Friday, July 31, 2009

Misconceptions Concerning Bible Prophecy: 5-9

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Is Bible prophecy just too controversial to be taught at church? Is it waaaaay to hard to understand, so should be avoided? Does Bible prophecy really just not matter?

Don PerkinsLamb & Lion Ministries interviewed Bible prophecy expert and all-around nice guy Don Perkins, the founder and director of According to Prophecy Ministries in San Diego, California, about how he would respond to 14 common misconceptions that are out there concerning Bible prophecy. The following are the second five.


5) Bible prophecy is too controversial.

Some pastors believe Bible prophecy is too divisive and it will just split the church. But again, people are not studying. They don't want to spend time to study the Scripture so they pick and choose little pieces of prophecy and they cause confusion. But, if a guy comes in and just preaches the Word, that's not going to be divisive and controversial. I mean, if people don't agree with him they're going to have to scratch their heads and go to the Word and pick up their arguments with God and not with him. Going to the Word and proving the point that you make, well, you can't fight against the Scriptures. And so, the Scriptures are not meant to be divisive.


6) Bible prophecy requires a PhD to understand.

Some do feel you can't understand Bible prophecy unless you have PhD in hermeneutics, whatever that is. I always want to say, "Herman who?" Hermeneutics is the art and science of interpreting Scripture. Some will also say you have to have a vivid imagination or otherwise you just can't understand Bible prophecy. Do you have to have a PhD to understand Bible prophecy? I don't. I understand it because of His grace. I'm a student of the Scripture.

I'll tell you what you've got to have. You've got to have the Holy Spirit and you've got to lean on the Spirit. I always pray, "Holy Spirit, open unto me the Scriptures." You know, Jesus did that to His disciples and when He took them through the Scripture, the Bible says He showed them the prophesies where it was written of Him. And the Scriptures says their hearts burned within them as He opened unto them the Scriptures. And see, that's my prayer!

When I study Revelation, I say, "Father open up my heart. Holy Spirit give me understanding." And it's amazing! Like a light bulb when one has a good idea, that light clicks on. It clicks in my heart and spirit and God helps us to understand. It doesn't mean you're going to understand everything, but the more you study, the more you'll understand. And, when you lean on the Spirit and the longer you study the clearer it gets, too.


7) It makes no difference what you believe about Bible prophecy.

Some people tell me that it's all going to pan-out in the end. "I'm a pan-millennialist!" I normally tell them that they are lazy believers.

I believe in this time, especially in this hour, that every Christian needs to understand and know what he believes scripturally. You need to know what the Word of God says and you need to be firm in your belief structure.

Many people have taken that position because they don't want to spend time just studying. When a person says that to me it just says, "I don't consider it important enough to even study it." And yet, Bible prophecy is one third of God's Word! It's the end of the story. It's the end of the Book! How many people get a novel, read the beginning of the novel and the middle of the novel, and then throw the book away? By the end you are salivating! I want to know who killed who and who did what in that novel. Well, the Bible is the only Book that we do that to.

I really believe that God challenges us as Christians and students of the Scripture to understand. If we spend time God will show us and He will teach us clearly.

That pan-millennial view is a bad view. I get this all the time. They tell me, "You know, you preachers, you prophecy guys are so heavenly minded that you're no earthly good." They totally discount prophecy along those same lines. And I reply, "You need to be heavenly minded so that you are earthly good." When you have a proper understanding of the future, it's going to effect the way you live today.

The Word itself says that all of God's Word is profitable and a subject for studying and that means all of it including Bible prophecy.


8) Bible prophecy is only spiritual in meaning.

I consider this to be the number one problem when it comes to the interpretation of Bible prophecy — spiritualization. I know that anybody who teaches Bible prophecy feels that spiritualization is probably the number one abuse that you can get into.

Let me just explain to you for a moment what I mean by spiritualization. I'm saying that most people when they approach Bible prophecy, they approach it with the attitude that it doesn't mean what it says and it must mean something else. The rule that I follow for all of the Bible from beginning to end, whether it's prophecy or not, is "if the plain sense makes sense, don't look for any other sense, or you will end up with nonsense." God wants to communicate. He knows how to communicate. He says what He means and He means what He says. You don't have to play games.

I want to give you an example of what I mean by spiritualization. Over in Revelation 7, it says that at the beginning of the Tribulation there is going to be 144,000 Jews who are going to be sealed by the Lord. That means they're going to become believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. They're going to be supernaturally protected for the entire period of the Tribulation, and the indication is they will go forth all over the world preaching the gospel. Many people will come to the Lord as a result of their testimony. Well, one time I got a whole bunch of commentaries on the Book of Revelation. I bet I got at least 30-40 commentaries. I looked to see what they said Revelation 7 meant. 85% of them said, "Well, this is talking about the Church." Talking about the Church when it's talking about 144,000 Jews, yet it tells you exactly what tribes they're going to come from. And they spiritualize that and say, "Oh no, it couldn't be Jews, it has to be the Church." That's an example of spiritualization, saying the Bible doesn't mean what it says.

Zechariah 14 says in the end times when Jerusalem is about to fall, the Lord will come back to the Mount of Olives. When His foot touches the mountain it will split in half. He will speak a supernatural word and the Antichrist and his forces will be destroyed. On that day Jesus will become King over all the other earth. One of the foremost theologians of the 20th century said, "That doesn't mean that! What it means is the Mount of Olives is the human heart. It's surrounded by sin. When you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior He comes and stands on your heart and your heart breaks in contrition and He becomes king of your heart."

You know why people like to spiritualize? It's because they become God when they spiritualize. When you spiritualize, scriptures mean anything you want them to mean. It's easy to interpret that way. Again, you must be a student of the Scriptures to understand. I mean, it's that simple.


9) Jesus cannot return until the Gospel is preached to the whole world.

When I get up and preach that Jesus is coming soon and He could come any moment they always say, "No, no, no, no, no! Jesus cannot return until the Gospel is preached to the whole world, because Jesus Himself said that in Matthew 24:14. "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."

What they are misunderstanding about that is that those signs that Jesus gave in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 are signs that point to the literal return of Christ and not the Rapture. They are about the Second Coming of Christ when He comes to this earth. There are some physical prophesies that must take place before He can literally, physically come back in the Second Coming, but there are no signs that point to the Rapture of the Church.

What people don't understand is that the return of Jesus is going to be in two stages — first the Rapture then later on the Second Coming. In the Rapture, Jesus doesn't even return to earth. He appears in the heavens. That could happen anytime. I'm ready to go. But the Second Coming, there's a lot of prophesies before that happens.

And furthermore, with regard to the Gospel being preached to the whole world, we're in the process of doing that right now through modern technology like the television and the Internet. The atmosphere of this planet is saturated with the name of Jesus. And you've got television, you've got the Jesus film... it goes on and on and on.

But, the ultimate fulfillment of that prophecy is going to be near the end of the Tribulation. In Revelation 14 we're told a Gospel angel will go forth, circumnavigate the globe and preach the Gospel to every person before God pours out his final wrath. Most people think that means that when the Gospel is preached everyone will accept it. The Bible says it's going to be a witness against them. The Gospel will be preached and people will accept and some will not accept.


In the third and final part of "Misconceptions Concerning Bible Prophecy," Don Perkins will respond to misconceptions 10-14.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Misconceptions Concerning Bible Prophecy: 1-4

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Are you one of those who avoids Bible prophecy like a plague, either because you are scared of it or because you consider it impossible to understand? Do you think it is irrelevant to your Christian life?

Don PerkinsLamb & Lion Ministries interviewed Bible prophecy expert and all-around nice guy Don Perkins, the founder and director of According to Prophecy Ministries in San Diego, California, about how he would respond to 14 common misconceptions that are out there concerning Bible prophecy. The following are the first four.


1) Studying Revelation will drive you crazy.

As a young man and growing up all my life, when I would go to church that was one thing that I heard. It become a psychological barrier for me. When I became a Christian I surrendered my life to the Lord. As a young Christian I would never go into the Book of Revelation. There are many people today I know that are hindered because they were taught the same thing — they'll go crazy. It wasn't until the Lord called me to this area of ministry that I found out the blessing. Revelation 1:3 tells you, "Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near." And I've been blessed!

Why would God give us a book that nobody can understand? I ask people all the time why would God do that? Why would He give us something that He didn't want us to understand? Well, I just think it's a satanic thing. Satan does not want anybody reading the Book of Revelation — no one! Because, the Book of Revelation says Satan is going to be totally defeated and Jesus is going to be completely triumphant.

I came to that revelation when I started studying. Now I understand why I was fed that lie, because I see in the end the demise of the Devil.

I learned that the Book of Revelation can be used for spiritual warfare. Here's how I use it: every time Satan tries to remind me of my past, I remind him of his future. And, do you know what he does? He tucks tail and runs. I know his future because I know the Book of Revelation. The Word of God is so clear.


2) Bible prophecy is too depressing.

I hear that one all the time. People say, "I don't like Bible prophecy because it's too depressing." And, "It's all about blood and gore and beasts and things that go bump in the dark."

True, IF you only study that part of it. You've got to understand that in the Book of Revelation and overall in Bible prophecy there are so many wonderful things in it. As a matter of fact, when you look at the Book of Revelation the last chapters talk about eternal bliss. In other words, what eternity is going to look like for the redeemed.

Now, I will admit there are some very hard chapters in the Book of Revelation. For the Great Tribulation, the Bible is clear in its description of how that event is going to look. But, it doesn't stay there. Many people throw the baby out with the bath water because they look at the signs and at the Trumpet Judgments and those things, but they never look at anything else in the Book of Revelation as a blessing.

Well, the Book of Revelation has a lot of terrible things in it in terms of the wrath of God being poured out upon this earth and so does the book of Isaiah. But, the thing that we need to remind people of is that in Bible prophecy there is only good news for those who know the Lord, those who are redeemed.

In the last book of the Old Testament, the book of Malachi says that when the Lord returns those who have rejected Him are going to suffer the wrath of God and it's going to be a terrible day for them. In fact, some of the Scriptures say the presidents, prime ministers of the world are going to crawl into holes in the ground and cry for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them. But, it says for those who are believers they'll go forth like a calf released from a stall, acting plum silly waving their hands, dancing and shouting, and saying "Hallelujah, here he comes!" all full of joy and happiness. There's only good news for believers.

I really think you must be a student of the Scripture to really understand Bible prophecy.


3) Bible prophecy is impossible to understand because it's just full of symbolism.

Well, symbols point to a literal event. Symbols always help you to better understand a literal thing. I think in that regard, people need to understand that symbols point to something that's literal, or it gives us a clear picture of a literal event.

So, if you symbolize all of the Book of Revelation then you will get into trouble in prophecy. The thing about symbols, too, is that symbols stand for something literal, but usually the Bible tells you what it is. For example, in the Book of Revelation Jesus is pictured standing among some candlesticks, but it tells you who the candlesticks represent — churches. It says He has stars in His right hand, it tells you, the stars represent the pastors or the angels of those particular churches who are the messengers of those churches.

Also, another example, the Book of Revelation says that when the Jews flee from Jerusalem in the middle of the Tribulation they will flee on the wings of a great eagle. People say, "Ah ha! That means the United States is going to provide the airlift because our symbol is an eagle." But, if you go back and look at the Bible, and the Bible's its own best interpreter, the same term is used when the Jews fled out of Egypt. All it means is it is a symbol of God's protection for them. So yes, there are symbols, but the symbols have a meaning.

Safety in interpretation lies in the Scriptures. The Scripture will always interpret scriptures.

All of Bible prophecy is not symbolic. Take the book of Zechariah. It says the Messiah is coming on a donkey. He's going to be hailed as king. He's going to be betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver. Thirty pieces of silver will be used to buy a plot of land. He'll be lifted up. He'll be pierced. All that meant what it said — literally!

If the plain sense makes sense don't look for any other sense, or you will end up with nonsense. And that is so true.


4) Bible prophecy is irrelevant to contemporary Christian living.

You know that one really gets me. I hear it all the time. Pastors tell me that you can't tie it into today's life. "It's all pie in the sky, sweet by-and-by. I've got to talk about contemporary problems. I've got to help people today." Well, I don't know of a better book that will help you in contemporary living. For me, Bible prophecy is the message that has really put an urging in my heart and has given me a hope that helps me to live in this relevant day.

I found that if you can ever convince a Christian of two things, really convince them... number one, Jesus is coming back. Now, the average Christian says, "Yes, he's coming back." But, they believe it in their mind, but they don't believe it in their heart. When you believe it in your heart you start living. But, as long as you believe it in your head, it's just a mental thing. If you can ever convince them, number one, Jesus is really coming back, and number two, that is an event that could occur any moment, their lives will be transformed. Changed, totally changed! They will commit their lives to holiness. You won't have to preach against drinking. You won't have to preach against gambling. You won't preach against promiscuous sex. People will put it aside.

Also, it is the greatest motivator I know of for evangelism. People will start sharing the Word. How can anything be more practical than that? It's so practical.


In the second part of "Misconceptions Concerning Bible Prophecy," Don Perkins will respond to misconceptions 5-9.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Will Children Be Raptured?

Nathan JonesPDFBy

One of the most frequently asked questions coming into my Inbox involves the role of children in the Rapture. Will children be raptured? What about babies? The unborn? That question can extend as far as covering anyone who is mentally incapable of making a decision to accept Jesus as Savior. In essence, the question extends even further than that, for the ultimate destination of the Rapture is Heaven, and people are wondering about the eternal destiny of these tender people if they die, regardless of the Rapture. Even graver, hanging onto the answer by a thread are people's views of the justice and loving nature of God.

I admit I wince every time I'm asked if children will be raptured. It is a question that hits very close to home for me.

I have three elementary-age children. My older two have asked Jesus to be their Savior and have proclaimed it in baptism. As a father it brings me great joy to see their love for the Lord expressed in cute prayer requests, joyful singing, surprisingly deep questions and an outpouring of love which are all fruits of the Spirit that have me convinced their acceptance of Jesus is genuine. Sure, I know they'll have some bumps along the way as they walk with Christ, and they may even fall away for a bit, but they are His and as Jesus said in John 10:27-29, "no one can snatch them out of my hand."

My youngest boy, though, has autism. At age five Zachary still does not speak. While his gross motor skills are almost olympic in stature, he lacks the finest motor skills to put even his hands together to wash them. The simplest concepts grasped by a one year old seem to be beyond him. And certainly, there is no way that he could comprehend his need for a Savior, much less understand the words that explain that concept. Unless his brain is miraculously healed, Zachary will never "confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead," and so be saved (Rom. 10:9).

Zachary Jones

The question asked of me about whether children will be raptured translates in my mind every time to, "Will Zachary be going to Heaven?"


What the Bible Says

While the work of salvation was wonderfully completed by Jesus sacrificing Himself for our sins and overcoming death by His resurrection, people in turn must accept that salvation in order to be saved from judgment and its sentence of Hell. The decision to repent of our rebellion (sin) against God and in faith accept Jesus as Savior is therefore an act that requires a mental understanding and a decision made (Jn. 1:12; 3:16,36; Acts 2:21,38; 3:19; Heb. 11:16; 1 Jn. 5:5).

It does appear that Jesus teaches that children have and are exempt until an "age of accountability," when they can make their own decision to accept Jesus as Savior. A verse commonly used in support of a child's age of accountability is Matthew 19:14, "Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'" Jesus also said in Matthew 18:3, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

The concept of the age of accountability can be verified by events in the Bible as well. King David recognized this when his baby born of Bathsheba died (2 Sam. 12:23). David responded, "I will go to him, but he will not return to me."

And so, while the Bible doesn't clearly state whether children will be raptured, or that children who die automatically go to Heaven, the Bible does imply that children who have yet to reach the age of accountability belong to the Kingdom of Heaven. The underlying theme still is the ability to accept Jesus and His salvation, so the line of reasoning is that the mentally disabled and the unborn will also never reach the age of accountability, and so also belong to the Kingdom of Heaven.


A Caveat

While those who die before the age of accountability belong to Heaven, the Rapture is a promise to the Church, and minor children who have not accepted the Lord are not members of the Church. While all the little children are destined for Heaven, they may not be destined for the Rapture and so will have to endure the Tribulation — a horrifying thought!

Should that be the scenario, at the time of the Rapture the wombs will not be emptied nor all the children and mentally disabled be taken away with the Church. But (and it's a big "But"), the Bible does shine some hope upon the families of believers, for the Bible indicates that children who have a believing parent are especially protected.

Verses that support parental protection are like 1 Corinthians 7:14 which reads, "For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy." Proverbs 14:26 also provides support. "He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge."

This concept is substantiated when God saved not just the righteous Noah but also all his household when He destroyed the Earth with water. Likewise, God saved not just the righteous Lot but also his two worldly daughters when He decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (2 Pet. 2:4-9).

While my salvation cannot be my children's salvation, God may have extended his grace further (as He always does) by covering a believer's child and including them as an honorary member of the Church, and therefore be included in the Rapture.

While the Bible makes it clear there is an age of accountability, and that as a believer my children are protected, the children of the world may not be part of the Rapture. They may have to grow up some through the Tribulation before they can make a decision on their own. That's hard and painful to think about.


Trusting God

The answer I give people who ask me "Do children go to Heaven?" never fully satisfies them. Quite frankly, it doesn't satisfy me either. Too much is inferred and not directly stated on this subject.

In the end, though, I have to leave my questioning and doubts behind and trust in who God is. As 1 John 4:16 explains about God's love, "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him." God is also inherently righteous in His judgments. As Romans 1:17 proclaims, "For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith.'"

And so, I will live by faith, trusting that God loves Zachary more than I can ever love him, and that by His wonderful righteousness my boy will be with me forever and whole in Heaven.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dr. Reagan On Rapture Ready Radio

Dr. David Reagan, founder and director of Lamb & Lion Ministries, was the special guest this week on Rapture Ready Radio. He was interviewed by Debra J.M. Smith of Informing Christians. If you like to know what brought Dr. Reagan to passionately proclaim the soon return of Jesus Christ, a brief history of the ministry, and his observations on the times we are living in — listen to this interview!

"There is no doubt in my mind why Dr. Reagan is such an effective tool in the Lord's work. He is clearly a gifted speaker and a humble spirit, whom Jesus Christ is seen through. The interview is just under an hour long. Grab your Bible and something to munch on, put your feet up and be as blessed by listening to this interview, as I was conducting it. This will make you smile. It will show you the hope that is in Jesus Christ."
- Debra J.M. Smith, Informing Christians

Click either button below to get to the radio interview.


Rapture Ready Radio    Informing Christians

Monday, July 27, 2009

Israel Makes Bible Prophecy Come Alive

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

I am very passionate about going to Israel and leading others on tours of the Holy Land. Gary Fisher, founder and director of Lion of Judah Ministries out of Franklin, Tennessee, asked me a series of questions to understand the reasons behind my passion.


Q1) What is the number one reason you believe we're living in the season of the Lord's return?

There's so many that I could give, but the number one reason has to be the re-establishment of the nation of Israel.

The Bible says over and over and over that in the end times the Jewish people are going to be regathered from the four corners of the earth and their nation will be reestablished. They'll be put back in the city of Jerusalem and the whole world will come against them over one issue — the control of Jerusalem. And that's where we are.

And, I'll tell you what I saw when that began to happen in 1948. Of course, I was only a youngster at that time and in fact I was 10 years old at that time, so it was of no significance to me, but when it became significant to me was in 1967. I began to really study Bible prophecy and begin to see prophecy after prophecy being fulfilled before my very eyes that had been there 2,000 years.

End time Bible prophecy focuses on the nation of Israel. It is God's prophetic time-clock. God says when these things start happening Jesus is going to be at the very gates of Heaven.


Q2) In Israel's Independence Hall in Tel Aviv there is a newspaper clip of 1948 that says "The State of Israel is Born." Is there any Bible prophecies that come to your mind?

Independence Hall

Yes, first of all, let me just say that's one of the most moving places that I take people to in Israel. There are a number of places but that one, and most groups never go there as they completely bypass Tel Aviv, but to go to that place where Bible prophecy was literally fulfilled, where David Ben-Gurion stood up and he spoke those words reestablishing the nation of Israel...

There are so many prophecies about the recreation of the Israeli state in the end times, but the one that I love the most because it's symbolic (and I love the symbolism) is in Isaiah 66:7. "Before she travailed she brought forth," talks about a pregnant woman giving birth. It continues, "before the birth pains came she gives birth. Before her pain came upon her she gave birth to a boy. Who has heard of such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once?"

That's exactly what happened on May 14, 1948 — the nation of Israel was born. The next day the labor pains began with the war of 1948-49, the War of Independence, The Suez War of 1956, the Six-Day War of 1967, the Yom Kippur War of 1973, the Lebanese War of 1982, the Gulf War of 1991, the Arab Intifada from 2000-2004, the Hezbollah War and the Gaza Conflict. It's just war after war after war. The birth pains continue.


Q3) Now, you have led many tours to Israel, and there are lots of prophetic implications about traveling all over the Land of Israel. Would you like to comment on some of those?

We like to begin in Tel Aviv at the Hall of Independence to talk about that. And then we start out through the land and what we try to do is give people a survey of the life of Christ and the fulfillment not only of Second Coming prophecies but the fulfillment of First Coming prophecies.

So, we show a lot of prophetic places. One place, for example, and I love to take people to it (I don't get to every trip) is up to Caesarea Philippi which is the northern most point of Israel. It's only two or three miles from the Lebanese border and about five miles from Syria. It's where a great Roman city existed at the time of Christ called Caesarea Philippi. Jesus never went to Roman cities, but for some reason He took His disciples up there one day and in that city He said to them, "Who do men say that I am?" And they said, "Well, some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah." And He said, "But who do you say that I am?" And Peter said, "I say you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." And then He said to him, "God has revealed that to you," and He said, "Upon that confession I'm going to build my Church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it." And right there is a cave right where He said that. And that cave, by Roman legend, was the gate to Hades. And the Bible comes alive when you see those things!

You come back and when you read "Capernaum" on a page and it's no longer a name on a page. It's a place where you walked, you saw it, you smelled it, you feel it, you experience it. And, I love to see the Bible come alive for people as we take them over there.


Q4) There are lots of prophecies that ought to be clicking in our brains, but do you want to comment on the Mount of Olives?

One thing about the Mount of Olives is that when you stand there and you look out over the city of Jerusalem, if you have any sense of the Bible whatsoever, you will sense that you are standing at the center of the world. Because Ezekiel says this is the center of the world, the center of the earth, this is where Jesus spilled His blood and this is where He is returning.

When I look out there I always see something that had a tremendous impact on my life and that's the Eastern Gate. In 1967 during the Six-Day War, I was following it very closely. I was a professor of international politicsat that time and one day I read in the paper where the Israelis had broken into the Old City through the Lion's Gate and had won the city. They had recaptured it for the first time in 1,897 years.

Jerusalem

And in that article, I read that they had originally proposed to blow open the Eastern Gate because they felt like that would catch the Jordanians by surprise, but an orthodox Jew had said, "You will do that over my dead body. Because that gate is not to be opened until the Messiah returns." I didn't know what he was talking about. I had never been taught Bible Prophecy. So, in 1967, I go to a concordance and I look up the word "gate," and to my astonishment I go to Ezekiel 44 and there is a statement where Ezekiel is taken on a tour and he basically says, "This gate, the Eastern Gate, will be closed and it will not be opened until the Messiah returns."

Then, I go to history and discover that when the walls were rebuilt in the 1500s, that gate of all the eight gates of Jerusalem was closed. It was bricked up and nobody knows for sure why. But, the rumor and legend is that as they were rebuilding it as a rumor swept the city that the Messiah was coming. Suleiman the Magnificent called in the Rabbis and said, "Who is this? Who is this Messiah?" And they said, "He's going to come and run you out of town and He's coming through the Eastern Gate." So, he ordered them to brick up that gate and put a Muslim cemetery in front of it. He said, "No Jewish holy man will step in a Muslim cemetery and he can't walk through a gate." And I thought, "This is incredible!"

So, every time I go to Israel and I get on the Mount of Olives and I look at that Eastern Gate, I think there is Bible prophecy fulfilled before my very eyes. The Bible said that gate would be closed and it was closed. The Bible says it will not be open until Jesus returns. Many times people have tried to open it and every time they've been stopped.


Q5) Would it impact people's lives to go to Israel?

Israel Tour Group

I have no doubt about it. It will impact your life and as I say, it brings the Bible alive. There was a pilgrim who went to Israel in the fourth century, about 1350 A.D. He wrote in his journal, "I have toured the Holy Land, and I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that a tour of the Holy Land is like reading a fifth gospel, because it brings it all alive in your heart."

Friday, July 24, 2009

Watering Down Jesus

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

The Bible covers in many places that in the end times there will be a spirit of deception that will go out and deceive people into believing in false Christs and false prophets.

One of the places where this is mentioned is in 2 Timothy 4, beginning with verse 2. It goes, "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction." Meaning, don't preach the wisdom of man, but preach the Word of God. And in verse three, "For the time will come when men" (the people in the pews) "will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."

Bible prophecy expert Don Perkins, the founder and director of According to Prophecy Ministries in San Diego, California, was asked if he believes we are living in that age of spiritual deception right now. The following are Don's responses.


Don Perkins on Spiritual Deception by the Media

Don PerkinsWe're living in an age where a spirit of deception has gone out into this world and many, many people are being deceived into believing in false Christs. And, the media — printed media, TV, all of it — is playing a major role in preparing people to accept false Christs. I really believe it is being used in that capacity.

I've been tracking the periodicals like Newsweek, Time Magazine and other major news magazines for probably 10 or 11 years, and what I've noticed is that around the holidays like Christmas and Easter time, there is always a periodical with some article that comes out about Jesus. And, it's always a cover article.

I have many articles. I have one here from US News and World Report on why Jesus was killed entitled "Why Was He Killed?" In this article they basically say that Jesus was killed because He was a rebel — totally discounting what the Scripture said! We know that Scriptures say He was anything but a rebel. That's what some of His followers wanted Him to be, a rebel to overthrow the Romans. Well, because He didn't relieve the Roman whip off of them, many Jews rejected Him. You know, "give us Barabas!"

Well, because the periodicals don't want to honor Christ from what the Word of God teaches about Him (and most of these periodicals today you see as magazines in the grocery store), I tell people all the time to be very careful, because nine times out of ten, it's not going portray Christ in a true light. And it does that very subtly. They use "scholars." Many people when they hear the term "scholar," that adds validity to the teacher or the person that's talking. Because I always know it's going to be some super-liberal who doesn't even believe that Jesus was God in the flesh. He doesn't believe in the virgin birth. He doesn't believe in the resurrection.

I have countless articles. I have another one by Newsweek entitled "Rethinking the Resurrection." In this one there's a new debate about the resurrection of Christ. The article goes on to teach that Christ was not raised from the dead. Paul said, "if Christ be not risen, we are still in our sin." And, the incredible thing about it is you can still find Christian "experts" who are so-called "scholars."

I believe the world is seeing a false view of who Christ is. People are not really spending time in the Scriptures to learn who He is. I made the statement in some of our conferences in regards to The Da Vinci Code, That thing was such a best seller, and many people, even Christians sad to say, had their faith shaken by The Da Vinci Code. I've made the statement many times that it was really sad that many Christians knew more about the Jesus of The Da Vinci Code than the Jesus of the Bible. The book even claimed Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children and they all went to France — it's just absolute nonsense!

When The Da Vinci Code came out, I wasn't shaken not one bit, and the reason why was because I knew that Jesus' life was prewritten in the Old Testament. Every aspect of His life in the New Testament was already prewritten, and therefore, nowhere in the Old Testament do you see Christ marry Mary Magdalene. He fulfilled every prophecy to the minutest detail.

Another example of creating a false view of Jesus can be found in US News magazine in an article entitled "In Search of Jesus." Well, their conclusion again falls in the line of false Christs presenting Christ in a false light. I normally tell people, "You want to find Christ? Then spend time with Him in His Word." You know, you don't need to search for Jesus anywhere else.

In Time Magazine's article "The Search for Jesus," some "scholars" are redefining the Gospel saying it's not true. I'd rather believe those disciples who knew Him, who lived with him for 3 1/2 years, who ate the very fish from the the miracle of the fish and the loaves. I'd rather believe those First Century guys who were with Him than some Johnny-come-lately scholar who claims to know Jesus.

What these articles are doing is shaping the worldview of who Christ is. It's causing many questions in people's minds as to the validity of who Christ is.

Here's another example from US News entitled "Who was Jesus? A New Look at His Words and Deeds." A new look at them?! Notice the title is always in the form of a question. You know what's amazing to me? I've never seen an article on "Who was Satan?" or "The Truth About the Devil" or "Who was Muhammad?" I've never seen such an article.

Portrayers of false Christs will always attack the truth. Again, a false view of Christ is usually portrayed in the media. The scripture in 1 John 4:3 says in the end times that this is the Spirit of Antichrist.

The articles often conclude by saying, "Well, Jesus was a great man. He was a moral man. He was a good prophet. He was a fine person, but He certainly wasn't God in the flesh." And that reminds me of C. S. Lewis's great statement where he says, "don't give me that nonsense!" That's absolute nonsense when you do that. Lewis said Jesus was either who He said He was — God in the flesh — or He was a madman, equivalent to a person who thinks he's a poached egg, because good people do not go around telling lies, saying "I am God in the flesh." Good people do not go around saying "I forgive you of your sins." He was either who He said He was or He was a madman, but don't write Him off as just some good person. But, the writers of those magazines try to do that to appease everybody.

I got another article on the Jesus Seminar, that's another group of these so-called "scholars." They get together every year. They vote with colored marbles to say whether or not Jesus did this or not in the Gospels. They vote on every verse asking, "Did He say it? Maybe He said it. Maybe He didn't say it. He didn't say it." In this particular article entitled "Jesus Seminar Scholars Verdict," Christ was not born of a virgin. And this article really is blasphemy. And these are supposed to be so-called "scholars." The article goes on to say that they believe that Mary was impregnated by a Roman soldier. I mean, blasphemous! This is the diet that our society is being fed in regards to who Jesus is.

And, what I'm challenging pastors and churches all over the country is that they need to get back to the Book. The Word of God is the absolute truth about who Christ is. God put in the Old Testament what He would do and in the New Testament we saw Christ's life fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus fulfilled all of these prophesies. And again, we need to get back to what the Word of God says and teaches about Him and not these so-called "scholars" who claim to know who Jesus was. It's simply a guise for their attempt to dethrone Him.

This particular article entitled "In Search of Jesus," listen to what they say. "The historical Jesus is not the real Jesus." This article says that the historical Jesus, in other words the Biblical Jesus, is not the real Jesus! These are so-called "scholars" that men give credibility to. The Word of God in 1 John 4:1 commands every one of us to "do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

All this reinterpretation nonsense comes out of what's called the German School of Higher Criticism. It looks upon the Bible as being man's search for God, and therefore full of myth, legend and superstition. Instead of God's revelation to man — and so their idea is, instead of reading it and believing it and acting on it — you read it and you criticize it like you're reading Shakespeare and take it apart. The result is that those who buy into it, it destroys their faith. We can see England as a perfect example because the Nineteenth Century England was the center of world evangelism and suddenly today, seven percent of the people go to church in England because the Anglican Church bought that hook, line, and sinker and began to say "Well, you know, this is man opinion, but who wants to go and listen to man's opinion?"

It gets back to the post-modern society, too. This is the society where there's no absolute truth. You can believe in a Jesus like this and I can believe in a Jesus like that and everybody's happy because it all depends on feelings.

I want to quote this. This was a prophecy update talking about Reverend Moon. Listen to what it says. "The world's new Christ is here, according to the Assembly of World Religions. And he is Reverend Sun Myung Moon. The Unification Church founder has declared that he is the new Christ. He claims to be the Messiah, the destroyer of Satan's denomination. Moon is called the father of the universe and his wife is called the mother of the universe." Listen to what he says, "because Jesus failed to accomplish His purpose." So, in other words, he's teaching today that Jesus failed in the purpose that God called Him to do. We know that that is incorrect.

SunMyungMoon

But again, he's a false Christ. Hundreds of thousands of people go to his events and meetings. He also marries couples. He and his wife believe that if they marry you, you are taken back to the pre-state of Adam and Eve.

The scripture commands that we as Christians need to be on the alert and to test everything by the Word of God. Test it! Jesus said if they say "He is here or He's there," don't follow them.

When I hear of a guy claiming to be Christ, automatically I know that it's a false Christ because I know based on the scripture how Jesus will come. I'm looking for Christ — I'm looking for Him in the Rapture!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Signs, Wonders And False Christs

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Jesus warned in Matthew 24:24 that "false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect — if that were possible." This verse tells us then that a requirement for being a false Christ is the ability to do signs and wonders. Once people see these miraculous events they will conclude, "Hey! If he can do a miracle, certainly he must be the Messiah. Or, he must be God."

Many false prophets today have claimed they have the ability to do miraculous signs and wonders. Examples can be found in certain faith healing movements. Such false leaders like Benny Hinn and Todd Bentley come to mind. But, they haven't yet claimed to be Christ. So, can we say then that Matthew 24:24 is being fulfilled today?

Bible prophecy expert Don Perkins, the founder and director of According to Prophecy Ministries in San Diego, California, was asked if he believes there are false Christs who actually perform "signs and wonders" in fulfillment of Bible prophecy today. The following is how Don responded.


Don Perkins on False Wonders

Don PerkinsWe may have to wait awhile before the more convincing false miracle workers come on the scene during the Tribulation. But, I think it's interesting that this latest one out of Puerto Rico — Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda — says that he is certainly not a false Christ because he points to Matthew 24:24 that says the false Christs will perform miracles, and he doesn't perform miracles. He teaches that. He's one of the most dangerous ones I think today because he actually uses Scripture to prove that he is not the false Christ. But we know, based on the Word of God, he falls right into that category. The devil is very, very clever and very, very crafty.

I watched a program on Dateline that did the special on Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda. What amazed me was that the people in the audience were worshipping him and they praised him, even singing songs that we normally sing in our churches. They're basically singing these songs to this individual. He's wearing all types of fine watches and he's got homes everywhere.

Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda

But, most cults like that, they always deal with sin. Sin as they teach is never what we know from the Bible. So again, it puts him in that category of being a false Christ because he still has the ability to deceive people into believing he is somehow supernatural.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

An Epidemic Of False Christs

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

When Jesus spoke in Matthew 24 of the signs of the end times that will mark the season of His return, the sign He mentioned more than any other would be an epidemic of false Christs. In Matthew 24:5 Jesus says, "For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many." Then in verse 11 He repeats it, "and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people." Then in verse 24, He mentions it a third time, "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect — if that were possible."

Today we are indeed in the midst of that epidemic of false Christs.

Don Perkins

Lamb & Lion Ministries interviewed Bible prophecy expert and all-around nice guy Don Perkins, the founder and director of According to Prophecy Ministries in San Diego, California, about the modern-day fulfillment of the prophecies related to the growing number of false Christs.

Don was first asked if he, too, believed we are in the season that Jesus is talking about in Matthew 24 — the season of the multiplications of false Christs. He concurred. He was then asked to give a brief overview of some specific false Christs that are on the scene today.


False Christs on the Scene Today

We've had quite a few. In the 1990s we had David Koresh. He actually claimed to be the Lamb of God. We've had Sun Myung Moon. He claims to be the new Christ and was coronated the Messiah in Washington D.C. in a public building there with congressmen and senators present. They actually put a crown on his head and declared him to be the Messiah.

SunMyungMoon

It's amazing that in our time — the 21st Century — there are still people that will follow an individual who claims to be Jesus, or claims to be Christ. Jesus said that this would be an indicator of the end times. I meet people all the time who ask, "Who would follow a man today who would claim to be Christ?" Well, it's happening today! And there are many, many others.

There's one gentleman out of Russia, his name is Sergei, and he was an ex-traffic cop. And they call him the Vissarion Christ. People have left their jobs and their families to live in this big old commune. They actually call him a Christ, and people are following this guy.

Sergei

We have a new guy today — Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda. He's from Puerto Rico. A lot of his followers are Hispanic. This man literally claims to be Jesus Christ. He denies sin. He denies the devil. And, his group teaches that when you join him it's ok to indulge in sin. This is a religion with no requirements except to believe in him. People are literally fighting each other to give him money. They were giving him mansions, cars and businesses. He's become a multimillionaire. He already has like twenty worship centers in the United States.

Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda

We are truly living in a time of deception. Jesus said in the last days there would be many who will claim to be Christ. We are truly living in that time, and again, what amazes me so much is the fact that in the 21st Century there are still people today that are gullible to follow a person who would claim to be Christ.

Another false Christ is Lord Maitreya, part of the Terror Center it's called. This was a group that actually taught in the early 1980s that this Christ was going to come on the scene. He was going to overshadow men and women. As a matter of fact, they did a full page ad in every newspaper all across the United States and around the world in the early 1980s claiming that the Christ was here. They have a lot of money.

Lord Maitreya

A guy by the name of Benjamin Creme was his forerunner. This guy actually goes ahead of this Lord Maitreya. Now, this Lord Maitreya has never really actually appeared before a television camera, but they do show photos of him. As a matter of fact, on the website you can see pictures of him and what he supposedly looks like. But, this man claims to be the Christ of all Christs. And, he teaches that basically that every other religion, every other world teacher like Buddha — all of them — are under Christ, under him. He's the "Master Christ," if you want to call him that. He claims that every other Christ comes from him. And again, it puts him in the category of the false prophets.

Years ago he was based out of London. There has never been this overshadowing that he has promised — that he's going to overshadow the world, end world hunger and all those things.

I mean, all of these guys, they fall in that category that Jesus said is a false Christ. Now, a false Christ, the term Christ means the "Anointed One," and these people claim to be the "Anointed One" that's coming to cure all of man's ailments.

Just like Jesus said in Matthew 24 would happen — there are many false Christs today, and they are deceiving many.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

God Fulfills His Promises

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

People are generally untrustworthy, wouldn't you say?

No, I'm not a pessimist. Most often than not, I take what people say at face value, and when they say they are going to do something I just expect that is what they are going to do. But, more and more I find that this is not the case. Some people, and even some Christians sadly, feel it is OK to twist the truth or just outright lie if it helps them gain some kind of advantage. In their defense, many people do have good intentions or a plan bigger than they can actually handle and so can't always follow through on what they've committed to do. People are fallen and not perfect, and we all have to deal with that, even in our own selves. But, in the end, unfortunately, I have to conclude that people cannot be fully trusted.

Ever wonder if God can be trusted to fulfill the promises He makes?

Because we generally view people with distrust, our view of God tends to get smudged. We know in our head that God is perfect, and therefore must be totally trustworthy, but in our hearts if we're honest with ourselves there is doubt. The experiences with imperfect people shades what should be our clear perception of God. "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror" (1 Cor. 13:12a). It can even cast the smallest doubt that God may actually follow through on what He said He'd do. That skewed perception may even lead us to believe that God embellishes, if only a tad.

Is thinking God can't be trusted teeter on blasphemy? Well, pick up the stone only after thinking back on your walk with Christ. If we look deep within ourselves, we can see a pattern of disbelief, doubt, and unheeded worry since we put Jesus in the driver's seat of our lives. It would only be blasphemy if we truly believe God is a liar. Instead, we must realize the problem lies within us. As Paul cried out in anguish in Romans 7:24, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?"

What can we do to get the right understanding of God's faithfulness again?

That's easy - go to the Bible! Nothing focuses the lens like getting into God's own Word.

For example, I was reading in Genesis 18 about Abraham receiving three visitors, two whom we find out are angels and one the Lord Himself. I was reading this story in the pursuit of the topic of nomadic living, and instead (like He always does when reading the Bible), the Holy Spirit showed me something else entirely. Now, I was able to learn about what life was like living in a Patriarch's tent, but what I got out of Genesis 18 was so much more.

In Genesis 18, the Lord gives Abraham three promises:

  1. "Then the LORD said, 'I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.'" (Gen. 18:10)
  2. "Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation," (Gen. 18:18a)
  3. "all nations on earth will be blessed through him." (Gen. 18:18b)

The Lord then confirms to Abraham that He will do these three things in verse 19, "the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."

And did God do all that He said he would do for Abraham? You betcha! First, skip on over to Genesis 21:1-2, "Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him."

Secondly, look today how Abraham's descendents — the Jews and Arabs — dominate the world news, control much of the world's oil and inhabit the entire Middle East.

And thirdly, think how through the Jews the world got the Savior, the Bible, and the moral foundation of law and government. It may have taken a few thousand years for all of these promises God made to Abraham to come to fruition, but each and every promise God followed through, and in spades.

And what about God's promises to us?

As we asked earlier, can we actually trust God to fulfill His promises to us? We know we're not super-saints like Abraham. And yet, we don't have to be. Let's see what promises God made to the rest of us.

1) God will forgive us.

  • "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord," (Acts 3:19)
  • "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." (Heb. 8:12)

2) God will rescue those forgiven from judgment in Hell.

  • "And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Acts 2:21)
  • "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (Rom. 10:9-10)

3) God will guide the saved through life by His Spirit.

  • "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38)

4) God will help believers overcome the trials of this world.

  • "Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." (1 Jn. 5:5)
  • "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (1 Pet. 5:6-7)

5) God will rescue those who are saved from the time ahead when He'll pour out His wrath upon the world for its continued rebellion against Him.

  • "For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thess. 5:9)
  • "Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth." (Rev. 3:10)

6) God gives us a purposeful life.

  • "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Eph. 2:10)

7) God brings those saved to live with Him at His home, called Heaven.

  • "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (Jn. 14:2-3)
  • "When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." (Col. 3:4)

8) God will give an awesome eternal life to those who believe in His Son Jesus.

  • "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." (Jn. 3:36)
  • "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." (Jn. 10:28-29)
  • "However, as it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.'" (1 Cor. 2:9)

What amazing promises — promises that despite our human lapses, God who has always already proven his trustworthiness to Abraham and others will fulfill!

"What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do." - God (Isa. 46:11b)

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Biggest Threat To The U.S.A.

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Today many fear for the future of the United States of America, and rightly so. It appears America is being accosted on many levels.

In response to this well founded concern, the question of what threat would hold the most danger to the United States of America was put to the reader in May 2009's poll titled "Which is the biggest threat to the future of the U.S.A.?" The 986 respondents cast their vote from among a number of modern scenarios. The results shed a lot of light on where our readership believes the biggest dangers are to the welfare of the nation in this day and age. The results are as follows:

May 2009 Poll


Global Threat

Global Warming — Not just a threat to the United States, what nation can possibly be safe when the planet itself has seemed to turn up the threat factor by turning up the temperature? Greenhouse gasses from cars, factories and belching cows are supposedly baking the ionosphere, melting the polar ice caps in an attempt to flood Berkeley and the Bronx, and making summer suntans so difficult by pushing up the SPF level on the sunblock. "The Earth is out to get us with Global Warming!," so warns Al Gore.

It would appear only 5 (0.5%) of the 986 respondents believe Global Warming is the biggest threat to the future of the United States. They are not convinced by the December 2008 U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change conference held in Poznan, Poland, where 650 Nobel prize and award winning scientists called Global Warming "a lie, a hoax and part of a new religion" (see Cooling Global Warming ).


International Threats

Third World Dictators — Will Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez cut off 25% of America's flow of oil? Will North Korea's Kim Jong-il blow his stack and attack. Will Castro ever die (he's like, what, 125 years old now)? Of the 986 respondents, 2 (0.2%) believe one of these third world nut jobs will clip the wings of the American eagle.

Russia — One day Russian presidents are banging their shoes on the table, the next they've bellied up to the BBQ pit and are looking deep into our eyes. Are the Russians friends of the United States, or are they not? Of the 986 respondents, 5 (0.5%) believe the former superpower is on the rise and as Gog will reveal itself to be that two-faced friend who made Caesar utter "Et tu, Brute?"

Nuclear Weapons — While President Obama is looking to reduce American and Russian nuclear weapons by a third so that they only have the means of blowing up the planet 30 times (each), madmen like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad all the way down to the island nation of Pokoponesia are looking to grab up some of that nuclear arsenal (peace be unto them). With most of the first world nations possessing a stockpile only SkyNet would be envious of, and small nations getting atomic bombs at wholesale, the possibility that one of the more unstable lot will eventually ignite World War 3 is a very real concern. Of the 986 respondents, 10 (1%) believe the United States is destined to become that Kevin Costner postman movie.

Illegal Immigration — Rome fell for a number of reasons, one being they ran out of people and animals to kill in the games. But, the biggest reason was the mass immigration of the barbarians south into Roman lands. When a whole country of people moves into another country, that accepting country is no longer their own, erm, country. As the United States absorbs millions of illegals looking for WIC stamps, 2 (0.2%) believe the United States of America will become the United States of Mexico. ¿Alguien aquí habla Inglés?


Religious Threats

Islam — The Religion of the Sword is waging jihad on the free world, claiming big chunks in the name of Allah and burkas for all women. Any American want to have to learn Arabic in order to read the Koran and live under Seventh Century sharia law? No, not like England! Of the 986 respondents, 88 (8%) believe Americans will give up their infidel status and become a card-carrying member of the Islamic religion. Then, every child can be named "Mohammed."

Terrorism — Probably not the same terrorists that battle over whether to wear green or orange, the flavor of the day is Islamic terrorism. That "peaceful religion" is Paradise-bent on blowing up as many planes and trains as they can in order to guarantee their tickets get punched for the 70 virgin deal. Will the "enemy combatants" who are now called "persons whom the President has the authority to detain" bring America down to the prayer rug? Of the 986 respondents, 7 (0.7%) believe terrorism is the biggest threat to the future of the United States.


Internal Threats

Socialism — "And the la-a-and of the fre-ee, and the ho-ome of the bra-ave." Well, that was so yesterday's style. Today's pumps are socialism. Have the government pay for all your needs while the rich get milked? "Stick it to them!" is the chant of the current administration. Forget that the rich create jobs and that socialism means everyone gets to be poor. Of the 986 respondents, 37 (3%) believe America faces the threat of becoming... France!

Huge Federal Government — It doesn't take a village to raise a child, now it takes the entire United States government to do it. And to accomplish the task of controlling a person from birth to euthanized death, the government's gotta get bigger. Of the 986 respondents, 29 (2%) feel that Big Brother is on the horizon and that the only freedom left in the United States will mean getting to choose which color of soylent is for dinner. I wouldn't recommend the green.

Economic Problems — The world has been rocked by a global recession. Companies are going under. The unemployment rate has hit 10% of the U.S. population. America parties hearty not realizing their credit cards have been cut and that the foreign creditors are beginning to think their collection of 50 state quarters won't buy squat in the upcoming years of hyperinflation. Of the 986 respondents, 15 (1%) are thinking we're very near to running our foreheads over the grocery checkout scanner.


Personal Threats

Adam Sandler Movies — Of the 986 respondents, 13 (1%) puckish people voted that this "comedian's" movies are the biggest threat to the future of the good 'ole U.S. of A. I just don't get why people find this guy funny. Put this choice down as a subpoint under the category "Moral Decay" (see below). Still, his movies are not worth seeing again and again.

Stance on Israel — This threat is our own personal position over Israel, considered by our voters to be the second gravest threat to the future of the United States. Is the reestablished nation of Israel a historic abnormality whose destruction will ensure peace in the Middle East and a steady flow of the black gold? Or, is Israel the fulfillment of Bible prophecy (Isa. 66:7-8: Ezek. 37:21-22; Zech. 8:4-8) and the "apple of his [God's] eye" (Zech.2:8)? Of the 986 respondents, a whopping 384 (38%) believe messing with God's plan for Israel is a really, really bad thing for the United States. They couldn't be more right!

Moral Decay — The threat most voted on (though by a slim margin) was the moral decay eroding every foundation of American and even world society. Of the 986 respondents, 389 (39%) believe we are living in the morally rotten days of Noah, just as Jesus prophesied those days would return (Matt. 24:37).

Does today sound a lot like this: "people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power" (2 Tim. 3:2-5)? If it does to you as much as it does to these perceptive 389 voters, then you know America has become its own worst threat. And, you recognize the signs of the end times and realize Jesus Christ is coming back very, very soon to deal with all this mess.

How will Jesus find you (Matt. 24:45-51)?

Friday, July 17, 2009

50 Reasons Why We Are Living In The End Times: Part 5

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

I have personally been searching the Bible for years in an effort to identify all the signs that show we are living in the end times and soon return of Jesus Christ. The following is a list of just 50 Bible prophecies that I have found being fulfilled today that show we are living in the season of the Lord's return.

1) Increasing instability of nature.
(Matthew 24:7 & Luke 21:11)

2) Increasing lawlessness and violence.
(Matthew 24:12)

3) Increasing immorality.
(Matthew 24:37)

4) Increasing materialism.
(2 Timothy 3:2)

5) Increasing Hedonism.
(2 Timothy 3:4)

6) Increasing influence of Humanism.
(2 Timothy 3:2)

7) Depraved entertainment.
(2 Timothy 3:4)

8) Calling evil good and good evil.
(2 Timothy 3:3 & Isaiah 5:20)

9) Increasing use of drugs.
(2 Timothy 3:3)

10) Increasing blasphemy.
(2 Timothy 3:2)

11) Increasing paganism.
(2 Timothy 3:1-4)

12) Increasing despair.
(2 Timothy 3:1)

13) Signs in the heavens.
(Luke 21:11,25)

14) Increasing knowledge.
(Daniel 12:4)

15) Increasing travel.
(Daniel 12:4)

16) The explosion of cults.
(Matthew 24:11)

17) The proliferation of false christs.
(Matthew 24:5)

18) Increasing apostasy in the Church.
(2 Timothy 4:3-5)

19) Increasing attacks on Jesus.
(Romans 1:18-19)

20) Increasing attacks on the Bible.
(Romans 1:18-19)

21) Increasing persecution of Christians.
(Matthew 24:9)

22) Increasing occultism.
(1 Timothy 4:1)

23) Wars and rumors of wars.
(Matthew 24:6)

24) Weapons of mass destruction.
(Luke 21:26)

25) Increasing famine.
(Luke 21:11)

26) Increasing pestilence.
(Luke 21:11)

27) Computer technology.
(Revelation 13:7)

28) Television.
(Revelation 11:8-9)

29) Satellite technology.
(Revelation 11:8-9)

30) Virtual reality.
(Revelation 13:14-15)

31) Unification of Europe.
(Daniel 2 & 7)

32) Far Eastern military powers.
(Revelation 9:16 & 16:12)

33) Movement toward world government.
(Daniel 7:23-26)

34) Regathering of the Jews.
(Isaiah 11:10-12)

35) Re-establishment of Israel.
(Isaiah 66:7-8)

36) Reclamation of the land of Israel.
(Ezekiel 36:34-35)

37) Revival of Biblical Hebrew.
(Zephaniah 3:9; Jeremiah 31:23)

38) Re-occupation of Jerusalem.
(Luke 21:24)

39) Resurgence of the Israeli military.
(Zechariah 12:6)

40) Re-focusing of world politics on Israel.
(Zechariah 12:3)

41) Russian threat to Israel.
(Ezekiel 38 and 39)

42) Arab threat to Israel.
(Ezekiel 35 and 36)

43) Denial of the Second Coming.
(2 Peter 3:3-4)

44) Denial of creation by God.
(Romans 1:18-22)

45) Outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
(Joel 2:28-29)

46) Translation of the Bible into many languages.
(Matthew 24:14)

47) Preaching of the Gospel worldwide.
(Matthew 24:14)

48) The revival of Messianic Judaism.
(Romans 9:27)

49) The revival of Davidic praise worship.
(Amos 9:11)

50) The understanding of Bible prophecy.
(Daniel 12:8-9)

This list could be greatly expanded, but the 50 examples above should be sufficient to show that we are living in the season of the Lord's return.

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's why He has provided so many signs to alert us to the fact that we are living on the threshold of the Tribulation.


The Message

The bottom line message of the signs is that we are living on borrowed time. And the crucial question for every human being is "Are you ready?" Are you ready for the return of Jesus? Will He come as your Blessed Hope or your Holy Terror?

It will be one or the other, for God is determined to deal with sin, and He does so with either grace or wrath (John 3:36). If you have put your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you are under God's grace. 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.

But if you have never received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are under the wrath of God, and you have nothing to look forward to except the terror of His wrath.

The choice is yours. I personally cannot understand why anyone would turn their back on God's free gift of grace through faith in His Son. I have placed my faith in Jesus, and I therefore am able to look forward to His soon return with great anticipation and expectation. All that is within me cries out, "Maranatha! Come quickly Lord Jesus" (1 Corinthians 16:22).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

50 Reasons Why We Are Living In The End Times: Part 4

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

I have personally been searching the Bible for years in an effort to identify all the signs that show we are living in the end times and soon return of Jesus Christ. It has not been an easy task to get a hold on them. That's because there are so many of them, both in the Old and New Testaments. I have found that the best way to deal with them is to put them in categories, and in doing that, I have come up with six categories of end time signs. The following are the last three categories.


4) The Signs of World Politics

"You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars... for nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom..." (Matthew 24:6-7)

I taught international politics for 20 years before I entered the ministry full time, so this is an area that is particularly fascinating to me.

The Bible prophesies a very specific end time configuration of world politics. Israel is pictured as being re-established (Ezekiel 37:21-22) and surrounded by hostile Arab neighbors intent on its destruction (Ezekiel 35:1 - 36:7). This, of course has been the situation in the Middle East since the Israeli Declaration of Independence in May of 1948.

Daniel prophesied that the Roman Empire would be revived (Daniel 2:36-41), something many men — like Charlemagne, Napoleon, and Hitler — tried to do through force. But the prophecy had to await God's timing for its fulfillment, and that came after World War II, with the formation of the European Common Market that has since morphed into the superpower called the European Union.

The Bible pictures a great power located in the land of Magog 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 with all its Muslim republics and its Muslim allies fits this description precisely.

All the nations of the world are prophesied to come together against Israel in the end times over the issue of the control of Jerusalem (Zech. 12:2-3) — a prophecy being fulfilled today.

The magnitude of warfare in the 20th Century is another fulfillment of end time prophecy related to world politics. The 20th Century was one of unparalleled war. Like birth pangs, the frequency and intensity of war increased exponentially. It is now estimated that more people died in wars during the 20th Century than in all the previous wars throughout all of recorded human history.


5) The Signs of Technology

"Men will faint from fear over the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken." (Luke 21:26)

The development of nuclear weapons seems to be foreshadowed by this prophecy in Luke 21 that speaks of people "fainting from fear" due to the "powers of the heavens being shaken." The incredible carnage of the Seal and Trumpet Judgments portrayed in chapters 6 and 8 in the book of Revelation indicates that the Antichrist will conquer the world through the use of nuclear weapons. We are told that one-third of the earth will be burned and that one-half of humanity will be killed. Further evidence that this is a nuclear holocaust is found in Revelation 16 where we are told that at the end of the Tribulation the survivors will be covered with sores that will not heal (Revelation 16:11).

As I pointed out earlier, there are many end time prophecies that simply cannot be understood apart from modern technological developments. Consider the prophecy in Revelation 11 about the two witnesses who will call the world to repentance during the first half of the Tribulation. When they are killed by the Antichrist, we are told that their bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem for three and a half days, and the whole world will look upon them (Revelation 11:9). How could anyone understand such a prophecy before the development of satellite television in the 1960's?

Likewise, how could the Antichrist control all buying and selling worldwide (Revelation 13) without the aid of computer technology? How could the False Prophet create the illusion of giving life to a statue (Revelation 13) without the technology of holograms, virtual reality, and robotics? How could an army of 200 million come out of the Far East (Revelation 9) before the population explosion that was produced by modern medical technology? How could the Gospel be proclaimed to all the world (Matthew 24) before the invention of motion pictures, radio, television, and the Internet? The list goes on and on.


6) The Signs of Israel

"And it shall come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it." (Zechariah 12:3)

The signs that relate to Israel are the most important of all because the Jews are God's prophetic time clock. What I mean by this is that the Scriptures will often tie a prophesied future event with something that will happen to the Jews. We are told to watch the Jews, and when the prophesied event concerning them occurs, we can be sure that the other prophesied event will also occur.

An example can be found in Luke 21:24 where Jesus prophesied that the Jews would be dispersed from Jerusalem and be led captive among the nations. But then He added that one day they would return to re-occupy Jerusalem, and when this happens, the end time events will occur that will lead to His return.

There are many prophecies concerning the Jews in the end times, many of which began to be fulfilled in the 20th Century, but there are four key ones. The first is their worldwide regathering in unbelief (Isaiah 11:11-12). In 1900 there were only 40,000 Jews in Palestine. By the end of World War II that number had risen to 800,000. Today, there are more than 5.7 million who have come from all over the world. Very soon there will be as many Jews in Israel as died in the Holocaust. The prophet Jeremiah says twice that when history is completed, the Jewish people will look back and conclude that their worldwide regathering was a greater miracle than their deliverance from Egyptian captivity (Jeremiah 16:14-15 and 23:7-8). We are truly living in momentous times!

The second key prophecy concerning the Jews is a natural consequence of their regathering. It is the re-establishment of their state which occurred on May 14, 1948 (Isaiah 66:7-8). The third key prophecy is the re-occupation of Jerusalem which occurred on June 7, 1967 during the miraculous Six Day War (Zechariah 8:4-8).

The fourth key prophecy is the one whose fulfillment we are witnessing today — the re-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 the control of the nation's capital — the city of Jerusalem. The Vatican wants the city put under its control. The United Nations wants it to be internationalized. The European Union is demanding it be divided between the Arabs and the Jews. The Arabs want all of it.


In Part 5, the final installment of this series, I'll list 50 Bible prophecies being fulfilled today that show we are living in the season of the Lord's return.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

50 Reasons Why We Are Living In The End Times: Part 3

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

I have personally been searching the Bible for years in an effort to identify all the signs that show we are living in the end times and soon return of Jesus Christ. It has not been an easy task to get a hold on them. That's because there are so many of them, both in the Old and New Testaments. I have found that the best way to deal with them is to put them in categories, and in doing that, I have come up with six categories of end time signs. The following is the third category - Spiritual Signs.


3) The Spiritual Signs

There are more signs in this category than any other. Many are evil in nature, but there are also some very positive ones. Concerning the negative signs, a typical passage is the following one found in 2 Timothy 4:3-4:

"The time will come when they [professing Christians] will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths."

Some of the negative spiritual signs that are specifically prophesied include the following: false christs, cultic groups, heresies, apostasy, skepticism, deception, occultism, and persecution.

The one that Jesus mentioned most frequently was false christs and their cultic groups (Matthew 24:5, 11, 24). And in fulfillment of these prophecies, we have experienced an explosion of cults since 1850.

But, praise God, we are told that there will be some very positive spiritual signs in the end times. The most important one that is prophesied in many places is a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-29).

This outpouring began at the dawn of the 20th Century, and proved to be one of the greatest spiritual surprises — and blessings — of the century. You see, when that century began, the prevailing viewpoint among both Catholics and Protestants regarding the Holy Spirit was Cessationism. This view held that the gifts of the Spirit ceased when the last Apostle died. In effect, it was a belief that the Holy Spirit had retired in the First Century.

The 20th Century had hardly gotten started when a Holy Spirit revival broke out at a small Bible college in Topeka, Kansas in 1901. Three years later, a similar Holy Spirit revival swept Wales and began to spread worldwide. Then, in 1906, the Spirit fell with great power on a humble Black preacher in Los Angeles named William J. Seymour. The Azuza Street Revival, as it came to be called, continued for four years and gave birth to the Pentecostal Movement.

The Bible prophesies two great outpourings of the Spirit and symbolically pictures them as the "early and latter rains" (Joel 2:23), based on the two rainy seasons of Israel. The early rain occurred at Pentecost in the First Century when the Church was established. The latter rain was prophesied to occur after the Jewish people had been re-established in their homeland (Joel 2:18-26).

The latter rain began with the Pentecostal Movement, just as God began to regather the Jews to their homeland under the visionary leadership of Theodore Herzl. But the rain did not become a downpour until after the re-establishment of the state of Israel in May of 1948, just as prophesied by Joel.

First came the anointing of Billy Graham's ministry in 1949, followed by the Charismatic Movement of the 1960's. Today, most of Christianity, whether Pentecostal, Charismatic, or Traditional, fully recognizes that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is alive and well in Spirit-led worship, the continuing validity of spiritual gifts, the reality of spiritual warfare, and the importance of a Spirit-filled life in winning that warfare.

In addition to the rediscovery of the Holy Spirit, there are other positive spiritual prophecies being fulfilled today — like the preaching of the Gospel worldwide (Matthew 24:14), the revival of Davidic praise worship (Amos 9:11) and the emergence of Messianic Judaism (Romans 9:27).

Another remarkable positive sign is the understanding of Bible prophecy. You see, the Hebrew prophets often did not understand the end time prophecies that the Lord gave to them. A good example can be found in Daniel 12:8-9 where the prophet complains to the Lord that he does not understand the prophecies that have been entrusted to him. The Lord's response was, "Don't worry about it. Just write the prophecies. They have been sealed up until the end times."

In other words, the Bible teaches that many of the end time prophecies will not be understood until the time comes for them to be fulfilled. And that is exactly what has been happening in the past 100 years. Historical developments and scientific inventions are now making it possible for us to understand end time prophecies that have never been understood before.

Take Israel for example. All of end time prophecy revolves around the nation of Israel. But how could those prophecies be understood as long as Israel did not exist and there was no prospect that the nation would ever exist again?

This is the reason that Hal Lindsey's book, The Late Great Planet Earth, became such a phenomenal bestseller in the 1970's. For the first time it explained the events prophesied in the book of Revelation in natural terms that people could easily understand.


We'll look at the remaining three categories in Part 4 of this series.