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!