Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
When the Rapture? - Pastor Mike Taylor -
50 "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 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.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1st Corinthians 15:50-55)
In the letter to the church at Corinth, Paul speaks of a "mystery". This is not to be confused with a detective thriller or a murder mystery, as the word "mystery" comes from the Greek word "Musterion" which literally means "secret or a hidden thing". Many in our modern era think of a mystery like Sherlock Holmes, or Agatha Christie, but this it not what Paul is referring to.
Paul's use of the word "mystery" is defining a much hidden doctrine which describes the "rapture" or the Harpazo of the church, which literally means to "remove by force from one place to another". This was a truth that had yet, not been revealed.
You cannot claim it with the Day of the Lord, as the doctrine of the return of Christ to reign and rule and had been thoroughly written about in the Old Testament and it was very much one of the oldest prophecies that was recorded in scripture. Just to name a few recorded in Daniel:
"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." (Daniel 12:1-3)
And the prophet Zechariah spoke of the same subject in chapter 12 of the book:
8 In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.
9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." (Zechariah 12:8-10) and again in chapter 14 of the same book:
4 "And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south." (Zechariah 14:4)
This is but two of the prophets that proclaim the "Day of the Lord" not to forget Amos and Joel, and near every Old Testament prophet from Isaiah to Malachi have something to say of the "Day of the Lord" so no, it was not a mystery to anyone who had read the Old Testament from the Torah into the major and minor prophets as they all made reference to the "coming of the Lord".
Besides the Apostle Paul, Jude the brother of Jesus made reference to Enoch who Jude proclaims him, the "seventh from Adam" who prophesied the same event noted in the Old Testament, that the coming of the Lord will come with "TEN THOUSANDS" of His saints.........
14 "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
This is the same picture that John gives us in the 19th Chapter of Revelation that closes out this book of the Apocalype and describes it even further...
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.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords." (Revelation 19:11-16)
The Apostle Paul cannot be referring to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, as that was dealt with in many books of your Bible, Old and New Testament.
So what is this "mystery" that Paul speaks of? Paul is speaking of a "hidden thing" that God had not made known to men before Paul. Where did Paul come to knowledge of this mystery he speaks of?
Remember after Paul received his sight from Ananias and laying his hands on him . Immediately, Paul went into the wilderness. I believe that was most likely the Arabian desert and stayed their for 3 years before he even revealed himself to the other apostles and began preaching in the synagogues throughout Israel. I believe this is where Paul received his "revelation" of the mystery of the rapture of the church and it came directly from the "Master" Himself, Jesus Christ, who revealed things to him that were not lawful for men to hear.
2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." (2nd Corinthians 12:2-4)
This is where Paul was "schooled" in the things of God that had not previously been revealed. It is where Paul introduced "faith through Grace" of our Lord God, and a "mystery" of the rapture of the church. Previously, even Jesus came and preached the Kingdom of God, but until Paul was given the visions or an eye witness to things that had been unrevealed to other apostles. Paul spoke of these two mysteries that had never been approached by any other Biblical writer in the Old or the New Testament.
First Rapture, then Tribulation
As the end of this age draws to a close, I have many people who are beginning to wonder if we might already be in the Tribulation, even now. Quick answer to that question is "We're not. Not just yet"
Many people have a hard time grasping the belief of the Pre-tribulation rapture of the Church. I have some even in my own family who think I am "way out there" for believing such a thing, saying there is not any evidence for that belief found in the Bible. I have to smile to myself (or frown depending on the person saying it), as they can't see the forest for the trees, but rely on men to give them the interpretation of what the Bible speaks of, instead of allowing the Bible to interpret itself.
I had one man, who charged that there is not one word in the Bible that speaks of a "rapture" as if that meant something, as if they interpreted what is written. Then they would see it staring back at them, as they read in the New Testament, especially the words written by Paul the Apostle.
There are several words that are not in the Bible, like try to find the word "Bible" in scripture. Does its absence from the text mean there is "no Bible"? Of course not. It is something all people accept as they have the book in their lap which is defined as "what it is" even though the word is not mentioned.
I have others who babble on mindlessly about "Margaret McDonald and C.I. Scofield, or John Nelson Darby, before pronouncing Dispensationalsim and the Pre-Tribulation Rapture as a modern day "invented" doctrine. I say "mindlessly" because they don't know what they are talking about, not realizing that the subject was doctrine within the 1st Century church, but was squashed by the likes of the Theocracy that ruled in the Dark Ages. Each are just parroting somebody else's research and embracing it as Gospel, not realizing that they have no basis for the belief, save to believe somebody else.
I have dealt with the Margeret McDonald and John Darby argument in the past, and won't go into it further here, save to note that Paul wrote of the Rapture 1800 years before this little girl and the preacher who they credited this doctrine and proclaim it as nothing but myth of a deranged girl and a heretic of a preacher.
SO WHAT DOES THE BIBLE ACTUALLY SAY?
Before making an argument based on what the Bible doesn't say about the Rapture, it is most helpful to focus on what the Bible does say about the rapture.
Beginning in a passage in the Old Testament, Isaiah first comes to mind when he spoke of us being hidden in our chambers.
19 "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
21 For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain." (Isaiah 26:19-21)
This almost mimics the words that Paul spoke of in the letters to the Corinthians as noted in the opening verses and to the Thessalonians:
13 "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14" For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1st Thessalonians 4:14-18)
Again, our Lord Jesus told us that He would separate us from the coming wrath when He spoke to the Apostle John:
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 3:10-11)
I put part of the verse in italics to draw attention to the words "I will keep thee" which as I have in the past brought to your attention what this passage means as the book of Revelation is written in Greek and the word used in Greek for this phrase "I will keep thee" is something I love to remind those who scoff at the idea of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and I will do so here, as well. The word in Greek for the afore-mentioned phrase is the Greek word "EK"...if you look it up, this is the meaning of the word:
ἐκ * (ek) (governs the genitive)
(of motion) Out of, from
from, with the source of
to denote change from one place or condition to another
to express separation of distinction from a number
(of position) outside, beyond
(of particular points of time) just, after
The means that our Lord will remove us out of the way, not through, but away from the time and the event that our Lord is speaking of...and He is speaking of the coming Tribulation. The Rapture removed God's Church from their position on earth, to the heavenly realm, as Isaiah so aptly put it, that we will hide in our chambers, until the indignation is past.
Then to add to the doctrine, Paul speaks of in several places of "we are not appointed to God's Wrath"...and that is what the Tribulation and the Great Tribulation is all about.
8 "But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
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 5:8-11)
This is but one of the passages that speak of being saved "out of" and away from God's Wrath.
8 "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." (Romans 5:8-10)
Notice from these verses, and there are many more that are peppered throughout the Bible, which describes the movement of believers from this earth to heaven, to be hidden away in our chambers. Some ask, what chambers...Jesus said it best and another clue to the sudden removal of the Bride of Christ from this earth...
2 "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:2-3)
Note that Jesus is creating a place for us and will come again to RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF. Not coming to where we are, but bringing us to where He is....Jesus is at the right hand of the Father God in heaven and He will bring us to this third heaven and we will be adopted as sons and daughters in the "family of God". This will all happen at the Bema Judgment seat of our Lord Jesus, where He gives rewards for service and we are adopted, because we will have the same rights as a spouse has with her husband...We are the Bride, and Jesus is our husband in the spiritual sense of the words.
So by this short study, I pray you can see, that the mystery that Paul speaks of is not the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus, and the rapture of the Church and the Second Coming are NOT the same event.
And things that are different are NOT the same. What would be the point of Rapturing the Church then, anyway? The Lord returns to establish His kingdom on earth, so why pull out all the Christians?
Who is He gonna rule?
"And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And He shall set the sheep on His right Hand, but the goats on the left." (Matthew 25:32-33)
This verse highlights another problem with other views of the coming rapture of the church. If the post Tribulation model is correct, then if all the believers are removed at the Second Coming, that would also include the Tribulation saints. Where would the believers in mortal bodies come from, if they are raptured at the Second Coming?
Who would be able to enter into Christ's Kingdom? Enquiring minds want to know. The answer would be no one, as all rebellion has been extinguished and the saints have been changed, so the Post Tribulation model doesn't make sense when reading God's Word.
LET US NOT FORGET DANIEL
Then there is Daniel's 70 week prophecy. The Church was absent for the first sixty-nine weeks -- the countdown was suspended at the Cross so the Church could be born.
Daniel makes it clear that all 70 weeks are determined upon Israel.
"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. 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." (Revelation 19:7-8)
If the Bride is made ready to accompany Christ to the earth at the Second Coming, (while part of the bride is still on earth during the Tribulation) then how does the Bride (the Church) also come with Christ at His Return? You see, it doesn't make sense, if you believe any other rapture model. Those who are tribulation Saints are not the church. They are saints, as we are, but they are not the Bride. They are the guest at the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb." Which speaks of the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins. The wise didn't let their lamps go out, or the sign of the Holy Spirit. Those that let their lamps go out, were overcome with the evils and the persecution of this world and are not allowed into the marriage as guest.
There is the example of Enoch: "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." (Genesis 5:24) Not only does Enoch prefigure the Rapture, note that Enoch's Rapture was pre-Flood, and not mid-Flood or post-Flood.
The Scriptures are plain, clear and concise on the topic of a pre-Tribulation Rapture -- provided one interprets the Bible literally, instead of figuratively or symbolically.
While no man knows the day of the hour, it doesn't stop some folks who have popped up on my Christian forums to state that the rapture of the Church was April 6th. No really!! The guy was serious, although I have not had a response from him on his "little error". Then I have another "sister in Christ" who proclaims that the rapture will "definitely" be during the year of the Jubilee and will end on April the 19th...so Jesus will come between now and then. What will each do when their predictions come to nothing? Do they want to look like another Harold Camping and destroy their witness? The Bible makes clear that we don't know the day or the hour, but we know the season. WE are "definitely" in the season of the Lords return. Jesus said that there was one key to let us know the hour is at hand.
ISRAEL THE KEY TO END TIME PROPHECY
32 "Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (Matthew 24:32-26)
It is the only sign Jesus gave for the timing of His return. Oh, we'll see many things that Jesus laid out to be looking for in the same chapter, BUT the birth of Israel was the sign of a generation would not pass who saw Israel reborn in a day, and would see Jesus back on earth reigning and ruling for 1000 years. He told us in His Word that a generation is 70 years, 80 years by strength, but is full of sorrow and then we fly away. Simple math will show that the season is right upon us. We don't know the day or the hour, but the timing of His return could be any year that Paul spoke in the opening passage, which is a reference to the Feast of Trumpets. Paul speaks of the "last Trump" which is used to end the autumn feast every year.
Now Jesus fulfilled each "Feast" on the very day of the Jewish observances, as they are not Jewish, but given to all mankind as a plan of redemption. The next one is the coming Feast of Trumpets, which has the "last Trump" that Paul speaks of . As God is a God of order, then logically and prophetically, God will keep the fall Feast observances in order, as He did the Spring feast, and I look and listen for the sound of a trumpet every fall about that time. Will it be this year, next year, and a year after that? A generation of the rebirth of Israel is 70 years this May...how much time does the Church have to wait before Jesus breaks through the clouds and cries aloud "Come up Hither"?...It may be sooner than anyone of us can imagine.
The Pre-Tribulation Rapture is often called the "Blessed Hope" by those who look for His return before the Tribulation begins. Those who believe the Church will go through the Tribulation sneeringly call it the 'Great Escape'.
Don't let anybody steal away your Blessed Hope:
"For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised,your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (1st Corinthians 15:16-19)
Praise our God, the rapture happens before the Tribulation, and if you look around you, Tribulation is festering on our front door steps. You can call it the "Blessed Hope", or the "Great Escape", but be not fooled my friend, He IS COMING and with the state of Global affairs, it can't be much longer.
DON'T BE CAUGHT BY SURPRISE
Will you be ready? WE only have possibly a short time before Jesus breaks the heavens and splits them wide open and the tribulation starts in earnest with the pouring out of His Righteous Wrath that grows stronger as time passes by. We know in our spirits that the time is close at hand. Again. Will you be ready.?
How do you get ready? Believe these next verses in your heart and soul and repent of your sins and follow Jesus and you will be ready.
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)
Then confess to your friends and loved ones what Jesus just did for you.
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Romans 10:8-11)
That is the key. I know it sounds simple, but that is the beauty of the Gospel. It is so simple, even a small child can grasp the meaning of those Words when believed in their spirit. I did it when I was 10 years old...one of my grandsons was 6 years old and knew exactly what he was doing, as we questioned him. It is not age specific, but heart specific....open your heart to the calling of the Holy Spirit, as He wants to save you right now. Do it before the Lord returns, and you then have to endure the horror that is coming...called the Wrath of God, or the Tribulation.
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying you make that decision for Christ right now, and don't put it off one more minute, as you are not promised tomorrow....AS Today is the day of salvation...not tomorrow....If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com for more biblical lessons from the Word of God..
God bless you all..
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
High Time to Awake! - A. V. Rauf -
If you are a student of Bible prophecy and/or if you have ever visited this sight, many of the blogs written on this website inform the reader of current events that are transpiring in our world today as examined in the light of Biblical Scriptures.....henceforth, Bible prophecy for today.
When the New Testament commands us to "watch," it is usually the translation of one of two Greek word (gregoreuo and agrupneo ), which have similar meanings-to "stay awake" and to "not sleep" or rather to be sleepless." They are usually meant in the metaphorical and spiritual sense-to be vigilant and on guard, fully awake, aware, alert and intently focused-with several applications and implications.
1 Corinthians 15:34- Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
Being "awake,"is synonymous with righteousness and not sinning. The apostle Paul Paul was writing to the church at Corinth, which means that even true Christians can be spiritually asleep to varying degrees.
Romans 13:11-12-And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
In other words, the closer we draw to the second coming of Christ, the more urgent it is that we awake out of spiritual sleep. We are clearly living in the last of the last days as the Church Age is rapidly coming to a close and the 7-Year tribulation period, also known as the Time of Jacob's Trouble and the 70th Week of Daniel is on the cusp of actually becoming a reality. Yes, we are that close folks!!! If ever there was a time to pay attention and get prepared, it is now!
To know where to focus our attention, we particularly need to know the Bible prophecies of the end time, especially the prophecies surrounding the second coming of Christ.
We are to "eagerly wait for" Christ's return, not just passively wait around. Jesus was emphatic that His followers should hope for His return, expect His return and pray for His return! In addition, our enthusiastic anticipation and excitement will or SHOULD intensify as we see more and more world events fulfilling Bible prophecies-especially those that point to the increasing nearness of Christ's return.
Luke 12:35-47--Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; 36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. 37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. 38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. 40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not. 41 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all? 42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; 46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will.......
I have always stated that the closer we get to the return of the LORD, the faster events will unfold.
Ever since Easter/Resurrection Sunday, so much has transpired that I do not even know where to begin: Less the 24 hours ago Syria was accused of launching a chemical attack on the town of Dhouma. This is actually one part of a region surrounding Damascus city on its eastern and southern sides. Within the eastern sector is the Douma district Just south of Douma (also Duma) in the countryside is al-Bahariyah, a village 12 miles east of the center of Damascus City. As a result of this attack is the United States., the United Kingdom and France have been moving towards a joint strike to punish Bashar Al-Assad. This strike could occur at any moment. And then things could change drastically in Syria.
If you recall, Saddam Hussein also released Chemical weapons on the Kurds and this ultimately led to the Persian Gulf war. Now if the U.S, the U.K and France can join together to attack Syria, what will stop Russia, Iran and Turkey from attacking Israel? I am clearly referencing Ezekiel 38-39 here, but let me not get ahead of myself here.
The situation in Syria is escalating even as I write this post. Some reports suggest that U.S. strikes have already begun and Syrian president Bashar Assad's forces are fleeing the southern border. President Trump has warned Russia not to interfere. Russia responded stating that they will shoot down U.S. missiles.
Meanwhile, Israel has warned that she is attacked by Iran from Syrian soil, Israel will retaliate and overthrow President Assad. Moscow and Tehran have vowed to retaliate for what Israel has done in Syria:
To make matters even more interesting, it is now being reported that North Korea may have built underground military bases in.....wait for it..........Syria:
The key point to understand is this:
The key nations in the Ezekiel 38-39 Russian led invasion of Israel are now opposing each other in Syria, just miles away from the Golan Heights, which belongs to Israel. These are the nations whose forces are already in Syria as of today: Russia, Iran, Turkey and Israel. Turkey has invaded Syria in the northern part of Syria, in an effort to defeat the Kurdish army.
Syria is not mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy and neither is North Korea. Either way, many Bible scholars conclude that, perhaps, Syria will be destroyed as a sovereign nation before the invasion of Israel begins.
It is very obvious that the current developments are preparing this coalition led by Russia, Iran and Turkey to execute an attempted strike on Israel.
The Lord's Word proclaims a series of 'latter days' events leading to the second coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom upon the earth in this generation. It is High time to awake!
As Signs of the Times Unfold - By Gene Lawley -
Outside my front window is a rose bush, a Peace Rose. Back in the summer last year it produced one, then several beautiful roses. Then I cut the faded ones back, and new branches came out and budded. The buds felt cool, and I wondered if they would fully blossom before frost came. But they did and gradually unfolded into large, full-bodied roses of beautiful colors. That is the way the signs of the times are unfolding into a beautiful fulfillment of our "Looking for that Blessed Hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13) that believers have been so long anticipating.
After Jesus told us, "When these things begin to happen, look up, for your redemption draws near" (Luke 21:28), He told of the blossoming of the fig tree, a symbol of the nation of Israel, indicating the rebirth of the nation. This happened on May 14, 1948, having been in the budding stage since at least the Balfour Declaration by the British in 1917. As the rose unfolds, so did this sign of the times, which marked a turning point for dating the beginning of the last days or end times.
After Ezekiel wrote of that in Ezekiel 37, where he told of a valley of dry bones being restored to fully fleshed-out and alive bodies, he spoke to the Hebrew people this from the heart of God:
"Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore" (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
Signs of the Times
This covenant of God is forevermore. The one that Daniel reports in Daniel 9:27 is one that only lasts for seven years and appears to be one that is imposed upon Israel by a secular entity - the United Nations, in all likelihood. In the timeframe, both reports of covenants appear to be parallel. Is God answering and reassuring Israel of His long-term intentions for their benefit and blessing?
This seven-year covenant apparently is the missing 70thweek of judgment upon Israel that is told about earlier in Daniel's prophecy, which stops at the end of the 69thweek. This final period concludes with the Antichrist cancelling that covenant and shutting down the sacrifices and offerings in the temple that had just been rebuilt. That deceiver then enters the temple, declaring himself God and demanding that all people worship him.
This is reported again by Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians. It is the abomination of desolation of the temple foretold also by Daniel and again by Jesus as a future event that occurs in that last half of the seven-year tribulation:
"Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand)then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains" (Matthew 24:15-16).
Signs of the Times
The pattern of responses to Israel's attempts to trade land for peace so far has shown failure in securing that peace-thinking of the Gaza transfer-and punishment upon Israel's attending prime ministers as well.
The start of it with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was on September 28, 1995, when the Second Oslo Accord was officially signed, pointing to a 2005 actual transfer. Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated on November 4, 1995. When the Gaza Strip transfer was made on November 4, 2005, Ariel Sharon was Prime Minister of Israel and was responsible for the details of the transfer of all properties to the Palestinians. Then, he was incapacitated by a stroke in January 2006, and lay in a coma for the next eight years, dying on January 11, 2014.
What does all of this tell us? Possibly, and quite probably, God does not approve of the transfer of land for peace. It looks like, now, that the settled covenant that will be imposed upon Israel and the Palestinians will involve more land swaps and a two-state solution. What will be God's response? He does not approve of Israel giving away land that was promised to Israel in past centuries.
The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3: "For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, 'Peace and safety!' then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape."
Signs of the Times
"They" and "them" are those who will experience sudden destruction. Who now wants peace and safety because her neighbors want to wipe them off the face of the earth, according to Psalm 83? It is Israel.
It appears to be the result of that covenant of Daniel 9:27 that gives them seven years of false peace. It introduces that period which Jeremiah 30:7 calls "the time of Jacob's trouble." They will build a new temple, however, as has been a strong desire and plan of Israel for a very long time. Halfway through the seven years, however, the Antichrist will invade the temple, shut down its sacrifices and offerings and declare himself to be God, demanding that all worship him as God. In 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 13 and 17 it speaks of this, and earlier in this report.
At the beginning of that time, however, the "sudden destruction" that comes like a thief in the night with the Day of the Lord is the result of the Rapture of the believers in Christ, for that worldwide extraction of a great multitude of people suddenly will cause widespread havoc and terror.
That passage in 1 Thessalonians 5 is a continuation of the context of the last of 1 Thessalonians 4 which describes the Rapture.
Signs of the Times
Overshadowing that time of the confirmation of the covenant and the Rapture is the invasion of Israel by Gog of the far north, or Russia. If we think chronologically, Ezekiel writes of that in Ezekiel 38 and 39, following his telling of God's promise of an everlasting covenant for Israel. Then in Ezekiel 40, he begins a detailed description of how to build the temple.
To me, it seemed impossible for there to be a way to get Russia, now in the Middle East, back up to the far north, with her back turned away in disinterest in anything down south. And then, God would turn her around, put hooks in her jaws, and drag her back upon the mountains of Israel for that destructive war Ezekiel describes in Ezekiel 38-39.
Then it exploded in my mind!
God has already done that at the end of the Cold War when the Soviet Union was dismantled and Russia was in defeat and shame. Her back was turned on Israel. Then, Vladimir Putin rose up with Russian pride possessing him and began to see the plunder possible in the Middle East, and especially Israel. Gog is already down there, ready to pounce.
The coming signs of the times certainly involves this, the Gog-Magog war. Notice particularly though, that Ezekiel does not mention the Rapture nor how the temple is allowed to be rebuilt. That is all of secular doings, while he is concerned with Israel activities. He goes directly from the promise of an everlasting covenant to the war, then the temple's rebuilding in Ezekiel 40.
Signs of the Times
Joel's prophecy in Joel 2 of a great battle "before that great and awesome day of the Lord" could be descriptive of the Gog-Magog war except for one thing. Joel's battle is said to be "before" that "great and awesome day of the Lord," while the day of the Lord mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 results in Israel being at "peace" and secure for Gog's failed attempt to plunder Israel's wealth. This fits into the picture after that initial, introductory day of the Lord.
Joel's prophecy seems to indicate a more deadly, awesome time of judgment that would occur during the last half of the tribulation period such as at the battle of Armageddon. This period is also called the Great Tribulation, indicating a greater and more awesome judgment, though that first half of the period is not without its share of tribulation.
Signs of the Times
When current events happen and are identified with Bible prophecy, it stirs up excitement in the hearts of those who have been watching those things. The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States has brought the destiny of the nation of Israel front and center because of his intention of solving Israel's difficulties in the Middle East. He has ordered the moving of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and he has put together an envoy headed by his Jewish son-in-law that has been busy on the renewal of peace-agreement talks with a view of success.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, has stated that Israel is not against a two-state solution to arrive at an agreement of peace with the Palestinians; it is they who are against it. The Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel's existence at all. An imposed covenant by the United Nations could be the result in the not-too-far future.
An event explosion of that nature would launch the Rapture and the seven years of tribulation in which the body of Christ, the true church, will have no part here on earth.
Thus, there will be the unfolding, like the rose by my front window, of the events of the coming of Jesus at the sound of the trumpet!
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Eternal Choice - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD."Psalm 122:1. King David was glad to go to the house of the LORD, but today that gladness seems to be a thing of the past. You know the feeling. It's Sunday morning and you're putting in your 60 minutes of worship. The song service has been quick because only one or two verses are sung. That should ensure that the service will be over by noon. Maybe even earlier. Prayer requests? Well, the pastor didn't ask, so no wasted time there. Now the sermon, which is short and shallow. Nothing to think about...nothing to convict anyone of sin. Finally, it's time for the last song. Bummer. The song is "I Surrender All" and it has five verses. Good, nobody went to the altar, two verses are sung, and we're headed home! Let me ask this question...have you surrendered all? Are you glad to worship the Lord, or does this scenario sound familiar? Unfortunately this is all too common. We find it hard to surrender a few minutes extra to sing all the verses of hymns, but have all the time necessary to play golf or go fishing. Christians need to live their faith 24/7 and not grudgingly give an hour on Sunday and call it good. If you can't choose to surrender an extra five minutes in a worship service, have you truly surrendered your eternity to Him? Is it any wonder that we're living in the Laodicean era?
What do I mean by the "Laodicean era"? The book of Revelation contains letters which Jesus dictated to the Apostle John. These letters outline "eras" of the Christian ekklēsia (the "church") which were future to John but from our perspective we're living in the last era...the letter which was written to the Laodocians. This last era is filled with lukewarm worship where Jesus isn't welcome inside. "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot." Revelation 3:15. These people go through the motions and practice "religion" but don't really care. Christianity isn't something you "do" but is who you are. It's not religious works, but faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. That faith should bring joy to every part of your life. Today if Sunday morning service isn't short, sweet, and shallow, most people don't want any part of it. If a person is convicted of sin they might feel uncomfortable and stop attending, so the congregation is fed milk because the meat of God's word is too hard to digest. Zeal for the Gospel has become lukewarm and it's more important to keep people in the pews than to keep Jesus in their hearts. "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." Revelation 3:16. Don't take Christ for granted. Eternity for the Christian will be filled with serving Him. Start enjoying it now.
If you can't be happy for more than an hour a week in worshipping God then maybe eternity just doesn't fit into your schedule. Will you be happy in His presence and serving Him forever? When you stand before His throne will you be looking at your watch hoping not to miss the first pitch of the baseball game? Or maybe you'll want to rush to the restaurant before the crowd gets there. When you accepted Christ there should have been a change in you and in your priorities. Sitting in a pew on Sunday morning doesn't mean you're a Christian, but a Christian needs to put Christ first. We need to associate with fellow believers and dig deep into God's word. Can you worship Him while sitting by a stream fishing? Yes, but you probably don't. Is that the example we're given in Scripture? "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not." Philippians1:21-22. We make a habit of choosing to live in the flesh and we forget that we're asked to take up our cross to follow Christ. That means we put aside our own desires in order to serve Jesus, even if that means staying at the worship service a bit longer than an hour. For the Christian, eternity will be spent serving Christ so take joy in that now.
God's word gives a few clues about eternity. If you love the Lord and love being around fellow Christians then you have much to look forward to. Our human minds cannot grasp the concept of pure love, but that's what will surround us: the pure love of God. Jesus said He was preparing a place for us. "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." John 14:2. Our imaginations can run wild about what this means, but since Jesus is preparing the place it's beyond our earthly understanding. We can also read about the New Jerusalem in Revelation chapter 21. It will come down out of Heaven and is huge. The description gives a beautiful picture, but John only had human words to describe it. The gates are made of pearl, the foundations are of precious stones, and there will be no need for the sun or moon because Jesus Himself is the Light. "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." Revelation 21:22-23. My mind can't fully grasp this but that's where I want to spend eternity. "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." Revelation 21:27. There's only one way to have your name written in the Lamb's book of life, and that's through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God.
Whether you've accepted Christ for salvation or not, life doesn't just stop at death. When a person dies their soul continues to live. Recently the Pope made headlines by stating that Hell doesn't exist. He needs to study his Bible. Hell does exist and it's a place of separation from God...a place of eternal torment. Jesus talked about Hell and we can believe Him above all others. He told of a rich man who had died and because of his own choices in life he was in the place of torment awaiting judgment (Luke 16:19-31). Jesus also told of a future judgment of sheep (righteous people) and goats (the unrighteous). The sheep will be invited into the kingdom which has been prepared by God from the foundation of the world, but the goats will have a different place in eternity. "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" Matthew 25:41. We make our eternal choice today. God doesn't send anyone to Hell, but each person makes their own choice. To avoid eternal damnation you must accept the shed blood of Jesus as the once for all sacrifice to take away sin. By choosing Christ you choose eternal life. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6. You can't be good enough to gain eternal life by your own merit, nor can you be bad enough that the blood of Christ won't wash your sins away. If you've sincerely accepted Him then you can look forward to eternal life with Him. If you reject Him, then you're facing the eternal lake of fire.
Everyone will be judged, but there will be a different judgment for Christians than for those who reject Christ. When you sincerely accept Christ for salvation, you're immediately saved. Every sin you've committed or ever will commit have been forgiven. So what will be judged? Christians will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and our works will be judged. The good works we do cannot bring salvation, but they do earn rewards. "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon he shall receive a reward." 1 Corinthians 3:13-14. When you accept Christ a change should take place in your heart. You should desire to serve Him and honor Him with your works. That's what will be judged. The things you do to glorify Christ will stand the test of fire and bring rewards, but all else will be burned. "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved: yet so as by fire." 1 Corinthians 3:15. If you have no desire to serve Christ after you accept His sacrifice, will you want to serve Him for eternity? Think about that question. If you have no desire to serve Him, then ask yourself if you've truly accepted Him.
Those who have died and are waiting in torment for their final judgment will be judged after the Millennium. If you choose to reject the free gift of salvation that Jesus offers, keep in mind that separation from Christ is also separation from everyone you love. Don't think that you'll spend eternity with friends and have a good time in Hell. In the account of the rich man who went to torments, Jesus makes it clear that he remembered his family and didn't want them to join him there. He's still waiting today for his final judgment which will take place after the Millennium. The judgment faced at the Great White Throne will be based completely on your own merit and perfection. Nobody can be good enough on their own merit to have their names written in the Lamb's book of life."And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it: and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:11-15. This is eternal death. If you choose to reject Jesus Christ for salvation, this is where you will spend eternity.
Understanding what Jesus' death on the cross truly did for you should change your attitude. Worship should be a joy and being with fellow Christians a pleasure. You should feel the urgency to share the Gospel with others because only faith in Jesus will save a person from that eternal lake of fire. The choice you make today matters for eternity.
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: Media hypocrisy and deception - Bill Wilson -
In watching the drama of the current White House play out before the American public, there are a whole lot of hypocrisies in the narrative presented by the mainstream media. This is truly a biased media. Their bias is demonstrated by the surveys of stories that indicate over 95% were negative when reporting on the current president. The 24/7 news cycle has analyst after analyst parading before the cameras spewing their wonderful knowledge in a very news-like fashion, but if you listen to them, it is opinion after opinion often based in someone else's opinion rather than any fact. It's enough to stir people up and it's very agenda-driven. We all have to do double duty to not be deceived by this ongoing mantra.
Let's take a media hypocrisy inventory. It's OK for a president to have sex in the Oval Office with an intern because what he does in his private life is his business. It's not OK for a president to have had sex with a porn star in private a decade or more before he became president. It's OK for a Democratic president to send the National Guard to the border to beef up border security. It's not OK for a Republican president to do so. It's OK for a former president to receive $500,000 from Russia about the time his wife made a deal to sell Russia uranium. It's not OK for a Russian to donate $150,000 to Donald Trump's charity for a video speech two years before Trump becomes president.
It's OK for Facebook to allow the previous president's campaign to harvest data on its users (translated spy on users) because Facebook was "on his side." It's not OK for an independent firm contracted by the Trump campaign to acquire Facebook user data for political purposes. It OK for a Democratic "president" to prevent people from predominantly Muslim countries from immigrating to America. It's not OK for a Republican president to temporarily prevent people from predominantly Muslim countries to enter America. It's OK for a Democratic president to have multiple sexual affairs while governor of Arkansas and as president. It's not OK for a Republican president to have multiple affairs before he holds public office.
These are just some of the stories that pummel the public day in and day out. It is sordid, unfair, biased, agenda-driven opinion by leftists presented as news. It is the type of hype found in daily soap operas, but is played out in real life. These biases are a grave threat to free speech because they are weaponized half-truths and propaganda aimed at a gullible public. 1 Corinthians 2:12 says, "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." Verse 14 says, "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." We must be a discerning people otherwise deception lays in wait.
Daily Devotion: Surrendering Our Claim - By Greg Laurie -
So, you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own. -Luke 14:33
My granddaughter Allie loves to collect stuffed animals. Whenever I'm going on a trip, she'll say, "Papa, bring me back a stuffed animal." A while back I was on a trip and made a video of some stuffed animals for Allie. Then I called to ask her which one she liked.
"Papa, I'm not obsessed with stuffed animals anymore," she said.
"I'm just obsessed with talking with you."
That warmed my heart. I think we all should say to God, "Lord, I'm obsessed with talking with You, walking with You, hearing from You, and knowing You."
Disciples of Jesus must turn the title deed of their lives over to Christ. Jesus said, "You cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own" (Luke 14:33 NLT). The New King James Version says, "Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple." It's a reminder that we are actually not owners, we are stewards. Everything we have will be passed on to someone else one day.
Does that mean it's a sin to have a car, or a house, or clothes, or some money in the bank? Of course not. This verse could be translated, "If you want to be My disciple, surrender your claim to everything in life." It's a recognition that God is the owner. God is in control of it. We recognize that we are just stewards over it for a period of time.
It is not wrong to have a career, but it is wrong if your career has you. It is not wrong to have possessions, but it can be wrong if your possessions have you. Your only real passion and obsession in life should be Christ. All these other things have their place-but not the most important place.
FROM THE HEART
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