Bible prophecy

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Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful men, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.” 1 John 2:15-16 (NIV)

We are a culture of obsessive personalities, and—I confess—I am an example. An obsession is a pursuit outside of life’s necessities that devour one’s time and resources, as well as mental and physical energies. By definition, the poor, hard-working farmer is practical if he spends his entire day tending his crops, while the person who puts food in their stomach morning, noon and night is obsessive–and probably also obese. The fisherman who rises early to set out to sea may be going to work, but the sport’s fisherman casting for the big one so he can boast of a prized catch has an obsession.

In the so-called rich nations of the world, like the U.S., an abundance of leisure time and discretionary wealth means we have almost as many cravings and manic desires as we have people. There’s also a publication, an entertainment industry or a TV show for nearly each obsession. That way we can always find a way to feast on the object of our lust.

As I alluded to, I, myself, and others with whom I enjoy great fellowship, are obsessed, but it is on God’s Word. We crave to grasp more of Bible prophecy. Call this a “magnificent” obsession since our hunger for truth will bring salvation to believers in the last days. We’ve obsessed on a host of other things, but our lives, time and resources are now dedicated to accurately declaring what the Lord said in Scripture, before it happens! In our estimation, all other unnecessary pursuits are meaningless, a mere chasing after the wind.

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I like confidence in my mechanic, doctor or other professionals who are offering me a service. I see it as a good thing. There’s security in knowing that the person I’m seeking help from knows what they’re doing.

This does not apply across the board though, so I’m finding out. Bible prophecy is a discipline where confidence is suspect. You would think insight into a critically important topic, such as what the Bible says about the future, would interest everyone. Not so.

God has gifted my friend, Elijah, and I with tremendous revelations about the last days and beyond. If I make the statement—which I have on occasion—that I have a firm grasp on The Book of Revelation, then I might as well say I have the plague. End of conversation. In company where my obsession with prophecy is well-known, questions about it never come up.

Why can’t I have confidence? I love to discuss my passion, but I rarely have the opportunity.

Why can’t I know what I’m talking about? My theory is this: We have bought into the false notion that no one, including the scholar or world famous preacher, is supposed to know anything about tomorrow. It is a mystery that cannot be solved–or so we are told.

Recently, I heard the live radio broadcast of a sermon. The evangelical leader who delivered it is at or near the top of the heap among the celebrated preachers of our day. In his message, he said that—this is not an exact quote, but it’s close—we won’t know the meaning of prophecy until after Jesus’ comes. (Help us, Lord!) If a prominent Christian says we cannot know what the Bible teaches about the future, then what’s the use of the rest of us trying to figure it out?

If I declare that I have accurately cracked the genetic code, it is newsworthy. Fellow scientists would demand I share what I discovered. But, if I contend that God has revealed the code breaker for prophecy by focusing on Jacob’s descendants, it barely rates a ho-hum.

Here’s my feeling on why my God-given ability does not generate more interest: Prophecy is often associated with end-of-the-world, doom and gloom scenarios. It’s human nature to avoid discussing things we dread. Prophecy, also, has been plagued by quacks who loudly predict things that never happen.

Yet, I believe the major reason confidence in prophecy is not welcome is that Satan has shrouded the subject with much confusion. Most want their fragile beliefs to remain undisturbed. (“Don’t confuse me with the facts!”)

The Lord, nevertheless, wants his people to have clarity so they can prepare for coming events. He is raising up confident teachers, men and women who will be free of doubt or uncertainty. With authority and confidence, they will proclaim God’s word to this generation. My desire is to help train and prepare this next wave of prophets.

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Experienced poker players faces are expression-less no matter if they have great cards or lousy ones. In high-stakes’ games, it is rare for anyone to give hints to what they are holding. The only time it doesn’t matter is an all-or-nothing round when one of the players has an unbeatable hand.

When I read the report in The Washington Times (November 1, 2013) on China’s plans for a U.S. nuclear attack,  I noticed the news source was state-run media inside China. As far as diplomacy is concerned, no one is better than the Chinese government at masking their intentions. So why would they reveal their attack strategy? Could they be supremely confident that America’s leadership would not order a pre-emptive strike (hit them before they hit us)? Is announcing their military intentions in a government-controlled newspaper China’s way of saying they’re holding an unbeatable hand?

As I analyze the situation, I view China’s attack as inevitable. They are holding all the cards. The U.S. has been on a path toward default for decades. We’re now in debt to China in the $ trillions. Proverbs 22:7 describes our predicament: “The borrower is servant to the lender.” When China calls in the loan, it is all over.

Suppose the Chinese went after us militarily next week; how would we finance the billions needed for defense? We could not. How would we arm ourselves when we have long been out-sourcing production to countries like China? Do you see why the Chinese can tip their hand?

China has to do something. They cannot idly stand by while lawmakers and our chief executive take America into hyper-inflation. Bankers must protect their investments. 

Which leads to my second point on why China will attack and how. Using the banker analogy, if the mortgagee cannot make payments, the lender does not destroy the collateral. The mortgager wants their investment in the best shape possible since, after foreclosure, it becomes theirs.

What I’m saying is this: The idea of a nuclear bomb attack on U.S. soil from Chinese submarines and destroyers in the Pacific is most unlikely. Who wants to foreclose on radioactive property that will be uninhabitable for a hundred years? Who wants to takeover piles of rubble where there were once cities?  There is a better way of using nukes than producing a vast wasteland. The Chinese are telegraphing their intentions to use subs and destroyers to launch nukes that detonate in the U.S. atmosphere. The shock wave from the blast above then takes out every electronic device on the ground below within a circumference of hundreds of miles. Multiple blasts means everything goes dark and stays that way.

In one swift, clean strike, China can render half of the U.S. absent of the technology it depends on. With all communications silenced, our ability to wage war hamstrung, transportation at a stand still, the electrical grid useless, production shut down as well as public water, sewer and heat defunct, what do we do? Throw in an invading army of millions of crack troops, how long would it be before we raised the white flag? If the strike took place in the cold of winter, Lord have mercy!

The nukes that China is threatening us with are nuclear electro-magnetic pulse weapons (EMP’s) and nothing can stop it. To get the lights back on and machinery operating again, China would only need to replace the bad computer chips and processors with good ones. Their investment would be saved, only under new management. In Bible prophecy, it is playing out the way God said it would. Godlessness does not go unpunished. In the last days, an invading nation is about to punish America for its great wickedness. We have acted arrogantly, while holding a losing hand. As far as China is concerned, there is no sense in hiding the fact they have a winner. 

 

 

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Question 6- You previously wrote The People of God. What kind of response did you receive from it?

Answer 6- I decided that The People of God is a gem with a richness that few have yet to appreciate—but many will. At this time, I have not had the response I thought it would have. A vital part of book sales is marketing. Marketing my own writing is difficult for me. A customer who judges the book by me or by its cover may be reluctant to take it seriously. If that obstacle is overcome, the next one is reading for comprehension what I wrote to grasp the message that is there. The principle that was quoted by Jesus applies, “There is no honor for prophets in their hometown.” My focus is on writing and publishing my next book or other written materials while I have the opportunity.

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Question 9: The Bible gives hope, indeed, but what is hopeful about experiencing the tribulation?

Answer 9: That is a good question and one that we need to thoroughly grasp. Viktor Frankl, the Nazi holocaust survivor who wrote, “In Search of Meaning,” gave good insight from his horrific experience. He said something like, “When we find meaning in our suffering, it is then no longer suffering.” Besides the testing of our love and loyalty to Christ, tests demonstrate that we are genuine and belong among the people of God. There is rich meaning to be found in tribulation. It refines us like gold. It allows us to participate in the sufferings of Christ. Tribulation takes away our love for this world; it allows us to do good deeds and express our love for our fellow man, even for our enemies.

   Peter wrote that we should not think of our suffering as though something strange was happening to us. Paul and the apostles taught the disciples outside of Lystra, where he was stoned and left for dead. Their message was in Acts 14:22, “We have to go through many tribulations to enter the kingdom of God.”

  I could go on and on. Largely, because of the PTR influence we have not connected with members of our Christian family who suffer in our day. We often fail to see reality. We live in denial. The signs are unmistakable. The U.S. and the West will soon experience a persecution of all those who claim Jesus as their Savior like we cannot imagine.

   We desperately need to develop a “theology of suffering” because the Scriptural teaching is rich on this subject. We need the mind of God about it because we are soon going to face it. Pre-tribulationalism is escapism. It is a place for those to go and listen to what their itching ears want to hear.

   I have to add that what gives suffering meaning and therefore makes it something to embrace rather than avoid is that it is the way to honor and please God and gain eternal life. It is not simply talking the talk; it is walking the walk the saints have long trod.

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Question 5: Why do you think Biblical prophecy is not taught, or not accurately taught in Christian circles today?

Answer 5: It started to become obvious—at least from my perspective—that dark forces were at work. I want to be careful here. I’m not suggesting that my fellow pastors and Christian leaders are doing the work of devils and demons intentionally, any more than Simon Peter was when he rebuked Jesus in Matthew 16:22. Peter did rebuke the Lord when he prophesied his future suffering, crucifixion and resurrection. This man Simon heard only the persecution part of Jesus’ prophecy and told the Lord this cannot be, it can never happen to you. That’s what Peter said, one of Jesus’ closest disciples.

   In 16:23 Jesus rebuked him in return and called him “Satan”. “Get behind me Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You do not have in mind the thoughts of God but the thoughts of men.” That is followed by pretty clear teaching on how his disciples must carry their own cross if they want to follow him, etc.

     I saw a parallel. It is not about our motivations or even our love for Christ. Peter’s heart or motivation was not at issue. It is about being used by the devil in the way that Simon tried to change prophecy. Peter wanted to take Christ’s suffering and his cross from our Lord’s mission. Today Pre-Trib teachers want to take suffering and the cross—which is explicitly taught by Jesus, Paul, Peter and Scripture in general—from our mission. I know these are strong words but I began to see the Pre-Trib position as a clever deception of the enemy and an obstacle put in our path by men to keep God’s people from fulfilling their destiny.

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Question 4: Didn’t you state in your book that you were once a Pre-tribber?

Answer 4: I believed it in the way a child believes in Santa Claus or that the moon is made out of green cheese. I believed it because those in authority whom I respected, loved and admired told me that Jesus was coming again, and it could be today! They gave me a couple Bible verses to hang this belief on, sort of as evidence, and others were saying the same thing. So there you have it, case closed, PTR had to be right because all the radio preachers I loved to listen to were in agreement!

   I believed it but other than a couple of trite sayings and those verses, I couldn’t defend it or teach it with confidence. The topic confused me so I basically didn’t want any part of explaining it as a pastor, this was the way it is and don’t ask questions.

   This is where I think most pastors of conservative churches are stuck. They dutifully repeat what they are told. They don’t want trouble from the powers that be in and out of their church and they don’t want to know anything that contradicts what they’ve been taught either. It is sort of like parents who watch what is said to their kids about Santa. They become very angry if someone tells them there’s no Santa Claus. People can be very protective about things that are not true.

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Question 2: So your mission with “Lifesaver,” then, is to reach the people who are Pre-tribulational, PTR as you call them, and convert them?

Answer 2:  Basically, I’m out to reach anyone I can; anyone who wants to know the truth. If they are currently Pre-tribbers, I have given them more than enough reasons to abandon this teaching before it’s too late. If they are not, I want to inoculate them against believing in “any moment rapture”. My intention is to show that the Spirit of God is behind our assault on Pre-tribulationalism. The flaws or holes of the PTR view need exposed. This is the Lord’s way of sounding the alarm for his people.

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Question 1: Lifesaver is the third book you have written. The titles of the first two books, The People of God, and The Prophets of God, are self-descriptive and expected from a Christian perspective. But the title, Lifesaver, is a mystery.  How did you come up with that title and what does it mean, exactly? How does it relate to the book?

Answer. 1: The first two books are the first part of a series that I call ‘The Prophets, Priests, and Kings Series’. From the responses I was receiving, I realized that readers who had been exposed to the ‘any moment rapture’ position, or the Pre-Tribulation (PTR) view, were thinking apples while I was talking oranges. They were not benefiting from the content the way I hoped they would. It became obvious that I had to first go after the supporting pillars of the PTR view with sound, reasoned Biblical arguments. I knew that if I could help some switch to the Pre-Wrath rapture (PWR) view, their personal Bible study would benefit and they would be able to get a lot from my books as well.

   The title is a story in itself. I had some long titles I was working with that sounded negative, such as “Fatal Flaws in the Pre-tribulation Rapture Position.” Pre-trib writers made an early pre-emptive strike in this war of ideas when a PTR writer wrote “Fatal Flaws in the Pre-wrath Rapture Position.” I was firing torpedoes back—that is kind of how I saw it at least. I was in combat mode and was looking for a nice, pleasant picture of a passenger ship sinking to use on the cover. Tough assignment, huh?

     Then my wife, Leslie, found the picture of a lifesaver. She thought it would look great for the front cover and I agreed. “Lifesaver” carries more of a positive message and more indicative of what we’re trying to do. It isn’t just about shooting holes in the PTR ship but also about giving readers a “lifesaver,” a position and view that will save them by opening up end-time prophecy. The picture led us to the title.

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Right after I officiated at my sister-in-law, Patty, and husband, Ray’s wedding, one of her bridesmaids approached me in a huff. It was many years ago yet I still remember that young lady’s verbal shot at me. It was my confidence that seemed to upset her. During the ceremony I declared that Christ was the only way to salvation. So this young woman proceeded to upbraid me for my intolerance. She was certain there were other roads to heaven for non-Christians. But since when is having assurance that salvation is through Christ alone “wrong”?

Sometimes contemporary Christianity reminds me of the upset bridesmaid: Tolerance is only extended so far. Everything is fine as long as we agree, but do not step out of line.  In regard to our understanding of what the Bible says about the second coming, Christians have our own version of the Taliban.  Dissent is quashed. But how can we arrive at an accurate interpretation of Bible prophecy, if we refuse to gather all the pertinent verses or listen to pieces of conflicting evidence? All admissible facts need to be heard, not just those that support the opinion of the majority.

Do we see why Christians have muddled heads on the subject of the Bible and the future. When it comes to understanding the future, we hear but one side. We tend to submit to the false premises that all true Bible-believing Christians are in agreement or there is only one side that should be heard. In some places, Bible students cannot even broach the subject of the Pre-Wrath rapture of the church or that believers will be called on to endure great tribulation globally in the last days, without being accused of heresy.

That is the way with puzzles. You know it is solved when all the pieces perfectly fit the creator’s theme.

Here’s the best way I know to explain how I know what I know. Each weekend the New York Times Magazine publishes and distributes a challenging crossword puzzle. Across the land thousands of minds go to work to solve this puzzle in as short a time as possible. Some can zip through it in an hour or so. Others, like myself, take quite a bit longer.

Let’s say we challenged an experienced NYT cruciverbalist (crossword solver) about his or her answers. We may get a “What are you asking me that for” type of look. At some point, they would probably tell you that their answers fit. Yes, they are confident because they have discovered what’s in the mind of the puzzle’s creator. That is the way with puzzles. You know it is solved when all the pieces perfectly fit the creator’s theme. Is it to say one is superior because they solved a NYT puzzle? Of course not, but the solvers are confident and exhilarated. It was Archimedes who grasped the physics of water displacement. At his epiphany, he  made the bold but perhaps rash declaration, “Eureka! I found it!” It was as if he was saying, “Problem solved!”

Why am I confident the Pre-Wrath Rapture position is correct? Because I am a puzzle solver and I tell you it fits. (Those who are not puzzle solvers have trouble with this concept.) Other answers do not quite fit regardless how hard one tries or how sophisticated one sounds or how much one beats the table while raising their voice. Simply, it will not come together as designed.

There is great satisfaction in puzzle solving. In my book, “The People of God,” I present twenty-six different clues to prophecy solvers. My goal is not to tell other explorers of the mysteries surrounding the end of this age what to think (i.e. the answers) but how to get in the mind of prophecy’s Creator so they can figure it out. As with math or science, there is only one correct solution.

If this is what you call arrogant, then so be it. I call the one that makes that judgment bigoted and narrow. (Two can play that game!) What would one call dismissing conclusions that were based on hundreds of Bible verses without ever giving them fair treatment? Intolerant is perhaps one descriptive word that comes to mind.

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