Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Jesus Died for You and Me - By Pastor Mike Taylor -
1 "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."(Isaiah 53:1-12)
I post prophecy of the coming Tribulation and write at the end of my messages, John 3:16-18, but I want to dive into that GOD IS LOVE. It fully explains why Jesus died.
During the beginning of the Lord's Supper services to remember the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, this passage is always read. It gives a biblical description of the supreme sacrifice that Jesus imparted on our behalf. Of all the prophecies of the Bible concerning the birth, life and death of Jesus (and there are over 300 of them) the last two days of His life and His death, captured the majority. No prophecy is more important than the death and resurrection of our Lord.
We speak of prophesy on this website. We look backward from the time of Jesus birth and His life, up including His death and just as important, His resurrection. All prophecy is about Jesus. To coin a phrase "It's all about Him". But do we even realize the immense sacrifice and the enormous amount of pain and suffering that Jesus endured for one reason, and one reason only? The reason for his death was for US...for all mankind. Jesus became sin to Him who knew no sin. 2nd Corinthians, Paul writes:
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 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.....
21 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."(2nd Corinthians 5:18-19,21)
But knowing all that, do we even grasp what Jesus went through to accomplish the greatest feat performed on this earth, the salvation of men and women who believe in Him? Those who have seen the "Passion of the Christ" may get a Hollywood idea of how much suffering Jesus went through, but looking past the Catholic details that are not found in scripture, the depiction is thoroughly gruesome and hard to watch. But let's take a closer look at what modern movies can only give a representation of the barbaric form of torture know as crucifixion. It is where we get the word "excruciating" or "out of crucifixion".
THE "SCIENTIFIC" EXPLANATION OF THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS CHRIST
I had a brother in Christ send me an email that gave a condensed version of the barbaric and inhumane torture that was endured by my Lord God. It was hard to read, but the following touched my spirit with such remorse and an emotional response that should bring tears to the eyes of anyone who loves the Lord Jesus, as it did mine. Crucifixion was started by the Phoenecians, but was perfected in its brutality by the Roman Empire.
What did Jesus endure?
"At the age of 33, Jesus was condemned to death. At the time Crucifixion was the "worst" possible death. Only the worst criminals were condemned to be crucified. Yet it was even more dreadful for Jesus, unlike other criminals condemned to death by crucifixion Jesus was to be nailed to the Cross by His hands and feet.
Each nail was 6 to 8 inches long. The nails were driven into His wrist. Not into His palms as is commonly portrayed. There's a tendon in the wrist that extends to the shoulder. The Roman guards knew that when the nails were being hammered into the wrist that tendon would tear and break, forcing Jesus to use His back muscles to support himself so that He could breath. Both of His feet were nailed together. Thus, He was forced to support Himself on the single nail that impaled His feet to the cross. Jesus could not support himself with His legs because of the pain, so He was forced to alternate between arching His back then using his legs just to continue to breath. Imagine the struggle, the pain, the suffering, the courage, and so great a love to endure such agony.
Jesus endured this reality for over 3 hours. Yes, over 3 hours! Can you imagine this kind of suffering? A few minutes before He died, Jesus stopped bleeding. He was simply pouring water From his wounds. From common images we see wounds to His hands and feet and even the spear wound to His side... But do we realize His wounds were actually made in his body. A hammer driving large nails through the wrist, the feet overlapped and an even large nail hammered through the arches, then a Roman guard piercing His side with a spear. But before the nails and the spear Jesus was whipped and beaten.
The whipping was so severe that it tore the flesh from His body. The beating so horrific that His face was torn and his beard ripped from His face. The Crown of thorns cut deeply into His scalp. Most men would not have survived this torture. Jesus had no more blood to bleed out, only water poured from His wounds. The human adult body contains about 3.5 liters (just less than a gallon) of blood. Jesus poured all 3.5 liters of his blood; He had three nails hammered into His members; a crown of thorns on His head and, beyond that, a Roman soldier who stabbed a spear into His chest...All these without mentioning the humiliation He suffered after carrying His own cross for almost 2 kilometers, while the crowd spat in his face and threw stones (the cross was almost 30 kg of weight, only for its higher part, where His wrist and hands were nailed)."
Reading this abbreviated explanation of the death of Jesus put an urgency in me to convey to the true believer, and hopefully, the non-believer to make it real in their mind just what Jesus endured for you and me. So I went to Google and started reading about Roman crucifixions and it gives you pause in your thought processes when you envision what this would have looked like, if you had been standing at the foot of the cross that Jesus died upon as the apostle John did. Also Mary, His earthly mother, and other women who had followed Him during His ministry were there. While looking at many explanations online I went to this site:
On the site, several medical doctors and pathologist give the anatomy and the physiology of what happens to a person who goes through a Roman crucifixion. As mentioned above about Jesus being whipped, as scourging was a prerequisite to finally being crucified.
"The usual instrument was a short whip with several single or braided leather thongs of variable lengths, in which small iron balls or sharp pieces of sheep bones were tied at intervals. For scourging, the man was stripped of his clothing, and his hands were tied to an upright post. The back, buttocks, and legs were flogged either by two soldiers (lictors) or by one who alternated positions. The severity of the scourging depended on the disposition of the lictors and was intended to weaken the victim to a state just short of collapse or death. As the Roman soldiers repeatedly struck the victim's back with full force, the iron balls would cause deep contusions, and the leather thongs and sheep bones would cut into the skin and subcutaneous tissues. Then, as the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. Pain and blood loss generally set the stage for hypovolemic shock. The extent of blood loss may well have determined how long the victim would survive on the cross. After the scourging, the soldiers often taunted their victim."( CBCG.org)
As mentioned, scourging was designed to weaken the individual to a point of near death by loss of blood and death would come from any number of reasons, but the most likely would be hypovolemic shock, or a loss of blood, and/or asphyxiation due to inability to expand the chest and the inability to inhale oxygen to sustain life while on the cross. Ponder on the words that you read in the article of the medical aspects of a man crucified and then ask yourself, "Why did Jesus do it?"
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD....
It comes down to this very statement. God knew before the foundation of the world that to redeem His creation, mankind, that He Himself would have to become a man and die in their place.
6 " For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."(Romans 5:6-10)
Do you fully understand the meaning of that passage? We were enemies of God. We were lost in our sins. We had NO hope of coming back to God, as God cannot allow sin into His presence. Here we were doomed by our own sinful nature. We were destined to die in our sins and being separated from God for all eternity. Understand, God didn't have to do it. The Lord Jesus didn't have to do it. God could have let us wallow in our sins, live our short, mortal lives and cast the whole lot of us into a devil's hell. But He didn't....WHY?
THE ANSWER: AMAZING LOVE!!
God has many attributes of His character, but the greatest of these is God is love. Yes, God is merciful, full of grace, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Even though the patience of God can run out, as our God is a Consuming Fire, the greatest attribute our God possesses is His Amazing Love for the creatures He made to be His family.....human kind. .....US!
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."(John 3:16-18)
What can explain why God so loved the world, that He came into this world as a mortal human being to accomplish one thing, to die for the sins of all who will put their faith and trust in Him? The Old Testament prophet Micah explains it why God did this....
18 "Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."(Micah 7:18-19)
God is love, and love is kind, but perhaps our approach to His forgiveness has been prosaically legal. The Scriptures reveal that God does kindness with intensity of will and readiness of mind. He forgives with all His heart because He delights in mercy! He says, "I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies." God's nature works to give mercy, not punish; to create beauty, not destroy; to save, not to lose.
John 3:16 is the definition of the LOVE of God. The passage is the whole point of the Bible and the life of Jesus Christ. As God is love, His love is extended toward us. Jesus came to do the Father's will and that was to save all who will come to Him and put their faith and trust in Him. For He alone can save you. Jesus said,
"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh to the Father, but by Me." (John 14:6.)
Many read the first verse of this passage in John 3:16, but fail to read the next two verses. God doesn't want to condemn His creation, He wants to save it. Because of His unfathomable love for the "work of His hands", His creation, you and me. He applied mercy and grace mixed with that love.
The definition of this kind of "MERCY" is not receiving what you sorely deserve, and "GRACE" is receiving something you cannot earn. It is UNMERITED FAVOR.
Note verse 18 of John 3 of the above passage. You must believe in His only Begotten Son. You must believe that He died, that He suffered a torture that was taken on your behalf and that He died in your place. You must believe in your heart and your mind, not just a passing intellectual knowledge, but an embracing with your whole heart and soul that this is truth, and that God the Father raised Him , Jesus Christ, from the dead after 3 days and He is alive and coming back to collect what He has already bought, His creation. And foremost before the prior can happen, you must believe that you are a sinner...lost in your sins and destined for eternal death and separation from God for all eternity in a devil's hell. Hell, because it will be devoid of what God is...peace, love, hope, righteousness, happiness, joy, and glorious light.
You cannot be good enough, perform enough good deeds, give to the poor, tithes to the church, or attend Church services at your chosen denomination. We all fall short. As the Bible says, "Our righteousness are as filthy rags" in His sight. For all have sinned.
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."(Romans 3:21-26)
SEPARATION FROM GOD FOR ALL ETERNITY
Let me put this in maybe something you can grasp concerning what scripture says about what Jesus experienced during His life up and until He died on the cross for you and me. Paul speaks of what Jesus experienced in His life while alive on this earth,
14 "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."(Hebrews 4:14-16)
Realize that Jesus experienced everything that you experience in this life. He lived in an evil world with temptations all around those who lived at this time. There were sins of the flesh, of the mind, prostitution, homosexuality, and total lawlessness (as is today), but Jesus resisted and overcame them all. But Jesus never experienced one thing until hanging on that cross. He had not experienced it in all of eternity prior and I'm not sure that in His human form realized what was coming would be like, as it's not revealed when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and asked His Father to let this cup pass from Him:
41 "And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed,
42 saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."
43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.
44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground."(Luke 22:41-44)
Jesus must have known it was coming, as He is God, but had never experienced it in His fleshly body, as He never had for all eternity. Jesus had experienced everything that we have to endure, but one aspect. He experienced on the cross what I think what He dreaded the most.
Jesus had always been with the Father. The Father and He were One, as Jesus told the Jews of His day:
27 " My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
30 I and my Father are One."(John 10:27-30)
Jesus had always known the Father. They had never been separated, but that changed on the cross, and it scared Jesus to His very mortal being.
33 "Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.
34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"(Mark 15:33-34)
Have you figured it out yet? Up to this point, Jesus had been tempted in all aspects, just as you and I are, but at this one point in time, when God the Father turned His back on Him because of the sin laid upon Him and couldn't look, Jesus knew totally everything that you and I experience, even separation from Almighty God, His Father. It frightened my Lord and He cried out aloud. It should scare you too, as it scared Jesus, so should you cry out to God and cry,
"Lord Jesus Save me. I come to you a humbled, broken, repentant sinner, asking for you to forgive me of my sins. I believe you died and rose again so that I too, may live. I don't want to be separated from the love of God. I want to spend eternity with you and be alive forevermore in your Kingdom. Cover me with your own precious blood that you poured out on Calvary's cross, because I can't do it myself. I need you to come into my life and my heart , as my God and become the Lord of my life"
If you say those words and mean them in you heart, Jesus will honor your cry to save you. Then you can partake of the sacrifice He paid for in His own blood and look forward to the future prophecies that are "all about Him" to be completed in the near future. Now Jesus was separated from God for a short time that it required for Him to make atonement for the sins of the whole world, but can you think of being separated from the love of God for all eternity with no hope of reprieve, or redemption, or hope to get out? The bible speaks of a place of this separation where the worm dieth not found in Isaiah:
24 "And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh." (Isaiah 66:24)
It is describing an awful, hellish place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, (I presume from the pain, maybe of your mind) where the worm that eats on a dead body never dies, as you will never die, but tormented for all eternity. People don't like to think that God would ever do such a thing, to banish a person to such a place, because as they put it...God is Love. That's true, God is love, but, as I said, God is also a God of judgment, a God of justice, and a God of consuming fire. Paul described what men do not want to attribute to the God of the universe, but God is love, but just in His judgments as found in Hebrews 12:
25 "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
29 For our God is a consuming fire."(Hebrews 12:25-29)
This is what Jesus came out of LOVE to save us all from. Save us from separation from God, being banished to a place that was designed for Satan and his demons, not mankind. God is not willing that any should perish and go to such a place, but it is a decision left to the individual.
9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."(2nd Peter 3:9)
You know that prophecy is being fulfilled during these last days in this world we live in, but without this prophecy being fulfilled in its entirety concerning the sacrifice Jesus paid for the souls of men and women, the future of this world, our world, and this life we live, would not mean anything. Because of what He did 2000 years ago, we who know the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord of our lives, have a prophecy that will be completed, possibly in my lifetime, most likely sooner than I can even imagine. That prophecy that was fulfilled started in agony and pain will end in complete victory in Jesus, from the time when He arose again until He comes again in the clouds of heaven to receive a people, a Bride, unto Himself. From the beginning of the first resurrection begun by Jesus Christ, we look forward to the coming of our Lord and a continuation of that mystery, known as the first resurrection as Paul spoke of in 1st Corinthians,
51 "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."(1st Corinthians 15:51-53)
Many scriptures give assurance that Jesus will come again to remove those who have put their faith and trust in Him. (just search my website. I have many to prove the point) There are those that have trusted in the supreme sacrifice in His own blood, to save them from what is coming, to save them from the coming tribulation and ultimately, separation from God.
Then there are those that will never, ever make that decision to put their faith and trust in Him and believe and embrace what He did 2000 years ago. I pray that what I have written here gives you feelings of deep heartfelt thankfulness for what Jesus did, love for the One who loved your first, and a deep sorrow for what Jesus had to go through to save you and me. I pray you fall on your knees and cry out to our God, our Savior, and confess your sins to the saving of your soul.
Yes, the crucifixion was barbaric and horrific, but Jesus did it willingly, without disobedience to the will of the Father, as They both knew, it was the only way to save mankind from what was lost in the Garden of Eden, our spiritual innocence and then nail our death sentence to the wood of His cross. What started out as a horrific incident that condemned an innocent man to death by the ruling Roman and Jewish authorities, became what we all will experience. To those who believe in Him at the coming of our Lord God in the clouds for His people...they will sing VICTORY IN JESUS. It reminds me of a song we sing in church:
"Oh, victory in Jesus, my Savior forever,
He sought me, and He bought me with His redeeming blood,
He loved me err I knew Him, and all my love is due Him, He plunged me to VICTORY beneath the cleansing flood"
Yes, those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and what He did for us, will be able to sing this blessed song for all eternity...Will you be able to join us in that song? You make that prayer of repentance I asked you to pray about, believe John 3:16-18 and believe this next passage, you will be there standing along all who believe in the Love, the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ...our Lord, and soon coming King.
8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."(Romans 10:8-13)
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying that God reveals Himself to you, though His Holy spirit and you confess Jesus as Lord. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at email@example.com, God bless you all,
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET.
Satan's Sleight of Hand - By Terry James -
Listening to the many conservative voices as I do each week, my thought is most often "they get it-almost." Sometimes they come closer to getting it than at other times. Some come closer to getting it than others.
Rush Limbaugh, for example, comes closer to "getting it" than most anyone else. But even he falls short of what is truly going on with regard to what is assaulting this nation and world.
And, just like salvation itself, if you miss it by an inch, you miss it by the proverbial mile, because at the root of the problems involved in both the case of salvation and the assault taking place is the same critical element. It is a profound cause that acts as a blinding agent to all else that flows from that root cause.
It is this element that gives Lucifer the deluding, deceiving ability to produce the sleight of hand that blinds most to what's really going on.
Rush, for example, recognizes correctly that at least half of America has, apparently, gone insane. He talks for hours each day about how the educators have for decades now molded the minds of America's youth through the public school system from K through grad school. They have rewritten-retaught-history by inculcating the "skulls full of mush," as he puts it, with the lie that America was founded by evil, white slaveholders. And, he says in part, this inculcation, in cahoots with other deception, is why we have arrived at the point where there are more white people among the protesters and rioters than black people. He says, and the facts are there to prove it, that the current protests in the major cities where they are taking place are led in many cases by young, white, women who come from "privileged" backgrounds.
These, he says, are full of guilt from their deluding inculcation. They are as enraged over perceived wrongs by the founding fathers and Civil War history as the African-Americans for whom they protest and riot, thus the bowing of the knees before even the anarchists.
We're witnessing a cultural revolution not unlike the one of China a couple of decades ago, Rush declares. The turmoil and foment are all part of the long-sought determination by the Marxist educators and others to grab the biggest prize in the geopolitical grab bag of goodies.
If they can get America to agree that largesse stored in its vaults and printing presses should be given to those seeking reparations for slavery and to be used for other giveaways, they can create the welfare class that depends totally upon their governance. A permanent underclass will make globalism the wave of the future, once America falls to the utopian ideal long claimed to be wrapped up in communistic intent.
The following article somewhat presents this almost-got-it, sleight-of-hand expression of thought.
The coronavirus was a heck of a cover for the Federal Reserve's failings, and the riots laid even more cover for what's to come. While the masses focus on what's happening on the surface, the real criminals laugh at our ignorance from their metaphorical ivory towers.
As we fight amongst ourselves and try to figure out which violence is more acceptable, looting or police brutality, the ruling class is tightening the chains of our enslavement. With the help of the mainstream media, we are distracted from the core of the problem while dividing ourselves as the masters command...
You cannot trust CNN. You cannot trust lamestream, fakestream media. We know that they have an agenda. We know that they cherry-pick facts. And we know they lay down heavy deception. They are there to distract, deceive, and divide the masses. And what's really going on in this country, remember, make no mistake; the Federal Reserve is laying cover for their operation to get rid of the dollar and move us all into a one-world digital reserve currency. And once we get rid of physical currency, guys, that is the granddaddy of them all as far as a surveillance state. Because they will be able to detect every single purchase by every single person every moment of the day. (Tyler Durden, "It All Comes Back To The Fed: The NWO Is Being Shoved Down Our Throats," Zero Hedge)
The above story goes on to recommend precious metals as a hedge against what is coming in terms of economic disaster. It is a man-made answer, they believe, to a man-made catastrophe to come.
And that's where Satan's sleight-of-hand delusion comes into play. Like in the game of thimblerig (now called the shell game) in which a pea is placed under a thimble and three thimbles are shuffled, and the gambler guesses which the pea is under to make his wager, the devil distracts our eyes and minds to other areas in our surroundings. He thus makes even the most astute observers among us miss what he is really doing.
He is, in fact, setting the stage for bringing in his man of sin, the Antichrist.
Tom Horn and I have written a book we call Antichrist and The Final Solution. It details, through Bible prophecy overlaid by history and current events, exactly where all of this sleight-of-hand is moving this world of rebelliousness. More about this book in the coming weeks. It is a fascinating look into our strange time upon this fallen planet.
This isn't meant to be a commercial, but in researching, studying and writing on the sleight-of-hand going on, it becomes clear that those who are still of sound mind and not of the reprobate mind of Romans 1:28 just don't see the true, root cause that will soon bring America and the world totally into the devil's orbit.
These don't see the problem as rooted in sin. They don't comprehend that it is the spiritual battle laid out by Paul the apostle in Ephesians 6: 12.
These believe that what is needed is more legislation to take away liberal ideology from within society and culture that will do the trick-that will change the minds of the voters in order to restore America, and the world at large, to sanity.
But it is the spiritual hearts of mankind that must be changed. The battle is rooted in spiritual wickedness, not merely in ideological, polemical disputations.
The resolution to Satan's evil isn't legislation, but a Person - the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only solution that can save the individual, the nation, or the world.
Hope Versus the Invisible Enemy - By Hal Lindsey -
Covid-19 has turned out to be a more formidable foe than most could have imagined at the beginning of this year. One of its insidious features has been its ability to kill some people, while others get it and show few if any symptoms. If someone doesn't know he has the disease, how can he understand the danger he poses?
Last week, the MIT Technology Review said that after a series of new studies, "Researchers are beginning to come to a consensus... that 80% of new transmissions are caused by fewer than 20% of the carriers."
According to the John Hopkins University of Medicine Coronavirus Research Center, there have been more than 9 million Covid cases in the world so far, and almost half a million people have died. Over 120,000 of the dead were from the United States. This all happened in just a few months. The World Health Organization did not receive its first report on the disease until the last day of 2019.
Even as Europe comes out of its lockdown, the number of infections worldwide continues to rise. Much of the increase has come from Central and South America. Brazil has had more than 50,000 Covid deaths. The indigenous peoples there have been especially hard hit. There have been major new outbreaks in countries that thought they had everything under control, such as China, South Korea, and Australia.
The rise in new cases in many US states is tied to increased testing. Those numbers can be misleading. But it is troubling to see hospitalizations on the rise in places like Texas, California, and Arizona. Hospitalizations do not fluctuate with the number of people being tested. They reflect how many people are actually becoming severely ill.
Meanwhile, some Christian ministers are telling us that this is not a sign of the times. They point to the Black Plague and the 1918 Spanish flu as examples of worse pandemics. But there is a difference this time. In 1918 and in the mid-13th century, the primary prerequisite for end-times events had not taken place. The Jews had not yet formed a new nation of Israel.
The other difference today is that this is only one of a series of signs striking the world all at once. And the current pandemic perfectly fits the warning Jesus gave in Luke 21:11. He said the time near His return would be characterized in part by plagues. And Covid-19 is a plague.
The most devastating plagues will come during the seven-year tribulation period which will take place sometime after the rapture. The first of the bowl judgments in Revelation 16 depicts a terrible pestilence. Verse 2 says, "And the first angel went and poured out his bowl into the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore upon the men who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image."
Much earlier in the tribulation, the last of the four horsemen of the apocalypse will carry pestilence as one of its elements. Revelation 6:8 says, "And I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. And authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth."
The second of those four horsemen will bring a global, economic depression, deeper and more horrible than any before it. Covid seems to be setting the world up for that, too. Governments all over the world have been spending wildly to keep their economies afloat during a time when their income has been greatly diminished. Tax revenues are low when businesses can't open, and people are unemployed. That means massive new budget deficits all over the planet.
Another feature of the new era we have entered, is a striking level of lawlessness. Crime levels are exploding all over the world. Jesus said that this, too, would be a sign of His coming.
Seeing these events engulf our world is at least unsettling, if not outright terrifying. But God doesn't want you to be afraid. Remember that Jesus told about these things from a perspective of hope. In Luke 21:28, He said, "When these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
What's the Joke? - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
Why is it that so many pastors refuse to preach the pure word of God? This is a trend that's been growing over the course of many years. Today it seems that preachers are more worried about being politically correct rather than Biblically correct. Instead of preaching God's truth it's more important to appease the congregation rather than pricking consciences and bringing sinners to a right relationship with Christ. It's a sign of the times, but nothing to be proud of. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." 2 Timothy 4:3-4. Jesus never patted anybody on the back for their sin, but forgave them and told them to stop sinning. He never got angry with the common people, but had many confrontations with the religious leaders who compromised God's truth. Maybe the religious leaders today should take a look at Scripture and learn from Jesus. A good lesson in preaching is seen in the Book of Acts.
Pentecost occurs a few weeks after Passover and Jewish men were expected to celebrate it in Jerusalem, and so the Apostles were gathered there. They had no idea what was about to happen. There was a sound like a mighty wind and what looked like tongues of fire sat upon each of them. They were filled with the Holy Spirit. Things have never been the same since! The Holy Spirit gave them power and boldness to share the Gospel. The people who saw this didn't have a clue what was happening. "And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine." Acts 2:12-13. It was Peter who explained. He didn't joke or cite worldly "authority", but quoted Scripture as his authority. That sermon brought 3,000 people to salvation. Maybe today's preachers should learn from Scripture rather than seminaries that teach psychology and give lessons about how to build a congregation rather than how to share the Gospel.
Peter recognized that prophecy was being fulfilled and used Old Testament Scriptures to teach the crowd. "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;" Acts 2:16. Joel 2:28-32 foretold a time when God would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh and people would prophesy and have visions from God. We always think that prophecy will be fulfilled at some other time, but today we are seeing prophecy being fulfilled. Unfortunately, most preachers don't teach it so most Christians are as ignorant of prophecy as the crowd to whom Peter spoke. Peter had more to say, and none of it was politically correct. He spoke God's truth to the crowd.
Peter explained who Jesus was and that He had been crucified, but rose from the dead. "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it." Acts 2:23-24. Peter didn't sugarcoat what had happened and he directly blamed those who were listening. How many in the crowd had seen the miracles Jesus had performed? How many had received healing from Him? I also wonder how many of them had been in the crowd a few weeks before yelling "Crucify Him". Brothers and sisters, remember that Jesus died for your sins and my sins, just like He died for the mocking crowd around Peter. It was not a joking matter, but very serious. There were souls at stake, and Peter spoke through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He not only quoted the prophet Joel, but he also quoted from Psalm 16 where King David stated that he knew that the Messiah would come and conquer death. "Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his thron; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption." Acts 2:30-31. Because Christ conquered death and sits by the right hand of God, the Holy Spirit was poured out that day. God promised this and we still have that promise today. It's too bad it isn't spoken of from our pulpits. Christians might be more aware of the power we have through the Holy Spirit and we might win more souls to Christ.
Peter ended with a declaration of Christ. "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." Acts 2:36. Those powerful words brought conviction to the sin-filled crowd who listened. Peter's sermon was so intense and convicting that the listeners were cut to the heart and pleaded to know what they needed to do to be saved. "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Acts 2:37. Good question. Peter had the answer. "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Acts 2:38-39. This promise was meant for the people listening that day, as well as people in distant lands and distant times. It's meant for you and me. Peter said to "repent". The Greek word "metanoeo" translated "repent" means to change your mind about something. For the sinner who comes to Jesus, it means that you must change your mind about sin. The worst and deadliest sin is rejecting Christ. Because Peter spoke frankly, many people came to salvation that day. "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." Acts 2:41-42. Notice that they didn't say a few words, get baptized, then return to their previous way of life. Once you accept Jesus for salvation, other sins should begin to repulse you. Anger is a sin and you should change your mind about it. Sexual immorality is a sin that you need to repent and stop participating in. Pride is a sin and needs to be removed from your life. There are more and the Holy Spirit will guide you in a closer walk with Jesus. They continued to fellowship with the Apostles who taught them God's ways. It's important to fellowship with Christians and encourage each other to grow in faith.
So, what about today? How many times do you sit in a pew and hear one joke after another? Or else Scripture takes second place to a secular book and very few Scriptures are quoted. When your pastor quotes John and Paul, is he quoting the Apostles or the Beatles? "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." 2 Timothy 4:1-2. Sound doctrine is only found in Scripture. Christians have been forgiven of our sins, but we need to be encouraged to continue to turn from sin that compromises our witness to the world for Christ. Unfortunately, the "feel good gospel" taught by Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, and others have compromised the truth and people get upset if their own sin is brought to mind. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." 2 Timothy 4:3-4. That time has come.
I admire Peter. He sinned by denying Christ, but when Jesus restored him, Peter had no fear in serving Christ. His sermon on Pentecost should be an example to preachers today. He didn't tickle ears nor did he appease the government. He spoke the truth in a way that convicted 3,000 people of their sin and they understood their need for Jesus. Peter would not be silenced from preaching God's truth even when faced with imprisonment for preaching about Christ in the Temple. The high priest had forbidden the Apostles to preach the Truth, but the Apostles knew who their true authority was. "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things, and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey them." Acts 5:29-32. Too many pastors today keep silent on certain subjects in order to stay tax exempt. They're more afraid of offending "Big Brother" than they are of offending God. The silence in the pulpits has led to professing Christians looking and acting like the world rather than reflecting Christ as we should. It's not only pastors who are to blame for letting the congregation starve, but also deacons who allow Scripture to be subordinated to the government gag order. How many people have been led astray in order to remain tax exempt? If you allow the gospel of big government to be taught rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then woe to you when you give an account before the Bema seat of Christ. "My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment." James 3:1 (NKJV). Think about that, pastor, when you choose to water down your teaching.
Can we blame the pastor and deacons alone? Brothers and sisters, you can read. You have no excuse for not knowing Scripture. Christians are afraid of being judgmental if they confront sin so many condone it. That leads to bad doctrine and sin within the congregation being accepted. Because many pastors joke about Scripture and don't call sin what it is, sin, Satan is sneaking into congregations. Satan is on the inside of our hallowed halls and Christ is on the outside. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20. That's the epitome of Christianity in the final days. Guess what? We're there. Sound doctrine isn't tolerated and preachers don't care. Christ is on the outside while jokesters are on the inside. Brothers and sisters, don't sit around waiting for your pastor to feed you the pure word of God. You can read...you can study...you can pray for understanding and the Holy Spirit will open God's truth to you. Scripture is our guide "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105. We're living in the end times, and if you're not living by the word of God then you're in the crowd that mocks Him. Scripture, not the latest self-help book or psychology article, is your guide.
Today we see the evil influence of Satan filling people with hatred. Mobs of people spew hatred, burn businesses, injure and kill people while calling for an end to law enforcement. The savagery has grown to the point of frenzied hatred. Let me ask a question. What if a man who was empowered with boldness of the Holy Spirit would preach the truth to these deceived people? Would 3,000 of them turn from their wickedness? Would those 3,000 people share with others? It's not the people who are the enemy but the satanic force that drives them. It's really nothing to laugh at. Souls are being lost and Christians keep silent. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul talks of putting on the full armor of God. He ends with a prayer request. "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel," Ephesians 6:18-19. You have to know the Gospel in order to share it, and that takes serious study. Scripture contains words of edification, encouragement, and reproof. It needs to be held in authority.
So, what's the joke? There is no joke. Teach against sin, but teach about the forgiveness that only comes from Jesus Christ. Sin isn't funny and God's truth isn't to be laughed at.
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: About those polls - Bill Wilson -
One of my favorite Bible verses is a warning from Christ concerning the latter days. It's found in Matthew 24:4 and says, "Take heed that no man deceive you." Saying that in the last days, perilous times shall come, the Apostle Paul echoes such a warning in 2 Timothy 3:13, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." Deception is key to taking well-intended people off the track of what is right and good. To combat deception, we need discernment, which is found in the Holy Scriptures and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We need a lot of wisdom to discern these days. Those wishing to deceive often try to co-opt your support through peer pressure.
Have you noticed the way the media tries to ply your opinion? For example, various media will be conducting their own polls to show you what America is thinking. Take heed that they do not deceive you. ABC, MSNBC, CBS, Washington Post, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Times-all of these and more will be conducting their "polls" to show you how America will vote on election day. Take them with a grain of salt because just as these outlets' stories are biased and passed off as unbiased news, so too, are their polls. Their sampling practices are weighted toward their bias. I know this from my days in politics. For example, a recent New York Times poll showing former Vice President Joe Biden with a 12 point lead over President Donald Trump, sampled 57% Democrats to 43% Republicans. Of course, Biden would lead.
When running a large political campaign, polling data is imperative. Accurate polling data can mean the difference between winning and losing in a tight race. It can give you trends, messaging guidance, issues, demographics and a whole lot more. But it has to be accurate or your entire campaign will be off. So politicians do not use media polls. They hire a polling company to conduct an accurate poll based on a scientifically drawn, unbiased sampling of the voters. The media, admittedly weighs their samplings toward a Democratic bias because they draw more voters from the Democratic voting base. Also, online polls are suspect because it is difficult to verify who is actually giving the information and how many times they are giving it.
Constitution.com reported in August 2016: "Media polls are driven by the desire to achieve a certain outcome. That is why you think Hillary is leading Trump by 10 points...The media is jerking our chain. DO NOT believe them. The only polls that can be believed are internal polls that are rarely made public." Rasmussen Reports was the only public pollster that I am aware of who got the 2016 election correct. For nearly 20 years, Rasmussen has tracked daily presidential approval. For June 24, 2020, Trump's approval rating was 47% compared with the previous president's 44% on the same day in 2012. Rasmussen is considered an outlier by the media pollsters. But we know what they do, don't we?
Daily Devotion: The Daily Necessity of Forgiveness - by Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. -Ephesians 4:32
We need forgiveness every day because we sin every day. Maybe you're thinking, "I don't know that I really sinned today."
Well, can you think of a single impure thought you had? Did you lose your temper even once? The Bible tells us, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8 NKJV).
The passage goes on to say, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (verse 9 NKJV).
In what we often call the Lord's Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray, "Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us" (Luke 11:3-4 NKJV).
Jesus was saying that we not only should pray for our daily bread, but we should be praying for and extending forgiveness every day. God wants us to forgive others.
Maybe someone has bullied you on social media or insulted you. Maybe someone has hurt you, and you're thinking, "This person did something so horrible that I can't forgive them. Ever."
I like what C. S. Lewis said about this: "Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive." It's a great concept until it's time for us to forgive someone who we think doesn't deserve it.
So, let's just concede that point and say they don't deserve it. But hold on. Do you deserve forgiveness?
You don't, yet God gave it to you. So why would you not extend it to another person as well? The Bible says, "Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:32 NLT).
God wants us to ask for forgiveness-and extend it to others as well.
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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