Sunday, March 30, 2014

What We Know For Sure About End Times Prophecy

The more that I study and teach end times prophecy, I realize that there is much we don’t know about God’s timing for end-time events simply because we won’t know until they happen. We have what the Bible says and we take that information and use that as a lens by which we view current events through, what we call as 'exegesis'.

The reverse of this tries to fit current events into the pages of the Bible, which is known as eisegesis. In other words, they are assuming a correlation and implying that xyz must mean this passage, because of abc. That is what we should avoid at all cost from doing. The one thing that we do know, is that God’s word is sure, and it will come to pass on God’s time.

The preaching of the ‘Blessed Hope’ has become a very sensitive subject amongst many a church. Many churches don’t teach it, because they feel as though it is too ‘divisive’ a topic. Still others don’t teach it because it undermines their church-expansion programs here on earth. Overarching both of these is the ever increasing attack on Dispensationalism and Pre-Tribulationism, which insists upon a consistent, literal interpretation of the Bible.

As I was growing up many years ago, pastors, teachers, and theologians had a convenient trick that if they didn't understand something, or it didn’t fit your agenda, they simply make it allegorical, or spiritual, and relegate it to the “pie in the sky” section of their mental filing cabinets. In other words it was out of sight, out of mind.

But, what I have seen in the last few years is that there is a small minority that continue to watch and anticipate the Lord’s return. Like those of the faithfuls who anticipated Christ’s first coming (they knew because they took the Old Testament prophets seriously), and many of those today, I find are in the older group and they are becoming smaller in number.

As with anything that is of a Spiritual nature concerning prophecy and end time events, and those called "watchmen on the walls," there are also those you conspire and try to prosper from this. They are shysters.

Even though in Eschatology there are dreams and visions, studies in numbers, we have to go with what we know, and then, use Scripture to interpret what we see in the here and now...not the other way around.

Here are some things we actually know and what we can know with a high degree of certainty. Some of these events are yet future, but we can simply look around today and see things are unfolding exactly, as God’s word said it would and follow those to their logical and scriptural conclusions.

  • We know that from Adam to the Noahic flood, was roughly 1656 years.
  • We know that God is long suffering, that none should perish. [2 Peter 3:9]
  • We know that we are now around 1,982 years since Christ departed earth after His resurrection. (Using 32 AD as a starting point)
  • We know that God hates sin, and His patience will soon be removed. God will not just keep tolerating man’s gross descent into abject perversity forever. Scripturally, there is a limit to God’s longsuffering...and we are currently 326 years further along than when God decided to destroy the world by water in Noah’s day. [Ex: Genesis 6:4-6; 11:5-9; 18:20-21]
  • We know that since the days of Alexander the Great, Europe has dominated the world in one form or another (Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Spanish, French, German, British, American).
  • We know that Rome (legs) was the dominant Gentile power in Christ’s day, so we too should expect the latter form (toes) of this Roman Empire when Christ comes to finish what He started. [Daniel 2:40-43, 7:7-8, 23-25]
  • We know that if an economic collapse comes, we should expect to see a major realignment in the global power structure.
  • We know according to Scripture, that the ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ (both politically and spiritually) will not continue indefinitely, but has a shelf life. [Luke 21:24; Romans 11:25]
The United States:
  • We know that if an US economic collapse were to happen today, the world will be thrown into an unprecedented period of economic instability.
  • We know the current world's financial system, hinges on a stable US dollar.
  • We know that if the US collapses (politically/economically), the EU will have to rise in order to fill the power vacuum left behind by its young protégé. The alternatives are: Russia, China, or a Muslim conglomeration—all choices not very palatable to the west.
  • We know absent a strong, pro-Israeli United States, the likelihood of a Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17 event is inevitable. We see the rumblings even now, with just a weak President who is wavering on supporting Israel.
  • We know historically, that Muslims and Jews weren’t exactly the best of friends, but there was some sense of toleration. Ever since the rebirth of the nation Israel, Islam has become exceedingly violent and chaotic toward the Jews, almost now to the point of frenzy.
  • We know Israel’s massive natural gas find will place them as one of the world’s largest (if not the largest) natural gas exporter in the world, bringing in unprecedented wealth and status to tiny Israel.
  • We know The Russia Magog Prophecy ( Russia, Turkey, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and other factions) coalition will come on the heels of an Israeli victory (Psalm 83/Isaiah 17) and try to hit them while their guard is down for both their natural resources (gas) and out of hatred (Islamic fervor). [Ezekiel 38]
Global Signs:
  • We know more people have died due to war, famine, pestilence, and natural disasters in the 20th century, than in the previous 20 centuries combined.
  • We know that the total number, variance in magnitude, and variation in location of earthquakes and volcanic activity have been increasing since 1948. Unknown fault lines and previously dormant volcanoes are becoming active again. [Luke 21:10-11] Example
  • We know the world’s technological advancements in science, astronomy, communications, entertainment, financial, travel, and weaponry have dramatically increased since 1948.
  • We know the world is increasingly becoming inter-dependent (financially, politically, and militarily) since the end of World War II: UN, EU, NATO, OPEC, SCO, UofM, NAFTA, NAU, ASEAN, etc.
  • We know that there are more Christian (Messianic) Jews living inside Israel today, than at any point in recent history.
  • We know that there are now more born again Christians living outside the United States, than within it.
  • We know that according to Scriptures, what passes as Christianity in the last days will largely be unprepared, apostate, and lukewarm. This speaks primarily to the western Gentile Christendom who has not endured much, if any physical persecution at all in the last 300 years. [2 Timothy 4:3; 2 Peter 3:3-7; 1 John 2:17-19; Revelation 3:3, 14-22;]
  • We know that Jesus stated that when He returns, there would be a sense of normalcy and would catch people unprepared. [Luke 17:25-30]
  • We know the Kingdom of God will not be back on earth, until the Beast’s empire is destroyed. [Daniel 2:44-45, 2 Thessalonians 2:8, Revelation 19:11-21]
  • We know there is a more pervasive battle for the right of Christianity to exist in the marketplace of ideas. Militant atheism, secular humanism, and the homosexual agenda have all but stamped out Christianity from the government and public education arenas. Their ideological bloodlust is not yet sated, and won’t be until any true message of Jesus Christ is removed altogether from the United States and the west. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood… [Eph 6:12]
  • We know that there is a massive spiritual battle going on in the 10/40 window, between Christians and the aggressive spread of Islam. Battlegrounds today include the Philippines, Malaysia, China, and central Africa. Even more violent and bloody atrocities are occurring inside various Muslim countries, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. The African and Asian persecution is just a foretaste of what is coming to the west. 
  • We know that there is direct correlation between the spiritual and physical battles that Christianity is facing today…one over a valid doctrinal theology, the other over its very existence. 
  • We know that Christ said He would come again and receive us unto Himself, and God is not a man that He should lie. [Numbers 23:19; John 14:1-3]
  • Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. [Revelation 3:11 NJKV]

Monday, March 24, 2014

Could Sharia Law Come To America?

Sharia law is the legal system derived from the Koran and other writings held as holy by Muslims. It is an oppressive, and sometimes barbaric, set of rules and practices that enforces the role of Muslim men in a male-dominated Islamic society.

It treats women, children, minorities, and non-Muslims as second-class citizens at best, and possessions, "domestic animals," or enemies at worst.

Without fail, societal observance of Sharia law ushers in general oppression that can only be described as a supernatural darkness. For a nation to accept Sharia as its governing influence means regression to a primitive view of life that does not recognize the intrinsic value of each human being as the unique creation of a Creator God.

Severed hands and feet, backs and buttocks laid bare and bloody by the lash, stonings to death, decapitations, genital mutilations, tongues carved out, noses sliced off of faces, acid thrown in faces, and the list goes on. These barbarous acts are not the stuff of fiction, they are punishments proscribed by Sharia law. And their use is practiced in too many countries in the world today.

It absolutely dumbfounds me that women's rights advocates in "enlightened" western nations tacitly approve, by their silence, the utterly barbaric attitudes of Islam and Sharia toward women and children. The same goes for LGBT activists who brazenly try to force their agenda on every person in our society -- where they are already accepted and respected -- yet clam up like rag dolls when it comes to opposing the practices of Muslims.

Some even imply they prefer Islam to Christianity. Of course, they voice those opinions while safely ensconced in a Christian society where they are loved and accepted for who they are. By the way, when a nation falls under Sharia law rule, the gays are the first to feel the wrath of its enforcers.

And in a society that strictly observes Sharia, non-Muslims, even if they receive the protection of the state, are forced to pay a tax (known as 'jizya') just for not being Muslim. Plus, they live under a strict curtailment of their rights and privileges. And if they refuse to pay up, they are either run out or executed.

No, I'm not making this up. This is real. And it is what Muslims want when they say they want an Islamic society under Sharia law. And most importantly, it's not only what they want for themselves, but for everyone else, too, Muslim or not.

This is where Egypt was headed before the military stepped in and removed the Muslim Brotherhood. This is where certain parts of Africa and the Middle East are today. And this is where a city in Syria now finds itself.

The Syrian city of Raqqa, population nearing a quarter-million, was taken into the control of a rebel faction known as "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL). It is so brutal that even al-Qaeda has disowned it. The rebels established Sharia rule. Now, under threat of death, Christians in Raqqa have to pay a tax of $1,000 per person. Poor Christians are required to pay only $250. They cannot pray in public, build new churches, or carry weapons (and they're on the frontlines of a civil war). The Christians cannot even ring church bells. And they must report any hint of threat to the Muslim powers in charge.

ISIL says that if Christians refuse to abide by these rules, "Nothing will remain between them and ISIL other than the sword."

This second class status for non-Muslims is called "dhimma." The Christians in Raqqa are living in "dhimmitude."

Did you know that "dhimmitude" is coming to a nation near you? You may think that Islam is confined to the "Middle East," but 62% of all Muslims live OUTSIDE the Middle East. The last time I checked, 62% constitutes a majority. That means the majority of Muslims live in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and North America. In fact, some analysts predict that certain European nations will be predominantly Muslim as soon as 2050.

Lebanon was once known as "the Switzerland of East," and Beirut as "the Paris of the Middle East." In 1926, it was 86% Christian. Today, Lebanon is 34% Christian, 66% Muslim. Though it is slowly starting to rebound, the last few decades have seen Lebanon and Beirut completely devastated by civil war as the Muslims have sought to cleanse it of all Christian influence.

"Multicultural" European governments are seeing the same results because they have allowed almost unimpeded immigration from Muslim nations. Now, as violent demonstrations erupt in the capitals of Europe, with Muslims demanding the implementation of Sharia, they are reeling.

Though Paris has been the most prominent city rocked by these cultural convulsions, England has seen its share. Yet, unbelievably, the British are continuing to lead the Western world down the path of Sharia-compliancy. The government has promoted Sharia-compliant financial bonds and allowed the establishment of 85 Sharia courts.

What about North America? Well, there are no official Sharia courts here, yet, but theVancouver Sun points out that the major sources of immigrants to Canada are Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Iraq. In those countries, more than HALF of Muslims agree with the concept of "honor killing." That's a Sharia-accepted practice where the male members of a family are allowed to murder female members whom they perceive to have "disgraced" the family.

Can you imagine a Christian father murdering his daughter because she was seen holding hands with a boy? And doing it legally?

Folks, this is real. This is now. This is where denial of Jesus Christ and our Judeo-Christian values leads. This is what politically correct "multiculturalism" yields. Isaiah lamented the fate of those "who call evil, good, and good, evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness...." (Isaiah 5:20) Is there a better description of Sharia law or an Islamic state? God, through Isaiah, pronounced "woe" upon them.

The curtain is now falling on the Age of Grace. The ancient prophets of the Bible predicted horrible conflicts in the times we are approaching. Make no mistake, those conflicts are taking shape across the world as I write these words.

That's the bad news. The good news is that if you have been genuinely born again, you won't be around to see the really bad stuff happen. We'll be with Jesus Christ in our new heavenly home.

Make sure you're ready to go when He calls.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Vanished Plane and the Rapture

On March 8th, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 with 239 people on board took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing. The Boeing 777-200 wide-body, among the world’s safest planes, vanished without any distress call or other indication that something was amiss.

If you are like me, the unexplained disappearance of the plane has captivated the world, triggering a massive search and rescue mission parallel to none. As of today, at least a dozen nations have joined together to search the Gulf of Thailand, South China Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean. China alone has ten satellites scanning the oceans for signs of flight 370.

The news over the last few days borders on being stupid and shows that we really don't know what has happened.

In listening to all the rhetoric going around, what stands out is the fact that our radar coverage does not extend over all the earth’s surface. There are still vast areas where aircraft are outside the range of civilian radar stations. The only way controllers are able to log the progress of jets in these zones is for the crew to radio in their location.

It is not uncommon for a downed plane to be missing for several days. In 2009, it took five days before searchers found any debris from an Air France flight. It took almost two years to locate the actual aircraft and its flight recorders.

Some aircraft that go missing are never located. On August 1, 1948, an Air France Latecoere 631 with 52 people onboard went missing over the Atlantic Ocean. In June of 1950, Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2501 with 58 passengers and crew vanished over Lake Michigan. In March of 1962, a Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation disappeared while flying military members to Clark Air Base in the Philippines. All 107 aboard were declared missing and presumed dead.

In the absence of any definitive answers, conspiracy theorists have emerged. Last Tuesday, an influential Iranian lawmaker accused the United States of having “kidnapped” Flight 370, saying it was an attempt to “sabotage the relationship between Iran and China and South East Asia.” Another blogger on Natural News claims a mysterious force caused the plane to simply vanish: “If we never find the debris, it means some entirely new, mysterious and powerful force is at work on our planet, which can pluck airplanes out of the sky without leaving behind even a shred of evidence.”

Unless the plane flew into a black hole, I’m confident that in the next few weeks the searchers will have found some clue to its location. It would require a remarkable feat for an aircraft of this size to crash into the ocean without leaving a debris field.

The latest on this story has engineers trying to make sense of signals that are believed to have come from the jet’s engines via a satellite link. These automatics signals are said to have continued for four hours after the plane disappeared. Since the flight recorders only track the last hour of activity, we may never know what caused the jet to veer off course.

The huge amount of media attention being given to Flight 370 brings to mind how massive an event the Rapture will be when it takes place. At any given moment roughly 5,000 planes are in the skies above the United States. It is unusual for any one plane to have some event that requires special attention.

Air traffic controllers have a high stress job on a perfectly normal day. I can’t imagine how they would react to a situation where dozens of aircraft under their guidance, suddenly declared an emergency. It would be pure chaos to have any of the pilots vanish from the cockpit. Even planes that only had passengers come up missing—would be thrown into a state of panic.

The Rapture and The Second Coming will be the most significant event, but by then most people on earth will be dead and I doubt outlets like CNN and Fox News will still be functioning.

The preferred way to experience the Rapture is to be one of those who get translated from earth to heaven. The people who find themselves left behind will face a world gone mad. Because it is so important to escape the Tribulation hour, I ask everyone reading this article to make sure you and your loved ones are truly Rapture ready.

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

From Rapture Ready

Saturday, March 8, 2014

This Past Year Of Vladimir Putin Has Been, To Say The Least, Interesting!

The last twelve months have been rather remarkable for Mr. Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia.

He has further solidified his control over the country since returning for his third term in May of 2012. He accepted Edward Snowden, the American NSA whistleblower and/or traitor. And he allows Snowden to continue releasing information both embarrassing and damaging to the United States.

Putin bamboozled President Obama into making a deal with Syria over its chemical weapons -- a deal it clearly never intended to keep. And he brokered another deal to remove the West's sanctions against Iran while allowing the Iranians to keep their nuclear program and continue pursuing nuclear weapons.

He also appears to have succeeded in turning the new Egyptian government away from the West and rebuilding old alliances between Egypt and Russia. He hosted the 2014 Winter Olympic Games which ran their course without any major failures or terrorist incidents. And, for good measure, the Russians won the most medals at the Games.

For Mr. Putin, it was icing on the cake that last October, Forbes named him as "the most powerful person in the world." Putin beat out the usual winner, the President of the United States.

All in all, a pretty good year for a lowly, lifelong Russian civil servant, wouldn't you say? And I'm sure that the man who once publicly described himself as "a galley slave" for the Russian people is grateful for the opportunities afforded to him and the success he's enjoyed.

And he should be, because there's a lot more to Mr. Putin's success than meets the eye. Last year, he was required by new Russian laws to disclose his personal income. He dutifully reported that he earns a salary of $187,000 per year and has about $180,000 in the bank.

However, Mr. Putin failed to fully disclose all of his assets and earnings, as politicians are sometimes wont. Don't be too hard on him, though. He only neglected to mention his other assets totaling a mere $74.7 billion. You read that right -- Billion. Vladimir Putin, the humble "galley slave" to the Russian people, has managed to parley his civil servant's paycheck into a fortune of $75 billion, making him the third richest person in the world. However, since so much secrecy surrounds the Russian president, many observers think his fortune may be even greater, making him the world's richest person.

And, of course, his twenty mansions around the world, luxury yachts, and various jets and automobiles are probably redundant. The Russian government provides him 15 presidential helicopters, 40 private jets (some with gold-plated interiors), even more luxury yachts, and a couple of palaces to shelter him during those harsh Russian winters.

So Vladimir Putin is not only a global peace broker, as NBC sports anchor Bob Costas implied during the Olympics, but he must be a financial genius, too, to amass this kind of fortune.

I believe what he really wants is for Russia to rule as the world's only superpower -- while he rules Russia. In fact, he seems to have made it his life's goal to see Russia restored to its past glory. The former KGB colonel longs for the days when the Soviet Union was feared throughout the world.

We know this from what Putin said in 2005, "...the collapse of the old Soviet empire was 'the greatest' geopolitical catastrophe of the century." Don't forget that he was referring to the century that saw World Wars I and II, the Holocaust, the Russian genocides, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the revolts of the British colonies, Vietnam, Korea, and other geopolitical catastrophes. All of which were apparently trifling compared to the collapse of the USSR and the supposed end of the Cold War.

So imagine how the world's most powerful person and, perhaps, its richest, too, must have felt when upstart Ukraine had the temerity to overthrow his loyal puppet president, Viktor Yanukovych, and send him packing back to Russia! The European Union had offered to improve its business ties with Ukraine. Russia made a counter-offer to keep the former Soviet satellite in its orbit and under its supervision. The Ukrainians wanted to move closer to the European Union with its liberty and prosperity rather than Russia with its suffocating control. So when Yanukovych picked Russia, the Ukrainians rebelled, kicked the bum out, replaced him with an evangelical Christian, and scheduled new elections for May.

But Putin was pretty upset because he invaded Ukraine. But to be accurate, President Putin didn't actually invade Ukraine, his Russian forces did. And they tried to fool everyone by removing all of the insignia on their uniforms and arriving in unmarked transport trucks, tanks, armored personnel carriers, helicopters, and airplanes. Another hint as to their identity was that they landed at the Russian naval base and airport in Sevastopol.

Some Russian ships also showed up to block the way of escape for the Ukrainian warships docked at their own naval headquarters in Sevastopol.

The Russians defended their actions by reminding the world that it wasn't Ukraine proper (the mainland), it was only the southern Crimean peninsula where a lot of Russians already live and Russia has a long-term lease on a naval base at Sevastopol. And they were only there to protect their fellow Russians.

But Crimea is still part of the sovereign nation of Ukraine, and now it is being occupied by the Russian military. So I guess that constitutes an invasion, doesn't it?

In 1991, after the Soviet Union fell, Ukraine declared its independence. In 1994, it agreed to surrender its nuclear arsenal (the third largest in the world) if the sanctity of its borders were guaranteed by the West. Ironically, that treaty was signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia. Now, Russia has broken that treaty and the U.S. and U.K. are too weak to enforce it. I'll bet the Ukrainians wish they had kept a few of those nukes and Putin is glad they didn't!

Of course, President Obama has made a few veiled, obscure threats on Ukraine's behalf. He's basically said that we're going to get together with some of our friends in the West and do something, maybe. But we didn't do anything when Russia invaded Georgia in 2008; we didn't do anything about Syria; we've not done anything to stop Iran; North Korea takes delight in yanking our chain regularly; Egypt and Saudi Arabia have concluded we can't be trusted; al-Qaeda ridicules us in their magazine and online; and Palestinian Authority officials openly mock us while cashing our welfare checks.

So I'm sure President Putin isn't worried about our ability or desire to stop him. How un-worried is he? German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with Putin after the invasion. She described him as out of touch with reality. She told President Obama that Putin was "in another world." That's a pretty scary description for the leader of the nation the Bible refers to as "Magog."

I don't believe that Putin has much to fear, and is relaxed because he knows the U.S. is focused on more important things like promoting homosexual rights around the world, specifying where Israelis can and cannot build apartments, and stripping our military down to its pre-World War II strength levels, and the list could and does go on.

But as a student of the Bible, one understand that the ancient prophets predicted that in the last of the last days, Russia (Magog) would come roaring back under its visionary leader (Gog). They would eventually lead a coalition of nations headed by Iran (Persia) in an attack on Israel. Though the prophets predicted that a form of the revived Roman Empire (the EU?) would strike back, nowhere does it mention any nation or power that resembles the United States of America.

I have said for some time, now, that America must fade from prominence on the world stage, and become a "second" or "third" rate nation. The Bible indicates that we will either not exist or will be too weak to make any difference in the events of the last days.

The implication of the prophets' predictions when viewed in the light of this week's headlines can lead to only one conclusion: we are in the closing days of this Age of Grace.

And that is the reason that you must make certain you are ready to meet Jesus Christ when He returns to catch away His true Church. Make sure your family, your friends, your neighbors, and your co-workers have heard the Good News of the Gospel so that they, too, can be ready to meet Him when He returns.

Confess that you are a sinner. Ask God for forgiveness. Believe that Jesus Christ took upon Himself the punishment you deserved and died in your place. Accept that sacrifice. Understand that your sins have been forgiven and washed away forever and that you are now a new creature in Him. Then turn from your sin, follow Him, and trust His Holy Spirit to give you the power to do so. Read your Bible regularly to mature in your faith. And find a Bible-believing church where you can benefit from good teaching and fellowship with fellow believers.

Then hang on! It's going to be a thrilling ride from here on out! it sure would be "a good day to fly!"