Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Unbelievably Amazing Destiny Of The Church
- Jack Kelley -
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6-7).
Even after years and years of answering questions about it, I am still amazed at how little most Christians know about what's ahead for the Church. I realize that many Church leaders have become earth centered, focused on meeting growth and financial goals in the here and now. In fact a recent Barna Group survey revealed that the top five indicators pastors use to judge their success are attendance, giving, number of programs, number of staff, and the square footage of their facility.
To me that's a shame because the Church is supposed to be a heaven centered organization focused on getting people ready to go there soon.
Bringing people into the kingdom and preparing them for eternity should be the Church's number one priority (Matt. 28:19-20). You would think it would at least be in the top 5 indicators of success, but it isn't.
Paul said we should fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, because what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor. 4:18). To me that means we should pay more attention to our next life than we do to this one. After all we're going to spend a whole lot more time there. The problem is, most Christians know so little about our next life that even if they wanted to focus on it they couldn't tell where to begin.
Therefore, I invite you to spend the next few minutes thinking about something that will have eternal significance to you; the unbelievably amazing destiny of the Church.
Where Do We Go Next?
Let's begin at the beginning. When Jesus died for our sins and rose again He freed us from the penalty thereof, giving us the assurance of eternal life with Him. This is not only true of the Church, but of all those who believed in a coming redeemer and died before the Church came to be, and all those who will come to believe in Jesus after the Church has departed. Hebrews 10:12 tells us Jesus offered one sacrifice (Himself) for all time. That covers everyone from the first man to the last.
Those who either lived in the time before the Church or will live in the time after it, were (will be) required to give evidence of their belief that Jesus died for them by obeying God's laws, and can suffer a lapse of faith, even to the point of losing their salvation. I assume you know this to be true about Old Testament believers. Matt. 25:1-13, Rev. 14:12, Rev. 16:15 tell us it's also true about post Church believers.
The only requirement God has imposed on people who live during the time of the Church is that we believe in the one He sent (John 6:28-29). What's more, He has accepted the responsibility for seeing to it that we don't suffer a lapse of faith and has put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come (2 Cor. 1:21-22) so we can't lose our salvation. This manifestation of His grace is unique to the Church.
Also unique to us is the authority He gave us to become members of His own family (John 1:12-13). He made good on this by legally adopting us as His children, brothers and sisters of Christ (Romans 8:29) and co-heirs with Him (Romans 8:17, Galatians 4:4-7).
At the same time, He chose to begin seeing us as we will be after we've been perfected, calling us "a new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17), "holy and blameless, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish"(Ephes. 5:25-27), and having the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). He knows we'll be that way in the future, after He changes us from mortal to immortal, but He began seeing only the "future us" from the time we believed. He attributes our post salvation sins to the sin that still lives within us, and not to the perfect creation He now considers us to be (Romans 7:18-20).
These are the first indications that God looks upon the Church differently from any other group of humankind. If that was all He has done for us, it would be far more than we deserve. But in truth, it's only the beginning. The real differences will come into effect after He takes us to our eternal home.
Unlike Israel, the Church's destiny is not tied to a specific location on Earth. In fact our destiny is not on Earth at all. Our citizenship is in heaven, Paul said, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:20).
While at present the Lord's Kingdom is in this world, Jesus said it's not of this world (John 18:36). In other words we don't belong here. The Church has no homeland on Earth. We are sojourners in a foreign land, and our heart's desire should be to go home where we belong. That doesn't mean we can't have a good life while we're here. It means we should know that, even on its very best day, life here can't begin to compare with being home.
Home At Last
Our journey home will be a short one, and it will take many of us by surprise, although we've been warned that it shouldn't (1 Thes. 5:4). One minute we'll be here, going about our business, and in the next we'll be there, having been changed from mortal to immortal and from flawed to perfect in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15:51-53).
Jesus said He will come back to take us to a place in His Father's house that He's been preparing for us ever since He left (John 14:2-3). This is where we'll be safely hidden away while His Father visits the most extreme series of judgments in the history of mankind upon the rebellious world (Isaiah 26:20-21). This series of judgments is called the wrath of God in the Bible (Rev. 6:17). It will take seven years to complete and the Lord promised to deliver us from all of it (1 Thes. 1:10, Rev. 3:10).
During that time the Church will experience a series of events that couldn't possibly be more different from those taking place on earth. For the first time in our lives we will actually be face to face with the Lord and receive our welcome into the Kingdom, the voices of untold numbers of angels singing and shouting for joy ringing in our ears (Rev. 5:11-14).
We will have a joyful reunion with those whose spirits preceded us, and who will have received their resurrection bodies at the same time as ours were being changed (1 Thes. 4:16-17).
In describing this change John wrote, "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2) and Paul said, "He will transform our lowly bodies so they will be like His glorious body" (Phil. 3:21). Try to imagine a glorious body just like the Lord's, with abilities comparable to His.
We will attend an awards ceremony called the bema judgment where the Lord will reward us for the things we did at His direction and in His strength during our time on earth (1 Cor. 3:10-15, John 15:5). Jesus called these rewards "treasure in heaven" and said we should be more focused on storing them up than we are on storing up treasure on Earth (Matt. 6:19-21). That old saying "we can't take it with us" is certainly true, but the Lord said we can send it up ahead.
Our relationship with the Lord will be formalized. The Bride of Christ will become the wife of the Lamb (Rev. 19:6-8, Rev. 21:9). We'll be seated at His right hand, above all the ranks of angels, assuming our role as co-regents with Him (Ephes. 1:18-21, Ephes. 2:4-7).
So This Is Where We Live
We'll be shown our eternal home, the New Jerusalem. From the description in Rev. 21 it appears to be extravagant beyond all known standards, being made of the purest gold and and precious gems. The overall dimensions of the New Jerusalem seem extravagant as well. It will be almost 1400 miles in length and width and just as tall (Rev. 21:16-17). If it was located on Earth it would be much bigger than Israel, as big as western Europe, and nearly half as big as the USA. At nearly 1400 miles tall, it would extend into space well beyond the upper atmosphere and be 4,000 times as tall as the world's next tallest building.
Based on these dimensions, I don't believe the New Jerusalem will be on Earth, but instead will descend out of Heaven at the time of the 2nd Coming into an orbit in close proximity to Earth. Some speculate it will be triangular in shape while others say it will be a cube, but the Bible does not reveal its shape. (If it was a globe it would be 2/3rds the size of the moon.)
Our home won't need either the sun or moon to shine on it because the glory of God will give it light. In fact the light from our home will be sufficient to provide light for Earth as well (Rev. 21:23-24). Remember, in Matt. 24:29 Jesus said the sun and moon would not give their light after the end of the Great Tribulation. So we will be the light of the world after all (Matt. 5:14). There won't be a temple in the New Jerusalem because the Father and Son will be our Temple there (Rev. 21:22) just as we have been their temple here (1 Cor. 3:16).
The Bible doesn't provide any description of our individual quarters but from the general description of the city I think we'll find them to be just as opulent.
Some have asked why we will need such a spectacular home, and truth be told we probably won't. But remember, the kings of the Earth live in palaces that provide luxurious comfort far beyond their needs. Members of their families live in a way the rest of us can only dream about. How much more so should it be for the family of the King of the universe.
But more importantly, giving us only what we need was not the Lord's objective in building the New Jerusalem. Right from the beginning, His objective where the Church is concerned has been to demonstrate to ages yet to come the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Ephes 2:7). And wouldn't you expect Jesus, one for whom cost is truly no object, to throw the budget out the window when it comes to building something that will express His love for His bride?
Some wonder how we'll occupy ourselves in our new life. The Bible doesn't offer any detail on this, probably because there is no way we could compare life here with life in the hereafter. Paul, who did get a glimpse of it, said;
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor. 2:9).
What we do know is that no group before or after us has ever been so blessed while on Earth, and His word tells us that no group before or after us will ever be so blessed in eternity. And the best part is we don't have long to wait to start receiving it all. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.
Four Outrages In UNESCO's Anti-Israel Resolution on Jerusalem - Aaron Klein -
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Tuesday passed a highly biased anti-Israel resolution regarding Jerusalem's Old City and its ancient walls.
Below, in no particular order, are four outrages inside the brief text of the Jordanian-sponsored resolution, affirmed by the UN body's World Heritage Council:
1 - The resolution refers to the Old City of Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and claims that Israel is the "occupying power" there.
This would make Israel the "occupying power" over the Temple Mount and Western Wall and implies that the Palestinian Authority, which never had a state or legal entity in Jerusalem (or the West Bank, for that matter) are the rightful authorities over the ancient city of Jerusalem.
Jordan illegally occupied and annexed eastern Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, from 1948 until Israel captured the lands in a defensive war in 1967. Known as the Six Day War, the conflict was launched after Arab countries used the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem to stage attacks against the Jewish state. In 1988, Jordan officially renounced its claims to the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem and unilaterally recognized terrorist Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization as "the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people."
2 - The text refers to "East Jerusalem," a nonexistent entity.
Here, the UN has entirely fabricated the existence of an entity called East Jerusalem. In reality, Jerusalem is one city; there is no East Jerusalem. The term is largely utilized to claim that Israel is occupying "East Jerusalem," referring to the eastern sections of the city, which should supposedly become part of a future Palestinian state.
Jews maintained a historic presence in Jerusalem, including in the eastern sections, until they were forced to leave the Old City en masse in 1948 and eastern Jerusalem fell under illegal Jordanian occupation.
3 - UNESCO demanded that Israel cease excavations in its own capital.
The text slammed "the failure of the Israeli occupying authorities to cease the persistent excavations, tunneling, works, projects and other illegal practices in East Jerusalem, particularly in and around the Old City of Jerusalem."
UNESCO seems to fear excavations in these areas because they routinely uncover archaeological evidence further tying Jews to Jerusalem. For example, discoveries at the City of David, an archeological site just outside the Temple Mount, have unearthed the core of ancient Jerusalem, including Hezekiah's Tunnel, evidence of the Gihon Spring, Jewish Temple artifacts, Temple purifying pools and more.
The resolution also ignored the Palestinians' history of destroying Jewish artifacts discovered in Jerusalem digs.
As I previously reported:
In 1997, the Waqf conducted a large dig on the Temple Mount during construction of a massive mosque at an area referred to as Solomon's Stables. The Wafq at the time disposed of truckloads of dirt containing Jewish artifacts from the First and Second Temple periods.
After the media reported the disposals, Israeli authorities froze the construction permit given to the Waqf and the dirt was transferred to Israeli archaeologists for analysis. The Israeli authorities found scores of Jewish Temple relics in the nearly disposed dirt, including coins with Hebrew writing referencing the Temple, part of a Hasmonean lamp, several other Second Temple lamps, Temple-period pottery with Jewish markings, a marble pillar shaft, and other Temple-period artifacts.
The Waqf was widely accused of attempting to hide evidence of the existence of the Jewish Temples.
And in 2007, this journalist reported from the site of an unusual dig on the Temple Mount in which the Mount's Waqf Islamic custodians utilized heavy machinery to dig on one of the most sensitive archaeological compounds in the world and were once again caught red-handed destroying Temple-era antiquities.
4 - The Resolution maintains the "Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls on the List of World Heritage in Danger."
Israel is the only country in the Middle East that guarantees freedom of worship for all religions. UNESCO is farcically labeling the Old City as being in "danger" when Israel is well known to responsibly protect the integrity of the city and its sites.
UNESCO, meanwhile, had nothing to say when the Palestinians repeatedly set fire to Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, causing severe damage to the revered burial place, considered Judaism's third holiest site. The Palestinians also famously painted the dome of the tomb green and burned down a yeshiva at the location, events also ignored by UNESCO.
The UN body was notably silent when Palestinian gangs in 2015 utilized the Al Aqsa Mosque, Islam's declared third holiest site, as a staging base to attack Israeli security forces.
And UNESCO was absent from the debate when Fatah terrorists fleeing an Israeli anti-terror operation in 2002 holed up inside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem for 39 days, where they took priests and nuns hostage. According to reports, the jihadists defiled the church and left the traditional birthplace of Jesus in shambles.
The next Middle East war - Hezbollah, instructed by Iran, is setting the stage for a new and bloodier conflict with Israel - By Clifford D. May -
Eleven years ago this month, Israel went to war with Hezbollah, Iran's Lebanon-based Shi'a proxy militia. The fighting began when Hezbollah fired rockets at Israeli villages and missiles at Israeli armored vehicles patrolling the border. Three Israeli soldiers were killed. Two were kidnapped and taken into Lebanon.
They would be among the more than a thousand people killed during the 34 days that followed. Hundreds of thousands, in both countries, would be displaced.
The passage of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 on August 11 marked a halt to the conflict. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was expanded and granted the authority to use force to ensure that southern Lebanon became free of "any armed personnel, assets and weapons" not under the direct control of the Lebanese government or UNIFIL.
It soon became apparent that UNIFIL would fail to accomplish that mission. Today, Hezbollah has an estimated 150,000 missiles of varying ranges and accuracy pointing at Israeli villages and cities - about 10 times what it had in 2006. UNIFIL sees nothing, knows nothing and, of course, does nothing.
There has been one restraint on Hezbollah's rearmament: Israeli intelligence sometimes learns of Iranian shipments of advanced missiles. Airstrikes have destroyed at least some of these shipments en route.
Now, however, Iran has a new plan: Over recent months, its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been building fortified, underground missile production factories in Lebanon.
"We are fully aware" of the factories, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told military correspondents in a briefing in Tel Aviv on Sunday. "We know what needs to be done . We won't ignore the establishment of Iranian weapons factories in Lebanon."
For the moment, the Israelis are giving diplomacy a chance, for example by briefing members of the U.N. Security Council, warming that the next war is bound to be more destructive and bloodier than the last.
Among the reasons: Hezbollah's presence now extends well beyond southern Lebanon. It has taken control of Beirut's port and airfields. It is the most powerful faction in Lebanon's government. To fight Hezbollah while sparing Lebanon is no longer possible.
In addition, Hezbollah's leaders have installed their missiles in (and under) homes, schools, hospitals and mosques. Their use of "human shields" ensures a high civilian death toll and, incidentally, blatantly violates international law. But they are confident that many journalists, U.N. officials and "human rights" groups will reflexively blame Israel, not them and certainly not Iran for the carnage.
Another indication that Hezbollah may be preparing for a new conflict: It has set up observation posts along the Israeli border, claiming these are part of an environmental effort called "Green Without Borders." Yes, that's right: We're to believe that Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah worries about climate change. We're not to notice that he has specifically mentioned that a leafier Lebanon will provide better cover to his fighters should Israelis return.
A complaint Israel filed at the U.N. was rejected last week. Spokeswoman Eri Kaneko said the lookout stations and "tree-planting activities" raise no suspicions. "UNIFIL remains vigilant," she asserted.
It seems odd that Mr. Nasrallah should be eager for renewed hostilities with Israel now, a time when he is deploying fighters in neighboring Syria defending the Assad regime. He may believe that in Lebanon, as in Syria, Hezbollah can be reinforced by foreign fighters. In a speech last month, he threatened to open Lebanon's borders to tens of thousands of Shia fighters from Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That, too, would be a clear violation of UNSCR 1701 but don't expect UNIFIL to respond.
The smart money says Hezbollah will do as the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran instruct. Their priority is to establish a Shia Crescent - an arc extending from Tehran to the Mediterranean, with Iran controlling Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza as well.
They also are establishing a foothold in Afghanistan and attempting to spread their Islamic Revolution into the Gulf States. Tehran's theocrats view Kuwait and Bahrain as lost provinces that, in time, must be reclaimed. They view the Saudis and the Emiratis as heretics and enemies.
Iran has begun to establish a version of Hezbollah in Syria as well. Foreign Shia fighters already are being imported for this purpose.
Tough decisions lie ahead. Israelis know that if they strike first, they will be accused of aggression. But if they wait, they may have to absorb more - and more lethal - blows. Their missile defense system is high-tech and robust but it can be overwhelmed.
Through intermediaries, the Israelis have reportedly warned Iran's rulers not to expect to sit safely on the sidelines should a new war erupt.
Trump administration strategists in the National Security Council and Pentagon are not oblivious to the storm clouds gathering on this particular horizon. Among the tools they are considering: Designating the IRGC a terrorist organization and imposing tough new sanctions on Iran - linked to its support of terrorism and ballistic missile development, not the Iran nuclear deal. That would at least send a shot across the Islamic Republic's bow.
Also worth considering: Insisting that whatever independent actors remain in the Lebanese government stand up to Hezbollah and replace its armed forces in the south as required under UNSCR 1701. If the Lebanese government isn't up to the task U.S. assistance should end.
Finally, why not give UNIFIL, which is funded largely by the U.S., new leadership and a reinforced mandate to do the work it hasn't done over the past 11 years? An effective U.N. peacekeeping effort is not easy to imagine. But what's the harm in one more try?
Israeli Rabbi: World is Nearly Ready for Messiah, All That's Missing are the Nations - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz -
"And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation." Exodus 19:6 (The Israel Bible™)
Rabbi Alon Anava, an inspirational speaker who addresses audiences around the world, gave a lesson last week in Safed (Tzfat) on the 23rd anniversary of the death of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. In his sermon, Rabbi Anava revealed the most crucial last stage before the arrival of Messiah: for Jews to teach the Seven Noahide Laws to the nations.
One of the greatest Jewish leaders of the 20th century and the spiritual leader of Chabad Lubavitch branch of Hasidic Judaism, Rabbi Schneerson was a strong advocate of Torah outreach as a means of bringing the Moshiach (Messiah). During his lifetime, Rabbi Schneerson sent out emissaries all over the world to educate and inspire people to come close to God.
Carrying down his teachings, Rabbi Anava taught that Rabbi Schneerson believed the final step before Moshiach was dependent on one thing: Jews teaching Torah to non-Jews.
"We know what we as Jews need to do to bring the redemption, and actually, we already reached the quota of what is needed," Rabbi Anava explained. "[Rabbi Schneerson] said, 'We are all ready. All that is needed is to polish the buttons'."
"You know what is missing?' Rabbi Anava asked rhetorically. "The nations of the world. Now, all we need to do is involve a couple billion people from the other nations to be part of the redemption."
Rabbi Anava cited the biblical source requiring Jews to teach non-Jews.
Yea, He saith: 'It is too light a thing that thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Yaakov, and to restore the offspring of Yisrael; I will also give thee for a light of the nations, that My salvation may be unto the end of the earth.' (Isaiah 49:6)
The 'Rebbe', as Rabbi Schneerson was known to the millions of people who looked to him for enlightenment, became the head of the Chabad movement in 1950 when his father-in-law passed away. In the early 1980's, he began urging his followers to disseminate teachings about the Seven Noahide laws to non-Jews.
"This is where most people, most leaders of our generation fail," Rabbi Anava explained. "[Jews] have already reached our capacity. Now, we have the responsibility of bringing that awareness to the world, and we are failing big-time".
The Chabad Movement is very much an exception to Rabbi Anava's statement. Today, over 3,500 Chabad-Lubavitch institutions exist in more than 85 countries on six continents. In addition to providing services and education to Jews, these institutions are active in outreach to non-Jews.
The rabbi noted there is a Jewish tradition in which the Jews at Mount Sinai accepted the Torah unconditionally, observing the commandments with the understanding that they will learn and understand them more fully at a later date. This is referred to in Jewish theology as naaseh v'nishmah (we will do and we will hear).
And all the people answered together, and said: 'All that Hashem hath spoken we will do.' Exodus 19:8
Rabbi Anava explained that according to Jewish tradition, this acceptance was on seven commandments best known as the Seven Noahide Laws. When Israel accepted these at Sinai, all of the other nations were present as well.
"It happened to be we were in the front row because we got the information in order to give it over," the rabbi said semi-humorously.
Rabbi Anava explained that the Torah was given to the Jews but, according to Jewish tradition, it doesn't actually exclusively belong to anyone. The Talmud explains that God gave the Torah in the desert because a desert is designated by Torah law as a makom hefker (an ownerless place). The Torah was not given in the Land of Israel for that would have meant it was intended solely for the Jews in the Land of Israel. The rabbi explained that for a Jew to say the Torah is 'mine', contradicts that concept entirely, and renders the Torah useless.
"It is like a child grabbing a toy that doesn't belong to him," Rabbi Anava explained.
He noted that the history of relations between Jews and Christians make this goal difficult.
"When people say, 'We were always persecuted and murdered', I can understand," Rabbi Anava said. "There are millions of Jews who don't even know how to say shema (the prayer proclaiming God's Oneness). It is our responsibility to inspire them. But we have a greater obligation to go out and inspire the world to follow the seven laws of Noah."
Rabbi Anava often lectures about his own near-death experience and how it affected his return to Torah. In his lecture last week, Rabbi Anava related a question he was asked by a non-Jew concerning the rabbi's near death experience. The questioner asked the rabbi if, when he was in heaven, did they tell him that he had to follow specifically Judaism.
"In heaven, they didn't mention the word Judaism," Rabbi Anava said. "They spoke only of Torah, and Torah belongs to everybody."
The rabbi noted that the obligation to teach Torah requires knowledgeable Jews to approach everyone and ask, 'Are you Jewish?'. If the answer is 'yes', they should help them with the commandments that are specific to Jews. But if the answer is 'no', the rabbi notes that an additional stage is required.
"The question should then be 'Are you human?'" Rabbi Anava said. "If they are human, you have to teach them about the Noahide laws.
Nearing Midnight: Kings of East Nuclear Factor
- Terry James -
All directions in God's Word to humanity-the Bible-point outward from God's touchstone city to the human race. That is, Jerusalem is the topographical center of the world from God's Holy perspective.
Therefore, north, south, east, and west, in terms of Bible prophecy, can be determined by considering that all-important city as the starting point.
We will look in this commentary at the kings of the east prophecy. That prophesied group of potentates, then, must be viewed as if we are standing, perhaps, on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and looking eastward. This is how we can know that the kings of the east referred to in prophecy yet future are those kings or national entities of China and the Orient in general.
Here are the nucleus scriptural references to the kings of the east prophecy:
And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. (Revelation 9:13-16)
And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. (Revelation 16:12)
We note with interest that the Euphrates River seems to be the boundary dividing the Occidental world from the Oriental. God tells through prophecy that this boundary harbors some powerful and tremendously evil demonic actors that are incarcerated until time for the prophesied invasion from that Oriental world. As a matter of fact, these are so powerful that they will imbue this force of two hundred thousand-member military with the capability of killing one-third of the people of the world.
I'm aware that there is a train of thought that puts forth that one-third of a specific number of combatants who are to die in the overall campaign of Armageddon will be killed by this force from the Orient. To me it reads that one-third of those living on the planet will be killed.
That there are supernatural elements involved within this murderous capability cannot be denied. It is reasonable to presume, I believe, however, that nuclear weaponry might be employed in accomplishing that grisly task.
The prophecy concerning the kings of the east becomes particularly fascinating, I think, when looking at geopolitical military rearrangements taking place today.
To preface these considerations, I urge us to remember that the demonic minions that will be the catalyst to galvanize the destructive kings of the east force are presently under God's restraining power. These evil entities are held back until a particular "hour, and a day." There is a specific moment when they will be unleashed to cause the two hundred million-man force to kill one-third of everyone living on the planet.
I have always considered it a point of fascination that since the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, there hasn't been a single incident of a nuclear weapon discharged in any sort of military conflict. There have been nuclear tests of every sort, above ground and below. But, not a single nuclear warhead of any sort has been fired as part of military action.
My friends, this lack of employing nuclear weaponry has taken far more than diplomacy, human fear, in trepidation, or whatsoever else. This has been the obvious, restraining hand of the God of Heaven. Just like in the case of the evil angels being restrained somewhere beneath the Euphrates, the nuclear, war-making genie has been kept in the bottle marked "For Tribulation Only."
As a matter of fact, the nuclear factor has been used, I'm convinced, by the Lord Himself, to prevent man from self-destruction. If nuclear weapons were not at the ready at every moment of every day, the human race might have long ago ended most if not all life on earth with conventional weapons only slightly less horrific. Man has-some would surmise-retained the common-sensibility, at least to this point, to refrain from all-out war, since those two, small-by-comparison nuclear bombs that ended World War II.
North Korea forges ahead with production of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to far-distant points. This, despite a president who has vowed that such development will not be allowed to be brought to the point the NK weapons can be used against the United States. There seems shaping a showdown of monumental magnitude at some point soon.
Yet, as many who read these commentaries know, I'm convinced there will be no earth-shattering event such as nuclear war take place until the Rapture has occurred. I'm convinced that Jesus' words in the days of Noah and days of Lot prophecy in Matthew 24:36-42 and Luke 17:26-30 indicate it will be business as usual-even better than usual-right up until He next "reveals" Himself to a rebellious world. This will be Rapture, not Second Advent when He will come back to earth to put an end to Armageddon and the threatened, complete destruction of all life on earth.
Meantime, it is an almost certainty in my spirit-mind that there will be no complete disarmament of the nuclear powers. These weapons of mass destruction will doubtless, in my opinion, be used during the Tribulation, as part of judgment and wrath poured upon the evil and rebellion that will be against the God of Heaven.
The North Koreans might be restrained in some fashion from unleashing their nukes on the rest of us for now. They will, however, likely have them at their disposal when they rage across the dried-up Euphrates under demonic influence. China and the rest of the Oriental diabolists will, the prophecy says, kill one-third of people left on the planet at that time. Certainly, nuclear weaponry could accomplish fulfillment of that prophecy.
It is interesting to think on the fact that there seems to be no nuclear weaponry used on Israel as the Gog-Magog forces descend like a cloud to take great spoil. It is a conventional force that makes the assault, apparently. At that point there is either great restraint so they can enjoy the "spoils" they intend to take, or there is restraint on the Gog-Magog forces of some other sort, preventing use of nuclear weaponry. There are those who believe that this is because there has been nuclear disarmament at this juncture, and there are no nuclear weapons available. I do not agree.
God, Himself, will unleash His own form of "nukes" at that time, destroying all but one-sixth of the invading force.
The assault from the kings of the east seems to have no such encumbrances of nuclear restraint. The attack seems to come later than the Gog-Magog attack as the wind-up of the campaign of Armageddon looms.
One thing is sure in my view of these matters. We are witnessing things shaping for prophetic fulfillment in the arena of the kings of the east in regard to the nuclear factor.
Will Martial Law in America Pave the Way for the Antichrist? - Phil Hotsenpiller -
Already we are seeing an unprecedented wave of lawlessness in Europe, America and around the world. The scope and complexity of terror networks will soon make it impossible for local law officials to monitor and quell the rising tide. The provision for martial law, which suspends individual rights, is stated in the U.S. Constitution, article 1, section 9: "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion, the public Safety may require it."
Martial law would suspend the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government and install the highest-ranking military officer as governor. That position, appointed by the president of the United States, is the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.
One possible scenario for the unchallenged rise of the Antichrist would be for the president to declare martial law and install a military governor to address the problem of civil unrest and terror. Other countries experiencing the same kind of unrest would follow suit and install military governors.
The need for coordinated worldwide effort could give rise to a central command center led by one person, similar to the position that General Dwight D. Eisenhower held during World War II as the supreme Allied commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. From this central command center, a multinational, multidisciplinary force would be directed to ensure that the world was safe and resilient against terrorism. The role of the leader could expand as countries face currency manipulation, border-control threats and cyberattacks. If the person in this position were indeed the Antichrist, he would wield such far-reaching power that he could access financial data, disrupt essential services and alter or steal classified information.
In addition to the removal of Christian influence in the world leading to an unfettered spread of lawlessness, there is another reason people might put their unbridled faith in the Antichrist, even after his promise of peace is quickly replaced by violence on a worldwide scale. Some economists believe that there is a connection between war and a good economy.
An article in the Business Insider a few years ago took a satirical look at the effect World War II had on the American economy. The author made a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that the best way to grow the economy was to start another world war. Although he was not serious about this suggestion, he argued that global war had unexpected positive results that today's more contained conflicts fail to achieve:
Most economists believe that massive federal government spending on tanks, uniforms, bullets, and battleships ... finally put to an end the paralyzing "deflationary trap'" that had existed since the crash of 1929 ... The numbers were indeed staggering. From 1940 to 1944, federal spending shot up more than six times from just $9.5 billion to $72 billion. This increase led to a corresponding $75 billion expansion of US nominal GDP ... In other words, the war effort caused U.S. GDP to increase close to 75 percent in just four years! The War also wiped out the country's chronic unemployment problems ... [and] drew women into the workforce in unprecedented numbers, thereby greatly expanding economic output, according to Peter Schiff, in Business Insider's "Let's Start a Third World War to Save the Global Economy."
It is easy to see how effortlessly and quickly a person could rise to worldwide power with promises of peace and security against the global threat of terror coupled with economic prosperity. Our world seems ripe for the coming of the man of lawlessness.
The apostle Paul warned his Thessalonian readers to expect a "falling away" from the faith (2 Thess. 2:3). The Greek word for "falling away" is apostasía, from which we derive our English word "apostasy." Paul's message to Timothy was similar: "In the last times some will depart from the faith and pay attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils" (1 Tim. 4:1).
This increasing apostasy will culminate in the rise of a powerful figure who will we can identify as the Antichrist. Once the foundation of lawlessness is laid and apostasy reaches a climax, this figure will appear not as an evil, despotic ruler but a winsome, world-class leader who promises peace.
These will be difficult days on the face of the earth as the "mystery of lawlessness" (2 Thess. 2:7) that began ages ago is now coming to pass. What started with the fall of Lucifer will have intensified and reached a new level:
Even him, whose coming is in accordance with the working of Satan with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all deception of unrighteousness among those who perish, because they did not receive the love for the truth that they might be saved. Therefore God will send them a strong delusion, that they should believe the lie: that they all might be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thess. 2:9-12).
It may surprise you that it is God who sends the "strong delusion" on the inhabitants of the earth. This is in response to their denial of the truth and rejection of Christ. In place of the truth (John 14:6), they will now believe the lie (2 Thess. 2:11). We see a similar action on the part of God in the book of Isaiah: "I also will choose their punishments and will bring their fears on them, because when I called, no one answered; when I spoke, they did not listen; but they did evil before My eyes and chose that in which I did not delight" (Is. 66:4).
People in the last days will be looking for a savior of the world and, having rejected Jesus, will gladly welcome the Antichrist and yield to his authority. They are deceived by identity theft at the highest level. All too soon will the world discover that its newly chosen leader, who promised peace and prosperity, is actually a pawn of Satan, who quickly reverts to his true nature of evil and violence-at a level the world has never before seen.
The influx and acceptance of the demonic into our culture will pave the way for the entrance of this individual so sinister that he will make all the despotic rulers of the past look like amateurs.
Satan and his demonic forces are moving to install their man for the hour. For generations Satan has been waiting to empower someone as a puppet whom he can control to rule over the world.
These are days that demand that we know the time, awake from our sleep and realize that darkness is advancing. People who lack the ability to understand the times are easily shaken by the turn of world events. They question God and worry about the rise of evil in our day. Those who filled and anointed by the Spirit will host the presence of God and bring heaven to earth. God wants us to be secure in our faith and able to move in the spirit realm with power and confidence.
Daily Jot: Who watches the watchmen?
- Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Late last week Associated Press became embroiled in yet another fake news controversy when it made up a meeting between the Environmental Protection Agency head and the CEO of Dow Chemical and implied improprieties took place. AP was called out by Breitbart News Network, which followed up on the story and confirmed that no such meeting ever took place, and thus, neither did the impropriety. AP at first refused to print a retraction or a correction, but after a good deal of hounding by Breitbart, it printed a new story saying the meeting didn't take place and a correction of the old story-after three days of allowing the original fake news story to stand in the public. How can we believe any news?
This fake news "gotcha" comes on the heels of CNN reporting about a meeting implying improprieties between Russia and a member of the Donald Trump campaign team. The scandal resulted in the forced resignation of a CNN investigative team, and a virtual war of words between CNN and the White House where reporters are claiming the President is making it dangerous to be a reporter. AP was the brunt of another fake news story earlier in the year when reporter Melanie Plenda sneaked into a Republican fundraiser in New Hampshire and wrote a story that lied about White House counselor KellyAnne Conway's remarks, the crowd's reaction to the remarks and the crowd size.
CNN's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski have been going back and forth with the President in the twitter-sphere over the President revealing their love affair and Brzezinski's plastic surgery. Sounds petty, right? But the CNN dual is so upset over this that they aired a fake National Enquirer cover alluding to a bizarre threesome by Senator Ted Cruz to illustrate Scarborough's sarcasm. Scarborough and Brzezinski also took their anger to public through a column he wrote for the Washington Post. The President's thumping on the chest of these media outlets is bringing to public light the very raw and incestual nature of the media's conspiracy to take down the presidency.
While many Americans do not like the President's tweets, he is using them to hold the news media accountable. Newswires such as AP are the very beginning of news stories that other media outlets use. If the story is false, the lie ripples through the public unabated. The news media often refers to itself as the watchmen who protect the public with the truth. Isaiah 56:10 says of blind watchmen: "they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter." Who watches the watchmen? We the people have to discern the truth. Now more than ever we need to first question if a news story even seems accurate and check other sources. The watchmen in the media are unworthy and untrustworthy. Don't believe them.
Daily Devotion: Caught Up
- By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. -1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
In Acts 8, we read that after Philip led the Ethiopian man to Christ, "the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away" (verse 39). Philip wasn't caught up to Heaven; he was removed to another place. With all the freeways in California, I wish God would repeat that miracle.
One day believers will be caught up to be with the Lord in the air. Then, when He comes back to the earth, we will return with Him. There is a difference between the rapture of the church and the second coming of Christ. The Rapture introduces the Tribulation. The Tribulation period follows the rapture of the church and concludes with the Second Coming. At the Rapture, Jesus comes for His church. At the Second Coming, He comes with His church. Colossians 3 says, "When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory" (verse 4).
Probably the most definitive verse on the Rapture, and the text from which we get the actual term rapture, is 1 Thessalonians 4, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord" (verses 16-17).
The Rapture will take place very quickly. In fact, the Bible says it will be "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" (1 Corinthians 15:52). The twinkling of an eye is said to last about one thousandth of a second. That means we should live each moment of our lives in expectation of the Lord's return.
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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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