Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Prophecy Puzzle: Putting The Pieces Together - By Todd Hampson/ToddHampson.com -
Everyone recognizes that world conditions are disintegrating at an unprecedented rate, but many don't see these conditions as signs of the end-times. And I understand why.
For the most part people don't have a blueprint or a clear picture of what the world will look like. The thousands of prophecies are scattered all over Scripture so it is difficult to piece it all together and get a clear picture unless you take the necessary time to study them.
That is the purpose of this post. Think of this post as the box top of a 1000 piece puzzle. Without the box top, the puzzle pieces seem completely random and disconnected. But with the box top we have a clear picture of what we are supposed to be piecing together.
I could easily get caught in the weeds because prophecy related details are developing at an unprecedented rate, but I want to keep this post as simple as I can. With that in mind, I've tried to share the most compelling broad strokes of last days Bible prophecy as I paint this picture.
So, here is a description of the prophetic last days box top. The context or specific time frame mentioned for these prophecies all relate to the end of the age.
Also, keep in mind that the youngest prophecies cited below are just under 2000 years old, and the oldest are approximately 2600 years old. I cited at least one Scripture reference for each point, but I could have cited several for each.
In other words, these are primarily well-founded prophecies--not obscure details.
For example, every one of the prophets except Jonah prophesied that Israel would become a nation again after being scattered all over the earth, but I only use a few verses to make that point below.
Here is my attempt at demonstrating the box top picture:
END TIME PROPHECIES ABOUT: ISRAEL
Jerusalem and it's temple will be destroyed and the Temple Mount laid bare (Matthew 24:1-2). Fulfilled.
The Jewish people will be scattered all over the world for a long period of time and will face hardships and persecution everywhere they go (Deuteronomy 4:27, 28:64; Ezekiel 36:24). Fulfilled.
While they are away from their homeland it will lie desolate--a *wasteland, but once they are back it will spring to life (Ezekiel 36:34-35). Fulfilled.
It would also be controlled by Gentile nations during Israel's dispersion (Luke 21:24). Fulfilled.
After a long time their nation Israel will be reborn as a unified nation (Ezekiel 37:15-22) called Israel in a single day--springing to life from death (Isaiah 66:8) at a time when they have lost all hope (Ezekiel 37:11-12). Fulfilled.
First they will come to life as a nation (Ezekiel 37). The ancient Hebrew language would be revived again (Zephaniah 3:9, Jeremiah 31:23). Fulfilled.
A remnant will accept Jesus as their Messiah, but most from the nation will be blind (Romans 11:25) to the fact that their Messiah already came before the destruction of the temple as predicted in Daniel chapter 9. Fulfilled.
Soon after the nations rebirth Israel would face hostility from all around, being greatly out numbered and attacked from all sides by Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon, but will miraculously survive as overwhelming victors (Psalm 83, some also believe this may be a partial fulfillment with another war to come). Fulfilled.
They will regain their capital city of Jerusalem and develop a very strong military (Zechariah 12:1-6). Fulfilled.
In the latter days toward the very end of the era, they will quickly become very wealthy--so wealthy that several large powerful nations will want what she has (Ezekiel 38:10-12). Happening Now.
Curiously, this war will not involve Israel's previous border enemies, but will involve an outer ring of nations (Ezekiel 38:1-5). Happening Now.
Russia will be the main leader and protector of Iran and Turkey (Ezekiel 38:7) and together these three nations will lead an alliance of countries including Sudan and Libya that will come against Israel from the north in Syria. Stage is set, espeically with growing Iranian prescence in the region.
The timing of this attack may be triggered by a preemptive strike on Damascus by Israel or one of her allies (Isaiah 17:1, 14). Stage is set.
Additionally, there will be a great increase in worldwide antisemitism and anti-Israel positions and actions (Zechariah 12:1-9). Happening Now.
In fact the only nations that will protest the attack on Israel are Saudi Arabia, England, and areas that came out of England such as America, Canada & Australia (Ezekiel 38:13). Stage is set. (Note: for the first time ever Israel and former enemy Saudi Arabia are working together.)
The nations of the world will be obsessed with the tiny nation of Israel--wanting to move her borders and condemn her at every turn (Zechariah 12:3). Fulfilled and continuing. Stage is set.
After Israel's rebirth, there will also be an increasing desire, preparation and push toward the building of a third temple and the reinstitution of temple sacrifices (Daniel 9:27). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
There will be some sort of a broad peace agreement between Israel and many other nations (Daniel 9: 27). Stage Set/Possibly Happening Now (with Trump's Mideast Peace Deal).
I'm paying particularly close attention to Trump's Peace Plan. Once it is revealed, we'll know much more about its prophetic significance, but if it involves talk of rebuilding the Jewish Temple and/or any kind of 7-year time frame, it should REALLY get our attention. The plan is expected to be revealed in the next two weeks.
The final agreement described in scripture will be already on the table--so to speak--when a seemingly peaceful end-time figure will add to, or somehow strengthen it, and push it over the finish line. Stage is being set for this future event.
With this single feat, Scripture tells us he will peg himself as the evil end-time ruler known to most as the Antichrist. The rapture of the church will happen prior to this final signing and strengthening of the peace agreement (2 Thessalonians 2:3)--and likely during its development when the world seems to be repeating the phrase "peace and safety (1 Thessalonians 5:3)." Stage is being set for these future events.
END TIME PROPHECIES ABOUT: BIRTH PAINS
There will be smaller wars throughout church history (Matthew 24:6), but eventually world war will breakout followed by great famine and disease (Matthew 24:7). Fulfilled and Continuing as "Birth Pains."
This will mark the beginning of the end characterized by labor-pain-like conditions that will increase (Matthew 24:8). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
Around the same time, Israel and many other nations will form and grow (Matthew 24:32; Luke 21:29). Fulfilled (Israel Founded 1948, UN Founded 1945 Then Grew).
After Israel's birth, earthquakes, natural disasters, tsunamis, wild climate extremes, and perplexing conflicts with no solution will increase in frequency, scale, and intensity (Matthew 24:7-8, Luke 21:25). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
END TIME PROPHECIES ABOUT: CULTURE
Culture will grow noticeably course, unloving, lawless, immoral, and insane (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
There will be a noticeable rise in cults and the occult (1 Timothy 4:1, Matthew 24:5). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
In the last days people will make fun of the belief in Christ's return, the belief in creation, and the belief in the flood of Noah's day, even though there is tangible evidence for all three (2 Peter 3:3-13). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
Sexual norms will be out the window and the world will become increasingly confused about morality and God's design for sex and gender (Romans 1:18-32). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
Much of the church will lose its effectiveness, water down its message (2 Timothy 4:3-4, Revelation 3:14-18), and still a great number will fall away in a mass exodus (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
END TIME PROPHECIES ABOUT: TECHNOLOGY
There will be an explosive exponential curve related to technology and travel (Daniel 12:4). In a short period of time both will increase like no other time in history. Fulfilled/Happening Now.
Destructive weapons never before seen will emerge on the scene and will have the capacity to destroy much of the planet (Zechariah 14:12; Isaiah 24:1; Revelation 3:10; Matthew 24:21,22; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; Revelation 16:8). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
News events will be seen live and everywhere on the planet (Revelation 11:9-10). Fulfilled/Stage Set.
A cashless system and skin-implanted technology to enable it will be developed (Revelation 13:16-17). Fulfilled/Stage Set.
Some form of artificial intelligence with global reach will have the ability to kill people (Revelation 13:15). Stage Being Set.
END TIME PROPHECIES ABOUT: CONVERGENCE
If we are nearing the end, we should see all of these things forming at the same time and in the same generation once Israel is reborn as a world nation (Matthew 24:32-34). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
The more we see all of these things in play at the same time, the more we should be assured that the rapture is on the horizon (Luke 21:28). There is a shelf life for many of the categories. The multiple conditions cannot remain in perpetuity (Matthew 24:33). If we are close to what the top of the puzzle box shows, we should see details in these categories continue to increase and line up further with what the Bible foretells. Happening Now.
COMPLEX BOX TOP
Okay. I know that is an extremely complex box top, but I've included references if you want to check them out. There were so many things I had to leave out, like the spread of the Gospel around the globe before the end (Matthew 24:14); the persecution of Christians (Matthew 24:9-10); signs in the sun, moon, and stars (Luke 21:25); great movements of the Holy Spirit including dreams and visions (Joel 2:28; Act 2:17); the push toward globalism (Daniel 2, Daniel 7, Revelation 13) and a one-world religion (Revelation 17:1-18); Europe forming into a united empire made up of weak and strong countries (Daniel 2; Revelation 13), and so many others.
As with the prophecies above, all of these I left out are either fulfilled or coming together in our generation.
So my goal was to take the randomness of the disconnected puzzle pieces that can easily overwhelm people, and use them to paint the picture of what the end times are supposed to look like. Now ask yourself. Does the current global puzzle look like the box top described above?
With the same categories, consider recent news headlines and honestly ask yourself if the puzzle pieces of the world are lining up with the Biblically prophetic box top.
Here's my friendly dare. I dare to take one category, look up the verses, then do your own research using news headlines of the day to see if these things are truly taking place.
Prophecy Update: Convergence Increasing - By Gary Ritter -
The hot word among those who watch the signs of the times is convergence. It's a good word. The definition basically means the movement toward a point of conclusion. In the case of Bible prophecy, it's where all the disparate strands of God's end-times fragments come together for His final judgment upon the earth. It's like the master chess player moving his pieces in for the kill: checkmate. You lose. In this case, the losers-to put it bluntly-are those who oppose God. Vengeance is finally His.
In the last several weeks, a number of these elements rose up enough to catch my attention. These are only a few of the many items, but they all add up. Every week we could probably report on matters like this with a similar article. Here they are in no particular order:
A July Washington Institute article discussed how Iran and Turkey are cozying up to each other much more than in the past because of their mutual interests. We know the ultimate mutual interest is the destruction of Israel that will be attempted in Ezekiel's War articulated in Ezekiel 38-39. Lately, however, Ankara has moved to resolve tensions with Teheran over Iran's nuclear program by backing the Iranian government over the protests of its people and by coming alongside it as sanctions have increased. Turkey actually expressed outrage at the attempt to cut off Iranian oil exports. Is this simply altruism on Turkey's part? Of course not. Turkey has revival of the Ottoman Empire on its mind, so it's hoping that Iran will buoy it in its regional objectives of political and economic power.
From the Middle East we move to Yellowstone Park, as noted by Fox News commenting on an August New York Times op-ed. Apparently, there's a supervolcano beneath Yellowstone just waiting to erupt and unleash its fury upon unsuspecting humanity. In fact, there are 20-some supervolcanoes lying in wait under the planet. Just one of these erupting would be "the greatest catastrophe since the dawn of civilization" according to the European Science Foundation. Yellowstone and its counterparts are the epitome of an ultra-catastrophe because of their potential to destroy all human life. Jesus spoke of this in warning of the times to come in Luke 21:11, so the rise of these life-threatening planetary horrors is no surprise:
"There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven."
Further west we go to Silicon Valley and the giant tech firms. According to the media outlet AFP, a study originating from the Dutch NGO Pax quotes these companies as "putting the world at risk of killer AI." Through the killer robot developments that Amazon, Microsoft, and Intel are working on, these lethal autonomous weapons in various related military projects have the potential to sow much chaos in the future. Pax says these Artificial Intelligence entities "could decide to kill people without direct human involvement." Pick a prophecy relating to this scenario. Among others, we could certainly point toward the Sixth Seal Judgment in Revelation 9:13-19, which could be demonic in nature, AI robots running amuck, or a combination of these. Regardless, this will be an ugly time for unbelieving humanity:
"Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, 'Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.' So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number.
"And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions' heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths. By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound."
Finally, we come to our financial analyst Jim Rickards, whom I've noted previously has a good handle from the secular side that economic catastrophe is coming. In my last Prophecy Update, I reported that Mr. Rickards was looking at a new Axis of Gold. Here, he's predicting that many factors are lining up for a "Perfect Storm." We know what that is from the movie of the same name some years ago, which depicted the plight of some fishermen caught in it off the coast of Nova Scotia. Just like in that instance, things appeared peaceful prior to its development; so too is what Rickards is saying will happen in the financial realm.
Rickards uses very interesting language in his June Strategic Intelligence newsletter. In recounting prior financial meltdowns, he says, "Here's one thing I learned: Every one of these episodes was preceded by mass complacency or euphoria... The worst panics are always preceded by a sense that nothing can go wrong."
Biblically, to review, here's what Jesus said in Matthew 24:37-39:
"For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man."
What are the items leading to the perfect storm? Rickards lists three, just as there were three in the 1991 disaster:
Without getting into those here, again the verbiage that Rickards uses dovetails our thesis: "These components are independent of each other, but are at high risk of convergence in the coming months." These developments are brewing, the waters are being stirred. Currently, they're with us but in the background. The economy is humming along, on the surface. Interest rates are low, as is unemployment. People are going about their lives, in a sense, enjoying the fruit of President Trump's policies. The times of Noah and Lot seem to be upon us. But, as Rickards says, "A storm with no name is coming."
What could that storm be? We who love and look forward to the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ believe that storm upon the earth will come as a result of the Rapture of Christ's true church; those who are faithful, those who believe, those who follow hard after their Lord and Savior will be whisked away into the clouds.
The signs are indeed converging. We don't know when these myriad events will come to a head with Jesus returning for His bride, but we know they're pointing to a time that is rapidly approaching. We wait with bated breath.
Grace Through Faith vs. Law Keeping - By Pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2019/09/grace-through-faith-vs-law-keeping.html
23"But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." (Galatian 3:23-26)
21 "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain". (Galatians 2:21)
We have a discussion going on a Christian website kicking back and forth the question "Are works of the law required for salvation?" We have one young man who tries to use scripture ( out of context) to prove the point that we are required to keep the Law. Is he right? Do we HAVE to keep the law in order for salvation to be found in us? Let us go to what Paul wrote concerning what was going on in his time.
GRACE AND LAW
The Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians to address a heresy that put him into direct confrontation with the Apostle Peter. Let us give an historical background of this differences between two of the Apostles of our Lord Jesus.
Paul describes his recent trip to Jerusalem in which he was accompanied by Titus. Titus was not a converted Jew, but rather a converted (and uncircumcised) Greek, which had created quite a stir among Jerusalem's Messianic community. Those whom Paul addressed as "false brethren unawares" were 'brought in' as spies, hoping to "spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage." (Galatians 2:4)
Paul was offended that his fellow brother was being isolated by the Jewish Church, and he blamed Peter for his obvious hypocrisy to allow it.11 "But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
12For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.1
3And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
14But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews
15We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,16Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatian 2:12-16)
Peter whose hypocrisy was called out by Paul, was afraid of offending the Jewish Authorities and allied himself with "Judaizers", who believe faith came through grace, but also demanded the keeping of the Law of Moses.
Here Paul reminded Peter that the wall of partitions had been torn down that separated Jews from Gentiles. When the Jewish brethren from Jerusalem were not around, Peter ate with the Gentiles to prove his faith in that belief.
14"For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:" (Ephesians 2:14-16)
8" For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them". (Ephesians 2:8-10)
But when certain Jews came as emissaries from the Apostle James, Peter withdrew from the Gentiles, acting as if the law was still in force and the distinctions between Jew and Gentile should be maintained.
12 "For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
13And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation." Galatians 2:12-13)
Paul called this doctrine "dissembling". "Dissembling", according to the dictionary, means to "disguise or conceal one's true nature, motives or feelings behind a false appearance."
Paul's main complaint had little to do with the specific subject at hand. He accused Peter of subverting the Gospel, and replacing it with legal requirements that amounted to keeping the Law, but claiming salvation by faith.
Paul spoke the plain truth of the Gospel noted above:
"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatians 2:16)
Even shedding more light onto law vs. grace:
5,Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.(Ephesians 2:5-7)
HOW DOES THAT APPLY TO US TODAY?
Let's stay with that statement for a minute. "A man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ."
If it was true in Pauls day, then it is equally true for us today. God has not changed in the last 2000 years, and neither have we. It's just as active today of the heresy of works to produce salvation as it was then.
16, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatians 2:16)
Note that Paul says a man is justified by "the faith OF Jesus Christ." Christians place their faith, first and foremost in the fact that Jesus Christ will keep His promises. Our faith is in His faithfulness. Understand that many believe in the past historical figures, such as Abraham Lincoln, or as George Washington in our culture. Those who believe their history, know that Jesus was an historical person, but one can believe Jesus existed and not be a Christian. The Muslims believe that He existed, but Islam is hardly a believer by faith in Jesus Christ and are not part of the Christian experience.
Christians are justified by "faith OF Jesus Christ" to keep His promises when He said in John:
37 "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out
38For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
39And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." (John 6:37-39)
Many in the Church today impose certain legal requirements as being contingent on salvation, just as did the early Church. They make all kinds of rules to address how you should dress, or the place of women in church services, or how you should wear your hair. But when you speak of many who profess "law keeping" as much of the Sabbath Keeping denominations do, then it is easy to elevate even the Sabbath high and lifted up as an object of worship and the laws that surround the Old Testament covenants with Israel as coming close to idolatry...they worship the creation and not the Creator. Now that is not to say that the Law and the Sabbath are done away with, not at all. They are good and Holy and are appropriate for the person who follows Jesus Christ. But you must make it plain in your own Christian life, that Jesus is "the Way, the Truth and the Life"
"6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.' (John 14:6)
But is the Law sin? God forbid!!
6"But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and notin the oldness of the letter.
7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." (Roman 7:6-7)
The Law has been our school master of our need for a Savior. There is no man that can keep the law, not long as he is mortal. Paul laments this in the same chapter of Romans 7:
14 "For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." (Romans 7:14-17)
So from this, it is evident that we can't keep the Law...even after we accept Jesus as personal Savior. Paul writes of even his inability to keep the whole of the Law, in it's spiritual intent as preached by Jesus on the "Sermon on the Mount". But that doesn't stop some of these denominations from taking scripture out of context to prove the need to keep the Law. They claim salvation plus Law keeping is the combination for eternal life. But let us take some of these restrictions that they impose on their memebers for Law keeping.
1. smoking-those that continue to smoke are not really saved or they would overcome this nasty habit.
2. Those that drink, even a beer are not really saved, because "drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of heaven".
3. What if the person is hooked on a presciption drug, are they saved? Not according to law keeping beliefs.
These few sinful behaviors disqualifies them from salvation because they are supposed to be free from bondage and not fill the Temple of God with things that defile. They are accused of having only a head knowledge, not a heart knowledge. I can't speak for anybody else but me, but my head knowledge tells me I'm still a sinner, and in need of a Savior...my heart tells me that I'm not as bad as that other Joe Blow that does all these things, because my "secret sins" are more socially acceptable.
The point is, being a Christian does not dis-qualify me from never sinning again. So I put my trust in Jesus to save me from even these more "socailly acceptable" sins that none of us, if we be honest with ourselves, can fully escape. Because sin is sin, any sin and we can't escape. At least while we are alive in this body of flesh, we can't
So we put our trust in Jesus Christ, as we can't trust our flesh to remain sin free.
Trust is defined as "putting our faith in something committed into the care of anothers charge. To have or place confidence in; depend on."
If smoking and drinking and drugs are evidence that a person is not really a Christian, then what about obesity? Being fat in today's culture is not seen as sinful, despite the proven health risks associated with being overweight.
How is that less defiling of the temple of the Holy Spirit then the other, less socially-acceptable examples of self-indulgence? Logic and Scripture both demand the recognition that lustful self-indulgence would be the relevant sin, not the object one lustfully self-indulges oneself with.
I am not making a case that it is acceptable for Christians to smoke, drink, use drugs, or indulge in riotous living. I am simply using extreme examples. Sin is sin.
You can substitute swearing, cheating on your taxes, lying about your age, wishing evil on some guy who just cut you off in traffic, or envying your neighbor's new car.
(The more socially-acceptable 'substitute list' above breaks five of the Ten Commandments.) I'm not making a case to say as a Christian I'm free to live the devil.
I am making the case that our salvation is not contingent on our works. Every Christian is a work in progress, the Scriptures tell us.
6"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
7Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace." (Philippians 1:6-7)
Personally, I can attest to this Scripture and so can you if you be honest with yourself. I am not the same man I was 20 years ago...or even when I first got saved 50+ years ago. Each of us have gone through transformations over a number of years. I would hate to have been judged for the man I was even 20 years ago. Why? Becaues I'm a work in progress...YOU are a work in progress, because God is not done with any of us, till He calls us home or we are changed into spiritual beings at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ for His Bride at the Rapture. I doubt He is done with me yet, or with you. There are more changes to be made according to His will.
(And the same applies to you. No matter where you are in your walk with the Lord, right now, it will only get better.)
28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to beconformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified". (Romans 8:28-30)
I started this message with the scriptures noted above "I do not frustrate (or work against) the grace of God." Pardon for sin comes by and through the grace of God, not our own inherent goodness. Paul goes on to make his point in the difference between Law and Grace through Jesus Christ:
19 "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2:19-21)
Historically speaking, the law pre-existed the First Advent by a thousand years. If the law had been sufficient, then Jesus went to the cross for nothing. I say all this before to say this:
Salvation is immediate and eternal, but our sanctification in this life is a PROCESS. No matter where you are in your walk right now, that process is still underway. Being saved DOES NOT take away your sin nature...you are still mortal having been sold under sin. The grace of Jesus gives you the courage that when you fail, when you sin no matter how small it may seem in this world's eyes, it gives you the courage to keep getting back up when sin knocks you to the ground.
7 "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." (1st John 1:7-9)
CART BEFORE THE HORSE
I spoke of this young man on that Christian Forum, who in good conscience..(but deceived conscience), believes we have to have works to be saved. He quotes the Apostle James speaking of faith without works is dead.
17 "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." (James 2:17-19)
As a plum tree cannot help but produce plums, we as the Children of God, if we follow after our Lord Jesus and believe that we are being transformed into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ..(Romans 8:29) we cannot help but produce good works. It may take one person longer than another. They may not produce on the same level as that other Christian, as God gives us each according to our abilities but there will be fruits, it's almost like we can't help it. But the point is, salvation produces fruit and not the fruit, (our works) produces salvation. Many who believe such will be sorely deceived and found not amongst those who are called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Those that sit on the fence, or just can't make that commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, or think erroneously that the Law will save them, or their church, or confession to your priest...or tithing to the Church, or any other Church going activities and have not Jesus, the True Jesus in your heart, receiving Him by faith.
27 "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." (Romans 3:27-31)
Note that last part, we establish the Law!!....they go hand in hand....not one before other...salvation through faith and keeping God's Commandments., not the other way around....John proclaims this truth:
3 "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
4For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." (1st John 5:3-4)
We are all striving to do our best for the Lord who saved us. We get knocked down, and some get afraid that the world will persecute us for our stand for Christ and produce not much for the Kingdom of God...But works are for rewards, not salvation...When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ...it will be a rewards banquet to give those things done in our body...those that are for Christ will stand, the rest will be burned up. Paul wrote this truth:
10 "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
14If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." 1st Corinthians 3:10-15)
The person who suffered loss will be there, saved as through the fire. Only thing they had was mercy and grace applied to their lives through the blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Their reward will be eternal life, but they lost out on eternal rewards as a King over a portion of the inheritance that belongs to Jesus Christ...or a Priest to guide others to salvation through Christ in the Millennial Kingdom. The first is good, we want eternal life, but the last makes it even better to be in God's service and be given responsibilites to further His Kingdom, all to His glory.
16"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthyto be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:16-18)
So, when life knocks you down because of your sinful nature and you mess up...and folks, each of us do...then get back up and get back in the battle on the front lines. God will reward you for your service to Him. Because we are justified by grace, not the Law.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in HIM, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
God sent not His Son, to condemn the world, but that the world through HIM might be saved." (John 3:16-17)
8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:8-13)
This is Pastor Mike Taylor praying that grace will be found in your life, and the mercy of God to save you for all eternity...If you need prayer,
counseling, or just a listening ear, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit me on my blog for more instructions from the Word of God, at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , , God bless you all
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
Delusion - Nathele Graham - email@example.com
Humanity is being set up. Scripture tells of a strong delusion that will come upon mankind in the last days, and Satan is getting people ready to believe the lie. "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12. People make their own choices and God won't interfere if you choose to believe lies. Many delusions are gripping humanity today and it's easy to understand how easily people can be duped.
It's astonishing how fast false beliefs are being embraced...even by Christians. Evolution is one of those falsehoods. Satan has used that lie to chip away at many of God's truths. Scripture is clear that God created everything. It doesn't get any clearer than in the Gospel of John. In speaking of Jesus, John said "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." John 1:3. Once Satan was able to deceive people into believing we evolved from pond scum, into apes, then into humans, the next attack came upon the family. Instead of taking pride in being a wife and mother, women began to turn child rearing over to sitters so Mom could hold a job just like Dad. The family began to deteriorate. Then marriage was no longer regarded as a sacred institution ordained by God. Marriage originated in the Garden of Eden. God created a man and a woman. These two were to be one. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Genesis 2:24. Marriage has always been a "picture" of the way Jesus loves His bride. Satan has managed to convince people that marriage isn't important. Living together and/or one-night stands are the way of the world, not the way of God. The first miracle Jesus performed was at a wedding He attended. That fact should be testimony of how important marriage is. Anything less than marriage mocks God and glorifies Satan.
Satan has successfully deluded people into thumbing their noses at God over creation and marriage and now he's going after another very basic truth. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Genesis 1:27. Fact: a person is either male or female; there's no middle ground. I am sickened by news stories I see where people throw fits (literally) if someone uses a gender-reality pronoun. He or she are the only two options and if you think you're something you're not, you're deluded. Satan has hoodwinked people into thinking with enough hormone injections and surgery they can become whatever they choose. Bottom line, no matter how much mutilation you've done, you're still genetically what you were born. Children have no idea about any real differences between boys and girls, but if a child innocently wants to be the opposite gender, instead of guiding that child to truth, the parents (usually the mother) start helping to change the child into a mutant. The vaccinations we "lovingly" give our kids don't help the situation. Have you ever seen a list of ingredients in those vaccines? Formaldehyde and DNA are in most of them. Is it any wonder kids are ADHD, autistic, and totally confused? Yes, Satan is deluding the masses. It's getting easier for him because Christians are as deluded as the secular crowd.
Then there's the delusion that all roads lead to heaven. That just cannot be. Cults and false religions may seem interesting, but each one contains a deadly lie. Each one contradicts God's truth and all deny the deity of Christ. Not long before His arrest and crucifixion, Jesus had an open talk with His disciples. He told them that He was going to prepare a place and would return to get them (us). Traditional Jewish wedding practices of the day dictated that the bridegroom would return to his father's house and prepare a home for his bride. When it was prepared, he would surprise his bride and take her to the home he prepared. The men who followed Jesus didn't fully understand what He meant. Thomas spoke up and asked where He was going. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6. The time had come for Jesus to allow Himself to be sacrificed for our sin. They couldn't follow right then, but He would return when the mansions were prepared. He conquered death and gave us the only way for eternal life in the place He has prepared. In fact, that was the reason He, being God, chose to become human. Sin had separated humans from God and the only way to mend that separation was for God to shed His blood for us. There is no other way. Soon after that conversation Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane while He waited for Judas to lead the soldiers to arrest Him. Jesus gave Himself willingly even though He knew of the beating to come and nails that would be pounded into His hands and feet. He knew that only His perfect blood would take our sin away and restore what Adam had lost. That meant offering Himself as the blood sacrifice to atone for our sin. He also knew that as He hung on the cross, He would be separated from God the Father because He became sin in our stead. So, Jesus prayed as He waited for the soldiers. "...O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." Matthew 26:39b. If there was any other way for humans to find reconciliation and live forever, God the Father would have stopped things right then. Don't be deluded. There is no other road to follow for eternal life except to place your faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Peter was one who, instead of keeping watch, slept as Jesus prayed. He had been the first disciple to declare that Jesus was the Messiah, but he would also be the first to deny knowing Christ. When Jesus was arrested, Peter feared that he would also be arrested. He secretly followed the mob to see what would happen and denied Christ three times that night. After the resurrection Peter was restored and filled with the Holy Spirit. Through that power he was able to speak fearlessly. Once, on a trip to the Temple, Peter and John met a lame man who asked for money. Instead, Peter told him in the name of Jesus, get up and walk. Through the power of Jesus' name, the man was healed. Peter spoke boldly to the onlookers about Jesus and many came to faith. Because of that, he and John were arrested. Peter and John were then brought before the same leaders whom Peter had hid from when Jesus was arrested. Nevertheless, Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and told them in no uncertain terms who Jesus was. Peter was bold as he explained the only way of salvation to some very deluded people. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12. Peter had come a long way. He knew there was no way to salvation except through Jesus Christ. He would never be deluded.
Paul also followed Jesus. He had ruthlessly persecuted Christians until he learned the truth. Then his eyes were opened and he was no longer deluded by satanic lies. Paul became a bold missionary and evangelist for Christ. In order to be sure that the various congregations he established stayed on the right path, Paul wrote letters. In a letter to a young pastor named Timothy, Paul encouraged him to stay grounded, preach God's truth, and also pray for kings and those in authority. "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." 1 Timothy 2:3-6. There is no way to find eternal life other than to place your faith in Jesus. So, if you think you're good enough, or you think you have to die for the god you follow (as the Muslims do), or that Jesus was just a nice guy, then you are deluded. It's not too late to repent and come to the truth.
Even the elect can be deceived. News flash: the elect are being deceived. How many Christians go along with the transgender and homosexual agenda because they don't want to judge or think God really meant it was OK? How many pastors choose to water down sermons in order to tickle the ears of their congregation and keep the collection plates full? Never mind that sin in the pews is rampant. Brothers and sisters, we are in the last days. Recently a once strong Christian author and pastor renounced his faith and openly embraced sins that God despises. He's very deluded. Many Christians mock God by living lifestyles that Scripture warns against. The delusion of Satan grows stronger every day. Very soon Christians will be Raptured and the deluded masses will be left to face an even stronger delusion put forth by the "son of perdition", who is ruled by Satan. He will lead his followers straight to Hell. How can you avoid being deceived? Study Scripture. That's where God's truth is found. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Timothy 3:16-17. A Christian must turn from the lies of the world and the delusion that Satan spews. God's truth is revealed by the Holy Spirit through Scripture and it never changes. There are no "updates" or revisions on what God views as sin. All Scripture, Old Testament and New Testament, is inspired by God for our learning. We use it to understand what is true doctrine so we won't be deluded by a false teacher. Scripture reveals what's wrong in our life and how to correct it. We will never be perfect while living on this side of Heaven, but we are righteous only through the righteousness of Christ. When someone presents you with a new take on Scripture, don't believe them but search the Scriptures for yourself. When Paul presented the Gospel to Jewish men in Berea, they did the right thing. They searched the Scriptures. "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few." Acts 17:11-12. They searched Old Testament Scripture and found that the Gospel fulfilled those Scriptures. They didn't out-right reject what Paul said, but went to God's word to learn the truth. The Bereans were not deluded.
There's a strong delusion on the near horizon and its shadow is upon us now. If you don't pattern your life by God's truth and stand firm on Scripture you will be deluded.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
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Daily Jot: Profanity based campaigning - Bill Wilson -
NOTE: Remember what I wrote yesterday: "Thank God, we now have a president that is reversing this foreign policy and trying to address the problems created by the nearly two decades of wrongmindedness."
There is a very interesting article on Thewrap.com by J. Clara Chan about how politicians, especially in the Democratic Party, are using profanity more and more often. She writes, "Politicians have been caught swearing since the days of George Washington. But according to an analysis by the government research company GovPredict, the number of swear words used by lawmakers on Twitter noticeably jumped after 2016. Counting words like s---,f---,a-hole, and b----, among others, lawmakers have sworn on Twitter almost 1,900 times this year; in 2016, that number was at 193." According to a cognitive science professor, the Democrat candidates may be "censoring themselves less" to appeal to younger voters.
Of course, a good part of Chan's story is about how Donald Trump used Twitter and social media to speak directly to his constituency, and that he often did so using profanity and hurling insults-which he still does as President. Chan's point is that "Trump lowered the bar, and now some Democratic presidential candidates are cursing with unusual abandon." Now, I say that this story is interesting because I have been saying repeatedly that the hate rhetoric needs to calm itself-coming from both the President and his opponents, including the news media-which are supposed to be unbiased, but probably use profanity on Twitter as much as the trash-mouthed politicians. We are all responsible for how we speak.
Notwithstanding, every time I bring up something President Trump should refrain from doing in order to be more effective and "presidential" and yet still get his point across, I get tons of emails from Christians taking me to task for "criticizing" the man God has selected for leading America. OK, I get that. But you see, what does scripture say about profanity? The word "profane" often is used in the Bible. One example that seems to fit what I'm discussing here is 2 Timothy 2:16, "But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness." According to this study by GovPredict, that is exactly what has happened since the 2016 election where profanity by politicians made its debut on Twitter and has become exponentially worse.
There was a watermark moment at the inauguration of President Trump in 2017 when all the protesters wearing their stocking vagina hats were threatening revolution. Celebrities used the most foul and abusive language to describe the President and those who voted for him. Since, the Democratic Party has adopted a resolution embracing the nonreligious as sharing the party's values. This has further opened the barn door to let out the animals of profanity. This is all an indicator where things are headed in this country. It's also an indicator of what happens when good people do nothing. The church has a role in all this, and it's not a role of winking at such, and giving in. This atmosphere of profanity and public bullying is bad for us as humans. Christians have the light of the world, we need to see that it is lit.
Daily Devotion: Cleanup Time - by Greg Laurie -
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. -Isaiah 43:1
After a close-call episode involving a plunge into a freezing lake, psychiatrist Dr. Winston gently but firmly laid it on the line to Johnny: "I've never known of anyone as far gone as you are to really whip it. Only you can do it, and it would be a lot easier if you let God help you."
Cash knew he was right. God had been waiting all this time for him to come back. June and Dr. Winston would do all they could for him, but unless Cash himself summoned the fortitude and discipline required, the battle would never be won. For that he needed God's help more than ever. He had to ask for and depend on it.
The time had come for the redemption of Johnny Cash. But one cannot redeem themselves. Only God can do it. The word redeem literally means, "to buy out of a slave market." Cash was a slave to drugs, among other things. Only Jesus Christ could redeem him, and the singer knew that.
After ten days of intense withdrawals and detox, Johnny emerged a healthier man. Johnny played his first clean performance in years, and felt God's presence, ending the show with an old hymn. Johnny was getting back to his gospel roots, but, more importantly, back to God Himself.
The redemption had started.
1. In [Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. . . . In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:7, 13-14)
How is Jesus Christ able to redeem us? What do we need to do to be redeemed?
2. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Romans 6:5-6)
What sins have you been a slave to in the past?
3. But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. (Isaiah 43:1-2)
God saw Johnny through countless near-death experiences as well as an intense detoxification period. What extraordinary circumstances has He seen you through?
FROM THE HEART
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