Friday, October 27, 2017


by Jack Kelley -

After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your very great reward."
But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir."
Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir."(Genesis 15:1-4)
Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her."
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne.(Genesis 16:1-4, 15)
Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. (Genesis 21:1-3)
But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, and she said to Abraham, "Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac."
The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. But God said to him, "Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. I will make the son of the maidservant into a nation also, because he is your offspring."(Genesis 21:9-13)
Abraham was 75 years old when God called him, about 80 when God promised him a son, 86 when Ishmael was born (Gen. 16:16) and 100 at the time of Isaac's birth. (Gen. 21:5) This made Ishmael 14 years older than Isaac, and about 16 or 17 when Isaac was weaned. When he made fun of Isaac, Sarah demanded that Abraham get rid of him.
That snapshot seems to set the tone for our understanding of Ishmael. God had told Hagar that her son would be a "wild ass" of a man with his hand against every man and every man's hand against him. (Gen. 16:12) He was bigger, stronger, and older than his helpless baby brother, and yet he thought it sport to mock him.
We can imagine that the jealousy between Sarah and Hagar had its effect on Ishmael and served to frame his view of Isaac from the beginning. And it doesn't take too much of a stretch to believe that Ishmael was told repeatedly that Isaac was God's choice to become Abraham's heir although Ishmael was the first born and, at least in his opinion, the rightful heir. When Ishmael and Hagar were sent away to fend for themselves the sense of abandonment likely made it difficult for Ishmael to trust anyone for a long time. I can almost hear him thinking that his life was a mistake, and wishing he had never been born. No wonder he didn't get along with anyone.
This feeling of being an unworthy outcast matured into a resentment so strong that it permeated Ishmael's very soul and from that day to this, the descendants of Ishmael have stood against the descendants of Isaac. His anger had given the devil a foothold that grew into a stronghold so powerful that it has lasted through all the generations since. All this happened because Abraham and Sarah grew impatient with God and tried to fulfill His promise on their own.
Once More, With Feeling
A generation later, Esau felt similarly disenfranchised by Jacob's manipulation of Isaac. This was the case even though Jacob only received that which he had earlier purchased from Esau, who in a moment of extreme hunger traded his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew as though it was a mere trinket. Esau was so angry with his father, who refused to reverse the transaction, that he did the one thing that he knew would hurt Isaac the most. He married Malhalath, a daughter of Ishmael. (Gen. 28:8-9) How he and Ishmael must have railed against Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who in two consecutive generations had humiliated them in the matter of their presumed inheritance. Each recounting of the events added bricks and mortar to the stronghold the devil was building in their minds.
It had been God's plan all along for His promise to Abraham to be fulfilled through Isaac in Jacob. When Sarah took matters into her own hand after waiting impatiently for six years to give her husband an heir, God promised to make Ishmael's descendants into a great nation with 12 rulers just as he had in mind for Jacob. "But," He said, "My covenant I will establish with Isaac." (Gen. 17:20-21)
And Esau's descendants were given land east of the Jordan River that the Israelites were not allowed to take as their own. (Deut. 2:4-6) But Ishmael didn't inherit the covenant position and Esau didn't get the Promised Land, and to them what they received, though generous, probably seemed like 2nd best. Far from encouraging them to forgive and forget, their anger was further inflamed.
The land given to Esau became known as Edom because of its spectacular red rock mountains and, until their rebellion against God, Esau's descendants thrived there. The final straw came when the Edomites took advantage of God's punishment of Israel during the Babylonian wars. Thinking to finally get the coveted Promised Land, they sided with Nebuchadnezzar and cut off the Jews' escape from the Babylonian armies, ambushing the fleeing Israelites and looting their homes. (Obadiah 1:10-14) As a result, Edom was destroyed and the Nabateans, another of Ishmael's descendants, took their land.
We'll Return After This Break
During Israel's 1900 year absence from the world scene, the sons of Ishmael grew into the family of nations that God had promised, but the hostility remained even though the Promised Land was seemingly theirs for the taking. When Mohammed, a descendant of Ishmael's, failed to convert the Jews in the region to his new religion, he declared war against them and the ancient hostility was born anew. All the old feelings of resentment were re-kindled, and even though the armies of Islam embarked upon an era of conquest that eventually took them all the way to eastern France, they maintained a special hostility toward the Jews.
And then the unimaginable happened. For the third time they were required to step aside in favor of the sons of Israel. God was bringing His people back to the land He had promised to Abraham so long ago. Never mind that the land had been pretty much abandoned for much of the preceding 1900 years, it had been Muslim land and now it was being given back to their sworn enemies, the Jews. It violated their sense of ownership, tainted though it was, and it violated the promise of their religion. Mohammed himself had told them that any land conquered in the name of Allah would never be lost again to the infidels.
Of course by now the majority of  Mohammed's followers weren't sons of Ishmael, but Persians, Egyptians, Babylonians, and Assyrians, to use their Biblical names. But their historical hatred of the Jews had been kept alive through the religion they all shared in common. And most of the returning Jews weren't of the original 12 tribes but the descendants of Europeans who had converted to Judaism over the centuries. Only a remnant of today's Jews can trace their ancestry to Jacob's 12 sons. But it's that remnant that validates Israel's claim under the Abrahamic covenant in God's eyes.
Therefore, the wars of today aren't between Ishmaelites and Israelites, but between Muslims and Jews. The family feud has become a battle of religions. Will the God of the Jews prevail, or will it be the god of Islam-for they are not one and the same. The God who inhabits eternity created the land and gave it to Abraham in an everlasting covenant. The god of this world had taken it as his own and refuses to give it up. It's the most hotly contested piece of real estate in the entire universe, and the contest has both its origin and its resolution in the spiritual realm, not in the assembly halls of human governments.
So now we've come full circle. Ishmael, represented by the Muslims, is older, bigger, and stronger, but Isaac, represented by the Jews, is still the child of the promise. And as we'll soon see, what God has promised, He performs. Against all odds, Ishmael will once again be driven away, and God will use the occasion to re-instate His ancient covenant with the children of Israel, biological or not. It's another giant signpost that the End of the Age is upon us. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


 by Nathele Graham -

Ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties are more than things of myth. These entities come from the unseen spiritual world and are very real demons. Many people relegate them to an over-active imagination, but God's word tells us they're real. A spiritual battle rages all around us and we're the victims of satanic hatred. Everyone serves one of two masters: Jesus Christ or Satan. Jesus is God Almighty, but Satan is the god of this world and is evil. The people in this world who follow Satan act on his behalf and make life miserable for Christians. Most of them don't know that they're following the prince of this world, but by rejecting Christ they've made the choice to follow Satan. They don't have the moral guidance of Scripture and can only act in a way that pleases Satan. The battle is real, but if you're fighting people (your spouse, your boss, your parents, etc.) then you're fighting the wrong enemy. Satan and his minions are the enemy but will be defeated through Jesus Christ who said "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this word be cast out." John 12:31. Jesus has won the war, but we still face spiritual battle. The battle needs to be fought with spiritual weapons.
The Apostle Paul faced much satanic opposition as he went about his missionary journeys  to spread the Gospel. The blessing for us is that he wrote a letter to the Christians in Ephesus in which he told how our spiritual battle is to be fought. "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood , but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."  Ephesians 6:10-13. It's important to recognize just who the enemy is. Our enemy isn't flesh and blood, but an unseen foe who attacks from the spiritual realm. Paul names the enemy as "principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world". These are ranks of angels, specifically fallen angels who follow Satan. The demonic world is real and that's where the battle truly lies.
The satanic entities which Paul names are seen throughout Scripture. Daniel chapter 10 tells us that Daniel had prayed for 21 days and then an angel appeared to him. The angel told Daniel that he had been delayed by the "prince of the kingdom of Persia" and that he would have to go fight the prince of Greece. These princes are the entities Paul refers to as "principalities". The "powers" referred to are evil beings that keep people under bondage to drugs, alcohol, pornography, infirmity, etc. We're told in Luke 13:11 that Jesus saw a woman who had a "spirit of infirmity" and had been doubled over for 18 years. Jesus loosed her from that spirit. In Luke chapter 11 Jesus talks about the eye being the light of the body, but if the eye is evil thy body is full of darkness. The ruler of darkness is evil indeed. Spiritual wickedness in high places is better translated "heavenly places". In Ephesians 2:2 Paul says that before accepting Christ we walked "according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in children of disobedience". The enemy is Satan and his minions, not people.
A spiritual battle calls for spiritual weapons, and Paul describes those weapons in Ephesians chapter 6. Weapons used in any war take knowledge and strength in order to use them properly. A Christian who is spiritually weak will find that the battle is difficult, tiring, and may eventually give up. The Christian who is spiritually strong will still have face battles but will have the strength to fight and win. Proper diet is an important part in having a strong, healthy body. The same is true to maintain a strong, healthy spirit ready for battle. Our spirit feeds on the word of God. When Satan tried to win against Jesus in the wilderness he challenged Jesus to turn the rocks into bread. Jesus had been fasting and His body needed food, "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4. Jesus quoted Scripture, specifically Deuteronomy 8:3. It's important for a Christian to study and understand Scripture.  A person who suffers from bulimia may put food into their mouth and swallow, but will vomit it out before it nourishes their body. They grow weak and become malnourished. Scripture needs to be taken into our minds and hearts and digested so it will feed and nourish our soul. If you never grow past the "feel good" verses you'll never be armed for battle. Verses which speak of God's love for us are wonderful to rest in, but when it comes to spiritual warfare we need to understand how to fight. The Holy Spirit is powerful but very few Christians understand the power we have available through Him. Peter is an example of a man who was dramatically changed by the power of God and was able to speak boldly with no fear once emboldened by the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul was changed from a murderous vigilante doing the biding of Satan into a powerful man of God who spread the Gospel and faced danger boldly because He understood the power of God. That power can be yours.
The Apostle Paul wrote many letters and if we study them we'll be well armed for spiritual battle. One such letter was written to the congregation in Corinth. Satan had a strong influence in the Corinthian congregation and they were losing their spiritual fight. They were giving in to the darkness of the pagan culture around them. Sin was accepted and they were proud of their open-mindedness in accepting sexual immorality. 1They could no more fight a spiritual battle than a newborn baby can. Paul couldn't write to them as mature Christians. "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able." 1 Corinthians 3:1-2. Unfortunately that's where most Christians are today. Sunday school lessons and morning sermons are milk. Has your pastor preached on Romans chapter 1? How about 2 Timothy chapter 3? Unless he preaches line upon line and precept upon precept I'm sure he hasn't. Don't wait for the pastor to feed you meat. Study for yourself. Read, study, digest, and apply Scripture to your life. Be armed for doing battle against the powers of darkness.
Parents, feed your children meat. They won't get it in Sunday school. "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6. Today most parents turn their children over to public school. That's a big mistake. Reading, writing, and arithmetic aren't as important as teaching them to be sexually active, to accept homosexuality,  and believe teachers above parents. Children who are only fed spiritual milk will grow to be weak adults who cannot fight in the spiritual battle. When Paul wrote to Timothy he reminded him that he had been taught truth as a child. "But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou has known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 3:14-15. Spiritually deficient children will lose every spiritual battle because they are unequipped. So will spiritually deficient adults. Children need to be taught to measure everything by God's word. If God's truth is brought into question then the spiritual weapons are weakened.
Another important part in becoming strong is to exercise. Physical exercise builds strong muscles and spiritual exercise builds strong Christians. Memorize Scripture so that when a spiritual attack begins you can have it ready in order to fight the powers of darkness. What do you do if you're tempted into sin by a co-worker or a friend? Counter the temptation with Scripture. Jesus quoted from Genesis when He said "And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Matthew 19:4-6. Satan wants divorce, fornication, and other immoral acts. By knowing Scripture and exercising your knowledge of it you'll win spiritual battles. Sin weakens you and makes it easier for the powers of darkness to gain the upper hand in your life. Are you strong enough to resist any temptation that might come your way? "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7. It will take strong resolve on your part to resist temptation, but the more you exercise resistance the stronger you'll become. God won't force His will upon you, but if you submit to Him your strength will grow.
The next step is to practice. Good soldiers don't neglect their weapons and Christian soldiers in a spiritual battle need to practice daily. Don't just talk the talk, but walk the walk. "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." James 1:22. Having a fish bumper sticker doesn't make you a strong Christian. Resist road rage when someone cuts you off in traffic and give God glory and you'll find yourself growing stronger in the Lord. Reach out to fellow Christians when you see they have a need. Witness to the lost people around you. If you practice doing these things they become easier. Satan would prefer that you sit home and watch television rather than reading Scripture and putting Christianity into practice. Speak out boldly for Christ and acknowledge Him in everything.  Jesus commended Peter for declaring that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18. Jesus Christ is the foundation of our faith. Hell will not prevail against Him. He is our strength and our salvation. Onward Christian soldiers! Start marching to war against the "principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places". Be prepared to fight a good fight.
Brothers and sisters, are you being fed meat or milk? If milk then you aren't armed for battle. Our victory comes through Jesus. "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39. Wickedness is growing stronger and this wickedness is caused by principalities, powers, and the rulers of the darkness. If your pastor isn't teaching the entirety of Scripture you may not understand that increased wickedness is a sign of the end times. Don't wait for a man who's paid to tickle your ears to feed you spiritual meat. Arm yourself for battle. Study prophecy and find out how Jesus described the end times. Understand the importance of Israel and keep an eye on the happenings in the Middle East. The end times are upon us and if you know anyone who has not accepted Christ for salvation then today is the day you need to share the Gospel...tomorrow may be too late.
Graduate from drinking milk to eating spiritual meat that will make you strong to fight the spiritual battle.
God bless you all,


by Matt Ward

"Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has appeared in the world" (Winston Churchill).
Strictly speaking, the Jews should not exist. For over 3,000 years the Jewish race has managed to persist and survive, while all others before them have been relegated to forgotten pages of world history. Nations and empires that at one time threatened the existence of the Jewish race have themselves suffered the fate they wished to mete out to the Jews. Empires of the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Media-Persians, the Romans, and the Greeks all ceased to be, including in more recent times, Hitler's vision of a Nazi empire.
Despite spending 2,500 of the 3,000 years of their existence scattered to the four corners of the world in diaspora, the Jews remain and survive. When Blaise Pascal, the great Christian philosopher, was asked by King Louis XIV of France to give him proof of the existence of God, Pascal answered simply, "Why the Jews, your Majesty, the Jews!"
The Jewish race is unique to all human history; there is quite simply no other race like them on Earth.
Leo Tolstoy, the writer of War and Peace, acknowledged this truth:  "What is the Jew? ... What kind of unique creature is this whom all the rulers of all the nations of the world have disgraced and crushed and expelled and destroyed; persecuted, burned and drowned, and who, despite their anger and their fury, continues to live and to flourish."
Even the vehement atheist and self-proclaimed enemy of God, Friedrich Nietzsche, who wrote the infamous statement, "God is dead," in several of his works, acknowledged the uniqueness of this ubiquitous people:  "The Jews are beyond all doubt the strongest, toughest, and purest race at present living in Europe; they know how to succeed even under the worst conditions."
From earliest antiquity there exists account after account detailing frequent, state-sponsored antisemitism all over the known world. There are accounts of pogroms, of indiscriminate violence, and of persecution. 2 Maccabees (124 BC), written in antiquity, provides just one example of many. It tells of a Jewish woman who had seven sons. This Jewish mother is forced to watch as one son after another is executed before her eyes, all because Antiochus IV Epiphanes tried to force them to eat pork. They all refused, so they all died.
Today is no different from any age past. Antisemitism exists today and is as pernicious, persistent and increasingly pervasive, especially in Europe, as it has ever been. History is beginning to repeat itself with Jews being murdered from Paris to Copenhagen, synagogues attacked, burned and mobbed; and Jews, in increasing numbers, are leaving.
Even within mainstream Christianity there is no longer solace for Israel and the Jewish race. The old antisemitism, that in part fueled the fire for such horrors as the Crusades and the medieval Inquisitions, is returning to the modern-day church.
It is one of the great tragedies of our time that many Christians completely miss the significance of Israel existing in our own day. This tiny nation, that occupies only half of one percent of the total land mass of the Middle East, is the true cornerstone of all end-times Bible prophecy.
The ceaseless and increasing castigation and persecution of Israel, and of Jews still in diaspora, is not without purpose; God is still very much in control. Israel is a beacon which indicates exactly where we are on God's prophetic timetable. It is a huge prophetic marker pointing to the increasingly imminent end of this age.
Prophetically everything begins and ends with Israel. God has guaranteed the people of Israel a national existence forevermore. Israel, in turn throughout her existence, has brought immeasurable material and spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ to the Gentile nations of this world: "And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:3). Indeed we have been blessed.
As well as these innumerable blessings, Israel and the Jews also define and determine the primary focus of the whole eschatological program of God past, present and future. Yet most today, because biblical illiteracy abounds, have completely missed the point of Israel. This is the season of the Lord's return; the rebirth of Israel in 1948 absolutely guarantees it.
Jesus will come someday soon, "like a thief" (Rev. 16:15). However, His coming is not meant to be a surprise to those who know His word, only for those who reject it. For those that are watching, the return of Jesus for His bride is meant as a "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13), with a specific reward attached for those actively anticipating His at any moment return (2 Tim. 4:8).
Israel is God's very own super sign, and the majority of Christians have either missed the point of Israel, or worse, actively rejected her. Israel allows us to discern, with a reasonable degree of specificity, exactly which "time" and "season" it is we are living in today, as all other end-time prophecy is gauged through the prism of Israel.
This is the primary reason why many within the Church today are so completely clueless about the days we live in, even actively rejecting the lateness of this hour. They fail to recognize the significance of the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948, seeing no importance to modern Israel at all. As a result of this, they miss the first, most important prophetic marker through which all other end-time prophecy is to be understood.
This means that they cannot even begin to interpret "times and seasons" because they have no starting point, the rebirth of Israel in 1948. They make this mistake because of bad doctrine, an adherence to replacement theology and, though it is uncomfortable to say it, because of the rise of antisemitism within Christianity today.
Israel is an active demonstration of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Israel has returned to its ancient land, its Abrahamic inheritance, after two thousand years of harsh diaspora, and she remains, just as predicted, in unbelief to this day (Isaiah 11:11-12). Just as the prophet Isaiah foresaw, a nation was born in just one day, on May 14, 1948.
"Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children" (Isaiah 66:8).
Hebrew has returned as the spoken language of Israel (Zephaniah 3: 8-10), and preparations for the rebuilding of the temple is common talk, as is the news of Red Heifer births. No biblically acceptable, blemishless Red Heifers have been born for over two thousand years, until very recently.
Ethiopian Jews have returned to Israel, while Russia has risen and its Jews have returned "from the north country" (Isaiah 43:5-6; Jeremiah 16:15). Indeed, one day soon the Jews will look back and determine that this unique regathering from worldwide dispersal, that has happened in our lifetime, is a greater miracle than was their deliverance from Egyptian captivity under Moses (Jeremiah 16:14-15; 23:7-8).
Israel's deserts have bloomed (Isaiah 51:3), and her fruit, literally and metaphorically, fills the whole earth (Isaiah 27:6). Trees now grow again in Israel, a land that was a barren waste for two thousand years (Isaiah 41:18-20), and Israel has reached a point where she is more prosperous now than ever in the past (Ezekiel 36:11).
Israel has been completely rebuilt (Amos 9:11, 13) and has prevailed without exception against all of her enemies in modernity, up to this point at least (Isaiah 41:12-14).
Now established once again in these end times as a nation state (Ezekiel 37: 21-22), Israel is fast becoming the pariah of all the world, and the leaders of all nations seem utterly obsessed with finding a solution to the stalled so-called "peace process." In doing so they seek to divide Jerusalem in a "two state solution" that is already doomed to failure (Zechariah 12:2-3). When it reaches fruition this "covenant with death" will be annulled by God Himself (Isaiah 28:18). The wrath of God will fall upon all those nations that dare to divide Jerusalem, the City of the King who will return.
Israel, today mostly alone and isolated in the Middle East, is being increasingly surrounded, as predicted, by hostile Arab enemies who are baying for her blood (Ezekiel 35:1-36:7). At this point it is evident to all who have eyes to see that Gog from the "remote parts of the north" has swept down into the Middle East where, along with the "horde" he now leads, he will one day soon come against little Israel in order to "take a spoil" (Ezekiel 38:1-39:16). It will be the Lord God Himself who will fight for Israel on that fast-approaching day, and He will bring Gog and his hordes to utter ruin in the land of Israel, before the eyes of all the world (Ezekiel 39:1, 5).
The great apostasy of the Church, prophesied so powerfully in the apostle Paul's letters, is in full flow and bringing with it real antisemitism. There is something about antisemitism that cannot be explained rationally, but only from a spiritual point of view. Men and women are falling away, not just from sound doctrine and teaching (2 Timothy 4:3), but also from supporting the Apple of God's eye, His Holy inheritance, Israel (Zechariah 2:8; Isaiah 19:25).
It is a perverse irony that some of Israel's most bitter and intransigent enemies today can be found not in Gaza, Lebanon or Iran, or even amongst the barbaric hordes of IS, but in churches up and down our nation. Men and women who "...will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear" (2 Timothy 4:3) - men and women deliberately blind to Bible prophecy - mockers and scorners within our own midst.
It will be an uncomfortable truth for many to learn, but one of the main reasons that Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, will return at the end of the Tribulation is to save Israel and to enforce the everlasting land grant given to the Jewish people. This is the same land many today claim Israel "stole" from the Palestinians. Jesus, at that time, will publicly return to overthrow the nations of the world who are in league with the antichrist and who are trying to violently take this land from Israel (Zechariah 12 -14; Ezekiel 47:13 - 48:35).
The plan of redemption for Israel, and the world at large, focuses upon two universe-defining events: the First and then the Second Coming of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah. In both advents, the Messiah did and will come personally to Israel. Just as the establishment of Israel was crucial to the First Coming of Jesus, so is the re-establishment of Israel in our own day crucial for the fulfillment of His Second Coming. It is the super sign which sets the scene for the unfolding and fulfilling of all other end-times prophecy, which will culminate in the personal return of Jesus to Israel.
Deny it or not, prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes; and one day soon Jesus Christ will return to the nation he loves, to rule all the nations of this Earth with a rod of iron (Revelation 2:27; Psalms 2:9) from His eternal capital city, Jerusalem.
The end of this age fast approaches, though the question at this late hour is:  Who is listening and who is watching?
Ask yourself honestly, will you be ready?
"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon" (Isaiah 55:6-7).

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


By Terry James

Dr. Mark Hitchcock, speaking at the opening of the Prophecy Watcher's Blessed Hope Prophecy Conference in Norman, Oklahoma, a little over a week ago, reminded me of a question some have had over the years. I, too, have asked the question. Why does the Gog-Magog coalition of Ezekiel 38-39 apparently mount a land invasion rather than simply nuke Israel?
It is a peripheral issue to be sure, but one that is interesting to ponder in light of current goings-on just to Israel's north.
It is true that Ezekiel saw a massive military juggernaut invade "like a cloud to cover the land." This could indicate a cloud of aircraft, but, not necessarily. A land invasion in that arid region would certainly kick up a lot of dust. We saw some of that kind of action during both Gulf Wars.
My friend Mark mentioned that some believe certain technological problems might be at the heart of it being a land invasion. The conjecture is based upon the same thought as expressed in Salem Kirban's novel of many years ago titled 666.
Kirban portrayed the Russian-led attack, primarily from the north of Israel, as being one conducted with ancient weapons-horses and all-just like Ezekiel has it. I forget the technology that had, in the fictional account, rendered the modern weapons of war inoperable. But, they fought totally with, basically, weapons like the prophet describes.
The weapons were mostly of wood and other material that readily burns. So, Israel was able to use the weapons as fuel for heating, etc., once the flesh-and-blood part of the force, five-sixths having been dispatched by the Lord, was no longer a threat.
Dr. Hitchcock brought up the possibility, according to what some believe, that electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) weapons might be used to render all modern weaponry useless by the time  the Gog-Magog invasion takes place.
EMP, of course, disrupts electronic circuitry of all instrumentalities not protected when a nuclear explosion takes place in the atmosphere. All computer and other electronic circuitry on land, and even in the air near where the explosion takes place, supposedly will be fried. Thus, nuclear warfare, some believe, will help fulfill-in the most literal sense-Ezekiel's prophecy about horses, sword, bucklers, and shields used as weaponry in that future time.
At present there is much dispute about Iran's (area of ancient Persia) nuclear program. Persia is given as one of the primary members of the Gog-Magog coalition military force. That force obviously, according to Scripture, doesn't use nuclear force against Israel in that prophesied attack. So, the question is: Why not?
Perhaps it is the EMP scenario. However, there are other possibilities.
Gog, in his evil thinking, wouldn't want Israel's "spoil," as it is called in the KJV, contaminated by radiation from nuclear weapons. Another is, the Gog-Magog force wouldn't want to go into a nuclear-radiated territory in order to occupy it.
They want to completely destroy Israel and do away with every Jew, that's for certain. But it seems the main thinking in Gog's satanically inspired brain is to take the riches in the region.
Another scenario is, of course, that Iran will indeed give up its nuclear ambition. That would mean that Russia, too, and any others would have given up their nuclear weapons for whatsoever reasons by the time of the Gog-Magog assault.
This, in my thinking, is the least of the possibilities.
Maybe Israel will have been so weakened by the covenant made with Antichrist as given in Daniel 9:26-27 that Israel will be the proverbial sitting duck. Thus, ol' Gog won't believe he needs to use the nukes.
As part of considering all of this, it is more than of just passing interest that President Trump is about to nuke the nuclear deal President Obama made with Iran-this, even in the face of rebellion by all others in the deal, including U.S. allies.
The globalists, as I view the satanically influenced architects of the tremendous backlash against anything this president does to keep America sovereign, turn a blind eye to the fact that the ayatollahs allow no inspections of their key nuclear development facilities.
Mr. Obama completely cast aside President Reagan's rubric for negotiations with diabolists such as Russia and Iran: "Trust, but verify."
It seems those American allies, under the influence of globalist groupthink, have joined the insanity in giving the Israel-hating Islamists the benefit of a doubt, as the saying goes. The excerpt that follows makes the point, I think.
Global powers, including key US allies, have said they will stand by the Iran nuclear deal which US President Donald Trump has threatened to tear apart.
Mr. Trump said on Friday that he would stop signing off on the agreement.
The UK, France and Germany responded that the pact was "in our shared national security interest." The EU said it was "not up to any single country to terminate" a "working" deal.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said the US was "more isolated than ever." (Iran nuclear deal: Global powers stand by pact despite Trump threat - BBC, Oct. 15, 2017)
Developments in Iran, Russia, Turkey, and Israel are all part of another of the things Mark Hitchcock and many of us who spoke discussed at the conference. The word of the hour is convergence.
Convergence-the coming-together of practically every signal for the end of the age-is upon this generation. Developments north of Israel at the present moment are possibly the most significant of all of the signals that Christ's Second Advent is near.
Since that great event will take place at least seven years later than the Rapture of the Church, we who name the name of Jesus should be in a state of anticipation of, not in fear of things to come.
When you see all these things begin to come to pass, then, look up and lift up your head, for your redemption is drawing near. (Luke 21:28)


By David Cogburn

The Rapture: What is it? 
It is Jesus coming to claim His bride, the church, and bring her back to His place in heaven.  Why does He do that?  Because we are in a period of time called the church age or the age of Grace.  It initially began with the resurrection of Christ, but "officially" began at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out and indwelt all believers. From that day until now, all believers are born again with the Holy Spirit residing in them during this church age, which has a beginning at Pentecost and an end when Jesus comes for His bride and takes her back to heaven to be with Him.
Why is the church referred to as the bride of Christ? 
A marriage relationship is the strongest, most intimate relationship God has set up.  It is when two become one, and it means this in a much stronger context than simply physical union.  We often say our spouse is our "soul" partner.  We are "two become one" soul partners.  Jesus says in John 14:20 that "I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you."
That is Divine God being "two become one" through our bride and marriage relationship with God. This is the most intimate relationship God provides.  Not even the angels have this type of relationship with God.  AND since the church is called the bride of Christ, it is important to examine the Jewish betrothal customs to see how this betrothal relationship unfolds.
When a Jewish bridegroom proposes to his perspective bride, he offers her a cup of wine.  If she drinks from the cup, she has accepted his proposal.  Next, the bridegroom goes away to prepare a place for them to live, sometimes back to his father's house.  When he is through preparing a place for He and his bride to live, he comes back for her.  She has been waiting, not knowing when he will come back.  When he comes back, there is a shout and a blowing of a trumpet or shofar. He gets his bride and takes her back to his place for a wedding and a wedding feast, which lasts seven days.
How does this line up with the church? 
Jesus' proposal to the church occurred at the last supper, when He had wine with His disciples, and told them He would not drink from the wine cup again until they were in His Father's house.  He then went away to prepare a place for He and His bride to live - in heaven.  In John 14:2-3 He says, "In my Father's house are many rooms.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
We, the bride of Christ, are still waiting for Him to return to take us back to His place in heaven.  In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 it says, "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." THAT is the rapture, and THAT is when Christ comes to take us back to His place in heaven.
The wedding feast lasts for a week, but in this case it will be for a week of years; and we shall see why in a moment.  Jesus "promised" that He has prepared a place for us and that He will come and get us at some point. The rapture is the fulfillment of that promise.
Is the rapture the same thing as the Second Coming of Jesus?  
No.  What happens at the rapture is that Jesus comes back in the "air" ONLY for His bride, the church, to take her back to heaven for the wedding feast.  It is immediately following the wedding feast at the end of the week-long feast of years in Revelation 19 that Jesus returns to Earth "with His bride, the church;" and THAT is His Second Coming.  Matthew 24 says that every eye shall see Him as He comes back to judge the surviving wicked, and to rule over planet Earth.
He will rule from Jerusalem during a period of 1,000 years called the millennial reign of Christ. It will be an unprecedented time in history. His church, who are now immortal beings, will physically and visibly be reigning on Earth with Jesus.  Human beings will co-exist alongside visible immortal beings.  Only believers who survive the seven-year tribulation will be allowed to enter into the 1,000-year millennial reign of Christ.
What happens between the rapture and the Second Coming of Christ? 
It is important to remember that God "still" has a covenant with the Jewish people, in which He told them that there is a time coming when they will receive their long-awaited Messiah. And they, Israel, will be the "predominant" nation on earth and will be held in high esteem.  This covenant is spelled out in Daniel chapter 9 in what is called the 70 weeks of Daniel prophecy.  This, too, is 70 weeks of years, which begins when the Jews in Israel, who have been in  Babylonian captivity, are allowed to return and rebuild Jerusalem.  And it says from that time until after 69 weeks or 483 years, the Messiah will be cut off or killed.  That lines up in time with Jesus being crucified. The 490-year time-period "clock" of years stops due to the crucifixion of Christ, leaving a period of one week of years, the 70th week still remaining.
This 69 weeks of years is a covenant God has with Israel and does not include the church.  The church never spent one day inside that first 69 weeks of years.  The 69 weeks stopped when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the donkey, and was rejected and crucified.  Up until the church age, God used the nation of Israel to bring about revelation of Himself to the rest of the world through His word, written by Jewish authors, and through the Jewish people, since Jesus is from the linage of David - in fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
Following the crucifixion of Jesus, God turned from Israel to the "church" to bring about revelation of Himself to the world, and that is where we still are today.  One of the main reasons for the rapture is for the Lord to bring the church home so that God can now turn back to Israel and restart the 70 weeks clock again. This is in order to fulfill His promise to the Jewish people, to bring them their Messiah and fulfill His other promises to them.  This last 70th week of seven years is also called the seven-year tribulation period, in which God pours out His wrath on Earth and sees to it that Israel will "finally" recognize Jesus as their Messiah (Zechariah 12). They will call on Jesus to save them when they are surrounded by all nations, who want to destroy them at the battle of Armageddon. THIS is when Jesus returns at His Second Coming.  He comes back to save Israel and to set up His reign on Earth for the 1,000 years.
Since the church did not spend even one day inside the first 69 weeks of God's covenant with Israel, there is no reason to think it will spend even one day inside the 70th week, which is the seven-year tribulation period.  This also shows why it is necessary that the rapture will be a "pretribulation rapture" versus a mid-trib or post-trib rapture.
What other evidence is there that the rapture will be pretribulation? 
There are many, many people who have differing views as to whether the rapture will occur before the seven-year tribulation, during the middle of it, at the end of it, or somewhere in between.  Let's see what the Bible has to say.
Since the seven-year tribulation period is described in great detail in the book of Revelation, let's begin there.  As the book of Genesis tells us how everything began, Revelation tells us how everything ends.  In the first three chapters, the church is mentioned around 27 times.  There is symbolism in the book of Revelation, but the symbolism is explained as to what it is.  In chapter 1, John sees seven lamp stands, and they are described as representing the seven churches.  Seven is a number of completion with God, and this is also symbolic as representing all churches for all times.
Chapter 4 begins like this: In verse one John says, "After this I looked and there before me was a 'door' standing open in heaven.  [Remember this door for later].  And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a 'trumpet' said, 'Come up here and I will show you what must take place after this.'"
This clearly is a wonderful picture of the rapture: there is a trumpet call, and the bride is called to heaven, and "I will show you what must take place after this," meaning after the bride is in heaven.
John immediately describes seeing the Throne Room and says he sees the seven lamp stands "again," which represent the seven churches that were on earth but now all reside in heaven.  Following this is when the scrolls are opened and all of the events of the seven-year tribulation are described.  The church is not mentioned even one time during this seven-year period from chapter 4 to chapter 19, when finally it mentions the church at the wedding feast with Jesus at the end of the tribulation. Immediately following the wedding feast is when Jesus comes back to Earth with His bride, the church, to save Israel in His Second Coming.  This is "strong" evidence in Revelation that shows a pretribulation rapture versus one occurring during the tribulation.
Many people think the church will not be spared the tribulation period, and that we are to be persecuted, but is that what the Bible says? 
First, we need to recognize that Jesus died on a cross to save us from our sins and to also save us from God's wrath.  He took on God's wrath for us at the cross.  And yes, Christians have suffered much persecution and endured "man's" wrath from its beginning until now.  However, the tribulation period is described as a period of God's wrath on Earth - not man's wrath on Earth. God has already saved us from His wrath that will be poured out on earth during that time.
Rev. 3:10 describes Jesus speaking to the churches: He says, "Since you have kept My command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth."
Twice in the Bible in the Old Testament and New Testament, a day is represented as 1,000 years with God; thus, an hour is represented as clearly a very short period of time.  This clearly has to mean the seven-year tribulation period of God's wrath that He has prophesied will occur before His Second Coming. He is telling the churches that He will keep us "from this hour of trial that is to come upon the whole earth."
Another strong evidence for a pretribulation rapture occurs in 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 2
This chapter talks in detail about a time when the antichrist is ruling the earth and sets himself up to be God; but it says that the antichrist CANNOT be revealed until the Restrainer is removed from the scene.  Since the Bible says the antichrist will be a person controlled by Satan, who is it that can restrain Satan?  Clearly, the only one who can restrain him is God Himself; and since God the Holy Spirit resides inside all believers, it is necessary to remove all believers in order that the Restrainer, the Holy Spirit, is removed from the scene. This occurs pretribulation. THEN Satan can bring about his plan to control a one-world leader called the antichrist.
Pre-Fulfillment and Fulfillment
There is a very "interesting" example of a pretribulation rapture in Genesis, Chapter 6.  The Bible has quite a few examples of something happening in the Old Testament that is a pre-fulfillment, and then something much bigger called a fulfillment happening later, often in the New Testament.  A great example of this is when Jesus said in Matt. 12:40, "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Jonah was the smaller pre-fulfillment, and Jesus the greater fulfillment.
In Genesis,chapter 6, God refers to Noah and his family as the righteous on Earth. He wants them to enter the ark, for in seven days He is going to bring down His wrath and judgment onto the earth.  This is a picture of God taking the righteous on Earth, Noah and his family, and putting them in a safe place, the ark, for a period of seven days until His judgment begins upon the earth.  This is a pre-fulfillment.
The greater fulfillment is talked about in Matt. 24: 37-41 when Jesus says, "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left."
This is saying that, just as people were unaware in the days of Noah, so will they be unaware in the end of days; and it shows the rapture represented by the man and woman "being taken" during this time and the other two left.
The greater fulfillment is that the church is considered the righteous on earth; and here we have God taking the righteous on earth, the church, and putting her in a safe place-heaven-for a period of seven years before He comes back to judge the earth.  Of course, this seven years is the time of the wedding feast already mentioned.
We have another example of this in Genesis 19:12 where God is getting ready to pour out His "wrath" and destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. He sends His angels to save Lot and his family from His wrath. Indeed, the angel even says he cannot destroy Sodom and Gomorrah "until" Lot and his family are in a safe place. Once they are, then God's wrath destroys Sodom and Gomorrah.
However, I have saved the best for last.
One of the most powerful, if not "the" most powerful verses in the Bible that talks about the rapture, not only describes the rapture beautifully but describes it point blank as a pretribulation rapture. AND it occurs in the Old Testament.  Isaiah 26:19-21 says this: Verse 19 describes the rapture; "But your dead will live, Lord; their bodies will rise-let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy-your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead." This is clearly a beautiful picture of the rapture.
Verse 20 further describes this as a pretribulation rapture:  "Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you.  [Remember John saying he saw an open door in heaven in Revelation, Chapter 4?]. 'Hide yourselves for a little while until His wrath has passed by.  See, the Lord is coming out of His dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins."
This is a strong picture of the church being called up to heaven.  Why?  Because the Lord is getting ready to bring down His wrath onto the earth to punish the people for their sins.  The church is "behind" the doors, and it even describes the time of God's wrath on Earth as a "little while," corresponding to the "hour of trial" that is to come upon the whole world (Rev 3:10).
These are all good examples of a pretribulation rapture.  They are by no means exhaustive, but strong enough by themselves to give a pretribulation rapture far greater weight than biblical evidence to support a mid-trib or post-trib rapture.  Post-trib is really a non-issue because, if the rapture occurred at the very end of the tribulation, there would be no "believers" to enter into the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ, as they would all have just been raptured. The only ones left would be unbelievers who are not allowed to enter the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ.
I hope this is helpful to those who care about the rapture and "when" in relation to the seven-year tribulation that it occurs.
Maranatha! Come quickly Lord Jesus!