Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Bema Judgment - By Jerry McDermott -
"I hope I make it to heaven." I've heard this plea many times. I believe the cause is not being familiar with the Bible and, therefore, not understanding salvation.
With the Roman Catholic belief of faith plus good works needed for salvation, that is probably the problem. I can imagine a person asking, "What kind of works should I do." or "How many works should I do?" and "If I have underachieved, how long do I have to spend in Purgatory to accomplish the forgiveness in fire?" With the advent of the non-scriptural Purgatory, it could be seen as the alternate to an incomplete spiritual life as well as an out-of-torment gift.
Why should any believer suffer when Jesus completely suffered for us according to the Father's wish? For Evangelicals, good works are the effect of being saved, not a mandate along with Faith. In addition, Evangelicals should know that the merits of Jesus on the cross forgives all our sins. However, should there be any doubt of your future, let's review scripture:
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting Life" (John 3:16, NKJV).
"These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 John 5:13a).
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1a).
"And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:28).
"The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever" (1 John 2:17, NIV)
"God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son" (1 John 5:11b).
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life" (John 3:36a).
"The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23b).
The reality of being saved is experiencing the Rapture, the next major church event. You will have a new body, meet Jesus in the clouds, and are now in heaven. You do not have any question as to whether you will make it to heaven or not. You are there!
Now it is time for the Bema Judgment of Christ (also called The Judgment Seat of Christ) which only includes believers. Too bad the translation uses "judgment" as this is solely an awards ceremony, not a trial. The main reward is the knowledge that your sins are forgiven and you will be eternally in heaven witnessing the Glory of God. Many others will not be there for eternity. There is a saying, "Everyone makes it to heaven, but not all stay there!" This is a clue about the White Throne Judgment for all nations that takes place after the Millennium, where some folks will be judged and will be Hell-bound.
You are probably still wondering about why "Bema" is used in the title. The word is from the Greek usage at games where the sports winners were on a raised platform. A modern Bema is the threefold winners' platform at the Olympic Games. The word "Bema" is perfect for the people who experienced the Rapture and are now in heaven after being with Jesus in the clouds. Bema, in a sense, always means winner, and the people standing before Jesus are all winners without sin. Some may wonder how they get there. Again, we turn to scriptures for an answer:
"For who finds me, finds life and wins favor from the Lord" (Proverbs 8:35).
"I am indeed going to prepare a place for you, and then I shall come back to take you with me that where I am, you also may be" (John 14:3). (i.e.-the Rapture)
"Also to you, Oh Lord, belongs mercy for you render to each one according to his work" (Psalm 62:12).
The Lord has rescued Raptured believers from the horrors of the coming Great Tribulation back on earth. The surviving seven-year Tribulation believers are brought into the Millennium with mortal human bodies, whereas the rest from heaven will have heavenly Raptured bodies. You, however, are first standing before Jesus in heaven as He prepares to make rewards according to your service for God's kingdom.
The major heavenly rewards are crowns as referenced in scripture:
The Crown of Glory "And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away" (1 Peter 5:4).
The Crown of Rejoicing "For what is our hope, or joy, or the crown of rejoicing? Is it not of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?" (1 Thessalonians 2:19).
The Crown of Life "Blessed is the man who endures temptation for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him" (James 1:12) and "Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10b).
The Crown of Righteousness "Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not to me only, but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8).
The Crown of Incorruptibility "Now they (i.e. athletes) do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown" (1 Corinthians 9:25).
We might guess who will receive crowns in heaven based on our favorite preachers, teachers, healers, and missionaries, and others that we watch on TV or at conferences. Regardless of those receiving crowns, the reward of everyone in heaven is to constantly behold the glory of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Suddenly we remember the outcry of Stephen, "I see an opening in the sky and the Son of Man standing at God's right hand" (Acts 7:56). The glory of Jesus will be everywhere, lighting the New Jerusalem. This is everyone's reward who loves the Lord.
There is one consideration we should mention, and it concerns those rewards or the loss of potential rewards. In this case, we are judged still sinless, but maybe not worthy of a particular prize. Paul mentions that if we sow sparingly, we will reap sparingly (2 Corinthians 9:6). Expand this thought to the extent of our work for the kingdom, or are we just saved church goers? Can you imagine being ashamed in the great multitude of Bema believers as rewards are given? The answer is to start now to increase your earthly efforts for Christ. Adopt a hunger for a personal relationship with Jesus now.
John proclaimed, "Abide in Him that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming" (1 John 2:28). What God told Moses: "Be holy for I am holy" (Leviticus 19:2b) was repeated in 1 Peter 1:16 and should still be our continuous agenda in the Church Age. However, with the increasing evidence of the End Times happening, the Church Age will be completed at the Rapture.
We will be heavenly people in our fat-free, no gravity, perfect bodies. Perhaps we will play golf on Jupiter or examine Saturn's rings. Scripture says we should concentrate on heavenly things rather than earthly delights. Well, I do not have room now for a model railroad anyways. However, I hope there is one in my heavenly mansion.
We should all check our righteousness index. If it is not perfect, we should improve it before we reign in the Millennium. Any negative feelings on whether the Jones's mansion is bigger than ours in the future Millennium will not be acceptable.
Hezbollah Readies for Next War Against Israel - By Sulome Anderson - https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/09/04/hezbollah-readies-for-new-war-against-israel-lebanon-drone-strikes/
Despite a pause in hostilities, militia fighters and experts believe the two sides could stumble into their first all-out conflict since 2006.
Hilal stretched his legs in a plastic chair on the veranda outside his house, close to a Hezbollah military base in Hermel, Lebanon. Even in late summer, the night air here has a crisp edge to it, and stars dot the sky above the rust-red hills that separate the country from neighboring Syria.
But despite his posture, Hilal, who like other Hezbollah fighters interviewed by Foreign Policy asked that his name be changed, was anything but relaxed. An ivory-handled revolver shimmered on his hip. He pointed to where the hills crest into the horizon not far from his home.
"Can you see all those mountains?" he asked. "All of this area is full of missiles. They are all under preparation. Every day, we bring in and deploy them. We have received instructions not to wait for orders [to fire]. At any minute, or any bullet, the guys will not wait."
Hilal, a missile operator, is one of several Hezbollah fighters in eastern Bekaa Valley who told Foreign Policy during a recent reporting trip that they are preparing for the possibility of the first major outbreak of war with Israel in 13 years. This follows the recent decision by a newly aggressive Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to breach an unspoken agreement not to hit Hezbollah in its home country. On Aug. 25, the day after Israel killed two Hezbollah members in a strike against targets in Syria alleged by the Israeli government to be sites where Iran-linked forces were preparing a so-called killer drone attack against the Jewish state, that red line was crossed when an Israeli drone exploded near the Hezbollah media office in Dahieh, a sprawling neighborhood in the southern suburbs of Beirut largely controlled by the group.
And on Tuesday, in a statement to media accompanied by satellite images, Israel accused Hezbollah of setting up precision missile factories in a village not far from Hilal's house.
Just after the explosion in Lebanon, Israel also reportedly killed a commander of an Iran-backed militia in Iraq. The following day, Lebanon's National News Agency reported an Israeli drone had struck a base used by a Hezbollah-allied Palestinian militia in the eastern Bekaa Valley, the second drone strike inside Lebanon in two days. These quadruple provocations seemed to signal a new calculus in Israel's long shadow war against Iran and the military forces it supports across the Middle East.
"This represents part of an escalating pattern of strikes by the Israelis against [Iranian] targets and activities both in Syria, Iraq, and obviously in Lebanon," said Seth Jones, the director of the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.
On Sunday, Hezbollah struck back, firing several antitank missiles at an Israeli military base and vehicles in northern Israel. The group claimed that several Israeli soldiers had been killed or wounded in the attack, but Israel vehemently denied any casualties and responded by shelling the area in southern Lebanon where the attack originated. Subsequent footage released by a Hezbollah-affiliated television station showed that if there had been no Israeli casualties from the strike, it was likely not due to any military prowess by Israel but "a lot of luck," as IDF officers put it in statements to Israeli media.
Despite what seems a momentary pause in the tit-for-tat attacks, the vicissitudes of fortune could also determine whether tensions escalate further. Heiko Wimmen, the project director for Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon at the International Crisis Group, a nongovernmental organization that works to prevent global conflicts, said that while one possible outcome will be a return to the status quo, any miscalculation could spark a war.
"It's this game of chicken, so if you blink you lose face," Wimmen said. "If you lose face, maybe it can be repaired, but if you blink too often, then maybe you actually do lose something. If you don't blink until the very last moment, then you are not able to avoid conflict. You don't want it, perhaps, but then at some point things can't be controlled."
This is precisely the scenario Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israel's Military Intelligence Directorate, is concerned will lead to another full-on conflict. "The next war will be devastating for both sides and that's why both sides want to avoid it," Yadlin said. "[However], even without planning for a full-scale war, we can find ourselves there."
Until now, much of Hezbollah's strength has been focused on fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, another Iran ally, in the Syrian civil war. But with that conflict winding down, Hezbollah fighters suggest they're more than ready to renew their old hostilities with the hated Israelis-even if it happens by accident.
"We are constantly in a state of war," said Hilal, putting out his cigarette. "We've been in a state of war since 2006. In that time, we have been preparing, and they are preparing as well."
In this part of Bekaa, where Hezbollah has a large presence, the distinctive yellow flags of the Iran-backed militant group and political party, known as the Party of God, line most streets, along with smiling posters of Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's much-revered leader. This region is where Hezbollah keeps much of its most sophisticated weaponry, a staggering arsenal of missiles the group has carefully and meticulously amassed in anticipation of another conflict with Israel, which borders Lebanon to the south.
Estimated to number anywhere between 40,000 to 150,000, Hezbollah's rockets and missiles are said to outmatch the weapons capabilities of most sovereign countries. They are part of the reason the group has successfully evolved from a loosely organized collective of Shiite Muslim militias that coalesced in Lebanon during the 1980s with Iran's help following one of several Israeli invasions to the single most powerful and well-armed nonstate military actor in the world. Through a combination of military might and political savvy, Hezbollah has also managed to secure a majority in Lebanon's government, where it influences much of the country's domestic policy.
But now, politics may be taking a back seat to a renewed militancy that carries worrying echoes of July 2006-the last time hostilities between the group and its enemy country flared into open conflict, which killed approximately 1,300 Lebanese and caused just under 150 Israeli deaths.
The 2006 Lebanon war is not widely viewed as having been a victory for Israel, which was essentially forced to withdraw from the south of the country in response to the success of Hezbollah's guerrilla tactics as well as thousands of missiles fired across the border by the Shiite group. Hezbollah has ceaselessly touted its victory in the years since while continuing to build up its stockpile of missiles. After the Syrian civil war began eight years ago, much of this arsenal was transported to Lebanon across Syria.
Israel, in an attempt to interfere with this buildup, has struck Hezbollah weapons convoys and military positions in Syria dozens of times in recent years, but now Netanyahu appears to be willing to escalate to neighboring Lebanon. Nasrallah vowed to retaliate against Israel for these provocations in a dramatic speech following the Dahieh strike, and he made good on that promise on Sunday, touching off the most serious exchange of fire since January 2015, when Hezbollah killed two Israeli soldiers with an antitank missile following the deaths of several of the group's leaders in an Israeli strike on Syria.
In the aftermath of Hezbollah's Sunday retaliation, Netanyahu, who also serves as Israel's defense minister, said the country will wait for Hezbollah's next move before taking further action. "We will decide on the next steps pending developments," he said in a statement.
Nasrallah responded with a speech on Monday stating that the flare-up was over, but announced a "new phase" of the conflict had begun, in which Hezbollah would allow fighters in the field to target Israeli drones flying over Lebanon. Tensions seemed to momentarily calm-until Tuesday's announcement regarding Hezbollah's alleged precision missile factories in the Bekaa signaled that more confrontations may be in store.
Netanyahu's apparent restraint following Hezbollah's rocket attack is a striking departure from Israel's series of actions over the previous week. News coverage of the drone strike in Dahieh, sourced from intelligence officials, reported that Israel was targeting a precision-guided missile manufacturing operation there, but according to six sources in Hezbollah who spoke to Foreign Policy, the Israeli drone attack was a failed assassination attempt against one or more high-level Hezbollah leaders.
In Dahieh, Ali, the leader of a Hezbollah special forces unit active in Syria, described what he knew about the strike, ignoring the hastily prepared plate of food in front of him.
"There were two purposes [with the drone attack]," Ali said. "The first was to test the waters, but [the Israelis] were trying to get someone very important in Hezbollah, I know that for a fact." He scoffed at reports that Israel's purpose with the strike had been to target a precision missile manufacturing site. "Well, we could watch Tom and Jerry and say it is a true story," he said. "We are under fire; the Israelis hit us in our home, in Dahieh. Now, we will retaliate.
"We would love to be martyrs and find God," he added with a tight, grim smile. "When we die, we believe we will be assessed by our actions, and if we were good, we will live forever. There is a difference between the Israelis waiting and fearing death, and us, who run toward it."
Several other Hezbollah sources also described the Israeli attack as a failed assassination attempt. "Why are the Israelis lying now, saying they were hitting a high-precision missile factory?" asked a local Hezbollah official at his home in a town near the Israeli border. "They tried to target a high-level meeting, and if [their target] was killed, the war would have started immediately.
But Hanin Ghaddar, a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, another Washington-based think tank, said Israel has become increasingly worried about Hezbollah's development of precision missiles over the past few years, and that concern fits with the claim of targeting such a facility in Dahieh.
"[Hezbollah] has been moving a lot of the precision missile factories to Lebanon," Ghaddar said. "Israel doesn't want to start a war with Hezbollah in Lebanon. It's something that they're also are trying to avoid ... but Hezbollah keeps moving GPS kits to Lebanon and working on these facilities, so [the Israelis] have expanded their Syria strategy to Iraq. ... In Lebanon, they only did this one attack, and it was against a truck carrying a lot of these kits and material."
According to Randa Slim, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, regardless of Israel's purpose in striking Dahieh, for Hezbollah the drone attack represented a serious breach of the rules of engagement.
"As far as Hezbollah is concerned, Israel has been getting away with too much for too long," Slim said. "At some point, they had to make a decision to respond. ... I think they feel that if they don't raise the costs for Israel for these actions, that Israel will not stop and will feel undeterred to expand even more and cause more harm to their interests." Slim added: "Until now, [Hezbollah] has been thinking always about the benefit of retaliation versus the cost of retaliation. And previously, the benefits were much lower than the cost, given all that they were engaged in, especially in Syria. But with the war in Syria winding down, I think that calculus has shifted."
U.S. policy regarding Hezbollah-which the government deems a terrorist group-might also be playing a role in this shifting calculus. Harsh sanctions against the Lebanese banking system imposed by the Trump administration have reportedly been hurting the group's finances, possibly backing it into a corner from which it is more likely to escalate the conflict. According to Hilal, the missile operator in the Bekaa Valley, a line of thinking among Hezbollah rank-and-file is that if a war breaks out, its patron Iran-despite also facing extreme sanctions-will dig a little deeper into its pockets for the group.
"When the war flares up, the situation changes for our benefit," Hilal said. "Money will come from everywhere, from all our allies."
But other Hezbollah fighters reject the idea that U.S. sanctions are affecting the group's military decisions. "The Americans think that Hezbollah is not doing so well financially, but Hezbollah is doing fine," said Hisham, the leader of a Hezbollah tank battalion, who shared combat footage from Syria with Foreign Policy before scrolling to photos of a garden at his house in the mountains, proudly showing off his hand-carved outdoor table and the fresh fruit and vegetables he grows.
"Iran will always tend to us, the same way I tend to my garden," he said, chuckling.
Jones of the Center for Strategic and International Studies believes that while U.S. sanctions have taken their toll on Hezbollah, the likelihood that they have severely limited the group's capabilities is slim. "In the short run, I don't think the sanctions have had a notable impact on [Hezbollah's] ability to operate," he said. "I think a war actually would almost certainly lead to an increase of sanctions and could hurt their position rather than anything else."
In fact, other than continuing to sanction the group, it is not quite clear where the United States would stand in the event of outright war between Israel and Hezbollah. It's certain that the United States would be concerned with the prospect of open conflict between Israel, a close ally, and Iran, which has been at the center of increasingly hostile rhetoric by the Trump administration in recent months as tensions periodically flare in the Persian Gulf.
"There is a relationship between the U.S. and Israeli military and intelligence services, so the U.S. will almost certainly provide some assistance to the Israelis, including on target sets," Jones said. But he added that both the administration and Capitol Hill will push hard to resolve any conflict. "I suspect that there's going to be growing pressure from the U.S. both on Capitol Hill and some in the White House, possibly including the president, who thus far has shown that he's not really interested in war, particularly with Iran."
U.S. President Donald Trump's aversion to a wider conflict has not gone unnoticed by Hezbollah members. At another house near the group's base in Hermel, a group of Hezbollah infantry fighters on a break sipped tea and smoked nargileh, their faces covered by masks, machine guns at their sides. One bearded fighter with intricate tattoos winding up his arm spoke very good English and did most of the talking.
"The Americans will play their role under the table," the fighter said. "Trump is an idiot. Nobody knows what he will do. America will stand behind Israel, but I don't think he will interfere in Lebanon, because Iran would intervene, and he doesn't want war with Iran."
And following Hezbollah's missile attack against the Israeli military site on Sunday and Israel's relatively subdued response to it, there is a chance this round of hostilities has now ceased, although Tuesday's announcement by Israel regarding precision-missile manufacturing operations in the Bekaa is a sign that the conflict is far from resolved. According to the local Hezbollah official in south Lebanon, he anticipates the situation settling down for the moment.
"The Hezbollah attack will be equivalent to the Israeli attack," said the official, speaking with his 5-year-old daughter perched on his lap. "Hezbollah will do a calculated strike. ... It is not to our benefit to go to war with the Israelis now, but we are preparing for the worst. There is no single soldier in Hezbollah who is not in his military position at the moment."
If there is a war, analysts say it is highly unlikely the conflict would be contained to Lebanon-given the presence of Iranian proxy groups in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen-raising the stakes even higher for everybody involved.
"If you compare this to the last conflict, this one is almost certainly likely to be more destructive and broader in scope," Jones said. "I find it hard to believe that this would be limited to Israel and Lebanon. ... This is a much more dangerous situation than I think we've ever seen along the Israeli-Lebanese border."
On their tea break in Hermel, the group of Hezbollah fighters agreed with this assessment.
"This war won't just be between Israel and Hezbollah," said the English-speaking fighter. "Lebanon and Syria will be the red zone, but there are the Houthi in Yemen, the Hashd al-Shaabi [Popular Mobilization Forces] in Iraq. This war will definitely spread, but [the Israelis] wouldn't be doing what they are doing if they didn't want a reaction. They wouldn't be droning Dahieh if they didn't want a war. They want one, and we are ready for it. ... We are used to suffering here, but we will make them suffer now."
One boyish fighter with light brown curls peeking out from under his face mask chimed in.
"[The Israelis] haven't fought a real war since 2006," he said. "We fight in Syria every day. We have training, experience. The Israelis have trained, but they have no heart for war."
China & US Advancing Drone Swarm Technology - A Harbinger Of Revelation 9? - By PNW Staff -
Have you ever seen a large flock of birds flying in unison? They look like a cloud. And the whole flock can shift left, right, up, or down - all in a split second.
Despite their quick shifts, these birds act as one. They aren't disorganized or disjointed. They fly in perfect harmony as if they have a single mind. We observe similar behavior in schools of fish, bees, locusts, gnats, and all sorts of animals.
Now, imagine one of these groups is coming to get you. That's right. Imagine a swarm of bees is coming after you. Would a shotgun do you much good? Not really. You can fire into a swarm of bees, and you might take out one or more.
But you know what? The swarm will keep coming. This is because the power of a swarm is decentralized. A single strike won't stop it.
Drone swarms are about to change the face of modern warfare and some prophecy watchers find both the technology and name of the US Naval program behind it perhaps more than coincidence. The US navy recently demonstrated its Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology (LOCUST) program by putting 30 drones flying together in perfect formation.
These drones are launched from a special tube in less than a minute to create a vicious swarm designed to overwhelm an adversary autonomously.
What makes the swarm unique is that any hostile aircraft, manned or unmanned, can be brought down by a single missile, but a swarm can take multiple hits and keep going. The drones are self-re-configuring so that if one drone gets taken out, the others autonomously change their behavior to complete the mission.
China is one of the nations leading the charge on the development of drone swarm technology. Some reports indicate that China has successfully tested a swarm of one thousand drones. And China appears to be interested in swarm capability as a method of attacking US aircraft carriers.
Several test simulations by the US Navy have shown that drone swarms are consistently able to get past ship defenses that are geared towards shooting down single planes. This weakness means it makes sense to attack an enemy ship with a large number of cheap drones rather than one missile costing the same. Ironically, the best counter to drone swarm attacks being studied is a defensive drone swarm that can intercept the offensive ones.
The aim is to have drones flying together without having to be individually controlled, maintaining separation safely like a flock of birds. They are different from any other drone in that the operator does not control an individual aircraft, but pilots the whole swarm as a single unit.
Intel has demonstrated the power of large swarms when it stole the show at last year's Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony in South Korea with a co-coordinated drone light show (see footage here), and at the same time captured a Guinness World Record for most simultaneous airborne drones: 1,218 in total.
A 2018 test of DARPA's Collaborative Operations in Denied Environments (CODE) demonstrated how a drone swarm, when communications with its human controllers were disrupted, could still find and strike targets simply by the AI following the intent of the mission plan.
With manned aircraft and ships, the pilot's life counts for a lot; but swarming drones are expendable and high "casualties" do not matter as much. This is a very different world to the dogfights that, historically, have made up modern warfare and could drastically alter the course of air warfare forever.
Experts predict that as drone swarm techniques are perfected they will expand both in number and use. The Office of Naval Research has already experimented with a swarming configuration of 13 robotic boats on Virginia's James River. The boats were able to perform a variety of tasks to protect a high-value ship from incoming craft.
Earlier this year it was reported that the EU had been working with member states to help roll out a system called ROBORDER that would employ swarms of autonomous drones to patrol air, land and sea for border violations.
Some prophecy watchers find it interesting that the Bible describes "locust" type creatures that play a significant role in end-time conflict. Revelation 9 describes them this way:
"The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were something like crowns of gold, and their faces were like faces of men. They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running to battle. They had tails like scorpions and stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men for five months. They had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek his name is Apollyon." (Revelation 9:7-11).
What on earth was the Apostle John talking about? Exactly what kind of locusts did he witness on the Isle of Patmos where he received these prophetic revelations?
The traditional interpretation is that these locusts could be evil entities and/or demonic physical or spiritual beings that will rise up out of the bottomless pit (abyss) to torment people and assume the characteristics of locusts.
Others speculate they may be some form of grotesque variation of natural locusts as we know them today (perhaps even some form of chimeras or other DNA manipulation that scientists are now moving ahead with), or did John the Apostle perhaps see some advanced military aerial machinery that he lacked the words to describe?
The revelations were given to him about 2,000 years ago when there would have been no way for him properly to describe 21st-century technological inventions that would follow many centuries later. Is it possible John was describing some type of technology in our day similar to the LOCUST program?
With China leading the way in this technology and also being a potential candidate for the "Kings Of the East" mentioned in Revelation with it's 200 million man army - it makes for a scary combination.
Until recently, the most common technological correlation was that of helicopter gunships but, as insect looking drones and swarm technology become more common, this may present an interesting possible explanation.
Either way, Revelation 9 suggests a time of immense pain and suffering that no one will want to experience, regardless of what final form it takes. Drone swarm technology should serve as a reminder of such warnings.
Learn more about China's drone swarm advances and it's direct threat to the US here:
Our Meeting in the Clouds - By Jonathan Brentner -
Clouds fascinate me more and more as I grow older, but I am not sure any correlation exists with age. Perhaps the reason for my growing interest in clouds lies elsewhere.
When cloud formations catch my eye, I often think of the time we will meet Jesus in the air in the midst of those clouds. One day during the past week, the cloud formations took me in a different direction. They brought to mind Jesus ascension.
When Jesus returned to the Father, the text simply says "he was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9). He departed from His disciples with little fanfare; Jesus simply ascended upward as the disciples watched in amazement even after a cloud hid Him from their sight.
The "two men," undoubtedly angels, then said this to Jesus' followers, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven" (Acts 1:12). Notice the angel's promise that Jesus would come again "in the same way."
What return of Jesus did the angels have in mind that would be similar to His ascension?
Could it be the Second Coming?
Many pastors today no longer believe in the rapture or they combine it with the second coming. Could the angels be referring to Jesus' return to earth as these teachers would have us believe? It seems highly unlikely to me the angels had Jesus' second coming in mind.
In Matthew 24:29-30, Jesus described His second coming this way, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, 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."
The second coming will be spectacular with signs in the heavens; and people throughout the world will not only see it, but also mourn. Jesus' ascension, however, was rather tame compared to the biblical descriptions of His second coming. Apart from a cloud hiding Jesus as He rose upward, no other signs appeared in the sky. Rather than a public display of His glory, only a few witnessed His quiet return to the Father.
In Revelation 19:11-16, John gives us another picture of Jesus' return to earth. The apostle describes Jesus as a mighty warrior riding on a white horse with "the armies of heaven arrayed in fine linen, white and pure . . . following him on white horses" (v. 14).
When Jesus returns to earth, the world will see a victorious conqueror returning to claim His inheritance. He will ride a horse across the sky with a vast array of saints behind Him, also on white horses.
These pictures of the second coming do not in any way resemble the manner of Jesus' ascension. No, I do not believe the angels could have been referring to Jesus' return to earth. It must be something else.
Is it the Rapture?
During the rapture, we ascend into the clouds to meet Jesus. Yes, there is some fanfare with the "voice of an archangel and with the sound of the trumpet of God" (1 Thess. 4:16). And yes, the world will feel the impact of the rapture with the disappearance of so many people. However, like the ascension, Jesus will be hidden from the world while we meet Him in the air, in the clouds (1 Thess. 4:17).
The rapture and ascension also resemble each other in the destination of each. In Acts 1, Jesus is returning to His Father in heaven. John 14:2-3 tells us that when Jesus comes for His followers, He will take them to His "Father's house."
Like the ascension, only those in Christ will participate in the rapture. It is an event just for His disciples, although our number has greatly increased since Acts 1.
Jesus mentions clouds in reference to His second coming in Matthew 26:64, but there He refers to His "coming on the clouds of heaven" rather than the clouds hiding Him from sight. We know from other passages that His return to earth will be visible to everyone, glorious, accompanied by great signs in the heavens, and He will be riding on a white horse (and so will we).
Between the two events, the rapture resembles the ascension much more than the second coming.
The good news for us is that when Jesus comes for us, we will be heaven-bound.
The event that we today refer to as the rapture is for those of us in Christ. Like the ascension, this event will strictly benefit those of us who know the Lord as our Savior; we will meet Him in the air and go back with Him to His Father's house so that where He is, we "may be also" (John 14:3).
The biblical differences between Jesus' return for His church and the second coming tell us they cannot be the same event as many today assume. Many significant differences exist between the two, which I detail in another post (click here).
The wickedness and violence in our world focus our attention downward. The clouds remind us that this life is not all we have. They call us to look upward and remind us of our soon meeting with Jesus in the air.
As I look out my window right now, I do not see a single cloud in the sky. They will return; they always do. I also know Jesus will keep His word and someday, hopefully soon, take us to His Father's house in heaven just as He promised.
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Daily Jot: Looking in the mirror - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Only about 18% of Millennials find Christianity relevant. Many of those under 30 who were raised in Christian households want nothing to do with organized religion, won't go to church, and say they are tired of the judgmental double standard of mainstream Christianity. A recent poll stated that Christians get enraged at immorality, policy, and the state of affairs here and abroad. Yet they demand that people hold to moral beliefs as justified by a book that they don't even read. This is part and parcel to what the Millennials are experiencing. Its why the Democratic Party feels bold enough to reject the religious. In short, it means we Christians, as a whole, need to do a better job as disciples and making disciples.
1 Corinthians 5:12 asks, "For what have I to do to judge them also that are outside? do not you judge them that are within?" In direct speak, it means that we have no business holding those who do not know the gospel accountable to our standards. That's why we are exhorted, even commanded, to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey what the Lord has commanded us. We must find ways to make Christianity relevant. It has been tainted to be identified with political ideals, when in reality, the political ideals should be identified with Christianity, foundationally centered on God's love and love for one another. It starts with our individual relationship with the Lord. To look at our families, communities, states, nations from a Christian lens, we should first start by looking in the mirror.
The Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:17-19, "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator." The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 10:13-14, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?"
Jesus said in Matthew 24:23, "Then if any man shall say unto you Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not." Our national identity and, more importantly, our personal salvation is diluted tremendously if we, as Peter put it, "scarcely be saved." If America's preachers are so intent on preaching/teaching a self indulgent, extra Biblical and emotional version of the Christ, then what Christ are we following--the real Son of God, crucified and risen, for our sins, or some humanist version of Christ that fits a social or political extra-biblical gospel? It is here, not on the national policy front, that we as a people have lost our identity. This should be a serious personal consideration that gives weight to working out your salvation with fear and trembling.
Daily Devotion: I Walk the Line - by Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.-1 Corinthians 6:12
One night Johnny Cash was so worn out from traveling that he didn't know where he'd find the strength to perform. Then he was offered a pill to help him get through. After a moment's hesitation, Cash took the pill and swallowed it. That night he gave a whale of a show, which became the first of many.
It's not unlike when Eve offered Adam the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But the results of that fateful bite reverberated throughout humanity for time immemorial. Sin entered the human race.
The pills Cash loved initially played a part in keeping him away from God because of guilt. That's because once you taste that forbidden fruit, it's hard, if not impossible, to turn back the clock.
It wasn't long before a couple of pills weren't enough for Cash. It's the nature of the beast. Over the years, he steadily increased his amphetamine use, and it nearly destroyed his career and all of his relationships.
Not long after Cash met June Carter, he told her (despite being married already), "Someday I'm going to marry you."
Less than a year after Cash recorded "I Walk the Line" as a ringing anthem of faithfulness to his wife, it became just another song.
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. (1 Corinthians 6:12 NKJV)
Have you struggled with addiction of any type? How has it impacted your life?
Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love. For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress? (Proverbs 5:15-20 NKJV)
If you are married, what kinds of safeguards can you put in place to remain faithful to your spouse and enjoy security in your marriage?
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV)
Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me. (Psalm 50:15 NKJV)
How can we avoid sinning when we are tempted?
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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