Prophecy Update Newsletter
April 20, 2017
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Antichrist Is a Master Deceiver - By Joseph Chambers - www.pawcreek.org
There has never been a deceiver more subtle than the Antichrist. He is "right now" preparing our world for the greatest deception in human history. The church world that the misses the Rapture will actually take Satan's mark and believe it is of God.
The Antichrist will convince a multitude that he is the true Christ and they will happily take his mark. The mark will be a badge of honor to those that sell him their souls. The church world is probably 95% lost at this time and going in the direction of an even greater deception.
The mark of the Antichrist has more to do with his "nature" than the tattoo he will demand on your forehead or right hand. The Bible clearly identifies five aspects of the Antichrist that will deceive the world and cause an incredible multitude to be eternally damned. Many are concerned about his "MARK 666" but never give a thought to his nature.
Notice how the Bible clearly warns us of this truth. As John watches he sees "... 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... 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).
In both verses, we are warned that men will follow him in worship and receive his mark. There is no question but that our world is experiencing a deluge of the nature of this future beast. This article has one goal of helping you identify his nature. When the Rapture occurs, the world left behind will have already been prepared for his "MARK".
HIS NATURE IS THE PRELUDE TO HIS MARK OR TATTOO. We call his nature that is gripping our world, "THE SPIRIT OF THE ANTICHRIST."
The Scripture says, "... this is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world" (1 John 4:3).
We must recognize the spirit of this beast that is preparing our world for his mark. There are millions that have so surrendered to the nature that it will make no difference when they take the mark. The mark cannot be received until the man of sin, the beast himself, is revealed, but the nature and his worship can be experienced already. Let's try to identify his nature to the best of our understanding of truth
Revelation 13:11-13: "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. 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. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men."
The FIRST expression of his nature is to dilute the Bible so that truth becomes relative instead of authoritative. Almost the entire church world has bought into the new Bible versions that shatter the infallible source of His glorious truth. This is clearly Satan's design. The devil does not want to destroy the Bible, that would cause a revolution; he wants to create a spirit of denial of numerous parts of the Scripture.
The Antichrist does not need for you to reject the entire Bible, just a small part of it. You will be just as eternally lost by turning away from some Scripture that you call cultural, outdated, or some other adjective as if you rejected the whole. This nature of the beast is on a binge to get you questioning God's absolute Truth.
SECOND: The beast nature is to destroy the beautiful sense of our sacred temple of the human body. The body or the temple of every living person is a sacred creation intended to be the temple of His Holy Spirit.
"If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are" (1 Corinthians 3:17).
The appearance, the dress, the morality, the language and the treatment of your body as a holy temple is a biblical requirement; and you cannot serve God if you treat this truth lightly.
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?
For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." (1 Corinthians 6:4-17).
"Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" (1 Corinthians 6:13, 19).
The church world has rejected the beauty of a godly life lived so tenderly that the temple/body is filled with His glory and power and looks like a light from His transforming grace. The world cannot see inside the temple, they can only see the outside reflection.
2 John:9-11: "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."
THIRD: The Antichrist nature is to deny all of the laws of God, and His commandments. The new religious philosophy says, "Free as a breeze to do as you please." It is from the enemy of truth, the beast. I call this "religious philosophy" because it surely is not "religious theology." It's the nature of the beast.
The Bible says, "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:3-4).
Those words are utterly rejected by most of the church world because of the spirit of the Antichrist. This Antichrist spirit wants everyone free of any restrictions because restrictions are how we discern right from wrong, good from bad and darkness from light.
FOURTH: His nature is to promote biblical knowledge without a Biblical experience. Our world is full of religious people that know a lot about the Bible but have no experience with the person of Jesus Christ. Religious colleges and universities are abounding. Religious books line the walls of religious bookstores and all types of communication methods are flooded with religious teachings.
All of this is empty until the soul has a transforming experience of being born again - a radical change - and surrenders to a cross-bearing life with Jesus Christ. Satan and his beast love religion, but they are terrified by the Holy Spirit's transformed relationship with the Lord of the church. Satan and his angels have never ceased to be religious. The Beast that gives life to the image has a nature of false religion.
"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" (Revelation 13:11).
"Horns on a lamb" is the exact opposite of the Lamb of God.
The FIFTH nature of the new beast and his new religion is righteousness without godliness. Righteousness is imputed; it is the work of grace; and no amount of good works can earn righteousness. The saving grace is His gift and we come to Him without trusting anything of ourselves.
But, the new theology flooding the church is to deny the effect of that righteousness and to leave the religious man free of the radical change demanded by Scripture. Christ's righteousness is not a head matter, it's a heart matter; and it will totally alter your life.
"For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins" (Hebrews 10:26).
"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14).
Our churches are full of religion but very few are living examples of Jesus Christ. This is the design of the Antichrist. Can you hear it in John's description of the Beast: "Horns like a lamb but sounding like a dragon?"
Zechariah 14:12-13: "And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold everyone on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbor."
The nature of the beast is to promote programs without power and emotions without the supernatural works of His Holy Spirit. The life of the church is the resurrection life of Jesus Christ and that life is supernatural. The Church must be alive with His presence or it becomes a tool of the new religion that the coming beast loves. It's amazing to watch how quickly the Church begins to welcome the strange fire of psychology, psychiatry, and even false spirits of witchcraft.
Every action of Satan is only slightly removed from its original beauty in the Creator. Hypnotism is a counterfeit of the gifts of discernment, the strange fires of the Charismatic world are only slightly removed from the pure gifts of the Holy Spirit. Satan is a deceiver and can imitate the real very cleverly. The Word of God must always be the basis of discernment.
Conclusion: We are living on the edge of His return, and deception is everywhere. A pure Bible and a faithful church to that Word is our guide and hope. Be a radical Christian and cling to truth with all your life. The coming of our Lord can be expected at any moment. John saw this dark Antichrist spirit and a wide-awake Christian can certainly see the "lurking" presence now spreading his venom.
Syria Moves Its Remaining Warplanes Near Russian Base - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz - https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/86838/fear-future-us-action-syria-moves-planes-next-russians/#KrlIVZud3OiToHxS.97
"Blessed be Hashem my Rock, who traineth my hands for war, and my fingers for battle." Psalms 144:1 (The Israel Bible™)
In the wake of a US missile strike that seriously crippled its air-force,Syria is moving its remaining planes to an airfield adjacent to a Russian airbase. Despite rising tensions with Russia, the US remains committed to preventing further chemical attacks by the Syrian government.
Two defense officials told CNN the Syrian military began moving its aircraft to the air base at Bassel Al-Assad International Airport shortly after the US missile strike on the Sharat air base on April 6. The airport adjacent to the Khmeimim Air Base, formerly a Syrian airbase but currently most of Russia's air assets are located there. The Russian base is protected by advanced anti-aircraft systems which would presumably offer protection to the nearby Syrian airbase, making the US reluctant to initiate another strike.
The US used 59 Tomahawk missiles to destroy 24 warplanes in the attack, which is estimated to be 20 percent of Syria's fixed wing aircraft.
"The Syrian Air Force is not in good shape. It's been worn down by years of combat plus some ... significant maintenance problems," Secretary of Defense General James Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday.
The US missile-strike came in response to a sarin nerve gas attack Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched from Sharat air base, killing approximately 70 civilians. Though Russian personnel were on the Syrian base, the US warned Russia before the attack. 14 Syrians were killed in the US missile attack but no Russian casualties were reported.
The attack created tensions between the US and Russia, which supports the regime of Assad. Assad has been fighting a civil war for six years which has killed over 300,000 Syrians. Assad denied using chemical weapons, and Russia condemned the US missile strike. Despite Assad's claims, the director general for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, said Wednesday that analysis of samples from victims of the Khan Sheikhoun attack showed "incontrovertible" results that "sarin or a sarin-like substance" was used in the attack.
Syria was required to turn over all of its chemical weapons in 2014 following an agreement brokered by former President Barack Obama. Despite assertions by Obama and his Secretary of State, John Kerry, that Syria had relinquished "100 percent" of its chemical weapons, experts now claim that tons of dangerous weapons remain in secretly stockpiles.
President Trump was reluctant to become involved in the Syrian conflict, but now threatens continued action if Assad continues to use chemical weapons. General Mattis affirmed this at the press conference.
"The Syrian regime should think long and hard before it again acts so recklessly in violation of international law against the use of chemical weapons," Mattis said, later adding that "if they use chemical weapons, they are going to pay a very, very stiff price."
North Korean Submarine Missile Program Advances - Bill Gertz - http://freebeacon.com/national-security/north-korean-submarine-missile-program-advances/
Rapid development of KN-11 missile, submarines, UN says
North Korea is making rapid progress on developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles and missile-firing submarines, according to a report by a United Nations panel of experts.
"Rapid technological developments have taken place over a short period, resulting in significant progress towards an operational submarine-launched ballistic missile system," the eight-member U.N. panel of experts stated.
The report provides new details on Pyongyang's development of a submarine-launched missile called the KN-11.
"The shift from liquid- to a solid-fuel engine for the KN-11 is a major technological development, affording greater stability, quicker preparation and longer fuel storage," the report states.
The report provided photographs of the Gorae-class submarine used to launch the missile.
The development of a missile-firing submarine by North Korea was first disclosed by the Washington Free Beacon in August 2014 amid skepticism among naval experts who said the communist state lacked the advanced technological capabilities needed for such a complex weapon.
Since the disclosure, North Korea conducted numerous ground and land tests at a facility on the east coast called Sinpo.
Sinpo was the site of a failed missile test on Saturday when a liquid-fueled extended range Scud missile blew up shortly after launch.
Tensions remain high in the region amid a war of words between Washington and Pyongyang. North Korea has said its missile tests will be carried out weekly. Fiery North Korean rhetoric recently included claims nuclear war could break out at any moment.
The submarine was shown in the report with a modification to its launch platform that helped solve ejection and stability problems.
"To this end, vents were added on either side of the launch tube," the report said. "These improvements are notable given that this vessel will likely serve as the basis for future submarine-launched ballistic missile submarines with multiple tubes."
The sole Gorae submarine uses a single launch tube, an indication the vessel is a prototype.
The North Korean program appears to mimic characteristics of the first generation U.S. nuclear-tipped sub-launched missile program known as Polaris.
The KN-11 uses launch techniques similar to the Polaris, first deployed in the 1960s, that follow the sequence of launch, broach through water, ignite the engine, align the missile, and fly toward targets.
The UN report said member states should avoid exporting dual-use commercial items that could bolster the submarine missile program.
A watch list of 60 items that could be used by North Korea for submarine parts was published in December by the South Korean government.
The components include steel plates, acoustic coatings, and underwater communication gears.
Five tests of the KN-11 were carried out last year, including an ejection test March 16, a failed flight test on April 23, another failure on July 9, and a 300-mile flight test on Aug. 24.
"Four KN-11 tests occurred within five months from the Sinpo area, showing rapid development," the report said. "The test of 24 August, by successfully going through ejection, boost and flight phases, was unprecedented in demonstrating the country's capabilities with regard to submarine-launched ballistic missiles."
Regarding the April 23 test, images revealed a successful un-ignited ejection of a two-stage KN-11 emerging from the water, the missile igniting just above the surface and then flying for 19 miles.
The report said the April 23 test was significant in identifying the use of solid-fuel propellant and comparing the exhaust plume with a similar liquid-fuel missile test on May 8, 2015.
Additionally, North Korea has developed a gas generator that is attached to the bottom of the missile that is used to eject it from the missile tube.
According to the UN experts, the Sinpo shipyard where the submarine-launched missile is being developed is being expanded with a main fabrication hall. "The main hall may be used to construct additional, larger submarines that are capable of carrying more than one submarine-launched ballistic missile," the report said.
A second hall could be used as a future loading and unloading facility for submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in prepared testimony April 4 that while North Korea does not pose an existential threat to the United States "it remains the most dangerous and unpredictable actor in the Pacific region."
"Pyongyang's evolving ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program underscore the growing threat," Hyten said. "It continues to defy international norms and resolutions, as demonstrated by a number of provocative actions this past year, including their fourth and fifth nuclear tests."
North Korea also is building long-range and submarine-launched ballistic missiles and an improved intermediate-range missile.
"These developments highlight its commitment to diversify its missile forces and nuclear delivery options, while strengthening missile force survivability," he said.
"North Korea also continues efforts to expand its stockpile of weapons-grade fissile material and has demonstrated its capability and willingness to conduct destructive cyber-attacks against the United States and its allies."
The UN report was led by Hugh Griffiths, the coordinator of a panel of experts that includes members from the United States, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Other members of the panel include Benoit Camguilhem, Dmitry Kiku, Youngwan Kim, Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt , Maiko Takeuchi, Neil Watts and Jiahu Zong.
Scoffers Will Come - By Howard Green - http://www.raptureready.com/2017/04/18/scoffers-will-come-by-howard-green/
On March 27th of 1980, there was a small eruption of Mt. St. Helens in Washington state. The volcano rumbled awake after a one hundred year sleep. In the weeks to follow, a series of small earthquakes warned of the danger building below the surface of the mountain. Federal and local government officials alerted the public to the growing threat and said a large-scale eruption was imminent.
Many tourists, backpackers, campers, and local residents heeded the warnings and complied with evacuation orders. There were dozens of others who decided to ignore and even scoff at the warnings about the growing danger and chose to stay in harm's way. On May 18th, 1980 at 8:32 am. Mt. St. Helens erupted ferociously, sending a pyroclastic blast and a wall of super-heated gas and ash racing down the sides of the mountain at over 300 mph.
In the wake of the volcano's fury, 57 people lost their lives because they either ignored or scoffed at the warnings of impending danger. The Bible tells us about a time when scoffers will mock people who warn others about coming of the Lord.
2 Peter 3:3-4 - "Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, 'Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.'"
The word scoffer denotes a person who is engaged in the act of jeering, scorning or mocking. In this case, the Bible warns us about people who will be scoffing at the possibility of the Lord's soon return. Please take note of the fact that the Bible zeroes in on a particular time in history. Peter warned that these people will be around in the last days. Another key aspect of these people is the fact that they are following their own sinful desires. The Bible tells us that these people will mockingly ask, "Where is the promise of his coming?"
I have been around for awhile and I've observed some non-Christians mock the notion of God's coming judgment and Jesus' soon return. They will call God a mean cosmic bully, a manmade illusion, or a sky fairy. I watched a guy throw my Bible across a room as he cursed at it and called it fake. While that level of animosity isn't the norm, there is still the widespread denial of the Bible's authority.
Television, radio, and social media are brimming with people who scoff at the idea that Jesus is coming again. My heart goes out to these people because they are not the enemy, Satan is and he wants to keep them blinded. Knowing the stakes are eternal, we must tell them about God's holiness, coming judgment, and redemption through Jesus.
We want to focus on the elephant in the middle of the evangelical living room. The elephant in the room is the continued ignoring of sound end time Bible prophecy teaching. Ask yourself the following questions: When was the last time you heard a sermon on Bible prophecy? When was the last time your small group discussed the end times? Can you remember the last time your church invited a guest speaker to teach on an end-time subject?
I'm guessing many of you feel the same as I do. I have noticed a strong departure from teaching end time Bible prophecy in most evangelical churches today. This is sad and unbelievable in light of the fact that the four gospels, the epistles, and the Old Testament are overflowing with chapters that are heavily eschatological.
I call end time Bible prophecy the elephant in the evangelical living room because so many of today's well-known leaders either choose to ignore it altogether or in some cases, they have become the very scoffers the apostle Peter warns us about. It is an absolute disgrace and dereliction of duty to ignore or scoff at Bible prophecy, yet many of today's big names do this regularly.
If a pastor or a Bible teacher you learn from ignores this subject, chances are high they are doctrinally flawed in other areas. Ignoring or scoffing at Bible prophecy should be a big red flag and I would advise you go elsewhere for biblical instruction and find a godly servant who teaches the whole truth.
When I became a Christian in the mid-1980s, there was a great deal of interest in all things relating to Bible prophecy. End-time books were everywhere, many churches taught on this subject with regularity, and it was a big topic among Christian friends. Here we are decades later, and it is my opinion that interest and teaching on end-time Bible prophecy are at an all time low and I think many of you would agree.
This is indicative of a church that is living their best life now instead of living for the one to come. Many who call themselves believers are too busy playing church instead of being the Church. Today's "Christian" bookstores are chock full of quasi-Christian self-help books that focus on self-esteem instead of God's glory.
We throw around words like authenticity, discipleship, and Christ-likeness, but they have become Christianese talk for masses of lukewarm people who are following a movement instead of the Savior. The Great Commission and personal holiness underscore the importance of end time Bible prophecy. Matthew 24 is full of Jesus' warnings and encouragement to His followers. He tells us to be alert, to endure to the end and tells us the gospel must be preached in all the world.
Matthew 24:14 - "And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."
As we think about Peter's warning of scoffers coming in the last days, we must understand that there is the element of personal holiness at the center of the issue. The people who were scoffing appear to have a form of godliness and are quasi-Christian because they reference his delay coming. When I take a 10,000 ft. view of the popular evangelical landscape today, it seems that where Bible prophecy is important, so is personal holiness.
Where Bible prophecy is ignored, personal holiness becomes religious speak and not a matter of personal conviction. This is important to understand because Peter ties the understanding of end time Bible prophecy closely together with godly living in the last days.
2 Peter 3:11-12 - "Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God."
Bible prophecy isn't a distraction or divisive as several popular evangelical teachers have said. End-time Bible prophecy is woven throughout the scriptures to call us to godliness, witnessing, and for understanding the times we live in. So many well-known leaders choosing to ignore or scoff at end time teaching is indicative of the last days spiritual deception and blindness Peter warned us about. We were told that scoffers would come in the last days.
All for Him,
Jesus was Innocent - Ron & Nathele Graham - email@example.com
Many people are put to death because of crimes they've committed. Most of these crimes involve murder, but there are some countries that will put someone to death simply because a person is a Christian. This isn't anything new, and it happens frequently. Have you ever wondered why Jesus was executed? The answer might surprise you if you dig into the question. It also might surprise you to find out who really executed Him.
At first it might look as if the Jewish leaders were guilty of bringing about Jesus' death. He was born to a Jewish mother and fulfilled all prophecy concerning the first coming of the Messiah. Although His mother was Jewish, Jesus was the Son of God. Actually, He was God in the flesh who came to redeem all people from sin. The very people who should have recognized this truth sought to have Jesus put to death. The Pharisees where religious leaders of the day and put on a great show of being "holier than thou". They knew the Mosaic Law and did everything they could to live even holier than the Law required and looked down on everyone else. Jesus saw right through them and didn't accept their false pride. "Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat and swallow a camel." Matthew 23:24. The Scribes and Pharisees were so concerned with the smallest letter of the Law that they were blind to the bigger picture. Jesus had many confrontations with these men and He never backed down from pointing out the failures in their leadership.
According to the Mosaic Law, blasphemy was a capital crime worthy of death. "And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the LORD shall be put to death." Leviticus 24:16. It's a very serious offense to talk against God or claim to be God. Many people today claim that Jesus never said He was God but they are wrong. The deity of Christ is an important fact to the Christian faith and Jesus claimed to be God many times. One of the most colorful confrontations between Jesus and the Pharisees is recorded in the Gospel of John. The Pharisees had accused Jesus of casting out a demon by the power of Satan. Jesus responded by saying "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do..." John 8:44a. Jesus pulled no punches as He spoke to the Jewish leadership. The Pharisees should have dropped the subject, but they just couldn't let it go. Jesus told them that if a man had faith in Him he would never see death. "Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?" John 8:52-53. These blind guides would not believe the truth and their mocking response shows their hardened hearts. Because Jesus is God He existed long before Abraham and told this fact to the Pharisees. "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? John 8:56-57. Can't you just hear the sarcasms and distain in their voices. Then the Creator of the universe made it crystal clear. "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am." John 8:58. This doesn't translate well into English, but when Jesus said "I am" He was saying He was eternal...the "I AM" who spoke from the burning bush...The Eternal God. The Pharisees understood. "Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by." John 8:59. They wanted to stone Him for blasphemy.
Eventually Judas, a disciple, went to the chief priests and offered to betray Jesus. "And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you: And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him." Matthew 26:15-16. This, of course, fulfilled prophecy given by Zechariah. "And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD."Zechariah 11:12-13. Indeed, Judas received his fee for betrayal and he led a band of men to arrest Jesus. Jesus was arrested, abused, and crucified, but He was innocent. Judas felt remorse for what he had done and took the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. "Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that." Matthew 27:4. Judas knew Jesus hadn't committed any crime. He threw down the money and went and hanged himself. It wasn't lawful to put blood money into the treasury so the potter's field was purchased for a place to bury strangers.
So, did Judas murder Jesus? Was it the Jews who murdered Him? These people certainly did their part, but at the time of Jesus' crucifixion, the Jewish leaders had no authority to sentence a person to death. That authority rested with the Romans. So, off they went to Pontius Pilate who was the Roman governor at the time. Since blasphemy wasn't something that would rile a Roman official, Jesus was falsely accused of other "crimes". "And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying, that he himself is Christ a King." Luke 23:1-2. Pilate really didn't want to be involved, but was obligated. Thousands of people were in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover and every able bodied Jewish man was to observe this in Jerusalem. Pilate had a lot he was dealing with because of the crowds of visitors. "Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man." Luke 23:4. Innocent, right? Not really. It was more "I don't care". His "no fault" verdict made the Jewish leaders angry, so Pilate decided to send Jesus to Herod who just happened to be in town. After some abuse Herod sent Him back to Pilate where He was beaten. Many people were involved in condemning Jesus, although He was innocent.
There was a tradition that on Passover one prisoner would be released. Pilate left Jesus' fate up to a crowd that was gathered. Would they call for the release of Barabbas? He was a hardened criminal who deserved death, but Jesus was innocent. "But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas." Matthew 27:20-21. So, who do you think was guilty of condemning Jesus to death? Was it the chief priests and elders, or was Pilate to blame? I often wonder if I had been in the crowd that day, who would I have asked to be released. I wonder how many who cheered for Barabbas really understood the situation and how many were just following the religious leaders. That still happens today. Jesus is mocked every time we accept false teachings from blind guides.
Jesus was sentenced to be crucified. After having been beaten beyond recognition, he was forced to carry the cross through the streets of Jerusalem to where Roman soldiers drove spikes into His hands and feet. Can you hear the clank of the hammer hitting those spikes? Can you imagine the pain? Every time the hammer came down the nail drove further into His flesh. Then He was lifted up between two criminals. He looked down upon the Roman soldiers as they cast lots to see who would win His clothing. At the foot of the cross stood a handful of people, including Jesus' mother and John. Peter, of course, had run and hid. The battle Jesus fought was one that no mere human could fight. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2 Corinthians 5:21. The battle was a spiritual one for the salvation of mankind. When Jesus became sin in our place, God the Father could not look upon Him. "And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?" Mark 15:34. Oh Jesus! Oh my Lord! It was me. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. It was my sin that nailed You to that cross! It wasn't the Jewish leaders or the Roman soldiers. It was me. As Jesus hung there He had pity on those onlookers, even the Roman soldiers, and He asked God the Father to forgive them. "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots." Luke 23:34. Jesus forgave those involved in His execution. He even forgave me. Thank You, Jesus, thank You.
It's true that Jesus took the sin of the whole world upon Himself that day, but He did it willingly. "And you being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." Colossians 2:13-15. My sins were what sent Him to the cross. Not my sins alone, but yours too. Jesus went to the cross willingly and all of humanity is guilty of His death, but His love for us was the reason for His sacrifice. "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." John 10:17-18. Jesus willingly laid down His own life for His creation through His own power. It was mankind's sin that nailed Him to that cross, and it was His love for us that kept Him there. No one person or group of people crucified the Creator of the universe. The sin of the world had to be dealt with so all of humanity could be reconciled to the one true God. The gift of salvation is free, but it has to be accepted individually.
"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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:16-17.Jesus was innocent but I'm guilty. Jesus paid my debt and I'm redeemed. I've accepted His free gift of salvation, have you? If yes, then live for Him who died for you. If not then what's stopping you? Time is running out and tomorrow may be too late.
God bless you all,
Ron & Nathele Graham
Previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
This commentary was started by Ron Graham before his death on March 14, 2013, and finished by his wife, Nathele Graham
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My Review of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?"
Over the last 35 years, I have literally read hundreds of books on Bible Prophecy and End Time signs. I especially enjoy books on the Rapture, and I have read almost every Rapture-related book published. In all those years, devouring thousands of pages, and millions of words, I have not read a better book on the Rapture than, Rapture Ready...Or Not?
Terry James might be physically blind, but he is spiritually sharp and well discerning beyond most authors. In "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" Terry has nailed the pre-trib Rapture, and removed any doubt what so ever about the Church going through the Tribulation. With great insight and Godly discernment, Terry explains with simple, yet profound words, why and how that he has come to believe the ways he does about the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the End Times scenario. I think after reading "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" you too will believe as Terry does, and be Ready for the Rapture like never before! - Randy Thomas - Publisher / Editor - Prophecy Update
For more information and or to get your copy of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" use this link: http://www.raptureready.com/terry/book35.html
Between First Fruits and Pentecost - A Bible Study by Jack Kelley - https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/holidays-and-holy-days/between-first-fruits-and-pentecost/
For some time now, I've been puzzled about the time between the resurrection and the ascension-wondering why the Lord lingered during those 40 days. It certainly wasn't to complete His mission. By all accounts, He had already accomplished everything He came to do. It seems like He would have been more anxious to return to His heavenly home.
The Olivet Discourse
My curiosity was first aroused during a review of the Olivet Discourse. To show you what I mean, we'll have to do a quick review of the first 34 verses of Matt. 24. I'm particularly interested in the way the Lord answered the disciples' questions about the signs of His coming and the End of the Age. The disciples were clearly looking for specific signs. But in Matt. 24:4-14 He began by mentioning a handful of general signs that don't appear to have any clear relevance to time.
First, He warned them many false messiahs would come claiming to be Him. Next, came wars and rumors of wars, but He said not to be alarmed by such things, they wouldn't be signs of the end. Then He gave the "birth pang" signs, famines, earthquakes and, in Luke's account, pestilence. These are signature signs of coming judgment that Jesus said would lead up to the end.
He said Jews would be persecuted and put to death, hated by all nations. This would cause many to turn away from the Jewish faith to hate and betray each other. False prophets would also appear and deceive many people. The love of most would grow cold, but he who stood firm to the end would be saved. I believe the love He was talking about here is the love of God because this is the love that saves us.
I wonder what the disciples thought about all of this so far. Remember they were under the impression Israel was 483 years into a 490 year period that would see the culmination of God's plan for mankind (Daniel 9:24). Up until an hour or so earlier they had assumed the magnificent Temple King Herod was building was part of the preparation for restoring their Kingdom to its former glory. But then Jesus had told them it was all going to be torn down. Now He was giving them vague and general answers to their specific questions.
Finally, in Matt. 24:15, He gave them the first clear sign. An abomination that causes desolation would be set up in the Holy Place. They knew this had happened once before. The Syrian ruler Antiochus Epiphanes had set one up almost 200 years earlier as part of his demand that they worship him as God. It made the temple unfit for use, and the way the Lord had miraculously cleansed it is still celebrated every year in the Feast of Hanukkah. It was the only time it had ever happened. Jesus said when they saw that happen again, they should immediately flee into the mountains.
He said the abomination of desolation will bring about the Great Tribulation, a terrible time of judgment, the worst the world ever has seen or ever will see. He said if he didn't bring it to an end at the appointed time no one on Earth would survive, but for the sake of the elect He would bring it to its end. He said when He did, the sun and moon would stop shining, and the stars would fall out of the sky (Matt. 24:29). Then they'd see His sign, the only source of light in the dark sky. And finally, they will see Him coming in the clouds with power and great glory (Matt. 24:30).
In all this, He never mentioned the Church. (In fact in His entire earthly ministry, He only mentioned the Church twice-in Matt. 16:18 and Matt. 18:17.) He didn't even hint at the fact that 2,000 years would separate their time and the time of the first specific sign. He spoke of everything as if it was going to happen to them. It's also clear He was addressing them as representatives of Israel.
From our perspective, we see that He could have been much more specific, especially with the earlier signs. But the clear explanation of how things would unfold didn't come until the Council of Jerusalem 20 years later. In effect, James told the group of early Church leaders, "Israel is being set aside until the Lord takes from among the Gentiles a people for Himself. Then He'll return to rebuild David's fallen tabernacle" (Acts 15:13-18). During the Olivet Discourse, Jesus had made no mention of this happening.
What Was He Waiting For?
Then there's the issue of the apparent dead time between the resurrection and the ascension. What was that all about? He didn't do any public teaching or healing, and there were no other miracles either. After His meeting with the disciples on Resurrection Sunday, there were only six more recorded appearances. Four were to the disciples (John 20:26-31, John 21:1-23, Matt. 28:16-20, Acts 1:3-8), one was to James (1 Cor. 15:7) and one was to about 500 others, his only public appearance (1 Cor. 15:6) between the resurrection and the ascension.
Otherwise, the Bible is silent about how He spent His time. There's no account of discussions being held on how to launch the Church, and He didn't fill in any of the blanks from the Olivet Discourse. We know why He didn't go back to the Temple. He told the leaders there they wouldn't see Him again until they said, "Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord" (Matt. 23:39).
The Unmistakable Sign
Before the cross, these leaders had asked the Lord for a sign to prove He was the Messiah. Even though His ministry was characterized by miracles that confirmed Old Testament prophecies about Him, He told them the only sign He would give them was the sign of the prophet Jonah. He said just as Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of a great fish, He would spend three days and three nights in the belly of the Earth (Matt. 12:40).
And then He did just what He told them He was going to do. Surely they all knew of His resurrection, but none of the officials sought Him out. What do you suppose they were thinking? Many overlook this, but His resurrection was the most unmistakably miraculous sign He could have given them. It didn't take any faith to interpret, and it couldn't have been fabricated. It's as if He had looked them in the eye and said, "I know you're going to kill me. But after three days I'm going to rise again, and that's how you'll know I'm your Messiah. That sign will prove it to you beyond a shadow of a doubt."
Acts 1:3-5 confirms He appeared to the disciples from time to time over a 40 day period as we saw above, and says He told them to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit. Then He ascended into Heaven.
After considerable thought, I have concluded those 40 days were Israel's time of probation, or trial. The Bible contains several such 40 day periods, involving Moses and Israel (Exodus 24:18), Elijah (1 Kings 19:8), Jonah and Nineveh (Jonah 3:4), Ezekiel and Judah (Ezekiel 4:6), and Jesus (Matt; 4:2). There are also 15 references to 40 year periods of trial, and one to a 400 year period (40 x 10). For this reason the number 40 has become associated in the Bible with trial.
Jesus had given them the sign He promised, one that no one else could ever give them, and now He was giving them time to respond. I think His offer of the Kingdom was still on the table during that time. He was waiting for them to accept, knowing they wouldn't, but waiting just the same.
And consider this. The three day-three night sign may not have been the Lord's only reason for comparing Himself to Jonah. God had sent Jonah to preach destruction to the Ninevites. It was a simple but devastating message; "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned." (Jonah 3:4)
Jesus had repeatedly warned Israel of the consequences of rejecting Him. In Matt. 21:43 He said, "Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit."
And remember that first Palm Sunday? "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace-but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you." (Luke 19:41-44) (Note that He called Himself God.)
As it had been with Jonah, this was a straight forward pronouncement of judgment. There was no indication they could change things. But in Nineveh the people repented anyway, from the lowest to the highest. When God saw this, He had compassion on them and did not bring the destruction He had threatened (Jonah 3:10).
Could the judgment on Israel have been avoided too? What if after Jesus had given them the "sign of Jonah," they had repented like the Ninevites had? Could they also have stayed the hand of God?
Obviously, God knew the Ninevites would repent. Jonah even accused Him of knowing this and said that was why he ran away instead of warning them of the coming judgment (Jonah 4:1-2).
Just as obviously He knew the Israelites would not. But as I've said before-knowing the future is not the same as controlling it. God has given man free will, after all. Had the Ninevites not repented they would have been judged, but because they did repent God demonstrated His mercy and stood down.
Likewise, had the Israelites repented, perhaps they could have avoided the judgment that sent them into exile for 2000 years. After all, God will forgive them as soon as they ask Him, and will restore their Kingdom as well (Joel 3:20-21). I just wonder if they could have begun their restoration within that 40 days of trial after the Resurrection. It appears that's what the disciples thought would happen. Just before He ascended, they asked the Lord, "Are you at this time going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:8).
Let Me Make This Perfectly Clear
Please understand me. Jesus had to die. Right from the Garden, it's been known it would take the Messiah's death to redeem us from our bondage to sin. And the judgment of those who rejected God's remedy for their sins also had to happen, because whether then or now, Daniel's 70th Week had to be fulfilled. I'm just wondering if Israel could have made the last 2000 years of national suffering unnecessary by responding to the Lord's offer of the Kingdom while He was still here.
History shows that after the 40 days had expired, Jesus fulfilled the words of the prophet Hosea. "I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me." (Hosea 5:15)
Zechariah 12:10 says the time will come when they will admit their guilt, and according to Joel 3:21, when they do God will pardon them. And then they will finally receive the Kingdom He's been waiting 2000 years to give them.
Daily Jot: Media bias undermining Trump presidency - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
In an era where there is news 24-7, thousands of news stories are covered every day from all around the world. That's a lot of news to process. That's a lot to think about as you are trying to discern how the world is going. But there is one thing for certain: the news media is no longer trustworthy to provide unbiased news coverage. Even the news that is said to be unbiased has its own bias. Reporters no longer, or very rarely, report the news, but insert their opinions on what the news event means. President Donald Trump he has largely done what he said he would do if elected but has barely hit the 50% approval rating according to Rasmussen polling. The media, shaping public opinion, may be the logical answer as to why.
The Media Research Center (MRC), a media watchdog, conducted a survey of the news stories about the President on ABC, CBS and NBC's evening news from January 20 through April 9, the first 80 days of Trump's Administration. MRC analyzed 869 stories accounting for 1,900 minutes of total network airtime devoted to the Trump Administration. Five topics-the temporary travel ban, Russian election investigation, socialist health care replacement, increased immigration enforcement, and the ex "president" wiretap claims-all characterized Trump and his administration between 93-to-99.5% negative. Of 1,687 comments about Trump, excluding partisans, 89% were negative.
A similar analysis of the ex "president's" first 100 days of news coverage revealed that the news media characterized that presidency and Administration as 58-to-82% positive on the key topics of the trillion-dollar stimulus package, intervention in the housing market, use of tax payer money to fund embryo-destroying stem cell research, and the action to support global warming. These are all socialistic and politically charged issues that apparently agree with the personal beliefs of the media reporters and leftists who own the media conglomerates. A 2014 study by Indiana University and quoted by the New York Times indicated that only 7% of journalists identified as Republicans. In 2015 over 30 "journalists" left their jobs to work for the previous "president's" Administration, and many "journalists" had spouses that worked there.
When the free press becomes exclusive of its belief system and political views, it no longer represents a free press. It becomes a voice for that belief system and a propaganda arm of those running that system. This has happened in America. The socialist revolutionary minions are trying to overthrow America and the media is helping them do it. We should not be influenced by these evildoers. As Solomon prayed in 1 Kings 3:9 saying, "Give therefore your servant an understanding heart to judge your people, that I may discern between good and bad," so should we seek such wisdom and discernment to judge truth from lies. As you should know, the truth can be found, but you have to seek after it.
Daily Devotion: A Permanent Reminder - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
"Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself." -Luke 24:39
What did the resurrected body of Jesus look like? The Bible tells us that after Jesus' cruel torture, crucifixion, and three days in the tomb, He was recognizable, and that His followers knew who He was.
We know that He had a body of flesh and bone. Jesus told the disciples, "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have" (Luke 24:39).
We also know that Jesus ate food. Imagine the surprise of the disciples when the risen Lord appeared to them and then said, "Have you any food here?"
"What?" they must have been thinking. But they gave Jesus a piece of broiled fish and some honeycomb, and He ate it (see Luke 24:41-43).
His resurrected body also could be touched and felt. When the women were returning from the empty tomb, "Behold, Jesus met them, saying, 'Rejoice!' So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him" (Matthew 28:9).
Then, when Jesus appeared to the disciples in the Upper Room, He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing" (John 20:27).
This tells us that in His resurrected body, Jesus still wore the marks of the Crucifixion. And He will wear those marks, even in eternity (see Zechariah 12:10).
I think this is to remind us of how we got to be His. We will not be in Heaven because of our good works. We will be there because of His shed blood, because spikes were driven through His hands and feet for us.
FROM THE HEART
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