Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Son of Perdition Revealed - by Pastor Mike Taylor -
"I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come!"
2 I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. ." (Revelation 6:1-2)
Many people are fixed on the end time's prophecies that we are observing right now in our time. With that focus many are looking for someone to rise up and fulfill the prophecy of the end time ruler, called the Anti-christ. We see the so-called "pandemic" of the Coronovirus and mandated "Stay at Home" orders, many arrested for not doing so, those who gather at church and given tickets even if they drive up on the parking lot and listen to the service on their radios. It seems that of our Constitutional rights are being thrown into the trash.
When I pondered this question, I remembered many emails coming from a fellow across the big pond who thoroughly disbelieves that there will be an actual Anti-christ, This European fellow believes that this is all fictional nonsense, (as he calls it) and there will be no one who will head the end time government that is prophesied to be in place just before the return of Jesus Christ to set up His kingdom. But is he right, or is he just a scoffer? Let's see what the bible says and who is called the "Anti-christ".
The term "antichrist" is found only in I and II John. Notice 1st John:
18 "Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.
19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.
21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.
22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist-denying the Father and the Son.
23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also." (1st John 2:18-23)
In John's day, there were many people who could be classified as Anti-Christ. They were those that denied that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh and was from God, and was God. Notice above in v. 22 "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son." So even in John's day there were many people who had the spirit of anti-christ, but is that where it ends?
PROTO-TYPE OF THE ANTI-CHRIST
Daniel speaks of the king that would come, in Daniel chapter 11, Let's look at verse 15 and start reading.
" Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand.
16 The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it. ." (Daniel 11:15-17)
Reading on down we see this verse depicting a ruler to come of when Daniel wrote it. In verse 28
"Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land." (Daniel 11:28)
If you read this chapter, you will learn from historical documents and your own history books, of a ruler from Syria called Antiochus Epiphanes. History shows us that he lost a battle to the king of the south, Egypt and as he was making his way back home he came against Jerusalem and defiled the temple in his wrath and hatred of the Jews.
From a book of history we read, "Daniel's prophecy describes the reign of one of the later Syrian kings, Antiochus IV, surnamed Epiphanies ("the manifest" or "the illustrious"). With tragic wit, the Jews named him Epimanes, or "the madman," when it became apparent that his policies were violently anti-Jewish. Determined to "civilize" (i.e., Hellenize) the Jews, this Syrian king systematically forbade, under penalty of death, circumcision, Sabbath and holy day observance, and the reading or possession of the scrolls of the Torah. He executed some for refusing to eat swine's flesh and butchered others who would not bow to a pagan image.
Additionally, he had a statue of Zeus erected in the Temple. Swine were sacrificed on God's altar, and pagan rites, orgies, and festivals were performed in the Temple grounds. In his pride, he decreed that he should be worshiped as Zeus; his coins were struck with the inscription theos epiphanes ("God manifest"), a horrible counterfeit of the true "God with us."
This man lived many years before the ministry of Jesus Christ and was known to all who were Jewish by birth at the time of Jesus being on earth. His defiling of the temple led to the Maccabean War that defeated Antiochus and restored the Temple after being cleansed and they are observed in the Days of Hanukkah.
JESUS PROPHECIES ANOTHER ANTI-CHRIST TO COME
When Jesus was approached by His disciples on the Mount of Olives, after His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said this in Matthew chapter 24:
15 "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."(Matthew 24:15-22)
Obviously, Jesus was speaking to Jewish people who will see this come about and are told beforehand to "get out of dodge" so to speak. This does not speak of the church, as some postulate, but directed at the nation of Israel in the latter days of the revealing of the Anti-Christ upon the earth. I believe those who are saved alive will run to the Jordanian fortress of Petra, even as their ancestors did when Rome destroyed Jerusalem, where God will supernaturally protect them.
MODERN DAY ANTI-CHRIST REVEALED
Bible prophecy has been shown to have duality of fulfillment. Just as Daniel spoke of the "abomination that causeth desolation" and was fulfilled years later by Antiochus Epiphanes, so too, will it be fulfilled again in the last days. Years after Jesus spoke of this prophecy, the temple was destroyed by Roman legions and the prophecy was put on hold, as Jesus spoke of the end of days.
Since the temple has been destroyed and has never been rebuilt, YET, (as all parts of the construction of the 3rd Temple are ready to be placed on the Temple Mount) then it would be safe to say that the prophecy is yet to be fulfilled. Many men who fit the concept of the "Anti-christ" have come and gone. Some of them we know from our history books, from ancient times to our modern era. Some of the names you will recognize such as Nebuchadnezzar from the book of Daniel, Haman from book of Esther, the Pharaohs of Egypt, Judas Iscariot the disciple of Jesus, Emperor Nero, and even into modern days, such as Hitler, Pol Pot, and Jim Jones. But none of them have stood in the Temple in Jerusalem and claimed to be a "god" and defile the temple. That is a future event. This man is called further "the man of sin."
Many people write me and wonder if this new ID2020 is the coming Mark of the Beast, and is Bill Gates the "Anti-Christ"...Is he? We won't know for sure, but the idea of putting a mark, or a tattoo on a person's right arm, gives a person pause that we are seeing the run-up to the coming Tribulation. People are writing about this right now. People are scared and many see this as a sign of the end of days. Many people are protesting the "stay at home" orders and have hard questions about this new "vaccine" Bill Gates is pushing...As a clip from the internet of people who are concerned:
"The Internet has exploded with accusations that Bill gates is preparing to administer the Mark of the Beast through his Coronavirus vaccine. Is this true?" (End of the Age, Endtime.com)
"Bill Gates is the Antichrist Ever since Microsoft was founded, Bill Gates has gained power over the people of the world by winning a monopoly in the computer-software industry. From the assistance Microsoft gave in the development of the personal computer, to the virtual monopoly that Windows now has on most computers all over the world; Microsoft has controlled a major portion of the computer industry. In his repeated conquests over his competitors, Gates has left an increasingly obvious amount of evidence that proves that he is the fourth and final antichrist."(Bill Gates is the Anti-Christ Essay research. Works.doklad.ru)
"Why is Bill Gates involved in hyping the global Coronavirus fear? Answer: ID2020 The pandemic will be used to further the goals of the Devil and build up the antichrist Beast tracking and buying/selling system. "The ID2020 Alliance, as it's being called, is a digital identity program that aims to "leverage immunization" as a means of inserting tiny microchips into people's bodies." Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.( 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)" (blogtalkradio.com)
I'm not saying that Bill Gates is the Anti-Christ, as we will never know for sure this side of the rapture, but with this Coronavirus and his so-called "vaccine", it is making a lot of people suspicious of his intentions. It very well could be the beginning of watching every person on the planet that the Anti-Christ will use. Research shows us that Bill Gates has sold "Micro-soft" and is investing millions of dollars in factories to produce this so called 'vaccine" that will monitor every person on the planet with their personal information and that no one can buy or sell unless he has proof that he has been vaccinated. I read where if the law stops you, say the police, or highway patrol and you haven't papers, or a tattoo on your arm, they can arrest you and take you to a quarantine without charges or a court appearance.
I have also read that this untested vaccine has killed more people than any virus, as it comes from Bangladesh and could be being used as a de-population tool to rid the planet of undesirables...Reports are that it has killed many in Africa during testing of this "vaccine"..much like when Hitler tried the same plot in WW2...here, it might be conceivable that another attempt is in the making. As there are plans to reduce the population of the earth to a "manageable" level of 500 million people in the name of "Climate Change" and to save the "mother earth". See the agenda of Sustainable Development and Agenda 2030 associated with this concept of marking people and depopulation to a "sustainable" level by going here:
Agenda 21? The Plan To Depopulate 95% Of The World By 2030
This to inform you of what may be coming not to scare but make you aware that the end of this age is close, and Jesus could come back at any moment.
Mr. Gates, I would liken him more than Anti-christ, but "Anti-God" as he has called for the closure of every church and business in the USA and the world. That would violate our religious freedom in the name of security and safety, where those who accept this, deserve neither. We may have suspicions of who the "man' is, but we will NOT see him revealed until after the True Church of the Living God is removed from this planet, as Paul writes of him in II Thessalonians starting in chapter 2: verse 6:
6 " And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And THEN (my emphasis) shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,"(2nd Thessalonians 2:6-9)
The above verses proclaim that the "HE" being the Holy Spirit will be taken out of the way, to allow evil and wickedness brought on by the Prince and power of the air, and his demon hordes through the Anti-Christ, will be unleashed. They will attempt to destroy all mankind, but receive worship during the time of the Tribulation.. If the Holy Spirit is removed, then every born again believer will be removed as well, as Jesus told us that He would never leave us alone. To be without God's Spirit to guide and direct us would make Jesus a liar, and we know God does not lie.
5 "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."(Hebrews 13:5-6)
18 "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:18-20)
To leave a born again, Spirit filled Christian alone during this coming time of horror when we desperately need Him, would go against what Jesus told us, and what Paul repeated in Hebrews.
THE MAN OF SIN REVEALED
So how will we know when the "man of sin", the "lawless one", the Anti-Christ has taken center stage? The prophet Daniel tells us:
"And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."(Daniel 9:27)
This is the very first sign and indication that the ruler who makes a peace treaty with Israel for a seven years of "peace", then this is the man we have been speculating about. Daniel says that this man will allow sacrifices to resume, which will require a temple...either of stone, or a pitched tent, as was in Shiloh. During this time, he will be looked at as a peace keeper, a man of peace.
What's going on right now in Israel? Leaders are trying to make a peace treaty between the Palestinians and Israel without much success. President Trump proposed the "Deal of the Century" to bring peace to Israel and the Palestinians, but without success as the PA rejected it before they even saw what it said. But this coming "lawless man, the Son of Perdition will accomplish what has only been attempts that failed. This man will succeed when he confirms a covenant that was proposed but not confirmed and established. Why? Jesus said and prophesied:
"I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." (John 5:45)
Some have postulated that this man will come in his own name, and the Jewish people will accept him as their "messiah", a peace keeper, a restorer of Israel's right to exist and a political "friend" of Israel. I have to agree with this premise. Then only too late, Israel will realize their mistake that he is an imposter, when he defiles the temple and proclaims himself to be god, and does the same idolatry as "Antiochus Ephiphanes' did thousands of years ago. Because of their rejection of him, he will turn on the Jewish people with untold wrath and a vengeance that will surpass Antiochus.
We shift to the prophecy in Revelation chapter 13. Whole books have been written about this prophecy, but we'll try and summarize the gist of the argument I am supporting.13:1 "And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
9 If any man have an ear, let him hear."(Revelation 13:1-9)
Notice the change in focus in this passage? It speaks of "the beast" as an organization, or a political power machine. Then makes a decidedly shift to speak of "him, his" which are personal pronouns denoting an individual. He will be Antiochus Epiphanes arisen in spirit, empowered by Satan himself. Also notice that this system arises out of the sea, which in bible speak is a sign of the nations, or Gentiles. Then notice the next passages:
13:11 "And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men
14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six." (666).(Revelation 13:11-18)
This speaks of the "false prophet" who supports the beast and rises out of the "earth", which is bible speak for a member of the nation of Israel. Will this false prophet be Jewish? Appears that it could be, but only time will tell. Many people believe that the Catholic Pope will be that false prophet, as he is promoting a one world religion right now, and calling for a one world government and socialism.
To the present day Christian, those called by the Holy Spirit to repentance and acceptance of our Lord Jesus Christ, as their personal savior, this should bring no fear to you, or to me. Why? If you look up in the middle of the message is a verse that gives me great comfort. II Thessalonians chapter 2:
6"And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:"(2nd Thessalonians 2:6-8)
Strongs Concordance reveals the meaning of the word "Wicked" in the previous verse as: #459 anomos, lawless, not subject to the Jewish law, (by implication, a Gentile) without law, lawless, transgressor, unlawful, wicked"
Let me repeat the obvious. There is only one thing that is holding back the revealing of the Anti-Christ , this lawless one in our present time. Who is "he who now letteth"...I believe along with many others, that the Holy Spirit is holding back all the evil power and Satanic forces that wish to destroy human kind. This passage says that "he" will be taken out of the way. I firmly believe this is the Holy Spirit who called each of us to repentance and provided the Salvation of God to each of us upon our acceptance of the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be withdrawn at this time to allow evil to flourish and cause the wrath of God to fall upon a rebellious mankind.
We may see the run up to this Anti-christ being revealed. There will be hints and we might even have a pretty good idea of who that person will be, because of his position and the politics of its formation, but I believe we will not see its fulfillment, as we are not present on earth. God has removed His church out of the way, as He has done many times before when God's people are in direct line of the horrors of an evil world and His coming wrath written in detail in the book of the apocalypse, Revelation.
And horrors they will be. All who do not take the mark of the beast, or his name will be marked for martyrdom. And all who take the mark will be doomed for all of eternity. Remember Revelation chapter 13?
15"And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."(Revelation 13:15-17)
During Roman times, each citizen had to take an oath of allegiance to the emperor and burn incense before his statue and profess these words "Caesar is god". Then they were free to be a part of this economic system for another year. I say this because all who knowingly take this mark of the beast will know exactly what they are doing. It will be a conscious decision to follow the way of this world, to partake of the forced economic system imposed by the beast power, and its leader, the Anti-Christ, the Prince to come. It will not be a decision of confusion over it's meaning.
And what will be the punishment from God for all who take allegiance to the "god of this world"? God warned all who take the mark of the beast of this result.
14:9 "And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."(Revelation 14:9-11)
I have a brother in South America who has theorized with all the modern technology with the internet and communications, that a system of big brother watching you will be loaded into all TV's to witness whether you worship the "Anti-Christ" and his image or not. With many ways to monitor the world, even today, it will only get more complex and the ability to know what people are doing during this time will only get broader and privacy will be abolished in the name of a New World Order of government and religion.
WHAT WILL YOU DO?
There you have it, my reader. You have two choices at that time. You can either fight and resist the beast power and it's leader and be a martyr, as many will....OR, you can take the mark of the beast and live another day and be doomed for all eternity per God's warning noted above.
But wait, you have another choice today, right now.
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)
Then you can look forward to Paul when he writes:
4:15 "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 4:15-18)
Taking into consideration all the scripture that points to a coming Tribulation and a Prince to come spoken by Daniel and more so, in Revelation, and the surrounding historical context of his reappearing is a most dangerous position to not believe in. The idea of there not being a literal man of sin, the son of perdition, "the ANTICHRIST" is to deny the Words of the book, your bible. Scoff if you will, but the word of God makes a most concrete argument to that error. Don't waste another day as the Lord could come back any time in the future. There is nothing in prophecy that must be fulfilled before He breaks through the clouds with a loud trumpet sound and call His saints "COME UP HITHER" and calls us home. Do it today, while there is still time.
And what of my friend across the Atlantic? Even though he is a scoffer at the idea of an Anti-Christ or even Jesus coming for His church, will he be taken as well? Yes, if he be found in Jesus Christ, then he will, along with the rest of us, rise to meet the Lord in the air. I can only imagine the grin on his face and the look of complete joy at being.......wrong!!
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)
This is pastor Mike Taylor, wishing salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, comes into your life. should you need prayer, counseling or just a listening ear, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , God bless you all, till we meet at Jesus' feet.
Nothing New Under The Sun: Drought, Locusts And Plagues - By Michael Brown/AskDrBrown.org -
How often have you heard the Bible mocked as antiquated and irrelevant? "It's a bronze age book about a tribal deity," the critics tell us. "It has nothing to say to us today." The reality is that the Bible, which is God's Word, is always relevant and timely. That's because God hasn't changed, the world hasn't changed, and human nature hasn't changed.
These Ancient Words Are Still Relevant
When our daughters were young teenagers, I once read to them a section from Proverbs which describes the seduction of alcohol and the after-effects of getting drunk. I wanted them to see how relevant the ancient Scriptures were to our modern world.
The text begins with this vivid description: "Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper" (Proverbs 23:29-32).
God hasn't changed, the world hasn't changed, and human nature hasn't changed.
Yes, that wine glistens in the cup, but soon, it will bite. And that bite will sting.
Next is the description of drunkenness and the folly of the drunkard: "Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. 'They hit me,' you will say, 'but I'm not hurt! They beat me, but I don't feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?" (Proverbs 23:33-35).
Ancient words, for sure, yet as relevant today as the day they were written, more than 2,500 years ago.
There's Nothing New Under the Sun
Today, in the year 2020, God's Word continues to speak afresh, reminding us that there is nothing new under the sun. (Wait! That's in the Bible too. See Ecclesiastes 1:9.)
In recent months, there have been devastating forest fires in Australia, reportedly killing more than one billion animals.
Then there were the terrible locust invasions that ravaged East Africa, with a second, even worse wave on the way.
Then we were struck with a plague, COVID-19, which could ultimately take the lives of several hundred thousand people. (The present number of deaths is roughly 120,000.)
And in each case, despite our wonderful technology and our many scientific advancements, we have been relatively powerless. We have not been able to stop the drought, the fires, the locusts or the virus. Sometimes the best we can do is run and hide.
The Verse Right Before "If My People ... " Could Have Been Spoken This Month
And that brings me back to a passage in the Word of God, where the Lord spoke to King Solomon after the dedication of the Temple.
We are all familiar with 2 Chronicles 7:14, which says this to the children of Israel, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
But what comes immediately before this verse? It is 2 Chronicles 7:13, which states, "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people."
This was spoken in the mid-900s B.C., so, nearly 3,000 years ago. Yet it could have been spoken this month.
Drought. Locusts. Plague. A devastated earth and a devastated people. The only solution is repentance and prayer.
Now, I am not saying that the wildfires in Australia were divine judgment or that the locust invasions have been divine judgment or that the coronavirus has been a divine judgment. God Himself knows.
Confronting the Same Problems, Needing the Same Solution
But I am saying that there is nothing new under the sun. That the same challenges that confronted the human race three millennia ago are still confronting us today. And that humbly seeking God remains the ultimate solution.
Not surprisingly, a recent America-based poll commissioned by Joel Rosenberg's Joshua Fund found that "44.3% of poll respondents said they believe the coronavirus and resulting economic meltdown is a 'wake up call for us to turn back to faith in God,' signs of 'coming judgment,' or both."
Humbly seeking God remains the ultimate solution.
The poll also found that, "Fully one-in-five non-Christians (21.5%) polled said the crisis is causing them to start reading the Bible and listen to Bible teaching and Christian sermons online even though they usually don't, search online to learn more about Bible prophecy and God's plan for the future of mankind, and have more spiritual conversations with family and friends."
As the old saying goes, there are no atheists in foxholes.
People Are Coming to God, Who Is Always the Same
Of course, some do remain atheists to their dying day, but the truth remains the same. When we are confronted with our own frailty and our inability to change life and death situations, we are more likely to pray. That holds true for believers as well as unbelievers. Calamity has a way of bringing us to our knees.
So, while some skeptics continue to mock, others are recognizing their need, turning to the Book they once ridiculed and reviled.
When they do, they will encounter the living God who still saves and heals and delivers.
That's because "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).
Yes, that's in the Bible too.
The 'Why' in Tragedy - By Hal Lindsey -
An article last week told about a man whose family was suffering physically and financially from the COVID-19 coronavirus. The man described himself as a Christian believer and said he didn't want to question God. But he couldn't help sometimes saying, "Really, God? Why?"
The first part of the question seems out of place. It's what a mom might say to a misbehaving child. "Really, Bobby?" That part is not so much a question as it is a way to express frustration. After all, the reality of the situation was clear. The man's family "really" was suffering.
The real question came next. "Why?"
Maybe you've been asking that question during these trying times. Or maybe you know people who are asking why God would allow this terrible disease to enter our world.
When confronting a question like this, it's okay to say, "I don't know." After all, He is God. We can't figure out everything He does. He sees every part of every equation all the time. He knows all that has happened and all that will happen - the end from the beginning. We are finite. He is infinite. He is the Creator and we are the creatures. Psalm 100:3 says, "Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves."
In Isaiah 55:8-9, God expressed it with these words. "'My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,' declares the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.'"
His thought processes are infinitely above our own. But in His word, He graciously grants us an understanding of many things. For instance, we know how death entered the world. Genesis 3 explains that death came as a result of sin. And sin happened because God gave human beings the capacity to choose. He did not make us as machines that would automatically love Him and each other. That would not be real love. He gave us the ability to choose. Adam and Eve chose sin, and the humans who followed have been making the same choice ever since.
Death, then, is not unusual in our world. It's normal. An average of 150,000 people die on planet earth every day. The current pandemic makes up a small portion of that total. Death in general doesn't usually shake anyone's faith. The questions come when death directly affects us or those we love - and, eventually, it always does.
We know how death entered the world. The question is, did God leave us at its mercy. And the answer is, "No, He did not!"
Last week I quoted 1 Corinthians 15:55 - "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" The next two verses say, "The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Jesus defanged death. He took away its strength - sin.
In John 5:24, Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life."
We live in a world where people hurt, and people die. But every Christ-follower can know the certainty of eternal life in Him. Through the work of Jesus on the cross, we have "passed out of death into life."
What are we doing with our time? - Nathele Graham -
"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:16.
Most of America and, indeed, most of the world is in seclusion. Self-isolating and social distancing are phrases that were meaningless a few months ago, but are now heard everywhere. Today we cannot stand closer than 6' from another human being, face masks are encouraged, and we are told to stay home unless there is a real need to be out and about. I never dreamed of a time like this. I'm very happy staying home, but I have to admit that I'd rather have it be a choice. What about you? I'm sure everyone has activities they miss. School kids miss being around friends, sports fans miss their favorite sports teams fighting for the championship, young people are unable to date, and many more social activities are no longer available. This virus will pass and life will return to some sort of normalcy, but what lasting affect will it have? Maybe we need to take a look at life before COVID-19 and see how our priorities were out of whack.
People are now forced to stay home. Many people, Christians included, have lost their jobs. With no sports activities, clubs, and slumber parties to shuffle the kids to, there's a lot of time in a day to fill. With no other options, do you stay home and watch TV or play video games? For all of you who have said you don't have time to study your Bible, you now have the time. Why is it so hard to pick up the Bible and start studying? Unfortunately, many Christians will opt to get hooked on a soap opera rather than open their Bible. Instead of instilling God's word into your heart, do you listen to news report after report telling you one contradictory story about COVID-19 after another? Rather than that, it would be better to use this time to get to know Jesus better and examine your walk with Him. Go ahead, search the Scriptures. Use this time for good. "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore man of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few." Acts 17:11-12. We can't do anything to change what's happening around us, but we can change our own thinking. Scripture is good for that. Draw closer to Jesus in this time of trouble.
Where do you start when studying Scripture? That depends upon where you are in your walk with Christ. Are you a babe in Christ? I don't mean did you just come to know him recently. No matter how long you've claimed to follow Him, if you haven't grown in your walk with Him, then you're still a babe. Most Christians have a Bible but seldom open it, so they have no real knowledge of what they believe or what Scripture says about how we are to live. A good place to begin studying is always the Gospel of John. It's not a race, so don't rush through it. Stop and really think about what you're reading. This Gospel opens with a very revealing statement. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." John 1:1. Compare that verse to Genesis. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Genesis 1:1. So, logically, if the Word was in the beginning with God and was God, then the Word, Jesus Christ, is the Creator. John confirms that. "All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made." John 1:3. Yes, Jesus was the Word made flesh and Creator of all creation. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." John 1:14. Can you imagine what else you might learn as you read through John's Gospel? Have a note pad and pencil with you as you read. Take notes and make comments. If a question comes to mind or something is unclear, write it down and research it. There are wonderful surprises in Scripture and you won't find them unless you study.
Another way to study is to choose a subject, such as God's love, or the Rapture, or did Jesus ever claim to be God. Then, find Scriptures that talk about the particular subject. You would be wise to get a concordance and use it to find other verses where a word or phrase is used. Be sure to look at the context of each verse. It's not a bad idea to also look up the Hebrew or Greek words to give you a deeper understanding. English translations are good for those of us who speak English, but unless you can understand the meaning in the original language, you miss a lot. For instance, the New Testament talks a about love, but there are many Greek words that are translated "love" in Scripture. Each one has a different meaning. There's the love of God, but there's also the husband/wife love and brotherly love, etc. Love isn't the only word like that. Scripture is full of wonderful discoveries and God gave us Scripture in order that we will come to know Him better and mold our life to His will. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
You might also begin a study of prophecy. Prophecy is being fulfilled rapidly, but many Christians argue about things like the Rapture, or whether Christians have replaced Israel. There are many opinions, but the only opinion that matters is God's. God spoke through prophets of old about events of today. "That ye be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." 2 Peter 3:2-4. Scoffers only scoff because they haven't studied Scripture and don't have a clue as to what it says. Many say that the word Rapture isn't in the Bible so it isn't a valid belief. It's true that the word isn't found in Scripture, but no English word is found in the original language. We say "Rapture", but the Greek word is "harpazo". Paul spoke of the Rapture/harpazo many times. "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." 1 Thessalonians 4:17. The phrase "caught up" is translated from "harpazo", which means to be "snatched out or away". In this case we will be caught up/snatched away before God's wrath of the Tribulation. Not only that, but God gave a "picture" of the Rapture way back in Genesis. Enoch was Raptured prior to God's judgment by the Flood, just like Christians will be Raptured prior to God's judgment. When Paul first visited Thessalonica, he was there three weeks and taught them about Jesus, how to find salvation, and about the Rapture. Most Christians can sit in a pew every Sunday for many years and never hear of these things. That's a sad comment on pastors. As for Christians replacing Israel, that's just wrong. God will never replace Israel with any people group. Many Old Testament prophets talk about Israel returning to their land and much more that we see happening today.
Another wonderful book in the Bible to study is Ruth. It's a beautiful love story, but it also is filled with symbolism. Naomi was a Jewish widow who needed to redeem her land. She had a Gentile daughter-in-law, Ruth, who was also a widow, but loved Naomi and learned about God through Naomi. Then, there is Boaz, who was Naomi's next of kin and eligible to redeem her land. He did that by marrying Ruth, a Gentile bride, just as Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer, will marry His Gentile Bride and redeem all of Israel. It's a wonderful book to read and study.
With so much time on your hands, now might be a good time to study about sin. What is sin? Where did it originate? When you study sin, you'll begin to see things in your own life that you need to change. "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" Matthew 7:3. Too often we can see the sin of others but then justify the sin in our own life because "everybody does it". Instead of comparing your life to world standards, compare your life to God's standards. Then, when we are allowed to venture out into society again, we can be better ambassadors for our Lord. People will see a change in us and we can share the Gospel. Many Christians talk about how we need a revival, but they just don't want to revive their own love for Christ.
Brothers and sisters, we are living in the end of days (study about that in Scripture). There should be nothing more important to us than serving Jesus and spreading the Gospel. Instead of stuffing your head full of the latest COVID-19 news story, stuff your heart, mind, and soul with Jesus. His love is eternal. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8. When you're trying to decide what to do with the extra time you have on your hands, try spending time with Jesus.
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: It's not the mark of the beast, but... - Bill Wilson -
People in America want to get back to work. Protesters in Michigan and Kentucky are saying that government lockdowns are unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the Washington, DC government has extended the lockdown for yet another month. There is a debate taking place about how to monitor people exposed to or who have had COVID-19 and how to prevent further spread of the disease. Some suggest an "immunity passport" or some such monitoring of your daily movements in order to return to work. These systems tracking who is infected and who isn't are being created in other countries, South Korea, Singapore, and none other than China. And these systems are being pitched here in the United States.
This is an inherent problem with government health care. It opens the door to people control. The government could try to implement a monitoring system as it brings the economy back to work. Certainly, the Democratic leadership, the news media and some high-tech big business that stands to make trainloads of money, are in favor of such a system. And they will attempt to trample your constitutional right to privacy using public health concern scare tactics. Apple and Alphabet's Google say privacy and security are top priorities as they collaborate to activate such immunity passports to track "the virus" using cell phones. The app actually can notify other app uses of an infected person within 10 feet.
The access to this data is a huge question. Google and Apple say that the personal data remains on the user's phone and disappears after 14 days. In light of the Obama Administration's agreements with these tech giants to mine private data, how does anyone believe their personal data is safe from exploitation? Essentially, this system and others have the ability to identify both the infected and the non-infected. Conspiracy theories abound about Microsoft founder Bill Gates developing a chip technology carrying your personal health data. While President Trump has cut US funding of the World Health Organization, the Gates Family Foundation increased its WHO funding by $250 million. A White House insider with knowledge of the situation tells me that the President is against government-mandated tracking of private citizens.
Beginning with social security numbers and beyond, people have sounded alarms about these things being used as the mark of the beast as found in Revelation. They are not. Maybe they are a type and shadow, but they are not the mark of the beast. The mark of the beast as prophesied in Revelation is required to buy, sell and not be killed, but it also requires worship of the beast as God. Revelation 20:4 says, "And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands." While government tracking is a horrible violation of privacy, it is not the mark of the beast, which would be taken as an openly conscious decision to deny the one true God and worship the beast.
Daily Devotion: A Second Time - by Greg Laurie -
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 'Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.' -Jonah 3:1-2
Jonah probably wondered whether God would ever use him again. And of course, the Lord wasn't obligated to do so. But God loved Jonah. And God gives second chances.
In Jonah 3 we read, "Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 'Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you'" (Jonah 3:1-2 NKJV).
God also gave Adam and Eve, our first parents, a second chance. They were strictly warned to not eat of the forbidden fruit. But they did. As a result, sin entered into the world.
God could have said, "That's it. I'm starting over again."
Yet what do we find in chapter 3 of Genesis? We read, "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. . . . Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, 'Where are you?'" (verses 8-9 NKJV).
God was still longing for fellowship with His wayward son.
Also, God gave King David a second chance after David committed adultery and murder (which he did to cover up his adultery). When the prophet Nathan confronted him, he repented. And God gave him a second chance.
Samson had so much going for him. He committed incredible feats of strength like a superhero. But he fell into sin and got involved in all kinds of immorality. Ultimately, his enemies captured him and gouged out his eyes. But then the Bible gives us this detail about Samson in Judges 16:22: "But before long, his hair began to grow back" (NLT). God gave him a second chance.
This should give hope to anyone who feels like they need a second chance in life. God gives second chances.
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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