Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
SIGNS - Pete Garcia -
As we draw closer to the end of the age, there will inevitably be more and more signs and wonders becoming increasingly evident to those who are paying attention. After all, isn't the convergence all about the coalescing of signs and wonders all heralding the end of our age? But what are signs? Are signs the event themselves, or are they markers which point to some prescribed event forthcoming?
Revelation vs. Illumination
These days, there is an almost instinctive knee-jerk dismissal of anything outside the eschatological norm (i.e., within our community's current echo-chamber). This rejection is usually conducted so quickly and with such finality, that little to no verification is actually done any more to see if what is being put forth is true. This seems to indicate two things;
That progressive illumination is no longer possible,
That all new information is false.
The current dilemma of deciphering signs seems eerily similar to that of Christendom's confusion between salvation and sanctification when talking about the eternal security of the believer. So, for clarification purposes, let me explain the difference between revelation and illumination.
Biblically speaking, anything spoken by God to the prophets, apostles and writers of Scripture, was by divine revelation (ex. thus sayeth the Lord...). Anything recorded as canon in our Bible is there because the Holy Spirit moved men to write what they either saw, heard, thought, or were instructed too (2 Timothy 3:16). Over time, this revelation became progressive as God revealed more and more of Himself and His program to His people. The Apostle Paul's understanding (as revealed to him) was far greater than say John the Baptist's or even the other Apostles (Gal. 1:11-12, 2 Peter 3:14-16). This progressive revelation spanned from Adam to the Apostle John (and all there in-between) and is recorded as our Bible.
Progressive illumination on the other hand, comes from our understanding of that divine revelation over time as God's plan unfolds. This illumination has been ongoing since the closing of the New Testament canon from 95AD, unto our present day. This knowledge then becomes accumulative as we build off of what was discovered by previous generations. For example, Martin Luther did not invent sola scriptura or sola gratia, but simply rediscovered what was already in Scripture. The same thing could be said about John N. Darby. He didn't invent dispensationalism, but by simply returning to a literal, grammatical, and historical interpretation of Scripture (to include the prophetic texts of the Bible), he rediscovered what was always there. From these individuals (and others), our understanding of Scripture expands exponentially because we are shown things in a new light. Thus, at the right time, God moves men and women in our Church age to understand things in a certain light that gives new life and meaning to what Scripture has already declared.
I believe the issue today is that many are confusing new revelation, with new illumination. This could be said concerning the Revelation 12 sign, Joel 2, Luke 21, or other passages that speak explicitly about signs in our day and age. We are coming back into the age of signs, primarily because the super-sign (Israel) is back in her land. We are currently living through what amounts to be a transition period between the final moments of the Church Age (dispensation of grace) and the coming 70th Week of Daniel (see Daniel's 70 Weeks). The 70th Week is a 'closing the loop' of the dispensation of law that was a predetermined and specific amount of time for Israel and Jerusalem. This last week of years (seven years) was postponed (or put on pause) when first century Israel rejected and then executed her promised Messiah.
However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 1 Corinthians 2:6-8
I can already hear the Covenant and Reformed Theologians hyperventilating, so let me clarify what I am saying. It's not that Law will return again and be in effect for salvation purposes, because Christ has already accomplished what was necessary to fulfill that once for all, perfect sacrifice (Matt. 5:17, Hebrews 10:11-14) at the cross. Rather, they (Israel) will reinstitute the law in their new temple because they think that is what is necessary to bring the messiah. Unfortunately, this opens the door for the man Antichrist to come in and pretend to be this messiah (Dan. 9:27, John 5:43). But for unregenerate Israel, it is this return to the Law that will ultimately culminate in judgment that will bring her to understand that Jesus Christ was her promised Messiah all along (Zechariah 12:10-14). The prophet Jeremiah records how this will come about in the last days;
7Alas! For that day is great,
So that none is like it;
And it is the time of Jacob's trouble,
But he shall be saved out of it....
11 For I am with you,' says the Lord, 'to save you;
Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you,
Yet I will not make a complete end of you.
But I will correct you in justice,
And will not let you go altogether unpunished.' Jeremiah 30:7, 11
It then stands to reason that if 69 of the 70 weeks of years (483 years) were from Nehemiah's day up unto the death of Christ on the Cross, then this all occurred under the dispensation of Law. That last week (the 70th) will be a culmination (completing) of the dispensation of Law, albeit, with a slew of both new revelation (the New Testament) and illumination (the rebirth of Israel, confederated Europe, Gog and Magog, the Rapture) thrown in as evidence to Israel.
This illumination, in my estimation, has in about the last 40-50 years begun to move more from the academic arena, to the supernatural. Israel is coming up on her 70th year as a nation again, and to date, has not come to the realization that Christ is their Messiah. Granted, there are more Messianic Jews alive today than at any point in history, but nationally speaking, Judaism is still the main religion. What is required for Israel to believe, will be overwhelming signs (Ezekiel 38:18-23; 1 Cor. 1:22).
If the Gentiles seek after wisdom (they do), have we not obtained about the best understanding we could (this side of the veil) with the Dispensationalist movement for the past two centuries? What could be better than returning to a literal, grammatical, and historical understanding of all Scripture without the Catholic and Protestant biases and dogmas clouding our understanding? This is why prophetically speaking, we have plateaued academically in terms of illumination. In the face of the collapse of Western society, knowledge is no longer enough to pierce the increasingly hardened hearts of an unrepentant world.
"But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." Daniel 12:4
There seems to be a discrimination (intentional or not) in our community over the validity of what constitutes a sign which unfortunately creates bias in our understanding. This bias exists primarily in the West where knowledge is placed at a premium and the supernatural is relegated to the fringe. But in the rest of the world, where knowledge has lacked (due to a variety of reasons), the supernatural is primary. Let me provide two examples:
If a geopolitical event unfolds in the Middle East where Russia puts troops in or near Israel, or Israel strikes a weapons depot in Syria, we have no issue prophetically relating it to Isaiah 17 or Ezekiel 38 because many desperately want our newspaper to confirm what our Bible says (i.e., newspaper eisegesis). But if something happens in the heavens (celestially), those same folks are quick to dismiss any prophetic correlation.
Another example is the star of Bethlehem heralding the arrival of Christ's first coming at His birth. We don't typically think of Christ's birth as prophetically explosive, because relatively few people even knew what was happening. But concerning the star itself, was it only the Wise Men from the east who saw this, or was that star visible to anyone who happened to look into the sky? I'm willing to bet that many, many people saw that star but thought little of it. Yet, that star represented the greatest moment in all of human history where the Divine became flesh and would make salvation available for all mankind.
To be clear, Bible prophecy is unfolding in just about every sector we can define: Technologically, economically, militarily, religiously, and culturally have all seen a convergence (in varying degrees). In nature, we have seen and are seeing an increased "groaning" via earthquakes, volcanos, hurricanes, etc., which we can also point at as evidence of the 'birth pains.' Yet, if we experience four 'blood' moons in a row (all on biblical feast days), as well as a full solar eclipse crossing the United States, with another projected to cross the opposite direction seven years later...well, that couldn't be Joel 2:30-31 because that is just crazy.
"And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth:
Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
Concerning the September 23rd/Revelation 12 proponents, a predictable kneejerk-reaction came from the traditional talking heads (many of whom are respected prophecy experts). While I am appreciative of their past and even present contributions to our shrinking community, I was somewhat put-off by their apparent lack of scholarship in 'earnestly contending' for the truth. It's easy to simply label someone a date-setter and move on, but becomes a little more challenging when they actually have to 'see if these things be so' (Acts 17:11). The fact is they didn't bother or they simply honed in on the fringe elements of the group as evidence. Isn't that the same thing we decry about our own detractors (skeptics, main stream media, etc.) do to us concerning Bible prophecy? Nevertheless, it reminded me of something a wise man once said,
He who answers a matter before he hears it,
It is folly and shame to him. Proverbs 18:13
Instead, what the "Pre-Trib Establishment" did rather, was to go on record condemning without confirming, and then claiming if the rapture was going to happen, it wouldn't happen on that day. Not claiming something would happen on September 23rd is in my opinion, just as egregious and audacious as claiming something will. The fact the respectable types chose not to actually contend with the reasoned-voices (as opposed to the kooks), is what I found disappointing. It is possible that this particular astronomical alignment has meaning, we just don't know what it is yet.
The late Cris Putnam wrote an excellent book entitled The Supernatural Worldview in which he discussed the overwhelming neglect the supernatural aspect of our faith has suffered during the 'age of reason.' During this period, the church attempted to distance itself from its supernatural nature all while trying to validate itself almost exclusively from just a moral, ethical, and scientific standpoint. While the Christian faith can do both, what happened then was a lopsided, desensitization process that effectively deadened the mainstream denominations.
In the Middle East and other places, dreams and visions have become increasingly common place where the Gospel has all been shut out. Once North Korea opens up due to its coming regime change, I imagine we will hear all about how God used dreams and visions in that country to reach the North Korean people. I'm also willing to bet that many Christians will be equally dismissive of these since they don't fall into some scientifically verifiable category.
Going back to my original point, shouldn't we expect to see more signs as we draw closer to the end? I mean, isn't the purpose of signs? Signs are meant to be discovered, talked about, and to serve as warnings. We are commanded to watch and be ready (Matthew 24:43-44). I understand being ready, because Rapture or not, any of us could breathe our last breath at any time. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. But if signs can't be known, why are we commanded to watch for them? Watch what?
But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah." Matthew 12:39
This verse is often quoted (or misquoted rather) in an attempt to debunk anyone who thinks the signs of the time are pointing to the soon return of Jesus Christ. But if we look at the context of the passage, we see that Jesus was pointing explicitly to that generation present in His midst. They dismissed the signs and prophecies concerning His coming, which resulted in them not knowing the time of their visitation (Luke 19:41-44, Matt 16:1-4, 23:1-39).
I understand that as a community of Christ loving, sign-watching 'watchmen on the wall' types, we have become somewhat jaded with all the previous false predictions about our Lord's return. William Miller (1844-45), the Jehovah Witnesses (numerous times), Edgar Whisenant (1988-89), Harold Camping (1994, 2011) and many more false claims have been made to make the point. My point is not to defend the September 23rd proponents. My opinion was the 2017 seemed a likely year (given the significance of her timeline), but we can't know for sure.
What we can know, is that Christ's return (as of 23 September 2017) has all but been made a punchline for jokes and movies. What I can say though for sure, is that if there is only one sign we can hang our hats on (given the current climate), is that 2 Peter 3:3-4 is in full effect with an intensity and frequency not seen for millennia.
Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation."
Watchman Warning: Times of Deception - By Hal Lindsey -
Note: Obviously Hal wrote this before the 23rd, but the heart of message still applies!
The September 23rd deception, like those of date-setters past, will soon be debunked by the calendar itself. On September 24th, the world will not have come to an end. PlanetX will not have crashed into Planet Earth. The Millennial reign will not have begun. The earth will not have split in two. The star of Bethlehem will not have returned.
Will there will be any apologies from the people who perpetrated these hoaxes? If history is a guide, probably not. They will have had so much fun stirring up attention for themselves, they'll just decide to do it again next year, or maybe even later this year.
Robyn Flynn is a Montreal radio producer. On September 19th, she tweeted, "Just tried to book an interview w/ a researcher who says the world ends Saturday. Told me he's not available for interviews until next week."
She was talking about the so-called "Christian numerologist," David Meade. And their discussion neatly sums up the problem.
In a video with 9 million YouTube views, another speaker excitedly tells us about the possibilities of September 23, 2017. But he admits that he made a similar video in another year. "I made that video about September 23, 2015," he said. "And quite a few people watched that video. Now, some people said, 'Well, nothing happened.' Well, some of the things I mentioned, if not all of them in that video, did happen. The pope came to America - something that the world had never seen before."
The Pope did visit the United States in September 2015. But it wasn't the first time the world had ever seen a Pope come to America. It happened in 1965, 1979, 1984, 1987, 1993, 1995, 1999, and 2008 - not to mention a couple of layovers in Alaska.
And it was hardly a prophetic prediction. He made the video in August, and the Pope visited the U.S. in September. The visit had been on the world calendar for months. If that's supposed to give his new video credibility, it sadly fails.
Now this particular teacher is careful to say that the things he's talking about may come true, or may not. He's not dogmatic, and rarely makes straight forward statements. He says he will leave it to his viewers to reach their own conclusions - something viewers tend to do whether you want them to or not. But when a teacher tells the viewer to decide for himself based on the facts, the teacher needs to be especially careful to give accurate facts.
He said, "In September 23rd of 2015, many astronomers, many scientists were saying that there is some weird, weird thing going on in the fact that there is this star that showed up... and they called it the 'Bethlehem Star,' the star that appeared during the time when Jesus was born - that same star."
I believe he was referring, not to a star, but to a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in the skies as viewed from our angle on earth. They appeared in close proximity in July and August of 2015. Then, in October, Jupiter and Venus again appeared close in the sky, this time also near Mars. A few astronomers think that one of these conjunctions of planets may account for the star seen by the wise men long ago. This is not unusual. Unbelievers often try to come up with explanations for what they consider "myths."
The YouTube teacher goes on to say, "So, almost 2000 years later, we have a star appearing that was the same star that appeared according to astronomers. You can look this all up on YouTube. Look at video."
YouTube is a wonderful tool, but just because someone posted something there does not give instant credibility to their opinions. In fact, from earth, we see a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus fairly often - not every 2000 years as claimed in the video. If he's referring to the three planets together, that didn't happen in September of 2015, but in October. And it lasted only days - not the two years he implies.
I realize I haven't gotten into the astrology lesson that these people give when they speak about Revelation 12. Suffice it to say, they don't understand Revelation 12. I won't bother to prove the fallacy of their opinions because, as I said at the beginning, the calendar will debunk them.
I have several concerns, though. First, the Bible's credibility is harmed by these kinds of teachings. When the predicted event doesn't happen, people are left to think that the Bible said something inaccurate. Nothing could be further from the truth. This stuff is about pseudo-science, and the religion of astrology. It's not about the Bible. But when preachers such as this man say it, people assume such preachers speak for God.
My second concern is that so many people have chosen to take these things seriously. Nine million people viewed the video I just referenced. That means people are passing it on to one another using email and social media. Why pass on such obvious fallacies? Where is Christian discernment?
Finally, I'm concerned that Christians are so quick to accept something that God condemns - the false religion of astrology. Isaiah 47:13-14 says, "Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame." (NIV)
Christians follow the great God of the universe. He has spoken to us. He has given us the precious gift of His word. Yet, some of us are willing to turn to astrology as the answer to the puzzles of the universe.
Brothers and sisters, stick to the Bible.
The Wise Shall Understand
- J.R. Church - https://prophecyinthenews.com/articles/the-wise-shall-understand/
"It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter" (Proverbs 25:2)
We commonly call the Bible "The Word of God." But what do we mean by that? Do we believe it offers a Divine message from Deity? Or do we really think it is just a collection of stories written by men alone? The simplest reader can open the pages of the Bible and learn about Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and the flood, the tower of Babel, etc. These historical accounts are easy enough - they lay out the foundational principles for civilization and teach moral values by which we get along in society. But, is that all there is to biblical study - practical supplication?
Some Christians are comfortable with just a simple understanding of moral principles. Most sermons deal with practical applications of Scripture. However, a growing number of Christians desire to understand the metaphysical aspects - the mysterious teachings of the Bible - mysteries that give us a glimpse beyond the veil. These mystical teachings include such subjects as heaven, hell, eternity, angels, etc.
We all admit the existence of something beyond the grave, but many Christians let it go at that. They do not wish to get involved with subjects considered to be beyond our human experience.
There are strange stories - a flaming sword that guarded the gate of Eden; a burning bush on the slopes of Sinai; a pillar of fire that hovered over the camp of Israel for forty years; all of which we know very little.
Yet the Bible beckons us to learn more. We are admonished to study to show ourselves "...approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Tim. 2:15).
Over and over again, we are reminded that we should aspire to be "wise" in the Scriptures, able to understand mysteries.
Levels of Interpretation
The stages of ancient Israel taught four levels of biblical interpretation:
Peshat - the simple meaning of the Scriptures taught in the Mishnah.
Remez - the "hint" level, practical instructions for intellectuals taught in the Gemara. The Mishnah and Gemara comprise the Talmud.
Drosh - meaning "to thresh," yields special wisdom for political and religious leaders taught in the Midrash.
Sood - The secret divine level - the "other-world" sphere, teaching the prophetic aspects of Scripture, including the mysteries.
Each of these levels of study is thought to take the believer back toward the center of a spiritual Garden of Eden - to eventually reach the "tree of life." The first letter of each Hebrew word spells PRDS, standing for "paradise."
The Peshat level is simply the Primary Interpretation of Scripture. I consider the Remez and Drosh levels to be the Practical Application of Scripture. The Sood level is the most complicated of all - the Prophetic Implication of Scripture. Note that I call this level a study of "implication." For the most part, prophecy is not explicit. It is implied - only for the spiritual eyes that can see it. Because of the very nature of this mysterious level, mistakes are commonplace.
One major mistake is that some Christians think this level allows them to prognosticate the future. It is true that prophets of the Bible were adherents of this Sood level and that they could look beyond the veil of the present and see the future. However, that does not mean that we can do the same. One great controversy over studying Bible prophecy is that some regard ministers like me to be nothing more than "crystal ball gazers."
One can hardly blame the average Christian for being skeptical, For years, men have been setting unrealistic dates for the rapture, only to be ridiculed when their date came and went without incident. A candid observation of the very nature of eschatology leaves us to admit that, inevitably, one is led to search for the timing of Christ's return. The most conservative scholar would concur that they search the Scriptures in hopes of learning more about the "time" of the end.
We who are Pre-millennialists look for the return of Christ at or near the beginning of the seventh millennium - that's a date any way you look at it. "Pre" means "prior" to the millennium. We who are Pre-Tribulationists, with no apology, are looking for the rapture at or before the beginning of the tribulation. If these are not dates of some sort, what is?
We readily admit that we "see through a glass darkly." There are mystical subjects in the Bible that we are incapable of comprehending. But should we ignore these subjects? No scientific investigator ever completely understood his subject before exploring it. Great inventions came out of mental explorations of little-known concepts. As men put their minds together, pieces of intellectual puzzles began to fit into place which, heretofore, had been secreted away - awaiting the day when they would come together as a result of investigation.
We look at Albert Einstein and respect him for being a mental genius. Yet, some look at theologians who walk in fields of the unknown and consider them to be heretics. May we be reminded that in 1632, the Roman Church considered Galileo to be a heretic, simply because he opened a new area of scientific thought. Largely, it is still the same today. If anything, we should hold our criticism of fellow theologians and wait to see what piece of the puzzle they might be able to contribute.
Special Wisdom Is a Gift
As far back as the days of Joseph, the "wise" were considered to be in touch with God - channels of metaphysical wisdom. "And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art" (Gen. 41:39).
This wisdom referred to in the Bible is more than just a normal ability to discern Scripture. It is a gift imparted by God for those who aspire toward creative ability. Moses writes about certain special people who were gifted with wisdom to build the Tabernacle:
"Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the LORD put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the LORD had commanded" (Ex. 36:1).
In what is perhaps the lawgiver's most mysterious writing, The Song of Moses, he sings of the end-time in couched language, then says, "O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!" (Deut. 32:29). This song is so important with end-time knowledge, the saints in heaven will take up harps and sing it:
"And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
"And they sing the song of Moses ..." (Rev. 15:2, 3).
Though Moses worried that Israel would not understand the prophetic nature of the song, we are assured that the mystery will be known during the days of God's final judgment upon an unbelieving world.
The Wisdom of Solomon
As the newly-made king of Israel, young Solomon was granted uncommon wisdom. There have been none so wise as Solomon throughout history, except for Jesus Christ. Solomon's wisdom was a gift from God:
"Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee" (I Kings 3:12).
We are told that Solomon had knowledge of the sciences unrivaled until this generation. There are stories that Solomon healed the queen of Sheba, having knowledge of medicines and herbs and that he took her on a ride in his airship! Such extra-biblical stories have come down to us through history, whether accurate or not, to demonstrate the creative genius of a wise man.
According to the book of Esther, in the kingdoms of the east, wise men were thought to possess knowledge of subjects not demonstrate by the average citizen. "Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times ..." (Esther 1:13).
One who learns to read and study the Bible, even the simple, will eventually become wise: "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple" (Psalms 19:7).
There are many Scriptures that offer wisdom and blessing to those who study the deeper things of G0od. For example, following the insertion of seven reversed nun in the Hebrew text of Psalm 107, God offers a clue to the mystery:
"Whose is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand ..." (Psalm 107: 43).
The nun is the fourteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Normally, it refers to downfall, but the reversed form is said to be a demonstration of God turning His back in judgment upon the wicked. The verses designated by the reversed nun appear to describe the dissolution of Mystery Babylon. But the word "Babylon" is not used. We are left to speculate about the unusual phenomenon. We feel confident, however, with our conclusions. If we are wrong, we are assured that someday, someone will understand. We'd like to think that the "wise" person in verse 43 is us. However, if our attempt to interpret the passage is wrong, that does not mean that we are not wise - just not wise enough!
We should strive to " ...understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings" (Prov. 1:6). We dislike being wrong, but admittedly, can't be right one-hundred percent of the time. Accuracy may be the test of a prophet, but should not be used to grade the student of prophecy.
We are also told that the soul winner is no ordinary person! "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise" (Prov. 11:30).
Wisdom Builds Confidence
There is a difference in the demeanor of a person who possesses wisdom. If one strives for knowledge and wisdom, he will develop a special confidence that the average man does not possess. Solomon writes: "Who is as the wise man? And who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? A man's wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed" (Eccl. 8:1).
Daniel also addressed this confidence, which can be seen in the attitude the wise have toward life: " And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever" (Dan. 12:3). We know that the passage deals with the eternal state of the soul winner, but from a practical view, we also should note that learning and public speaking builds confidence.
Concerning the suffering of the end-time generation, Daniel writes, "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand" (Daniel 12:10). Who are the "wise" in Daniel's verse? They are the believers who have not been afraid to search the prophecies and lay out a scenario for those who will suffer in the last days. One can endure just about anything if he knows that he will win in the end.
Hosea discusses God's use of mysterious prophetic metaphors, "I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets" (Hose 12:10).
He then proceeds to couch his predictions in the forms of "...lion," "...leopard" (13:7), "...bear" (13:8), and "...the sorrows of a travailing woman" (13:13); and concludes with the promise, "Who is wise, and he shall understand these things?" (14:9).
New Testament References
As Jesus referred to a prophecy taught in the book of Daniel, He noted that a particular group of people would understand what He was talking about:
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand) Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains" (Matt. 24:15,16).
Daniel was a sealed book in those days. Most did not comprehend the subject of the "abomination of desolation." But for that future generation which would understand, Jesus explains that they should flee into the mountains.
The Use of Metaphors
Have you often wondered why the Lord uses metaphors and symbolic language in prophetic passages? It is because He wants some to know while others are blinded to the mystery. Jesus explains the use of parables to cover up the plain message: "Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand" (Luke 8:10).
Even the disciples had a difficult time understanding certain predictions until Jesus explained the details. After His resurrection, He mentioned that the ordeal was predicted in the law of Moses, in the prophets, and in the psalms: "Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures..." (Luke 24:45).
Luke simply says that Christ explained the prophecies. Unfortunately, Luke did not elaborate. We are left to search them out for ourselves! Ah, but that is the nature of prophetic studies. The student of the Bible must search - for a lifetime - and continually discover new and exciting nuggets to add to his knowledge.
In ages past, before the invention of the printing press, can you imagine how many believers discovered things that became lost again to future generation - simply because they did not have a method for communication with other believers? We are blessed in this generation of mass communication. We can share our finds with God's people everywhere.
Knowledge Brings Wisdom
Id we would aspire to gain prophetic knowledge - to be "wise" - then we must continually study God's Word. It is only through the accumulation of biblical knowledge that the break-through in wisdom will come. Furthermore, only the Holy Spirit can piece the puzzle together in our minds. So how do we reach the Sood level of biblical interpretation? First, we should remind ourselves that Daniel prayed before each encounter with an angel. Without a proper prayer life, we cannot expect to reach new insights. Note that Daniel did not have the Holy Spirit indwelling him as we have today. His learning experiences came from angelic messengers. But Jesus opened a new avenue of biblical study when He informed the disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit:
"It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.
"His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.
"Now are we sure that thou knowest all things..." (John 16:7, 13, 29, 30).
Here is your key to opening the prophetic mysteries of the Bible. As you pray for guidance and diligently study the Bible, the Holy Spirit "will show you things to come" (v.13).
Don't Be Conceited
One note of caution should be addressed. Let us not become unkind toward ministers with whom we disagree. Maybe we will understand their thinking at a future time - or maybe they will learn to understand us. The underlying principle to really being wise in biblical knowledge is demonstrated by our love for the brethren. The apostle Paul puts it this way:
"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountai9ns, and have not charity, I am nothing" (I Cor. 13:2).
Know any ministers who are constantly complaining about the perceived failings of other ministers? Paul really comes down hard on those who are constantly trying to straighten out other ministers. The apostle encourages us not to be like that. In the next chapter, Paul told the church at Corinth, "Brethren be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men" (I Cor. 14:20). Let us love the brethren and have patience with those who appear to be less knowledgeable than we perceived ourselves to be. After all, we may not be as smart as we think we are.
Do Not Shun Prophetic Studies
Finally, we are told that a special blessing is reserved for the believer who studies prophecy. John writes: "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand" (Rev. 1:3).
No one fully understands prophecy. Until this generation, the subject was sealed. One only needs to look at the past century and understand that the human race rode horses for six thousand years! But that's all changed. Today, man has ridden a rocket to the moon! Errors were made along the way. Accidents happened. But nothing would have been accomplished if no one had been willing to grope in intellectual darkness until they found the proverbial switch! So it is with the study of eschatology.
At the close of each letter to the churches, John writes, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit sayeth unto the churches." We are told that a special ability to hear with spiritual understanding is given to a chosen group. Not all have this ability.
Perhaps Revelation 13:18 is the most familiar passage that points to the ability of some who understand the deeper levels of biblical interpretation:
"Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six" (Rev. 13:18).
Obviously, not all Christians are given the ability to comprehend dark passages Don't expect to know everything there is to know about prophecy. At the same time, don't leave the study of it to others. Jump in! Get your feet wet! Don't worry about making mistakes. We all do! The study of the Sood level of Scripture is a "trial and error" process. Don't become discouraged if you embarrass yourself with some wild notion. Just be willing to learn. Keep feeling your way until you too, find the switch! When you finally flip it, the light feels so good!
Israel Watch: The War Continues - Jim Fletcher -
Many aren't aware that the Arabs of the Middle East have always been at war with the Jews. Though the "Palestinians" came into being as a political weapon 50 years ago, they are Arabs, in the same neighborhood as other Arabs.
More than 100 years ago, the local Arabs of Palestine refused to accept any Jewish communities, even though the land had been bought and paid for by Jews willing to brave hardships of all types to settle in their ancestral homeland.
And even when nothing "big" is happening, there is still the relentless Arab War Against the Jews.
A couple things reported by The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center should be noted:
"This past week riots continued in Judea and Samaria. Palestinians continued throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. The Israeli security forces carried out counterterrorism activities throughout Judea and Samaria, detaining Palestinians suspected of terrorist activity. Weapons and objects used in riots were seized. The more prominent occurrences were the following:
"September 17, 2017 - Following intelligence information, the Israeli security forces apprehended a Palestinian suspected of planning a terrorist attack near the town of Harish (in central Israel). The Palestinian was detained for interrogation (Facebook page of Red Alert, September 17, 2017).
"September 17, 2017 - A Palestinian tried to throw an improvised hand grenade at the compound of the Tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem. He was seen and shot by the Israeli security forces. He was wounded and evacuated by other Palestinians (Judea and Samaria Rescue, September 15, 2017).
"September 15, 2017 - A Molotov cocktail was thrown at the security fence around Kiryat Arba, causing a fire. There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, September 17, 2017).
"September 14, 2017 -Israeli security forces operating in the village of Yatta (near Hebron) found 48,000 shekels (about $13,670) in the possession of an activist belonging to an unauthorized Hamas charity association. The money had been transferred by Hamas and was apparently meant for rebuilding the house of a terrorist operative who carried out a deadly attack in Otniel in January 2016.
"September 14, 2017 - Acting on information, the Israeli security forces detained a Palestinian living in Issawiya, a neighborhood in east Jerusalem, who was planning to carry out a terrorist attack in Jerusalem (Facebook page of Red Alert, September 14, 2017).
"September 14, 2017 - The Israel Police Force detained a Palestinian from east Jerusalem who was a senior operative in the Hamas-affiliated Shabab al-Aqsa organization, which is outlawed in Israel. He was involved in riots on the Temple Mount and used the social networks to state praise and express solidarity with the organization's activity (Facebook page of Red Alert, September 14, 2017)."
And if the local incidents on the ground aren't bad enough, notice how the evil Palestinian leadership hurts Israel politically/globally:
"In response to Israeli efforts to join the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member, Yusuf al-Mahmoud, a spokesman for the Palestinian national consensus government, said the Palestinian government denounced the efforts because Israel was insubordinate and had no commitment to international law. He said Israel represented the world's evil because Palestine was the last remaining occupied territory (Palestinian TV, September 13, 2017). Riyad al-Maliki said the council of foreign ministers of the Arab League had nominated Muhammad Abu al-Ghaith, secretary general of the Arab League, to appoint a committee of ministers to monitor Israel's attempts to gain membership in the UN Security Council in 2019-2020, and to prevent it (Wafa, September 13, 2017). According to the Palestinians, one of the committee's roles will be to convince the countries which can vote not to support Israel into the Security Council (Palestinian TV, September 13, 2017)."
Molotov cocktails, terror planning, and bearing false witness in the UN.
The list is long and horrific. After initial hopeful tones from the Trump White House, it now appears it'll be business-as-usual with regard to American policy in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Bad reports about the State Department and key advisors like H.R. McMaster are coming out in the context of our relationship with Israel.
So it is a reminder that this conflict will not be resolved until the Messiah comes.
That's why I pay attention weekly to the "small" incidents that beset Israel.
Few in power really care about Israel. They certainly do not care about the murder of Jews.
It is a reminder to stay vigilant in praying for the Jewish people. I know many of you do.
The war continues.
Why Did God Choose Little Egypt? - By Daymond Duck -
On Aug. 21, 2017, there was a total solar eclipse over the U.S. and because God used darkness to warn Pharaoh to repent and to let His people go (Ex. 10:21-29), some Jewish Rabbis believe the eclipse was a warning to the U.S. for its citizens to repent of their sins.
The eclipse reached its maximum coverage of the sun over the U.S. in an area of southern Illinois called "Little Egypt." That area is called "Little Egypt" partly because it has a river system that is much like the Nile Valley in Egypt.
Egypt subjected the children of Israel to slavery. And during the Civil War, there was illegal slavery in southern Illinois.
Several cities (Karnak, Cairo and Thebes) and some businesses (King Tut's Gas Station) in "Little Egypt" have Egyptian names.
A second total solar eclipse will cross the U.S. on Apr. 8, 2024. It will also reach its maximum coverage of the sun over "Little Egypt."
This brings up a question: Why did God choose "Little Egypt" to receive the first dose of maximum darkness and why did He choose it to receive a second dose about seven years from now?
If darkness in Egypt was a warning to Pharaoh to repent, is darkness in "Little Egypt" a warning to the U.S. for its citizens to repent?
Without question, repentance is needed and it is a good thing. But some question any connection between the eclipse and repentance in the U.S. so I suggest that we look at some interesting facts.
Just know that God loves people, but He loves their souls more. Know that God brings good out of everything and He uses problems to draw people to Him before they perish or have even greater problems.
Know that more people in Texas, Louisiana and Florida have probably talked to God longer and harder since the eclipse than they did before. Know that many have a greater understanding of the power of God. Know that many now realize that they were taking God and their blessings for granted.
Many people are suffering and they will suffer more, but if just one person got saved that soul is worth more than all the property damage that occurred.
The eclipse didn't last three days, but three days after the eclipse tropical storm Harvey became a hurricane. It struck the Texas Coast a few hours later.
The first Plague in Egypt was water turned into blood, dead fish, stinking and unsanitary water (Ex. 7:14-25). During the flooding in Texas and Louisiana, raw sewage and chemicals got into the water. In some places, strong contamination caused the water to stink and receding water left behind dead fish and animals that quickly started to stink.
The third Plague in Egypt was lice (The root word means gnats or mosquitoes).
Health officials in Texas and Louisiana warned that stagnant water will provide millions of places for mosquitoes to breed. They called for aerial spraying to control mosquitoes that spread diseases (Zika, Cholera, etc.).
The fifth plague in Egypt was the death of the cattle, horses, camels, donkeys and sheep (Ex. 9:1-7). Hurricane Harvey killed many animals.
The seventh Plague in Egypt was hail (Ex. 9:13-35). God said hail would fall unlike anything that has ever happened before or anything that will ever happen again. Some did not believe God's warning because Egypt is a very dry country with less than one inch of rain per year.
Because of the warm temperatures, Florida rarely gets hail, but it does happen. In fact, on Sept. 10, 2017, it was reported that hail had fallen in Tampa and Miami during hurricane Irma.
The ninth Plague in Egypt was darkness (Ex. 10:21-29). Although it was a different matter, the Dept. of Homeland Security said at its peak on Sept. 11, 2017, about 15 million Floridians were without electricity. Three-fourths of the state was in darkness. In an amazing turn around, the electricity (and light) was restored to about 10 million homes in just 2 days.
The tenth Plague in Egypt was the death of the first-born son and animals (Ex. 11:1-12:30). Following the death of multitudes, Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron by night. He ordered the Jews to leave Egypt. "And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men" (Ex. 12:33).
As Hurricane Irma approached, everyone that could was urged to leave Florida. The roads were jammed.
When the Israelites left Israel, Pharaoh pursued them (Ex. 14:1-31). Pharaoh thought he had them trapped against the Red Sea. The Israelites were afraid, but Moses said, "The Lord shall fight for you." God told Moses to lift his rod and stretch it over the Red Sea and divide it. Moses did and God sent a strong east wind that made the waters go back so that the Israelites could cross on dry ground.
Many skeptics deny that this happened. Some suggest the Jews crossed in shallow water, an earthquake or a landslide dried up the water, etc.
The Bible says the Lord did it. And many conservative theologians and preachers accept it as a historical fact. Some things in the Bible may not make sense to us.
But it is wrong to question the Bible.
At Tampa Bay, Florida, strong winds from the northeast blew the water out of the Bay. People walked on land that is usually under water. It proves that God could send a strong east wind to divide the Red Sea and let the Jews cross on dry ground if He wanted to (Ex. 14:21-22). A similar event also happened in the Bahamas.
Also, at Tampa Bay, two Manatees got stranded on dry ground because the water receded so fast. People put the Manatees on tarps and drug them 100 yds. back to the water.
There are other fascinating things:
One, the rod of Moses turned into a snake (Ex. 7:8-12) and there were snakes in the flood waters in Texas, Louisiana and Florida.
Two, the children of Israel complained about their need for drinking water on at least two different occasions (Ex. 17:1-7; Num. 20:9-12) and some of the flood victims complained about a lack of water.
Three, hurricane Jose looked like it was going to strike the Caribbean, but it turned away and wandered around in the southwest Atlantic for several days; and the children of Israel looked like they were going to enter the Promised Land, but they turned away and wandered around in the wilderness for forty years.
Even though the citizens of Florida were urged to evacuate, some decided to stay and have a "hurricane party." Menu favorites included cold beer and hot wings. Some lifted their drinks in the air and shouted, "Happy Hurricane."
Concerning His return, Jesus said, "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Matt. 24:37-39).
Did God choose "Little Egypt" to remind the U.S. that He sent Ten Plagues on Egypt?
Did God choose "Little Egypt" to remind the U.S. we have been taking our blessings for granted and He can take them away anytime He wants to do it?
Did God choose "Little Egypt" to remind the U.S. that He is in control and no nation has enough wealth, weapons or whatever to resist Him?
Has God sent or allowed birth pang like disasters (increasing in frequency and strength) to remind the U.S. of an important sign of our Lord's return?
Understand that as bad as it was, the flooding in Texas, Louisiana and Florida was a little puddle compared to the great Flood in Noah's day and what our nation has gone through is nothing compared to what will happen in the Tribulation period.
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck
News from Hal Lindsey Media Ministries - Hal Lindsey - www.hallindsey.com
Terrorists struck again in England last week.
It's fortunate that these would-be bombers weren't such great bombmakers. The crude bucket bomb was placed on a commuter train, but failed to fully detonate.
The explosive flash injured 29 people, but a proper detonation could have killed dozens. ISIS claimed credit.
The government raised the national threat level to "Critical." London's streets were flooded with police, fully armed, not just carrying their usual nightsticks.
The forced Islamization of Britain has been going on for years. But the real consequences are just beginning to be realized.
Five years ago, 12 Pakistanis living in Manchester, England, were convicted of sex trafficking and raping 47 young British girls. All of the girls were white. Some say that's why full justice in the case was delayed so long. Political correctness.
But that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Last month, a police operation in Newcastle exposed the sexual exploitation of 700 young British women. Like the Manchester case, it turns out that almost all of the perpetrators are British-born Muslims from the Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian, Iraqi, Iranian, and Turkish communities.
Some say it's "racist" to identify the religion of the accused. But this isn't about "race," it's about "beliefs" and the consequences of those beliefs.
Britain now has a massive problem with "child grooming gangs." "Child grooming" is the process by which an adult wins a child's confidence and slowly turns that young person -- usually a girl -- into a sex slave.
Britain today is rife with stories of young girls who have disappeared. Some of them never surface again.
Some have gotten away from their captors. They tell stories about how they were used as prostitutes for Muslim men.
One told about being abducted at 15. Her abductor regularly raped her and he prostituted her to other men. She had four babies during those years. He sold each of them.
Some experts estimate that many thousands of young British girls have fallen victim to these rings. In the city Rotherham, a formal inquiry found that between 1997 and 2013, more than 1,400 young girls were abused and trafficked.
And it's happening across Europe, too.
But the information is suppressed by politically correct governments and the media. Primarily because almost all of the perpetrators are Muslims.
It may be true that the majority of Muslims, especially in the West, do not engage in such practices, but it is consistent with the life and teachings of Mohammed. Beginning with Mohammed, Islam has a historical undercurrent of vile, demonic sexual deviance, including pederasty and slavery.
Folks, this is an example of the dangers of political correctness -- with a decision not to speak the truth. Thousands upon thousands of British lives are destroyed by the silence.
A greater question now looms: Will we even recognize Britain -- or Europe -- in another five years?
Here in America, last week the U.S. State Department issued an announcement. It said that the Trump administration strongly supports the Taylor Force Act.
The Taylor Force Act is legislation now working its way through Congress. It is named after a young West Point graduate who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. While visiting Israel with a group of American students, Taylor Force was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist.
The terrorist also stabbed ten other persons that night in Tel Aviv before he was shot and killed by Israeli police.
Because he died while committing an act of terrorism against infidels, the terrorist was named a "Heroic Martyr" by the Palestinian Authority. His crime was rewarded with a monthly stipend for his family from the PA's "Martyr's Fund."
The PA sets aside $350 million each year for its "Martyr's Fund." Much of that comes from U.S. taxpayers.
The Taylor Force Act will end U.S. economic aid to the Palestinian Authority until it stops rewarding and encouraging terrorism.
While I strongly agree with the moral intentions behind the Taylor Force Act, I am apprehensive that it can actually accomplish its purpose. I'm also aware of the potential risks.
It is difficult for me to imagine PA President Mahmoud Abbas actually stopping the funding of terrorists in Israel. As an early leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a recognized terrorist group, terrorism has been his stock-in-trade for many decades.
Also, he is hanging on to power in the West Bank by the skin of his teeth. His term of office ran out in 2009, but he has held on to power by constantly postponing Palestinian general elections for one reason or another.
His support of terrorism is extremely popular among the Palestinian population. If he were to appear to be bowing to America in that regard, it might doom his leadership. Hamas, another recognized terrorist organization which gets major funding from Iran, would almost certainly step in with payments to those terrorist families. That would make Hamas even more powerful outside of Gaza.
The loss of those funds might actually cause the rise of a much greater evil -- Hamas.
See what a tangled web of booby-traps this issue is? Many of the Israeli-Palestinian issues, in fact. Folks, this is why we need to pray constantly for our leaders and the leaders of Israel. Only God's wisdom can help them successfully navigate the deadly minefield we call "The Middle East!"
In Luke 21:25-26, Jesus prophesied that in the last days there would be signs in the heavens, the seas and the waves would roar, and there would be distress among the nations. He even said that men's hearts would fail from the fear of what was to come.
That prophecy will be fulfilled near the end of the Great Tribulation. We know that because in the next verse He notes that, "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." (Luke 21:27 NKJV)
Though complete fulfillment will come later, this prophecy still relates directly to us today. When Jesus summed it all up, He spoke to the people of our times: "When these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." (Luke 21:28 NKJV)
Our redemption is the Rapture of all true believers. Jesus said that when these things BEGIN to happen, we should "look up... because our redemption draws near."
Well, folks, these things have certainly begun to happen. Five hurricanes in the last month, a "thousand-year flood," two major earthquakes in Mexico in the last two weeks, the nations of the world in deep distress over North Korea's increasing insanity, terrorism almost a daily occurrence in Europe, weekly rioting and growing hostility in America, an exploding opioid and drug addiction crisis worldwide, and the list goes on. And even with daily positive economic news, people sense that we are never more than one step or one crisis away from a global economic meltdown.
It's time to "look up!"
Finally, did you ever know someone who was so good that it made you feel bad in comparison?
Most of us have had someone in our lives who was so pure and exemplary that we felt a bit uncomfortable in his or her presence. And that discomfort only grows if they know us well.
In other words, if the pure person knows some of our impurities, we feel even more miserable just being around them. And it's even worse if our bad behavior somehow causes pain to that exemplary person.
But to make things worse, what if they continue to look on us with love and compassion? It's misery to be around a person like that. Their very presence causes us guilt and pain. We almost always manage to put up some kind of barrier between us and them.
To a much greater degree, that's the problem between God and man.
From the day in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Even disobeyed God's direction and ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil -- and discovered they were naked -- humanity has felt naked and ashamed in God's presence.
And well we should! We are sinners and God is holy. God is flawless and we are full of flaws.
But He keeps on loving us.
And in His unfathomable love, He provided a way for us to be received into His pure presence as if we were as perfect as He is. That's why Jesus said, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26 NASB)
That way is God the Son -- Jesus Christ.
He took our gross imperfections upon His perfect self, died in our place, and paid the penalty for each one of our sins, "...that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB)
If you are "in Him," you have "become the righteousness of God...." You are perfect in Christ. Therefore, you are acceptable to a pure and holy God! He gives you all of the privileges of Christ's perfect righteousness. You can stand before God in confidence.
That is why I call it "The Greatest Miracle!"
Don't miss this week's Report on TBN, Daystar, CPM Network, various local stations, www.hallindsey.com or www.hischannel.com . Check your local listings.
Please continue to pray continually for the victims of the recent hurricanes and flooding, especially in Puerto Rico this week.
Also pray for God's mercy and comfort for the terrified and helpless millions who are suffering because of this week's earthquake in Mexico City.
Remember, though we may be able to help with physical relief and aid, only God can bring peace, hope, healing, and restoration to those in such distress.
Daily Jot: The end of the world didn't come - Bill Wilson -
In the past several weeks, predictions of the end of the world have been coming into my inbox. Several Christians were predicting the Rapture and others were talking about a planet colliding with the earth, ending it all. The specific date for some was Saturday, September 23. Since we are all still here, some are moving that date to September 29. Certainly, these predictions and many like them are a lot like what Jesus said in Matthew 24:11, "And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many." The "many" are deceived because they are relying on man's interpretation of isolated scriptures rather than making the effort to read and study the Bible in its context.
Fact is, if people read their scriptures in context, they would have a good idea of what to expect regarding the prophetic future. Unfortunately, there are many, many false teachers who take verses out of context to support their theories. Also unfortunate is that many are well-respected for these falsehoods. These same false teachers come up with excuse after excuse about why what they predicted didn't happen. Many times they use a convoluted and completely out of context "Bible" study to explain why they missed the mark, and to predict the next event, which doesn't happen either. People will believe them and all will go on until the next time. And the cycle will start all over again.
It is always best to go to your Bible and read the context about these contemporary predictions. By context, I mean ALL the verses related to the event-not single verses that can be twisted to fit the imagination, but the chapters before them and after them, and what the Biblical prophets said in them. For example, In Matthew 24, Jesus, responding to his disciples' direct question about his return and the end of the age, gives the most complete step-by-step chronology of the events that will occur in the end of times. His explanation is supported in Daniel, Revelation, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Ezekiel and others. Putting specific dates on the Rapture or on the end of the world makes a liar-of either the Holy Scriptures or those making the false predictions. The Holy Scriptures are not lies.
Ephesians 4:14 exhorts, "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." We don't want to be that person who is just seeking the latest craze in Christianity. We want to be grounded in the Word of God and have understanding that we may edify others and provide truth in love. Let's not fall for the extra-Biblical seducers. Let us seek the Lord with all of our heart having understanding of his Word and Holy Spirit discernment that we might not be led astray, and that we may provide proof of our testimony to others.
Daily Devotion: Ready or Not? - By Greg Laurie -
He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! -Revelation 22:20
Half of all Americans today claim to be born again. Even more claim to believe in God. If you want to apply a real litmus test to your relationship with God, or lack thereof, then let's say, for the sake of a point, that we knew Jesus Christ was coming back exactly 15 minutes from now. How would that grab you?
If your heart jumps and you say, as the apostle John did, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" then I would say your life is right with God.
But if your heart sinks and you say, "Fifteen minutes? I have some big-time repenting to do," then I would say your life is not right with Him.
A person who is walking with God as he or she ought to should always be looking forward to the Lord's return. A person who really knows God should always be a little homesick for Heaven. Are you?
If Jesus Christ were to return today (and He could), would you be ready? Jesus said, "One will be taken and the other left" (Matthew 24:40). Some people will be left when the Lord comes for His church. What would happen to you?
And there is always the possibility that death could come. You don't know for sure. No one does. What if this were your last opportunity to get right with God, and you let it slip by because you thought there would be a tomorrow, there would always be another opportunity? You don't know that.
The Bible tells us that the prophet Isaiah went to King Hezekiah and said, "Thus says the Lord: 'Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live'" (2 Kings 20:1). Are you prepared to meet God? Don't wait. Get your life right with Him now.
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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