GOD USES CALAMITIES AND CATASTROPHES FOR HIS PURPOSES

We only have to look at the history of God’s own nation Israel to realize that God used catastrophes often to judge it. In fact, God often used barbaric nations like Babylon, Persia, and Egypt to inflict that justice but then subsequently He invariably brought those nations crashing down. God has to judge sin and He will use catastrophes to turn people back to Him.

The great catastrophe of sin brought about by Adam was not settled by the worldwide flood brought about by God. The sin continued through Noah, his wife, and his children. Then in Genesis 10, we see the Table of Nations. From the sons of Noah, we see all people speaking the same language and migrating together into one place in the land of Shinar. This was in direct disobedience to God’s command given to Noah and his sons: “As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it” (Gen. 9:7). This was the second time God gave the command to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. He had given the command to Adam in Genesis 1:28. This command is directly and essentially linked to God’s redemptive plan for the world.

Sadly, it is never the goal or desire of corrupted man to do the will of God. Our nature is to follow selfish pursuits. We will protect our little kingdoms regardless of what God may command or what He may want. God must intervene. Amid catastrophe, crisis, and the times when it seems as though the Lord is most absent that He is actually most active. Learning to see gospel opportunities when many others only see crisis is not a skill that comes naturally. Yet it is a skill that the body of Christ must learn. The closer we approach the time of Jesus’ return, the more natural and man-made disasters and calamities we will see. So also then will gospel opportunities increase—if we have eyes to see them.

What about the calamity that has hit California. The sheer volume of rainfall in the state is statistically massive. According to the National Weather Service, rainfall levels are as much as 600% above average across California.

Meanwhile, just under 200,000 homes and businesses were without power as of Tuesday morning, according to PowerOutage.us.

And while the start of 2023 has already proved devastating for California, there could be more challenges in the coming days. The National Weather Service is forecasting heavy rainfall across the state Tuesday and in Northern California on Wednesday, warning that “no significant letup” is expected anytime soon.

Evacuation orders were issued up and down the state Monday due to the threat of flash flooding and mudslides, including in the Montecito area in Santa Barbara County, which is home to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The flooding has already left at least 16 dead.

What will Christians do in this crisis, hopefully, they will see the opportunity to step in and help which will provide gospel opportunities?

IS WORLD HISTORY BUILT ON JUBILEE CYCLES?

When God set up His own nation Israel, He codified as law the pattern of six days and six years of labour and one of rest. It is the reason God created the cosmos in six days and rested on the seventh it was the pattern for man’s working week. The seventh day (Sabbath) was a rest day and the seventh year (Shemitah) was also a rest year. The Jubilee is built upon the Shemitah cycle (7 x 7 = 49), the year following is the Jubilee year.

The Jubilee cycle begins and ends in the 50th year on the 10th day of the 7th month. The 50th year is also the first year of the next Shemitah cycle. The Jubilee Cycle is therefore 49 years.

Can we build a reasonable biblical case for the Jubilee cycles as the prophetic backbone of the Bible? A straightforward summation of early biblical patriarchal lineages, reveals there were 41 generations which also represent 41 Jubilee cycles between Adam and Abraham and 41 from Abraham to Yeshua. Further insight is added when we consider that the book of Revelation associates the New Jerusalem with the number 144 and that the 144th Jubilee begins the 8th Millennium (new heaven and new earth). The soon coming 7th Millennium is Jesus ruling and reigning with the resurrected Saints on this earth for 1000 years.

For more information on Jubilee Cycles can I suggest you download my free Powerpoint presentation – Jubilee Cycles – Provide prophetic milestones in God’s Redemptive Plan on http://www.millennialkingdom.net – Resources.

Out of Jonathan Cahn’s presentation, I have chosen just three of the Jubilee years that demonstrate that God is in control of history and that He established Israel as His nation for His purposes.

1917 Balfour Declaration, (November 2, 1917): Statement of British support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”.

1967 Battle for Jerusalem: Jerusalem was reunified under Israeli rule as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War launched against Israel by the Arab world

2017 On December 6, 2017, President Donald Trump announced what no previous president had officially declared while in office: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. 

KNOWING GOD

Believers are usually pretty comfortable with revering God for his immortality, power, and perfection, and so we should be. He is the Creator, in whom we live and move and have our being. He is the Great I Am. But our connection with God will always be unfolding. If a person only focuses on the immensity of God, and on reverence for him, they will know little intimacy. If a person understands the great freedom we are promised in Christ but knows no reverence, they will be without foundation, To walk closely with God, we must be ever journeying, getting to know facet after facet of the divine nature. It is madness to think of him as less complex, less finely calibrated than ourselves.

God has sovereignly chosen to make himself vulnerable, in that he experiences difficult and negative emotions, along with great joy and delight, in response to earthly events.

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” Genesis 6:5-7

Divine regret is a difficult concept, as it challenges our understanding of infallibility. We relate regret to either poor choices, bad luck, or lack of knowledge – ‘If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have done it.’ But God was fully cognizant of every one of his actions and choices, and still found himself regretting some of them. For God to feel regret, he must therefore be vulnerable to our choices. Free will must actually be free, and poor choices on our part can cause divine pain. The Lord gets upset and frustrated, just as He is pleased and delighted by us in turn. The only way I can make sense of this vulnerability is as a deliberate, sovereign choice. The Lord of All could have placed himself above such feelings, but instead, he chose a version of creation in which the choices of his children affect him.

We can see the breadth of God’s emotions at work in the life of Jesus. What do you make of the following passage?

‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!’ Matthew 23:37

Compassion, for example, drove him to acts of kindness and mercy, such as healing the sick.

‘And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and He healed their sick.’Matthew 14:14

Jesus knew ordinary, everyday emotions too, such as pleasure and friendship. There was a particular disciple he was closer to than any other, on a human level. John is referred to as ‘the disciple that Jesus loved’ on several occasions and was depicted leaning back on Jesus’ chest at the last supper to ask him a question. On the cross, Jesus charged this same disciple with looking after his mother, and his mother with looking after this disciple.

When Jesus, therefore, saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.’John 19:26-27

How human! How relatable! On the day of his death, he was concerned about those he was leaving behind, providing for their emotional needs by calling them, mother and son. How dear, how important, this must have been to Jesus, at that moment.

There was no time when the emotions of God were stretched like they were in the Garden of Gethsemane.

‘And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’ Luke 22:41-44

At that moment Jesus was a man in torment, able to prevent his own suffering but choosing to embrace it anyway. He was desperate to escape the agony of the cross – not just the physical pain, but the spiritual horror of becoming all human brokenness, for our sake – and yet he bowed his head. This total mastery of self serves as a supreme example to us. If Jesus were not a deeply emotional person, mastery might have been easier, but being torn up inside and still submitting to God? That is staggering, to me, what about you?

Adapted from an article by Duncan Edward Pile, October 27th, 2021 “Hold Me Closer Cosmic Dancer” http://www.patheos.com

THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS NO LONGER FEAR GOD

A new study released by the Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated Lifeway Research titled the “State of Theology, found that 60% of U.S. adults believe that religious beliefs are “a matter of personal opinion” and “not about objective truth.”

Scott McConnell, the executive director of Lifeway Research, said in a statement released Monday that he believed the COVID-19 pandemic played a factor in the findings. 

“Religious identity, beliefs, and behavior are interrelated,” said McConnell. “When in-person church attendance behaviors were interrupted and habits were broken, it affected some Americans’ beliefs about the need to gather with other believers to worship.”

“Many Americans think about God as if He had only revealed Himself in a vague, nondescript way. They seem to fill in the gaps with whatever they want to believe,” McConnell stated.

“This creates sharp contrasts between what Americans believe about God and how He revealed himself in great detail in the Bible.”

“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them… For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.” Matthew 24:3,7-10

It is interesting that the study revealed that a little over half of U.S. adults (53%) still say sex outside of traditional marriage is a sin, in contrast to 42% who disagree. In fact, it marks an increase in Americans who see non-marital sex as sinful compared to 2016 when 49% said it was sinful which is a hopeful sign.

The study reported that 46% of Americans believe that the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual behavior is not relevant today, while 42% believe that it is still relevant. 

“Discussions of sin are inherently theological because they explore whether God set standards and what behaviors miss this mark,” McConnell noted. 

“So, those who acknowledge certain behaviors as sin are acknowledging a deity’s standards. This is a different discussion than whether society agrees on an ethical standard of conduct that we determine.”

Just as God’s nation Israel fell away from understanding God as Creator and the one whom they should fear. America a nation founded on knowing and fearing God likewise is falling away fast and opening the nation up to God’s judgment and ultimate wrath.

Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.Deuteronomy 10:14

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?Deuteronomy 12:11-13

Jesus told us beforehand that in the last days before His return that people would no longer believe He exists and to be feared, as a result, lawlessness will increase.

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:12-13

Will you be one of those that endure to the end and as a result be saved?

NOAH’S ARK FACT OR FICTION?

This is an important question as in the Bible, Jesus tells us that God judged the world with a worldwide flood about 4000 years ago now with just eight survivors. Even more important to us living today God tells us that future judgement of the unrepentant is coming when God will pour out His wrath upon the earth.

You should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this, first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.2 Peter 3:2-6

Many questions about Noah’s Ark and the Genesis flood are answered in this episode produced by Creation Ministries International. http://www.creation.com.

Related articles: How did all the animals fit on Noah’s Ark? (https://dl0.creation.com/articles/p03…) The large ships of antiquity (https://creation.com/the-large-ships-…) Noah’s Ark Q+A page (https://creation.com/noahs-ark-questi…) Related Products: Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study (http://creation.com/s/10-3-078) Creation Answers Book (http://creation.com/s/10-2-505) How Noah’s Flood Shaped Our Earth (http://creation.com/s/10-2-647) The Genesis Flood: Fact or Fiction? (http://creation.com/s/00-1-507) Flood Fossils (http://creation.com/s/10-2-644) Creation magazine (free sample copy) (http://creation.com/free-mag

SUPPORT A.C.L AND DISTRIBUTION OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN

As I have reported previously God has raised up this young man for His purposes in Australia at this time.

Martin Isles gives us a considered report on the results of the recent Australian election and the efforts of A.C.L volunteers that I believe demonstrates God’s hand was “on” their efforts. He also reminds us from Daniel 4:17 who ultimately rules the kingdoms of men “to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.”

Even more important is what A.C.L is planning to do in the near future: distribution of at least two million Gospels of John. Make sure you get involved and support this effort.

Australia’s greatest need is not a change of government. Australia’s greatest need is a change of Lord. Australia needs the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

IGNORE/REJECT GOD AT YOUR PERIL

Does the world consider that the one who has the most power, the most authority, and the most strength is God? God has unlimited power, and He uses that power.

Flash lightning

Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from His storehouses.Psalms 135:6-7

Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to Him who alone does great wondersto him who by understanding made the heavens… to him who spread out the earth above the waters… to him who made the great lights… the sun to rule over the day… the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever;Psalms 136:3-9

 He need only to speak and things are created. Jesus said just two words to the storm and it was still. God said just two words and there was light. On top of that, God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalms 50:10).

There is nothing God wants to do that He can’t do. “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

God has power over the created world. It is His mighty power that causes the rain to fall and the sun to rise. God exercises this power in the everyday, normal operations of the earth. We see this when we consider the power of floods or volcanic eruptions.

God’s power is specially revealed when He acts in a way that is different from natural phenomena. He uses His power to cause the sea to part (Exodus 14:21), the sun to stand still (Joshua 10:12-13), the water to turn to wine (John 2: 1-11), and the dead to come back to life (John 11:1-46).

God also has power over people. He raises up kings and causes them to fall (Daniel 4:17). He turns the king’s heart like channels of water (Proverbs 21:1). 

God opens the eyes of the spiritually blind and sends the Holy Spirit to indwell their spirit enabling them to live the Christian life with a new heart that they might love Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6). This is the power of God on full display.

Christians pray to God asking him to act because we know that He is the only one who is able to do all that He wants and He will answer our prayers if we are operating according to His will.

Adapted from an article by Thomas Eglinton The Attributes of God: All Powerful in AP Journal of the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Australia.

CHRISTIANS LIVING IN THE “LAST DAYS”

Christians in the “last days” will operate as Paul did, as described in the Book of Acts, with Holy Spirit-inspired perception and insight. Moreover, the church will also be like the church as described in the Book of Acts and in countries facing persecution now.

Perception and insight

Take the example of Paul’s actions during a physical storm. Paul was just one of the many prisoners on a prison ship headed for Rome. Before setting sail, Paul told the crew, “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also” (Acts 27:10). He spoke with clear foresight. Leaders that are sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading will learn how to face tough realities head-on without fear.

Courage and confidence

Paul addressed the terrified passengers. “I urge you to keep up your courage because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul… God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.” (Acts 27:22–24).

Paul’s confidence in the chaos came because a word from God infused him with courage and confidence. Chaos can rob us of confidence. Yet, when the wind threatens, we can receive a word from God and lead through the storm.

Clarity and decisiveness

After being blown completely off course, the crew of the prison ship finally neared land. Some planned to save their own lives and leave the prisoners to die. But Paul discerned this and said, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved” (Acts 27:31).

Paul acted with Spirit-inspired clarity and decisiveness. As he stepped forward with a voice demanding respect, even the captain and jailers who were supposed to be his authority listened to and obeyed his authority.

Future chaos will demand that “last days” Christians learn to speak with clarity and decisiveness as they are led by the Holy Spirit.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.Romans 8:14

Adapted from Generation Z: Born for the Storm by Dr. Billy Wilson.

GOD’S GRACE CAN REACH ANY HEART

This story from Voice of the Martyrs is just one of many demonstrating the truth of these words.

It is the story of Sergei Bessarab who was shot to death in a small city called Isfara, where he had planted a church.

Sergei Bessarab became a Christian in prison as a result of another man also named Sergei who had prayed for Bessarab’s salvation. The two men had met in prison while Bessarab was serving time for his criminal activities.

In prison, Sergei prayed every day that Bessarab would come to Christ. But Bessarab was less than grateful for his friend’s concern. “Don’t waste time praying for me,” Bessarab told him.

Sergei remained steadfast in prayer, however, and Bessarab did eventually bend his knee to Christ. This should be a lesson for all of us. Keep praying, particularly for family members and loved ones. The former criminal became a bold witness for his Saviour both inside the prison walls and, after his release, as a pastor on the outside. In addition, he made frequent return visits to the prison to share the gospel with inmates.

Soon after, Bessarab and his wife Tamara moved to Isfara and planted a church, which began to grow as Muslims turned to Christ, a headline in the local paper asked the pointed question, “What’s Going to Be Done About Sergei Bessarab?”

Picture of a man playing the guitar
Sergei Bessasab strumming his gutar in worship

On Jan. 20, 2004, the son of a local mosque leader answered the question, shooting and killing Bessarab as he strummed his guitar during his nightly time of worship, Scripture reading, and prayer.

When the young man who killed Bessarab was convicted and sent to prison, Christians were waiting there to meet him. In God’s amazing providence, the killer was eventually assigned to a cell with a Christian prisoner who had been led to Christ and discipled by Bessarab!

And over time, the mosque leader’s son became Bessarab’s spiritual grandson, placing his trust in Christ.

Think about it, Bessarab was once a convicted criminal. Many would have written him off spiritually. His killer, a Muslim was also far from God, and some may have written him off as well. But God’s grace can reach any heart.

Picture the final chapter of this story: Pastor Sergei Bessarab stands worshiping before God’s throne with the man who ended his life on earth and perhaps the two may be working together on this earth again during Jesus’ soon coming Millennial Kingdom.

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.Revelation 20:6

KING JESUS REIGNS ON THIS EARTH

Is Jesus enthroned in your life? Is allegiance to King Jesus central to your life? If not, then it is unlikely you will rule and reign with Jesus in His Millennial Kingdom.

An important and neglected part of the Gospel Message is Jesus return to this earth to fulfill the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants and the prophecies of the O.T. prophets that has Israel’s Messiah ruling and reigning over all the nations of the earth from a totally renovated/restructured Jerusalem. How many pastors are talking about the need for Christians to prepare now to rule and reign with Jesus on this earth.

“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.Revelation 5:9-10

Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4-6

Moreover, Jesus and the Saints will need to rule with a rod of iron even though we are told Satan is bound for one thousand years . The curse has not been lifted off this earth. This earth still has one thousand years of existence in its fallen state before it is finally destroyed with fire. Jesus will rule and reign on this earth for one thousand years and then the unthinkable happens Satan is released and he gathers an enormous army from those who are living under the reign of King Jesus and His Saints to come against them. It is not a battle, fire comes down from heaven and destroys them. Even with Jesus and the Saints ruling on this earth in what must seem like paradise in comparison to today people will still rebel against God reigning over them just as Satan and one third of the angels did.

This earth and heaven is then destroyed and what follows is the second resurrection of the dead, the White Throne Judgement and only then a New Heaven and Earth where sin/rebellion is no more along with no more pain, suffering and death.

Ruling with a rod of iron in Jesus Millennial Kingdom

The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.” Revelation 2:27

From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron.” Revelation 19:15-18

What will life be like in the Millennial Kingdom? Does God reveal in His Word what it will be like? Yes He does, and I will be revealing much of it on this website as I believe this is what God has called me to do with the final years He has allocated for me on His Earth. I am presently working on a new website http://www.millennialkingdom.net where House Church leaders in particular will be able to access PowerPoint sermons and videos on the Millennial Kingdom.

To encourage you to search God’s Word for information on the Millennial reign of Jesus on this earth, we will take a look at what the Scriptures say about the new Jerusalem. Did you know the entire world will be restructured when the wrath of God is poured out with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements? Did you know that the new Jerusalem will be on the highest mountain in the world?

The cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.Revelation 16:19-20

It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it,” Isaiah 2:2

It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it,” Micah 4:1

It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it,” Isaiah 2:2

The mountain’s great height emphasizes Jerusalem as the centre of world authority, for all the nations will flow to it.

The millennial Jerusalem is nine times larger than the current city.

Jerusalem – A new city, A new name – The Lord is There, A new Temple

The temple is located outside the city, in the northern section of the sacred land given to the priests and it alone is bigger than the current city of Jerusalem.

The millennial Jerusalem sits on the highest plateau and has two rivers flowing out of its east and west sides. A totally new construct.

The land surrounding Jerusalem will have been transformed into a plain. It will run from Geba in the north to Rimmon in the South. The plain will contrast with the then highly lifted Jerusalem. (Zechariah 14:10)

Geba and Rimmon/Beersheba marking respectively the northern and southern limits of Millennial Israel. (2 Kings 23:8)

I hope the above has encouraged you to do your own research: Isaiah and Ezekiel are replete with information on the Millennial Kingdom. You will note that I have quoted from Isaiah, Ezekiel, Micah, Revelation Zechariah and 2 Kings in the above post. I will be posting more on the Millennial Kingdom in the months ahead as the “end times” prophesied events continue to play out.