, and that's how he sold that which would not have been easily sold for the price that he sold it at.
Do you see where I'm going with this? You create the false - we talked about it before - the Hegelian dialectic. It's thesis > antithesis > synthesis; problem > reaction > solution. "So, the Deep State is the problem?! Those liberal Demon-rats, they're the problem?!" No, they are not the problem, and they are not the enemy. They are the mission field.
We wrestle not against flesh and blood, Republican and Democrat, Left and Right, Conservative and Liberal. We wrestle against principalities, and powers of darkness, wickedness in high places. One of the most successful strategies, or wiles of the devil, is to get us to believe that he's not behind it so that we fight with each other and do his dirty work for him.
If you were to ask me what my greatest concern was as a pastor, it would be the infighting amongst Christians on social media. The world is watching.
Loosening Our Grip on This World - By Jonathan Brentner -
The events of 2020 have uncovered a new list of items in my life of which I had not yet fully let go.
Especially during the past five years, I have watched for Jesus' appearing with much eagerness. The Lord has already used affliction and suffering in my life to loosen my grip on many things in this world. However, this year has brought new meaning in regard to letting go of things in my life, and it has not been easy for me.
Please know I am not advocating a position of giving up or one of just accepting the changes others impose upon us, not at all. What I am learning this year is to loosen my grip on the fleeting things of this life and tighten my grasp on the wondrous promises of eternity found in Scripture.
Here are the areas in which I held on much too tightly before 2020:
In some ways, I took my rights as a United States citizen for granted. Watching some of them rapidly vanish, at least for a while, has led to moments of despair. "Will this loss become permanent?" I have often wondered. This has been a difficult area for me, one in which I have overreacted at times.
Just last week I read two news events that reinforce just how far away we are from the freedoms we enjoyed just seven months ago. In Indiana, the penalty for not wearing a mask in public can result in up to six months in prison. The Supreme Court ruled against a church in Nevada that sued the state so it could have the same freedom in regard to attendance as casinos. By a 5-4 vote, the Court tossed aside the freedom of worship clause in the Constitution and voted against the church.
This does not imply that we remain silent on these matters nor stand up for our rights (as I am doing here); it's more a matter of recognizing that we live in the last days of history before the trumpet sounds and Jesus takes us to the place He's preparing for us in His Father's house (John 14:1-3). It's learning not to fret but rather trust the Lord (see Psalm 37:7-9).
This could perhaps fall under the previous category, but I think it deserves its own heading. Before this year I could not have imagined that the government could so quickly take away our right to public worship. The governor of California recently made singing in church illegal and then prohibited all church gatherings, even to the point of making home Bible studies illegal. Yes, he did.
I always thought this might happen in America, but I never imagined it would start with such widespread acceptance among believers. I applaud the churches in California that are continuing to meet.
The first blow I endured here came with cancellation of the Big Ten Men's Basketball tournament and later with the elimination of the entire NCAA March Madness. Before these things happened, I thought that I had kept my love of sports in a proper place, and in some ways I had. However, as I watched all sporting events vanish in the spring, I realized the Lord had more work to do in this area of my life.
For several months, I had no choice but to let go of my love for sports, and that allowed the Lord to further distance my heart from this attachment. I still hope for college sports to return in the fall, but I know this may not happen.
My desire for Jesus' appearing in the coming months has become greater than that of watching my favorite college team play football.
This may seem like a rather strange area of letting go, but I recently felt sadness at hearing that because of the China virus panic, President Trump had closed many, if not all of public events during the upcoming GOP convention. I did not realize until that moment how much I looked forward to watching some of the speeches and the excitement of the nominating process at a crowded convention. (I have been a political junkie since I was a child.)
I know my future depends solely on the Lord rather than politics or the outcomes of elections. I rest in His sovereignty over all national and world events, especially in the area of politics. Psalm 46:10 has become my "go to" verse as I watch chaos and violence destroy the lives of people of all races. I read Psalms 46-47 at least once a week; someday the Lord will reign in righteousness over this world.
We are not helpless in combating the wickedness we see; until Jesus comes for us, prayer remains a vital part of our arsenal in fighting back the demonic wickedness that has overrun cities across the world. One Satanist who came to Christ recently wrote about how the prayers of the saints limited him in his previous life.
I always expected that lawlessness and violence would reign supreme during the tribulation, but I did not expect to see such anarchy before it even began, while we remained earthbound.
The violence on the streets in the United States this year has led to the loosening of my grip on personal safety. Although no threat currently exists in the area where I live, I know that my future safely is no longer something I can take for granted. If I travel to another city, will I be safe? Is there a threat that Antifa protestors might stop my car and injure my wife or me? When I go out for walks, I sometimes recall the numerous videos I have seen on social media with innocent people attacked and killed by people belonging to the anarchist groups seeking to overthrow the government of the United States.
I am not fearful for my life nor of what lies ahead; it's just that my awareness of the transitory nature of this life has grown substantially. I no longer take my personal safety for granted and am taking steps to increase the protection of my home and wife should threats arise where I live.
Despite once thinking I already had let go of the things of this life, I find myself continuing to loosen my grip on this world while tightening my grasp on the biblical promises of Jesus' appearing, my home in heaven, my reign with Jesus during the millennium, and eternal joy on the New Earth and in the New Jerusalem.
I do not believe that enjoying our freedoms, sports, politics, or a trip to our favorite restaurant are sinful activities by themselves. Although many people idolize these things, especially sports, I believe one can enjoy a good football game without stepping outside the will of God.
For me, this year has reinforced the lesson of 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, which teaches us to focus on "the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." If nothing else, the events of 2020 demonstrate the fleeting nature of the things in this world; they can vanish in a moment.
As we watch the seven-year tribulation come at us like an out-of-control diesel locomotive, we know the rapture must be ever so close, and it is. Even though I hate what is going on in my country and in the world, I recognize that not only does Scripture tell us these things would happen, but they enable us to loosen our grip on a world headed toward devastation and death amid the outpouring of God's wrath.
It's a worthwhile trade-off, is it not? We relax our grip on things that belong to our transitory world system and hold on tightly to the eternal joy ahead for us.
Someday soon we will enjoy the pleasures of a restored world during the millennium and the joys of eternity. Until then we groan at times waiting for our hope to become sight (Romans 8:22-25).
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Bible Prophecy 2020 - Optimistic Pessimism - Todd Hampson/Toddhampson.com - https://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=4209
I am an optimist by nature. I tend to look at the glass as half-full and I tend to have a natural hope for the future. But today I come to you as an optimistic pessimist. Let me explain. I have some great news to share, but first, I have to share some tough news.
Before a doctor can share treatment options, they must first give their patient the unadulterated truth. A doctor can't sugar coat the news that someone has cancer or a terminal illness. They are trained to separate themselves from the emotion of the moment to help their patients fully understand the reality of what they are facing.
Likewise, when a police officer has to share the news that a loved one has died, there is no simple way to say it. There is nothing they can do to lessen the impact of the terrible news. But the news still must be shared. I'm not a doctor or a police officer, but I have some blunt news to share, then some great news to follow.
THE BAD NEWS
OK, where do I start? The signs of the times are screaming at us through a global pandemic, constant contradictory misinformation about said pandemic, a national and global economy that is holding on by a supernatural thread, mideast turmoil with Israel at the center, locust plagues of Biblical proportions, marxist cancel-culture groups destroying our cities, major civil unrest in multiple countries, the worst humanitarian crisis (in Yemen) the world has seen in decades, the US and China butting diplomatic and potential military heads in the South China Sea, murder rates exploding as various cities defund the police, prisoners being let out of prison en-masse while churches are told they can't gather or sing, freedoms eroding before our eyes, and--worst of all--much of the church is floating down stream like a dead fish instead of being the salt and light it was called to be.
We seem to be watching our country struggle to survive right before our eyes. America--the greatest superpower of history--is not found in end-time Bible prophecy as a major player. Something terrible must happen to her before the tribulation begins.
Those are the cold, hard facts. Now, for some more bad news (don't worry, I'll get to the good news in a minute). First, I believe the next 3-6 months could be much more volatile than people are expecting. We simply must wake up to the fact that there is something MUCH larger at play in our country than mere political differences. Forget democrat vs. republican for a moment. What we're seeing is a globalist plan to take down America.
This plan has been in place for decades and has progressively ramped up the past 12 years to never-before seen levels. There are very real, very well organized, very intentional, very prophesied (if I can use that as a term), very powerful people behind the scenes fomenting division, disorder, lawlessness, and instability in America.
Globalists want to take America down because it will implode the world economy and they want to rise to power through order out of chaos. It's on our dollar bills, it's in their public speeches, it's out in the open. They don't even hide it any more.
Please research this for yourself and please prove me wrong. It's hidden in plain sight. I know it sounds crazy, but it's true. Behind these globalists is an even bigger, more organized puppet master--Satan himself. Scripture tells us he is the "god of this world," the "ruler of the power of the air," and that he has levels of coordinated evil ranks in the unseen realm (Ephesians 6).
He knows (by studying prophecy) that the rapture of the church is on the near horizon and he is aggressively positioning his chess pieces on the board. Fortunately he's no match for God and is only working to fulfill prophecy.
So, what does this look like in the seen realm? It looks like more waves of chaos to come. Whether you like Trump or not, please--for a moment--remove his personality and your thoughts about him from the picture. Now, view these few facts with as little bias as possible.
We have an unexpected DC outsider in the White House who is a staunch Nationalist who understands (and pushes back against) the globalist agenda. That is the single fact that most people miss. The raw fact is that the president (love him or hate him) has thrown a major monkey wrench into the plans of the globalists--and they have been throwing a 4 year lawless temper-tantrum.
On a side note, if you want a bit of balance, I also feel the uptick of division in our country is related to Trump's "peace plan" which calls for the dividing of Israel's land [a bad thing], but that's another topic for another day. See Joel 3:2. Every time any American president get's close to officially calling for the dividing of the land--even with good intentions--we've seen tough times in America. I don't think this is coincidence.
Here's why I share all of that. The globalists play for keeps and they see their moment slipping away. Between now and the election they will likely leverage anything and everything they can to increase social and economic chaos in their attempts to get a globalist into the White House. Now, here's the rub. There is no good outcome.
If Trump gets in for a second term, the globalist temper tantrum will accelerate. Who knows what post-election plans the globalists--who see their moment slipping away--will implement. If Trump does not get in for a second term--they will move at lightning speed to get their agenda back on track. The gloves will be off. There will be no restraint. They don't want the moment to slip away.
An increased animosity toward Christians and Jewish people will increase (and already is). Freedoms (including religious freedom) will likely be trampled upon even more if we don't stand up. Aside from divine intervention, we could be in for some tough times in America.
I'm not a prophet, but the above is my prayerful, Holy-Spirit-led take on what could be to come. I pray I'm wrong. I pray that the pandemic and riots cease, that our country turns back to God en masse, and that we can catch our breath and return to stability and normal life. But you and I both sense in our gut that is not likely to happen. It seems we're nearing a tipping point.
THE GOOD NEWS
Now for some good news. All of this lines up 100% with end-time prophecy. Events in our day are converging like no other time in history. We have more reason to believe the Lord is coming in our lifetime (perhaps very soon) than any other generation of Christians in the history of the church. Every Old Testament prophet except Jonah predicted Israel would become a nation again in the last days.
Jesus indicated that the generation that sees Israel become a nation again would be the generation that witnessed all end-time events. I am 100% convinced that the rapture will occur prior to the revealing of the antichrist and the beginning of the tribulation period.
As for our country, I truly believe that the rapture of the Church (perhaps along with other events) is what ultimately weakens America, collapses the world economy, and prepares the way for the rise of the antichrist.
On this point, I've noticed a gigantic uptick in confusion and error about when the rapture will occur. The enemy is trying to create battlefield confusion at a time when we need to be crystal clear about the times and order of events.
Here are 7 reasons to firmly believe the rapture will occur before the tribulation. By the way, that doesn't mean we won't face some tough developments before the rapture. Look around. In case you haven't noticed, we're already in tough times.
1. We are not appointed to Wrath (1Thessalonians 5:9)
This and many other verses clearly say we are not appointed to wrath or that we will escape the coming wrath. The entire tribulation period is God's wrath. Jesus is opening the seals at the beginning and by the 6th seal judgment, the inhabitants of earth clearly state they know that it is God's wrath (Revelation 6:15-17).
2. Departure Before Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:3*)
Scripture teaches a great falling away from truth in the end-times (1 Timothy 4:1,2 Timothy 4:3), but the Greek word in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 literally means "departure." Strong's concordance says the root word aphistémi means: to lead away, to depart from (Usage: I make to stand away, draw away, repel, take up a position away from, withdraw from, leave.) Another reason I feel this is referencing the rapture is that by saying a great falling away "must occur first" then that detracts from the doctrine of imminency (the consistent scriptural teaching that the rapture could happen at any moment).
3. Jewish Wedding Traditions
All of the symbolism related to end-time events mirrors ancient Jewish wedding traditions. Jesus used that tradition in his teachings. In ancient Jewish (specifically Galilean**) wedding traditions, the groom would leave the father's house, travel to the desired bride's home, pay a great price for the bride, have his offer accepted or rejected, become legal bound if accepted, and go back to the father's house to prepare a place for his bride.
At a specific time known only to the father he would send the son to fetch the bride. The groomsmen would announce the grooms arrival, then the bride would be lifted up on a seat to be carried away with the groom. The two would enter the wedding chamber for 7 days then there would be a great wedding feast after the marriage was consummated.
Space does not allow, but every single one of those details lines up with the order of key first-coming and second-coming events. Here is one key passage: John 14:2-3-- My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (**There is a great film that unpacks this beautifully called: "Before the Wrath" - available from Prophecy News Watch here.
The clearly taught doctrine that the Lord could return at anytime.
5. Our Blessed Hope
Titus 2:13 calls the rapture our "blessed hope." It is what we're looking forward to. Nowhere does scripture tell us to prepare to endure Hell on earth. Every instance of the Lord's return is painted as something we look forward to with joyous anticipation. Most believers in the tribulation period will be martyred. That is not a "blessed hope".
6. Old Testament Types
Two judgments clearly prefigure the final time of God's wrath on earth: the flood of Noah's day, and the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah. In both cases, God removed the believers prior to judgment. There are many other types and figures that point to this pattern as well.
7. Rapture Designed to Encourage
In the main text on the rapture (1 Thessalonians 13-18), Paul concludes by saying, "Therefore encourage one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:18)".
Now, here's THE Good News. Your sins can be forgiven and you can look forward to the rapture and eternity with the Lord in Heaven. If you have never accepted Christ, now is the time to ask him to save you and receive his free gift of salvation.
Sometimes we make it too complicated. Becoming a Christian is simply accepting Jesus is who he said he was (God in the flesh), and believing that his death and resurrection were for the purpose of paying your sin debt. We can't work for salvation, it has already been paid for. We simply need to receive the gift and trust in Christ.
So, as believers how now should we live? What can we do in these trying times? Here are a few marching orders.
First, it's no time to play around. This is not a playground, it's a battleground. We need to get serious with the Lord and serious about our faith. If you are a believer it's time to read your Bible seriously. It's time to seek the Lord sincerely and deeply. It's time to turn from anything that pulls us away from a quality relationship with the Lord.
Second, we simply MUST understand the times. If you are fuzzy on Bible prophecy, now is the time to get unfuzzy. God means what he says and says what he means. We CAN understand what the Bible teaches about prophecy and the end-times. Don't settle for anything less than clarity. Wrestle with Scripture in prayer until you have it.
Third, we must take it one day at a time. The weight of world events can be overwhelming. Swimming upstream and being a countercultural Christian who studies prophecy like the watchmen we were called to be is hard work. Most people won't get you. That is ok.
Be like Jeremiah and be prepared to say what God calls you to say even though most will misunderstand, ignore, or even mock you. You are not running the race for them. You are running for an audience of One! Spending time in his word and in prayer daily is critical. Focusing on one single day at a time is freeing as we trust our Savior for our marching orders for that day.
Fourth, if you're not a believer, now is the time to believe. Time is short. How short? I don't know, but I know that every breath is a gift and life has not guarantees. If you sense a stirring in your heart to come to the Lord, do not ignore it. Respond to the Holy Spirit who is drawing you to Jesus. I promise you He is real and the Bible is true. 100% of it! Soon enough, our faith will be sight!
The King is Coming - By Daymond Duck -
This article is different from what I usually write, but I decided to present some Scriptures and comments that will hopefully help readers understand the situation.
I do have a reason for presenting these Scriptures.
First, concerning the signs of His coming and the end of the age, Jesus said, "Learn a parable of the Fig Tree" (Matt. 24:32-35).
There is wide agreement among prophecy teachers that the Fig Tree is Israel, and Jesus was saying, "Watch Israel" (Hos. 9:10; Jer. 24).
Jesus was talking to His Jewish disciples when He revealed the parable of the Fig Tree, and this was before the Church and the New Testament came into being, so I want to examine a prophecy from the Old Testament.
Second, the prophet Isaiah wrote, "For unto us a child is born [first coming], unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder [Second Coming]: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this" (Isa. 9:6-7).
The birth of Jesus and His first coming literally happened, so it is not unreasonable to believe that the Second Coming of Jesus will literally happen.
Isaiah even said, "The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."
God performed a virgin birth to make a physical first coming happen, and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead makes a physical Second Coming possible.
Third, God promised to raise Israel from the dead in one day so Israel could go through the 70th week of Daniel (so Israel can go through the Tribulation Period; Isa. 66:7-8; Dan. 9:25-27).
God showed Ezekiel a Valley of Dry Bones that He said represented the whole house of Israel (Ezek. 37:1-11).
God said He would bring those dry bones out of their graves among the heathen.
God would raise Israel from the dead (like Jesus at His first coming) and take Israel back to the land of Israel (Ezek. 37:12-21).
Fourth, God said, "I will make them one nation" (not a Northern Kingdom and Southern Kingdom) . . . "And David my servant shall be king over them . . . And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them forevermore" (Ezek. 37:24-28).
It looks like the Tribulation Period is shaping up; and according to the Bible, it will end with the return of the resurrected King of kings to the resurrected nation of Israel to take the government of the world upon His shoulders (Rev. 19).
Fifth, now let's read something from the New Testament, "And the angel [Gabriel] said unto her [Mary], Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:30-33).
This kingdom is mentioned in the Book of Revelation.
There will be 7 seal judgments and then 7 trumpet judgments.
Listen to what happens when the 7th angel blows the 7th trumpet "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever" (Rev. 11:15).
When the 7th trumpet sounds near the middle of the Tribulation Period, God will begin to destroy the nations to take possession of this world.
He redeemed this world at the cross, and He will take it back during the last half of the Tribulation Period.
Then, He will come back at the end of the Tribulation Period to establish His throne.
God may be giving us a preview of some of the Tribulation Period events to let us know that it is getting close.
Sixth, notice God's fulfilled promises up to this point.
God promised to raise Israel from the dead; to raise Israel from the dead before the Tribulation Period; to raise Israel from the dead in one day; to take Israel back to the land of Israel; to make Israel one nation (not two); to cause Mary to bear a Son, and that He should be named Jesus.
Seven, notice what must still happen.
God promised to give Mary's Son the throne of David (an earthly throne in Jerusalem, different from being seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven); to make Mary's Son the King of Israel; to sanctify Israel; to dwell in the midst of Israel; that Jesus will reign over the house of Jacob forever (the house of Jacob is not the Church; it is Israel), and that there will be no end to the kingdom that will be ruled by Jesus.
Eight, there is more about the King and Israel in the Old Testament, "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Jer. 23:5-6).
"I will take you [Israel] from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you [Israel], and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you [Israel], and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you [Israel] an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you [Israel], and cause you [Israel] to walk in my statutes, and ye [Israel] shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye [Israel] shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye [Israel] shall be my people, and I will be your [Israel's] God" (Ezek. 36:24-28).
"And it shall come to pass in that day [at the Battle of Armageddon], that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem [the Jews], the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn" (Zech. 12:9-10).
"And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one" (Zech. 14:9).
Jesus is the King of the Jews, but He is also the King of kings and Lord of lords.
The government that will be upon His shoulders will include Israel and all of the nations (Jews and Gentiles).
Nine, the New Testament contains more about the salvation of Israel.
Paul wrote, "...blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins" (Rom. 11:25b-27).
Israel's blindness is temporary; all Israel will be saved; God will cause Israel to repent (give up her ungodliness), and God made a covenant to take away Israel's sins.
Ten, Psalm 2 may be relevant for our time.
Verse 1: "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?"
Verse 2: "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,'
Verse 3: 'Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.'
Verse 4: "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision."
Verse 5: "Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure."
Verse 6: "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion."
Verse 7: "I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee."
It is a mistake to try to ignore the God that raised Jesus from the dead.
Verse 8: "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession."
Verse 9: "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."
Verse 10: "Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth."
Verse 11: "Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling."
Verse 12: "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck