Whatever Happened to John 3:16?

Quite literally, every day we learn of another example of man’s inhumanity to man. News organizations, both traditional and Internet-based, daily report on the atrocities and unspeakable evil which permeates, affects, touches, or in some way influences the lives of nearly every person on planet Earth. We are being constantly made aware of new and terrible diseases, or the resurgence or mutations of age-old maladies which are increasingly affecting numbers of peoples all over the world. And, weather events and natural disasters continue to increase in severity and frequency.

However, those of us who consider ourselves to be a part of the True Church, the Body of Christ, point to prophetic Scripture and declare that the Bible says these things are to be so as we approach the end of days. We of course do so by sharing these things from our pulpits, or in our weekly Bible studies, or through books we write, or (more and more frequently) through blogs posted on our own websites and those of others.

News organizations detail the latest atrocities committed by ISIS in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and the rest of the Middle East; Boko Haram in Africa, Russian separatists in Ukraine, the Iranian proxies (Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon), Al Qaeda in Yemen and Libya, the PLO in Israel, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Muslim extremists in Europe, and rising anti-Semitism worldwide. We hear about Chinese belligerence in the Far East, the nuclear aspirations of Iran, North Korea, and India, and increasingly, the failure of the United States to articulate any real understanding of, or implementation of, foreign policy.

In the US domestic news, we also read and see evidence of the growing influence of Islam, the continued proliferation of secular humanism in our institutions of learning, the insidious and intolerant assaults on Christianity and traditional family values by progressives (formerly known as liberals), and the militant minority LGBT community.

Lately, as I follow these news sources and then read the blog articles and comments of those in the Christian community, I have begun to see what I consider to be a disturbing trend. Many, though certainly not all, of these comments, articles, and posts focus on the condemnation of the individuals, groups, or countries committing these egregious acts without commenting on, or attributing, the ultimate reason for these evils to the very fact that we are living in a world which is ruled by the prince of the power of the air, and the rulers of darkness of this world, which is of course, Satan and his demons.

In fact, many in the Christian community have become so intentional in their desire to “expose” the hatred and evil inherent among those who are doing Satan’s bidding in these days, that they have forgotten not only the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) and Great Commission (Mark 16:15), but in fact, the words of John 3:16. Even while acknowledging that we are living in the Last Days, that the Rapture of the church is imminent, and that a time of great Tribulation is approaching mankind, which will culminate in Christ’s physical return to the earth in power and great glory, we are failing to do the work which we were first called to do; proclaim the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (NKJV)

Remember this verse? It is one of the best-known verses in the Bible. In fact, for most of us it is the very first verse we ever committed to memory. John 3:16 clearly and simply declares the Good News of the Gospel.

Let’s break this verse down a bit, “For God so loved the world” tells us that the creator of the universe loves His creation. However, the “world” here is not descriptive of the cosmos, or even the earth itself, but of all mankind. So the Scripture is saying that God loves all men, even those who scorn or reject His love. When I read “God so loved the world,” I can individualize that to say that He loves me. Yet, the same can be said by every other individual on the earth. This then means that the whole love of God is available to every single soul who has ever lived. Understanding that, the blessed truth here is this; no matter how far one distances himself from God, no matter how little one thinks of God, or no matter that one never even shows any love for God, it makes absolutely no difference to the very fact that God loves them.

Let’s continue, “that He gave His only begotten Son” is describing the fact that Jesus Christ became the sacrifice required by a Holy God to pay the sin debt of the entire world (read mankind). We must understand here that it was not Jesus’s death that turned God’s wrath and anger away from man, but rather it was God’s love for man which appointed Jesus Christ’s death. This then demonstrates that God loved men before He sent Christ to pay their sin debt. (2 Corinthians 5:14-21; Hebrews 2:9; 1 John 2:2)

This brings us to the last part of the verse, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Now then, “whoever” means whoever. There is nothing complicated here, there is no mystery here, any and every man who believes that Jesus Christ paid his sin debt can have eternal life.

Believing in Christ means that we acknowledge that He alone could be the perfect sacrifice which a Holy God required. It is acknowledging Him as our Savior, and surrendering to Him authority in our lives as our Lord. It is the act of acknowledging His will as our own as we become His disciples.

God hates sin, and God certainly does not like the wicked state of the world in which we live. But God loves men, and Peter tells us that He is not willing that any should perish. (2 Peter 3:9)

So, the purpose of my article is this:

We who are disciples of Jesus Christ, who make up the Body of the True Church, which is the Bride of Christ, need to examine our attitudes as they relate to men and sin. When we stand in our pulpits, or sit before our computers we need to remember that Jesus Christ came to save sinners, and that but for the grace of God, we ourselves could still be in need of redemption. We need to humble ourselves as did the Apostle Paul when he wrote; “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).

Jesus Christ came to save sinners, mankind; no matter what their nationality, no matter what their race, no matter what their religion, no matter what their sexual orientation, no matter what political office they may hold, no matter whether they are rich or poor, no matter what the circumstances of their life are, Jesus Christ paid their sin debt and we have the responsibility to share that Good News with them. No matter what the cost may be.

Reread the Book of Acts, up until his conversion on the road to Damascus in chapter 9, the church considered Paul (Saul of Tarsus) a terrorist. Yet, look at what Christ did with his life. Take a hard look at your life and examine what you might have become had it not been for Christ’s intervention and your salvation. Think about what Christ could do with the life of a world leader or even a would-be terrorist who found redemption in Him today.

Please understand this, I am not asking that we cease our efforts as “watchmen on the wall” or that we quit proclaiming the imminence of Christ’s return for His Church. I am not even suggesting we quit commenting on current events and their relationship to the end times.

What I am asking is that we refocus on that which is the most important task we have been given, to share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Share it in every message you preach, every study you lead, and every article you write. Is it not truly what we have all been called to do? Is it not really the reason we have become watchmen?

Yes, Jesus is coming soon, and we need to share the Good News so that many more will be ready for His coming.

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

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 Condemnation of Israel as a Nation is Simply Hatred of the Jews!

Quite frankly, as a Preacher-Teacher of God’s Holy Word and a student of Biblical Eschatology, even though I am fully aware of End Time Prophecies and God’s plans for the Church, Israel, and the nations; I am sickened by the anti-Semitism which daily grows more virulent in the world. Merely one month ago I published an article entitled “Anti-Semitism, by any other name…” which established biblically Israel’s covenant right to exist in the land which God promised to them for eternity. I will not here repeat that article, but invite you to revisit it, or read it for the first time.

In response to what is now thousands of rockets fired on Israel and its citizens (since I published that article) by the terrorist organizations Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have made a military incursion into Gaza to eliminate that continued threat. In the most unusual display of humanitarianism in the annals of warfare, the IDF announced by telephone, and leaflets, where their airstrikes would take place, and since the incursion, have repeatedly warned civilians and non-combatants to move away from the areas of attack. Hamas however has given no such warnings of their rocket attacks on the citizens of Israel, and continually use their own women and children as human shields. For this incursion in defense of its citizens and sovereignty, the Nation State of Israel is being vilified around the world.

In just the past few days, rioting and anti-Jewish protests have risen in cities all across the world. In Europe rioting has taken place in cities in France (where synagogues have been attacked), Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Spain. These protests and riots have also shown up in such divergent places as Thailand and Indonesia. In Canada protests have been seen in Toronto, Montréal, Ottawa, and have even resulted in violence in Calgary. In the United States, protesters have been in evidence in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Houston, New Orleans, and in Boston Jews were physically assaulted. What is most alarming in all of these accounts, is that in every instance the vitriol has gone past a condemnation of Israel, to verbal and visual displays of hatred for Jewish people everywhere. Rather than death to Israel, chants of “kill the Jews, murder the Jews, gas the Jews,” are being heard in all of these protests. The only explanation for this is anti-Semitism.

On virtually every broadcast news channel and in almost every news publication, not only is anti-Semitism on display, it is in fact embraced and espoused by most of these organizations and their employees (I refuse to call them journalists because their bias is evident in their reports). They continually decry the casualties in Gaza (which now numbers near 800 and are the direct result of Hamas’s policy of using its own people as human shields) while ignoring the number of rockets fired into Israel by the terrorists. They also ignore the fact that since the incursion began, every opportunity which has been offered to Hamas for a cessation of hostilities has been rejected by the terrorist organization. The truth of the matter is, they believe that as more of their own people are killed (which is in truth is a result of their own actions), a sympathetic press, the UN and anti-Israel governments will eventually compel Israel to acquiesce to their demands.

One of the most troubling things to me about the reaction of these so-called news organizations, the United Nations, and others who are condemning Israel for the deaths of the nearly 800 Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, is the fact that somehow the deaths of thousands of Muslim Arabs as well as Christian Arabs at the hands of other Islamists does not meet with the same condemnation. In Syria over 150,000 Muslims have died at the hands of other Muslims, in Iraq thousands of Muslims and Christians have died at the hands of Muslims, in Libya thousands of Muslims have died at the hands of Muslims, in Mali thousands are dying at the hands of Muslim extremists, in Nigeria the Boko Haram have murdered thousands of Nigerian Muslims and Christians. Beyond the actions of Muslims, consider the fact that in North Korea thousands have been put to death by that communist regime, or that China continues to eradicate the ethnic Tibetans, or that ethnic cleansing continues in the Central African Republic and Burma, or that in Mexico, on the US’s southern border, well over 100,000 have been murdered by the drug cartels.

Why are all of these not met with the same outrage as is displayed toward Israel? Unfortunately I know the answer, it is because they are Jews. The fact of the matter is this, through the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Psalm 105:7-11) whom, by the way, God renamed Israel, God chose Israel to be the people through which He would offer redemption and blessing to every person in every nation of the world. Along with that fact is the truth that because of this, Satan hates the Jews.

I hope that this article, as well as my other article on anti-Semitism, will serve as a warning to everyone who reads them. If any individual, any news organization or other business, any religion, any nation, and especially anyone who identifies themselves as a “Christian” speaks in condemnation of God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel, they need to understand they face God’s judgment and wrath.

Study God’s Word, God’s Word is Truth, and today we are living in a time in which His revealed prophecy can be understood by those who diligently seek His wisdom. For those of us who study these things it is clear; now the end begins!

Jesus is coming soon!

EvenSoCome

America’s Future

A recent e-mail reads: “It drives me crazy that the Bible doesn’t say anything about America. I know that God is the Author of the Bible and He has His reasons for not mentioning America, but I want to know what is going to happen to America.”

I want to begin by saying that I believe America is in Bible prophecy. But this is just my opinion and not something the Bible says. I believe the United States will merge with Canada and Mexico to create the North American Union (NAU). And I believe the leaders of these nations will appoint a president of the NAU and he will be one of the Ten Kings.

Having said this, I am well aware that some believe “the people scattered and peeled” (Isa. 18), the “eagle’s wings” (Dan. 7), “the young lions” (Ezek. 38), the “great eagle” (Rev. 12) and “Babylon” (Rev. 18) refer to America. I understand that, but it is still my opinion that the United States will be a member of the NAU and we will be represented by one of the Ten Kings.

Now, before I started taking this position, I was among those who said, “I don’t know, but America may have been left out of Bible prophecy because America will experience a moral decline, a military decline, a sneak attack, or an economic collapse that will take her out of the picture.” It was just speculation, but many prophecy teachers realized that America had to be weakened so the world could be taken over by the evil Antichrist and his wicked world government.

Concerning a moral decline, America has kicked God and prayer out of our schools and government. Now, we have the highest STD infection rate, highest teen pregnancy rate, highest divorce rate, highest drug use rate and one of the highest abortion rates in the world. We produce more than 85% of the world’s pornography and some of our universities are actually teaching courses in it. Several states have legalized gambling, gay marriage and marijuana smoking. There is corruption in Washington, a lukewarm spirit in the church, no father in many homes and multitudes of children are born out-of-wedlock. I could go on, but just about anyone can tell that America has descended into the sewer and it is waxing worse and worse every day.

Concerning a military decline, early this year (2014) America’s Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, recommended major cuts to America’s military. That was followed by an announcement that two of our badly needed advanced cruise missiles (the Tomahawk and the Hellfire) will be totally eliminated by 2018; our army has already been cut by 30,000 troops in the last 18 months, it will be cut by 30,000 more by the end of next year, and another 40-70,000 by the end of this decade; our navy has already been cut to the point that it is now smaller than it has been since WW I; our air force is going to lose 500 planes by the end of this decade; our deployed nuclear missiles have been cut to 1550, Pres. Obama wants to cut that to 1,000 and he would like to eventually get down to 300. There is no way to honestly deny that America’s military is in serious free fall.

Concerning a sneak attack, North Korea, Iran, and several Islamic terrorist groups have long threatened to attack America. For many years, our nation was so strong talk like that was considered to be the chatter of foolish people. But that has changed for at least two reasons: 1) North Korea and Iran have both made major strides in their development of missiles and nuclear weapons, and 2) there is the danger that some of those weapons could fall into the hands of (or turned over to) terrorists. America’s military leaders now believe the threats should be taken seriously. But instead of strengthening our military, we are cutting it back.

Concerning an economic collapse, for more than a hundred years, America’s economy led the world and it was the envy of almost everyone. Now, some are saying that China will surge ahead of America before the end of this year. For years, foreign nations coveted the dollar, but now many would rather use their own currency. For years, foreign nations invested in U.S. Treasury Bonds, but now they don’t want them. Millions of Americans are on food stamps, millions can’t find a job, millions have stopped looking, millions have lost their homes and we are closing businesses faster than we are opening new ones. Many experts believe America is on the brink of an economic collapse.

Concerning America at the end of the age, the decades old speculations of many of America’s top prophecy teachers (moral decline, military decline, sneak attack or economic collapse) are now an embarrassing reality. God once blessed America, but now that we have kicked Him and prayer out we are disappearing from the global stage and fading from the prophetic picture.

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

*Editor’s Note*

While I understand Daymond’s explanation for “America” being in Bible Prophecy, and the fact that all regions of the world will be involved in the Tribulation and End Time events, I believe that the United States of America, as we know it, will cease to exist as a Moral, Political, Economic and Military power on the world stage. The scripture verses referenced above cannot be ascribed with any certainty to the US, and to do so, I believe, is to error in interpretation. These verses, in fact, have better representations. Very simply, the US must decline (and is) as End Time Prophecy is fulfilled, while “America” may become a part of the NAU.

K.D. Tucker Whitaker DD, PhD

Troublesome Times… is a Worldwide Famine Approaching?

In chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew we find Christ’s Olivet discourse. It is Jesus teaching His disciples about Things to Come, the Last Days, and the End Times of the tribulation. In Matthew 24:4-8 He is describing things which will take place during the church age preceding the End Times described by Christ as “the beginning of sorrows.” This is comparatively descriptive of labor pains experienced by a woman in childbirth, an ever-increasing in intensity series of events which will culminate during the End Times at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. There are several kinds of world-changing crises described in this passage; such as war, earthquakes, pestilence, and famine.

In today’s update I’d like to concentrate on famine.

Within this subject I think we find a couple of areas of concern. First of all, famine is a direct result of the inability to produce food to be consumed, and secondly it can be the result of the inability to procure food to be consumed. Let us explore these areas of concern a little further.

1. First, some of the reasons restricting food production:

  • the weather
    • not enough moisture or
    • too much moisture
    • extreme temperature
  • availability of seed stock
  • manpower
  • economics

2. Second, procurement issues:

  • economics
  • availability
  • location
  • transportation

Having established a framework for the examination of the subject of famine, I began to research news articles, weather reports, and crop reports, from various sources and governments to establish a baseline for a discussion of the subject. What I have come up with, is at the least disconcerting, and is quite possibly, truly a cause for alarm.

First of all let me say that I am not a proponent of the hyperbole of climate change, either “Global Warming” or a coming “Ice Age,” as the catalyst for the events I’m about to describe. In fact, I believe that since the Genesis flood, the Earth’s weather has maintained a cyclical ebb and flow established by God. And, while I believe it is our responsibility to be good stewards of the creation within which God has placed us, I do not believe man has the capability to permanently destroy God’s creation, and that the Scripture teaches that He alone will accomplish this in preparation for eternity future. That having been said, within the framework of God’s dealings with man, there are many instances throughout Scripture where weather, climate, and geography have been used by God to affect change in mankind. I believe that is what we’re beginning to see again today, as we are clearly living in the prophetic Last Days.

Worldwide production of protein, fruits and vegetables, and grains are increasingly falling behind demand. In some parts of the world these have been destroyed by extreme cold temperatures, while in others it has been either flood or drought which has affected production. During the last two winters in the US, China, and Russia, livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, etc.) numbering in the tens of thousands have been lost due to blizzard and extreme cold; while in Africa, Australia, and parts of Asia thousands have been lost due to drought. Production of fruits and vegetables worldwide in 2014 is expected to be reduced by as much as 35% to 40% due to the effect of weather on the climate, in comparison to 2012 and 2013. Meanwhile, worldwide grain production in 2014 is expected to be affected in the same percentage range, again mostly related to the weather, although political and military conflict will be responsible in some areas to a lesser degree. All of this will result in higher food prices worldwide in 2014, in food shortages in some countries, and famine will begin or continue to grow more widespread in others.

Currently there are protein and vegetable shortages in Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Thailand, Indonesia, as well as Eastern Europe and 90% of Africa. Food Grain Shortages continue to grow in the Middle East, Africa, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and the rest of Southeast Asia, Russia and in Eastern Europe. Sociologists tell us that there is a direct correlation between food prices and shortages, and civil unrest. These shortages have already resulted in food riots in Venezuela, Thailand, Cameroon, Mali, Libya, and other African nations since the beginning of 2014. The cost and availability of food has been the common denominator in each of these situations, and food riots have been at the root of political and social change throughout history. We can only expect this discontent to continue to grow throughout 2014 and beyond. The simple fact is that the world’s increasing population and demand for food has outstripped its capability (for a number of reasons which I will not go into in this article) for production of same.

Here in the United States nearly 50% of the country is experiencing severe drought. Much of California has been in drought conditions for the past three years. And in fact, 100% of the state of California (where upwards of 85% of the fruits and vegetables consumed in this country, and made available for export are produced), is experiencing extreme drought, with nearly one-third of the state experiencing exceptional drought. Exceptional drought is defined as a condition which will alter the area’s ability for production over an extended period, possibly even years. Because of the lack of water for proper crop production, estimates are that as much as one-third of California’s tillable acreage will remain unplanted in 2014. This will result in as much as a 35% to 40% reduction in vegetable and fruit crop production. Currently, wildfires (which have started much earlier than normal and are being fed by vegetation left dry from prolonged drought) are raging over much of Southern California, driven by Santa Anna winds. Weather forecasters are expecting these conditions to only worsen as California, the Southwest, and Midwest are facing an El Niño weather system over the next 12 to 24 months.

As much as 50% of the state of Texas is also suffering from severe drought with approximately 50% of that area being labeled as extreme. These severe drought conditions extend northward from west Texas through western Oklahoma, eastern Colorado, and western Kansas. Late winter freezes coupled with early extreme spring temperatures and the lack of moisture damaged or destroyed much of this region’s winter wheat crop. It is estimated that there may be as much as a 30% to 35% loss in grain production throughout the Midwest and Southwest because of these drought conditions.

While drought in the US is concentrated in California and the Plains states; Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Appalachian region in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee are also experiencing abnormal dryness. There are approximately 90 communities in Texas and approximately 60 communities in California who reportedly have less than a 60 day supply of drinking water available to them as of the 15th of May. Unless you live out West, you may not realize the seriousness of the drought conditions and the potential for dust bowl conditions, such as were experienced during the 1930’s, to return.

Another result of the ongoing drought in the US is; because of the shortage of water to produce grass and grain for livestock, the number of cattle in the United States has been in decline for the past seven years and is the lowest it has been since 1951. Cattlemen and dairymen both have reduced the size of their herds by selling off everything of a marketable age and culling deeply into their numbers of reproducing females. While this initially caused beef prices to moderate somewhat, it has now resulted in what will be an ever-increasing rise in the cost of beef for the consumer, until conditions favorable to increased herd numbers returns (typically 6 to 9 years of production are needed to increase herd size). Over the past year, the price of ground beef is up 5.9 % while other cuts have experienced increases as much as 9.5%. We can only expect these prices to continue to rise for the foreseeable future.

While we are on the subject of meat, last month meat prices across the board rose at a faster pace than at any time during the past 10 years. Drought, while a factor, is not the only thing driving higher meat prices. Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus has spread into at least 30 states and killed approximately 7 to 8 million pigs. At this time there is no known vaccination to combat this disease and until one is developed there is a possibility that as much is one half of the pork industry will be affected. The price of bacon has already risen by 13.1%, while ham and other cuts are rising by similar percentages. Projections are that U.S. pork production could be down by more than 10 % this year, and overall pork prices will be up 20 % or more by the end of 2014.

Fish and seafood protein prices have also recently risen due to drought, environment and disease. Drought conditions have affected fish farms in several states with Texas being the hardest hit because of the lack of water. Seafood production from commercial fishing has been affected in the Pacific because of rising concerns over contamination resulting from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. And the price of shrimp is up due to a disease known as “early mortality syndrome” which has affected farmed shrimp production in Southeast Asia. While overall fish protein prices have risen by about 9.5% in the past 12 months, shrimp prices have risen by 61% (no, that is not a typo).

As prices for shrimp, pork and beef have risen, many consumers have turned to poultry for more of their protein purchases. However, the price of poultry is rising rapidly as well. In fact, the price of chicken breasts has risen by 12.4% over the past 12 months, and whole turkey prices have risen by approximately 8%. Unfortunately, this could just be the very beginning of the meat and protein crisis in the United States.

It is estimated that the US has a four-week supply of nonperishable foods stockpiled for distribution at any one point in time. However any interruption to that distribution system could have disastrous effects. This has been alarmingly in evidence in just the past 12 to 24 months in the aftermath of tornadoes, hurricanes, and snowstorms. It is estimated that Great Britain and the European Union have only a two-week stockpile.

The growing concern over the cost and availability of food in the United States has coined a new research term; Food Insecurity. A recent report estimates that nearly 50 million Americans are food insecure as a result of declining incomes, job loss, and lack of availability. Approximately 16 million of those affected are children under the age of 16. As this nation’s true effective unemployment numbers hover between 20% and 23% of the population, and millions of Americans are now dependent on food stamps, increasingly the price of food is outstripping the ability of many to pay for it. Rising food prices, not to mention a rising overall cost of living, has become an overwhelming concern for many families who at best are living paycheck to paycheck. Tens of millions of people in this country are struggling to feed themselves. In light of this, even the slightest economic shock in this country could have devastating repercussions on many families.

Will rapidly rising food prices and the possibility of food shortages cause civil unrest in the United States? While it may not happen tomorrow, it is a very real possibility in the not-too-distant future. Because of this possibility or even eventuality, I believe it is important (especially for Christians) to begin stockpiling food (if you haven’t already) to feed your own family, and begin gardening (if you haven’t already). Many of us can remember, or have been told, that our parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents knew the wisdom of having a well-stocked food pantry and a well-organized garden plot. It would behoove us to learn from their example.

As Christians, as a part of the True Church, we have a responsibility to do what we can to protect ourselves and provide for one another. As difficult as times might get, we can find comfort in the words of the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” And in Jesus’s words in Matthew 6:31-33 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Nevertheless, it is quite possible that life is going to become much more difficult in the days ahead, especially for followers of Jesus Christ. Until He comes to rapture His Church we need to be prepared to endure hardship, remembering always that;

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