Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Not One Jot or One Tittle Will Pass Away - By Pastor Mike Taylor -
17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:17-20)
To realize the full implication of these words, we must look at the context of this powerful statement ...Who was Jesus speaking with? Jesus was chastising the Pharisees in His sermon on the mount, for putting undue bondage on the people they controlled, but wouldn't follow what God said themselves.
In Matthew's day, right after Jesus' death and His resurrection, men were trying to water down righteousness and the biblical walk of faith unto holiness. A very sharp and critical name was applied to these heretics of the true faith in God. They were called antinomics , which means "no law". They taught grace without responsibility and holiness without righteousness.
It is one of the present day church's pitfall of weekend Laodecian "Christians' and I use that term loosely when applied to these self proclaimed Christians, "in name only." Our Lord and Savior's own words forever destroy the notion that a Christian can willfully disobey and ignore the Laws and Commandments of Almighty God. Does that mean the " law keeping" is required for salvation? No, but what were the words that Jesus spoke of........
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments."(John 14:13-15)
We must realize that Jesus was the Word, even before He was born to a woman here on earth. Jesus is the God of the Old Testament, the One who gave standards to live by all down through Biblical history. The Old Testament is the revelation of that Word. The basic Ten Commandments and the clear principles of His laws and are just as real in the New Testament, as it was in the Old Testament. Notice when Jesus spoke that verse again in Matthew 5:17, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law (the first five books of the Torah) or the prophets (the major and minor prophets of the Old Testament) I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (or complete them). The Son of God came not to destroy His revelation He gave to us in the Old Testament, but to supply the finishing touches, to flesh out and fully explain what it was Jehovah-Jireh had given to Godly men to write down. Many people think they must follow the literal interpretation of the "law" but Jesus was focusing on the spiritual application of a "born again" believer in relation to keeping His commands for righteous living.
When you throw out the Law of God, you basically have defiled the Holy of Holys and the tapestry that was torn from top to bottom at Jesus' death, and was removed so that we might enter right into the throne room of God, spiritually. Holiness is non-existent in any redemptive plan if you destroy the commandments of God. But stopping there....can you keep the law perfectly?? No, none of us can. It is why Jesus came to give Himself as a ransom for many, because mankind can't keep the law perfectly...But, we are to endeavor to try and become transformed into the image of ABBA Father's Son Jesus Christ...
28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." (Romans 8:28-30)
Jesus proclaims in Luke 21:33, that the whole Word of God (from Genesis to Revelation) will never pass away. He said, "heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away."
Before I fully understood the implication of these verses, I was reading in Matthew, these scripture verses and they seemed to jump out at me, to be highlighted, to be italicized, or whatever made me stop and think to myself. "what did I just read?"...I had read it many, many times and it never became real to me, until that day. Maybe it wasn't my time, but God's time, that He revealed this simple truth to me.
Matthew 5:18 " For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
A jot and a tittle are the smallest scripts in the Hebrew language which is the dotting of an "I" and the crossing of a "T". If they will not pass away, even being the smallest part of the written language, God is saying that nothing, nothing of His Word will pass away. Every one of us will be judged according to what scripture says, and you can do what you will with God's Law, but they stand unmoved. God said, "I am the same today, yesterday, and forever. I change not." No wonder Paul wrote in Hebrews 10:31. "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
Make no mistake about trying to follow God's commandments. Law keeping will not save you. But many people, from the Pharisees of Jesus day, until our so-called "Modern Churches" of religiousity, whether you be Catholic or Protestant is not found in keeping some sort of obedience to your church. It's not about religion, it is about relationship. Do you love Jesus? Then you press on trying to do as He ask of you. Will you do it perfectly? Again, NO....even if you fail in one point of the law then you have broken them all. That is why we need a Savior found in Jesus Christ...but even as Paul said, we press on to a higher calling in Christ Jesus.....
13 "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing." (Phillipians 3:14:16)
Even the Apostle Paul admitted that he could not attain the level of righteousness that Jesus had on earth, but he was determined in his spirit to keep pressing on being obedient to the One who saved him and promised him new life in eternity....It is a lifelong process that we will NEVER attain in this life, until Jesus changes us into what He is....spiritual of flesh and bones unable to sin forevermore.
EXCEPT YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS EXCEED THOSE OF THE PHARISEES.
We all know who the Pharisees were in Jesus day and how He chided them, rebuked them for the self-righteous application of the law, (to everyone else) but not to themselves. Oh, they knew the law, backwards and forwards, but they didn't internalize it's message.
In our day, Jesus has laid the very foundation of how we are suppose to live our lives, by reading these verses. Grace is free, but some Christian's make it cheap. Jesus did not come to cast off His Word, but to provide the grace to change a man's heart. He did not come to only cover our sins, which He did, but to ultimately destroy sin, at it's root.
Last week I covered that we are supposed to be salt and light to a dying world, but many so called "Christians" have lost their saltiness and as Jesus said, it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trampled under men's feet....That is what Jesus railed at the Pharisees for and called them "white washed tombs".....
27 "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous," (Matthew 23:27-29)
The Old Testament standards are the very standards, that Jesus and the early church lived by, preached by and lived by. They gave us the New Testament for a completed interpretation of the Old Testament.
The apostle Paul wrote in Hebrews 10:16-18 .....
"This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin."
He will not remember their sin or lawbreaking anymore. The Laws of our God and Savior cannot be separated from the whole Word of God.
I have a dear brother, (and I call him brother, as that is what he is) tell me at work before I retired from my local hospital, that we have been released from the law, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. What he failed to realize and I hope I made it more clear to him, that we have been released from the penalty, our death sentence of transgressing that Law. He pointed out that we don't keep the law, with all it's laws of sacrifice, and that I had to agree with him. Yes, Jesus freed us from having to sacrifice an animal to cover our sins daily, as Jesus became our perfect sacrifice. Jesus also removed the commandments or traditions of men that had become equal to the Laws of God and His commandments, in the Pharisee system of Judaism, called the Talmud. Jesus actually purified the whole of the Old Testament Law, by fulfilling the law of sacrifice and breaking that yoke of ceremonial sacrifice that could not, in itself, remove sin. It was to remind them and us, of the need for a Savior. We the saints of the New Covenant have entered into a new relationship with Almighty God, through His Son's sacrifice. Paul wrote in Hebrews
20 "by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is to say, His flesh.
21 And having an high priest over the house of God;
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."(Hebrews 10:20-22)
Now we can come straight to the Father, through His Son.
Does that make us "loose" from the Ten Commandments and free to live as we please? NO, IT DOES NOT!! These verses are not present day "modern Protestant" theology in a lot of churches, but it is true Christianity and very Biblical. The heart and soul of a true called out child of God is a picture in purity. The commandments of God become our delight and we rejoice in the peace of a pure heart. Our righteousness according to God's Word, is as filthy rags, but God expects us to press on to the example set by His Son, Jesus Christ. Even though we do them imperfectly, we follow them in obedience to the Words of our God, and our Savior, for His blessings, and as a guide on how to live our life, as He lived His life. Worldly and a sinful generation love religion without holiness, but it will be wholly inadequate when we face the awesome judgment bar. I fully warn those who think going to church every Sunday or Wednesday night, giving tithes to your church, helping the poor, or anything that looks religious even down to "pew warming" looks righteous on the outside, but are you living it according to what the Bible teaches the other 6 days of the week? ...are you living like the devil and only on Sunday, do you put on church clothes and try and appear like you are following God?
Paul writes again in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15
"According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
If you're not living according to the plan laid out by God and following His footsteps, the blessings and the rewards that a Christian should one day receive by following His way of life found in His law and His commandments, will be diminished or non-existent, but as it is written in v. 15, all that will stand is he himself and Christ in his heart...as though by fire. Everything else will be burned up. And if there is no payment for sin via the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His resurrection, then He will lose even his life. Where is the cutoff? Better to follow God's ways closely than to follow from afar off and be found lacking on that day or woefully deceived and be found a modern day Pharisee.
Paul wrote in Hebrews 10:28-31
"He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
Notice that in v. 29 is using sanctified in the past tense. If a person, through willful and with forethought, decides he wants to turn against God, and I just don't and can't envision any true Christian doing so, if he wants to turn 180 degrees in the other direction, after the sanctification process begins, God will allow Him to do that, but with many episodes and trips behind the proverbial "woodshed". God will not loose what is His, but for disobedience will bring much chastisement in every increasing degrees, until God gets your attention, or keep being inflicted with righteous "whupping" to the even the point of death.
EXCEPT OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS EXCEED THOSE OF THE PHARISEES.
James, the earthly brother of Jesus, wrote an incredible book that is said to be the first book of the New Testament written and it ties the commandments of the Old Testament to the NEW Testament church. James 1:21-27
"Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
That is our goal and should be what drives us "Keep yourself unspotted from this world".
James went on to say, that faith by itself, if it's does not have good deeds, or fruit, called works by James, then that faith is dead. I told my friend at work, that the keeping of the law by following the commandments of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is complimentary to a Christian walk of faith...it's like two sides of a weighing scale...if on one side, you have works only, they cannot save you, so your scale hits bottom. If on the other hand, you have good works, being a good, upright moral person and have no faith in Jesus Christ, then your works are for nothing....you must have both, to have a balance in your life and reap the blessings and the reward from the Father. By doing so, you are not easily deceived by the enemy in this end of days.
17 "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?"( James 2:17-22)
We have a whole generation of church goers, church leaders, and pastors that have been schooled to believe and practice the doctrines of lawlessness. People who have the moniker of "Christian" about them, but hold onto a sense of cheap grace. They teach and believe grace without responsibility and holiness without righteousness. It is true that if a human being calls upon the name of the Lord, "thou shalt be saved". But that is the beginning of your call to salvation, not it's end. We are called to fruit worthy of repentance. It's a lifelong process. (If you love Jesus, keep His commandments in your everyday life)
Some people, not all, live outside the whole of scripture and boldly state they are Christian, but get highly offended when you point out certain scriptures that don't fit their concept of being a follower of Jesus Christ. Understand one thing, my reader, even the devil believes the Word of God, but he is certainly not a saint. He takes pleasure in perverting it, and we should not discard from living with the whole counsel of the Word of God, not just the parts we like.
THE LAW IS OUR SCHOOL MASTER
One of the apostle Paul's great lessons is found in Romans chapter seven. Conviction of sin always precedes conversion and accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. It is impossible to repent of sin, without a sense of guilt, a conviction of sin arising out of transgressing God's Law and upon Holy Spirit conviction from God, the Holy Spirit draws a person close, and knocks upon the door of his heart, asking entrance into that person's life. Roman's 7....
7 "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death." (Romans 7:7-9)
If you read the whole chapter, Paul laments about what he wants to do, that he does not...what he is not suppose to do, that is what he does....it is called being mortal and living in sinful flesh....sounds ominous based on what I have stated in this message so far, until you get to the end of the chapter...who can deliver us from our tendency to sin???
23 "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." (Romans 7:23-25)
SIN, WHEN IDENTIFIED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, CREATES A SENSE OF GUILT, THE FOREBODING OF ONE'S CONDITION, WITHOUT GOD.
I emphasize this point, because without the Holy Spirit drawing us, and bringing to the forefront of our knowledge the transgression of His Law, can we feel convicted of the way we are living. I've seen people sweat, shake, and look like they are near a physical death, when the Holy Spirit is dealing with them. They have such a foreboding of their lost condition, their knowledge of being without God and the implication of a life devoid of God and His Salvation. What a person does with that calling could be a matter of life and death to that person, eternally, as we are not promised even tomorrow, just today.
Paul continues on in Romans 7:
12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin."(Romans 7:12-14)
The apostle says that the law is holy and spiritual. Why? Not because God is magnifying sin, but that He is magnifying His grace to forgive and to cleanse. He reveals His law of holiness, through His Son that we might see our nature of sin.
EXCEPT YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL EXCEED THOSE OF THE PHARISEES!
That continued statement sounds harsh and unfair until we discover what Jesus came in our world to accomplish. If he were telling dark sinners that they must lift themselves up to live more "righteously" than the Pharisees by works ONLY, then he would have been a taskmaster, and not a Savior. But, His death was already sealed in the plan of God and Jesus Christ knew well the glory of His suffering. He came to break the powers of sin and to create a brand new family called the church, His future Bride at His coming in the rapture.
Jesus came, lived, died and rose again, that he might destroy the "works of the devil". John wrote in 1st John 3:8
"He that committeth sin is of the devil: for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."
John used the word "manifested" as he was speaking beyond the physical birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. God has sent His Son into the world by a series of prophesies and miraculous events which made His life and death a divine occasion. The life and death of Jesus Christ was triumph over every limitation and calamity of this human life. He came out of eternity, gave up His glory, to enter into our little, limited world to bring an end to Satan's schemes and plans. The result was the redemption of the highest level possible to the human family. We were redeemed, transformed into new creatures, filled with His Holy Spirit, to live and walk in newness of life far beyond what the Pharisees practiced in their concept of religion. Someday we will be translated into a newness of life complete for all eternity.
The apostle Paul could not have echoed the idea of Jesus Christ and what He means to each and everyone of us by a second letter to the church of Corinth.,
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
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;" (2nd Corinthians 5:17-18)
We are all new creatures in Christ Jesus. We have been given a deposit of redemption into a heavenly Family of God. We walk no more by the world's bondage. We have been forgiven of our past transgressions against His Holy Law, and now we walk in obedience to His way of life by following His Commandments, His judgments, His Law of Liberty by faith, not by site, as evidenced by our good deeds and works to help others. Unless our faith, and our righteousness
EXCEEDS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE PHARISEES, WE WILL NOT SEE THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Understand the implications. Grace is a free gift of mercy. It produces a new creature, one prone to good works and living as Jesus did, without sin as humanly possible. Living a righteous life following Jesus produces good fruit, good works, NOT the other way around. No matter of works can save you, but it is the evidence that you believed and accepted His gift of grace and are a changed person, dead to the lusts of this world.
Dead to this world, and raised to newness of life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let each of us live like it, as Jesus is coming soon...Be ready.
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.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:16-19)
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)
Recalling what I have said and Jesus told us...
"if you love Me, keep my commandments"....if you love Him, then as best a mortal can, repent of your sins, and anytime you mess up...(and you will in this life) come to Him in repentance, and He will raise you up and give you strength to overcome that temptation. But live like Jesus could come today, (as He could) and be ready working for the Kingdom of God. Because each of us, (I know I want to hear)...
for Jesus to say "well done thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of thy Lord"...So come Lord Jesus.
This is pastor Mike Taylor praying for your being ready to meet our Savior, by accepting His free gift of salvation and living it the best you can.. If you need counseling, prayer, or just a listening ear, email me at email@example.com, God bless you, till we meet at Jesus Feet.
Goodbye Birth Pangs - Hello Tribulation - by Bill Salus -
What will it signal when people cry out?
* "I can no longer feed my son," during a famine,
* "I can no longer hold my son," during a pandemic, like the Coronavirus,
* "I can no longer find my son," during a great earthquake.
In light of the current Coronavirus pandemic that is presently plaguing the world, I thought it would be timely to revisit one of my past teachings. It was near the end of 2008 when I first taught on the subject matter of this article, which are the six distinct prophetic time-periods of Matthew 24.
The Temple Destruction - (Matthew 24:2),
The End is Not Yet - (Matthew 24:6),
The Beginning of Sorrows, or Birth Pangs - (Matthew 24:8),
The Tribulation Period - (Matthew 24:9),
The Great Tribulation - (Matthew 24:21),
The Second Coming - (Matthew 24:30).
At that time, I was asked to fill in for Hal Lindsey who was teaching a weekly Bible study in Palm Desert, CA. Below is a quote about his study from Hal Lindsey.
"During this time, I was teaching a weekly Bible study at a church, (Desert Springs Church), in Palm Desert, California. The study was sponsored by a ministry which serves seniors 50 years and older. During the fall and winter season (which is the prime season in the resort area surrounding Palm Springs), up to 700 people attended the study each week."[i]
I had recently moved to Palm Desert and was delighted to discover that Hal was teaching this study. After faithfully attending the study for a few months, We became acquaintances and I gave Hal a copy of my first and only book, at that time, entitled, Isralestine, The Ancient Blueprints of the Future Middle East. The primary topic of the book was the yet to be fulfilled Psalm 83 prophecy.
Shortly after receiving my book, Hal began teaching about Psalm 83 as an unfulfilled Bible prophecy, and I was asked to fill in for him when he wanted to take a break from his weekly Bible studies. What you are about to read is an abbreviated version one of the first lessons that I taught as Hal's substitute.
Setting the Stage for the Six Prophetic Periods of Matthew 24
To set the stage for the Six Prophetic Periods, we start with the "Triumphal Entry" of Jesus Christ in Matt. 21:7. Upon making His grand entry, we discover in Matt. 21:12 that Christ entered into the Second Jewish Temple and "drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers." At that time "He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves.' " (Matt. 24:13)
Christ didn't stop at that, but within the 39 verses of Matthew 23 we discover that He issued eight severe woes to the scribes and Pharisees. Seven times, He called them hypocrites and in Matt. 23:16, 24 He accused them of being blind guides. Christ labeled these religious leaders as lawless extortionists, murderers, serpents and broods of vipers, just to name a few damning titles.
Period #1: The Destruction of the Second Jewish Temple
Upon departing from the Temple the disciples approached Jesus and attempted to draw His attention to the wonderment of the Temple. It had recently been reconstructed by Herod the Great who was famous for taking on colossal projects in which he utilized massive stones to construct large buildings and complexes. This style of construction became known as Herodian architecture.
After having just accused the religious leadership of Israel of being almost everything bad under the sun, Jesus was in no mood to talk about trivial matters or respond to flippant questions. As such, He abruptly ended the short discussion by prophesying the following.
"And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down."" (Matt. 24:2)
Jesus foretold of the destruction of the Temple, which found fulfillment in 70 A.D. when the Roman Empire destroyed the city of Jerusalem and razed the Second Jewish Temple to the ground. Apparently, some of the disciples suddenly got serious and began wondering:
"What were we thinking by asking such a ridiculous and insensitive question? Jesus has just leveled the boom on the scribes and Pharisees inside the Temple and is obviously in no mood to talk about trivial matters outside the Temple."
Also remember this, "when the First Jewish Temple was destroyed, our people were dispersed into 70 years of Babylonian captivity."
Jesus must be suggesting that when the Second Jewish Temple gets destroyed the worldwide dispersion will occur that was prophesied by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and some of our other prophets.
We should ask Jesus the following:
"Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" (Matt. 24:3b)
Period #2: The End is Not Yet
This was the right question for the disciples to ask and it prompted Jesus to lay out some important details that would enable people in the future to identify their whereabouts on the prophetic timeline.
"And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." (Matt. 24:4-6)
Jesus forewarned of a time characterized by great deceit. The emphasis is placed upon erroneous boasts of people claiming to be the messiah. Additionally, there would be wars and rumors of wars during this period, but all of the above did not signal that the end of time had yet come.
Simon Bar Kokhba, who led the final Jewish revolt against the Romans between 132-135 A.D., Jim Jones who was responsible for the 1978 "Jonestown Massacre," and David Koresh the American cult leader who played a central role in the Waco siege of 1993, are a few possible examples of false messiahs.
The "End is Not Yet" period began in 70 A.D. and has seemingly lasted 1844 years until 1914 A.D. when World War 1 broke out. This is when nation began coming against nation, which is part of the next period called, The Beginning of Sorrows, or Birth Pangs." It's important to note that during these 18 centuries, the Jewish generations were residing within most every world nation during the Diaspora.
Period #3: The Beginning of Sorrows or Birth Pangs
This period appears to have begun in 1914 with the start of World War 1 and seems to be winding down presently. Jesus declared that this period would be plagued by the following:
"For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows." (Matt. 24:7-8)
During the "End is Not Yet" era, there were wars and rumors of wars occurring worldwide, but these were often due to internal strife or a nation rivaling another nation or nations for power. However, nation coming against nation appears to be alluding to an alliance of nations warring against another group of allied powers. This is what happened in World War I and World War II.
The Beginning of Sorrows period was intended to sound a big alarm to the Jews at the time, because being in the Diaspora meant that many of them would be living inside these nations that were at war with each other. From the Jewish perspective World War I prepared the land of Israel for the return of the Jews.
Near the end of World War 1, (July 28, 1914 - Nov. 11, 1918), on November 2, 1917 Lord Balfour of the British government authored a letter that was a public declaration announcing support for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. Less than three years later in San Remo, Italy (April 19-26, 1920), which was after the conclusion of World War 1, the principal Allied Powers of Britain, France, Italy and Japan, and also America as an observer, essentially ratified the Balfour Declaration.
This technically, due to the legitimacy vested in the Allied Powers, provided the Jewish People with a legal right to have their own nation. Israel recently celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the San Remo Resolution on April 25, 2020.
At the time of the San Remo Resolution, the British Empire was referred to as the "Empire on which the Sun Never Sets." This empire was sovereign over about 458 million people, which represented nearly one-fifth of the world's population, and it controlled around 13,000,000 square miles, representing almost one-fourth of the earth.
Unfortunately for Great Britain, it failed to act upon the San Remo Resolution and from that point forward the sun always sets on the British Empire. Presently, the landmass of the UK is around 94,000 square miles and its population is about 66.5 million people.
Making matters worse for the Jews, the failure of Great Britain and the Allied Powers to execute upon the San Remo Resolution subjected the Jews to Hitler's genocide of World War II. This dreadful six-year period of human history between Sept. 1, 1939 - Sept. 2, 1945, prepared the Jewish people for the land of Israel. As a result, On 29 November 1947, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 as the Partition Plan that called for the establishment of the Jewish State. On May 14, 1948 this became a reality.
Jesus also said that the Beginning of Sorrows would be characterized by famines, pestilences and earthquakes. As World War I was winding down, the Spanish Flu struck the world infecting up to 500 million and killing possibly as many as 50 million people. Unlike the Bubonic Plague between 1342-1353, which happened during the "End is Not Yet" period, the Spanish Flu occurred within the "Beginning of Sorrows" era.
The Spanish flu was from the spring of 1918 on through to the early summer of 1919. Thus, the timing of this flu seemingly served alongside World War I to initiate the "Beginning of Sorrows" timeframe.
This sorrowful age has been characterized by other pandemics like "Sars", "Mers", "H1N1" and now the real whopper, the Coronavirus. Additionally this prophetic period, which is now over a century old, has been hit with worldwide famines and increased earthquake activity. Kingdom has also risen against Kingdom, which according to Isaiah 19, alludes to regional conflicts.
There have been regional conflicts across the world during the "Beginning of Sorrows" era, but for the sake of this article the focus of Kingdom's rivaling each other is confined to the Middle East. The Arab Kingdom has come against the Jewish Kingdom in 1948, 1967, and 1973 and this conflict is not yet resolved. Also, the Arab Kingdom came against the Persian Kingdom between 1980-1988 and it appears that the Jewish Kingdom as per Jeremiah 49:34-39 might be warring against Iran (the Persian Kingdom) in the near future.
Does the Coronavirus Indicate the End of the Beginning of Sorrows Is Near?
Although this is a difficult question to answer, in my estimation the answer is likely YES! I believe YES is the correct answer for the following reasons:
Nation has already come against nation, kingdoms have fought against each other and famines, pestilences and earthquakes have occurred and are still happening,
All of the end times signs are converging. All the last days weapons are fashioned, technologies are developed and national relationships are formed,
The last three periods of the Tribulation, Great Tribulation and Second Coming happen in short time spans. Unlike the 1844 years of the "End is Not Yet" and the over 100 plus years of the "Beginning of Sorrows," these last three periods happen in rapid succession. In fact, all three happen within seven years.
When Jesus Christ warned about, "famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places" the emphasis appears to be based upon the severity of these scenarios. Luke 21:11 states that there will be "great earthquakes." In other words when people are so adversely affected by these three things they will say something like:
"I can no longer feed my son," during a famine,
"I can no longer hold my son," during a pandemic, like the Coronavirus,
"I can no longer find my son," during a great earthquake.
Presently, the Coronavirus has got parents concerned about even holding their children for fear of the spread of this deadly virus. Could we actually be closing in on the end of the "Beginning of Sorrows?" If the answer is yes then the three final periods will soon follow.
Period #4: The Tribulation Period
Jesus warned that after the "Beginning of Sorrows" the "Tribulation Period" would begin.
"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake." (Matt. 24:9)
This period spans the entire Seventieth Week of Daniel. This period includes the predictions in Matthew 24:9-31. Matthew 24:9 would be when the Daniel 9:27 covenant gets confirmed. It is the confirmation of this covenant that starts the dreaded "Tribulation Period." This means that the birth pang events of Matthew 24:4-8 are Pre-Tribulation period events.
The "Tribulation Period" lasts for seven years and it is filled with numerous prophetic events. Some occur in the first half, some at the midpoint and others during the second half, which is commonly called, the "Great Tribulation Period."
The prophecies that happen in the first half are covered in great detail in my book entitled, The Last Prophecies, The Prophecies in the First 3 ½ Years of the Tribulation. (See below).
Period #5: The Great Tribulation
Midway through the Seven-Year Tribulation Period, things go from bad to terrible for the Jews. Jesus explains this in the verse below.
"For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be." (Matt. 24:21)
This period of "Great Tribulation" covers the last three and one-half years of Daniel's Seventieth Week. This period includes the events described in Matthew 24:15-31. These prophecies are the subject of my soon to be released book, which will likely be entitled, The End Prophecies, The Prophecies in the Second 3 ½ Years of the Great Tribulation Period.
Period #6: The Second Coming
Now comes the GOOD NEWS, Jesus is returning to the earth in His Second Coming.
"Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (Matt. 24:30)
This event happens at the end of Daniel's Seventieth Week. This period covers the predictions in Matthew 24:29-31.
As this article points out, the "End is Not Yet" period has likely concluded over one-century ago. It was filled with messiah wannabe's and characterized by many rumors of wars and lots of actual wars.
Mankind appears to be waving goodbye to the "Beginning of Sorrows" era, as nations have come against nations in World Wars I and II and kingdoms have fought against one another, especially in the Mideast. The widespread locust invasions of 2020 and the Coronavirus seem to be starkly reminding us about the famines and pestilences of Matthew 24:7.
If we are about to witness the end of the sorrows, then that means the Seven-Year Tribulation Period is just around the corner on the prophetic calendar. If this is the case, then humanity should brace itself for a flurry of Pre-Tribulation prophecies to roll off of their ancient parchments and pound down on the pavement. The predictions will pack a powerful global punch. They are the subject of my book entitled, The NOW Prophecies. They are listed below:
1. Disaster in Iran - (Jeremiah 49:34-39),
2. Destruction of Damascus - (Isaiah 17, Jer. 49:23-27),
3. Final Arab-Israeli War - (Psalm 83),
4. Toppling of Jordan - (Jer. 49:1-6, Zephaniah 2:8-10, Ezekiel 25:14),
5. Terrorization of Egypt - (Isaiah 19:1-18),
6. Emergence of the exceedingly great Israeli army - (Ezekiel 37:10, 25:14, Obadiah 1:18),
7. Expansion of Israel - (Obadiah 1:19-20, Jer. 49:2, Zephaniah 2:9, Isaiah 19:18),
8. Vanishing of the Christians - (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18),
9. Emergence of a greater, safer and wealthier Israel - (Ezekiel 38:8-13),
10. Decline of America (Ezekiel 38:13), (USA could be the young lions of Tarshish).
Invasion! - By Hal Lindsey - https://www.hallindsey.com/ww-7-15-2020/
2020 will be remembered as the year a deadly invasion struck planet earth. The viral invader was too small to be seen with a normal microscope. But in a matter of months it changed the world in profound and fundamental ways.
We are only beginning to understand the ways in which it has damaged the world economy. Governments across the planet will be years trying to put the pieces back together. It put millions out of work. That had a ripple effect across economies. The invasion dramatically shrunk the tax base while forcing governments to spend trillions to fight its effects.
We have little with which to compare this. The last time government debt rose this fast was in World War II. But there was a big difference back then. Four years after the peak in government war spending, the United States had cut its spending by 75%. That won't happen this time.
Even before Covid-19, Americans and Europeans were experiencing a mental health crisis. Back in 2018, the National Alliance on Mental Illness released a report saying that one in five American adults had been diagnosed with some form of mental illness.
Life expectancy in the United States has mostly risen over the decades. But even before the pandemic, that was starting to change. The Centers for Disease Control say there are three reasons people on average stopped living as long - a rise in drug overdoses, an epidemic of suicides, and increased liver disease. The increase in liver disease has been caused by a dangerous increase in alcohol consumption. In other words, all three are symptoms of mental health issues. People have been self-medicating, and it's killing them.
That was already happening before the plague. During the pandemic, people have been forced to stay home for months. For much of that time, they kept hearing that the worst would soon be over. But fifteen days turns into four weeks, and those weeks turned into months. Some health officials are now warning that this thing could be with us for years. Proverbs 13:12 says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." In scripture, the heart is spoken of metaphorically as the seat of emotions. Hopes for a fast recovery, for a return to normalcy, and for being able to enjoy the things that you used to take for granted have been deferred repeatedly. It makes people emotionally sick.
Even before Covid, children were committing suicide in record numbers. The disease and our methods for fighting the disease have, for the most part, made things worse. Young people have been cut off from their friends, from beloved family members, and from normal activities. For many of them, school represented the one area of consistent structure and discipline in their lives. That was taken away in the Spring of 2020. For some kids, it will be back in the fall. But not for all. And if the Covid numbers go south, schools will close again.
Some school districts, including Los Angeles and San Diego, will only offer online school this fall. But it's not the same. An extremely high number of students simply don't participate online. Over time, that number does not go up, but down. The most at-risk kids fall between the cracks.
Effects from the invasion of planet earth have rippled across every part of society. Almost nothing has stayed the same. And in some areas, such as its psychological impact on the young, the effects have no known expiration date.
For followers of Jesus, the plague has been a confirmation of His word. Bible prophecy tells us about pestilences coming on the world as the time of the Lord's return comes near. It also talks about severe economic downturns and describes increasing levels of mental illness and suicide.
In such times, real Christians should walk in faith and confidence, but not arrogance. We should be on our knees before God, praying like never before. We should live every moment in expectation of the rapture. But we shouldn't just passively wait for that event. We should be using every means possible to spread the Gospel to everyone we can. Our witness should be honest and bold, but also kind and loving. No matter how frustrated we become with the behavior of those around us, we should use these days to bless them.
With the finish line so close, let us rise to new levels in God. These opportunities will not come again.
Judgment: Bema seat or White Throne? - Nathele Graham -
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Hebrews 9:27-28.
Some facts in life are hard to deal with. One of the realities is that death will eventually come to everyone...even you. After death, there will be a judgment. That's a little unnerving to think about, but it doesn't have to be a painful event. Not everyone will face the same judgment, but it's our own choice that determines which judgment we will face. One is the bema seat judgment of Christ and the other is the White Throne judgment. You make the choice as to which one you will face. Placing your faith in Jesus Christ for salvation will result in the Bema seat rewards judgment, but rejecting Christ will set you before God and His judgment of your works.
"According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 3:10-11. When you first come to Christ, a foundation is laid. That foundation is Jesus Christ. What you build upon that foundation is controlled by you. Study Scripture and learn how to please Christ. He is our example of what a Christian life should look like. He showed love to all people, but stood against anyone who twisted Scripture for their own purposes. Follow His example and begin building a solid Christian life. Instead of making choices that please people, make choices that please Christ. This means you have to humble yourself and put things out of your life that are contrary to His teaching. As you make godly choices and they become habits, you'll soon have a life built upon the Rock...Jesus Christ. Jesus encouraged doing works with a correct motive. "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 6:1. Only those things done for Christ will last.
Salvation does not come by doing works of any kind. Not baptism, not missionary work, not feeding the hungry. Salvation is by grace. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9. Jesus did all that was needed for salvation; He shed His blood as the final sacrifice to take away sin. You need to accept His finished work on the cross in order to receive the gift of grace...eternal life with Him. If you really understand what His death on the cross saved you from, you'll be overwhelmed with gratitude. The only way to say thank you is to honor Him with your life. That's where works come in. You earn rewards for the works you do. For instance, if you don't give into temptation, you'll earn a crown. "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." James 1:12. Peter encouraged men who are called to be pastors to be proper shepherds over the flock "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." 1 Peter 5:4. At the end of his life, Paul wrote a letter to Timothy wherein he said that he looked back on his life and felt he had done good for the Lord. "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:7-8. There are other crowns named in Scripture, but each one has to be earned by works and only Christians are eligible to receive them.
Very soon, Christians will be called Home in the Rapture. That's when Christians will receive their judgment. When talking about the Christian's judgment before Christ, the Greek word used is "bema". That's not a seat of condemnation but one where works will be judged and crowns given. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." 2 Corinthians 5:10. Standing before Jesus Christ will be overwhelming. You will look upon God who humbly became a man in order to provide the only way of salvation to this rebellious world. On the day of judgment...the Bema seat of Christ...your works will be judged. This is when the life you built upon the Foundation of Jesus Christ is important. "Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." 1 Corinthians 3:12-13. Jesus knows the motives behind every thing you do. You might do wonderful things, but if those works are done for your own glory instead of God's then you won't receive a reward for them. That's "wood, hay, and stubble" which will be burned up by the fire. If your works were done for Christ, that's another story. "If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." 1 Corinthians 3:14-15. The works done for Christ, the gold, silver and precious stones, will survive the fire of judgment. The wood, hay, and stubble will be burned up. Your salvation is secure, but your works will be judged. The same fire that will burn up the things that you did for your own self-gain will reveal the things you've done in the name of Jesus Christ. Whether you've done great and powerful works of witnessing to crowds of people, or something that might seem insignificant, such as laying a foundation of Christ in the heart of a child, if you've done it for Christ it will last. Christ will judge the works, not judge you for salvation. That's already been settled when you accepted His sacrifice on the cross.
The day of judgment for the Christian will happen soon after the Rapture. John received seven letters dictated by Jesus to be delivered to seven congregations. Those letters describe history in advance...prophecy. They spell out the various Christian eras throughout the ages. We are living in the era of Laodicea, which is the last letter. The next big event in Christian history is the Rapture. According to Biblical prophecy, that day is very close. "After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne." Revelation 4:1-2. What follows is an amazing account of what John saw in Heaven. There will be no more Christian's on earth who are sealed by the Holy Spirit. We will all be around the throne and praising our Lord. Chaos on earth will just be beginning. God's wrath will be poured out, and those judgments begin when Jesus opens the first seal. "And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see." Revelation 6:1. What John saw was demonic chaos led by Satan that has never been seen before. H saw plagues, economic collapse, vicious violence that makes the mobs of rioters of today look tame. Through it all there will be a few people who turn to Christ, but they will be beheaded for not following Satan. At the end of seven years of hell on earth, it will be over. The nation of Israel will at long last turn to Christ, their Messiah, and He will fight for them. Satan will be bound for a thousand years. Then, he'll be set free once again and the final battle of history will take place. Satan loses.
At the end, there will be a judgment of all who have ever rejected Jesus and who think their works are good enough to get them into Heaven. Only the righteous person can stand before God, and only Christians are righteous because of our faith in Jesus Christ. Unbelievers are on their own. "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works." Revelation 20:11-12. Instead of putting their faith in Jesus and what He did, they put their faith in themselves. Everything done without Christ at the center is wood, hay, and stubble and is burned in the judgment. "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works." Revelation 20:13. Nobody at the White Throne judgment will enter Heaven. "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:14-15.
Sin separates a person from God, but Jesus took our sins upon Himself. After the cross, the only thing that can cause you to face the White Throne judgment is your rejection of Christ prior to death. Jesus paid for all sins and when you truly accept His sacrifice, you won't face punishment. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Romans 10:9. Don't wait to confess and believe. Time is running out. It's your choice which judgment you will face: Bema Seat or the Great White Throne.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
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Daily Jot: The Fear Factor - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
The shrill voices of Hollywood are demanding another shut down of the country. Wild-eyed actress Alyssa Milano, for example, tweeted "We need a National shut down now. Print cash. Give people UBI (Universal Basic Income) until we get this pandemic under control." This so-called "pandemic" is more out of control because of media-fear mongering and leftist socialist hijacking than the threat of the virus. Extreme leftists and Democratic Party leadership are using COVID 19 to expand government, implement socialism, and institutionalize methods, such as mail-in voting, to maintain socialist power in the years to come. The fear factor is a tremendous lever to pry open the gates of tyranny.
There are several dangerous components placing America on the path toward communism. First, is the threat to free speech and the exercise of religion. Somehow the minions of satan have gained some faux moral high ground in demonizing anyone who disagrees with them. If you support President Trump, for example, you are labeled a racist, a bigot, a homophobe, Islamaphobe, xenophobe, misogynist or some other word that makes it sound like you have an incurable disease. When, in fact, in most cases these people are accusing others of exactly what they are. Look at the centuries-long history the Democratic Party has with respect to racism and oppressing black people. It's undeniable.
Another dangerous component building the highway to tyranny is fear. The government, deep state, media, and leftists have used fear to advance their horribly destructive ideas. For example, think about how many conflicting reports there are on how deadly COVID 19 is, how fast or slow it spreads, how terrible it is to be infected, the concern of what will happen to you if you are infected, and will you be forced to have a government-mandated vaccine. All these fear factors make the majority compliant in interrupting their lives and shutting down any contact with anyone. This is an obvious step toward tyranny. The government issuing payments to everyone impacted by COVID 19 is also a precedent of socialism.
It uses fear to advance evil. Yes, evil. Socialism/communism is evil. It replaces God with government. It requires tyranny. It causes hunger. It deconstructs society. It pits citizens against citizens. It uses fear to control. It is a darkness, a deep darkness. But as 1 Thessalonians 5:5-11 says concerning the Day of the Lord, "You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others...But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ...Therefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do." Be wise and circumspect in all you do, and know you need not fear if you have Christ.
Daily Devotion: What Persecution Proves - by Greg Laurie -
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. -Matthew 5:10
As Christians, we lay claim to God's promises of provision and protection. But when is the last time we claimed His promise of persecution?
We wouldn't do that, of course. After all, who wants to suffer from persecution?
Yet Jesus said in the Beatitudes, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:10 NKJV).
In fact, Jesus elaborated on this statement. He said, "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (verses 11-12 NKJV).
The Bible tells us that "all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV).
Or to reverse that, if you're not suffering persecution, then are you living godly in Christ Jesus?
Persecution shows itself in many ways. It can be physical, obviously. It's very dangerous for Christians in some countries today. In fact, Christians are the world's most persecuted group.
Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ live at risk the moment they declare their faith in Jesus Christ. They're tortured and put to death. Or, their families ostracize them and declare them dead.
Even in the United States, persecution against followers of Jesus Christ seems to be on the rise. If you decide to be a Christian, you can lose friends, jobs, and other things. People may ridicule, marginalize, mock, or even threaten you.
But if no one ever persecutes you, harasses you, mocks you, or challenges you, then maybe you're not living as a child of God. However, if you're living your life as you ought to and you're getting pushback, it's confirmation that you belong to Him.
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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