Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Is The Antichrist Revealed Before The Rapture? - By Beginning and End - https://beginningandend.com/is-the-antichrist-revealed-before-the-rapture/
"And then shall that Wicked be revealed.." - 2 Thessalonians 2:8.
- Is The Man of Sin Revealed Before or After The Rapture? A Study of 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2 -
2 Thessalonians Chapter 2 has been a major source of debate, question and confusion when it comes to discussion of the Rapture of the church and its timing. Many pastors, writers and Bible students cite this chapter as proof that the Rapture must occur after the Antichrist has been revealed, based on verse 3 of the chapter. But is this the case? This article will show a very simple interpretation of this much-debated verse and correct a common mistake in its interpretation that will show that in line with the timing outlined in the Beginning and End Rapture series, the Rapture of the Church indeed takes places before the Antichrist emerges on the global scene.
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? - 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5.
The verses in bold are where the Apostle Paul gives two clear "prophetic signposts": the apostasy or falling away of many people in the church from the Christian faith and the revealing of "the man of sin", a title for the Antichrist, the Satanically-empowered False Messiah who rule the world in the final years before the Second Coming of Christ. The questions and debates arise over, what event comes after these 2 signs? What is Paul talking about? Is he saying that the Rapture will not happen until the falling away and the revealing of the Antichrist? Will the church be here to see the Antichrist in power before being Raptured? Or is there another meaning altogether? Let's examine the Scriptures in detail.
The Context Of 2 Thessalonians
It is critical to understand the context of 2 Thessalonians 2.
It is always important to understand the context of a Biblical passage that one is interpreting. In the first letter written to the Church of Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul wrote a great deal about the end times. He explained the process of the Rapture, the end times gathering of the church, both dead and alive to meet The Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds and be taken into Heaven before the judgments of the end times:
"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." - 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18.
He also discussed the Day of The Lord, the end times pouring out of God's wrath on the unbelieving world.
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. - 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6.
The Day of The Lord is a series of judgments detailed in the chapters of the Book of Revelation's seven trumpets and seven vials (for a more detailed discussion of the Day of The Lord, please see Part 1 of the Rapture series here). This period is also known Biblically as the Great Tribulation. In 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5, Paul assures the church that unlike the unbelieving world, they will not be surprised or overtaken by the Day of The Lord. He closes this passage writing:
"God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." - 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11.
The "wrath" referred to in verse 9 is not just a reference to the wrath in the lake of fire. It is an assurance that Christians will not experience the wrath of God during the Day of The Lord, but will escape through Jesus Christ via the Rapture, which Paul had just described in the prior chapter. So Chapters 4 and 5 flow perfectly together: there will be a gathering of all believers, supernaturally, to meet Jesus in the air and be taken to Heaven as described in Chapter 4. Following this, there will be the Day of The Lord, where the unbelieving world will be shocked, overtaken and punished in God's wrath (described in Chapter 5). But this is not something believers need to worry about, because they are not appointed to wrath. This is why Paul tells the church to "comfort" one another with this information as they share it. It was good news! And it is still good news for Christians today.
False Information Invades The Church
By the time 2 Thessalonians was written, false information had entered this church. Whether it was by an incorrect interpretation or prophecy, or by a false letter written by an imposter in Paul's name, something had shaken the faith of this church in their belief about the end times. They were under the impression that due to the persecution they were suffering, that they were experiencing the end time wrath of God during the Great Tribulation at that time. Paul uses the book of 2 Thessalonians to reassure them that was not the case. It is very important to understand this background when reading chapter 2. With this understanding we can examine the verses in question.
Dividing The Scriptures
The Book of 2 Thessalonians gives 2 important signs of the last days.
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.
This verse describes two distinct events: the Second Coming of Christ to Earth ("the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ") which occurs in Revelation 19 and the Rapture ("our gathering together unto him"), which occurs at the 6th Seal in Revelation 6. The description of the two events is consistent with the dual nature of "Christ's Coming" as described in prophetic Scripture. He comes in the clouds at the Rapture to receive His Bride, the Church and return to Heaven. And He returns on a white horse with His Holy Angels and all His saints for the battle of Armageddon at His Second Coming. This is dual nature is supported by various Scriptures:
Two different world conditions (Matthew 24:37-42, Matthew 24:21).
Two different approaches of Christ to the Earth ( 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, Revelation 19:11, 14-15, 21).
Two different scenarios regarding the predictability of Christ's return (Matthew 24:36, Daniel 12:11).
Two very different descriptions of his return (Revelation 16:15, Matthew 24-26-27).
(B&E: The careful Bible student is strongly encouraged to check those passages and see the confirmation of the author's point for themselves).
The Day of Christ
It takes careful Bible study to make sure we do not skip over any key phrases in Scripture.
Continuing in the passage we get to the critical verses for understanding the timing of the revealing of the "man of sin", or the Antichrist:
That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; -2 Thessalonians 2:2-3.
Verse 2 is where much of the confusion arises. Many articles and commentaries skip over the phrase "the day of Christ is at hand" and jump to the two signs given in verse 3 (the falling away in the church and the revealing of the Antichrist). However, this phrase cannot be overlooked. When Paul is giving the signs in verse 3 he is mentioning them with respect to the "day of Christ." The "day of Christ" is a term for the Second Coming of Christ to Earth as described in Revelation 19. Even in the first chapter of 2 Thessalonians Paul described the Second Coming as "that day"
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. - 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10.
Jesus returns to take vengeance on the Antichrist and the unbelieving world at Armageddon. This passage is clearly referencing the Second Coming. We also see the specific term "Day of Christ" used by the Apostle Paul in several other instances:
"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." - Philippians 1:9-11.
Paul's exhortation in this passage is that the Christians in this church remain in Christ until the Second Coming, which is the end of this world (as the Kingdom of Christ will then begin). So from the context the phrase "the day of Christ" is referring to the Second Coming.
Some have argued that the Day of Christ and the Day of The Lord are the same event. However, Paul dispels that notion in the following verse:
Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. - Philippians 2:16.
When interpreting the Bible, God instructs us that Scripture defines Scripture. Clearly Paul would not be rejoicing in the midst of the devastating end times judgments poured out during The Day of The Lord. Instead he is writing that he will rejoice at the Second Coming knowing that this moment, when Christ returns to Earth to establish His Kingdom, will make all of Paul's work and labor in spreading the Gospel not be in vain. The Second Coming is the full glorification of Jesus Christ and His Church on Earth for all to see. Thus it will be a time of great rejoicing.
By the context of the passage and other Scripture confirmations, the Day of Christ refers to the Second Coming. So when Paul is addressing the Thessalonians he is telling them not to be shaken or scared to think the Second Coming was "at hand" and thus they missed the Rapture and were in the middle of experiencing the Great Tribulation.
For some reason, many have interpreted "that day" in verse 3 to mean the Rapture and wrongly teach: "So what Paul is saying is that the Rapture will not happen until the apostasy and the Antichrist is revealed." But we can know from basic Scriptural interpretation and looking at the context of the verses that Paul is clearly talking about the "day of Christ", just described in the prior verse.
Remembering the context of this book (the Thessalonian church based on false information thought they were experiencing the Great Tribulation and thus missed the Rapture) we can see that Paul's correction makes sense. In short he is telling them that the Second Coming of Christ will not take place until there is the falling away in the church and the Antichrist is revealed. These 2 major signs were proof to the Thessalonians that they were NOT experiencing the Great Tribulation. This is the correction to their belief that Paul is trying to drive home.
In giving the context of this passage, Bible commentator Jonathan Gill wrote:
"In this chapter the apostle guards against a notion, as if the second coming of Christ was at hand; declares that, previous to it, there must be a great apostasy, and a revelation of antichrist; comforts the saints against fears of being included in this defection; exhorts them to stand fast in the faith, and closes this chapter with petitions for them."
The Christian Perspective
If the Rapture was supposed to take place after the Great Tribulation, why would the Thessalonians be troubled or shaken? Wouldn't they have been excited and thrilled to know that they were just years away from being raptured, the Second Coming and the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ? Christians, especially in the first century, were eagerly awaiting the Second Coming and the Kingdom of Christ on Earth. If it were just years away there would be no concern or fear on their parts. But since they wrongly believed they had missed the Rapture of all believers and were experiencing the wrath of God on Earth with unbelievers, Paul assured them with two clear prophetic "sign posts" that would mark the time of Day of The Lord: the falling away of the church from Biblical Christianity and the revealing of the Antichrist.
There is an escape from the massive persecution and judgments of the end times: the Rapture. And this is why Paul "comforts" the Thessalonians by informing them that they had not missed the Rapture because it had not occurred yet. If they were destined to experience the entire end times, Paul would have stated so plainly and encouraged them to "get ready" for it. Instead he wrote to correct their misunderstanding and comfort them from their fears.
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. - 2 Thessalonians 2:15-17.
Conclusion - The Rapture Precedes The Revealing of The Antichrist
Lord willing this article provides some clarification on a verse that has been widely misinterpreted in much of prophetic research today. When understood in context, 2 Thessalonians 2 confirms that the Rapture of the church will indeed take place before the revealing of the Antichrist. And when Paul speaks of "that day" he is referring to the Second Coming of Christ and not the Rapture.
The Folly Of Open Borders - By Sally Law -
The United States of America is a sovereign nation - a Republic democracy with a constitution, bill of rights and citizenship for those either born here or those who have applied for it legally. Something else is required that the mainstream media would like us all to forget. A person who has applied for citizenship here is sworn in with an oath on the day they become a citizen. Let's look together.
"Oath of allegiance to the United States: The applicant must pledge allegiance to the United States, renouncing other national allegiances. The pledge includes an obligation to support the Constitution and to bear arms on behalf of the United States if required."
Wow, support the Constitution! Now there is a long forgotten concept among those who would love nothing more than to ignite the old parchment and throw our sovereign nation under the bus of progressive socialism. If you come here illegally, you make no such oath-no promise.
Members of Congress should re-evaluate if this is the kind of nation they want to represent. Many could not honestly pledge to uphold the Constitution this very day, as their actions and words are just the opposite.
This same group wants to have open borders and a "come on in" open-door policy. I would like to ask these progressives a few questions. These are not hard ones, either.
Do you lock your doors at night? Lock your car when you go inside to shop or to work? Do you leave your wallet, cellphone, credit cards information and electronics out on the sidewalk with a note attached that says help yourself?
Do you kiss your children goodbye in the morning and remind them to get in the car of any stranger who offers? Join their cult? Take their drug offerings?
Hopefully, you don't. But anything you hold dear and value is worth protecting, is it not?
I hope you see the hypocrisy of those who would want open borders. Those who do have no love for our country, values, people, property rights - and most importantly, our children. They say to the violent strangers pressing our gates, "Come on in-take what you want."
There was a very wise king who lived a long time ago. The court was in an uproar on this particular day. Women and babies were involved. The story had spread like wildfire throughout the kingdom. Tears, crying, and accusatory language were heard by this sovereign, wise king. One woman claimed a baby was hers, stolen in the night by the other who had rolled over on top of her baby and suffocated him. She switched the dead baby for the live one while the other mother was sleeping. It was a "she said, she said" case and hard to prove.
The wise king listened carefully before making his decision. "Cut the baby in half by sword," was King Solomon's verbal decision. Each mother would be satisfied.
The evil, lying mother agreed. The righteous and good mother said, "No, give her the child, only spare his life!"
The evidence and heart of the real mother had come to light. She had something to lose...the life of her newborn son. (See 1 Kings 3:16-28 for the full story).
I am watching my nation in an uproar about protecting it from those who are not asking, but demanding to be here-violently. They put women and young children in the front of the mob, exposing their most vulnerable and precious commodities to potential harm. The tear gas was used since verbal commands were not heeded. (The tear gas, by the way, will not harm anyone; it is simply a deterrent.) Border patrol agents were attacked with rocks and bottles being thrown at them. No one was injured, thankfully, at the borders this past weekend.
Is the answer open borders? I say no. It will be the end of our sovereign nation in my opinion. We have many people from a multitude of nations who become citizens every year.
Look at these statistics: The United States welcomed more than 7.4 million naturalized citizens into our nation in the last decade. In fiscal year 2016, 752,800 people were naturalized.
Please don't give away our nation's sovereignty at the borders or anyplace else. If you love America and Americans, you will want to protect it. Let people come here legally who appreciate being citizens and love its freedoms. If we dissolve our borders, that will be it. There will be no going back.
The progressives love the thought of open borders and massive immigration, riding on the backs of human misery. More people homeless living on the streets, more crime and drugs, gangs...you name it. By all means, let them vote for more progressives, although here illegally! The list of our national woes will compound with each passing day. The hard-working will be taxed until there is no more to tax. We are already in over our heads. The land I love and value, my family's home since the 1600's, will take on socialism and then...communism. Twin evils, and the enemy of America.
Secure our sovereignty at our borders! Guard what is loved and esteemed. Our ancestors fought and died for our sovereignty and constitutional freedoms.
Don't give these valuables away; pass them on intact to your children. It's what our forefathers and framers of the Constitution intended.
A Whole Country Of Marc Lamont Hills - By Stephen Flatow -
CNN has fired commentator Marc Lamont Hill for giving a speech in which he called for a "free Palestine from the river to the sea." In other words, he means the destruction of Israel.
But let's not forget about a much bigger problem: an entire generation of Palestinian Arabs who want to create "Palestine, from the river to the sea."
The Palestinian Authority has posted a deeply disturbing photo on the official Facebook page of the P.A. Presidential Guard. It shows an Arab boy who looks to be 5 or 6 years old, holding a Palestinian flag and flashing a V sign.
That's not the peace sign that antiwar protesters used to make during the Vietnam war. In Palestinian culture, it's the "V-for-victory" sign. As in, victory over Israel.
Behind the boy is a huge map, twice his size, labeled "Palestine." Now if the Palestinian Authority was really interested only in a state along the 1967 lines--as J Street and other pro-Palestinian apologists claim--then presumably the P.A.'s map of "Palestine" would reflect that.
No such luck. The map of "Palestine" covers all of Israel. All of it.
And just so there is no doubt about the P.A.'s goal, various cities are named on the map. They include numerous cities within pre-1967 Israel, such as Haifa, Tiberias, Beersheva and Ashkelon. The entire Negev Desert is included as part of "Palestine." Tel Aviv is, too--labeled with the Arabic name "Tal Al-Rabia."
The entire Facebook image is titled "Palestine We Will Surely Return." That is the "Palestine" to which they want to return: from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, Haifa and Tel Aviv, and all the rest.
Palestinian children are not born hating Jews or dreaming of destroying Israel. It takes an entire village, an entire society, an entire governing regime to make them that way.
In the schools where they are educated, as part of the television programs they watch and regarding so many other facets of their culture, Palestinian Arab children are taught that Jews are evil, that murderers of Jews are heroes and martyrs, and that the Jewish state must be replaced from the river to the sea.
This message is drummed home even in the games they play. In their summer camps, they are entertained with war (against Israel) games. They perform skits about kidnapping and murdering Jews.
An official P.A. spokesman recently characterized the wave of flaming-kite attacks from Gaza as "a children's game such as kites, used by peaceful protesters as one of the means of protest against the siege and the occupation." These youngsters are taught that attempting to burn Jews to death, and setting their houses and fields on fire, is indeed a "game." That's their idea of fun.
When those children reach young adulthood and go off to college, the message of hate continues. Palestinian Media Watch recently posted a video of a speech by Saleh Abu Osba, the rector of Al-Istiqlal University, in P.A.-occupied Jericho.
"We the Palestinians have a great dream before us," he declared. "To liberate Palestine from the river to the sea. This dream will remain before us and requires of us will power. Our people's will power is strong. The proof of this is the thousands of prisoners and the thousands of martyrs who have fallen to realize the dream of liberating Palestine."
Mr. Osba is not some isolated extremist. He isn't some lone, rogue faculty member. He is the rector of the university. He is the voice of a P.A. institution of higher learning. His job is to help educate an entire generation of young Palestinian Arabs.
Just to make sure that Osba's message was heard far beyond the walls of his campus, the P.A. broadcast his speech on the official "Voice of Palestine" radio station.
The child posing in front of that "From the river to the sea" map on the P.A.'s Facebook page may well grow up to imitate the Palestinian teenager who butchered Mrs. Dafna Meir with a 20-centimeter knife in front of her children; or the Palestinian teenage firebomb-throwers who severely burned 11-year-old Ayelet Shapiro near Ma'ale Shomron, nearly killing her and leaving her deeply scarred for the rest of her life.
And if that Palestinian poster child does carry out such a bloody deed, he will be hailed as a hero by his family, friends and community--and showered with rewards by the P.A. If he ends up in an Israeli prison, he'll receive a generous salary for life from the P.A. If he is killed during the attack, his family will receive those P.A. checks. Schools will be named after him. Soccer tournaments as well.
So yes, I'm just as bothered as everyone else when Marc Lamont Hill talks about "liberating Palestine from the river to the sea." But I am even more worried about the entire generation of children who are being raised to pursue that goal, and the legion of cheerleaders and apologists who want to give them a state in Israel's backyard--a state that will be the launching pad for the fulfillment of their evil dream.
Busy, Busy, Busy - By Grant Phillips -
We live in a period of time when everything is going at top speed. The hustle and bustle in the cities is magnified a hundred times, if not a thousand times to the quiet of the country side. Yet, even in our small, quaint, one stoplight towns, busyness can be readily seen as the folks go about their daily activities.
This 21st century has each person's mind racing at top speed to get this done, and then go to the next thing to get that done. The body is in one location, but the mind is at home, on the job, at the school, and wherever else the siren call is heard. We rest our bodies at night, but before sleep takes over, the mind remains supercharged ... thinking, thinking, thinking.
"But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." (Daniel 12:4)
Yep, that verse is very descriptive of mankind in today's world. As God told Daniel, knowledge is exponentially increasing so rapidly what is learned today is old news tomorrow.
Ours is the Information Age; Internet, television and mobile phones available 24 hours a day. From what I have read, a person today consumes six newspapers of information daily. Twenty-four years ago that number was 2 ½ pages a day.
Each of us has the equivalent of 600,000 books stored in computers, microchips and credit card strips.
From the journal of Science, 295 exabytes of data are floating around today. That would be 29,500,000,000,000,000,000,000. Apparently that is 315 times more than there are grains of sand on the earth. (I find that a bit hard to believe, but so say the bean counters.) Despite all these super big numbers, that is still less than 1% of the information stored in the DNA of one person.
Anyway, when the Lord gave Daniel this prophecy, He was referring to that time prior to His second coming. After the Church is removed to Heaven, the last week of Daniel's prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) will begin. Only a blind fool would refuse to see the fulfilment of this prophecy in our day.
Sounds to me like Daniel 12:4 is definitely upon us. How close we must be to our Lord's return!
God tells us, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." (Psalms 46:10)
Regardless of our circumstances at home and on the job, most of us just won't slow down and smell the roses (a most simplistic way of saying, "Be still"). God does want us to slow down, be still and think about Him. Don't be in such a hurry. The world won't end just because you finally decide to "Be still" and listen to God. "Oh but this won't wait. I must take care of this now!" I doubt that. God knows that, or He would not have told us, "Whoa! Slow down and take a break. I am God, and you will never make it without Me."
We adults often mimic children in this matter. Children quickly come to the point of thinking they can do things without their parents' help, even though the parents know better. We adults lean toward that same independence, but what we really need is not independence, but dependence upon our Savior God.
Just as a two year old can only handle simple feats scaled down for a two year old, we cannot deal with matters that only God can control. We are not God. He is, and that is exactly what he wants us to remember. He will be exalted, not us. We have so many things in our lives backwards. The wise person will be still and see God as the one in charge of our life. He/she will exalt God by simply being still and allowing God to work in his/her life.
God wants each of us as Christians to have some quiet time. Look around at all He has created. See His power that is all around us. Tune out the hectic madness of the world and listen to Him.
Have we ever taken the time to look at a flower, I mean to REALLY look at it, or observe a busy ant? Do we really see what is around us and recognize that God created it? Children do this. They may not realize that God is the Creator, but they notice much more than we do. Take the time to actually see what is around you.
"Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest." (Proverbs 6:6-8)
Yes, the 21st century is a time of fast-paced living. We just can't seem to slow down. Days rush into weeks, as the weeks overwhelm the months that are before them. Next thing we know, years run quickly behind us. All the while our knowledge is increasing, but are we really any smarter? With all this knowledge, where is wisdom? God says we are drawing to the close of our days. He is coming. Are we ready?
If any wisdom remains, maybe we should take the time, in a quiet place, to pray with our Bible in hand and hear His message; "Be still, and know that I am God."
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html
Daily Jot: A prophetic people to stand in the gap - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
We in America often worry about persecution. We see many of the religious freedoms dwindling away by the actions of elected leaders and activist courts. But persecution in the United States is not at the level it is around the rest of the world. Harpers Magazine has done an expose' about Christian persecution in the Middle East, documenting that ISIS, job discrimination, and Islamic persecution has resulted in the Christian population dwindling from 1.4 million in Iraq, for example, to less than 300,000. In West Africa, Islam is pushing out the Christian population. China communists are doing the same there. All the more reason that the right of religious freedom in America remain strong and unchallenged.
If not for America, the world would be a dark place. We send aid, protection, food, and the gospel around the world. Even though our country is in a moral decline, and the leadership we elect are often evil deceivers, Americans have stood the test of time, using religious freedom and freedom of speech to advance the kingdom of God. No matter how convoluted and circuitous the path America has taken, Americans more often than not have stood in the breach and have held the line for what is right and good. For a generation, it appears we have taken leave of our good senses and have allowed our nation to slowly decline. We are now starting to face the consequences of this lack of proper standing and engagement.
But take courage, and be encouraged. As is written 1 Peter 2:9,"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." You, yes you, are a prophetic person who was born specifically for this time. When you accepted Christ, you may not have understood about counting the cost. Jesus said that we would have to take up the cross to follow him. Those costs are becoming more evident in this day and age for those of us who live in America. Our leadership is poor. Our nation is in decline. Our Christianity is being challenged. As is our faith. But you are a chosen generation.
Peter had a lot to say about persecution. He knew it well. He writes in 1 Peter 3:12, "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous. And his ears are open unto their prayers: But the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." He asks, "And who is he that will harm you, if you be followers of that which is good." Peter said it is better to suffer for righteousness' sake, verses 14-15, "happy are you: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ." You are a prophetic person. Rise up. Stand in the gap!
Daily Devotion: How to Deal with Temptation - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. -James 4:7-8
You may be surprised to know that testing and temptation can have a positive effect in the life of a believer. It's been said that Christians are a lot like tea bags: you don't know what they're made of until you put them in hot water.
Sometimes when things are going well, we become more vulnerable to temptation. When we can't always make ends meet or we're sick or we're having challenges, we are dependent on God. But when things are going well and we have a little extra money in the bank or our health is good, we can become complacent, lazy, and ultimately susceptible. That is when temptation will hit.
That's when it hit David. There are two names that actually sum up the life of David: Goliath, who reminds us of David's greatest victory, and Bathsheba, who reminds us of David's worst defeat. David fell into sin with Bathsheba after he had been successful and ruled for many years. He was kind of kicking back and taking a spiritual vacation. And in his moment of idleness, temptation came.
As the old adage says, "You can't stop a bird from flying over your head. But you can stop him from building a nest in your hair." (In my case, the bird had better bring his own materials, because there is nothing there to work with.)
The Bible says, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7 NKJV). Notice this doesn't say to have extended conversations with the devil. Nor does it say to check out what he is offering, just so you know. It says to resist him.
Temptation isn't a sin; it's a call to battle. And there is a blessing waiting for the man or the woman who resists temptation.
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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