Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Global Warming Foolishness

A couple days ago I wrote on how bad doctrine can get those who profess to follow Christ into trouble. But it certainly goes without saying that bad doctrine also gets people into trouble who have abandoned all pretences of a biblical world view.

There is a report that famed global warming activist James Schneider and a journalist friend were recently found frozen to death about 90 miles from South Pole Station in Antarctica. Now I don’t know James Schneider but I do know that people who are convinced that mankind’s carbon dioxide emissions are causing global warming generally don’t have much use for God’s Word. It is certainly clear to me that no one with a biblical perspective would be found dead in the middle of Antarctica waiting for the snow to melt.

Most people from modern nations who have no biblical world-view are materialists. The high priest of materialism, Carl Sagan, is known for proclaiming, “The cosmos is all there is, or was, or ever will be.” This kind of thinking has no room for God and has led to the idea that the universe is billions of years old. So with this mind-set, seeing climate changes leads materialists to think that mankind must be the cause.

God tied today’s materialistic mind-set to people not being ready for Jesus to return in 2 Peter 3:3-6: “scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’ For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water” (NKJ).

This passage in 2 Peter certainly describes the state of things in these days leading up to the return of Christ. It has only been about 5,000 years since conditions on earth have been dramatically changed by a world-wide flood. Yet this biblical truth does not fit a materialistic perspective so people rejecting God’s Word dismiss all the evidence of the flood and come up with other theories to explain it away.

My heart goes out to people who are so blinded by the lies of this world that they do stupid things like James Schneider. It is easy to dismiss this and say he got what he deserved for his foolishness. But freezing to death in Antarctica is not the worst thing that can happen to a person; dying without Jesus is. Hell is real and materialists who reject Jesus are destined to spend eternity there. That is the bigger tragedy, people all around us are on the broad road to perdition. My hope is that some who see me on “the way which leads to life” will be attracted to it and join me there (Matthew 7:14).

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Reflections

Texas Instruments is a great company to work for. How many other companies allow their employees to conduct an Easter worship service on site during lunch time? I have an opportunity to share a testimony at this event later today and while I’ll not say all of this, the following is what I have in mind…

When I was asked if I’d like to share a testimony, I felt compelled to do so because the way the Lord open my heart to Him is particularly relevant for today.

There are a lot of disturbing trends going on in the world today related to the culture, environment, economy and politics. God used my being perplexed about the end of the super power stand off between the US and Soviet Union to bring me to Jesus. There are even more compelling reasons today to recognize that ancient prophecies are on the verge of being fulfilled. The prophecies that have been fulfilled confirm that the Bible has to be from God because only He can declare the end from the beginning since He is outside the confines of time.

We are celebrating Easter so consider the crucifixion of Jesus. Crucifixion was invented by the Persians, used by the Greeks, but perfected by the Romans. 500 years before crucifixion was even invented, King David of Israel was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write about how the coming Messiah would die…

Psalm 22:14-18 says, “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it has melted within Me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; you have brought Me to the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”

This prophecy was fulfilled a thousand years later when Jesus died on the cross. In fact, all the details were literally fulfilled… Matthew 27:35 says, “Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet.”

Psalm 16:10 prophesied that the Messiah would be resurrected from the dead, “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” And indeed that is what happened. Matthew 28:6 comments on the empty tomb of Jesus saying, “He is not here; for He is risen.”

There are many other prophecies about the Messiah such as the fact that He would be miraculously born of a virgin, where He would be born, and what His genealogy would be. All the Messianic prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus.

The Bible also has many prophecies that have been or are in the process of being fulfilled especially related to the nation of Israel. For example, Ezekiel 36:24 says, “I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.” This is pretty incredible when you consider that Israel ceased to be a nation in 70 A.D. being dispersed throughout the world then became a nation again in 1948.

In the 1800+ years of the Hebrew Diaspora, the language of the Jews had all disappeared from common use. But the 20th Century has seen a restoration of the Hebrew language as prophesied in Zephaniah 3:9 which says, “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language.” This is unprecedented in history, lost languages do not just re-emerge.

And look at the prophecy in Zechariah 12:3: “it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.” Jerusalem is always in the news because it is the original epicenter of the world war on terrorism and the most difficult nut to crack in terms of world peace. The conventional wisdom is that if mankind can bring peace to the Mid-East, there is nothing preventing peace worldwide. It grieves me that the U.S. now appears to be among the nations ostracizing Israel over Jerusalem… but that must happen eventually because Scripture says it will.

Zechariah 12:5 prophecies that in the time-frame prior to the return of the Messiah, Israel would be governed by a democracy. Today, they are the only true democracy in the Mid-East. The jury is still out on Iraq. Zechariah 12:6 says that in the time-frame prior to the return of the Messiah, Israel would be victorious in battle against all countries coming against them. We have seen this in every war they have had since 1948.

There are also prophecies being fulfilled today in the culture, environment, economy, and politics. This blog is intended to help others consider current events from a biblical perspective.

I’d like to close with a prayer…

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for TI & the opportunity to have this worship service.

We thank you for the privilege of working for a company that is so well known for its high ethics. We know that is because of your principles that are applied here. And we pray that exceptional ethics will continue to be a shining characteristic of TI.

We pray that TI will be successful in bringing products to market that our customers need on a timely basis. Help us to make continual improvements in quality and reduce costs. Help us to be better at making the right customer commitments so that we can be more consistent in surpassing expectations.

We pray that TI will continue to be a strong growing company even in the midst of these uncertain economic times. We pray for our government that they would act with your wisdom; and we pray for more people in this country to turn to Jesus for salvation so that they would not suffer the consequences of living apart from you. Thank you for being our source of strength in these uncertain times; please help others see Christ in us.

Please help us be good stewards of the jobs that you have blessed us with. Please help us to be walking testimonies of Jesus in all that we do. Please help us to be exceptional workers so that our coworkers will be attracted to Jesus as the source of our motivation.

Thank you for everyone who participated today; please help us to see you working in our lives here at TI.

Lord, all these things we ask in Jesus’ name; Amen.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Christian Militias

Bad doctrine will not only get you into trouble in the next world, it has ramifications in this one as well. People who misinterpret what the Bible says about the order of certain key events associated with the Lord's return can make some serious mistakes.

The FBI said Sunday that agents conducted weekend raids in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio and a militia leader in Michigan said the target of at least one of the raids was a Christian militia group. Members of the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia fear the coming of the Antichrist and feel they need a healthy inventory of weapons to survive the Tribulation. Apparently their arrests were related a plot to kill police officers which no-doubt resulted from their paranoia about government authorities. This is a case where having a mid- or post-tribulation view of the Rapture leads people astray.

People who think the Antichrist will come to power before Jesus removes His followers from earth feel obligated to do what they can to protect themselves from him. And people who believe in Christ during the Tribulation will certainly need protection from their government because the Antichrist will declare war on all who do not swear allegiance to him... "It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation" (Revelation 13:7, NKJ).

However, the Bible tells us that the Rapture will occur before we even know who the Antichrist is. The Apostle Paul wrote his second letter to the Thessalonians to put their minds at ease that they had not missed the Rapture. They thought that they had because they were under severe persecution and which to them looked like the Tribulation. But 2 Thessalonians 2:3 says, "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition." Some have misinterpreted the Greek word translated "falling away" in this passage to mean a falling away from the faith but in context this is clearly talking about the Rapture. For a thorough analysis of how this Greek word should be correctly interpreted, see this article in

God does not want us to live our lives in this world looking for the Antichrist, He wants us to be looking for Jesus Christ. Titus 2:12-13 says, "we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." People who take a superficial look at the prophetic Scriptures confuse the return of Christ for the church with His return to earth to establish His millennial kingdom. Jesus is coming back in two phases that is separated by a period of time that includes the 7-year Tribulation.

There are some very distinct differences between the return of Jesus for the church and His returning to earth to rule. See my Bible study and hand-out for more details. The bottom line is that, "God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Thank God for His Word.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Accelerating Change

President Obama promised change and he had delivered that with the government take over of health care. This development now puts the United States more on-par with the rest of the world. By moving away from a market-driven health care system and attacking profit motive incentives for innovation, we are becoming more like the rest of the world, a place of mediocrity. The United States was once the model for the world where people came for extraordinary care; now we plan to be like most other nations with long waiting lines and one-size-fits-all service.

You know we're making significant changes when our health care "success" is applauded by Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro who called the passage of American health care reform a major victory for Obama's presidency. He went on to chide us for taking so long to adopt what communist Cuba enacted decades ago. That is change we can believe in.

Another big change that has the potential to affect us even more is in America's official foreign policy toward Israel. The White House is making it clear the our government is no friend of Israel... President Obama gave Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu a major snub by dumping him for dinner when he came for a state visit. As I've mentioned before and it bears emphasizing, it will soon not be pleasant living in a country that pokes a finger in the apple of God's eye.

I thought that there would be a bit of a reprieve once our government got health care done but it looks like they are on to the next big reform... probably immigration with cap and trade following close behind. I don't know if you noticed but the government has taken over the college loan program which was tacked onto the health care reform bill; I guess we'll learn about other things hidden in that bill as time goes on.

Our government is in a hurry to implement all the major changes they can manage before new elections result in their being booted from office. This certainly foreshadows what it will be like during the Tribulation when Satan and his minions realize they have but a short time to bring about the transformation them have in mind for the world... "Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time" (Revelation 12:12, NKJ).

As I wrote yesterday, Jesus told us the time leading up to His return would be like birth pangs and the Prophet Daniel said events would come upon us like a flood. We are really starting to see the pace of change accelerate. All we really need is some major event like a war in the Mid-East that disrupts oil supplies to trigger another economic crash which plunges us into exponential change. Remember Obama's chief of staff saying we shouldn't let a good crisis go to waste?

I'm convinced the ideologues running our government want to keep us in a state of crisis to complete their transformation of this country into their Utopian socialist vision. And they will demonize any who oppose them. "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20).

I know my projection of the trend sounds pessimistic but it is realistic if you look honestly at how the course of events in the world have transpired lately. God has allowed us to be in this situation so that those who are on the fence about him will stop their equivocating and let Him into their lives. This is not a time to "open minded" about God and His agenda. The truth is clear for those who really want to embrace it. The good news for those enjoying a relationship with Christ is that Jesus is "coming quickly" (Revelation 22:20).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tax & Spend

The government’s health care reform is just a new form of taxation and the additional entitlements will put us even deeper in debt. This double-whammy is a move toward enslaving the American people to the Federal government.

Dependence on the government for health care is a form of slavery. The forced insurance is essentially just new taxes foisted on the middle class. These increased taxes enslave us by removing our latitude to spend that money on our own choices. And the debt that the country will collectively incur as a result of this spreading the wealth around enslaves us as well. As Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (NKJ). This debt will soon cause inflation which is yet another "hidden" tax on consumers.

The Leftist vision to enslave Americans to the Federal Government was revealed in a "Freudian slip" by U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D, Michigan) on March 24th during a radio interview as he defended the delay in implementing health-care reform by saying it was necessary to “control the people.” This is on-par with Obama saying he wanted to “spread the wealth around.” It is amazing how easy it is for the truth to become known.

Is there any wonder that most people expect the US economy to fail? A recent Fox News poll found that 79 percent of voters think it’s possible the economy could collapse, including 72 percent of Democrats, 84 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of independents.

It pains me to consider this but from a prophetic standpoint, the United States must become less of an economic superpower. The Bible tells us that a world ruler also known as the Antichrist will be in power when Jesus returns to earth (Revelation 13:7-8). Before the Antichrist comes to power, the world will be ruled by ten kings (Revelation 17:12-13). The United States will need to cease being an economic superpower in order for these ten kings to emerge.

I doubt our governmental leaders even know they are decimating our economy in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. I’m sure they are pursuing some ideological vision such as saving the planet by reducing carbon emissions. Whatever their motivation is, it is setting the stage for the Tribulation. Demonic forces are getting more latitude in working behind the scenes tempting world leaders to take actions that enslave people in preparation for the Day of the Antichrist. Indeed, “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13).

The only consolation in considering the prospects for the U.S. economy is that the events leading up to the Tribulation will be accelerated. Jesus said that the signs of His coming would be like “birth pangs” in Matthew 24:8 and Daniel 9:26 says, “the end of it shall be with a flood.” And knowing that the Rapture precedes the Tribulation is a blessing. So given the accelerating pace of prophetic developments in this world, we don’t have log to wait for our blessed hope (Titus 2:13).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Health Care Obsession

Everyone is talking about the health care reform bill that our government has now made law. Assuming it passes the various constitutional challenges, it will result in massive amounts of regulations to interpret what it really means. The bottom line is that the federal government now has more control over the personal decisions we all make concerning our health.

Most of us know the massive debt impact to our economy will eventually come back to bite us and we doubt that the one-size-fits-all decrees by Washington bureaucrats will actually improve health care. But that is the age we’re living in; hope for change but only getting uncertainty and disappointments. So it is important to keep this development in perspective… life goes on and we need to focus on what is really important, growing in our relationship with Christ. One way we can grow closer to the Lord is to apply what the Bible says about His role in our health.

Jesus promised to give us what we need: “do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matthew 6:31-32, NKJ). This certainly includes the health we need to carry out what God has called us to do. We do live in a fallen world so bad health happens but God is able to heal us when it serves His purpose. So the key to good health is to make sure we are serving the purpose of God.

No matter what the government does to us in the name of health care, it is comforting to know that all healing comes from the Giver of Life. Since God is in control of even the molecular forces that hold our bodies together (Hebrews 1:3 and Colossians 1:17), He is the one who heals us. Charles Stanley once said that he knew he was at the right doctor when he saw a sign that said, “God does the healing, the doctor just collects the fee.”

One reason the government felt they needed to do something about health care is that the costs are getting ridiculous. I could give many “tactical” reasons for this that our government does not even address but the “strategic” reason health care costs are sky rocketing is materialism. If this material world is all there is then all the resources that can be poured into living longer can be justified. But this life is not all there is and those who recognize that truth and act accordingly will not have to worry about bad health... Proverbs 3:7-8 says, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.”

As I consider the impact of our government taking over yet another aspect of our lives in this world, it only makes me look more forward to when we may be with Jesus. Given today’s trends, we don’t have long to wait.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Peace of Jerusalem

Are there any serious people who actually believe that the Obama administration is a friend of Israel? The U.S. government rebuked Israel over their decision to allow new 1600 new housing units to be constructed in East Jerusalem. Where else in the world do we have the audacity to restrict the internal construction plans of another country? A recent poll shows that 42 percent of Israelis view President Obama as pro-Arab, and only seven percent see him as pro-Israel, the rest are reserving judgment.

Barack Obama promised change when he was running for president and we are certainly getting that in our official relationship with Israel. Obama’s reaching out to leaders in Iran, Syria, and the PLO who sanction terrorism is a direct slap in the face of Israel. And since Iran is ruled by leaders who believe it is their calling from Allah to wipe Israel off the map, it is clear to Israel they are on their own to deal with Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions.

If the U.S. government continues to ostracize Israel, I see great danger for our country. God promised Abraham, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3, NKJ). When we take actions that threaten Israel, we offend God since this “touches the apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8). It will not be pleasant living in a nation that is being cursed by God.

It seems to me that God has already begun removing His restraint of evil protecting our country. Indeed we know that as we get closer to the return of Christ, “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). But I still believe we can turn around the immediate danger to the U.S. if enough of us turn back to God (per the principle in 2 Chronicles 7:14). Whether our actions can forestall the wrath of God or not, the United States will ultimately follow the world in offending God by opposing Israel… “it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it” (Zechariah 12:3).

Psalm 122:6 admonishes us to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you.’” While this may not reflect U.S. foreign policy, we may still benefit from it being the desire of our heart. While there may certainly be periods of peacefulness from time to time, true peace will not come to Jerusalem until Jesus returns. With even Israel’s “friends” lining up against them, that Day may not be far off.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Drill Here, Drill Now

The Leftist authorities in control of the United States Government want to see our gas and diesel prices to go up. I'm convinced that the only thing keeping these prices at a tolerable level is the recession. Higher energy prices will put further pressure on the US economy which they are trying to radically restructure as part of a broad socialist agenda; health care reform is only the tip of the ice berg.

There is an interesting editorial pointing out that Russia has plans to explore for oil in the Gulf of Mexico while the US government is not allowing local companies to drill here. If our government really wanted to improve our economy, they would make oil exploration in our lands a priority. It would add jobs, improve the trade deficit, and make us less dependant on foreign oil.

Our Leftist government authorities continue to hold on to the Global Warming Dogma despite it now being widely discredited. The fear of Climate Change is the excuse for draconian policies that will only drive up energy costs. However, their real agenda is to force the United States economy to be more on-par with other nations in the world. This will make us more of a world community team player. And this is necessary for our nation's leaders to be "of one mind" with the other world leaders in order to "give their power and authority to the beast" (Revelation 17:13, NKJ). Cratering the US economy enables a world-wide government to emerge.

It is likely that the government authorities in power don't even know the full ramifications of their policies. The image of global elites meeting in dark, smoke-filled rooms conspiring to "spread the wealth around" is all too easy to visualize. But what I think we are seeing is God removing His restraining hand over evil on this world in preparation of turning it completely over to mankind during the Tribulation. Jesus referred to Satan as the "ruler of this world" for good reason; him and his minions are behind the scenes pulling the strings of the world rulers as "the rulers of the darkness of this age" (Ephesians 6:12).

I am praying that our Leftist government will not do so much damage to our economy that we can't reverse their evil ways when we boot out as many of them as possible this November. I know God's will be done; He is in ultimate control and is working from a Master Plan. It helps to remember that Jesus the Savior will return in perfect timing very soon.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Date Setting Coincidences

I don’t believe in coincidences. God is sovereign over all things and is in control of even the molecular forces that hold the universe together (see Hebrews 1:3 and Colossians 1:17). He is outside the confines of time so that only He can declare “the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10, NKJ). God speaks to us in circumstances that reinforce His Word. So when we see a coincidence, we should take notice because they are serving His purpose in some sense.

And we can’t set dates for the Lord’s return because He said, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matthew 25:13). While we can not know the day or the hour the Lord is returning, we can know the general time-frame. That is why He gave us signs to watch for… “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near-- at the doors!” (Matthew 24:32-33)

So while we can not know the day or hour of the Rapture, we can know when we are in the season of the Lord’s return for us. I am convinced we are now in that season.

I recently had a birthday where it was pointed out to me that I was the same age as the year my wife and brother were both born; and they are the same age as the year I was born. Given that my wife and brother are two years younger than I am, this is enough of a riddle to figure out how old we all are. There is only one age and year combination that will fit these criteria for 2010. That was a pretty interesting realization that served to make me a bit more tuned into another coincidence of years I’d encounter the very next day…

I read with interest an article on by Jack Kelley titled, “The Revived Ottoman Empire.” The title intrigued me because it promised to address a topic I blogged on last December. Jack Kelley pointed out in his article that it was 483 years from the time that Artaxerxes, King of Persia, decreed that the wall of Jerusalem be rebuilt until the Messiah entered Jerusalem to present Himself as their Savior. Likewise, it could be 483 years from the time that Suleiman, King of the Ottoman Empire, decreed that the wall of Jerusalem be rebuilt until the Messiah re-enters Jerusalem as Israel’s Savior at the end of the Tribulation.

Jack Kelley thinks it likely that Jesus will return to begin His Millennial reign on earth in 2018 based on harmonizing Matthew 24:34 with Psalm 90:10... a generation is 70 years and since Israel was re-born in 1948, the Rapture could happen in 2011. I posted a previous blog using this analysis which makes 2011 a good pick for the Rapture pool.

Some years ago I had heard that the 483 year timeframe given in Daniel 9:25 works out to the day in predicting when Jesus would enter Jerusalem just before He was crucified. I checked this out for myself and can confirm that based on what we know from the Bible and extra-biblical history, this certainly works out at least to the year. This is something anyone can confirm themselves; here is a summary:

Daniel 9:25 says, “from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.” These weeks are a Hebrew reference to weeks of years. So from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah would come was 7 plus 62 or 69 weeks of years. Then, multiplying 7 times 69 weeks of years is how we get 483 years.

Nehemiah 2:1-8 says that Artaxerxes decreed that the wall of Jerusalem may be built in the twentieth year of his reign. Archeology has revealed that Artaxerxes became king of Persia in 464 BC. Subtracting 20 years from this date means that Israel was permitted to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem in 444 BC.

Subtracting 483 years from 444 BC means that the Messiah officially presented Himself to Israel as their king between 34 and 36 AD. This considers 1 BC to 1 AD to be one year and the error in the beginning of our current calendar which is tied to the birth of Jesus where most scholars say actually happened between 4 and 6 BC. The 34 to 36 AD timeframe is certainly when we would have expected Jesus to have made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday a few days before He was crucified; see Luke 19:27-38.

While Jesus had many disciples, the Jews in general did not recognize Him as the Messiah rejecting His triumphal entry and conspired with the Romans to crucify Him. This is what was prophesied in Daniel 9:26 where it says “after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off.”

When I first did this analysis, I converted the years from a 360-day lunar-based Hebrew calendar to the current 365-day Gregorian calendar to arrive at 33 AD for Palm Sunday; 476 Gregorian calendar years is the same as 483 Hebrew calendar years. But I no longer think this is a valid way to look at it because years are years and both the Gregorian and Hebrew calendar systems correct for leap years. My original analysis also neglected to account for the double-counting of years due to the “common era” calendar being 4 to 6 years off from the actual birth of Jesus. I only bring this up now because I find it interesting that the difference between 483 Hebrew calendar years and 476 Gregorian calendar years is 7 years, the length of the Tribulation and the time period described by the term “week of years.” Many would dismiss this as another coincidence but it only reinforces the hand of God working through my personal experiences of revelation.

It is also interesting to note that as near as I can tell, the age Jesus was when He went to the cross was about my age when He opened my heart to Him. I don’t consider this realization to be a coincidence; I’m convinced part of His purpose in that was to make me more tuned into His speaking to us through such circumstances.

Suffice it to say, 483 years is a prophetically significant timeframe associated with the Messiah entering Jerusalem in an official capacity. And since this 483 years begins upon the decree of a Gentile king ruling over Jerusalem to rebuild the city wall; I would not be at all surprised if this also applied to the return of Jesus. There are many prophetic types in Scripture so Artaxerxes is to the first coming of Christ as Suleiman is to His second coming. This would be no mere coincidence because, “the king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; he turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1).

Archaeologists have established that Suleiman ordered the Jerusalem wall to be rebuilt in 1535. Add the prophetically significant 483 years to 1535 and you get 2018. Since the Rapture must happen before the 7-year Tribulation, that means 2011 is a likely time-frame for the Rapture. How is that for coincidence? Two completely independent approaches to estimating a likely time-frame for the Rapture by applying prophetic Scripture to historical events arrive at the same year. How exciting!

Now this doesn’t mean that we may slack off in our watching for the Lord's return the reminder of 2010. As Jesus said, “blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching” (Luke 12:37). We don’t know how much time there might be between the Rapture and beginning of the Tribulation. And when dealing with this much time it is certainly possible to make an error which would make us a year or two off. That kind of parallax was certainly the case for determining when Jesus was born. So this means we are in the season of the Rapture now!

Likewise, being in the season of the Rapture doesn’t mean we should quit our jobs and wait around on some mountain for the Lord as some cultic Christian groups have done in the past. As Jesus said, “do business till I come” (Luke 19:13).

The point is, be ready. I am and I’m thrilled it doesn’t look like we have long to persevere!

Loving the World

I've been accused of being too pessimistic about the prospects of mankind to correct the mess we have made of this world. I guess the rationale is that people got us into the fix we are in so we should be able to get ourselves out. This sounds good in theory but it will fail in practice.

The idea that mankind can fix our problems is a very humanist perspective that denys our nature. All people are naturally selfish and this causes us to do things that harm others along with our relationship to God; "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23, NKJ).

Our sin nature should be obvious but humanists are ideologues who think that enough of the right regulations, training and funding can cause people to act reasonably. To recognize the natural selfishness of people, all we need to do is observe children. Parents don't train their children to act selfishly, they come by it naturally. Before I was a Christian, I came to the conclusion that selfishness motivated everyone's actions because I knew why I did what I did. Even when people do good things for others, their motivation is usually selfish since they expect something from them in return.

Since I've become I Christian I now understand the potential for a higher motivation to do good; out of sacrificial love in following Jesus. Jesus died for us not expecting anything in return. Our good works only have merit with God when we likewise act in the best interest of others out of gratitude for what Jesus did for us. But people who don't know the love of Christ have no choice but to act selfishly even when they do things to benefit others. Such actions have no eternal value; as Jesus said, "they have their reward" (Matthew 6:2).

The Bible tells us that as people turn further from God, He will turn us over to ourselves which comes with consequences. Romans 1:28 says, "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting." Thus, "evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Timothy 3:13). This is the trend we should expect as humanists get their way in the world.

I certainly would like conditions in the world to improve. But that can only happen when more people turn to Christ. So I'm doing my best to alert everyone I can to the dangers of the path we are on in this world so that some will turn to Christ and thus not to suffer the inevitable fate of the world.

It is very dangerous to be so attracted to this world that you miss the much better world that God has for those reciprocating His love by following Jesus. 1 John 2:15 says, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." And consider this: "Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God" (James 4:4).

Few people do this but I have experienced great comfort on the occasions when I have practiced Paul's admonition to, "set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:2). Looking forward to what God has in store for us helps us deal with all the bad trends in this world. And this is a much more realistic approach to life than suppressing the implications of the world's trends and thinking, "all things continue as they were from the beginning" (2 Peter 3:4).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mark of the Beast

One in four Germans would be happy to have a microchip implanted in their body if they derived concrete benefits from it. Personal RFID is coming; this is how the Antichrist will control buying and selling to only those who have sworn allegiance to him...

Revelation 13:16-17 says, "He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" (NKJ).

There will be strong pressure to swear allegiance to the Antichrist during the Tribulation. Indeed, "he was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed" (Revelation 13:15).

I'm glad I have a ticket off this train before it reaches Tribulation Station.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Neglecting What's Next

In the drive to engineer social justice for the masses, one of the "bright" ideas being floated about is for the federal government to take control of IRAs and 401Ks. The government is so enamored with debt that they are considering taking away the only incentive for people to save for their retirement. This would turn privately managed savings into just another tax to feed the big government machine.

The behavior that such a change would drive is to cause people to stop contributing to their own nest egg. If there is no tax-deferred incentive to save, it is too easy to put off building up savings and once there is some savings, too easy to spend it if doing so does not incur a tax penalty.

The government does not want us saving anything. They don't like the idea that funds which are "hoarded" are not being spent to "stimulate" the economy. Indeed, they'd like all people to be dependant on the government when they can no longer work for an income. In their minds, that is the only fair way. But what it does is promote mediocrity. As more personal decisions are taken over by the government, there are fewer opportunities for individuals to take actions to improve their situation.

With the government removing tax incentives to save, they are removing personal responsibility for what is next in our life. But neglecting that is perilous. Proverbs 6:6-9 says, "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep?" (NKJ).

Neglecting what is next in life is rampant in our day and will get worse as we get closer to the return of Jesus. People just don't want to consider their eternal destiny. But that is why we're here, to prepare for eternity. As followers of Jesus, we have no excuse to fall victim to the trap of neglecting what is next in life. And that means applying God's principles to save despite the government's disincentives to do so and making sure our account with Jesus is current.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Economic Dilemmas

The United States Dollar is not the only world currency that is having problems. Robert J. Samuelson described in a Newsweek article the dilemma the European Union is facing with the debt problem in Greece...

A Greek default could undermine market confidence in the Euro's ability to deal with debts spawning a series of defaults that would hurt the global economic recovery. At the same time, a bailout is controversial since other countries would then demand to be rescued. Samuelson goes on to point out that this situation pretty much represents the unpleasant choices almost every advanced country is facing today... "some combination of huge budget deficits, high debts, aging populations, and political paralysis. It's an unstable mix."

I have felt for some time like we are living on borrowed time, that we are on the cusp of some dramatic changes. All we need is some major disruption to set off a series of events from which there is no turning back from. And there are so many things going on in the world today that could easily light that fuse.

Everyone is lamenting the political paralysis. With the divisions between the Conservative and Liberal perspectives in the United States today it looks like the change that people wanted by voting Obama into the presidency just are not going to happen. I think this environment makes things ripe for a grand political wizard to emerge that people can agree on to break the political paralysis.

The Bible tells us that a world leader is coming whom will be generally loved by most people in the world. Revelation 13:8 says, "all who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (NKJ). The Antichrist will rise to power after the followers of Jesus Christ are removed from the planet. With all evil restraint removed from earth, Satan and his minions will be quick to foll the void with their proxies.

This will not be a pleasant time to be on earth. Sure the seven-year Tribulation will start out hopeful enough with eager followers of the Antichrist looking forward to the change that he promises. But it will not be long before they realize that they are losing what freedoms they had and that the peace their leader promises requires them to go to war on many fronts. And by the mid-point of the Tribulation most of the Antichrist's followers will have this nagging feeling that they have bet on the wrong horse. This is about the point some will begin to realize that their decision has committed them to follow their leader all the way to hell; but most will be in denial.

There will be others during the Tribulation who resist the Antichrist to seek the truth and follow Jesus. Most of these will be killed by the Antichrist during the second half of the Tribulation per Daniel 7:27. And God will preserve some of these who will see the glorious return of Jesus Christ to earth. Followers of Jesus who survive the Tribulation will repopulate the earth during Jesus' Millennial reign.

I'm glad I will not be here to witness the reign of the Antichrist. Seeing the spirit of the Antichrist grow stronger which foreshadows his coming to power is certainly enough for me.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Son of Destruction

The Antichrist is referred to as the "son of destruction" in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The New King James translation is "son of perdition." It is interesting to note that perdition is closely related to destruction. “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28, NKJ).

Hell is a place of continual destruction. As Jesus said in Mark 9:43-44, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched-- where 'Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'”

It is also interesting to note the linkage between the love of money and destruction. 1 Timothy 6:9 says, “those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” We expect the temptations of wealth to grow as we get closer to the return of the Lord because the Antichrist will use it to destroy many people. Daniel 8:25 says, “he shall destroy many in their prosperity.”

People will follow the Antichrist because they think he will lead them to prosperity. The Antichrist himself “shall prosper and thrive” (Daniel 8:24) so people will think that some of his success will rub off on them by following him. Indeed, some will appear to benefit for a while by following the deceitful ways of the Antichrist; “through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule” (Daniel 8:25). Like Obama, the Antichrist will help some people prosper by “spreading the wealth around” (socialism). Daniel 11:24 says, “he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil, and riches.”

I am convinced that the growing Spirit of Antichrist is why we are seeing an increasing frequency of economic bubbles growing and bursting today. These regular economic failures only foreshadow the big crash that will happen during the Tribulation as described in Revelation 18.

People look to the government to help them have the wealth they think they need but all the government does is steal from one group (increasingly the middle class despite the propaganda) and give to certain favored groups. Such spreading the wealth around will be rampant under the Antichrist when “no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:17).

As materialism becomes more pervasive in this world, followers of Jesus need to be careful we too do not fall into to the trap of Satan. “You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Son of Perdition

The Antichrist is referred to as the "son of perdition" in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (NKJ). Some translations use the word destruction instead of perdition but the meaning is the same. The destiny of the Antichrist and all who follow him is to spend eternity in hell. “Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire… and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:15, 10).

People will follow the Antichrist because he offers them human solutions to their needs. Thus they don’t have to yield their lives to Jesus Christ which they perceive to be an unseen task master who can not help them. But the Antichrist is referred to as the “worthless shepherd” in Zechariah 11:17 since following him will lead to destruction instead of salvation.

The Antichrist will use religion to cause people to follow him; he will be charismatic and thus the ultimate cult leader. Revelation 13:8 says, “All who dwell on the earth will worship him.” Religion has lead more people away from Christ than anything in this world and this will certainly be the case during the Tribulation.

Most people today don’t even acknowledge the existence of hell. If they did, they’d certainly do their due diligence to make sure they didn’t end up there. Many who do acknowledge the existence of hell have bought into the lie of Satan that they can earn favor with God through their good works. But it is, “by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

No one has to go to hell. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). I can’t imagine not believing this.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Beast

A lot can be learned about the characters in the Bible by the names they are given. One of the names the Bible has for the Antichrist is the Beast in Revelation 13:1.

If we are growing closer to the time Jesus will return, we would expect see the character traits of the Beast in our world leaders since they foreshadow the Antichrist. We can expect that to be the case since Satan who possesses the Antichrist is the de facto ruler of this world; see John 12:31 harmonized with Matthew 4:8-9. Indeed, “the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world” (1 John 4:3, NKJ).

Referring to the Antichrist as the Beast tells us that he will be ruthless, like an animal crushing all opposition to him. Revelation 13:2 says, “the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion.” The Antichrist will take people by a surprise due to camouflage like a leopard. This enables him to rise to power quickly out of relative insignificance. As Daniel 8:23 says, “a king shall arise, having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes.” And Daniel 11:21 says, “he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue.” The diplomatic trickery of the Antichrist will catapult him into power.

The Antichrist’s feet being like a bear indicates that his destructive power goes with him where ever he goes. And his slashing out at people will result in a wide swath of injury. While the whole world eventually will follow the Antichrist, it is a misconception that all people will instantly begin following him as soon as he arrives on the scene. The books of Daniel and Revelation describe multiple battles that take place during the Tribulation where about half the population of earth will end up being destroyed, and that is before the battle of Armageddon when the Lord Himself will kill off the remaining population of unbelievers (see Revelation 19:21.

The Antichrist’s mouth will be a big part of his power and since it is represented as a lion’s mouth, what he says will result in the destruction of many people. The Antichrist will be an eloquent speaker. Psalm 55:21 says his words will be "smoother than butter" but his heart will be filled with war. Psalm 5:6 says he is a “bloodthirsty and deceitful man.” The Lion’s mouth will be a lying mouth. Psalm 43:1 indicates that the Antichrist will be an unjust ruler. This is what totalitarian governments do when they impose the king’s flawed idea of justice on the people.

The Antichrist will be so destructive that people will have no choice but yield to him. “So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’” (Revelation 13:4). I believe that some derivative of Islam will be the religion the Antichrist uses to make people follow him. It is interesting to note that Islam means “submission.”

I’m glad that as a follower of Jesus in this Age of Grace, I do not need to worry about being pressured to submit to the Antichrist. It is so much better to live in submission to the King of kings. Jesus said, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:29-30).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Character of Antichrist

The Bible has a lot to say about the character of the Antichrist. Since a person’s character is directly related to their spirit, we would expect the Antichrist to have a pretty despicable character.

The Antichrist will use his mouth a lot. He will have a “mouth speaking pompous words” (Daniel 7:8, NKJ). Thus he will be perceived as an eloquent, scholarly speaker. His huge pride will drive him to speak very highly of himself and blatantly slander God as the Bible reveals Him. Daniel 11:36 says, “he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished.” Daniel 7:25 says that his pompous words will be directed against God and Revelation 13:5 reinforces his propensity to blaspheme God.

I often think of President Obama when I consider how the Antichrist will be such a pompous speaker. Obama is generally an eloquent orator as long as he has a teleprompter though his dependence on it does get him into trouble from time to time. But Obama is careful not to blaspheme God so he is definitely not the Antichrist. But watch out if he ever starts to defame God; such words from a such a powerful man would be scary to behold.

Daniel 11:36 indicates that the Antichrist’s selfishness will be legend; he will insist on having things his way. And Daniel 7:25 says he “shall intend to change times and law.” This means he will be a progressive liberal who has contempt for time-honored values. He will be a historical revisionist and will probably even seek to change the calendar that has counted the years since the first advent of Christ.

The Antichrist will probably be possessed by Satan as Judas was per Luke 22:3. This idea is consistent with Daniel 8:24 which says, “his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power.” And 2 Thessalonians 2:9 says, “the coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders.” Indeed, Revelation 13:2 says Satan will give the Antichrist, “his power, his throne, and great authority.”

Since the Antichrist will be possessed by the father of lies (John 8:44), he will deliberately seek to deceive people as Psalm 52:2 says, “your tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.” This is why the liberal mind-set reminds me so much of the spirit of Antichrist. They think the general public is not as smart as them so they seek to remove their freedom of choice by centralizing all decision making (big government).

David Regan summarized the character of the Antichrist like this:
The overall picture is that of an ego-maniac who abhors God and exploits people for his own purposes. He is deceptive and ruthless. He is a man devoid of integrity. This is probably the reason that when Jesus returns, John characterizes Him as the "Faithful and True" One (Revelation 19:11), in contrast to the Antichrist who has been both unfaithful and untrue.
Being in the world the Antichrist rules over will be a fearful time. Thank God that followers of Jesus will be taken out of the world prior to the Antichrist’s rise to power.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spirit of Antichrist

The Bible makes clear that before Jesus returns, the nations of the world will be united under a single ruler. Revelation 13:7 says, “authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation” (NKJ). This world ruler is the Antichrist. He is called that because he presents himself as the savior of mankind in opposition to the Messiah of the Bible.

The Antichrist comes on the world scene just prior to a time period Jesus called the "Tribulation" (Matthew 24:9). Most of the terrible events described in the Bible that precede the return of Jesus occur during this time period. We know we are not currently in the Tribulation because the Antichrist has not yet risen to power and the terrible events associated with it have not yet occurred. But Jesus said that some of the awful events of the Tribulation would be like birth pangs in Matthew 24:8 so we should expect them foreshadowing this time period.

Likewise, we should also expect to see attitudes emerge that foreshadow the perspective of the Antichrist who represents himself as the world’s savior instead of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the Apostle John told us in 1 John 4:3, “the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” The spirit of Antichrist was present in the world even during John’s day but has grown even stronger since then because “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” 2 Timothy 3:13.

Besides the re-establishment of the nation of Israel and the acceleration toward a world-wide government, the most striking developments that tell me we are getting close to the Rapture of the church is the growing pervasiveness of the spirit of Antichrist. So it is instructive to consider what the Bible says about the character of the Antichrist since these reveal the spirit of the Antichrist.

I’ll be taking a closer look at the character traits that the Bible gives for the Antichrist in the next few blog posts. Being able to recognize the values and attitudes that will be held by the Antichrist helps us see how close we are to the coming of the Beast of Revelation. And this should drive us closer to Jesus who will remove His followers from the earth prior to the Tribulation.

The Tribulation is something I’m happy to only read about in God’s Word; none of us should risk having to experience it first hand.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ignoring Iran

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said last Monday that a new tougher sanctions resolution on Iran is likely to come before the United Nations Security Council sometime in the next several months. She went on to express her frustrations that the process was taking so long. This reveals the impotence of the US doctrine of collaborating with the world on censuring the evil intentions of Iran.

I have three reactions to this story: (1) we are telling Israel that they are on their own regarding Iran; (2) what do you expect... big government bureaucrats take forever to get anything done, imagine how well this works on a global scale; and (3) it looks like Obama is really OK with the idea of letting Iran go nuclear.

Letting Israel deal with this threat on their own is perhaps the greatest threat to our country. In Genesis 12:33 God promised Israel through Abraham, "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you" (NKJ). I do not like the idea of testing that promise. Doing so will bring tragedy to this country faster than anything we can do to ourselves. Pray that our government supports Israel through the Mid East confrontations to come.

It will be painfully obvious to all who love the idea of a global government as the solution to the world's problems that an executive is needed to cut through all the red tape. This exercise will prepare everyone for that day which is rapidly approaching. As Revelation 17:13 says, "these are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast."

Regarding my third reaction, there is a lot that our president does (or does not do) which reveals the spirit of the Antichrist. Certainly letting the Islamic government of Iran grow in power is something the Antichrist would like to see happen. Leaders in the government of Iran desire nuclear capability to cause the conflict between nations that will bring forth their messiah, al Mahdi; the Antichrist will be happy to step into that role. 1 John 4:3 says, "every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world."

When considering the growth of evil in the world, it is helpful to remember, "that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).

Thursday, March 4, 2010

States' Rights & Racism

Rick Perry has won the Republican Primary for the next gubernatorial election in Texas. And the Leftists have already started their campaign against him claiming that a speech he made on States' Rights at a Tea Party gathering was racist. Leftists have labeled the concept of states' rights to be racist because it was once a civil rights issue. Just because people hid behind states' rights to deny civil liberties does not mean the principle of states' rights is bad; wrong is wrong whether it is a state law or a federal one.

Related to this, there is also a move afoot to position the Tea Party movement in America to be racist because participants are largely white and middle class. Having participated in a Tea Party gathering myself, I know that racism is not the motivation for the movement. There may indeed be racists getting on board with it but there is no reason to throw the baby out with the bath water. Tea Partiers are united in their disgust of government spending like drunken sailors and taxing everything in their wake. Leftists are trying to paint that perspective as racist. This is not logical but we are living in Orwellian times.

What is interesting about name callers is that they are often as bad or worse than those who they are trying to defame. People who are quick to label their political opponents as racist generally also want to go beyond equal rights for people and convey special rights to certain groups they consider disadvantaged. And they don't even realize how condescending it is to say for example that black people need special governmental help because their capacity to help themselves is below average. So who are the real racists? For more comments on racism, please see an essay I wrote many years ago titled "The Biblical Response to Racism."

Back to the war on states' rights; this is basically a war on rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Obama is already on record for lamenting that the Constitution is a document of "negative liberties." Certainly the more Obama can erode private and states' liberties, the more power he will secure for himself. Changing laws to make for more centralized control is yet another expression of the spirit of Antichrist... "He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law" (Daniel 7:25, NKJ).

Changing laws to accommodate more centralized control is the trend that defines our times. It is obvious even to those who casually consider this trend that it will ultimately lead to a global government just as the Bible says in Revelation 13:7. The question is how soon this will happen. With the accelerating birth pangs we are experiencing, it will not be long before some catastrophe becomes the catalyst for another major lurch toward more centralized control.

While the world blindly pursues more and more bondage to government, it is such a pleasure to have yielded control of my life to Jesus... "if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:36).

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Axes of Evil

As I was reading a Stratfor analysis on Afghanistan, I was struck by how agents of evil so often collaborate despite seemingly divergent agendas. The Taliban are in bed with opium producers in Afghanistan using it to fund their operations. We have also seen how North Korea has been selling missile and nuclear technology to Iran. And we have seen Venezuela strong-man Hugo Chavez getting buddy-buddy with Cuba and Iran.

The reason we see such cooperation between the enemies of Western Civilization is that they are being pulled together by unseen spiritual agents with an agenda to undermine the will of God. Ephesians 6:12 says, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (NKJ).

Some would question that Western Civilization is on the side of God and I'd have to agree because all nations are are under the influence of Satan to some degree. But that is the key to understanding the dynamics here, it is a matter of degrees. The United States as the leader of Western Civilization has done the most in acting as a force for good in the world. In this sense the United States has acted as an agent of God... "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights" (James 1:17).

Satan is not omnipotent since he is only a fallen angel but he has a lot of help. About a third of the angels will eventually chose to follow him per Revelation 12:4. And Satan's minions are organized parallel to our worldly governments. The prophet Daniel learned this when an angel of God told him why he was delayed in bringing him a message... "the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia." This is a revealing picture of the spiritual warfare that is raging in the spiritual realm. Michael is a powerful archangel, one of only three named angels in Scripture.

As we get closer to the Tribulation, we can expect to see more axises of evil forming leading up to the ultimate one... "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast" (Revelation 17:12-13).

This is not a time to risk becoming aligned with the forces of evil in the world. The best way to do that is to seek a closer relationship with Jesus.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beginning of Sorrows

In the wake of the massive magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile so close to the devastating one in Haiti, it is natural to wonder if these major events are happening with greater frequency. If this is the case, we should expect the Rapture soon because Jesus said that signs indicating His imminent return would be, "nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:7-8, NKJ). The NIV translates verse 8 as, "all these are the beginning of birth pains" (NIV). Since we have always had wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, the increase in intensity and frequency like birth pangs is what makes them a sign.

People seem to be divided on whether intense earthquakes are increasing in frequency. A MSNBC article cited one expert dismissing the idea that major earthquakes are increasing in frequency saying it only appears this way due to our short human memories and better world-wide communications. But the article went on to quote another expert who disagreed:
"Relative to the 20-year period from the mid-1970s to the mid 1990s, the Earth has been more active over the past 15 or so years," said Stephen S. Gao, a geophysicist at Missouri University of Science and Technology. "We still do not know the reason for this yet."

So we are left to choose which expert we most believe. People who don't know all that the Bible has to say about "The End Of The World As We Know It" would be in a quandary and thus likely to dismiss earthquakes as a sign until more agreement exists in the scientific community. That is why they will be caught by surprise when the Lord returns. There is a lot more than the increasing frequency of earthquakes indicating that the return of Jesus is growing closer every day. When you look at all the trends indicating that the return of Jesus is near, it is no surprise that earthquakes would be increasing in frequency. Is that self-fulfilling prophecy, or accurately discerning the times? Everyone must decide for themselves which it is.

"It is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed" (Romans 13:11).

Monday, March 1, 2010

Beasts of the Earth

Drug-resistant malaria is 'growing' in Cambodia. Malaria is caused by a blood parasite and is usually transmitted by mosquitoes. It is easy to dismiss such a news item thinking that is on the other side of the world but with the global interconnectedness we have today, it will not be long before an infectious disease observed in Cambodia will be seen everywhere.

The rise of drug resistant pestilences is one of the afflictions that will characterize the Tribulation. Revelation 6:8 says, "So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth" (NKJ). We usually think of the "beasts of the earth" as wild animals but these organisms are significantly more terrible since we can't even see them with the naked eye. As an Army ROTC buddy of mine once said many years ago, "I'm not scared of anything that can be dispatched with sufficient firepower."

Besides malarial parasites, we have already heard about drug resistant staph infections which are caused by bacteria. Bacteria, parasites, and viruses are all living organisms that may be categorized as beasts of the earth. We have seen them get worse even in these days of modern medicine which foreshadows what will happen during the Tribulation. Jesus said in Matthew 24:8 that signs of His coming will be like birth pangs and He even called put pestilences specifically in Matthew 24:7 so we can expect to see the beasts of the earth becoming an increasing problem from now on.

Don't count on government (or even private sector) health care to protect you from what is coming. "Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones" (Proverbs 3:7-8).

As we see the beasts of the earth beginning to rise up, "look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near" (Luke 21:28).