Monday, December 28, 2015

Doom and Gloom

It is easy to think 2016 may be the year the Bridegroom comes for His Bride based on the growing birth pangs we have seen in just the past year alone. It is becoming more obvious that the pace of prophetically significant developments are picking up. There is not a week that goes by that something happens which further sets the stage for the Tribulation which has to be preceded by the Rapture of the Church.

It is however easy to miss some of the most significant prophetic developments because few are reported by the mainstream medial in America. People of this country who do not rely on a broader scope of news sources that the Internet makes possible have bought into the pabulum that all is well and the future is bright. But the future is only bright for those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. All others are allowing themselves to be deceived by the spiritual powers and principalities that rule this world behind the scenes.

Humanists seeing their deliverance in collective human effort have to convince themselves that the path this world is on is headed in the right direction because it is too uncomfortable for them to believe otherwise. Indeed, those who are honest with themselves looking at the trajectory of this world are the most likely to turn to Jesus Christ for salvation. Only the Bible offers the true hope of personal deliverance this world seeks after along with the truth about where this world is headed. Biblical truth resonates with all who respond to the Holy Spirit's call to allow Jesus Christ into their lives.

Lovers of the world condemn Bible-believing followers of Jesus eagerly anticipating our Lord's return as having a pessimistic view of the future. They reveal their worldliness in such a perspective. Yes, we see this world headed for a terrible time that the Bible tells us about. Yes, many will die during this pouring out of God's wrath. But the good news is that all those who follow Jesus during this Age will not be going through the Tribulation. Our Blessed Hope is in Jesus Christ who will resurrect us and take us out of this world to be with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, 1 Corinthians 15:51-53). Resurrected believers spending eternity with Christ will not miss out on a thing this world has to offer. There is nothing more optimistic than that.

Those accusing Bible prophecy watchers of being pessimistic don't have the eternal perspective and biblical worldview that comes from having a personal relationship with the Savior. It is a worldly perspective to believe that physical death is the worst thing that can happen to a person. The worst thing that can happen to a person is spiritual death which comes from not knowing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord during one's mortal life. Despite the Tribulation being a terrible time that is characterized by death per Revelation 6:8 and 9:18, there will be a great multitude who will recognize prophetic fulfillment and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation (Revelation 7:9-17).

Those souls who come to faith in Christ during the Tribulation will thank God for that terrible time because our Lord will use it to help them see their need for Jesus. The only pessimism in the Tribulation is the dramatic end of the humanist doctrine that we can save ourselves apart from God. The Bible says that mankind's efforts in pursuit of man's false salvation-by-works ideology will fail miserably. Anyone who sees that as pessimism does not understand the wonderful provision God made for mankind when Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sin on the cross. And Jesus rose from the dead as the firstfruits of the resurrection which we now eagerly anticipate.

The optimism followers of Jesus have during this Age of Grace is that we will escape the pouring out of God's wrath on the earth that will occur during the Tribulation. So as we see developments taking us ever closer to the Tribulation period, we know that our resurrection is even nearer... "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near" (Luke 21:28, NKJV).

Our optimism is in anticipating not just our own redemption but that of the world. This world can only be fixed by the Prince of Peace and He has promised to do just that as part of His ruling physically on earth during the Millennial Kingdom. We do not have to wait for the Eternal State for peace to flood the earth, Jesus will accomplish that during His Millennial Reign.

The deception of the world is great and growing. This is not a time to allow oneself to be swept away in the Spirit of Antichrist that is waxing stronger every day. There is no better time in history to devote ourselves to growing closer to Jesus, be watching for Him, and obey His admonition to, "do business till I come" (Luke 19:13).

Monday, December 21, 2015

Love for the World

It continues to amaze me that not all who profess to follow Jesus Christ are excited about His soon return. The top reasons I have found for my fellow Christians being cold toward Bible prophecy can be summarized as love for the world. This appears to especially be a problem for the church in America because of our prosperity. But this problem is not just limited to the United States, it is also an issue in Europe and generally worldwide wherever Western Civilization has touched.

America's prosperity has lured us into idolatry. Collectively, we no longer believe we have been blessed by God to serve His purpose; instead, the conventional wisdom is that we have reached our comfortable position in life through strictly human achievement. There is a general attitude today that we have gotten this far without God, so then there is no problem we can't fix given enough time, funding, and focused human will. This attitude is much the same as it was at the tower of Babel: "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves" (Genesis 11:4, NKJV). Babylon is famous for collective human achievement attempting to usurp the role of God.

Now you'd think we wouldn't have an idolatry problem in the Body of Christ, but the Idol of Human Prosperity has a big foothold in the American Church. Jesus rebuked the Church of Laodicea for their being lukewarm toward Him and thinking their worldly wealth equated to spiritual wealth (Revelation 3:14-22). Our prosperity has led American Christians to no longer be on fire for Jesus because we don't depend on Him for our daily needs. We may live in the final Laodicean phase of the Church Age but this doesn't mean we have to succumb to being Laodicean believers ourselves.

Loving the world is a characteristic of not being a child of God. "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" (1 John 2:15). In context, "the world" here refers to the system created by society to manage the world. The world system people have collectively created is one that appeals to our natural selfish human nature. If we allow our selfish human nature to be the guide for our lives, we will find ourselves on a path away from God. Our selfish human nature seeks the pleasures of this world, that which is attractive, and that which makes us feel good about ourselves; "For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world" (1 John 2:16).

The three basic sins mentioned in 1 John 2:16 represent all the things that lead us from God. These appeals of the world were the very ones Satan leveraged to tempt Eve in the Garden of Eden and Jesus during His 40-day fast (Genesis 3:6 and Matthew 4:1-11). Society's godless world system is driven by seeking the pleasurable, the attractive, and whatever makes us feel good. God is the Creator of pleasure, attractiveness and all things good. But it is sin to seek these blessings through strictly human efforts while not regarding them as gifts from God to be enjoyed within His constraints and in His timing.

Society's humanist, world-loving mind-set has crept into the church today causing us to be lukewarm toward Christ. Many in the church now take a liberal view of Scripture no longer seeing the Bible as the inerrant, inspired Word of God but just the story of man's search for God. Thus there is less desire to spend time personally studying God's Word. Why waste time reading the Bible if it is just words of men that are subject to interpretation? Why bother to personally study the Bible if it has to be interpreted for you by scholarly theologians to tell us what God really meant by what He said? And why take any of this too seriously since we can't really know if Bible interpreters are just making things up?

If the Bible is not the inspired Word of God then people are free to pick and choose whatever doctrines of men they like. And these dogmas change with the mores of society, causing people to be "carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14). The only way to avoid being blown about by society's changing winds of doctrine is to be well grounded in God's Word. And it is not possible to be well grounded in God's Word unless you have a correct view of the Bible as being inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16).

Another way followers of Christ have allowed love for the world to creep into the church is to embrace the world's concept of evolution which attempts to explain how the creation could come to be without a Creator. Darwinian Evolution is only a theory with no proof but the world has elevated it to the level of scientific truth. If you don't embrace Darwinian Evolution as being the absolute "settled" truth, you are considered by society to be an unscientific hayseed. Nobody wants to be rejected by their peers so this has given rise to followers of Christ figuring out how to fit evolution into their theology.

The idea that God used an evolutionary process to bring about the creation is called Theistic evolution and to believe it requires you to take a pretty liberal view of Scripture. And it joins with the world in rejecting all the scientific evidence that supports the literal Genesis account of creation. Theistic evolution can be considered to be within the pale of orthodoxy because it technically has nothing to do with a person's salvation. But theistic evolution does represent a gross compromise with the world that has contributed to the lukewarmness toward Christ that characterizes this Laodicean Age.

The problem with being lukewarm toward Christ is that one has to wonder if they are truly a child of God or if they are just deceiving themselves. Cultural Christians can talk the talk and walk the walk but don't necessarily have a personal relationship with the Savior. Jesus said He would spew lukewarm Christians out of His mouth in Revelation 3:16. He also said that many who did great things even in His name would find themselves banished from heaven because, "I never knew you" (Matthew 7:21-23). If you are truly seeking a personal relationship with the Savior, it is hard to be lukewarm toward Him.

A key indicator of Christians loving the world is Amillennialism. The idea that the Kingdom of God will only be a spiritual kingdom until the Eternal State is ushered in requires the same spiritualized, liberal view of Scripture that is necessary to embrace Theistic Evolution. The two false doctrines go hand-in-hand and are characteristic of the lukewarm church of this Laodicean Age. It is hard for Christians who take a liberal view of Scripture to get excited about the return of Jesus. If it took millions of years for Jesus to come the first time, it will probably be millions of years before He returns. "Scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming?'" (2 Peter 3:3-4).

We are told in 1 John 2:17 why we shouldn't love the world system men are building: this world along with even the passion for it is passing away. Despite the prevailing humanist optimism, people inherently know there is something very broken with this world. No matter what we do, we still have poverty, despair and war in this world. While most still think we can fix these problems through even more collective effort, we have been trying this and things are getting worse rather than better. Those who put their hope in more and more powerful human governments will have their own crisis of faith because the Bible says these efforts will fail.

We can already see the stage being set for the spectacular failure of collective human effort. For example, we have been financing our prosperity by immorally building up debt. National and personal debt is a problem worldwide that has reached monumental proportions. Our collective conscience telling us it is wrong to live beyond our means has been seared. Debt always leads to bondage (Proverbs 22:7) and there will be consequences whether it is individual or national debt. It is increasingly obvious that there is an economic crash coming that will be so bad the world will demand a global government to fix it.  

The only true fix for what ails this world is Jesus Christ; He will make a difference collectively to the world when He returns to establish His Millennial Kingdom. But He makes a difference to individuals in the here and now when we allow Him to be in our life as Savior and Lord. And pursuing that relationship enables us to overcome the sin of this Laodicean Age to be resurrected as part of the Bride of Christ when He comes for us prior to the Tribulation that will prepare the world for the Millennial Kingdom.

The good news is that, "he who does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:17). The will of God is to trust in Jesus Christ for your salvation (John 6:40). Don't allow yourself to be distracted by allures of creation that would cause you to miss out on a personal relationship with the Creator.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Beastly Infrastructure

With all the things going on in the emerging political season and growing turmoil between nations in the world, it is easy to miss individual developments ratcheting up authoritarian control. For example, China is preparing to institute a "citizenship score" that will be used to determine how qualified a person is to receive government benefits. This citizenship score will go well beyond a credit rating to look at electronic purchasing data, social networks, and other digital sources to measure political compliance.

China has had a problem with the freeing potential of the Internet and has struggled with how to maintain control over their people when they have easy access to ideas and information that conflicts with what they want their people to know. Now it looks like they have figured out how to use data mined from the Internet to force the behaviors they desire. The Chinese government has managed to leverage the Internet to make it part of the ultimate tool of social control.

Leftist in America have long been enamored with the success of China which is rapidly becoming an economic superpower despite their centrally controlled socialist form of government. Many in this country point to China as justification for more centrally controlled social programs here. What America's socialists don't realize is that China's success has come from their government allowing their people to be more like the United States with free market capitalism and private ownership of property. But American-style freedom is really but an illusion in China with significant centralized control still maintained by the government as this plan for a citizenship score demonstrates.

China's new citizenship scoring system will not just look at a person's digital footprint directly but will rate people using the activities of their associates and family members. This brings to mind what Jesus said things would be like for His followers during the Tribulation: "You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake" (Luke 21:16-17, NKJV). China's citizenship scoring system will turn everyone into a spy for the government in order to keep their friends and family from adversely impacting their score.

While the Antichrist has not yet come to power, the spirit of Antichrist is preceding him and growing. Something like China's citizenship scoring system will likely be used by the government of the Antichrist to force people to comply with his will. I can just see the Leftist in this country salivating over such a system that takes political correctness to a new level. All we need is a good crisis to implement it... The more impotent our government can be to stem the tide of Islamic terrorism, the more likely the American people will be willing to give up more of their freedom to implement China-style central social controls here. Of course these new powers of the government will not be used just against terrorism, it will morph into a system to squelch any political opposition to the ruling elite.

People don't realize that the freedoms we have enjoyed in America are unique in human history. As our Declaration of Independence states, our human rights are a blessing from God. Throughout history human rulers have defied God to deny people their God-given rights in order to control them. As the United States has collectively turned our backs on God, we will wake up some day to find that God has allowed our freedom to be taken from us. If the people in this country better valued their freedom and understood how true freedom is acquired, we'd have a great revival here. "Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free... Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:31, 32, 36).

Our proximity to the Tribulation means that freedom will continue to wane for mankind. As we see the stage being set for our freedoms to be removed in this country, we can only long for the Day Jesus returns for us. When we are resurrected, we will be truly free. And we can also look forward to the Millennial Kingdom when all people on earth will enjoy even more freedom than has been experienced on earth since the Garden of Eden. Come soon Lord Jesus, this world sorely needs You! 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Useful Idiots

In the wake of the San Bernardino shootings we saw the predictable knee-jerk reactions of Leftists using it as an opportunity to call for more gun control as if that would have made a difference. Given that Western governments don't seem to be too serious about stopping Islamic terrorism, this plague on humanity will continue to get worse and will eventually be bad enough that our government will feel compelled to declare a state of emergency in order to deal with it. Then this will be a perfect opportunity for the ruling elite to institute some of the changes they want which means more power for the state and less freedom for the people. Certainly unconstitutional gun control is among the top priorities of the ruling elite.

As we look at our government's track record for curbing Islamic terrorism, one could come to the conclusion that the ruling elite is actually doing what they can to encourage terrorists. The U.S. appears to be committed to removing Bashar Al-Assad from ruling in Syria which means that the efforts of ISIS actually serves our purpose there. The idea that the U.S. is not really interested in hurting ISIS is supported by reports that President Obama has not been allowing effective air strikes against ISIS. We have also not attacked the oil fields ISIS controls which they are using to fund their terrorist operations. The U.S. is allied with Turkey who is buying the ISIS oil though they are now denying this trying to make it sound like the Russians are the ones buying the ISIS oil. But Turkey's attempt at deception is weak in light of the evidence that the Russians are targeting ISIS oil convoys and have made public the reconnaissance photos to prove it.

And then there is the Iran nuke deal which does nothing to curb nuclear proliferation and only serves to release the West's sanctions so that Iran can fund more terrorist operations. You have to wonder why the U.S. has been so supportive of a radical regime that threatens Western civilization so vocally. Iran does not even bother to hide their rhetoric that they want "death to America."  Maybe the U.S. has been so accommodating to the Shia Muslims of Iran in order to demonstrate we are not exclusively aligning with the Sunni Muslims who oppose the Assad regime. But this has put us in the dubious position of supporting both sides in the Syrian conflict. U.S. involvement in Syria at this point makes no sense and only serves to destabilize the region making a dangerous escalation of the war more likely.

We also have to consider the fact that ISIS began as a direct result of the U.S. bailing out of Iraq. Yes, the Iraqi government didn't want us there any more but that was but a convenient technicality the U.S. could have resolved had we really wanted to. It is clear now that Iraq was not then nor is able even now to provide for their own security. Our exit from Iraq caused a power vacuum that enabled ISIS to emerge. Was that because of our unenlightened policies or was it by design? The non-conspiratorial view is that our foreign policy is just inept which is nothing to be proud of but a case can be made that ISIS is performing a role that serves a purpose for the ruling elite of Western nations. While it is unlikely there is an overt human conspiracy involved here, there certainly is a spiritual one where godless Western leaders are being influenced by demonic spiritual forces to do irrational things.

Islamic terrorism in general and ISIS in particular serves the interests of the global ruling elite in that their actions are causing the public to demand more security. And the price for that security will be the loss of certain freedoms. Global visionary change-agents know better than letting a good crisis go to waste. Thus Islamic terrorists are being secretly encouraged by the global ruling elite so that there is a reason to make unpopular changes wanted by the authorities in power. This makes Islamic terrorists useful idiots being used by the ruling elite to establish a pretense for radical action on the part of the state to provide security. The end-times prophecy of 1 Thessalonians 5:3 comes to mind here: "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" (NKJV).

The term "useful idiot" was first used to describe Leftists in Western nations who served the purposes of the Soviet Union in proliferating socialism worldwide. It applies here as well because the global ruling elite need an escalating series of crises to implement unpopular changes giving them more control over the public. So the Islamic terrorists are in fact being unwittingly used by the ruling elite and are thus useful idiots who will be destroyed in due course when they no longer serve the purpose of the global visionaries. This certainly explains why it appears as though the ruling elite is powerless to stop Islamic terrorism from escalating.

Yes, the idea that the ruling elite is encouraging terrorism sounds conspiratorial but remember, this is not a human conspiracy but a spiritual one that the Bible reveals to us. God is removing the ability of people who have rejected Him to think rationally (Romans 1:28) and this opens them up to demons who are tempting them to take actions that serve an evil agenda. The demons all follow Satan, they are highly intelligent, organized and seek to thwart the plan of God (Ephesians 6:12). Not only are Islamic terrorists the useful idiots of the ruling elite and the demons pulling their strings, the demons themselves are useful idiots that God will use to bring the change to the world that He has revealed to His followers in His Word. All who reject Jesus as their Savior have opened themselves up to being a useful idiot.

It is good news that ultimately God is in control because "all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28, NKJV). If we are close to the return of Jesus as there are so many signs of, the terrorism we have witnessed will continue to escalate until there is totalitarianism worldwide. This is not a pretty picture but knowing that Jesus will return to establish His kingdom on earth and will remove His Church before things get really bad is a comfort.

Come soon Lord Jesus, this world sorely needs You!

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.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Lurching Left

It looks like conservative politics has suffered another set-back, this time to our north where Canada has dethroned their Conservative Party to put their Liberal Party into power. I should have made a prediction about this because that is the outcome I would have expected. If we are close to the return of Christ as so many signs indicate, we should expect to see political sentiments aligning with the spirit of the coming Antichrist.

The new Canadian Prime Minister elect, Justin Trudeau, wasted no time in making it clear Canada would no longer assist in the war against ISIS in a call to President Obama soon after the election results were in. Why should we try to stop a militant religious group that has been so effective in purging the Mid-East of Christians, has caused a massive migration of Muslims to Europe, and wants to return the land of Israel to Islamic rule? In the Liberal mind, all war is inherently wrong and all cultures are to be valued so we should just step aside and let the Islamists have their way. Besides, how does allowing an Islamic caliphate to form in the Mid-East impact us here in North America?

It never ceases to amaze me that Leftists are so supportive of Islam, a religion that puts into violent practice the very things they falsely accuse conservative Christians of. Secular humanist activists don't bother to ask Islamic bakers if they would bake a cake for a gay wedding, they only target Christians. Leftists look the other way when Muslims hunt down to kill homosexuals but attack Christians just because we refuse to embrace their immoral lifestyle. This only serves to reveal that Leftist ideology is spiritually aligned with Islam. Both have the same god who is opposed to Christ.

Conservative values are under assault in our world because God is removing His restraint of evil to prepare the way for the Antichrist to have his day (see 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10). This means that "progressives" will see their power in the world grow winning more elections than conservatives. The label "progressive" is just a spin-doctored term that seeks to put lipstick on the pig of Leftist ideology which is at its core opposed to God. Political Liberals are those who seek to "take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 'Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us'" (Psalm 2:2-23, NKJV). Since political Liberals in this country are so persistent in seeing their ideology prevail, they are best described as Leftists who are associated with revolutionary change.

As God removes His restraint of evil in this world, He is giving mankind over to an illogical, debased mind (Romans 1:28). The stew of anti-God issues that Liberals rally around reveal their insanity. They insist that a woman has the right to kill her unborn child just so she can live an immoral lifestyle of having sex outside of marriage. Then when we find that we have a population growth crisis, they try to fix that by opening our borders without any regard for whether the influx of people will make a positive contribution to our society. Those who oppose illegal immigration are labeled racist and haters which has proven to be effective in squelching the opposition.

Progressives celebrate casting off the constraints our Creator established for our benefit making those who want to follow God into enemies of the state. It is politically incorrect not to embrace homosexuality as being a healthy, normal lifestyle in the midst of so much contradictory evidence. Now that the Supreme Court has made gay marriage the law of the land, it is just a matter of time before Bible-believing churches are targeted to remove their tax exempt status. The war on Christians is just beginning to heat up in this country.

Conservatives are ostracized as being backward and unscientific because they are skeptical of human-caused global warming. It doesn't take a science wizard to recognize that there have been warming and cooling cycles in the history of the world that have had nothing to do with human activity. But this is conveniently forgotten because the ultimate climate change objective of spreading the wealth around globally is too important to allow any opposition. Climate Change is more than just politically correct, it has become a powerful religion of the state that is used as a litmus test to determine who is for and against "progress."

In the mind of the typical progressive, the reason why we have violent gun crimes is because it is too easy for people to get their hands on a gun. So our constitutional right for law abiding citizens to defend themselves is under attack. It doesn't even occur to the progressives that criminals will get their hands on guns even when they are outlawed; that is what criminals do, they break the law. Indeed, statistics make it abundantly clear that there are more gun crimes in places where gun control is the most restrictive. But don't confuse progressives with any facts that contradict their worldview, their debased minds will not be able to process them.

Progressives claim to be looking out for the disadvantaged of our society with their ever-growing social programs but these only serve to burden-down the tax paying productive segment of society and enslave beneficiaries to the state. Our free enterprise economy is maligned as being unfair and cronyism produces regulations designed to keep competition from threatening the government-protected big corporations. Progressives love central planning and will not be satisfied until the state has totalitarian control over everyone. That is when they expect real progress to be made toward their utopian secular vision.

Since we are living in the era of God removing His restraint of evil, we can confidently predict that the most evil ideologies will generally prevail whenever there is an election. This is not to say that in the United States the Democrats are pure evil and the Republicans are not. There is very little difference between the establishment Republicans and the Democrats. Both want to grow the power of the government over the public and will say what they need to say to get elected then govern as a liberal once they're in power. Since we're now entering a political season with presidential elections scheduled in 2016, it is time for a prediction:

The next president of the United States will not be a conservative.

This prediction of course assumes there really will be another presidential election in this country. President Obama has been making it clear that he'd love to serve a third term and in this age of Tribulation birth pangs, the potential for a crisis sufficient to justify a state of emergency is great.

We have tried a very liberal president so you'd think that it is time for the pendulum to swing back to the conservative side but such a cycle no longer applies this close to the Tribulation. Yes, there is a lot of interest in the Republican presidential candidates particularly because several of them are not part of the traditional ruling elite. But we've had government outsiders run before and one thing we can learn from the trend is that only establishment Republicans will get the nomination.

It will be interesting to watch what happens with Trump because he is an outsider who knows how to be a populist and is wealthy enough that he doesn't need the support of the establishment Republican donors. It is also pretty clear from his independent, politically incorrect ideas that the ruling elite will not be able to allow a Trump presidency. So something will have to happen to prevent him from getting the Republican nomination. And when that happens, Trump will run as a third party candidate despite his agreeing not to. Trump is the front-runner so if the Republican ruling elite defaults on their side of the agreement by not giving him the nomination, we can expect Trump to go the third party route. While this is the most likely scenario insuring that a Democrat will win the next presidential election, there are many other ways that could happen as well. This country did reelect Barack Obama even after it was very clear what he was all about.

One consolation for realizing the inevitability of a Hillary Clinton presidency is that we have to be very close to the Tribulation. And we know the Church Age will end prior to the Antichrist coming to power so it is unlikely we will have to endure under another progressive, anti-Christian globalist for very long. "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Monday, October 19, 2015

Full of Grace

The grace of God is a wonderful thing. Given our human propensity to think and act selfishly, God's unmerited favor is the only way people can be saved. Jesus Christ paid our sin penalty on the cross so that our sins may be forgiven. God's provision of the cross makes it possible for us to spend eternity with Him. While our rightly motivated good works builds up treasure for us in heaven, it is not possible to earn God's favor for salvation. "For 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, NKJV).

One of the greatest statements of the Bible addressing the deity of Christ is John 1:14, "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." The Son of God has the same nature as the Father and is characterized by grace and truth. In this Age of Grace, the Church certainly understands and has fully embraced the grace of God as His plan of salvation for His people. The more we consider God's grace, the more we can stand amazed by it. But, at the same time, the Church in general is increasingly falling short in embracing the truth about God. Thus the full gospel of Jesus Christ is being neglected in this final phase of the Church Age.

An increasing number of churches today are taking a "gospel-lite" approach that promotes a seeker-friendly, easy-belivism avoiding conviction of sin and our responsibility to live holy lives. Such an approach produces followers of Christ who are full of grace but deficient in truth. The neglect for the full counsel of Scripture is what you'd expect for the Church in the Laodicean era where people are lukewarm toward Christ. While it is admirable for churches to be seeker friendly, such a focus opens the door to compromise with a culture that hates the gospel of Christ. Taking such compromise to an extreme has given rise to what is referred to as the Emerging Church movement which embraces the heresy that people can be saved apart from Christ.

Heretical departures from the pure doctrine of God's Word among professing Christian churches is a sign of the soon return of Jesus. 1 Timothy 4:1 says, "the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons." The most common heresy is that there are multiple ways to heaven and that all faiths worship the same God. "Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me'" (John 14:6). People can claim to be Christians but if they don't believe God's Word, they are only kidding themselves that they are really a follower of Christ.

The apostasy we are seeing in the Church today is the fruit of an ages-long assault on God's Word. You'd expect unbelievers to dismiss the Bible as not being true but increasingly the attacks are coming from so-called Christian scholars who are seeding doubt about the veracity of God's Word. A whole generation of Church leaders have been indoctrinated to embrace the view that the Bible is flawed as the story of man's search for God rather than being inspired and preserved by our Almighty Creator-God. It is significant that this questioning of God's Word was the very first deception recorded in Scripture that Satan used on Eve in the Garden tempting her to disobey God... "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1).

Most of Christendom no longer has an orthodox view of Scripture. A consistent literal hermeneutics of God's Word is no longer used by most Christian Bible teachers. Instead, the Bible is often spiritualized to mean something other than what it actually says. Such practice leads to wildly divergent interpretations of God's Word which only reinforces those who claim that the Bible is not from God. Not believing what the Bible says has given rise to the false doctrines of Amillennialism and theistic evolution resulting in believers ignoring huge portions of Scripture. Why study Bible prophecy if virtually everything has been already fulfilled in history? And if the Bible does not mean what it says about our origins, how can you trust what it says about other matters?

When people have doubts about God's Word, they will not accept it as having any authority in their lives. Why bother to spend much time studying the Bible if it is just another book written by flawed men? Yes, the Bible was scribed by flawed men but it was inspired by our Creator God who is Almighty enough to have accurately brought us His Word (2 Timothy 3:16). The dumbing-down of Christians by not knowing the truth of God's Word has led to the Church embracing false doctrines and in general becoming lukewarm toward Christ.

The problem of neglecting God's Word is not new. The Apostle Paul addressed this issue in the Corinthian Church when he said, "I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal" (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). The average church goer has no desire to be fed with solid food by digging into the deeper things of God's Word. They are content with remaining a babe in Christ only being fed with superficial doctrines of Scripture. The difference between now and during Paul's day is that carnal Christians are becoming more the norm rather than the exception among professing Christians.

The danger in raising up a generation of carnal Christians who only know the grace of God but are ignorant of His truth is that many of these are likely kidding themselves that they really have a relationship with the Savior. Jesus Christ personifies the Truth (John 14:6) and anyone who has not embraced God's Word for what it is doesn't really know the Savior. "If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead" (Luke 16:31).

The best thing we can do for fellow believers who have embraced false doctrine is to confront them with the Truth. Some will respond because the Truth resonates with those who know Him (John 10:27). In this day of growing apostasy it is increasingly important to be well grounded in God's Word in order to, "always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15).

Monday, October 12, 2015

End of the American Era

What is to be made of the U.S. impotence against ISIS in light of Russia's success in Syria? Could it be that Russia really wants to put an end to the reign of ISIS in Syria whereas the U.S. only gave that lip-service? Maybe our inability to stop ISIS had something to do with the formation of ISIS being a direct result of U.S. policy pulling us out of Iraq. Our weakness in dealing with ISIS may also have something to do with President Obama preferring Islamic theocracies over secular dictatorships. 

U.S. foreign policy in Syria has conflicting objectives in opposing both Assad's Syrian regime and ISIS. We are supporting "moderate" Islamic rebels trying to overthrow Assad but these combatants are apparently easily confused with the radical extremist ISIS insurgents who also threaten Assad. The potential is great for ISIS operatives or even sympathizers to present themselves to the U.S. as "moderates" in order to obtain weapons and supplies from us. Such confusion should be expected because Muslims routinely use religious deception called "taqiyya" to further their cause. This is what happens when political correctness drives foreign policy, we set ourselves up to be duped. U.S. policy officials so want to believe there is such a thing as "moderate" Islamic combatants that they will look the other way to entertain that fantasy.

Related to the U.S. apparent impotence against ISIS is that we have not been faring well in the war against Islamic terrorism even in Afghanistan where we bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital. How can that happen? Yes, there are accidents in warfare but this development does not bode well to the U.S. being welcome in Afghanistan. It may well be the event that precipitates the U.S. accelerating plans to abandon Afghanistan just as we did Iraq. (So maybe that is why we bombed the hospital.) While many will applaud the U.S. getting out of Afghanistan because they don't want the U.S. involved in any wars, allowing yet another haven for jihadists will not improve our security.

Meanwhile, Russia is demonstrating shock and awe against ISIS in Syria. They even used cruise missiles launched from 900 miles away in the Caspian Sea to hit Syrian targets. Since the cruise missile has been a favorite U.S. weapon in our recent foreign wars, it sends a message that there is now a new superpower in the 'hood. Vladimir Putin is clearly taking advantage of the times filling the vacuum of the U.S. backing away from supporting our anti-terrorist allies in the Mid-East. Even Iraq is now calling on Russia to help them with their ISIS problem.

The question we should ask about Russia purging ISIS from Syria is what really is driving them to do that? Are they just supporting their friend Assad who is mutually allied with Iran or are they out to plunder Mid-East oil? The anti-war crowd loved to cry "no blood for oil" when the U.S. was in Iraq despite our having no intentions of taking the oil. But Vladimir Putin would have no problems with such a move. Oil is power in this world and Russia is making it clear they are now the superpower to be reckoned with. It looks like the Obama Administration is content for the U.S. to be just another member-state of the United Nations.

Many people ridiculed Jonathan Cahn for his book, "The Mystery of the Shemitah" which made it look like the U.S. would suffer a big economic crash this past September. But the pattern of the Shemitah is not always to produce big one-day stock market crashes as Cahn discussed in his book and was summarized in this article. The bigger pattern of the Shemitah has to do with the rise and fall of world powers. Economic power is just a facet of a nation's capacity to impose its will on the world. In light of recent developments in the Mid-East, it certainly looks like the baton of world superpower leadership has been passed from the United States to Russia.

The change of command in the Mid-East is not a revival of the Cold War as some are saying because the U.S. has no stomach to oppose Russia militarily. In order to reign in the new world superpower, the United States as just another nation of the world will need to double-down on efforts to organize the nations of the world into a more powerful global union. President Obama always has been more of a global union visionary than an advocate for American power in the world. He set out to change the status quo and it does now look like he has been successful. This is all necessary to set the stage for the coming global ruler when, "authority [will be] given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation" (Revelation 13:7, NKJV).

We can expect Russia, Iran and Turkey to continue setting the stage for the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38. We know that at some point, this new superpower alliance will turn its interests to Israel because that is what Ezekiel 38 says will happen. Thus, it is very interesting that Israel has just announced the discovery of a major oil field in the Golan Heights. And this is on the heels of huge natural gas deposits already being developed by Israel. These new-found energy riches will likely constitute the "hooks in the jaws" of Vladimir Putin (or "Gog" in Ezekiel 38) that causes Russia to threaten Israel.   

The pace of stage-setting for prophetic fulfillment is accelerating. There are more developments daily revealing that we have to be very close to the return of Jesus. This is not a time to be on the fence about Him. "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near" (Luke 21:28).

Monday, October 5, 2015

Perilous Times

It is pretty predictable that the president as a global government visionary would immediately politicize the Oregon community college shooting calling for gun control as the solution to prevent such tragedies. But none of the gun control measures on the books would have made a difference in this case. Oregon has among the strictest gun control legislation in the country and this shooter still managed to legally obtain multiple weapons. What the gun control crowd really want to do is get rid of the Second Amendment making having any guns illegal. It is much harder to impose tyranny when the citizenry is armed.

The real story behind the Oregon shooter is that he specifically targeted Christians reminiscent of the Columbine shooting in 1999. Why would this shooter hate Christians so much that he would put them on his kill list? This can only be attributed to spiritual warfare manifesting itself in the physical world. Indeed there is evidence that the shooter was into the occult and witchcraft. People meddling in the occult attract the attention of demons and thus put themselves at risk of being possessed by them. So it is very likely that the Oregon shooter was demon-possessed.

God condemns those who “conjure spells” (NKJV) in the practice of witchcraft and sorcery. Scripture says anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord (Deuteronomy 18:10-12; 2 Kings 21:6; Micah 5:12; Isaiah 47:12; Ezekiel 13:18, 20; Acts 8:11-24; Leviticus 20:27; Exodus 7:11; Revelation 9:21, 22:15). One would expect there to be more incidents of demon-possession as we near the time of the Antichrist who will be possessed by Satan himself.

In one sense, it was a relief to hear that there wasn't an Islamic connection to the Oregon shooting. But if the Oregon shooter was being influenced by demons, he actually had a lot in common with Islamists who are serious about their religion. As the Oregon shooter did, radical Muslims also have Christians on their kill list as demonstrated by ISIS. There is no other religion in the world that is more inspired by demons than Islam which is clearly the biggest, most oppressive, and bloodiest religion in the world. What other world religion kills so many people in the course of worshiping their own god? This past September 1,100 people died in a stampede near Mecca where devout Muslims go in a pilgrimage required by their religion.

There is among many secular humanists an irrational fear that Christians are holding back our society from where it wants to go. It is too bad that fear is not channeled into what Islam wants to do to Western Civilization. Contrary to the current politically correct conventional wisdom, all cultures are not equal. Our multicultural philosophy is the fruit of an anti-God spirit that will result in the demise of Western Civilization more effectively than anything else.

It continues to be amazing that it is so politically correct to embrace Islam as a religion of peace. This is simply more evidence that God is giving us over to a debased mind (Romans 1:28). One possible explanation for this irrationality is that the world secretly hates Jesus Christ and supporting Islam is a subtle way to bolster those who are doing the most to get rid of Christians. Iraq used to be 20% Christian, it is now less than 2%. Maybe President Obama's foreign policy is not as inept as it appears to be. It could be that his foreign policy is working very well to install Christian-hating Muslim theocracies everywhere he can. The deceptive wicked-shrewdness of our president shows that he is probably being inspired by the same Anti-Christ spirit as Islamists and the Oregon shooter.

We err in giving President Obama too much credit for the amazing changes we are seeing in this world, there is a lot of support for him and his policies revealing the scope of the spiritual warfare front we are facing. But God has revealed that the time of Satan and his followers will be limited and the Church will not even be here for the worst of it. We can also be encouraged in the knowledge that God has equipped His followers to be able to stand against the attacks of Satan. "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:10-11).

All indications are that we don't have long to persevere.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Orthodox Hermeneutics

In the book of Revelation, Jesus dictated letters to seven churches that existed at that time. Scholars have marveled at the order these churches were addressed because the characteristics of these churches mirror church history. Thus it is instructive to take a good look at the letter to the Laodicean church because it describes the state of Christendom in the time leading up to the end of the Church Age. Since the Laodicean error is the spirit of the Age, it would be to our advantage to really understand it so as not to contribute to it. We may be in the Laodicean church but we don't have to be Laodicean believers.

The letter to the church at Laodicea is found in Revelation 3:14-22. Jesus rebuked the church for their being lukewarm toward Him and thinking they were wealthy due to their worldly things when in fact they were very poor spiritually. Jesus admonishes the church to purchase from Him true spiritual wealth that only comes from growing in our relationship with Him along with "white garments" which represent righteous acts per Revelation 19:8 and "eye salve" so that we may see the truth with the help of the Holy Spirit per 1 Corinthians 2:14.

Clues as to the root cause of the Laodicean lukewarm-ness can be found in other passages about the final phase of the Church Age. The error of the Laodicean Church is represented by 1 Timothy 3:1-5, "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money... having a form of godliness but denying its power" (NKJV). The end of the Church Age will be characterized by the practice of religion but being on fire in a relationship with the Creator will be lacking. The remedy for this that the Apostle Paul goes on to tell Timothy about is the need to follow true doctrine: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (1 Timothy 3:16-17).

Thus, the Apostle Paul says that not correctly recognizing the authority of Scripture will be a problem in the last days. He reinforces this issue in 1 Timothy 4:3-4, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."  Bad doctrine from misinterpreting Scripture is what contributes to people being lukewarm toward Jesus. Truth resonates with people but falsehoods to support a personal agenda does not. The more people get the idea that the Bible is just a collection of sayings to support the latest wind of doctrine, the more they will ignore it and the God who inspired it.

The alternative to seeing the Bible as being inspired by God is to see it as being the story of man's search for God. People who deny the supernatural inspiration of God's Word expect the Bible to be subject to errors and contradictions since it was written by flawed men. So when they force Scripture to support their pet ideology, they ignore the contradictions pointed out to them because such discrepancies are to be expected if the Bible was authored by flawed men. But if the Bible is truly God's Word, there will be no contradictions in Scripture, only gaps in our understanding.

There is a plethora of doctrinal errors that people fall into if they don't see Scripture as being inspired by God. Some of these include salvation by works, the idea that once born again a person can lose their salvation, and the view that all people will go to heaven regardless their relationship to the Lord. Playing fast and loose with what Scripture actually says has lead to a proliferation of denominations that have divided over disputable matters and also cults that promote fundamental heresies. Among the errors that the Laodicean church has embraced in this end-phase of the Church Age is related to beginning things and end things, theistic evolution and amillennialism.

Theistic evolution is nothing more than a compromise with an anti-Christ worldview that sows doubt about the veracity of God's Word. If God really did use an evolutionary process, why didn't He make that more clear in His Word rather than force us to just accept contradictions in order to fit the human theory of evolution into Scripture? If we can't trust the Bible to be true then we end up having to trust in human authority as the final arbiter of what is true, a very dangerous practice. Indeed, the Lord warned us about this in Luke 16:31: "If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead."

We are told in 2 Peter 3:3 that the end times would be characterized by scoffing about the return of Jesus. Such scoffing is growing in the church due to the the pervasiveness of of amillennialism. It is interesting to note that those who adopt this superficial, lazy approach to eschatology generally also embrace theistic evolution. The false doctrine of amillennialism effectively says Jesus will not return until He comes back to usher in the Eternal State. But proponents of this view don't believe the Eternal State will be any time soon because if it took Jesus millions of years from the beginning of creation to come the first time then it could be millions of years before He returns. This means amillennialists generally have no sense of urgency to get on with what God is calling us to do, hence their lukewarm-ness.

The practice of doubting God's Word began early in history. "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1). This was the tactic Satan used to tempt Eve in the Garden and this tried-and-true approach is still being used today. The Enemy of God takes advantage of our human propensity to apply our own meaning to what God has clearly told us.

We can trust that the Bible is true because of the nature of God: He is Almighty enough to have accurately given mankind His Word and preserved it through time even using His flawed subjects. We can also trust the Bible is true because of the love of God: He has provided us a way that we can know Him and know what is of Him and what is not. And there is plenty of evidence that the Bible really is from God in its fulfilled prophecy; only God can declare the end from the beginning per Isaiah 46:10.

Given that we can trust the Bible to really be God's Word, we should interpret it then using a proper orthodox exegesis. Hermeneutics is the theory and methodology of text interpretation. The terms "hermeneutics" and "exegesis" are sometimes used interchangeably. While hermeneutics includes written, verbal, and nonverbal communication, the term exegesis focuses on just the text. The word exegesis means “to lead out of” and that means the interpreter is led to make conclusions by what the text actually says.

There is another approach to interpreting Scripture known as eisegesis which is the interpretation of a passage based on a subjective, non-analytical reading. Eisegesis means “to lead into” and results in the interpreter injecting his own ideas into the text effectively making it mean whatever he wants. Obviously, all the bad doctrines of our age come from eisegesis. We are commanded in 2 Timothy 2:15 to use exegetical methods: “Present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” An honest student of the Bible will be an exegete, allowing the text to speak for itself.

Among the ways people eisegete Scripture to make it support their favored ideology is to ignore its textual and historical context. They also ignore its literal meaning and instead apply some spiritual truth to it. This practice of spiritualization forces a text to mean something that it does not say and is the most common form of eisegesis.

The best approach to avoid eisegesis is to apply a consistent literal exegesis. This means seeing the text in a normal or plain sense first along with applying the ordinary meaning of words that are used. Yes, there is symbolism in Scripture that is typical of any good literature but it is generally easily recognized by the context and often even explained by the text itself. The Golden Rule of interpretation is this: when the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense or you'll end up with nonsense.

There is good news in the orthodox hermeneutics of literal interpretation: we can allow Scripture to interpret itself. We don't need to see the Bible as some mystical code book requiring a special decoding ring to figure out. Neither do we need some scholarly intermediary to tell us what the Bible really says. We can allow God to speak directly to us through the plan sense meaning of the Bible. Having this perspective is powerful medicine against the Laodicean spirit of lukewarm-ness because it will energize our personal Bible study and help us grow closer to the Lord.

The great error of our Age is not believing the Bible is in-errantly God's Word. But we don't have to be sucked into this dangerous doctrine. The more we appreciate the Bible as being inspired by God by studying it to know the Truth, the closer we'll grow to our Savior. And this is getting increasingly important as deception and other birth pangs of the Tribulation get more frequent and intense.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Stage Setting

If you haven't noticed, Syria is a mess. ISIS has taken over large swaths of the country in order to kill Christians and anyone else who does not embrace their brand of radical Sunni Islam. Syria's president, Bashar Hafez al-Assad is being supported by Russia who is showing their commitment to him by building a base there and putting boots on the ground. ISIS is fighting against the Syrian regime and there are also apparently non-ISIS-aligned rebels fighting against Assad with U.S. support.

There are also Kurds in Northern Syria and Iraq that are fighting ISIS. While the Kurds are fighting ISIS, the U.S. has not been very helpful in that effort and even blocked Arab allies wanting to fly heavy weapons to aid in their fight. Our whole effort against ISIS has been lackadaisical launching a few air strikes just to say that we are dealing with the problem. The U.S. program to train rebel Syrians to fight ISIS has been a dismal failure spending $500 million to train 54 fighters of which only 4 or 5 have stayed in the fight.

You have to wonder if the U.S. really wants ISIS to be defeated. When the U.S. military pulled completely out of Iraq, a power vacuum was left that gave rise to ISIS. And President Obama no-doubt likes the fact that ISIS is fighting against the Assad regime because he still thinks Assad needs to go. Since President Obama praised the "Arab Spring" movement where Arab dictators were replaced by Muslim Brotherhood Theocracies, he must be disappointed that has not worked out in Syria. President Obama for some inexplicable reason favors the Muslim Brotherhood referring to them as a moderate alternative to more violent Islamist groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Egyptian scholars have explained that while ISIS is publicly hostile to the Muslim Brotherhood, they share identical goals and support radical jihad.

Turkey has reluctantly entered the fight against ISIS but this is complicated because they are also fighting the Kurdistan Workers Party which has been calling for Kurdish autonomy. So far, the Kurds are the only group that has held their own against ISIS despite the U.S. and Turkey trying to impede their efforts. It is interesting to note that the Kurds are likely descendants of the Medes who where aligned with the Persians when they defeated ancient Babylon. Since history does repeat itself (Ecclesiastes 1:9), look for the Kurds to align themselves with Iran, they already have a common enemy in ISIS.

The Shiite Islamic Mullahs of Iran also support the Assad regime and has arranged Hezbollah to help him battle ISIS. Hezbollah, based in neighboring Lebanon is effectively the Iranian Foreign Legion. This anti-ISIS effort has no-doubt distracted Hezbollah from their mission to prepare for the inevitable war against Israel. It is likely that the Iran has pressured Russia to get involved in supporting Assad against ISIS so that Hezbollah may go back to their primary mission.

All these groups fighting in Syria has resulted in a massive flight of refugees into Europe. It also looks like ISIS is taking advantage of the refugee migration to embed more jihadists in Europe. And as you'd expect, the Obama administration wants to help Europe out by taking tens of thousands of the Syrian "migrants" into this country. It is a sign of the times that we have no problem bringing multitudes of Islamists into this country of which many are certainly ISIS jihadists while we refuse asylum for Christians fleeing the ISIS genocide.

Certainly the refugees fleeing Syria is a tragedy that the U.S. had a hand in causing through our inept foreign policy. Or maybe this was all calculated by the Obama Administration to facilitate Islam being spread throughout the Western world. The Syrian refugee crisis does show how prophecy is being fulfilled in our day... "The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined"  (Daniel 9:26, NKJV). There are no-doubt many villages that are now desolate in Syria due to ISIS.

It is also clear that recent developments are setting the stage for fulfillment of other end-times prophecy. Russia going into Syria shows how easily the Ezekiel 38 war against Israel will develop. And the alignment of the nations involved in the Ezekiel 38 war against Israel are already in place, principally Russia (Magog), Iran (Persia) and Turkey (Gomer and Beth Togarmah).

More stage setting is seen in the growing enclaves of Muslims in Western nations. In Daniel 2 Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon had a dream that the Prophet Daniel interpreted for him describing all the Gentile governments that would rule over Jerusalem until the Messiah established His kingdom. The vision in Nebuchadnezzar's dream was of a statue made up of different materials each representing a different Gentile government. The last government before the Messiah will come is described as being "iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay" (Daniel 2:43). The iron represents the modern-day vestiges of the Roman Empire which is Western Civilization today, and the clay represents the progeny of the Ottoman Empire which are the Muslims seeking a revival of the Islamic caliphate.

There are Westerners living in their own enclaves within Islamic countries to help them with technology, security, and to develop their oil. There have also been Muslims migrating to Western nations mostly as refugees. The Muslim communities do not assimilate into the culture of the Western nations where they live and the Westerners in their enclaves in Islamic nations do assimilate either. This is just as the Daniel 2:43 prophecy indicates, the "iron does not mix with clay."

It doesn't take a political scientist to see that Syria is a powder keg; it is just a matter of time before it explodes which means there will soon be another Mid-East war involving Israel. What better way to unite the competing Shiite-Sunni Islamic interests than to direct it against their common enemy Israel. It is likely this next war probably described in Psalm 83 will resolve the Palestinian claims on Israel once and for all. This means that Israel will be able to be at peace enough to build a temple in Jerusalem as prophesied in Daniel 9:27. This false peace is also the key condition necessary to precipitate the Ezekiel 38 war which is already being staged.

End time developments will happen faster than all of us think possible. As the Prophet Daniel indicated in Daniel 9:26, "the end of it shall be with a flood." That means we don't have long to persevere in this fallen world. The Rapture of the Church will occur prior to the Tribulation which will begin with Israel entering into a seven-year peace confirmed by the emerging world ruler (Daniel 9:27). This peace will turn out to be a false, temporary peace. With all the stage setting going on, the Tribulation period can't be far off. As Jesus told us in Revelation four times, "behold, I am coming quickly!"