Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Why All the Fuss Over the Restrainer? - By Gene Lawley -
In Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians, he told them that "the one who restrains must be taken out of the way so that the son of perdition may be revealed." It reads like this at 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8a:
"And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed...."
You have noted that this translation identifies the "one who restrains" with capitalized pronouns, indicating deity. Some translations do not do that, even in passages clearly indicating deity. The ongoing scuffle among Bible students is just who or what is this "restrainer"?
The issue is that of holding back the advance of evil until the proper time for it to take place has arrived. That the lawless one may be revealed "in his own time" is the reason for the restraining or holding back the advance of evil.
Now, what does that mean?
It means that the most receptive time for the lawless one to be revealed is when his audience will be most responsive to his deceptive leadership. Even then, God is going to cause a deceptive spirit to come upon those who follow the lawless one, that they truly be committed to his godless endeavors. In other words, there will be no one to resist the encroachment of evil in those last days as judgment bears upon them. The falling away indicates a continual process, pointing to that time when the lawless one will be fully received by those who "have no fear of God before their eyes."
But, then, just who or what is that one who restrains?
Let's think for a moment on the total picture before us. The two opposing factions in all of history are that of good versus evil. The words of Isaiah 5:20 ring out loud and clear-"Woe to those who make evil good and good evil." That is astoundingly evident in these days. We can see political foes warring over issues of right and wrong. However, the Bible says "we war not against flesh and blood but spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12).
In every case in Scripture where evil is resisted, or held back, where Satan is not allowed to pursue his own desires, it is one of the Godhead who stands in the way. Those of the "pre-wrath rapture" theory want to say the restrainer may be the angel Michael, who opposed the devil over the body of Moses (Jude 1:9). But even there, Michael turned the issue over to God, saying, "the Lord rebuke you, O Satan."
Another leading theologian who holds tightly to the "post-tribulation rapture" theory cannot bring himself to say who or what the restrainer is. It boils down to the obvious reality that if the true identity turns out to be the Holy Spirit indwelling born-again believers, then their particular rapture timing theory is shot to pieces!
The evidence shows that the One who restrains evil can only be the Holy Spirit indwelling the born-again believer. Not the church, that visible entity in the world, for its record of holding back evil is one of dismal failure. Jesus said His church would prevail against even the gates of hell, so why is it so hard to understand who is the one who holds back evil? It clearly shows that a pre-conceived idea guides those who cannot bring themselves to admit the obvious that lies openly in the Scriptures.
That one thing, if admitted, brings the timing of the rapture to a pre-tribulation position. Then, we see a steady, flowing continuity of events from Revelation 4 onward through to the coming of Jesus Christ in glory of judgment at the end of the seven years of the tribulation period.
It makes sense, the statement of Jesus in Luke 21:28, where he says, "When these things begin to happen, look up, for your redemption draws near." Why did He not say, "When these things are completed, look up, for your redemption draws near?" The answer is unmistakable.
The most obvious fact that "post-tribulation" rapture timing is not scriptural is the total absence of any mention of the body of Christ, His church, in the time of the tribulation described in Revelation 6-19. If that fact is rejected as meaningless, then one must acknowledge that Jesus is also present during those seven years. Did Jesus not say, "I will never leave you nor forsake you?"
Actually, there are four appearances of the redeemed saints with Jesus before the Second Coming when Jesus shows up in conquering attire with judgment on His mind.
The first one is that mid-air meeting which is described in 1 John 3:2-3:
"Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure."
This meeting in the air is of the Son of Man and His redeemed saints, both from the grave with transformed bodies joined again with their souls and spirits, but also with living saints who are changed from mortals to immortals in the twinkling of an eye. Contrary to one highly visible "post-tribulationist," the word "meet" does not mean that Jesus returns back to earth with His saints-they will go with Him to heaven for that next appearance in his presence. The saints follow Jesus; He does not follow the saints.
That second appearance with Jesus is seen by John where he describes it in Revelation 4, a scene of Christ the Judge sitting on His throne. It is the account of that judgment seat of Christ described briefly in 2 Corinthians 5:10:
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."
The third end-time appearance of Jesus being with His redeemed saints is that of His taking them to those mansions He has prepared for them, as reported in John 14:2-3:
"In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."
Then, after seven years, the marriage supper of the Lamb is held in heaven, so reported in Revelation 19:7-8:
"Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.' And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints."
If we follow the teaching of the "post-tribulationists," there is not a chance that the marriage supper of the Lamb could take place, for that teaching says the saints in the rapture meet the Lord in the air and immediately return to the earth to begin the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth. By that theory, raptured saints would not go to heaven with the Lord, but He, with them, would return to the earth.
Why would God subject the living saints to the tribulation, and those who are in the grave obviously are not because they are dead, yet both groups are in the rapture? By that unjust situation being allowed, it would be better for the living believer to commit suicide so he would not have to endure the tribulation. Perhaps the issue is made clearer with this question: What have the living saints done that has not been covered by the redeeming blood of Christ which promises "no condemnation" (John 5:24) for which dead saints are not to be charged?
Is it not clear by any stretch of consideration that anyone present during the tribulation period is going to face and participate in suffering? For the whole world will be submerged in evil's judgment. There is one exception, and that is the one-third of the Jews hidden away in the wilderness by God, away from Satan's great rage, as told in Revelation 12:14 and in Zechariah 13:8.
Also, one must consider why God would allow His redeemed saints to suffer along with the unsaved during the tribulation period. No, Revelation 3:10 does not assure us that we would be protected in the midst of tribulation. "Kept from" means "kept apart from, separated from" by any common sense understanding. As an example of word usage, consider "from" in this statement of Jesus in Luke 13:27: "Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity." Does He mean "stand aside," or "get totally away from My presence?"
Also, we have the straightforward assurance in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10:
"For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him."
Let's not strain at a gnat and swallow a camel, as the Pharisees were prone to do. Light always expels darkness, and Jesus is the light of men, the light of the world! How simple it is to take the Word at face value and thus see who the restrainer really is.
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How the 'Jordan Option' will affect Israel - By Ted Belman -
The "Jordan Option," as articulated by Mudar Zahran, the secretary general of the Jordan Opposition Coalition, and me, anticipates that King Abdullah will abdicate, willingly or otherwise, and that Mudar Zahran will take over Jordan as its leader.
This option was first disclosed to the public shortly after the inauguration of President Trump in The Ultimate Alternate Israel-Palestine Solution. What is unique about this iteration of the Option was that it called for King Abdullah to abdicate and for Mudar Zahran to become Jordan's leader. Save for that, the Jordan Option had been proposed on and off since 1980.
A year ago, I asked, "Will Trump's Deal of the Century Solve the Middle East's Problems?" The article refines the original plan and references Trump's Deal of the Century.
A few months later, I wrote "The Jordan Option: The Only Game in Town":
The Jordan Option, as proposed by Mudar Zahran, leader of the Jordanian Opposition Coalition, and me, recognizes that nothing acceptable to Israel can be achieved by negotiating with King Abdullah or Mahmoud Abbas. This option is very much in line with Trump's Deal of the Century, which considers Jordan to be the Palestinian state east of the Jordan River and Israel, the Jewish state west of the river.
Nothing will happen with the Deal of the Century until Zahran becomes the leader of Jordan. In fact, the Deal of the Century is the Jordan Option.
Zahran is very open as to what his intentions are once in power.
This new reality will affect Israel in the following way:
Thus, the Jordan Option if implemented will be the biggest game-changer in the Middle East since the Six-Day War.
Temple Stories - By Daymond Duck -
In early Aug. 2019, four stories broke that, if true, indicate that Israel is edging closer to rebuilding the Temple, resuming the animal sacrifices, etc.
If you don't know about the ashes of the Red Heifer, I wrote an article for Rapture Ready several years ago that you might want to read (go to raptureready.com; scroll down to the bottom of the page; type "Red Heifer" in the search window; click; look for "Red Heifer by Daymond Duck," and click).
First, the Jews can't rebuild the Temple and resume the animal sacrifices without the ashes of a sacrificed, unblemished red heifer (Num. 19:1-22).
The Jews have gone to great lengths to raise an unblemished red heifer, and there have been reports that they now have one and perhaps more.
Anyway, on Aug. 7, 2019, it was reported that Jewish priests are practicing the rituals that are necessary for sacrificing a red heifer.
These priests want to make sure that they follow every jot and tittle of God's instructions and that they have enough ashes to purify all of the Jewish people.
Their practice includes sacrificing real cows because they now believe that they are close to a real opportunity to rebuild the Temple.
Second, on Aug. 5, 2019, it was reported that two Jews visited a very important rabbi in Israel (in late July) with a question from Pres. Trump, "When will the Messiah arrive?"
According to the report, there are many skeptics, but it added that some Jews believe that Pres. Trump will play a role in the rebuilding of the Temple.
They said Gentiles (the Romans) destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D., so Gentiles must participate in the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple.
They added that Gentiles need to make amends for what they have done.
According to them, Pres. Trump made partial amends when he moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and he can complete the process by opening the door for Israel to rebuild the Temple.
The Jews will construct the Temple, but they need the participation of Gentiles.
The stated purpose of the two Jews visiting the rabbi was to get the rabbi's opinion on when the Messiah will appear so Pres. Trump will know how much time he has to act.
The rabbi didn't give a clear answer to the question (no one but God knows).
I honestly don't know what to think about this article, but if Pres. Trump is going to get involved in rebuilding the Temple, I suspect it needs to be before he leaves office.
Third, it is common knowledge to religious Jews that several disasters have happened to Israel on the Ninth of Av (the ninth day of the fifth month on the Jewish religious calendar).
The ten spies returned from the Promised Land in unbelief on the Ninth of Av, resulting in the Jews having to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, both Temples were destroyed on the Ninth of Av, etc. (for more examples, google Tisha B'Av).
For this reason, the Ninth of Av is a day of mourning (a day of disaster) in Israel.
Anyway, the Temple Institute (the group that is making the clothing for the priests, the furniture for the Temple, etc.) recently released a video calling upon the Jews to stop focusing on the disasters of the past and to start focusing on the promises of the future (a rebuilt Temple, the coming of Messiah, redemption for Israel, peace on earth and hope for the world, etc.).
According to the Temple Institute, the Temple Mount has been in the hands of Israel for more than 50 years, and it is time to turn the day of mourning over past events into a day of rejoicing over future events.
Fourth, early morning visitors to the Temple Mount have been seeing a group of ten or so wild foxes.
This is very unusual because foxes usually hang out in deserted areas, but Jerusalem and the Temple Mount are anything but deserted areas.
It is also very unusual because this is the month of Av, and it is customary for the Jews to publicly read Jeremiah's book of Lamentations on the Ninth of Av.
There are five chapters in Jeremiah's book of Lamentations, and chapter 5 verse 18 talks about foxes walking upon the Temple Mount because Jerusalem and the Temple had been destroyed and there was no Temple on the Temple Mount.
Also, there is a story about foxes on the Temple Mount in the Jewish Talmud (a collection of Jewish writings; Makkot 24b).
The Talmud story says four rabbis visited the Temple Mount and saw foxes near the place where the Holy of Holies was located when there was a Temple.
Three of the rabbis cried at the sight of the foxes, but the fourth rabbi laughed.
He said the prophet Micah foretold the destruction of Jerusalem (Mic. 3:12) and the prophet Zechariah foretold the restoration of Jerusalem (Zech. 8:1-15).
He declared that the prophecy of Micah had proven to be true, so the prophecy of Zechariah would prove to be true.
The foxes on the Temple Mount in the month of Av and the verse in Lam. 5:18 are a reminder that the sin of the Jews angered God and brought on the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.
But God's grace and mercy will ultimately prevail over His anger, and Jerusalem and the Temple will be rebuilt.
This is the point: Is it a coincidence that several foxes have appeared contrary to their nature in a highly traveled place in Jerusalem at a time when Jews read Scripture about foxes on the Temple Mount, and there is a story in the Jewish Talmud that ties it to the restoration of Jerusalem?
I am just naïve enough to believe that God inspired the Scriptures, He knows the future, and He may be using foxes to tell us something.
There is too much going on for all of this to be coincidence.
This is why some rabbis believe foxes were originally a sign of the Temple's destruction and, in the future, they would be a sign of the Temple's construction.
FYI: Here is a link to a very short video that you may want to watch:
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck
Israel Watch: Sampson Needs Some Strength - Jim Fletcher - Jim1fletcher@yahoo.com
Word comes that another Christian celebrity "leader" is teetering on the edge of apostasy.
Marty Sampson, worship leader for Hillsong, recently posted on Instagram that he is losing his faith. He just issued another statement clarifying, saying that his faith now is on "incredibly shaky ground."
First and last for this week's Israel Watch: pray fervently for Marty Sampson!
His Instagram post said that he is "struggling with many parts of the belief system that seem so incoherent with common human morality.
"If most of humankind had a choice, would we not rid the world of the scourge of cancer? Or sickness and disease? Why doesn't God do such a thing? Of course there is an answer to this question, but the majority of a typical Christian's life is not spent considering these things. Questions such as these remain in the too hard basket."
He's asking questions everyone asks. All this recalls, for me at least, Mark 4:
"Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. And as he was sowing, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Some fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun rose, the seedlings were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the seedlings, and they yielded no crop. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it sprouted, grew up, and produced a crop-one bearing thirtyfold, another sixtyfold, and another a hundredfold. Then Jesus said, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.'"
I note all this for you this week because as usual, the very good apologetic of Bible prophecy is being ignored for the most part.
Sampson has posted quotes from believers and skeptics/agnostics. Among the believers/apologists, he's mentioned folks like William Lane Craig. He is fairly famous in his field.
My issue with Craig is that he compromises on the origins accounts of Genesis, and he is not a Bible prophecy guy. He will make intellectual arguments and while I'm sure some come to faith through his work, I wouldn't trust my eternal state to it.
Sampson also quotes the diabolical Bart Ehrman, a professor at North Carolina, whose own journey from faith to unbelief is well documented. He is particularly popular with Millennials.
"I have and continue to analyze the arguments of prominent Christian apologists and biblical scholars, and am open minded enough to consider the arguments of atheist debaters and debaters from other religions. If the truth is true, it will remain so regardless of my understanding of it. If I search it out, surely it will become even more clearly seen as the truth that it is. Examining a diamond more closer reveals the quality of the diamond. As I am still breathing, I am still learning."
Yes, he is still breathing. Pray with all you have that someone will reach out to him with the remarkable story of Israel's national resurrection. Pray that the Lord will be merciful to him and put the astonishing record of predictive prophecy in his path.
I am passionate about this approach to apologetics, especially among young people. However, let's not minimize its effectiveness with people of any age or background. I have had these conversations with Muslims in Jerusalem, Buddhists in Chicago, and New Agers in Southern California.
Israel is a spiritual lighthouse out there in a sea of evil. The devil wants our faith shipwrecked. We have a sure word to bring to those doubting the claims of Christ. Christ Himself is the very embodiment, literally of Truth. He is the spirit of prophecy.
Do you have someone in your life like Marty Sampson? A granddaughter? A nephew? Son? Daughter?
There are so many! I implore you to get out there among them and use your Bible to point out the truth of Christ's claims. The story of Israel is, I believe, bullet-proof when it comes to this issue.
Souls are at stake.
As my friends like Todd and Terry know-as we discuss often-Jesus is coming very soon.
I want Marty Sampson to go with us.
Daily Jot: Demonizing Farmers as rapists - Bill Wilson -
It's no secret that I grew up on a farm in Ohio. The farm way of life had been the fabric of our family since it came to Northeast Ohio shortly after the Revolutionary War and helped settle what was then the wild west. We grew crops, raised cattle and pigs, farmed with horses and gardened. We were never wealthy, but always had enough, more than enough to share with neighbors and others who were in need. Farming taught me the full range of God's wonderful creation, it's cycle of life and death, a work ethic, the value of family, country, friendship and love. Farming is truly a foundational aspect of any country because it is its food source. Now farmers are being demonized by the extreme left.
A research paper published by the Women's and Gender Studies at the College of Brockport State University of New York is saying that farmers are regularly committing rape and sexual assault, tantamount to bestiality. According to Campus Reform, a conservative watchdog to the nation's higher education system, the paper discussed the "sexual exploitation of non-human bodies, specifically dairy cows." Author Mackenzie April, writes: "as a vegan and animal rights activist," she feels compelled to reveal the "feminist aspects of animal agriculture because "the same way women's health has been at stake for years, a dairy cow's reproductive system has been poked and prodded."
She ties the treatment of dairy cows to that of women in society, in saying the plight of dairy cows, like women, are still subjects to sex-based discrimination and violence and their voices are "not always lifted or comprehensible." She writes: "The outdated stereotype about women being caretakers and most importantly child-bearers remains consistent in the dairy industry, especially when we take into account the means through which these animals are exploited." She argues that insemination of cattle is akin to rape and causes "emotional trauma related to pregnancy," and "nonconsensual hormone treatments." She also claims that milking cows is sexual abuse.
Campus Reform reports that April encourages readers to address the plight of dairy cows "similar to how you might validate and advocate for the struggles of women that you personally do not endure due to the privilege of race, gender, class, etc." Unfortunately, April appears to be the victim of women's studies' extreme and radical leftist brainwashing. Accusing dairy farmers of using their race and gender privilege to rape and sexually abuse dairy cows is the product of psychologically unsound thought. But this is where the world has headed, and taxpayer money is funding the state institution that allowed this work to be published. Proverbs 26:11 says, "As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly." Or maybe, as a cow chews her cud, women's studies students demonize farmers as rapists. How outrageous.
The Best Way to Help People Believe - by Greg Laurie -
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. -Matthew 28:19
Have you ever led someone to Christ? If not, why not? Maybe you think that God can never use you in this way, that you're just not gifted in that regard, and it is only for a privileged few to lead others to Christ. But if this were the case, why was the Great Commission given to every Christian? Every believer is called to "go and make disciples of all the nations" (Matthew 28:19 NLT). That means we are all called to evangelism. We all have a part to play.
I must admit that it's a mystery to me that God has chosen to use people as the primary communicators of His truth. An interviewer once commented to me that I seem to be very natural when I speak, that it must come easily to me. "Nothing could be further from the truth," I said. "Before I was a Christian, I wasn't a public speaker."
I remember being in an English class in school where we were all required to give an impromptu, five-minute speech in front of the class on an assigned statement. Being a poor student, I hadn't read the assignment, so I stood frozen with fear in front of the class. I was not a public speaker.
But after I came to faith in Jesus Christ, I realized the best way to help people believe was through verbal communication, be it in front of a group or an individual. I realized that it is not about me or what I feel comfortable doing; it is about obeying God.
The primary way God reaches people who do not yet know Him is through verbal communication. How can people hear about Christ unless someone tells them? That someone is supposed to be you or me.
FROM THE HEART
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