FALSE PROPHETS IN THE LAST DAYS

Jesus’ call is radical: cross-bearing, self-denying, love of others. Sadly, I do not see too many Christians, certainly in the public sphere, carrying out this cross bearing, self denying, love of others. Moreover, God’s Word tells us that in the last days before His return that those that do love Jesus and are obedient to His call invariably suffer for it. Paul, his disciples and the early church invariably did. Often their suffering was perpetrated by the religious people of the day.

Biblical prophecy reveals that in the last seven years (Daniel’s 70th week) before the Rapture of the Saints and the wrath of God is poured out on an unrepentant world with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements, there will be tribulation even great tribulation ahead for Jesus followers, and much of that will come from the False Prophet and his church, the religious people of the day. Knowing, believing, and acting upon the following Scriptures empowered by the Holy Spirit is essential to be overcomers.

If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his life? What can a man give in exchange for his life? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-38

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others. Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead, He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death — even to death on a cross.Philippians 2:3-8

And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world. There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because He first loved us.1 John 4:16-19

Biblical prophecy reveals that there will be many false prophets in the “last days”

Then they will hand you over for persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of My name. Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” Matthew 24:9-11

Prophets exhort Jesus followers to be faithful, to be obedient to His call on their lives. We hear many who consider themselves to be prophets declaring to the world it must uphold laws and commandments that have been compromised by the world. They say we are loving and inclusive, gay marriage, homosexual and transgender pastors are embraced. These are false prophets, true prophets speak Biblical truth to God’s people. Jesus tells us that when these things take place we are in the last days and His return is not too far off.

Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:28

And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Luke 21:27

SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

This Scripture tells us we need to let God’s Word and the Holy Spirit guide our thoughts and actions so that we can view the world through God’s eyes and live our life according to His principles. May this be true particularly in the area of our finances but may it be true in every area of our life.

Even the money we work hard to earn ultimately comes from God. “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18).

Knowing that it all belongs to God should convince us to welcome God into our financial lives! We have the opportunity to walk with God, even in this sector of life knowing that He will use it wisely and it will bear much fruit that will have eternal value.

We need not be concerned about provision for our family if we are truly seeking first the kingdom of God.

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

God is the source of all good things—our provider. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). 

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalms 24:1).

How important it is during this time of testing that God has sent with Covid19 to hold to these truths of God. There is no doubt that if you have “all joy and peace in believing” people around you that are fearful will want what you have. Opportunities are opening up for me to talk about the scriptures particularly “end times” prophecies, as I have never had before, particularly with my non believing family members.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:7

The persecution that Christians are experiencing now will escalate in the years ahead. Scripture reveals Christians will be refined during the time of tribulation that precedes the Rapture but will also be used mightily by the Holy Spirit at this time. It is time to start living with an eternal focus knowing Jesus prophesied return is near.

What role will Jesus assign to you during His Millennial reign?

They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 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 20:4-6

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Revelation 20:7-10

The Second Resurrection and Judgment Before the Great White Throne

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.Revelation 20:11

GODLESSNESS IN THE LAST DAYS

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

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

These two verses show us we cannot claim Jesus did not tell us that Christians will face persecution in the last days as God refines His church before the Rapture. It shows the Pretribulation position held by much of charismatic church in the USA and Australia is untenable. The church will go through a refining process with the tribulation and even great tribulation but Jesus tells us that we will kept from the wrath of God that is poured out on the world with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements.

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.Romans 5:9

Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.Revelation 3:10

It is at the sixth seal that heralds the coming wrath of God

Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Revelation 6:15-17

The trumpet blast at the seventh seal is when the Rapture of the Saints on earth takes place and it is then John sees the Saints in heaven in their glorified bodies.

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!” Revelation 7:9-10

Hold steady by keeping close to Jesus, by following the leading of the Spirit and by keeping short accounts with the Lord.  Confess sin quickly and be restored from all unrighteousness. Pray and seek guidance so that we can walk on the Highway of Holiness prepared for the ransomed, doing the things He has prepared beforehand for us to walk in – all for His glory. 

PRISON TRANSFORMED ASIA BIBI

WASHINGTON — A Pakistani Christian woman imprisoned on death row for over eight years based on trumped-up blasphemy charges recounted how that experience helped her “grow strong in faith.” 

In an address to religious freedom advocates at the annual International Religious Freedom Summit, Asia Bibi, aided by a translator, described how her experience in prison transformed her from an “ordinary Christian” into a passionate defender and believer of the faith.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Asia Bibi
Pakistani Islamists hold a poster displaying the portrait of Asia Bibi, a Christian Pakistani woman accused of blasphemy, during a protest against the Supreme Court decision on Bibi’s case in Lahore on February 1, 2019. As Islamist extremists announced fresh protests demanding her execution, officials said she was free to go abroad, with speculation rampant that she will seek asylum in Europe or North America. 

Bibi’s ordeal began when Muslim field workers accused her of contaminating their water supply by drinking from the same water container, rendering it “impure” because Christians are viewed as unclean. An argument ensued between Bibi and the women that escalated into a criminal complaint after the women publicly accused her of committing blasphemy by insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad, a charge that brings a sentence of life in prison or death by hanging. 

During a police investigation into her alleged crime, Bibi was beaten up in her home and arrested. In 2009, she was convicted and sentenced to death under section 295-C of Pakistan’s blasphemy law. 

This is the antichrist spirit at work and will culminate in the prophesied Antichrist figure spoken of in Revelation 13.

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come.1 John 2:18

And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.1 John 4:3

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.” 2 John 1:7

Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.1 John 2:22

CHURCHES GROW UNDER PERSECUTION

A new peer-reviewed study published last month in the academic journal Sociology of Religion demonstrates that churches grow under persecution.

The study’s findings, outlined in Christianity Today by authors Nilay Saiya and Stuti Manchanda, buck conventional wisdom. In places where Christians enjoy official support from national governments, religious faith tends to decline. Conversely, Christianity spreads most successfully in countries with legal commitments to religious pluralism and in places that actively discriminate against and persecute believers.

These are the countries with the fastest growing Christian populations (the states with low/no official support for the faith are in bold): Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, UgandaRwandaMadagascarLiberia, Kenya, DR Congo, and Angola.

And here are the countries with the fastest declining Christian populations (the states with moderate/high official support for the faith are in bold): Czech RepublicBulgariaLatviaEstonia, Albania, MoldovaSerbiaGermanyLithuania, and Hungary.

Hungary, for example, is an officially Christian nation. Even still, faith is waning: Although a majority of Hungarians identify as Catholic, only 12% regularly attend church services and just 14% describe religion as “very important” in their lives.

It is worth noting, as author Rod Dreher has, Prime Minister Victor Orban’s governance in Budapest is very much aligned with politically conservative Christian views. As such, the country has passed legislation to that end.

Nevertheless, Saiya and Manchanda argue that, in pluralistic societies, where religious ideologies coexist and must compete, for lack of a better word, Christianity — untethered from politics — often flourishes. Paradoxically, they found, “state favoritism of religion inadvertently suppresses it.”

That is due to the fact that, countries that are “officially Christian,” and even in the U.S., to an extent, Christianity may become less about a convictional relationship with Jesus and instead morph into just one aspect of a citizen’s larger national identity, resulting in faith being less about personal beliefs and more about cultural tradition.

On the other hand, the Christian faith has expanded most in Asian countries, where there’s no “official” faith and pluralism has been embraced: In contrast to Europe, Christianity in Asian countries has not been in a position to receive preferential treatment from the state, and this reality has resulted in stunning Christian growth rates. The Christian faith has actually benefited by not being institutionally attached to the state, feeding its growth and vitality.

Consider the case of South Korea, which in the course of a century has gone from being a country devoid of Christianity to one of its biggest exporters. It currently ranks as the second-largest sender of missionaries, trailing only the United States.

This example illustrates well the paradox of pluralism. Because South Korea is not a Christian country, Christianity enjoys no special relationship to the state. In fact, Christianity in Korea endured the brutal persecution of Japanese colonial rule, during which churches were forcibly closed down and their properties confiscated. Indeed, the church persisted through poverty, war, dictatorship, and national crises throughout Korean history.

Since World War II, Korean Christianity has grown exponentially, with tens of thousands of churches being built and seminaries producing thousands of graduates every year. Today, about a third of the country is Christian.

Christianity also seems to flourish — as it did for the early church leaders in Acts — in places where believers face discrimination and persecution.

The faith of those facing persecution for their convictions is often deeper and more profound, because the stakes are inherently higher when it’s not in one’s cultural best interest to embrace such beliefs.

Open Doors USA, an advocacy organization tracking Christian persecution around the globe, ranks Iran as the eighth-worst place in the world for believers. Despite facing “extreme” persecution — where the government has outlawed conversion from Islam, imprisons those who evangelize, and arrests people for attending secret house churches or sharing Christian literature — it’s believed there could be at least one million Christians in the Islamic country.

A similar phenomenon is believed to be unfolding in Afghanistan, which Open Doors lists as the second-worst place to be a Christian. There is only a small number of believers in the country, where it is illegal to convert from Islam, and those who do face certain imprisonment, violence, and potentially even death. Rula Ghani, the first lady of Afghanistan, is a Maronite Christian from Lebanon.

Outside the Middle East, the world’s largest persecuted body of believers is found in China, where the communist government continually discriminates against and harms Christians.

Chinese police destroyed several church buildings earlier this year, including one where 50,000 Christians worshipped.

Much to President Xi Jinping’s chagrin, Protestant Christianity has continued to grow exponentially in China, where the government estimates some 200 million of its 1.5 billion citizens are believers.

Fenggang Yang, a sociologist of religion at Purdue University, said in 2019 he believes more Protestant Christians will live in China by 2030 than any other country in the world.

“When Communists took power in 1949, there were one million Protestants living in China, compared with 58 million in 2010 and probably around 100 million in 2019,” he said. “Despite the government’s efforts to suppress, I don’t think it will stop the growth of Christianity in China. All the evidence I have collected shows it’s undeniable; it’s already happening.”

If these numbers reveal anything to Christians, it is that believers should place their trust not in conventional wisdom, but in the often paradoxical work of the Holy Spirit.

Russian philosopher Fyodor Dostoevsky once lamented the deeply misguided belief held my many Christians “that Christ cannot reign without an earthly kingdom.”

It would be folly for the Christian to spend his or her life building an impenetrable kingdom on earth. We know from Scripture such an effort would be in vain. Psalm 46 says, “The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice and the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” And, in Matthew 24, Jesus told His disciples it is His authority alone that will stand the test of time: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

In Matthew 6, Jesus warned His followers against storing up treasures on earth, “where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” Instead, He told them to invest in the eternal Kingdom of God.

Our ultimate hope, redemption, and restoration comes not in the protection of the state, which is never certain, but through salvation in Jesus, with whom we are heirs to a Kingdom operating outside the space and time of this temporal world.

Article by Tré Goins-Phillips Editor of Faithwire

GOD CREATED INDIVIDUALS NOT SOCIETIES

Prior to the advent of Christianity individuals belonged to the city, body and soul. If an individual had any value at all it was only by reference to some organised collective. Christianity changed all of that, the proclamation by the apostles that God had become man obliterated this view that individuals had no value that had predominated in the ancient world.

If Jesus is a person as the apostolic and patristic fathers of the early church proclaimed and He died and was raised as a representative of the entire human race then we are infinitely more valuable than society and the state makes of us. Suddenly, our identity is in view, we were created by our Heavenly Father in His image.. Our separation from Him was of our own making i.e. our rejection of His lordship over our lives.

How liberating is the following verse.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.Galatians 3:28

This concept of the value of the individual is being attacked as society increasingly rejects God and His followers. People are increasingly identifying themselves and others in terms of the groups they belong to. The God group is of course being increasingly marginalised. It is from the group they obtain their solidity and source of meaning. Critical Race Theory and Black Lives Matter are good examples of this onslaught. The unique person made in God’s image that is underneath these labels, the person Jesus died on The Cross to redeem is lost. Jesus said that in the last days lawlessness will abound and that Christians will be persecuted. Sadly, many will fall away but the one who endures will be saved.

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 because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:9-10, 12-13

Start living your lives now with an eternal perspective. Trust God and His promises and He will use you for His purposes in these last days. The Holy Spirit will direct your steps and you will move in power with the gifts of the Spirit evident. You will truly be a light in a dark place. Many will be saved through your witness and acts of kindness.

Prophesied end times signs

A WIN FOR WOMEN, FREE SPEECH AND EXCHANGE OF IDEAS

Left-wing activists wasted no time in pursuing Australia’s new assistant minister for women, Senator Amanda Stoker. Threatened by her pursuit of truth and justice for women, they have come out against her for having ‘wrong’ beliefs. Stoker is unashamedly Christian and has also spoken out against the aggressive transgender agenda. Keyboard warriors and TV personalities have been quick to attack, not based on facts, but on prejudice against her political and religious beliefs. Prominent LGBT activist and actor Magda Szubanski tweeted, “This reshuffle has handed power to Amanda Stoker, another of the small but noisy ‘Christian Soldiers’ faction hijacking the national agenda. All because a few guys doing the wrong thing. And worse.”

Senator Stoker refused to be intimidated stating, “Those criticising me on Twitter aren’t into delivery, they’re into the tribal. I think it’s a narrow slice of people who have fairly extreme beliefs.” Stoker believes that all women should be represented in public policy, not just those with extreme beliefs. “It’s important that as a government we speak to the full range of women’s experience,” she said. Binary spokeswoman, Kirralie Smith, commended the Senator. “Amanda Stoker has handled her critics well. Being targeted and harassed for her political and personal beliefs exposes their agenda. Stoker has proven time and again her advocacy for women, free speech and the exchange of ideas. Bullies who aim to cancel her want to advance their agenda at the expense of women who refuse to toe the line of their radical ideology.”

Senator Amanda Stoker, Assistant Minister for Women with Prime Minister Scott Morrison

TIMING OF END TIMES WRATH OF GOD

When Jesus was addressing his disciples questions about His second coming, Jesus said, “the days of Noah would be like the days of His coming.”

For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:37-39

Jesus therefore tells us that most people will be living their lives as if life is normal, nothing unusual is happening for them. However, we know for Christians this time will be a time of get distress, even great tribulation, when they reject the Mark of the Beast/Antichrist.

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.” Matthew 24:9-12

Jesus attests to the fact that the Flood narrative is an Old Testament account that parallels the return of Jesus. Does this even include parallels between the number of days of the Flood and the final Wrath? Does God’s Word tell us plainly how long the Wrath of God lasts, and will it be a surprise to almost everyone?

Nelson does a great job of answering all these questions and more.

RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION OF WOMEN

Persecution of Christian women worldwide has risen dramatically in the last year as a new study released by Open Doors International (ODI) found that forced marriages have increased by 16%, and physical violence against women has increased 31%.

Gender Specific Religious Persecution (GSRP) has risen to the highest level recorded in the three years since the report was first issued in 2018, as women face a higher potential risk of religious persecution than men. The report’s data comes from the top 50 countries on the group’s annual World Watch List between Oct. 1, 2019, and Sep. 30, 2020.

Helene Fisher, a global gender persecution specialist for Open Doors International and one of the authors of the report, told The Christian Post that the increased threat to women is often because women have fewer rights in most of the top 50 countries for religious persecution. “Because [women] have fewer rights and fewer protections, they’re just an easier target,” Fisher said. “They can also be targeted with impunity, which means that if there is a population that doesn’t want the Christians to thrive, they can go after the women and girls and there aren’t consequences for those aggressors. So, it is a question of the women and girls having fewer rights for legal protections. [Women] are more vulnerable in the society, and they are just the easiest way to disable the Christian population.”

People pray as they gather for a ceremony on Christmas eve at Central Brooks Memorial Church in Karachi, Pakistan, December 24, 2016.

The five most common “pressure points” among women in the top 50 countries on the World Watch List for religious persecution are forced marriage, sexual violence, physical violence, psychological violence and forced divorce. Each category increased since last year’s study.

Ninety percent of the top 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted report forced marriage as a pressure point, and 86% of countries report sexual violence.

Targeting women, the child bearers, and forcing them to convert is a tactic used to destabilize the future generation of the Church, the development of families and the raising of Christian children.

Trafficking women as a form of religious persecution is on the rise, particularly in Asia and Africa, the report finds. Christian refugees or internally displaced peoples are especially vulnerable to this.

“Trafficking as a form of religious persecution continues to pose a threat in all regions on the World Watch List and it is rising, particularly in Africa and Asia. Globally, 17 countries (up from 10 the previous year) reported incidents of trafficked women and girls,” the report adds. “Countries engaged in conflict were most likely to report instances of sexual violence and trafficking.”

Research from the World Watch List shows more than 340 million Christians globally endure high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith, which amounts to one in eight Christians around the world.

Jesus told us that persecution of Christians will increase in the last days before His return. It is just one of the end times signs He has given us. Israel, apostasy in the church, Covid and increased lawlessness are other very significant signs.

THE BLACK LIVES MATTER STORY

This is a must see video to really understand what is happening in the USA. Juan Riesco grew Nini’s Deli from its humble origins to #1 in Chicago on Yelp before the Black Lives Matter movement cancelled it in early June 2020. His parents, immigrants from Cuba and Mexico, started the small business. Juan took the reigns during a transitional period in his life, in which he converted to Christianity, after living as a homosexual in San Francisco. After the death of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement promoted posting a black square on social media to show solidarity with the cause. When Juan failed to take this step, hundreds of people went online to accuse him of racism. Juan gently responded to each individual by explaining that he was a Christian and could not endorse the anti-Christian beliefs of the Black Lives Matter organization, but that he did believe black people, as well as all people, mattered to God. The next day hundreds of protestors showed up to protest Nini’s Deli. Juan preached the gospel to them. The next day thousands of people showed up. Juan received thousands of death threats and had to flee the city in the middle of the night to escape. Juan lost his corporate contracts and Nini’s Deli closed. Even as he lost his business and experienced betrayal by friends, Juan’s faith in Christ and resolve grew. Juan considers the story of Nini’s to be a victory story as many have come to Christ and been inspired by his courage.