Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
There Is No Seven Year Tribulation! - A Bible Study by Jack Kelley - https://gracethrufaith.com/end-times-prophecy/there-is-no-seven-year-tribulation/
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 NKJV)
"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 NKJV)
Every now and then I get a question from someone who says even though the pre-trib position seems to make sense scripturally, they can't accept it because Jesus said we would have tribulation in this world, and that must mean the church will go through at least the first part of the Tribulation. When they say this they're thinking of the first 3 Â½ years.
Let's get this straight. There is no mention anywhere in the Bible of a seven-year tribulation. According to Strong's Concordance the Greek word translated tribulation in these two passages appears 45 times in the New Testament and tribulation is the English word of choice in 21 of them, including the two above. It comes from a root meaning "to press" as grapes are pressed. When used metaphorically it can mean oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, hardship, or trouble. But while tribulation is the word that appears in both these verses, their intent is completely different.
What Does That Mean?
In John 16:33 Jesus said, in effect, that becoming a believer doesn't mean your troubles are over. Troubles are characteristic of this world and as long as you're in it you'll have them. But He has overcome this world and through faith in Him you will over come it too.
He was referring to the fact that because of our faith we can have peace even in times of trouble (Phil 4:4-7). First because we know he's working everything in our lives together for our good (Romans 8:28) and second because one day this will all be over and we'll live in a state of eternal peace and happiness with Him. Therefore we should focus on that world not this one (2 Cor. 4:16-18). When you read the passage in context you can see that John 16:33 is meant for the entire Church Age and addresses individuals and our individual lives.
A Different Matter
But Matt. 24:21 is a different matter altogether. First of all it applies to a specific period of time, commencing on the heels of the abomination of desolation (Matt. 24:15) and ending just before the 2nd Coming (Matt. 24:29). And Jesus prefaced the word tribulation with "great" saying nothing like it has ever happened in the history of the world, or ever will happen again. From other references we know the Great Tribulation will last for 3 Â½ years and will be far more severe than anyone can imagine. So much so that if the Lord doesn't return to put an end to it, not a single human will survive (Matt. 24:22)
So as far as the Bible is concerned, there are two kinds of tribulation. The first is the general condition of our fallen creation. Hardship, illness, persecution and other kinds of unfair treatment, and a general state of uncertainty characterize our world. These are facts of human life that to a greater or lesser extent have impacted all human beings throughout the Age of Man. This is the tribulation Jesus spoke of in John 16:33. Of the 21 times the word tribulation appears in the New Testament (KJV) 16 of them are in this context.
Then, there's the Great Tribulation. Three and one half years of extreme judgments that will fall upon just one generation, the one alive just before the second coming. This is the focus of Matt. 24:21 and just four other verses (Matt. 24:29, Mark 13:24, Rev. 2:22, Rev. 7:14) . You can see that the conditions of the two kinds of tribulation are very different. Whenever the word tribulation appears it's referring to one of these two kinds and you know which one the Bible has in view by looking at context in which the word is being used. But you'll never see it used to describe the seven years just prior to the 2nd Coming.
Where Did That Come From?
So how did the idea of a seven-year tribulation originate? Well if it didn't come from God, it had to have come from man. In researching this, I was not able to discover who first taught this, but I believe it started in the days when even the most learned scholars didn't realize that Israel would be reborn. Neither did they understand that the Age of Grace didn't follow the Age of Law but rather interrupted it seven years short of its completion. So calling the last seven years by their Old Testament name, Daniel's 70th Week, didn't make sense because doing so implied that Israel would come back from the dead and play a part in the End Times. This is something most scholars believed would not happen.
Even so there were seven years that had to be accounted for. The last three and a half were easy, Jesus had already named them the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21). That just left the first three and a half. These have been variously called the beginning of sorrows or the false peace or the tribulation period, but eventually scholars incorrectly began calling the entire seven-year period the tribulation with the last half being the Great Tribulation. Since the rapture takes place before the seven years begin, it has also been incorrectly named. Instead of being pre-trib, it's really pre 70th Week.
So What's The Problem?
Other questions I've received concern the effect of this incorrect interpretation. "Why does it matter?" they ask. It matters because it isn't Biblical. And what's more it's confusing, as questions I get on the End Times demonstrate. Many people don't distinguish between the two uses of the word tribulation and incorrectly use John 16:33 and similar passages to deny the pre-trib rapture.
For example, Acts 14:21-22 (KJV) is another passage sometimes used to question the pre-trib rapture.
And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Paul and Barnabas were encouraging new gentile converts to keep the faith in spite of the hardship and persecution they were facing, in effect saying it was something that should be expected as a result of their profession of faith. Reading about the current plight of Christians in places like India, Indonesia and China shows us these things are still going on in the world. Even in America we're becoming used to seeing the government do two things our constitution forbids. Persecution of Christians and promotion of other religions. But like it was in Paul's day this has nothing to do with the Great Tribulation, and everything to do with religious persecution.
Also, referring to Daniel's 70th Week (which concerns Israel) as the tribulation (which is world wide) hides the fact that Israel and the Church can't co-exist during that time. Because of this, many Christians don't realize that during Daniel's 70th Week God's focus will be on Israel, with its Old Covenant Temple, animal sacrifice, keeping the commandments and all things Jewish. How can the dispensation of Law and the Dispensation of Grace exist in the same place at the same time when the two are theologically incompatible? Truth be told this is perhaps the most compelling reason for a pre 70th Week rapture.
After We're Gone
In Romans 11:25-27 Paul said that Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in, but after that Israel will be saved. The Greek word for hardening also means blinded. This is a clear indication that God's unfinished business with Israel won't be concluded until he's finished with the Church. We know He won't be finished with us until the rapture. Until then Israel will remain at least partly blinded to the truth, just as Jesus warned would happen in Luke 19:41-44.
This sentiment was echoed at the Council of Jerusalem when James disclosed that God would first take from the Gentiles a people for Himself (the Church) and after that would turn again to Israel (Acts 15:13-18). In Greek the phrase translated take from literally means "to take in order to carry away from" and is another reference to the rapture.
These two passages of Scripture are not widely used in defense of the pre-trib rapture because they speak to the theology behind the Church's disappearance rather than the event itself. But they're extremely helpful in putting the missing week of Daniel 9:24-27 in its proper perspective. It's the remaining 7 years of God's assignment for Israel to complete 6 tasks in preparation for the coming Kingdom, as outlined in Daniel 9:24,
"Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy (place)."
The phrase seventy sevens means seventy weeks of years, or 490 years. Some of these tasks were at least partially completed in the 483rd year at the time of the Crucifixion. But Israel's rejection of the Messiah stopped the clock 7 years short of the total leaving the rest undone. These 7 years are yet to be completed, but as Paul and James both specified, the clock will not start running again until the Church disappears. This is what makes knowing all about Daniel's 70th Week so important to the Church. It helps us understand why the rapture can't happen during any part of it.
The Bible is not a book of generalities, it's a book of specifics. Those last 7 years are missing and must be completed. When you read the Bible literally, as was intended, there's no sense in which they can be placed in the past. They're part of the future and they're not called the tribulation, they're called Daniel's 70th Week.
IDF drill and new Hezbollah tactics at Deir ez-Zour - http://www.debka.com/article/26213/IDF-drill-and-new-Hizballah-tactics-at-Deir-ez-Zour
By Wednesday, Sept. 6, day three of the big IDF exercise for war with Hezbollah - after the Syrian army and two Hezbollah brigades, with massive Russian air and missile support, had broken the three-year ISIS siege of Deir ez-Zour - it was evident that Hezbollah was fighting a different war from the scenario tens of thousands of Israeli troops were practicing in the north.
debkafile's military sources have no doubt that without this Russian support, the Syrians and Hezbollah would have found it much harder to knock down ISIS defenses, before advancing into the long-beleaguered eastern town, free the wretched population and reunite with the force holding out in the trapped Syrian airbase.
Russian jets were there to hit any ISIS fighters emerging to refortify damaged lines and rebuild military positions and prevent manpower moving between points. The defense ministry in Moscow confirmed that a Russian warship in the Mediterranean had fired Kalibr cruise missiles to destroy an ISIS communications and command center, ammo depots and an armored vehicle repair shop. The ISIS occupiers of Deir ez-Zour had no air defense missiles for hampering Russian air strikes.
This Deir ez-Zour operation counts nonetheless as a major victory for the Syrian ruler, Bashar Assad, and his army, although there is still more fighting ahead in the east, as the defeated ISIS withdraws eastward towards another of its strongholds, the Syrian-Iraqi border town of Abu Kamal.
Hezbollah certainly shares in this victory against ISIS in ten days of fighting.
It is not its first. Last week, the clash of arms against ISIS and other Islamist groups in the Qalamoun Mountains on the Syrian-Lebanese border ended in their virtual surrender and withdrawal.
Notwithstanding vehement denials, there was coordination between the Syrian, Lebanese and Hezbollah forces battling ISIS enclaves on both sides of that border, with US and British special forces also taking part. It was this virtual coalition which tipped the balance and led to the operation's successful conclusion.
We are therefore seeing Hezbollah emerging as an army, which has gained valuable combat experience in five years of fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Syrian army and foreign Shiite militias. This experience was enhanced in recent weeks by close military conjunction with two world powers, Russia and the United States.
The IDF drill which has another seven days to go is geared to fighting a war triggered by a Hezbollah invasion of northern Israel from Lebanon. Is that scenario still realistic in the light of that experience and the latest events on two Syrian battles?
Most unlikely, say our military sources. They note that, building on its gains and experience in the Syrian war arena, Hezbollah may well choose a quite different tactic, e.g, an attempt to draw Israeli forces into Lebanon and then Syria by opening a second front against the IDF from there. In Syria, Hezbollah can count on the support of the Syrian army and pro-Iranian Shiite militias - an alliance which has proved itself in Syria - whereas an invasion of northern Israel would find Hezbollah fighting alone and surrounded by Israeli forces.
In the remaining seven days of the exercise, the IDF still has a chance to update its scenario.
Iranians at the gates - By Avi Issacharoff -
With Russia happy to see Assad bolstered and the US uninterested, Tehran is free to pump cash, troops and missiles into areas bordering Israel, which Jerusalem will not abide
Unless something changes, Israel is sprinting headlong into another violent confrontation along its northern border, this time against either Iranian troops or Iranian backed fighters with missiles made to order from Tehran.
Unless something changes, Israel is sprinting headlong into another violent confrontation along its northern border, this time against either Iranian troops or Iranian backed fighters with missiles made to order from Tehran.
At the same time, massive numbers of Hezbollah troops loyal to Iran have entrenched themselves in southern Lebanon, whether in visible lookout points or "environmental protection" posts, according to Israeli military officials.
Israel won't abide by this. The presence of Shi'ite forces on the border, be they Hezbollah or other Iran-backed militias, together with Iran's efforts to bring in game-changing weapons, signal that the era of calm that Israel has enjoyed since the summer of 2006 is coming to an end.
On Saturday, Iran's new defense minister said the country was prioritizing boosting the country's missile program and export weapons to shore up neighboring allies.
"Wherever a country becomes weak, others become encouraged to raid it... Wherever necessary, we will export weapons to increase the security of the region and countries, to prevent wars," General Amir Hatami said, without naming the countries.
Jerusalem has warned against Iranian efforts to set up missile production facilities in Lebanon, with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman telling United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a meeting in Israel last week that Iran is "working to set up factories to manufacture accurate weapons within Lebanon itself."
Liberman did not explicitly threaten to attack the Iranian missile factories in Lebanon, but he said that "the Lebanese government and the citizens of southern Lebanon should know" that Israel will be forceful in future conflicts.
The presence of at least two Iranian missile manufacturing facilities was revealed by Israel earlier this summer. On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Guterres that Iran was also involved in the construction of another missile base in Syria.
Yet no need to enter the bomb shelter yet. Despite media reports, by all accounts, Iran has not yet begun production at its missile plants - which will purportedly produce rockets that have a greater accuracy than Hezbollah's current arsenal. However, it won't be long. Contracts between Syria and Lebanon on one side and Iran on the other to establish the factories are nearly complete, as is a deal for Iran to build a seaport in Syria, giving it access to the Mediterranean.
The Russian model
Israeli officials say that Iran is trying to adopt the model Russia used in getting permission to put a seaport in Tartus, which was reached with the approval of both houses of parliament and is acceptable in any international court.
These contracts can be cancelled only with the agreement of both parties, not just one. The Iranians want to make sure that they, too, will have their Syrian seaport, which is why they are taking such meticulous care regarding the legalities.
Iran's investment is more than just a seaport and a rocket-production plant. Tehran has also been pumping money and resources into various economic projects such as a cellular network and quarries.
Assad, knowing that this is the only way to ensure the survival of his Alawite dynasty, has given the set-up his blessing.
For now, the Iranian presence in Syria is actually limited officially to Revolutionary Guard advisers. But it cuts a wider swath once taking into account all the thousands of Shiites in Tehran's pay who are deployed throughout Syria.
Hezbollah, the militia most loyal to Iran, has already placed one-third of its available combat troops in Syria on a permanent basis, and despite the severe losses that it has suffered there, it seems to have no plans to leave the country anytime soon.
In Lebanon, where the money is in the hands of large and well-known Sunni and Christian businessmen and families, the Iranians are less interested in investing in infrastructure and wish only to build a plant to produce precise rockets.
America the silent
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, whose government includes Hezbollah despite the fact that he blamed Syria for the assassination of his father, Rafik Hariri on February 14, 2005, is too weak to confront Hezbollah and its supporters.
Tehran is investing enormous resources in order to transform Syria into an Iranian province, while the United States and Russia have decided to disregard this region-altering drama.
The Russians are really the only ones who can make a difference. But they have no intention of doing so. The opposite is true: For them, the presence of thousands of Shi'ites will shore up Assad's regime.
Last month's meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi is not expected to change that calculus. Russia wants to see Assad bolstered, even if it means allowing Tehran to do the bolstering.
Washington, together with Netanyahu's close ally, President Donald Trump, could have put pressure on Russia. But Trump, who is busy with his own affairs, has chosen to ignore what is happening in Syria - a dangerous thing to do.
On Thursday, the Asharq al-Awsat daily reported that the US conceded to Russia on several issues during talks in Amman over a cease-fire in southern Syria and the Golan Heights.
First, the Americans agreed that Russian inspectors would keep track of the implementation of the cease-fire, in essence letting the cat guard the cream and be the "judges" in conflicts between the pro-Assad/Iran forces and their opponents.
Second, the Americans agreed that Shiite (pro-Iranian) militias would have to stay 10 miles from the border with the Israeli Golan and Jordan, and not the 20 miles buffer Washington and Amman had initially sought.
According to the report, the buffer zone in some places will be only five miles.
If the report is true, once can't help but feel that the Trump administration has turned its back on Israel's security.
But it's not only Trump who should be blamed. Iran's massive investments are likely an outgrowth of increased financial stability thanks to the Iran nuclear deal, reached under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama.
The Iranian army's budget is now $23 billion and the Revolutionary Guards have seen an approximately 40 percent bump in their budget compared to last year.
Without sanctions relief, could Tehran have even dreamed of building a new Persian Empire, stretching from Yemen to Lebanon, via Iraq and Syria?
The North Korean Threat: Rationality, Intentionality, and Nuclear War - By Prof. Louis RenÃ© Beres -
To deal with the growing nuclear threat from North Korea, US policy will need to be drawn from theoretical decision models. Four such models should be constructed along the axes of rationality and intentionality. With these models in hand, President Trump and his senior strategists would be better prepared to assess and counter the threats posed by Kim Jong-un to the US and its allies. In the latter regard, the North Korean leader maintains ties to some of Israel's core enemies in the Middle East, including Syria, Hezbollah, and Iran.
To best prepare for any impending nuclear crisis with North Korea, the US must approach the problem in a systematic and intellectually disciplined manner. This means factoring into any assessment (a) the expected rationality or irrationality of principal decision-makers in Pyongyang and Washington; and (b) the intentional or unintentional intra-war behaviors of those same decision-makers.
If a distinction is made regarding the rationality and intentionality variables, four logically possible and analytically useful scenarios will result. These scenarios should be considered by Trump's senior military planners and strategists. All four can subsequently be nuanced by the introduction of additional factors.
The four scenarios are as follows:
Both Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are fully rational (i.e., each values national survival more highly than any other preference or combination of preferences). Any nuclear exchange between them would be the result of deliberate decisions by one or both of them.
Both Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are fully rational, and any nuclear exchange between them would be the result of unintended decisions made by one or both of them.
Either Donald Trump or Kim Jong-un is irrational, or both are. Any nuclear exchange between them would be the result of deliberate decisions by one or both of them.
Either Donald Trump or Kim Jong-un is irrational, or both are. Any nuclear exchange between them would be the result of unintended decisions made by one or both of them.
Such comprehensive policy models can help guide President Trump and his counselors beyond otherwise vague or "seat-of-the-pants" appraisals of North Korean nuclear conflict possibilities.
The complex security issues facing the US should never be dealt with as mere matters of bombast (e.g., non-specific threats of "fire and fury") or "common sense." At the same time, although the proposed pattern of more systematic inquiry suggests a promising American approach to any North Korean nuclear crisis, nothing strictly scientific can ever be said about the probabilities of war.
The reason is simple. Science-based probabilities must always be drawn from the frequency of past events. Here, clearly, there are no pertinent past events. Any nuclear crisis between these asymmetrical enemy states would be unprecedented. It follows that President Trump and his advisors ought never to become too confident about either their own expectations of the likely outcome of any North Korean crisis or their own expertise. No one at the Pentagon or the White House is an expert on nuclear war.
Furthermore, the evident nuclear superiority of the US over North Korea suggests little of consequence about America's overall capacity to protect its national security in the event of a clash. North Korea, inferior though its capacities may be, can nevertheless lay waste to vulnerable US allies in northeast Asia, to US military forces in the region, and perhaps even to American cities.
US strategic analysts must identify a core distinction between intentional or deliberate nuclear war and unintentional or inadvertent nuclear war. The derivative risks ensuing from these two very different types of conflict are apt to vary considerably. Analysts who remain too focused on a deliberate nuclear war scenario could vastly underestimate the cumulative nuclear threat North Korea can pose to the US and its allies.
Much of the nuclear threat could result from miscalculation or inadvertence, whether by Pyongyang, by Washington, or by both.
American strategists who remain too focused on comparative nuclear weaponry, alternatively, could overlook other hazards. For example, one often hears the allegedly "common sense" argument that Kim Jong-un would never consider striking first because he appreciates that any such aggression would elicit an immediate and overwhelming US nuclear reprisal. This argument only makes sense if it is first assumed that Kim is rational.
Pyongyang's growing nuclear threat will depend significantly on the rationality or irrationality of both the North Korean leader and President Trump. Whether we like it or not, this issue must be considered as two-sided in any American assessment of US nuclear posture. Furthermore, in any such inquiry, scientific assessments must take account not only of conspicuous and inconspicuous facts, but also of almost every imaginable synergy between Trump and Kim Jong-un.
There is one more conceptual distinction that should be included in the American analytic mix: inadvertent versus accidental nuclear war. By definition, any accidental nuclear war would have to be inadvertent. Conversely, however, inadvertent nuclear war need not necessarily be accidental. False warnings, for example, which could be generated by mechanical, electrical, or computer malfunction or sparked by adversarial or third-party hacking, would not fit on the list of causes of unintentional or inadvertent nuclear war. Instead, they would represent narratives of accidental nuclear war.
Most critical among causes of inadvertent nuclear war are errors in calculation by one or both sides. The most blatant example, perhaps, would be misjudgments of either enemy intent or enemy capacity that might emerge as the crisis escalates. Such misjudgments would likely stem from the understandable desire of each party to achieve "escalation dominance."
Still other causes of inadvertent nuclear war with North Korea could include flawed interpretations of computer-generated attack warnings; an unequal willingness to risk catastrophic war; an overconfidence in deterrence and/or defense capabilities on either or both sides; an adversarial regime change, including outright revolution or a coup d'Ã©tat in Pyongyang; and poorly conceived pre-delegations of nuclear launch authority.
Pre-delegations of launch authority are made to ensure that any threats of nuclear reprisal can actually be executed. In part, such pre-delegations are designed to enhance a country's nuclear deterrence posture - but this works only to the extent that they are sufficiently apparent and recognizable.
Problems of overconfidence could be exacerbated by "successful" tests of a missile interception system by either side (notably THAAD, on the US side) that overstate operational efficiencies. They could also be encouraged by too-optimistic assessments of alliance guarantees. An example would be the intra-crisis judgment by Pyongyang that Beijing stands firmly behind its every move vis-Ã -vis the US. It is reciprocally conceivable that Washington's decisions could be affected by its own perceptions of the Chinese commitment to North Korea.
For a start, American analysts need to pinpoint and conceptualize all vital similarities and differences between deliberate nuclear war, inadvertent nuclear war, and accidental nuclear war. As explained above, there will need to be related judgments concerning expectations of rationality and irrationality within each affected country's core decision-making structure.
Correspondingly, a potential source of inadvertent nuclear war could be a backfiring strategy of "feigned irrationality." A rational Kim Jong-un who has managed to convince his American counterparts of his own irrationality could spark an otherwise avoidable US military preemption. Conversely, a North Korean leadership that begins to take seriously President Trump's self-aggrandizing unpredictability could be frightened into striking first.
Nearing Midnight: Prelude to Planetary Madness - Terry James - http://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
News reports forewarn a nation descending toward chaos. Forces have obviously been set in motion that threaten to tear America apart. This instigation is purposeful, I have no doubt, and is spawned by Satan.
Saul Alinsky's blueprint to bring about chaos so the one-world-order builders' perfect, utopian plan can eventually rise from the ashes of this republic is well underway. George Soros and all the other globalists elite have little trouble finding minions of the human source to carry out the carnage. Lucifer's demonic minions throw fuel of hatred on the fires of anarchy, and we see the incendiary results in our hourly headlines.
A 1979 Hollywood production, remade in 1980, 1985, and 2015, I believe, gives a fictionalized look at the real world to come when God the Holy Spirit removes from acting as restrainer on the already half-crazed minds of earth dwellers.
Mad Max is the disturbing foreshadowing of things to come when the Body of Christ-the Church-is removed in the Rapture.
Although made in Australia, the movie was Americanized in that the Aussie accents were dubbed over in the American-English accent in order to give the sense of the carnage taking place in the U.S. The storyline, set in the near future, portrayed a world gone mad with evil. The dystopian film presented in graphic terms people's unrestrained actions against their fellow human beings.
Of course, the creators of the film had no idea that Bible prophecy presents just such a scenario-at least, I don't think that entered their thinking.
We find the real story of things to come in this regard in the following Scripture.
And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now [restrains] will [restrain], until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. (2 Thessalonians 6-8)
When God the Holy Spirit withdraws from restraining wickedness perpetrated by fallen mankind, the world will become instantly worse than the fictional world of Mad Max. The present hostilities and chaos being churned by the would-be masters-both human and demonic-will swiftly result in destructiveness beyond description. We are indeed currently enduring a prelude to planetary madness.
But the Creator has not left us in a state of hopelessness despite the rioting and insanity going on in our nation and world. The Lord has provided a way to escape the carnage so vividly described in Revelation by John the apostle while exiled on Patmos two thousand years ago.
I wrote the following for our book, The Departure: God's Next Catastrophic Intervention Into Earth's History:
First, the Departure
Before God's wrath falls, in the twinkling of an eye (an atomos of time), millions of Christians-those born again by believing in the shed blood of Christ on the cross two millennia ago for salvation-will vanish from the earth's surface. The departure-the Rapture-will bring planet-rending disturbances to an already reeling world of nonbelievers.
God has been patient in allowing the world to see the Tribulation storm alerts. He has shown mercy and grace, as there is no prophecy given that must be fulfilled in order for the Rapture to happen. The departure can take place at any moment.
Getting out the warnings is the duty of spiritual meteorologists. This is a commission each author in The Departure: God's Next Catastrophic Intervention into Earth's History takes most seriously. We prayerfully hope many, upon reading the book, will take to heart the call of the only Lord and God of all Creation, who prompted the apostle Peter to write: "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
This is the only way to be saved from the sin that separates the sinner from the Heavenly Father. This is the only way to be secure from the approaching Tribulation storm.
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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10: 9-10)
We join with the prophet John, who wrote, "He which testifieth these things saith, 'Surely I come quickly.' Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).
Don't Have Time - By Grant Phillips -
A few weeks or so ago I was on the Internet and happened to read a question a believer sent to a fairly well-known Bible teacher. In the questioner's next to last sentence he stated, "Imagine the confusion we laypeople go through. We don't have time to become famous Bible expositors." The "We don't have time" has been ringing in my ears since then.
On numerous occasions in various articles I've written, I have tried to help other Christians realize that they do have time for their own personal Bible study. Once I even broke it down in specific hours of the day, trying to show that we actually waste a lot of time each day. Bear with me while I delve into this subject matter once more.
Does Christ expect all of His followers to become "famous?"
Peter, James and John are certainly more "famous" than say Bartholomew, Thaddeus and Simon, but were they any less important? For that matter, Judas is really "famous," but who would want to be in his shoes?
Each of the original disciples of Jesus was expected to know and grow within his own God-given spiritual abilities; i.e. gifts. (See 1 Corinthians 12.) Each of these disciples was expected to fulfill his ministry assigned to him by Jesus, but that could not be accomplished if he didn't know what Jesus taught. We can't share what we don't have. We can't build if there is no foundation.
Since the days of Jesus' original disciples to the 21st century, there have been hundreds of very well-known names that followed Jesus and have become "famous." However, millions over that span of years have also been faithful and no one but God knows their names.
In today's world there are certainly many famous men and women who seem to be well-versed in God's Word and teach the Bible. The problem however is; some of those are teaching the Truth, but many of those are teaching a lie, which can only come from Satan. How are we going to know, from all the "famous" Bible teachers, who is speaking the Truth and who is not teaching the Truth, if we ourselves are not students of the Bible under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit?
Being "famous" means nothing.
Does Christ expect all of His followers to be "Bible expositors?"
When we see the words, "Bible expositor," perhaps we're thinking of one who has spent years in the seminary. If we are able to attain that kind of training, especially in the Greek and Hebrew languages for example, that would be wonderful. However, only a small portion of Christians are academically trained in the study of God's Word. Unfortunately, many of those have been educated by false teachers.
One definition of a Bible expositor is, "One who makes an attempt to express the meaning and purpose of a given writing or text to convey information and explain that which is difficult to understand, in this case, the Bible." In other words, "One who explains the Truth of God's Word to another."
So the short answer to the above question is, "Yes." God expects us to learn and grow in His Word, being always ready to give an answer to those who seek Him.
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ." (1 Peter 3:15-16)
Also read Acts 8:29-40.
Does Christ expect all of His followers to study His Word?
The obvious Scripture that comes to mind is, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)
Also, consider what King David had to say, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119:11, 105)
To grow in the Christian life and face life's challenges, we absolutely must be a student of the Word. But let us not just be a student for knowledge sake, but reach for it as a drowning man would a life raft, drink it as one dying of thirst, and eat it as one who is emaciated.
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." (Matthew 5:6)
I don't have time?
"And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19)
"But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead." (Matthew 8:22)
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Matthew 16:24)
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10:27-28)
"If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour." (John 12:26)
"This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me." (John 21:19)
Over and over Christ said, "Follow me." To follow Him obviously means we must listen to Him, so how does He speak to us? He speaks to us through the Bible. The Bible is His Word and He is the Word of God. The Bible is God speaking to us.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)
How can we say, "We don't have time" when we waste so much time in our lives? When we say that, aren't we actually saying, "I have no time for God?" Of course we are. Surely we don't mean that. Perhaps we should take a closer look at how we spend our time, and re-evaluate that statement.
How can we recognize the fact of our salvation in Christ and have no interest in reading what He says? How can we sing, "Oh How I Love Jesus" when we don't even care about what He says? If we receive a letter from our loved one, don't we love them enough to read it? Of course we do! We'll eagerly rip the envelope open to read what they have to say. The Bible is Christ's letter written to us. Shouldn't He be loved even more than our loved ones on earth?
"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26)
Now obviously Jesus is not saying that we are to hate our loved ones on earth, but He is saying that He should be our priority. Is He?
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html
Daily Jot: Ending the dream - Bill Wilson -
President Donald Trump put an end to the illegal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. What you likely will not hear in the news media, the protests and all the back and forth about this policy is that it was Constitutionally illegal. In his effort to remake America, the immediate past "president" created the policy in 2012 to allow the illegal immigration of children into the US and ran into legal issues by attempting to expand it in 2014. About 800,000 illegal aliens aged 15-36, the majority of them adults, are impacted by this unilaterally invoked policy that had no legal basis. Now, the leftists are going crazy that Trump might expel these "children" from the United States.
The White House statement said, "DACA was not statutorily authorized and was therefore an unconstitutional exercise of discretion by the executive branch...The Trump Administration is taking responsible action to wind down DACA in an orderly and minimally disruptive manner....DHS's enforcement priorities remain in place. However, absent a law enforcement interest-which is largely the standard that has been in place since the inception of the program-the Department will generally not take actions to remove active DACA recipients." The Trump Administration is allowing a six-month window for Congress to act with responsible legislation.
Trump was lambasted by the previous "president" in a statement saying he asked Congress to act, but..."That bill never came...my administration acted to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people, so that they could continue to contribute to our communities and our country... This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we'd want our kids to be treated." The previous "president" broke the law by allowing these kids AND their parents to stay in the country illegally. When Congress didn't do what this "president" wanted, he chose to make his own law. Now there are consequences and to many they seem to be inhumane and unfair.
The previous "president" had a dream to remake America into a socialist nation. To achieve his dream, he was willing to break the law. The immigration laws of this nation are similar to those in the Bible. Leviticus 24:22 says, "You shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country." There is a path to legal citizenship and also to work here legally. If the first act of entering a country is to break the law, then no law is truly respected. The willful act of ignoring the law by the previous "president" has brought harm to those he was trying to protect, and to many Americans who were victims of the crime that was created as a result. Now another President gets the heat for ending the dream by enforcing the law.
Daily Devotion: A Sacrifice of Praise - By Greg Laurie -
"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!" -Philippians 4:4
Sometimes the last thing we want to do is to give thanks. It's one thing to give thanks when the bills are paid and our health is good and the future is bright. But when there is a sudden, even tragic, turn in our lives, it isn't as easy to give thanks.
The Bible tells us, however, "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever" (Psalm 106:1). Sometimes we feel good. And sometimes we're not feeling so good at all. Yet we are to give thanks to the Lord.
Think of Job who, in one day, basically lost everything. Anything that could have gone wrong went wrong. Yet he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21).
We need to have what we might describe as a theology of thanksgiving. We need to understand that thanks should be offered to God regardless of our circumstances. Sometimes our praise will come easily, and other times, quite frankly, it will be a sacrifice.
For Job to offer praise to God in a moment like that was a sacrifice of praise. Hebrews 13:15 says, "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name." That means we are to verbalize our praise.
We were created to give glory to God. The highest use of our vocal chords, of our lips, of our mouths, of the formation of our words is to give honor and glory to God. God wants to hear us give Him praise. We need to give God what He deserves, and that is glory.
FROM THE HEART
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