Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Rapture is So Close! - By Matt Rice -
"The rapture is so close! It is so close!" This is a direct quote from a 100-year-old WW2 veteran whom I had the privilege of knowing and serving a few years ago. This brave patriot was skin and bones, but his eyes were bright and alive! When he'd walk into the room, it would get brighter! "The rapture is so close!" he would tell me every time I saw him in the clinic. And he was right! And it's even closer today!
I want this article to be an encouragement to you! There should be no fear and dread! I hope it gives you a sense of excitement and anticipation. The most amazing event since the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is about to happen!
DESCRIPTION OF THE RAPTURE
The Bible clearly teaches that all believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, dead and alive, will instantaneously be caught up to meet the Lord in the clouds, in the air! Our mortal bodies will, "in the twinkling of an eye," be changed! Paul writes, "This mortal must put on immortality." This perishable will put on the imperishable. This dishonorable will be raised in glory! This weakness raised in power! The natural body will be raised a spiritual body!
Just like John said: "When we see Him we will become like Him. For we will see Him as he is!" (1 John 3:2). Remember the disciples? Locked in an upper room, scared to death that they would be discovered and killed. Suddenly, Jesus is there! He could walk through walls and a locked door! They were terrified, thinking he was a ghost. He said: "Why are you terrified? Look at my hands and my feet. Give me some fish to eat!" (Luke 24:44, paraphrased). When we see him, we will become like Him! We will have bodies like His! Spiritual bodies.
My 6-year-old Grandman and I were talking about heaven one day. "Pa! Do you think we'll be able to fly?" he asked. "Grandman," said I. "Do you see Paradise Ridge over there? I think you and I could have a race to the top and be there in the snap of your fingers!" His eyes got big and so did his smile! "It's going to be good, Grandman! It's going to be very good!"
We really have no idea what awaits us! As Paul says: "What eye has not seen and ear has not heard, nor thoughts that have entered the heart of man-all that God has prepared for those who love Him"! (1 Cor. 2:9).
III. OF CLARIFICATION: PREDICTING THE SEASON OF CHRIST'S RETURN
Now, I'd like to give one point of clarification: In today's main passage I will NOT be predicting the Day of Christ's return for His church. Remember Harold Camping's prediction that the rapture would happen on May 21, 2011? I recall driving by a local grocery store and seeing a group of them holding up a banner on the corner predicting May 21. I remember looking at my wife, saying, "Well, we know it won't be that day!" Jesus said: "Of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone" (Mark 13:32). But I am predicting the season! I believe we are in the season of Christ's return!
BE DISCERNERS OF THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES-WE ARE IN THE LAST PART OF THE LAST DAYS
Remember Jesus condemning the Pharisees and Sadducees that they missed the "signs of the times"? (Matt. 16:2-3). He said something like this: You guys are pretty good at predicting the weather: 'Red Sky at Night: Sailor's Delight; Red Sky in Morning: Sailor take Warning.' "You know how to discern the weather, but you can't discern the Signs of the Times. Hypocrites!" (Luke 12:56). Harsh words! But true words!
Do you think that God wants us today to be discerners of the signs of the times? I think so! This is not just a New Testament desirable quality. It is also in the Old Testament. 1 Chronicles 12:32 praises the Sons of Issachar, who were "men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do." Having biblical discernment of what is going on is a very useful trait. Seeing God's fingerprints and footprints all over the place is very necessary!
Many of us in the Bible prophecy community believe that we are in the last part of the last days! Not only are we seeing End-Times prophecies being fulfilled to the letter, but we are seeing a confluence of last day's prophecies coming together.
DOES THE BIBLE TEACH A "RAPTURE"? YES!
But before going any further, I think I need to answer a very basic question: How do we know that there will actually be a rapture of the church? Scripture is very clear on this issue.
There are 3 main passages that mention the rapture in detail, and many others that allude to it. The first of the three passages is:
In John 14:1-3, Jesus says: "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also."
The scene here is the upper room. Satan has entered into Judas, and he has left. The 11 remaining disciples' world is just about to be devastated. This whole chapter is about how Jesus is the believer's comfort. Here is Christ, just hours before He will be arrested, tortured and brutally murdered, and here He is comforting His disciples! Listen to what John MacArthur writes about this scene:
"The world of the disciples was about to be shattered; they would be bewildered, confused, and ridden with anxiety because of the events that would soon transpire. Anticipating their devastation, Jesus spoke to comfort their hearts. Instead of the disciples lending support to Jesus in the hours before His cross, He had to support them spiritually as well as emotionally. This reveals His heart of serving love."
He goes on to say:
"This is one of the passages that refers to the rapture of the saints at the end of the age when Christ returns. The features in this description don't describe Christ coming to earth with His saints to establish His kingdom (as it does in Rev. 19), but rather taking believers from earth to live in heaven. Since no judgment on the unsaved is described here, this is not the event of His return in glory and power to destroy the wicked. Rather, this describes His coming to gather His own who are alive and raise the bodies of those who have died to take them all to heaven." -(end quote)
The second passage describing the rapture is 1 Thes. 4:13-18. Paul had planted the Thessalonian church and instructed them well in eschatology (that is, end-times events). They were expecting the imminent return of Jesus for His church! And they were right! His return was imminent. It could have happened in their day. They knew that they would meet the Lord in the clouds, in the air. But now, Grandma and Grandpa who were believers had died. What was going to happen to them? Would they be left behind? Paul, the pastor, comforts his church with the following words:
"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren (the word 'uninformed' is the word we get "agnostic" from- "to not know; to be ignorant of"), about those who are asleep (Christians never die-they sleep! Their spirit or soul or personality instantly goes to be with Jesus- "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord", Paul said. The body goes to the grave. It will awaken in the resurrection), so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus."
How can you know that you are going to heaven? Paul tells you right here! (If you believe that Jesus Christ died in your place on the cross and rose again 3 days later, you are saved and will get a resurrection body!):
"For this we say to you by the word of the Lord (i.e. this is not Paul's personal opinion), that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."
1 Corinthians 15 is the third major passage describing the Rapture-verses 50-52: "Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (That is, we who are alive [flesh and blood] cannot go directly into heaven, in this form. We have to be changed first.) Behold, I tell you a mystery (a "mystery" is something that was not revealed in the Old Testament but was revealed in the New); we will not all sleep (in other words, not all of us are going to die), but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we (the living) will be changed."
Notice, that the Second Coming of Christ has two phases to it: Before the 7-year tribulation, He removes his church from the earth. He rewards Christians for their faithful service to Him at the Bema seat judgment, then the great feast called the banqueting table of the Lamb takes place! While the church is in a state of unimaginable joy, having face-to-face communion with her Lord and with one another, all hell is breaking out on earth during the last 7 years of earth history called Daniel's 70th week or the 7-year period of tribulation described in Revelation.
At the end of this 7 years, the church returns with Christ dressed in white, riding white horses! Listen to Revelation 19:
"And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, 'King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.'"
Our glorious Lord Jesus Christ!
In the rapture, Christ returns for His church, which meets him in the clouds, in the air. Only the church sees it. It happens in a split second. At the second coming, Christ returns with his glorified church to destroy Antichrist, the false prophet and their armies-and every eye sees it. And it takes place over a certain period of time. These are two separate events, separated by at least 7 years from each other.
In my opinion, people who are meticulous and exacting Bible expositors-that is, those who believe Jesus who said: "not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished" (Matt. 5:18) believe in these two separate events: the rapture followed by the second coming.
It's also my opinion that people who are not as exacting Bible expositors, who rely more on church creeds and church traditions than on holy Scripture, tend to not hold to the rapture of the church.
"THE RAPTURE IS SO CLOSE!"
Now to the major point of this whole article! Why did my 100-year-old WW2 veteran believe that the rapture is so close to us today?
In Luke 21:25-36, Jesus is in the Temple and has just predicted its destruction. The disciples ask Him when this will happen and what will be the sign of it? He then answers more than they asked by giving signs of His second coming (verses 8-11 and 25-28) with a parenthesis in the middle (verses 12-24) describing the persecution of the early church and the 70 AD destruction of the Temple. We'll pick up on the latter part of the signs of His coming in verses 25-36:
"There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves (the final bowl judgment of Revelation 16 is the world's greatest earthquake, which causes every mountain on earth to flatten. And every island disappears. Remember, islands are mountains in the sea. Can you imagine the Tsunamis that will cover the mainland?), men fainting (the word apopsyche can also mean "dying") from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory (and with the church on white horses, Revelation adds!). But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
Why does He say to straighten our backs and look up? Because we are about to meet our Lord in the clouds, in the air! Just as Luke wrote in Acts 1: "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven!" (Acts 1:11). This can't apply to Israel at the end of the 7-year tribulation. When these things begin to take place (that is-verses 8-11, false christs, wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, plaques, famines, terrors and signs in the sky), there are still 7 years of tribulation to go! These are the birth pangs that Jesus is talking about! The redemption that is drawing near must be the rapture of His church!
The final fulfillment of His precious blood, which purchased all of His people for all of time out of the slave market of sin is finally completed. It is finished! No more struggle with the world, the flesh and the devil. We've been redeemed!
"Then He told them a parable: 'Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.'" In other words, 'the air you are breathing and the ground you are sitting on is less secure, less dependable than the words I just told you!'
There is a final generation, a terminal generation where He won't push off His return anymore. "This generation will not pass away!" Which generation? That's the $64 question. And here is where I make my first educated assumption! (And my wife will remind me when we leave what often happens when we assume!) Jesus has already given us the answer two sentences earlier!
"Behold the fig tree!" "The fig tree!" "Behold" is a command! The word means: to look at; to observe; to contemplate. Think about the fig tree! The fig tree was a common symbol for the nation of Israel. Remember how Jesus found a fig tree without fruit and cursed it? It was leafy and green and showed promise, but had no fruit. So it received our Lord's curse. So was the nation of Israel! They missed their Messiah!
And then Luke goes on: "Behold the fig tree and all the trees." I love Dr. Luke! He's writing to us Gentiles, so he throws the Gentile trees in as well! The point is: when you see the leaves coming forth, you know that summer is near. "So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near!"
But you say to me: Haven't these things always been happening (wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, etc.)?
Yes, they have. But there is one difference here. It is the term: "This generation"! Who was Jesus talking to? To Jews in the land of Israel! But it could not have applied to His generation because "all these things" didn't happen. He is talking about a future generation of Jews in the land of Israel. But in 70 AD, Israel was wiped off the map and the Jews scattered around the world, in fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
Suddenly, May 14, 1948 happened. "Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons!" (Isaiah 66:8). On May 14, 1948, the nation of Israel was born, after nearly 2,000 years of dispersion around the world-fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy written 2,700 years earlier!
So, this generation of Jews in the Land of Israel will not pass away until all things take place!
So how long is a generation? Well, the Bible is its own best interpreter! Turn with me to Psalm 90:10: "As for the days of our life, they contain 70 years, or if due to strength, 80 years..."
Let's say that May 14, 1948, begins the prophetic clock ticking for the final generation. Knowing that God doesn't wish "for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9), let's add 80 years to 1948. This gives us the year 2028. But remember that there are still 7 years of tribulation that this final generation of Jews must live through. It is Daniel's 70th week (Daniel 9:24-27). So we must subtract 7 from 2028, giving us the year 2021.
Brothers and sisters, we believe Scripture teaches that the church will be raptured shortly before the final 7 years. When May 14, 2021, arrives there will be just 7 years left of the 1948 generation, making them 80 years old.
Is this date setting for the return of Jesus Christ? No. I'm not saying that Jesus will return on any particular day. But I am "season setting." This appears to me that we are in the season of our Lord's return. Any day now, we could hear the upward call of God. This is why my 100-year-old WW2 patriot brother in Christ said to me continually, "The rapture is so close! It's so close!" I see patients every week who love Jesus, the majority of whom have that same inner sense that His coming is soon! Doesn't it make sense that He whispers to His beloved church: "I'm coming-soon!" (John 15:15) "...I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you").
What does this mean for you and me? "How should we then live?"-to quote the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer. Dr. Luke gives an answer to that. Jesus said in the very next verse:
"Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation (which means the squandering of your money, energy and resources) and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth (during the 7-year period of tribulation). But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."
In times of increasing lawlessness, the tendency is to worry a lot. Some take to the bottle. Others pursue pleasure. But Jesus says keep alert, watch for My coming and pray! You will avoid these things this way.
The writer of Hebrews states: "And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. Not forsaking our own assembling together as is the habit of some. But encouraging one another. And all the more as you see the Day drawing near!" (Hebrews 10:24-25). Love one another. Be do-gooders. We're not saved by good works, but we are saved for good works. Fellowship with each other. Partake of the Lord's table with each other. Pray together. The Day is drawing near!
Two final words:
First, look at 2 Peter 3:3-4 "Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying 'Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.'" Not too long ago I had a Christian patient mock this eschatology, unwittingly quoting Peter's passage nearly verbatim! This brother later apologized. But if Christians are fulfilling this, what about unbelievers?
Second, I am confident and sure about everything I have written except for two assumptions I have made. But these are assumptions based upon years of thinking, praying and talking to others about them. So I have put them forth today for your consideration.
First, that the terminal event is the founding of Israel as a nation May 14, 1948. That may not be the event that defines the final generation.
The second assumption is that a generation is 70 to 80 years, as Psalm 90 appears to state. Perhaps a generation is 120 years (Gen. 6:3).
I wrote a somewhat renowned prophecy teacher about this and laid out this same argument, in brief. His response to me was: "Thanks Matt. I know there are differences of opinion, but I think 70-80 years is the most likely answer [for the length of a generation], and God was deliberately vague [regarding which event would kick off the final generation] because He knew people would be trying to figure it out. Yours in Christ."
I am a fallible man. But one thing we do know is that God wants us to be on the lookout for His soon coming. And it does appear to be so close!
 The Study Bible app. John 14:1-31 footnote.
 Ibid. John 14:2-3 footnote.
Is Bible Prophecy A Distraction To Real Ministry? - By Todd Hampson/ToddHampson.com -
I just got back from a Mission trip to Haiti last night. If you're not familiar with the conditions there, they are terrible. Everything there is broken. The government, the culture, the land, the economy, the health of the people. Everything.
It's almost as if the land itself if cursed. Even satellite images like the one above (Haiti at left, the Dominical Republic across the border at right) tell a story. Generations of corruption and greed, voodoo practice, a lack of vision, and a lack of education, have kept this country among the poorest in the world. I have been to some of the poorest areas of Brazil and the Dominican Republic but I've never seen the level of poverty and brokenness that I saw in Haiti.
It has an official 80% unemployment rate, but it's really worse than that. Even someone selling vegetables once a week is considered "employed". It's probably more like a 95%+ unemployment rate by real numbers. Most people in the villages eat once every other day. Starvation and malnutrition are common place.
As a prophecy student, I found myself wondering if many Christians would think that a focus on Bible-Prophecy (when there are so many basic real-life needs) might be a waste of time, not just in Haiti, but for the Church in general. More than a few times, I've heard that argument from fellow believers.
Here are five reasons teaching Bible prophecy is not only relevant, but vital to discipleship and evangelism.
1. IT GIVES PEOPLE A DEEPER CONFIDENCE IN SCRIPTURE
One-third of the Bible is prophetic in nature and one out of four verses in the Bible talk about prophecy. Prophecy intersects with every category of theology and progressively reveals key themes that are introduced in Genesis and converge in the book of Revelation.
A study of Bible prophecy demonstrates the incredible cohesiveness and grand design of the Bible. There is no other document like it in history. A study of prophecy deepens our overall knowledge of scripture -- something we are challenged to do as believers.
The more we know truth, the more we will spot error and the better equipped we will be for ministry and life. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that "all scripture" is profitable (2 Timothy 2:15, Acts 17:11, 2 Timothy 3:16). The book of Revelation even tells in the beginning and in end of the book that there is a special blessing for those who read the words of Revelation and act on them.
So, even the book of Revelation is a practical book that calls us to obedience and results in blessing for those who study it.
2. IT ANCHORS OUR FOCUS ON AN ETERNAL HOPE
We led a Bible study in Haiti with a group of people from the village our church supports and one of the verses we studied was Romans 12:12 which reads -- "Rejoice in confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying." Think about how relevant that verse is to someone who lives in extreme poverty, not knowing when their next meal is coming or what tomorrow may bring.
An old blind man in our group talked about being patient in trouble and prayer with a smile on his face. I asked the rest of the group about the first part -- the part that gives the ability to be patient in trouble. I asked what the hope is that Paul talked about. "What was our confident hope?" Without skipping a beat, one of the younger men, with utmost confidence and joy in his eyes, said in creole, "When Jesus comes back for us or when we die and go to him."
This confident hope is our anchor. In Haiti, the believers are not blinded by wealth and comfort. There, they have a raw Acts chapter 2 type of faith. They know everything else is unreliable -- everything except our confident hope!
3. IT PURIFIES OUR WALK
There's something about reminding ourselves of Jesus' promised return that moves us from being lukewarm to regaining a faith that is on fire with passion to serve him. Since 2000 years have gone by, we're easily lulled into sleep and complacency -- or even sinful compromise -- because we've lost any sense of urgency.
When we study Bible prophecy and are reminded that He is a promise-keeper, and that many of the signs of His return have been falling into place the past 70 or so years, we begin to live with more excitement, purpose, purity, and commitment. I am thoroughly convinced that the enemy desperately wants to get our focus off of Christ's return because he knows it leads to a victorious Christian walk and another important aspect of our faith...
4. IT PUSHES US TO SHARE OUR FAITH
We tend to share our faith more effectively and more often if there's a sense of urgency. The Bible teaches that the rapture is imminent (can happen any moment) and we see the conditions falling into place for everything end-times related.
A careful, non-sensationalistic study of Bible prophecy reminds us that there are still many people we know who have not heard the Gospel. Perhaps the Lord has brought someone to mind even as you read this. Don't wait. Tell them about Christ.
5. IT HELPS PEOPLE MAKE SENSE OF THE WORLD
There's no denying our world is going crazy right now. I recently launched a Bible Prophecy Survey and one of the key areas of focus that came up again and again was global instability.
It's the elephant in the room. These are scary times. But it all makes sense when viewed through the grid of Bible prophecy. What we see today is EXACTLY what Bible prophecy unveils for the end-times.
I believe that a careful study of Bible prophecy is extremely healthy and necessary for Christians today. Focusing our attention on the Lord's return will help move our faith from an arid wasteland to one that is growing and thriving.
An accurate view of Bible prophecy is truly relevant for everyday life and ministry.
Nearing Midnight: Satan's War on the Chicken Sandwich - Todd Strandberg -
There is a Chick-fil-A about eight minutes down the road from me. Because the restaurant is always so busy, I rarely eat there. Despite being closed on Sunday, Chick-fil-A is the most profitable fast-food franchise chain in the United States. A Chick-fil-A unit made around $4,090,900 in 2017. By contrast, the total sales for a McDonald's ($2,670,320 per unit).
Chick-fil-A first became controversial in 2012 when the firm's Chairman and CEO Dan Cathy voiced his opposition to same-sex marriage. At the same time, it was revealed that Dan Cathy's father and original founder of Chick-fil-A, Samuel Truett Cathy, was the patron behind the WinShape Foundation. Through its charitable endeavors, the WinShape Foundation provides scholarships, foster homes, camping programs, and retreats for thousands of children. The crux of the issue was WinShape Foundation's donations to a slew of Christian organizations, such as Focus on the Family, which lobby against same-sex marriage.
The personal views of the founding family don't translate to the Chick-fil-A stores. The franchise does not have any set rules that ban gays from working at the firm. Any member of the LGBT community is welcome to come to their local Chick-fil-A and enjoy a tasty chicken sandwich.
Following the uproar in 2012, Chick-fil-A issued a statement saying it does not have political positions: "Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena." Public tax filings confirm that the WinShape foundation also abandoned charitable ties to Christian organizations, with the exception of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (a sports organization) and the Salvation Army.
Despite the fact that Chick-fil-A has completely backed down on the same-sex marriage issue, the left's Cancel Culture is still on the attack. Several City Councils have voted to ban the franchise for various airports and universities. Protestors have staged childless "die-ins" at some stores. The only way for Chick-fil-A to find redemption is to renounce the firm's Christian heritage and to fully indorse the LGBT agenda.
CEO Dan Cathy waded into the marriage equality debate from the angle of the religious Right having the same rights as gays. The left does not care about equality. It is out to destroy any company that refuses to fly the rainbow flag. If Cathy now personally apologizes and attempts to reconcile, the protestors will invariably demand his resignation. He foolishly offered to meet with LGBT leaders, but he has nothing to discuss with them. It would be like the Jews meeting with Hitler and being told that if they stop being Jewish, the Fuhrer will leave them alone.
All the protests against Chick-fil-A have only sent the firm's sales skyward.
The liberal media have now become fixated at promoting any other firm that has a product that can compete with Chick-fil-A. Popeye's recently came out with a new chicken sandwich, and a horde of news caused the sandwich to be sold out. One reporter went to 17 Popeye's and could not purchase the new sandwich. McDonald's is reported to be entering the chicken sandwich wars with its own Chick-fil-A clone.
There is no secret to a good chicken sandwich. All it requires is a big slab of breaded chicken on a bun. I remember several fast-food chains having sandwiches that were once similar to the one sold by Chick-fil-A. The compulsion to save money has always caused the chicken patty to shrink down in size, and then the meat would turn into something resembling a Chicken McNugget. The link between Chick-fil-A's Christian values and dedication to quality is the reason why it outshines its competitors.
Hollywood has now joined the war on Chick-fil-A. Morgan Spurlock, the maker of the low-budget movie Super Size Me, has produced a follow-up film that has him trying to start his own version of Chick-fil-A. The aim of Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! is to gross out viewers over how chickens are raised and why MSG makes Chick-fil-A's food so addictive. The film promo warns us to "expect jaw-dropping revelations" and to be "shivering with disgust and wondering how you can go on living in a world as gross and inhumane as ours." Clearly, this movie is Spurlock's payback to the Prince of Darkness for making his first movie a huge success.
This insane hatred against Chick-fil-A is the result of a world that has become overrun with evil. Chick-fil-A is a very dim light of Christian values. The world has gotten so dark, the company has become an annoying ember that must be put out. I hope that Dan Cathy doesn't buckle to the pressure and sell the company to the likes of Oprah Winfrey or George Soros. I'm hoping the rapture occurs on a weeknight, and Chick-fil-A fails to open the next day.
"Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
Yemen's Attack on Saudi Arabia Fulfills Isaiah's Gog and Magog Prophecy - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz -
I will say to the North, "Give back!" And to the South, "Do not withhold! Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the end of the earth Isaiah 43:6 (The Israel Bible™)
A catastrophic attack in Saudi Arabia by Iran-backed Yemenite Houthi rebels shook the world, destroying the facilities that produce five percent of the entire world's oil. If the U.S. picks up the gauntlet thrown at their feet by the Iranians, the confrontation in Yemen predicted by Isaiah as preceding the pre-Messiah War of Gog and Magog may suddenly appear, as one rabbi said, "much sooner than anyone thinks."
5% of Global Oil Production Destroyed
A total of 19 targets including two oil facilities were hit in Saudi Arabia on Saturday by several coordinated strikes, knocking out half of the country's crude oil production, some five million barrels a day. Yemenite Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks against Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman received a call from U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday in which Trump reiterated America's readiness to help defend the kingdom, and noted the negative effects the attack would have on the U.S. and world economy, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of being behind the attacks, saying there was "no evidence" Yemen was behind what he called "an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply."
CNN reported that a senior State Department official showed them satellite imagery showing the strike came from the northwest, originating in either Iraq or Iran.
"It is very difficult to see how these things could have come from anywhere but Iran or Iraq," the senior administration official said.
The strikes were initially described as drone attacks but Debka Files, an Israeli military intelligence website, cited U.S. intelligence experts who credited the attack to cruise missiles launched a pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite militia base.
The attack disrupted fully five percent of global oil production.
US and Iran: Tensions Rising, Threats Exchanged
President Trump made it clear that he was taking the attack very seriously.
It should be noted that the President used similar language in June after Iran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone. The president ordered U.S. miltary assets to strike Iran but aborted the strike at the last minute.
Oil prices soared in the wake of the attack to six-month highs on Monday, with gains of as much as 20 percent. Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, gained almost $12 a barrel reaching up to $71.95 a barrel, before dropping back to $68 a barrel.
Yemen is First Battleground in Gog and Magog
Rabbi Yekutiel Fish, an expert in Jewish mysticism who blogs in Hebrew under the title 'Sod Chashmal,' noted that events were unfolding precisely according to the verse in Isaiah concerning the War of Gog and Magog.
I will say to the North, "Give back!" And to the South, "Do not withhold! Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the end of the earth Isaiah 43:6
The word translated as 'back' is תֵימָן, which can also be translated as Yemen.
"The war between Iran and America, which is the sons and daughters from far away, will begin in Yemen," Rabbi Fish said. "This will be the first stage in the multi-national War of Gog and Magog."
The rabbi also noted that Persia appears very frequently in Jewish eschatology in a manner that includes the U.S. which is representative of Edom, the nation of "red men", allying with Arabia. Rabbi Fish cites the Yalkut Shimoni, a compilation of rabbinic commentary on the Bible believed to have been composed in the 13th century, Persia's role in the end-of-days is outlined in detail.
"Rabbi Yitzchok said: The year in which Melech Hamashiach (Messiah king) will be revealed, all the nations of the world will be provoking each other...The king of Persia will provoke the King of Arabia. The King of Arabia, will go to Edom to take counsel and the King of Persia will threaten to destroy the entire world. The nations of the world will be outraged and panic. They will fall on their faces and will experience pains like birth pangs. Israel too, will be outraged and in a state of panic ask, "Where do we go?" (Yalkut Shimoni, Isaiah, 60:499)
"But the war will not begin until after the Israeli elections," Rabbi Fish said. "The issues concerning the rule in Israel need to be completed before the war. But the war will certainly appear, and much sooner than anyone thinks."
Bible Codes: Iran War Against US Leads to Repentance Three Times Elijah
Other experts also see a conflict between Iran and the U.S. as fulfilling Biblical prophecy. Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson, an expert in Bible codes, looked for Biblical hints at the growing tensions between the U.S. and Iran and found them in the 29th chapter of Exodus. In a video, he explained that he found the Hebrew מתחל מלחמה (beginning of a war) interspersed with the word איסלם(Islam).
"The truth has to be told that Islam is what is behind Iran pushing it forward," Rabbi Glazerson said.
The rabbi warned that the words 'war' and Iran were parallel to the word אורניום (uranium), noting that it is quite possible that Iran has nuclear weapons. Surprisingly (or perhaps not) connected to the word uranium were the letters אובמה (Obama).
"He was a troublemaker and a good friend of the Muslims and allowed Iran to have a nuclear program," Rabbi Glazerson said.
Rabbi Glazerson noted that it was most significant that the letters ארהב (the abbreviation in Hebrew for the United States) were connected to the word ישראל(Israel), indicating they would be allies in the war.
The word Israel was in close proximity to the word הַתרָאָה (warning).
"Redemption can only come after Israel is first warned to repent," Rabbi Glazerson said. "That is the purpose behind this war and that is the only solution that will bring peace to the entire world."
Rabbi Glazerson also found the word טראמפ (Trump) counterbalancing the appearance of Obama.
On a positive note, the rabbi found אליהו (Elijah) three times in this section of the Torah.
"These are troubling times but if we repent, this is precisely what will bring Moshiach (Messiah)," Rabbi Glazerson concluded. "Only then will there be peace and tranquility all over the world."
The Magog (Akh·ar·ēth') Connection: Gregory Supple -
Ezekiel 38:7-8 ~ "Prepare yourself and be ready, you and all your companies that are gathered about you; and be a guard for them. After many days you will be visited:>>>
In the Latter Years (Heb. Achărîyth) you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely."
Students of Bible prophecy have loooooong anticipated an Russian inspired military invasion into the Middle East. Early in the 20th century, prior even to Israel's rebirth on May 14th 1948, Dr. Ironside wrote:
"In the last days, the final head of the Russian people will look with covetous eyes upon the great developments in the land of Palestine. They will determine that Russia must have her part of the wealth there produced. Consequently, we have the picture of a vast army, augmented by warriors from Persia, Cush, Phut, marching down toward Palestine."
The Hebrew word: Akh·ar·ēth' - is the equivalent to the Greek word Eschatology. Determining the end from the beginning. Strong's #H319: Achărîyth - the last or end, hence, the future; also posterity: - (last, latter) end-time. Latter time (prophetic for future time).
The ONE & only God of Israel's Omniscience knows how fallen human history ends. Isaiah 46:9-10 ~ "Remember the former things of old: for I AM God, and there is none else; I AM God, and there is none like Me!!
Declaring the End (Heb. Achărîyth) from the Beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying: 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure:'"
Since the beginning of Time, God has always been in complete control. God is sovereign over the entire universe, and has judged Nations for their disobedience since there were Nations. Ezekiel prophesying in 6th century B.C. while exiled in Babylon foretells an end- time's battle named Magog. Wherein ELoHim Himself will determine its outcome, not favorably for Gog of Magog>
Ezekiel 38:15-16 (NJKV) ~ "Then you will come from your place out of the Far North, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army. You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land.
It will be in the: Latter Days (Heb.Achărîyth) that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I AM hallowed in you, O' Gog, before their eyes."
(NLT) "You will come from your homeland in the distant North with your vast cavalry and your mighty army.. and you will attack my people Israel, covering their land like a cloud. At that time in the distant future, I will bring you against My land as everyone watches, and My Holiness will be displayed by what happens to you, Gog. Then all the nations will know that I AM the LORD."
The biblical chronological sequence of the Book of Ezekiel, places the northern invasion between Israel's restoration to their land (Ezek. 37) and the millennial reign of Christ (Ezek. 40-48). Pentecost supports a similar chronology: "Chapter thirty-seven deals with the restoration of the nation Israel to her land . . . chapter forty carries us to the millennial age. Thus the movements of Gog and Magog are seen, from the context, to transpire between the time of the beginning of the restoration of Israel to the land and the millennial age."
Gog of Magog: Chief of Meshech & Tubal
Ezekiel 38:1-4 ~ (NKJV) "Now the Word of the LORD (Heb. YaHWeY) came to me, saying: 'Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the (Chief) Prince (Heb. Rôʼsh) of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him.'
.. and say: Thus says the Lord GOD: 'Behold, I AM against you, O' Gog (Heb. Gôwg), the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords.'"
Despite what the godless Darwinians falsely claim about human morality being derived from some monkey minded molecule. God's Word clearly tells us we're ALL one BIG happy Adam's Family. Maybe NOT so happy all the time, but Genesis Genealogies lists our Ancestors from Noah's three sons. The late great Chuck Missler of Koinonia House comments:
"Have you ever wondered why the Biblical prophets always seem to refer to various peoples by such strange names? It's actually our fault! We keep changing the names of things. There once was a city known as Petrograd. For many years it was known as St. Petersburg. Then it was changed to Leningrad. Now it's St. Petersburg again. What will it be named a few years from now? (My friends in Russia say that in Russia, even the past is uncertain!).
The capital of the old world, Byzantium, was renamed Constantinople. Now that city is known as Istanbul. But we do not change the names of our ancestors! So, if you were the prophet Isaiah and were called upon to speak of the Persians over a century before they emerged as an empire, how could you refer to them? You would speak of them as the descendants of Elam, the forebears of the Persians"
The Genesis Genealogical records of Noah and his three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth are listed in Genesis 10, w/ the 70 original tribal groups described there are often called by Biblical scholars, The Table of Nations. Specifically, to understand the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 - 39, we need some biblical background on Gog of Magog and his evil axis alliance.
Magog was one of the sons of Japheth and his descendants are often referred to by their Greek name: the Scythians. As 1st century ancient historian Josephus Flavius documents in, Antiquities . . . Bk.1:6:1 "NOW they were the grand-children of Noah, in honour of whom names were imposed on the nations, by those that first seized upon them. Japhet, the son of Noah, had seven sons: they inhabited so, that beginning at the mountains Taurus and Amanus, they proceeded along Asia, as far as the river Tanais; and along Europe to Cadiz: and settling themselves on the lands they light upon, which none had inhabited before, they called the nations by their own names. For Gomer founded those whom the Greeks now call Galatians [Galls], but were then called Gomerites. Magog founded those that from him were named Magogites; but who are by the Greeks called Scythians."
The biblical beginning. The Table of Nations is given in Genesis 10. At the opening of this important chapter, we are confronted with the key combatant company of Ezekiel's prophecy: (Genesis 10:1, 2). "Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and unto them were sons born after the FLOOD! The sons of Japheth: Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras"
The editors of the Scofield Reference Bible published in 1909 furnished the following information concerning Ezekiel's Magog combatants: from the Table of Nations. Magog -- "From Magog are descended the ancient Scythians or Tarters, whose descendant's predominate in modern Russia."
Tubal -- "Tubal's descendants peopled the region south of the Black Sea from whence they spread north and south. It is probable that Tobolsk perpetuates the tribal name." Whose modern city Tobolsk is located in Russian, Siberia.
Meshech -- "Progenitor of a race mentioned in connection with Tubal, Magog, and other northern nations. Broadly speaking, Russia, excluding the conquests of Peter the Great and his successors, is the modern land of Magog, Tubal, and Meshech.
It is thought that Meshech started the barbaric and brutal nation of Moschi who inhabited the Moschian Mountains that connected the lands of the Caucasus to the Anti-Taurus Mountains in modern Russia. Their heads were protected by "wooden caps". And they were armed with "shields and small spears".
The name Moscow is said to have come from the term Moschi. Moschi was closely related to the nations of Tubal named Toboli in Asia Minor. Together, they were the great opponents of the ancient Assyrians for generations.
In the ancient language, describing the region of southern Russian Caucasus Mountains as Gog-chasen - meaning Fortress of Gog - Scholars suggest that Gog of Magog as the region where the name Caucasus originated, speculating was derived from Gog-chasen which translates into Greek as Gogasus. If you were to ask a Russian what he calls the heights of the Caucasus Mountains, comrade would likely say: "the Gogh."
The word translated "Chief" in Ezekiel 38:3 is "Rosh" in Hebrew. For centuries prophetic scholars have generally agreed that the word Rosh is a proper name. Thus, Rosh - was the tribal name of those dwelling in the area of the Volga in central Russia. And Rosh is the word for Russia today in some languages of the world, and often appears in that form in the headlines of newspapers.
An understanding of this truth moved Robert Lowth, Bishop of London two hundred years ago, to write: "Rosh, taken as a proper name in Ezekiel signifies the inhabitants of Scythia from whom the modern Russians derive their modern name."
Bishop Loweth and Dr. Scofield was by no means the only to come to this conclusion. In 1890, Arno C. Gaebelein wrote a book on Ezekiel. Commenting on chapters 38 and 39, he declared: "This is Russia, Moscow, and Tobolsk."
Despite Darwinian's denial of God's Word: Noah's Three Sons procreation soon turned pagan not long after the deluge. Using the ages of the patriarchs listed in Genesis who lived before the time of the flood, Ussher and modern Biblical creationists conclude that Noah's flood occurred exactly 1,656 years after the Creation, which would pinpoint the date of the flood occurring in 2348 B.C.
Just one generation removed from the deluge, Nimrod led the revolt against God. Again Josephus Flavius: Antiquities..... Bk. 1:4:2-3 "Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grand-son of Ham, the son of Noah: a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it was through his means that they were happy; but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness.
He also gradually changed the government into tyranny; seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his own power. He also said, "He would be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again: for that he would build a Tower too high for the waters to be able to reach; and that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their fore-fathers.
[About An. 2520] Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God: and they built a Tower; neither sparing any pains, nor being in any degree negligent about the work.
When God saw that they acted so madly, he did not resolve to destroy them utterly; since they were not grown wiser by the destruction of the former sinners: but he caused a tumult among them, by producing in them diverse languages; and causing, that through the multitude of those languages, they should not be able to understand one another. The place wherein they built the Tower is now called Babylon: because of the confusion of that language which they readily understood before:"
Out of this tumult emerged the barbarian Magogians known as Scythians: in which Paul includes despite their savagery: Colossians 3:11 ~ "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian - Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is ALL = and in all."
"He therefore adds to barbarian the Scythian as the extreme example." (Peake)
Herodotus, the Greek historian, whom secular historians call the Father of History wrote extensively about the descendants of Magog referencing their Greek name Scythians in the 5th Century B.C. (about 150 years after Ezekiel's 6th century B.C. prophecies). Dating as far back as the 10th century B.C. Herodotus describes them as living in territory north of the Black Sea, and they terrorized the southern steppes of Russia dating as far back as the 10th century B.C.
Herodotus wrote: "For twenty-eight years the Scythians ruled over Asia, and things were turned upside down by their violence and contempt."
There is no doubt that the practice that gave the Scythians their lasting reputation for savagery was their brutal treatment of their enemies. According to Herodotus (4.64), in the battlefield the Scythians would drink the blood of the first enemy they killed. Their practice of bringing the severed head of an enemy to their chiefs is depicted on an ornamented cup.
Herodotus also reported that the Scythians would scalp their victim and then use the scalp as a napkin! At times, they would flay the entire skin and use it or display it. The Greeks invented the word aposkythizein for the process of scalping. The Scythians would also take the top of the skull, decorate it, and use it as a drinking bowl (Her. 4.65).
Yahweh puts hooks into Gog's jaws and dares to attack Israel. Though these invading enemies of YaHWeY are lured by their own selfish desires. The ONE & only God of Israel ultimately is in control. Gog is the leader of this futile invasion of Jerusalem, who we're told by Ezekiel over 25 centuries ago invades from the Far North: if one where to draw a line directly NORTH from Jerusalem Moscow would intersect. Indicting the instigators: Rosh, Magog, Meshach, & Tubal inhabiting these northern regions.
Daily Devotion: Words of Encouragement - by Greg Laurie -
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.-1 Thessalonians 5:11
When Johnny Cash was young, he had a high tenor voice. Across the street from his hometown high school lived La Vonda Mae Fielder, a music teacher who offered private singing lessons at $3 a pop. Johnny's mother took in laundry to earn money for her son's first-and, it turned out, also his last-lesson.
His sister accompanied Johnny and his mother to Fielder's home that day, and vividly remembers what went down in her living room.
"Ms. Fielder said, 'Well, let me hear what you can do.' So, he sang a song-I don't remember what it was-and she said, 'You can stop now.' He hung his head and said, 'You mean I'm no good?' She said, 'On the contrary-you have a gift from God that I wouldn't dare touch! You're a song stylist. Always do it your way.' And that encouraged him greatly because he knew he had that calling."
Those words, in contrast to so many withering ones from his father, impacted Johnny dramatically.
By the time Johnny turned sixteen, his voice had become a deep baritone. Johnny's singing, while cutting firewood one day, brought tears to his mother's face because it reminded her so much of her daddy's voice.
She looked him square in the eye and added portentously: "God has His hand on you, son. Don't ever forget the gift." For the first time since his brother's death, Johnny Cash felt suffused with God's grace and imbued with hope that his life had a purpose after all.
1. Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. (Proverbs 12:25 NKJV)
Can you think of a time someone gave you a good word of encouragement that made your heart feel glad?
2. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. . . And we urge you, brothers and sisters . . . encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. . . always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. (1 Thessalonians 5:11-15 NIV)
When is the last time you were a source of encouragement and help to someone in your life? Can you think of someone you can build up today?
3. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you . . . (Isaiah 66:13 NKJV)
Johnny's mother, in stark contrast to his father, offered words of encouragement and comfort to Johnny. What impact has your mother had on your life?
FROM THE HEART
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