Monday, November 30, 2015

God of Fortresses

All indications are that we are very close to the return of the Messiah and thus in a time when we can expect to see birth pangs foreshadowing the Tribulation. So it is instructive then to be familiar with the traits of the world ruler who will be the Beast of Revelation because we should expect to see the spirit of Antichrist present and growing in the world. Among the many characteristics of the coming Antichrist is this: "he shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses" (Daniel 11:37-38, NKJV).

Many have said the Antichrist must be of Jewish descent because of Daniel 11:37 referring to the "God of his fathers." That may well be the case but it could also mean that he is a descendant of Abraham via Ishmael and thus a Muslim. However, speculation on this is an idle exercise because the Church will not be here when it becomes apparent to the world who he is at the beginning of the Tribulation. The Antichrist will also have no regard for the Messiah who has historically been "the desire of women" among Jewish mothers. But what is interesting here for the purpose of this article is that the Antichrist will honor a "god of fortresses."  

Back in the Prophet Daniel's day, security was found in fortified cities. According to the historian Herodotus, Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon was protected by a brick wall in the form of a square, 14 miles on each side, 300 feet high, 25 feet thick and extending 35 feet below ground. As if that was not enough, the wall was encircled by a massive moat, there was another wall 75 feet inside the first wall, and there were also 250 450-foot-high towers distributed around the fortress. All these fortifications did not stop the Medes and Persians from taking the city who exploited a weakness diverting the Euphrates river which ran through the city and simply walked in underneath the wall.

The leading nations of the world are secured today not so much in fortresses but in weapon systems that can project awesome power great distances. The common thread between what secured cities in the days of fortresses and today is technology. As ancient wealthy nations had technology to build towers, walls and moats, today we have technology for intelligence gathering, weapons, and delivery systems. Unfortunately, we have come to trust in this technology instead of the One who blesses us with technology. We have forgotten that, "unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain" (Psalm 127:1).

The Antichrist will certainly employ technology to aid him in controlling the people of the world. The technology for both the mark of the beast and the image of the beast already exist (Revelation 13:14-17). And it is easy to see how today's technology will enable half the population of the planet to be exterminated during the Tribulation (Revelation 6:8 & 9:18). It is also likely that the narrative explaining away the Rapture of the Church will involve an application of extraterrestrial technology. So it is no wonder that the Antichrist will honor the technological "god of fortresses."

We have in this country already made an idol of technology foreshadowing the Antichrist honoring the "god of fortresses" during the Tribulation. We are totally dependent on our technological marvels not knowing what to do with ourselves when the power goes out. Indeed, the younger generations have difficulty interacting with one another preferring instead to keep their eyes on their electronic devices. We trust that the distribution systems bringing our food to us from afar will continue to work as it always has. And the government with their paid, high priests of science are working to make us feel guilty about our use of energy in preparation for the austerity that will one day be forced on us.

We trust in our superior American technology to deliver us from any nation that would dare attack us. There is however a nagging feeling that this is but a false sense of security since a rag-tag band of Islamic terrorists armed with box cutters were able to bring us to our knees on September 11, 2001. We believe that surely we've adapted our technology to keep this from happening again. But then the recent Paris attacks showed us how such confidence can so easily be shaken. We are in the age of asymmetric warfare when we are not up against a nation-state where our technology can give us an advantage. Indeed, our dependence on technology has become a disadvantage that is being exploited by a resilient, nimble ideological foe not limited by the conventions of past wars.

Our greatest disadvantage in this new form of warfare is society's multicultural values which prevents us from being honest about what is really threatening us. Our trusted leaders continually repeat the dogma that Islam is a religion of peace when all evidence and rational evaluation screams the exact opposite. Whenever we see manifestations of a debased mind such as this, we should recognize that God is removing His restraint of evil to set the stage for the consequences of turning away from Him. Our national idols of prosperity and technological security will not deliver us from God's wrath.

This nation's trusted governmental leaders have been assuring us of peace and security which is apparently enough to convince the majority of the sheep that we have nothing to worry about. Most people in this country have too much invested in the progressive humanist promise of utopia to turn away from that now. But those of us with a biblical worldview know that any path away from God will meet with disaster. Indeed, "for when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape" (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

Jesus said in John 17:11-14 that His followers are in the world but not of the world. So we don't have to succumb to the sin of worshiping the idols of the world. But this doesn't mean we are immune to the consequences of the sin perpetrated by those who are of the world. There will be Tribulation birth pangs that makes for perilous times; just ask the Christians in the ISIS-controlled regions of Syria if there are any still alive there. In the face of Tribulation birth pangs, our hope is not in this world but in Christ remembering that, "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).

Monday, November 23, 2015

Longing for Peace

The comments our government officials have made in the wake of the terrorist attack on Paris does not instill confidence that they have the best interests of this nation in mind. The political correctness which seeks to keep us from focusing our attention on the root cause of the terrorism plaguing this world will only allow it to get worse. You can't fight an evil that you can't even talk about. It doesn't look like Western Civilization in general and the United States in particular is willing to set aside its utopian multicultural values enough to admit that the Islamic culture is not just incompatible, it is at war with us.

I keep hearing that the world needs to be patient with the Islamists, that all they need is a reformation like occurred with Christianity. People saying this are seeing the world through their evolutionary worldview filter and miss what really happened with the Protestant Reformation. When Martin Luther had his revelation that "the just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17, NKJV), it resulted in a movement to take the Bible more literally as our only source of authority, sola scriptura. The problem with Islam is that this religion is in fact undergoing a reformation to take the Quran literally in our day which means the concept of jihad is transformed from a benign spiritual struggle to a physical one. As Christians strive to follow the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, increasingly Muslims emulate their Prophet Mohammad who had a very violent life.

We expect to hear uninspired commentary from liberal politicians trying to keep us from getting into a war with Islam. But I continue to be surprised by the solidarity liberal Christians have with Leftist causes. Liberal Christians don't want us to get in a war with Islam either; indeed, they don't believe any war is justified ever. War is a terrible business and I too wish we didn't have to have wars. But Jesus said there would be increasing wars and rumors of wars as a sign of His soon coming. So our thinking we can avoid war in this pre-Millennial Age by refusing to participate is only going to make the war more terrible when it is forced on us.

Among the things I can't shake my fascination with is how followers of Christ can embrace the issues of the Left. The only way they can do this is by taking a very liberal view of Scripture thinking the Bible is the story of man's search for God rather than the inspired Word of God. I have also found it is pretty predictable that politically liberal Christians are more aligned with the world embracing such doctrines as theistic evolution and amillennialism.

One of the common misunderstandings of liberal Christians is the distinction given in Scripture between the role of Christians as individuals versus the role of nations ordained by God to protect its citizens. Liberal Christians think nations should act as God calls individuals to "love your enemies" (Matthew 5:44). This would work for the nations too if they were made up of Christ-followers. But they are not and acting as though they were is not realistic in this world that sorely needs the Prince of Peace to reign. The plan of God is for nations to serve as His proxy in subduing evil in this world, that an agent of the government "does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil" (Romans 13:4). When nations fail to mete out God's wrath on evil, evil will grow and that is where we find ourselves in this world today.

The situation in Syria certainly bears watching. The United States trying to avoid confronting evil by getting in another war there has only given an opportunity to Russia. It has been reported that Vladimir Putin wants to bring 150,000 ground troops to Syria in the war against ISIS. Do we really think that Russia just wants to confront the evil of ISIS or do they have another agenda? It sure looks to me like the stage is getting set fulfillment of Ezekiel 38.

Not confronting radical Islam as the evil it is only encourages it's proponents to increase their efforts to conquer the world for Allah. Unfortunately, the god of Islam is the same god who is behind the growing spirit of Antichrist in this world. So we can expect more Islamic terrorism and more warfare in the world. The only relief for the nations will be the return of Jesus. The Millennial Kingdom will have the world peace the nations long for when: "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore" (Isaiah 2:4).

In the meantime, until Jesus returns to establish His Millennial Kingdom, there will be consequences of nations neglecting their duty before God. It is good to be a citizen of heaven looking for our Bridegroom to come for us before this world experiences God's wrath.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Political Correctness

Once upon a time in the United States, we had a sense that racial conflict was behind us. We fought a Civil War to end slavery, had a civil rights movement ending Jim Crow laws institutionalizing discrimination, made school desegregation a priority, implemented affirmative action, and elected a black president. But now we find that these measures were not enough. For social justice to be served, reparations and spreading the wealth around are in order to counter balance the "white privilege" that was baked into our society from the founding of this nation.

Given what the Bible says about the end times, we should not be surprised that this world can not get past racial conflict even in this country where we have made so much progress. Among the birth pang signs Jesus gave indicating the nearness of His return was that, "nation will rise against nation" (Matthew 24:7, NKJV). The original Greek word translated "nation" is pronounced "ethnos" which is a clear reference to race. Thus, the closer we get to Jesus returning, the more we can expect to see racial conflicts.

A good example of what we can expect to see more of in this country was seen this past week at the University of Missouri resulting in their president Tim Wolfe resigning. This was precipitated by the school’s football team threatening to go on strike in solidarity with student protests over alleged “systematic oppression” of blacks at the school. One of the revealing side-stories related to this was a report that at least one of the liberal professors who encouraged the protesters did not want the media filming their activities. Since when did protesters not want the media involved? This begs the question, what did the liberal professor not want the media to see? Were there outside agitators involved in organizing the student protests? Given the proximity of the university to Ferguson, Missouri where there were violent protests over the shooting of Michael Brown, you have to wonder if some of the same outside organizers were involved. 

The ultimate agenda behind those stirring up the people crying racism is to fundamentally change our country. The forces behind these changes want to break down our existing system of governmental authority in order to install their vision of what they think would be more just. While they will not admit this, they effectively want to throw out our being governed by the rule of law and put rule of man in its place. They don't see rule of man as being oppressive if they can install their own man as their ruler. And this can happen if all opposition to their man is suppressed. But, they'll never be satisfied because any system based on rule of man sets the stage for a tyranny which will have ugly consequences.

For the forces of cultural change to succeed, they have to neutralize conservatives in general and Christians in particular. The tactic they have been using that is gaining more traction is to advance the narrative that conservatives and Christians are racists. Those of us who want to hold on to our Constitutional freedoms are viewed as supporting a racially flawed system and standing in the way of fundamental change.

Republican presidential candidate, Texas Senator Ted Cruz recently expressed frustration with the Leftist narrative about conservatives and did a masterful job of turning their tactic back on them during the debate last Tuesday. Cruz said, "for those of us who believe that people ought to come to this country legally and that we should enforce the law, we're tired of being told it's anti-immigrant. It's offensive." His comments were well received by those watching the debate because conservatives are tired as being labeled racists.

And as a Christian, I am fed up with being labeled a racist by the so-called progressives. These agents of change believe the United States is fundamentally flawed because we ostensibly had a Christian founding yet still accommodated slavery. It is also argued that there has to be a connection between the Bible belt being in the South where slavery was practiced and defended. Yes, there were "professing" Christians who defended slavery using the Bible but the progressive Christ-haters ignore the fact that people can make the Bible say anything they want it to say if you don't apply orthodox hermeneutics by considering the context. The truth is, it was Bible-believing Christians who were behind all the various movements to abolish slavery.

The truth of how Jesus has blessed us is rejected by people who insist on living the lie they have embraced so they can continue in their sin of rejecting their Creator as the Captain of their Soul. Thus they will embrace whatever perspective reinforces their anti-God worldview. This is why the perception of history is changing and the inconvenient truth about what actually happened is irrelevant. Facts don't matter in this postmodern age since they are being trumped by the politically correct narrative. The historical revisionism of our day foreshadows the coming of the Antichrist who will "intend to change times and law" (Daniel 7:25).

The strategy of the Left is to neutralize any resistance to their agenda by demonizing their opposition. The tactic that has been working so well for them is to put teeth behind political correctness. Those who do not embrace their agenda are being silenced through intimidation and increasingly by the power of the State. Conservatives and Christians who don't support an agenda of abortion, gay marriage, global warming, open borders, socialism and multiculturalism are marginalized as being misogynists, homophobes, unscientific, racists, and extremists. We are being seen as holding society back and the time will come when this will rise to regarding us as enemies of the State. We can hope that the Rapture of the Church will happen before this gets really bad but we shouldn't be surprised by persecution birth pangs (John 15:20, Matthew 24:9).

Jesus told us that political correctness would be a sign of His soon coming in Matthew 24:10: "many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another." Today's political correctness tactic of the progressives will become an engine of persecution during the Tribulation. On an intellectual level, progressives admit that political correctness stifles free speech which makes it a bad thing. But on a practical level, progressives must stifle the free speech of their ideological opponents because their arguments consistently fail in the open marketplace of ideas. Truth has an uncanny way of becoming known when free speech is allowed to flourish. The very fact that it is the progressives who have to use political correctness to further their agenda speaks volumes about the value of their ideological positions. Tyrants can not tolerate any opposition.

The more our nation's useful idiots take the path of least resistance siding with social and political progressives in advancing politically correct thought, the more our freedom of speech will evaporate. It is one thing to say you love freedom, it is a totally different thing to actually practice it. "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan" (Proverbs 29:2). The loss of our freedoms do cause us to groan. Come soon Lord Jesus!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Global Tyranny

Among the growing indications of how close we are to the end of the Church Age is the accelerating progress toward the global government of the Antichrist. Bible skeptics dismiss the idea that we are headed toward global government despite all the signs. When facts don't support a person's worldview, they tend to just ignore the facts so that they don't have to change their perspective. Pride is a powerful emotion that keeps people from coming to a knowledge of the truth.

It is interesting to note how bold the global visionaries are now getting with their New World Order rhetoric. They too sense that we are on the very cusp of massive geopolitical changes that will enable the world's ruling elite to implement the massive changes they covet. So the "one-world government conspiracies" are now coming out of the closet. We've recently heard how President Obama and Pope Francis both have advocated for global government to fix our problems. And more recently the global power broker George Soros is on the record saying that Europe needs to be open to the Islamic refugees seeking asylum and sees "national borders as the obstacle." In other words, the solution for the immigration crisis threatening Western Civilization is to get rid of national borders!

An excellent article by John W. Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute describes three key trends that are pushing us toward global tyranny. The first of these trends is seen in our government joining with other global authorities in redefining the global war on terrorism into a war against "domestic extremists." But since it is not politically correct to target Islamic extremists in this country, all who are opposed to the policies of the government are considered potential enemies of the state. Of course this gives the ruling elite a pretense to suppress any who threaten their power, something our constitutional checks and balances are supposed to serve in protecting our constitutional freedoms. This is why the Constitution is having to be "re-interpreted" for our modern times.

What makes the new definition of "domestic extremist" particularly scary is seen in the second trend, the growing interest in trying to prevent potential crimes from happening by going after likely perpetrators before they have actually done anything. Do you remember the Tom Cruise movie "Minority Report?" The progressive vision of utopia has always included stopping crime before it happens. This certainly sounds good in theory but when the end justifies the means, such a practice becomes a terrible power to grant the state. It will result in the ruling elite targeting those with an ideology in opposition to them as if this makes them a terrorist threat. We have already seen those opposing President Obama's policies being called racists in order to silence them. Tyranny can not tolerate any opposition.

The third developing trend that is contributing to our progress toward global tyranny is represented by President Obama's support for the United Nations "Strong Cities Network." The objective of this program is to use local police forces to enforce law ordained by the United Nations. While this will not immediately initiate a global police state, it certainly lays the groundwork for it. Once the Strong Cities Network is established next year, all we need is some crisis, either natural or man-made, local or global to justify a state of emergency in order to put it into practice.

John Whitehead recognizes that these trends are not favorable to political conservatives in general and to Bible-believing Christians in particular. Indeed, Jesus told us there would be persecution (John 15:20) and the Antichrist will declare all-out war on God's people during the Tribulation (Daniel 7:25) so it is not surprising to see these trends as we near the end of the Church Age. We know the Church will escape the worst of the persecution during the Tribulation but since birth pangs are already being seen, we should steel ourselves for perilous times ahead. But this should also energize us... God will use these times of oppression to save a great many souls; those of us living in this stage of the Church Age have the awesome privilege of being part of what He is doing!

In John Whitehead's article, he is hopeful that we can dissipate the growing clouds of global tyranny through grass-root efforts as Martin Luther King inspired the civil rights movement. We certainly should do what we can to delay the growth of evil in this world. But if we are as close to the end of the Church Age as all indications tell us, the only relief mankind will have is the return of Christ. Come soon Lord Jesus, this world sorely needs you!

Monday, November 2, 2015


Among the sensational topics of Bible prophecy is the idea that hybrid human-angels called Nephilim are again on earth as a sign we are close to the return of Christ. Jesus did say, "as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man" (Matthew 24:37, NIV). Among the characteristics of the "days of Noah" we find this: "The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown" (Genesis 6:4). It is clear that the term "sons of God" has to refer to angels because this is even more clear the other times it is used in the Old Testament: Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7.

It is likely the Greek gods were inspired by the Nephilim since they were, "heroes of old, men of renown." Note that Genesis 6:4 says the Nephilim were also on earth after the flood and we see this when the Israelites conducted a reconnaissance in the Promised Land prior to occupying it: "we saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them" (Numbers 13:33). King David likely dueled with a Nephilim named Goliath who was described as being over nine feet tall (1 Samuel 17:4). Today's tallest basketball players are at least foot and a half shorter, but who knows, some may be Nephilim.

The problem I have with the idea that the Nephilim were hybrid human-angels is that angels don't procreate. Jesus told us, "at the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven" (Matthew 22:30). We also know that angels are non-corporeal spirit-beings because Hebrews 1:7 says, "in speaking of the angels he says, 'He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.'" Angels are like fire in that they can be seen but do not have physical bodies. Yes, angels can manifest themselves as appearing to have physical bodies because Hebrews 13:2 says, "do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." However, angelic spirit-beings do not have physical bodies as Jesus demonstrated after He was resurrected by inviting His disciples to touch Him to verify that He had a physical body (Luke 24:38-39).

So if angels are non-corporeal and can not procreate, how do we explain Genesis 6:4 where it looks like they had children by human mothers? We do know from Scripture that fallen angels, or demons, can possess people who don't have the presence of the Holy Spirit. And these possessions can involve many demons at the same time, see Luke 8:26-33 & 11:24-26. So it seems likely that the progeny of the fallen angels during Noah's day were children born of possessed women (and men) who then grew up being possessed from birth.

But how do we account for the fact that the Nephilim were described as physical giants? And we have Genesis 6:9 which sheds light on why God chose Noah saying he, "was a just man, perfect in his generations" (NKJV). Many have concluded that Noah's genetic line from which the Messiah would have to come was not tainted with the alterations that produced the Nephilim. One very likely possibility then is that the giants of old were the result of genetic manipulation. The fallen angels certainly could have had a role in tweaking the human genome to produce giants because they were highly intelligent beings. Satan is described as being "full of wisdom" prior to his rebellion in Ezekiel 28:12 (NIV).

In our day, it is just a matter of time before we see wide-spread gene modification happening in humans. The Chinese have already been dabbling in it because they have fewer ethical restrictions than in most Western nations. But this will only serve to break down the human gene editing barriers worldwide in the interest of staying competitive. Manipulating the human genome holds the promise of getting rid of genetic diseases and undesirable characteristics. At least one progressive visionary is already dreaming of the day when humans can be given certain desirable animal characteristics as a way to combat global warming. If people are just evolved animals, why not give evolution an assist by tweaking the human genome? Every day we learn of some new depth the debased mind wants mankind to plunge into.

We know that fallen angels left their spiritual domain to mix it up with mankind prior to God's judgment of the flood (Jude 6), so we can expect something like that to also happen prior to God's judgment of the Tribulation. This probably will not result in giants walking the earth this time though we shouldn't rule that out. If we start seeing nine-foot basketball players, we probably should take that as a sign. However, the coming of the new Nephilim will certainly have god-like characteristics as "the heroes of old, men of renown." Jesus warned us that, "false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect" (Matthew 24:24). Indeed, the Antichrist and False Prophet will demonstrate great powers during the Tribulation (Revelation 13:2-17).

We live in amazing times when every day there are new developments that show how close we are to the end of the Age. Even so, come Lord Jesus, this world sorely needs you.