Introduction to Bible Prophecy

introQuestions a reporter would ask:

 How? – Inspiration: “Carried along” by the Holy Spirit – 2 Peter 1:21

 For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. – 2 Peter 1:21

 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, – 2 Timothy 3:16

 Who? – God, speaking through His prophets and His Son – Hebrews 1:1-2

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,  has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; – Hebrews 1:1-2

 What? – Predictions about the future

Other religions have prophecies too, but they are unreliable. Islamic prophecies borrowed from the Bible and perverted.

When? – From the beginning of human history to the New Heaven and New Earth

From Genesis to Revelation

Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”—2 Peter 3:3-4

 Where? – Given in Bible lands/ Received everywhere. Recorded in most books of the Bible (more than 1/4th of the Bible is prophecy).

 Why? – Some of the main reasons:

 1 – Salvation/ Hope  – Genesis 3:15; Matthew 16:21; Titus 2:13; Revelation 1:3

 “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” – Genesis 3:15

 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. – Matthew 16:21

 Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, – Titus 2:13

Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. – Revelation 1:3

2 – Blessing  – Genesis 12:1-3; Isaiah 7:14

 Now the Lord had said to Abram:

“Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you. And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” – Genesis 12:1-3

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14

 3 – Warning –  Jeremiah 4:6; Isaiah 17:1

 Set up the standard toward Zion. Take refuge! Do not delay! For I will bring disaster from the north, And great destruction.” – Jeremiah 4:6

The burden against Damascus.

“Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, And it will be a ruinous heap. – Isaiah 17:1

 4 – Understanding the times – 1 Chronicles 12:32; Revelation 2 & 3

 of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do… –  1 Chronicles 12:32

 Understanding prophecy may be difficult.

Sometimes it is symbolic, but, like all of the Bible- should be taken literally.

This requires proper hermeneutics (rules of interpretation)

Various major  positions

One’s view of prophecy is often affected by changing world conditions.

(See our book, The Church in Prophecy and History , about the Seven Churches of Revelation)

 Premillennial – Christ’s coming will precede the thousand years of peace

Pre-tribulation rapture

Mid-tribulation rapture

Pre-wrath rapture

Post-tribulation rapture

(Pan-tribulation rapture?)

 Postmillennial – Christ’s coming will follow the thousand years of peace

Amillennial – Christ’s coming will come without the thousand years of peace (just symbolic).

Not sure yet…

Still studying (OK, it’s a life-long adventure.)

Leaning one way, but not sure (OK. We can’t be dogmatic about the future. 300 prophecies of Christ’s birth, life, ministry – but couldn’t have been written before the Gospels.)

Concerned it is too controversial or counter-productive (OK, but can’t ignore it.  Warning: Prophecy should not be divisive — Not a test of faith or fellowship. We need humility, a teachable spirit, unity, and love.)

 Jesus’ own message about the future – Matthew chapters 24 and 25

 The Beginning of birth-pains          Matthew 24:4-8

The Tribulation                                   Matthew 24:9-14

The Great Tribulation                        Matthew 24:15-28

After the Tribulation                           Matthew 24:29-31

 See also: Harmony of Prophecy Chart

 5 – Encourage godly lifestyle – 2 Peter 3:11-12

 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God…  –  2 Peter 3:11-12

 6 – Validation of The Bible and Christianity

No false prophecies – Deuteronomy 18:20-22

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 Copyright 2016 Ron Graff

Posted in Bible, Eschatology, Evangelism, Rapture, Revelation, Speaking, The Church in Prophecy and History: Revelation Commentary Chapters 1-3 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Death of Justice Antonin Scalia

A Great Loss and Serious Questions about His Replacement

Antonin_Scalia_Official_SCOTUS_Portrait_cropThe sudden death of Supreme Court Justice Scalia today is being lamented by conservatives as an unimaginable loss to the nation. He was the champion on the high court of the concept of “originalism,” the belief that their decisions should conform to the exact meaning of the Constitution at the time of its enactment. Liberal justices, on the other hand, have leaned toward interpreting the Constitution in the light of changing beliefs and morality.

Just a few months ago, when the Supreme Court overturned states’ laws against same-sex marriages, Justice Scalia and Chief Justice John Roberts issued bold warnings about the decision.

Here are the articles we posted on Prophecy Central at that time.

Supreme Court strikes down bans on same-sex marriage

June 26, 2015 – The US Supreme Court has issued its 5-4 verdict that states cannot deny gay men and lesbians the same marriage rights enjoyed for thousands of years by opposite-sex couples. Chief Justice John Roberts read for 10 minutes from his dissent. He accused the majority of overstepping their bounds and ignoring the Constitution.

“Today, five lawyers have ordered every state to change their definition of marriage,” Roberts said. “Just who do we think we are?”

Source: USA Today Reaction

Transcript of Supreme Court Decision

Justices’ pointed dissents to gay marriage ruling show unusual discord – USA Today

Scalia: Supreme Court now a ‘threat to American democracy’ – “Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court,” – Justice Antonin Scalia – Washington Examiner

No Court Can Change What Marriage Is – Jim Daly – Focus on the Family

SCOTUS ruling on marriage a ‘spiritual 9/11′ – OneNewsNow

Franklin Graham Warns Gay Marriage Ruling Will Lead to Christian Persecution – Fox

Bush, Carson, Walker: Protect Religious Liberty, State’s Rights – NewsMax

 

Tsunami of Reactions to Supreme Court Marriage Decision

June 27, 2015 – Christians and Conservatives are expressing disagreement with the decision to force legalization of same-sex marriage in every state of the Union. Many of them are predicting the rise of persecution for those who believe the Bible.

Transcript of Chief Justice Roberts’ Dissenting Opinion

Scalia: SCOTUS Majority is A ‘Threat to American Democracy’ – NewsMax

Transcript of Justice Scalia’s Dissenting Opinion

Transcript of Justice Thomas’ Dissenting Opinion Religious, Family Groups Slam Justices for Redefining Marriage ‘Through Judicial Fiat’ – NewsMax

Ted Cruz on Court Rulings: ‘Darkest 24 Hours in Our Nation’s History’ – NewsMax

Conservative law firm says ruling on gay marriage will lead to ‘persecution of Christian people’ – MLive

What presidential candidates, others, are saying – WND

Unprecedented Four SCOTUS Dissents Promise to Keep Marriage Debate Open – Breitbart

Ben Carson: Govt ‘Must Never Force Christians’ to Betray Beliefs – NewsMax

Black Pastors’ Group Urges Civil Disobedience Against Gay Marriage Ruling NewsMax

Conservative Republicans Mull Next Step in Preserving Religious Freedom After Gay Marriage Ruling – “In all of our lives there comes moments where [we] have to decide whether we obey God or we obey a decision we believe is unlawful.” – Governor Mike Huckabee  – NewsMax

_________________________________________

How and when will Justice Scalia’s Supreme Court vacancy be filled?

Since Justice Scalia’s death came during a Presidential election year, the immediate question is whether or not his replacement should be made before the next President takes office early next year. Republicans are generally opposed to the notion. The Constitution specifies that the President may make a nomination, but the Senate must approve it. Newscasters have already mentioned the possibility that if the President makes his nomination during a Congressional recess, confirmation by the Senate is not necessary. Unfortunately, the Senate is in recess now, until the 22nd of February.

How might the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice relate to End Times prophecy?

The  introduction to our section on “America’s Christian Heritage” states:

Prophecy students have wondered for decades why the United States will not apparently be a major player in the Bible’s End Times scenario. Europe is predicted as a Revived Roman Empire, but with a much weaker composition than ancient Rome. Ancient biblical lands will be involved in the prophetic future. They have modern names: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and others. But how could the one great “superpower” of our generation be ignored at the end of this age? Just a few years ago we could not have imagined how rapidly our beloved country would decline.

An honest evaluation of The United States today reveals that we are growing weaker economically, militarily, and above all, spiritually.

Many Churches in America are retreating from a literal interpretation of the Bible, and have allowed the corrupting influences of secular humanism, the sexual revolution, abortion, and other false beliefs and practices to slowly infiltrate their leadership. This change is predicted in the Bible. It is called apostasy, or a “falling away” from the truth.

As a result, our nation is in danger of God’s judgment. But like the biblical example of Nineveh, whose people repented in Jonah’s days, there could be a great revival first. We are praying for this!

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The First Hostage

firsthostageJoel Rosenberg’s ninth novel takes us into the unspeakable barbarism of ISIS. The things they have already done are the basis for a complete upset of powers in the Middle East, and drastic consequences for the United States.

Rosenberg’s unique experience in the political world, and his great knowledge of all things Middle-Eastern, equip him to see—and then portray for us—the dangerous future that we may face.

The First Hostage is not a comfortable read. It is about warfare at its worst—from the center of the action. It portrays a reality that you and I would just like to ignore. But if we—and our leaders—fail to understand the depth of this depravity, it will be too late to stop its demonic spread.

This story is not “preachy,” It may be the least theological of Rosenberg’s books. Like some of C.S. Lewis fictional works, a non-believer could ignore the spiritual meanings, but those who are looking for them, cannot miss them. The fulfillment of Bible prophecy is implied, but not explained with any detail. This is probably wise, since the current events relating to Islamic terrorism could relate to several prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled, and could occur in various ways.

The spiritual fate of J.B. Collins, the intrepid journalist for The New York Times, is not yet clear. We catch glimpses of his inner struggle, but will evidently have to wait for future installments of his story to know the outcome.

 

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2015 in Review: The Year in Prophecy

We have prepared a different type of review this year.

In the past we have written a book about prophecy soon after the end of the year. These studies were illustrated by news articles from the past year or so.

This year we are providing links to each section of Prophecy Central where we have recorded interesting activities during the year. In each section you will find the most recent reports at the top of each section. The ones from earlier in the year will be at the bottom.

Here are two lists for you to explore. One list is ALLPHABETICAL, and the other one is in order of ACTIVITY, or the amount of news collected for each topic.

At the top of this list you will find Iran, Israel, and Terrorism because these are such intense times for Israel and her enemies, and terrorism is growing everywhere.

We suggest that you read the PROPHETIC SIGNIFICANCE of each topic as you visit these pages. This will help you put the pieces of “The Prophecy Puzzle” together. In each section you will find links to key Scriptural passages.

2015 In Review: The Year in Prophecy

Links to our books

List of our previous Year-In-Review sections

Hal Lindsey’s 2015: Prophetic Year in Review

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New Year/ New Hope

notdead2At the beginning of 2015 we wondered if we might be seeing the dawning of the “Third Great Awakening.” The previous year had brought some exciting spiritual news.

2014 had been called the “Year of the Bible at the box office,” with at least four major releases on Bible topics: “Son of God,” “Mary Mother of Christ,” “Noah,” and “Exodus.”

Two other hit movies with Christian themes were also released during the year:  “Heaven is for Real,” and the remarkable story, “God’s Not Dead.”

There had been a surge of evangelicalism and significant growth of the number of churches in New York City.

There were numerous reports of Muslims turning to Christ after having dreams about Jesus in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Syria and the West Bank of Israel.

Christian radio and television had made great advances in the number of people being reached with the Gospel.

In spite of these encouraging signs, spiritual warfare was intense in 2015. Revelation predicts the intensification of this battle in the End Times:

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”Revelation 12:10-12

The Christian majority of the U.S. was stunned, though not completely surprised, when the Supreme Court decided in favor of same-sex marriage. In the wake of this historical departure from biblical standards, persecution of Christians began against those who felt they could not assist in enabling such unions.

Timid pastors ignored the subject. In fact, many pulpits ceased to stand against immorality in general; choosing to be politically correct instead of courageous “watchmen on the wall,” warning the nation to repent of its sin.

Abortions continued to be tolerated, even after it came to light that Planned Parenthood was selling aborted baby parts.

A flawed “Iran nuclear deal” was adopted by the U.S. and other weakening world powers. Terrorism continued to spread, affecting numerous targets in Europe and the United States.

However, against this negative backdrop, there are still many encouraging signs. In spite of the struggle, we who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are still on the winning side. Remember His promise to build His Church:

I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. — Matthew 16:18

In the “Revival” section of Prophecy Central, we have documented many positive signs that the Lord was mightily at work in 2015.  Here are some of the highlights:

There were more amazing Christian Movies. On Easter Sunday, a television follow-up series to “The Bible” began. It was called “A.D. – The Bible Continues.” The series, produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, focused on the reaction of witnesses to the death and resurrection of Jesus.

“War Room,” a story of the power of prayer, was the surprise #1 box-office phenomenon in September. It was followed by another hit—“Woodlawn” in October. It was a true story from the inspiring Jesus People Movement in the 1970’s. It depicted a high school football team in Birmingham Alabama that overcame racial tensions when most of the players accepted Christ and sparked a city-wide revival.

The popularity of faith-based movies has given rise to a new provider of movies on demand via the Internet. Pure Flix offers more than 2,000 faith and family movies, inspirational titles, TV shows, documentaries and biblical based educational programs.

Many of the 16 Republican candidates for the presidential race are strong evangelical Christians. One of them is Dr. Ben Carson who is a famous brain surgeon and a dedicated, outspoken Christian. Speaking at a rally of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, he said. “It’s high time for those of the faith to get in the game and put God back in charge of America.” In early polls he held a close second place to front-runner Donald Trump, actually passing him for a short time in popularity, but now hovering in 4th place. One of the planks of Carson’s campaign is “Revival,” and it is encouraging that such an overt position would be popular. Current second place-holder is Ted Cruz, and third is Marco Rubio.  Both of them are also bold evangelical Christians. This phenomenon could be a sign of a coming revival in the nation.

Toward the end of the year a new survey from the American Bible Society and the Barna Group revealed that 75% of Protestant American teenagers (13 to 17) have their own Bibles and read them weekly. Some 37 percent read their Bible several times a week. About 95 percent of them either hear or read the Bible at least weekly.

There is also great news for the early part of the New Year as well. The sequel to God’s Not Dead will be released in April, and, on April 9, the 110th anniversary of the great Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, a massive multi-ethnic, multi-denominational, multi-generational assembly will take place in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Free registration is open now, and more information is available about prayer involvement for 100 days leading up to the event.

The question arises, “If these are the end times, would God send a revival when He has already predicted apostasy and spiritual decline?”

The answer is “Yes!” He gave opportunity to Noah’s family, Lot’s family, and the believers in Jericho and Nineveh to repent and be spared. Why wouldn’t He give an opportunity, especially to the young people of our generation who have never really understood the Gospel?

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:9

Revival must come through God’s Holy Spirit. But His people must really want it.

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14

Posted in Elections, Evangelism, Missions, Persecution, Prayer, Revelation, Revival, Terrorism, United States of America, Wars | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Peace in an Age of Terrorism

knowpeaceAfter the last two mass murder events, just one week apart, experts are saying that the U.S. is now under attack—guerilla-style—by Islamic terrorists.  Their goal is to make us fearful about carrying on our normal activities.

Fortunately, for true Christians, who are filled with the Spirit, we have an antidote to the paralyzing effect of terrorism, and we have a message of hope to those who are living in hatred or fear.

We live in San Bernardino, just a few miles from the latest horrific incident. One of the first reactions we all had to this atrocity was to wonder if we could suffer from the same senseless kind of attack. We have always felt so safe in our great country. But recent headlines remind us that, worldwide, Christians are the most persecuted people in the world.

In spite of the threat, I am happy to say that, because of the work of the Holy Spirit, we are experiencing the powerful positive “Fruit of the Spirit,” including Love, Joy, and Peace! (Galatians 5:22-23)

God’s Word is full of promises about overcoming fear and experiencing supernatural peace. Some commentators have noticed that there are at least 365 places in the Bible that encourage us not to be afraid. That would be a new dose of courage every day of the year!

Here are just a few of those passages, and others that stress the love, joy and peace that are given to us:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:6

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? – Psalm 27:1

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7

[Jesus said] Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

[Jesus said] These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

[Jesus said] But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. – Matthew 5:44

During this Christmas season we celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace to redeem sinful humans from the penalty of sin if they will truly accept His gift of eternal life.

Even those who hate us and our way of life can, and sometimes do, find new life in Christ.

Those of us who experience this supernatural love and peace should take advantage of this world-wide crisis to share the message, here at home, and around the world, that God is love. In fact,  He so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, so that those who believe in Him might not perish but have eternal life (John 1:12; John 3:16).

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The Good News about Bible Prophecy

NASAbluemarbleHave you noticed that some pastors will not teach End Times prophecy?

Some just haven’t had the opportunity to carefully study the subject, but, to their credit, they will occasionally invite trusted speakers to explain important messages from the Bible that pertain to the future.

Others don’t take the Bible literally, and suppose that prophetic passages are just symbolic of spiritual warfare. They are making the same mistake that Israel did when they ignored God’s warnings and were taken into captivity by the Assyrians and Babylonians.

A few think that End Times predictions were all fulfilled in the First Century, except for the return of Christ. The problem with this view is that the events they say were fulfillments were not very convincing.

Then there are those who shy away from teaching anything negative or controversial for fear that it might drive away potential congregants.

However, more than a fourth of the Bible is prophecy, and most of it is good news for those who take it to heart and act accordingly. Many prophetic portions are about salvation, God’s direction, and future blessings.

Even prophecy’s bad news serves a good purpose for those who believe and follow its warnings.

It is no wonder that God often needed to reprove His people when they ignored His will and continued to sin. In Proverbs we read:

My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; 12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights. – Proverbs 3:11-12

The writer of Hebrews quoted this proverb and then added this:

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. – Hebrews 12:7-11

We are working on a new book about this subject. The working title is “The Good News about Bible Prophecy.”

It will be based on a study of four major themes of the Bible: World Evangelism, World Wars, World Governments and World Religions.  Here is a preview of the contents of the book:

1 – World EvangelismThe Good News is the reason for the Bible.

The first prophecy about salvation in the Bible is found in Genesis 3:15. It is God’s prediction that there will be enmity between the seed of the serpent—energized by Satan and the seed of the woman—a promise of a Savior or Messiah.

This theme becomes what many commentators and teachers have called “The Scarlet thread of Salvation” from Genesis to Revelation  This topic includes the many covenants (with Adam, Noah, Abraham and his family, David, Solomon and others) about God’s plan of salvation. It was always a message of God’s Grace, received/believed by sinners in every age (Ephesians 2:8-9).

It was always a message of a coming Messiah who would pay for our sins, and a sacrificial system—starting with Adam and Eve’s own family, and later prescribed by the Law—that would provide a temporary covering until the final work of salvation would be accomplished by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It was also always a message that was to be taken to people everywhere so they could know the truth and receive God’s gracious forgiveness. That is why, when the Lord first promised to bless Abraham and to make of his family a great nation, He said, “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”-  Genesis 12:1-3

That is why all four Gospels and the Book of Acts prescribe what is known as “The Great Commission,” the Lord’s plan for Christians to boldly take the Gospel to the whole world  (Matthew 28:18-20).

2 – World Wars – Spiritual Warfare – There will be ultimate victory for believers.

A second theme in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is the relentless battle between good and evil. This is the intense “spiritual warfare” that is waged throughout the Bible, and throughout human history, between the Creator and Satan.

Spiritual conflict produces family destruction, ethnic hatred, crime and war. The battle is fierce and relentless. Horrendous battles are fought, but ultimate success is sure because of Jesus’ victory over evil.

However, during many difficult times in history it has seemed that evil will prevail. We are living through just such a time. This may, in fact, be the ramp-up to the worst wars in human history, leading to the Battle of Armageddon. These conflicts were prophesied by Old Testament prophets and Jesus.

The Good News is the promise that Jesus will return to earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, to establish the glorious kingdom described by Old Testament prophets, and to then usher in a New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation Chapters 19 through 22).

3 – World Governments – Evil world empires will come to an end.

The third major Bible theme our book will explore is the development of a series of evil world empires  There are seven in particular—mentioned from Genesis to Revelation—that were controlled by Satan. They are:

Egypt

Assyria

Babylon

Medo-Persia

Greece

Rome

Future “Revived Roman Empire”

We will study the origins of godless empires and consider where our world is now in this flow of the struggle between good and evil. Thankfully, the Bible predicts that the final world empire will be the Kingdom of God!

4 – World Religions – The true Gospel will prevail.

The fourth major theme we will ponder is the gradual development of false religions in step with the emergence of the evil empires. We will see how this process began in Genesis, with the Tower of Babel, and how it culminates in Revelation with “Babylon the Great,” a one-world religion that lends its influence to the final evil reign of the Beast in Revelation 17.

Along the way we will notice the conflict between revealed truth and man-made counterfeit religions throughout the Bible.

Please pray for the Lord’s guidance as we write this book.

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The People’s Pope

The visit by Pope Francis to the U.S. was a major event in current history and in the Pope_Francis_Wikipedia_Commonsunfolding of the End Times scenario.

He was seen, heard, and honored by the President and Congress of our nation, by the United Nations, and by a spell-bound media, which broadcast his every move to the whole earth, reaching nearly two billion people!

Perhaps coincidentally, on his departure from our shores nearly the whole world was able to view what might be the most spectacular blood moon of our generation.

So, who is this phenomenal Pope? Shortly after he was chosen to be Pope, he was named as Time’s Person of the Year and Twitter’s #bestpopeever.

Here is a summary of evidence about who Pope Francis really is. For documentation and more detail, visit the links at the end of this article.

At this point I need to explain that I am not anti-Catholic. Catholic means “universal,” and for the first few centuries after Christ there was only one main “trunk” for the family tree of Christianity. It was just “The Church.” From that point of view, all of our denominations had their origins in this same universal church.

As time went on, there were many corruptions of the belief and practices in the Church. These eventually led to a series of “branches” from the main trunk. The two main departures were the Eastern Orthodox Church, and later, the Protestant Reformation.

I am also not anti-Catholic because of my personal experience with Catholic people. In my first pastorate in East Los Angeles, most of the people I met in the community were Catholics. I was eager to share the Gospel with them, and they were surprisingly open to listening! We used the “Four Spiritual Laws” in those days, and because we were quoting God’s Word, there was almost always a willingness to hear and trust the Bible. Many of them had never heard the simple Gospel message, but they were open to it. They might not have known what was in the Bible, but they had a reverence for it. Over the years I have become close friends with numerous Catholics, including some priests, who are dedicated followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. In our church home in Alta Loma the highest percentage of converts from other faiths has come from the Catholic Church.

It is right, however, to oppose teaching that can be shown to be unbiblical, whether it is in the Catholic Church or any other denomination. From that point of view there are many serious problems in Catholic history, theology, and current directions.

But what about Pope Francis himself? Why is he so popular? And what role might he play in the fulfillment of prophecy?

He is “The People’s Pope.”

The most obvious reason for Pope Francis’ amazing popularity is his life-long commitment to human rights and care for the poor and downtrodden of the world. He immediately refused to live the luxurious life-style of earlier Popes, and constantly goes out of his way to visit the less-fortunate. When he was in Washington D.C., he shunned dinner with lawmakers and chose to eat with the homeless, the mentally ill and immigrants. He took time out of an incredible schedule to visit inmates in prison.

There are endless illustrations about his refreshing life-style. He is, in short, a heroic role model for the whole world.

However, to see the big picture, we must consider many other aspects of Pope Francis’ beliefs and actions.

He is a Socialist.

It is just a fact that Pope Francis subscribes to Socialism. His whole history illustrates his disdain for capitalism and the privilege of the wealthy in an overwhelmingly-poor world.

He signaled his socialistic beliefs by first visiting Cuba, before coming to the United States.

Socialism does not mix well with democracy because it generally requires dictatorial leadership to enforce it. It does, however—in theory– appeal to the masses, who cannot be blamed for wanting a share of the “good life” that the rich enjoy.

He is Morally More Liberal than His Predecessors.

Many commentators lamented the fact that the Pope missed the opportunity to stand against growing immorality in the United States. While the Catholic Church is still firmly behind traditional marriage, he wasted the opportunity to rebuke the audience that included the Supreme Court for rejecting God’s standards and redefining marriage.

Two years ago Pope Francis had set the stage for this failure. When he was asked about gays in the church, he said “Who am I to judge?” Some observers think that those five little words could change the course of the Catholic Church.

He has made progress in the decades-long scandal of child molestation by American Catholic clergy. He acknowledged the problem when he addressed U.S. bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. However, he seemed to comfort the bishops more than he did the sex abuse survivors. He extolled the bishops “courage” and “self-criticism.

Even in the matter of abortion, he is opposed, but not sufficiently outraged to voice his condemnation of Planned Parenthood’s horrific practices of selling body parts of aborted babies.

He is an Ecumenist – Thus, NOT an Evangelist

Instead of proclaiming the unique soul-saving message of Christianity, Pope Francis told the crowd on the South Lawn of the White House that the names “Jesus Christ, Jehovah and Allah” all describe the same entity. He also said that the Koran is just as valid as the Bible. He expressed hope that we can all respect each other’s beliefs in order to bring about an unprecedented age of peace. He said, “We can accomplish miraculous things in the world by merging our faiths, and the time for such a movement is now. No longer shall we slaughter our neighbors over differences in reference to their God.”

During his visit to the U.S., with unprecedented media attention beaming his every word to nearly two billion people worldwide, he missed the opportunity to call sinners to repentance and personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He could have invited people to be born again, but that would be counter-productive to his agenda of merging world religions.

He wants a One-World Government

In June Pope Francis issued a papal encyclical proposing a new global political authority that would find a way to reduce pollution and develop poor countries and regions. This was not surprising since previous popes, including his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, advocated a world government to deal with economic problems and injustices.

He is the First-ever Jesuit Pope

Most Christians have heard of the Jesuits but don’t know much about them. This is especially interesting in the light of the fact that they are now the largest order in the Catholic Church, and Pope Francis, who was recently enthroned as Pope is the first Jesuit ever to become Pope.

Their story began with the dramatic life of Ignatius of Loyola (1491 to 1556), an aristocratic young man who became a Spanish knight, but was seriously wounded in the Battle of Pamplona in 1521 when he was struck by a cannonball. The injury left him partially disabled, but during his long recovery he devoted himself to serve God with a zeal that was equal to his former military discipline. He had spiritual visions and developed an intense devotional life, from which he conceived and published “Spiritual Exercises” that would eventually be required of all who would follow him.

Ignatius travelled to the Holy Land, and some believe he received secret information about the practices of the Knights Templar, which had been disbanded in 1312.

He studied theology during the early days of the Spanish Inquisition and the Protestant Reformation. He became a priest, and then, with a few disciplined followers, including Francis Xavier, who would become a missionary the to the Far East, formed the “Society of Jesus” in 1539. This organization was recognized by Pope Paul III in 1540 as a new Catholic order. Their purpose was to “do battle in the Lord God’s service under the banner of the Cross

Loyola was appointed the first Superior General, with dictatorial powers over the members of the order.

The emphasis of the Reformation was to return to the Bible, and to allow common people to read and study it in their own languages. This raised serious questions about all of the un-biblical concepts that had been adopted by the Catholic Church during the thousand-plus years of the Middle Ages. From the beginning, the Society of Jesus, which began to be called “Jesuits,” sought to counter biblical truth with other kinds of knowledge. They became the champions of science and education. Their members, who were actually monks, were encouraged to wear normal clothing and assume positions in all areas of influence. In essence, they became undercover agents for the Catholic Church to discredit Protestants and bring them back into the fold of the Catholic Church.

The statue of Ignatius of Loyola in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome portrays him stepping on the neck of a Protestant (presumably Martin Luther).

By the 1700’s Jesuits were viewed as foreign agents in some countries. They were banned in France and Spain, and then, in 1773, Pope Clement XIV dissolved the order. They were restored however in 1814,.

They have now grown from a small band of dedicated soldiers to the largest men’s single religious order of priests and brothers in the Catholic Church with approximately 18,000 members world-wide. They are constantly infiltrating governments, businesses, the arts, and especially education. There are now 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States and some 189 Jesuit institutions of higher learning worldwide! Their students are not taught to know and revere the Bible, which would advance the Protestant agenda, but to trust humanism, psychology, and philosophy instead.

He is Anti-Israel

In May a treaty to recognize the “State of Palestine” was finalized in Rome. Jerusalem Post commentator Michael Freund said this is “the latest salvo in its 2,000-year-old struggle to disenfranchise the Jewish people.”

Freund said that the Vatican is effectively seeking to deny the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people, to whom this land was promised long ago. He wonders what Bible the Vatican is reading.

He could be “The Last Pope.”

Much has been written in recent years about the possibility that Francis could be the “last Pope” in St. Malachy’s list going back hundreds of years.

St. Malachy was an Irish Catholic bishop in the 12th century. According to his biographer, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, (Life of Saint Malachy) the bishop was known to have the gift of prophecy and even predicted the exact day and hour of his own death. He was canonized in 1190 by Pope Clement III.

St. Malachy was visiting Rome in 1139 when he went into a trance and received a vision. Malachy wrote down this extraordinary vision in which he claims to have foreseen all of the popes from the death of Innocent II until the destruction of the church and the return of Christ. He named exactly 112 popes from that time until the end.

St. Malachy wrote a few prophetically descriptive words in Latin about each one of the popes. He then gave the manuscript to Pope Innocent II and it was deposited in the Vatican Archives where it was forgotten for several centuries. Then in 1590, it was rediscovered and published.

The interesting thing is that scholars have matched the 112 brief descriptive predictions with each of the 112 popes and anti-popes that there have been since Innocent II. Though they are a bit obscure, they have fit the general profile of each of the popes.

This is the translation of the description of the final Pope in the list:

“In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit Peter the Roman, who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations; when they are all finished, the City of Seven Hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The End.”

Extra-biblical prophecies do not have the same weight that Bible prophecies do, but this whole story is at the least, very interesting!

He is a Foreshadowing of the False Prophet.

We must be very clear here: we are NOT saying that Pope Francis is the False Prophet predicted in Revelation Chapter 13, but his popularity and his agenda are like those that the eventual False Prophet will have.

During the Reformation many Protestant leaders thought that the Pope of their day was Antichrist. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12 indicates that Antichrist (and the False Prophet) will not be identified until the Tribulation period.

However, the popularity of this Pope Illustrates how the world could be lured into adopting a universal religion that has great influence over the government.

Stay tuned. This is just the beginning of a fascinating story!

Links

Our Website: Prophecy Central

News summaries of Pope Francis’ US Visit 2015

Topical Section on Religions/ One-World Religion

Our book: The Church in History and Prophecy: Commentary on Revelation – Chapters 1-3

Our online commentary: Rejoicing in Revelation,

The Roman Empire and The First Official Pope (Revelation 2:14-15)

Jesuits and the Counter-Reformation (Revelation 3:1)

Our Blogs:

Review of Petrus Romanus: The Final Pope is Here

What if the Next Pope is the Last One?

Posted in Church History, Eschatology, Evangelism, New World Order, Peace, Religions, Revelation, The Church in Prophecy and History | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Look Up: Your Redemption Draws Near!

gloriousday-s “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” – Luke 21:25-28

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown today! It is also known as the Feast of Trumpets, and for many years I have encouraged our readers to observe it as a reminder that every so often we should have a “Rapture Drill.”

During World War II, and even later—the Cold War era—children in schools would practice a sudden “bomb drill.” An alarm would sound and everyone would quickly get under his or her desk. We also had “earthquake drills,” where we would follow a set plan of evacuating the building and going to a safe place outside for a few minutes.

The purpose of these drills was not to terrify the kids, but to help them be prepared in case the dreaded event would occur.

Any time now we can expect the Rapture (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:50-55; Revelation 4:1, etc.) when Jesus returns for born-again believers of the Church Age, and after that there will be seven years of tribulation.

Jesus said we can’t know the date of the Rapture (Matthew 24:42-44, Matthew 25:13). Therefore, we should always be ready for that great day: living a faithful, godly life, sharing the Gospel with our family and friends, and doing whatever we would like to be doing if we knew He was returning today.

Recently I had a conversation with someone who goes to a very exciting revival-oriented church. I asked her, “What does your church teach about the End Times?” Inwardly I cringed when she said, “I don’t think they deal with it.” She added, “I don’t like to think about prophecy because it is scary.”

At that point, her friend, who is more involved in the inner-workings of the church, said, “Our leadership does believe in prophecy.” I was relieved, because so many churches are deliberately ignoring more than one-fourth of the Bible that is dedicated to prophecy.

This was an aha moment for me. I am starting work on our annual “Year in Review” report. It is a summary of events from the past year that relate to Bible prophecy, and it has grown in size over the years. For the past 3 years it has been book-length, and we have released it in printed and digital book formats. Last year’s book was called “Red Skies,” and I have been thinking of calling this year’s book “Superstorm” because of the amazing build-up of destructive world conditions that Jesus, the Prophets and the Apostles predicted for the End Times. I am more inclined now to call it “Glorious Day,” emphasizing the return of Christ for His Church, and His later return as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:11-16). This week I took a beautiful picture of a “Golden Sky” after a day of flash floods.

The primary message of the Church should be the Gospel—the Good News of salvation and hope. But the leadership of the church—the pastors, teachers, worship leaders and core members should realize that world conditions line up with End Times prophecy as never before. Perhaps this sense of urgency will lead to greater prayer and stronger evangelism.

Will there be a revival before the Rapture? We know that there will be a great revival during the Tribulation, when people from every tribe and nation will turn to Christ (Revelation 7). It just seems that God would send one more spiritual harvest before Christ returns for His Church. God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), and too many of our young people have never really heard the Gospel. During this past year there have been many encouragements that could lead to a God-given awakening once again. There have been great Christian movies like “God’s Not Dead” and “War Room”- with its emphasis on prayer. We have born-again candidates running for the presidency, and an unprecedented turning of Muslims to Christ in many places.

As part of this year’s “Rapture Drill,” let’s establish our own prayer “War Room,” and increase our commitment to evangelism!

Posted in Church, Eschatology, Evangelism, Prayer, Rapture, Revelation, Revival, Youth | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Please, Mr. President!

An open letter to President Obama

It is with a mixture of the greatest respect for the office you hold, and a profound disappointment with some of the decisions you have made, that I must plead for you to face the realities of the course you are taking with Iran, the self-proclaimed enemy of the United States and Israel.

I don’t have any illusions that you will actually read this letter, but I hope that if you did, I would have the courage to stand face to face with you—for the sake of my own children and grandchildren, and for the multitude of others who love our country and God’s Chosen People in Israel.

As President of the United States, you are the most powerful person in the world. But there are untold millions of people who follow the most Powerful Person in the Universe: Jesus Christ. We are not afraid that Christianity will fail, because Jesus promised, “I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) However, we do fear for the future of our country, which was founded on Christian principles. God’s blessing of nations is based on the Abrahamic Covenant.

I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. – Genesis 12:3

Most Americans still believe that God has blessed America. But if we turn our back on Israel, which was miraculously reborn in 1948 in fulfillment of prophecy (Ezekiel 36 and 37), we know we cannot expect the continued divine assistance and protection that we have enjoyed for so long.

World War II could have been avoided if Great Britain’s Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, had not made a deal in 1938 with Hitler, called the Munich Agreement. He thought that he had defused the problem, but it only allowed Hitler to continue his preparations for a war that cost more than 50 million lives.

Many prominent observers of today’s dangerous world are warning you that this deal with Iran will lead to a nuclear holocaust—the very thing you are trying to avoid. Numerous military experts oppose this agreement, and it is almost certain that Congress, including many Democrats, will vote their disapproval of the plan. But you have already said you will veto any such congressional action.

It is my earnest prayer that you will reconsider your position, and that your real legacy will be your courage in stopping the aggression of our greatest enemy.

Posted in Iran, Israel, Peace, Wars | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments