Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
When the Restrainer Is Gone - Joseph Chambers -
4 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
The Devil is under great restraint until the Rapture. But remember, he is restrained only for the Blood-washed saints. He has an unlimited right to attack, accuse, or take captive those whose lives are opened t him because of their wicked ways. If you are rebellious, disobedient, attacking good anointed people, the devil is free to attack you. I fear for my enemies, and the list is quite long, because Satan is free to destroy them. Spirit of uncleanness, sodomy, fornication, etc is taking multitudes captive.
The Bible speaks of evil spirits that take people captive at their will. This is serious. "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will." (II Timothy 2: 25-26) The liberty that the evil spirits have in dealing with unprotected souls is awesome. This kind of evil is mushrooming and will only get worse as we approach the Rapture.
The most heart rending idea to grip me recently has been a fresh revelation of this world completely without God. Can you imagine our present society suddenly free of all moral restraints? Everything that now represents purity and the high and holy things will be absolutely removed and non-existing, allowing unfettered evil to completely baptize the world. It will be a dark and filthy place. Satan will realize his long dream of world control and will turn this globe into hell on earth.
Before that can occur, God's restraining powers must be removed. For the entire period of man's earthly existence the Holy Spirit of God has been the "Restrainer." For some unknown reason, the church has never developed the truth of this area of Holy Ghost activity or at least I have not seen it.
From the very dawn of creation as God the Father acted to call forth order and creative beauty, the Holy Ghost has been the agent of restraint. The nothingness out of which God created the worlds and all matter or creatures was a chasm of emptiness. Why that was true the Bible does not explain. The first act we see of the Holy Spirit was at this moment. "And the world was without form, and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the 'Spirit of God' moved upon the face of the waters, and God said, Let there be light and there was light." (Genesis 1:2,3).
Out of nothing but a void and formless chasm, the Father called forth light and order while the Holy Spirit pushed back the darkness. The second person of the Triune Godhead was also actively present as the eternal Word of God and light of all creation. You see the Son of God in these words, "And God said," and in the glory of light that followed His speech. It was a display of God's entire personhood and reveals that our God is beyond all human explanation. The Holy Spirit's unique place in the Godhead is as the Father's and the Son's right arm of power and authority. All hell is held at bay by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit Came Upon Men/First Testament
Many times you read in the First Testament where the Holy Ghost came upon men to give them powers above the human. "And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office." (Exodus 28:3). "And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him." (Numbers 24:2). "And the spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim." (Judges 3:10). "And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded." (2 Chronicles 15:1). These men or women were then enabled to perform incredible things for God. No power was able to resist them. They could not be stopped until God was through with them.
It was said to King Saul that "...the spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man." (I Samuel 10:6). Literally, the Holy Spirit of God turned Saul into another man giving him abilities and powers for the calling of King of Israel that he did not have in himself. As long as this anointing was on King Saul he was invincible to the dark nations of evil that dwelt about Israel.
The Holy Ghost Is The Standard Bearer
Isaiah spoke of the "Restraining" action of the Holy Ghost with this marvelous statement: "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him." (Isaiah 59:19). The theology of this Biblical truth in incredible. The word "standard" means a force or power superior to the enemy. It suggests to "chase away," "put to flight," or to "vanish." The believer or the church that dares to depend wholly on the Holy Spirit is destined to be a great power for God. The Holy Spirit alone is God's restraining power to "vanish" all our enemies and we certainly need no other.
The Holy Ghost And Pentecost
On the Day of Pentecost something happened in God's economy to forever change His witnesses in the world. The epicenter of the Holy Spirit's activity had always been the throne of God or the Heavenly Sanctuary. While the Spirit is absolutely omnipresent (There is nowhere where He is not.), the center of His presence and power was not within the First Testament church. He came upon men or women for special anointings and responsibilities. This illustration is probably crude and somewhat inadequate but let's say it's like being near a fire or being at a distance from a fire. You feel the heat in both cases, but there is an extreme difference. The First Testament church lived at a distance from the fire, but were certainly dependent upon its power and warmth. King David expressed that when he said, "Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me." (Psalm 51:11).
On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Ghost moved His center of authority. Jesus had said, "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you." (John 16:7-14).
37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Jesus had much to say about Himself and the Father sending back to the church or "His Earthly Body" the person of the Holy Spirit. This was a major truth that Jesus taught His disciples. He was emphatic in telling them not to leave Jerusalem until they had received this empowerment from Him. "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." (Luke 24:49).
The church without the power of the Holy Spirit becomes a joke. It is absolutely impossible to effect men spiritually and eternally if there is no anointing of the Spirit. Jesus said, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8).
In the previous quote of Jesus about the purpose of the Holy Spirit Baptism, He said, "When He is come, He shall reprove the world of sin, righteousness and judgment." The Holy Spirit alone can touch the spirit of man from which all spiritual life must flow. A person can be religious, dedicated to the church life and even moral and still have none of the true reality of Jesus Christ. Most of today's church fits this category. The only way this can be different is when the "Restrainer" is allowed to do His work in Christ's earthly body, the church. There is no power to push back the darkness until the Spirit of Holiness, Spirit of Truth, or Spirit of Grace acts upon the human spirit. Until this takes place, you may have the preaching of truth, but it will be a "dead letter", not a "living epistle."
The Holy Spirit Reveals Jesus Christ
The Son of God cannot be known by flesh. Flesh cannot understand Jesus Christ nor have communion with Him. The heart of man is desperately wicked. His heart is alienated from God and all spiritual reality until acted upon by the "Restrainer" of darkness. Paul said, "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." (1 Corinthians 2:10-12).
When The Restrainer Is Removed With The Bride
The picture is breathtaking. God the Father at the request of the Son sent the Holy Spirit to the church to choose a Bride for the Son. For 2,000 years He has wooed, convicted, and converted millions to this Brideship. Now the time has come to present that Bride to the Master's Son. All Hell has marshalled its forces against the Bride, but the "Restrainer" has reserved Her from defilement. She is holy and undefiled, without spot or blemish and ready for Her crowning day. The Holy Ghost at the Word of the Father and the sound of the trumpet unleashes the most incredible power known to mankind. Resurrection life invades the graves of the dead in Christ and changes every living member of the Sanctified Bride.
"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." (I Corinthians 15:52-54).
All the Father needs to do when the Rapture occurs is to call His Spirit to the throne. The Holy Spirit cannot move His epicenter to the heavenly sanctuary without the Bride being removed with Him. There will be no search and find effort necessary for the Holy Spirit is the life of those ready for this day of victory and triumph. The Holy Spirit cannot leave without the Bride nor can the Bride leave without the Holy Spirit. "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." (Romans 8:11).
"Now, He That Letteth Will Let"
The mystery of iniquity or the spirit of Antichrist has been at work during the duration of the church, but always limited and held at bay. This evil design has been on a leash until the Bride was secure and safe. Apostle Paul explains these facts clearly. "And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming." (2 Thessalonians 2:6).
There can be no doubt but that Satan and all the powers of Hell are already at work. There is a growing spirit of wickedness, even a diabolical surge of an Antichrist spirit. Christianity is hated with a vengeance by an ever enlarging group of people. Satan is enlarging his kingdom and vying for the worship of the world. His present tactics are marvelously successful as men have become more humanistic and less discerning of the true realities of the spiritual world.
Even with this surge of evil and evil expressions there is still a clear sense that something or someone is holding back these wicked powers. The Bible calls Satan the "god of this world." So, why does he not completely overrun all righteousness? He cannot, because the restrainer is greater in power and might and must be removed before this idiot god can at least try to fulfill his ugly will.
The word "letteth" as used in II Thessalonians, chapter 2 means "to hold fast in a spiritual sense or to detain or restrain." It means to hold possession of so that another power or person cannot seige. The inspiration of these words to Apostle Paul was perfect in describing the activities of the Holy Spirit. Soon this Restrainer will be gone.
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.
The Holy Spirit Around The Throne
In the First Testament the Holy Spirit is seen as God's anointing imparted to individuals for specific ministries. When we moved to the Second Testament period, the Lord Jesus was given the Spirit without measure for his messianic and redemptive role. The Church of Jesus Christ was then baptized with the Holy Ghost as He descended to dwell in the Body of Christ. In Revelation, beginning with chapter four, John saw the future events that were clearly described as after the church period. In this version we see the Holy Spirit around the Throne of God in the Heavenlies.
John describes this scene, "And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind." (Revelation 4:2-6).
It is clear that this picture is of events to occur immediately after the rapture and before the Marriage Supper of the Bride and the Bridegroom. The Bride has just arrived around the throne. The Heavenly participants are preparing for the actions of judgment against the wickedness of the enemies of God and for the cleansing of all evil that has defiled the Father's creation. Before judgment can occur, there must be worship, praise, and judicial preparation. The Judge of eternal holiness does not act until all His kingdom has celebrated.
God, the Father is on His throne. The sanctified bride of the First and Second Testament church (24 elders) are gathered from the grave and the world and are present around the throne in resurrection glory. This glorious company is clothed in white raiment (righteousness) and have on their heads crowns of gold. This is not a mixed multitude of "sinning saints," but a company of overcomers who have followed Jesus by way of the cross.
The angelic host are present, represented as four living creatures (beasts). There are apparently four orders of angels: archangels, cherubims, seraphims, and servant angels, and they are all present for this celebration.
Most importantly to this article is now seen the very essence of the awesome person of the omnipresent Spirit. His restraining powers and indescribable greatness is here seen as "seven lamps of fire burning before the Throne which are the seven Spirits of God." (Revelation 14:5b). Nowhere in the Bible but Revelation is the Holy Ghost pictured in this fashion. His ministry has always been to give all glory to God (First Testament) and the Lord Jesus Christ (Second Testament). With His greatest work of all eternity accomplished, He is now described in the glory of His divine person. He is truly one with the Father and with the Son.
The complete number of seven is used because it pictures the Spirit in His perfect work. There is no weakness or limitation. He is God the Holy Spirit and the breadth and length of His powers are revealed as seven lamps of fire. This not only suggests his omnipresence, but His omnipotence and omniscience. He is truly one with Almighty God. With His restraining powers now removed from the earth, Satan has a clear field to do His darkest deeds.
A World Without Restraint
When we speak of this world being without God we are not suggesting that God has forsaken it, but rather given it over for a very brief period for the final acts of evil and then His judgment. The Revelator John stated it clearly, "Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." (Revelation 12:12). Satan will have his last effort to show himself to humankind. It will be his last hooray. He will make the most of it.
The Book of Revelation reveals a little bit of the diabolical events that will follow. I do not believe it is possible to realize the extent of this horrible hour. The bowels of hell will be opened upon the earth. Dark demon spirits will ascend from the bottomless pit after fettering in their wickedness for centuries or millenniums.
"And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter." (Revelation 9:1-12).
What a picture! The bottomless pit is the darkest regions of Hell. It suggests that these demon spirits and/or condemned men have been judged and reserved in the deepest regions of judgment. They represent Hell's vilest inhabitants. Their fallen natures are corrupt to the worst degree.
This horde of wild creatures (beast in nature) will be turned loose on mankind. They cannot kill and the men and women tormented cannot die. Though men seek death, it will be out of their reach. These creatures are called locusts, but appear as horses prepared to battle. Notice that their hair is as the hair of women and their teeth as that of lions. Their king is called Agaddon in Hebrew, but Apollyn in Greek. He is clearly a unique angel of Lucifer and probably notorious in his evil nature. The second woe is even darker as the fury of hell gets stronger.
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
"And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts." (Revelation 9:13-21).
Please note that these 200,000,000 spirits descend out of the regions of Babylon and the Euphrates River. Their geographic location is where Nimrod built his tower of Babel and all pagan and evil religions had their beginnings. Satan turned Babylon into his unholy city just as the Father chose Jerusalem for the Holy City. These cities are the antithesis of each other. Jerusalem is protected and kept by an innumerable host of angels. Babylon is the dwelling place of the greatest and best of Satan's wicked spirits.
Now, they are unrestrained and turned loose on mankind. They are led by four generals from hell who have been restrained for centuries, maybe millenniums. Their anger is indescribable. They ultimately kill one-third of mankind. That's close to two billion souls (2,000,000,000). Their evil abilities are terrible. These awesome creatures have breastplates of fire, jacinth and brimstone (creatures of fire) and heads like horses and they were also as lions. Out of their mouth issues fire, smoke and brimstone.
The earth inhabitants by this time have become so evil that even this display of hell's destruction does not turn them back to the true God. They are shown to be so committed to the worship of Satan that nothing will change their mind. "And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great." (Revelation 16:20-21).
Evil continues to grow and spread during the entire seven years of Tribulation. Men become so animated in their wickedness that restraint is impossible. Remember, there is now no power to hold back wickedness. Even the conscience of men inspired by the Holy Spirit has been released of all sense of right or wrong. The world is void of the spiritual values that Biblical faith had previously created. The Holy Spirit did not describe the third woe, but simply said, "The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly." (Revelation 11:14).
One can only imagine the extent of this final expression of evil. Satan will finally be seen in all his naked and evil nature.
The Unholy Trinity
Nothing reveals the design of Satan more than his unholy trinity that develops in Revelation twelve and thirteen. After he is cast to the earth and begins his rampage, he then reveals his unholy messiah and false religion leader. They are clearly his version of the triune godhead.
He is determined to sit as God and rule the universe. His false messiah arrives as a beast out of the Great Sea (The Middle East) and immediately receives his power and authority from the dragon. A death and resurrection of this beast is simulated to represent Satan's version of a messianic sacrifice. (Revelation 13:3-4). The world literally receives this beastly character as the true Messianic promise and celebrate the coming of their Savior.
To aid in the final deception of all mankind there appears a second beast who is religious in nature and completes the unholy trinity. He has two horns like a lamb, but speaks as a dragon (Revelation 13:11-12). This is a picture of pious authority. The main purpose of this beast is to lead the world in worshipping the first beast (exactly as the Holy Spirit now leads us to worship Jesus Christ).
This unholy trinity is given to deception. "And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six." (Revelation 13:14-18).
The Restrainer Will Soon Be Gone
The most important conclusion of this article is to beg of you to prepare for this hour. The Holy Spirit is God restraining evil and wickedness. When He is removed to the throne our world will become a wilderness. You do not want to be here.
Your greatest need is to give your all to Jesus Christ. Confess every sin and rebellion against the Lord Jesus and His Holy Word. When you confess your sin or sins, He will forgive and cleanse you. Get into the Bible with great delight. Read and obey the Word.
Do not allow any influence in your life, but that of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Both the Word and the Holy Spirit will lead you to Jesus Christ that He might be all in all.
COVID-19 Big Brother Mass Surveillance Is Only Just Beginning - By Tyler Durden/Activist -
This week a technology startup called Unacast launched a new app called "Social Distancing Scoreboard," which tracks the GPS location of smartphones and grades geographical regions, such as a town, county, and or even a state, on how well residents in those areas are abiding by the government-enforced social distancing rules.
The app creates an index, ranked from A to F, for whether people are staying home or not.
Comparing the nation's mass movements between February 28 to March 23 - virus cases started to rise and local governments across the country began to implement "shelter in place" public health orders, which by mid-month, changes in the average mobility for Americans started to slope downwards.
As of March 23, the app ranked the US with a "C," detailing how many people in the US are ignoring calls by the federal and state governments to stay home amid community spreading.
As of March 23, the top five states where citizens were practicing the best social distancing were District of Columbia, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, and Alaska. The bottom five states were Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
On a state and county level, Maryland earned a "B" with much of its counties surrounding Washington, DC, and central counties receiving good marks on Monday as many stayed home. However, in Western Maryland, it was life as usual as many seemingly did not care about the virus crisis.
Unacast is just another example of how technology is being deployed as mass surveillance tools to combat the virus.
Several other examples of companies and governments extracting data from citizens for surveillance purposes to support quarantines have been though monitoring social media posts and facial recognition databases.
Ghost Data, a big data analysis firm, collected half a million Instagram posts in March, mainly from hard-hit virus regions in Italy that are in lockdown. The company was able to run facial recognition software on all images to identify people who were violating the country's quarantine orders.
Another technology company that has joined the effort to support big governments in their quest to enforce full lockdowns with high-tech tools is telecommunications firm Vodafone. The company is giving European governments heat maps of location data, to track mass gatherings.
The World Health Organization has widely supported the actions by governments to tap technology companies to unleash mass surveillance programs to fight the virus.
However, monitoring the populace through invasive technology tools will erode whatever freedoms people of the West have left and risk ushering in a more permanent dystopian surveillance system like China's.
Nearing Midnight: Freedom from Spirit of Fear - Terry James - https://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
Recently Mike Hile, my long-time friend and traveling companion, sent me a most important email. His thoughts (which I've not included here) and the material contained therein couldn't be more appropriate, even essential, for this present hour.
We are engaged in this nation in unprecedented crisis, according to many of the mainstream media and others. The coronavirus is also engendering unprecedented fear due to great fear-mongering.
Again, as I've written in several commentaries, this is to in no way diminish the potential detriment to the health and well-being of Americans and peoples around the world represented by this disease. However, the pandemic, as it has been designated, doesn't even come close to matching the great plague-like killers of past ages.
Nevertheless, I believe this president is leading the governmental agencies and the rest of us in a top-notch way. He is trying his best to tap down the tremendous fear that is raging.
As good as this president might be at offering calm and assurance that all will be okay in the foreseeable future, his efforts can't compare to the calming assurance offered by the Creator of all things, our Father in Heaven.
The Lord has, through His Holy Word, given us freedom from the spirit of fear, if we but, as Dr. Charles Stanley says beautifully, "Obey God, no matter what, and leave all the consequences to Him."
Another way of saying that, even better, is the way God Himself has put it:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Jesus, God's Son, who is the very Word (John chapter 1), tells us through the Apostle Paul:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
God wants His people-those born again (John chapter 3) through belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son-not to be fearful. He is in complete control at all times, including this time of crisis, be it real or contrived.
The following Scriptures that assure God's freedom from fear to those who will study and appropriate His Word as their model for living was compiled by Debbie McDaniel. Debbie is a writer, pastor's wife, and mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). She encourages you to join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/DebbieWebbMcDaniel , for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives.
Here is a list of thirty-three Scripture verses she found to assure us that we can live a life free of fear, even in fearful times.
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)
"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." (Psalm 56:3)
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
"Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid." (John 14:27)
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)
"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul." (Psalm 94:19)
"But now, this is what the Lord says... Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine." (Isaiah 43:1)
"An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up." (Proverbs 12:25)
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4)
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34)
"Humble yourselves, then, under God's mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time. Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you." (1 Peter 5:6-7)
"Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don't be afraid! God is coming to your rescue..." (Isaiah 35:4)
"Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?" (Luke 12:22-26)
"The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1)
"Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall." (Psalm 55:22)
"Immediately he spoke to them and said, 'Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.'" (Mark 6:50)
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)
"'For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,' declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel." (Isaiah 41:13-14)
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1)
"The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper." (Psalm 118:6-7)
"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe." (Proverbs 29:25)
"He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" (Mark 4:39-40)
"The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them." (Psalm 34:7)
"But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don't worry or be afraid of their threats." (1 Peter 3:14)
"I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears." (Psalm 34:4)
"Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you." (Deuteronomy 3:22)
"Then he placed his right hand on me and said: 'Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.'" (Revelation 1:17)
"Jesus told him, 'Don't be afraid; just believe.'" (Mark 5:36)
"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love." (Romans 8:38-39)
"The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy." (Zephaniah 3:17)
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."...He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you...For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways... "Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him." ( Psalm 91:1-16)
Be Assured, God is still on the throne and your prayers can change things.
7 Reasons Why the Pretribulation Rapture is a Biblical Necessity - Jonathan Brentner - https://www.jonathanbrentner.com
Are you crazy!? I realize some of you might think so after reading my title. How can I be so sure of something so hotly debated within the church? Most Christians either say we cannot know anything for sure about the Lord's return or they dismiss the rapture altogether.
In spite of all the growing dissension today within the church on this matter, I know Jesus is coming for all His saints, for us, before the start of the tribulation.
This is not something I would have said with such confidence ten years ago or perhaps even five years ago. But as my studying of the rapture over the past five decades has turned into a fulltime writing ministry (along with much continued study and reading), I am more than ever convinced of the solid biblical foundation for the pretribulation rapture.
I do not desire to start an argument though I know many will disagree with me; my purpose is simply to share what I see as an unshakable biblical foundation for the pretribulation rapture.
The pretribulation rapture is a biblical necessity because:
1. Premillennialism Is a Biblical Certainty
Premillennialism is absolutely foundational to a belief in the pretribulation rapture. Those who deny the reality of a literal millennium along with a restored Israel, the amillennialists, relegate the tribulation to allegory. If there is no literal tribulation, then determining the placement of the rapture becomes a moot point. That's why I place premillennialism first; it's an essential biblical doctrine. We can know beyond a doubt that Jesus' return to earth happens after a literal tribulation and he will reign in Jerusalem.
The biblical case for premillennialism is exceedingly strong as I demonstrated in my previous post, 7 Reasons Why Premillennialism is a Biblical Necessity. Premillennialism alone retains the original intent of the biblical prophets who wrote about the tribulation, the millennium, and a glorious future for Israel.
If you reject the tenets of premillennialism, you are welcome to keep reading. But please know I base my arguments on a literal tribulation and thousand year reign of Jesus in Jerusalem.
2. The Rapture Cannot Happen at the Same Time as the Second Coming
The descriptions of the rapture and second coming in Scripture contain many significant differences that cannot be reconciled into one event. They cannot happen at the same time.
For example, the resurrection of those who have died in Christ happens first in the event Paul described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-54. With the second coming, however, the resurrection does not occur until after a lengthy sequence of events (Rev. 19:11-20:4), perhaps not even the same day. A vast difference exists in the timing of the resurrection with the two events!
A comparison of rapture passages with those describing the second coming reveals several other substantial differences such as the place Jesus gathers His saints, the destination of the saints after Jesus' return, as well as the purpose for each. Furthermore, only the rapture includes the glorification of living believers. In the texts associated with the second coming, we find no indication whatsoever that Jesus transforms the bodies of those who survive the tribulation.
The Bible reveals the rapture as a unique event; its many differences with the second coming tell us it cannot happen at the same time. There must be a separation of time between the two.
3. Only the Rapture Fits with the New Testament Sense of Imminency
The sense of imminency in the New Testament regarding the appearing of Jesus further also distinguishes the rapture from the second coming. Because many events of the tribulation must occur before the second coming, it's impossible to regard it as imminent.
On the other hand, we see that the New Testament saints eagerly awaited the Lord's appearing as though it could happen at any moment. Philippians 3:20-21 and 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 are just two examples of several biblical texts portraying believers excitedly anticipating Jesus' appearing as though it could occur at any time.
This sense of imminency pushes the rapture to a time before the prophetic events of the tribulation. The second coming cannot be an imminent event because, for example, we know the antichrist will defile the temple three and a half years before Jesus' return to earth and the temple has not been rebuilt. Only the rapture fits as the imminent event of Jesus' appearing that we see throughout the New Testament.
4. The Rapture Must Happen Before the Day of the Lord Starts
In 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3, Paul tells his readers that the start of the day of the Lord will surprise people on the earth "like a thief in the night" with its sudden destruction from which "they will not escape."
At this point you might object saying that these verses refer to the onset of the day of the Lord, not the rapture and you would be correct. However, the sudden and shocking start to the day of the Lord tells us the rapture must occur before it begins.
Notice also Paul's promise in verse 9, "For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (v. 9). Through the apostle, the Lord promises that those of us in Christ and alive at the start of this day will not experience the wrath of the day of the Lord. Jesus will catch us up to paradise before the wrath, which in this context refers to the day of the Lord.
If this time of God's wrath were to begin at any time after the seal judgments of Revelation 6 commence, it would not catch anyone on earth by surprise. People will not be saying, "There is peace and security" (v. 3) after the widespread pestilence, famines, and wars of the seal judgments that will kill one-fourth of the earth's population.
For the day of the Lord to start in such a startling and unexpected manner, it must begin before the seal judgments that will claim the lives of well over a billion people. Those on the earth will not be saying "peace and security" once the seal judgments start, which will be make COVID-19 seem like a mild case of hay fever by comparison.
Since 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 confirms that believers will miss the wrath of this day, the rapture must occur sometime before the judgments recorded in Revelation 6 begin since they represent the day of the Lord wrath.
5. The Rapture Must Happen Before the Unveiling of the Antichrist to the World
In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8, the apostle Paul tells the panicked Thessalonian saints they could know the day of the Lord had not yet started because they were still on the earth. Why do I make such a startling statement?
The identity of the Restrainer tells us the church cannot be on earth when the antichrist steps to the forefront among the world's leaders. In his response to their fright caused by a message stating that the day of the Lord had already begun, Paul tells them this time of wrath cannot start until God removes the Restrainer who is holding back the unveiling of the antichrist (compare verse 3 with verses 6-8).
The Restrainer Paul writes about in these verse is the Holy Spirit. Since Satan will empower this lawless one, the Restrainer must possess divine power to prevent his appearing. While Bible commentators have suggested many other ideas in seeking to identify the Restrainer of 2 Thessalonians 2, the consensus opinion among premillennial scholars is that it must the Holy Spirit whose unique presence through the saints departs the earth with the rapture.
This necessitates that the rapture must occur before the tribulation, which begins with the antichrist's covenant with Israel (Dan. 9:27), since by that time believers would know his identity if still earthbound.
6. Jesus' Promise to the Church at Philadelphia
Jesus made this promise to the church in Philadelphia, "Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth" (Rev. 3:10).
Let's look more closely at the promise. The phrase "keep you from" conveys the sense of keeping someone out of something. Jesus says He will keep this church out of the coming "hour of trial" that will impact the entire world.
What is the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world?
First, it's something that will impact all those who dwell on the earth. This signifies something different persecution against believers since this trial includes everyone on earth, not just people of faith.
Second, nothing like this happened during the life of the church at Philadelphia or for that matter at any time since then. This must likely refers to the tribulation that John describes in Revelation 6-16.
Third, this is a time of testing specifically for "those who dwell on the earth." John uses the phrase referring to earth dwellers eight times later in the book of Revelation (6:10; 8:13; 11:10; 13:8 12, 14; 14:6; and 17:8). In each of these instances, the phrase refers to either people impacted by the tribulation or those refusing to repent of their sins during this time of great tribulation on the earth.
On the other hand, John never refers to the church as being on the earth during the tribulation.
The Lord's promise to the church at Philadelphia signifies that the church will miss "the trial" that will impact "those who dwell on the earth." The rapture must thus take place before the tribulation begins.
7. The Presence of the Church in Heaven in Revelation 4-5
The next piece of evidence pointing to a pretribulation rapture is the presence of the church in heaven before the start of the seal judgments recorded in Revelation 6. The 24 elders in chapters 4-5 represent the church, which reveals that the church will be in heaven before seal judgments commence.
"Is there a definitive case for identifying the 24 elders as the church?" you ask. Yes!
First, the 24 thrones upon which the elders sit signifies rule and authority (Rev. 4:4) Scripture never portrays angels as sitting on thrones or as ruling with Christ.
Second, in Scripture the word "elder" only applies to men, never of angels. The term implies an aging process that negates its identification with angels.
Third, the "white garments" (4:4) must refer to the dress of believers. John MacArthur in his commentary on Revelation 1-11 says, "Christ promised the believers at Sardis that they would 'be clothed in white garments' (3:5) . . . . White garments symbolize Christ's righteousness imputed to believers at salvation." The elders represent the church after the rapture!
Fourth, the words of the elders in Revelation 5:9 tell us they belong to the New Testament church. Notice the King James Version translation of this verse: "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (emphasis mine).
Why is this different from modern translations that make it less obvious the elders are referring to themselves as the redeemed? It's a matter of which Greek manuscript the translators follow.
Despite the fact that there is only one Greek manuscript of the book of Revelation that omits the word "us" from verse 9, modern translations read "you have ransomed people for God" rather than "Thou . . . hast redeemed us to God." They claim including the word "us" makes the grammar awkward in the verse despite the superior Greek manuscripts support for the King James translation.[i]
Furthermore, this goes against what I learned in seminary; my teacher said that the most awkward reading should be preferred since a scribe would be more likely to correct a difficult reading than change it to something less grammatically sound.
Who are the 24 elders of Revelation 4-5? They are those "redeemed" by the Savior's blood who later say "God has made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev. 5:10).
Who else can this be but the church in heaven with Jesus? And for this to be true, the rapture must happen before the judgments of Revelation 6; it must happen before the rapture.
I do not intend my above points to be exhaustive; I could have brought up other passages of Scripture and provided more arguments in support of a pretribulation rapture. The book I am seeking to get published goes into much more detail on these points; it adds much more biblical support for premillennialism and a pretribulation rapture than I can put into this short article.
I recently watched a movie, Before the Wrath, which shows how the Galilean wedding customs picture the rapture. This comparison alone makes an over-the-top compelling case for placing the rapture before the tribulation. I highly recommend this movie; you will not be disappointed!
I realize many will still disagree with me; however, I believe those of us who look for rapture before the tribulation rest our case on a solid biblical foundation of which my preceding points are just the start.
Jesus is coming for His church before the start of the day of the Lord; that is the promise of 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10. New Testament saints will not be on earth to witness the onset of this time of wrath upon the earth. This is Jesus' promise to us.
[i] Thomas Ice, Internet article: Revelation 5 and the Rapture.
Daily Jot: Be Encouraged in these prophetic times - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
As Christ said in Matthew 5:14-16, "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." You are that person! You have encouraged others. You have run errands on behalf of family, friends, neighbors. You have given a smile and assurance. You are an inspiration to others. You have been that lighted candle and even though the wind blows strong against you, your light remains a testimony to your Father in heaven. That is our lot in life during this pestilence.
When the disciples asked what shall be the sign of his coming and the end of the world, Christ responded in Matthew 24:4-8, "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and deceive many. And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows." The pestilence before us may or may not be part of this prophecy. Whether it is or not, you are a prophetic person with a prophetic mission in these times.
The next few days will be critical as to how this COVID-19 progresses or begins to regress. This is a time when we all need to be wise as a serpents and gentle as doves. Wisdom, in that we do not add to the problem. A source within the national healthcare system is saying that we are going to see the start of the peak of those that are COVID-19 positive, then there will be two weeks of calm and then two weeks where it will decrease. This person's advice is to not do what Italy did in neglecting this period and have it all come back even harder. This is the time when we are in the maximum state of infection and most vulnerable, she warns, so take care to stay home, stay away from people-be wise!!!!
Also during this time, be gentle as doves. What this means to me is encourage one another, not only to do the right thing (holding accountability), but also in love. Those who are fearful during these times need to know that they can make it, that someone cares about them, and that there is hope. This hope is not found in wild, extra-biblical, self-indulgent emotionalism, but rather in lovingkindness, prayerful reflection, and strength of character. The Holy Spirit in you is as Christ said-that he would send the Comforter-the Spirit of truth to guide us. Christ said the world would not know him or recognize him, but you know him. You have the answers that others are seeking right now. Be that testimony of your Father in heaven. Be encouraged in these prophetic times.
Daily Devotion: His Strength in Your Weakness - by Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. -2 Corinthians 12:9
I didn't have an easy childhood. I came from a home that was broken many, many times over. But I can look back on my past today and instead of moaning about it, I can say, "I went through that, and now I can comfort others." It has become a tool to help others.
I wouldn't want to go through that again, of course. Nor would I want anyone else to go through the same thing. But I'm thankful that God can take my past, that hardship, and use it for His glory today. He can do the same for you.
Maybe you're going through some hard times right now, and you're wondering why. God will use it. It's hard to believe now, but just remember that it won't last forever.
As 1 Peter 1:6-7 says, "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (NKJV). Trials don't last forever.
Keep moving. Don't give up. Don't abandon hope. You are going to get through that valley in your life. There will be an even greater mountaintop beyond it, with great lessons you have learned as God demonstrated His strength in your weakness.
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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