Wars and Rumors of Wars!

Last Tuesday our Signs of the Times update concentrated on Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the collapsing peace process. This week I’d like to revisit that subject in some detail, but first we need to take a look at the ongoing crisis situation that exists in the Ukraine, and perhaps gain some insight as to how these two international crises are related to one another in light of Biblical Prophecy.

During the EU and US sponsored talks in Belgium which brought the Russian and Ukrainian government representatives face-to-face, an understanding was reached calling for the withdrawal of all insurgents occupying government facilities. However, apparently each side in this dispute has a different idea of who the insurgents are. The Russians believe the insurgents are those who now control the Ukrainian government having forced the removal of the pro-Russian government. The Ukrainians believe the insurgents are the pro-Russian forces which have barricaded themselves inside police stations and other government facilities.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared Friday that the pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine will only lay down their arms if the Ukrainian government clears out the Maidan (square) protest camp in Kiev, and liberates the buildings that have been illegally seized. And so the stalemate continues. Meanwhile as the US begins to enact more economic sanctions on Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin has halted all communication with President Barack Obama. In fact the Kremlin has shut down all intensive high-level communication between top Russian and US officials.

With the annexation of Crimea completed, and growing unrest in evidence throughout Eastern and Southern Ukraine, I believe it is only a matter of time before Russia completes its takeover ambitions. Russian military elements along the Ukrainian border have engaged in a new series of military exercises in response to ongoing NATO exercises in Poland. As I have stated before, I believe there are several reasons for which Vladimir Putin believes Russia must control the Ukraine. These reasons include:

  • The natural gas pipeline which services all of Europe travels from Russia through Ukraine to Romania’s Black Sea coastal plain into the Black Forest of Germany in the heart of Europe.
  • South Ukraine contains huge natural gas and oil deposits both on and offshore in the Black Sea.
  • South Ukraine is the industrial home of much of the Russian military, with factories producing small arms and ammunition as well as military equipment and components, not to mention vast shipbuilding yards.
  • South Ukraine contains nuclear, coal, and hydroelectric power plants essential for Crimea. The uranium mine at Zheltiye Vody is located in South Ukraine as is Dneprozerzhinsk (the heavy water production site), capable of producing 250 metric tons of heavy water yearly.
  • And finally, there is a significant Russian speaking majority in South Ukraine just as there is in Crimea.

This is all necessary “stage setting” for the End Times war spelled out in Ezekiel 38 & 39 when Gog, of the land of Magog, the Prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal leads his armies and those of Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, and Togarmah against Israel. Crimea and the Ukraine are Russia’s gateway to the south via their ports on the Black Sea.

Turning now to Israel, this past week the Palestinian Authority completed a unity agreement with the terrorist organization Hamas, which controls Gaza. This of course effectively ended negotiations between Israel and the PA as the Palestinians sought a two state solution leading to their independence. For Mohammed Abbas, this was a clear sign he saw the peace talks going nowhere. And, unfortunately, that he cares more about relations with hard-line terrorists than he does about relations with the United States or Israel.

Two weeks ago Mohammed Abbas signed 15 international agreements which require PA to respect human rights and punish war criminals. This past week he signed a unity deal with terror groups whose leaders are war criminals. Every leader of Islamic Jihad and Hamas are considered international war criminals, partly because every single rocket launched from Gaza into Israel is a separate war crime. Under the Geneva Conventions, which Mahmoud Abbas signed onto just a couple of weeks ago, he is required to put them on trial for their war crimes. This simply proves to me that Mahmoud Abbas is himself a terrorist and the PA is a terrorist organization.

This agreement between Hamas and the PA came just days before the Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. On Sunday evening at Yad Vashem during the official state ceremony commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “This evening we will mark Holocaust Remembrance Day and the State of Israel will remember the six million victims of the Holocaust.” Earlier Sunday at his regular weekly cabinet meeting the Prime Minister stated “the main difference between the Jews’ helplessness during the Holocaust and their situation now, is that we now have a sovereign state with a strong military that protects us from those who seek to harm us.” He continued saying “Iran is at the top of the list of those who seek to destroy us” and “Aside from its own nuclear ambitions, Iran finances, arms and trains Hamas and the other terror groups lurking on our borders. Hamas denies the Holocaust while trying to facilitate another one by destroying the State of Israel.”

In the US however, Secretary of State John Kerry and this present administration continued to lay the failure of the peace process at the feet of Israel. This administration over the past 5+ years has continually treated our closest ally in the Middle East with disrespect and disdain, vilifying them for their desire to live securely within their own land. This is by far the most anti-Semitic administration in the history of the United States. From Barack Obama’s demand that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders (essentially the borders of 1949), to declaring his dislike of the Israeli Prime Minister (calling him a liar) to the president of France, to John Kerry’s continued pressure on Israel, stating that Israel was at risk of inviting the third intifada, to his most recent suggestion on April 25, that Israel is on the verge of becoming an “apartheid state,” this administration has demonstrated an unprecedented hostility towards Israel.

In fact, John Kerry’s libelous statement is a dangerous example of the precedent that has been set by this administration. This demonization of Israel only emboldens those who seek her destruction. Israel is surrounded by people’s and nations which seek to wipe her off the face of the map, and John Kerry’s anti-Semitic rhetoric will only lead to more bloodshed.

Israel’s enemies in the PA, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, and the ISL among others are representative of the people groups listed in Psalm 83 whose desire is her total destruction. I believe this too is “stage setting” for the Last Days. Understanding the Scripture, we know that war in the Middle East is inevitable, and its outcome was prophesied many years ago. The tragedy here isn’t the war or its destruction, the tragedy is the many lives which will be lost for eternity because they reject the God of Israel and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Another part of the tragedy that I see in these Last Days, is that because of creeping liberalism within the “churches” in the US, having embraced Replacement Theology, anti-Semitism has infected not only the “church” but our politics as well. This nation is nearing destruction because it has turned its back on God’s chosen nation Israel. (See Genesis 12:3)

If you desire to know more about what the Bible says prophetically about the wars which are still to come at the end of the age, keep reading our blog for this teaching. The End Times are upon us as we live in these Last Days. There is no better time than now to turn your heart toward God because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

Wonderful Promises

God has made some wonderful promises to Israel. He will gather the Jews from all over the world back into the Promised Land (Deut. 30:1-5). They will get all of the Promised Land (Gen. 17:7-8). They will be exalted above all of the nations on earth (Deut. 28:1, 13). Jesus will sit on the throne of David and rule over them (Luke 1:32-33). Jerusalem will become the center of the nations and the Word of God will go forth to all nations from there (Ezek. 5:5; Hos. 4:2).

God said these things will happen and every jot and tittle of them will happen. But let’s be realistic. As things stand today, the Muslims in Gaza, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are not going to freely turn part of their land over to Israel. China, Russia, Iran and the like are not going to voluntarily accept the fact that tiny Israel is more important than they are. The UN, EU, US and others are not going to willingly submit to the rule of Jesus. All of the nations on earth are not going to agree to let the Word of God go unhindered within their borders. So as things stand today, there is not a chance in the world that God’s wonderful promises to Israel are going to be fulfilled.

This brings me to what triggered this article. Someone recently sent me some interesting information that he said comes from the Gemara, one of the two sections of the Jewish Talmud (Mishna and Gemara). The information concerns what the Gemara says about the significance of solar and lunar eclipses (especially eclipses on Feast Days such as the recent Blood Moon on Passover and the upcoming Blood Moon on Tabernacles). It is important to note that Christians don’t consider the Gemara to be Scripture, but it contains the remarks ancient Jewish rabbis that I don’t want to overlook.

The Hebrew children were slaves in Egypt when God sent the Ten Plagues to make Pharaoh let them go. According to the Gemara, if God had not sent the Ten Plagues, Egypt would not have collapsed, Pharaoh would not have released the Hebrews from slavery and the nation of Israel probably would not have come into being. Without the nation of Israel, we might not have had the Scriptures, the Temple, the Messiah, the prophets, the Church, etc. So the Ten Plagues played a crucial part in the return of the Jews and the conduct of God’s plan during Old Testament times. Also, the fall of Egypt on the first Passover celebration can be seen as the beginning of the nation of Israel and many other great blessings. It can be seen for the good things that happened for all people not the bad things that happened to Egypt.

Now, let’s direct our attention to the future. We are living in a period of time that the Bible calls the Times of the Gentiles, but the Times of the Gentiles must come to an end (Luke 21:24). The Gentile nations must be brought down so Israel can rise up and fulfill the role that God said she will fulfill in the future. The Gentile nations must be subdued so Jesus can reign, Israel can be exalted above the nations of the earth, the Word of God can go all over the world, etc. (Psa. 110:5-6; I Cor. 15:24-28).

The Gentile nations are not going to go easy. This is where the Tribulation Period comes in. It will be a time of judgment upon the nations (Zeph. 3:8). The Antichrist will rise to power and go forth conquering and to conquer (Rev. 6:1-2). Peace will be removed from the earth (Rev. 6:3-4). War will prevail and the nations of the earth will be brought low (Rev. 6:8; 8:11; 9:15). This will pave the way for the rise of Israel; the millennial reign of Jesus; peace, justice and righteousness on earth, etc. Christians should focus on the good that is coming to the earth not the bad.

Now, I don’t know much about blood moons. I haven’t totally avoided the subject, but I have said very little about it. I do know several things: One, God put lights in the heavens “for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Gen. 1:14); Two, NASA’s SOHO satellite videotaped large dark spots on the sun in 2013; Three, the Hebrew calendar and the Tribulation Period are based on the moon (30 days/month; 7 yrs. X 360 days/yr. = 2520 days); Four, the prophet Joel said, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come” (Joel 2:31); Five, Peter quoted Joel when the Church began by saying, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come” (Acts 2:20); Six, a tetrad of blood moons started on April 15, 2014 and this is before the day of the LORD; Seven, the convergence of signs seem to indicate that like the day of the LORD is getting close; And eight, I am not predicting it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if war broke out in the Middle East in the coming weeks or months.

The tetrad that started in 1949 followed the establishment of Israel. The tetrad that started in 1967 preceded Israel’s capture of the Temple Mount. And the Tribulation Period is the seventieth week of Israel’s punishment (Dan. 9:24-27). Each person needs to make up their own mind, but God is in control and His wonderful promises to Israel will come to pass.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymondduck@bellsouth.net

 

Editor’s Note:

When the subject of the Blood Moon Tetrads began to be discussed by various teachers in the area of Biblical Prophecy, I decided to undertake a study of them and their possible significance. Utilizing the same NASA website as Mark Biltz, John Hagee, Perry Stone and others; I researched the occurrence of the Tetrads which aligned with the Lord’s “Feast Days.”

The hypothesis of these teachers is that the Tetrads have a significance which affects the nation of Israel, or the Jewish people. However, I must call into question their conclusions. Of the seven Tetrads since the birth of Christ, only three are said to have shown relevance to the Jewish people.

    • In 1492 the Jews were given the order of Expulsion from Spain. The Tetrad happened in 1493 & 1494. Pastor Hagee associates this Tetrad with the discovery of America as a “safe haven” for the Jewish people, though most fled into eastern Europe or back to Palestine (only three are known to have reached the “new world” at this time, and only one of these stayed).  I find this assertion of relevance disingenuous and sensational. If the voyage of Columbus had anything to do with the Jewish people, it was to discover wealth to finance further crusades to Jerusalem.
    • The Tetrad of 1949 – 1950 is said to coincide with the Founding of the modern Nation State of Israel which took place on May 14, 1948. The Israeli “War of Independence” was fought in 1948-1949. A lunar eclipse did not take place on the day of declaration or on any day of significance during the war.
    • The Tetrad of 1967 -1968 is said to be associated with the “Six Day War” during which Israel regained control of all of Jerusalem. Again, a lunar eclipse did not occur on any day during that “War.”

If the Tetrads which occur on Feast Days are considered so important to the Jewish people, why were there no Tetrads associated with these important events?:

    • 70 AD The destruction of the Temple and expulsion of the Jews from Jerusalem.
    • 132-135 AD The expulsion of the Jews from Israel after the Bar Kokhba revolt, after which Roman Emperor Hadrian renamed Israel “Palestine.”
    • 1181 AD French King Philip banished the Jews from France.
    • 1298 AD Persecution of the Jews in Franconia, Bavaria, and Austria when more than 100,000 Jewish people were killed during a six month period.
    • 1903-1906 AD Frequent pogroms (massacres) in Russia and Ukraine were carried out against Jewish shtetls (small villages) during which thousands were slaughtered.
    • 1939-1945 AD The Holocaust during WW2.
    • 1956 AD The “Suez War.”
    • 1973 AD  The Yom Kippur War.
    • Additionally, there is no evidence of a Tetrad having any significance to Israel prior to the birth of Christ.

I would also like to point out that while I agree that Joel 2:31 and Acts 2:20 are referring to a time “before the great and the terrible day of the LORD”; this takes place during the Tribulation just prior to Christ’s Second Coming, and the written word suggests the sun darkening and moon turning to blood happen at the same time. This is NOT a typical astrological event. Remember, the return of Jesus for His Church (the “Rapture”) is imminent, requiring no signs before it occurs. To infer that anything like this might need to happen before the Church is “taken away” is just not biblical.

In conclusion, while I agree with Daymond that each person must decide for themselves if there is any prophetic significance to the “Blood Moon” Tetrads, I simply cannot ascribe any real significance to them. I do however see a convergence of real “Signs of the Times” which make me believe that war will break out in the Middle East in the near future. We will comment on these Prophecies in more detail in the coming weeks.

Respectfully, KD Tucker Whitaker DD, PhD

“In Christ”

The moment a penitent sinner puts faith in CHRIST as Saviour he steps out of life “in Adam” and enters into life “in Christ.” Through the ages upon ages to come he will be “in Christ.” We will never understand Paul’s Epistles if we do not understand the expression “In Christ.” It is the key to the whole New Testament. It or its equivalent is used one hundred and thirty times. These two words are the most important ever penned to describe the mutual relationship between the Christian and CHRIST.

To be “in Christ” determines the Christian’s position, privileges and possessions. For to be “in Christ” is to be where He is, to be what He is and to share what He has. To be “in Christ” is to be where CHRIST is. But CHRIST is in the heavenlies, so that is where the real home of the Christian is. He is a pilgrim on earth, for his real citizenship is in Heaven.

“For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

“For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Hebrews 13:14).

Your present address is just a stopping place on a journey, yet some of you are planning for your earthly home as though you were going to live here for ever. Your heart is set on earthly things instead of heavenly.

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

Do I hear some of you say, “This is too high a standard for me; it is not only impossible but unattractive. I am on this earth and in this world, therefore why should I not live as though I were and enjoy myself and leave the enjoyment of Heaven until I get there?” Such is the reasoning of vast numbers of Christians, and their lives are in full harmony with their reasoning.

Is it not necessary for us to become acclimatized to our eternal home in Heaven? If the heavenly atmosphere is stifling to me here, what will it be to me there? If the heavenly pleasures and pursuits are unattractive to me now, what will they be to me then? There is music in Heaven, but it is not jazz; there are pleasures there, but not those of the ballroom, the card table or the cinema; there are pursuits there, but not those of making money or a name in society. If my heart cannot stand the higher attitude of life in the heavenlies now, how will it stand it then? It is GOD’s intention for you and me to begin to live in Heaven now.

To be “in Christ” is to be what CHRIST is. CHRIST, the Head of the body, and the Christian who is a member of that body have one life. The blood of the human body is its life. The blood which is now in my head will soon be in my arm. It is the same blood. So the life that is in CHRIST in the heavenlies is the same life that is in the Christian on earth.

“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world” (I John 4:17). Excerpt from “Rivers of Living Waters” by Ruth Paxson  1930

Words of Grace for Strength 

These words penned nearly 85 years ago were never truer than they are today. As we look at what is considered to be the Christian community today it is increasingly more difficult to identify those who are truly “In Christ.” We find folks who belong to this church or that church, who follow this preacher or that teacher, or who identify themselves as members of a certain denomination or group, or they simply say I’m just a Christian. There are many more who associate themselves as adherents to one of many other religions in the world today. And unfortunately, most do not identify themselves with any faith other than faith in themselves.

And so the world is as Paul warned us it would be in these last days in his second letter to Timothy. “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

In these verses Paul describes the condition of most people in the world today, even those who describe themselves as “Christian.” But what of that description, does it really describe who they are? What really is a Christian? What does it mean to be “in Christ”?

Being “in Christ” speaks of our spiritual position. When we accept Christ’s free gift of grace, offered when he paid our sin debt on Calvary, through His death, burial, and resurrection; God places us “in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:6) we are no longer seen by God as children of Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22), but are now seen in the same way He sees His own Son. Apart from Christ we are nothing (John 15:5); in Christ we have “all spiritual blessings.” (Ephesians 1:3)

Being “in Christ” today not only means that we belong to Him, or that we live in His presence, or that we are simply a part of the body of Christ; being “in Christ” means that we are actually in Christ and He is in us. This is what Paul meant in Philippians 1:21 when he said; “for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” and in Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

When we are “in Christ”, we not only professes His name, or learn His doctrine, or follow His example, we exchange our life for His. Our life is not just like His life, or parallel to His life, we are actually in Him and He is in us. It is a unique position given only to those who have accepted His free gift of grace.

As Ms. Paxson so clearly explained, a Christian always moves in two spheres. While we are in this world; we are also in Christ. We live in two dimensions. We live in this world understanding our responsibilities to Christ; but above and beyond that we live “in Christ” in the heavenlies. In this world we may move from place to place; but wherever we are, we are “in Christ.” This is why the circumstances of life should make very little difference to the true Christian; our joy and our peace are not dependent upon them. It is why the joys of this world; comfort, entertainment, wealth, fame, or position should hold no significance to one who is “in Christ.” And, it is why it does not matter what we are called to do “in Christ,” because ultimately all the glory is Christ’s.

Christ in me; and I in Him! No greater position, no greater privilege, and no greater possession!

Do you identify yourself as a Christian? How do the people you work with identify you? How does your family identify you? What is your true identity? Are you “in Christ”? If so, give all glory and praise to Jesus! If not, there is no better time than now to settle the matter. If you would like to know how to be “in Christ,” or if you would like more information on how to grow “in Christ,” you can find our contact information, or fill out the “contact us” form, on the “About Us” page on our blog site. www.EvenSoCome.org

Because; Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

Signs of the Times: Our Economic and Financial Issues – A Tangled Web

Since I last blogged about our economy I have read what I could to find more information on the topics covered to see if there is more evidence that supports the premise that things seem coming to a head in the near future. I think they are, although when that might happen, I just would not know. Too much is under the control of those who will not share information on what they have not consummated yet. But still, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. So I wanted to spend a little time talking about a few issues that we touched on before.

US Trade Deficit, China and Gold Backed Currency

You would need to read the earlier economic post of March 28th here for the background, it is too much ground to go over again, but it is clear to me that there is a chain reaction building. The US trade deficit grows worse each year, worse probably each month. China is our largest trading partner. We import a vast amount more from them than we export, which means more dollars (in terms of value or wealth) leave than returns. Our annual trading deficit was $22 billion in 1993, $124 billion in 2003, and $318 billion in 2013. These numbers are additive (add them up) not cumulative (a running total of all history). In addition, China holds somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 trillion in US debt. What does it mean? Besides the loss of thousands upon thousands of jobs annually; with more money leaving than coming in, we have to borrow from foreign lenders to meet our budget deficits and burgeoning national debt, becoming more and more dependent on foreign debtors. Our largest creditor is our biggest trading partner. They have lots of our money, we keep sending them more and then ask to borrow it back. Sounds like a no-win situation for us.

We borrow big and we buy big from China, who is possibly making noise of a gold backed currency (we talked of their gold hoarding last time); China, who could use a newly minted gold standard (pun intended) to replace the US Dollar as the world’s reserve currency (for settlement of international trading which would lead to a catastrophic decline in demand for US currency around the world); China, who could crash our financial system just by cutting back on buying our government debt. So, does the wish to sell us a ton of goods (over $400 billion last year) and keep the value of their debt investments outweigh the wish of being the only gold backed currency, dominating international trade? Would they take the trade-off and deal with the associated costs and disruptions? Maybe, as it might mean creation of lots of high value, high paying financial services type jobs at the cost of lower paying manufacturing ones (which sounds a lot like what the US starting doing years ago, so if China followed suit, it would serve them right if they wound up where we are, owing a ton of money to who knows who else). You cannot be sure about the trade-offs they might be willing to make, and the Chinese are famous for not talking about their plans. I believe it is a matter of political will to see it through to the end game despite the pain along the way. Between China and the US, I think we all know who has more of the will to reach the end game. But now we are in a double spiral – buying ever more goods from them and borrowing it back to pay our own bills. How long before we lose complete control of our destiny in these areas?

Capital Controls and Cashless Currencies

We spoke last time of H.R. 2847 and capital controls, which are restrictions on money flowing in and out of a country, out of its economy. We will be in a place for the government to do that legally the middle of 2014 (see the last post). Our currency could crash if the above mentioned loss of reserve currency status meant the US could no longer settle international debts in dollars (which makes printing them indiscriminately or borrowing in an unrestricted way less effective or even possible), the US might look to seize the ability to keep Americans from moving cash out of the country to safer foreign currencies. Economists state that only countries that worry about currency crises worry about implementing currency controls.

This could be viewed as a form of wealth confiscation; you force your citizens to keep money onshore in your national economy, possibly supplying it back to you to finance government deficit spending at a time the demand for US dollars abroad and the appetite for US sovereign debt has dried up overseas. Keeps everyone all lashed together on the deck of the sinking ship. It also opens up another possibility: using a currency crisis to trigger a move to a cashless currency (think of Bitcoin) that would engender even more government control over money supply and movement (and the ability to tap into and take over private wealth). You could really push a socialist agenda if the ability to cut off wealth transfer was as easy as a flip of a switch. Think of how easy to set up a system of government providing more and more goods and services through a cashless transfer of wealth among the populace, and taking control over more and more facets of daily living.

Bulls and Bears and Markets, Oh My!

There is an old saying in the stock market that bulls make money, and bears make money, but pigs get slaughtered. Well, maybe it is sheep or lambs instead; the innocent, unaware and clueless. Over the past few weeks, the stock market has done some twisting around. Some say it is beginning of the end, some say, not yet, they will calm things down for a bit longer, others say huh? Does the market history and trading volatility have the feel of, the smell of, managed trading or manipulation? Many are beginning to think so. Is the stock market so unrealistically overpriced as to value that it is just waiting for that nudge over the precipice into a plunge and crash of epic and historic proportions? If all that is what is truly going on, I can tell you that Mr. and Mrs. Average Person, Mr. and Mrs. Small Investor don’t stand a chance, and will be the last to know.

And all the while the financial markets are roiling, the consumer economy is taking a buffeting: Family Dollar Stores closing hundreds of locations, Coldwater Creek recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and has closed all store locations. These are not small businesses, not behemoths either, but operations that had hundreds of locations, now all gone. Along with the jobs. People are hurting everywhere in our country. And it does not seem that conditions are getting any better. Here is an interesting factoid: the growing Canadian middle class now out-earns the steadily shrinking US middle class. Always a bulwark in the economic prosperity of our country, this group is now in danger of being overtaken by similar groups in other countries. Not a good sign of long-term US economic health.

We have talked in the last economic post of the similarities of the between the stock market trending of the past year or so as compared to that before the stock market crash in 1929. People are also comparing the drop in housing sales in the past few months of what we saw in 2007 before the housing bubble broke and look what that did to the economy in 2008 and 2009. I am not a die-hard fan of trend analysis as an absolute indicator of future events (the only absolutes I really hold to are the sovereignty, holiness and justice of God; the absolute truth of His Word as He caused to have written in the Bible; and that Jesus is truly God and our only means of eternal salvation). But you cannot ignore trends as possible indicators of what the future holds.

Connections or Conspiracies?

Isn’t it strange how these topics seem somehow tied together, soon triggered by the actions going on in our trade imbalance and our voracious appetite to borrow back the money we ship out of this country? A few years ago, things like capital controls or wholesale wealth confiscation would have seemed like the dreams of a sci-fi writer. Now, it does seem more and more plausible. Trade deficits and debt spirals – happenstance or planned activities? In desperate times, people will accept solutions that would have seemed unspeakable just a short time ago.

Those in power never let a good crisis go to waste. And if one doesn’t come along in a timely fashion, why not create it? That is why I always found the movie Wag the Dog funny, but in a scary way.

What to Do Now?

We have said it before. Pray. Seek wise counsel from investment advisers (and it would be better if you were getting that counsel from a Christian adviser). Stay alert, be watchful. Prepare. But always remember we need be faithful to the one True and Living God. If you are obedient to His will for your life, He will lead you where He would have you be, even if it is not where you would like, nor the most pleasant of circumstances.

And always remember…

Jesus is coming soon!  

Service and Sacrifice… The Standard has been set!

Continuing our study of the Church built by Jesus Christ, I would like to reflect just a bit on service and sacrifice. Throughout the New Testament we find examples of service and sacrifice in the name of Jesus for the Church. Historically we know that all of the Apostles, except John, were martyred for the cause of Christ, but it was Steven who set the standard for all followers of Christ. Today I believe the True Church is approaching an unprecedented time of persecution, and I believe much of that persecution will come from within the “church” (Institutional, Denominational, Emergent, etc…) which is apostate. Knowing this persecution is to come, we must continue to serve and be prepared to sacrifice just as True Christians have since the beginning of the church age.

After Pentecost, the Church experienced tremendous growth in Jerusalem. Thousands of new converts were added to the Apostles and disciples who were followers of Christ before and after the crucifixion.  To the Jewish leaders, it seemed that this group known to be followers of “The Way,” was becoming a threat to Judaism, and the control it had over the nation of Israel. The Sanhedrin had made threats against the Apostles, but their commands were not heeded. As we look at Acts chapters 6 & 7 , we find this situation exploding as a result of the Apostles’ solution to a growing concern within the young Church.

By Acts 6 the Church had grown to between 25,000 and 30,000 believers, and as a result of this rapid growth and development there arose some internal strife and discord that had the potential to hinder or arrest the growth of the Church. It seemed to some that there was an inequity in the daily distribution to those needy saints within the church. The Hebrew widows were having their needs met, while the Hellenistic widows were being overlooked (Acts 6:1). Because rumblings were beginning to be heard within the body of believers, immediate attention was required to keep the young Church on track and focused on its mission.

The solution of the Apostles was for the congregation to select from among themselves “seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom,” who would be commissioned to oversee the daily ministry to the needy saints. Through the administration of these men, the benevolent work of the church would proceed with fairness and equity, all those in need would receive assistance. It was a good plan. It would allow the apostles to continue devoting themselves to “the ministry of the Word” (Acts 6:4). After all, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the Word of God in order to serve tables” (Acts 6:2). The people “were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42), and that vital ministry of the Word could not suffer neglect due to distractions over more material concerns. The seven men would be assigned responsibility for these tasks associated with daily ministry so that the Apostles could remain focused on the Word.

This plan “found approval with the whole congregation” (Acts 6:5), and they chose seven leaders for this ministry. The first name listed in the biblical record was Stephen, “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5). This probably was significant; noting that he was first choice, for Stephen was a remarkable man. It is readily apparent why his fellow disciples chose him. He was vocal, willing to share the good news of God’s grace with those about him. He was also “full of grace and power, performing great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8).

Stephen was a “Hellenist”(a Greek speaking Jew from outside of Israel) from Cilicia in Asia… modern day Turkey… as was Saul of Tarsus… his understanding and command of the Law suggests (as early Church history holds) that like Saul he was a student of Gamaliel… the foremost Jewish scholar of the Law and a member of the Sanhedrin. Tradition, and evidence of the age of Philip and the other five also suggest that Stephen was younger than Saul by as many as 10 years… and Saul was about 30 at this time… Stephen had a servant’s heart and a desire to share the Gospel.

Yet, by the end of Acts 7 Stephen is being stoned to death. Why?! Considering the scriptural record of his character, why was he murdered by a mob?

The first reason that led to Stephen’s death was that he spoke in the Synagogues and taught about the prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus. He became well-known as a follower of “The Way” by the people of Jerusalem. Had he chosen to do as most believers do today, go to church but not get involved, he probably would not have drawn so much attention to himself. Stephen however saw his service to God in a much more serious light. He realized there were people all around him who were lost. They had no relationship with Jesus Christ. They needed to hear the gospel, the message of God’s saving grace. As a student of the Law, he knew there were those who had been a part of, or at least were aware of, the events leading to the crucifixion of God’s Son, who needed to hear that it was the Christ that they had hung on a cross. They had murdered their Messiah. So, Stephen decided to speak Truth. He went to the Temple and into the streets and proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Stephen could not be like most believers are today, and sit comfortably in church uninvolved. He was sold out for Christ, committed to the cause, and willing to stand before the world in defense of the Gospel.

What a tremendous example, we need to be like Stephen and speak Truth! In these “Last Days” it is important for us to realize that because Jesus is soon to return for His Bride, we must stand up before a lost and dying world and proclaim the Gospel. And, we must be willing to defend the gospel against those who would pervert or alter it for their own gain. When confronted by Truth, false prophets will lash out in hostility against the True Church and True Christians, and we must be grounded well enough in the Word to Stand against their attacks.

The second reason that led to Stephen’s death was that he spoke with such knowledge, conviction, reasoning and passion; that those who opposed him were completely incapable of refuting his words. He was using the Old Testament writings to teach Truth by the power of the Holy Spirit in his life. Those who taught Jewish Law and those of the Sanhedrin Council (including Saul) could not withstand the Truth which he spoke, and so had to resort to lies and deceit to oppose him. One of the reasons for which the number of disciples was “increasing greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7) was the passionate evangelism of Stephen.

The record in Acts tells us that some of the Jews “rose up and argued with Stephen” (Acts 6:9). And, when they decided to confront him in public believing they could discredit him and turn the people back to their own doctrines and practices, they failed miserably. Acts tells us “they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the spirit with which he was speaking” (Acts 6:10). Stephen was preaching God’s Truth and they were powerless to contradict his teaching. They tried to disgrace Stephen, and only succeeded in degrading themselves. In speaking Truth, Stephen was gaining converts. This was more than the Jewish leaders could stand.

Truth can never be overcome by anything or anyone who stands against it. Truth is always Truth and cannot fail. So the Jews attacked Stephen with lies. “Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, ‘We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God'” (Acts 6:11). And  “they produced false witnesses” who told more lies, probably before the Sanhedrin (Acts 6:13).

Do you recognize this strategy? They are repeating the same tactic they used against Jesus. If you can’t defeat Truth, attack the one who brings the message of Truth. Since they couldn’t counter Truth, they attacked Stephen bodily. The only thing they were interested in was shutting Stephen up. But, after the false charges had been made against him, Stephen was allowed to present his defense before the Sanhedrin.

However, Stephen went on the offensive. He gave them a history lesson out of their own scriptures; he presented them again with Truth. Stephen spoke again with conviction and without fear, he didn’t care about the consequences, he just preached Truth. Steven said they were stiff-necked, uncircumcised in heart and ears, and as always resisting the Holy Spirit, again, no fear. He called them murderers and betrayers of the righteous, just like their fathers were! This eventually led to Stephens stoning. “And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and dragged him away” (Acts 6:12).

Stephen’s boldness before the Sanhedrin did not go over so well with the Jewish leaders, his accusers, and the people who had already been stirred up into a frenzy against him. “Now when they heard this they were cut to the quick, and they gnashed their teeth at him” (Acts 7:54). They were mad that he dared to speak against them and they began grinding their teeth in rage, because he had spoken Truth. “They cried out with a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him with one impulse” (Acts 7:57). They rushed upon Stephen, drove him outside the city gates, picked up the closest large rocks they could throw, and murdered this young disciple of Jesus.

Interestingly, Steven saw “the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56). At Christ’s ascension, it is said He sits at the right hand of the Father, yet Stephen sees Him Standing! Is it recognition, reception, or respect? Perhaps all three… “well done thou good and faithful servant”. As Stephen was stoned, he called “Lord Jesus receive my spirit” and he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin” (Acts 7:59&60). Stephen’s trial, and actions at his death mirrored those of his Savior. A just man faced an unjust death. And, what about Saul? What did Steven’s death mean in the life of this young Rabbi? I believe Steven’s Life and Death would become the example of Service to the man who would become Paul. I believe it should be an example to us all. Oh that Jesus would be standing to welcome me home to Glory… will He Stand to greet you?

We are all called to be servants… We are all called to speak the truth… We all may be required to sacrifice something for the cause of Christ… don’t be content to sit on the sidelines… live large… get involved in the battle… “for great is your reward in heaven”(Luke 6:23)… serve Jesus and you will hear Him say; “well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23). Because we are living in the Last Days and; Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

Israel ~ “Palestine” and a failure to make peace! Nearing Midnight!

Every day as I open God’s Word to study, I am increasingly more aware that the world in which we now live, is truly nearing midnight in God’s prophetic time. In an earlier post I stated that Israel is God’s timepiece, and in fact the restoration of Israel to her homeland and the reestablishment of Jerusalem as her capital is the “super sign” of God’s prophetic “Last Days.” Each week as I scan the headlines of the many Internet news organizations around the world, I attempt to view the events reported on in the perspective and light of biblical prophecy. In doing so, it is apparent to me that we see evidence of the prophetic “Signs of the Times” being fulfilled in our lifetime. And so, my Tuesday post usually involves commentary and analysis on these events worldwide. While I could (and maybe should) continue in that pattern, today I instead want to focus on Israel.

We have established God’s prophetic plan for Israel, and His eternal covenant relationship with the Jews, in some of our past teaching posts on this blog (I certainly hope you have or will read the past posts), and we will continue that teaching in future posts. However, today were going to focus on the recent events in the “peace process” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Almost immediately after his confirmation as US Secretary of State, John Kerry announced that he, on the behalf of the Obama administration, would once again initiate a dialogue between the nation-state of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to establish a lasting peace involving a two state solution which would allow the Palestinian Authority to achieve nation-state status. Kerry’s boast was that this would be accomplished in a nine-month timeframe. The nine months have come and gone, and the result is the same failure that has been experienced by every US administration since the Palestinians best friend, Jimmy Carter, was president. The reasons for the most recent failure are the very same reasons that these negotiations have failed for the past 40 years. They are very basic:

• The “Palestinians” (who are not a nationality, but an amalgamation of Arabic speaking people’s from the surrounding countries of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and others; and have been disenfranchised by their own people) along with every other Arab nation continue to refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Nation State.

• The “Palestinians” along with most of the UN member nations (now including the US under the leadership of Barack Obama) would at the very least require Israel to divide Jerusalem, putting part of it under the control of the PA for their capital (while nearly all of the rest of the world, including the US, refuses to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital).

• The “Palestinians” along with the UN, EU, and now the US have called for Israel to return to their pre-1967 borders (effectively the border established at the end of their war for Independence in 1949). Borders which are patently indefensible (and absolutely everyone including Israel understands this).

• The “Palestinians” continue to refuse to renounce terrorism, and in fact preach and teach intifada in their “schools” which are in fact hate filled terrorist training academies.

With the impending collapse of these most recent talks, Mohammed Abbas (through his political infrastructure), leaked information stating that if Israel did not accede to their demands (demands which included the release of up to 400 more convicted Palestinian terrorists), or if the US was unable to pressure Israel into doing so, Abbas was ready to cancel the Oslo Accords and disband the PA. This would effectively re-institute the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization). This news was met with consternation by the US State Department, while the Israeli government simply stated that if that was Abbas’s desire they would do nothing to stop him. A spokesperson for the US State Department said that this was unacceptable as the United States and the international community had invested millions of dollars in the Palestinian Authority and these negotiations. Israel on the other hand let it be known that they were more than able to handle the security problems which might arise if the PA were disbanded. I am of the opinion, and I’m certain that it’s the opinion of the Israeli government, that the Nation State of Israel would in fact be much more secure without any help from the Palestinian Authority.

The day after the PA made this announcement they began to backtrack saying that this information had not come from the PA or Mohammed Abbas. And then immediately, they announced negotiations between the PA and Hamas, which control Gaza, to reunify as one political entity. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of these developments (after rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israel); “Today we see the Palestinian Authority, which yesterday spoke about disbanding, talking with Hamas about unity. They should decide whether they want to disband or have unity, and when they want peace, they should let us know,” he then added; “on our holiday today, our enemies fired missiles at our communities and our policy is clear — to respond quickly and strongly. We strike at whoever comes to attack us. This is what we have done and this is what we will do.” His statement obviously shows resolve and an unwillingness to cave in to the demands of terrorists. Naftali Bennett, Israel’s finance minister told reporters; “Israel does not negotiate with a gun to its head.”

Fundamentally you must understand, that Mohammed Abbas has no intention of dismantling the PA. He and his cronies have amassed extreme personal wealth by stealing from the funds supplied to the Palestinian Authority, from the United States, the European Union, the UN, Saudi Arabia, and other Arabic states. Disbanding the PA would not only kill his “Cash Cow,” but it would also almost certainly signal an end to his political power in the Palestinian territory. While the vacuum resulting from a disbanded PA might cause short-term security issues for Israel, it would certainly spell the end of the PLO, throwing open the doors for other jihadist organizations to gain more control.

God’s eternal promise to Israel in Genesis 12:2&3 states; “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Unfortunately, it is apparent that very few people (especially those in the Obama administration and the US State Department) open the Word of God and read it today.

God’s hand is on Israel, and at some point in the future (during the Tribulation described in the Revelation of Jesus Christ) He Himself will deal with the nation of Israel and then redeem His chosen people the Jews. Until that time any nation interfering in God’s plan for Israel will face His wrath up to and including complete destruction.

We are living in the Last Days, God’s prophetic time clock continues its march toward midnight for this fallen world, and each person on the face of this earth should be making preparation to either accept God’s free gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ or face His wrath, judgment and eternal damnation.

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

You can always contact us through the form on our “About Us” page on the blog site.

For additional information about the origins of “Palestine” and its relationship with Israel, I would refer you to an excellent article by a brother in Christ for whom I have the greatest respect; LTC Allen West. Simply follow this link to the article: http://bit.ly/1iFnYdG

A Sign of Trouble

Venezuela is in trouble and the terrible situation that exists there makes me think of the Mark of the Beast. It is not the Mark of the Beast because that won’t happen while the church is here, but the whole situation reminds me that the stage is about set for the Mark of the Beast to come on the scene.

Venezuela has had problems with inflation, high food prices, food distribution and a host of other issues for years. Not long ago, food prices were rising sharply and Pres. Nicolas Maduro decided to freeze them to stop the rapid increases. He also decided to subsidize basic foods because there were riots and he needed to make the prices more affordable for the poor. He even passed a “law for fair prices” so people could be jailed, if they marked up the price by more than 30%.

When food distributors couldn’t raise prices some went out of business and others decided to sell their food in other nations where they could charge more money. Also, some enterprising Venezuelans who live close to the nation’s borders with other countries saw the frozen prices as an opportunity to purchase the subsidized foods at reduced prices, transport them across the border and resell them at a higher price. Others saw this as an opportunity to stock up on food while they could get it at a reduced price.

Pres Maduro decided to combat this situation in several ways. One, he decided to start tracking the buying and selling of food so he could know who is buying it, how much they are buying, what they are buying, etc. Two, he started placing armed guards at the government-run food stores to ensure that those who buy and sell food obey his policies. Three, he started requiring everyone who purchases food to have an ID card (some call it a food rationing card). Four, he started requiring those who buy food to be fingerprinted. Five, he started requiring those who buy food to give their cell phone number. Six, he decided that those who buy food will not be allowed to return to the store for eight days. Seven, he decided that minors won’t be allowed to buy food because they will probably be buying it for their parents. Eight, he started putting all the information he collects (ID, fingerprint, phone number, purchases, etc.) in a computer data base for future reference. And nine, he programmed his computers to sound an alarm if someone starts making suspicious purchases.

From what I have read, the public has accepted these new procedures and the program is off to a good start. Nevertheless, it reminds me of the coming Mark of the Beast and it makes me shudder to think about what is going to happen when a world government controls the buying and selling of food, medicine or whatever. The Antichrist’s data bases will contain everything he needs to know about people (eye scans, fingerprints, names, addresses, buying habits, etc.). Many will accept his tracking of all buying and selling and he won’t think twice about denying anything to those who oppose them.

“The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:12-14).

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymondduck@bellsouth.net