Thursday, May 25, 2017


by Pastor Joseph Chambers

Psalm 2
4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
7 I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
These two terms are synonymous. The Bible is perfectly plain, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the "Jacob's Trouble" is complete. An honest and Biblically sound evaluation of Jerusalem's immediate future can be quite unnerving. For someone that loves Jerusalem as deeply as I do, it is not easy to accept the truth.  Praying for the peace of the "chosen city" has been a commitment of my life for many years.  The Bible commands every believing individual, Jew or Gentile, to be deeply committed to this responsibility.  It is easy once we accept this challenge to then fail to see the prophetic facts of what must occur to accomplish the answer.  When we pray for the "Peace of Jerusalem," we also are praying for the perfect fulfillment of all acts of judgment and prophecies that will ultimately assure the "peace."  Actually, when you pray for peace, you are praying for the Biblical process, which is terrifying to discover.
Jerusalem Is Destined For Some Very Dark Events
      The Son of God warned all of us of the dark facts that this city must endure and suffer before He can sit on David's throne.  Jesus Christ will return to be the King of Kings over Jerusalem, Israel, and the whole world.  This city is deep in the heart of the eternal Son of God.  He walked through the streets with His disciple, proclaiming, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matthew 23:37).
Jacob's Trouble
1.    The darkest period of Israel's history
2.    A false Messiah will deceive multitudes of the Jewish people.
3.    When the False Messiah and the False Prophet erect his image in the new temple in Jerusalem, then Israel will wake up.
4.    The will flee, be murdered and driven all over the world.
5.    In about 3 ½ years, two out of three of the Jews all over the world will be slain as the Antichrist determined to kill every Jew on the earth.
6.    Two Jewish prophets preach for 3 ½ years.
7.    Antichrist tramples the city the same 3 ½ years.
      When the Jewish people rejected the Son of God as the Messiah, they set in motion the chain of events that were and are still to be affected.  Jesus, later, gave us a fairly complete picture of Jerusalem from that day, nearly two thousand years ago "until" Jerusalem shall be redeemed as a city and become a "praise in all the earth."  Here are the actual words of Jesus Christ Himself.  "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.  For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.  But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.  And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."  (Luke 21:20-24).
      This great text shows us a progressive picture from a few years after the crucifixion until the Second Coming of our Lord to establish His kingdom on earth.  When Titus marched his Roman army up to Jerusalem (A.D. 70) and destroyed the city, the "times" of the Gentiles began.  Note that word "times."  There have been many times that Gentiles in one form or another have affected great destruction and consternation on Jerusalem and its inhabitants.  When Jesus said Jerusalem, He certainly included the geographical area now called the nation of Israel, plus the land occupied by these Arabs called Palestinians.  "Times of the Gentiles" includes every, invasion, occupation, or political control by anyone other than the Jewish people that affected Jerusalem.  It includes the massacre by the Catholic crusaders that took Jerusalem and murdered Arabs and Jews alike.  There have been awesome efforts on the part of many nations and armies to eliminate Jewish people.  Many of these efforts were on the soil of the nations and armies attacking them.  At other times, it was in Jerusalem.  The "times" of the Gentiles, as it relates to Jerusalem and the Jewish people, includes many inhumane occasions.
God, The Father Has Chosen Jerusalem
      Jerusalem was chosen by our God to put His name there forever.  The Word of God said, "... Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there..." (2 Chronicles 12:13).  Actually, Jerusalem is the earthly counterpart of the Heavenly Jerusalem.  The city is a delight to the Lord Himself and He longs for His righteousness and peace to grace the city with perpetual glory.  Angels have been assigned to Jerusalem for at least twenty-five hundred years (2,500).  Isaiah told of this revelation of truth that he was given.  He spoke to this subject by first addressing the Father's love and passion for Jerusalem.  He quoted the words God had given him, "For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth." (Isaiah 62:1).  Then, the God of Israel said, "I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth." (Isaiah 62:6-7).
      It would be breathtaking to visit Jerusalem with unveiled eyes and see the army of angels that keep watch day and night.  The unseen war above this city is far greater and more spectacular than any war fought on the ground.  Even then, His army of angels cannot go beyond the prophetic facts of judgment, death, and calamities appointed by the Lord Himself.  These angelic watchman guarantee the absolute promises of God and no destruction will ever eliminate the city or keep its future from the perfect glory appointed.  In other words, they assure a perfect balance between the appointed judgments and the glorious future.
The Perfect Will Of God Will Be Accomplished
      Jerusalem will be the capital of the whole earth and especially the capital of the Jewish nation.  The Son of God will sit upon the Throne of David.  The city will expand in every direction and become the largest city in the world.  According to Ezekiel, the city will be approximately sixty (60) miles square with a twelve (12) square inner city.  This means the city will stretch almost the entire distance between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea.  (See our booklet, entitled, "Jerusalem, The Promised Land.")
 Revelation 6
1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
 Israel Became A Nation Again in 1948
      The modern history of Israel as a nation began in 1948.  The people of Jewish blood had been dispersed, deprived, and persecuted intermittently for the eighteen hundred and seventy-eight (1878) years since A.D. 70.  Their survival as a distinct people with a Jewish bloodline seems completely impossible.  While all of those years contain a Biblical significance, the end times of Jewish history began in 1948.  At that point, a prophecy of their national resurrection was commenced.  Their existence as a people was like a valley of bleached bones, but the Word of God had spoken.  The infallible book becomes miraculous as God speaks and men act and believe.  Listen!  "Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.   And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves."  (Ezekiel 37:4,11,13).
      A small minority of the Jewish people were finally at home and were a nation but were immediately attacked by their neighbors.  Outnumbered and impoverished in military equipment, they fought back and won miraculously.  The nation began to grow, the land responded, the deserts bloomed, and the seasons and rainfall increased.  Israel quickly became a modern miracle.  Their technology is second to none and their military prowess is the envy of the military world.  They are a chosen people with a chosen identity even though they are still in unbelief.  But, our God is working wonderfully to perform His will in them and bring them to repentance.  The process is slow, but our God is patient.  It cannot be much longer.  For sixty-seven years, they have had both blessings and great trials.
From The Present To The Climax
      These sixty-seven (67) years for Israel have been like God's clock ticking on the wall.  The countdown is on and every believer must watch each event with a prophetic eye.  Nothing can stop the process, though painful as it may be.  Our anger because of another suicide bombing or a drive-by shooting stirs our heart to bleed.  Yet, the bleeding is part of the process.  The events will often call for Israel's military response; yet, the necessary response will not end the conflicts.  America must carefully defend our primary ally in the Middle East, but all of us must not allow the negotiations and support to blind us to the prophetic future.  While we share their pain and support their right to the Promised Land, we must remember that they are still in unbelief and the process of bringing them to repentance is yet forthcoming.  They are an incredibly stubborn people and God's chastisement is one of the tools that will break the yoke.  That stubbornness was necessary to bring them through the centuries of anti-Semitism, but now the hands of their God must temper it.
      Let's carefully look at a list of facts, which are easily seen in the prophetic passages yet to be completed.
       Jerusalem will be a "cup of trembling" and a "troublesome stone" to the world and its governments, "until"...  Every time I write "until," I am referring to the victory that is finished with the Battle of Armageddon.  There may be, and I pray so, periods of relative peace concerning Jerusalem, but it cannot be lasting.  The presence of a Jewish state in their ancient city of Jerusalem creates a problem for almost the entire world because of its prophetic significance.  Look at that text. "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.  And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it."  (Zechariah 12:2-3).
      When you have an ancient people with a clear Biblical promise from those ancient times perfectly fulfilled, it either must be rejected or accepted as proof of the Bible.  Consequently, any person or nation that rejects the Bible is placed in a position to reject the rights of that ancient people, in this case, the Jews.  This fact creates consternation and makes the city of Jerusalem, when connected to the Israel nation, a "troublesome stone" and a "cup of trembling."  This fact cannot go away unless we eliminate the Jews from Jerusalem and deny the Bible.  We will not do either one.  In fact, we cannot change God's perfect plan.
      It was the Lord Jesus Christ that said, "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24).  The presence of Gentiles (Palestinians or anyone else that is non-Jewish) cannot be eliminated from Jerusalem, "until!"  Regardless of how desirable it seems to Bible believers for the completed possession of all Israel by the Israeli people, the Lord said, it cannot happen.  Not only does the truth of this great passage demand the presence of Gentiles, it demands their presence in military or police activities.  The city of Jerusalem and its Jewish population will be trodden down "until."  "Trodden down" means to be trampled underfoot.
      A truth, as clearly stated by the Lord Jesus Christ, in this case, leaves no room for argument.  This does not mean that Israel should not defend themselves, but that their best effort will not rid their country of terror and conflict.  The very presence of Arab people, many of them Christians, demands that the government of Israel be careful to protect the rights of its citizens.  Jerusalem and the State of Israel in perfect Biblical fulfillment cannot occur "until!"  Israel must make the best of the ongoing process and simply survive "until!"
Zephaniah 3
1Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city!
2 She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God.
3 Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow.
4 Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.
5 The just Lord is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame.
 Death and sorrows will increase.  The city of Jerusalem is destined for more destruction and sorrows until they repent and receive their rejected Messiah.  It's impossible for Jerusalem to be the city of peace until they are shepherded by the Prince of Peace.  Jesus plainly stated that "they shall fall by the edge of the sword" ... until!  Every Christian should help bear the burden of the Jewish people, pray for their peace, and await God's final moment.
      Jerusalem cannot be a free city wholly governed by Israel, until!  Israel must have a covenant with the Eternal God before this city can end the many demands for a little piece of this coveted city and land.  The Catholics want to govern, the Muslims want to govern, and the religious groups that own a piece of Jerusalem's real estate want to govern.  The conflicts are unsolvable because the views cannot be reconciliated.  The world will demand that Israel accept a peace process that maintains Jerusalem as a pluralistic city.  The political tide will almost surely succeed in demanding America support such a process.
      While I believe America will maintain its sheep nation status, I also believe we will be forced to accept a Palestinian state jointly with the state of Israel in the land wrongly called Palestine.  We all long for the nation of Israel to possess the total promise given to Abraham.  Even if all of the land now controlled by Israel and the Palestinians together was possessed by Israel, it would not be close to what God promised to Abraham.  Not until the King of Kings returns to drive the army of the Antichrist into utter defeat can the promises be finished. Jerusalem will not be the sole capital of Israel "until!"
      Two of every three Jews will be killed between now and the return of Jesus Christ. Nothing is sadder to contemplate than the last catastrophe that Israel encounters before the end.  Nobody but Jewish haters wants the Jewish people to experience another holocaust.  It cannot be avoided.  Hitler will pale in comparison to the "man of sin" and his companions of evil.  Zechariah made this prophetic statement, "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.   And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God."  (Zechariah 13:7-9).
      I personally believe that this prophecy includes all the Jews on a worldwide basis.  "In all the land" appears to mean "in all the land" internationally.  The Antichrist and his anti-spirit will hunt down every person of Jewish descent and strive to eliminate them.  Hatred for the Jewish people is a diabolical hatred that will pursue them to their hidden places around the globe.    The Muslims call them pigs and monkeys.  The Jewish people have been systemically accused of almost every atrocity.  Conspiracy theories abound that propose to document the chosen people as the source of all evil.  Satan will not just search and destroy Jews in the land of Israel, but worldwide.  Thousands of people are converting to Judaism.  Some Christians are even teaching that the Jewish people can be converted and saved in Judaism without the gospel of Jesus Christ.  All of this is but cold, calculated deception at the hand of the deceiver.  Very likely the proselytes to Judaism will suffer the exact same fate of the Jews between the present and the glorious moment of His return.
      At some point, an army from the North will descend on Israel. This event is considerably more controversial than the Battle of Armageddon.  It may occur before the Rapture or after the Rapture.  Ezekiel documented the facts of this horrible attack. "Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,  And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:  And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armor, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:  Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet."  (Ezekiel 38:2-5).  All of these ancient nations are each a present modern nation and each well-equipped and capable to fulfill this prophecy.
      It appears to me that this battle against Israel occurs soon after the Rapture.  The defeat of this army will anger the nations that hate Israel and serve as a kind of rallying cry that ends a few years later in the armies gathering for the Battle of Armageddon.  The Armageddon armies will be the revenge factor from the defeat of Gog and Magog.  They will be blinded by their rage and will not cease until they have marched into their own graves in Megiddo.
      The armies of the Antichrist are very different from the coalition named in Ezekiel.  This army is led by the Antichrist himself.  His furor at Israel will be the final sword in God's hand of judgment for Israel.  The Bible says, "Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.   For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city."  (Zechariah 14:1-2).
      This battle ends God's "cup of wrath" against His own chosen and He descends to fight the enemies Himself.  Follow the continuing of the Scripture above.  "Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south."  "And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbor." (Zechariah 14:3-4,12-13)
      This battle is the "until!"  It is the battle that ends nearly 2,000 years of estrangement between the God of Abraham and the people of Abraham's loins. They rejected Jesus Christ and were cut off and out of their own Olive Tree.  Now, they will be redeemed and regrafted into their own stump.  Everything that Bible believers want for the Lord's people, the Jews, will now become reality.
Romans 11
31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
The Fullness Of Israel Will Come
      Israel's future is breathtaking, but cannot be born illegitimately.  Try as we may to place Israel in her glory before the time has come and we only frustrate ourselves.  By the wisdom given by the Holy Ghost, Apostle Paul understood perfectly the process.  He stated, "According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear; unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompense unto them:  Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway."  (Romans 11:8-10).
      I mentioned earlier that the Jews were a stubborn people, but this was part of their judgment.  Note those words, "that they may not see and bow down their back alway."  But all of this shall change at the appointed time.  Paul continued, "I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.   Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?"  "For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?"  (Romans 11:11-12,15).
The Rebirth of Israel Is Very Soon
     I see nothing on the prophetic horizon that can forestall the coming showdown.  The president of the Islamic nation of Sudan has prophesied that we will have a world dominated by Islam by 2010.  (Cal Thomas, Charlotte Observer, October 27, 2001.) It did not happen.   The "War on Terrorism" places Israel under incredible pressure to compromise more territory and given more credence to the terrorist.  If the efforts of President Trump and our American military succeed in crippling the worldwide organization of terrorists, it may mean a few more years.  If they fail to destroy the stockpiles of bio-chemical and nuclear capacities, it probably means very little time left before the Tribulation period officially begins.
            Under all circumstances our world is a powder keg and Israel is our time clock. "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24).  Greatness for Israel hangs in the balance and the Lord Jesus Christ is soon to tip the scales.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


You know, it's a funny thing.  It is all the horrific events and uncertain finances and wars and tragedies that sap our excitement and fill us with dread when all the while, they are the very reason we got excited in the first place.
I mean, it was seeing these things begin to come to pass that grabbed our attention in the first place.
And as they grew closer and more intense, our excitement built up . . but now, it has been sign after sign after sign . . . but no trumpet.
And suddenly, all these things, as exciting as they were, begin to take second place to worry; the mortgage market, our retirement accounts, whether war in the Middle East will drive gasoline prices through the roof – and what IF the Democrats win the White House again next year?
Counting on the Second Coming of Christ sounds so . . . well, you have to admit it . . . to most people, it is a bit like counting on a lottery ticket to fund one’s retirement.  And I suspect that the ones to whom it doesn’t probably still support Harold Camping.
We all say we’re counting on Jesus, but are still funding our IRA’s just in case.  We trust in the Lord, but we’re also making sure we’ve got some food reserves and other emergency supplies.  
We claim excitement at the return of the Lord as we see the signs of His coming, but we huddle in fear when it gets too close, just as unbelievers do.
We numb ourselves to the massive death tolls from catastrophic events by focusing in on the significance of the event from the perspective of Bible prophecy, compartmentalizing the horror of the actual event.  
It is only later we are suddenly staggered by the realization of what it really meant to the victims of horrific earthquakes, catastrophic tsunamis, murderous tornado clusters, etc..  
Are we faithless when we cower in fear when calamity comes too close?  Ghoulish when we rejoice from far away?  
These are strange days; one hardly knows what to think, given all that we know.  Who doesn’t flee to shelter at the approach of a coming storm? 
Trusting in the Lord doesn’t mean laying down on a freeway or standing in the path of a tornado.  Expecting His soon return doesn’t mean not preparing for one’s retirement.   
It doesn’t mean you don’t have to finish school.  It doesn’t mean you can quit your job, climb up to a hilltop and wait.  If that is what the Lord expected, He’d have been more specific about the timing.
Instead, our instructions are to behave as if the Lord was coming back tomorrow, but to plan as if He won’t come back in our lifetime.  Before He departed, He left us with two specific orders:
"Preach the Word", and in the meanwhile, “occupy till I come”.
In a very real sense, the difference between a believer’s death and the Rapture is primarily one of process and timing.  Barring unforeseen calamity or early-onset disease, one can expect to die of disease or old age, usually in stages.
We don’t know when and we don’t know how, and most everybody has a different way of shuffling off this mortal coil, but we can all expect it.  For some, it will be a peaceful, natural process.
For others . . . well, we all have our own private horrors, ways that we pray won’t mark our transition.  
Nothing is more certain, as they say, than death (and taxes).
At the moment of death, our souls stop receiving input via the five physical senses (carnal) and we begin receiving our input via our spirit.
The Rapture is an entirely different process, which is why the Scriptures call it “the blessed hope.”  Like death, the Rapture could happen at any time, but unlike death, the process is both certain and beautiful.
The Lord Himself descends from Heaven with a shout and then we who are living are suddenly “caught up” (Gk: parousia Latin: rapios) to meet Him in the air.  On the way up, our bodies are transformed and instead of awakening eternally alive, we never have to go through the dying process in the first place.
The certainty is this: if you aren’t Raptured, you will die.  There isn’t a third option. 
Now to the central question; do you know when you will die?
There are those among our fellowship who are terminally ill – some who have even been given a time frame of how long they have left.
Even they have no more idea of the day and the hour of their deaths than they do of the day and hour of the Rapture.  My mother-in-law is approaching ninety, in fine physical health, still has all her marbles and reads five newspapers every day.
She knows her time could come any day, but she doesn’t try to divine the day or the hour.  She understands the futility of it.  She correctly believes she has about an equal chance of death or the Rapture.  
Now suppose that you knew exactly on what day you would die and at what time.  This year, Yom Kippur falls across September 22-23, so let’s say you knew you would die at 11:43 pm this September 23. 
How would your behavior change?  Would you become more spiritual?  Would you pray more?  Would you be more generous?  More thoughtful?  Kinder?  Friendlier?  More honest? 
Your behavior changes are sincere enough, but they are as genuine as the guy who never locks his doors suddenly locking them because of a rash of burglaries in his neighborhood. 
The change isn’t brought about by a sincere change of heart, but rather out of fear.  If the burglars were caught, he’d go back to his old habits.
“And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.” (Luke 12:39)
So we don’t know exactly when we will die.  And we don’t know exactly when the Rapture will occur.  And we don’t know these things for exactly the same reasons. 
We can know approximately when we will die – we can certainly know when it is close, and even at the doors.  And the Lord says that we can know approximately when the Rapture will happen – when it is close even at the doors.
I know approximately when I will die, assuming I take care of myself and live into old age.  That knowledge inspires me to take better care of myself.  And the older I get, the more inspired I become.
I know the Rapture is near, and that inspires me to preach the Word, give the warning, tell my friends, but not to empty my bank account, sell my house or quit my job.  
We are to occupy until He comes, planning our individual futures as if we could count on our full three score and ten, or even four score (or more) but to live out our lives the way we would if we knew He was coming tomorrow.
It is ok to be just as afraid of an approaching tornado as the unbeliever in the house next door. Or to be just as careful in traffic.  Or to stock up on emergency supplies, just in case.
(Being dead shouldn’t scare a believer, but I can think of few methods of getting that way that don’t scare the pants off me.)
"Trusting in the Lord" is not a synonym for being stupid. 
"But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Thy works." (Psalms 73:28)


Anyone who is at least thirty-five years old will probably remember one of the most brilliant advertising campaigns to date. The American Express company featured well-known celebrities in commercial scenarios checking into hotels, renting cars, and paying for dinner in restaurants. As they presented their American Express card they would say, "Don't leave home without it."
Fast forward to recent years and we find ourselves in the days of Apple Pay and other mobile payment apps. There was a time when cash was king but regardless of which method of payment you prefer to use, we are still able to buy and sell when, how, and where we choose. There is a day coming when commerce and worship will be intrinsically linked. It will be a time when buying or selling requires worship.
If I want to go to the store and buy a few groceries for dinner, all I need is my preferred form of payment and depending on the situation, a form of identification such as my driver's license. I pick up my bread, pickles, and cold cuts and pay the cashier without giving the transaction a second thought.
How many times have you swiped your credit card for gas, a hotel room, dinner with your spouse, or paying your utility bill? I'm certain it's probably hundreds of times and whether you paid by cash, check, or card, buying, and selling is something that is second nature to us. If you own a business, your entire livelihood depends on your ability to sell goods or services and collect payments. At first glance, buying and selling are activities that we can all take for granted because it is so woven into the fabric of our daily lives.
Because commerce is so routine, many of us don't stop to think about what would happen if someone would come to power and drastically alter the mechanisms in which we engage in buying and selling. This scenario has unfolded numerous times in history and on occasion, it will ostracize a certain segment of the population so they aren't able to buy or sell.
This is the sort of unimaginable evil that Jewish people had to endure in the 1930s as German laws were changed to prohibit commerce with them. More recently we have vicious rulers in Cuba, North Korea, and in Venezuela who can brutally crush dissent with impunity. Oftentimes, these despots will use controls over commerce and commodities to keep people in line.
The desperate food shortages now being realized in Venezuela and North Korea are the direct result of evil men being consumed by the lust for absolute power. I watch the global economies and the interwoven complexities of today's financial markets with great interest. If there is a selloff in an Asian market, the reverberations are felt in other markets around the world and on Main Street.
I don't know what will trigger the beginning of an economy controlled by one man but regardless of how it transpires, we see continued global economic crisis and geopolitical upheaval as indicative of the last days.
Moreover, the massive influx of refugees into Europe and the U.S., along with the spike in terror attacks in prominent Western cities and capitals-may result in a consolidation of power by one man based on the demand for peace and safety.
Coercion, exclusion and deprivation are the methods evil men use, and as ruthless as these men are, someone much worse will emerge on the world stage. A day is coming when one man will take control of the global financial infrastructure. This man will be the Antichrist and when he comes to power, the Bible makes it clear that no one will be able to buy or sell without the mark (his name or the number of his name) on their right hand or forehead.
He will have an accomplice in compelling people to take his mark. The False Prophet will perform great signs, exercise great authority, and causes people to take the mark of the beast (Antichrist) in order to buy or sell. People who refuse to worship the beast and take his mark are unable to purchase anything including the basic necessities of life. When the Antichrist comes on the scene he will be a deceiver straight from hell. Daniel 11:36 says he will speak against the One true God and exalt himself. This man is going to be persuasive; lying signs and wonders will cause people to be loyal to him.
There is something even more troubling about the Antichrist's rise to power. This may be oversimplified for some readers but for the sake of others who aren't familiar with Bible prophecy, please allow me to explain a very important detail that is frankly a matter of eternal life or death. Worship is the centerpiece of the Antichrist's economy. A time is coming when cash, checks, and credit cards will be useless. The Bible makes it clear that no one can buy or sell unless they have Antichrist's mark. take a close look at what the Bible says about this worship based economic system.
"Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead,  so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has  understanding  calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666" ( Revelation 13:16-18).
"And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,  he also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.  And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name" (Revelation 14:9-11).
The Bible makes it very clear that taking the mark and worship are intricately linked together. Notice the apostle John wrote, "And they have no rest, day or night, those worshippers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name" (Revelation 14:11).
In these cases, people have willfully either rejected Christ altogether or have known Him but have fallen into deception. I believe the current slide toward the emergent church and ecumenism is setting up lukewarm Christians to embrace a one-world religious system. The bottom line is this: People who truly belong to Jesus are not going to be deceived.
Satanic deception is already at work in the world right now preparing the way for Antichrist. There is a willful process of turning aside into false teaching. Remember the warning in Matthew 24:24 when Jesus warns that false prophets would appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect if that were possible.
A growing number of prominent evangelical teachers and leaders who are teaching that it is possible to receive the mark of the beast and still be saved and go to heaven! This is utter foolishness and a downright dangerous teaching. There is an eternally important point you must remember. Receiving the mark of the beast and worshipping him are intrinsically linked together.
If you receive the mark of the beast, you will worship him; you will be able to buy  and sell and be eternally lost. Moreover, you have worshiped Satan because he gives authority to the Antichrist. I'm warning you as a Bible teacher and friend, you can't receive the mark of the beast and go to heaven.
The Bible clearly says that anyone who receives the mark will be tormented day and night with fire forever and cannot repent after taking the mark. Throughout biblical history, the same scenario has played out. People either choose to serve the Lord or to serve Satan. Walking with Jesus will cost us, but He has overcome the world.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the  world  you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
I want to remind you that there are believers all over this planet suffering for their faith right now. Ministries such as Barnabas Fund, Voice of the Martyrs, and others tell us about countless instances of our Christian family being persecuted even now. In many parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, Christians are hungry, destitute, ostracized, and persecuted by governmental authorities and extremists groups. This is not an anomaly, this has been the norm for Christians over the last twenty centuries. I'm left wondering why many Christians here in the West are lulled into believing that we are the "lucky" generation that receives a pass.
I absolutely stand on biblical authority regarding a pre-millennial Rapture and that believers will indeed be raptured before God pours out His wrath on an unrepentant world. It is certain that followers of Jesus are not appointed to God's wrath. It is equally certain that there will be believers living in the end times will be persecuted for their faithfulness to Jesus. We are constantly told through Scripture to endure until the end, to finish well, and to abide in Him.
I want to exhort you to remain strong in the Lord no matter what comes our way. It's biblical to look at the big picture of global conditions to understand the times and discern the season we are in. It doesn't require an advanced degree in theology to see that things conditions are deteriorating in regard to how Christians and Christianity are viewed here in the West.
Some of you will read this article about the coming worldwide persecution of Christians and will dismiss the warning because you are 100 percent convinced that you won't be around for it but will be raptured before global persecution begins It has already begun. on various levels. Unfortunately, your ironclad belief in a pre-Tribulation Rapture is based on your opinion and own personal interpretation of Scripture and not biblical fact.
The trials and tribulations believers are going to endure are not God's wrath being poured out. We aren't appointed to it and therefore won't be here for it. I want to close by saying that as we approach the time of Jesus' return, the days will continue to grow evil, violent, and the love of many will grow cold. We need to be salt and light in this world that desperately needs it. We see preparations and global economic shifts being made that will ultimately result in a global economy under the Antichrist.
Look at what is happening right now in places like Venezuela. It's an indicator as to how rapidly social unrest and chaotic conditions deteriorate when evil men rule. Millions of people in Venezuela are forced to eat horses and domestic animals right now for food! Hospitals in the capital Caracas are in shambles and the unsanitary conditions are unbelievable. This is just the tip of the approaching iceberg because when Antichrist demands worship in order to participate in the economy, while many people will receive his mark, faithful believers won't.
We must remember we are in the world and not of it. We are told to endure to the end and that Jesus would never leave or forsake us. The Holy Spirit will enable the faithful remnant to stand firm until we are caught up together with Him in the air. Blessings to you as you continue to finish well for Jesus.


On March 27th of 1980, there was a small eruption of Mt. St. Helens in Washington state. The volcano rumbled awake after a one hundred year sleep. In the weeks to follow, a series of small earthquakes warned of the danger building below the surface of the mountain. Federal and local government officials alerted the public to the growing threat and said a large-scale eruption was imminent.
Many tourists, backpackers, campers, and local residents heeded the warnings and complied with evacuation orders. There were dozens of others who decided to ignore   and even scoff at the warnings about the growing danger and chose to stay in harm's way. On May 18th, 1980 at 8:32 am. Mt. St. Helens erupted ferociously, sending a pyroclastic blast and a wall of super-heated gas and ash racing down the sides of the mountain at over 300 mph.
In the wake of the volcano's fury, 57 people lost their lives because they either ignored  or scoffed at the warnings of impending danger. The Bible tells us about a time when scoffers will mock people who warn others about coming of the Lord.
2 Peter 3:3-4 - "Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, 'Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.'"
The word scoffer denotes a person who is engaged in the act of jeering, scorning or mocking. In this case, the Bible warns us about people who will be scoffing at the possibility of the Lord's soon return. Please take note of the fact that the Bible zeroes in on a particular time in history. Peter warned that these people will be around in the last days. Another key aspect of these people is the fact that they are following their own sinful desires. The Bible tells us that these people will mockingly ask, "Where is the promise of his coming?"
I have been around for awhile and I've observed some non-Christians mock the notion of God's coming judgment and Jesus' soon return. They will call God a mean cosmic bully, a manmade illusion, or a sky fairy. I watched a guy throw my Bible across a room as he cursed at it and called it fake. While that level of animosity isn't the norm, there is still the widespread denial of the Bible's authority.
Television,  radio,  and social media are brimming with people who scoff at the idea that Jesus is coming again. My heart goes out to these people because they are not the enemy, Satan is and he wants to keep them blinded. Knowing the stakes are eternal, we must tell them about God's holiness, coming judgment, and redemption through Jesus.
We want to focus on the elephant in the middle of the evangelical living room. The elephant in the room is the continued ignoring of sound end time Bible prophecy teaching. Ask yourself the following questions: When was the last time you heard a sermon on Bible prophecy? When was the last time your small group discussed the end times? Can you remember the last time your church invited a guest speaker to teach on an end-time subject?
I'm guessing many of you feel the same as I do. I have noticed a strong departure from teaching end time Bible prophecy in most evangelical churches today. This is sad and unbelievable in light of the fact that the four gospels, the epistles, and the Old Testament are overflowing with chapters that are heavily eschatological.
I call end time Bible prophecy the elephant in the evangelical living room because so many of today's well-known leaders either choose to ignore it altogether or in some cases, they have become the very scoffers the apostle Peter warns us about. It is an absolute disgrace and dereliction of duty to ignore or scoff at Bible prophecy, yet many of today's big names do this regularly.
If a pastor or a Bible teacher you learn from ignores this subject, chances are high they are doctrinally flawed in other areas. Ignoring or scoffing at Bible prophecy should be a big red flag and I would advise you go elsewhere for biblical instruction and find a godly servant who teaches the whole truth.
When I became a Christian in the mid-1980s, there was a great deal of interest in all things relating to Bible prophecy. End-time books were everywhere, many churches taught on this subject with regularity, and it was a big topic among Christian friends. Here we are decades later, and it is my opinion that interest and teaching on end-time Bible prophecy are at an all time low and I think many of you would agree.
This is indicative of a church that is living their best life now instead of living for the one to come. Many who call themselves believers are too busy playing church instead of being the Church. Today's "Christian" bookstores are chock full of quasi-Christian self-help books that focus on self-esteem instead of God's glory.
We throw around words like authenticity, discipleship, and Christ-likeness, but they have become Christianese talk for masses of lukewarm people who are following a movement instead of the Savior. The Great Commission and personal holiness underscore the importance of end time Bible prophecy. Matthew 24 is full of Jesus' warnings and encouragement to His followers. He tells us to be alert, to endure to the end and tells us the gospel must be preached in all the world.
Matthew 24:14 - "And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."
As we think about Peter's warning of scoffers coming in the last days, we must understand that there is the element of personal holiness at the center of the issue. The people who were scoffing appear to have a form of godliness and are quasi-Christian because they reference his delay coming. When I take a 10,000 ft. view of the popular evangelical landscape today, it seems that where Bible prophecy is important, so is personal holiness.
Where Bible prophecy is ignored, personal holiness becomes religious speak and not a matter of personal conviction. This is important to understand because Peter ties the understanding of end time Bible prophecy closely together with godly living in the last days.
2 Peter 3:11-12  - "Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God."
Bible prophecy isn't a distraction or divisive as several popular evangelical teachers have said. End-time Bible prophecy is woven throughout the scriptures to call us to godliness, witnessing, and for understanding the times we live in. So many well-known leaders choosing to ignore or scoff at end time teaching is indicative of the last  days spiritual deception and blindness Peter warned us about. We were told that scoffers would come in the last days.