Crunch Time

Near the end of a ballgame when the score is close, the announcer or coach often says it is “Crunch time,” signaling that the end of the game is near and it is time for the players to play harder if they want to win.

Just before taking a final exam it is not unusual to hear a student say it is “Crunch time,” meaning the end of the course is near and the pressure to make a good grade is great. Concerning Bible prophecy, crunch time has arrived in several areas:

A war with the Islamic State could be shaping up. About two months ago it was reported that the U.S. is stockpiling weapons, supplies, and mine resistant vehicles in Kuwait in preparation for a war with the Islamic State to liberate the city of Mosul in Iraq. About two weeks, ago it was reported that about 4,000 U.S. soldiers have been sent to Kuwait to participate in the attack.

A few days later, many were stunned when someone in Washington said there will be an attack in April or May before the weather gets hot. Then, following a meeting with senior military officers and diplomats from several nations, newly appointed U.S. Sec. of Defense, Ashton Carter, promised a lasting defeat of the Islamic State.

More recently, Pres. Obama, who has vowed many times that he won’t put boots on the ground in Iraq, said he is open to changes in his request for the authority to use military force against the Islamic State. The U.S. is in an evolving situation that could soon reach a boiling point.

Concerning Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, for twelve years the West has been trying to get Iran to give up her desire to build these weapons. In Nov. 2013, the P5 + 1 (U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany) signed an agreement with Iran to settle the issue before July 20, 2014, but it didn’t happen.

They extended the negotiations until Nov. 24, 2014, but they still failed. They extended the negotiations until Mar. 31, 2015 to settle the main issues and until June 30, 2015 to settle the little details. But with about five weeks to go on the main issues, the two sides aren’t even close to producing an agreement (unless the U.S. allows Iran to become a nuclear threshold state and many are saying that is going to happen). Iran is threatening to quit the talks and Israel is saying Iran could have nuclear weapons as soon as this coming June and no later than March of next year.

Israel can probably solve this issue in about one week and some think 12 years of fruitless work on the part of the West is causing her to run out of patience.

A war between Israel and Syria with Damascus being destroyed in one night could be looming. In Dec. 2014, there were two different reports that Russia asked Hezbollah and Syria to draw up plans for an attack on Israel. Russia didn’t ask them to attack Israel, but Russia asked them to draw up plans: 1) In case the west attacks Syria, and 2) In case the west keeps imposing sanctions on Russia for her invasion of Crimea.

In Jan. 2015, Hezbollah said their organization is ready. In the past, Russia has threatened to get involved, if Syria and Israel get into a war. A war with Russia, Iran and others attacking Israel could be nearing zero hour.

About Feb. 8, 2015, a Division of Syria’s Main Battle Tanks, armored weapons, thousands of Hezbollah foot soldiers and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards commanded by an Iranian General left Damascus and headed toward Israel’s border with Syria.

Syria said these troops are clearing our rebels that are fighting against Pres. Assad in Syria’s civil war. Israel believes they are taking up positions inside Syria close to Israel’s border in preparation for a regional war with the Jewish state.

On Feb. 22, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu told his cabinet: Iran has opened a first front against Israel by arming Hamas in the south (Gaza); a second front against Israel by arming Hezbollah in the north (Lebanon); and a third front against Israel by assembling a force inside Syria on Israel’s northern border.

Some say Syria, Hezbollah and Iran will lay low for a while to build bunkers, dig tunnels, lay mines, bring in more troops, weapons, fuel, etc. Others say Israel may attack before she is attacked. But either way, it is crunch time and several very important prophecies may soon be fulfilled.

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

 

Editors Note:

Daymond refers to a war between Syria and Israel in which Damascus will be destroyed. This Prophecy is found in Isaiah 17, and we believe it to be a part of a Great Middle East War which is also prophesied in Ezekiel 28, 35-37; Amos 2; Joel 1; Jeremiah 49; Zechariah 9-11; Zephaniah 2; and includes those enemies of Israel named in the Psalm 83 prayer. We believe this war precedes or is the impetus for the Gog of Magog war prophesied in Ezekiel 38 & 39. While these wars may, or may not, precede the Rapture of the Church, it is important for the Believer to have knowledge of, and an understanding of, these prophetic wars. The reality of these conflicts should cause the follower of Christ to more earnestly seek to reach out to others with the good news of the Gospel in these Last Days.

Dr. Tuck Whitaker

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.

Gog’s Evil Thought

Isaiah prophesied that war will break out between Syria and Israel at the end of the age. He said that Damascus, Syria will be destroyed forever in one night (Isa. 17:1-14). Damascus has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, but it has never ceased to exist as a city in one night because no army has ever had the ability to destroy it in one night. It will cease to exist as a city in one night in the future and it will take a very big bomb to do that.

Concerning this war, Isaiah used the phrase, “In that day” three times in chapter 17 (verses 4, 9 and 10). “In that day” is a Bible phrase that refers to the end of the age. This war will take place at the end of the age.

Ezekiel prophesied that a Russian leader will think an evil thought (Ezek. 38:10), assemble a group of allies and attack Israel in the latter years and latter days (Ezek. 38:8, 16). This war will take place after Israel has returned to the Promised Land and is dwelling safely (Ezek. 38:8).

Some say “dwelling safely” means after the Antichrist confirms the seven-year covenant with many for peace in the Middle East (Dan. 9:27). But it doesn’t have to mean that because Israel is dwelling safely now under the protection of God who will not allow her to be defeated (Amos 9:15).

Having said that, the Bible does not tell us which war will happen first: Syria and Israel or Russia and Israel. But based on the fact that none of the nations that share a border with Israel (the so-called inner circle of nations) are mentioned in Russia’s war with Israel (the so-called outer circle of nations) many prophecy writers, including myself, believe the war between Syria and Israel will happen first. Some even think Syria’s war with Israel could lead to Russia’s war with Israel.

As we follow the news, Russia is like a wounded bear. She has a controversy with Israel over some missiles she shipped to a facility near Damascus a few weeks ago. Israel believes those missiles were destined for transfer to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Russia says Israel attacked them. Residents near Damascus reported hearing about ten loud explosions. Russia demanded an explanation from Israel and sent a letter of protest to the United Nations. Russia even posted a statement on the nation’s Foreign Ministry’s website that reads:  Moscow is gravely concerned about this dangerous turn of events, the circumstances of which require explanations. In any case, there is no doubt that the use of force in international affairs is unacceptable and deserves to be condemned.

Russia also has a controversy with the U.S. and EU over sanctions they have placed on Russia because of the bear’s annexation of Crimea. Those sanctions along with the plunge in oil prices have destroyed Russia’s already fragile economy.

So the bear is wounded and thinking about lashing out. And it has been reported that a French official is saying Russia has asked Hezbollah and possibly Syria to develop contingency plans for a war with Israel. The report says Russia hasn’t asked Hezbollah and Syria to attack Israel.

But Russia has asked them to be ready to attack Israel, if the U.S. and EU keep applying sanctions. Do you get the point? The Bible predicts a war between Syria and Israel at the end of the age and Russia has apparently asked Syria to develop contingency plans for a war with Israel.

I recently asked, “Is Mr. Putin Gog?” And I said, “I don’t think anyone knows.” Is Gog’s “evil thought” possibly Russia telling Hezbollah and Syria to develop contingency plans for an attack on Israel? Most prophecy writers would probably say no, but we know it could lead up to it.

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