Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Courage for Canadian Churches

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

Did you know that churches and Christian organizations in Canada are not allowed to say anything against homosexuality from their pulpits and periodicals?

It's true. And not just Canada, but Sweden, Australia and the United Kingdom also have similar laws. These are not countries ruled by dictatorships, but countries very similar to the United States in its freedoms of speech, religion and democratic processes. These countries are now ruled by the PC (political correctness) police.

America may not be far behind in restricting what is said from the pulpit, for such intimidation to the pulpit is indeed alive and well in the United States. For example, to mix the pulpit and elections hasn't been allowed in the United States since 1954 when then-senator Lyndon Baines Johnson offered an amendment to restrict nonprofit organizations, including churches, from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Should a church violate that restriction, the IRS comes down on the church with threats to revoke their non-profit status. Adding a so-called "hate crimes" restriction to the American pulpit is not far-fetched or far away in a society that increasingly calls evil "good."

My heart has been burdened since hearing about the plight of our brothers and sisters in Christ just over the open border who would face jail time, fines and revoking of their non-profit status for caring enough to tell the truth. The truth they share is that sexual perversion slowly and painfully kills its practitioners, creates deadly epidemics, produces anarchy destroying the fabric of society, and disturbs the Creator who lovingly created each of us with function and purpose. The preachers are not being punished for hating or discriminating, but for loving and caring.

Examples
A recent act by some America churches, though, may give the Canadian churches an example to follow concerning how to stand up for their loving message. On September 28, 2008, churches from 20 states took a stand and preached concerning today's issues, what the Bible says about those issues, and applied the Bible's standards to politicians running in the current election. As The Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal alliance of Christian attorneys headed by President Alan E. Sears stated, the purpose was to "reclaim their constitutional right (and) from the pulpit" by "advise[ing] their congregation what scripture says about today's issues, applying those issues to the candidates standing for election just like their forefathers did 150 years ago."

These churches bravely stood up for their freedoms of religion and speech, and more importantly for the Word of God. I admire such bravery in the face of persecution. Look at history. Where would the civil rights movement had gone if Dr. King and others didn't stand up in the face of adversity for what was right. Where would India be now if Ghandi didn't stand up for what was right. These men faced persecution, jail time, beatings, and ultimately assassinations, but the movements they led brought the truth to light and changed nations for the better.

A Plan
Canadian churches, stand up for the Word of God! Make a plan. Organize a network of churches for one Sunday that will stand at their pulpits and preach that God loves the homosexual and wants them to leave their destructive lifestyle. Get so many churches involved over subsequent weekends that the Canadian government and media take notice. Be arrested and fined. Make a huge deal about it. Draw international attention to the plight and restrictions. Trust in God to bless you endeavors. Fight for what's right, for the souls of men are at stake!

"Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil." — Romans 14:16 NIV

Monday, September 29, 2008

Preterism And Imminence

Dr. David R. ReaganBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Preterism is a system for the interpretation of the book of Revelation. Its strange name comes from a Latin word meaning "past tense." The word is appropriate because this view holds that either all or most of the book of Revelation was fulfilled in the First Century!

Does Revelation infer that its prophecies were to be fulfilled in the time it was written?

It would be easy to get this impression because the very first verse in Revelation speaks of "the things which must shortly take place" (Revelation 1:1). Also, two times the text states that "the time is near" for the fulfillment of the prophecies (Revelation 1:3 and 22:10).

But in view of the fact that the prophecies have not been literally fulfilled in history, it appears that these statements point to imminence rather than nearness in time. Imminence is the concept that an event can occur at any time, and the creation of that sense seems to be the purpose of these statements.

The principle is one that Jesus stressed in His teachings about the end times. Over and over He told His disciples to be ready for His return at any moment. "Be ready," He warned, "for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will" (Matthew 24:44). Jesus used the parable of the ten virgins to illustrate His point. Five were unready when the bridegroom came and were thus left behind. "Be on the alert, then," Jesus warned, "for you do not know the day nor the hour" (Matthew 25:1-13). On another occasion, He put it this way, "Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps alight... for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect" (Luke 12:35, 40).

The apostolic writers make it clear that living in a state of suspense, expecting the Lord to return shortly, at any moment, will have a purifying effect, because it will motivate holiness. Paul urges us to "deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus" (Titus 2:12-13). Peter tells each of us to "keep sober in spirit," and he says the way to do it is to "fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13). John says we are to focus on the Lord's return because "everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself just as He is" (1 John 3:3).

Words must always be interpreted in terms of context, and context is often shaped by historical setting. In the First Century setting, the references to "soon," "shortly," and "near" seemed to indicate a quick fulfillment. But as time has passed without any literal fulfillment, history has shaped the context to indicate imminence — that is, the events prophesied can happen any moment.

A similar phenomenon can be found in statements used in other portions of the Scriptures. For example, James wrote that we are to be patient until the coming of the Lord, and then he stated, "the coming of the Lord is at hand... behold, the Judge is standing right at the door" (James 5:7-9). In like manner, Peter wrote, "The end of all things is at hand" (1 Peter 4:7). The fact of the matter is that we have been living in the end times ever since the Day of Pentecost when the Gospel was first preached, and the end times could be consummated any moment with the fulfillment of Revelation's prophecies.

The generalized time references in Revelation are not indicators of nearness in time. Instead, they are warnings of imminence — that the events prophesied could start unfolding at any moment.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Jesus Came. Whats Next?

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

If you are reading this because millions of people have suddenly and mysteriously disappeared, then you are looking for answers to what has happened, why it has happened, and what will be happening next.

What Has Happened

First, as to what has happened — Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has returned.

For 2000 years the Bible has been proclaiming to the world that Jesus would be coming back. Jesus stated in John 14:1, "I will come again."

Because Jesus has returned, millions of people who have put their faith and trust in Jesus as Savior, accepting His free gift of salvation, have disappeared in an event called the Rapture.

You might be thinking that there was something mysterious in the sudden disappearance of millions of people, but the Bible has already explained this so-called mystery. Jesus said that when He came again, He would come for those who are saved. He said, "I will receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:1-4). The Apostle Paul put it this way: "Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet" (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

The Rapture happened to those of us who accepted Jesus as Savior, both those alive and those who had died since Jesus was resurrected. Both groups — living and resurrected believers — were caught up to be with Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

This all happened very quickly, like a flash of lightning. Jesus left as suddenly as He came, taking those who have accepted Him and His salvation, and leaving behind those who have rejected Him. And you, sadly, have been left behind.

Well, maybe you know a loved one who has disappeared — a wife, a husband, a child, a friend — and are wondering what has become of them. In that flash, as those who had accepted Jesus as their Savior were caught up to meet Jesus in the air, they traded their earthly bodies for bodies that are perfect, imperishable and immortal (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 50-55).

They sit with Jesus now in Heaven at a great banquet called the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb" (Revelation 19). They will live in great joy and know no sorrow. They will be with their King and live in love forever. They are well taken care, and you don't have to worry about them.


Why It Has Happened

But, it is the why of the disappearances that is your cause to worry. For believers in Jesus were taken out of this world to spare them from the great wrath that has just begun to befall the planet (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9).

Jesus' return for all His true believers was just a prelude to His final Second Coming. The second phase of Jesus' return is to set up His Kingdom on earth. Jesus' Kingdom is why this whole thing is happening.

You see, we have come to the end of one age and will soon be beginning the age of Jesus' glorious reign right here on earth. But first, God has to deal with rebellion — sin — before setting up His Kingdom. God's going to use this intermediate time period you now live in to pour out His wrath on mankind for its continued refusal to accept His Lordship. The time you live in is called the Tribulation.


What It's About

What is the Tribulation all about? The unparalleled horror of the Tribulation is spelled out in detail in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. Isaiah wrote that it will be a day of "the terror of the Lord" when "the pride of men will be abased" (Isaiah 2:10,17,19). Zephaniah proclaimed that it will be a "day of wrath," "a day of trouble and distress," and "a day of destruction and desolation." Men will stumble around like they are blind and "their blood will be poured out like dust" (Zephaniah 1:15,17).

This dreary picture is echoed in the New Testament. Jesus said it will be a time of tribulation "such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall." In fact, Jesus said it will be so terrible that if it were not stopped at the end of seven years, it would result in the destruction of all life (Matthew 24:21-22).

The Apostle John states that the chaos will be so great that the leaders of the world will crawl into caves and cry out for the rocks of the mountains to fall upon them (Revelation 6:15-16).

Why is there going to be such carnage? How could a God of grace, mercy and love allow such an outbreak of unbridled terror and bloodshed?

One reason is to satisfy the justice of God. Yes, God is characterized by grace, mercy and love. God is a God of love. Jesus says so in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."

But, God is also a God of justice. The Bible also says in John 3:36, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." It is God's very nature to love, but also in love to see justice done for evil.


What Comes Next

So, what comes next? For starters, people are going to try to explain away the Rapture with all sorts of wild theories, like possibly Global Warming or UFOs. So-called "Christian" leaders are going to come out and say the Church is still around because they didn't disappear.

Jesus said in Matthew 24:24 that they cannot be believed, for the times will be filled with false religious teachers. The greatest of these false teachers the Bible calls the False Prophet, and he will seemingly be able to do many miracles and will promote a one-world religion and leader (Revelation 13:11).

Amid all the chaos from the Rapture, the Bible teaches that the world will turn to a dynamic leader to bring order and peace (Revelation 6:1-2). He will succeed where no other person has been able in establishing a peace treaty for Israel (Daniel 9:27). That treaty marks the official beginning of the 7 years that the Tribulation will last.

But, the world leader, known to believers in Jesus as the Antichrist, is anything but peaceful. He will plunge the planet into nuclear world war, resulting in terrible famines, pestilence and mass death. Violence, disease and starvation will be a way of life. A quarter of the world population — almost 2 billion people — will die from this war (Revelation 6).

In Jerusalem, 2 men will appear and preach there for 3 1/2 years that Jesus is the Messiah the Jews have been looking for (Revelation 11:3). 144,000 Jews will call Jesus their Messiah and also preach about Him throughout the whole world. Millions will accept Jesus as their Savior — hopefully you will be one of them. But, many of those millions of believers will be killed by the Antichrist for not pledging their loyalty to him by receiving his mark on either their right hand or forehead. The persecution of believers in Jesus will be awful in the Tribulation (Daniel 7:22; Revelation 7).

Next, the greatest earthquake the world has yet experienced will devastate the planet (Revelation 6:12-14). Something falling from space will then burn up a third of all the world's vegetation. A second item from space, probably a meteor, will crash into the ocean and annihilate a third of the world's marine life and ships. A third object from space will taint the world's water supply, poisoning millions (Revelation 8:7-11).

The devastation to the atmosphere will block out most of the sun and moonlight so that the days appear shorter (Revelation 8:12).

Next, some supernatural "woes" will befall mankind. First, the holding place for a demonic hoard is opened and millions of locust-looking demons pour out and sting people like scorpions. The pain will last 5 whole months. Second, 200 million riders on horse-creatures will burn and impale, wiping out a remaining third of the people (Revelation 9:1-19).

Three and a half years into the Tribulation will see the 2 men witnessing in Jerusalem killed, but 3 1/2 days later come back to life (Revelation 11:7-12). It will also see the Antichrist supposedly killed and appear to come back to life as well (Revelation 13:3).

And that's just the first half of the Tribulation. As bad as the first half of the seven years is, the next half is even worse (Revelation 16).

Those who take the Antichrist's loyalty mark on their hand or forehead will suffer from painful boils. Those who don't take the mark will be cut off from commerce and hunted down, but the Bible assures (Revelation 20:4-6) that those who take the mark have made a decision that will last forever — eternal damnation — so don't take it!

The oceans and everything in them are totally destroyed, as well as all the fresh water. The heat from the sun will become scorching. The Antichrist's kingdom will fall into pitch darkness.

An even greater earthquake than the one 7 years earlier will flatten the earth and 100 pound hailstones will crush the inhabitants.

The Euphrates River in Iraq will dry up and a massive army from the East will cross and enter the Valley of Armageddon in Israel to fight the Antichrist's army. This is what the Book of Revelation calls the battle of Armageddon.

It is the moment that Jesus will gloriously return with all those who disappeared in the Rapture. Jesus Himself by just speaking will destroy the armies at Armageddon. Jesus will throw the Antichrist and the False Prophet into Hell, and Satan into a deep pit. Jesus will be victorious and all who continued to rebel will be put to death — all of them (Revelation 19:11-21; 20:1-3). This is the Tribulation — the wrath of God.


What You Can Do

Now, you may be asking "God, why didn't you tell us all this before the Rapture so we could get ready." Well, He did. The Bible clearly teaches that God never pours out His wrath without warning for He is a just and loving God who does not wish that any should perish. That is why God provided the Bible, the Good News about Jesus spreading across the planet, and the many signs alerting us to the fact that we were living on the threshold of the Tribulation and soon return of Jesus Christ. God gave the world every possible chance for 2000 years to repent of its rebellion and return to Him.

But, it's not too late for you to be with Jesus unless you've taken the mark. You see, this story has a happy ending. Jesus' return at the end of the Tribulation means great joy to those who love him. Jesus will cleanse the world of evil and the damages from His wrath and restore the planet to pristine condition. Jesus will rule from Jerusalem over those who throughout human history have put their faith and trust in Him (Revelation 20:4-6,9).

You can be one of those people. Whether you die in the Tribulation or not, it is where you end up eternally that truly matters. Everybody who does not accept Jesus as Savior during the Tribulation will go to Hell for their rebellion. Anyone who accepts Jesus as Savior, though their earthly bodies may die during the Tribulation, will then live forever in glorified bodies with Jesus in His love and glory.

Remember Jesus' promise in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." Pray now for forgiveness for your sins and ask Jesus to be the Savior and Lord of your life. Don't delay!

In what little time you have in this life, get a Bible or download one from Bible.org, so you know God's will for your life. Download this and everything you can from our website at lamblion.com or others like raptureready.com so you can know more about Jesus and what is in store for you in the Tribulation and the glorious return of Jesus. Gather quickly with others who have accepted Jesus as Savior for support and to worship together.

If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, we will be waiting for you on the other side of this. May God bless you and keep you. Maranatha!

"The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him." (Nahum 1:7 NIV)

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Life As We Know It Is About To Radically Change

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

Life as we know it is about to radically change.

As you and I watch world events unfold, especially during this past week, end-time prophetic scenarios now appear ready to begin. Scriptures often tie a prophesied future event with something that will happen directly to the Jews, and all instances of these world events will directly affect Israel.

Events and outcomes:

  • The United States is sadly on the brink of bankruptcy and a second Great Depression. With the loss of income comes the loss of political and military power. Because of that and depending on the outcome of the current presidential election, Israel would lose the United States as an ally and protector. Israel will be on its own.

  • A U.S. financial meltdown would throw much of the world into financial suffering, resulting in world-wide poverty and famine. Countries all over the world already have hurriedly begun calling for a change from the dollar to a one-world currency and an overall world organization to manage it.

  • Israel is in a disarrayed leadership vacuum. The front-runner for Prime Minister wishes upon taking power to immediately give over a lot of land to their enemies, making Israel almost indefensible.

  • Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and other terror-supporting nations have rearmed and are ready to invade Israel. Syria's already moving troops along its border.

  • Russia roared out of the background to consolidate their interests from Moscow through Georgia and all the way into Syrian ports. They are reaching for the Middle East oil fields and Israel.

  • Iran and Russia have solidified their political ties. Iran is only months away from being nuclear-armed, ready to act on their promises of annihilating Israel.

All these world events will force Israel to act in the upcoming months. Israel will be forced either into a Psalm 83 scenario where they are under siege and forced to use maximum force against their surrounding neighbors. Or, Iran will follow through on its threats and with the help of Russia fulfill the Ezekiel 38-39 scenario of the Gog-Magog invasion. It will probably be both, one closely after another.

Unless God intervenes and delays what is prophetically inevitable, the world scene appears to be ready for the 7-year Tribulation; a time Jesus said will be "such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall." In fact, Jesus said it will be so terrible that if it were not stopped at the end of seven years, it would result in the destruction of all life (Matt. 24:21-22).

For the believer in Christ, this life change may mean some suffering in the short term, but believers will be spared God's wrath and the Tribulation by first being taken up to be with Jesus in heaven (John 14:1-4; Rom. 5:9; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9).

Because the Rapture of the Church looks so close, I'm releasing a blog entry tomorrow titled "Jesus Came. What's Next?" It is Lamb & Lion's message to those left behind. I encourage you not only to forward and give out as many copies as possible to those you know haven't accepted Jesus as Savior, but you can use it as a "left behind" message using You've Been Left Behind.

Our waiting is almost over. Jesus is coming back to reign!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Jesus is Coming Back Very Soon

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

Jesus Christ is coming back to this Earth very soon.

Now, Jesus Himself made it crystal clear that we cannot know the date of His return. He stated in Matthew 24:36, "of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone."

But, the Bible makes it equally clear that those who have the Holy Spirit living in them — that is, those who believe in Jesus as Savior — can understand the nature of the times that mark His return (1 Thessalonians 5:2-6).

And folks, the season of the Lord's return is now! We are coming to the end of one age and the beginning of the age of Jesus' glorious reign right here on earth.


Signs that Show How to Know


What does God reveal in the Bible that shows us that now is the season of the Lord's return?

Well, there are nearly 500 prophecies in the Old Testament and in the New Testament 1 in every 25 verses that describe Jesus' Second Coming. Included in these prophecies God gives us an abundance of signs to be looking out for to know how soon Jesus' return will be.

What are these signs? Well, one of the categories of signs to be looking out for pertains to the nature of Society. In Matthew 24:37 Jesus says that His coming "will be just like in the days of Noah." What the Lord is saying here is, "I'm going to come back in a time when the earth is in as bad a shape as it was in the days of Noah." In other words, world society will go full circle and return to being as evil as it was in those days.

Genesis 6 describes the days of Noah when mankind's "minds were focused upon evil." In the days of Noah, immorality and violence were everywhere. The Apostle Paul spells it out in detail (2 Timothy 3:1-4), "Realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God..." Truly that is the condition of society today.

Another category of end-time signs pertains to the amazing advancements in Technology.

Daniel 12:4 said there would be an explosion of knowledge and an increase in the rapidity of transportation at the end of this age. The Bible describes scenarios that depend on mass communication, satellite television, the Internet, computer technology and medical advances that have become a reality only in our day and time.

For example, Jesus foreshadowed nuclear weapons in Luke 21 in speaking of people "fainting from fear" due to the "powers of the heavens being shaken," and how people will wish to hide underground to escape the devastation (Revelation 6:15).

Think how amazing it is that in the 20th Century people began on horseback and ended in a rocket.

Yet another category of signs pertains to World Politics. The Bible prophesies a very specific end time configuration of nations.

Israel is pictured as a nation once more that is surrounded by hostile Arab neighbors intent on its destruction. This, of course, has been the situation in the Middle East since the Israeli Declaration of Independence in May of 1948 (Ezekiel 35:1-36:7; 37:21-22).

Daniel prophesied that the Roman Empire would be revived. This began with the formation of the European Union (Daniel 2:36-41).

The Bible prophesies a great power located in the "remote parts of the north." This nation will menace Israel in the end times and will ultimately lead an invasion of Israel together with specified allies, all of which are modern day Muslim states (Ezekiel 38:1-39:16). Russia and its Muslim allies fit this description precisely.

More evidence that Jesus will soon return is that at the end of this age Spiritual signs will abound.

Three times in Matthew 24 Jesus warns that the end of this age will see many false prophets claiming to be Christ with a resulting rise in cult followings, misleading many people away from the true teachings of the Bible.

Satanism in the form of witchcraft, New Age, and the occult were prophesied to become mainstream, and so they have. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 4:1 that "the Spirit explicitly says that in the latter times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons."

And, many churches will become apostate, denying Jesus and ignoring His moral law. Paul writes about those who profess to being Christian in 2 Timothy 4:3-4,"The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine... and will turn aside to myths."

But, the signs are not all bad news. We are told that there will be some very positive spiritual signs in these end times. For instance, Jesus said that the Good News of salvation will spread throughout the world. He said, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14).

There also will be a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit and a greater interest in Bible prophecy and understanding of it (Matthew 24:14; Joel 2; Daniel 12).

As a result of all this turning away from God, God will increase the signs of Nature. Natural disasters of every type increasing greatly in frequency and intensity like "birth pains" are God's way of calling people to repent and return to a loving relationship with Him (Matthew 24:8). Jesus stated in Luke 21:11 that "there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven."

The prophetic signs that relate to Israel, though, are the most important of all because the Jews are God's prophetic time clock. What this means is that the Scriptures often tie a prophesied future event with something that will happen directly to the Jews.

An example can be found in Matthew 24 where Jesus prophesied that the re-establishment of the nation of Israel would be an end time sign. Using the fig tree as a symbol of Israel, He prophesied that when the fig tree re-blossoms, the generation that sees that happen will be the one that will witness His return. Well, the fig tree re-blossomed on May 14, 1948 when the nation of Israel was re-established, making our generation the one that will witness the Lord's return.

Jesus gave a similar prophecy about the city of Jerusalem. In Luke 21:24 He prophesied that the Jews would be dispersed from Jerusalem and be led captive among the nations. He then said to watch for their return to Jerusalem because, when they return, it will mark the season of His return.

In fulfillment of this prophecy, the Jews were dispersed from Jerusalem in 70 AD, and they returned in June of 1967, marking this day and time as the season of the Lord's return (Luke 21; Zechariah 8:4-8).

There are other prophecies concerning Israel that mark the end times when Jesus will return. One is found in Isaiah 35 where we are told that the decimated and barren land of Israel will flourish once again. In fulfillment of this prophecy, early in the 20th Century the Jewish settlers began to reclaim the land. Today, Israel has become the breadbasket of the Middle East.

Zechariah 12 tells us that Israel will become a military powerhouse in the end times, and today, the tiny nation of Israel is considered by military experts to have the fourth most powerful military force in the world.

Another key prophetic sign related to Israel in the end times is the one whose fulfillment we are witnessing today — the focusing of world politics upon the nation of Israel (Zechariah 12:2-3). All the nations of the world, including the United States, are coming against Israel over the issue of who controls the city of Jerusalem.

Truly, Israel's return as a nation almost 1900 years later is a miracle, proof positive that the Bible is the Word of God and that the prophecies in it have come true in this generation.


The Nature of Christ's Return


So why is God giving us all these signs to let us know about Jesus' soon return? Well, the key lies in why He is returning. Jesus is returning to deal with rebellion — sin — before setting up His Kingdom on earth. It is God's merciful and loving nature to let us know beforehand when He comes in justice and judgment to give us a chance to repent. 2 Peter 3:9 explains, "God does not wish that any should perish but that all should be brought to repentance."

God deals with sin in one of two ways — either in grace or in wrath. A person is under either the grace of God or the wrath of God. There is no third option. To be under the grace of God is a glorious thing. It means you have the promise that one day soon Jesus will appear and take you out of this world in an event called the "Rapture" before He deals wrathfully with rebellion (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

The Bible promises over and over that those who have accepted Jesus as Savior during this age will be delivered from God's wrath. Romans 5:9 says that "we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him." 1 Thessalonians 1:10 states that we are waiting "for His Son from heaven... who will deliver us from the wrath to come." The promise is repeated in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 — "God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."

But, if you're under God's wrath because you haven't ask for forgiveness of your sins and accepted Jesus as your Savior, you will stay behind and experience a wrath unlike anything you can even imagine. This will happen during what the Bible calls "The Tribulation" — seven years when the wrath of man, the wrath of Satan, and the wrath of God will be let loose upon this earth. For seven terrible and terrifying years the Earth will be devastated and billions of people will be annihilated before Jesus' Second Coming.

God is a God of love. Jesus says in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." But, God is also a God of justice. The Bible says in John 3:36, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." It is God's very nature to love, but His love demands that evil be dealt with in justice.

The Bible clearly teaches that God never pours out His wrath without warning for He is a just and loving God who does not wish that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). That is why He has provided so many signs to alert us to the fact that we are living on the threshold of the Tribulation and the soon return of Jesus Christ.


Decide


Where do you stand? Are you under God's wrath because you haven't accepted His free gift of salvation, or are you under God's grace because you have? Will you be one of those raptured before God's wrath, or will you suffer in it? Can you truly say that you are ready for Jesus' return?

You have a decision to make. If you haven't accepted Jesus as your Savior, then heed Mark 1:25. "The time has come...the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" Believe in Jesus, God's Son, and have everlasting life.

If you have accepted Jesus as Savior, your sins have been forgiven and forgotten, and you can look forward with confidence to that glorious day when Jesus will appear in the heavens. Make sure in these last days that Jesus is also Lord of every area of your life, so that when He comes He will find you ready.

"Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!'" (Mark 13:35-37 NIV)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What Is Going to Happen to America?

Dr. David R. ReaganBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Where is the United States in Bible prophecy? It is only natural that we should wonder since the United States is not mentioned specifically by name in Bible prophecy. We are covered by general prophecies that relate to all nations, but beyond that, our end time destiny must be a matter of speculation.

General prophecies that apply to the U.S. include those that say all nations will be judged (Isaiah 34:2-3) and all nations will cease to exist except the nation of Israel (Jeremiah 30:11 and 46:28).

A Speculation
I personally believe that the reason the U.S. is not mentioned in end time prophecy is because we will suddenly cease to be a world power and will therefore play no significant role in end time events.

The destruction of American power is most likely to occur in two stages. The first looks to be an economic catastrophe that will result from our out of control debt situation. Our god is the dollar, and the Lord is going to destroy that god when the weight of our debt collapses our economy.

The second stage could occur when Russia launches its invasion of Israel (prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39). I believe it is very likely that they will launch a preemptive nuclear attack against our nation, since we are the only country in the world that might possibly come to Israel's defense. This attack may be hinted at in Ezekiel 39:6 where it says that fire will fall on "those who inhabit the coastlands in safety."

The Russian attack will probably come from submarines deployed off our East and West coasts. Each Russian sub carries more fire power than all the bombs dropped in World War II. Such an attack would give us only seven minutes warning, not even enough time to launch a counter attack.

With the U.S. immobilized, the Russians will then attack Israel and, according to Ezekiel, their army will be wiped out supernaturally by God on the hills of Israel (Ezekiel 39:1-4). The greatest power vacuum in the history of mankind will be created almost overnight. The world will be gripped by panic.

Into that vacuum will step a dynamic, charismatic European political personality who will be energized by Satan. He will begin to rally the world to his support through his brilliant proposals for world peace. The world will be mesmerized by him (Revelation 13:8).

The Parallel of Habakkuk
I admit that I do not like this speculative scenario. But it seems the most likely chain of events to me. When it first occurred to me, I was particularly repelled by the idea of God using Russia to judge our nation. I asked, "How can a holy God punish those who are evil with those who are more evil?"

My quest for an answer to that question led me to the book of Habakkuk. I discovered that Habakkuk asked God the same question when God revealed to him that Judah would be judged by an invasion of the Chaldeans.

God never answered Habakkuk's question. He just called on Habakkuk to proceed in faith, believing that God knew best (Habakkuk 2:4). After a difficult spiritual struggle, Habakkuk stepped out in faith and said, "Lord, even if the Chaldeans completely destroy us, I will continue to exalt Your name" (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

The Chaldeans came. They destroyed the nation of Judah and the Temple of God. But where are the Chaldeans today? In the dust bin of history. Where are the Jews? Regathered to their land.

The point is that God has the wisdom and power to orchestrate the evil of Man to the triumph of His holy will in history. It is not for us to question His ways. Rather, it is for us to trust Him.

A Sobering Conclusion
But there is another point to consider. Are we really more righteous than the Russians? I think not.

In fact, I believe we are far more dangerous to the world spiritually than the Russians have ever been, for we are the world's moral polluter through the export of our sleazy television programs, our filthy movies, our satanic music, and our degrading pornography.

We are a people who have turned our back on God. The day of judgment for us will be far more severe than for the Russians, for "to those to whom much is given, much is expected" (Luke 12:48).

Another Possibility
There is another possible fate for the United States. If the Rapture were to occur today, we would be devastated because our nation contains more born again Christians than any other nation in the world — more than all of Western Europe combined. Further, we have many born again Christians in high positions of commerce and government. The Rapture would reduce our nation to chaos, removing us from the international scene as the world's dominant power.

We can hope and pray that this will be the destiny of our nation, because if it is not, we are headed toward outright destruction due to our rebellion against a gracious God who has blessed us more than any other nation that has ever existed.

Monday, September 22, 2008

What Does the Emergent Church Movement Believe?

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Pinning down what the Emergent Church movement believes is kind of like trying to nail jell-o to the wall. Because the movement exists to break with all things Christian traditional and intellectual… well, ah, there you go — that's exactly what they believe and why the movement exists.

All that breaking for the purpose of elevating experiential worship creates all sorts of different expressions, and therefore different offshoots of beliefs. Our friend at Olive Tree Ministries, Jan Markel, has written an article titled "Will the Emergent Church Submerge Yours?" based on her radio interview with Elwood McQuaid of Friends of Israel. Jan's done a wonderful job of compiling the different offshoots into an overview of what the movement is attempting to embrace.

  1. Scripture is no longer the ultimate authority as the basis for the Christian faith.

  2. The centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ is being replaced by humanistic methods promoting church growth and a social gospel.

  3. More and more emphasis is being placed on building the kingdom of God now and less and less on the warnings of Scripture about the imminent return of Jesus Christ and a coming judgment in the future.

  4. The teaching that Jesus Christ will rule and reign in a literal millennial period is considered unbiblical and heretical.

  5. The teaching that the church has taken the place of Israel and Israel has no prophetic significance is often embraced.

  6. The teaching that the book of Revelation does not refer to the future, but instead has been already fulfilled in the past or is allegorical.

  7. An experiential mystical form of Christianity begins to be promoted as a method to reach the postmodern generation.

  8. Ideas are promoted teaching that Christianity needs to be reinvented in order to provide meaning for this generation.

  9. The pastor may implement an idea called "ancient-future" or "vintage Christianity" claiming that in order to take the church forward, we need to go back in church history and find out what experiences were effective to get people to embrace Christianity.

  10. While the authority of the Word of God is undermined, images and sensual experiences are promoted as the key to experiencing and knowing God.

  11. These experiences include icons, candles, incense, liturgy, labyrinths, prayer stations, contemplative prayer, experiencing the sacraments (for Protestants), particularly the sacrament of the Eucharist.

  12. There seems to be a strong emphasis on ecumenism indicating that a bridge is being established that leads in the direction of unity with the Roman Catholic Church. (This will ultimately lead to the one world religion of Revelation.)

  13. Some "evangelical" Protestant leaders are saying that the Reformation went too far. They are reexamining the claims of the "church fathers" saying that communion is more than a symbol and that Jesus actually becomes present in the wafer at communion.

  14. Some suggest there are many ways to God.

  15. Members of churches who question or resist the new changes that the pastor is implementing are reprimanded and usually asked to leave. If you are over age 50, your opinion will not even matter.

What pains me as a 30-something Baby Buster is that the movement began with some wonderfully talented preachers. My generation has benefited from Rob Bell's Nooma series and Erwin McManus' point-sinking illustrations. The loss of these and other preachers from the land of sound doctrine is painful, but goes to show how susceptible each and every one of us is to apostasy when we stray from the literal teachings of the Bible. And in this, despite all the "newness" the Emergent Church movement is trying to create, there truly is "nothing new under the sun" (Ecc. 1:9).

Conference
Olive Tree Ministries is hosting the "Understanding the Times 2008" Conference this weekend. If you are in the Minnesota area, you'll be blessed by the conference and have the opportunity to hear Dr. Reagan teach in person.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Carbon Dating Bible Prophecy

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

No two parts of the Bible are more widely disputed than the early chapters of Genesis in the beginning of the Bible and the Book of Revelation at the end of the Bible. Those sections concerning the creation of the universe and recreation of the earth by flood, and Jesus' return to rule and implement our final life's destiny, are scoffed at endlessly. This is understandable, for to undermine God as a Creator and as the Ruler seemingly pushes forward Satan and man's quest for total separation from God's control (which, by the way, God grants in the form of eternal separation, even if people don't like that the destination is Hell).

I began writing this with the purpose of providing yet another chink in the argument for those who scoff at the Bible by reporting on a Slashdot.com report titled "Research Finds Carbon Dating Flawed" (September 10, 2008). The report states what I believe most of us already know but some refuse to acknowledge — that carbon dating, whether radioactive Carbon 14 or stable C12/C13, cannot be relied on to give an accurate reading of the age of anything. Such unreliable dating has been proven again and again in animals both alive and dead who have had different body parts tested with the readings resulting in thousands of years of age difference within the same animal.

What is more interesting to read are the posts to the report, and what this article is now about. Beginning with the fear that the Intelligent Design supporters would jump all over the dating failure as support for their theory, the posters began an all out blast-fest of supporters of creationism. The rhetoric devolved into accusations that Bible believers are unintelligent acolytes who ignore the "vast amount" of data and scientific organizations that say there is no God and support evolution as "fact."

This vehement response to me is not unexpected. I could launch into many arguments myself on why evolution is an unprovable bullet-riddled theory, point to stories of scientists being harassed by their institutions to prop the party evolutionary line, and cite Bible texts that give God's response to the debate. Supporters of evolution and deniers of God have already heard all that, though.

What the detractors haven't heard is that Jesus fulfills Bible prophecy. How can one say the Bible is false when it got 108 distinct predictions of Jesus' First Coming dead-on, exactly bulls-eye right? How can anyone deny the signs of the time that point to the soon return of Jesus Christ? What will people say as the 500 prophecies concerning Jesus' Second Coming begin to be fulfilled? Nothing. Bible prophecy being fulfilled silences any rational argument. Bible prophecy being fulfilled proves that the Bible is an accurate record from Creation to Eternity. Period.

God and His Word can be trusted as a secure foundation for one's life, worldview and understanding of the cosmos.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Eastern Gate in Prophecy

Dr. David R. ReaganBy Dr. David R. Reagan

In Ezekiel 43 the Lord gives Ezekiel a vision of God's glory entering the Millennial Temple from the east, through the Eastern Gate. The Lord then says to Ezekiel: "Son of Man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of my feet where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever" (43:7).

The Lord then reveals to Ezekiel that the Eastern Gate into Jerusalem will be closed and will not be reopened until the Messiah returns in glory (44:1-3).


Prophetic Sealing of the Gate
This prophecy was partially fulfilled more than 400 years ago in 1517 when the Turks conquered Jerusalem under the leadership of Suleiman the Magnificent. He commanded that the city's ancient walls be rebuilt, and in the midst of this rebuilding project, for some unknown reason, he ordered that the Eastern Gate be sealed up with stones.

Legends abound as to why Suleiman closed the Gate. The most believable one is that while the walls were being rebuilt, a rumor swept Jerusalem that the Messiah was coming. Suleiman called together some Jewish rabbis and asked them to tell him about the Messiah. They described the Messiah as a great military leader who would be sent by God from the east. He would enter the Eastern Gate and liberate the city from foreign control.

Suleiman then decided to put an end to Jewish hopes by ordering the Eastern Gate sealed. He also put a Muslim cemetery in front of the Gate, believing that no Jewish holy man would defile himself by walking through a Muslim cemetery.

The Gate has remained sealed since that time. The Muslim cemetery still blocks the entrance. The old walled city has eight gates, and the Eastern Gate, and it alone, is sealed — just as prophesied in Ezekiel 44.

Prophetic Opening of the Gate
We are told in Revelation 19 that when Jesus returns He will come as a victorious military conqueror, riding through the air on a supernatural white horse. In Isaiah 61 we are told that He will come from the east, and in Zechariah 14 we are told that he will touch ground on the Mount of Olives.

Revelation 19:14 says that all the Redeemed will come with the Lord. Zechariah 14 says He will speak a word that will supernaturally destroy the Antichrist and his forces.

Then, we will witness a replay of the Lord's triumphant entry into Jerusalem. With angels hovering above and millions of the Redeemed filling the Kidron Valley, Jesus will ride up to the Eastern Gate on His white horse, and as He approaches the Gate, it will blow open. He will then enter the City of David, and to the triumphant shouts of "Hosanna to the Son of David," He will be crowned the Kings of kings and the Lord of lords.

Psalm 24 describes this scene: "Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle... The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory."

The Eastern Gate is proof positive that the Bible is the Word of God. Its sealing is clear evidence that we are living in the end times. The Gate awaits the return of the Messiah. Then and only then, will it be opened.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Satanism – A Sign of the End Times

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

One of the evidences that Jesus will soon return at the end of this age is that Spiritual signs will abound. One of the negative spiritual signs is the rise and acceptance of Satanism. Satanism in the form of witchcraft, New Age, and the occult were prophesied to become mainstream, and so they have. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 4:1 that "the Spirit explicitly says that in the latter times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons."

Take this story, for instance, by WorldNetDaily titled "6-6-Sick: Teens Dismembered in Satanic Slaughter" (September 15, 2008).

"Eight suspects have been detained by police in Russia for the alleged satanic ritual killing — and cooking — of four teens, according to a report in the London Daily Mail. Police in the Yaroslavl region northeast of Moscow told the newspaper the victims — three girls and one boy — were stabbed 666 times each, dismembered and cooked on a bonfire in the satanic ritual. Satanists link the number 666 with Satan. The Daily Mail said police reported the victims' limbs, hearts and other body parts were severed and dumped in the pit along with a small rodent that was crucified on an upside-down cross. The victims all were described by police as Goths, ages 16 and 17, and authorities said they apparently were forced to get drunk before the murders."

Was that just an isolated incident of Satanism? How about 48,000 people who gather every year on the summer solstice for a ritual burning of a 40-foot effigy of a man in an event called the Burning Man? Meeting in Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada under the guise of an art show, according to their website at burningman.com, participants enter into "an experiment in community, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance" to "encourage the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources." Such "radical expression" involves naked ceremonial dancing, open sexuality, tarot card readings, earth goddess worship, shamanism, Wiccan counselors and other forms of occultism.


Satanism Repackaged
Satan's goal is to drag as many people as he can with him on his way to Hell. For those who can't stomach his desire with openly flagrant Satan worship, much of today's Satanism is repackaged under supposedly harmless guises such as New Age philosophy, Wiccan earth spiritualism, extreme environmentalism, meditation, yoga, out-of-body experiences and channeling.

Satanism is packaged to our children in seemingly innocuous books like Harry Potter and Twitches, and television shows like Totally Raven and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Any children's section of Barnes and Nobles or other major bookstore chain is dominated by books with a magic theme aimed at early indoctrination into the occult. What did those Goth teens who sacrificed their peers to Satan read when they were kids?

The Bible on Satanism
What does God have to say about people who participate in satanic worship? In Leviticus 19:31 God stated, "Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God," and in "Leviticus 20:6, "I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people."

And for those who practice Satanism, Deuteronomy 18:10-12b states, "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD." Under the Mosaic Law in Leviticus 20:27, "A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads." God feels that strongly about engaging in any level of Satanism.

The Bible says the ultimate destination of anyone who engages in any form of Satanism will be to become a real "burning man" in the Lake of Fire. Jesus proclaims in Revelation 21:8 (NIV), "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

So, while Satanism grows in its openness and acceptance in society in preparation for Satan's direct world rule through the Antichrist, those who love what is good can find great solace in Jesus' upcoming and completed victory over Satan.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kamikaze Post-Tribulation Rapturists

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

Last month's blog poll "When will the Rapture take place" results are in. Check out the graph below:


While the poll results indicate that we had a general consensus of support for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture from our perspective audience, it was encouraging for me to see that there are others with different viewpoints reading this blog.

What I wasn't prepared for was the many venomous emails from those who support the Post-Tribulation Rapture view. The emails may not have come from some or any of the 11 that voted in support of that view, and I'm sure a lot of the emails were generated from the "Christ in Prophecy" show End Time Viewpoints that aired during one of the weeks in August (see below). Never-the-less the source that incited the emails, I've never encountered a group so openly hostile to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view.

Some of the hot tempered emails carried accusations like "the Pre-Trib teachings are straight from the pits of hell," "it's a false teaching," it's "Prosperity Theology" and that "the Pre-Trib is satanically motivated." For me personally, I "just don't get it," need to "wake up," am "afraid," and that my soul is "in jeopardy." I literally will be responsible for "the death of the souls of untold numbers." Wow, and I thought salvation had to do with accepting Jesus as Savior!

Why the anger and hostility over one's eschatological viewpoint? I'll post my theories as to why I believe some so emphatically hold to the Post-Tribulation Rapture of the Church.

One, they believe to have a Pre-Trib Rapture would give those who've been riding the fence a second chance at accepting Jesus as Savior. I have heard that repeatedly in a 7th Day Adventist prophecy conference and by the teachings of "Amazing Facts'" Doug Batchelor. It comes across as reminiscent of the "it's not fair" argument kids so often accuse their parents of. And yet, Jesus told us in a story that the wage earner who arrives at the beginning of the shift gets the same payment as the one who arrived near the end of the shift. God isn't always fair in human eyes.

Second, I've heard their supporters say that Christians are apostate and evil, and only by enduring a form of "Protestant Purgatory" for 7 years will the Church cleanse itself and be ready for Jesus' return. The end result of the close killing of the entire planet and billions of people being obliterated does little to purify if almost everyone is dead.

Third, there is a certain nobleness to being a martyr for Christ; a chance some Post-Millennialists don't want to lose. Even though we are saved by grace, for some they feel works must still be involved, and like some kind of jihadist these kamikaze Post-Tribulation Rapturists want to make the ultimate sacrifice to prove their mettle to God.

Terry James, our friend over at Rapture Ready, proposed the fourth answer in his article The Rapture Revilers: "I believe it flows from satanic rage that affects even the born again… I'm convinced it is because Satan hates Israel and the Lord's plan to save remnants out of Israel and out of His creation called man in general… These who hurl invective are deluded, in denial. I don't doubt their salvation. But I do doubt their faithful adherence to God's prophetic Word. They prefer man-made eschatology, and that is given not by the Holy Spirit, but by Lucifer, the fallen one."

I agree with Terry wholeheartedly in his saying that we do not doubt the salvation of those who hold to the Post-Tribulation Rapture view. But, the vehemence and anger in which some in that camp support their view is nothing short of satanic anger channeled to divide the Church and throw aside God's promises to the Jewish people.

Can't we Christians just all get along?



Sunday, September 14, 2008

God Wants You To Go To Church

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

Serving in a para-church organization like Lamb & Lion Ministries, I frequently come in contact with folks who aren't into going to church. They even sometimes write in to ask if it's ok not to attend a church since we are in the end times when many churches are jumping ship doctrinally and falling into apostasy. They use our show "Christ in Prophecy" and literature as a substitute for attending a worship service. They are still dedicated to absorbing as much personal Bible study as possible and watching various Christian TV shows throughout the week, but they will not darken the halls of any congregation.

Not going to church, though, is not God's will for your life. I encourage you to join in a doctrinally sound church so that you will have Christian fellowship, accountability and worship — something you can't get with a para-church organization. Without those practices, you will be more open to being led away from Christ.

If indeed Christ is the head of the Church (and He is), then as believers that's where we need to be — connected to Him with other believers. As the writer of Hebrews stated in Hebrews 10:25 (NIV), "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching." The Book of Acts is just full of stories of how important gathering with other believers is for spiritual growth and furthering the proclamation of the Good News.

Certainly there are churches that are falling away, but there are also many faithful to God's Word. It may take a little work to find one, but you can speed up the search by browsing the church doctrinal statement on their website. If it's not on their website, that's a clear indicator to avoid that place.

If you need an example of why following God's will is always in you and your family's best interest, check out this story "Study: Church-Going Teens Have Higher GPAs" by Audrey Barrick of the Christian Post Reporter. Being in God's will by being part of a church affects every single area of your life positively.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Energy Independence

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

Other than the economic downturn most of the world is grappling with due to the Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis, no other topic has been more center stage lately than the energy crisis. Painful fill-ups at the pumps emptying wallets, food shortages ravaging the third world as corn is converted into ethanol, inflation rising as transportation costs are passed onto consumers, and the devaluation of the dollar as the U.S. government mass-prints money to keep up in competitive buying of fuel — all these and many more troubles have befallen the world over the amount of available oil.

"Black Gold," "Texas Tea," "Liquid Dinosaur" — the readiness of this substance is the source of troubles in modern world politics. It will also be a huge motivator in the prophetic scenes of Israel overcoming their Arab neighbors (Psalm 83), Russia and Iran trying and failing to seize the Middle East oil fields (Ezekiel 38,39), and the Antichrist's struggle against Israel to control the Middle East to establish his Revived Roman Empire (Daniel 2,7).

While the world goes ga-ga over oil, Israel instead has been leading the way in becoming energy independent. With no known oil of their own, Israel knows that currently they are totally dependent on the millions of hostile Arabs intent on destroying them. If it wasn't for God and the greed of OPEC being greater than their Islamic conviction to utterly remove Israel from the face of the earth, Israel would have been reduced to an agrarian society and destroyed by now.

Companies like Zion Oil and Gas, Inc., via The Joseph Project have been vigorously drilling for that questionable Israeli oil, believing the Bible supports that Israel is sitting on trillions of dollars underground. They base their search on Genesis 49:25-26; Deuteronomy 32:24; Deuteronomy 33:24; and Job 29:6. These verses speak of "blessings of the deep that lies below" and "oil from the flinty crag" and "let him bathe his feet in oil" and "the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil."

Whether oil is under Israel or not, where Israel's true search for energy independence lies is in its brilliant innovations in alternative energy sources like solar and battery power. Israeli scientists have released revolutionary second generation solar cells that are light years ahead of current installs. Israel is also looking to be the first country by 2020 to have eliminated all gas-powered cars with battery-powered cars. Because of Israel's small size, driving distances are well within the current 124 mile battery limit. Israel is motivated to be totally energy independent because it knows it is in a race to survive.

The United States and EU, instead of selling out Israel to appease oil-rich Arab countries to keep the supply of oil running, should instead be partnering with Israel in their breakthrough advancements in energy. The United States could indeed be not just energy independent by following Israel's lead and partnering with them, but also become major suppliers of energy to the world and eliminate the woefully unbalanced trade deficit.

Unfortunately, as end-time players are nearly ready to fulfill their prophetic roles and fall all over themselves to get Middle East oil, the day the world is free of oil tyranny with energy independence may well have to wait till Jesus is on the throne during His Millennial Kingdom. Pity our short-sightedness and greed.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

8 Examples of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy

In the Old Testament alone there are 300 prophecies (108 unique) concerning the First Coming of the Messiah and 500 prophecies concerning His upcoming Second Coming. In the New Testament, 1 in every 25 verses are about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus fulfilled all 300 First Coming prophecies. Because of that, we know Jesus will indeed fulfill all of the Second Coming prophecies.

Mathematicians have figured the possibility of 8 prophesies being fulfilled has a probability of 1 in 10 to the 17th, or equal to covering Texas in coins 2 feet deep and blindfolding a guy and he finds one marked coin on the first try.

Let's look at just 8 of the fulfilled First Coming prophecies:

1) Descended from woman
Genesis 3:15 (NIV) fulfilled in Galatians 4:4
"So the LORD God said to the serpent, 'Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.'"

2) Descendent of Abraham
Genesis 12:1-3 (NIV) fulfilled in John 8:56-58
"The LORD had said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.'"

3) From the tribe of Judah
Genesis 49:10 (NIV) fulfilled in Hebrews 7:14
"The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his."

4) From the house of David
2 Samuel 7:12 (NIV) fulfilled in Matthew 1:1
"When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever."

5) Place of Birth
Micah 5:2 (NIV) fulfilled in Luke 2:4, 15
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."

6) His Name
Isaiah 7:14 (NIV) fulfilled in Matthew 1:23
"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."

7) Gentiles bearing gifts (3 wise men)
Isaiah 60:6 (NIV) fulfilled in Matthew 2:11
"Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the LORD."

8) Forerunner to proclaim his coming (John the Baptist)
Isaiah 40:3 (NIV) fulfilled in Matthew 3:1-3
"A voice of one calling: 'In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.'"

A great book that would show you which First and Second Coming prophecies have been fulfilled, broken down into books by Moses, Psalms, Prophets, and the New Testament is the Christ in Prophecy Study Guide by Dr. David R. Reagan. Check it out at lamblionresources.com.

When Jesus says He's coming back, He proves it!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Bible Is the Word of God

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

What good would it be to teach Bible prophecy if the student believes the Bible is the same as any other book? The prophecies in the Bible to that student would then hold the same weight as prophecies from Nostradamus, Yoda or the local tabloid. Teaching would be pointless.

If you are that person who doesn't believe the Bible is really the Word of God, then know that there is no book like the Bible in existence. It was written over 1,500 years by more than 40 human authors from various backgrounds and places in 3 languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic). Despite that multiple authors wrote in their own styles, it is easy to tell they were guided by Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20,21; 2 Timothy 3:16,17) because of the unity of theme across all 66 books that together are called "The Bible." That theme being the unfolding of God's plan to bring mankind back to Him through Jesus.

The Bible is also without recording error. Today's copy of the Old Testament can be verified as accurate translations from the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls. The priests recording conditions were so strict that one misprint and the whole copy they were working on was thrown out.

No historical document has so many copies of parts of the Bible (5,500 to be exact) so closely dated to the original writings. We don't doubt Homer wrote the Odyssey, but the oldest existing copy of the Odyssey was copied 2,200 years after it was originally written. Earliest fragments of the Bible date at 120 A.D., with complete copies such as the Codex Vaticanus (325 A.D.) and Codex Sinaiticus (350 A.D.). The closest book to match the Bible is Homer's Iliad with 643 copies dated a whole 500 years after Homer lived.

Archeology supports every historical reference in the Bible, and many more discoveries are found every day.

The Bible's events were also testified by those who were critics, like King Festus (Acts 26:24-26), the historian Josephus, and Romans like Tacitus.

The Bible changes lives. When people read it, they understand God's plan for salvation — Jesus Christ. When they accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of their lives, a radical transformation occurs in the way they live. Their changed lives testify to the power behind the Book.

The Bible is the Word of God. You can trust it to teach you the truth.

"The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple." — Psalm 19:7 (NIV)

"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." — Isaiah 40:8 (NIV)

Monday, September 8, 2008

God Wants You To Know Jesus Is Returning

Dr. David R. ReaganBy Dr. David R. Reagan

You are either under grace or your are under wrath. Jesus is coming in wrath. God never pours out His wrath without warning. God is obligated by His character to warn. Therefore, God is obligated to let us know the season of the Lord's return.

Now, how can we know it? God wants us to know it, but how does He reveal it? He reveals it through signs — through signs that we are to watch for. The same principle applied to the First Coming of Jesus.

In Matthew 16 you will see this principle. In verse 1 we find Jesus teaching when He is suddenly confronted by the Sadducees and Pharisees. Here are the religious leaders of Israel demanding a "sign" to prove that Jesus is the Messiah. They want Him to perform a miracle. He says, "I don't understand you guys. You can look at the sky and tell what the weather is going to be, and you can't look at me and discern the signs of the times? What miracle do you need? What sign do you need besides what I'm doing?"

What's Jesus referring to? He's referring to the fact that the Hebrew Scriptures, which these men had been studying all their lives, contain over 300 hundred prophecies about the First Coming of the Messiah. Many of those prophecies are repetitious. If you boil them all down you'll come out with about 109 separate and distinct prophecies about the First Coming of Jesus. These prophecies foretold everything about His life — where He would be born, how He would be born, that He would go into Egypt, that He would live in Galilee, that He would heal people and love people. All aspects of His ministry were prophesied.

Take Jesus' lineage for example. It was prophesied that He would be descended from Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and David. The last days and hours of His life were prophesied in incredible detail. The prophets said He would be betrayed, by a friend, for 30 pieces of silver, that He would be lifted up, and that He would be pierced in the side and in His hands and feet. Every aspect of His life and death was prophesied.

Now, Jesus is fulfilling all those prophecies before the very eyes of the Scribes and Pharisees. Yet, they are demanding a "sign!" So Jesus replies, "How blind can you be? I'm fulfilling the signs of the times."

Now folks, here's the point: There are 300 hundred prophecies about the First Coming of Jesus in the Old Testament, but there are 500 — five hundred! — in the Old Testament about His Second Coming! And in the New Testament, one out of every 25 verses has to do with the Second Coming of Jesus. In other words, there are many, many, many more prophecies about the Second Coming of Jesus than His First Coming. Probably twice as many. Why so many? Because Jesus is returning in wrath. The first time He came, He came as a compassionate Savior with tears in His eyes. But when He returns, He is returning as a conquering warrior with eyes like white hot flames because He is returning to judge and make war against the enemies of God.

And so, since God does not wish that any should perish, He has given us sign after sign after sign to watch out for Jesus' return.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Prophecy Verifies the Authenticity of the Bible

Dr. David R. ReaganBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Some of the most convincing evidence of the Bible's divine inspiration is to be found in its prophecies. More than one-fourth of the Bible is prophetic in nature. Prophecy is one of the most unique features of the Bible. No other book that forms the basis of a religion contains prophecy. There are no prophecies in the Koran, the Book of Mormon, the Hindu Vedras or the sayings of Confucius or Buddha.

The Messianic prophecies are remarkable in nature. There are more than 300 of them about the First Coming of the Messiah. Many are repetitious, like the prophecy that the Messiah will be descended from the house of David. When the repetitious prophecies are culled out, there remain 108 prophecies that are separate and unique. All 108 were fulfilled in the life of Jesus. That is beyond the realm of probability.

Consider just two of these remarkable prophecies. In Micah 5 we are told the Messiah will be born in "Bethlehem Ephrathah." That prophecy was given 700 years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem. And notice how precise the prophecy is. It does not simply say that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. It says, "Bethlehem Ephrathah." That's because there were two Bethlehems in Israel when Micah wrote — one in the north near the Sea of Galilee, and the other in the south near Jerusalem, in the area known as Ephrathah.

Another remarkable Messianic prophecy can be found in Psalm 22 where David wrote that the Messiah would be pierced in His hands and feet (verse 16). That prophecy was written over 1,000 years before the birth of Jesus and over 700 years before the Romans began using crucifixion as a form of execution.

In addition to the Messianic prophecies, the Bible is full of secular prophecies about cities, nations, and individuals — many of which have already been fulfilled in history. Consider, for example, Micah's prophecy that Jerusalem and its Temple would be destroyed (Micah 3:11-12). This prophecy was written over 150 years before the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple.

Micah's contemporary, Isaiah, prophesied that the children of Israel would be taken into captivity, but they would ultimately be released by a man named Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28). This prophecy was written 150 years before the reign of Cyrus who issued the order for the Jews to return home (Ezra 1:1-4).

Jeremiah prophesied that the Babylonian captivity would last exactly 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10). Years later, when Daniel discovered Jeremiah's prophecy (Daniel 9:2), he calculated that the Jews were in their 69th year of captivity. Believing that Jeremiah was a prophet of God and that his words were inspired of God, Daniel dropped to his knees and prayed for the fulfillment of Jeremiah's prophecy (Daniel 9:4-19). The next year the prophecy was fulfilled when the first group of Jews were sent back to Jerusalem by Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4).

The New Testament contains similar prophecies that have been accurately fulfilled in history. Consider the prophecy Jesus made the last time He left the Galilee for Jerusalem. He put a curse upon three towns where He had focused His ministry because they had refused to repent (Matthew 11:20-24). Those towns were Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida. About 150 years later, a great earthquake destroyed all three. In fact, they were so completely destroyed, that by 1800, critics of the Bible were using these three towns as proof positive that the Bible is full of error. They claimed the towns never existed! Today, you can go visit all three because they have since been discovered by modern archeologists.

In like manner, Jesus prophesied that the city of Jerusalem and its Temple would be completely destroyed. As He put it, "There will not be left one stone upon another" (Luke 21:6). Those words were spoken in about 30 A.D. Forty years later, the Romans conquered the city and totally destroyed the Temple.

Are these remarkable prophecies and their fulfillment a matter of coincidence? I think not. Such prophetic fulfillment is beyond the realm of possibility. It carries the hand print of God.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What Proof Is There That God Exists?

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

Are you prepared for the answer? For, if there is proof that God exists, you will then have to ask yourself "Am I accountable to God?" If God has laid out some living requirements for life here on earth and beyond, then there may need to be some changes made to your life right now. Read on at your own risk.

The first proof we have that God exists is through the book He wrote. Today it's called the Bible. The first line of that book goes "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1 NIV).

The second proof we have that God exists is that creation itself proclaims it has a Creator. Romans 1:20 (NIV) states "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

Why not life just sort of happened? That's where the complexity and functional harmony of creation come in. For example, a chicken egg has around 10,000 tiny holes to allow air in and water/waste out. On day 5 the developing chick's heart begins to pump and send out blood vessels to connect to a breathing membrane. On day 19 the growing chick uses an empty spot in the egg for extra air, giving it the six hours needed to use its egg tooth to poke a hole out of the egg. On day 21 it finally emerges. The maturation process of a chick has to develop in order and on the correct days or the chick would never hatch. If the first chicken egg weren't built perfectly, no chickens would be present today.

The third proof we have that God exists is that you exist. If God created all things, and you are part of that creation, then you are living proof there is a God. And what a complex creation you are! For example, to produce sound your eardrum moves 1/100th the width of a hydrogen molecule. And that's just your physical makeup. We are so much more complex emotionally and spiritually.

The fourth proof that God exists is by a witness, His son, Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:15-17 (NIV) states "15He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

The fifth proof God exists is that Bible prophecy is fulfilled. I'm not talking about one or two vague prophecies, but all 108 distinct prophecies made hundreds of years beforehand about Jesus' First Coming were fulfilled. That number is statistically impossible to be accidental. That also proves the 500 prophecies in the Old Testament and 1 in 25 verses in the New Testament concerning Jesus' Second Coming will certainly be fulfilled.

You could ignore the proof of God's existence. Maybe even make up your own evidence against and surround yourselves with others who agree and will help quiet those who disagree. Or, you can acknowledge the proof of God's existence, read His book, and learn what awesome plans He has for your life now and afterwards. He leaves it your choice.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Holocaust 2

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

Six million people annihilated. I'm so removed from the Holocaust of the Jews by generations and modern comforts that such an atrocity seems unfathomable. It just couldn't possibly have happened, and certainly couldn't again. And yet, it did and it will. Zechariah 13:8 says two-thirds of the Jews will be struck down during the coming Tribulation – today that would be 8.6 million of the 13 million Jews alive. And, Revelation 7:9-17 says that so many believers in Christ will be slaughtered during that coming time that no one could count the number.

I forgot my history. I became indifferent to the evil that went on in the past and will happen again. But, I was awakened by messianic praise singer Ted Pearce's powerful song called "The Forgotten People." If you haven't seen this haunting music video yet, watch it below. Like me, you will be moved, you will remember, and you will see current events in a new prophetic light.