15 December, 2011

Arab Spring - Hope or Concern?

(Written by Edward Wood)
For all those who are feeling elated at the downfall of dictators and what appears to be the spread of democracy across the Middle East, I'll tell you up front that I'm about to rain on your parade. It isn't because I want to, but I feel I need to!

Let's look at some of the facts.
Historically, given a choice Muslim societies tend to choose worse leaders than the ones they previously had. Take a look at Iran, Lebanon and Gaza. Radical Islam took over in the first; Hezbollah is pretty much running the show in the second, and Hamas the third. At this time, Tunisia is choosing a so-called moderate government based on Sharia. We'll see just how moderate they are down the line. In Egypt the only organized faction is the Muslim Brotherhood, so guess where my bets are concerning who runs their next government.

04 December, 2011

The Last Christmas?

(Written by Jack Kelley)
Whether you’re following commentaries by prophecy scholars on the nearness of the rapture or predictions by financial experts on the nearness of the world’s economic downfall, the message is the same. This could very well be the last time we celebrate Christmas as we’ve come to know it.

And that’s a good thing. Because for most of the world, Christmas has become little more than an annual exercise in spending money we don’t have to buy things they don’t need for the people on our list, some of whom we don’t even like. Add to that the sad fact that millions of American families are doing this from homes they no longer own, adding to a debt load they can hardly carry now, and you can see the level to which the world has sunk. And the saddest fact of all is they aren’t doing this out of any gratitude for what the Lord has given them. They’re doing this because for a brief period of time they can pretend everything’s OK.

28 November, 2011

The End Of The Last Days

(Written by Matt Leasher)
In the decades that followed the rebirth of Israel as a nation in 1948, Bible prophecy scholars have been declaring the realization that we are in the last days and that Christ is coming soon. But as the decades continue to roll by many have become weary of the message that we are in the last days and have presumed Christ’s return to be far off. The problem with the people that are losing hope in Christ’s soon return is that perhaps they do not understand just exactly what the last days are in light of the big picture.

Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us that the period known as being the “last days” began when Jesus Christ came into the world.

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, (Hebrews 1:1-2).

13 November, 2011

Arab Spring Gives Way to Islamic Winter

(Written by Todd Strandberg)
There is no such thing as good news in the Middle East. Any positive move will eventually be followed by a negative consequence. In last week's Nearing Midnight Update, I pointed out the demise of Libyan dictator of Moammar Gadhafi. Some people mistook my comments about his death as being a beneficial sign for Libya. If you have been following my commentary for the past few years, you would know that I see no hope of the Muslim world ever becoming the cradle of democracy.

The Arab Spring uprising had Western leaders and the liberal media giddy for several months. They all cheered as one dictator after another was forced from power. Now that the political process is starting to show that radical Islamists have the upper hand in the region, optimism is starting to fade.

25 October, 2011

The Myth of “Global Warming”

(Written by Dr. Ron J. Bigalke, Eternal Ministries)
“The Evangelical Climate Initiative is a group of senior evangelical leaders in the United States who are convinced it is time for our country to help solve the problem of global warming.” [1] The Initiative seeks to accomplish their stated goal by creating jobs, cleaning the environment, and enhancing national security by reducing dependence upon foreign oil. The Initiative’s goal is to help create a safe and healthy environment for future generations. The first of four “urgent claims” by the Evangelical Climate Initiative is the assertion that “human-induced climate change is real.”

The problem with the Initiative is that global warming is a myth. Global warming is nothing more than a political agenda that has infiltrated evangelicalism. The church, therefore, should be concerned with regard to the global lukewarming of churchianity. Jesus warned the church,

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Rev 3:15-16).The concern of this writer is that those who are involved in the Evangelical Climate Initiative are becoming “cold” to proclaiming the Gospel and are seeking to make “disciples” by proclaiming temporal, planetary issues to be more important - which are actually fabrications - than eternal issues such as the destiny of the souls of human beings. The majority of environmental policies are based upon myths. Only four of the most common will be addressed in this article.

13 October, 2011

Left behind: Can you still be saved?

(Written by Joseph Chambers)
Once it sinks into the minds of a multiplied number of “Left Behind” individuals that Jesus has literally come to get the prepared saints and gone back to Heaven, it will be a traumatic moment of heartbreak and regrets. Some will commit suicide; some will go and kill preachers that did not preach the truth, while many will fall on their faces in sad and soul-searching repentance.

The idea of an Antichrist and the number 666 is understood by millions of people. Most ot these do not live a surrendered life to Jesus Christ. Many people are religious, but show no evidence of being truly “born again.” Even among the religious of our day, the “fear of God” is almost totally absent. There is a kind of religious facade that has come to characterize this present generation. Preaching the words of God, like Billy Sunday and D. L. Moody, etc., is utterly rejected by the church world. Many people literally hate old-fashioned ministers.

21 September, 2011

Left Behind For Bad Behavior?

(Written by Jack Kelley)
One of the most telling indicators that the rapture is near is the number of people who write fearing that because of their behavior they're going to be left behind. People didn't worry so much about that when they thought the rapture was off in the distant future.

I'm sure some of this is due to the normal conviction of the Holy Spirit and in that case it's not a rapture issue because as we'll see born again believers can't be excluded from the Rapture for any reason.

No, I think most of the fear of missing the rapture comes from the false “partial-rapture” teaching. There are several variations on this theme but they all claim that just being saved is either not enough to put you in the rapture, or it's not enough to get you into the Kingdom after you are raptured. They say you also have to be worthy in some additional way. In my opinion none of this can be reconciled with Scripture.

14 September, 2011

Why Sept 29 Will Not Fulfill Rev. 12

(Written by Jack Kelley)
Judging by the questions I've received, a youTube video and an online article have apparently convinced a lot of people that the fulfillment of Rev. 12 and the rapture of the Church will both occur on Sept 29th of this year, which is the annual celebration of Rosh Hashanah, also known as the Feast of Trumpets. Can this be true?

While Sept. 28-29 are the scheduled dates for Rosh Hashanah this year, and while the rapture could happen on any given day, Rev. 12 definitely can not be fulfilled on Sept. 29, nor on any other day this year or the next or the one after and here's why.

09 August, 2011

A Covenant With Death

(Written by Jack Kelley)
Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers who rule this people in Jerusalem. You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death, with the grave we have made an agreement. When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by, it cannot touch us, for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place.”

So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.

I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place. Your covenant with death will be annulled; your agreement with the grave will not stand. When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by, you will be beaten down by it. (Isaiah 28:14-18)I first wrote about this passage from Isaiah about six years ago. At the time Israel was in the process of giving up the Gaza Strip in the hopes of moving closer to peace with the Palestinians. Since then things have only gotten worse for the Jewish people. Every effort they’ve made to accommodate world opinion has left them weakened, while their enemies have become stronger.

22 July, 2011

The Case For Eternal Punishment

(Written by Jack Kelley)
“And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.” (Isaiah 66:24)

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)

Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (Matt. 25:41,46)

If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:15)

For most of mankind’s existence the belief that punishment for unbelievers is eternal was taken for granted. The above verses were the basis for what’s become known as the traditional view of hell.

06 June, 2011

Two Distinct Events

(Written by Ron Graham)
Matthew chapters 24 and 25 have nothing whatsoever to do with the Rapture of the Church. Have I got your attention? Good. Now let’s proceed.

Jesus’ Second Advent and the Rapture of the Church are two completely different events. Believe it or not, many Christians lump them together. It’s important to understand the difference between the two so as not to be confused.

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Daniel 12:4. Daniel is told to seal the book until the end. What book? Knowledge will be increased, knowledge of what? God’s Word. We can go back in time and study many of the great expositors of God’s Word, men respected throughout the ages, and as we do we can find that in some instances they’ve erred in their interpretations. Why? Because the knowledge they needed to fully grasp God’s word was sealed up until the last days. Now, God is unsealing the book for those who will diligently seek His truth. Hold on to your seats, you might find this commentary to be a bumpy ride.

26 May, 2011

Prophecy On Fast Forward

(Written by Jack Kelley)
Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilence in various places and fearful events and great signs from Heaven. (Luke 21:10-11)

Wow! Do things seem to be heating up or what? Earthquakes and a tsunami causing nuclear meltdown in Japan, a new war in Libya, (where the US curiously finds itself edging toward fighting on the same side with al Qaeda and Hezbollah) serious civil disorder throughout the Moslem Middle East, the Palestinians preparing to unilaterally declare statehood in September with growing European and UN support, and Israel threatening to take some unspecified unilateral action of their own if that happens. The rockets and missiles are flying into Israel again, and there's talk in Israel of another Gaza invasion, perhaps as early as this spring.

A video recently released from Iran showed officials there announcing that this is just what's supposed to happen right before al Mahdi arrives. According to Islamic prophecies, this so-called Islamic anti-Christ will return to Earth during a time of great chaos to restore peace and reorganize the world under an Islamic Caliphate. 7 years later the world will be judged.

Islam And The End Times

(Written by Jack Kelley)
All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast-all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.(Rev. 13:8)

There’s a lot of interest these days in the role of Islam in the End Times. And from what I’m reading, a lot of misunderstanding, too. Recent surveys are shedding some light on the subject.

It’s clear that followers of Islam are increasing in number faster than any other religious group in the world. Their current growth rate is said to be four times faster than that of Christians. According to a recent survey by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, those who practice Islam now make up nearly one-fourth of the world’s population at 1.57 billion members, second only to Christianity. This is revolutionary in nature and even though it’s happening right before our eyes, most Western Christians haven’t even noticed. And not only are Moslems the fastest growing religious group in the world, they also hold that distinction in the United States, Canada and Europe, with Europe perhaps being the model of where Canada and then the US are headed.

09 May, 2011

Will Islam be our Future?

I recommend this book from Joel Richardson so you will get more insight about Islam and its goals for a world domination. A Study of Biblical and Islamic Eschatology. Please click on the post title and the link will take you to the website. This is the original book and will blow you away. If the post title link does not work try to use the link below.

I was blown away when I started reading this online book over at Answering Islam. I am only trying to summarize it here for you. It's difficult because there is a lot of good information there, but I also encourage you to go read the whole thing. I think you will find it interesting. For those who are not believers you might want to read it anyway. It will help you to understand Islam and the end times regardless of your religious affiliation. I have said before that I believe our struggle is a religious war. So why not look at the religious aspect, especially as it relates to the end times. Yes it has military and political objectives, strategies etc. The one thing you can't deny is that those we are fighting believe this to be a religious war and if we don't wake up we will be the proverbial frog in a pot of boiling water. Some in our country deny this war is going on, that it exists at all. They are wrong and I will try to explain why from an end times point of view.

If the post title link does not work please click on the link below. This is a summary of the book.

26 April, 2011

The Lord's Death And Resurrection

(Written by Jack Kelley)
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).

He came into Jerusalem just like the prophecies said He would and the whole town lit up. Jerusalem was filling up with Passover pilgrims and they joined the locals in lining the steep street that led down from the top of the Mt. of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane and then across the Kidron valley to the East gate of the Temple. They laid their outer garments and branches from nearby palm trees across the street and sang,

“Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD (Psalm 118:25-26). Hosanna in the highest!”

This is the only day He ever let the crowds do that. Always before He had told them to be quiet or had disappeared from among them. But on this day things were different. They were singing the Psalm reserved for the arrival of the Messiah and when the Pharisees told Him to stop them, He refused, telling them that nothing could stop this from happening (Luke 19:39-40). On this day He was fulfilling a prophecy from Daniel 9 as well as the one from Zechariah 9.

“Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.” (Daniel 9:25)

A “seven” was a period of seven years. 7 sevens plus 62 sevens equals 69 sevens or 483 years. On the day He rode into the city it had been exactly 483 years since the Persian King Artaxerxes had authorized Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem and rebuild it (Nehemiah 2:1-9). As Jesus approached the city He told the people that Jerusalem would be destroyed because their leaders didn't recognize the time of God's visitation (Luke 19:41-44).

His arrival made the religious leaders very nervous. Ever since He had raised Lazarus from the dead they'd been looking for a way to kill Him (John 11:45-53) and now He was here in their midst. They had to do something fast because everybody was talking about Him. In desperation they agreed to let one of His followers betray Him for money.

Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. (Psalm 41:9)

29 March, 2011

Catholicism & Islam: Ties That Bind

(Written by T.A. McMahon)
The above title became a source of controversy when I used it for a talk given at a recent prophecy conference. What I found curious about the commotion was that it came from Catholics (and some evangelicals) who had yet to hear my presentation. Furthermore, the title reflects the hope and prayers of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Rome has been tilling this "common ground" with Islam for decades, as evidenced by the 1994 Vatican publication, Recognize the Spiritual Bonds Which Unite Us: 16 Years of Christian-Muslim Dialogue. Why, therefore, would anyone be upset by my simply repeating what the Roman Catholic Church very much desires?

Actually, the real controversy stems from confusion created by the Church of Rome herself. In her zeal to be the spiritual voice of the world's religions, she talks out of both sides of her ecumenical mouth. Regarding her relationship to Islam, not only has she made to those of the Muslim faith some theological overtures which contradict Christian orthodoxy, but even worse, there are ties between the two religions which go a lot deeper than most people realize. Let's first consider some commonalities between the two faiths.

Starting with the number of adherents, Catholicism and Islam each exceed one billion, nearly all of whom enter their respective faiths as infants. More than 16 million babies are baptized into the Roman Catholic Church each year. It's a family thing. My sisters and I were baptized as Catholics because our parents were Catholics, and they and their siblings were baptized into the Church because their parents were Catholics. That's the primary way the faith is propagated.

Practically speaking, although baptism is not part of Islam, all children born into a Muslim family are Muslims. Their official "confirmation" follows as soon as they are able to confess the shahada ("There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger"). This baby-oriented process for increasing their ranks has been a motivating factor in the Vatican/Saudi-sponsored lobby against UN endeavors to introduce contraception and other methods of population control, especially in third-world countries.

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today; Catholicism is the largest religious body among those professing to be Christian. If the number of followers was a good measure for selecting a religion, then Islam and Catholicism would definitely be the way to go. However, the Bible has no such yardstick. Rather, Jesus said, "[W]ide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Mt 7:13,14).

Most people are aware of the veneration and even worship of Mary found among Roman Catholics, but not many know that much the same deference exists among Muslims. A chapter in the Qur'an is named after Mary ("Surah Maryam"). From the outskirts of Cairo to Bombay to Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina, hundreds of thousands of the Islamic faith have congregated wherever processions carry her statues and where her apparitions are said to have appeared. She is esteemed above the most revered women of the Muslim faith, including Muhammad's two favorite wives, Khadija and Aisha, and his daughter Fatima. The hadith teaches that Muhammad selected Mary as his first wife upon entrance into Paradise (for more about Mary and Islam see "Mary Who?" in TBC 10/00). One of the most popular Catholic apparitions of Mary is referred to as Our Lady of Fatima.

Catholic and Islamic prayers have many similarities. For the Muslim, praying to Allah five times a day is altogether an act of obedience, and the prayers are always repetitive. As one former Muslim puts it, "It's hardly intimate communication with Allah;...it's done more to escape the punishment due to those who neglect prayer." Most prayers prayed by Catholics are also rote and repetitive, saying the rosary being the best example. Repeating 16 "Our Father's" and 153 "Hail Mary's" is far from personal communication. Furthermore, when a Catholic goes to confession the priest assigns rosaries as severe punishment, or penance, for one's sins.

20 March, 2011

What Kind Of Life Can We Expect?

(Written by Jack Kelley)
Here's a good question. A website follower wrote, “For some time I have been discussing and studying Matt. 6:25-34 regarding what the Lord promised to provide for the believer. Taken literally, it seems to say that we are promised food and clothes and thats it. Of course that is a great deal if you do not have those things, but some argue that God has also included much more as well. I believe this but unfortunately, I can’t back this up with scripture. Can you help?”

First, let's summarize the passage. In Matt. 6:25 Jesus said “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?”

I think one thing He was telling us is that we should eat to live, not live to eat. A sufficient quantity of wholesome healthy food is really all we need. What do we gain by over indulging in food and drink that can actually shorten our life? And as long as we have sufficient serviceable clothing, what else do we need? What benefit is there in strutting around like a peacock? Life should be much more important to us than these things.
And we'll close with verses 31- 34. “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

The first thing we can see here is that life is far too important to be spent worrying about the future, especially where the basic necessities are concerned. And the second thing is if we'll focus on seeking God's Kingdom and His righteousness He'll see that these needs are met. Therefore worrying about them is unnecessary.

Earlier He had cautioned us against storing up treasure on Earth because it can be lost or stolen (Matt. 6:19-21). He said to store up treasure in Heaven instead, where that can't happen. Many have also written asking how to do that, and the answer is in Mark 10:17-22. A rich young man had asked how to inherit eternal life. After the young man said he was already keeping the commandments, Jesus told him to sell everything and give it to the poor. Then he would have treasure in Heaven.

15 March, 2011

The Great Pyramid of Giza

(Written by Jack Kelley)
The Great Pyramid’s builder knew all the dimensions of Earth and had a command of engineering, astronomy, and mathematics that would be impressive even today. If this guy didn’t have supernatural capability himself, he was certainly assisted by Someone who does. (Note: I first posted this article on Jan 23, 2005. I offer it again as a follow up to last week’s feature article entitled “What’s To Become Of Egypt.”)

In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. (Isaiah 19:19-20)

During a group discussion on the New Jerusalem, a question about its configuration was raised. Revelation 21 only says that it’s 1400 miles square and 1400 miles tall and to me that conjures up an image of a cube. But some see a pyramid, and when you think about it, John could have been describing just that. One thing led to another and pretty soon the subject of the Great Pyramid at Giza in Egypt came up. Someone asked me to conduct a study on it someday and I agreed. Here goes.

The Great Pyramid
Th Great Pyramid was most likely built in the 22nd century BC. Its construction required 10 years of planning and preparation and then 100,000 men spent 20 years completing it.

It’s different from all the other pyramids in Egypt. For one thing it’s made of stone, not bricks, and is the only one that’s not solid. There’s a series of passageways and several chambers inside. All of the 80 or so other pyramids came later, are grossly inferior copies, and unlike the Great Pyramid were used as gigantic headstones covering the tombs of the Pharaohs. (The Great Pyramid never served as a tomb.)

Since it’s located both on the border between Upper and Lower Egypt (Giza means border in Arabic) and in the heart of the two Egypts, the Great Pyramid seems to be referenced in the Isaiah passage above. And since the context of the Isaiah passage is the End Times, the connection with the New Jerusalem may not be so far fetched after all.

(Originally two separate kingdoms, Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt were joined together to become one. Upper Egypt is in the south and is more mountainous. Lower Egypt in the north was comprised mostly of the Nile delta region and the adjacent plains. The Biblical name for Egypt is Mizraim and literally means 2 Egypts since it’s the dual form of its root, Matzor. Mizraim was a son of Ham whose descendants first settled Egypt.)

Some Fascinating Details
The Great Pyramid was built on a 13-acre base made level to within less than 1″. 900 million cubic feet of granite blocks were used in its construction. To this day engineers can’t explain how the workers managed to fit those huge blocks together so carefully in building a monument nearly 500 feet high. Some of the larger ones weighed nearly 80 tons.

It originally had a face of polished white limestone consisting of 115,000 stones finished on all six sides to within .01 inch of perfectly straight. Cut on a bevel, they fit together with seams of less than 1/50th of an inch. They were then cemented together and polished to a high sheen. It’s said that the pyramid shone as if made of light itself and could be seen from over a hundred miles away.

12 March, 2011

If Christians Would Unite

(Written by Grant Phillips)
Some people believe that the world will get better and better, and then the Lord will return to reward us all for such a fine job. I don't know what these people are sniffing, but they obviously are not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Our world is in a mess of Herculean proportions, and it is just getting worse by the day. For example, crime is at an all time high; murder, rape, theft, drugs and that is just some of the big stuff. Smut is everywhere; movies, books, magazines, television, street corners, living rooms, etcetera. Homosexuality, adultery, fornication, child molestation, and other perverted acts are epidemic. Our prisons are running over. Our schools are training centers in perversion. Our homes are broken, and a hell on earth for many children, abused wives, and senior citizens. Parents are murdered by their own children, and parents murder their own children. Grandchildren murder their own grandparents. Drugs are crippling this nation, and raising generations of addicts, many times from the wombs of their mothers. Greed is destroying our economy, and it goes from the top to the bottom, and back up again. Need I go on? Our country is at its lowest point … or is it? Probably not. Once the monster is out of the cage, it will just continue to feed upon itself and grow more intimidating.

A pig does not get cleaner when wallowing in the sty. It just gets more muddy, and the smell gets stronger. If you fall in quicksand, you just get dirtier and sink deeper as you struggle to get out. My point? Generations are growing up who do not see certain acts as disgusting as previous generations. In other words, the more you hang around garbage, the less it stinks, but it is still garbage.

06 March, 2011

Pastors Forewarned

(Written by Terry James)
One of the most-mentioned laments among those of us who have Bible prophecy as our calling is that seminaries are not teaching prophecy and pastors are not preaching and teaching prophecy today. We refer to the majority of the seminary instructors and preachers who otherwise preach and teach God’s Word as inerrant truth.

Those who view the Bible as merely a book with good suggestions for how to live, but don’t consider it the literal Word of God, can’t be expected to understand the crucial necessity of preaching and teaching the whole Word of God. These pick and choose verses, applicable or not, to put forth their ear-tickling homilies, which by their very nature avoid doctrinal truth. So, we aren’t pointing a finger of admonishment at these.

Sadly, however, this description fits a growing number of seminaries and their graduates. It is getting harder to tell the genuine from the pretenders. More and more the words are sugar-coated, the points supposedly made trailing off into the ether of mumbo-jumbo irrelevance. When one gently probes one or the other of the Bible-believing/preaching pastors with the question: "Do you preach prophecy?” the answers are along the same line. It’s my experience and that of others who ask the question that 95 percent of those asked say something akin to the following:
"Prophecy is just too hard for people to understand."
"I just don’t know about the subject, because we just barely touched on it in seminary."
"Teaching people how to live as a Christians is more pressing."
"It scares people, so I just don’t want to worry them unnecessarily."
"People have been saying the Second Coming is here for years, and we are still here. We need to deal with the here and now, not pie in the sky."

And my personal favorite:
"Some preachers are premillennial, some postmillennial, or whatever. I’m 'pan'-millennial. I believe it will just all pan out in the end." I have to tell you–confess, I guess—that this last one always presents a personal test of my temperament. Whenever I hear it, I see red, even though I’ve been as physically blind as the proverbial bat since 1993. Some of these preachers–a few--become a bit defensive and get rather exercised, launching into tirades, arguing that we prophecy types read far too much into the headlines as they might relate to biblical prophecy. And I readily admit that this has and continues to happen more often than it should.

21 February, 2011

Children of the Light – Day of the Lord

(Written by Ron Graham)
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5.

If you are a born again child of God, you are one of the children of light spoken of by the Apostle Paul in the last verse above, therefore you cannot, and will not, be overtaken as a thief would overtake the unsuspecting. Why won’t you be among the crowd that will be overcome with sudden destruction? The “Day of the Lord” mentioned in verse 2 above is referring to the day of God’s wrath. The title given us (Christ’s Church) is “children of light” if you are in the “Light” category you are “In Christ” therefore you will not be on earth when God pours out His wrath on this Christ rejecting world.

In the book of Isaiah, the prophet speaks numerous times of the “Day of the Lord”. One such verse that really catches the eye is “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” Isaiah 13:9. When the Lord comes back to earth this time He won’t come as a suffering servant, but as a conquering King. He will come with cruel wrath and fierce anger to destroy all who’ve rejected Him. Isaiah doesn’t mince words; the reader knows exactly what God’s actions will be when He once again sets physical foot on planet earth.

It is Paul’s intention to explain further to the Thessalonian Church that they are not part of those who dwell in darkness; therefore they will not experience the “Day of the Lord”. Paul starts off using words like “you” and “yourself” in verse 2 of 1 Thessalonians 5, speaking of the church. Then he changes to “they” and “them” referring to those who’ve spent their lives dwelling in darkness – those who’ve had no use for Jesus Christ their entire lives. For when “they” shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon “them”, as travail upon a woman with child; and “they” shall not escape.

Those who choose to remain in darkness will be left here on earth to contend with God’s fierce anger. We who are born again – although just as deserving of God’s punishment as those who dwell in darkness – will never face a moment of God’s wrath. How thankful are we that Jesus was willing to sacrifice Himself on that cross. He took all of our sins and nailed them to that cross. The sin of the world nailed and forgotten, but only those who are born again are forgiven.

24 January, 2011

Boundaries of the Promised Land

(from differentspirit.org)
I will plant Israel in their own land,      
never again to be uprooted from
the land I have given them. (Amos 9:15)

Some 3,500 years ago the Canaanites inhabited the land that God promised to give to the offspring of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (see Timeline). God promised that He would give the land of Israel to the Jewish people as an eternal possession. The promise was unconditional. God confirmed it at least 55 times with an oath and stated, at least 12 times, that the covenant was everlasting (see Bible References).

God did bring the Israelites into the Promised Land, 40 years after the Exodus from Egypt. Israel reached the peak of her power some 500 years later, under King Solomon.

The map shows the area that Israel controlled at that time. It almost matched the boundaries of the land that God had promised. Gaza was not taken from the Philistines in Solomon’s day, and the land of the Canaanites promised to Abraham included the coastal strip all the way to Sidon – the city of Canaan’s first-born son (1 Chronicles 1:13, Genesis 10:19)

Canaan was the father of Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites ...(1 Chronicles 1:13)

... and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. (Genesis 10:19)

Areas of Moab, Ammon and Edom, east of the Dead Sea, were occupied by King Solomon, but were not part of the Promised Land. This is part of modern-day Jordan.

Israel entered the Promised Land and, hundreds of years later under King Solomon, they occupied a large part, but not all, of the territory which God had promised to them. Israel was required to obey the Law of Moses and, when they failed, God thrust them out of the land. However, God’s promise that they will inherit the land still stands. We see the Jews being brought back to the Promised Land in our day. We expect that God’s word will be fulfilled and that they will enter their full inheritance. The next question is: What are the boundaries of the Promised Land as described in the Bible?

20 January, 2011

Who is able to stand?

(Written by Matt Leasher)
As the Age of Grace that we are currently living in draws nearer and nearer to a close and the lateness of the hour becomes more relevant to those of us who have our eyes on heaven and the coming of the Lord, we can’t help but be concerned about those that do not know their Savior and are living for the world and for themselves. Almost every saved Christian has some unsaved friends and family that do not accept the truth of the gospel and whom they know will be left here on earth to have to endure the soon to come Tribulation period that Jesus has clearly warned us is sure to come before He physically returns to Earth to set up His Kingdom, (see Matthew 24:3-31, Mark 13:3-27 & Luke 21:7-28).

The Book of Revelation lays out much of the horrific details of this forthcoming history-ending period. The actual beginning of the Tribulation itself begins in chapter 6 with Jesus (referred to as the Lamb), opening the seals of the scroll and beginning the seven seal judgments. Since Jesus is Lord, (see Hebrews 1:8), this is therefore the beginning of the wrath of God upon a Christ rejecting world. The first four seals are the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. The fifth seal is the cry of the martyrs and the sixth seal is of cosmic disturbances upon the earth. All of these seal judgments seem to happen very rapidly in succession because at the end of the description of the sixth seal it says:

And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17)

We see from the last verse that it isn’t until the sixth seal that the folks hiding themselves in caves have realized that the wrath of God has begun! We know that the Church is gone at this point because “God has not appointed us to wrath”, (1 Thessalonians 5:9), and it clearly states that “the day of His wrath has come”, but it is the very last phrase of that verse that also reveals the absence of the Church where it asks the sobering question ­– “who is able to stand”?

There are some similar Old Testament prophecies about the dreadful Day of the Lord in the last days that are almost identical to Revelation 6:15-17 asking the same question of who will be able to stand? They are Psalm 76:7, Malachi 3:2 and Nahum 1:6. All of these verses imply that it will be impossible to stand at the time of God’s fierce anger. As I mentioned above we are still living in the Age of Grace. God is incredibly merciful and gracious to us even though the world continues to wax more and more in wicked opposition to Him. God has been longsuffering and patient but the inevitable day of His wrath is coming.

So what does it mean to not be able to stand at His coming? Most all of the verses where this is used it is referring as to being able to stand before Him in judgment. God is so holy and righteous that no sinful man can stand in His presence. Ezra 9:15 exemplifies this:

O LORD God of Israel, You are righteous, for we are left as a remnant, as it is this day. Here we are before You, in our guilt, though no one can stand before You because of this!”

11 January, 2011

Satan's Doom

(Written by Todd Strandberg)
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain? I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit" (Isa. 14:12-15).

The Bible provides a wealth of helpful advice to apply to our spiritual lives. Much of this instruction comes from the trials and failures of others. Paul made reference to the teaching power of the biblical examples, saying, "Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (1 Corinthians 10:11-12). The one thing that makes the Bible unique from all other religious texts is that God chose not to whitewash accounts of people who turned their back on Him.

Lucifer’s downfall is the greatest example of failure. Judas is another relevant example. Judas is infamous for betraying Jesus for money. We are told that he was a devil from the beginning (John 6:70), so he never was a true follower of Christ. Lucifer was created perfect, and he served God directly in His holy temple. Despite that perfect environment, he chose rebellion.

The Bible gives no time frame for when Lucifer fell and became Satan. I've never understood why so many Christian leaders seem to assume that the creation and downfall of Lucifer was within a few years of man's creation. God exists forever. To say that at some point He had a falling-out with His lead angel leaves open the possibility that this event could have occurred a very long time ago.

The judgment against Satan is at least 6,000 years ago. With the last days drawing near, Satan must realize that the vast majority of his time of being free to do his devilish work has now run out. The fact that he may only have a few more years left must constantly gnaw at his mind.

Downfall I - Satan Gets Fired

Pride caused Satan's downfall. God created him with such splendor that Lucifer looked in the mirror one day and said, "I should be running things around here." He conspired with a third of the angelic host to launch a coup against the Lord of hosts.

The Bible gives a wonderful illustration of the hopeless nature of Satan's insurrection. When he made his move, God cast him out of heaven so fast, his ejection resembled a bolt of lightning streaking across the sky. Jesus said,

Even though God cast Satan out of heaven, He did not forever ban him from re-entering the heavenly realm. The account of Job tells us that the devil is still able to enter the gates of paradise.

“One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, 'Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the LORD, ‘From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it’" (Job 1:6-7).

What really happened is that Satan got fired. He lost his rank, beauty, power, and--most importantly--his relationship with God. The bitterness from his dismissal is likely what has transformed him into a being of pure evil.

Satan’s removal from office also came with a promise of future punishment. God, at some point, created hell and a lake of fire. The latter had the Devil’s name written on it.

08 January, 2011

Laodicea Revisited

(Written by Ron Graham)
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” Revelation 3:7-8.

Seven letters dictated by Jesus Christ Himself, and written and distributed to those seven churches by His most beloved Apostle, John, were to both commend and admonish those churches in those days. The churches, in the order they are addressed, lay out a history of the Christian church throughout the past two thousand years. The last church Jesus addresses is the Last Day’s church of planet earth.

The church of Philadelphia was singled out by Christ as being the most faithful of all seven churches. Ask anyone in any church congregation which of the seven churches in the book of Revelation does their church most closely resemble and without hesitation they’ll tell you their church most resembles the church in Philadelphia. Actually today’s church has very little, if anything at all, in common with the Philadelphian church. But there is a church where the resemblance between it and a huge number of the Protestant churches of today is uncanny.

The church I’m referring to above is of course, the church of Laodicea. No true born again believer in Christ wants to be branded with the title “Laodicean”. It’s sad, but whether they appreciate that designation or not that is precisely where most protestant churches are today – well established and fully at peace in this, the most apostate category of Christian churches imaginable.

Perhaps some of you will need a short refresher course as to just what was so bad about the church at Laodicea. As I said before, Jesus had just confronted six other churches. Some with praise and others He rebuked, and some were both praised and rebuked. But when we read His letter to the Laodiceans we notice a huge change in His demeanor.

"And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." Revelation 3:14-16.