Monday, February 28, 2011

COURAGE, CONFIDENCE, REST AND THANKS

We live in a world where we're CONSTANTLY and INSTANTLY bombarded by NEWS gives cause for great alarm.  In this blog, I hope to offer encouragement which enable us to move past the SCARE, and to REFOCUS our ATTENTION and FAITH upon FAR BETTER THINGS.  We need this CUSHION in the end times, or we'll find ourselves terrified, depressed, anxious, angry and discouraged.

I know.  I've fallen prey to the emotions LISTED ABOVE on many occasions, and it takes a STRONG ACT OF WILL to turn away from FRIGHTENING SCENARIOS--not only a strong act of will, but an ABIDING FAITH.


First of all, I'll address the FEAR issue. 

There are multitudes of things in these end times that can create FEAR, and sometimes, people don't want to learn about end time prophecies BECAUSE it fills them with FEAR.  They'd rather BE IGNORANT of the prophecies than cope with the FEAR it brings.  Even if they are IGNORANT of prophecy on purpose, there are STILL many things in this current world situation which is TERRIFYING anyway (fear of illness, accidents or death, for instance), and these things have NOTHING to do with end time prophecy (they're just the common lot of living in this world). 

It's far better to be INFORMED, FOREWARNED and PREPARED, than suffer under onslaughts of FEAR. 

God (and Jesus) tells us in many places of His word:  "FEAR NOT."  FEAR is the OPPOSITE of FAITH, and when we're paralyzed by FEAR, we do NOT operate in FAITH.

I encourage you to read Hebrews 11, because that chapter SHOWS powerful things that comes through FAITH.  It's a gallery of HEROES who lived by FAITH (and not by fear).  For the purpose of this blog, I'll focus upon Hebrews 11:1.

"Now FAITH is the SUBSTANCE of things HOPED for, the EVIDENCE of things NOT seen."

This is a FAITH (a CONFIDENCE and a KNOWING) that SEES a situation as GOD SEES IT.  Even if we do NOT have a PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION (the OBVIOUS ANSWER) of what we HOPED for, our FAITH, which SEES the "situation" and "answer" AS COMPLETE, is ALL the EVIDENCE (proof) we need.  We're able to SAY we already POSSESS our answer!  We HAVE what we SEEK, because God SAYS we have it (and NOT just because we SEE it in our hand)! 

FAITH is NOW--at this moment.  (1.)  AS SOON as we ask God for something, we reckon it as answered "yes and amen" in the name of Jesus.  (2.)  We RECEIVE (and ACCEPT) it as ACCOMPLISHED with a DEEP TRUST in our spirits.  (3.)  We HAVE what we seek from God (even if the PHYSICAL REALITY of the answer has NOT yet appeared).  (4.)  As we REST in FAITH, assured of our answer, the PHYSICAL REALITY will come.  Simple as that!

I share this brief explanation of FAITH, because the remainder of this blog will REST on PRINCIPLES which are UNITED with a WALK of FAITH in Jesus.

We LIVE in the END TIMES, and we can be terrified--FULL OF FEAR--by what we see coming to pass!  I'll offer a few examples:

Our government has gone crazy.  We see and understand that this is NOT the same FREE country we've known and loved.  Spending is out of hand and our country is broke.  Furthermore, our economy will soon totally collapse.  (How can a debt burden be passed down to our children when there will be NO MORE country left for them to enjoy?  The whole world will be turned into slavery, oppression and tyranny!  These are horrifying ideas, made even MORE FRIGHTENING, because the Bible prophesies it WILL happen.)

Thousands of people have lose their jobs.  Unemployment rates have RISEN to a steady 9-point-something% (and indications are that the actual figures are more like 17% to 20%).  Legislation which imposes STRICT REGULATIONS, and TOTAL GOVERNMENT CONTROLS, are being pushed through congress, while the people who are elected to represent us--well, they IGNORE US!

Iran threatens to blow Israel off the map, rhetoric which THREATENS the START of World War III.  Israel, in defending themselves against such threats, will INSURE the START of World War Three!  That, too, is written in Bible prophecy!

At home, here in the U.S., violence is on the rise, with Islamic Jihadists in our midst who massacre our people.  Fears of more vicious attacks hover over our populace in the wake of such horror--while a weak President, and a "politically correct" media, place the WRONG SPIN upon the issues.

I could go "on and on" with the SCARY things that occur on a DAILY BASIS.

In watching these things, how can we AVOID being terrified? 

THE ANSWER:  We need a SOLID FOUNDATION under us, which ONLY comes through God, and the PROMISES in His word.  We need a SOLID TRUST and CONFIDENCE in Jesus.  His STRENGTH and VICTORY, (already given to us by His work at Calvary), gives us COURAGE in such uncertain times.

Let's look at a few of His assurances:  Return to Hebrews, this time to chapter 13, verses 5(b) and 6.

God says, and Jesus agrees, "I will NEVER leave you, nor forsake you.  So that we may BOLDLY SAY, 'The LORD is my HELPER, and I will NOT FEAR what man shall do unto me.'"

Many times over, God declares that He will NEVER leave us nor forsake us.  This should bring us great COMFORT.  No matter the situation in the world, God has NOT abandoned us in it.  He KNOWS.  He PROTECTS.  He PROVIDES for our every need!  We may see violence, murders, persecutions, wars and destruction, but God is there WITH us.  We find SHELTER under the safety of His outstreched wings. (See Psalm 91, Psalm 23.)

2 Timothy 1:7 further instructs us.  "For God has NOT given us the spirit of FEAR, but of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND."

1 John 4:18 assures us that "PERFECT LOVE casts out all FEAR." 

What is PERFECT LOVE?  The LOVE of God.  The LOVE of Jesus.  And our STRONG RESPONSE to Him with OUR LOVE of Him and His Word.  There is NO FEAR in a LOVE as strong as that.  When we are so CERTAIN of His ABIDING LOVE, we'll discover that our COURAGE and FAITH level is HIGH!

LOVE fuels our COURAGE to face the world and ALL of its many problems.  FAITH is our CONFIDENCE and TRUST in a God Who is ABOVE all things, and Who has ALREADY given us the VICTORY in Jesus.


The next topic is "LET GO AND LET GOD."

When I teach on end time prophecies, I find many people who don't want THE END to be JUST YET--because they have FRIENDS and LOVED ONES who do NOT know Jesus, and who therefore are NOT ready. 

I've heard such people make this remark--"It's SELFISH for us to DESIRE, to LOOK FOR, and to PRAY for the return of Jesus to RAPTURE His Church.  So many people are NOT ready for it to happen."

Out of a MISPLACED sense of responsibility, some people won't allow themselves the JOY and the BLESSED HOPE that I discussed in the previous blog. 

(I'm NOT saying that we SHOULD NOT witness, or SHOULD NOT feel concern for others--who are NOT ready for the RAPTURE.  What I AM SAYING is that our witnessing, and our concern for others SHOULD NOT detract from our personal JOY, or from our living in BLESSED HOPE.  We can pray, "EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY, LORD JESUS," and NOT feel guilty that we prayed it.

How can that be?  How can we want the RAPTURE so STRONGLY when we KNOW others are NOT ready--and will be LEFT BEHIND?

(1.)  There WILL be people who will miss the RAPTURE for various reasons.  Prophecy says so. 

It's NOT our responsibility as to what happens to those people once the time is up.  Instead, those people have made their OWN CHOICE, a PERSONAL DECISION, in which they REAP their OWN CONSEQUENCES.  It's GOD'S responsibility to DEAL with them, hopefully bringing them to repentance.  (And EVEN then, NOT ALL will CHOOSE God.) 

The FACT is this--there WILL COME a time when God will say, "The age of My grace is finished.  Go get your Bride, My Son."  And Jesus will respond, in effect, saying, "Ready or not, here I come."  (In an hour in which you THINK NOT, the Son of man WILL come.  Matthew 24:44.)

(2.)  What about our friends and loved ones?  I have some who I wonder about, and the question is always in front of me:  Are they ready?  They sure don't ACT like it!  (I imagine you can say the same thing.)

To think of family, dear precious loved ones, being LEFT BEHIND, causes all manner of GRIEFS and FEAR.  We can say the same thing about our valued friends. 

We desire to grab these people by the collar, shake them and say, "Wake up!  The end is near and Jesus is coming."  But, so often, we're overwhelmed by sorrow when they laugh at us, or scoff.

What can we do?  We pray!

In the summer of 2009, I prayed intensely for family and friends, and the burden on my heart was VERY HEAVY.  Every day as I took my half hour walk, I prayed, interceded, begged, implored.  I held my prayer list of individuals before God again and again and again.  This happened for SIX WEEKS or more.  Then something happened...

I heard the Holy Spirit say, "Let go and let God.  He's heard and answered your prayers."

At that time, I had no proof that my loved ones and friends had accepted Jesus and were ready--many of them live in different states.  However, I experienced the PEACE in my heart that God, in His grace, was doing a Holy Spirit work with those ones who were in my intercessions.  I placed their souls in His capable hands, knowing He loves them far more than I.

Lo and behold, in 2010, I began hearing news that a few of the ones that I'd prayed for had realized their need for Jesus, and moved into a closer and personal relationship with Him.  And I still believe that God has plans for the others I've interceded for.

Why do I share this?  So that, hopefully, you can follow the same route. 

The FAITH in my heart is that my loved ones will be with me when the RAPTURE finally comes.  My JOY and BLESSED HOPE buoys me as the world grows darker, and I do NOT feel guilt when I pray, "EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY, LORD JESUS."  I also add a sentence from the Lord's Prayer, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," and with that petition, I envision the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem.


Finding REST (Peace) and giving THANKS

The remainder of this blog covers the concepts of RESTING in Jesus and giving THANKS.  (This is getting to be a LONG message, so I'll attempt to say what I want without too much extra elaboration.)

REST in Jesus is another way of saying to Him, "I have TOTAL CONFIDENCE and TRUST in You."  No matter what circumstances face us, we can THROW ourselves into Jesus' arms, and KNOW He'll PROVIDE EVERYTHING we need.

Scripture declares, "Cast your cares (anxieties, worries, problems) upon God for He CARES for you."  1 Peter 5:7

"Be anxious (worried) about nothing, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the PEACE which passes ALL understanding, shall KEEP (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6-7

"My God SHALL supply ALL your NEEDS according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19.

By taking those promises, using them, RELYING on them, being TOTALLY confident in them, we DO FIND REST. 

Rest is that quality of PEACE which PASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING.  In such REST, no matter what occurs in this end time world, we remain calm and assured.  God is WITH US--who or what can be against us?  With FAITH like this, we can FACE ANYTHING.

As the world grows darker with sin, violence, wars and rumors of wars and economic upheavals, we can remain STEADY, UNWAVERING, CONFIDENT, BOLD, JOYFUL and FULL OF PEACE, because we KNOW God is in CONTROL.

And while we pray, casting our CARES upon God, we also offer THANKSGIVING and PRAISE. 

I thank God for all those things that people take for granted:  Life.  The ability to breathe.  The ability to walk.  Sight.  Hearing.  A stable and sensible mind.  Food.  Shelter.  Warmth.  My family.  That I KNOW God, Jesus and the Word.  That the Holy Spirit is my Comforter and Teacher.  The list is endless...

Giving thanks fills a heart with JOY. 

When JOY bubbles up, there comes a transition into PRAISE.  This is telling God how good He is...how wonderful is the Lord and Savior, Jesus...and when PRAISE comes, it flows into WORSHIP.

With this blog, I hope to SHOW you how to LIVE in a world where end time prophecies are becoming fulfilled.  Rather than allow world situations to SCARE or DISTRESS us, we can take this GUIDELINE, apply it and experience COURAGE, CONFIDENCE, REST and THANKSGIVING.

With these qualities ACTIVE, when the RAPTURE of the TRUE CHURCH is mentioned, we can sense a JOY in our spirits and truly KNOW our BLESSED HOPE.


In the next series of blogs, I'll begin to show why the RAPTURE of the TRUE CHURCH is PRE-TRIBULATION--before that time of woe, exceeding trouble and the realm of the Antichrist.  I'll show HOW the Church is NOT appointed to wrath.

Have a great day.

EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY, LORD JESUS.  WE LONG TO SEE YOUR WONDERFUL FACE!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

LET NO MAN ROB OUR BLESSED HOPE

Today, I offer the first installment in a two-part series concerning our ATTITUDE as we face dangers and challenges in this end time hour.  (It will include topics--such as conquering fear, turning our concerns and problems over to God, finding true REST in Jesus and the spirit of thankfulness.)  But before I get to that, I want to FOCUS upon the BLESSED HOPE of the Church and HOW that HOPE can be stolen.

Let's begin by looking at Titus 2:11 to 13.

"For the GRACE of God that brings SALVATION has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, LOOKING FOR that BLESSED HOPE, and the GLORIOUS APPEARING of the GREAT GOD and our SAVIOR Jesus Christ."

First of all, we see God's GRACE involved in the BLESSED HOPE.  The GRACE of God is His FREE GIFT which brings us SALVATION (a SAVING and DELIVERANCE from His wrath and punishment).  Ephesians 2:8-9.  God's wrath is the JUDGMENT He MUST ENACT upon sin.  "For the WAGES of sin is death..."  Romans 6:23.  Genesis 2:17.  Because of God's righteous character, His PURITY and HOLINESS, sin CANNOT abide or survive in His presence (Exodus 33:20); it MUST BE DEALT with and cast out forever.  Since man fell into sin, we were SEPARATED from God, and unable to enjoy fellowship with our Creator.  Isaiah 59:2.  Romans 3:10-12.  But all praise to our God, in His LOVE and GRACE, He provided us with A WAY to be reunited with Him--and to even be declared as righteous.  2 Corinthians 5:21.  This wonderful SALVATION is provided to us through Jesus Christ--through HIS LIFE (which He lived FOR us--PERFECT and SINLESS).  John 3:16.  Jesus, having NO SIN became our Kinsman Redeemer (a Redeemer who PAID THE PENALTY that God REQUIRED upon sin--which is DEATH).  Colossians 2:14.  Jesus PAID THE HIGH PRICE for us, through His own death (in which He TOOK God's punishment upon OUR SIN--FOR US).  1 Peter 1:18-19.  Then by the act of His glorious resurrection, we're assured of another awesome truth--we ARE RAISED with Him TO NEW LIFE as we place our FAITH in Him.  2 Corinthians 5:17.  Romans 6:10-11. 

When we're BORN AGAIN in the Spirit (spiritual rebirth) -- John 3:5-7 --we've ACCEPTED God's GIFT of Jesus.  We recognize our sinfulness and ask for forgiveness, and we INVITE Jesus to come LIVE in our hearts.  Then we draw upon God's POWER (resident within us through the Holy Spirit).  By the working of the Holy Spirit inside us, we live in this PRESENT WORLD soberly (with self-control), righteously (doing what is good, honorable and RIGHT in God's sight), and Godly (displaying fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, faith, patience, meekness and temperance). 

ALONG WITH all the aforementioned characteristics, we're to keep this thought in mind:

LOOKING FOR our BLESSED HOPE....  What is the BLESSED HOPE?

The GLORIOUS APPEARING of the GREAT GOD and SAVIOR Jesus Christ!

A prominent ATTITUDE of true Christians is the HAPPY ANTICIPATION of the RETURN of our LORD JESUS.  We KNOW He'll come in the air to SNATCH UP His BRIDE to Himself.  1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.  We EXPECT Him to wisk us away to His FATHER'S HOUSE, where MANSIONS are prepared, the perfect BRIDAL chamber!  John 14:2-3. 

The POINT I want us to see right now--is the BLESSED HOPE.  It's a JOYFUL ANTICIPATION of the GLORIOUS APPEARING of Jesus Christ--in the Rapture--when He descends into the air to receive His own.  The CATCHING UP (harpazo) of His Bride--is to SAVE, PROTECT and DELIVER us from the WRATH of God which will fall upon the earth in the Tribulation (those seven years which are DETERMINED to fall upon Israel--and upon the UNBELIEVING world.)

Did you know there are crowns (rewards) given to people who joyfully watch for, and anticipate the Rapture of the Church?  Let's look at 1 Thessalonians 2:19.

"For What is our HOPE, or JOY, or CROWN OF REJOICING?  Are not even YOU in the PRESENCE of our Lord Jesus Christ AT HIS COMING?"

There's a CROWN (the STEPHANOS--a wreath given for OVERCOMING or GAINING A VICTORY) that's described as REJOICING.  WHY is there such EXCEEDING JOY?  

It's BECAUSE of being in THE PRESENCE of the Lord Jesus AT HIS COMING.  This will occur in the Rapture, of course--as we'll see clearly from other scriptures.  It's to be a time of EXCEEDING JOY--(and not of fear)! 

There's even more.  Let's look at 2 Timothy 4:8.

"Henceforth there is laid up for me a CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, which the Lord, the RIGHTEOUS Judge, shall give me at THAT DAY: and NOT to me ONLY, but unto ALL them that LOVE HIS APPEARING."

In that verse, we see it quite plainly!  The CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (the STEPHANOS) is a REWARD given to TRUE CHRISTIANS who LOVE THE DOCTRINE OF JESUS' APPEARING.  There IS INDEED a CROWN (a reward) given to those who joyfully ANTICIPATE and WATCH for His appearing in the Pre-Trib Rapture.

From scriptures like these, the CORRECT and PROPER attitude of the Church concerning the Rapture is revealed.  We're to be full of JOY, to be waiting and watching in ANTICIPATION, to LOVE the message of our BLESSED HOPE.  We LOOK for Jesus--HE IS THE FOCUS.

Did you know that it's possible for the BLESSED HOPE to be robbed?  If JOY at the mention of the Rapture is robbed, our BLESSED HOPE is stolen.

First of all, WHO does the stealing?  Let's look at a prevalent end time attitude which is described in 2 Peter 3:3 and 4.

"Knowing this first, that there shall come in THE LAST DAYS SCOFFERS, walking after their OWN LUSTS (strong desires), and saying, 'WHERE is the PROMISE of HIS COMING?  For since the fathers fell asleep (died off), all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.'"

Worldly people (including some Christians--"in name only") begin to SCOFF at and question the idea of the Lord's coming.  These people see the world continuing forever in the same way--since the very time of the creation.  (By the way, this is a passage which gives a strong hint of evolution.)  Scoffers DOUBT the Lord's coming.  They RIDICULE the teaching of the Pre-Trib Rapture.  They do so BECAUSE they want TIME to SATISFY their LUSTS (those STRONG fleshly desires--and this does NOT mean ONLY sexual desires--but ALL lusts:  for power, success, fun, games, riches.  Even worthy desires, like for family and children, can be turned into NEGATIVE IDOLATRY, if they come FIRST--BEFORE God in a person's desires).

The SCOFFING of people KILLS and ROBS the BLESSED HOPE of the Pre-Trib Rapture.  JOY and ANTICIPATION is squelched.

Satan, that old devil, also ROBS the BLESSED HOPE.

In the PARABLE OF THE SOWER, we see an enemy who ROBS God's good seed of THE WORD.  Why would Satan want to ROB the Church of its BLESSED HOPE? 

The answer should be obvious.  Satan has always TRIED to ROB God's good promises from people.  The devil will do ANYTHING to bring MISERY, DESPAIR and FUTILITY!  He loves to twist and pervert the scripture until souls are destroyed.  That's been the GOAL of the enemy from the very beginning.

I've establish WHO performs the ROBBERY of the BLESSED HOPE.  Now, let's look at another example in Revelation 3:10-11. 

(This is a PROMISE given to the Church of Philadelphia, a TRUE and FAITHFUL Church--one who LOVES Jesus, who shares the gospel, who is full of the Holy Spirit, and who LIVES by the WHOLE COUNCIL of God's Word--by everything that's recorded in the Holy Bible.)

"Because you have KEPT the WORD of My patience, I will also KEEP you FROM the HOUR of temptation, which shall come upon ALL the world, to try (test) them that DWELL on the earth.  Behold, I COME QUICKLY:  HOLD FAST that which you have, THAT NO MAN TAKE YOUR CROWN."

The Philadelphia Church is given a great PROMISE.  Notice these true Christians will be KEPT from something.  They'll NOT have to GO THROUGH something!  What is it that they'll ESCAPE?

THE HOUR of temptation.  They are NOT ONLY told they will be KEPT from temptation.  They're promised to be KEPT OUT OF "THE TIME" OF IT!  

What temptation is it? 

It's an HOUR or a SET TIME when THE WHOLE WORLD will be TRIED--tested and judged.  It's an HOUR and SET TIME when a TRIBULATION (a TRIAL) will fall upon the ENTIRE WORLD.  In order to be KEPT OUT of a TIME that will HIT the WHOLE WORLD, these true Christians MUST be taken OUT OF the world!!!  If they REMAINED on the earth, they would be IN THE TIME of that TRIAL!!!  But, the Word is clear, they are taken out of THE TIME of it--and out of the vicinity of the WHOLE WORLD.

By this description, we understand WHAT TIME the Philadelphia Church is to be KEPT FROM.  We call it "The Tribulation"! 

In Daniel 9:24 to 27, THAT SET TIME is DEFINED (again this is a subject I hope to teach in a future blog).  What I want you to see now is this--THE SET TIME is SEVEN YEARS long.  The TRUE and FAITHFUL Church (who are GENUINE Christians--NOT those "in name only")--will be KEPT from the VERY TIME of the "Seven-Year Tribulation".

In Revelation 3:11, Jesus declares that He will COME QUICKLY.  Suddenly, at an HOUR when people THINK NOT, Jesus will APPEAR in the Rapture.  Matt. 24:44.  In Revelation, He ADDS--HOLD FAST to what you have, so NO MAN can ROB your crown.

In the CONTEXT of Philadelphia's PROMISE--(which is to be KEPT from the VERY TIME of THE TRIBULATION)--Jesus tells us to HOLD FAST to the expectation we have.  Why? 

Because there will be PEOPLE who'll TRY to steal OUR CROWNS--ROBBING us of a PROMISE which brings BLESSED HOPE.

WHAT crowns are stolen?

Remember the CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (the STEPHANOS), the REWARD given to people who LOVE the MESSAGE of Jesus' APPEARING in the Rapture?

Do NOT let ANY MAN or ANY FALSE TEACHING "steal" that crown from us!  Do NOT let ANY MAN or ANY FALSE TEACHING rob us of our BLESSED HOPE!

Jesus desires us to be full of JOY, jumping with ANTICIPATION, and LOVING the idea of His SOON APPEARANCE in the Pre-Trib Rapture.  This ATTITUDE should be our consuming FOCUS!!!

But what happens? 

People spout their FALSE TEACHINGS.  They INSIST upon their OWN misconstrued OPINIONS, and they presume to TELL us HOW we SHOULD believe (according to them and their inaccurate readings of the scripture).  By doing this, they COULD ROB us of what should be a MIGHTY BLESSING.

Here are a few of the FALSE TEACHINGS: 

"You (Church) must go through the tribulation.  You will suffer calamities, earthquakes, pestilences and the rage of the Antichrist.  You will see frightful and terrible signs from heaven.  Nuclear wars will happen.  You will be martyred and die.  The government will be a thousand times worse than Hitler.  Water will turn to blood, the sun will scorch, earthquakes will cause cities to collapse--islands and mountains will disappear.  And you better be ready.  Because your faith will be tested though these things." 

(The judgments that I just described WILL INDEED HAPPEN during the Tribulation, BUT this is THE SET TIME that Philadelphia--"the True and Faithful Church--is PROMISED to be KEPT FROM!)

Here's a few more FALSE STATEMENTS (which can ROB us of our CROWN--given for maintaining our BLESSED HOPE).

"The Rapture is in middle of the Tribulation, NOT before it."

"No, the Rapture happens JUST BEFORE God pours out His bowls of wrath."

"You're ALL wrong.  The Rapture will happen at Armageddon--after the WHOLE Tribulation has passed."

ARE YOU CONFUSED YET?  (I know those of us who have diligently studied end time prophecies will NOT be confused, BECAUSE the PRECIOUS TRUTH of God's WHOLE COUNSEL undergirds us.  But NEW believers, and those NOT familiar with the Bible, DON'T know WHAT to think!)

Here's some truth:  GOD DOES NOT WANT US TO BE CONFUSED!  He gave us AMPLE scriptures, and SHOWS us what IS the TRUTH!  (Remember, too, that SATAN is the AUTHOR of CONFUSION.) 

If we take THE TIME to study His ENTIRE Word (comparing scripture to scripture, defining the words that are used, and keeping the messages in context), we'll not MISAPPLY prophecies.  If we ask the Holy Spirit to TEACH US, and RELY on Him to SHOW us the correct interpretation, we'll avoid confusion, because God is never the author of confusion (like I stated above).  If we accept His truths and prophecies LITERALLY, our FAITH in His Word will be UNSHAKABLE!

(Concerning the FALSE TEACHINGS I listed ABOVE:  AS I've read the REASONS and EXPLANATIONS which are given FOR those beliefs--I find the scriptures TWISTED so badly, it gives me a headache.  It's like trying to UNTANGLE matted hair!  And it fills me with GRIEF, because I HATE seeing God's Word misused and torn apart like it so often is.)

The real tragedy is this:  Instead of experiencing the BLESSED HOPE at the mention of Jesus' APPEARING (in a Pre-Trib Rapture), people are driven into PAROXYSMS of FEAR.  They say, "Don't give me all that gloom and doom."  Seeking to AVOID their fear, they run from end time prophecies, saying, "I won't hear any more it." 

There's even something worse:  When people are robbed of the BLESSED HOPE, they quit looking for Jesus.  They STOP expecting Him.  Instead, they EXPECT to meet the Antichrist.  They EXPECT to be severely punished and beaten by the Savior Who died to make them righteous.  They don't understand the effectiveness of His shed blood, or the thoroughness of His finished sacrifice.  They can't comprehend that He is coming soon--to REWARD them.  Revelation 22:12.  Hebrews 9:28.  The false teachings have dimmed their eyes to the REALITY of His HUGE LOVE!

One REASON WHY I wrote today's blog:  I'm often DISTRESSED by the viciousness of the ATTACKS upon our BLESSED HOPE (found in websites and forums all over the Internet, and in many published books, too).  The ATTACKERS SAY that we, who believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, are "false prophets" who "spew lies from hell."  The ATTACKERS ADD that when we (who believe in the PROMISE of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture) find ourselves in the Tribulation, then we'll REJECT God and FALL AWAY from Jesus.  Furthermore, they insist, that by our "false teachings"--we'll INSURE that others meet the same fate.  (This is NOT only FALSE, but it BELITTLES our FAITH, and DENIGRATES our POWERFUL LOVE of Jesus!)

I can AFFIRM that these attacks DON'T bother me!  What distresses me is that BABY CHRISTIANS (young ones in the faith) will be harmed by such false teachings.  What disturbs me is that many Christians may be robbed--having their BLESSED HOPE destroyed.  What angers me is this--it's a possibility that many Christians will turn away from the JOY and ANTICIPATION of Jesus' return, and instead suffer and tremble with FEAR, DOUBTS and CONFUSION--and they don't need to!

I can say EMPHATICALLY--God DID NOT want it to be this way!  The FEW Bible verses I've shared in this blog should make that OBVIOUS! 

I hope by sharing these things, that you may be uplifted and encouraged, fully determined to remain STRONG in your faith, and FAITHFUL in your LOVE of Jesus.

To sum it all up:  What are IMPORTANT end time attitudes?  JOY, HOPE, LOVE and EXCITEMENT! 

What a BLESSING we have--to be full of ANTICIPATION, looking for the APPEARING of Jesus!

I EAGERLY EXPECT Him!  And I know there are MANY others who feel the same way! 

Let's NOT allow our BLESSED HOPE to be robbed. 

Do you experience powerful HOPE as this end time world grows darker, more threatening?  It does sounds contradictory, doesn't it, that while the world becomes more dangerous and insecure, we have a RISING JOY?  But that's what Jesus gives to us.  We have the PEACE that passes all understanding.  We look at the sky, staring at clouds, and KNOW one day, our Lord will appear.  And we will be with Him in glory!!!  

HOPE is an attitude which brings enjoyment to our Savior's heart--because it shows HOW MUCH we trust Him. 

Have a most glorious and thankful day in Jesus.

EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY, LORD JESUS.  WE LONG TO SEE YOUR WONDERFUL FACE.  WE'LL BOW AT YOUR FEET AND WORSHIP.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

1948--A YEAR OF PROPHETIC IMPACT

In my last post, I focused upon the year when Israel--after being dispersed into the world for about 18 centuries (1,813 years)--was REBORN as a NATION in their land.  THAT YEAR WAS 1948.  The TIME of Israel's REBIRTH was what Jesus pointed to in Matthew 24:32-35, when He described the FIG TREE, newly leafed, and declared that summer was near.  So also, when people see Israel REBORN in their land, after a long "winter" season of being dormant, then WE KNOW that the events in the Second Coming of Jesus are near, yes, even at the doors. 

Jesus went on to explain that THE GENERATION who are ALIVE and SEE the REBIRTH of Israel in 1948 will NOT all die, but will STILL EXIST on planet earth as those things, which are prophesied, become FULFILLED.

We who have birthdays shortly before (or close to) 1948 are THAT GENERATION who will WITNESS the events in the Second Coming of Jesus.  (Of course, this means ANYONE born AFTER the 1940s have that VERY SAME DESTINATION.)

Israel is NOT the ONLY end time SIGN!  Other prophetic developments have been put into place. 

Since 1948, Israel has dwelt in their own land, fighting off angry Arab nations and eventually reclaiming possession of Jerusalem in 1967.  We all know that tensions grew heavier and more volatile in the Middle East with each passing year, and, at the moment, the tension is stretched to the breaking point. 

Through the years, while Israel has fought to maintain their existence in own their land, OTHER developments (which MUST be FULLY in place by the TIME of the TRIBULATION) have had their START.  These other things have continued to develop--right up to the present.  The FRAMEWORK is therefore established, and the end time STRUCTURES are in place for the FINAL FULFILLMENTS to occur. 

This is NO ACCIDENT.  AND here's is what's REALLY SIGNIFICANT:  these OTHER developments had their BEGINNINGS in 1948.

What are those things?

The Bible prophesies a coming ONE-WORLD EMPIRE which will be led by a madman DICTATOR known as the ANTICHRIST.  Huge segments of SCRIPTURE are devoted to describing the FINAL world-wide government and its diabolical leader. 

(In future blogs--Lord willing, I hope to go directly to those prophecies, offering full teachings upon them.  For today's blog, my purpose is to SHOW how the ONE-WORLD SYSTEM got its START.  The RELEVANT YEAR was 1948--which DOVETAILS with the understanding of THE LAST GENERATION.)

What I OFFER today is a SUMMARY of information I found in a book, authored by Jim Simmons, entitled:  "The Last Generation:  Prophecy, Current Events and the End Times."  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book for anyone who wants a clearer picture of where we stand in relation to end time prophecies.  You will see, as I do, how SHORT our current time really is.

The coming ONE WORLD EMPIRE is like a TRIPOD, which has THREE strong legs.  Each leg is a PILLAR, and I list them below:


1.  ONE-WORLD GOVERNMENT (with a DICTATOR who will rule over ALL three of the pillars.)  This is prophesied in Daniel 2, and Daniel 7 and 8, and in Revelation 13.

2.  ONE-WORLD ECONOMY.  We see part of it it Revelation 13, and also in Revelation 18.

3.  ONE-WORLD RELIGION.  This is prophesied in Revelation 17.


So what happened in 1948, that STARTED the development of these THREE PILLARS?  (I'll list the BEGINNING treaties, agreements, inventions and conventions which BEGAN TO ESTABLISH these entities.)


THE ONE-WORLD GOVERNMENT

The work towards a ONE-WORLD GOVERNMENT had its beginnings with a REVIVAL of the OLD ROMAN EMPIRE.

What's interesting to understand, is that the old Roma Empire NEVER FELL.  Instead, it broke into pieces and lost its POWER, while retaining its STRUCTURE.  (I'd need to go into a side-tangent to explain HOW this happened, which I don't want to do in today's article.  Suffice it to say, in this summary, that the old Roman Empire--the legs of iron, feet and ten toes of clay MIXED with iron [of Daniel 2], and the terrible beast with iron teeth [of Daniel 7], started to RISE UP in 1948--in the VERY SAME YEAR as when Israel was REBORN as a nation.)


1.  In 1948, the CONGRESS OF EUROPE MET.  In this congress, they set up SEVEN RESOLUTIONS on POLITICAL UNION.  Most outstanding was resolution SEVEN, which says, "The CREATION of a United Europe must be regarded as an ESSENTIAL STEP towards the CREATION of a UNITED WORLD."


2.  Later in 1948, there arrived THE BRUSSELS TREATY.  This treaty ADDED France and Britain to the Benelux countries of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg (of the Benelux Treaty of 1948).  Later, in 1954, the BRUSSELS TREATY was amended and modified, which added REAL SIGNIFICANCE to the development of a Western European Union.

Since the beginning of the European Union in 1948, further meetings and decisions have occurred, which puts the ENTIRE WORLD on track to be under a ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT.  (Today, I won't go into all the details.  My purpose is for you to SEE that these events BEGAN in 1948.)


THE ONE-WORLD ECONOMY


1.  DEVELOPMENT OF THE TRANSISTOR.  In 1948, the Bell Labs and AT&T invented the transistor.  Why is that important?  How does it fit into a move toward a ONE-WORLD financial system?

ANSWER:  It opened the door for the computer!  Once computers came into common use, banking systems and financial institutions were LINKED to each other.

It became possible (in the earliest stages of it) in 1948.


2.  DEVELOPMENT OF A GLOBAL AUTHORITY.  In 1948, the ROOTS of a GLOBAL ECONOMY came into being.  This occurred under the ESTABLISHMENT of "THE GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TRADES AND TARIFFS", also known as GATT.  GATT later transformed into THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION (WTO) in the 1990s.  WTO serves as an OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE for the World Economy.  This got its START in 1948.


3.  THE WORLD BANK and INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF).  These entities have their BEGINNINGS in 1948.  From this ROOT, the EURO eventually became the common currency of the European Union.  Further plans are afoot--to replace other world currencies with IMF instituted funds.


THE ONE-WORLD RELIGION


THE WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES (WCC).  In 1948, the WCC was founded in Amsterdam.  One of the purposes of the "World Council of Churches" was to develop a milder, gentler, ALL-INCLUSIVE religion.  TOLERANCE is the KEY factor in this organization.

Stands taken by the WCC have DILUTED Christianity as shown in the New Testament.  The attitude can be summed up as "all roads lead to Rome"--or all religions can lead you to God.  (NOTE:  Jesus emphatically said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, NO MAN comes to the Father, but by Me.)  Further developments, stemming from the WCC, have led people right into a "great falling away"--THE APOSTASY, the LUKEWARM and INDIFFERENT Church (an end time Church named Laodecia in Revelation 3:14-22).

I can add further insight concerning the development of a ONE WORLD RELIGION, but will allow this summary to suffice.  The KEY is this:  it's ROOTS are in the year of 1948.


There's so much EVIDENCE concerning the IMPORTANCE of 1948.  This YEAR began an ACCELERATED MOVEMENT toward the FULFILLMENTS of END TIME prophecy.  One would THINK that people would be HIGHLY AWARE of these truths. 

Alas!  A great part of ORGANIZED CHURCH-GOERS are BLIND to the RELEVANCE of the TIME in which we live (brought about by what took place AFTER the WCC formed).

1948 is THE KEY year!  Not only did ISRAEL (the FIG TREE) blossom, but these OTHER ELEMENTS of the END TIME WORLD had their beginnings, too!

Jesus stated, "Verily, I say unto you, THIS GENERATION shall NOT pass, till ALL these things be fulfilled.  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but MY WORDS shall NOT pass away."  Matthew 24:34 and 35.

Many Christians are SO BLIND to what's happening in these END TIMES, thinking the EARTH will CONTINUE as it has from the beginning.  BUT--some world scientists, academics and respected investigators are STARTING to sing a far different tune.  I'll offer a few examples.

Concerning the probability of a nuclear attack:  "...it's not a matter of IF, but WHEN."----Eugene Habiger, former Executive Chief of Strategic Weapons at the Pentagon.

Concerning THE ODDS about CATACLYSMIC EVENTS that major insurance companies will be required cover:  Warren Buffett concludes that an imminent nuclear nightmare within the Untied States is "virtually a certainty."

From Dr. Graham Allison, a Harvard professor and director of Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs:  He said, "Is nuclear terrorism inevitable?  Harvard professors are known for being subtle or ambiguous, but I'll try to be clear.  'Is the worst yet to come?'  My answer:  'Bet on it.  Yes.'"

Why the emphasis on NUKES?  Does this FIT with what the Bible says concerning the END TIMES?  Will this be the OUTCOME of the situations which "roil and tumble"--concerning Islamic threats upon Israel?  What about mankind's hope that a ONE WORLD SYSTEM will PREVENT such horrors from happening?

When the Bible describes eyes melting, and the flesh and tongues dissolving away, it certainly SOUNDS nuclear.  When people near the end of the Tribulation develop NOISOME SORES and ULCERS, it sure SOUNDS like the affects of RADIATION.  When cities, like Damascus, are prophesied to become UNINHABITABLE RUINOUS HEAPS, it certainly SOUNDS nuclear.  When specialists must bury the bones after the Gog/Magog war, and passersby are warned to NOT touch them, it certainly SOUNDS nuclear (like precautions against radioactive material).  When Jesus said He must "shorten" the days of the TRIBULATION, in order that flesh will be saved, it sounds as if He returns to stop A NUCLEAR conflagration.

In this light, it's good to remember that the WORLD did NOT have nuclear capability until the mid-1940s.  The world was shocked when the United States dropped atomic bombs upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

When the terrible Second World War was finished, and the radioactive dust settled, Israel was given their land, the European Union started forming, the World Bank was established, and the World Council of Churches organized.  ALL OF IT HAPPENING IN 1948. 

These things have their ULTIMATE DESTINY in the EVENTS of the Second Coming of Jesus.  A remnant in Israel will be given DIVINE protection, and they'll finally recognize that Jesus was indeed their promised Messiah.  The rest of a Godless world will be ripe for severe judgments!  These developments BEGAN in 1948.

In my opinion, this is NOT co-incidence, but evidence of the hand of God, as the world rushes toward the very end "of the times of the Gentiles."  MANY MAJOR PROPHECIES will come to pass, exactly as they are written, fulfulling EVERY detail of the scriptures--gleaned and fit together, from BOTH the Old Testament and the New.

Jesus will come back within THIS GENERATION.  He will CATCH UP (harpazo) His Church in the event called the Rapture, before the Tribulation.  He will then bring God's judgments upon a WORLD and a SOCIETY who have rejected Him.  In the MIDST OF IT, a remnant of Israel will be FULLY SAVED, recognize Jesus as their MESSIAH and KING, and enjoy His REIGN upon the THRONE OF DAVID in the MILLENNIUM.  (As Jesus RULES and REIGNS, His TRUE and FAITHFUL CHURCH will rule and reign WITH Him.)

The countdown toward these events BEGAN in 1948.  BEFORE all of this GENERATION (ALIVE in 1948) passes away, Jesus will come and the FINAL EVENTS will unfold, just like God declares in His Word.

People always have the choice--they can believe these things or NOT. 

But regardless of HOW people believe, it WILL happen, EXACTLY as God foretold.  (I always recite the child's "hide and seek" adage:  Jesus will say--"Ready or not, here I come."  It depends upon WHEN the LAST PERSON of the Gentiles comes to faith in Christ--and FILLS UP the TOTAL NUMBER that God has determined will enter the Church.  See Romans 11:25.

It's ALWAYS my PRAYER, as I offer these blogs, that WHOSOEVER reads them, will TAKE STOCK of their lives.  Let Christians be filled WITH HOPE, joyfully looking forward to seeing Jesus FACE TO FACE.  Let those who are NOT ready, who do NOT know Jesus as their Savior and Lord, fall on their knees and ASK Jesus to come LIVE in their hearts.

Yes, and Amen!  May this prayer be answered by a merciful and longsuffering God.  BE READY--for in a time when we think not, Jesus will appear and Rapture His Church.

May you have a MOST wonderful day, rejoicing in Jesus, your LIFE and your JOY.

EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY LORD JESUS.  WE LONG TO SEE YOUR WONDERFUL FACE.

Friday, February 25, 2011

THIS GENERATION SHALL NOT PASS

In the last blog, I laid down a Biblical foundation to help us determine the TIMES and SEASONS through an understanding of HOW God views the passage of time.  "A THOUSAND YEARS is as ONE DAY."  This understanding puts OUR FOCUS upon the TIME in which we now live.

Today, we'll look at scripture which NARROWS the FOCUS into much sharper clarity.  We NOT ONLY see the THOUSAND YEAR time-frame--SIX THOUSAND YEARS of God dealing with mankind, and THEN the SEVENTH THOUSAND YEAR of Jesus in His EARTHLY KINGDOM known as the MILLENNIUM.  We also see a SPECIFIC GENERATION within that time-frame.

Again, I REPEAT!  This is NOT calculating the TIME so as to predict a DAY, HOUR, or even a YEAR of the Rapture--or even for Jesus' return at Armageddon.  This is for the PURPOSE of seeing a BEGINNING POINT and an ENDING POINT.  Jesus MUST return within those two set boundaries.  What determines those boundaries?  Are we really THE GENERATION to see the events of the Second Coming?

To begin, we need to turn to Matthew 24,where Jesus laid out SIGNS which shows WHEN His Second Coming draws near.  This passage was addressed SPECIFICALLY to the nation of Israel (given to His Jewish disciples BEFORE His crucifixion when they specifically asked about their coming Kingdom--with Messiah on the throne of David).  However, we, the CHURCH, can glean insight from the information.

Jesus listed many things:  False christs, false prophets, false teachers.  Wars and rumors of wars.  Nation rising against nation (ethnic upheavals, civil unrest), and kingdom against kingdom.  Famines.  Pestilences.  Many earthquakes in diverse places.  (In the Luke 21 account, He adds:  The sea and waves roaring--tsunamis, strong hurricanes and typhoons.  Fearful sights and great signs from heaven.  Upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity--with people NOT knowing HOW to solve the problems.   Men's hearts failing them for fear.)  Persecutions and martyrdom of Christians (and antisemitism against Jews).  People betraying each other, hating each other.  Love growing cold.  The gospel being preached into ALL the world.  Then shall the end come.  We see these these things ALL around us today, happening ALL AT ONCE in the beginnings of BIRTH PANGS.  But the end is not yet.  Jesus adds in Luke 21:28--"When these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near."

In Matthew 24:32-35, Jesus gave a KEY to our understanding the TIMES and SEASONS.  Let's take the time to read it.

"Now learn a parable of the FIG TREE; When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you KNOW summer is near.  So LIKEWISE you, when you see ALL these things (the signs listed above), know that it (the Second Coming of Jesus) is NEAR, even at the doors. 

"VERILY (listen closely), I say unto you, THIS GENERATION shall NOT PASS (or die away), till ALL these things BE FULFILLED.  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but MY WORDS shall NOT pass away."

The KEY to understanding the nearness of Jesus' Second Coming is ISRAEL.  When we see EVENTS and prophecies about ISRAEL coming to pass, we will KNOW that the Second Coming of Jesus is drawing near. 

(Note also--the Second Coming understanding INCLUDES events of the TRIBULATION and the ARMAGEDDON SCENE, when Jesus returns to set His feet upon the earth.) 

(We also KNOW that the CHURCH will be CALLED UP in the HARPAZO--the Rapture--BEFORE the last seven years which ARE DETERMINED upon Israel [in a prophecy given specifically for the Jewish nation].  We see SIGNS in the world which POINTS to the NEARNESS of the FINAL EVENTS, and SINCE the actual Second Coming at Armageddon is SO NEAR--we KNOW that the Rapture is even NEARER!   The Rapture will be at least SEVEN YEARS nearer--and perhaps MORE than seven years, because some events will occur BEFORE the great and terrible Day of the Lord.)  

In scripture, Israel is often described by the symbol of THE FIG TREE.  I'll give ONE example (there are more).  Hosea 9:10, in the first part of the verse.

"I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the FIRST RIPE in the FIG TREE at her first time:"

Notice that Israel was not only like a FIG TREE, but like the FIRST RIPE FIGS of the summer season.  This is a direct parallel to what Jesus said in Matthew 24.

When we SEE the FIG TREE put out leaves, in its preparation to produce fruit, we KNOW that summer is near.  When we see false prophets and false teachers, wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes in many places, tsunamis, distress in the nations with politicians not knowing what to do, and ALL the SIGNS listed above, we KNOW that the Second Coming of Jesus draws near (and SINCE His arrival at Armageddon approaches, we KNOW the RAPTURE of the CHURCH is even CLOSER--at least SEVEN YEARS closer, and maybe a little more than seven years closer).

Jesus goes on to STATE with emphatic emphasis (adding) "Heaven and earth WILL pass away, but MY words shall NOT pass away!"

WHAT WORDS?

THESE WORDS!  "Verily I say unto you, THIS GENERATION shall NOT pass, until all these things be FULFILLED."

WHAT GENERATION?

The people who SEE the leafing of the FIG TREE.  These are the people who SEE the REBIRTH of the nation of Israel, after a long WINTER SEASON of being dormant, after HUNDREDS of years of NOT being a nation in their PROMISED LAND.

I won't go into a long teaching on how Israel was attacked by the Roman army, led by Titus.  But in 70 A.D., as punishment for rejecting Jesus as their Messiah, the city of Jerusalem, after being put under siege, was destroyed, along with the Jewish temple.  After further Roman atrocities, the last remnant of Jews fled their PROMISED LAND in 135 A.D.  They scattered into every nation of the world, where they continued to suffer pogroms and persecutions.

UNTIL a final HOLOCAUST in the mid-1900's under the Nazis in World War Two.

Then, lo and behold, A MIRACLE.  A scattered and dead nation with a withered and unused language experienced a REBIRTH in ONE DAY.  See Isaiah 66:8.  A nation BORN in ONE DAY--May 14, 1948.  Plus HEBREW, the unused and archaic LANGUAGE, resurfaced into a common tongue, a PURE LANGUAGE.  See Zephaniah 3:9.  In the HISTORY of the world, such a thing has NEVER happened, that is, UNTIL this transpired for Israel!  WHAT AN AWESOME EVENT!  I cannot emphasize the importance of this enough!

Jesus said that THE GENERATION who are ALIVE when Israel was REBORN will NOT pass away in death.  Instead, THIS GENERATION will INDEED SEE the events of the Second Coming of Jesus.  (The EVENTS of the Second Coming of Jesus STARTS with the Rapture of His church--BEFORE the Tribulation--and ENDS with His setting His feet on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem AFTER the Tribulation.)

The GENERATION who was ALIVE in 1948, at the REBIRTH of Israel, is THAT GENERATION.

I was FOUR years old in May of 1948.  I am now age 67.  And I am ASSURED by this prophecy that I am of THE GENERATION who shall NOT all die, but who will witness the events of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  And since I'm a BORN AGAIN Christian, and of the Church, then the Rapture is going to spare me from the judgments to come in the SEVEN YEAR TRIBULATION.  Wow!  What a promise!

Using the time-frame of THIS GENERATION, as shown by Jesus in Matthew 24, we can determine some BOUNDARIES concerning the TIMING of the events of the Second Coming.

First, let's establish the OUTERMOST time-possibility within the THOUSAND YEAR framework seen in the last blog.  By looking at a prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27, we can determine the date when Jesus appeared in Jerusalem, and THE VERY DAY He presented Himself as their King--the ONLY time in His ministry.  He rode on the back of a donkey as the people waved palm branches and exclaimed in John 12:13, "Hosanna:  Blessed is the King of Israel Who comes in the name of the Lord."  A few days later, this same crowd called in loud voices for His crucifixion!

In Daniel's prophecy, it's declared that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (after Israel's seventy year captivity in Babylon), that there will be 7 weeks and 63 weeks (a total of 70 weeks).  These weeks are periods of time much longer than the ordinary week of 7 days.  Instead, these weeks are a period called a "shabua" which is 7 YEARS long.  So Israel has 70 weeks of 7 years appointed upon them.  (I'm briefly summarizing--in a later blog, I hope do a FULL teaching upon the 70 weeks prophesied by Daniel.)

In the first 7 weeks, 49 years, Jerusalem was rebuilt.   Then there was a further 62 weeks until another event.  What was that event?  MESSIAH will be CUT OFF, but NOT for Himself (a prophecy which shows how He'd be crucified for the sins of ALL people).

WHEN WAS JESUS CUT OFF?

This is where Daniel's prophecy SETS an EXACT DATE.  By counting the YEARS of this prophecy, we see a total of 483 years.  These were Biblical "prophetic" years--each containing 360 days.  The total days number to 173,880.  The ending is the date when Jesus rode on that donkey into Jerusalem when the people said, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord."  We call that DAY--"Palm Sunday," and it occurred on an EXACT DAY, the 10th of Nisan, when Israel selected their LAMBS WITHOUT BLEMISH for the coming Passover!

People have used mathematical calculations to CHANGE the Biblical "prophetic" year of 360 days into our SOLAR YEAR of 365.25 days.  I'm using a calculation given by Bible scholar Josh McDowell, who wrote "Evidence That Demands a Verdict" as he quotes from Harold Hoehner who wrote "Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ."

Here's what happens, by this accounting:  Counting the days, as adjusted to the SOLAR YEAR, the ending date of Daniel's prophesied 483 years, when Messiah was CUT-OFF, turns out to be Nisan 10 in 33 A.D., which is our March 30, 33 A.D.  (If Israel had ONLY KNOWN, THIS THEIR DAY, WHEN JESUS ALLOWED HIMSELF TO BE DECLARED THEIR KING!  But they didn't.  A few days later, on Passover, Jesus was crucified!)   They did NOT recognize Jesus as their promised MESSIAH.

When Jesus was CUT-OFF, it left SEVEN more years DETERMINED upon Israel to FINISH their PROPHESIED 70 weeks!  Those years will be finished UPON ISRAEL in the coming 7 year TRIBULATION.

But what does THIS DATE say to us?  (NOTE--There are SOME DISCREPANCIES in what Bible teachers say about the DATE of Jesus' crucifixion.  Some say Jesus was crucified in 30 A.D., others say in 31 A.D., yet others say in 32 A.D.  I chose the LATEST DATE among them, which says that Jesus died and rose again in 33 A.D., and ascended into heaven.  I chose this particular date because it fits the countdown from Daniel and has the ending of the 483 years occurring on when Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem.  Make further note:  because of the differences in other calculations and in the dating of this prophecy, we can easily understand why it WILL be IMPOSSIBLE to determine the DAY and the HOUR of the Rapture.  We only KNOW the the Rapture is very near, according to the SIGNS we see.)

2000 years (or TWO DAYS in God's eyes) from the time of Jesus' ascension is 2033.  In our LONGEST boundary concerning the WINDOW of TIME in which Jesus can arrive in His Second Coming, it EXTENDS to 2033, an exact 2000 years from 33 A.D.  Subtract seven years for the length of the TRIBULATION, and we find the LONGEST BOUNDARY concerning the Rapture of the Church is 2026.    

(To make it absolutely clear, I'll ADD--For any who might worry about DATE-SETTING, please don't grow IRATE with me.  I'm NOT setting a date, but attempting to establish boundaries by staying within the time-frames INDICATED by the Bible.) 

2026 is the LONGEST time-frame for the Rapture as seen according to 2000 years AFTER Jesus' ascension, using THE LONGEST ESTIMATE that I'm aware of--starting from the year of 33 A.D.

Now--what about Jesus' sure word concerning THIS GENERATION, those who were alive at the time of Israel's rebirth in 1948?  If ALL "this generation" were TO DIE (pass away) BEFORE the Second Coming of Jesus, then Jesus would be a liar--and we KNOW He NEVER lies!

How LONG is a generation?  We can determine several answers for that question. 

Many Bible scholars reckoned a Biblical GENERATION at 40 years, based on THE GENERATION who passed away in the "wilderness wanderings" of Israel--after their EXODUS from Egypt.  When 40 years are added to 1948 (the year of Israel's REBIRTH), it brings us to 1988.  If you can remember, 1988 was proclaimed to be the year when the Church would be Raptured--and it DID NOT happen.  The concept of a 40 year generation was in error.

Another idea concerning a GENERATION is the LIFESPAN of mankind.  For instance, those of the WORLD WAR II generation are called "The Greatest Generation."  Those adults from the World War II generation are now ELDERLY PEOPLE, many of them in the years when they "pass away."

What is the Biblical length of the LIFESPAN of mankind?  Let's look at Psalm 90:10.

"The days of our years are THREESCORE and TEN (70 years); and if by reason of strength they be FOURSCORE YEARS (80), yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away."--(I find the term "fly away" to be interesting, because it refers to "flying away" to be with the Lord--whether our soul "flies away" to be in the Lord's presence after death--or whether we "fly away" by being CAUGHT UP in the Rapture.  And, of course, this refers to people who have faith in Jesus.  Unbelievers "fall away" into Hades, also called hell, which is under the earth).

Anyhow, what does this say about THE GENERATION which were ALIVE, or BORN, near the time of Israel's REBIRTH as a nation in 1948?  (Again, I lay the BOUNDARIES--I'm not setting any dates.)

Let's do the LONGEST figure first--which is 80 years.  The limit of that time-frame of 80 years is 2028--for the time when when Jesus will set His feet on the Mount of Olives.  SUBTRACT the SEVEN YEARS for the TRIBULATION, and it comes to 2021 for one boundary of the RAPTURE.  (Keep in mind that the RAPTURE could happen months or years BEFORE the START of the TRIBULATION--so it could happen BEFORE 2021.)

Let's do the same thing for the lower figure--70 years.  From the REBIRTH of Israel in 1948, the 70 year boundary comes to 2018--for the time when Jesus will set His feet on the Mount of Olives.  SUBTRACT the SEVEN YEARS for the TRIBULATION, and this boundary for the RAPTURE occurs in 2011.  (And again remember, the RAPTURE could happen months AHEAD of the START of the TRIBULATION.  So this calculation puts us RIGHT on the very BRINK!  We're RIGHT THERE, brothers and sisters!  However, I WON'T set dates, but only DECLARE that this makes the RAPTURE so very IMMINENT.)

Now let me explain WHY I went through this exercise.  If it's NOT to set dates, why did I do this?

I hear people make statements that the return of Jesus can still be 50 to 100 years (or more) away.  According to the Biblical time-frames that I've pointed out, what these people claim cannot be true!  Indeed, the return of Jesus is very NEAR now, YES, even at the doors.

While we can NEVER know the DAY, the HOUR, or even the YEAR, we can by this exercise SEE that His coming is MUCH CLOSER than many people realize.

We're told in scripture to be AWAKE, WATCHING, and READY.  We're exhorted to NOT be UNAWARE.

I hope this blog CHALLENGES those who read it to take stock of their lives, and that they GET PREPARED.  I pray that any who DO NOT know Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord will ask Him to come dwell in their hearts right now, even today, BEFORE it's too late.

Let's NOT be like Israel!  They had that FANTASTIC prophecy of the 70 weeks given by Daniel.  They could have counted the days and have known THE DAY of their MESSIAH'S arrival!  Many of them were Old Testament scholars who counted the letters of their text all the time to make certain their copies remained accurate.  Yet they DID NOT count the time from the rebuilding of Jerusalem to their own day!

Instead, Jesus had to LAMENT about them--"If you had known, even you, at least in THIS YOUR DAY, the things which belong unto your peace!  But now they are HID from your eyes....Because you KNEW NOT THE TIME of your visitation"  He said this on THE EXACT DAY when He rode the donkey into Jerusalem.  (See Luke 19:42-44.)

Let us NOT be blinded like Israel was.  Let us KNOW the TIMES and SEASONS.  Let us remain AWAKE and AWARE.

We live in the SEASON when the EVENTS of the Second Coming--the Rapture of the Church--AND the START of the seven year Tribulation--WILL happen!

Make sure you really KNOW Jesus by personal heart faith.  The time is INDEED so short.  The Rapture of the Church is always IMMINENT.

As I close for today, I pray that you have a great and awesome day.  Lift up our heads, because our redemption draws near.  Yes, Jesus is coming soon!

EVEN SO, COME LORD JESUS!  WE LONG TO SEE YOUR WONDERFUL FACE.

THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN....

Thursday, February 24, 2011

ONE THOUSAND YEARS AS ONE DAY

In my last blog, I began laying a FOUNDATION--of which we can DISCERN the TIMES and SEASONS.  Let's return to 2 Peter 3:8-10.  (Remember, this passage speaks to people who are WILLINGLY IGNORANT concerning the PROMISE of Jesus' return.)

"But, beloved, be NOT ignorant of this one thing, that ONE DAY is with the Lord as a THOUSAND YEARS, and a THOUSAND YEARS as ONE DAY."

"The Lord is NOT SLACK concerning His PROMISE, as some men count slackness; but is LONGSUFFERING to us-ward, NOT willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  But the DAY OF THE LORD (defined elsewhere as the TRIBULATION HOUR) will come as a THIEF IN THE NIGHT..."

Who are those that are UNAWARE--who SUFFER a ROBBERY by a THIEF that comes in the NIGHT (during the hours of DARKNESS)?  Who are those who find themselves cast into the TRIBULATION JUDGMENTS? 

Those who are WILLINGLY IGNORANT concerning the TIMES and THE SEASONS!  These are people who SCOFF, saying that Jesus WON'T come, that He NEVER came in times of the past, and certainly He WON'T come THIS time either.  These are people who DWELL IN DARKNESS, because they are CAUGHT in the NIGHT by the THIEF (scripturally, THE THIEF is a bad guy--Satan, who LIES and STEALS).  These people are EXHORTED by the Apostle Peter to REMEMBER a truth--a FACT related to GOD'S TIMING. 

(Also remember this--TRUE CHRISTIANS are CHILDREN of the DAY--we are of THE LIGHT--we are NOT of the NIGHT or DARKNESS.)  See 1 Thessalonians 5:4-11.

The FACT concerning God's TIMING is wrapped up in a certain phrase:  In the eyes of God--"a THOUSAND YEARS is as ONE DAY."

This is NOT an INSIGNIFICANT thing!  The TIMING shown HERE bears a STRONG RELATIONSHIP to God's APPOINTED schedule in dealing with SINFUL mankind.  The REFERENCE takes us back to the VERY BEGINNING, Genesis chapter one, where we see God create the WORLD, and ALL things in RELATION to this present WORLD--in SIX DAYS.  On the SEVENTH DAY, God declared a SABBATH.  In the SEVENTH DAY, God rested.

How does this bear WITNESS to the idea, that to God, A DAY is AS a THOUSAND YEARS?

By carefully counting the GENERATIONS from the TIME of Adam, we discover an amazing fact.  The EARTH is NOT as old as geologists claim.  We find that FOUR THOUSAND YEARS passed between Adam and the FIRST COMING OF JESUS CHRIST.  From the TIME of Jesus to our present day, another TWO THOUSAND YEARS have passed.  Looking at scripture which PROMISES the MILLENNIUM (another THOUSAND YEARS), we understand that the SEVENTH THOUSAND will be a TIME of REST for the WORLD--with Jesus reigning in His earthly KINGDOM.  This is the SAME PATTERN as God resting on the SEVENTH DAY after the creation.

The SEVEN DAYS of creation are a TYPE or a MODEL of ALL the YEARS in which God will deal with SINFUL mankind.  Just like the CREATION lasted SEVEN DAYS, the FULL TIME of God's MINISTRY with mankind on the PRESENT EARTH will cover SEVEN THOUSAND YEARS.  Therefore, ONE DAY, in the eyes of God, is as A THOUSAND YEARS.

The ABOVE explanation is NOT the only UNDERSTANDING concerning the issue.  In Galatians 4:4-5 we read this:

"But WHEN the FULLNESS of the TIME was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the ADOPTION of SONS."

What was the FULLNESS OF TIME that is mentioned here?  


As I stated in the previous paragraphs, when we count the GENERATIONS from Adam to Jesus, we find the answer.  God's FULLNESS OF TIME for JESUS to walk the earth as GOD in the FLESH OF A MAN was FOUR THOUSAND YEARS.  Jesus was born near THE END of the FOURTH DAY after creation. 

What did God create during the FOURTH DAY?  THE SUN!  This is NOT a coincidence!  Toward the evening of that FOURTH DAY of a THOUSAND YEARS--the "TRUE SON" shone His light on the earth.

Well, that's wonderful, and it SHOWS God's GLORY.  But how does this apply to the END TIMES and the Second Coming of Jesus?

To find this structure as it APPLIES to the END TIMES, we need to look at a PROPHECY which was given to ISRAEL in Hosea 5:15 -- and continued into Hosea 6:1-2.  


(This is one of those places where A CHAPTER BREAK DISRUPTS THE FLOW OF UNDERSTANDING.  Remember that in the original Bible scrolls, there were NO chapter breaks.  The chapter breaks were added later--and THEY ARE NOT DIVINELY INSPIRED.) 

Let's look at what the prophet Hosea wrote:

JESUS is THE ONE speaking here by prophecy.  He says, "I will go and RETURN to My place (heaven), TILL they (Israel) acknowledge their offense, and SEEK My face:  in THEIR AFFLICTION they will SEEK Me early." 

(And here is what ISRAEL will say as THEY SEEK their Lord)  "Come, and let us RETURN unto the Lord:  for He has torn, and He will heal us; He has smitten, and He will bind us up.  AFTER TWO DAYS will He REVIVE us:  in the THIRD DAY He will RAISE us up, and WE SHALL LIVE IN HIS SIGHT."

I get GOOSEBUMPS every time I REVIEW this PROPHECY!  Do you UNDERSTAND what's being said here?  Oh, this is so RICH.  And it offers a GLIMPSE of God's TIMING--a SUBJECT we are EXPECTED to KNOW.

When Jesus was born near the end of the fourth ONE THOUSAND YEAR day, and preached in the early part of the FIFTH DAY, Israel (as a whole) REJECTED their Messiah, and Jesus RETURNED to His place in heaven. 

During the the time when Jesus is IN HEAVEN, God and Jesus DIRECT their attention to a NEW group of people, the Church.  During the CHURCH AGE, Israel was SCATTERED all over the world, and suffered INTENSE pograms, persecutions and a HOLOCAUST.  Indeed, Israel was AFFLICTED.  They were torn.  They were smitten.  Now pay close ATTENTION to the NEXT words!

AFTER TWO DAYS (AFTER TWO THOUSAND YEARS), God will REVIVE Israel.  Indeed, as time crept toward the YEAR TWO THOUSAND, Israel as a NATION was REBORN on this earth.  It happened on May 14, 1948.  And since 1948, Israel has been in a CONDITION of BEING REVIVED.

The time-frame?  TWO THOUSAND YEARS.  TWO DAYS.  And INDEED it's happening exactly like it was PROPHESIED.

There's MORE!  Israel speaks in this prophecy and says, "In the THIRD DAY (the beginning of the THIRD THOUSAND YEAR span), He (Jesus) will RAISE us (Israel) up, and WE WILL LIVE IN HIS SIGHT."

That's a DIRECT reference to THE MILLENNIUM!  The Millennium will transpire during THE THIRD ONE THOUSAND YEAR PERIOD AFTER Jesus rose into heaven those many years ago.

What is our date?  2011, of course.  We are ALREADY entering into the TIME-FRAME of the THIRD DAY.  This understanding TELLS us that the Second Coming MUST be at the VERY DOOR.  And since the Second Coming is so close, then the Rapture of the Church MUST be even closer.

Isn't this the MOST FANTASTIC NEWS?  There is NO DOUBT that the Rapture CAN occur at ANY INSTANT!

Even with all this information, some STUBBORN voices insist that the Second Coming of Jesus might NOT occur for another 100 years or more.  Is that assumption accurate, according to these scriptures?

Can the TIMES and SEASONS be narrowed even further?  

(Remember--this exercise is NOT an attempt to set a DAY or HOUR for the Rapture.  But it IS a LIGHT which SHINES on the GENERAL TIME-FRAME in which we NOW live.  We can see the things PROPHESIED--that are SOON to happen to Israel--and by that KNOWLEDGE, we DISCERN that the AGE OF THE CHURCH has nearly COMPLETED its course!)

In the next blog, I'll focus upon the words of Jesus from Matthew 24:34, where He says, "Verily, I say unto you, THIS GENERATION shall NOT PASS, till all these things be fulfilled."

What was Jesus talking about?  WHO did He tell these things?  And HOW LONG is a generation?

Do you sense the SHORTNESS of our HOUR--from what I shared today?  AFTER the next blog, our understanding will be even STRONGER.  We LIVE in the VERY TIME-FRAME for what's prophesied to become fulfilled.  And God does NOT want us to be IGNORANT of the TIMES and SEASONS.

Have an absolutely blessed day.  Let your heart be warmed with joy--and singing in anticipation!

EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY, LORD JESUS.  WE LONG TO SEE YOUR WONDERFUL FACE!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WHY WON'T PEOPLE PAY ATTENTION?

In all the years I've studied and taught Bible prophecy (for 38 years now), ONE factor always amazes me.  People continually DENY the fact that Jesus will RETURN--in THIS GENERATION.  They're totally ignorant of a Biblical truth--that God has SET UP His word that so we'll KNOW the TIMES AND SEASONS.  We're actually EXHORTED to NOT be ignorant!  We're told REPEATEDLY that we must WATCH and BE READY.  Many times as  I've shared the message of the glorious appearing of Jesus to Rapture His Church, I've asked:  "Is anyone paying attention? 

In a HOUR such as this, I'm also amazed that many people will NOT devote THE TIME to become informed--they neglect the NEARNESS of the Lord's return. 

(Sometimes, I feel discouraged concerning this fact.  I continue writing, teaching, offering scripture, all in the hope that someone, somewhere, somehow, will pay heed to the messages and be FOREWARNED that our current world system is SOON to end.  Not only that, but IF they DO NOT have a relationship with Jesus Christ through true heart faith and confidence in Him, I pray that they make the RIGHT CHOICE before it's too late.) 

Will people get themselves PREPARED, forearmed with TRUTH and ENCOURAGEMENT?  Or will they IGNORE all the SIGNS--in effect, burying their heads in the sand?

Many years ago, I drew a cartoon concerning END TIMES unpreparedness: 

An ostrich straddled a railroad track, rump and tail feathers in the air, its head buried in the dirt between the rails and ties.  The ostrich thought, while thus situated, that "ALL is well"--convincing itself that nothing will harm it, that the train will NOT arrive for at least A HUNDRED YEARS (or more).  "I'll be long gone by then," the ostrich told itself, "and all this talk about Jesus' return will NEVER affect me."  So why bother to learn about it?

What the ostrich did NOT see, with its head so deeply buried, was that the TRAIN INDEED APPROACHED, and it was coming QUICKLY (a RUNAWAY train!).  A SIGN upon the locomotive's sides proclaimed--"I AM JESUS, AND I AM COMING NOW!"

The second frame in my cartoon showed the ostrich HIT by the RUNAWAY train.  The foolish bird, wings bent and long legs akimbo, squawked, its feathers flying in all directions.  It was CAUGHT UNAWARE by the coming of Jesus and was HURLED into the TRIBULATION'S judgments!

Too many people APPEAR to be like that bird!

SIGNS OF THE TIMES blare like an AIR-RAID siren, but people, lacking knowledge, and NOT wanting to be told the truth, IGNORE the BLARING ALARM.  They will NOT take the time to PREPARE.  They DON'T WANT to KNOW.  They divert their attention elsewhere--to work, games, pleasure--all the while thinking, "It won't happen.  Not yet.  This end time FLAP will cease, just like so many others that came before it."

On other forums, I find groups of Christians who WONDER like I do--"Why the terrible INDIFFERENCE, the lack of interest in Bible prophecy, when the WHOLE creation is GROANING with SIGNS, with warnings that flood the atmosphere--like loud wailing SIRENS?" 

There's the OBVIOUS increases in earthquakes, volcanoes, typhoons, floods, hurricanes, sea and waves roaring, tsunamis, excessive heat and bitter cold, blizzards, birds-fishes-animals dying all over the world, raging wildfires, deceptions of UFOs, falling meteors, near misses with asteroids, approaching comets, the sun throwing off more and more massive solar flares, the magnetic north pole moving rapidly toward Russia.  Should I continue?  I'm sure I could add more to the list. 

(I realize, however, that the Mainstream Media is silent about the signs.  They blather about the latest political scandal, or the life and times of Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber.)

Added to THE LISE of SIGNS is the TURMOIL and DISTRESS in the nations, especially the current UPHEAVAL in the Middle East--all of it creating a HAIR-TRIGGER crisis that could EXPLODE into a war at any instant.

These world conditions, the increasing BIRTH PANGS point to the AWESOME nearness of Jesus' return.  All of us who pay attention, indeed SENSE the URGENCY of this hour, EXPECTING that the NEXT SOUND we hear might be a trumpet and a loud shout from Jesus, "Come up here!"

The other Christians (that I mentioned above from other forums) said that they continually run into people who exclaim, "Well, we DON'T KNOW WHEN He'll come, you know..." 

The disparaging remarks continue along in this direction:  "Yeah, people have ALWAYS said that Jesus is coming.  Well, take a look at us.  We're STILL here, aren't we?"

"Nobody can KNOW when Jesus will return.  It's all in God's hands, so why should we concern ourselves with it?"  And the UNCONCERNED walk away with a dismissive shrug.

Concerning giving warnings to people, other Christians report getting these reactions:  "When I talk about the end times and how Jesus is coming soon, I get this response:  people don't care..."

"Well, NOT CARING is one thing.  I've seen people get terribly angry--FURIOUS with me for even mentioning it."

"Why should people care about the END TIMES and the RETURN of Jesus, when our pastors don't care?"

"Yes, I know all about that.  Many pastors won't touch Bible prophecy..."

"They say it's too controversial.  It will divide their congregation into warring factions..."

"They say it can't be understood anyway."

"So the final conclusion is this--don't touch it.  Besides, people don't want to be bothered with it.  Many would leave Churches if their pastors started harping about Bible prophecy."

"They say it's too scary.  Imagine that!  Scared over seeing Jesus face to face--the One Who died to save them..."

Yes, there was quite a discussion on those forums--expressing ALL the MANY reasons WHY people ACT like OSTRICHES in this VERY SIGNIFICANT HOUR.  Indeed, we SIT on the BRINK of Jesus coming to receive His CHURCH to Himself.  And MANY who "call" themselves Christians are NOT looking for Him to appear!

IT'S SO SAD.  AND TRAGIC!!!  It doesn't need to be that way...if people would only WAKE UP.

But will they?

What I've described is IN ITSELF a FULFILLMENT of END TIME Bible prophecy.  What are those prophecies which SHOW the ATTITUDES of many Christians as the HOUR of Jesus' return draws near? 

I can mention the CHURCH OF LAODECIA, the last ERA of CHURCH HISTORY  (Revelation 3:14-22). 

The people are BLIND--they can't see THE SIGNS around about them, can't DISCERN scriptural truth.

The people are RICH--so caught up in their work and obtaining more WEALTH, that Bible study is pushed aside--after all, it's NOT AS IMPORTANT as gaining that EXTRA nest egg. 

They are LUKEWARM--meaning that they are neither for Jesus or against Him.  Sure, Jesus is THERE, but He's just NOT RELEVANT in their lives.  In fact, Jesus stands on the outside of these people's hearts, knocking, wanting to be invited in... 

They are INDIFFERENT.  The LAODECIAN CHURCH can be SUMMED UP as the congregation who SHRUGS "So what" instead of shouting "Hallelujah."

Another prophecy which is FULFILLED by INDIFFERENT people in the END TIMES is 2 Peter 3:3-10.

"Knowing this first, that there shall come IN THE LAST DAYS 'scoffers,' walking after their own lusts (desires), and SAYING, 'Where is the PROMISE of HIS COMING?  For since the fathers fell asleep (died), ALL THINGS continue as THEY WERE from the beginning of creation. 

"For this they WILLINGLY are IGNORANT OF, that by the WORD of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the waters and in the water:  whereby the world that then WAS, being overflowed with water, PERISHED:

"But the heavens and the earth, WHICH ARE NOW, by the SAME WORD are kept in store, reserved unto FIRE against THE DAY of JUDGMENT and perdition of UNGODLY MEN.

"But beloved, BE NOT IGNORANT of this one thing, that ONE DAY is with the Lord as a THOUSAND YEARS, and a THOUSAND YEARS is as ONE DAY.

"The Lord is NOT SLACK concerning His PROMISE, as SOME MEN count slackness; but is LONGSUFFERING to us-ward, NOT WILLING that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance.

"But the DAY OF THE LORD (the Tribulation period) will COME as a THIEF in the NIGHT..." (meaning that MANY will be CAUGHT UNAWARE by Jesus coming to catch up His CHURCH.  These people live their lives for their OWN PLEASURES AND LUSTS, neglecting Jesus.  Those UNAWARE [and also NOT REALLY SAVED] will be flung into the Tribulation hour, like the OSTRICH I described earlier).

Are you one who resists TEACHINGS about Bible prophecy?  Are you really interested in the things of Jesus?  Are you devoted to Him?  Are you living for Him?

Understand this--the Bible devotes MUCH SPACE to prophecy!  God is One Who knows THE END since the VERY BEGINNING, and what He says IS GOING TO HAPPEN--WILL HAPPEN.  And God EXPECTS us to KNOW IT!  And since He EXPECTS us TO KNOW it, He writes it in a WAY which INDEED can be UNDERSTOOD.  By COMPARING scripture to scripture, we can DISCOVER the meanings of the SYMBOLS--which are CONSISTENTLY DEFINED all over the BOOK!

And also UNDERSTAND THIS--God EXPECTS us to KNOW the TIMES AND SEASONS!  While we can NEVER declare the DAY or the HOUR when Jesus will appear to RAPTURE His CHURCH, we can KNOW by the SIGNS in the world around us that the TIME DRAWS NEAR.  Let's NOT be IGNORANT of these things.

Yes, Jesus IS COMING at any instant NOW.  This KNOWLEDGE is SUPPORTED throughout the scripture.  It TIES directly into THE WORLD of OUR TIME.  AND I'll SHOW you THE PROOF!

In 2 Peter 3:8 (from the passage quoted above), we see that in the EYES of God, a THOUSAND YEARS is as ONE DAY.  In my next blog, I'll explain what that PHRASE means to us.  It ties into our KNOWING the TIMES AND SEASONS.

I hope and pray people are reading and learning from these blogs which I labor IN LOVE to write.  I've dedicated so much time to the study the scriptures, and my CHIEF JOY is to write about the WONDERS I've learned.  (Or to ponder some of the probable interpretations.)

I do pray that you have a wonderful day.  Jesus is coming soon!

EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY, LORD JESUS.  WE LONG TO SEE YOUR GLORIOUS FACE!


[[[AN ADDITION--I feel that I should to CLARIFY some truths, because  I don't want my ostrich description to stir fear and confusion.  There are QUALIFYING FACTORS involved in the scene of that foolish bird.

 

(1.)  ALL who accept Jesus into their heart and are BORN AGAIN--who by GRACE are SAVED through FAITH--these WILL meet Jesus in the air in the RAPTURE, even if they don't believe there's a RAPTURE.  It's the BLOOD of Jesus which cleanses us from sin and unrighteousness.  Faith is the power of His SHED BLOOD for us is WHAT makes us READY.  Hallelujah!

For anyone who believes this--the news that Jesus is coming soon should be an exciting joy and great anticipation. 

But IF people have received INCORRECT teaching concerning the END TIMES--and the RAPTURE, their BLESSED HOPE and JOY may be ROBBED from them.  They NEEDLESSLY live their lives in fear and dread in a time WHEN the Bride should be HAPPILY preparing to meet her Bridegroom. 

That's so sad!  But their LACK of PROPHETIC knowledge will NOT cast them into the tribulation.  When we are truly BORN AGAIN, we're members of THE BODY OF CHRIST--and we will be included in the Rapture. 


(2.)  There those who SAY they are Christian, but are Christian IN NAME only, whose hearts remain FAR from Jesus--who have NOT been BORN AGAIN.  Being a MEMBER of a Church organization is NOT what saves us--ONLY a HEART relationship with Jesus provides our salvation.  These ones who "profess Christianity"--WITHOUT truly inviting Jesus to live in their hearts--will NOT be saved and ready to meet Jesus in the air.


(3.)  And there those IN THE WORLD, who have NO affiliation with a Church whatsoever--people who live in unbelief and are yet trapped in their sins, BECAUSE they've never asked Jesus for forgiveness and have NOT invited Him into their hearts.  This group, without Jesus, will also NOT meet the Lord in the air when He descends with a shout.


I want this to be clear.  And I hope this helps.  We need to make sure we're IN the BORN AGAIN category.  If so, we've NOTHING to fear.  Our Lord Jesus will take care of us--no matter what happens BEFORE He descends into the air to call us to Himself.  He is our SHIELD, our FORTRESS, our DELIVERER, our SAVIOR, our HOPE, our JOY, our LIFE.]]] 

ALL PRAISE BE TO HIS HOLY NAME FOREVER!






Tuesday, February 22, 2011

WHERE DOES GOG AND MAGOG FIT IN?

Yesterday, I posted a broad overview of a WAR in the MIDDLE EAST, as it's PROPHESIED in Psalm 83, Obadiah, Isaiah 17 (and also seen in parts of Jeremiah 49).  In giving this summary, I left many questions unanswered:

Why do the Arabs hate Israel?  How long has this hatred existed?

How do I know that the Bible names (that are LISTED) fits COUNTRIES such as Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon--and PEOPLES, such as the Palestinians?

If you wish to do further research on this topic, I encourage you to get a copy of Bill Salus' book, "Isralestine."  He does a powerful and accurate job of answering those questions.  Actually the whole book is an in-depth Bible study.  I highly recommend it!

It's not my intent (at this moment) to delve into the history of God's EVERLASTING COVENANTS with Israel, or to lay out the entire Biblical genealogy and history of Israel's ancient enemies--from Ishmael (Abraham's son by the Egyptian handmaiden, Hagar) and Esau (brother of Jacob, later renamed Israel.  Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentils.  Later, Jacob deceived his father, Isaac, in order to obtain the blessing of the first son).  Other enemy bloodlines trace back to sons of Abraham--through his second wife, Keturah.  (The fact can be driven home, by Bible study, that the Arabs have ALWAYS been jealous of the PROMISES of God given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob/Israel and David--and many early conflicts existed because of those jealousies.)

In fact, God, Himself, fought against those enemies, and SUPPORTED Israel--for TWO REASONS:

1.  His PROMISE and COVENANT was given to Abraham through the SON OF PROMISE--Isaac.

2.  The other sons and grandsons of Abraham SHOWED themselves to be AGAINST GOD, as well as against their half-brothers (and in Esau's case--against his own brother).

Yesterday, I showed a SCENARIO, in which a war in the Middle East BEGINS as the result of surrounding Muslim nations--who COUNSEL TOGETHER to "wipe Israel off the face of the map."  Psalm 83:2-5.  We hear in the news, on a DAILY BASIS, about the continuing TUMULT and RIOTS in the Middle East.  Israel's enemies supposedly demand "democracy"--according to our western media.  However, "the freedom" these people desire is actually a stronger adherence to their Islamic roots (remember they are Muslim, and to them, Allah is their supreme master).  At the SAME TIME as upheavals occur in Middle East nations, hatred for Israel abounds and increases.  What we witness is a POWER SHIFT, aligning the proper nations with THAT which FITS the end time prophecies.  Therefore, the scene is being "set" for the Word of God to be fulfilled in EVERY LITTLE DETAIL.  The current events show us that THE TIME is drawing VERY NEAR.  Therefore, we need to KNOW the PROPHECIES--and PAY HEED to the WARNINGS they offer us.

The EXACT sequence of these events are PROBABLE.  Israel COULD go after IRAN'S nukes (to destroy a threat to the whole Middle East), or they COULD have a skirmish with Iran's battleships--which are entering the Mediterranean Sea (even as I type this--if the latest news proves true). 

Any SPARK could CAUSE the war TO BLOW.  Any INCREASED TENSION could CAUSE the tight rubber band TO SNAP.  Any MOVEMENT by Israel--to protect and defend its interests--will prompt a MIDDLE EASTERN BLOW UP, one that can easily lead right into the destruction of DAMASCUS in SYRIA.  The seething kettle will boil over until all events MOVE FORWARD--ending in an Israeli victory--one in which they REOCCUPY ALL the LAND that's promised to them by God.  Obadiah 18-21.  Psalm 83:12-18.  Jer. 49:17-19.  Jer. 49:21-22.  Jer. 49:23-27.  Isaiah 17:12-14.  This is the OVERALL focus of the PROBABLE EVENTS in what's called the Psalm 83/Isaiah 17 War.

As Israel GAINS POSSESSION of all THE LAND promised to them by God, they'll become a very wealthy and powerful nation.  At first, most of the world will NOT want to mess with them.  In the Psalm 83/Isaiah 17 War, Israel possesses an EXCEEDINGLY GREAT army--the IDF.  Ezekiel 37:10.
How will the world REACT?  If current actions and speeches in the UN are any indicator, other nations, such as Europe, the United States, and possibly Russia, will wag their fingers and spout lily-livered speeches, GIVING VOICE to their outrage, but doing NOTHING about it.  For a time, at least. 

Perhaps the world will be SHOCKED for a season--but NOT for long.  The Psalm 83 War will create THE CLIMATE for a much bigger invasion, this time in a battle called Gog/Magog. 

Now, let's factor in ALL the oil and natural gas that Israel will control--once they gain their victory.  This will be THE HOOK that will create the climate for a much bigger invasion.  Surviving Muslims will be inflamed.  Russia will COVET what Israel owns.  Hatred will brood, burning deep, soon to manifest in YET ANOTHER Middle Eastern conflict.

However, for a season, Israel will enjoy a brief RESPITE in which they begin to feel SAFE and SECURE.  This occurs AFTER the Muslim nations around them--Hamas, Hezbolla, al-Qaeda and the Palestinians--are subdued.  The great wall, which now protects Israel from Muslim encroachment, will be pulled down.

I say the RESPITE will be BRIEF, because YET ANOTHER END TIME WAR looms on the near horizon.  This WAR will come upon Israel AT A TIME when they dwell SECURELY in their land.  (At the present time, they do NOT dwell securely.  The protective wall still exists.  Clamoring enemies threaten them.  They are on HIGH ALERT at ALL times.)  But AFTER the enemies AROUND ABOUT them are subdued and defeated (in the Psalm 83 conflict), Israel WILL KNOW a time of SECURITY.

I now TURN TO the INVASION of Israel by the GOG/MAGOG confederacy.  Why does THIS COALITION attack?  Because these enemies desire to take A PREY--to gather up the "spoils"--to carry away silver and gold, cattle and goods, to take a great spoil.  Ezekiel 38:12.

I suggest that AFTER Israel has defeated the surrounding enemies in the Psalm 83/Isaiah 17 conflict, they will have gained enormous wealth from those vanquished countries.  ADDITIONAL enemies, who come upon Israel in the Gog/Magog Invasion, seek TO RETURN that wealth to MUSLIM COFFERS.

In looking at Ezekiel 38 and 39, I've always wondered WHY nations like Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon are NOT specifically named in the prophecy.  The conflict prophesied in Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17 shows a powerful reason.  They're defeated BEFORE Gog/Magog occurs. 

Some Bible teachers place the Gog/Magog attack as happening DURING the seven-year Tribulation, at least 3 and a half years into that time (Mid-Tribulation).  Others show the Gog/Magog attack as coming simultaneously with Armageddon (end of Tribulation).  EXCEPT--THE DETAILS DO NOT MATCH THOSE TIMES. 

(Much later in the coarse of this blog, I hope to provide scripture which LAYS out DETAILS of WARS created by the Antichrist.  The Gog/Magog Invasion does NOT dovetail into those details.  Neither does the Gog/Magog War dovetail with what's shown about Armageddon.)

In carefully comparing the PROPHECIES, a number of Bible scholars teach that the Gog/Magog Invasion MUST happen PRIOR to the START of the seven-year Tribulation.  Gary Stearman, who I see as an accurate Bible teacher, says that he envisions the Gog/Magog Conflict happening AT LEAST 3 1/2 years PRIOR to the Tribulation. 

WHY?

Because AFTER that terrible WAR, Israel will need SEVEN YEARS to BURN the weapons.  Gary CANNOT envision Israel being able to cleanse their land AFTER the Antichrist BETRAYS the SEVEN YEAR PEACE TREATY (AFTER the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation).  Israel will be FORCED to HIDE from the Antichrist during the LAST 3 1/2 years of Great Tribulation, so HOW can they CONTINUE burn weapons during that terrible time?

I'll MAKE NOTE that there are a few objections to Gary's interpretation.  One of them is that--in THE MODEL of the Jewish Wedding ceremony--the Bride (Church) will be in heaven with Jesus for SEVEN years (the "seven days" when the Bride is hidden in the chambers with her Groom). 

IS IT POSSIBLE, however--IN THE EVENTS surrounding the appearing of Jesus, the Rapture of the Church, and THE START of the Tribulation--that MORE TIME is involved?  There DOES APPEAR to be a period of time BETWEEN the Rapture and the START of the Tribulation.  This CAN BE discerned from scripture.

Revelation 4:1-2 offers a picture IN TYPE of the Rapture (already described in my blog "PROVOCATIVE QUESTIONS").  The Apostle John gains a view of heaven, and in Rev. 4:4, he sees 24 ELDERS (whose description matches HOW the Church is described).  The 24 ELDERS have ALREADY been CROWNED, which means that the Church has ALREADY experienced the JUDGMENT SEAT of Christ (the BEMA, the REWARD STAND).  How much time will it take in heaven (on an earthly scale) for the entire Church to receive their crowns? 

Apparently, there IS MORE TIME involved than the SEVEN years of the Tribulation.  Furthermore, in Rev. 5:7, Jesus (after being found as A MAN worthy) takes a SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL from HIS FATHER'S HAND.  The 24 ELDERS, the Church, join in powerful heavenly worship, singing the song of OUR REDEMPTION.  After that period of worship, Jesus begins ripping the seals off the scroll--in Revelation 6 (and this ACT is what BEGINS the SEVEN YEARS of the Tribulation).

There's NOTHING in scripture to indicate that as the Rapture occurs, the Tribulation will IMMEDIATELY be started.  Instead, there's an UNDISCLOSED amount of time in which the Church stands at the BEMA SEAT of Jesus, for the judgment of works done by faith in Him--for which we will receive crowns.

On earth, during that undisclosed amount of time, the Psalm 83/Isaiah 17 War will conclude, Israel will feel safe and secure for a season, the Gog/Magog War will transpire, God will REVEAL HIMSELF in power to Israel (and the world), the prophet Isaiah will appear in Israel (Malachi 4:5--BEFORE the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord), the world (after these terrible Middle Eastern Wars) will beg for "peace and safety", the Antichrist will confirm a covenant with Israel for SEVEN YEARS (while, in heaven, Jesus opens the FIRST SEAL), and then the Tribulation will be STARTED.

This SEEMS to be the POSSIBLE structure.  However, I won't be DOGMATIC about it.  Remember, that on this side of heaven, we DO look through a glass darkly.  1 Corinthians 13:12.  (But I offer these viewpoints to PRAYERFULLY consider.)

THE GOG/MAGOG WAR

I encourage you to read Ezekiel 38 and 39.  I'll ONLY offer a quick overview of this invasion, so in order to see the whole picture, you need to read those chapters.

Who are the nations NAMED, who will take part in the Gog/Magog Invasion?

1.  Gog, of the LAND of Magog--Russia.  And INCLUDED are other RUSSIAN participants:

a.  Rosh--another reference to Russia.  (This can be etymologically proven by the roots of the ancient languages.  And it can also be seen in Biblical genealogies in the descendants of Noah's son, Japheth).

b.  Meshech--Moscow

c.  Tubal--Tobolsk, a city in southern Russia.


2.  Persia--This is Iran (think of the antisemitic Ahmadinejad).

3.  Cush--Sudan, Ethiopia and possibly Eritrea (Muslim African nations).

4.  Put--Libya, Algeria and Tunisia (With Libya, think of Muammar al-Qaddafi).

5.  Gomer--part of Turkey, and possibly Germany and Austria.  (My word!--a possible second appearance of a Jew-hating "Hitler"?)

6.  Beth-Togarmah--parts of Turkey, Armenia and the Turkish-speaking peoples of Asia Minor.  (NOTE:  this piece of the PUZZLE just recently fell into its proper place.  Turkey switched its allegiance away from the west, and now associates with Muslim allies).

Other peoples and places are mentioned as being involved, somehow, in the Gog/Magog Invasion.

A.  "Many people with thee"--Ezekiel 38:6.  Assorted "tag-a-longs" who agree with what the confederacy will attempt to do to Israel.

B.  Countries with mountains that surround Israel--Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel's own Golan Heights.  This is WHERE the enemy armies will FALL when DESTROYED BY GOD with earthquakes, an overflowing rain, hailstones (possibly bombs), fire and brimstone. 

There's some debate as to whether the destruction will be a TOTALLY natural calamity or a nuclear holocaust.  (It might be a combination of both).  I LEAN MORE FAVORABLY toward the NATURAL CATASTROPHE SCENARIO--because this will be a POWERFUL ACT OF GOD as HE defends Israel!

However, I also I see a REASON for the NUCLEAR explanation--because it will take Israel SEVEN MONTHS to bury the dead--WITH a SPECIFICATION that the burial MUST be in a special place where NO "passer-bys" shall go--and no one EXCEPT specially APPOINTED ones will be able to touch any bones--that sounds like nuclear and radioactive to me.  Ezekiel 39:12-16.  (It may also have something to do with Israel's LAWS about how the dead are handled.) 

In whatever way Gog/Magog's DEFEAT happens, Israel will see it as GOD WITH THEM!


C.  Sheba and Dedan--Saudi Arabia.  Not involved in the Gog/Magog fight--but they will feebly question the invading army--"Are you come to take a spoil?"


D.  "The merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof"--this is commonly defined as English traders and commercial people.  It might even be a veiled reference to the United States.  Again, we see the FEEBLE questioning as the invading coalition attacks--"Have you come to take a spoil?" 

(It's easy for me to picture President Obama in this passage, doing exactly that, wagging his finger, trying to look tough, but sounding impotent.  If the Gog/Magog Invasion happens as soon as I think it could, the questioning person could indeed be our President!)

The MAJOR FACT about the Gog/Magog Invasion is that the WAR will NOT succeed.  GOD HIMSELF WILL INTERVENE FOR HIS PEOPLE, ISRAEL.  After that terrible time, the people of Israel will BEGIN turning back to their God, in faith.  (See Ezekiel 39:25 to 29)

When God begins to DEAL with His people Israel--in the latter days, THE AGE OF THE CHURCH MUST BE COMPLETE.  (See Romans 11:25-27 and Acts 15:14-16.)  Therefore, I firmly believe that the FAITHFUL and TRUE CHURCH will be Raptured BEFORE the Gog/Magog War.

I believe we ALREADY see the SIGNS of THAT WAR approaching.  We see MANY INDICATIONS that the WARS are ABOUT TO HIT the MIDDLE EAST--because of the POSTURING and the THREATS from Iran, and their mad-man leader, Ahmadinejad.  Because of that, I say to the CHURCH--be ALERT and READY--our Lord Jesus can come and lift us into the air, to Himself, at ANY INSTANT--more so now, than ever before!
HOWEVER, we WON'T be here for the final outcomes, because, BY THEN, God will be WORKING with His people, Israel, in FULL FORCE, defending them, keeping His COVENANTS with them, and SANCTIFYING His great name.  Ezekiel 36:22-23.  Ezekiel 39:21-29.

The RAPTURE of the CHURCH, along with the SHOCK given to the world by MIDDLE EAST HOSTILITIES, will create much UPHEAVAL in the near future.  Into that time will ARISE the Antichrist, who will SEEM to have ALL the answers for the tumultuous earth and its REELING population.

Antichrist will answer the RESULTING economic upheaval with his plan for the ONE WORLD FINANCIAL and COMMERCIAL establishment.  He will settle NATIONAL differences by his plan for a ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT.  He will promise PEACE, and REASSURE the world that a calamity like what just happened in the MIDDLE EAST must never happen again!  In offering PEACE, he will make a SEVEN-YEAR treaty with Israel, and settle the conflict surrounding the TEMPLE MOUNT.  He will allow Israel to rebuild their temple and reinstate their sacrifices and ceremonies.  This STARTS the SEVEN-YEAR tribulation--what the Bible labels as "the great and terrible day of the Lord."

In previous blogs, I've shown EVENTS which are PROPHESIED to happen BEFORE "the great and notable day of the Lord come."

Some END TIME WARS (blood, fire, pillars of smoke, a darkened sun and blood red moon) are a part of the time BEFORE the Tribulation.  These include the Psalm 83, Obadiah, parts of Jeremiah 25 and the Isaiah 17 conflicts. 

The RAPTURE of the CHURCH will also occur BEFORE the tribulation.

The prophet Elijah will appear to Israel BEFORE the great "day of the Lord" occurs.

The Ezekiel 38 and 39 Invasion will occur (by some interpretations), at the latest, 3 1/2 years BEFORE the START of the tribulation.

As we take a SOBER look at the world of OUR TIME, we can see THE SHADOWS of these things approaching.  

And THE CALL of the hour is this:  BE READY--FOR IN SUCH AN HOUR AS YOU THINK NOT, JESUS WILL COME--to RAPTURE His CHURCH.

We are also exhorted, when WE SEE these things START to come to pass, then LIFT UP OUR HEADS, because REDEMPTION draws NEAR.  I repeat, when we see these things BEGIN to come to pass--then KNOW the Rapture is near, even at the doors!  Luke 21:28.

Let us be READY, and REJOICE, because our blessed Savior, the ONE Whom we honor and LOVE, Jesus Christ, is COMING SOON to take us to Himself--and to His Father's house in heaven--where our MANSIONS await.

The WORLD is DESTINED to the most horrible time in its history. 

That is NOT our destination!  In humble gratitude, let's drop to our knees, giving THANKS, PRAISING the great God we serve--Who through Jesus Christ has SAVED us from the WRATH to come!

Have a most glorious day.

EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY, LORD JESUS.  WE LONG TO SEE YOUR MOST GLORIOUS FACE!