Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Being Justified and Sanctified - by Pastor Mike Taylor -
"For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified." through (Romans 8:29-30)
How I love the book of Romans, especially the 8th chapter. Here the Apostle Paul chronicles the blessings and promises of God. Many will look at their Christian walk and ponder why things don't seem to work out as they envisioned. They grow discouraged and become listless in their daily walk with God. They wonder if God is really on their side. They fail to take hold of the promises of God, grasping it with both hands and endure what they must suffer in this life. Let us examine some of these promises and why you should be joyful and singing the praises of Almighty God for His wondrous mercy.
Look at the opening verses to this message and ponder for a moment the ramifications of what Paul is attempting to preach to them, and to us. This is not a confirmation of predestination, but God in His infinite knowledge, knew that you would accept payment for your sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. God who knows the beginning from the end, and saw you make that heart felt decision to accept the gift provided by His Son, long before you even knew it yourself. In no way does this foreknowledge affect your own self will to make that decision on your own. It's just that God saw you do it.
God has a purpose for all this and it was for your salvation before time began. Some will say, "Then why does God allow suffering in this world, if He called me out of it before time began.?" Why does God allow Christians to go through trials and tribulations of this world? God has a specific plan in place for refining each of us into the image of His Son through sanctification. It's not random occurrences that we have no control over .
"But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand." (Isaiah 64:8)
God is the Potter, we are the clay. He is the One doing the shaping, the molding, the creating. "It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves."
I am a firm believer that God does not allow one thing to happen to a born again Christian unless He allows it. Why would God do that?
BORN IN SIN
Understand that man is a mortal being that has a sin nature that wars with the spiritual man daily. He will never totally escape it, until Jesus comes and perfects him by changing him from a mortal being into immortality and remove our sin nature for eternity.
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1st John 3:1-3)
That will come when Jesus breaks through the clouds and calls His church to join Him at the changing of us, "in the twinkling of an eye" we know as the Rapture. But, Paul lamented over his sin nature in the previous chapter of Romans :
15 "For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."(Romans 7:15-20)
Paul was distraught that he could not, nor could any other man escape his sin nature. But what does Paul say in the final verses?
"24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."
Many don't know that Paul was making reference to a Roman practice for those condemned to be chained to a corpse and the soldiers betting on how long it would take for the condemned to resort to cannibalism to prevent their own death. It was an analogy that many during Paul's day would have recognized and being chained to a sinful nature of death. Who frees them from that body of death? Jesus Christ is Who frees us.
If God allows us to be tested, to be refined, and to experience difficulties in this life, then what is the purpose for God allowing this to happen?
The Bible says that even a sparrow in the sky is so important to God that not one of them shall fall to the ground without His knowledge and permission.
29 "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:29-31)
What is the purpose here? Does God have a purpose? Concerning the analogy of a sparrow, it is more than mere rhetoric. If God cares about a sparrow and not one falls from the sky without it being part of His plan, then how likely is it that He allows you to undergo trials and tribulations for no purpose?
God foreknew us and determined to call us before He ever made His summons known to us. By doing so, He was making a prognosis. We are in this elite group, (the called), only because the great God of heaven and earth specifically and personally summoned us by forcibly bringing the good news to our attention so we would be motivated to choose to respond freely to it. But that is only the beginning. We are then in the school of God's Holy Spirit that will refine us, smooth off the rough edges and make us into the image of God's only Son. It is a lifelong process of being molded, or sanctified.
THE LESSON OF JOB
Remember the story of Job? Here was a righteous man who endured unspeakable trials in his life. This was allowed to test Job and to refine him even through boils that raised up on his body, the loss of his family and all of his wealth. Now granted, this is an extreme case of God allowing adversity to come into a man's life, but can we draw a lesson from the book of Job? In the final analogy, Job learned that you must have total faith and reliance on your Heavenly Father. For He cares for us with a Divine love that was shown by the death of His only Son. It comes down to value.
If God values even a little sparrow and we are worth more than many sparrows, and worth more than the life of His only Son, then what was God's purpose? It was that God saw you as valuable. Your value, in God's eyes, is such that Jesus Christ died in your place so that you might have everlasting life. Your purpose is also clearly outlined in Scripture. When you were lost, your purpose was to be saved. God had a desire for a "family" and made man in His image. God was ultimately "reproducing Himself" when He made man. God was not content to just throw man away, when he fell at the temptation brought forth by Satan and man sinned against God. It is why God sent His only Son, to be the propitiation (substitute) sacrifice for our sins, so that we may be justified because of HIM. Jesus redeemed what had been lost, as our "Kinsman Redeemer".
It really isn't that difficult a concept, if we are willing to accept God as He describes Himself and accept the Bible as a true record.
You were to be conformed to His Son through being justified then for the rest of your life, sanctified as the opening verse testifies. "Conformed" is the English rendering of the Greek word, "summorphos" meaning, "jointly formed, fashioned like unto." Note that you didn't conform yourself to the image of His Son, it was done for you. You were foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, sanctified and destined for glory- all in the past tense indicating that it is already accomplished.
It doesn't say you will be justified, sanctified or glorified when you get to heaven. It says it was already accomplished in heaven before the world began. I have often mentioned that there is only one reason that you and I were born into this world, ultimately. That is, what will you do with the man, Jesus Christ? See, God knows everything...because He is God. He knows if you will accept, but He also knows you who will reject the call of the Holy Spirit. God will not override a man's freewill to choose.
"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began." (Titus 1:2)
God cannot lie. Eternal life was promised, not according to our works, before the world began. You were foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, sanctified and glorified to the Glory of God the Father and His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
It isn't a linguistic trick. It isn't a mistranslation or a misunderstanding of either the original Greek or in our English translation.
To every thing there is a purpose, the Bible says, and for every purpose God has appointed a time.
" No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44)
God works even to make sure that His people have the faith they need! God supplies everything except one's decision-and even in the decision a person makes, He keeps poking us in the ribs, shoving us in the back, to move us in the right direction. He does not give up easily once He sets his mind to do something. We must come to God by faith, but even that faith to believe on the FULL payment for our sins, by Jesus Christ was given by the Father God in heaven.
THE COMING TRIBULATION
If we are being refined now, sanctified into the image of His Son after conversion and being baptized, then what is the point of the Church going through the Tribulation that is coming at us like a locomotive? What is the purpose of the Tribulation? In my discernment of what the Bible teaches, the only answer is two objectives by God.
To bring Israel to the knowledge and recognition of her Messiah that they had crucified 2000 years ago and to cry out in agony, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord."
To completely destroy all rebellion of a Christ rejecting world and purify the world of those who take the mark of the beast, as prophesied in Revelation. God will wipe this planet clean of rebellion.
It is called the Tribulation Period. (Greek: thlipsis: "affliction, anguish,
burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble"). And, it is called, "The time of Jacobs trouble" for an obvious reason. It is the time when God will return His full focus on saving Israel as He promised.
The affliction, anguish, burden, persecution, tribulation and trouble of this time is to be inflicted upon all those that dwell upon the earth. The Bible tells us that it will be meted out in the form of 21 judgments. God will purge Israel, not leaving them unpunished, but will save a remnant through this awful time.
25 "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes.
29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." (Romans 11:25-29)
Those that hold to a literal "refining" of the church during the Tribulation in addition to the defined two reasons noted above, negate the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ. To embrace a mid-tribulation, Pre-wrath, or a post-tribulation model is to diminish the work of the cross. Was Jesus sacrifice not good enough? Was it lacking in its freeing the Christian from the penalty of enduring God's wrath that shall cover the whole earth? Is this not the same as the false doctrine of Catholic purgatory, which we know is a lie?
When are we forgiven our sins? Is it not when we accept Jesus by faith and the Holy Spirit dwells within our spirit? Then why must we be refined? So if there are extra requirements that must be brought to the table, they are extra requirements imposed by you, not by God. God says, "whosoever will."
At the moment of salvation, the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us and bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.
"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. " (Romans 8:16-17)
That leads to another problem with the concept of error that the church of Jesus Christ must endure the Tribulation. Jesus promised us that He would send us the "Comforter" the Holy Spirit and He would never leave us or forsake us.
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17, Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18, I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." (John 14:16-18)
Jesus said He would never leave us alone, but the Bible says that the Holy Spirit is taken out of the world to allow the indwelling of the spirit of Satan in the Anti-Christ and he will overcome the "saints"
4 "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1st John 5:4-5)
But Paul reveals that the Holy Spirit will be taken out of this world!!
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: " (II Thessalonians 2:6-8)
But the Anti-Christ overcomes the Tribulation saints........
"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." (Revelation 13:7)
So which is it? God dwells with us forever, but leaves us defenseless and powerless to the conquest of the Anti-Christ? Since God cannot lie, it is obvious that if the Holy Spirit is removed to make way for the spirit of Anti-Christ that shall overcome the saints, then since the Holy Spirit was removed, then so is the Church. Each Child of God has an earnest deposit of God's Holy Spirit which is our guarantee of future glorification at the return of Christ. So if the Holy Spirit is withdrawn, as Paul reveals through Divine inspiration, then so are the vessels He dwells within.
GOD HAS A PURPOSE
Christians undergo trials and tribulations in this life according to His purposes. What is the purpose behind Blood-bought, eternally-saved, indwelt Christians being separated from the indwelling Holy Spirit so that they can undergo half or all of the judgment period set aside for those that rejected Christ?
Why would the Lord subject His own Bride to judgment for sin after He had already redeemed that Bride from judgment for sin at the Cross? It is a conflict that those who don't discern the purpose of God make the error that the Church must be refined, right along with the rest of a God rejecting world.
We endure the consequences of sin all the time because the world is created in sin, but consequences aren't the same as judgment.
WE ARE BEING TRANSFORMED NOW
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3, For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." (Romans 12:1-3)
The church has a glorious future that no one can begin to imagine. As it is written "eye hath not seen, or ear heard, or entered into the heart of man, what God has prepared for those who love Him." (1st Corinthians 2:9)
And the Bible states further......
14, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15, For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16, The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17, And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18, For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:14-18)
WILL YOU BE AMONG THOSE WHO ARE HEIRS OF GOD?
One fly in the ointment so to speak, those who are being made into the image of God are those who have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and God knows in advance who that person is, each of us. Those who read this message, or have not taken the free gift of eternal life with a repentant heart (meaning change your mind about sin and about God) cannot embrace the glory that awaits those that have. God will not beat you into submission, but will continue to convict you of your condition, until you are beyond hope of recovery. God knows when that time is, that you are "irredeemable". So, you ask me, what must I do to have this type of eternal existence and a glorious future?
Realize you are a sinner. " For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
Realize that God made a way for those sins to be forgiven and live with God forever.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
Confession before God in a broken and contrite heart calling out to God,
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9)
You say, that "sounds simple"...yes, it is simple that a child can understand it...I did when I was 10 years old. But you must believe in your heart, not just in your head with "childlike" faith. It must enter into a humbled and contrite heart that knows that without God you are doomed for a devil's hell, or to experience that hell on earth, called the Tribulation and possibly even the Lake of Fire if those years of the Tribulation don't call you to repentance before God. The horrors of the period are too gruesome to even ponder, as hardly any flesh will be saved, and many will be martyred by beheading. Sounds awful and it's all right there in your Bible in the last book of Revelation. You don't want to find out I'm right by first-hand experience.
The saints of the church are being sanctified, conformed and transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, one lesson at a time. I know that I will never be perfect in this life, but I will be perfect in the next life when Jesus comes for me and all who believe by faith in His death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Father in Heaven. But it's not about works, but His mercy and grace....and the best part...IT"S FREE FOR THE ASKING....We await the coming of our Lord with a trumpet blast, that could sound very soon...very soon. Because all the signs point to this great event on the near horizon. I've written extensively in detail of that coming period on my blog. If you have time, check them out.
Don't wait too long, as you are not promised even tomorrow. To stand before a Holy God and not have Jesus as your substitute payment for your sins, is a vision I wish for no one, no matter what you have done. Jesus awaits your decision...call on Him today...be justified today by the sacrifice of our Lord, then submit to Godly instruction on how to be sanctified and being made into the image of His Son, as humanly possible this side of the coming of our Lord for His Church.
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying your acceptance of our Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Should you need counseling, prayer, or just a listening ear, email me at email@example.com , or visit me online for more biblical teachings from the Word of God, at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , . God bless you all........
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
Israel's 70th Anniversary and the Convergence of End-Times Prophecies - By Isaiah Anderson -
Israel celebrated its 70th anniversary, as a reborn nation on Monday, May 14, 2018. Many Christians see the miracle of Israel, as the long-awaited fulfillment of the prophesied return of the Jewish People to their divinely given homeland.
"But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come. For indeed I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited, and the ruins rebuilt. - Ezek 36:8-10 (NKJV)
Many students of Bible prophecy can't help but notice the converging End-times signs prophesied in the Bible, which will culminate with several events, chiefly the return of Jesus Christ. Before this can occur, many have longed to see the Jewish people return to their ancient homeland, which officially became a State on May 14, 1948.
The miraculous return of the Jewish people to their homeland, after nearly 2000 years of dispersion throughout the world, it was indeed a miracle! The very term "The wandering Jew" became an idiom of the Jewish plight and their endless struggle without a homeland, and it all the more reflects how much of a miracle it was.
The Jewish people made quarters for themselves in the dispersed lands they found themselves, often thriving, they built entire communities of commerce, education, and faith.
Jews experienced tremendous struggles and persecutions, and those persecutions culminated in Europe, as World War II was beginning and the world was realizing the fears of another world war. The Jewish people were experiencing the worst cruelties and horrors imaginable, the Nazi's final solution, the irrational hatred and systematic extermination of the Jewish people throughout Europe.
By supernatural intervention and the liberating armies of the allies, the Jewish people survived the nightmares of the Holocaust, leaving us with names that will forever be infamous reminders of the world's cruelty towards the Jewish people, Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Dachau. Through the spiritual cleansing of the Holocaust, God moved the shocked nations of the world into establishing the Jewish State of Israel, which became a reality May 14th, 1948, exactly seventy years ago.
'Thus says the Lord God: "On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by. So they will say, 'This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.' Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken it, and I will do it." 'Thus says the Lord God: "I will also let the house of Israel inquire of Me to do this for them: I will increase their men like a flock. Like a flock offered as holy sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem on its feast days, so shall the ruined cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they shall know that I am the Lord." ' " - Ezek 36:33-38 (NKJV)
Israel became a nation in a single day, recognized by the nations of the world, which was quickly followed by the invasion of several Arab armies bent on the destruction of this infant nation. Although greatly outnumbered and with very little fighting equipment, the Jewish people won the War of 1948.
Other wars were still to come, but the miracle of the War of 1948, was not lost on many Christians, who prayed for the survival of the fledgling Jewish nation. Israel was facing six well equipped and trained Arab armies, yet with great determination and courage they prevailed over the overwhelming odds and won the war, it was indeed a miracle.
History was written, Israel was born in one day, without a fight for liberty, as most nations begin, just a simple vote at the UN and Israel was a nation. The labor started after its birth and has continued to this day. Amazingly, the Bible gives this exact prophecy, regarding the country of Israel, which was literally fulfilled seventy years ago.
Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God. - Isaiah 66:7-9 (KJV)
God demonstrates His love and patience for His people, even in their sins and rejection. God promised to restore Israel as a nation for His namesake, so the modern miracle of Israel is a witness to the world of God's grace and faithfulness.
We must remember, God returned the Jews to Israel, not because they're perfect people, far from it, he did it for His own Glory and to fulfill His promises to not only the Jews but to all mankind.
"Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord God: "I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord," says the Lord God, "when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. - Ezek 36:22-24 (NKJV)
Is this the end of the miracle, the return of Israel? Absolutely not, it's literally the only the beginning.
In this article, I hope to reflect on the rapidly changing events of the day, as we look at this event through the prism of Biblical prophecy, which begins with the promised return of the Nation of Israel and the convergence of End-times prophecies quickly coming into reality.
As Christians, we are commanded to be looking for the Lord's imminent return. Jesus said, "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." - Luke 21:28 (NKJV).
Jesus gives a stern warning, Christians are to be looking for the beginning manifestations of prophetic events given of the final End-times prophecies, which all begins with the rebirth of Israel.
I believe Jesus used the analogy of the fig tree to represent Israel, the generation to witness the re-birth of Israel will not pass until all things are fulfilled.
"Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." - Luke 21:29-36 (NKJV)
If Israel is the beginning initiator of the End-times, which I believe the overall prophetic texts clearly indicate, how close are we and what significant converging signs should we be looking for?
The first overall sign or initiator would be the restoration of the Jewish people back to their land, control over Jerusalem and Judea. We see this prophesied in a number of the prophetic writings, but to condense the article we will only focus on the Prophet Joel.
The Prophet Joel clearly says, when we see the Jews return to Jerusalem and Judea, God will create a global issue to bring the nations of the world to judgment in the valley of Jehoshaphat or the Valley of Judgment.
God's prophetic time clock of the End-times begins with the restoration of Jerusalem and Judea. Much debate has been made on if this has been completed, it indeed doesn't seem so, but we can all agree the initial stages of restoration are clearly occurring today.
For behold, in those days and at that time, When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land. - Joel 3:1-2 (NKJV)
The second converging sign would be, the preoccupation with Jerusalem by the surrounding nations. The Prophet Zachariah speaks of a time when the city would become a global problem, and their fascination would ultimately lead to it being surrounded and attacked. Clearly, we see Jerusalem in the news almost daily, which is amazing when you consider the prophecy was given over 2500 year ago.
"Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. - Zech 12:2-3 (NKJV)
The third converging sign is Globalism, or more specifically Global government. The Bible says we will have a global government and it will ultimately be headed by the Antichrist.
Today we literally have hundreds of global organization, all of them are substantial bureaucratic organizations, working and funded to ensure greater integration of national economies on trade and commerce, banking, military interoperations, legal systems, intelligence agencies, and government health agencies. The overall global integration of countries is almost mind-boggling, especially the primary institution for international forums on international cooperation, the United Nations.
It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. - Rev 13:7 (NKJV)
The fourth convergence is Global communication. Clearly, the world is in a very unique period of time, nearly every electronic transaction or communication made is immediately recorded and ultimately controlled by the governments of the world.
The American Government openly acknowledged the recording of every person on the planet, whether phone and electronic activities by Government filters and surveillance agencies. All banking transactions are monitored as well. Total control is limited merely by the desire of governments will and self-constraint.
The Bible speaks of a coming time when the people of the world will be required to receive an economic identification [mark], that will allow one to work, buy, sell and trade within this global electronic system. Some believe this is far off but is it really...The technology is already being tested in small companies around the world, which should be a wake-up call to everyone!
He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. - Rev 13:16-18 (NKJV)
The fifth converging sign is the preparation for rebuilding the Jewish Temple. Please see my article "The coming Jewish Temple." The preparation is ongoing and very intricate, which again should be a major wake up call to anyone with ears to hear and eyes to see.
Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, "Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. 2 But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.Rev 11:1-2 (NKJV)
All of the above signs are currently happening with breathtaking speed. I plan to do additional articles on the above, additional signs, but for now simply seeing their passing fulfillments should be enough to open the eyes and ears of those willing to see and hear the truth.
As Jesus said, "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." - Luke 21:28 (NKJV).
Jerusalem -- End of the Line - Jack Kinsella -
By every measurable historical standard, the city of Jerusalem should have fallen into oblivion centuries ago. The city was destroyed in AD 70 by the Romans and its founders and traditional inhabitants were killed or fled into exile in foreign lands.
It has no natural wealth. It has no coastline. It sits inconveniently upon a mountain. It overlooks nothing of strategic military value.
It is on no ancient trade route. The King's Highway of David's time ran north and south through modern Jordan. Jerusalem was well off the beaten path -- folks didn't pass through Jerusalem on their way to somewhere else -- Jerusalem was the end of the line.
Like other historical 'end of the line' cities, once its reason to exist was extinguished by the destruction of its native population, so should its history.
The once-great city of Babylon is a perfect example. Once capital of the world's greatest empire, it is today little more than a living museum, devoid of influence or even much interest outside scholarly circles.
Over the centuries, it has been fought over by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids, Romans, Byzantines, Persians, Arabs, Seljuks, Crusaders, Mongols, Mamelukes, by the Turks, the British, Jordan and most recently, by those Jordanians who became 'Palestinians' after Jordan's defeat in the 1967 War.
Jerusalem remains one of the most contested cities on earth to this day. That list doesn't include the approximately two hundred million Islamic fundamentalists or Islamic states like Iran or Saudi Arabia who have conducted a decades-long shadow war to 'liberate' the city from Jewish control.
Despite two thousand years of war aimed at destroying the Jews and seizing their city, in this generation, the Jews again inhabit an undivided Jerusalem.
"And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24)
Jesus' sweeping prophecy concerning the future of the city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants was fulfilled to the letter throughout history, including its restoration to Jewish hands.
Note that its restoration signals the fulfillment of the 'times of the Gentiles'.
The Apostle Paul called himself the 'apostle of the Gentiles' (Romans 11:13) but Paul had formerly been known as Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee (lawyer) and Jewish religious leader. Paul explains that the Church is a 'graft' from the original tree (Judaism), saying,
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." Romans 11:25)
Here we find the same phraseology that was employed by Jesus concerning the 'times of the Gentiles'. Jesus referred to the times of the Gentiles as being 'fulfilled'. Paul speaks of the 'fulness of the Gentiles'.
Paul says that, following the 'fulness of the Gentiles',
"And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." (Romans 11:27)
Paul notes that, during the Church Age,
"As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes," but Paul cautions; "but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes."
Then Paul wraps it all together by saying,
"For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." (Romans 11:29)
This is one of the great mysteries of Scripture. The Jews are enemies of the Gospel for 'our sakes'. What does that mean?
Jesus taught that His mission was to come first to the Jews. When approached by the Samaritan woman begging Him to help her daughter, Jesus told her, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 15:24)
To the Jews He 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 5:43)
If the Jews had accepted their Messiah at His First Advent, there would have been no Church Age and the Lord would have set up the Millennial Kingdom right then and there. Salvation was only opened to the Gentiles after the Gospel was rejected by the Jews.
Jesus prophesied that because of their rejection of Him, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."
This prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem. And thus begins the 'Times of the Gentiles.'
The usurper, who comes in his own name and is received by the Jews as their Messiah, is not revealed until after the 'fulness of the Gentiles' is come in.
Jeremiah calls it the 'Time of Jacob's Trouble' (Jeremiah 30:7). Jesus calls it the 'Tribulation' (Matthew 24:29). The prophet Daniel outlines the Tribulation's six-fold purpose, from the perspective of Israel;
"(1) to finish the transgression, and (2) to make an end of sins, and (3) to make reconciliation for iniquity, and (4) to bring in everlasting righteousness, and (5) to seal up the vision and prophecy, and (6) to anoint the most Holy." (Daniel 9:24)
Let's connect the dots and see how the Big Picture develops here. Jesus said that the restoration of Jerusalem to Jewish control would signal that the 'fulness of the Gentiles be come in'.
Jesus said of the generation on earth at that time,
"This generation shall not pass away, till ALL be fulfilled." (Luke 21:32)
Paul says that the Jews, as an institution, rejected Jesus so that the Gentiles would have a chance at salvation. He said that God would not return His attention to Israel until 'the fulness of the Gentiles be come in'.
The 'fulness of the Gentiles' indicates a finite number -- a 'quota', so to speak -- of Gentiles who will come to know Christ during the Church Age.
Once that quota -- the Church Age 'elect' have been gathered, God returns His attention to the Jews, "And so all Israel shall be saved" -- because "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance."
That Jesus offered salvation first to Israel is confirmed by His own Words as recorded by John.
The 'Time of Jacob's Trouble' is so-called because of its purpose as outlined by Daniel -- the six-fold purpose that culminates with the 'anointment of the most Holy' as Messiah and the beginning of the Millennial Reign from Jerusalem.
Note how clearly the two Dispensations are divided. Until the Crucifixion, God's attention was focused on Israel. Until the 'fulness of the Gentiles be come in' God's attention is focused on the Church.
The Church, as the 'Bride of Christ' serves no role in Daniel's six-point outline for the Tribulation Period. Take another look at Daniel 9:24 before we go on.
The transgression was finished at the Cross. The Blood of Christ takes away all sin. (1st John 1:7) His death and resurrection reconciled the Church to God.
"And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." (2nd Corinthians 5:18-19)
To the saved believer reconciled to God by the Blood of Christ, 'everlasting righteousness' is a gift of grace through faith, 'sealing' the vision and prophecy of the Old Covenant and introducing the New Covenant with the Church.
The believer knows that Jesus is ALREADY anointed King of King and Lord of Lords and is awaiting His return at the end of the Church Age.
There is no role for the Church Age during the Time of Jacob's Trouble -- it doesn't begin until after the 'fulness of the Gentiles' is come in. And this is the generation in which Jerusalem was recovered from Gentile control, signaling the approach of the fullness of the Gentiles'.
The Tribulation serves two main purposes; the first is the judgment of God on a Christ-rejecting world. The second is the national redemption of Israel. By definition, Church-Age believers have NOT rejected Christ, and need no further redemption.
The Bible says that, before the unfolding of the Time of Jacob's Trouble, there will come an ingathering of Church Age believers:
"Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." (Revelation 3:10)
Jerusalem is the signal that this is the generation that will see the 'fullness of the Gentiles be come in'. It was to that generation that Paul promised:
"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 . . . 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." (1st Thessalonians 4:15,17b)
The time is short. Don't let anybody steal your victory. Jesus is coming soon for His Church:
"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 2:8)
Get excited! The time is short, the fulness of the Gentiles is at hand; the Lord IS coming soon!
"Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (2nd Thessalonians 4:18)
Crown of Glory - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
Doesn't a crown of glory sound desirable? Scripture tells of many crowns that can be won by Christians and tells us how to earn each one, and the crown of glory is no different. There's a lot of responsibility that goes into earning this crown and most Christians won't earn it. "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."1 Peter 5:2-4. Jesus is the chief Shepherd and He will reward our work on earth with Heavenly crowns. The context of Peter's passage speaks to the elders of a congregation. Elders are men who have the responsibility of leading the congregation properly and keeping the flock well fed. It's a huge responsibility for a man to assume leadership of a congregation. Elders need to lead in the ways of God and teach the congregation, but not be dictators. They need to have the right motivation for taking on that responsibility, which means it's done for God's glory. These men need to know Scripture and follow it in their daily life. If a man desires to be an elder it should be because he wants to serve Jesus and not in order to make business connections or to line his own pockets with money. If the motive is wrong then there will be no crown given.
It was Jesus who instructed Peter to feed the flock of God. After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples on a few occasions, including a meeting on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was there that Jesus restored Peter and gave him his life's assignment. "...Feed my lambs." John 21:15b. Peter was to feed the lambs, the new believers who needed to be nurtured in order to grow into mature Christians. "...Feed my sheep." John 21:16b & 17b. The sheep (mature Christians) need different food than the lambs because they should have grown far beyond the need for milk or baby food. Mature Christians need the meat of Scripture in order to stay strong. It's the responsibility of an elder to feed the new believers so they grow and then wean these lambs so they are established in God's word. The elders must encourage the congregation to grow and mature. Peter knew from experience what it means to fail and then to be forgiven and restored. He was no better than any other elder but had matured in his faith and knowledge of God's truth. "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder..." 1 Peter 5:1a. Peter spoke with authority to the elders who shepherd their flocks and encouraged them to grow strong and in faith and Christian living.
If an elder does his job well and has the right motivations, Jesus has a crown waiting. Is the desire for that crown why you do your job faithfully? It shouldn't be. Shepherding the flock is an act of love. When Christians grow in their knowledge and understanding of God's word the congregation is equipped to reach out to the lost people outside of the congregation. A responsible pastor will stand firmly on God's word and teach the truth, even if that truth isn't politically acceptable. Peter and John had been arrested for preaching in Jesus' name and were commanded not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus anymore. "But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." Acts 4:19-20. These are the words of a proper elder. The US Government, as well as other governments of the world, has been able to silence much of God's truth by threatening to take tax exemptions away if a preacher tells the truth about homosexuality and other sins that are sanctioned by government. A responsible shepherd who feeds his flock properly will be more concerned with God's truth than with tax breaks. As an elder, if you're tempted to compromise God's truth maybe you're not the man to be teaching. "My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment." James 3:1 (NKJV). Don't compromise God's word, but don't forget that your teaching needs to be with Godly love.
We can learn so much about ministry from the life of Paul. He truly loved Jesus and loved serving Him. When Paul knew that he was making a last visit to the men whom he had left in charge of the congregation in Ephesus, he had words of advice that need to be applied today. "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." Acts 20:28. Pay attention. The blood of Jesus is precious and the flock which you shepherd was purchased at a great price. Paul's warning to the shepherds is as necessary today as it was all those years ago. If the elders are weak and compromising, wolves will enter among the flock, divide congregations, and speak lies. There are many wolves entering into our congregations and our lives today. Television is full of men who deliver a message that sounds smooth and inspiring, but is filled with erroneous teaching. Books are sold that are filled with New Age ideas and Christians who aren't taught truth will be taken in. Sheep who aren't fed properly will fall prey to such lies. Without strong elders the wolves will win.
When Paul traveled on his missionary journeys, his mission was to establish congregations that were solid on a Godly foundation. He would leave men who were schooled in Christian truth to keep the congregation healthy and growing. One such leader was Titus and Paul wrote to him and helped him understand how to choose men for leadership in his congregation. The same guidelines apply today. "If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." Titus1:6-9. The man who shepherds his flock well has a great responsibility and he can't be a "babe in Christ", but he must be a man who has learned over the years to follow the Lord closely. Experience will have taught this man to trust Jesus and to guide others to also trust Him. This man is to feed the flock, but if he can't feed himself he won't be able to feed others, so he must allow the Holy Spirit to increase his knowledge of Scripture.
What about people who aren't the leaders of a congregation? There are many ways to use your skills to minister to others. Older women are to teach younger women "The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." Titus 2:3-5. As I read that passage some wonderful, godly women come to mind and I am blessed to know these ladies. Paul had fond memories of Timothy's grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice and their genuine faith which they passed on to Timothy. Planting a child's feet solidly upon God's word is a special ministry. Every Christian has a ministry. There are men and women who minister through music, others reach out into their communities and share the Gospel. It is a ministry to open your home for a Bible study and invite people who may not feel comfortable "going to church" and there are much needed prison ministries. In this day and age where there are so many single parent homes and lies being taught in public school, children need to learn what a family consists of in God's plan: A man is married to a woman, and then they have children. Teaching that truth to young people and encouraging them to know Jesus is an important way to serve our Lord. If you love the Lord you'll find it a joy to do all you can for Him. Will you win a crown? Not if you do your service for that purpose. Do all you can for Jesus for the pure joy of serving Him by ministering to others. Too often people have an attitude of "What's in it for me" and that's the wrong way to think about serving our Lord. What's the right way to think? "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:23-24. We all have tasks set before us and if we faithfully perform those tasks our reward will be great. Do all for Jesus.
At the end of his life Paul could look back on his service to the Lord and feel good about what he had done. "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24. Every Christian has the same ministry...to testify the gospel of the Grace of God. Man or woman, it makes no difference. Share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the lost people in this world. Share because you love Jesus.
Would you continue to do what you're doing for Jesus if you didn't think you might win a crown? Are you doing ministry for your own gain or Christ's glory? The crown of glory rightfully belongs to Jesus and you will cast it at His feet. What a joy that will be.
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: The prophetic wheels of Turkey turning - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Turkey is using the terrorist group Hamas-inspired riots, ostensibly in response to the US recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, to unite the Islamic world against Israel. Press TV reports "Ankara has reacted with fury to the killing Monday of 60 Palestinians in clashes and protests, on the same day as the United States formally moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem al-Quds from Tel Aviv in defiance of international outrage. Ankara said it was recalling its ambassadors to the United States and Israel for consultations in the wake of the events. On Tuesday, Israel expelled the Turkish consul in Jerusalem al-Quds." That this narrative is Turkish-led means the wheels of prophecy are turning.
Turkey is leading the media charge that Israel is a terrorist state because it massacred some 60 "Palestinians" on the day the US Embassy was dedicated. And the generally anti-Israel media and the United Nations are buying the propaganda as if Israel just decided to go out and kill scores of innocents. It matters not that even Hamas' official Salah Bardawil admitted that at least 50 of the 62 people killed were members of his terrorist group. In short, the violent riots referred to as the "March of Return," are inspired, agitated and organized by Hamas and supported by other terror groups. As White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said Monday, "The responsibility for these tragic deaths rest squarely with Hamas...Israel has the right to defend itself." Now Turkey wants to lead the Islamic world against Israel.
In Daniel 8:19, Gabriel says, "Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be. The ram which you saw having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia." Strong's Concordance interprets the word "Grecia" in Hebrew as "Yavan, a son of Japheth (the third son of Noah)," his descendants and their land. The Genesis 10 table of nations indicates this area was not only Greece (as Bible interpretations imply), but also the Eastern Mediterranean, including key parts of today's Turkey. Other sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras-many settled in ancient areas of Turkey, which are mentioned in Ezekiel 38. This is why we need to keep an eye on Turkey when considering end time prophecy.
Gog of Magog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal leads the Islamic world against Israel in the end time battle prophesied in Ezekiel 38. Participants from modern Turkey include Magog, Tubal, Meshech, Gomor, and Togarmah. Others named are Persia (Iran), Ethiopia (Sudan), Libya, Sheba and Dedan (also Noah's grandsons from Ham-thought to be South Arabia), and Tarshish (unknown but possibly Tunisia or Lebanon). These are all Islamic nations today. The Koran has over 100 verses instructing to fight and kill those who do not follow Islam, specifically Jews and Christians. As the lens of prophecy comes more clearly into focus, it could be the Beast of Revelation, that rages against God's people, hails from a revived Ottoman Empire, with Turkey, where the seat of satan resides, leading the way. And we may be seeing it starting to form.
Daily Devotion: A Barrier to Prayer - By Greg Laurie -
If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. -Psalm 66:18
I wonder whether people even know what shame is anymore. The things we were embarrassed about in the past are proclaimed as virtues today. Wrong has become right. Right has become wrong. Everything is turned upside down. We have forgotten how to blush. We have forgotten how to be embarrassed.
This is what Daniel was describing when he prayed, "Lord, you are in the right; but as you see, our faces are covered with shame" (Daniel 9:7 NLT). As we read in the Scriptures about Daniel's life, I have not read once where he sinned. I'm not suggesting that Daniel did not sin, because he was indeed a mortal human being like any of us. But the fact of the matter is that he lived a godly life. Yet he thought it necessary to personally repent.
This reminds us that the closer you get to God, the greater your own sense of sinfulness will be. Just about the time you think you're spiritually mature, the Lord will show you a little more of your heart, and you will realize how far you have to go. The more you know of the Lord, the more you will see in yourself, and the more you will realize that a lot still needs to be changed.
Daniel confessed his sin before the Lord because he didn't want unconfessed sin to get in the way of his relationship with God. As the psalmist said, "If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened" (Psalm 66:18 NLT).
Is there any sin that you need to repent of? Is there any area of your life that is displeasing to God? That sin is a barrier, and it can hinder your prayer life. Get rid of it. Let it go.
FROM THE HEART
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