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Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22 NIV)

After Pentecost, the early church enjoyed the benefits of fellowship and the apostles’ teaching. But their comfort was ended by persecution. Where believers were scattered , the Gospel of Christ went with them. It became the Good News not just for the Jews, but for the nations.

God wants all to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. A faith that creates doers will endure while faith untested by adversity achieves nothing. (I can hear the objections of pew-sitters to what they term “Works-based Christianity”.) Take it from Scripture. We find in James: “…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (2:17)

Recently, I saw a t-shirt with “Believe then Achieve” across the back. Though it was intended to inspire young athletes, I took it as a personal summons for a more serious approach to God. My belief level determines how much of my destiny I will attain.

If I demonstrate belief in God’s Word, then I will please my Lord. The reason the Great Commission isn’t accomplished is that we don’t believe enough. When the Books are opened at the Judgment, what is found will be according to our faith (Hebrews 11:6).

Jesus declared three times in the Bible’s last fifteen verses, “I am coming soon!” If the devil has us so confused that we doubt Our Lord, then how can we reject the world and take action?

Noah believed God. The vine-dresser became a carpenter then got to work. Rescue was achieved for seven in his family.

The wicked in Noah’s day perished because they failed to pay attention to God’s signs. They carried on with business-as-usual right up to the moment the rains came (Luke 17:26-27).

As it was in Noah’s day, so it will be before Christ’s return. Prophecy is written to underscore the Sovereignty of God. At the end of this age, believing in what the Bible says will lead to the salvation of many saints.

If our belief is Bible-centered, unshakable and accompanied by a willingness to sacrifice, then nothing will be impossible.

On the other side, if our belief falls short, so will our achievement. Then…

…how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? (Hebrews 2:3 NIV)

 

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4 NIV)

What good is a cake recipe that fails to include all the key ingredients? If, for instance, the recipe listed flour and sugar but no eggs, would we have a cake? We’d have a cake that looks like a disaster. In a similar way, we must never over-simplify God’s plan of salvation or we risk losing the very thing we hope to gain.

Salvation is at the center of the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Lord wants all to be saved. Where problems surface is when we make conversion the same as salvation. The evangelist without the pastor and teacher is cake batter without the hot oven for baking. In building up the Body of Christ, proclaiming the Gospel is irreplaceable, yet so are the other parts of the five-fold ministry of Ephesians 4:11-12.

The Great Commission is precise in its language. We are to make disciples of all nations, not stop at converts. Conversion is a necessary stage–as is repentance, but the outcome Christ had in mind are disciples. Only disciples can produce disciples. It will be true followers that testify to Christ to every language and people, not converts. Global proliferation of the Gospel is the cake the Master has in view. Pastoring and teaching is the process by which disciples are produced.

Does a person belong to Jesus if they reject the true Word of God? If Pre-tribulation Rapture and Amillennial teachings are false—which serious investigation reveals they are—then what does that say about their teachers? Who bears on their neck the weight of the millstone, professor or duped student (Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42, Luke 17:2)?

Our Savior wants no one to perish, desiring, instead, that all be saved and to come to a knowledge of truth. Salvation without truth is a contradiction. Truth is the goal. Believing Christ comes “at any moment” or that God will save though we promote the lie, is not Bible. Dreams of being saved without the knowledge of, and love of, the truth, is a recipe for disaster.

They perish because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:10)

candle-dying-out The wicked are denied their light, and their upraised arm is broken. (Job 38:15)

As the candle of this age burns down, its flame becomes a flicker. What will remain is a smoldering wick. Soon deep darkness will settle over the earth. Night is coming, a time when no one can work (John 9:4).

A week before Christmas, heads-of-state gathered in Paris to “fight the evil of global warming”. Two hundred nations signed a document immediately hailed as a giant leap for mankind. “Saving the planet” is a fraud. It is a code phrase for dimming the lights.

In the industrialized world, war has been declared on fossil fuels. Though no reliable substitute exists, producers of natural gas, coal and oil are now targets for extinction. Industries that have fueled the engine of progress are cast as villains in this contemporary play.

Lead by revered scientists and academicians, the wisdom of this age is literally and figuratively ushering in the night. Fulfilled are sayings found in Scripture: Their minds are darkened. Thinking they are wise they become fools and the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God (1 Corinthians 1:19-20, 3:19-20).

The Savior whom men have rejected is the source of all illumination (John 1:9). “Let there be light” was spoken by Him, then there was light.

Jesus said, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds are evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:19-20 NIV)

Lights will continue to dim until great distress falls over the land, but those who possess wisdom that comes from God will shine like the brightness of the heavens (Daniel 12:1,3).

 

 

 

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This what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says, “If you are determined to go to Egypt and you do go to settle there, then the sword you fear will overtake you there, and the famine you dread will follow you into Egypt, and there you will die… by the sword, famine or plague; not one of them will survive or escape the disaster I will bring on them.” (Jeremiah 42:15b-16, 17b NIV)

As Syrian refugees enter Europe and America, some are arguing we need to welcome them as an act of compassion. This post will argue the opposite. It is disconcerting to see Syrian men of fighting age fleeing to the U.S. and Europe rather than mounting an effective resistance or, at least, remaining in proximity to their homeland. What kind of counterattack can be mobilized to regain lost ground if fighting men have been disbursed to England or Kentucky? It has created a resistance void in cities and towns throughout the region.

Humanitarian work is currently going on in camps in Jordan and elsewhere in the region. Had aid for food, blankets, tents, as well as medicine, been given from the same governments opening their borders, an international crisis would have been averted. Supplying transportation to the west for 100,000 Syrians since 2012, instead of emergency assistance to the refugees is unprecedented!

(Oh, and what about the credible reports that ISIS, The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has been printing fake Syrian passports. Shouldn’t Syrian immigration be stopped until the matter of forged passports is resolved?)

Something other than humanitarianism is afoot. I suggest that a massive influx of Middle Easterners is an attempt to alter forever the political, social and religious landscape of two continents (i.e. Europe and North America) and, therefore, the world. Are we seeing the final stage of the global proliferation of Islam or a global caliphate?

What else explains why Muslims are readily admitted into the U.S., while Syrian or Iraqi Christians are denied. Though the Christian population in Syria is at ten percent only .004% who’ve entered are Christian. According to recent published reports, Syrian refugees numbered 2098 Muslims and 56 Christians.

Another concern ought to be higher on the priority list than humanitarianism, that is national security.  Already, the number of Muslim immigrants is so large and growing that federal agencies are unable to adequately track the activities of suspected or potential terrorists.

This blog has stated that God’s judgment on the West is imminent. In “Demolition” (December 6, 2013) I, John, described Western leaders as appointed by God as destroyers. As a demolition team, they have emerged to supervise the uprooting and tearing down of their respective nations. Observe their “progress” the last two years.

With respect to Syrian refugees, “Do NOT go West!” You will regret it. Keeping Iraqi and Syrian Christians from entering America may be God’s way of preserving their lives. For Western Christians seeking refuge abroad, I offer this: Rather than fleeing, better to remain and build local shelters or Christian communities. Begin constructing an ark of refuge for God’s people–only then will you save yourself.

Jeremiah, the prophet, warned fellow Jews living in Judea that, by escaping to Egypt, they would encounter the very thing they thought they were fleeing; namely, the sword of Babylon. This “prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5) is speaking God’s Word to saints world-wide. Prepare for disaster. Perform great acts of love, while the opportunity lasts, especially for the household of God (1 Peter 4:7-13). Then we will show ourselves worthy of our calling and true citizens of the Kingdom of God on earth.

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drama masks

   The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

     He [Jesus] replied,… “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.” (Matthew 16:1-2a, 3b NIV)

William Shakespeare wrote “All the world’s a stage,”  (As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII), “and all the men and women merely players.” Thus begins Shakespeare’s oft-quoted monologue “The Seven Ages of Man”.

In the Gospels, the Pharisees and Sadducees acted out their opposition to Jesus to the end. Though they had long before settled on who he was, they came to test Christ by asking for a sign from heaven.

These religious leaders were hypocrites. They were players wearing masks. They posed as sincere inquirers, yet they had sinister motives. They were confident they could lure Jesus into a verbal trap, discrediting him among the people while casting him as a rebel to Roman authorities.

They were wrong. Were they not so into their role, the Pharisees and Sadducees might have become curious, observed the signs, then followed Jesus. From the sky’s appearance they could predict the weather, but the knowledge of their true Messiah alluded them.

Information is rapidly increasing (Daniel 12:4), yet awareness of the signs continues to escape the so-called wise. The scroll revealing last day’s events was sealed in the time of Daniel (12:9). God opened it to our view through the Apostle John. Having Scripture, such as Revelation, makes it obvious we are in the last days. So why then are so many acting oblivious? Is it an act?

During our moment on stage, our words and their effect indicate the part we play. John the Baptist’s and Jesus’ message was “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near” (Matthew 3:2, 4:17). Similar lines were presented to Christ’s disciples (Luke 10:9). They are ours, also, to memorize and recite.

“Jesus is coming soon!” is not a scare tactic; it’s Bible! (cf. Revelation 1:3, 22:10, 12, 20)

Are we calling men and women to repentance? Are we accepting the tests of ridicule, rejection, persecution and threats coming from fellow actors playing the adversary? Like Noah, are we true to our script as a preacher of righteousness? (2 Peter 2:5)

Very soon the spotlight will fade; we’ll exit the stage. Was ours an act? If so, how well did we do? Only the Playwright’s judgment will count.

 

 

top 12

The priests, the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the LORD. But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the LORD had commanded him to say, the priest, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, “You must die!” (Jeremiah 26: 7-8 NIV)

Airline executives become upset when an inspector suddenly grounds one of their planes. If the safety official determines the jet should not fly, it is because they serve the public’s interest. The executives, on the other hand, serve the company. Anything that cuts into profits is unwelcome.

Jeremiah’s charge was to speak God’s words. For fulfilling this calling, Judah’s prophets and priests wanted him dead. Despite their prophet and priest name, they did not serve God or the people, but the king. Instead of obeying God and addressing the nation’s sin problem, they turned on His messenger. Convenience and status quo trumped the well-being of the people, so Jeremiah’s warnings made them hostile enemies.

In the interest of saving my brothers and sisters, I offer a dozen reasons why the status quo must be immediately interrupted. Continuing to operate without seeking forgiveness through Christ and turning to Him for mercy will result in catastrophe.

Judgment is ahead if we fail to consider the consequences for our…

#1- Refusal to turn from wickedness (2 Chronicles 7:13-14, Revelation 9:20-21)

#2- Drowning in debt (Proverbs 22:7)

#3- Enemies on the outside (Deuteronomy 28:25)

#4- Wide-scale violence, threats of anarchy and corruption on the inside (Genesis 6:11-13, Luke 17:26)

#5- Ignorance of God’s signs and ways (Matthew 16:3, Jeremiah 5:12)

#6- Idolatry, gross immorality and decadence (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

#7- Failed leadership (Matthew 15:14, Hosea 4:6)

#8- Preparations for war among the nations (Mark 13:5-8)

#9- Deceit and the lies promoted among the people (Jeremiah 5:30-31)

#10- False prophets who promise “peace and safety” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, 2 Peter 2:1-3)

#11- General lack of fear and reverence for God (Deuteronomy 25:17-19, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

And #12- Worship of people and created things rather than the Creator whom we cannot see (Romans 1:18-32)

What would you add to this list?

“Each tree is recognized by its own fruit.” (Luke 6:44 NIV)

Released from his Communist prison in 1965, and urged to leave his beloved country, Richard Wurmbrand did so reluctantly. He and his wife Sabina eventually emigrated to the U.S. In May of 1966, the Romanian pastor was invited to testify before a joint Congressional committee.

Before the TV cameras, Richard Wurmbrand spoke of his experience as a prisoner under Communism’s rule. He concluded his testimony by removing his shirt to reveal the deep scars covering his back. More eloquent than words were Wurmbrand’s wounds.

I conclude that it is unlikely that Dr. John Walvoord, then President of Dallas Seminary (DTS), viewed his Christian brother’s testimony. If he and his fellow theologians had watched and listened, they would have surely realized their error and altered their “escape the tribulation” position. How could anyone maintain Christians will avoid great distress when scars from fourteen years of torture and pain revealed otherwise?

What if Richard Wurmbrand was invited to sit among Dr. Walvoord’s DTS students as he lectured on his Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine? Would the Doctor’s presentation convince Rev. Wurmbrand that the horrors of Communist prison were not tribulation or persecution? What about Watchman Nee’s response to Dr. Walvoord’s lecture–that is had the great Christian mind survived Chairman Mao’s Communist persecution and then been invited?

Throughout the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, Dr. Walvoord continued writing and lecturing. He spoke to theologically-friendly congregations on the Church’s imminent escape from tribulation. Meanwhile, as “the voice of the underground church”, Richard Wurmbrand was authoring and speaking to a range of believers as well.

The two men’s audience represents disparate parts of Christianity. Walvoord’s segment of Protestantism repeats the mantra that they will avoid tribulation in the rapture, that the Antichrist will be revealed after they leave this earth. Wurmbrand’s listeners are under no such illusion.

The Wurmbrand’s made a promise to fellow-believers at home: They would come to the West in order to tell of the sacrifices for the Gospel being made behind the Iron Curtain. Their newsletter, now known as “The Voice of the Martyrs”, was a result of that promise. Richard Wurmbrand’s ministry has had great impact on awakening the Church to support those willing to serve the Lord in difficult and dangerous places. The martyrs say, “Give us the Bibles and Christian materials; we will take the risks.” As a result of Rev. Wurmbrand’s legacy, many are receiving Jesus in areas hostile to Christian evangelism.

Dr. Walvoord’s message has had much influence on Christian radio, books, magazines and movies, as well as Christian TV. For Walvoord’s and his disciple’s efforts, American denominations and churches of all sizes have adopted a Dispensational “any moment rapture” statement of faith.

If only those who make up this segment of popular Christianity would honor this Sunday, November 1’s “National Persecuted Christian Day.” Maybe the voice of one brave, scarred martyr would change their opinion. Perhaps then the Church in America would unite then prepare to join our persecuted brothers and sisters.

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“Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.” (Revelation 6:11 NKJV).

The entire history of this age will soon be written. While many attempt to pacify the fearful, the wise are taking note of God’s signs. Modern pastors reassure their unsettled flocks with the promise Jesus will return “prior to” Antichrist’s appearance. “Peace and safety” are implicit. Their sheep repeat: “Great Tribulation is coming, but thank God I won’t be around to see it!”

Satan has deceived many so-called “Bible-believing” Christians into declaring “any moment Jesus will come and we’ll escape.” Can Christ come on any given day or will he arrive on a set day with accompanying signs in the sky? Does resurrection occur, as they say, while we are taken up in the rapture? And what of all the unfulfilled signs?

There are definite signs for which we need to look. In 2nd Thessalonians, we have lots of signs. Paul reminded his former students what he had taught. As a fellowship they had swallowed the false teaching the Day of the Lord had come and gone. The Apostle was clear: This day cannot come until the apostasy (the falling away or rebellion) occurs (cf. Matthew 24:10) and the man of sin is revealed (2:3). The man of sin or son of perdition will take his seat in the temple of the LORD claiming to be God (2:4) (In Part 1, we discussed this sign’s fulfillment at the 70th week’s midpoint.)

We learn in Revelation 13 that at the 42-month mark, the Antichrist will be revealed by demanding universal worship. Those who resist him will be forced to take the beast’s mark. This sets the stage for our sign of the end.

God’s people will stand firm in their resistance. Those remaining true despite the beast’s power are spoken of in Revelation 12:11“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (NIV).

God’s resisters are a major sign of the end. Saints always oppose the beast, even to the death. For some, their refusal to take the beast’s mark will cost their head (Rev. 20:4). These martyrs are the souls heard under the altar when the 5th seal is opened (Rev. 6:9). Together they appeal for vengeance (i.e. the Day of the Lord’s Judgment). They are comforted with a promise that God will bring the wicked to justice, but only after the full number of their brothers are likewise slain (Rev. 6:10-11).

This will be a sign of Christ’s coming. Once the last martyr sheds his blood, then the beast’s power will be broken. The beast’s last publicly guillotined saint will set off a series of prophesied signs that directly precede Jesus’ coming in the clouds.

In 2015 a live video feed picked up radical black-clothed Muslims beheading faithful Christians. This is a “can’t miss sign”. It presents evidence of how close we are to the end. Those serving Antichrist will make an example of elect martyrs. Those who hold to the testimony of Jesus and obey God’s commands are already being decapitated.

Prepare now. When the full number of the faithful lose their heads, then look to the east. Redemption will be drawing nigh. EJ.

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” Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the Holy Place” (whoever reads let him understand)….” For then there will be great tribulation, such has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matthew 24:15, 21, NKJV).

A dear friend tuned in to a radio program. On it the pastor taught on the sign before the return of Jesus. After intently listening then comparing Scripture with Scripture, she agreed with his conclusion: The Anti-christ will, indeed, desecrate the rebuilt Jewish temple and then claim to be God. This will initiate the foretold events that usher in Messiah’s return.

What is amazing is that this daughter of Zion knew little about prophecy until earlier this year. She has taken to it like a fish to water. She digs in and does not stop until the Holy Spirit reveals truth.

The signs are a topic that should take precedence over most other studies. The signs are key to knowing when Jesus will rescue His people. The prophet Daniel was shown that at the midpoint (day 1260) of the final 7-year period (“the 70th week of Daniel”), the prince to come (Satan’s spawn) will cause the temple sacrifices to cease. Under the prince’s direction, an abomination will be set up that causes desolation (Daniel 9:27, 11:31). For example, a desecrating sacrifice would be a pig on the altar of God in the most holy place.

The Anti-christ, beast or man of lawlessness will exalt himself over God. He will speak blasphemies against the Lord of Hosts (Daniel 11:36-37, Revelation 13:5). The Apostle Paul taught the Thessalonians this doctrine. The Day of Jesus’ return (and our being gathered to Him via the Rapture) will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of sin, the son of perdition, is revealed. Paul then specifies what comes next: This man sits as God in the Lord’s temple and will claim to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

“Let the reader understand.” The Book of Daniel sheds more light. In Chapter 12 it states Michael, Israel’s great prince, will arise. The Hebrew word for “arise or stand up” is amad (aw-mad’). It also means “to be at a stand still”. This infers that the defender of God’s people will be removed from protecting Israel during the Great Tribulation (2 Thessalonians 2:7). An unparalleled time of trouble will descend upon earth’s saints (Daniel 12:1). This is what Jesus told his disciples to look for as he described a future “great distress” (Matthew 24:21, Luke 21:23).

Jesus warns those who witness this sign to flee to the mountains. He promises these days must be cut short or no flesh would survive. At that time there will be false messiahs and false prophets performing signs and wonders (Matthew 24:22-23, Revelation 13:11-18). The delusion will be so strong that, if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived. This is Scripture’s urgent warning.

The sign believers must prepare for will be “the Abomination that causes Desolation”. It is foolish to suggest–as Pre-tribulation or any-moment rapture teachers do–that the Lord offers his people a sign they won’t be around to see. The beast is himself a sign. He will appear to do his evil work before we witness our Lord and King’s return (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).

Those, such as my friend, who know these things are the magi for our time. They are mining the gold of Scripture, searching for the signs. They will bless God’s people with their knowledge of the Word.

In the next post, we will explore the last sign, the one appearing before the heavens signal Jesus’ glory. EJ

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” Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city: to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.” (Daniel 9:24, NRSV).

Tomorrow evening at sunset begins the most solemn day of the Hebrew calendar, Yom Kippur. The Day of Atonement is a Sabbath, where no work is done and the streets of Jerusalem are empty. Even non-religious individuals observe this day. It is so holy that many schools in the United States with a high Jewish population will be closed on Wednesday. Although there is no temple to observe this special day with animal sacrifices, many Jewish men and women have been repenting and asking God for forgiveness since Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets.) God, in his mercy, covers the sins of the Jewish nation for another year.

For a true believer in Jesus, our sins were atoned during the preparation day of Passover. When Jesus was crucified, all sins: past, present and future were paid for. However, because the Jewish nation rejected Jesus as their king, God sent a hardening over part of Israel (Jewish people) until the times of Gentiles are fulfilled. (cf: Romans 11:25 and Luke 21:24). God accounted for this in His master plan of salvation and therefore instituted the Day of Atonement as a holy day for Israel to observe. (Leviticus 16). So, when will Yom Kippur be fulfilled? Daniel 9:24 holds the key.

70 weeks of years ( 70, 7 year periods) were decreed for Daniel, his people (Judah and Israel) and Jerusalem. We know that the sins of Judah  will be put to an end and the iniquity of the Hebrew people will be atoned for. (Ezekiel 36:25-38). The only way atonement can be made is when one accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Will Israel do this? This is what Zechariah 13:1 tells us: “On that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.”

The prophets are in agreement that there will be a day where the sins of Israel will be atoned for. This fulfillment will happen on Yom Kippur. Then the remnant of the 12 tribes will be gathered to Jesus and He will cleanse them before they enter the Millennium. (Zechariah 8:23). Ezekiel 45:18-25 shows the Feast Days Israel will observe in the Millennium. They are Passover (days of Unleavened Bread), Pentecost (Spring Harvest) and Sukkot (Fall Harvest). Yom Kippur is not necessary anymore after Israel turns to Jesus.

What does that mean for us? Well, if we know that the Day of Atonement ends the 70th week, then we can know that the  final 7 year period will end in late September or early October. (That is when Yom Kippur is observed). We can count back 2520 days to determine that the beginning of the 70th week will commence sometime during the end of October. God has given us clues in His Word so that his magi can figure out future events. Will you be prepared? EJ

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