Understanding the Future

An excerpt from our book, The Church in Prophecy and History, pp.183-186 

CaptureOne of the worst mistakes of the Reformers was the failure of most of them to correct the erroneous interpretation of Bible prophecies that had developed during the Middle Ages about Israel, the Second Coming of Christ and the other aspects of the future that were given by the Old Testament prophets, the Lord Jesus Himself, the apostles, and the Book of Revelation.

As we mentioned above, the best guiding principle of the Reformation was expressed by the concept called Sola Scriptura, meaning “only Scripture,” or “by Scripture alone.” This was understood to mean that the Bible is the only inspired—and therefore the most authoritative–source of truth. There is value in exposition (explanation) of the Word, as is done in preaching, and in the writing of theological books, commentaries, and devotional literature, but all of these are subordinate to, and are to be corrected by, the written Word of God.

Jesus, the “living Word” (John 1:1, 14), declared Himself to be “the way, the truth, and the life,” (John 14:5), but even this great fact is revealed by the “written Word,” The Bible:

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. – John 17:17

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. – Matthew 24:35

The Reformers meant well, but there were just so many misunderstandings about the plain teaching of the Bible that it was virtually impossible to correct everything at once. Therefore eschatology (the study of “last things”–from the Greek word eschatos) was not revised, and was made even more confusing during the Reformation period.

Near the beginning of this commentary (Chapter 1, verse 10) we discussed various ways that people have interpreted Bible prophecy through the years.

The main question about the prophecies of the Bible is whether or not they will be fulfilled literally. This is especially true about the many places in the New Testament where we are told that Jesus is returning and that His coming could take place at any time.

The Early Church interpreted these passages literally, and lived in the anticipation of Christ’s any-moment return. Knowing this had a purifying and motivating effect on believers. They wanted to be living holy lives when Jesus would return. And, if He might return at any time, there was always an urgency to share the Gospel with those who had not yet received Him as Savior and Lord:

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 3:11-12a.

The other kind of interpretation is the allegorical method. An allegory is a story that is meant to teach a moral lesson. Of course the Bible does contain allegories and many other kinds of symbolic language, but the literal approach to interpretation accepts the idea that once the figure of speech is understood; there is a literal fulfillment for any prophetic utterance.  This allegorical approach does not look for a future historical event, but is satisfied with the idea that the story teaches a general moral principle. From this point of view, the promises to Israel might be mistakenly transferred to the church, and the numerous Bible promises of a glorious messianic kingdom and a literal thousand-year reign of Christ can be wrongly interpreted as a gradual transformation of the culture from a pagan civilization to a Christian kingdom.

Now we need to look at the predominant beliefs about the future over the course of history.

  • Early Church Eschatology

The first three of the churches in this prophecy would all be part of the Early Church. They were: Ephesus (Apostolic), Smyrna (Persecution), and Pergamum (Compromise). These churches took the simple, biblical “futurist” method of interpretation, which resulted in a “premillennial” view of eschatology.  These are pretty technical expressions, so let us break these terms down a little bit.

The “futurist” interpretation accepts what the Bible says about future events literally.

The “premillennial” eschatology was built on this literal futurist approach. It was the belief that Jesus will return to Earth to reign for a thousand years. The Early Christians expected that, at any time, Christ might “catch up” His church at the Rapture (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 4:1).  Then, after the Tribulation period (Jeremiah 30:1-7; Daniel 11:20-45; Ezekiel Chapters 38 and 39; Matthew 24:9-28; Revelation Chapters 6 through 19), they believed that Jesus will return to establish the Messianic Kingdom that Isaiah and most of the Old Testament prophets promised extensively in the Old Testament. According to this Book of Revelation, the Kingdom will be a thousand-year reign of righteousness over a peaceful and prosperous world (Matthew 24:29-32; Revelation 20:1-8). After the millennium there will be a judgment of non-believers (Revelation 20:11-15). This will be followed by the creation of a New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation Chapters 21 and 22).

  • Catholic Eschatology

The Catholic Church is defined by the fourth church of this prophecy: Thyatira (Middle Ages). The leaders of the church felt that they were establishing the Kingdom of Heaven. They employed the historicist (allegorical) method of interpretation, believing that the events in their generations were gradually fulfilling the prophecies.

Since the theologians of the Middle Ages thought that they were building the kingdom they didn’t feel a need for a literal thousand-year reign of Christ in the future. Using the allegorical method of interpretation, they taught that the Old Testament prophecies of a messianic millennium referred to the kingdom they were creating themselves, that would last forever. They believed that Jesus would come back to reign once they had finished preparing for His return. And from their point of view, Israel had been replaced by the church, so they did not look for literal fulfillments of the Old Testament promises. Therefore their eschatology (teaching about “last things” or the end time) was “amillennial.”

For a Catholic explanation of their view of the End Times, see: Are We Living in the Last Days?

  • Reformation Eschatology 

The Reformation is represented by Sardis, the fifth church of this prophecy. As we noted above, it failed to live up to its own standard of “Scripture only,” and continued to hold the amillennial view of the future which they thought would result in a godly church/state union to which Christ could eventually return as King.

John Calvin did introduce a variation to the eschatology the Reformers had inherited from the Catholic Church. He called it “Covenant Theology.” This viewpoint considers all of history as the development of three overarching theological covenants–the covenants of redemption, of works, and of grace. In their system, the covenants include the return of Christ, resurrection of the dead, and the Great White Throne Judgment, but no literal 1000 year Millennium.

It was common for the Reformers to consider the Catholic Church, with its church/state alliances,  the evil last world empire of the Book of Revelation, and to claim that the Pope was the Antichrist.

A completely new view of the future was invented during the Reformation period by the Jesuits, a new Catholic order that we will explore next. It was called Preterism (from the Latin praeter–meaning “past.”) Versions of this theory relate most, or even all, of the Book of Revelation to the events of the 1st Century, revolving around the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and/or the persecutions of the Roman Empire. It was presented as an alternative to the growing belief that the Pope was Antichrist. Preterism was later adopted by some Protestants.

  • Later Developments in Eschatology

When we study the next church [Philadelphia] in Revelation 3 we will see that there was a strong return to the literal interpretation of prophecy, resulting in a renewed interest in the Rapture of the church and the development of end time events. It was also a boon to evangelism and the missionary movement.

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

Look for the Good in Every Situation!

cornucopiaFinally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. – Philippians 4:8

Unfortunately, most of the headlines here at Prophecy Central are negative. That is inevitable since our purpose is to track the progress toward God’s ultimate plans for the earth. Those plans are clearly revealed in Bible prophecies that certainly appear to be coming to pass right before our eyes.

The wonderful reality about God’s revealed plans is that Jesus Christ is coming back to earth to establish His Kingdom. He will rule in righteousness over an indescribably fabulous age. The problem is that before He returns as King of Kings, the Earth must go through a dreadful period of disasters known as “The Tribulation” (Matthew 24:9-28).  And Jesus, who taught us about these coming trials, said there would even be big problems in the generation leading up to the Tribulation. He called this period of time, “The beginning of sorrows [birth pains]” (Matthew 24:4-8). This could very well be a reference to our own troubled times.

Looking for the good in every situation is not a denial of reality. It is the proper way for a Child of God to respond to the serious problems we face. (Be sure you are a born-again member of God’s family.)

Every shock, and every new installment of bad news, should cause us to consciously focus our attention on what God is allowing or doing in human history. Things that look bad have a divine purpose (Romans 8:28). And God has given us supernatural resources to employ at times like these. He has promised that believers will have supernatural wisdom (James 1:4), the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:6-7), His own love flowing through them (Romans 5:5-8; 1 John 4:19), joy and the other qualities listed as the “Fruit of the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

Finding the good in whatever is happening is not just positive thinking or self-help religion. We can recognize what is bad in this sinful world, but by faith, we should remember that God is good, and He is in control.

 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

This is the Thanksgiving season. It would be a great time for each of us to see every personal or world-wide problem in the light of this command to look for the truth and goodness that can result from everything that happens.

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Toward a One-World Religion

Prophecy scholars expect two major movements during the future Tribulation Period: the formation of a Global Government and the emergence of a One-World Religion. Revelation 17 illustrates how the two powers – one political and one religious – will unite in the end times.

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written:

MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.

But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

“Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. 10 There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. 11 The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.

12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

15 Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which you saw of the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. 18 And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.” – Revelation 17:1-18

The next two chapters (Revelation 18 and 19) give additional insight to how these universal powers will unite to form one final evil world empire before the return of Christ as King of Kings.

This scenario raises several questions. The most obvious one is, “Could our fractured world ever have a global government, much less a universal religion?”

The madness that is tearing our world apart right now is driven by conflicting political world-views resulting from opposing religious beliefs. Historians and politicians have always pointed to religious differences as one of the major causes of war. But how can this problem be corrected?

The present horrific world conditions would be a perfect setting for the rise of a seemingly benevolent dictator. Such an influential, charismatic person, with the right ideas for peace and prosperity and the right opportunity to rise to political power, would gradually assume more and more acceptance as he helped the world economy and negotiated peace.

A vital aspect of peace-making would be the difficult process of producing some level of religious unity.

Strong, brilliant leadership would be required by a person or group that could bring religious beliefs together. Many religions might be willing to compromise their beliefs a little in order to establish a universal belief system, possibly under the banner of new age inclusivism.

The two religious groups that would be most resistive to the idea of a united religion would be evangelical Christians and Muslims.

In the Christian world, those who have adopted liberal theological views, and do not take the Bible literally, would have no problem compromising their beliefs. Pope Francis is already leading the Roman Catholic Church further into liberalism. Most old mainline Protestant denominations have decided to teach their people what their itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3). However, Evangelical Christians would not be willing to give up their Bible-based views. According to the God’s Word, this impediment to a world religion will be removed just before the final evil world-ruler arises as the rider on a white horse (Revelation 6:1-2).  How will it be removed? Bible-believing Christians, who have placed their faith in Christ, will be taken from the Earth at the Rapture of the Church (Revelation 4:1; John 14:1-6; I Thessalonians 4:13-5:6; 1 Corinthians 15:50-55; Revelation 3:10; 4:1 etc. – See our Rapture section).

But what about the Muslims? If Radical Islamists begin to loose the fight to establish a caliphate, and are opposed by enough fire-power from the many nations they threaten, they may be forced to invoke the provisions of their religion that allow them to make temporary peace treaties with their enemies when they must do so to survive, or to conceal their true beliefs when in danger. This concept is called taqiyya, meaning “caution” or “concealment.” This is what the majority of Muslims do when they live in a society that does not condone the harsh provisions of sharia law.

Everything considered, our current world condition may be ripe for the emergence of a global government, assisted by a universal religion.

Posted in Apostasy, Church, Islam, New World Order, Peace, Religions | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Muslims Have Dreams and Visions of Jesus

dreamsIt comes as a shock to many Christians to hear that Muslims, in places where they cannot be reached by missionaries, are sometimes experiencing dreams or visions of Jesus. I was surprised myself when I first heard it several years ago at a “Defending the Faith” conference we hosted at our church.  Dr. J.P. Moreland, the Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, and  Biola University in La Mirada, California mentioned this phenomenon in his message. I questioned him afterward, and he said he had actually received several credible reports that Jesus was appearing to some Muslims.

I was a little skeptical at first, but I respect Dr. Moreland, so I started checking it out. Some theologians claim that the Gospel must come from a human messenger. They cite Paul’s writings in Romans:

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” – Romans 10:14-15

However, Paul himself was converted by a vision of Jesus (Acts 9), and Cornelius was convinced in a vision to invite Peter (who had a corresponding vision) to give him the Gospel (Acts 10).

We have included a section in our extensive “Islam Links” on Prophecy Central about this growing phenomenon. You will find that this is a serious topic on Google and YouTube.

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Apple Pay and the Mark of the Beast

iphone6Maybe it is just a coincidence that Apple’s first computer, the Apple I was priced at $666. And maybe it was just a coincidence that their logo was an apple with a bite taken out of it. Knowing what we do about the company’s founders, it was probably just a little touch of mischief, based on the ideas already circulating in the ‘60’s that computers would someday make it possible for the Antichrist to become an economic dictator of the world.

Now, nearly 40 years later, Apple has done it again with the introduction of Apple Pay on its new iPhone 6. Offering a leap forward in convenience and security, an iPhone user can pay for purchases with the touch of a button, and be protected against identity theft by placing his or her fingerprint on the screen of the phone. Applications on other smart phones can make similar transactions, but without quite the simplicity, and security.

I have never thought that Apple Computer was evil. It changed the world with revolutionary new technologies, and technology is never intrinsically good or bad. It always has the potential to be either a blessing or a curse, depending on its use. In fact I admired Apple, and was even involved in creating some of its early software.

In recent years I have spoken often on the subject, “Technology and the Mark of the Beast.” It has been fascinating to watch our wildest projections become reality so that computers are unbelievably powerful, and, thanks to the Internet, amazingly connected to each other. Our smartphones are proof of this.

Forty years ago we could barely dream how this prophecy would be fulfilled:

He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,  and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. – Revelation 13:16-18

These days it doesn’t require much imagination to believe that a future world dictator could control the ability of any individual to buy or sell.

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New Rapid-Search makes Prophecy Central Your Research Hub

research

Pastors, Bible teachers, and researchers are discovering that the improved search feature on Prophecy Central is their best source for trusted information about Bible prophecy. This powerful search engine is powered by Google, and now has enhanced performance from CloudFlare.

It is located front-and-center on Prophecy Central’s home page. When you are looking for a particular news story, prophecy keyword, teachers’ name, Scripture reference, or other information, just type it in the box and press “search.” You will be surprised at the results – tabulated from 18 years of archived summaries of news stories, hundreds of articles, commentaries, and special features from the thousands of pages of information on the site.

Try it for yourself!

For other suggestions about using Prophecy Central, visit:

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Signs of Revival

doveMy wife Barbara and I watched the Dove Awards for Christian music last night. We enjoyed it more than ever, and toward the end of the event, it occurred to us that the whole evening was more like a beautiful worship service than a display of human achievement. It was truly a night of glorious praise and worship of our Great God and the Lord Jesus Christ!

Before announcing the award for “Best Artist of the Year”– Amy Grant confirmed our feelings by saying this:

I heard a lot of artists whose music was new to me, and I feel a kind of energy in the music of the Church that I have not felt in all the years of making music.

It comes as no surprise that in Bible times, when wars were to be fought, the musicians were sent out in front. It’s a powerful place to be. [2 Chronicles 20:20-23]

The winner was Hillsong United for the album that includes the incredible worship song, “Oceans.”

Near the end of the event they announced the “Best Praise and Worship Album of the Year.” It went to Kari Jobe, a vibrant young worship leader who is known for encouraging huge audiences to praise the Lord and experience His presence.

We were especially pleased with this worshipful event, and are hopeful that it is a harbinger of a great End Times Revival. With this in mind, I am including the conclusion of our latest book, The Church in Prophecy and History: Revelation Commentary Chapters 1-3.

Final Thoughts about an End Time Revival

If you have read this far, you probably have the same earnest longing that I do for a great revival in our days. Is such a desire realistic? Yes, because God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9).  In the book of Jonah we learn that even in such an evil place as Nineveh, the capital of Israel’s enemy, the Assyrians, God wanted those who had never heard the truth to have the opportunity to believe and be saved. The prophet Jonah did not want the Assyrians to have that privilege, so he fled from God. After he had been caught, and then released from the great fish, the Lord sent him to Nineveh, and he did warn the people there to repent and turn to God. To his amazement, a great revival broke out, and huge numbers believed in the Lord. Nineveh was still eventually destroyed for its evil history, but at least those who would believe in God were given the opportunity to believe.

Earlier, in Noah’s time, God not only told him to build an ark, but also to preach righteousness to the people. In their case, the Bible says, their thoughts were “only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).  None of them repented and believed except for Noah’s own family.

Our generation is complex. There are places like parts of Central and South America, Korea, and parts of Africa where there are revivals going on now with amazing numbers of believers winning others to Christ. In China the underground church has grown exponentially and is spiritually strong in spite of persecution. Europe and North America, the bastions of the truth during the Missionary Age, have slowly grown apathetic. It is worse in Europe, where many of the churches have become taverns or mosques, but it seems that the United States is following in their footsteps.

How does God see our present world? We can be sure He still loves all of His creatures. Through His Son He has already provided salvation for all who will receive it.

Like the Laodicean Church, there is still an opportunity for lukewarm Christians to be revived. But will we?  Our young people desperately need to know the truth about Jesus, and a great many of them do not understand the Gospel.

We cannot schedule a revival, nor do anything great to make it happen. But we can repent of our worldliness and pray:

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

Critics might point out the fact that this verse was given in Solomon’s days to the Chosen People. But can anyone doubt that God would treat His adopted children in the Church (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5) the same way? Writing to the Corinthians, Paul made it clear that the things that happened to Israel are examples to us (1 Corinthians 10:6-11).

To put it another way, if we care about the souls of people—including our own relatives and friends, how can we not earnestly desire for them to come to know the Lord? How could we not pray for the right circumstances in their lives to point them to Christ? Why would we not pray for another mighty revival for their sake?

In conclusion, here are some of the promising developments of this present time that could lead to a world-wide revival, or to many smaller renewals. In future years, if we are still here, we will look back and notice whether or not they produced the desired result. If not, we will compose a new list and publish an updated commentary.

Missionary activity – (See the extensive notes about the Missionary accomplishments of the Church in Chapter 3, verse 8). Even though missionary work has declined, there are tens of thousands of highly-trained, incredibly-devoted missionaries still taking the Gospel to the masses using all the methods that have been produced in the past, and utilizing advanced technology to finish the task of providing Scriptures to people everywhere. Most of the best results in our generation are the work of indigenous leaders in nearly every country of the world.  Who knows when something very powerful might begin in some inconspicuous place that would lead to a wild-fire of revival and evangelism!

Heroes of the Faith – People love heroes, especially in sports and entertainment. There are many dedicated, courageous Christians in government, the media, education, science, and other fields. Some of them might have the platform to influence great numbers of young people for Christ. Time will tell.

Prayer movements – There are many prayer movements today. Some of them are led by young people. This is especially significant since bright young people and young adults have been leaders in past revivals, and it is primarily for their sake that we desire to experience such a renewal. Historically, major revivals have often come from college youth movements.

Christian music – Just as most the great hymns of yesteryear were the product of revival movements, so inspiring new music, performed by exceptional young artists, are making an incredible impact on people today.

Our book, The Church in Prophecy and History: Revelation Commentary Chapters 1-3 is available from Amazon.com.

Christian movies and videos – The Jesus Film Project (mentioned in Chapter 3, verse 8), which has been seen by more than 6 billion viewers, is still being shown to approximately 3.8 million people per year in more than a thousand languages.

 Actually some of the highest-grossing movies on the big screen have been Bible epics or faith-based stories. In 2004 Mel Gibson shocked the movie industry by making the blockbuster “The Passion of the Christ.” It became the highest grossing R-rated film in the United States. (It was rated R because of the violence Our Lord suffered.) The most popular 2013 TV series was “The Bible,” with more than a million viewers.  Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, the producers of that series have now released the biblically-accurate and moving “Son of God.” And they are planning on a follow-up series in 2015 on NBC called “A.D.: After the Bible.”  An independent film, “God’s Not Dead,” had surprising success at the box office and delivered a powerful Gospel message for young people and young adults. Several other Bible or faith-based movies are in process, and the trend is seen as a surprise movement from Hollywood.

Television and Radio keep improving with new applications and technological advancements. TBN, CBN, Sky Angel, Daystar and other TV satellite networks reach most of the planet with Christian programming.

Trans World Radio (TWR) is the largest media ministry, and it is still expanding. They project that by 2015 they will be able to deliver Christian content to nearly 60 percent of the people in the world in their own language.

Salem Broadcasting is another extensive provider of Christian content, but there are hundreds of smaller networks and Christian stations that also feed the mind and spirit of Christians. Some of these programs are Christian talk radio. These informative broadcasts help inform Christians of important events that could lead to revival, and mobilize the Christian community for action when necessary.

As mentioned above, The Internet has become the preferred source of information for many people. Web based videos now rival television’s viewing audience. An almost unfathomable number of videos are now available via YouTube and other providers using smart phone service and the Internet. Some of these “go viral” and can suddenly and unexpectedly be seen by millions of viewers. Many of these spontaneous successes have been Christian stories or messages.

Books– Solomon said “Of making many books there is no end” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Printed books are less popular at the moment, but Amazon.com had started a new free book publishing service to stimulate the production of new literature. This upsurge will not just appear on paper, but will be electronically transmitted instantly and inexpensively to computers and smart phones all over the world.

A new thing–something we have not yet considered–might be the most likely form that the Lord, the ultimate creative genius of the Universe, will use to launch an end time revival. The Bible story is a continuous progression of new things from God’s own hand. The Creation, the Flood, the call of Abraham, the birth of Isaac when Abraham was 100, Joseph’s rise to power in Egypt, the burning bush, the Exodus, manna in the wilderness, supernatural conquests, the prophets dreams and visions, the star that led the Magi, the human birth of the Son of God, Jesus miracles, the apostle’s miraculous ability to speak in other languages on the Day of Pentecost, and so many other innovations demonstrate the endless variety of God’s dealing with mankind.

The whole chapter of Isaiah 43 reminds believers of God’s creativity.  Here are just two verses from that chapter:

“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
– Isaiah 43:18-19

What will the Lord do in our times to bring about a revival? Will we be part of it? Please join me in asking the Lord to allow us to be involved in whatever He is going to do!

Posted in Evangelism, Prayer, Revelation, Revival, The Church in Prophecy and History, The Church in Prophecy and History: Revelation Commentary Chapters 1-3 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Stones Cry Out: Don’t Ignore the Rapture!

left-behind-nic-cage_edited-1As Jesus entered Jerusalem on what we call “Palm Sunday,” His many followers acknowledged Him as the promised King. They cried out, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38) The entrenched theologians of his day didn’t believe Jesus could be the prophesied Messiah. In fact they had given up hope that the prophecies were even true. They asked Jesus to set His disciples straight.  Jesus had already criticized the Pharisees and their forefathers for not believing the prophets, and of even putting them to death (Matthew 23:29-36).

So Jesus said to the Pharisees, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”- Luke 19:14

Today, while Jesus’ predictions about the future (Matthew 24:4-8) are coming to pass right before our eyes, and the majority of evangelical believers wonder if the promised return of Jesus to take His believers away (known as the “Rapture of the Church”) might be near, many churches are neglecting this subject.

Peter warned that this would happen:

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

This is fascinating. While many churches have stopped looking for the “blessed hope” of the Rapture, Hollywood has adopted the message. Two major movies: one already out, and the other “coming soon” to the big screen are powerful reminders of this biblical teaching.

“The Remaining,” a Sony release presents the Rapture as a sudden event followed immediately by the various judgments of the 7-year Tribulation period (Revelation chapters 6-9). It is described on its website as,

“an action-packed supernatural thriller that addresses questions of life, love and belief against an apocalyptic backdrop. A group of close friends gather for a wedding, but the celebration is shattered by a series of cataclysmic events and enemies foretold by biblical end-times prophecies.”

On October 3, a remake of “Left Behind,” starring Nicholas Cage, will dramatize the theme of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkin’s record-setting novel series once again.  The movie’s website describes the story:

“The most important event in the history of mankind is happening right now. In the blink of an eye, the biblical Rapture strikes the world. Millions of people disappear without a trace. All that remains are their clothes and belongings, and in an instant, terror and chaos spread around the world. The vanishings cause unmanned vehicles to crash and burn. Planes fall from the sky. Emergency forces everywhere are devastated. Gridlock, riots and looting overrun the cities. There is no one to help or provide answers. In a moment, the entire planet is plunged into darkness.”

So, if your local church hasn’t mentioned this vital aspect of Christian belief lately, you might want to make a trip to the theater to hear the message.

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Ethnic Wars

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…  – Matthew 24:6-7b (Jesus)

When Jesus predicted the early stages of the End Times, He taught that there would be “wars and rumors of wars.” He was probably referring to the state of the world in our days. There have always been wars, but in the last century they have been worse than ever. World Wars I and II, the development of nuclear warfare, and the rise of modern terrorism have made the world a dangerous place. According to GlobalSecurity.org’s website, ”The World at War,” there are about 40 wars being fought at any given time.

A new report from the Institute for Economics and Peace reveals that “Only 11
countries in the WORLD are not involved in conflict.”
The study says that the world is getting progressively less peaceful since 2007.

Jesus said “nation will rise against nation.” The Greek word for nation is ethnos, and it is derived from etho, meaning “forming a custom, culture.” So Jesus’ prophecy was not just about one country versus another, but about “ethnic” groups fighting each other. It includes racial conflict and religious wars. Today’s headlines are loaded with bad news about these ethnic wars. Russia is invading Ukraine. Israel and the Palestinians are bombing each other. The worst Islamic jihadist group yet, the “Islamic State” (also called ISIS and ISIL) is butchering people of other religions and political viewpoints. And even in America, where the Civil War guaranteed emancipation of slaves, and where the Civil Rights movement and legislation of the ‘60’s prevailed, there is racial rioting on the streets of Ferguson, MO.

We can’t know just when Jesus will return again, and He warned us not to set dates. But this period of ethnic wars should be a wake-up call for anyone who doesn’t believe that prophecy is being fulfilled in our times.

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Review of Survive the Coming Storm – Ebola Crisis

gano-ebolaRay Gano’s new e-book, Survive the Coming Storm – Ebola Crisis, Is a timely wake-up call about the imminent danger of a global pandemic that has already crippled parts of West Africa and has been labeled an “International public health emergency” by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Gano is the publisher of Prophezine, the respected Bible prophecy site that has provided credible information about Bible prophecy for nearly two decades. He and his family have studied and practiced emergency preparation techniques and provide supplies for such events as a means of supporting the ministry of his website.

Jesus warned that one of the dreadful aspects of the End Times will be plagues:

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows. – Matthew 24:7-8

Gano is careful to say that the Ebola scare might not reach the catastrophic level of past plagues. He is hopeful that it can be stopped before it reaches its dreadful potential, but at present there is no cure, and approximately 50% of those who contract the virus die. It could easily reach the point that hospitals will be overrun with dying patients and people will have to deal with their own family’s crisis without professional help.

That is why he gives detailed instructions about how to set up a quarantined patients’ room and a “clean room” in one’s own home and how to provide basic aid, such as keeping the sick hydrated as they fight the virus. Extensive preparations will be necessary to keep others in the family from being exposed to the fast-spreading disease.

The book helps us realize that least we can do is understand this threat and know what can be done now to save the lives of our own families if Ebola explodes into a full-blown plague.

Visit Prophecy Central’s “Plagues” section

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