Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Pre-Wrath Rapture: Problems with the Concept

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

Is there any validity to the Pre-Wrath Rapture concept?

Let's continue to look at a number of objections I have to the Pre-Wrath Rapture concept of the timing of the Rapture.

7) The Church — I object to the 3/4 Trib Rapture view of why the Church must be present during the Tribulation. Incredibly, the argument has been proclaimed that the Church must suffer "for purging and purifying."1 The Bible says that the blood of Jesus is sufficient to cleanse us of all sin (1 John 1:7). The idea that the Church needs to be purified creates a Christian Purgatory, which is a blasphemy of the blood of Jesus. Furthermore, why is it that only the end time Church deserves this fate?

8) The Seal Judgments — I strongly object to the 3/4 Trib Rapture view that the Seal Judgments do not constitute any portion of the wrath of God. The judgments originate at the throne of God when Jesus begins to open each seal (Revelation 6:1). Further, they are referred to as "the wrath of the Lamb" (Revelation 6:16-17).

9) The Length of Daniel's 70th Week of Years — I object to the fact that the 3/4 Trib Rapture view extends Daniel's 70th Week by 30 days beyond the 7 years or 2,520 days it is supposed to run (Revelation 11:3 and 12:6). There is just no scriptural basis for this extension.

10) The Day of the Lord — I object to the 3/4 Trib view of the Day of the Lord. Rosenthal contends that it begins with the opening of the 7th Seal, and he therefore argues that the wrath of God does not begin until this point.

The problem here is that the Day of the Lord is a term that is used in many different ways in the Bible, and it must always be interpreted in context. There are places when it refers to specific national judgments from God, as when Israel was destroyed by Assyria (Amos 5:18-20) and when Judah was destroyed by Babylon (Lamentations 2:21-22 and Ezekiel 13:5). In like manner the fall of Babylon is called the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 13:6- 13).

But there are also times when the term refers to end time events. In this regard, it sometimes refers to the return of Jesus at the end of Daniel's 70th Week (Isaiah 2:10-22, Joel 3:9-17 and Zechariah 14:1-9). In other end time contexts, the term is used in a broader sense. For example, in Zephaniah 1:14-18 it is used to refer to the entire period of the Tribulation when "all the earth will be devoured in the fire of His jealousy..." In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 it says the Day of the Lord will come at a time when people are feeling safe and secure — which would be at the beginning of Daniel's 70th Week, after the Antichrist negotiates a treaty that guarantees peace for Israel. But the prophet Isaiah repeatedly uses a shorthand version of the term — "in that day" — to refer to the Millennium (Isaiah 4:2-6). I therefore think that in reference to the end times, the broad use of the term refers to the period of time from the beginning of Daniel's 70th Week to the end of the Millennium.

Another problem with Rosenthal's concept of the Day of the Lord is that he has it beginning at the point where the Seal Judgments are followed immediately by the Trumpet Judgments. How could that be? The Bible says the Day of the Lord will begin with people celebrating peace and safety (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3). What feeling of peace and safety will exist when the world is experiencing the Trumpet Judgments? This must be a reference to the treaty of peace the Antichrist will negotiate at the beginning of Daniel's 70th Week and which will mark the beginning of the Tribulation (Daniel 9:27).

We are currently in the Day of the Spirit (Acts 2:17 and 2 Corinthians 3:8). Daniel's 70th Week plus the Millennium constitutes the Day of the Lord. The Eternal State will be the Day of God (2 Peter 3:12).


Other Problems

One of the strangest parts of Rosenthal's book is chapter 16 (pages 215-230). In this chapter he attacks the Pre-Trib Rapture view as espousing two separate comings of the Lord. He then proclaims: "There is not even a hint — anywhere — of two separate comings" (page 222).

In response to this attack, I would like to point out that the Pre-Trib view does not present two comings of the Lord. Instead, it advocates an appearing of the Lord (the Rapture) followed at least 7 years later by the coming of the Lord (the Second Coming). Jesus does not return to the earth at the Rapture. He appears in the heavens for His Church, receives them, and then returns to Heaven with them.

But what is so weird about Rosenthal's attack is that his end time viewpoint presents multiple comings of the Lord — so many, in fact, that it is hard to chart them. Take a look at the chart again below. The first "coming" of the Lord I have shown is the Rapture. But Rosenthal has several other "comings."

The Pre-Wrath Rapture

At the end of Daniel's 70th Week, Jesus returns to earth to save Israel from annihilation, after which He returns to Heaven. Then, at the end of the "30 days of Reclamation" Jesus returns again to defeat Satan at the Battle of Armageddon. Following the "45 days of Restoration," Jesus returns to Heaven, gathers His Church, and returns to begin His thousand year reign. So, Rosenthal has a total of four "comings" of Jesus, yet he has the audacity to assert there is only one "coming" of the Lord and he condemns the Pre-Trib view for having two!

This amounts to mass confusion. Rosenthal recognizes the problem and tries to cover it by stating that Jesus has a "continuing presence" on the earth after the Rapture, and thus His four comings are really only parts of the one Second Coming. This is all nothing but semantic smoke. In the Pre-Trib view the Rapture is also followed by a "continuing presence" of Jesus on earth as He launches the wrath of God with the Seal Judgments and oversees the continuing implementation of God's wrath with the Trumpet and Bowl Judgments, after which He returns to earth to reign.


A Cornerstone Verse?

A friend of mine, Michael Pfeil, recently published a book in which he defends the 3/4 Trib Rapture viewpoint.2 He argues that the cornerstone verses for the view are Revelation 6:9-10, which read as follows:

9) When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;
10) and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"

Pfeil's argument is that these are martyrs killed for their faith during the first half of Daniel's 70th Week. He then says that if they are victims of God's wrath, then they are calling out for vengeance against God! He argues, instead, that they are victims of the Antichrist and are crying out for vengeance against him — and this, in turn proves that the first half of Daniel's 70th Week constitutes the wrath of Man and Satan, and not the wrath of God.

The problem with this argument is that when the wrath of God is poured out, it falls on the just and the unjust unless God specifically promises protection to believers. He has promised the Church such protection (1 Thessalonians 1:10). He has also promised that He will protect the 144,000 Jews who are sealed by His Spirit at the beginning of the Tribulation (Revelation 7:1- 8 and 14:1-5).

But He has made no such promise of protection for those who receive Jesus during the Tribulation. They will suffer just as Daniel and his cohorts suffered when Judah fell to the Babylonians. The rain falls on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45), and the just who suffer martyrdom during the Tribulation will cry out for vengeance against their executioners.


Conclusion

The 3/4 Trib Rapture concept does not pass the test of the Scriptures. Even worse, as Jack Van Impe has put it, the concept is "the Christians' ultimate nightmare" rather than their "blessed hope"3 (Titus 2:11-13).


Notes

1) Alan Kurschner, "Prewrath — What Is It?" www.AlanKurschner.com.wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Prewrath.pdf, page 1. See also: Cooper Abrams, "Fatal Flaws in the Modern Pre-Wrath Rapture Position," http://bible-truth.org/Pre-Wrath.html, page 12.

2) Michael E. Pfeil, Rapture of the Church: Bound for Heaven, BUT..." (Bloomington, IN: Westbow Press, 2013).

3) Jack Van Impe, "What validity, if any, should be given to the Prewrath Rapture theory?" www.jvim.com/newsletter/pastissues/ 2012/20120723.html, page 1.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Pre-Wrath Rapture: Objections to the Concept

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

Are there any objections to the Pre-Wrath Rapture concept?

I have a number of objections to the Pre-Wrath Rapture concept of the Rapture's timing.

1) The Name — I object to the name given the viewpoint by its proponents. The name is both confusing and vague. It is confusing because both the Pre-Trib and Mid-Trib views are "Pre- Wrath." The Pre-Trib view argues that the entire 7 years of the Tribulation (Daniel's 70th Week of Years) constitutes a pouring out of the wrath of God. The Mid-Trib view takes the position that only the second half of the Tribulation is the period of God's wrath. So, Rosenthal's name for his viewpoint does not distinguish it from the Pre-Trib and Mid-Trib views. All three are prewrath views.

The "Pre-Wrath" name is also vague because it does not give a clue as to when the Rapture occurs in relation to the Tribulation. The name of the Pre-Trib view signifies a belief that the Rapture will occur before (pre) the Tribulation begins. The name of the Mid-Trib view clearly indicates a belief that the Rapture will occur in the middle of the Tribulation. The name of the Post-Trib view puts the Rapture after (post) the Tribulation. But the name, "Pre-Wrath" gives no indication of when the Rapture will occur with relation to the Tribulation.

For that reason, I have decided to call the "Pre-Wrath" view the Three-Quarters Tribulation Rapture viewpoint. And I will be abbreviating it throughout the rest of this article as the "3/4 Trib Rapture." I have given it that name because its proponents believe the Rapture will occur about three-quarters of the way through the Tribulation, or shortly thereafter.

2) The Chronology — I object to the 3/4 Trib Rapture because it violates the chronology of the book of Revelation. The sequence of events that is pictured in the book of Revelation clearly places both the Seal Judgments and the Trumpet Judgments in the first half of the 70th Week of Daniel. And the Bowl Judgments are clearly contained within Daniel's 70th Week, near its end. The 3/4 Trib view scrambles all this. As you can see in the diagram above, the Seal Judgments are continued over into the second half of the 7 year period, the Trumpet Judgments are moved from the first half to the end of the second half, and the Bowl Judgments are appended to a 30 day period after the close of Daniel's 70th Week!

3) Imminence — One of my strongest objections to the 3/4 Trib view is its destruction of the imminence of the Lord's return. The Bible emphasizes that the Lord could return at any moment and that we should live looking for His return (Matthew 24:44, 1 Corinthians 1:7, Philippians 3:20, Philippians 4:5, Colossians 3: 4, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:6, Titus 2:13, and Revelation 16:15). The 3/4 Trib view says the Lord cannot return until after the Antichrist appears, the Jewish Temple has been rebuilt and the world has suffered through about 5 years of the wrath of Man and Satan. Thus, according to the 3/4 Trib view, we should be living looking for the Antichrist and not Jesus Christ.

Rosenthal asserts that the Bible never says that any prophesied end time events could not occur before the Rapture. He is correct. The re-establishment of Israel is an example. The war of Gog & Magog could prove to be another example. Imminency does not preclude the fulfillment of some end time prophecies before the Rapture. Rather, it asserts that none have to happen before the Rapture can occur.

4) The Wrath of God — Another strong objection I have to the 3/4 Trib Rapture view is its mistaken concept of the sovereignty of God. The view attempts to distinguish the wrath of Man and Satan from the wrath of God. Both Man and Satan operate under the sovereignty of God. That's why Psalm 2 pictures God sitting in Heaven laughing at the evil plots of the world's political leaders. His laughing is not motivated by a lack of concern. He laughs because He has the wisdom and power to orchestrate all the evil of Man and Satan to the triumph of His Son.

Further, the Bible portrays God pouring out His wrath both directly (Sodom and Gomorrah) and indirectly (the destruction of both Israel and Judah). God poured out His wrath upon the rebellious northern nation of Israel by allowing the Assyrians to conquer it. He even referred to the Assyrians as "the rod of My anger" (Isaiah 10:5) and "My war-club" (Jeremiah 51:20).

When the prophet Habakkuk complained about God doing nothing about the evil of the southern nation of Judah, the Lord revealed that He was going to pour out His wrath on that nation through Babylon (Habakkuk 1:6). And when the Lord was finished with Babylon, He raised up the Medes and Persians to conquer the Babylonian Empire, referring to the conquering army as "My consecrated ones" (Isaiah 13:3).

During Daniel's 70 Weeks of Years, much of the wrath of God will be executed through the Antichrist, but it is still the wrath of God.

5) The Tribulation — I object to the way in which the 3/4 Trib Rapture view denies that the first half of Daniel's 70th Week is part of the Tribulation. The fact of the matter is that both halves of Daniel's 70th Week are referred to in the Scriptures as a time of tribulation. Matthew 24:9 refers to the first half as "tribulation," and Matthew 24:21 classifies the second half as "great tribulation." Incidentally, Jesus' reference to the second half as the "great tribulation" does not mean it will be worse than the first half. Rather, Jesus called it that because He was speaking to a Jewish audience, and the second half of the Tribulation will be when the Antichrist will try to annihilate the Jews.

6) The Purpose of Daniel's 70th Week — I object to the way in which the 3/4 Trib Rapture view distorts the purpose of Daniel's 70th Week. Daniel 9:24-27 makes it clear that the purpose of Daniel's 70 Weeks of Years is to accomplish six things among the Jewish people:

  1. To finish transgression
  2. To make an end of sin
  3. To make atonement for iniquity
  4. To bring in everlasting righteousness
  5. To seal up vision and prophecy
  6. To anoint the most Holy Place

Just as the first 69 weeks of years (483 years) of the prophecy had nothing to do with the Church, neither does the final week of years. The last seven year period of Daniel's prophecy is about the accomplishment of the purposes listed above among the Jewish people. Accordingly, the entire period of Daniel's 70th Week is referred to in Jeremiah 30:7 as "the time of Jacob's trouble." There is no purpose for the Church during Daniel's 70th Week.


In the third and last part of this look at the Pre-Wrath Rapture view, we'll consider more objections to the viewpoint

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Pre-Wrath Rapture: Understanding the Concept

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

What does the Pre-Wrath Rapture view believe wrath is during the Tribulation?

Let's begin with some definitions and clarifications. The term, Rapture, refers to the idea that a day will come when Jesus will appear in the heavens, at which time the dead in Christ will be resurrected to meet Him in the air and to receive their glorified bodies. Living believers will be taken up also and will be translated en route from mortal to immortal. Both the resurrected believers and the living ones will then return to Heaven with Jesus. This event is viewed by most as being separate and apart from the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return to earth to reign for a thousand years.

The word, Rapture, does not appear in English language Bibles, but it can be found in the Latin Vulgate translation of Jerome, which served as the basic Bible of the Western world for over 1200 years, from 400AD to 1611 when the King James Version was published. The word appears in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. In English versions it is expressed as "caught up." The concept of the Rapture can be found in many other places in the New Testament — for example, in John 14:1-4 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.

One other thing that needs to be made clear about the Rapture is that it is a promise to the Bride of Christ, which is the Church. It will not include Old Testament Saints. They will be resurrected at the time of the Lord's Second Coming, at the end of the Tribulation (Daniel 12:1-2). The Tribulation Martyrs — those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior during the Tribulation and who are killed for their faith — will also be resurrected at the time of the Second Coming.


The Question of Timing

Among those who believe in a Rapture of the Church, there is disagreement as to the timing of the event. Until recent years, there were three concepts of the Rapture's timing:

1) The Pre-Trib View — This is the idea that the Rapture will take place before the Tribulation begins.
2) The Mid-Trib View — This viewpoint places the Rapture in the middle of the Tribulation.
3) The Post-Trib View — According to this view, the Rapture and the Second Coming are all one event that takes place at the end of the Tribulation.


The "Pre-Wrath" View

In 1990 Marvin Rosenthal presented a fourth viewpoint in his book, The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church. Rosenthal was not the originator of this new viewpoint. Rather, he was the one who popularized it with his book.

The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church

The person who conceived the "Pre-Wrath" view of the Rapture was a man named Robert Van Kampen (1938-1999). Van Kampen became one of America's richest men through his involvement in investment banking. During his lifetime he accumulated one of the largest private collections of rare and antique Bibles in North America.

In the 1970's Van Kampen began developing the "Pre- Wrath" concept of the timing of the Rapture. Once he had completed his work on the concept, he started trying to find a well known person in the field of Bible prophecy to endorse his new view. That person finally turned out to be Marvin Rosenthal, who at the time was serving as the director of a very influential ministry called Friends of Israel. Rosenthal tried to convince the board of the ministry to abandon its commitment to the Pre-Trib view and accept the new viewpoint. They refused, and Rosenthal was forced to depart. He went to Florida where he built the Holy Land Experience — a Christian theme park which has since been taken over by the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Today, Rosenthal serves as the director of Zion's Hope, a ministry located in Winter Garden, Florida.

Rosenthal's book was financed by Van Kampen's fortune, and he mailed out thousands of copies to pastors all over America. Later, Van Kampen wrote his own books about the "Pre-Wrath" view, the most important being The Sign (1992).


The Meaning of the "Pre-Wrath" View

The "Pre-Wrath" view of the Rapture argues that the first three-fourths of the Tribulation is the wrath of Man and the wrath of Satan, and not the wrath of God. Therefore, the proponents of this view argue that the Church will suffer through the first three-quarters of the Tribulation since the Church is promised protection only from the wrath of God.

The Pre-Wrath Rapture

Those who espouse this viewpoint of the Rapture's timing believe that the Seal Judgments are the wrath of Man and Satan and that they continue throughout the first half of the Tribulation and into the second half, right up to the three-quarters point, or shortly thereafter. They place the Trumpet Judgments in the last quarter of the Tribulation and the Bowl Judgments in the first 30 days following the end of Daniel's 70th Week of Years.


In the second part of this look at the Pre-Wrath Rapture view, we'll consider some objections to the viewpoint

Monday, December 22, 2014

It Is You Who Make This Ministry Happen

Dr. David R. ReaganBy

It is you who make this ministry happen!

Lamb & Lion Ministries is a Bible prophecy teaching ministry proclaiming the soon return of Jesus Christ. We exist to serve the Church in its effort to win souls for Christ and to disciple those who accept the Lord.

We do not believe it is possible to know the date when Jesus will return, but we do believe it is possible to know the season of the Lord's return, and it is our conviction that we are living in that season. We believe that Jesus is the only hope for the world today.

We exist to share that hope in Jesus Christ. But, we cannot do it alone. Without the support of people like you partnering with us, our television show "Christ in Prophecy" would not be broadcast all over the planet. Publications like the Lamplighter magazine, many books on Bible prophecy, and special booklets like A Prophetic Manifesto would never have gotten into the hands of people who need them. Educational videos that cover topics such as Bible prophecy, apologetics, Israel and world affairs from a biblical perspective would never have been produced. Our worldwide outreach via the Lamb & Lion website at lamblion.com and the mobile Lamb & Lion App would never have been made.

It is the Holy Spirit's work through you that makes this outreach possible and changes lives forever for Him.


Program Requirements

With 2015 fast approaching, would you consider supporting this ministry in the coming year as a Prophecy Partner?

The support base of Lamb & Lion Ministries consists of its Prophecy Partners. These are the people who pledge to pray for us regularly and who make a commitment to provide $25 a month or more in financial support for one year.

We currently have just over 2,500 Prophecy Partners. We need to increase that number to over 3,000 for 2015 if we are to continue expanding our media outreach with the message of the soon return of Jesus Christ.

We ask our Prophecy Partners to aim at giving $1 a day for a year — or $30 per month. Many do this, and some give much more. The minimum contribution is $25 per month.

The most important thing we expect of our Prophecy Partners is for them to pray daily for the ministry.


Program Benefits

There are many benefits and blessings associated with being a Prophecy Partner. First and foremost is the knowledge that your sacrificial support is going to a ministry whose purpose is to point people to Jesus Christ and to proclaim His soon return.

As a Prophecy Partner you will receive the Lamplighter magazine free of charge, and every other month you will receive a special gift together with a personal report from Dave Reagan highlighting major events and decisions affecting the ministry. Prophecy Partners are also eligible for a ten percent discount on select materials produced by the ministry at Bible Prophecy Resources.

To sign up as a Prophecy Partner, call our ministry at 972-736-3567 between 8am and 5pm Central time, Monday through Friday, or sign up online.


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Thank you and God bless you as we anxiously await the soon return of the King — Jesus Christ!

Friday, December 19, 2014

New, News, News!

Dr. David R. ReaganBy

I feel like I have experienced a news overload during the past six months. The headlines have been blaring about EBOLA, ISIS and ISRAEL.

Additionally, we have been bombarded with news stories about the resurgence of Russia and the fading of America. And then there are the constant wars, rumors of wars and civil conflicts. It's as if the whole world is tottering on the brink of insanity.

We here at Lamb & Lion receive constant requests to comment on all these news stories from a biblical perspective. Nathan Jones and I appreciate the requests. In fact, we are honored by them because they demonstrate that many people respect our opinion.

But even though I have a doctorate in international relations and have been a life-long student of the Bible, I do not consider myself to be some sort of guru who has all the answers. And I don't like to shoot from the hip. To prepare worthwhile responses requires study, thought and prayer. So don't look to me for pop wisdom on all the news stories.

The one thing I can say for certain, off-the-cuff, at any time is that God is in control. Read Psalm 2. It says that God sits in Heaven and laughs at all the evil plots of the world's political leaders. He laughs because He has the wisdom and power to orchestrate all the evil of Man and Satan to the triumph of His Son.

Let me conclude with a humorous story.

Each year Al Gist, the founder of Maranatha Evangelistic Ministries in DeRidder, Louisiana, hosts a prophecy conference. At this year's conference, Al spoke about the crisis in the Middle East. He began by explaining that the Muslim fundamentalist army trying to take over the area has gone through several name changes. It began as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). Then, as it began to succeed, it changed its name to ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — Levant being a French word for the whole Middle East). Recently, the group changed its name again to simply IS (Islamic State).

Al said that when he shared this information with his wife, she said, "I'm no expert on any of this, but I can tell you one thing with assurance: The Great I AM is going to convert IS to WAS!" Amen!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The End Times Sign of Famine: Tribulation Statistics

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy

How many people will die due to famine during the Tribulation?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista and I will look at the fourth end times signs of famine prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 24:7.

The Truth Will Set You Free

Play MP3


Famine in the Tribulation

Nathan: The food shortages of today will be nothing compared to the uber famine that will plague the world during the coming 7-year Tribulation. We read in Revelation 6 that a fourth of the world's population is going to die from the first four Seal Judgments. The great Second Seal War will destroy much of the food supply chains so that there won't be any way people can get food. When you level a plant that processes chicken, you're not getting chicken. When you destroy the supply runs by the ships, you're not getting food shipped in anymore. When the stores are destroyed and when crops are swallowed up by earthquakes, terrible events like that which the Bible says will happen, it destroys the way people get food.

Starvation will be a tremendous problem during the Tribulation, to the point that a fourth of the world will die from it. In today's numbers that's 1.5-2 billion people who will die.

Vic: We got a little taste of what food shortages are like here in South Florida. We get a lot of hurricanes, and as soon as there is a hurricane threat, people flood to the stores and buy up all the food. There's nothing left. The shelves are empty and the stores are bare.

Nathan: I've never had to experience a hurricane, but I remember seeing the news on Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. On the news they showed a Walmart and how within hours literally, like you said, every scrap of food was taken from the shelves. People ran in there and bought it all up.

I think we take it so for granted the fact that in our day we can go anywhere and get food. Can you imagine cutting the food supply chains off? Within days our shelves would be empty.

Vic: Just think about a mother who has a newborn baby and needs food, milk, and just the basic necessities. When disaster strikes, that can happen to us, really at any point. Today's disasters point us to this awful sign of famine that the Bible is warning us about.

Nathan: Like we discussed, famine is happening in different places all over the world. Just here in the West we have such a great supply chain, we don't realize this sad fact. Praise the Lord for a good economy based on values that make us productive!

In the future, the world will destroy these supply chains through global wars and earthquakes which will happen during the Tribulation. Both political and natural disasters will cut off people's ability to get food.

I don't know about you, Pastor Vic, but I'm a suburbanite. I don't have a yard big enough to grow food, much less wait the three to four months for it to grow. I'd be in deep, deep trouble. So many in the world aren't farmers, and will be the first to suffer.

Jesus tells us this time is coming when severe famines and pestilence will come upon the world and wipe out a quarter of the population. To think that's 1.5 billion people who will die from starvation.

Vic: I live close to the Everglades, so I guess I'll have to start hunting alligators! Maybe I'll outlive you.

Nathan: Alligator is good eating! But, I don't want to joke about this topic, though. I really don't think you and I can really grasp what it's like not to have food. We can go anywhere and get as much food as we want. In fact, that's why American's are so obese, because we have too much food; more than we know what to do with. It's almost impossible to imagine there not being food a plenty.

But, that's what the Bible says will happen. During the Tribulation there would be such tremendous famine that a quarter of the world's population will starve to death. That's just beyond my ability to understand, but for many people here on the earth, they understand. Some live on only one meal a day.

Vic: That's why we are not making light of the situation, because famine is really is a very, very serious thing.


Hope for Today

Vic: We are hoping everyone will finally recognize that the Tribulation is what the world is preparing for. The signs leading up to the Tribulation are what we are starting to see happening. But, there is hope — the Rapture of the Church. Sadly, there are going to be millions of people who will be left behind, and they are going to have to experience all this disaster and death. That's why we all need to start telling our unbelieving loved ones about Jesus and offer them hope, because once these disasters come, it's going to be unbelievable.

Nathan: It will. There are so many people holding out that don't want to give their lives to Jesus Christ. They want to hold onto their sinful lifestyle. They just want to live their own lives doing whatever they want to do and forget God's protective law. They want to forget the fact that their decisions are hurting themselves and those around them, even killing them, and certainly killing them forever.

There is a time of judgment coming. The Bible is very specific and this point and gives us tremendous detail about it. Jesus even told us what the signs would be so that we can prepare. It's very important that we get our hearts right with Jesus Christ and surrender our lives to Him. We must ask for forgiveness of our sins so we can be made right with God and so that we can inherit those blessings of forgiveness and eternal life.

Vic: That's right. We all have loved ones who don't know the Lord. I think what's encouraging is that we all need to see the urgency in telling people about the Lord. Tell our neighbors, our friends, people at school, wherever you might be, because the only real hope for the future is Jesus Christ. We need to be ready to receive Him. Of course, we also never know when the Rapture is going to take place, but we can see the signs of the end times all around us pointing to Jesus' soon return.

I'd like to encourage everyone that if you don't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, come and receive a relationship with the Lord now while there's still time. Nathan, how can a person begin their relationship with the Lord?

Nathan: Start by knowing that the Lord Jesus Christ loves you so much. God has been trying to get humanity redeemed, in other words, forgiven of their sins and its punishment of death. God went so far out of His way to accomplish a means of redemption that He sent His only Son, His perfect Son Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place.

When we accept Jesus as Savior and ask Him to forgive us of our sins and be our Lord, then we no longer stand condemned before God. When we accept Jesus our sins are forgiven. We're given a whole new life in Him. We inherit the promises of the Rapture of the Church and to live with Jesus forever in Heaven and all the wonders that entails. That's why it's so vital that you give your life to Jesus Christ right now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The End Times Sign of Famine: Current Statistics

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy

How bad is famine in the world today?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista and I will look at the fourth end times signs of famine prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 24:7.

The Truth Will Set You Free

Play MP3


Current Statistics

Vic: Nathan, could you list the first three end times signs Jesus gave in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 before we get into the fourth sign — famine?

Nathan: The first three of the end times signs Jesus told us would increase in frequency and intensity like birth pains before His return were false teachers and false messiahs, wars, and earthquakes. Then Jesus got up to sign number four which is famine.

Vic: Often time when people think of famines they only think about biblical times, like during the time of Joseph, but there are a lot of famines plaguing the world today.

Nathan: Yes, exactly. Remember also in Matthew 24 the first question the Apostles asked Jesus was, "When will the Temple fall?" One of the answers Jesus gave was famines. He said there would be famines before the Temple would fall. We read in Acts 11:27-28 about a man named Agabus who said during this time in the life of the infant Church that some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of those prophets' name was Agabus. He through the Holy Spirit predicted a severe famine that would spread over the entire Roman world. This happened historically during the reign of Claudius Caesar, which was 41-54 AD. And so, the people of the First Century knew about famines because there were some before the fall of the Temple.

Just like in those days, Jesus said that famines will come more frequently and more intensely the closer we got to His return. His response also answers the second question the Apostles asked Jesus, "What are the signs of the end of the age?" This means before the Rapture of the Church.

I've got to tell you, we who live in the West live very well. When you read the statistics about famine in other parts of the world it's just heartbreaking.

Vic: Yes, here in the United States we are very blessed because everywhere you turn there's a grocery store or restaurant. In our city her in Miami we have Publix, which are like Super Walmarts. They sell any type of food you could want and it's just a few minutes away. An abundant supply of food here in the West is why famines are such a foreign concept to us.

Nathan: The world has experienced tremendous famines just in the 20th Century alone. There was the great Chinese famine in 1959-1961 where 43 million people starved to death. Also in Russia in 1921, 5 million people died from starvation. During World War II another million died from starvation. In 1974 another 1.5 million died. In Ethiopia, if you remember back in '84 and '85, there was so much talk about the Ethiopian famine where the world watched reports on TV of 400,000 men, women and children starved to death there. In '96 North Korea experienced a famine where 3.5 million people starved.

Did you know that the occurrences of famines is even worse in the 21st Century, Pastor Vic?

Vic: No, I didn't.

Nathan: We are really isolated here in the West, just like you said. I'm sitting here with a bag of chocolate covered cranberries, and most countries don't even have access to the most basic stables of food. We are really blessed, and I think the reason is because our country was based on Judeo-Christian values, on God's law. Though we are pulling away from our roots, the Lord has continued to provide blessings to America because there are still many believers in Christ living here.

So far in the 21st Century, Bread for the World reports that there are 17 famines going on in the world right now in places such as Myanmar, Malawi, North Korea, East Africa, Kenya and Somalia. They report there are 925 million — that's almost a billion people — who go hungry every day.

Did know that every day almost 16,000 children die from hunger related causes? That means one child every five seconds dies. Just in the last minute, 12 children have died from starvation.

Vic: That is so tragically sad, but because people don't see famine in their own country, they don't think it's really happening. So you're telling us that in the 21st Century 17 famines have occurred?

Nathan: Yes, 925 million people go hungry and 1.4 billion people, a quarter of the world's population, live in extreme poverty.

There are also recessions and droughts going on in the world, especially like this year's drought in California. It's really hitting the food market hard. You've probably gone into your local grocery and noticed food prices have double in most areas.

Vic: Don't get me started on that, Nathan! My wife does the food shopping and rising food prices is something she gets a little bit irate about, especially when egg prices just keep going up. All the simple basics of life are steeply on the rise.

Nathan: Yes, you used to be able to buy an onion for a quarter. Now its like $1.50. Rising food prices push people who are just making ends meet down below poverty level. Did you know that by 2010 famine had pushed 100 to 150 million people below the poverty line?

Vic: I'm originally from the Dominican Republic. I was born there and today my church leads a lot of mission trips there. We go to these villages and it just breaks my heart to see these people's living conditions. Seeing such poverty is a sure reminder of how much we are really blessed here in the US.

Nathan: But, I wonder if our blessings are coming near to an end. I don't know if you've been keeping up with the drought going on in California, but it's getting so bad now that even well water is running out. Hopefully the freak flooding they're now experiencing will help with that.

California is the breadbasket of our nation. We get so much of our fruit and vegetables from there. This year they were talking about not just a drought, but a super drought or a mega drought. Regular food production could not be coming from California anymore which means that our country's resources and ability to get the food that we need will continue to diminish.


In the second and last part of our discussion on the end times sign of famine, we'll be rocked at how horrible famine will be during the coming Tribulation.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The End Times Sign of Earthquakes: Final Three Prophetic Quakes

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy

How bad off will the earth be after the final three prophetic earthquakes?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista and I will look at the third end times signs of earthquakes found in Matthew 24:7.

The Truth Will Set You Free

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Three Prophetic Quakes

Vic: What are the final three of the four prophetic earthquakes?

Nathan: The second is the Sixth Seal Judgment of Revelation 6 which says a great earthquake will literally bring every mountain down and every island will be moved from its place. There will be a global earthquake in the 9.0 range that will level the earth, and it will happen near the beginning of the Tribulation.

Then we read about a third prophetic earthquake. That's when the Two Witnesses that God sends to share the Gospel with the world from Jerusalem, in the middle of the Tribulation they are going to cause a severe earthquake. A tenth of Jerusalem will collapse during that earthquake and 7,000 people will be die. The survivors will see this earthquake and they will give great glory to God because they realize that God is behind it.

Then we get to the end of the Tribulation for the fourth prophetic earthquake. That's what's called the Sixth Bowl Judgment. This is the biggest earthquake that the earth will have ever experienced. Revelation 16 says no earthquake like this Bowl Judgment quake has ever occurred since man has been on the earth. Verses 18-20 read:

And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

The great city of Jerusalem will be split into three parts. The cities of the nations like you just listed, Chicago and Miami, will collapse. Every island will flee away. Just think, Hawaii might sink into the ocean, and the Falklands. The mountains won't even be recognizable. God will take the mountain ranges of the world like the Appalachians and the Rocky Mountains and flatten them. That 's how bad the earthquakes are going to be around the world. The topography of the world by the end of the Tribulation will be unrecognizable when compared to today's maps.

During that last, dreadful earthquake, the people experiencing it will think it's the end of the world, and it is.

The closer we get to Jesus' Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation the more the world will be suffering like the last few minutes before a baby is born. That's when the wife is screaming at the top of her lungs how much she hates her husband. She's gripping his hand with an iron grip. The pain is so intense. The baby's head is crowning. It's about to come out. That's the worst of it.

Likewise, when the world gets to this Sixth Bowl Judgment earthquake, it will be like no earthquake the ever preceded it. It will be the most intense. People will be dying left and right.

God causes this great quake to judge the world for its sin. When the Two Witnesses experienced that third earthquake, Revelation says the survivors were terrified and gave great glory to the God of Heaven. That's what God is trying to do. He's trying to get people to wake up and take their souls seriously. Sometimes you have to shake up a person's life before they get serious about the eternal and give their hearts and lives over to Jesus Christ.

Vic: Of course, this is all part of God's plan leading into the Millennium. We are going to see some beautiful things that God's going to do during that following thousand years, but before that there will be tribulation.


Shaking Your Faith

Vic: These are the great signs of the end times. I believe that every year, every time we turn on the news, we just see these signs increasing in intensity, right?

Nathan: And the world will just keep on going like that. Why these earthquakes and wars around the world increasing more frequently and more intensely? It's because Jesus said they would. Like birth pains, the end times signs will come more frequently and more intensely the closer we get to Jesus' return.

Therefore, you have to ask yourself, how are you going to respond to this truth? You see the signs around you and so you know that Jesus is going to come back soon. Is your heart ready for Jesus Christ? Have you prepared your life to live with Him forever in Heaven? Or, are you willing to be separated from Him forever in Hell? You've got to make that decision before it's too late.

Vic: We always like to end with an encouraging message of hope for anyone who maybe doesn't have a relationship with the Lord. Nathan, would you share with that person how they can begin a relationship with the Lord?

Nathan: God has given us so much because he loves us so much. After all, He created us. But, we have been separated from Him because of our sin. Sin is rebellion against God. Our hearts don't want God in our lives because we want to do it on our own. But, if you look at your life, you will realize you can't do it on your own very well. Life's a mess, and we need Jesus Christ. To have eternal life we need that rebellion forgiven.

The sentence for our rebellion against God is death. God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, the perfect God and man, to die on the cross for our sins. When we believe in Jesus as our Savior and we put our faith and trust in Him and ask for forgiveness for our sins, He'll forgive them and He'll save us. The death penalty is taken off of us and we know we can live forever with Him in Heaven.

We just need to accept that in our hearts by praying, "Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Savior." He promises to forgive us of our sins and give us a whole new life.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The End Times Sign of Earthquakes: First Prophetic Quake

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy

How miraculous is the earthquake of the coming Gog-Magog War?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista and I will look at the third end times signs of earthquakes found in Matthew 24:7.

The Truth Will Set You Free

Play MP3


The First Prophetic Quake

Vic: Nathan, the Bible speaks about prophetic earthquakes, right? We know that the earthquakes we are experiencing today are just the beginning of them because they are going to keep getting worse and worse.

Nathan: Yes, once the Rapture of the Church happens and the Church is out of here, it's not the end of the earthquakes yet. They will hit the earth more frequently and more intensely the closer we get to Jesus' return at the end of the seven-year Tribulation. In fact, the Bible prophesies there are four prophetic earthquakes coming up.

Vic: The Battle of Gog and Magog and some other end time events are also going to create some incredible earthquakes, right?

Nathan: Yes. When I say Gog and Magog, there is a war coming which Ezekiel 38 and 39 calls the Gog-Magog War. Out of all the prophetic wars in the Bible, the Gog-Magog War is described in greater detail, even more than Armageddon. It's the war where Russia leads a coalition of Iran, all the 'Stan nations, Turkey, Libya, and most of North Africa against Israel. It's a tremendous push to destroy Israel once and for all.

Ezekiel says Russia will be led by an entity called Gog. Whether that's a person or a demon, I'm not sure. He wants the spoils of Israel. By then Israel will have defeated its neighbors surrounding them, which we read about in Psalm 83. Israel will have to defeat its hostile neighbors around them, causing the nation to grow bigger and stronger. With its gas and natural resources, Israel will start becoming more of a world power. Russia doesn't want that, and so it forms this coalition of nation. Russia will lead a coalition of nation down to destroy Israel. Little Israel, even with their expanded might, doesn't stand a chance against a united Islamic and Russian front.

What's amazing in Ezekiel's prophecy is that we read that God steps back into human history. He destroys the invading armies by infighting and by fire from the sky. The prophecy says God also sends fire on their nations and destroys them. Picture a world where Russia and Islam are no longer really a world player anymore. That time is coming.

Another of the ways in which God will destroy those armies is with a tremendous earthquake. In Ezekiel 38:19-23 we read of a great earthquake in the land of Israel. Mountains will be overturned. The cliffs will crumble. Every wall will fall to the ground.

The Gog-Magog War could happen at the beginning Tribulation or just before the Tribulation starts. The Bible doesn't tell us, but it's clearly a future event that is related to the Tribulation. The earthquake will be so powerful in the land of Israel that the mountains of Israel will be overturned and the cliffs will crumble. The armies attacking Israel will be swallowed up by this earthquake.

It's fascinating seeing this prophecy given about 90 to 95 AD by God to the Apostle John about something that will happen in the future. Bible prophecy is very exact and descriptive.

Vic: The Bible prophesied that Israel would become a nation again, and it has. It's so awesome to see this prophecy fulfilled in our lifetime.

Nathan: Yes, the regathering of Israel is one of the most prolific prophecies in all the Bible. As a matter of fact, the Bible says the Jews will look upon the regathering of Israel as a nation a second time as an even greater miracle than before when they were rescued from the Egyptians at the Exodus.

Also, as a result of the Gog-Magog earthquake we just talked about earlier, Ezekiel says that all the Jews of the world will want to return to Israel. About half of the world's Jewry is in Israel right now. The other half primarily is in your area, Pastor Vic, in Aventura, and also up in New York City and Philadelphia. But, after the earthquake happens, there will be something inside the Jews that will cause them to want to move to Israel.

There are three main reason why I think the Jews will all want to return to Israel. One, they will see Israel become a great nation. Two, the nation will be protected by the Antichrist who will make a covenant with them of protection, although he will break it 3.5 years later. Three, and this is unfortunate, Antisemitism will rise. The people of the world will hate the Jews so much that they'll have to move to Israel just to find a place of safety.

Vic: That's incredible! I'm sure someone reading this now is probably freaking out and saying, "What is going on?" But listen, we want to encourage you by saying that if you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, we believe the Rapture will take place first and we will be out of here, so we won't even feel the shaking.

Nathan: Amen. In our day there will continue to be earthquakes. Believers in Christ will continue to have to suffer through different trials and tribulations while on we're living on this earth. But, the Tribulation, that's the one major event where God will bring His wrath down upon this world for seven years. That's still future. And, it's not for the Church to experience.

When I say the Church, I'm referring to all those who have accepted Jesus as Savior. We will be the ones raptured up to Heaven.

Vic: That's right. You mentioned to us this incredible earthquake that's going to level mountains and cities, so that means the cities of today like New York and Chicago are going to be completely leveled?

Nathan: Well, there are four prophetic earthquakes, starting with the Gog-Magog earthquake, so any one of those four prophetic earthquakes could affect those cities that you listed.


In the fourth and last part of our discussion on the end times sign of earthquakes, we'll look at the final three of four prophetic quakes.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The End Times Sign of Earthquakes: From the Temple to Today

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy

Are earthquakes increasing in frequency and intensity?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista and I will look at the third end times signs of earthquakes found in Matthew 24:7.

The Truth Will Set You Free

Play MP3


Quakes Before the Temple Fell

Vic: Now we read from Luke 21:11 where Jesus reveals, "There will be great earthquakes, famines, pestilence in various places and fearful events and great signs from heaven." Tell us about the end times sign of earthquakes.

Nathan: Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13 are all parallel passages. The Apostles were listening to Jesus' teachings and were writing them down from their own point of view, and some of them put the signs in different order, but all the signs are equal in each parallel passage. I'll follow Luke 21, for normally pestilence would come first if you were reading Matthew 24.

Earthquakes Jesus said would definitely also be a sign that would be increasing more frequently and more intensely the closer we got to His return.

For the first question, the Apostles wanted to know when the Temple would fall. Well, before 70 AD there were quite a number of signs of earthquakes. As a matter of fact, when Jesus was crucified, Matthew 27 tells us that there was a tremendous earthquake. It was so big that the dead rose from their graves! They were walking around Jerusalem after the Crucifixion because of the huge earthquake that happened there. Also, when Jesus was resurrected, according to Matthew 28:2 there was a violent earthquake that shook the whole city of Jerusalem.

Another powerful earthquake happened to Paul and Silas who were in prison in Philippi. Acts 16:26 tells us that when a violent earthquake formed the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open and everyone's chains came loose.

The town of Laodicea which we read about in Revelation 3 in 60 to 61 AD was destroyed by a violent earthquake, though quickly rebuilt. The town of Colossi where we get the title for the book of Colossians was destroyed by earthquakes so many times that eventually the people just abandoned it. They got so tired of rebuilding.

There were a lot of earthquakes shaking the world up before the fall of the Temple. But, they would be nothing compared to when we get closer to the end of this age, and then finally the end of the Tribulation.

Vic: In Matthew 28:51 it says concerning Jesus' Crucifixion, "Then, behold, the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom and the earth quaked and the rocks were split and the graves were open." It also says that many of the bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised and coming out of the graves after His resurrection. They went into the Holy City and appeared to many. That's just an incredible passage! All of this happened from that earthquake.

Nathan: Yes, it was another sign that God gave to the people to convince them that Jesus is the Messiah. Even the centurion while he was watching Jesus being crucified and seeing how the sky went dark for three hours and the violent earthquake that followed, he saw those signs and he responded to them. He concluded, "Surely this must be the Christ." That's important that we look at the signs that God's given us in the Bible that talk about the end times, like in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, for we too need to respond to those signs by getting our hearts ready for the return of Jesus Christ.

Vic: Amen and praise the Lord!


Quakes in Our Day

Vic: Nathan, as the time draws closer to the end of this age, we are going to see earthquake statistics grow, right? Just by looking at all the news today, all the wars and natural disasters going on now, it's pretty clear that both wars and earthquakes are increasing in frequency and intensity.

Nathan: As we get into the answer to the question about what will be the signs of the end of the age, we must remember that this age culminates with the Rapture of the Church. That's the taking of believers in Christ up to heaven before the seven-year Tribulation befalls the earth.

I agree that the statistics do prove that the earthquakes are coming more frequently and more intensely with each passing year. A British charity called Oxfam analyzed a set of data that the Red Cross and the United Nations reported. They've concluded that there's been a four times increase in earthquakes in the last 20 years. There are about 500 major earthquakes a year. Just back in 2006, there were only 240. In 1980, even less, only 60. So, we went from 60 to 240 to 500 major earthquakes in just the last 25 years.

Vic: That's incredible! We recently just had a major earthquake in California and another in Chile.

Nathan: I like to check out the usgs.gov website. The United States Geological Survey website has this great interface that reports on all the earthquakes that are happening around the world. The site has a real-time map that pinpoint major earthquake occurrences. They also show you how high they are on the Richter Scale. Usually if you get a 5.0 earthquake or greater then that's considered a tremendous earthquake.

Remember when an earthquake happens, for each point on the Richter Scale that it goes up, it's an exponential curve. The scale is not like steps on the stairs where you get one and then a level two and then a level three, like it's going up a stairs. Instead it's an exponential curve where level two is twice the strength of a level one, and level three is three times the strength of a level two. So, as we go up this Richter Scale up to the nines, they get exponentially more and more intense.

We are seeing just in the last 20 years how level fives and more are occurring more frequently and more intensely. Daily on that site you can usually see large earthquakes. New Caledonia had a 5.0. A few places in Indonesia experienced a 5.6 and a 6.2. Mexico had a 4.6. Tonga had a 4.9. Costa Rico had a 4.6. Western India in the Antarctic ridge had a 5.0.

Science is proving that earthquakes are shaking the earth more frequently and more intensely. Jesus said that is exactly what would happen the closer we got to His return.

Vic: What's amazing is all of these quakes are happening right now. This isn't something we're expecting coming in the future. You can literally go to this website and see this end times sign right before us.

Nathan: Yes, just go to usgs.gov and look where they keep track of all the earthquakes. Just like the UN and the Red Cross, they are all reporting that earthquakes are occurring more frequently and more intensely.

Oxfam also reports that between 1995 and 2004 there has been a 70% increase in earthquakes. That results in 254 million people being affected by earthquakes every year.

Vic: Wow, Nathan! People don't really understand the seriousness of what's going on. A lot of people are being effected every year by these earthquakes.

Nathan: Nearly 174 million people were effected by earthquakes between '85 and '94. That number has now increased to 254 million. That's almost double! A quarter of a billion people live with some earthquake effecting them. That's just terrible to think about.

Earthquakes are even popping up in places where they've never been before. For instance, there have been some in Oklahoma. Oklahoma isn't even on a fault line, but they've been experiencing an endless series of 1.0 and 2.0 earthquakes. It just doesn't make sense why Oklahoma would even have earthquakes.

Vic: That's scary because we are here in Florida and its flat land here, and according to the Bible, we are going to get earthquakes, too. We may even sink into the sea! Thank the Lord we won't be here when that happens, right, Nathan? Because we will be raptured?

Nathan: Exactly. When you talk about water, it reminds me of a tsunami. Do you remember the tsunami that devastated Japan back on March 11, 2011? It was created by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake. It's super rare that the world gets hit with something that powerful. The quake was underwater and created a 133 foot high tidal wave, which is one of the five most powerful ever recorded. When that massive wall of water swept over northern Japan it caused 235 billion dollars in damage and killed 15,854 people and injured almost 27,000 others. People were washed out to sea and thousands of buildings collapsed. The tsunami was a tremendously terrible disaster.

You probably are familiar with the stories of the nuclear reactors that the tsunami affected in Japan, right? Well, a lot of them started going critical because of that tsunami. When we have such powerful earthquakes like that, they do far more damage than just shatter buildings. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has been spewing radiation into the water systems and the radiation has been traveling across the Pacific, now finally even reaching off of the California coast.

Earthquakes cause tremendous interruptions to power grids and services. When you have no power and no services, people start running out of food. They get desperate and crime goes up. Earthquakes create major, major social problems.

Vic: I remember reading there was an actual shift in the ground so that when you look at the affected areas of Japan they've actually been moved some. From the satellite view, it really looks incredible with all that devastation.

Nathan: The wall of water was tragic. It just started spreading over all of Northern Japan, erasing highways and farm fields and burying whole cities. Like you said, the tsunami actually moved one of the Japanese islands a few inches. Can you believe the earth moved that much?

Vic: Now that's amazing!

Nathan: Japan is still trying to recover from it.

Vic: Nathan, I was born in the Dominican Republic. My family immigrated here around 1976 or 1977, somewhere around there. Can you imagine an earthquake that big hitting the Dominican Republic? It would be gone along with Haiti.

Nathan: Yes, you're not kidding. Haiti was hit just a few years ago and it leveled most of the capital city there. It was probably one of the biggest disasters in the last five years. I believe you and I had a radio program discussing that a few years back.

Vic: Yes, in fact we did, and actually individuals can still get a hold of that program if they need to by getting hold of us at Twave.tv


In the third part of our discussion on the end times sign of earthquakes, we'll look at the first of four prophetic quakes.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The End Times Sign of Earthquakes: The Three Questions

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy

What does Israel's Temple have to do with the end times sign of earthquakes?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista and I will look at the third end times signs of earthquakes found in Matthew 24:7.

The Truth Will Set You Free

Play MP3


Three Questions

Vic: Today's topic will be the end times sign of earthquakes found in Matthew 24:7 and Luke 21:11.

Nathan, in previous episodes you've taken us through an incredible journey of the signs of the times in Matthew 24 and the parallel passages in Luke 21. You last talked about the end times sign of wars which Jesus revealed in Matthew 24:6. I wanted to ask if you might recap the background of Jesus' lesson in these passages?

Nathan: Certainly. Jesus and His disciples were at the Temple and His disciples were just oohing and aahing with their mouths hanging open. They're just so amazed at the wealth of the Temple. The Temple was the religious heart of Israel at that time, and these disciples were just poor fishermen who'd never seen buildings like the Temple.

And then, Jesus all of the sudden says, "You see all these things? Assuredly I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another that shall not be thrown down."

You can imagine the Apostles' mouths were just hanging open in shock. As a matter of fact, it took them all the way until they walked across the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives to build up enough courage to ask Jesus why He said that. When they did find their courage, they actually asked Jesus three different questions:

  1. When will this Temple fall?
  2. What will be the sign of the end of the age?
  3. What will be the sign of Jesus' coming?

Jesus answered each of these questions. Each answer applied to different time periods associated with each question. For example, "When will the Temple fall?" We know that the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 AD. What were the signs leading up to the fall of the Temple? The second question, "What will be the signs of the end of the age?" That's referring to the end of the Church Age. That's where we are at right now. We are living at the end of this age just before the rapture of the Church. Then the third question, "What will be the sign of Jesus' coming?" This refers to Jesus' Second Coming at the end of the seven-year Tribulation that's coming to this earth.

Each of the signs that Jesus gives proceeds each of these three questions, except for the tenth and last sign. Also, the closer we get to the Second Coming, the more frequent and more intense these signs will happen. Jesus compares the signs of His Second Coming to birth pains.


First Two End Times Signs

We've covered two of the ten signs Jesus gave in answer to the Apostles' questions. The first sign discussed was false teachers and false messiahs. Jesus revealed they'd be all over the place. With 500 cults in the United States alone, we are just drowning in false teachers and false prophets.

The second end times sign that we discussed was wars and rumors of wars. Certainly we are living in a time of tremendous warfare. Every day some nation in the world is attacked or worrying about someone attacking them. Can you believe there are 38 wars going on right now? Millions and millions of people were killed in the Twentieth Century alone. The Lord says those wars would come more frequently and more intensely the closer we got to Jesus' return.

Then we read from Matthew 24:7, "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, there will be famines, pestilence, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."

There are four signs listed right there.

Vic: Nathan, you gave us some incredible statistics concerning how many people got killed during wars in the last century. You were talking about like 100 million or something to that extent?

Nathan: Most people underestimate just how many people died in the Twentieth Century. Statistics tell between 160 to 187 million people died through all the wars of the Twentieth Century. The 21st Century already appears to be bloodier than the previous.

Yes, there has always been war, but Jesus said they'd come more frequently and more intensely and the death tolls would get higher the closer we get to Jesus' return.

Vic: Amazing! It's very eye-opening to look at the context of history. We can only conclude that we are seeing these end times signs of false teachers and wars are becoming more and more like super signs in a sense.


In the second part of our discussion on the end times sign of earthquakes, we'll look at the quakes that happened before the Fall of the Temple up to the present day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Forgotten Promises of Christmas

Dr. David R. ReaganBy

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus each year during the Christmas season, let's remember the promises that were made to Mary when she was visited by the Angel Gabriel:


Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
And you shall call His name Jesus.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High;
And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father, David,
And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever;
And of His kingdom there will be no end.

- Luke 1:31-33


Seven Glorious Promises

This magnificent statement contains seven promises. Four of them relate to the First Advent of the Lord, and they have thus all been fulfilled. Mary did conceive and bear a son. His name was called Jesus. He was great, and He was called the Son of God.

The last three promises which Gabriel made to Mary have not been fulfilled. They relate to the Second Coming of Jesus:

  1. He will be given the throne of David.
  2. He will reign over the house of Jacob.
  3. There will be no end to His kingdom.

I call these three promises the "forgotten promises" of Christmas because they are not taught by most churches in Christendom today. That's because most churches take the position that Jesus will never return to this earth to reign. This is called the Amillennial viewpoint.


Promises Spiritualized

The Amillennial view is based upon the supposition that the Bible does not mean what it says. To substantiate the viewpoint, its proponents are forced to spiritualize Scripture.

Thus, in their interpretation of the passage quoted at the beginning of this article from Luke, they convert the throne of David into the throne of God and the house of Jacob becomes the Church. They then conclude that the promises have been fulfilled in the current reign of Jesus from His father's throne over His Church.


The Throne of David

There is no doubt that Jesus is currently reigning from His father's throne over His kingdom, the Church. But to identify that reign with the one promised to Mary takes a great leap of imagination.

The "throne of David" is not the throne of God. The throne of God is in Heaven. The throne of David is in Jerusalem (Psalm 122:5).

Jesus Himself clearly differentiates between the throne of God and His own throne in Revelation 3:21. In that verse, Jesus says that He will one day allow believers to sit with Him on His throne just as His Father has allowed Him to share His throne.

Jesus is not on the throne of David today. He is sitting at the right hand of His Father, on His Father's throne. He will occupy the throne of David when He returns to earth to reign from Mt. Zion in Jerusalem (Isaiah 24:21-23).


The House of Jacob

The "house of Jacob" is not the Church. This is an Old Testament term for the children of Israel (Ex. 19:3). The Church is never referred to in Scripture as the house of Jacob.

The Bible teaches that a remnant of the Jews will one day accept Jesus as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10 & Rom. 9:27). This will occur at the end of seven years of terrible suffering called the Tribulation, or "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jeremiah 30:7).

When Jesus returns at the end of that time of suffering, the Jewish remnant will be gathered to the land of Israel and will be made the foremost nation in the world (Ezekiel 37:11-28 & Zechariah 8:22-23). Jesus will then rule over the house of Jacob.


The Eternal Kingdom

The current Church kingdom is not an everlasting kingdom. The Church Age kingdom will end with the rapture of the Church.

The Church kingdom will be followed by the Millennial kingdom when Jesus will reign over all the earth from Mt. Zion in Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:1-4). That kingdom will last one thousand years (Revelation 20:1-7).

The final, eternal kingdom of Christ will be established on a new, perfected earth (1 Corinthians 15:24 & Revelation 21:1-8).


Believing God's Word

Why can't we accept the promises made to Mary to mean what they say? The first four meant exactly what they said. Why must the last three be spiritualized? The only reason for spiritualizing them is to force them to conform to some preconceived doctrine.

I believe God knows how to communicate. If God had intended to promise Mary that her Son would reign from Heaven over the Church forever, He would have said so. Instead, He reaffirmed to her the promise He had made many times through the Old Testament prophets that His Son would reign from David's throne in Jerusalem over Israel and that He would be given a kingdom that would last forever (Isaiah 9:6-7 & Ezekiel 37:21-28).

If the promises God made to the Jews did not mean what they said, then how can we be sure that His promises to the Church mean what they say? I believe God means what He says.


A Christmas Hope

During the next Christmas season I am going to praise God for sending His Son to die for my sins.

I am also going to pray that God will soon send His Son again to fulfill the "forgotten promises" which Gabriel made to Mary. I thank God that He never forgets a promise.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

When Was Jesus Born?

Dr. David R. ReaganBy

According to Luke 1:24-26, Mary conceived Jesus in the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy with John the Baptist. This means that Jesus was born 15 months after the angel Gabriel appeared to Elizabeth's husband, Zacharias, and informed him that his wife would bear a child.

According to Luke 1:5, Zacharias was a priest of the division of Abijah. Luke 1:8 says that Gabriel appeared to Zacharias while he was serving as a priest in the Temple.

We know from the Talmud and other sources that the division of Abijah served as priests during the second half of the fourth month of the Jewish religious calendar — which would have put it in late June (the Jewish religious calendar begins in March with Passover).

Fifteen months later would place the birth of Jesus in the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. That would be in the fall of the year, in either late September or early October. His conception, not His birth, would have occurred in December of the previous year.

The seventh month of the Jewish calendar is the month of the Feast of Tabernacles. John 1:14, speaking of Jesus as the Word, says: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth." The word "dwelt" that is used here is the Greek word "skenoo" which literally means "to tabernacle"!

So, when God came to earth to tabernacle among Men it appears that He timed His arrival in the Bethlehem manger to coincide with the Feast of Tabernacles. That was only appropriate, for the Feast of Tabernacles is the most joyous of all the Jewish feasts. It is, in fact, their feast of thanksgiving.

The total meaning of that feast will not be fulfilled until the Lord returns again to tabernacle among Men for a thousand years while He reigns over the earth from Mt. Zion in Jerusalem.

Isn't the Word of God marvelous?

Miracle Baby

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Different Perspective on the Nativity

Dr. David R. ReaganBy

Most Christians have read Luke's account of the birth of Jesus so many times that it has become mundane. That is unfortunate, because it is a glorious story.

To give it fresh meaning, it is reproduced below from the Jewish New Testament, a translation by a Messianic Jew named David Stern. As you will see, this translation captures the Jewishness of the original text.

The Annunciation


The Annunciation: Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month, the angel Gavri'el was sent by God to a city in the Galil called Natzeret, to a virgin engaged to a man named Yosef, of the house of David; the virgin's name was Miryam.

Approaching her, the angel said, "Shalom, favored lady! Adonai is with you!" She was deeply troubled by his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, "Don't be afraid, Miryam, for you have found favor with God. Look! You will become pregnant, you will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua. He will be great, he will be called Son of Ha'Elyon. Adonai, God, will give him the throne of his forefather David; and he will rule the House of Ya'akov forever — there will be no end to his Kingdom."

"How can this be," asked Miryam of the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

The angel answered her, "The Ruach HaKodesh will come over you, the power of Ha'Elyon will cover you. Therefore the holy child born to you will be called the Son of God... For with God, nothing is impossible."

Miryam said, "I am the servant of Adonai; may it happen to me as you have said."


The Birth: Luke 2:8-19

In the countryside nearby were some shepherds spending the night in the fields, guarding their flocks, when an angel of Adonai appeared to them, and the Sh'khinah of Adonai shone around them.

They were terrified; but the angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, because I am here announcing to you Good News that will bring great joy to all the people. This very day, in the town of David, there was born for you a Deliverer who is the Messiah, the Lord. Here is how you will know: you will find a baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a feeding trough."

Suddenly, along with the angel was a vast army from heaven praising God: "In the highest heaven, glory to God! And on earth, peace among people of good will!"


The Dedication: Luke 2:25-32

There was in Yerushalayim a man named Shim'on. This man was a tzaddik, he was devout, he waited eagerly for God to comfort Israel, and the Ruach HaKodesh was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Ruach HaKodesh that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah of Adonai.

Prompted by the Spirit, he went into the Temple courts; and when the parents brought in the child Yeshua to do for him what the Torah required, Shim'on took him in his arms, made a b'rakhah to God, and said, "Now, Adonai, according to your word, your servant is at peace as you let him go; for I have seen with my own eyes your yeshu'ah, which you prepared in the presence of all peoples — a light that will bring revelation to the Goyim and glory to your people Israel."


Glossary of Terms

Adonai — the Lord
Yahweh Shim'on — Simon
b'rakhah — blessing
Sh'khinah — Glorious Presence of God
Galil — Galilee
Goyim — Gentiles
Torah — The Pentateuch
Ha'Elyon — The Highest
tzaddik — Righteous man
Miryam — Mary
Yerushalayim — Jerusalem
Natzeret — Nazareth
Yeshua — Jesus
Ruach HaKodesh — Holy Spirit
yeshu'ah — salvation
Yosef — Joseph