Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Knowledge, Wisdom, and Understanding of Prophecy - Pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2018/03/knowledge-wisdom-and-understanding-of.html
6 "And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows." (Matthew 24:6-8)
Everyone that is alive in this hour of the last days of man-kinds last gasp of ruling themselves, can see the chaos that is virtually enveloping this world. If it hasn't hit you directly, you may know someone who has felt the upheaval that is coming upon this world, and the neighborhood around you. Be it either natural environmental disasters, flooding, earthquakes, volcanoes that have come awake all up and down the Pacific coastlines and elsewhere, raging fires that are out of control in California or other states in the western section of the USA, or see the wars that have broken out in the Middle East and the threat of wars that could effect every man and women on this planet.
But with all this surrounding us and many that are in fear of what is coming upon the earth, it is good to step back and survey the surrounding landscape of historical details along with current events that can only be related to Bible prophecy that is being fulfilled in these last days. Let us, for a moment, consider the awesomeness of this big picture that is coming quickly into clearer view.
UNDERSTANDING WHERE WE ARE IN PROPHECY
For two thousand years, since the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ to the right hand of God our Father, mankind or the generations of those who put their faith in our Savior, have looked expectantly at the clouds and believed that they would see the coming of our Lord in their generation.
There have been so many signs that points to the nearness of the Jesus return for His church, that people have become almost complacent with the routine they have seen down through times past. Many disbelieving people who scoffed at the very idea of the Lord's return came to believe He wasn't coming at all.
2 "That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." (2nd Peter 3:2-4)
Those of us who are living in this generation of the last days are eyewitnesses to events for which the ancient prophets had no words to describe, but can only be decipherable to that generation that lives in it. To the prophets, to them it was "somewhere in time".
DANIEL'S VISION OF THE FUTURE
For example, the prophet Daniel was so confused by what he witnessed, and so unsure of how to describe it in words that made sense, that he actually complained to God's Messenger about it:
"8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand."(Daniel 12:8-10)
Just try and see it from Daniel's perspective. He had just absorbed a vision of Israel's future, divided into seventy weeks of years.
God revealed to Daniel the rise and fall of four successive world empires; Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Much of Daniel's vision would have been somewhat familiar; the mechanics of government and technology of war didn't change that much from the 5th century BC to the 1st century AD.
But Daniel's vision took a hard right turn following the 'cutting off of the Messiah.'
26 "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined."(Daniel 9:26)
The Messenger of God jumped from the first century AD to somewhere in the 21st Century when Jerusalem would be sacked and the temple destroyed in 70AD by Titus and then jumping forward near 2000 years to the confirmation of a seven year treaty between the many nations and the coming Anti-Christ and the start of the Tribulation period of 7 years, or Daniel's 70th week.
Daniel had seen things that staggered him so much he didn't know where to begin.
Consider the angel's reply carefully:
"And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end." (Daniel 12:8-9)
There is a principle in Bible scriptures that dictates that God doesn't repeat Himself unnecessarily, but has a purpose if He does. If God tells you something twice, then it is really important and those who read it should really take notice, as God wants you to get what He is saying.
That is the case here. Earlier, Daniel had voiced a similar complaint, and the angel had already told him:
"But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end," but in more detail, adding that, 'in the time of the end', "many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." (Daniel 12:4)
The visions were so complex that the prophet was left near speechless to understand what it was he was being shown. This is the same man, who was so in tune with the Mind of God that he could divine and interpret dreams, but this vision was designed only for the generation that would actually live it and see its fulfillment.
As mentioned, each generations has watched for signs of the times that pointed to the imminent return of our Lord, but they all lacked one thing. That one thing will be mentioned further in this message.
Take for example, the Church at Thessalonica that was so convinced that the Day of the Lord was upon them, and that they had missed the rapture of the Church and were sore afraid. Paul had to comfort them and tell them what the signs would be before the coming Day of the Lord, and they were not living in it yet.
"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 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.
3 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;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?" (2nd Thessalonians 2:1-5)
But the angel that came to Daniel said that the signs of the times would only be understandable to those who were actually living in that particular time of the generation of the end.
KNOWLEDGE VS. WISDOM
There is a world of difference between 'knowledge' and 'wisdom'. One can have great wisdom without much knowledge. Some of the wisest men I ever knew had little or no education. But it is equally true that you can have a tremendous amount of knowledge but have no wisdom, but is known to have book smarts, but no common "horse sense". I've known many just such as I describe.
The bookstores are full of examples of Ph.Ds who have dedicated themselves to proving just that and it fills our universities of those who have knowledge but very little wisdom.
Wisdom and knowledge is what Daniel was seeking when he made inquiries of the Angel Gabriel, which is who the Bible says was sent.
Indeed, the angel Gabriel went on to say;
"Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand." (Daniel 12:10)
The Proverbs of Solomon explain 'understanding' as an equation that could be expressed this way: "wisdom plus knowledge equals understanding."
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." (Proverbs 9:10)
That is the whole purpose of the Proverbs;
"To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding." (Proverbs 1:2)
Daniel was a very wise man, but he had nothing to compare the revelation he was receiving to what was evident in his world at the time and had no understanding of what was being revealed. It left him totally confused, but to write what was seen, as the understanding of this knowledge was not for him, but for another time. I believe it was for our time in the generation we are now living.
THE BIG PICTURE
As we look around us and try to understand what is happening and the Big Picture, it comes down to the sign that Jesus told us would be the sign of the last generation. That is what was lacking of all past generations...the rebirth of Israel.
32" Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:32-37)
It began when, for the first time since the times of Daniel, there is, in this generation, a political and national entity called "Israel" composed of Daniel's people and living in Daniel's city.
24 "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon they holy city to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy."(Daniel 9:24)
From the day that Israel was reborn it was unheard of for a nation to be reborn in just one day, but was prophesied that it would happen just that way when Israel would, against all odds, be reborn once again in one day.
8 "Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children." (Isaiah 66:8)
But on 14 May 1948, the countdown clock began ticking down. As the prophecy spoken of by Jesus came to pass, and as I have mentioned in many messages past, Israel is the door to end time prophecy, and Jerusalem is the key to that door. God made a promise to the Prophet Daniel, and God keeps His promises. As noted, the Messiah was cut off after 483 years of a 490 year prophecy that still has 7 remaining years for the prophecy to be completed. That clock is now ticking away. But one doesn't need only to judge by the "fig Tree" of Matthew 24's prophecy to make that point. The point makes it all by itself. Virtually every major component of Bible prophecy makes the Big Picture by tracing it to this point in modern history.
Many things are linked with the restoration of the nation of Israel and it all began in the same year of 1948.
-The war on terrorism and the rise of Muslim atrocities began in 1948 and continues to the present time.
-The prophesied coming of the Anti-Christ began with the destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the Temple, and those legions of the Roman Empire as spoken of in Daniel 9:27 .
-Those "people" became the modern version of the Roman Empire in 1948 when the European Union was formed out of the Benelux Treaty.
-The current East/West geopolitical alignment in the Middle East is a direct result of the US/Soviet Cold War which officially kicked off with the 1948 Berlin Airlift.
-The first Constitution for a global government, the Universal Declaration of Rights and Freedoms was ratified by the UN Member States in 1948.
-The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Treaty establishing global economic policy rules (and ultimately evolving into the World Trade Organization) was signed and ratified by the UN in 1948.
-The World Council of Churches was established under UN auspices in Amsterdam in August, 1948.
-China and Taiwan were divided by the 1947-1948 Communist takeover of the mainland, giving birth to the inscrutable People's Republic of China.
-Muslim Pakistan broke from newly independent India in 1948, creating the Islamic republic that ultimately gave the world the first Islamic Bomb, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.
This is all historical facts that anyone can point to that speaks of the co-ordination by Divine authority to put in place the final actors on the world stage to wind down this generation that we are living in. But if a person does not have "wisdom" then the knowledge of these historical events mean nothing to them in the Big Picture that God is orchestrating to come to pass to bring His will into being completed.
When Jesus said that "this generation will not pass till all be fulfilled" We must re-emphasize what a generation is. The Psalms in chapter 90 says that a generation is 70 years, and 80 years by strength, then we fly away. So when in 1948, that timeclock of 70 years began for a generation born would see all things be fulfilled. And this year in May will be 70 years since Israel was reborn. It means that on the outside of 80+/- years, Jesus will be back on this earth, reigning and ruling for a thousand years. But a Tribulation of 7 years must be sandwiched between now and that end time of 80 years, somewhere of what was written of a generation in the Psalms. If the tribulation is that close, then the removal of the Church is even closer. This is the picture we see, and it remains to be seen when and how the generation of the Lord's return plays out according to God's plan and not ours. God gave us a general time frame.
What the secular world sees, being devoid of understanding, is chaos, terror and upheaval of this world all around them. This lack of understanding breeds nothing but fear, as the world doesn't know what is happening, but the minute you start to tell them what is happening on God's Time Clock, then that is when they begin to shut you out or flee from your presence and label you a "prophecy nut"
But remember in the first destruction of this planet that was flooded over with a deluge of water, Noah preached for 120 years without a single convert? I would call that most discouraging. So it is with the day that we live in, as men scoff at the idea that the end of this age is close at hand, they close their minds and their hearts to the reality of what is actually happening. Although they have knowledge of the events, they have not wisdom that leads to understanding. We as "watchman on the wall" see the sword coming, and we are commanded to warn the people. As it is written in Ezekiel:
3 "If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand." (Ezekiel 33:3-6)
So we continue to warn the people, to give them knowledge, to hopefully produce wisdom and to lead them to understanding. We know not all will listen. But if only one comes to the understanding and escapes what is coming upon the earth known as the Tribulation, then that soul is priceless in the eyes of God. Our work is for even that one who believes, but we pray for more.
So, in this message, I think it is good to step back once in a while and drink in the awesomeness of the events to which we are now almost daily witnesses of.
As we see the hand of God moving directly in the affairs of this World to fulfill His Word in this generation, then our individual setbacks pale in comparison.
We all should be encouraged to know that God is in control and that His Word will NOT come back to Him void.
"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11)
RECEIVING ETERNAL REWARDS
It is encouraging to know that those who look for the Glorious Appearing of our Lord and Savior will receive a special crown, a "crown of righteousness" that is reserved in heaven for all who have believed by faith and followed our Lord Jesus and seek to do His will in this time of the last generation. Paul speaks of this special crown that is reserved for the Children of God:
8" 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." (2nd Timothy 4:8)
Even more encouraging words are spoken by Titus in chapter 2 that believers should not be quaking in fear of what is coming upon the earth, but we are looking for that "Blessed Hope" which is Christ, the Lord.
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." (Titus 2:13)
Looking at the signs of the times is terrifying. Understanding the times of the signs means a 'crown of righteousness' and represents our 'blessed hope'-- the soon Rapture of the Church.
Still, it is natural to feel a sense of fear, as after all, we all want to go to heaven, but none of us want to hasten that process by dying. It is as the old saying goes "everyone want to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die". It's a natural human response that is fueled by the sympathetic nervous system, of the "fight or flight" desire to preserve life at any cost. But being fearful at times is not a sign of a lack of faith, it is a sign of being human.
Paul explains that we are dual-natured creatures, part carnal and part spiritual, so it is not disloyal (or schizophrenic) to be afraid with the natural part and overjoyed at its spiritual implications.
That is what 'understanding' is all about.
6 "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." (1st Peter 1:6-9)
LET ME ASK YOU A PERSONAL QUESTION.
Are you afraid of what is coming upon this earth? Are you fearful that your family could be swept away, or that death could be right around the corner for you or any of your loved ones? With all the violence even now in our schools, I don't blame you. It is entirely human to fear something you don't have understanding of.
To be afraid of evil men who want to destroy the innocent lives around them is totally human but is devoid of Godly faith. Because you have nothing that you can hold onto and take courage that Jesus is the answer to that fear...For it is written:
7 "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2nd Timothy 1:7)
The whole world knows that something "BIG" is coming. Those who have nothing to place their anchor in are fearful of what is coming. They can see how the world is starting to implode upon itself, and evil is growing unabated and it is right on our front doors steps of even this country.
Men's hearts are failing them for what is coming upon the earth. But if you think it is fearful now, just wait, if you be so unfortunate, to see what WILL come upon the earth in possibly a few short years.
"And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." (Luke 21:25-26)
Men and women can't explain what is coming, they just have knowledge, but no wisdom or understanding of what God said would happen in these last days.
A time of terrible suffering is fast approaching this world, even to the shores of this once great country known as the USA, which may not be so great in the time that is still to play out.
"Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand;
2 " A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations." (Joel 2:1-2)
21 "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." (Matthew 24:21-22)
A time that anyone who has wisdom coupled with knowledge will receive understanding and turn to the only Source of not being afflicted with this time called Jacob's Trouble. It is calculated that during the time that is fast approaching 80%+ of all man-kind left on earth will be destroyed. That is 5-6 billion people in 7 short years. Will you be amongst those who meet an untimely death and devoid of any hope for eternity? Many people will miss this coming span of death and destruction, but many people will endure this intense suffering and most assuredly death from something none of us want to think about. But make no mistake, it is coming. Jesus is coming, and His wrath will fall on all who have not believed the following verses and confessed who Jesus is in their lives.
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." (John 3:16-18)
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." (Romans 10:8-11)
My question to you, are you ready to meet Him? Him? Jesus Christ our Lord, for readers, He is coming, and He is coming soon.
This is pastor Mike Taylor sounding the alarm. Jesus is coming and coming soon. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, then email me at email@example.com , or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com . God bless you all.
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
In Between Birth Pains? - By Todd Hampson - http://www.raptureready.com/2018/03/03/birth-pains-todd-hampson/
Is it me, or do end-time birth pains seem to be getting more distinct, intense, and all inclusive? 2017 saw an intense convergence of birth pains; and, in my spirit, I sense (as I study God's word and look around at world events) that we're in between birth pains, but a tidal wave is coming. When contractions begin, there are periods of relative rest in between, but the birth pains don't stop until the baby is born.
Beginning in late August 2017, we witnessed one natural disaster after another. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit Texas and Florida-both record-breaking events. Hurricane Maria devastated several island countries, including Puerto Rico where the entire country was completely without power for an extended time.
If three monster hurricanes hitting the US and US territories in one month weren't mind-blowing enough, consider that-at the same time-India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh had record monsoons with massive death tolls. Sierra Leone and Niger had massive floods, mudslides and thousands of deaths as well.
In the midst of those events, we also witnessed worldwide record-breaking heat and fire seasons. California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Greece, Brazil, Portugal, Algeria, Tunisia, Greenland, Russia, and Siberia all had record forest fires. Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia had a triple-digit heat wave, which they dubbed "Lucifer."
Then Mexico had two major earthquakes in less than a month, and Yellowstone experienced a lengthy earthquake swarm. At the same time, Japan had two noteworthy earthquakes. Following that, we saw systemic abuse in Hollywood and illegal "deep-state" activity in Washington exposed like never before. Oh yeah, and Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. To me, the last 4-5 months of 2017 seemed like a major Olivet-Discourse-converging birth pain.
Take a Breather
At this moment, I believe we are experiencing somewhat of a breather between contractions. In true labor-pain form, it's an active rest. Contractions have subsided enough to catch our breath, but we still feel the less-intense labor which continues. Like a beach experiencing the unusually calm low tide before a tsunami, there's an eerie calm (at least on the surface) that gives us the sense something is on its way.
As the new year began, I highlighted 5 things to keep an eye on this year. Many more could be added, but those are still the 5 main converging categories I feel we should watch for in terms of the next birth-pain convergence.
In this rest period, prophetic developments are still occurring daily. Not the big earthshaking kind (notwithstanding the recent quakes in Mexico), but the subtle chess-game moves that continue to line things up for the next big push. We still see 2 Timothy 3:1-5 playing out daily. The demonic mass shooting in Florida (and I mean that literally) reminded us of that fact. Our perplexed (Luke 21:25) and reactive culture looks for bandaids to stop the violence and addresses the systemic causes that only national repentance and a return to Christ can truly fix.
The stage continues to be set for Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38, as we recently witnessed (for the first time) the direct conflict between Israel and Iran in Syria as well as direct conflict between US forces and Russian mercenaries (let that sink in).
All of this is going on while some type of "ultimate deal" with Israel at its center and "peace and safety" (see 1 Thessalonians 5:3) as its purpose is being worked out in secret, primarily by President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner. (BTW, if this deal has any type of 7-year time frame associated with it, we had really better pay attention-as it could very well be the framework or the actual treaty that the antichrist will later enforce.)
Meanwhile, Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with President Trump on March 5th.
The globalist elite continue their puppetry behind the curtain as deep-state plots against Trump and Netanyahu (and those associated with them) continue to be revealed. Empirical evidence proves the now-undeniable existence of shadowy elite players. Some of your grandfather's "crazy conspiracy theories" are proving to be true.
These powerful globalists can't yet do all they want, but the moment Christians (along with their prayers and the restraining influence of the indwelling Holy Spirit) are snatched from enemy territory via the rapture-the gloves will come off and all Hell will begin to break loose in rapid succession and increasing destructiveness.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is creeping up from under the tech industry and oozing through private companies and government entities-promising to foist sudden radical change on how we do almost everything. Singularity beckons, we are told. Secular tech leaders warn of its dangers. What science fiction entertained us with will soon bring Orwellian realities to the world.
So, groundwork is being laid for the next set of birth pains as we watch (Matthew 24:8). A storm is coming.
One Last Gospel Push?
Pastor, Evangelist, and counselor to presidents, Billy Graham died on February 21. He was 99 years old and had been hanging on for some time. His daughter, Anne Graham-Lotz, has stated on several occasions that she believed God was holding her father here until just the right time. She stated that she believed his death would be somehow related to the end-times (see Matthew 24:14) and that perhaps her father's funeral would be one last worldwide evangelistic crusade-one more big push for everyone to hear the gospel of Jesus and have an opportunity to respond.
With that in mind, I think it is of note that his funeral events will likely occur in early March, then in April Israel will celebrate her 70th birthday (using the Jewish 360-day calendar). All of this while war drums beat ever louder with Hamas to her south and Iran to her north.
A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words
Sometimes pictures serve as great metaphors. During the last round of California wildfires in late 2017 (mentioned above), I saw several pictures showing people doing normal, everyday activities while everything around them was literally on fire. A golfer focused on his putt on the greens of a nice course while the hills surrounding the course were ablaze. Commuters drove to work on a freeway while flames licked the guardrails and smoke filled the air like smog on steroids.
Those vignettes paint a perfect picture of our day. End-time signs and conditions continue to develop at unprecedented speed and intensity. The end-time RPMs are pushing the world engine to yet-untested measures, but the world-and even many Christians-aren't paying attention.
I have recently heard several prophecy experts such as Chuck Missler, Bill Koenig, and Carl Gallups make astounding statements about the times we live in. In varying ways, each of them has stated that we are currently in the most prophetic time since the first coming of Christ. That is a bold statement. Missler even adds the admonition, "Don't believe that just because I say it. My challenge to you is to try and prove me wrong." That, of course, will drive people to study Scripture themselves to see if these claims are true. I believe they are.
Don't Look Scared; Look Up!
If you are not familiar with Bible prophecy, then all that I mentioned above may sound scary but completely random. If that's the case, please take time to study a few 2,000-2,600 year-old prophecies. Isaiah 17, Ezekiel 38 and Matthew 24 are not just knocking on the door-they are almost beating it down. If you have never studied these things, now is the time. You'll suddenly see things in new light. While you're at it, read 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and ask if this specific end-time passage of Scripture doesn't describe modern culture in absolute clarity.
Keep looking up. Pay attention to Israel and the Middle East. Keep studying Scripture to see where we are. Keep trusting in Jesus's omniscience and omnipotence. Keep living for the Lord and telling others about him!
In the coming days and weeks, I would encourage you to leverage the life and legacy of Billy Graham to point people to the Savior. His life was a lightning rod for the Gospel and for God's favor, and his passing will be used mightily by the Lord to get the gospel out again in these trying times.
What do you think? Is another major convergence contraction on its way? If so, how can we live fearlessly and point others to Jesus during this highly prophetic season?
toddhampson.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
How Long Will He Delay? - Nathele Graham -
"And the LORD said unto Abram, after Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever." Genesis 13:14-15. This is a promise from God and isn't contingent upon anything Abram or his descendants have done. The land of Israel belongs to the descendants of Abraham, the Jewish people forever, and the capital is Jerusalem. Over the years they have been forced out of the land (slavery in Egypt, captivity in Babylon, etc.) but God didn't put any conditions on His land grant to them and no other people have the right of ownership. The Jewish people were chosen by God and through them the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was born. The ownership of Jerusalem and the land of Israel is not for the United Nations to say, nor is it up to Muslim groups. Israel belongs to the Jewish people. God gave it to them.
Israel as a nation hasn't always obeyed God and their disobedience caused them to be taken captive, the Northern Kingdom (at that time called Israel) by the Assyrians and the Southern Kingdom (at that time called Judah) by the Babylonians. It was during the Babylonian captivity that Daniel was given an amazing prophecy regarding the end times, and specifically the final seven years known as Daniel's 70th week. "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." Daniel 9:24. In the following chapters the prophecy goes into much detail, but the thing to understand is that it is about "thy people" (Daniel was Jewish) and "thy holy city" (which is Jerusalem). Even though they were in captivity and had been taken away from their land, God made it clear that they would return. At the end of the 70 years of captivity they did return and they rebuilt the temple, but the prophecy given to Daniel was not about that return. In 70 AD they were dispersed again and the re-built Temple was destroyed. Today there's an effort underway to rebuild the Temple and the items required to be used in the soon to be re-built Temple have been crafted and many men have stepped forward to learn to proper ways of the priesthood.
When the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD, the Jewish people either fled the destruction or they were killed. From that time until 1947 it seemed as if prophecy had failed and a heresy began stating that Christians had replaced Israel. The people who promote this lie just don't study God's word. Not only was Daniel given the prophecy of the Jewish return to Jerusalem in the end times, but there are other prophecies which also declare their return to their God-given land. "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea." Isaiah 11:11. It happened. On November 29, 1947 the United Nations passed a resolution allowing for the formation of the Jewish state of Israel. The UN has no authority over God's covenant, but this resolution allowed the Jewish people in Assyria, Egypt, and the other nations listed to return to their God-given land. "And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." Isaiah 11:12. This includes the "outcasts" in Germany, Poland, Russia, the United States, and anywhere else the Jews had been dispersed to. The "he" in this verse is the Lord. The UN may pass resolutions, but it's God who is in control. On May 14, 1948, the nation of Israel was officially re-established.
Even though the land was given by God to the Jews forever, Muslims believe they have rights to Jerusalem and have fought for these "rights" ever since 1948. The rightful ownership of Israel was passed from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob (who God renamed Israel), through King David to the modern day descendants of those men. These descendants are being called to Israel and they will never be uprooted again. "And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God." Amos 9:14-15. When the Jewish people returned to Israel, this is exactly what happened. They began to build the cities again and their farms flourished and today this nation is a leader in agriculture and a major exporter of produce. Unfortunately, many of these lush farms have been confiscated by the UN and given to Muslims who have laid them waste. God will not allow the Jewish nation to be dispersed again, but there is a satanic push to remove the Jews from their land. Tensions in the Middle East are strong, but this did not surprise God. "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it." Zechariah 12:2-3. Is Jerusalem a burdensome stone? Are all the people of the earth gathered against it? If you read the news you'll see that prophecy is being fulfilled. The hatred against the Jews is satanic. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and that's where the seat of government is located. It belongs to the Jewish people, not Islam.
"Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee: and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Genesis 12:1-3. When Israel declared their independence on May 14, 1948, Tel Aviv was a temporary capital because there was a war raging in Jerusalem. Today foreign embassies are located in Tel Aviv instead of the true capital, Jerusalem. When Donald Trump was running for office he promised to support Israel and this year President Trump made the bold proclamation that the US Embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This set off a firestorm of anger but is exactly what needed to be done in order to support Israel. The reports were that it would take a few years to make the move, and it seemed that it would be a slow process filled with red tape. Not so. The US Embassy will be moved on May 14, 2018, which is exactly 70 years since Israel declared their independence. Mr. Trump, may God bless you and may His mighty hand of protection be upon you because Satan is mad.
Why is this significant? Brothers and sisters, we are rapidly nearing Daniel's 70th week. That week will be the most horrific time the earth has ever known. Israel is back in their land, and that fulfills prophecy. They are ready to build the Temple, which will be built to be used during those final seven years, but the satanically indwelt man of sin will defile it with the abomination prophesied by Daniel and reiterated by Jesus "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains" Matthew 24:15-16. Every nation is joining together against Israel and the alliance between nations described in various prophecies are in place. That final week is ready to begin, but Christians have a special blessing. We won't be here. God promised that we will be Raptured prior to the beginning of that final week. I'm not setting dates, but I am reading signs. May 14, 2017, will mark 70 years of Israel's statehood and it will be the date that the US Embassy opens its doors in Jerusalem. Most of the world is angry about this and it could trigger the events that have been described in prophecy. Only God knows the time, but He has given us signs. We are rapidly drawing closer to that event.
For generation upon generation people have talked of these events, but the Lord delayed. The time wasn't right then, and it may not be the right time now. The point is, be ready. "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." 2 Peter 3:3-4. The signs are all pointing to apocalyptic events on the near horizon. If you're one who scoffs and walks in the lusts of the flesh, you need to do some research. The harpazō (Rapture) will happen in the twinkling of an eye and you won't have time to repent of your sin. Even if that blessed event is in the far future, you still need to walk in the ways of the Lord rather than after the lusts of the flesh. A car wreck, heart attack, or any number of other things could claim your life unexpectedly. Now is the time for you to be right with God and you need to witness to your friends and family. Jesus told of a rich man who died and because of his choices in life he's spending eternity in torment. He knew he deserved his punishment but he wanted Abraham to send a message to his family. "For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come to this place of torment." Luke 16:28. The only way to avoid spending eternity in the lake of fire is to place your faith in Jesus Christ. Repent of your sin, ask Jesus to forgive you, and begin a new life by walking close to Him. Witness to those you love and those who you come into contact with. If the Rapture happens before they accept Christ, they will face a time of judgment, the likes of which have never been seen before.
How long will He delay? He may not call us Home this year, but that day is closer than you think.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
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Has the King of The East Now Taken His Throne? China's New Emperor for Life - By Bill Powell -
It was a bland, bureaucratic statement-but its implications could be profound. In late February, China's Communist Party announced a proposal to abolish term limits for its highest office. The party hasn't made a final decision, but the news seemed to confirm what many have long suspected: Xi Jinping, the country's leader, wants to be president for life.
The announcement wasn't surprising, but many didn't expect it to come so soon. Aside from being president, Xi is also the general secretary of the Communist Party and commander in chief of the country's armed forces. The term limits on his presidency effectively constrain his ability to hold the other two jobs. Since Xi took office in March 2013, he's been consumed with his fight against corruption. This battle is basically a proxy for him and his allies to consolidate control over the highest levels of the party, as well as big state-owned companies. In Chinese politics, personal rivalries and differing agendas are rarely visible to the outside world. So many had assumed Xi's fight was still ongoing, given how deeply entrenched corruption is in China.
If the party does decide to end term limits for president, it could have major implications for the nation-and the world. Domestically, it would rupture what has been a stable system of succession. Deng Xiaoping, the father of China's economic reforms, created that system in 1982. Prior to Deng's rule, China was mired in the chaos and pain of the Cultural Revolution, when Mao Zedong "had absolute power over the lives and deaths of others," wrote Mo Zhixu, a political commentator in Guangzhou.
Post-Mao, Deng and his successors transformed China from an isolated, impoverished country into the second most powerful nation in the world. Many believe the country will inevitably surpass the United States in terms of influence and economic growth. But Beijing has experienced these changes during a period of relative stability, when political transitions came to be seen as orderly, predictable. Deng's successor, Jiang Zemin, handed power to Hu Jintao, who after a decade turned the party over to Xi. That predictability is now in question.
What's not in question is that Xi wants to increase his country's clout, to show the world that his model of government is a worthy alternative to those of the West. Despite American resistance, Xi shows no sign of backing away from his efforts to dominate in the South and East China Seas. He has also extended his country's influence to the south and west, all the way to Pakistan, with his efforts to build infrastructure in developing nations. Xi believes the world should accommodate China, not the other way around. He shows no interest in deposing North Korea's Kim Jong Un, despite Pyongyang's nuclear antics, and will likely respond in kind to any American trade protections, like the ones the U.S. announced for steel and aluminum in early March.
After a decade of dithering, China is also finally trying to carry out some painful and necessary economic reforms. Some of Xi's supporters believe he needs more time and more authority to implement them. The Chinese president may realize it's going to take a while to reduce his country's debt, which will lead to a slowdown in growth. Maybe he wants to manage that process. This is the most optimistic view of the party's announcement: that eventually, if the economy is humming and has a lower debt burden, perhaps Xi can hand over power to a designated successor and be remembered as a hero. Such a scenario is possible. But it assumes the Chinese leader is willing to oversee such a sustained and painful economic transition. It also assumes he'd ever give up power.
In the West, many analysts seemed jaded after Beijing's announcement-especially those who had hoped China would reform politically as its economy prospered (just as South Korea and Taiwan had in the 1980s). These observers finally seem to be accepting reality. China is now a more confident, more repressive authoritarian state than it was before Xi. His increased crackdown on anyone critical of the government, as well as his use of internet censorship and technology to monitor citizens the regime deems troublesome, are here to stay. And may even increase.
Despite China's economic successes, there are still millions in the country who want more political freedom. But under this regime, they have no voice-and won't, it appears, for a long time. At 64 years old, the apparently healthy Xi isn't going anywhere.
He's now, most likely, China's emperor for life.
Daily Jot: The public narrative of deception - Bill Wilson -
The 24/7/365 news cycle has resulted in a constant harangue of in-your-face weaponized propaganda hitting the American public with impunity. There is what appears to be a conspiratorial effort between the news media, the entertainment industry and the radical left, which is representative of the Democratic Party, to establish a political narrative as undeniable fact. Those who dare challenge it are then labeled as racist, homophobe, Islamaphobe, bigots, white supremacists, misogynists, extreme radical right-wingers, and so on. The trend is: make an outlandish statement and then shame anybody who questions it by labeling them something bad.
There was a story about how the ex-"president" said that it breaks his heart that there were 18 school shootings so far this year. He apparently was repeating a "fact" presented by Everytown for Gun Safety, funded by former New York mayor and anti-gun activist Michael Bloomberg. Trouble is, the narrative is completely false. Not to allow a good lie to go to waste, the former "president" and the media repeated these false "facts" at will, trying to make people believe that school shootings are rampant. This segues to claims that the National Rifle Association is a terrorist organizations (Connecticut Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy), and that Republicans and NRA supporters are complicit in mass murders (I'm not making this up).
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is being ostracized because he seeks to enforce US immigration law by cracking down on California's illegal sanctuary cities and suing the state for housing illegals. The news media, the entertainment industry and the communist politicians holding office from California are attacking Sessions for unfairly singling out Latinas. Governor Jerry Brown says the Trump Administration is going to war against California. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says it's "brazen aggression." Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, another socialist Democrat, called Sessions and President Trump racists for claiming "undocumented immigrants" were criminals. I guess she hasn't considered that if you come to America illegally, you have broken the law-a definition of a criminal is "one who has committed a crime."
Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ) calls President Trump's "dangerous rhetoric" a "crisis" in American government. Who is supplying the rhetoric? And who is amplifying it?--The radical left and its lapdog media. It is a created crisis by those who seek to establish socialism and humanism as America's government. These outrageous claims made about gun control and illegal immigration are just examples of how emotional, inflammatory, and hateful remarks are being made and the news media is complicit in amplifying them without a whimper of a challenge. As Paul wrote about the end times in 2 Timothy 3:13, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." The prophetic lives we live in prophetic times. As Christ said in Matthew 24:4, "Take heed that no man deceive you."
Daily Devotion: God's Long-Term Goal - By Greg Laurie -
For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. -Romans 8:29
Talk about things going horribly wrong. One day Joseph was on top of the world, running an errand for his father, and the next day he literally was in the bottom of a pit. He was sold to Midianite slave traders and ended up in Egypt as a servant in the house of a man named Potiphar.
But through God's providence, he was elevated to a position of great authority and became the second-most powerful man in the world. He was able to help his father and brothers and do much good.
In the end, Joseph, with the advantage of 20/20 hindsight, was able to look back and say to his brothers, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good" (Genesis 50:20).
I have seen a lot of things happen in my life that I didn't understand at the time. As a few years have passed by, however, I'm able to look back and see why the Lord allowed what He did.
Not everything works out that way. There will be things we go through in life, hardships we experience, difficulties we must face, that will not have a convenient answer. There will be some unanswered questions. There will be some things that, even at the end of our lives, we will not be sure why the Lord allowed them.
But on that final day when we stand before Him, all of our questions will be answered. All of our problems will be resolved. As 1 Corinthians 13:12 tells us, "All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely."
God allows us to go through trials, but He has a long-term goal: to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ.
FROM THE HEART
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