Watching For A Hook

The list of experts who teach that Russia, Iran and others will attack Israel in a future war called the Battle of Gog and Magog is impressive (Ezek. 38-39). So for the sake of brevity, I will simply state that God will put a hook in the jaws of Russia’s leader (Ezek. 38:4) and drag him and his allies into Israel in the latter days (Ezek. 38:16) and latter years (Ezek. 38:8). And I will make eight points about this in connection with current events.

First, Israel attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities is not the Battle of Gog and Magog. But, if Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities, Russia and Iran have said they will counterattack and that could be the Battle of Gog and Magog.

Second, I agree with those who say Psa. 83 is a prayer about a war between Israel and her neighbors that will take place before the Battle of Gog and Magog. This war hasn’t happened, but events seem to indicate that it could happen soon. An Intifada has been raging in Jerusalem for more than two months; there is currently a temporary ceasefire between Israel and the PA, but Hamas is threatening to break it and no one expects it to hold.

Third, I agree with those who say Isa. 17 prophesies a war between Israel and Syria that will take place before the Battle of Gog and Magog. This hasn’t happened, but it is something else that could happen soon. The U.S. and several Arab allies have already attacked oil fields, refineries, Islamic State troops, other terrorists and weapons in Syria even though Russia, Iran and Syria warned us not to do it. In the past, Syria, Russia and Iran have threatened to attack Israel, if Syria is attacked. Israel has her troops on high alert and the IDF has just shot down a Syrian jet that supposedly strayed over Israeli territory.

Fourth, on Sept. 17, 2014, Israel’s Minister of Intelligence, Yuvall Steinitz said Iran is nine to eighteen months away from developing a nuclear bomb and Iran already has missiles that can deliver one. He pointed out that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.” Nine to eighteen months will quickly come and go. Therefore, it is obvious that time is running out for Israel to act and for Russia, Iran and others to respond.

Fifth, on Sept. 18, 2014, the P5 +1 (the permanent five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) began what they call their final round of negotiations with Iran over the abandonment of Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. Furthermore, the two sides have agreed to resolve all of their differences by Nov. 24, 2014. So the P5 + 1 and Iran are now less than two months away from their self-imposed deadline, the talks are going nowhere and Iran says she will not give up her nuclear program. In addition to this, because of western sanctions on Russia over her actions in Ukraine, Russia has threatened to retaliate against the west by siding with Iran in these negotiations.

Sixth, in 2013, Israel included almost three billion dollars in her budget to finance a war with Iran. In 2014, Israel budgeted almost three billion dollars more for a war with Iran. In Sept. 2014, while preparing Israel’s budget for 2015, a problem arose. Israeli Finance Minister, Yair Lapid, did not want to raise taxes on the Israeli people, but Israeli Air Force Commander, Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel, wanted more money to upgrade Israel’s Air Force and Prime Minister Netanyahu wanted more money to finance operations to deal with security threats against Israel. Some in the media took Mr. Netanyahu’s request for more money to mean that Israel will soon attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Could it happen in the next nine months?

Seventh, Russia’s economy is in trouble. Mr. Putin is still financing a covert war in Ukraine. Western nations have gradually upped sanctions on Russia and the sanctions are finally beginning to take hold. Russia threatened to cut off the flow of natural gas to the EU, but the loss of income could be devastating. The value of the Ruble has dropped 15% against the dollar this year and a recession is looming. Russia will soon have to change her ways, deal with a recession, or find a prey with silver and gold, cattle and goods.

Eighth, based on the Jewish Talmud (not the Bible) some say a Tetrad of blood moons are an omen of war for Israel. It is a debatable issue, but no one can deny that the first blood moon in the current Tetrad occurred on April 15, 2014 (the Feast of Passover), the next blood moon will occur on October 8, 2014 (the Feast of Tabernacles) and there will be two more in 2015.

Russia is still causing trouble in Ukraine; Pres. Obama is arming the so-called friendly rebels in Syria; the U.S. and several Arab allies are attacking the Islamic State in Syria; Israel’s war with Hamas is probably not over; so it is quite possible that within months God could set the hook on Russia. Time will tell.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com

Just Living!

Some of my fondest memories, are of driving from one cow pasture to another, or from one farm or ranch to another with my grandfather and a car full of boys, my cousins. Wherever we were going, it seems we were always singing. God had blessed all of us boys with good voices and a natural aptitude for harmony. However that was not the case for our grandfather. My grandfather, R. H. Marlin, could not carry a tune in an oil tanker, but he loved to sing and did so at the top of his lungs. Some of his favorite hymns were; “Heaven Came down,” “When the Roll Is Called up Yonder,” and “Living by Faith.” As I consider his life, and the lessons I learned from it, I believe these three hymns sum it up pretty well. Having accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, heaven had come down to fill his soul; and he knew because of this, that when the roll is called, his name will be found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. But, of real significance to me, is the fact that he truly lived his life by faith. If I close my eyes and let my mind drift back, even now I can see the index finger of his right hand keeping time as his craggy voice sang;

I care not today what the morrow may bring,
If shadow or sunshine or rain,
The Lord I know rules o’er everything,
And all of my worries are vain.

I’m Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arms,
I’m living by faith and I feel no alarm.                 Wells and Winsett 1918

Living by faith is; “Just Living.”

Now over the next few paragraphs I’d like to expand on that statement. But first let me say, I love words, or more to the point semantics, and so as we expand on the statement; “just living,” I hope we will find in it, two meanings as it relates to faith in the daily life of a Christian.

What is faith?

In Hebrews 11:1 we find this statement written; “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” So faith is based on substance and evidence and not on emotion. Faith is acting on what you believe to be true, not what you feel to be true. In 2 Corinthians 5:7 we find written; “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” So then, walking or living by faith is the opposite of trusting what we see, hear, or feel (physically or emotionally). True faith, is to express belief in God who gives us faith (Romans 12:3), in Jesus Christ as the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and His Holy Spirit who keeps us in faith (2 Timothy 1: 13-14).

Faith is the pathway God has set before us, to bring us salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. Because of His great mercy and love for us, we receive faith from Him in the form of a gift. “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:4-9)

The fact that we are justified in the sight of God by the faith which He gives us, is explained by the apostle Paul in Romans 5:1-2; “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” And in his letter to the Galatians; “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26)

Because we have been gifted with faith by God, it should be clear that we can do nothing to earn either grace or faith, that we have received them because of Christ’s finished work on the cross. Only by faith in Christ can we be made righteous (Romans 5:19; Galatians 2:16) and John wrote in his gospel; “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). True faith in Jesus Christ involves more than just believing in His existence, it is believing that His atoning work on the cross is sufficient payment for our sin debt.

Positionally, the risen Christ Jesus is our Savior, and therefore is the object of our faith as we develop a personal relationship with Him. We are brought to faith through the work of the Holy Spirit who acts on behalf of Christ. He originates the process of faith in us by convicting us of our sins (John 16:7-10), and draws us to the Savior regenerating our unbelieving hearts. If you are truly a believer in Jesus Christ, then positionally you are in Christ, and if you are in Christ, then you have been given the gift of faith by God. You have been saved by faith.

The Bible, God’s Word, has been given to us as the instrument of our faith. It is the tool which God uses to establish, build, and strengthen our faith and within its pages we find everything which “pertains to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1-3). Paul wrote to the church at Rome; “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) The Holy Spirit uses the word of God to convict man of sin and bring them to faith in Christ (1 Peter 1:23; James 1:18). In the parable of the Sower (Luke 8:5-15) Jesus compares the Word of God to a seed which germinates into faith. And the psalmist writes that the Word is a lamp and light to keep him on the path of righteousness (Psalm 119:115).

Living by faith

Three times in the New Testament (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; and Hebrews 10:38) we find this phrase from Habakkuk 2:4 quoted; “the just shall live by faith.” Habakkuk is making the point that only man who is just in the sight of God, can and will live by faith. The three New Testament passages are repeating the same thought. So who are the just? They are those who have been made righteous by the faith which God has given them in Christ Jesus, they have been justified by God through faith (Romans 1:12; Romans 3:28; Romans 5:1, 19; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:11, 24).

Living by faith is what Christian life is really all about, placing our complete trust in God to supply and meet our every need. Truly living by faith will take our lives out of the realm of the ordinary world into the realm of the extraordinary, supernatural world.

At one point the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith, but Jesus told His disciples that if they had faith the size of a grain of mustard seed, they could tell a sycamore tree to replant itself into the sea and it would obey, or they could tell a mountain to move from one place to another and it would (Matthew 17:20; Luke 17:5-6). The lesson wasn’t that they needed more faith, but that they needed to exercise the faith which they already had. If they would do so their faith would grow.

Living by faith moves beyond merely believing in God, to having complete trust in Him to accomplish everything He has promised in our lives. This faith is essential for the Christian life, for without it we cannot please Him and certainly won’t receive His promised rewards (Hebrews 11:6). He promised if we ask we will receive (Matthew 7:7; John 14:14), and He tells us to ask in faith believing without fear (James 1:6).

Living by faith is standing on God’s honor and integrity, and acting on His promises to us, learning to trust Him in every part of our life. Living by faith involves believing that absolutely every bit of God’s Word is truth, and that in it we find everything we need for life, knowing that God has given it to us for that reason.

Living by faith is a lifelong process of spiritual growth and sanctification, which draws us ever closer to God the Father through our relationship with Jesus Christ, empowered by His Holy Spirit. God desires each of us to be living a life of faith, to be in that process, and that can happen when we quit doubting Him and trusting in ourselves. Imagine how much might be accomplished for the cause of Christ in these last days if we would simply trust God, live by faith, and let Him live through us.

How do we accomplish this?

Read the Word! Study it! Memorize it! Pray over it! Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you understanding and teach you the precepts found within it!

Pray for wisdom! Pray for boldness to share the Word! Pray for God to show you His Will for your life! Pray for Him to give you strength to accomplish it!

Be a disciple, find someone who is living by faith and ask them to disciple you! Learn to disciple others yourself! Get involved in a local church which is teaching the Word of God and the Word of God only! Surround yourself with friends who also desire to live by faith!

Living by faith is not for the faint hearted or those weak in character, but it is for those who realize that strength and character come from God, and that living by faith, is living in complete dependence upon God. Living by faith is something that only can be accomplished with the strength and power of God in your life, surrendering your will to His Will. Living by faith is truly life in Christ, and for the Christian, it really is; “just living.”

Just living = having been justified by grace through faith in Christ Jesus!

Just living = what the normal life of a Christian is, when he is Living by Faith!

I’m Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arms,
I’m living by faith and I feel no alarm.

Yes grandpa, I was paying attention.

Spiritual Warfare

There has been a rash of stories in the news lately that are related to religion. Many of them show moral failure and spiritual depravity in the world. They also show that multitudes are being misled.

The Pink Cross Publishing Company announced plans to start placing their Queen James Bibles next to Gideon Bibles in hotels and motels. The Queen James Bible is a Bible for gays, and the publishing company changed eight verses to hide the fact that homosexuality is a sin.

Some of the problems with this is that the Scriptures were given by God (2 Tim. 3:16). He cannot lie (Heb. 6:18), the Bible as originally given is true (Jn. 17:17). Changing verses that some don’t like introduces errors that lead people astray and God will hold people accountable for changing His truth into a lie (Rom. 1:25).

China announced plans to create a Chinese Christian theology to guide Christian activities in the nation— to ensure that all Christian activities conform to China’s national condition and culture. A big problem with this is the fact that China is officially an atheist nation.

Those who create this Chinese Christian theology will probably be atheists and the theology they come up with will probably be politically correct. Any theology that conforms to political correctness instead of the Bible is not Christian theology. If China gets away with this, other nations will soon follow.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis held meetings with Shimon Peres, Mahmoud Abbas, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, James Robinson and others to pray for peace in the Middle East, and to discuss the unification of the world’s religions. Some reports said the Pope read from the Koran and prayed to Allah.

One report said the Pope rejected fundamentalist Christians (those who believe in a strict literal interpretation of the Bible). The problem here is that those who voluntarily pray to Allah are religious, but they are not infallible and their hearts are not right with God.

Shimon Peres had another meeting with Pope Francis and asked him to call for a United Nations of Religions to represent the major religions in the world. Mr. Peres wants this United Nations of Religions to serve as a global moral force with authority that cannot be questioned. He wants it to be able to tell the world what God wants and what God doesn’t want.

One problem with this is that God gave the Bible to the world to tell us what He wants and doesn’t want. And what Mr. Peres wants to do would set aside the Bible and pave the way for the False Prophet to head up a one-world secular religion during the Tribulation period (Rev. 13:11-18).

Vice Pres Biden recently spoke out about the beheading of two journalists and said, “As a nation, we’re united. And when people harm Americans, we don’t retreat, we don’t forget.” He added, “We take care of those who are grieving (the reporter’s families) and when that’s finished, they (ISIS) should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice because hell is where they’ll reside.”

I agree, but if those in Washington don’t stop trying to divide Israel, spread homosexuality, spread humanism, support abortion, rewrite the Bible, etc., and if the church continues to be lukewarm (Rev. 3:16; 2 Chron. 7:14), America could very well wind up at the gates of hell without having to follow ISIS.

John Kerry said the book of Genesis gives America the command to save Muslim majority countries from Global Warming. But the book of Genesis does not mention America, Muslims or Global Warming. Just because someone says the Bible says something that does not mean the Bible says it.

In this case, John Kerry added to the Word of God even though God warned us not to do that (Rev. 22:18-19). Mr. Kerry is an embarrassment because he showed a lack of knowledge and disrespect for the Word of God. Man’s fall came when Adam and Eve distorted and misquoted Scripture (Gen. 3:1-5).

What people say reveals what is in their heart. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh (Matt. 12:34). Those whose hearts are right with God will respect the Scriptures and try to speak the truth. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things (Matt. 12:35).

Anyway, as I think about these things, I don’t think the real enemy is Pink Cross Publishing, China, Pope Francis, Shimon Peres, Vice Pres. Biden or even John Kerry. The apostle Paul said, “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” (Eph. 6:11). Satan is real, he is a liar and the father of lies (Jn. 8:44).

These stories are examples of Satan’s efforts to replace true Christianity with a false religion (Rev. 13:7-8). This battle over the truth and sticking to it is here and it will get much worse. The world will eventually wind up with a global false religion (Rev. 17). When that false religion’s cup of iniquity is full God will put it into the hearts of the Ten Kings to destroy it (Rev. 17:16-17).

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com

Faith; Some Truths We Should Know, On Which We Can Stand!

Recently I have received questions from more than a few folks about faith and about standing for Christ in these Last Days. Considering this, it is apparent to me that there are some truths that we should know as believers and followers of Jesus Christ, which then become the basis for our ability to make a stand in faith. If we grasp these truths, understand these truths, which are taught in the Word of God, they can help us increase our faith. Everyone who has ever trusted in Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, has at some point in time in his spiritual life, experienced weakness in his faith. But, God has the power to strengthen our faith and has given us promises to cling to and instruction to follow to do so.

Hebrews 11:1 says; “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” So faith is based on substance and evidence; these are tangible things. Faith is not based on emotion because it is intangible. Romans 10:17 tells us; “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We have the tangible Word of God, which is truth, on which to base our faith.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we believe in the truth of His substitutionary death (wherein He paid our sin debt), His burial, and resurrection proving His victory over sin and death. This of course is the very foundation of our faith. Herein we find both substance and evidence. But there is more, much more which Christ has promised us, with which we may build upon our faith. Knowing this, let’s look at some more truths that we should know.

1. We have a God who cares.

Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us that we have a High Priest in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who experienced everything that we experience in this life and yet He did so without sin. It continues saying that we can come boldly to His throne to obtain mercy and grace in our time of need.
1 Peter 5:6-7 tells us that if we will humble ourselves before God, in other words submit our will to His will, and give all of our worries, cares, fears, and concerns to Him; that He will exalt, preserve, and praise us at just the right time (in His time) because He cares for us.

2. Our God will supply all our need.

• In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus Christ Himself told His disciples that they didn’t need to worry about what they would eat, drink, or wear; or about their physical well-being or their very lives because His Father in heaven knew their every need. If they would seek first His kingdom (once again be concerned with and obedient to His will) everything they need would be provided. If obedient, they would not need to worry about tomorrow, tomorrow would take care of itself.

• After the church at Philippi had been so generous to the Apostle Paul, he wrote to them; “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) Again, the promise of God’s provision.

3. We have a God who is always with us.

• The Psalmist wrote; “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18)

• And in Solomon’s Proverbs we find; “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24) Of course the friend he is speaking of here is God, and more pointedly to you and I today, the person of the Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of God and Christ Jesus.

• The Holy Spirit was promised to us by Jesus Christ Himself as recorded in John 14:15-18. The Holy Spirit is the helper or comforter Jesus promised to the believer only, because the world cannot receive Him or know Him. Further, Jesus says that the Holy Spirit dwells in us and because of that He (Jesus) is in us.

• And in the book of Hebrews, we find this promise of Jesus; “I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU.” And the passage continues with us being able to boldly say; “THE LORD IS MY HELPER; I WILL NOT FEAR. WHAT CAN MAN DO TO ME?” (Hebrews 13:5-6) Do you see that? Because we have the promise of Jesus, that He is our helper, we have nothing to fear! Friends we may face persecution, and in fact as believers we have been promised that it has been granted to us to suffer for Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:29) but; no matter what man does to us, he cannot take away from us, the presence of Jesus Christ in our life, or the promise of eternal life!

This is not an all-inclusive list of truths which we should know as Christians, with which we may build our faith and be able to make a stand for Jesus Christ. These are just some more of the basics. There is one more that I’d like to share with you. To my mind it is the crescendo of the Symphony of truths promised to the follower of Christ!

4. Jesus is coming again!

• In the Gospel of John, Jesus told His disciples; “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would’ve told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

• After His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples teaching and ministering to them for 40 days. In Acts 1:10-11, Luke describes Christ’s ascension into heaven from the Mount of Olives at the end of that 40 days, and the declaration of the Angels to the disciples who had been assembled there to hear the teaching of the risen Christ. He wrote; “And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.’”

• In his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul shared the promise of Christ’s return for His Church. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” This is the blessed hope of all believers, all followers of Jesus Christ, the promise of eternal life in the presence of God. But, there is more to know about His return. In this passage we’re told that the Church, the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, will meet Him in the air. Yet, in Acts 1 the Angels promised Jesus Christ would return just as He left.

Zechariah 14:1-4 Describes that day when Christ’s feet will once again touch down on the Mount of Olives on the “Day of the Lord.” “Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, And your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.”

• And Revelation 19:11-16 describes His return to the earth on that day in this way; “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, wherever you may be in the world today, these are the substance and evidence of truths that you can know which will strengthen your faith and your ability to stand for Jesus Christ in the perilous days ahead. I encourage you to daily put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) so that you can withstand those who may attack and persecute you in these evil days, and having done all of this in faith, to stand. Therefore Stand!

 

EvenSoCome

Not the Rapture

The writer of a recent e-mail asked, “Is Matt. 24:36-44 about the Rapture? He thought the verses might be about the Rapture because He was not aware of any Scriptures about the lost being removed from the earth. Before I give my opinion, here are the verses in question.

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 24:36-44).

Some say these verses are about the Second Coming and some say they are about the Rapture. I believe they are about the Second Coming and here are five reasons why:

First, the verses leading up to Matt. 24:36-44 are about the Tribulation period so it seems logical to me that Matt. 24:36-44 continues to be about the Tribulation period. The gospel will go all over the world (verse 14) during the Tribulation period (Rev. 7:4-8; 11:3-12; 14:6). The Temple will be defiled by the Antichrist (verse 15) during the Tribulation period (Dan. 9:27).

Those in Judea (verse 16) will flee into the mountains during the Tribulation period (Rev. 12:14). The Great Tribulation (verse 21) refers to the last half of the Tribulation period. The feast of the eagles (verse 28) will be at the end of the Tribulation period (Rev. 19:17-18). The sun turning dark(verse 29) will be at the end of the Tribulation period. I believe in the Pre-Trib Rapture so I believe Matt. 24:36-44 refers to the Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation period.

Second, Matt. 24 is about Israel not the church. The “holy place” (verse 15) refers to the Temple in Israel. “Those in Judea” (verse 16) refers to people on the West Bank in Israel. The “Sabbath” (verse 20) refers to the day of rest and worship in Israel. The gathering of the “eagles” (vultures; verse 28) refers to the Battle of Armageddon in Israel (Job 39:27-30; Rev. 19:17-18).

The “Fig Tree” (verses 32-33) refers to Israel (Jer. 24:1-10; Hos. 9:10). The “elect” (verses 22, 24 and 31) refers to Israel (Isa. 45:4). So because Matt. 24 is about Israel and not the church verses 36-44 are about the Second Coming not the Rapture. The Tribulation period is about Israel (Dan. 9:24). The Second Coming is about rescuing Israel (Zech. 14:1-5; Rev. 19:11-21). The Rapture is about the dead in Christ (church not Israel) being caught up into heaven (1 Thess. 4:1-13).

Third, the Rapture is about the removal of the saved (dead in Christ) from the earth (1 Thess. 4:13-18). But Matt. 24:36-44 ties the coming of the Lord to the days of Noah (verse 37). In the days of Noah, the lost were removed from the earth. Those “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (verse 38) refers to the lost being removed by the Flood.

Fourth, in Jesus’ interpretation of the Parable of the Wheat and Tares (Matt. 13:36-43) the tares (the lost) will be gathered out of the world by God’s angels and cast into a furnace of fire at the end of the age (NKJV). And, in the Parable of the Dragnet (Matt. 13:47-50) the bad fish (the lost) will be taken away by God’s angels at the end of the age (NKJV). These parables clearly teach the removal of the lost at the Second Coming.

Fifth, the admonition to “Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (verse 42) is significant. There are no signs of the Rapture so there is nothing to watch for. But there are many signs of the Second Coming and people can watch for them. We cannot know the day or hour of His Coming (Matt: 24:36), but those who watch, can see the Second Coming approaching (Heb. 10:25) and know when it is getting close (Luke 21:28)

In conclusion, Matt. 24:36-44 refers to the Second Coming not the Rapture.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com

Whom Do You Fear in These Last Days?

Undoubtedly, the evidence is, for Christians this world is becoming more dangerous on a daily basis. Persecution of those who have a true faith in Jesus Christ has increased by an estimated 400% worldwide in the last 24 months alone. Yet, the True Church continues to grow, and is doing so in the places of greatest persecution. North Korea, over the past decade, has consistently been documented as the most hostile toward Christianity, yet it is estimated that the Church has grown from 200,000 to 400,000 faithful, during that same length of time. These numbers are not anomalous, almost the same type of growth has been experienced in China, India, Iran, and much of the African continent. The Church of Jesus Christ is alive, growing, and in spite of the suffering and persecution is living expectantly, longing and looking for His imminent return for His bride.

However, not everyone who claims the name of Jesus Christ are boldly making a stand for Him in these Last Days. Many Christians (especially in the US), for divergent reasons, are “playing it safe” hoping to “slip under the radar” and avoid suffering and persecution. Rather than trusting God, they have developed a fear of man which is by extension, a fear of Satan. Jesus Christ promised that He would neither leave us nor forsake us, and that we should have no fear of what man might do to us. (Hebrews 13:5-6) In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus promised that we would be blessed and rewarded for having suffered persecution in His Name. (Matthew 5:10-12) Jesus also told us that we can expect persecution because He was persecuted. (John 15:20) And, Paul told the Christians in the Philippian church that it was granted to them not only to believe in Jesus but to suffer for Jesus. (Philippians 1: 29) If you are granted something, it means it has been given to you or gifted to you, in other words, it is a privilege that you have received. So, we should count it a privilege when persecution comes, but rather than trusting God for their lives, many are caught in the snare of fearing man. (Proverbs 29:25)

Fearing man results in a failure to do what is right, what the Lord desires, in being obedient to His call on your life. It is yielding to your human nature rather than trusting in the Holy Spirit to protect and empower you in Jesus Name. Oftentimes a fear of man is the result of sinful pride in our lives. It manifests itself in thoughts like; “if I try to share my faith with them they will make fun of me,” or “I could lose my job if I don’t compromise,” or “Jesus understands that I’m not that type of a Christian.” These examples of prideful thoughts or actions show a concern for self, and fear of what man might say, rather than a fear of God.

Del Fehsenfeld Jr., the founder of Life Action Ministries, said there were 12 warning signs for the believer that they fear man rather than God.

• They are unwilling to pray aloud.
• They wear immodest or suggestive clothing.
• They become defensive when confronted about their actions.
• They are unwilling to be honest about their failures.
• They are critical of others; trying to find fault.
• They are greedy, seeking material wealth and reputation.
• They are unable to make clear decisions.
• They are harsh with their children and family in public.
• They are constantly fishing for compliments and commendation.
• They are always trying to “one-up” other people’s stories.
• They are unwilling to follow Christ in believer’s baptism or to verbally witness for Him.
• They display different behavior depending on whom they happened to be with.

Fear of man is quite simply a denial of Christ, weather it is a result of pride, or willful disobedience in giving Christ His rightful place in your life. The tent evangelist, Dr. Dolphus Price, said; “Many will go to hell because they are afraid of what their friends might say if they give their life to Christ.” The English preacher William Gurnall wrote; “We fear man so much, because we fear God so little.”

Today, the Church of Jesus Christ needs to return to a healthy reverence for, and fear of God. (Psalm 89:7; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) We need to remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, about who we should fear and why. (Luke 12:4-9) Ultimately, the man who puts his trust in Jesus Christ is eternally safe no matter what he might face.The Apostle Paul, in his second letter to Timothy wrote; “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12) Again, this is a promise of a privilege given to the one who has given his life to serve Jesus Christ, and it is certainly no reason to fear man.

Paul goes on to encourage Timothy; “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4: 2-5)

These words to Timothy in that day, are the words of Jesus Christ to us for today. Because the evidence is clear that we are living in the Last Days, we need to set aside the fear of man, and share Jesus Christ with absolutely everyone we can in obedience to His call on our lives. We need to convince people of the Truth of Jesus Christ in our lives, we need to rebuke those (false teachers and false prophets) who are not teaching the Truth of the Word of God, and we need to exhort new Christians or weaker Christians with patience and sound teaching of the Word. Many in this world have already turned away from the truth, many will not be redeemed because they have already given themselves over to Satan. But, we still need to evangelize everyone, because only God knows the condition of a man’s heart. We need to fulfill the calling God has placed on our lives, and continually watch, long for, and love the imminent appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds as He Raptures His Church!

Remember, a crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8) and the crown of life (Revelation 2:10) awaits. So put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-16), and having done all to stand; Stand Therefore!

EvenSoCome

The Approaching Darkness

The Tribulation period has many names. Several are found in the disturbing prophecies of Zephaniah:

“The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers” (Zeph. 1:14-16).

The harshness of this coming day is revealed by five descriptive couplets:

1) Trouble and distress, 2) wasteness and desolation, 3) darkness and gloominess, 4) clouds and thick darkness, and 5) trumpet and alarm.

All five couplets are important, but for the purpose of this article, notice the words “darkness” and “thick darkness.” The day of wrath will be a day of darkness that will turn into a day of thick or intense darkness.

The prophet Joel saw a plague of locusts in his day that moved his mind forward to this coming day. He said, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations” (Joel 2:1-2).

Joel is not the only one who said there has never been and never will be another day like it. Daniel and Jesus said the same thing (Dan.12:1; Matt. 24:21). But many Muslims do not understand the severity of this. Some actually want to start a war in the Middle East to trigger the day of the LORD (they call it the day of Islam), because they believe it will hasten the return of their Mahdi (their guided one).

They long for his return because they believe he will lead Muslim forces to victory over the West in the Battle of Armageddon (they call it the Mother of all Battles) and speed up the establishment of Islam as the one-world religion and government.

But God said, “Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?” (Amos 5:18-20).

The Tribulation period will be a day of judgment, not joy. People will flee from one danger and encounter a greater danger. The darkness will be very dark and there will be no light or brightness in it.

Some do not believe in the Pre-Trib Rapture, but Paul was writing about the day of the Lord when he said, “But of the times and the seasons, bretheren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they [the unbelievers] shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them [the unbelievers], as travail upon a woman with child; and they [the unbelievers] shall not escape.

But ye, brethren [believers], are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye [believers] are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us [believers] to wrath (the Tribulation period is a day of wrath; see Zeph. 1:14 above), but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:2-9).

This day of darkness (the Tribulation period) will begin when the Antichrist confirms a covenant with “many” for seven-years of peace in the Middle East (Dan. 9:27a). Unbelievers will quickly proclaim “peace and safety” and sudden destruction will come upon them (1 Thess. 5:3). The Antichrist will establish an office in Israel for himself and some of his international troops (Dan.11:45). That is where he will be when he meets his end at the Second Coming of Jesus (Rev. 19:19-20; also read Rev. 8:12-13).

Now, recall that Israel and Hamas were at war for seven weeks during July and August 2014. During this time, “many” called for a ceasefire (Egypt, Jordan, England, France, Germany, the U.S., the 16-nation UN Security Council and others) and there were twelve ceasefire’s, with Hamas breaking the first eleven. This “many” used terms such as “sustainable ceasefire,” “lasting ceasefire,” “a long-term ceasefire,” “talks on a final Israeli-PA peace deal,” “a durable peace,” etc.

Some even demanded a ceasefire. It was even reported that the PA plans to ask the UN Security Council to draw up proposal to resolve the conflict (propose a seven-year ceasefire or peace treaty???), set a date for its implementation and enforce it by sending international troops to Israel (see Dan. 11:45 above). U.S. Sec. of State John Kerry even tweeted that Israel needs “peace and security” a phrase that means “peace and safety” (see 1 Thess. 5:3 above).

And it was reported that the UN is ready to force a resolution based on the two-state solution (the division of Israel, Jerusalem, etc.) on the two parties and compel them to abide by it (trouble for Israel; Zeph. 1:15 and Dan. 12:1 above; Jer. 30:7).

In the coming weeks (some say over the next four months), the U.S. is to consolidate all of these ceasefire and peace treaty demands into one document to be discussed, voted on and enforced by the UN. Of course, Pres. Obama claims to have Israel’s back, but, to put it mildly, many people don’t trust him.

I don’t know what will be in the combined document of the “many” that Pres. Obama will come up with (It may have a time factor of seven-years and it may not), but I know that there will be a seven-year ceasefire in the future and things are definitely moving in that direction. But even if Pres. Obama draws up a seven-year ceasefire, the Tribulation period won’t begin until the Antichrist confirms it. And just to be clear, I believe the Rapture and several wars must take place first (Psa. 83; Isa. 17; Ezek. 38-39).

Anyway, the day of darkness won’t overtake believers (1 Thess. 5:4). God’s day children (1 Thess. 5:5) could soon leave, the sun could set soon and what appears to be the approaching darkness will be thick and very dark.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com