DISTURBING BUT PROPHESIED STATISTICS

There has been an “unprecedented drop” in the number of Bible users in the United States since last year, according to a report released by the American Bible Society.

The estimated number of Scripture-engaged Americans dropped from 64 million in 2021 to 49 million in 2022. At the same time, the estimated number of Bible disengaged Americans rose from 100 million last year to 145 million this year.

Sadly, only thirty-three percent of baby boomers “strongly agreed” that Bible reading was important to a child’s character development,. Even less with Generation X at 28%, millennials at 19%, and Generation Z at 20%.

In his article “How the triumph of LGBTQ+ activism has negatively impacted the Church” in Christian Press Voices on June 20th, 2022, Michael Brown writes about the change in American culture from respecting the Church to instead condemning it in favor of promoting LGBT ideals. He notes there have been many reasons for this shift over the last 30 years, including Former President Obama’s endorsement of gay “marriage” in 2012 and the Supreme Court redefining marriage in 2015, but points out that true followers of Jesus still adhere to the Bible—which condemns homosexuality—and explains this has put believers at odds with today’s culture. In short, if gay is good, the Church is bad. This is another reason why many have left the Church, especially among the younger generation.

Today, you would be hard-pressed to find a major TV show that doesn’t have an LGBTQ+ character. Even cartoons and children’s shows feature LGBTQ+ characters and themes, while the number of gay or bi, or trans superheroes grows every year. Talk about a massive cultural shift. America has never seen anything like it before.

In the past, being pro-Christian and pro-natural marriage meant swimming with the tide. Today, it is the exact opposite.

And make no mistake about it: this is an intensely personal issue, not just a theoretical issue. After all, we’re talking about someone’s child. Or their best friend at school. Or their favorite media personality. “You’re telling me that they’re going to hell because of who they love? You’re telling me they can’t serve in your church? If so, I want nothing to do with your religion or your God.”

Writing on the MSNBC website on February 26, 2014, Jane Timm stated that “One-third of young people who left organized religion did so because of anti-gay teachings or treatment within their churches, according to a new study.” Yes, “A full 31% of young people (ages 18 to 33) who left organized religion said ‘negative teachings’ or ‘negative treatment of gay people was a ‘somewhat important or ‘very important’ factor in their departure, as surveyed by the Public Religion Research Institute.”

The problem for true followers of Jesus is that the Bible hasn’t changed, which means that God is still against homosexual practice and identity. And so, if we want to be in solidarity with the Lord, we will find ourselves at odds with the prevailing culture.

At the same time, we do not want to drive people away from the Lord by making opposition to LGBTQ+ activism our primary cause (as opposed to the Great Commission being our primary cause). Nor do we ever want to appear (or be) mean-spirited, judgmental, or hypocritical.

What, then, do we do?

First, we ask God to fill our hearts with His love for those who identify as LGBTQ+, then we seek to share that love with them, face to face.

Second, we make clear in our messages that all of us are fundamentally flawed, which is why all of us need a Redeemer.

Third, we make a distinction between an aggressive agenda and individual people.

Fourth, we hold to biblical standards regardless of public opinion (and regardless of how much these standards challenge our own lives).

Fifth, we give ourselves to prayer, also believing that those with anti-biblical values will continue to overplay their hand, further exposing the wrongness of their position.

Sixth, we share the testimonies of those who have been transformed through the Gospel, making clear that our message is filled with hope and life.

Seventh, we let the chips fall where they may. We need to remain determined to preach Jesus and live for Jesus no matter what, always remembering that this world is not our eternal home.

It is true, that, for many reasons, people are leaving the Church. It is also true that many others are meeting Jesus powerfully. That’s because, what the world so desperately needs, we have in the fullness of the Gospel. Let us not be ashamed to live it and proclaim it. Time is short, we are in the “end times“.

The following Scriptures are Jesus’ answers to his disciple’s questions on the”end times“. He tells them that believers will be hated and persecuted for their Biblical faith. But then Jesus raptures the church to heaven before God pours out His wrath upon the unrepentant. Next, Jesus returns to earth with the glorified Saints to defeat the Antichrist and his army at the battle of Armageddon. He will then rule and reign with the Saints on this earth for 1000 years.

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. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 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 24:9-13

Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.Revelation 24:30-31

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb! ,,, Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9-10, 13-14

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness, he judges and makes war… And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 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 19:14-15

WHEN DOES THE LAST SEVEN YEARS BEGIN BEFORE JESUS RETURNS

What event begins The Tribulation or 70th Week of Daniel? Is it a peace treaty with the Antichrist, the Rapture, the revealing of Antichrist, the start of the twice-daily Temple sacrifice, or is it something else? It is crucial that we know because those days are almost here. Watch this Nelson Walters video to find out, and why knowing will help prepare us for those times.

If you have not already done so can I suggest you read my recent post “What will initiate the last seven years before Jesus return?” It shows how important the Seventy Weeks prophecy of Daniel is in understanding what is playing out in world events today.

The Seventy Weeks prophecy of Daniel is a foundational end times prophecy

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

In this Seventy weeks (seventy weeks of years) prophecy, the first 69 weeks have played out exactly as prophesied including Jesus first coming to this earth and being killed “cut off”. There is an unspecified time gap between the 69 weeks and the last seven weeks (seven years) but as many of the other end-times events specified by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24) and in Revelation are beginning to play out we know that the last seven years before Jesus returns to set up His Millennial Kingdom is not too far off.

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR WHAT IS ABOUT TO UNFOLD?

Satan has successfully deceived the world into believing that God did not judge the world with a worldwide flood just 4000 years ago now. He certainly does not want people to know that God will pour out His wrath again on a lawless unrepentant world in the not too distant future and yet that is exactly what God reveals will happen in His Word, the Bible.

The Judeo-Christian ethos, based on God’s absolutes which formed the basis of most Western nations, is fast being supplanted by a secularistic, humanistic, arrogantly arbitrary philosophy. This worldview is spreading rapidly. The legal system is a prominent perpetrator of it. The courts are dangerous because they pontificate arbitrarily on what they personally consider to be “good” for society, yet they demand – and aggressively enforce – absolute allegiance to their arbitrary decrees. But what did we expect? The humanistic, secularistic thinkers have merely carried their philosophy to its logical end. They have remained true to their worldview in both words and actions while, unfortunately, Christians have equivocated. They simply have not taken the Lordship of Christ seriously. Instead, Christians have largely shut up their spirituality into a small corner of life, Sunday church, or their Bible studies instead of realising that the Lordship of Christ is to permeate the whole spectrum of life. They have coasted along complacently, often serving up such dogmas as “you can’t mix religion and politics,” or “you can’t legislate morality,” or “we just need to pray and witness to people” – when what they really meant was we just don’t want to be disturbed.” They are content in their “comfort zone.”

Christians are now paying for their negligence. We have permitted the dominance of a philosophy that sanctions the killing of an unborn child for the mother’s convenience. A philosophy that can talk of euthanasia of the aged and a general devaluation of all human life. A philosophy that has euphemised wrong and self-destructive sexuality into “alternative lifestyles.” A philosophy that drives its proponents to unashamedly seek the banishment of all religious influence from the stream of public life, leaving a totally relativistic value system and law. This secularistic worldview has engulfed every area of society that Christians have chosen to ignore – the government, the courts, education, the media. And it is now threatening the areas that Christians naively took for granted as being beyond its reach: the family, the Christian school, and the church. More and more the state is opening the door to restrict the free exercise of our faith through increased regulation. Christians largely sleep on, as it unfolds.

Jesus told us that what we see unfolding in our day is exactly what it will be like before He returns. It will be like it was during the days of Noah, lawlessness will abound. Moreover, He warns us that intense tribulation is coming.

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. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24:9-14

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. 2 Peter 3:2-6

Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Luke 17:26-27

And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 17:8-9

WHY THE PRETRIBULATION RAPTURE POSITION IS DANGEROUS

Apostle Paul explains the timing of the Rapture in 2 Thessalonians 2 so clearly and yet many recognised scholars willfully deny the truth. This scripture clearly contradicts their doctrine that nothing has to happen before the rapture happens. The Rapture does not happen until after the Antichrist takes his seat in the temple and declares he is God.

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to himLet no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.2 Thessalonians 2:1,3-4

Why is this so important? It means that Christians will go through tribulation, even great tribulation that the Antichrist unleashes on all those people that will not take his mark. Jesus also tells us that the tribulation will be great but for the elect “those days will be cut short”. He also tells us that the Gospel of the Kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world and only then will the end come so Saints we need to be busy proclaiming the Gospel.

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, those days will be cut short.Matthew 24:21-22

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. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:9-14

This is Part 4 of the film 7 Pretrib Problems and the Prewrath Rapture. You can see the whole film in one video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwXoM… or go to Part 5 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8nQ6…

RESPONSE OF SOME EVANGELICALS TO PERSECUTION

Many evangelicals in the USA have been anticipating some kind of confrontation with the changing social order. Crawford Griffen writes about it in his new book Survival and Resistance in Evangelical America – Christian Reconstruction in the Pacific Northwest. Over the last five years, he says, ” I’ve been writing about what might be one of the most significant trends among American evangelicals – a migration movement into the Pacific Northwest that has resulted in the formation of some very successful and increasingly influential intentional communities.

From small towns in northern Idaho, and elsewhere in the region, writers, artists and polemicists are publishing books with Penguin, Simon & Schuster and Random House, and broadcasting talk-shows on Amazon Prime. While offering different perspectives, they present a similar sense of crisis. The nation is no longer held together by common values, they explain. They argue that the teaching of evolution in public schools, the debates about abortion, gender and marriage, and the guidelines that shut down churches for reasons of public health are different fronts in a long war against Christianity. They recognize that the neutrality of the public square is an impossible ideal. They understand that politics is always about coercion. And so they proposed their solution. While, in the grand scheme of things, the believers who have migrated to the Pacific Northwest are not numerically significant – although they may number in the tens of thousands – they do project considerable soft power. Many of these believers live very visible lives. The community of several thousand members that has been established in Moscow, Idaho, for example, supports a publishing house, a music conservatory and an impressive liberal arts college. Led by Douglas Wilson, whose many publications include a book that he co-authored with Christopher Hitchens, this community sets out to make Moscow a Christian town.

Other migrants into the region prefer more secluded lives. They are attracted by the idea that this region could form an “American Redoubt,” as James Wesley Rawles has argued, a hold-out for those who want to resist the cultural powers that be. Rawles is the author of several novels and preparedness manuals, which are published by Penguin, and his website, survivalblog.com, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every month. His work sets out a more ambitious agenda for survival and resistance, in which readers are encouraged to adopt evangelical piety while being ready, if necessary, for less spiritual forms of defensive combat. For obvious reasons, those who follow Rawles’ agenda prefer not to attract attention. But for all their differences, Wilson and Rawles agree that believers need to expect an extraordinary cultural crisis in the short to medium term, and prepare for the new world that will follow. While their tactics for dealing with opposition are sharply different, their vision of the future is much the same. Dark skies are on the horizon, but they predict huge numbers of Americans will be converted, the social and political life of the nation will be renewed, and the policy of a renewed republic will be built around the demands of biblical law. Their optimism is appealing but I don’t believe Biblical prophecies such as these two by Jesus supports this optimistic view.

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. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 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 24:9-13

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.Matthew 24:21-22

I believe the Bible reveals that those Christians that adopt a praying church as it was in the Book of Acts intent on making disciples in their own communities, loving their neighbours and honouring Jesus regardless of the cost, will have the most impact for the Kingdom in these last days. The power of the Holy Spirit will be once more evident in this Home Church environment.

AMERICA’S FUTURE IN BIBLICAL PROPHECY

David Reagan lines up America’s future with Biblical prophecy. He believes that America is in full scale rebellion against God and has past the point of redemption. God’s judgement is underway and His wrath will follow. This video reveals the truth. The facts David Reagan state are irrefutable. One statement made by a Harvard professor is powerful. “You take away religion and you cannot hire enough police.”

America’s future looks very dim as the forces advocating moral depravity and contempt for God’s Word prepare to take over the White House and Congress.

THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS IS NOT A FRINGE BIBLICAL ISSUE

Dalton Thomas does a creditable job of unpacking Daniel 11. The exegesis is sound and will help us all understand the events that will lead up to the emergence of the Antichrist on the world stage. Sadly, the church which increasingly is departing from belief in the inerrancy of Scripture stays away from these important Scriptures. Unfortunately, we also have those people who are bound up in “end times” conspiracies and predictions that throws it all into confusion and disrepute. However, the Antichrist is part of God’s plan that will test the body of Christ in the “last days” so we need to know these important Scriptures.

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, those days will be cut short.Matthew 24:21-22

IN WHOM IS YOUR HOPE PLACED?

Acts 5.40-41,when they (Sadducees) had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.”

After being beaten, Peter and the other apostles were rejoicing.

The same spirit in the Apostles is in us. So, we have the power to stay faithful and rejoice, if we acknowledge His presence and ask Him.

1 Peter 4.12-13 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.

Our hope is in the knowledge that Christ has already won the victory over Satan and that He made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to be all we need to be overcomers during the coming tribulation and trials. Also, we know that His glory will be revealed at His second coming and that Biblical prophecy reveals we are in the “last days” prior to the final seven years before Jesus’ return, spoken of first in Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy.

First coming in the clouds to raise the dead Saints and rapture the Saints on the earth
Second coming to earth, after God’s wrath has been poured out on an unrepentant earth with the trumpet and bowl judgements. Jesus returns with the Saints to redeem Israel and rule and reign for 1000 years

WILL YOU ENDURE PERSECUTION DURING THE COMING TRIBULATION

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.Philippians 4:13

Philippians 4:13 is likely one of the most misquoted, misapplied, and misunderstood passages within the New Testament. Suffice it to say, it is not about how one can literally do anything you put your mind to simply because you are in Christ. Paul has a specific context in mind here—and it is not about attaining your personal goals and aspirations, developing a healthy conception of self-worth, nor is it designed to be a coping mechanism to deal with the hardships of life. The passage isn’t even about finding the secret of contentment in all things, despite insistence from many that this is the focal point of this passage. This interpretation has more validity due to the previous verses:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Philippians 4:11-12

Paul undoubtedly affirms learning contentment in all circumstances. However, the overarching point of Paul to the Philippians in this passage is not contentment, but one of enduring through suffering, particularly, a suffering brought on through no fault of their own.

Brutal execution of 11 blindfolded Christians in Nigeria, the day after Christmas

The thing that is rather sad about focusing on both the ability to do “all things” and “contentment” is that we don’t focus properly on the message of Paul, which is Christ Himself. Not only does emphasizing the “all things” profoundly miss the point of the passage, but it just doesn’t stand the test of basic logic. It isn’t even an adequate application of this passage, because all things” to Paul here has a specific context, and that context is enduring through suffering for the prize gained through the glorious gospel of our Lord. Even more clearly, they stand to be glorified with Christ, as they too share in His sufferings. Yet equally as sad, though perhaps in a less heinous way, is the focus on learning contentment that is often also presented as the point of this passage. Again, it must be restated: contentment is the fruit, not the root. The root is Jesus Christ

A rather large focus in Philippians surrounds the idea that the knowledge of Christ and His great work is the means by which the Christian is able to endure persecution. What that means is that a true knowledge of Christ leads to us seeing Him as greater than everything else—even our suffering. A true knowledge of Christ will produce in us the heart attitude that believes all else is to be considered as loss, and that to live is Christ. The one who sees Christ as the preeminent One will actually remain stable in the midst of either incredible prosperity or incredible duress, because their eyes are fixated on the risen Christ Himself (Hebrews 12:1-2). They are not lured away to treasure or trust in wealth, yet neither are they acting as if the sky is falling in the midst of even the most horrendous of circumstances. They are able to say with Paul that they may be, “…hard pressed on all sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). Why? Because it is invariably through weakness that the Lord is pleased to show His strength (2 Corinthians 12:9). They are content, yet their contentment is born exclusively out of seeing that their light and momentary” afflictions produces an eternal glory, which is the hope of the resurrection that the gospel of Christ brings (2 Corinthians 4:1-5:10).

Taken from article by Grayson Gilbert (Patheos) “Philippians 4:13 is not about your life goals”. Grayson completed his Masters of Divinity degree at Moody Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing church planting under the umbrella of his home church.

THE LAST DAYS REMNANT CHURCH

“And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17

John tells us here that the church remnant in the “last days” will keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ and he repeats it just two chapters on with a reminder of the deadly tribulation facing Christians in the last seven years before Jesus return.

Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labours, and their works follow them.” Revelation 14:12-13

The good news is that Jesus reveals in Matthew 24:14 that the remnant (keeping His commandments, walking in holiness) will be active and achieving great things for Him,And this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in ALL the world as a witness to ALL nations, and then the end will come.” NOTE BOTH ALL’S

God is in the process of restoring all things, and we are going to be the generation that finally gets things right.  The greatest move of God of all time is going to happen right before the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and we are going to become the kind of bride that He deserves.  On our own, this is impossible, but with Him all things are possible.