Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Until the Fullness of the Gentiles Be Come In - By pastor Mike Taylor -
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes." (Romans 11:25-28)
As the times, and the clouds of end of this Age grow and become dark and more ominous, people wonder if the Tribulation has already begun. Emails sent to me discuss the coming Tribulation and their views. With so many different variations of men's beliefs and interpretations, based on the curious minds of human beings that "want to know", as all variations can't be true, as there is only one truth. To understand the truth of God's Word and know why it is what we believe, and why we believe it, I have encouraged people to not believe any tradition, denomination, or their favorite preacher or evangelist in church or on TV's Christian based programs, but to believe their bible. It is a tendency for men to take a passage of scripture and try to line it up with current events, much like a newspaper reporter, and make a doctrinal thesis on that investigation. Now, I don't believe God has a problem with men being curious and investigating what God's Word means, as if they rely on the Holy Spirit to lead them, they will come to the knowledge of the Truth. He uses that time to make the belief of the Truth more solid within their spirit and in their minds.
So it has been as some question the following: "are we approaching the 6th seal judgment and 5 seals have already been opened?" They postulate that is it possible that with the wars, famine, pestilence of old diseases coming back and new ones being formed, and the mess the world is in today with this "Coronavirus", are those seal judgments being fulfilled right now as we speak? Are they? I look to the whole of God's Word, not just one passage to deny their premise. We are not in the middle of the tribulation and here is why.
Dispensationalism, God dealing with Israel and the Church Separately.
What I feel my brothers and sisters in Christ fail to recognize is that God is dealing with men as a plan of redemption by working with men in dispensations, called Dispensationalism. What is Dispensationalism? The short definition and you can find a full explanation in places such as Wikipedia or Google it, but Dispensationalism is an approach to biblical interpretation which states that God uses different means of working with people (Israel and the Church) during different periods of history, usually seven chronologically successive periods. However, dispensational division of history varies among its adherents from three periods, to four, seven, and even eight dispensations. For brevity, I'm going to cut that down a bit, as God has worked with two sets of people for nigh 4000 years, the nation of Israel and His body, His Bride, the True Church of the Living God..
From the Beginning...short version
From the time that God made Adam and Eve and their subsequent fall from grace, God has dealt with created mankind known as the Nations. Everyone knows the history from there to Noah, and beyond Noah and the flood until He called out a man called Abraham and made an everlasting covenant with him and his descendants. The nation of Israel was God's focus to be a Holy Nation, a kingdom of priest until the coming of their Messiah and a fulfillment of righteousness. But as men are imperfect, Israel transgressed God's law (given to Moses) and fell into idolatry, until God sent them into captivity to Babylon. There God made a promise to the prophet Daniel :
24 "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.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
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 9:24-26)
The ark angel, Gabriel, as a messenger of God came to Daniel and told him what the future would hold for the nation of Israel. From the time of their captivity, as Gabriel spoke, there would be 490 years that would bring Israel to behold their Messiah and the Kingdom Age offered, thus righteousness restored and the end of transgressions against God's law. This promise was given to Israel and no one else of humanity. History shows that exactly 483 years transpired when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a foal of a donkey and the people proclaimed Him their Messiah King crying "Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest."
Within just a few short days, Jesus would be falsely charged with religious crimes, tried in a kangaroo court, and sentenced to death on a cross. At that moment when Jesus died that clock of that dispensation, the Age of the Law, stopped. After His resurrection, Jesus would be with them 40 days and tell them to tarry in Jerusalem until the Comforter would come, God's Holy Spirit. The Feast of Pentecost, 10 days later, is when the Church was born, and God's focus turned to building His church, to take a people who were not His people of the nations, the Gentiles and a few believing Jews, and build the Body of Christ. He has been doing that now, for near 2000 years. Thus was the beginning of the Age of Grace found in Jesus. But in the Age of Grace that we are in is fast approaching completion, God still has made a promise to Israel for a complete 70 weeks, or 490 years to complete and make an end to transgressions. God does not change and He does not go back on His Word.
WHEN THE RAPTURE?
As we approach the coming end of the Age of Grace, and the Tribulation draws closer to beginning, the matter of God focusing on His church will abruptly stop and His Bride will be removed. That will leave the final seven years promised to Israel to be carried out. Understand one thing, my reader, God has never focused on Israel and the Church at the same time. When His work is complete and that last soul is safely aboard the ark of salvation, known as Jesus Christ, that ark will leave port of this earth, and we will forever be with the Lord Jesus....Then and only then, will God turn His focus back to Israel. To include the church in the first half, or any part of the first 3.5 years is to change the way God has been dealing with the redemption of mankind in dispensations and is not what God promised to Israel. Further understand, that the coming Tribulation is designed for 2 things, and 2 things only and that is God will refine Israel as silver is refined in the furnace until purified, and to destroy completely, all rebellion against His Holy Name and His Son, Jesus Christ.
2 "But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years."(Malachi 3:2-4)
God has previously worked with Israel solely, or with the church exclusively, but NEVER at the same time. When the first seal is broken in Chapter 6 of Revelation, God the Son begins to open the title deed to what He has bought with His own precious blood, redemption of the earth and His creation of mankind. Some try to state that the first 5 seals are the wrath of man and Satan, and the that God's Wrath does not start until the 6th seal. But notice that it is God that is causing these events to come to pass by each seal He opens. It is not man or Satan who is causing these events, but Jesus, the Son of God Himself. It is the beginning of His righteous wrath upon a rebellious human kind against His laws, and against His only payment for that rebellion, Jesus Christ. It is a time of famine and wars that God will use men to enact His righteous judgment, just like He used Assyria and Babylon to bring judgment on Israel when they were driven into exile. The doctrine is completely pre-tribulation in it's view and the ONLY one that makes sense, as we will see as we go along.
ISRAEL AND THE COMING TRIBULATION
Of all the books of the Bible, Revelation gives the Christian the most problems with it's symbols, word pictures, and prophetic messages of the time we are fast approaching. One must divide the books into two distinct populations. I believe that God is speaking of the Church at the beginning of the book, and then makes a dramatic shift of focus to the rebellious Gentile nations and the nation of Israel. I see a common thread that flows through the whole of Revelation and that is God putting down all rebellion during this period of 7 years and the refining of Israel and making her ready to accept her Messiah, at long last.
After chapter 4, the churches and those redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ during the Age of Grace, are not mentioned again till chapter 19, not one time. Suddenly, the focus is turned to judgment of a world devoid of God and violating willfully His commandments. Then in chapter 7, God by His Holy Spirit reveals to John the main characters of this book. Let us take a look at a common thread that follows in the coming chapters that point to only one set of people....the nation of Israel or God's elect.
144,000 EVANGELIST ORDAINED BY GOD
In chapter 7, God names the tribes of Israel that are symbolically 12,000 coming from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. In the bible, numbers are used as signs of perfection. Three is the sign of Divine perfection, seven is spiritual perfection, ten is the sign of ordinal perfection, and the number 12 is the sign of government perfection and is used throughout the bible as that sign of perfection. The number 144,000 from 12 tribes is 12x12 or 144 and thousand is given as a great number. Will it be just 144,000 when Israel and the scattered Jewish people amount to approximately 13 million people? I think that the symbolism points to Israel a nation as a whole. This symbolism is carried out numerous times within your bible, to emphasize that the focus of this book is on Israel. Apart from Israel, the rest of the nations are in divine judgment and we read horrific descriptions of the devastation brought on by this Divine wrath. Notice in the latter parts of chapter 7, we see a vast number of saints innumerable standing before the throne of God.
9 "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."(Revelation 7:9-17)
John is introduced to the nation of Israel and the evangelist that were being sealed with the seal of God, 12,000 from each of the twelves tribes. He then sees a great multitude that are standing in white robes and "palm fronds" in their hands. They speak different languages and come from all portions of the earth. These are the martyred saints of God from all the people of Israel or of Jewish birth that have believed in their Messiah through these seven terrible years, called the Tribulation. As I have identified in past sermons, palms fronds in the hands of these saints are a sign noted of Israel exclusively. Not the church, but saints of God or Tribulation saints, nonetheless.
But also notice that they will serve in the Temple of God, night and day, and He that sits on the throne shall dwell among them. They are not kings and priests unto God as noted in chapter 4 and the 24 elders pictured as the glorified Church saints are, but are to serve God in His temple unlike what John then writes in chapter 5 about the church saints ruling and reigning on the earth,
5:9 "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;
5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth."(Revelation 5:9-10)
Notice the difference?
But let's us jump to Revelation, chapter 14, where this same group of people are examined again and John describes them.
14:1 "And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.
14:2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth."(Revelation 14:1-3)
Only these people can sing this song. They are the tribulation saints, the elect of God or the nation of Israel who have embraced their Messiah at long last and have died for that belief, much like the 12 apostles before them. They died preaching the Gospel to all who would listen. The church cannot sing this song, as we are not Israel. We are not of the 144,000 saints as a symbol of the martyred nation of Israel. Some will say, in error I might add, that we are Israel. That is Replacement Theology and Israel has never been cast away. God has not replaced Israel, just set them aside, as noted in the opening verses of this message, till this time in history to turn His attention to them solely, as the church has been completed. God has promised that He would save ALL of Israel, not losing one!
As the Apostle Paul wrote in Hebrews:
15 "Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."(Hebrews 10:15-17)
Again in Romans a sole promise to Israel,
25 "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sake: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sake."(Romans 11:25-28) (the promise God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.)
Returning to Revelation:
4 "These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.
5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God."(Revelation 14:4-5)
Some say, ahah, see? It says being first fruits to God and to the Lamb. It can't mean that we arrived prior to them, as they came as first fruits. What they fail to understand, is that I believe and there is good evidence to support this, that God works in what I proposed at the beginning of this message, in dispensations. The church age has ended 7 years before. This is the time of Jacob's trouble and God turning His focus on Israel, as the time of the Gentiles has ended...We are the Gentiles that have been saved out of the earth. We are a people that were not His people, but because of Israel's unbelief and rejection of their Messiah, the Kingdom was given to another. We are the people of the Kingdom of God, or the children of the living God.....,
42 "Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof."(Matthew 21:42-43)
Paul makes a startling statement by the power of the Holy Spirit in Romans,
24 "Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
25 As he saith also in Osee, (Hosea), I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God."(Romans 9:24-26)
We are the first fruits at the coming of the Lord for the Gentile Age, or the age of the Church, a dispensation also called the Age of Grace. When these who stand on Mt. Sion are considered first fruits of the Trials of Jacob, also known as Jacob's troubles and will be called Tribulation Saints during the end of the Age of the Law. This is re-emphasized in chapter 15 in the following:
2 "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."(Revelation 15:2-3)
Now this is not to say that some besides only Jewish people will heed the call of the 144,000 evangelist, but the likelihood of that fact grows smaller and less likely, as the focus is on Israel, not on the Gentile nations. God will save many left behind Gentiles, but this time is not His focus...it is Israel and the extinguishing of all rebellion on this earth and to reclaim His creation. Both Jew and Gentile will be saved out of this period of the Age of the Law, but many will die a martyrs death.
THE CHURCH RETURNS WITH OUR LORD IN VICTORY
As we progress into the prophecy and the events that will destroy upwards of 80% of all mankind by divine wrath, we come near to the end of God's judgment and John's vision of the marriage supper of the Lamb and the revealing of the bride of Christ. Until this time, the church and it's saints have not been mentioned, not one time since beginning chapter 6. Here John writes so of the bride by these words:
7 "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God."(Revelation 19:7-9)
Then at the culmination of the great feast in Heaven, where the bride is presented in linen white and clean, one final judgment is still in need of fulfillment. We, His chosen bride, the saints of the most High, come back to earth with our Husband, our King, our God which comes in full war cry and as a roaring Lion to avenge the earth for treatment of His people and to squash completely the rebellion on this earth.
11 "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."
Almighty God, our Savior and King, will make short work of rebellion on this earth of the final battle called Armageddon. Why is His vesture dipped in blood? It is not His blood, but the blood of those He has slain in divine wrath and beaten down in the wine press of His righteous wrath for the last 7 years is what I believe. Here He will finish the slaying of unrepentant, lawless mankind till blood rises to the bridles of the horses they ride in a valley that is 200 miles long by 30 miles wide. This is His final coming to rule and reign with a rod of iron. He will rescue His people Israel that have endured to the end.
19 "And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs."(Revelation 14:19-20)
Thus ends the Wrath of God when Jesus takes total control of this earth, and sets up His Millennial Kingdom to last for the next 1000 years, and a Sabbath rest imposed for Satan and his evil and a rest for the earth.
Then all of Israel will be reconciled unto their King and Lord, Savior and Almighty God.
21 "And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.
23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
28 And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore." (Ezekiel 37:21-28)
TRIBULATION LOOMS ON THE HORIZON
Tribulation for Israel has ended. Jesus made a promise to Israel to loose not one, but save them all. If you are reading this, can you say the same? If you be Gentile, meaning not of Jewish heritage or birth, have you the same promise? No, you do not. The end of a dispensation of the church comes quickly. Tribulation is at our doorsteps. Jesus is right now still at the door knocking waiting for those who hear to open the door to His call. When that final call comes out, and He proclaims, "Come up here", then time for the church will have stopped as we have entered eternity. Won't you join us? When Tribulation comes in earnest that makes these hard times pale in comparison, then hope of an eternal reward in Heaven to be with our Lord and Savior becomes less and less likely. I want to repeat this fact. Tribulation is designed to do two things, and two things only. That is to purify Israel to prepare them for their coming Messiah, and to destroy all aspects of lawlessness and rebellion of a sinful Gentile nation. Tribulation is coming, and the times are dark, but the coming time is a time beyond any of our imaginations when God said that with His full wrath unleashed, that if it were not stopped, NO MAN would survive, but for the elect, it will be stopped short of total annihilation. The Church is NOT part of this wrath.
9 "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." (1st Thessalonians 5:9-11)
Or when Jesus spoke:
36 "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." (Luke chapter 21:36)
10 "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." (Revelation 3:10)
9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (1st Corinthians 2:9)
Will you be in that number, the ones destroyed for eternity and thrown into a Lake of Fire burning with brimstone and sulfur? Don't let that happen. Make that decision for Jesus Christ to come into your life right now. Pray the Holy Spirit to guide you into believing on the Name that is above every name, Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. The Tribulation hour is coming, as the salvation clock is seconds before Midnight and the end of the age, the Age of Grace will end. Wrath is coming.
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.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:8-13)
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying God's salvation come into you life today. If there be any need for prayer, counseling or just a listening ear, email me today at email@example.com . God bless you all, till we meet at Jesus Feet.
From Global Government To Global Tax - A New World Order Is Upon Us - By PNW Staff -
Last week it was former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown who called on world leaders to form a "temporary" global government in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The ex Labor prime minister stressed the need for a task force comprised of world leaders, health experts as well as leaders of the international organizations that could have executive powers to execute the response.
Brown would like to see the G20 lead this charge in co-operation with the UN Security Council while giving more resources and power to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
This week it was the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, asking nations to contribute at least 10 percent of their annual income of the entire world to fund a "stimulus package" that would be administered at an international level.
If countries were to accept the plan, the United Nations or some similar coordinating agency would be given the equivalent of approximately 8.7 trillion USD, an unprecedented amount that would be 2,900 times greater than the UN's annual budget of 3 billion USD.
The proposed plan would effectively place a global agency, presumably the UN itself, in charge of propping up the economies of the world during the coronavirus crisis, placing it in charge of 10% of global income.
While neither the call for global government or acceptance of a global tax is likely to get much traction at this point in time... that could change one day. The fact that such measures are being called for openly by people in high places is of significance and is setting a precedent for future conversations on these issues.
There are many global changes that are going to come about for years to come as a result of this pandemic. While it is too early to tell what it might look like, there will no doubt be a push at the global level to prepare ourselves for such a crisis in the future. A global response to global problems will be the battle cry as many will push for global unity so no individual country can risk infecting another.
Scripture alludes to the political future of our world in which a one world leader (Antichrist) rules over a system of global government and enforces his rule with a "mark" that is required to buy or sell. While many Bible commentators have rightly pointed out the economic factor in this mark of allegiance, is it possible there will also be a health component to this "mark" that approves you to publicly conduct commerce?
Vaccinations have already been a hot topic, especially at schools where many students are now not allowed to attend unless they have been vaccinated. Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest men in the world, is already leading the charge to fund the construction of factories that will be looking for a vaccine for this new virus and has suggested "larger public gatherings may not resume until broad vaccination has taken place."
Gates has also previously indicated his support for the ID2020 Alliance whose goals include giving everyone a digital ID while using vaccinations as a platform to collect that biometric data.
Last year the ID2020 Alliance launched a new digital identity program at its annual summit in New York, in collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh and Vaccine Alliance Gavi. Bangladesh is serving as a test model for future use in other countries.
The digital identity is a computerized record of who a person is, stored in a registry. It is used, in this case, to keep track of who has received vaccination but there is no reason it could not be used for multiple other functions.
Biometric data, ID technology, health ratings/vaccination records, and digital commerce are all merging and advancing to the next level. While we don't ultimately know what final form the "Mark of the Beast" described in the Book of Revelation will take - these trends cannot be ignored.
Only to Steal, Kill, and Destroy - By Gene Lawley -
That title is the description for the scenario of all that is going on in our world today, especially here in America. The sense of that may be more prevalent because we live right with it and are not looking at the trends of social and cultural changes from afar off. Nevertheless, the whole world is pointing to a climax totally unexpected.
Only in the Holy Scriptures can one find the prospects of our future, and for those who are not aligned rightly with God...it is not a pleasing sight.
The title of this article comes from John 10:10, which says, "The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I [Jesus] am come that they may have life and have it more abundantly." The thief is the devil, and he is purposely attempting to destroy the human race in an affront to the God of the universe. The warfare has run since well before time began, even in the leader of all of the holy angels which God had created. He only wanted more power, to be like God, even to replace Him on His throne. Having been denied that privilege, he has been, for centuries, attempting to deny God the glory that is meant for Him.
Look at the story of Job, the oldest account in the Bible, perhaps nineteen hundred years before the coming of Christ. He told God that Job would deny Him if he were given freedom to do what he wanted with Job. And God replied, "Take him, then, but spare his life." You can find this in the first two chapters of the book of Job. Job was not consulted on this arrangement; however, in the end, he proved faithful to God and frustrated the plan of the devil.
How is this repeating itself, and more, in these last days of the ages?
The whole arena of facets of the sexual revolution are clearly in line with the devil's desire to corrupt God's highest creation, that one creation that was in His own image, and shame God before the universe with what that greatest creation had become. The absolute confusion this sexual revolution has developed into is totally astounding. There seems to be no end to the changes to what society is expected to make in order to pacify the demands of the perverted element among the population. They demand tolerance toward themselves, yet at the same time are intolerant of "straight" people.
In the education systems of our nation reside much of the promotion of the sexual revolution. That is where the youngest, the innocent and most vulnerable victims are targeted. It seems that school boards and local governmental bodies are toppling like a row of dominoes, bowing to the wishes of the LBGTQ crowd, lest they be charged with intolerance and discrimination. It is a fearful sight.
Two times in past history are specially marked by Jesus as significant instances that picture how things will be at the time of His coming in that special redeeming of His own born-again believers, the time called the rapture, the snatching away of those who have trusted Him. It is in Luke 17:26-30, in respect to the comparison of events in those days and localities and in the whole world with that of today's world:
"And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed."
Noah and Lot were not taken away to judgment, for judgment happened to those left behind on the earth; and thus, as it was then, so it will be when Jesus comes to meet His own in the air.
As we see our society and culture going from bad to worse, this Scripture causes me to wonder how far the degradation will go. Does the measure of sinfulness have to come to full saturation, as it was in the days of Noah and of Lot, while at the same time the activities of people will continue just as before? In those days of Noah, the whole world was sinful to its core, for Genesis 6:5 tells us so:
"Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
And then Jesus enlarges that observation in the Luke passage to show how the people were living their daily lives while in such degradation.
It reminds one of the activities of the Israeli people when Moses was with the Lord on Mount Sinai for forty days, receiving the tablets of the law. They appealed to Aaron to make a god for them to worship, and he responded with a golden calf that just "appeared out of the fire." When Moses came down to them, they had worshipped the golden calf, then rose up to eat and drink and play. It is a picture of total loss of a sense of responsibility for moral conduct.
Further in the Luke passage, Jesus identifies the condition of the citizens of Sodom where Lot remained in the midst of a total saturation in moral degradation. Genesis 19:4-5 tells of their condition:
"Now before they lay down [to sleep], the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally."
It is not difficult to see the conditions in our culture today. The sexual revolution and gender manipulation frenzy are totally fixated on sexual activities. A man, born genetically as a male individual, wants to think of himself as a woman, or a woman, so also born, has the parallel mindset, can never be what they think. Their DNA will always identify them as a man or a woman, from birth to death. They will have lived their lives as a total lie.
Some may claim it is impossible to be "straight" if God has set them up to be "gay." That is why "the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10b), for one knowing who Jesus really is would realize He would not condone or "ordain" anyone to a live of moral degradation and sinfulness. Hebrews 4:15 tells us that "We do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with our infirmities but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin."
And the Apostle Paul declared his constant struggle with the evils of this world-in his old nature. In Romans 7:24-25 he writes this and tells us how his determination turned his will to submission to the Lord and not the flesh:
"O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God-through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I, myself, will serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin."
How clearly the Apostle identifies the constant warfare within the believer between the spirit of the new-born believer and that Adam-defiled body that is doomed for the grave to return to the dust from which it was made! Paul says, "with my mind-the place of the will-I, myself, will serve the law of God." He identifies his real person, "myself," as the one who will submit to the law of God. That old man troubling him is already dead, essentially.
He writes of this fact and how a believer needs to respond to it in Romans 6:11 and 14:
"Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord...for sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace."
In the days of Noah, the whole world was declared fully saturated with sin and rebellion, but in Lot's day, it was just one locality, Sodom and Gomorrah, that were totally destroyed under God's judgment. Could it happen again? As a matter of fact, it has happened again, perhaps not for the same reason, but possibly so. Early one morning in AD 79, the citizens of Pompeii, Italy, and nearby communities were totally inundated with ash and other debris from the nearby eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, an ancient volcano. It was finished in 48 hours.
What further research might reveal remains to be seen, but we do know that the justness of the Creator does not deal harshly with those who are even the least turned toward righteousness. Peter writes of Lot that he was a righteous man, yet his life does not give us encouragement in that direction.
It is true, however, that God does honor the smallest flicker of positive response to His offer of forgiveness. In Isaiah 42:3 and again in Matthew 12:20, Jesus says He will not "break a bruised reed nor quench a smoking flax till He sends forth justice to victory." What this says to me, and I trust also to the reader, is that He does not demean or diminish the least flicker of faith that shows up in a person. That is the case with Lot; his righteousness is not readily visible, yet God knew his heart, and so does He know ours. At the end it is not the measure of our faith that makes the difference, for the Scriptures say, "If we believe not, yet He abides faithful, for He cannot deny Himself" (2 Timothy 2:13).
Finally, in the incessant drive to maintain and even increase abortions for any reason, or no reason, we can see the handiwork of Satan who seeks in all things to "only steal, kill, and destroy" everything which shows the hand of God in creation and was declared "good" when He finished it.
The future of mankind has two facets. In Romans 8:28 it says, "All things work together for good to those who love God and who are the called according to His purpose." For those "who love God," it will be great, but for those who do not love God, it will be total doom and disaster.
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Reconciled by the Blood of Jesus - Nathele Graham -
"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." Hebrews 9:11-12.
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Genesis 1:1. In a few short words, God tells us that He created everything. No evolution, no aliens leaving crumbs from a picnic. The word "created" comes from two Hebrew words, "bara'" and "'eth". When used together, these words take all doubt away as to the fact that it was God who created, not an accident of evolution. It's hard to wrap our human minds around the fact that at one time nothing existed but God. No sun, moon, or stars. No trees, flowers, or animals. Certainly there were no people. Then God spoke. "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." Genesis 1:3. The creation of light was just the first day. For five more days God was busy speaking everything into existence. He separated light from darkness, then made the firmament, which He called Heaven, and divided the waters above it and below. That was the second day. On the third day, God gathered together the waters under Heaven and dry land appeared. Then it was time to create life in the form of grass, herbs, and trees. The fourth day was when God created the sun, moon, and stars to be signs for seasons, days, and years. On the fifth day He made the sea creatures and birds. The beauty of creation kept getting more and more spectacular. On the sixth day He made the land animals. He made the cattle, the rabbits, the elephants, and everything that lives on land. Then He created man. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Genesis 1:27. Creation was done and on the seventh day God rested. "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day." Genesis 1:31. It must have been breathtaking. Verses in the New Testament tell us that it was Jesus, God the Son, who spoke everything into existence. Of course, this all happened prior to Adam's sin. We only know the world as it is after Adam's sin, so we miss much of the perfection of creation. That sin separated Adam and Eve from God, and every generation since then has suffered from that separation. There had to be reconciliation, and God had a plan.
How was that reconciliation to come about? When Adam sinned, God taught him about blood sacrifice. "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them." Genesis 3:21. Blood was shed from an animal and its skin made coats for Adam and Eve. The skin covered the sinners, but the sin wasn't taken away. Many years would pass before God's plan was fulfilled. It would be revealed to people slowly, but the ultimate reconciliation would be perfect reconciliation. First God called Abraham in order to separate a special group of people from others. Even though idol worship was everywhere, Abraham came away from that way of life and placed his trust in God Almighty. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and through many generations, people looked forward to the perfect fulfillment of God's plan. Even Job looked forward to that perfect solution to sin. "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me." Job 19:25-27. Job looked forward to his salvation. Because of his faith he will surely see His redeemer in the latter day.
God had made it clear that animal blood was to be shed as a sacrifice for sin. It was a covering over the sin, not the perfect sin offering to take sin away. "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." Hebrews 9:22. Seeing blood can turn a person's stomach, but that is only a small picture of the stomach-turning ugliness of even the smallest sin. The blood of animals is just that, animal blood. It cannot bring salvation to humans, yet God doesn't require human blood to be shed for any reason. How, then, did He plan to take sin completely away? "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." John 3:16. Jesus Christ is God and He created everything. He entered His creation and was fully human and fully God. This is another concept that's difficult to understand by human terms, but must be understood in order to grasp what God actually did. You see, in order to redeem us from our sin, the blood which was shed had to be human and untainted by sin. Mary was a young woman who was a virgin. She wasn't a goddess or anything except a normal human. An angel appeared to her and said she would bear a child. Confused, Mary asked how that would be accomplished since she was a virgin. "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Luke 1:35. In this way, the baby which was conceived would be fully human, because Mary was human, and fully God because the Father was God. Therefore, Jesus was able to shed His own blood, untainted by sin, to redeem humans because He was born to a human.
God's plan to redeem mankind was for Him to be our Sacrificial Lamb. He was born in a manger in Bethlehem for that very purpose. He led a small band of men, who learned from Him and saw miracles. They documented what they saw and we have their accounts in Scripture. They knew He was God incarnate, and they came to understand what that meant to humanity. "For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." Colossians 1:19-20. The blood of the cross, the blood Jesus shed, brought reconciliation. John the Baptist had proclaimed Jesus to be the Lamb of God, but the full meaning of his statement wasn't made clear until Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be crucified. He was beaten to a bloody pulp, then nails were driven into his hands and feet. His blood ran down and His body was drained of human life. Only His love for you and me held Him there. The nails were man's way of shedding blood, but it was within Jesus' power to step down from that cross at any time. Love kept Him there. He was sinless but took upon Himself the sin of all humans. At that moment, for the first time ever, He felt separation from God the Father which is caused by sin. That separation brought anguish to Him. His cry echoes down through the ages. "And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Mark 15:34. Can you feel His pain...feel His emptiness? Humans have always felt the separation from God. We are born with sin within us, and we're somewhat numb to it. This was the first time that Jesus felt the separation. Then, it was over. The means of reconciliation was accomplished. "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head and gave up the ghost." John 19:30. His blood was shed and the only means of reconciliation was accomplished. His body was removed from the cross and placed in a tomb. His friend's grief was deep. All they had hoped for had died on the cross. Unbeknownst to them, God's greater plan was accomplished. Redemption.
Before Jesus shed His blood for our redemption, the Jewish High Priest would sprinkle the blood of a sacrificed animal upon the Mercy Seat. That yearly ritual only foreshadowed what Christ accomplished for eternity. "But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation." Hebrews 9:7-10. The Jewish priests were sinners just like anyone else. Nothing they did could take sin away. The same is true of priests today. From the Pope to the lowliest priest, they are merely human and therefore sinners. Nothing they do can ever take your sin away. Only the blood of Jesus can make you clean. "For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Hebrews 9:13-14. It wasn't the blood of animals that Jesus sprinkle, but His own blood. It wasn't a tabernacle on earth where He sprinkled it, but the true tabernacle in Heaven. "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" Hebrews 9:24. We are only fully reconciled to God by the blood of Jesus.
God did all He could. He entered His creation and shed His own blood for our redemption. His free gift of eternal life is offered, but if you don't accept it then you choose eternal death. Every person has to make the decision for themselves. Many people believe that infant baptism brings salvation. If they were baptized as a baby but never make the confession of faith for themselves, they haven't accepted God's gift for themselves. Baptism doesn't bring salvation, only individual faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ will bring eternal life. Baptism is obedience. "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." Romans 10:9. A baby cannot confess with his mouth, nor can he believe in his heart. If you've never made that confession for yourself, do it now.
You may celebrate Easter by hunting eggs and eating chocolate bunnies, but that isn't why Christ died. He didn't stay in the grave, but arose on the third day. "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" 1 Corinthians 15:55. Rather than celebrating Easter, celebrate the Living Christ. Celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord.
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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Daily Jot: Doers of the word are saving lives during COVID-19 - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Against the backdrop of Democrats, the news media, and Hollywood entertainers adding nothing to improve the COVID-19 situation in America or abroad, The Daily Jot and our ministry partners led by Pastor William Agbeti are hard at work buying and distributing foodstuffs to underserved and impoverished families in Ghana, West Africa. The country has done a good job containing the deadly virus to date, but the extreme measures of enforcing a lockdown of the major cities has had an extraordinary impact on those dependent on the food that comes from the daily markets in those cities and small villages under lockdown. Pastor Agbeti has been receiving distress calls from families desperately in need of food.
Pastor Agbeti reports: "Our second distribution of critical help for another set of 57 distressed families (over 200 fathers, mothers, and children) impacted by COVID-19 kicked off today, and continues tomorrow, God willing. Armed with an official pass, I set off on my watch to the epicenter of the COVID-19 lockdown zone in Accra. I first dropped off three Physician Assistants who have been called by the Ministry of Health for short training and deployment. After, I visited four families to deliver little amounts of financial assistance to enable them purchase food items on their own, for at least one week. The whole exercise took some four hours in between, including travel time.
"Even though I felt like a big shot, being waved to pass at various check points manned by heavily armed military personnel, I did not let that fool me. After serving the last family, I quickly headed straight home, still observing all protocols with a mask on, and hand sanitizer in the vehicle. Meanwhile, I had two other teams elsewhere in other zones, also putting their lives on the line to serve distressed families and the country. These keep sending me live reports directly from the field by WhatsApp. I'm deeply humbled by the selflessness, dedication to duty and the love of God by those out there helping out, who include three of my own children. Please continue to pray for us all."
Instead of pointing fingers, playing politics and criticizing others for the current situation, Pastor Agbeti and his team of courageous volunteers, are boots on the ground, doing the work of the Lord by providing food for the most needy affected by this pandemic. They are doing what they can with a smile on their face and a song in their heart. They couldn't do it without you. Your support powers the engine of food distribution to areas unreached by the government or other organizations. This is real James 1:22 effort: "But be you doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." No deception here. Your support and prayers are saving lives on the front lines of this pandemic. You and the Ghana team are truly doers of the word! It's an honor to report to you and to serve them. Thank you.
Daily Devotion: Proof of God's Love - by Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? -Romans 8:32
A woman needed to make a run to her local pet store, where she noticed a parrot on his perch just inside the door. The parrot took one look at the woman and said, "You are the ugliest woman I've ever seen."
"What did you say to me?" the woman asked in disbelief.
"You heard me," the parrot told her. "You are the ugliest woman I've ever seen."
Shocked and offended, she demanded to see the store's owner. When he walked out from the back room, she told him what the parrot said.
"Ma'am, I am so sorry," the embarrassed owner told her. "Let me deal with this parrot." He walked over to the parrot, took him down from his perch, and carried him to the back room. A short time later the two emerged, and the owner returned a quiet parrot to his perch.
Feeling vindicated for the insult she suffered, the woman glanced over at the parrot as she walked toward the door.
"Hey, you!" the parrot called out to her.
"You know," the parrot said.
There are certain things in life that we just know. Whenever I'm tempted to doubt the love of God, I need to take a long look at the cross and remember that Jesus demonstrated His love for me by dying there in my place.
The apostle Paul said, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32 NKJV).
Whatever is going on in our lives, whatever we may see in the news, we can know as Christians that "all things work together for good to those who love God" (Romans 8:28 NKJV). How do we know it? Because God has shown His love toward us by sending His Son, Jesus.
FROM THE HEART
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