Monday, March 30, 2015

Gathering Against Israel

When did support for Israel become a political issue? You'd think that a modern, secular democracy threatened by people who engage in or are sympathetic toward religion-motivated terrorism would have bipartisan support in the United States. Once upon a time our support for Israel did indeed go across political parties. But alas, that has to change if we are to embrace the utopian new world envisioned by our ruling elite.

The animosity President Obama has for Israel is legend. It seems every day we learn something new about how the leader of the free world seeks revenge for Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu opposing our appeasing Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. The Obama administration did everything they could to keep Netanyahu from being re-elected, they have insisted on Israel giving up land they captured in 1967, they threatened to stop blocking resolutions against Israel at the United Nations, they have accused Israel of spying, and they have revealed Israel's nuclear secrets.

The U.S. officially turning against Israel reveals how close we are to the return of Christ. We have been one of the few nations that have helped keep the wolves at bay but have recently made it clear that Israel is on her own. This is just as Scripture said it would be in the time-frame of the Lord's return: "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).

Some Bible skeptics will say that seeing prophecy such as this being realized is self-fulfilling; that Christians enable prophecy to be fulfilled so we can say the Bible is true. But this would mean that it is Christians who are behind turning nations against Israel. How ludicrous; such convoluted excuses for unbelief is proof that people who oppose God do not think rationally (Romans 1:28). True Christians pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), support Israel out of gratitude to God for blessing us through the Jews (Genesis 12:1-3) and recognize that God is not done using Israel to be a blessing to mankind (Romans 11:25, Zechariah 8:22-23).

Others will say that the United States is not completely against Israel because the Republicans in Congress still favor them. Well this is something that does give Israel supporters hope but we'll see if it makes any real difference. We have seen how effective the Republicans have been trying to oppose anything Obama wants to do; the spirit of Antichrist is strong with our president having the irrational invincibility that foreshadows the Beast of Revelation 13:4. The momentum is on the side of change and the world turning against Israel is among the trends that are apparent to the spiritually discerning who are actively watching for the return of Christ.

There will be consequences for touching the apple of God's eye (Zechariah 2:8). The United States has seen an amazing correlation of natural disasters on previous occasions when we have pressured Israel to divide up God's land (Joel 3:1-2, see "End Times Evangelism" pages 90-93). Those occasions were warnings. The fact that we are not seeing any natural disasters despite the recent intense pressure Obama is putting on Israel tells me the time for warning is over. So it looks like God is saving up His wrath for the judgment of the Tribulation when the Church will not be on earth. At least I hope that is the case, we are in the midst of the birth pangs preceding the Tribulation that are pretty painful to those caught up in them.

The world turning against Israel is just one more indicator that we are getting ever closer to the end of the Church Age. "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matthew 24:44).

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Latter Rain

The Church Age will have an amazing supernatural end at the Rapture. The Church similarly had a spectacular beginning on the Day of Pentecost. Since Pentecost was when the Holy Spirit first began indwelling believers, this event was dramatic being described as "a rushing mighty wind" and "appeared to them [as] divided tongues, as of fire" causing people to speak in languages foreign to them (Acts 2:2-4). 

The Apostle Peter quoted Joel 2:28 to explain what happened on the Day of Pentecost, "it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams" (Acts 2:17). In context, this is referring to the return of Jesus, "the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord" (Acts 2:20 & Joel 2:31).

The fact that it has been almost 2,000 years and Jesus has not returned might lead some to think that Peter was wrong. But if you go back to Joel to see what he was talking about, the Prophet Joel characterized the pouring out of the Spirit of God in two phases: "Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you; the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month" (Joel 2:23).

Now Joel 2:23 is referring to literal rain. God blessed Israel with rains in the Spring and the Fall. Israel was having a drought at the time this was written and was looking forward to the prosperity that came from more abundant rain. But the context here reveals a prophetic aspect to the pouring out of God's Spirit. Here we see God talking about pouring out rain as a symbolic reference to pouring out His Spirit. As God promised to bless Israel with early and latter rain, He also promised them to pour out His Spirit in two separate phases. He poured out the early rain of His Spirit on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit began indwelling followers of Christ. 

The latter rain will be when God pours out his Spirit on the nation of Israel as represented by the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and 14. While this is a promise to the nation of Israel, there is a principle here that applies to the Church. The Church began with God pouring out His Spirit on Jewish Christians, then God also poured out His Spirit on the Gentiles as well (see Acts 10:45). So we should expect God to likewise pour out His Spirit on all nations at the end of the Church Age as God prepares to work through Israel again. Jesus established this principle of prophetic developments foreshadowing the events of the Tribulation when He spoke of birth pangs in the Olivet Discourse. 

God has begun pouring out His Spirit on all nations. When I was at Texas Instruments, I met a man through our Bible study group there who was born in Indonesia, a Muslim country. It goes without saying that missionaries are not exactly encouraged in Islamic countries. But this does not limit God. My coworker from Indonesia came to Christ as a result of Jesus appearing to him in a vision. He became an engineer to facilitate his immigration to the U.S. because Indonesia was not exactly friendly to Christians. Since I've heard the testimony of my coworker, I've heard many other testimonies of Muslims from various places converting to Christianity by direct revelation. And there is also this recent article documenting the phenomenon of Muslims converting to Christianity as a result of personally seeing a vision of the Savior.

The supernatural pouring out of God's Spirit is a clear sign we are in the season of the Jesus returning. This should cause followers of Christ to get on with doing what God is calling them to do and provoke those who are agnostic toward Jesus to get off the fence. The Church Age is coming to a close and the end will be spectacularly supernatural. People who witness the Rapture will have two clear choices: (1) believe the Bible by embracing Jesus Christ to be saved, or (2) embrace the lie explaining away the Rapture to get their wish of spending eternity separated from their Creator. As for "me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).

Monday, March 16, 2015

United States in Decline

It is hard to deny that the United States does not have as much influence in the world as we once had. There was a day not too long ago when the U.S. threat of intervention in a nation's affairs had sufficient teeth that a rouge nation like Libya gave up their pursuit of nuclear weapons. Now, we negotiate with pariah nations to get the best deal we can to extend the peace for just a little longer. Appeasement has such an attractive track-record especially to people who think they are smarter than all who have tried it before them. This blatant display of weakness has only served to encourage other bad actors like the Islamic State to pursue their dream of a worldwide theocracy.  

No doubt this sounds like I'm advocating war without doing everything we can to make peace.  War is a terrible business and I share the vision for peace. But I am a realist and know there will be worse consequences for allowing nuclear proliferation to metastasize, particularly by enemies of Western Civilization. Our allowing Iran to proceed with their nuclear weapon development only causes other regional powers like Saudi Arabia to get their own weapons to counter the threat.

Humanists believe just talking about peace will bring peace. But for peace talks to be effective, you have to back it up with a credible threat of action. Trying to appease tyrants in the pursuit of peace always fails because the concept of sin is not understood. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). Humanists believe they are smart enough that they can convince people to agree with them on the power of their logic alone. They are willing to make compromises as part of quid pro quo but do not realize that yielding to evil causes the whole bargain to be fouled (Galatians 5:9).

There is more to the decline of the U.S. than in just foreign affairs. The dollar maintains its strength but that is because the economy of the world is in such sad shape. Many will say a strong dollar is good for the U.S. but this forgets that our fiat money system is still a house of cards that is only standing up by the grace of God. There are increasing efforts on the part of the emerging Chinese economic powerhouse to replace the dollar as the world's reserve currency. It would not take much of a crisis to bring our economy crashing down. The Bible tells us that there will a crisis sufficient to cause a worldwide leader to emerge and institute a new global economic system requiring users to swear allegiance to him (Revelation 13:16-18). The economy of the U.S. has to fail for that to happen. 

I could go on and on with the various categories the U.S. has declined in but that would be more practical for a book than a single blog post. And our move away from constitutional rule of law as a symptom of decline was well summarized in an excellent article by Dr. Robert R. Owens here. Most humanists will deny the U.S. is in decline because they believe we have been in tough fixes before and have been able to deliver ourselves through the human ingenuity which has gotten us this far. But the Bible tells us that the day will come when mankind's idol of self-sufficiency will come crashing down.

There is also a growing number of people even in this country who will say the U.S. loss of power is a good thing. But this is because they identify with the Globalist ideology that is systematically orchestrating the decline. The rationale for pursuing the new global order is the quest for peace... if the world can truly work together then we shouldn't have any wars. But again this neglects to comprehend the human sin nature and is as if the U.S. loss of security can bring more security to the world. There will not be peace between the nations until the Prince of Peace returns.

The growing vision for a new global order tells me we are very close to the end of the Church Age. The U.S. used to be a shining beacon of freedom and hope for the world. But as that light becomes dimmer, the only thing replacing it is the desire for a utopian global order which the Bible says will happen after the Church is removed from the planet.

The Bible also says that the utopian global order envisioned by the humanists will be a colossal failure. Mankind will get it's shot at running things their way but this only serves to make way for the Kingdom of God on earth. I don't look forward to any self-fulfilling prophecy of a theocracy as the Islamists do but to the supernatural intervention of God in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. This world sorely needs Jesus to return.  Be ready, He is coming soon.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Extraterrestrial Contact

In the midst of all the signs that the stage is being set for the Tribulation, there are also increasing instances of government officials thinking about how they will break the news to the public about UFOs. Outgoing Obama adviser John Podesta said that his greatest regret was not being able to disclose to the public what the government knows about UFOs. That means he believes there is something the government knows about UFOs that the public doesn't. Apparently, NASA has been working on a plan for how they will break the news of extraterrestrial contact to the public.

I can help NASA with their plan to disclose extraterrestrial contact to the public. First, there has to be some significant development that is undeniably a demonstration of extraterrestrial technology. Then, when the event happens, our key trusted officials will go on all the mainstream TV networks to assure the public that what they have witnessed was anticipated and nothing to be feared. They will announce that your trusted government has been in contact with aliens from space who have explained what has happened. The explanation for why millions of people have disappeared at the Rapture will be that extraterrestrials have removed them.

The devil is in the details so there will have to be a reason given for why millions of people have been removed from the planet. One likely explanation will be that an attack was made by malevolent space aliens who are preparing to invade earth. Of course it will be a friendly species of extraterrestrials that will tell our officials about that and there will be good news that they will help us repulse the invasion. But it will be important for the nations of earth to work together if they are going to be successful against the invaders. It will take a worldwide government to do that so it will be time to set aside national interests and embrace the new order of things.

Since it will be noticed that it was only Christians who disappeared, there will have to be an explanation for that as well. Our space alien friends might claim they were able to restrict the enemy alien attack to mostly those people in society who expected their God to come for them. Our space brothers and trusted government officials will tell us that society will be better off without those harboring antiquated mores as Christians do. Indeed it will be followers of Christ who will resist the efforts of the emerging global Great Leader to organize the world against the extraterrestrial Enemy. So those Christians who will not swear allegiance to the new global order will be hunted down and eliminated because they will be seen as enemies of the State holding society back.

The Bible tells us that extraterrestrials will make contact with mankind to rally the nations together for the last great battle at Armageddon: "I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet" (Revelation 16:13). It is amazing that the visions people have had of space aliens are universally similar with smooth features, large eyes, no nose and a head shaped like a frog. This is just as the Apostle John saw in his vision that was recorded in the book of Revelation.

The deception during the Tribulation will be that the "friendly aliens" making contact with mankind to help repulse the attack of the "enemy aliens" are really fallen angels rallying rebellious humanity against the Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus returns, He will be accompanied by extraterrestrial forces composed of the resurrected Church and the Holy Angels. People of earth will see Jesus coming and will embrace any explanation that tells them they didn't bet on the wrong horse. "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30).

This is the challenge that I pose to my skeptic naturalist friends: When the president goes on CNN to explain the Rapture, will you embrace his explanation that it was simply a demonstration of extraterrestrial technology or believe the ancient Scriptures that it was God supernaturally intervening in our world? Some who are already predisposed to believe God's Word will recognize the Rapture for what it is. But most will embrace the lie because it fits their naturalist worldview which is a strong religion. "God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie" (2 Thessalonians 2:11).

Amazing developments are going on in the world. We can either bury our heads in the sand or face reality and be ready for the end of the Age. Now is not a good time to be agnostic about Jesus Christ. He has revealed to us "the end from the beginning" (Isaiah 46:10) and we can see the stage being set for His return every day in the news. We don't know when the Rapture will occur but indications are it will be sooner than most of us expect. As Jesus admonished us, "be ready" (Matthew 24:44).

Monday, March 2, 2015

Infrastructure for Control

Now that the Federal Communications Commission is going forward with its plan to regulate the Internet, we should begin to learn how they intend to throttle the greatest free speech tool we have ever had.  Oh, you thought by the name of "net neutrality" that it was all about fairness?  Anyone who buys this Orwellian deception is in for a rude awakening.

It may be a while before we know the full impact of what the new Internet regulations will be.  But in a February 4th issue of Wired, FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler revealed their intentions when he said:
"My proposal includes a general conduct rule that can be used to stop new and novel threats to the Internet. This means the action we take will be strong enough and flexible enough not only to deal with the realities of today, but also to establish ground rules for the as yet unimagined." 

Now what do you think he means by "threats to the Internet?"  Do we need to be concerned about the Islamic State blowing up the servers at Comcast or Netflix?  More likely the threats the Obama administration has in mind are those that undermine his agenda and power. Commissioner Wheeler is saying the new regulations will enable the FCC to cause Internet Service Providers to handle network information differently based on content.  This means the FCC will be able to control content on the Internet based on what they consider to be “just and reasonable.”

Do we really want to empower the FCC to decide what is "just and reasonable" on the Internet? And in our postmodern society we have already seen that what is “just and reasonable” today will not necessarily be “just and reasonable” tomorrow.  Make no mistake, these new federal powers over the Internet will eventually be used to censor opposition to the ruling elite. All that is needed for the federal government to exercise these new powers is some state of emergency either real or fabricated.

Where are the checks and balances to stop the regular power grabs of our president?  Congressional Republicans have already said they would not pursue  impeachment which is the only counter balance to growing presidential powers. So our president is free to deliver on his promise to fundamentally change America.  The president's sycophants think this change has to be for the better because that is the way evolution has worked, right?  Such blindness to reality keeps people from seeing the slight of hand removing the freedoms that have made this country great

Generally the people in this country are oblivious to the trends going on in the world. I can understand why, they are pretty disturbing if given any serious consideration.  But, to ignore these trends is to ignore reality and thus be overwhelmed when these developments mature.

Fortunately, God is ultimately in control and restrains evil (2 Thessalonians 2:7) so the worst loss of our freedoms will not occur during the Church Age.  But we can see how the stage is being set for the Lawless One to control mankind.  This is not a good time to be on the fence about Jesus Christ. Seeing our freedoms evaporate is just one more thing that should cause us to "look up, and lift up our heads, because our redemption draws near" (Luke 21:28).