Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Spiritual State Of The Union

Every year, the president of the United States gives a report on the state of the union. While it’s good to take stock of the condition of our nation, the glaring problem of the president’s address is that it misses the important truth about the real issues we face and their root causes.

Political correctness and secularism have eviscerated our ability to speak the truth and address the real moral issues of our day. But with God’s help, we will not succumb to those temptations today. Too much is at stake to trifle with the future of our nation, the church and the souls of man to pander and obfuscate.

America has many serious problems. Dr. D. James Kennedy outlined these problems in his "Spiritual State of the Nation" message back in 2003. He included in his list the epidemic of drugs, alcoholism, rampant abortion, sexual perversion of every kind, sexual promiscuity and STDs.

“The ‘spiritual state of the union’?” he asked. “If it were a patient, it probably would have been pronounced dead on arrival—frozen in ice—no spiritual pulse at all.”

Is that true?
This is what many think. Some even find reason to rejoice over it. But we must be careful to avoid two extremes. The first extreme would be to gloss over the real problems of our nation’s spiritual condition. The second extreme would be to overemphasize how bad it is. Let’s try to stick with just the facts.

Are There Two Americas?
Disgraced, philandering politician John Edwards loved to wax on about two Americas, and in some ways there are two. The red state/blue state divide is very apparent, especially in presidential elections being decided by very slim majorities in the Electoral College.

While there remains a majority who believe in God and who have a positive view of faith, a small but militant minority is hell-bent on destroying all vestiges of our Christian heritage. Marxists/secularists have prosecuted their 100-year cultural jihad to infiltrate the media, education and politics—especially the courts—and impose their secular fundamentalism. The election and re-election of Barack Obama is sobering proof of their formidable influence. President Obama even told a group of Muslims in Cairo that America is not a Christian nation!

Liberals hate God, capitalism, the natural family and any institution—like the church—that supports them. But after five years of the most left-leaning administration in our history, the wheels are coming off. The Obama administration has jerked the reins too hard.

Obamacare is a disaster. Prior to Obamacare’s passage, 90 percent of people were happy with their health insurance. Rather than addressing the 10 percent, the Obama administration has blown up the whole system in an attempt to impose failed, socialistic health care on everyone.

Now scandals, incompetence and deceit have taken their toll. 2014 will bring a huge course correction to the ship of state, and the tea party movement, conservatives and “Tea-vangelicals” are poised to make significant electoral gains.

All Is Not Lost
In spite of decades of atheistic propaganda being shoved down our throats, polls show that Americans have remained mostly spiritual:
  • 87 percent of Americans believe in God.
  • 78 percent of Americans see religion as either very or fairly important in their life.
  • 74 percent of Americans self-identify as Christians.
  • 75 percent say it would be a positive thing if Americans were more religious.
  • 79 percent believe the Bible is the literal or inspired Word of God.
This obviously doesn’t mean that 79 percent of Americans are all committed, born-again Christians. Many are Chrinos—Christians in name only. But when pressed, a supermajority of Americans self-identify with what they think it means to be a Christian. This represents both a great opportunity and a great challenge.

The good news is that the majority is not hostile to what they think constitutes the Christian faith, but they may have been inoculated—exposed to just enough to make them resistant to the real thing. They do not possess what they profess: They’ve not been transformed by faith in Christ, they do not know for sure if they have eternal life, and they’ve never shared their faith because they don’t have anything to share.

The good news is that over the last 40 years, the percentage of people who say they are born again or evangelical has grown from the low 20th percentile to the mid-40th percentile. But this number has not changed in the last 10 years, while the number of people who have no religious preference grew from 10 percent to 15 percent to a 50 percent increase.

America’s Moral Schizophrenia
There are two issues that demonstrate the thinking of the average American is morally adrift from the truth of God’s Word: the sanctity of both life and sexuality.

Sanctity Of Life.
David writes of God’s hand upon each life in Psalms 139:13-14: “You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (NKJV).

Note that the psalmist knew “very well” that he was created by God through the miracle of procreation. People intuitively know the truth about life and its origin because man bears God’s image. The best and latest science agrees with God’s Word that life begins at conception. Taking innocent life, no matter how small, runs contrary to our conscience and the Scriptures.

Because Americans know this deep down, they are morally conflicted. But in the end they show their true colors and act very pragmatic about abortion. This is probably due to the fact that so many abortions have occurred.

Statistically, a huge number of Americans have either participated in having an abortion or in helping or encouraging someone to get one, or they know someone who has. This renders them incapable of taking a strong, consistent stand for life. They have no moral standing, so they don’t want to play the hypocrite. Nor do they or can they condemn abortion without risking rejection by someone they know.

Roe v. Wade’s aftermath. In the 41 years since the legalization of abortion in 1973, more than 56 million babies have died through abortion. In 2013, there were approximately 1.2 million abortions—that’s 3,300 abortions daily or 137 abortions per hour every hour or more than one abortion every 30 seconds.

The conflict over abortion is reflected in a recent poll by Gallup. Their 2013 poll showed that 48 percent of those polled identify as pro-life and 45 percent identified as pro-choice, with pro-lifers trending stronger. Another 49 percent of those polled say abortion is generally morally wrong.

A clear majority of Americans are unable to commit to ending this atrocity. Fifty-two percent say abortion should be legal under certain circumstances, 53 percent don’t want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, and 61 percent say abortion in the first trimester should be legal. Then 64 percent will say abortion in the second trimester should be illegal, and 80 percent say abortion in the third trimester should be illegal.

This is clearly morally and rationally indefensible. Why does the baby somehow acquire the right to life in the second and third trimester?

There is a great opportunity to bring truth to the conscience if we will have the love and courage to save babies and warn sinners.

The good news.
Operation Rescue has concluded an exhaustive survey of abortion clinics in the United States. It has documented a record number of abortion clinic closures in 2013. Eighty-seven surgical abortion clinics halted abortions. This represents an impressive 12 percent net decrease in surgical abortion clinics in 2013 alone. The total number of surgical abortion clinics left in the U.S. is now 582, a 73 percent drop from a high in 1991 of 2,176.

While the rate of abortion is declining, even just one abortion is one too many.

Sanctity Of Sexuality
Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (NIV). God did not wear a flower in His hair and attend the “Summer of Love” in San Francisco in 1968. In fact, He wasn’t invited. If He did come, it would have been to remind them that sexuality belongs in marriage between a man and a woman.

Americans are conflicted because they know that sexual immorality is wrong, but they either engage in illicit sexual activity or they know people who do so, so they don’t want to stand up against it. Homosexual activists have waged a cunning PR campaign, aided by the liberal media, using junk science, posing as victims and wrapping themselves in the civil rights movement.

So, how’s the sexual revolution working for America? According to the Centers for Disease Control, 2011 saw the largest number of cases of chlamydia ever reported, a total of 1,412,791. The rate of new gonorrhea cases rose 4 percent in 2012 from the year before, while syphilis jumped 11 percent, mostly in men who have sex with men. The rate of HIV increased 22 percent among homosexuals ages 13 to 24 from 2008 to 2010.

And we still have the audacity to think we can redefine marriage and the natural family. Sixty-four percent of Americans think homosexual relationships should be legal, and 54 percent say homosexual marriage ought to be legal.

The truth is that as the family goes, so goes the nation. According to the World Bank, there is a correspondence between a nation’s faith and its birth rate. Nations with the largest proportion of unbelievers had an average annual population growth rate of just 0.7 percent in the period 1975-1997. Populations of the most religious countries grew three times as fast.

If you have a high view of children as a blessing and an optimistic faith, then you are inclined to have children. Still, evangelicals are not immune to lower birth rates because many don’t have a biblical worldview. They see children as burdens, not blessings; liabilities, not assets.

The fertility rate in the U.S. fell to a record low for the second year in a row in 2012. The fertility rate is only 63 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age. Forty-one percent of those babies were born to unmarried mothers.

Christians Are Engaging
But there are signs of hope—flowers peeking up though the bleak spiritual landscape. For example, in the United States government, we were told that there were five recognizable evangelical born-again Christians in the House of Representatives in 1990. By 2013, there was estimated to be well over 100 and rising.

The tea party caucus in Congress is even more evangelical than the rest of the House. Seventy-five percent are evangelical or mainline Southern Protestants. More than twice as many express their faith publicly as non-tea-party representatives. Rep. Ted Cruz is a shining example of a tea party evangelical with moral courage.

Movies and Television
Hollywood is a vacuous wasteland of immorality. Sunday’s Grammy’s is a prime example.

Virtually all the outspoken stars and starlets of pop culture are liberal. Conservative musicians, actors and directors are either very few or are deep undercover to protect their careers. There’s no need to enumerate all the crazy and wicked things they produce and the garbage they pump into our living rooms.

But there are also bright spots. The conservative Fox News channel consistently outperforms its liberal competition. The recent miniseries The Bible drew 27 million viewers, a record for the History Channel. Viewership of Duck Dynasty, with its overt Christian family values that ends each episode with a prayer, has the highest ratings in cable TV history. Even the “gay-stopo” could not force the patriarch of the Robertson family, Phil Robertson, off the air when he made clear his biblical opposition to homosexuality.

More and more Christians are entering into making independent movies that are getting good responses. ABC News recently reported that Hollywood is turning to the Bible in search of hits. Box office results consistently show the most profitable films are generally those that support Christian values. 

We can all agree that public schooling is on the wrong track. The Intelligencer reported this month that international testing has United States students performing poorly. In 2012, students from 65 countries participated in an assessment. The U.S. rankings in science, math and reading have slumped from 2009. The U.S. was 36th in math, 28th in science and 24th in reading. One of the rising stars included Vietnam, which came in at eighth in science.

The brightest spot in American education comes from home schoolers, who are largely Christians. More than 25 years of testing has shown that the average home schooler continues to be more than 30 percentage points higher than their public school counterparts.

Christian private schools, especially those in the classical education movement, are reforming the way we teach children. Other schools will have to reform or die.

Jesus warned that anything not built on His Word will fail. Public education is imploding because it is at war with Christ.

For the last two generations, students from kindergarten through graduate school have been constantly inculcated with the atheistic, humanistic, materialistic view of evolution. This is a poisonous fountain from which flows humanism in all its anti-Christian forms—communism; fascism, relativism. But the evidence from science against evolution is mounting.

Darwin’s theory that life started from simple forms and evolved into more complex forms is being refuted almost daily. The more we know, the more we see that even the simplest forms of life are irreducibly complex and filled with millions of bits of complex genetic code. Did you know the human body has approximately 60 billion bits of intricate genetic information, at least until recently? It might be as high as 120 billion bits.

Time magazine recently reported a research team at the University of Washington has discovered a second code hidden within our DNA written on top of the other. The first code describes how proteins are made; the second language instructs the cell on how genes are to be controlled. Do you think further research will find there to be more or less complexity?

Stephen Hawking, one of the famous “new atheists,” concludes, “The odds against a universe like ours emerging out of something like the Big Bang are enormous. I think there are clearly religious implications.”

It’s a good thing the religion of evolution has been protected by the courts. If it had to stand on its own merit, it collapses like a house of cards. It has done incalculable harm, but its days are numbered as a serious scientific theory.

Encroaching Islam
Fourteen hundred years ago, Muhammed declared jihad on the world. Now we are watching his followers wage it against us, and thousands of Americans have been killed in the process.

Our politically correct elite will not even admit that we are fighting Islamic jihad. Both political parties take Saudi petrol dollars and extend an olive branch to the Muslim Brotherhood who have established mosques in all our cities. They boldly tell us jihad is their desire and dying for Allah is their dream. Our problem is we think we can reason with them.

If we are nice to them, they will be nice to us? Right. Infidel, you are a fool. The only reason they use terrorism and have not waged open violent jihad is because they can’t. At the rate they are growing, they will.

How can we know? Fourteen hundred years of history tells us they always have.

Fortunately, there are Christian soldiers who are wise to Islam and their tactics, like our good brother Alan West. We have defeated Islam in the past; should the Lord tarry, we will have to do it again. Christians, you should have lots of sons, buy them guns, and teach them the biblical doctrines of self-defense and just war along with the manly art of war.

The Christian's Hope
We could consider many other particular problems in the United States, for they are legion. But in the end, they all boil down to just one: the ancient problem of sin and unbelief.

The good news is God has provided the solution for both! We have the only real solution: the gospel of Jesus Christ and submission to His Word.

There are three patriotic things we can need to do to end the secularization of America:
  • First, pray! Pray for God to send a Third Great Awakening to America that will transform America back to a God-fearing nation and end abortion.
  • Second, act. This year, make it your goal to lead someone to Jesus Christ. They will be saved from their sin and hell, and by the Holy Spirit’s work, they will grow in grace and righteousness and support a biblical worldview. 
  • Third, make it your goal to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ and to think God’s thoughts after Him as you take every thought captive and obedient to Christ. Then join in advancing the crown rights of Jesus Christ and His dominion as the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (NKJV).

Our hope is the patience and long-suffering of God. If God would spare wicked Sodom for the sake of ten righteous men, pray God spares America for the sake of millions that have not bowed their knee to the Baals of this world. In the meantime, the blood of the innocent cries out from the ground for justice. May God have mercy on America.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Is Obama Getting His Dictatorial Ducks in a Row

I have said for some time that I believe Obama will do some kind of marshall law technic and pronounce himself a dictator before his term is over. After listening to all the debates after the State Of The Union speech Tuesday night. I am more firmly in belief of my statement.

It's as if he is above the law, doing thing unconstitutionally that the Congress should call his hand on, but seem to be "wimps" and can't seem to think for themselves anymore.

One thing that has made the United State a great nation is the stability of our government. Some nations are so unstable that their governments can barely go a year without collapsing. If it wasn’t for the Civil War, our record would be nearly spotless.

The fact that this year will mark our 238th year of independence from Britain doesn’t ensure we will celebrate our 239th milestone. Freedom doesn’t come with age; it has to be maintained with vigilance. It deeply concerns me that this generation will mark the point where liberty stumbles and America becomes just another banana republic.

I don’t place all the blame on President Barack Obama for the erosion of our freedoms. George W. Bush should be noted for setting into motion a number of programs that put our liberties at risk. I think the biggest mistake of his term was the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

Even thought there are a lost of questions as to why George W. Bush did what he did, I would gladly turn back time and add two more terms to his presidency. Bush may have made many mistakes, but at least he meant well. Obama appears only to be out for himself. I think the American people have made a huge error in giving power to a man who is so lacking moral character. He has been one of the most deceitful president’s in our nation’s history. Not only has he been repeatedly proven to be a liar, he has allowed a culture of dishonesty to permeate Washington D.C.

At some point we have to ask ourselves, “What danger does Obama pose to our liberties?” Even the tiniest indication of despotism on his part needs to be challenged. Once you lose your rights, it often requires the shedding of blood to get them back. Here are five signs that have me most worried about Obama’s commitment to Democracy:

1. The first problem I have with Obama is how much he has the liberal media in his back pocket. It’s no wonder that our nation is a mess when you have the press unwilling to directly criticize the president for his disastrous policies. The NSA scandal, the IRS scandal, Obamacare, Benghazi, and Syria have all been huge failures that should have deeply marred Obama’s presidency. If the liberal media is willing to give him a pass on these major missteps, I have to wonder if they would say anything negative if Obama decided do something crazy like make himself president for life.

2. Obama’s obsession with surveillance should worry people who care about their freedom. All police states need a good spy network to maintain order. Obama keeps telling us that the target of the NSA is terrorists. The Snowden revelations should trigger a major reassessment of the government’s role in our lives. Any system that requires enslavement to maintain security is a cost that is too high.

3. Another fixation with Obama is getting revenge on people or organizations that dare cross him. When S&P downgraded the ranking of America’s debt, the Justice Department indicted the firm, leaving two other rating agencies untouched. Just last week, Dinesh D’Souza, the maker of an anti-Obama movie, was charged for giving too much money to a candidate who sought to replace former New York Senator Hillary Clinton. Anyone who leaks information to the media has to do so knowing that the White House will go to any length to find them out.

4. I’m also troubled by Barack Obama’s use of executive orders to set policy. He has already told Senate Democrats he plans to use his executive authority to act in 2014 when Congress stands in his way. The reason why the Founding Fathers made it so only Congress can write laws, is to avoid autocratic rule. When you allow the president to be a dictator in some areas, you set into motion a process that will quickly give him power over all areas of government.

5. The move that makes me the most suspicious about Obama’s intentions is his mass firing of military leadership. The president has the highest record for firing generals than any in living memory. Things have gotten so bad that a number of retired generals are publicly speaking out about the “purge” of the U.S. military that they believe is taking place. Since the military leaders are sworn to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic it’s necessary to weaken the resolve of the military ranks.

Our nation is ripe for political turmoil. Despite all the claims of an economic recovery, a record percentage of the population is dependent on the government for some form of welfare. We have so thoroughly set our course with decades of harmful fiscal policies, the collapse of the dollar or banking system is only a matter of time.

One of the reasons I am so concerned about the government’s encroachment on our civil liberties is the likelihood of what will happen in the coming financial calamity. If President Obama is able to clip-away at our rights in good times, I hate to think what will happen when things turn desperate.

Rumors abound, as anyone who has access to Internet will attest, that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is reported to be preparing for civil disasters and/or unrest of some sort.

Be watchful for a crisis of some sort to develop that the media will assist in magnifying, if the political fortunes of those in political power begin losing ground in the polls. All of the internal goings-on in America constitute a pressure cooker almost as incendiary as the cauldron that the Middle East troubles represent.

One can see that America has moved ever farther away from the solid moorings provided by the founding fathers through the stabilizing pillars of the Constitution. More significantly, the nation’s leadership and its citizenry have moved away from the God of Heaven. Such rebellion is the poisonous prescription for cultural and societal disaster.

“Change” was the promise of the winning political party’s campaign in the 2008 presidential race. This is one promise President Barack Obama has kept 100 percent. The change his administration has brought has been staggering in its direction and scope. The intervening years since that election have taken America and her people on a downhill run toward socialism more destabilizing than that which has brought Europe to the very cusp of collapse. And, the architects of the blueprint for the promised change haven’t let up on the throttle as the nation hurdles toward the economic abyss.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The One Pivotal Event Just Ahead

Amid the social, political and economic turmoil in the daily news as we enter year 2014, is the running engagement of Secretary of State John Kerry in consultations with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in a dedicated push for a peace agreement between those two entities. When Kerry took the job after Hillary Clinton resigned, he hit the ground running and has been on the go constantly with that goal in mind.

It has been an annual target for each September since Barak Obama became president in 2009. Obama was “primed to lead us into a new world order,” according to Henry Kissinger, and his globalist cohorts were fixated on the destruction of the United States, and a final solution to that annoying Middle East standoff of that tiny peanut-sized nation of Israel (against hordes of angry, bristling Muslims who had vowed to drive them into the sea).

Those two obstacles stood in the way of that New World Order vision, and Obama went to work in destroying the American economy and its sovereignty by undermining its Constitution and doubling its national debt by some $8+ trillion dollars. Complicit “fifth columnists” within the various levels of national government, many having been appointed and put in place by Obama without congressional approval. The downfall of America is, by most observers, hovering on the brink of economic collapse and the prospects of martial law being enforced, is quietly being prepared for its citizens. No one wants to talk about those things very openly these days.

But for the God of Prophecy

Knowing that the God of the universe is in control and sets the appointed times of events on earth is a great source of comfort and peace to the believer. As for the place of America in biblical prophecy, it is not mentioned in any direct way as a super power in the last days. Yet, it seems to be tied inseparably to Europe and its resurrection of the ancient Holy Roman Empire. At this point, it seems that the United States is the leading factor in bringing a peace agreement to the forefront in the Middle East.

That particular event is predicted in Daniel 9:26-27:

“And after sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself. And the people of the ruler who shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. And the end of it shall be with the flood, and ruins are determined, until the end shall be war. And he shall confirm a covenant with many forone week. And in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease, and on a corner of the altar desolating abominations, even until the end. And that which was decreed shall be poured on the desolator.”

Here is a list of the important points of these two verses:
  • When the Messiah was “cut off” (crucified), there had elapsed a total of sixty-nine weeks of years, to that point. Some years ago a British student of prophecy, Sir Robert Anderson, carefully calculated the times in Daniel’s prophecy to verify that the sixty-nine “weeks” to the crucifixion of Christ comes to exactly 483 years, and that final week of seven years has yet to come about. Earlier in the passage Daniel was told that seventy weeks would be visited upon his people and upon his holy city. (Seventy weeks of years would total 490 years.)
  • The people of whom a future ruler or prince will come were the Romans, under the command of Titus, who destroyed the city and the sanctuary (temple) in 70 A.D. Just as Jesus predicted to His disciples, “not one stone will be left upon another” (Matthew 24:1-2). They sought out every thread of gold that glittered between the stones in the morning sunlight.
  • That prince that shall come will confirm a covenant with many for one week (seven years), but halfway through that period, he breaks the covenant and proclaims himself God.
  • Since the Romans will have destroyed the temple, and this prince will move into the temple, the holy place, and desecrate it at the halfway point, the covenant must have allowed the Jews to rebuild their temple and restore its religious functions.
  • As confirmed in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4: “…and the man of sin shall be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, setting himself forth, that he is God.” Thus, he desecrates the temple.
  • The passage ends with the declaration that this desolator will receive a decree of judgment “poured out upon him.”
One obvious point that stands out is that this event could not have happened at the 70 A.D. destruction. Why not? There would have been no time for a seven-year covenant and the temple was being destroyed, not rebuilt so that after three and one-half years that prince could cancel the sacrifices and desecrate the altar. And there was no agreement favoring the Jews, for they were scattered into all nations following the city’s destruction. So, it is a coming moment that seems to be that pivotal, climatic event that ends the age of grace.

The “taking out of the Gentiles a people for the Lord’s name,” ends, and the beginning of that final 70th week which was to be visited upon Daniel’s people now follows. It is the time that Jeremiah calls, “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). Note that this visitation of God (in judgment) is upon the people of Daniel, the Hebrew nation, not the body of Christ, the church. That entity, the church, was not announced until Jesus did so at Matthew 16:13-19.

Peace In The Middle East

Since 2009 and Obama’s debut on the world scene, diplomatic efforts have increased with annual target dates for the successful completion of an agreement that both sides will embrace, yet it has never come this close. Combined with the converging of other related end-time events, it does appear that God’s appointed time may be rising over the horizon.

During the week of January 6 news reports marked the declining health condition of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, finally coming to his death on Saturday, January 11. The whole scenario presents a very interesting picture of why, perhaps, the former prime minister has suffered in a coma since 2006, yet alive, marking time. Remember, it was during his term in 2005 that Israel agreed to turn Gaza over to the Palestinians. All Jewish residents were moved out of Gaza and all of the improvements were left to the new owners. After it was finished, Prime Minister Sharon suffered the stroke that has left him in a coma for eight years.

In 1993, Bill Clinton met with then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat in Oslo, Norway, and worked out an agreement now called the Oslo Accord. It was not favorable to Israel’s progress up through the June, 1967, war and the Yom Kippur war in October, 1973, in obtaining more of the territory God had promised them. It was a five-year process that would have turned over territories to the control of the Palestinians after three years. In 1995, Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated.

Now, former Prime Minister Sharon, having been the central Israeli figure in turning Gaza over to the Palestinians in 2005, has come to the end of his long coma. Is it only a coincidence that these two leaders have met such tragedy in their lives? Or, is God sending a message to Israel? It may be that more time for clarification on the issue is Netanyahu’s concern. It would definitely be mine. God apparently does not like to give up territory. He promised to restore to Israel in these last days.

“Comfort One Another With These Words”

The “signs of the times,” under which I would list this suggested coincidental linking of events, are in many venues, just as Jesus predicted in the gospels—wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes in many places, turbulence in weather, strange things in the heavens. All these we are seeing, regularly and in increasing volume. The coming “blood moons” this year and next are also among those signs in the heavens and deserve our instant attention, for the first one reported by NASA will be on April 15.

This pending event about to happen is tied particularly to Paul’s prophecy of the Rapture of the body of Christ, for he includes it as the pivotal event that is the turning point for the coming of the day of the Lord, like a thief in the night. If one reads 1 Thessalonians 4:16 through 5:4 without considering the chapter break, it reads as one context, just as in the original text. Verses 2-3 of chapter 5 detail the circumstances in which that transformation of believers, both dead and alive, in chapter 4:16-17 happens. Those final verses read like this:

“For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night. For when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety!’ Then sudden destruction comes on them, as travail upon a woman with child. And they shall not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness, that the Day should overtake you like a thief.”

This incident is not the Second Coming of Christ; it is very evident upon thoughtful consideration. A thief at night comes, takes what he is after and goes away with it; he does not stay. At the Second Coming, Jesus will come, fully visible, with His large army of saints, and He will stay and establish His authority over the whole world.

When that pivotal event happens, perhaps even when the agreement is announced, or some time in between the announcement and the signing of the covenant, that cry will sound out, and believers by the millions around the world will disappear, in the twinkling of an eye. Sudden destruction and chaos will begin a seven-year period of increasing lawlessness and evil without resistance; then judgment.