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IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
7 Reasons Why the Rapture Isn't the 2nd Coming - By Jonathan Brentner - https://www.raptureready.com/2019/09/13/7-reasons-rapture-isnt-2nd-coming-jonathan-brentner/
Is the rapture unique or just another way of describing the second coming?
Pastors, teachers, and Christian writers have differing opinions on this. One assistant pastor at a Bible-believing church once told me he did not believe in the rapture. Along with such denials, many today assert that the book of Revelation is mostly allegory or past history, which necessitates that the rapture and second coming be the same event.
When I look at Scripture, I see two unique events separated by a period of time. The New Testament teaches Jesus will appear to take believers back to His Father's house in heaven.
As I separate these two future events, I assume a premillennial belief. A time of great tribulation is coming upon the world just as Jesus taught in Matthew 24, and Revelation 6-16 describes. After that, Jesus will rule for a thousand years seated upon the throne of David just as the Scriptures proclaim. After that, He will usher in the eternal state of Revelation 21-22.
If premillennialism is true, and it absolutely is, then the following differences between the rapture and second coming passages argue strongly for regarding them as totally separate events.
1. The Place of the Resurrection in the Order of Events
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul tells us the "dead in Christ will rise first." After raising the dead saints, Jesus catches up living saints to meet him in the clouds. We see this same sequence in 1 Corinthians 15:52: When Jesus comes for us, He raises the dead in Christ first.
During the rapture, the resurrection of the saints occurs before anything else; it happens immediately.
In Revelation 20, however, the resurrection of the dead tribulation saints occurs after Jesus' triumphal return to earth, His defeat of the vast armies gathered against him, His destruction of the false prophet and antichrist, and the imprisonment of Satan. After all of these time-consuming events, the Lord sets up thrones on the earth and raises the dead tribulation saints from the grave (Rev. 19:11-20:6). The resurrection of saints happens late in the sequence of events in Christ's return to earth, perhaps not even the same day.
The place of the resurrection in the order of events is totally different in passages dealing with the rapture versus those of the second coming. How can they be the same event?
2. The Participants of the Resurrection
Not only does the place of the resurrection differ in the order of events, but so is the identification of its participants. John identifies those Jesus raises from the dead at His second coming as those killed during the tribulation (Rev. 20:4). When Paul writes about the rapture, he says Jesus will raise up all the "dead in Christ" (1 Thess. 4:16; 1 Cor. 15:52) rather than a subset of believers as John specifies in Revelation.
John Walvoord made this point about the difference in participants in the two resurrections of the saints:
It is most impressive that when the resurrection is mentioned in Revelation 20:4, it is specifically limited to the tribulation saints as contrasted to the church. If the tribulation saints were a part of the church, why was not the expression "the dead in Christ" used as in I Thessalonians 4? The fact that this group is singled out for resurrection, as if they were a special body of saints, points to the conclusion that the church had been previously raptured.[i]
When Jesus comes for his church, he raises all the dead in Christ. After his return to earth, he only raises those saints who perished during the tribulation.
3. The Place Jesus Gathers the Saints
In 1 Thessalonians 4:17, Paul states that believers who are alive will be "caught up" along with the resurrected saints to "meet the Lord in the air." Jesus does not come to the earth, but gathers us to Himself in the clouds. He meets us "in the air."
This differs significantly with passages related to the second coming. Rather than catch believers up to meet him in the air, Jesus returns to the earth with much fanfare, signs in the heavens, and defeats all His enemies in a great battle. He then sends out his angels to gather living believers and unbelievers for judgment (Matt. 25:31-46). Notice that He gathers both believers and unbelievers to a place on the earth, not in the air.
Do you see how this differs significantly from the rapture passages? Rather than meet believers in the clouds as Jesus does during the rapture, with the second coming He sends out His angels to gather His elect to a place on the earth.
4. The Transformation of Living Believers
In Paul's 1 Corinthian 15 description of the rapture, Jesus transforms the bodies of living believers as well as those already in the grave; He gives both imperishable bodies (vv. 53-54). We also see this emphasis in Philippians 3:20-21, where the apostle again states that when the Lord comes for us, He "will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body."
In passages that speak of Jesus' second coming, we do not find such a transformation of living believers. Yes, after his return to earth Jesus sends his angels to gather the elect, but the text does not say He gives them imperishable bodies.
To the saints who survive the tribulation, Jesus invites them to "inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Mat. 25:34). Jesus does not mention any bodily transformation.
5. The Presence of People in Natural Bodies During the Millennium
When Jesus returns to earth, He judges all those alive at the time. Matthew 25:31-46 depicts Jesus separating the sheep from the goats - believers from those who are not. The former group enters the kingdom while Jesus sends the others away to "eternal punishment." Believers enter the kingdom in natural bodies as noted earlier.
If the rapture and second coming are the same event, all the believers would already possess glorified bodies before this judgment. Jesus would not need to separate the goats from the sheep because everyone that remained would be goats. Everyone with a glorified body would automatically be a part of God's kingdom while all others would face condemnation.
If the rapture and second coming are the same event, no one would enter the thousand-year reign of Jesus in natural bodies; everyone would possess immortal ones. This, however, is far, far different from what both the Old and New Testament tell us about the millennium-Jesus' kingdom.
John MacArthur says this about the distinction:
If God raptures and glorifies all believers just prior to the inauguration of the millennial kingdom (as a posttribulational Rapture demands), no one would be left to populate and propagate the earthly kingdom of Christ promised to Israel. It is not within the Lord's plan and purpose to use glorified individuals to propagate the earth during the Millennium. Therefore, the Rapture needs to occur earlier so that after God has raptured all believers, He can save more souls-including Israel's remnant-during the seven-year Tribulation. Those people can then enter the millennial kingdom in earthly form.[ii]
Zechariah 14:9-19 refers to people during the millennium that have the capacity to sin. At this time when Jesus rules over the nations of the earth, people rebel against Him by refusing to come to worship Him in Jerusalem. At the end of the millennium, there will be a massive uprising against the Lord as described in Revelation 20:7-9.
These scenarios cannot exist if the rapture and second coming are the same event, or even if one happens shortly after the other, because all who are left would have glorified bodies and thus be incapable of sinning.
Isaiah 65:19-20 speaks of a time after Jesus' glorious return when there will be infants, signifying marriage and reproduction. The passage also says death and sin will exist, things not possible if the rapture and second coming occur at the same time. Living believers at the end of the tribulation must enter the millennium in natural bodies, which tells us there must be a significant amount of time between the two events.
6. The Destination of Believers
The accounts of Jesus' second coming in the Gospels and in the book of Revelation do not include any return to heaven either for the Lord or for us. This differs from the passages related to the rapture. In John 14:2-3, Jesus promises to take us back to the "place," the physical dwelling he is preparing for us in his "Father's house."
Jesus' assurance in John 14 consists of taking us back to heaven. Why mention His Father's house in heaven in this context if he does not intend to take us there when he comes for us? What's the purpose of mentioning the place He's preparing for us if not to take us there?
The meeting in the air of 1 Thessalonians 4:17, foreign to passages dealing with the second coming, also implies a return to heaven.
Paul says this in Colossians 3:4, "When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Once the rapture occurs, we will be in glory rather than the earth; our destination is heaven!
The feet of those on the earth at the time of the second coming never leave the ground; there is no meeting in the air. The angels gather the "elect" to a place on the earth (Matt. 24:31; 25:32). The same with the resurrected tribulation saints; they meet Jesus on the earth and remain there.
But with the rapture, we meet Jesus in the air and He takes us home.
7. The Rapture as a Mystery
In 1 Corinthians 15:51, the apostle Paul begins his description of the rapture with these words, "Behold! I tell you a mystery." Last year, my wife and I saw the movie Murder on the Orient Express, a depiction of the novel written by Agatha Christie. This story is a mystery; we do not know who murdered the man on the train until the end of the movie. This is what we typically think of when we hear that something is a "mystery."
The use of the word "mystery" in the New Testament differs much from this definition. The word as the apostles used it designates something new, a truth God did not reveal in the Old Testament. When Paul introduces the Lord's return for his church in the book of 1 Thessalonians, he says, "For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord . . ." (4:15). He was telling the Thessalonians something new.
On the other hand, we find references to the second coming all through the Old Testament. We even see from the book of Jude that God revealed the Lord's second coming to Enoch who lived before the flood of Noah (see Jude, verses 14-15). The second coming was definitely not something new in the church era; God revealed the second coming to his people long before the birth of Jesus.
Why all the fuss in separating the rapture from the Second Coming? It matters because it relates to our expectation of what comes next for us.
If the two represent the same event, then our immediate prospect is not Jesus' appearing but seven frightful years of devastating tribulation on the earth. On the other hand, if they are distinct events separated by seven years, we live in anticipation of suddenly being in Jesus' presence.
The New Testament never tells us to prepare for the tribulation. It does, however, teach us to wait expectantly for the Lord's return as something that could happen at any moment. Our expectation and hope is Jesus' appearing to take us to His Father's house in heaven (John 14:2-3).
This also argues strongly for the rapture occurring before the time of the tribulation. If the two cannot be the same event, as shown above, and must be separated by a significant amount of time, it seems logical to place it before the tribulation.
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[i] John F. Walvoord, The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), p. 38.
[ii] John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary - 1 & 2 Thessalonians (Chicago: Moody Press, 2002), p. 136.
What Will the End Times Look Like? - By Hal Lindsey -
Have you ever wondered what the end times will look like? Well... look around.
DRUGS - The Bible describes massive drug use in the end times. Today, the United States faces a drug abuse crisis of unprecedented proportions. It's true that deaths by overdose seem to be down slightly this year. But that's because police, paramedics, and other first responders now routinely carry a medication called naloxone, sold under the brand-name Narcan. It reverses the effects of opioids, saving countless lives. Even with that, according to the CDC, more than 70,000 Americans now die every year of opioid overdoses. And this is not just an American phenomenon. It is a worldwide problem.
ROGUE NATIONS: Russia - There have always been rogue nations, but right now two of the worst actors on the world stage represent a big part of the alliance of nations predicted in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Russia will lead the coalition. Today, Russia's military budget is much smaller than that of China or the United States. But it is making up for the lack of money with the use of creativity and daring. They have had notable successes in their attempts to build superweapons. But more important for the moment, they have been able to breach computer systems of nations around the world. In just the last few days, we learned of past Russian success in breaching communications within the FBI and CIA.
ROGUE NATIONS: Iran - The other lead nation in the Ezekiel 38 coalition is Iran. That nation denies any involvement in the recent drone strike against Saudi Arabian oil facilities. But the Houthi rebels in Yemen are fully funded and directed by their fellow Shiite Muslims in Iran. Where would Houthi rebels get such sophisticated weapons? There is only one possible answer. Iran. The attack used Iranian-made drones. US officials have privately told reporters at both Fox News and ABC News that the attack was not even launched from Yemen, but from Iran. If you have watched my television programs and read my books, you know that I am highly critical of the Saudi Arabian government. But we must understand that an attack on their oil production is an attack on civilization itself - something that, for now at least, runs on oil.
ROGUE NATIONS: Other - I won't take the time to talk about the European Union or China, whose very different quests for world supremacy both have the effect of endangering everyone. In an age of superweapons, smaller nations, such as North Korea, have also proven to be dangerous to everyone. This is perfectly in line with last days Bible prophecy.
OTHER THINGS - Class, gender, racial, religious, and other divisions threaten peace between nations and within them. World leaders continue to use extreme measures to keep the planet's economic bubble from bursting. Terrorists around the world are at this moment plotting death and destruction. They spend their lives seeking to spread death and pain. And they have not gone away. This list could go on and on, but I'll stop here.
Amid all this, many churches seem more interested in helping people lose weight, be entertained, or feel good about themselves than to know God through Jesus Christ, be saved, and live in the power of the Holy Spirit.
I don't mean to depress you. The Gospel is still Good News! Heaven awaits all who put their trust in Christ. As we see God's warnings prove true, we can also rest assured that His promises remain true. The "end" in "end times" doesn't mean the end of everything. It means the soon end of evil, pain, despair, hopelessness, etc. We can look forward to an amazing, glorious future.
In the meantime, we are on a mission for God. We need to speak the Word and live the Word! In the closing days of this age, may our efforts for Him grow bigger, better, and bolder. And may we live in the security of His promises.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: I hope you can join me every Sunday evening at 11PM EST on Daystar, or online anytime at www.hallindsey.com or www.hischannel.com for my line by line examination of Revelation. If you missed any episodes in this study, you can catch up by visiting www.hallindsey.com/videos/ .
Nearing Midnight: Discernment Needed More Than Ever - Terry James - https://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
A most fascinating book occupies my current thinking. The relatively new release, The Snapping of the American Mind by David Tupelian, is, in my view, one of the great books describing what happens when a people turns their backs on God Almighty.
This isn't a review of that book in any sense, but I intend to one day soon write one. The book's contents contain wisdom that seems taken straight from the Apostle Paul's forewarnings as given to Roman believers of his time-thus to us all who name the Name of Christ.
Never in the annals of history has development of the biblical description of the "reprobate mind" been more clearly manifest than in present-day American society and culture. We've looked a number of times at the nucleus of Tupelian's work that so directly reflects, I think, the words of Paul: "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient" (Romans 1:28).
again, it might seem overly America-centric to keep bringing up our nation as the center of focus in dissecting these end-times matters. The world, after all, is filled with sinfulness as egregious as our nation's sins. However, in the matter of looking at the descent into madness-through the snapping of the American mind, as author Tupelian would have it-the example of the United States today serves empiricism well. There is no more appropriate nation-state to consider in discerning these strange days so near the end of this Age of Grace.
And there is nothing more important to analysis of all this madness than thought processes filled with understanding. That's the reason I've chosen the title of this commentary.
Many believers in Jesus Christ for salvation of their souls believe that this generation is nearing the time of Christ's Second Coming. Sadly, the greatest part of God's family either don't realize how close Christ's return is, don't believe it is close, or really don't choose to think about it at all. Jesus, Himself, as we have recently looked at, was righteously angry because the religionists of His time, while He was in His physical body, refused to understand that God in the form of Messiah was in their presence. These Pharisees and Sadducees not only should have believed, but should have been informing the Jewish people under their tutelage. They should have been doing so based upon the many signs and wonders their Messiah was performing.
Jesus spoke to their evil: "When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" (Matthew 16:2-3).
Because of their neglect and deliberate actions to keep the people from this man they considered not sent from God, the people of Israel died in their sin from lack of knowledge. The nation is still suffering the consequences of their evil actions.
This is the danger of people not being taught today the truth that Jesus Christ is about to intervene into the affairs of mankind. He is coming again, and all indicators point to the likelihood that His coming again is very near indeed.
I just saw a headline as I write this that 45 percent of college students want "In God We Trust" taken off America's currency. Obviously, too many parents, pastors, and teachers, both in Sunday schools and in secular classrooms, are without this thing Jesus called "discernment." Else this statistic would not be there to indicate the sad state of spiritual understanding in our nation today. These have failed miserably to properly instruct and inform many of America's children.
This is the purpose of our newest book [Terry James' New Book!] Discerners: Analyzing Converging Prophetic Signs for the End of Days-to raise spiritual awareness of these troubling times and what it all means, and to help parents, pastors, and teachers-and all others-to understand the times that are so obviously near the end of the age. We want to help all who name the Name of the Lord Jesus to be watchmen on the wall.
Indeed, discernment is needed now more than ever!
In face of growing Iran threat, debate resurfaces over US-Israel mutual defense pact - By Yaakov Lappin and Jackson Richman - https://www.jns.org/in-face-of-growing-iran-threat-debate-resurfaces-over-us-israel-mutual-defense-pact/
While the idea isn't new, it hasn't really been seriously discussed in while. Proponents say that a narrow defense treaty would add a layer of deterrence to enemy aggression, but critics caution that it could undermine the relationship between the two democracies.
Although proposals for a U.S.-Israel mutual defense pact are not new, the concept has recently gained momentum and attracted growing media attention in Israel.
On Sept. 14, U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter to say that he spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu by phone to "discuss the possibility of moving forward with a Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and Israel that would further anchor the tremendous alliance."
Netanyahu, for his part, told Israeli media that he is looking forward to speaking with Trump at the U.N. General Assembly meeting, "when we will promote the historical defense pact between the United States and Israel."
Yet Netanyahu's political opponents have criticized the idea, with senior Blue and White Party member and former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon telling Army Radio last week that "if such a pact had existed in the past, the [nuclear] reactor in Syria would not have been bombed." Ya'alon was referring to the 2007 Israeli Air Force strike on the Bashar Assad regime's secret, undeclared plutonium reactor.
Former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Gabi Ashkenazi, also of Blue and White, said, "We always insisted that the fate and security of the State of Israel remain in its hands. Do we want to see the Golani Brigade fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan? That is the significance of the treaty."
Yet those who have been involved in exploring and promoting the idea say they envision a significantly narrower pact.
Then Israeli Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkott and U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford at a welcoming ceremony in Dunford's honor at the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv on May 9, 2017. Photo by Flash90.
Speaking to JNS on Sept. 11, Michael Makovsky, president and CEO of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), noted that his organization released a May 2018 report urging consideration of a mutual defense treaty that would be similar to, but more narrowly defined, than the existing U.S. treaties with 50 countries around the world.
"The primary purpose of a U.S.-Israel mutual defense pact is to add an extra layer of deterrence to Israel's strategic position and to America's position in the Middle East, and ultimately, a last line of defense," JINSA stated on its website. The organization is dedicated to educating congressional, military and civilian national security decision-makers on U.S. defense interests in the Middle East.
"This really originated with [U.S. retired Navy] Admiral Jim Stavridis," said Makovsky. Together with a JINSA taskforce made up of retired generals, Stavridis has been central in promoting the idea in recent years.
"The main motivator is the strategic threat. Israel always faced them, of course, but we worry that the Iranian threat is really growing, and the chances of a significant war have grown," explained Makovsky. "Therefore, we think that a mutual defense pact would add another layer of deterrence for Israel."
Mitigation would be a second benefit, he added. "Even if there is a conflict, a mutual defense pact could help mitigate the severity of the threat-not just from Iran, though obviously, Iran is the main one. The Iranian threat is growing at the regional and nuclear levels."
Makovsky said that while the idea is not new, "it hasn't really been discussed seriously in a long time. The U.S. has a mutual defense with about 50 other countries. Mutual defense pacts with the U.S. generally contribute to more stability."
Should Israel and Iran enter into a broad armed conflict, Tehran could be expected to activate its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, a non-state terror actor armed with some 130,000 rockets and missiles. A war on that scale would very likely impact American assets in the Middle East, said Makovsky. "This would certainly spill over, not only to Syria, but also to Iraq and perhaps to the Persian Gulf States. The U.S. would be affected by an Iranian-Israeli conflict. So we think a mutual defense pact could be an element that prevents such a conflict from starting out, and if it does start out, it could mitigate the scope and intensity of it. We actually see it as a source for stability, which mutual defense pacts generally have been for countries around the world."
Conflicts with smaller adversaries, like Gazan terror groups, would not, for example, activate such a treaty, and neither country would want to see that happen, he said, adding that "only exceptional threats would activate it."
More than 70 Democrats and Republican members of Congress pose in front of Israel's Iron Dome air-defense system while on tour together. Credit: Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy via Twitter.
Makovsky acknowledged concerns among some Israelis, who have argued that such a pact would harm Israel's independent freedom of action. He said, "We don't want any restrictions on Israel's freedom of movement. We anticipate this to be a more limited defense pact. Our view is if Israel is going to do something very significant that could seriously impact U.S. assets in the region, we expect that Israel would be consulting with the U.S. on that anyway, given the close relations that they have. Without having a pact, there is already a sense of a need to consult on more serious action that Israel would consider. But we think that with a mutual defense pact, there at least would be an added a level of deterrence."
He also stressed that the proposal has nothing to do with the Israeli elections, adding that work has been invested into developing the idea for the past year-and-a-half.
During a July 30 conference call organized by JINSA, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), affirmed that Israel intends to defend itself "through their capabilities. Nothing in this agreement would suggest restricting the IDF's ability to do that. However there are certain threats that Israel could face that would be existential to the Jewish state, and in those limited narrow circumstances, we want all adversaries of Israel to know that in your efforts to destroy them, you have to come through us."
'Potentially dangerous to the health of bilateral ties'
The proposal is meeting with its share of criticism on the American side as well. Ilan Berman, senior vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, and an expert on regional security in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Russian Federation, told JNS that calls for a formal defense pact have been a recurring theme in bilateral relations.
"The motivation on both sides is understandable; the U.S. wants to demonstrate its commitment to Israeli security, while the Israeli government is eager to capitalize on the pro-Israeli attitudes of the Trump administration. But it nevertheless is misguided, and potentially dangerous to the health of bilateral ties," cautioned Berman.
"First, in defense terms, if an agreement is signed, America will naturally need to know what, exactly, it has committed to defending. That puts issues like the true status of Israel's nuclear program-about which the Israeli government remains coy-on the table for public discussion," said Berman. "It will also force Israel to much more definitively articulate where it thinks its final borders vis-à-vis the Palestinians will be since presumably, U.S. troops will now be required to defend them in the event of a conflict. Given the importance of nuclear ambiguity to Israel's deterrent posture and the volatility of present-day relations with the Palestinians, Israeli officials shouldn't be eager to discuss either of those things."
In addition, Berman said, a defense pact carries with it the risk of aggravating anti-Israeli sentiments within the United States. He noted a "growing isolationist streak" on the American political right in recent years, while the American left has, of late, "tolerated mounting anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiments from its progressive wing."
"Both factions are likely to react negatively to any further formalization of the U.S.-Israeli relationship, with conservatives seeing it as an unwelcome commitment that forces the United States to remain in a volatile Middle East, and liberals chafing at the perception that the United States is in some way beholden to Israel," noted Berman. "At a time when the relationship between Israel and American Jewry is already under significant strain, this would be an added stressor-and perhaps a significant one."
Finally, he said, a formal defense pact would undermine the intrinsic nature of the "special relationship," since "the strength of U.S.-Israeli ties has always rested on their informal nature. The two countries are drawn together by common values, outlook and strategic interests. Both Washington and Jerusalem need to continue to work diligently to reinforce this closeness, but they also need to be careful not to inadvertently take steps that alter the historic dynamism, fluidity and adaptability that has made the relationship a success so far."
Former Pentagon official Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told JNS that "a defense pact would absolutely tie Israel's hands, and give America's slow and cautious defense bureaucracy a veto."
He said that "Israel would no longer be able to act proactively, nor could it act without imply[ing a] U.S. buy-in."
Even if the pact were to be limited, Rubin said that "In the age of proxy conflicts, it would never be cut-and-dried. Best to address the ambiguity without hands tied."
Daily Jot: Watching prophetic events - Bill Wilson -
It is often said that you cannot stop the march of prophecy, but you can determine your place in it. It seemed that during the past 20 years the prophecy clock moved significantly forward. Israel's enemies are increasingly empowered. We witnessed key prophetic players jockeying for position on the world stage. Turkey has become increasingly radical and is attempting to reestablish the Islamic Caliphate for which it was home base of the Ottoman Empire, lasting some 623 years until 1923. We saw an American president assist in the destabilization of the Middle East through support of Arab Spring and empowering terrorist-sponsoring Iran. Russia stood in the gap for Turkey, Iran, Syria, N. Korea and others.
Then, in 2017, the prophetic clock slowed down a bit, although the events that were set in motion during the previous Administration continued to brew. Iran, for example, continued its expansion into Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. Iran has been attacking oil freighters since June, and now it has attacked Saudi Arabia. It is difficult to completely discern Iran's strategy other than to disrupt oil supplies and perhaps draw the United States into another drawn out war. These things may not make sense to the Western mind. But judging from the events, we may be seeing an acceleration toward the end time prophecies found in Daniel and Ezekiel.
The attacks by Iran may not make sense in that it would appear to the world that Iran has nothing to gain and most everything to lose. But the world is not God. Governments and policies of governments are not God. It doesn't need to make sense for prophecy to advance. The march of prophecy will continue on God's time, not man's time, AND man/countries/religions will determine their place in it. A wonderful clue in this is Ezekiel 38:4, "And I will turn you back, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you forth, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armor, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords." Persia (Iran), Ethiopia (Sudan), Libya (Libya and NW Africa) with Magog, Meshach and Tubal (all in Turkey).
The Lord will "put hooks" in their jaws and bring them forth. Iran may have strong delusion that it will be the Islamic Caliphate and rule over the Middle East. It has been working in that direction through its armies and its terrorist sponsorship. Iranian leaders may believe they have a shot at ruling the world, eliminating Israel from the face of the earth, or even controlling the world's oil supply and bringing all to submission of Shiite Islam. But this may just be the prophetic process of bringing Iran into submission to Turkey for those end time events. As we watch and pray, let us discern the times and seek the Holy Spirit for guidance and wisdom. Do not fear, but be excited and expecting of the Lord!
Daily Devotion: A Young Man's Decision - by Greg Laurie -
With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! -Psalm 119:10
By the time he was eleven, Johnny Cash had started to sort things out for himself concerning spiritual matters. "I knew there was two distinct ways to go in life," he wrote in his first autobiography. "The people who had their hearts right-I recognized them as being different from the ones who were playing checkers over at the service station during the church service."
He sought God's presence through prayer and music. Songs like "I'll Fly Away" transported him to another place. "To me, songs were the telephone to heaven, and I tied up the line quite a bit," Cash reflected.
Johnny attended a revival meeting in Dyess shortly after his twelfth birthday on February 26, 1944. When it came time for the altar call, the choir started singing the hymn "Just as I Am." In the front row was Cash's older brother Jack, who he idolized, with his eyes closed as he sang along with the choir.
Up till then, Johnny hadn't been particularly moved or affected by anything he'd heard that night; in fact, when the song started, he was thinking of cutting out and going home. But all of a sudden he felt his soul touched by the music, the words, and the inevitable choice facing every child of God going back to Adam and Eve: to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, or to reject Him. It was an easy decision. Cash walked to the altar and knelt with the other converts.
I left feeling awfully good that night," he later recalled, "feeling joy and relief at having made my decision." He was formally baptized shortly thereafter.
Faith is a wonderful and powerful thing, and young Cash reveled in the peace and contentment it brought him. But he would soon find out that it doesn't automatically inoculate us from pain, misery, temptation, doubt, pride, and all the other frailties that are our birthright as mere human beings.
1. If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10 NKJV)
Each of us must make a personal choice to believe in and follow Jesus Christ or to reject Him. Have you made that decision? If so, when?
2. How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! (Psalm 119:9-10 NKJV)
What is the key to maintaining a straight path in your spiritual walk?
3. Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12 NKJV)
Johnny Cash would spend much of his later life straying away from the Lord, perhaps from lack of a good example or role model. Is there a young person that you can come alongside to encourage spiritually today?
FROM THE HEART
IF YOU HAVE BEEN BLESSED THROUGH THIS MINISTRY, THEN WE ASK THAT YOU WOULD PLEASE REMEMBER PROPHECY UPDATE IN YOUR GIVING - WE ARE TRULY, TRULY, THANKFUL FOR YOUR SUPPORT
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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
1) We need your prayers!- We proclaim the Truth of the Word of God and we are under constant spiritual and sometimes even physical attack.
2) We need your encouragement!- We need to hear from you, let us know how the Lord is blessing you through this ministry so that we can share it with others.
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Our Prayer for You- "Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else." 2 Corinthians 9:10-13
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