USA – A DIVIDED NATION

Many Democrats are calling for Trump’s impeachment and removal from office through Congress, or the Cabinet’s invocation of the 25th amendment. For them, it’s not enough that Trump lost… They want him punished for his transgressions and his supporters humiliated.

If this attitude continues – and it almost certainly will – there will be no national reconciliation. The healing that President-elect Biden claims to bring will emerge as a short-lived fiction and even if he wishes to pursue a moderate course, the radical Left will push him on divisive policies.

Democrats already seem on the brink of a full-scale purge of prominent conservatives from public life. They are pushing to have them kicked off social media, fired from their jobs, and canceled in every possible way. Trump has been banned from Facebook and Instagram at least until the transition of power to Biden on January 20.

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 24:12-14

The irony is that this scorched-earth approach from the political winners of 2020 will only bring together and energize a badly dejected conservative base.

Nothing unifies people like a common foe, and the expected abuses and vindictiveness of the newly empowered Democrats will spur the GOP to circle the wagons. It will just be a matter of time… we should prepare for things to get even more tense, ugly, and bitter in 2021 which will provide us with opportunities to present the good news of Jesus Christ who alone can put things right and His Word tells us that He will in the not too distant future.

TO THE ONE WHO CONQUERS

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.” Hebrews 6:4-6

The last seven years prior to Jesus second coming

From the prophecies of Daniel, Daniel’s 70 Weeks, Olivet Discourse, and Revelation we are given a lot of detail about the last seven years before Jesus returns. first to take the saints to heaven (dead raised first and then those alive) and second when he comes to earth with the glorified saints to liberate Israel at the battle of Armageddon.

I believe as does Nelson Walters (thegospelintheendtimes.com) that the seven seals and the letters to the seven churches each give us a picture of the last seven years. For example, the sixth seal and Philadelphia, the sixth church, and the sixth year give us a picture of the final year the saints are on this earth just prior to the wrath of God being poured out onto an unbelieving world.

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like bloodFall 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 6:12,17

To the church at Philadelphia: “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. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.” Revelation 3:10-11

At the trumpet blast of the seventh seal, the saints are raptured and at the same time the scroll is opened and the wrath of God is poured out on the earth with the Trumpet and Bowl Judgements. For the saints, the last year is a sabbath year. At the time of Noah’s Flood, Noah was on the Ark for one year and 10 days. Perhaps, this is one reason why Jesus said that at His return it will be as it was in the days of Noah, God’s wrath will be poured out once again for the same time it was poured out when He first judged mankind.

The Last Days Church is entreated to conquer, to overcome, to be faithful unto death.

EPHESUS – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’” Revelation 2:7

SMYRNA – “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’ Revelation 2:10

PERGAMON – “To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’” Revelation 2:17

THYATIRA – “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 ironRevelation 2:26-27

SARDIS – “The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life.” Revelation 3:5. Note alsoBut the LORD said to Moses, Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book.” Exodus 32:33

PHILADELPHIA – “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. I am coming soon. Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Revelation 3:11

LAODICEA – “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

The final church of Laodicea is “left behind” but they still have an opportunity to be saved. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.Revelation 3:20-21

The last days’ church will go through the prophesied time of tribulation and will see the Antichrist declare himself to be God. This will be a time when the tribulation for believers and Jews escalates. The pressure to take the mark of the Antichrist will be intense but Jesus told us to stand firm be overcomers as our deliverance is at hand.

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

END TIMES PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS

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

ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS BEHEAD IN MOZAMBIQUE REIGN OF TERROR

Islamic extremists have unleashed a reign of terror in northern Mozambique leaving churches burned to the ground, people beheaded, and tens of thousands displaced and traumatized. There have been reports that the militants beheaded 15 people in one week. Earlier in Holy Week, 52 young people who refused to join the Islamic terrorists were killed. Since 2017, more than 1,100 people have been killed in attacks after extremists launched a violent campaign to persecute Christians and recruit young soldiers.

OVER 8,000 MEMBERS OF ONE NIGERIAN CHURCH KILLED

One church in northeast Nigeria has revealed extremist group, Boko Haram, has taken the lives of 8,370 of its members. In a press conference, Reverend Joel Billi, from the Church of the Brethren, stressed the far-reaching and systematic persecution by Boko Haram.  “Over 700,000 members have been displaced, with only seven out of 60 District Church Councils not directly affected,” he said. According to Rev Billi, 300 branches of the church have either been burned or destroyed. As well as countless homes and properties. This has forced at least 25,000 church members into refugee camps in neighbouring Cameroon.

POLICE SHUT HOUSE CHURCHES IN CHINA AND ORDER CHRISTIANS TO STOP BELIEVING IN GOD

House churches across China have experienced intensified persecution in recent months. Bitter Winter, a publication produced by the Centre for Studies on New Religion which covers human rights issues in China, documented numerous instances where Christians were threatened by Chinese Communist Party officials. Recently a group of officials in the city of Leiyang, in the central province of Hunan, raided a house church. The Religious Affairs Bureau in Yongzhou city shut down a house church for “holding illegal gatherings without permits” and confiscated computers, a photocopier, and Bibles. Police in Dengzhou city raided a house church, confiscating its Bibles and hymnbooks, and took 8 members away for interrogation. Officers warned them that they would be sentenced to 3 to 5 years in prison if they gather again. “The government wants to eliminate all religions and force us to give up our belief.” Christian churches that refuse to register with the government, known as “house churches,” are illegal. However, even Three-Self churches, those registered with the government, have also experienced an uptick in persecution in recent months. Regardless, according to estimates, there are more Christians in China than Communist Party members.

COVID 19 STOPS CHRISTIANS FROM ESCAPING NORTH KOREA

With borders closed and security increased, COVID-19 has made it harder than ever for North Korean refugees to escape. Between April and June 2019, 320 refugees fled to South Korea. In 2020, the number of those who made it across the border amounted to only 12. According to South Korea, these numbers are the lowest ever.

WHY ESCHATOLOGY MATTERS

There are eschatological positions being promoted that are preparing believers to be vulnerable for the Antichrist. Pretribulationism falsely teaches that we will be raptured before the Antichrist’s (beast’s) persecution of Christians. Preterists teach that there is no future Antichrist since he already came and went 2,000 years ago. Idealists believe that the notion of the Antichrist is an idea and not an actual person. Amillennialists, and many posttribulationists, believe that the Antichrist is also not a person but an institution. What does your church teach?

One day, all humanity will be demanded to worship the Beast and his image. To be sure, many willingly will worship him thinking that he is the Coming One to bring “peace and safety.”

This is why eschatology matters and is not some incidental matter. It prepares us to be discerning. Christian leaders who minimize the study of biblical prophecy minimize the severe warnings of our Lord on these matters and thereby render Jesus himself as disingenuous.

The Beast is coming. And he is coming to demand unqualified worship. Will you bow the knee out of fear to save your life? Jesus is the only one worthy to give our allegiance to. Please read the following scripture from Revelation describing the beast (Antichrist) and note the warning; it will require “steadfast endurance and faith from the saints”.

“Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, and on its horns were ten diadem crowns, and on its heads a blasphemous name.Now the beast that I saw was like a leopard, but its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. The dragon gave the beast his power, his throne, and great authority to rule.One of the beast’s heads appeared to have been killed, but the lethal wound had been healed. And the whole world followed the beast in amazement; they worshiped the dragon because he had given ruling authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast too, saying: “Who is like the beast?” and “Who is able to make war against him?”The beast was given a mouth speaking proud words and blasphemies, and he was permitted to exercise ruling authority for forty-two months. So the beast opened his mouth to blaspheme against God—to blaspheme both his name and his dwelling place, that is, those who dwell in heaven. The beast was permitted to go to war against the saints and conquer them. He was given ruling authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation, and all those who live on the earth will worship the beast, everyone whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world in the book of life belonging to the Lamb who was killed. If anyone has an ear, he had better listen! If anyone is meant for captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed by the sword, then by the sword he must be killed. This requires steadfast endurance and faith from the saints. Then I saw another beast coming up from the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but was speaking like a dragon. He exercised all the ruling authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and those who inhabit it worship the first beast, the one whose lethal wound had been healed. He performed momentous signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people and, by the signs he was permitted to perform on behalf of the beast, he deceived those who live on the earth. He told those who live on the earth to make an image to the beast who had been wounded by the sword, but still lived. The second beast was empowered to give life to the image of the first beast so that it could speak, and could cause all those who did not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He also caused everyone (small and great, rich and poor, free and slave) to obtain a mark on their right hand or on their forehead. Thus no one was allowed to buy or sell things unless he bore the mark of the beast—that is, his name or his number.” (Revelation 13:1–17)

Beast, Image & Mark - Book of Revelation Chapter 13 ...

See full article on Alan Kurschner’s website Eschatos Ministries.

IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF BIRTH PANGS?

Maybe so, if it is, then it is exciting, because that means Jesus’s return may even be in my lifetime! But it is also sober because much of the church is utterly unprepared, ignorant, and distracted. Two relevant scriptures are:

“He said, ‘Watch out that you are not misled. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them! And when you hear of wars and rebellions, do not be afraid. For these things must happen first, but the end will not come at once. Then he said to them, ‘Nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and famines and plagues [loimoi]* in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven.’” (Luke 21:8–11)

“You will hear of wars and rumours of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these things are the beginning of birth pains.” (Matthew 24:6–8)

The following thoughts from Dr Alan Kurshner of Eschatos Ministries are worth considering:

“The recent locust storm causing some famine in Africa may meet Jesus prediction but it may suggest a broader geographical famine. If the recent global virus is identified with “plagues” (loimoi), it might qualify, but I think the biblical statement indicates an exponentially more devastating plague. There certainly is a spike of earthquakes but not frequent “great earthquakes.” If these are all part of the beginning of “the beginning of the birth pangs,” then we should expect two more events: a spate of wars and a spate of false christs emerging.

Until then, I don’t believe we are experiencing “the beginning of birth pangs”. Keep in mind that the beginning of birth-pang events will not unfold piecemeal but rather will be a cluster of these events that will occur at the same time, which only makes sense of Jesus’s admonition: “Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come.” In addition, I am inclined to believe the beginning of birth pangs (which I identify as the first three seals) will occur during the first half of the seventieth week of Daniel after the Beast will confirm a covenant for seven years (Dan 9:27). However, I have never been dogmatic on this, since the beginning of birth pangs may begin before the seven year period.”

In the meantime, as saints of the Most High, we live with holy expectation of our Lord’s return. This should inspire us to make sure that we daily seek God’s will and wisdom in all things. To be about our Father’s business to warn the lost that they need to repent of their sins. To recognise they have rejected their Creator, our Heavenly Father and the sacrifice of His son, Jesus, so they may have eternal life.

“Remember, I have told you ahead of time” (Matt 24:25).

NOT AFRAID OF THE ANTICHRIST

Michael Brown and Craig Keener in their new book Not Afraid Of The Antichrist make a good case that the rapture and 2nd coming are not two separate events separated by years but a single event of hours (possible days) that transpires right at the end of this age and just before Christ’s literal reign upon this earth. The authors certainly dispel the arguments made for a Pretribulation rapture. This is extremely important, Christians need to understand that in the “last days” they will experience tribulation even great tribulation. This is clearly prophesied by Jesus.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 24:9-13

Followers of my blog, will know that I support the PreWrath Rapture position, which has the Rapture occurring at the trumpet blast at the seventh seal. The wrath of God is then poured out with the Trumpet and Bowl Judgements. This happens in the last year of the seventh year of Daniels 70 weeks prophecy. The saints will have a sabbath year (Shemitah) prior to coming back to earth with Jesus to liberate Israel prior to His Millennial reign.

Our major difference to Brown and Keener is we believe Jesus said His children will not experience the wrath of God. Brown and Keener do not differentiate between the Tribulation and the Wrath of God.

Christians will experience tribulation, even great tribulation and how we handle it will be a great witness to the world and bring many into the Kingdom. It will be a time of refining/testing and sadly many will fall away as Jesus prophesied.

ARE OUR CHURCHES PREPARING US FOR THE COMING TRIBULATION?

Jesus taught explicitly that one of the ways you will know His return is imminent is you will see the Antichrist claiming to be God in a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.

“So when you see the abomination of desolation–spoken about by Daniel the prophet—standing in the holy place. . .  For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:15-22)

Paul confirms that the Antichrist will come before Jesus returns to Rapture the Saints:

“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God”                         (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4).

John records numerous instances in the Book of Revelation of Jesus warning the saints to become Overcomers of the beast’s system (e.g. Revelation 14:9–12).

In the light of all these Scriptures, why do so many hold on to the Pretribulation Rapture position? Could it be, because we don’t want to believe that God would put us through the intense persecution that the Bible tells us Christians will endure during the last seven years before Jesus returns? It is described as a time of tribulation and great tribulation after the midpoint when the Antichrist “takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God”.

None of us like the thought that we may have to die for our Christian faith under the regime of the Antichrist. But it is God’s will that ultimately matters. He knows better than us, therefore we need to trust His will because it is all-wise, all-good, all-sovereign.

I am reminded of Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways”, says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts your thoughts.” 

It may be God’s will that we confront the Antichrist system. We need to trust God, as have many martyrs before us, that He will be with us in the ordeal. What an honour it would be; to be a witness for the true God of the universe, to give glory to Him and to receive a martyrs crown. Pray God will give us the strength to stand up boldly for Him.

God may very well call us to be a Daniel and stand up to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden idol. Or Daniel’s companions, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abed-Nego) confined to the fiery furnace. Or to be a David and stand up to Goliath when he mocked and blasphemed his God. 

Many churches in America and many in Australia stay away from the  subject of “end times” altogether, but many also preach the Pretribulation Rapture position, in both cases they are not preparing their congregations for the coming tribulation. Even worse they are not challenging their congregations about the urgency of the hour and the need to get about our Father’s business and obey Jesus command to preach the Gospel and make disciples.

 

 

TIMING OF THE RAPTURE

The debate between pretribulation and prewrath rapture scholars about Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians has been fierce – mostly centred around 2 Thess. 2:3 and the meaning of the Greek word apostasia.

Image result for book Rapture Case Cosed by Neslon Walters

Dr Nelson Walters of Gospel in the End Times has written about that passage at length in his book Rapture: Case Closed?  However, he points out in this presentation that very little discussion has taken place about the passage that precedes 2 Thess. 2 and provides its “context,” that is 2 Thess. 1. The eschatological material in chapters one and two are really one continuous teaching! We cannot understand chapter two without understanding chapter one that provides introductory thoughts on the more hotly contested chapter.

Nelson does a stellar job of presenting the Prewrath case for the timing of the Rapture in this seven minute video.

 

FALSE TEACHERS IN THE LAST DAYS

Sadly teachers abound in Bible Colleges and churches who deny the inerrancy of Scripture. They deny the Bible teaches a direct connection between God’s original acts of creation and His absolute control of every event in time.

The doctrine of creation teaches that God made the physical world using language. He then formed man in His image and gave him the ability to use words to know the world. This includes man’s capacity to record past events and accurately communicate them to others.

This control includes accurate communication through His prophets about real events which He brings to pass. As Isaiah tells us:

“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: ‘I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, who frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish, who confirms the word of his servant and fulfils the counsel of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’ and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built, and I will raise up their ruins.’” (Isaiah 44:24-26)

According to Isaiah, there is no essential division between function and matter, language and event, theology and history. One need only read Isaiah 40-48 to see that God forms real materials for specific functions. He explains His words and deeds in space and time through His servants the prophets. He directly connects theology to His actions in history.

Dr. Nicholas Perrin, a professor of Biblical studies at Wheaton who specialises in Gnosticism in the early church, explains this essential connection between God and history:

“God made history and history matters. Apart from the conviction that our faith is a historical faith, we are left only to cast about. But, when we are fully persuaded that sacred history meshes with the history in which we live and move and have our being, that is when biblical faith becomes a real possibility…. The heart-and-mind value of reconnecting the biblical world with the ‘real world’ can hardly be overstated. Somehow in our confused modern-day thinking, we have managed to put asunder what God has joined together.”

Is it any wonder then, that although Biblically false, Christians in the USA believe:

70% of Christians believe Jesus was the first being God created

66% of evangelical Christians say heaven is a place where all people will be reunited with their loved ones.

54% of Christians believe everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature.

It follows that many church denominations are accepting gay marriage, homosexual and even transgender pastors/leaders. The Bible gives us many examples of God bringing judgement upon Israel and other nations that transgress His laws, why do we think He will not do so today. Jesus said that prior to His Second Coming people would be like they were in the days of Noah. They will call good evil and evil good. Wickedness will abound.

A time of increasing tribulation is coming for believers but eventually God’s wrath will be poured on the unrepentant during the trumpet and bowl judgements. At the sixth seal (Revelation 6:17), we read “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand.”

In these last days, it will be imperative you are in a church that believes in the inerrancy of God’s Word. The Bible provides a true history of this world and all of the prophesied events in both the old and new testaments have come to pass. Proof it is God’s Word.