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.

JESUS SECOND COMING

Does the Bible provide much information on Jesus’ Second Coming?

There is more prophetic evidence about Jesus’ second coming than any other prophetic event in the Bible. The end times is the most written-about subject in all of Scripture. There are over 150 chapters in the Bible in which the majority of the chapter is about the end times.  Most of the prophets spoke about the future “Day of the Lord” which relates to the events of Jesus’ coming. For more information go to Mike Bickle’s article entitled “150 Chapters on the End Times.” I can also recommend Nelson Walters book, Revelation Deciphered.

Why is it important that we study “end times” prophecies, particularly the Book of Revelation?

Studying what the Bible has to say about the future empowers us to be victorious in love and power during the most glorious and difficult time in history. It prepares us to actively participate under Jesus in the end-time events and to rightly interpret Jesus’ leadership in the coming global crisis instead of being offended by Him (Matthew 11:6). Studying the end times awakens urgency in us for intercession, knowing that our prayers may minimise evil and increase victory. Understanding end-time Scriptures strengthens our confidence in God’s sovereignty by knowing that He is in control and is never surprised (Joel 2:13-14; Zephaniah 2:3; Matthew 11:6, 24:4; Philippians 1:10; Revelation 12:11).

 How can we be confident that we are living in the “last days”?

There are many biblical trends that reveal “the season or generation” of His coming (Matthew 24:4-8). They include an increase of wickedness (Daniel 8:23, Revelation 14:9), apostasy in the church, the increase of knowledge (Daniel 12;4), emergence of global prayer (Isaiah 56:7), the great harvest from all nations (Matthew 24:14, Revelation 7:9).

Are we able to know the signs of the times?

Yes, Jesus commanded the people who lived in the generation of His return to know the signs (Matt. 24:32-4). Jesus rebuked those who did not heed the prophetic signs that pointed to His coming (Matt. 16:1-4; Luke 19:41-44). Prophetic signs serve the church in the same way that a weather station signals coming trouble so that people can prepare and save lives.

Can the signs of the times be understood?

Yes. The Scriptures on the end times and the signs of the times were written to be understood by all, since the majority of people throughout history have been uneducated peasants. The Scripture was written for them. Jesus and Paul emphasised the know-ability of the prophetic signs of the end times (Matt. 24:32-34, Luke 21:25-29, 1 Thess. 5:1-6, 2 Thess. 2:1-11). The lie is that we are not to know the times and seasons of His return (Acts 1:7-8).

How can we know when Jesus is coming if He says in Matthew 24:36 that “no one knows” the day or the hour? Jesus did not say we could not know the season or the conditions surrounding His coming. Neither did Jesus say that the church would not know the day and hour in the generation the Lord returns. We must seek the Father’s Word as to when this begins, because only the Father knows. God did not want to make the day and hour known in the early church, but Daniel and the apostle John made it clear that the Messiah would come exactly 1,260 days after the abomination of desolation (Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 11:2-3,12:6, 14; 13:5).

Will the church be on earth during the Tribulation and Great Tribulation spoken of by Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27)?

Yes. The church will absolutely be on the earth during six of the seven years of the Tribulation and Great Tribulation. However, the church will not experience the wrath of God, which is poured out in the trumpet and bowl judgements during the seventh year, prior to Jesus Second Coming to earth with the Saints who were raptured at the sixth seal. The last verse describing the events of the sixth seal announces “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who can stand? (Revelation 6:17). John then sees the resurrected and raptured saints (great multitude which no one could number of all nations, tribes and peoples and tongues standing before the throne and before the lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands.” (Revelation 7:9). This prior to the trumpet and bowl judgements being poured out on unrepentant mankind.

 The end times is the church’s finest hour, when miracles will occur and supernatural prophetic direction will be released. The miracles of Acts and Exodus will be multiplied and combined on a global level (Mic. 7:15). The victorious believer in Revelation 12:11 will overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony and the fact that they did not love their lives to the death.

 

Extracts from article by Mike Bickle: Answers the 100 most frequently asked questions about the End Times. Although I have taken a PreWrath Rapture position and I believe Mike Bickle takes the Post Tribulation position. He is the director of the International House of Prayer Missions Base of Kansas City, Missouri,

TENETS OF PREWRATH RAPTURE

As some of my followers will have determined, I hold to a Prewrath Rapture position. It means that Christians will go through the tribulation period outlined by Daniel and John in Revelation, but not be subjected to the wrath of God that is poured out during the trumpet and bowl judgements.

For those of you who would like to explore this position further, I can recommend the resources produced by Alan Kurschner – Antichrist: Before the Day of the Lord and Nelson Walters – Rapture Case Closed? both who hold to the Prewrath Rapture position.

Don’t forget you can find sermons and videos relevant for these “last days” available for download on my other website http://www.powerpointsermons.net

I found the following fifteen tenets of the Prewrath position as outlined on Alan Kurschner’s website a great help and I hope you do too.

  1. There is a future seven-year period, and at the midpoint the Antichrist will be revealed and commit the abomination of desolation, initiating his great tribulation against the Church and Israel.
  2. There is a biblical distinction between the Antichrist’s great tribulation against the Church and Israel and the day of the Lord’s wrath against the ungodly. The latter event happens after the former event.
  3. The gathering of the elect mentioned in Matthew 24:31 refers to the rapture (cf. Mark 13:27; Luke 21:28; Rev 7:9–17; 1 Thess 4:13–18; 2 Thess 2:1).
  4. At an unknown day and hour during the second half of the seven-year period, the Antichrist’s great tribulation will be cut short by the Revelation of Christ to resurrect and rapture God’s people, and this will be followed immediately by the day of the Lord’s wrath with the trumpet and bowl judgements.
  5. On the same day the rapture happens, the onset of the day of the Lord’s wrath takes place, just as it was in the days of Noah and Lot (Luke 17:22–37; cf. 2 Thess 1:5–10).
  6. The second coming (parousia) is not a simple (instantaneous) event. The second coming is a complex-whole event containing various purposes of God, beginning with the Revelation of Christ in the sky displaying his Shekinah glory and power to the whole world, and resurrecting and rapturing God’s people, followed by the day of the Lord’s judgments upon the ungodly and Antichrist’s kingdom, restoring Israel to salvation, and culminating in Christ’s earthly reign.
  7. Although Armageddon is an element within the complex-whole second coming, Armageddon does not initiate the second coming; instead, the second coming begins between the sixth and seventh seal.
  8. The resurrection and rapture happens between the opening of the sixth seal and the seventh seal.
  9. The first six seals are not part of the day of the Lord’s wrath. The first six seals are conditional events that must happen before Christ’s return.
  10. The sixth seal signals the impending day of the Lord’s wrath as recorded in Joel 2:30–31; Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:25–26; Mark 13:23–25; and Revelation 6:12–17.
  11. The seventh seal pronounces the day of the Lord’s wrath.
  12. The trumpets, bowls, and Armageddon contain and execute the day of the Lord’s wrath.
  13. The trumpets, bowls, and Armageddon will not occur before the seventh seal is opened.
  14. Paul’s “last trumpet” (1 Cor 15:52) is not the seventh trumpet judgment in the book of Revelation.
  15. Christ’s return to resurrect and rapture God’s people is not imminent (“any moment”), since discernible prophesied events must happen first (e.g., the Antichrist’s revelation and his ensuing great tribulation; the apostasy; coming of Elijah; and a cluster of discernible celestial events). Christ can return in any generation of the Church.

—Alan Kurschner, 08/01/12

OUR BLESSED HOPE IS THE RETURN OF JESUS OUR KING

ANOTHER GREAT PRESENTATION FROM NELSON WALTERS: OUR BLESSED HOPE

Christians need to understand that Jesus told His disciples (Olivet Discourse in Matthew, Mark and Luke) that six events will precede His return. You need to know what they are.

PRESENTATION SUMMARY:.

  • The blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of Jesus are ONE event, not two
  • The word appearing is not one of the Greek words for rapture, but rather a word that means “appearing above or upon,” such as the appearing upon the clouds; and it always means appearance of a god
  • This word is also used in 2 Thess. 2:8 where it says Jesus will diminish the power of the Antichrist upon his appearance. This can only mean that the Antichrist is already in power prior to the appearing of Jesus
  • Our hope is Jesus no matter what persecution may intervene. We have a blessed hope even if we must endure the Tribulation period.

So rather than being a proof text for the pretrib. rapture, Titus 2:13 and the accompanying word study are actually a proof text disproving the pretrib. rapture. How can the hope of Christians be the appearing on the clouds and the diminishing of Antichrist power, if there is a pretrib. rapture. Both cannot be true. I’ll chose to believe the Bible and Titus 2:13.

So if you liked Nelson’s teaching, hit a couple of the share buttons below. This is a terribly misunderstood doctrine, and sharing it will be helpful to multitudes of brothers and sisters.

 

END TIMES SIGNIFICANCE OF THE HANUKKAH

Another powerful insight on the “end times” delivered by Jonathan Cahn. Only a Messianic Jew would see this gem in the New Testament. Jesus celebrating the Feast of Dedication. It is not an Old Testament feast.

“At that time, the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” John 10:22

What was this Feast of Dedication? Today it is known as Hanukkah or Festival of Lights and it was once called the Feast of the Maccabees.

The history of the Feast of Dedication goes back to the intertestamental period and the Maccabean Revolt. After the Seleucid king Antiochus Ephiphanes (name means God Manifest) profaned the Jewish temple and forced the Jews to abandon their sacrifices and adopt pagan rituals, a group of Jewish freedom fighters rose up, defied the oppressive pagan regime, and overthrew the Seleucids. The temple in Jerusalem was re-dedicated to God; ever since then, the Feast of Dedication has been celebrated to commemorate this meaningful event in Jewish history.

We know from Daniel and Revelation that Antiochus Epiphanes provides us with a template/picture of the last days Antichrist. Jesus himself said that “when you see the ‘abomination of Desolation’ spoken by Daniel standing in the holy place then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.Matthew 24:15 

Jonathan reveals what we can learn from the Hanukkah, on how we need to face the Antichrist in our day. What did the Maccabees do to overcome the impossible odds in their day?

  1. Decided there could be no compromise with the world regardless of the impossible odds against them. Must trust God.
  2. Must obey His Word and stand on His Word. Even fight with the Word of God.
  3. Separate from the world, don’t try and fit in and bend the Word of God. Become radical and be the salt and light.
  4. Learn how to be warriors putting on the full armour daily – Belt of TRUTH first, breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS, GOSPEL OF PEACE on our feet, take up the shield of FAITH, helmet of SALVATION to shield our mind and the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT which is the Word of God. Maccabees were called the “hammers of God’
  5. The Maccabees carried on the war joyfully knowing God was with them giving them victory over impossible odds.

Paul told us to be joyful in all circumstances even in tribulation. We overcome by the blood of the lamb.

Let us live in the light of Jesus soon coming return, to rule and reign for a thousand years. We are on the winning side. Moreover, at the end of Jesus Millennial reign on this earth, eternal life awaits in the promised new heaven and new earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIMING OF THE RAPTURE IS IMPORTANT

Once again Nelson does a great job of challenging us all about the state of the church in these last days. What is the state of your church? Has it compromised with the worlds values? How many in your church are actually born again? Is it even discussing Jesus Second Coming and prophesied tribulation at that time?