Daily Thoughts in the Lord IV

Another week, time for another day of five years of Bible reflection. I pray that it gives you some food for thought as it did me as I reread what I wrote today those few years ago:

…but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ – Ephesians 4:15 (NASB)

Speak the truth in love. Speak the truth not to hurt someone, but to instruct and correct, to get them back on the narrow path, the strait gate. Likewise, hear the truth in love, listen to and heed the advice, so as not to stray and stumble too much yourself.

And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.” – Exodus 15:26 (NASB)

Heed his voice and do what is right in His sight; let me follow this path as a way of life, as a command to be obeyed all my life. Let me listen for His voice, however soft and still, let me discern it among the clamor of a sinful world. Like me ring like a bell, like a clarion call to me.

There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt. – Ecclesiastes 5:13 (NASB)

It is sad for a man to hoard his earthly possessions as if they could give him anything of eternally lasting value. Riches are nothing if they are not used under the Lord’s will, He who provided them, and not under the sinful callings of man’s own heart.

And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ – Matthew 22:37 (NASB)

My love for my Lord should know no equal, should know no bounds because He is without equal and boundlessly infinite. He is everything to me, for only He can give me anything of lasting value anything that has true worth in my life and everything that I truly need. Without Him I am less than nothing.

…yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. – 1 Corinthians 8:6 (NASB)

There is one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God who died for me upon the Cross in the body of the Son. I live through Him because He died for me and as a result, I through Him. All comes from the Lord, there is nothing that is left that is not under His sovereign will.

Another week of reflection, any week closer to our Lord and Savior because…Jesus is coming soon!

Crisis in the Nations

Excerpted from “The Nations in Prophecy” by John F. Walvoord (1967):

The world today faces an international crisis unparalleled in all the history of man. A tremendous revolution is under way in the international scene, in economics, in morals, in theology, and in the religious structure of the church. The world is aflame with the raw passions of men ambitious for power and desperate to be freed from poverty and frustration. An ominous cloud hangs over the hearts of men and nations. The nations are indeed at the crossroads, and impending events cast their shadow on every aspect of human life. The world is moving faster and faster like a colossal machine out of control whose very power and momentum inevitably will plunge it into ultimate disaster.

Apart from the Bible, the world does not have a ray of hope. Our most brilliant leaders have not found an answer. World leaders, whether in Moscow or Washington, are troubled by the great issues which face the worlds today. President John F. Kennedy before his untimely assassination expressed the viewpoint of western civilization when he said, “I speak today of an hour of national peril, and of national opportunity. Before my term has ended, we shall have to test anew whether a nation organized and governed such as ours can endure. The outcome is by no means certain. The tide of events has been running out, and time has not been our friend.”

The present world crisis is not a result of any one factor, but a concurrence of causes and effects which combine to set the world stage for a conflict which may quickly bring an end to hundreds of years of progress in western civilization and establish new centers of international power. Whatever the future holds, it is going to be dramatically different than the past. In this dark picture only the Scriptures chart a sure course and give us an intelligent explanation of world-wide confusion as it exists today. Three present world crisis in the light of the Scriptures reveals the existence of remarkable components in almost every area which may lead to a dramatic climax of world history. The present crises in every area of human life all point to the same conclusion, that disaster awaits the nations of the world.

Words of Grace for Strength

If Dr. Walvoord was with us today it is possible he could easily say one of two things: Either “See, I told you so” or “Even so, come Lord Jesus”. The plain fact is that nearly 50 years after he wrote the above excerpt, the world seems to be spiraling even more out of control. Such a fact speaks to both the bottomless depravity and hopelessness of humanity and the inexhaustible patience and mercy of a loving God. Jesus has not yet returned, although many, including John Walvoord, might reasonably have expected Him to do so in the intervening years between when the above was written and the present day. Why hasn’t He returned? It is a question we cannot answer. But we know the Lord’s timing is His own, and we know He is long suffering in wanting all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Many might have been eternally lost if the Lord had returned ten, twenty, thirty or more years ago. The Lord will have none of those who will come to a saving faith perish, and so He patiently and lovingly endures a defiant and disobedient world as He awaits all those who will come to Him in His timing.

The world is hopelessly lost as it seeks to find solutions to its problems, but we who have Christ know the answer, have the truth and need share it with others. There is a crisis among the nations of the world, but we can help solve a small piece of it by sharing Christ with those around us who do not know Him as we do. Yes, the Lord is patiently waiting for those who would come to Him, and is also wanting to bless us for our obedience in sharing the good news of Jesus and the riches of being in Christ with others. The crises in the world can only be solved by Christ. The crisis within the body of Christ, where it seems fewer are following Him obediently as we watch the very foundations of the church continue to crumble, can only be solved by turning back to Christ.

We can study the Word of God, searching the Scriptures like Bereans (Acts 17:11) to seek out and understand the Truth. And so we should. But we can never know the timing that is the Lord’s alone to measure and pour out as He will to fulfill His purposes in the perfection of His plans. We cannot fall into the prideful trap of thinking that we so understand the Lord that we know not only the message He has for us but also the timing of when He would have His prophetical Scripture fulfilled. The more I study His Word, the less certain I am that I fully comprehend all that is in it, let alone knowing when all things He deems will come to pass. I am better off seeking Him and sharing Him with others in the hope that they come to have a relationship with the Lord. I am better off looking to encourage and edify others as I look to be encouraged and edified, and leave the timing of the Lord to the Lord.

We do not know what tomorrow holds for any of us, but those of us in Christ have the surety of God’s Word in knowing where and with Whom we will spend eternity. Those of the world needs to know what we do as well, otherwise they will all stay in crisis after crisis until the Lord returns.

The Suffering of a People

Excerpted from “Israel in Prophecy” by John F. Walvoord (1962):

The trials of Israel stem from the basic conflict between divine purpose and satanic opposition. The very fact that God selected Israel as a special means of divine revelation makes the nation the object of special satanic attack. Satanic hatred of the seed of Abraham is manifested from the beginning of God’s dealings with Abraham and continues through the entire course of human history culminating in the rebellion at the end of the millennium.

Spiritual warfare in relation to Israel is in evidence from the beginning. The fulfillment of God’s purpose of bringing Abraham from Ur of Chaldees to the Promised Land was delayed and thwarted by Abraham’s incomplete obedience in bringing his father and nephew Lot with him. Entrance to the land was delayed until his father died, and Lot continued to be a hindrance to him until he and Abraham separated. Satanic opposition to fulfillment of God’s purpose in Abraham is also revealed in the delayed birth of Isaac, and only the miraculous intervention of God made it possible for Him to fulfill His prophecy of a seed to Abraham through whom He would bless the nations. In the case of Isaac, a similar situation is evident in the fact that only after years of supplication was a seed granted to Isaac and Rebekah. When Jacob and Esau were born, it was expressly an answer to prayer. The corrupting influence of Satan is manifest in both the lives of Esau and Jacob, and only by the grace of God was Jacob rescued from his compromising position. Jacob’s life ended in Egypt, to which he had fled to avoid the famine, with none of his family remaining in the Promised Land. The subsequent experience of Israel in Egypt, where for a time they enjoyed prosperity but eventually were threatened with extermination, is well known to every student of the Bible. Only by divine intervention was Israel brought from Egypt to the Promised Land, and then only after years of failure and wandering in the wilderness.

The incomplete possession of the land, the spiritual degeneracy which characterized the time of the judges, and the apostasy that followed the days of Solomon are given large place in the Old Testament. In every particular Satan sought to spoil, to hinder, and to mar the purpose of God in the elect nation. The scattering of Israel in the captivities, the attempt recorded in the book of Esther to exterminate the Jew, and the ultimate capstone of satanic opposition to Israel’s place of spiritual leadership was recorded in the gospels. In the New Testament, Israel’s rejection of her Messiah is related, with Israel’s resulting dispersion following the Roman persecution A.D. 70 – 135. Undoubtedly one of the principal causes for Israel’s suffering has been the unending opposition of Satan to the fulfillment of God’s purpose in the nation.

Coupled with Israel’s failures as recorded in the Scriptures is the fact of divine discipline exercised on the nation. Israel was not only to be the channel of divine revelation of God, but also the example of God’s faithfulness to a sinning people who are the objects of His love and grace. Accordingly, many pages of the Old Testament are dedicated to giving the sacred records of God’s dealings with His wandering people. The studies of Israel’s sufferings will illustrate this basic reason for the sufferings inflicted on the nation.

The sufferings of Israel, while revealing God’s discipline and righteousness, are also demonstrations of His love. Joined to every righteous judgment upon Israel are many manifestations of divine grace in preserving a godly remnant, in giving them that which is far greater than they deserved and fulfilling His divine purpose in and through them in spite of their own failure and Satan’s efforts to hinder the purpose of God. There is a majestic drama in the whole sequence of events that relate to Israel’s history, and they epitomize to some extent the conflict between good and evil which is basic Christian philosophy of history. The sufferings of Israel, therefore, should be seen in the context of satanic persecution, of divine discipline for sin, and of divine faithfulness to His chosen people.

Words of Grace for Strength

That God chose Israel for His special purposes cannot be doubted if one reads the Bible. That Satan has attempted to thwart God’s purposes can equally be seen in the Bible and to a student of history, can be seen played out on the stage of world events over century upon century. As Dr. Walvoord notes, Israel has suffered satanic persecution and divine discipline. It is most likely Israel in the moment of suffering did not find one type of suffering more enjoyable than the other. But overarching that suffering is divine faithfulness which has seen and will continue to see Israel through any amount of suffering, at least it will see a faithful remnant though.

Israel is not the Church, nor is the Church Israel. Separate and distinct, each has a different relationship with the Lord, and the Lord will fulfill His purposes for each independently. Yet both have faced and will continue to face suffering, either as a result of satanic persecution trying to thwart the purposes of God or as a result of divine discipline due to disobedience. We the Church can take comfort that the faithfulness of God is an immutable attribute of the Lord, we can take the same assurances from the promises He made to the Church as Israel can from the promises made to them.

And there lies our strength, reliance on the faithfulness of God. Although the times are hard and growing harder, we must know the Church has endured persecution more than it has enjoyed peace. The Church today should expect no different from the Church has always faced, a lesson often lost in today’s world, to the American church in particular. We are no better than any other sinner who has come to a saving faith in Christ, we should expect no better from a world driven by satanic persecution, we should expect no less from a loving God who will discipline us to obedience and to build character.

Yet through it all we have the divine faithfulness of God, which will prevail in our lives if we let it, and will enable us to prevail over the most troubled of times we may yet face.

 

A Warning for the American Church

In 1967, Dr. John Walvoord authored a book entitled “The Nations in Prophecy.” It was the last in a three book series. The preceding two books were; “Israel in Prophecy” and “The Church in Prophecy.”  The last chapter of “The Nations in Prophecy” is entitled; America in Prophecy and it is interesting to see Dr. Walvoord’s thoughts on the topic from nearly 50 years ago, and how relevant they are to today’s world. In a nutshell Dr. Walvoord believed the United States will not be a significant player in end time prophetic events, and he lays out a number of reasons. His observations are interesting and show a deep and thoughtful search of Scripture. But, as much as it talks about America as a nation, I find the last chapter of the book contains warnings which the American church should take to heart today, a half century after the observations were first penned.

Dr. Walvoord notes that history records many great nations, of unusual power and influence, which rose and declined because of internal corruption or international complications. Walvoord puts the US into that class. Looking over the past 50 years, an argument can be made that the US is no longer at the zenith of international power, influence, and status as the nation once was. Although still a military superpower, our economic prowess is being challenged by others and we no longer hold the sway of international influence which we once did. One can and should argue that we are a nation in decline. The question Walvoord raises, and answers as he sees it, is not whether the US deserves judgment, but why divine judgment has been held back for so long. One can wonder why we haven’t felt God’s wrath yet as we look at how this nation openly defies God more and more each day. For most of our past as a nation, the American church held a privileged and protected place within it.  The current state of the American church is one of less than obedient belief in the God of the Bible. A significant portion of the church now holds to and promotes outwardly, positions that are not sound from a biblical perspective. For the past year, our blog articles have chronicled the growing apostasy within the church, and the implications of that growing disobedience and defiance. Due to that, we can also ask why, like the American nation, the American church hasn’t yet felt the wrath of God. One can see the possibility of God’s wrath beginning to manifest itself as we witness an ever increasing severity of persecution of Christians within our country. Many have talked about this, many believe it is beginning to occur, but the plain fact is that compared to the church in many other parts of the world, the American church still holds a relatively privileged position still today. But it may be that this will quickly change, and it may not be long before it does.

Look at the reasons Walvoord gives for the delay in divine judgment for America as a nation and see if the reasons still fit the American church today:

“…a source of major Christian testimony in the world and has done more to promote the missionary cause in terms of money and men than any other nation.”

Yes these activities are still going on, but increasingly Christians in other countries view the US as a mission field. If the American church isn’t viewed as the dominant leader in these areas anymore, not only will the impact and influence of the American church wane internationally, but the divine blessing that comes with obedience to God will not fall on us as abundantly, if at all. We may not earn a failing grade in this area today, but I am not sure we are any longer on the honor roll.

“…the Abrahamic promise concerning his seed, ‘I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee’ (Genesis 12:3). The United States for the most has been kind to the Jew.”  

A look at this country’s positions and policies in the Middle East shows a stance that is growing less kind to the Jew daily. Within the American church, those who are embracing concepts like Christian Palestinianism and/or denouncing the actions of Israel, are growing daily. The American church is not praying for the nation of Israel and for the Jewish people to turn to Christ as their Messiah as it once did. Again, possibly not a failing grade, but no high honors evident here.

The future of the American nation and the American church are intertwined. Christian beliefs were a source of strength both in the founding of the nation, and in its growth in the past.  The faith and obedient belief of the American church brought forth the blessings God bestowed upon the United States. Sad that both the nation and the church are so visibly showing signs of internal corruption, and falling away from godly values at the same time. The nation without a godly church underpinning it, will certainly fall even further. As American society grows more hostile to Christianity, the American church finds itself in a grievous situation because it does not seem to have the backbone to stand up to society, and be the shining light which brings the nation back closer to God. It is sad that when things are less than good, and a bold and faithful church is most needed, it is sliding away from the role it should play, and is following the foul tide of the world itself.

The Bible calls for obedience which brings blessing while disobedience brings the curse and wrath of God. Both the American nation and the American church need to understand one simple fact: God needs neither of them to fulfill His plans and purposes. Quite to the contrary, both need Jesus Christ to enjoy the richness and blessings the Lord wishes to give His children.

If divine judgment could be seen as ripe 50 years ago, how much the more today? If the reasons for delay were thought valid 50 years ago, can the same be said with equal assurance now? Is the place America holds in end time prophecy indicative of the lack of strength the American church is exhibiting currently? Such failure may be a most self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

What About Persecution?

Usually, for our Sunday article, it is my practice to quote a passage from a message or book written within the past 100 years or so, and then to make commentary as to its relevance for today. Today however, it is the constant reminder, by way of the media, of stories dealing with Christian persecution which has caused me to write. Because of much unbiblical teaching, emanating from many pulpits, in “churches” which have compromised on the Word of God and are now preaching “another gospel” I felt it necessary to put forward this brief excursus on persecution.

Words of Grace for Strength

From the very beginning, the true Church of Jesus Christ has faced persecution. Acts chapters 4 and 5 speak of the very beginning of that persecution in the ministry of the apostles Peter and John, and we find at the end of chapter 5 these words:

Acts 5:34-35
Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men.

Act 5:38-42
And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.” And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

It is estimated that between 100 million and 150 million Christians worldwide face some type of persecution on a yearly basis, and depending upon whose report you believe to be most accurate there are between 55,000 and 100,000 Christians martyred each year. Some have even estimated that more Christians have been martyred in the first 15 years of this century than all of the previous 20 combined.

Christian persecution is found on every continent, and in every country, and is perpetrated by many religions as well as atheistic and intolerant totalitarian governments. In some places the persecution is subtle while in others it is horrifically overt. Christian persecution is found in many forms; such as slander and libel, confiscation of property, false accusations, imprisonment, kidnapping, slavery, beatings, dismemberment, torture, rape, and in varying degrees of severity up to and including murder by means of shooting, stoning, and beheading, burning, and even crucifixion.

Beginning with John and Peter’s first persecution, and with Steven’s death as the church’s first martyr, the church age has been marked by suffering, persecution, and martyrdom of the followers of Jesus Christ. All of the apostles, with the exception of John, were martyred as were most of the New Testament disciples named in the books written by Luke, Peter, John, and Paul.

Throughout the successive centuries the persecution has only grown, and as we live in these last days, awaiting the return of Jesus Christ to Rapture His Church, we can expect its intensity and frequency to grow exponentially. Jesus Christ was Himself our suffering Savior, and He was persecuted even unto death. We who are His followers, should at no time be surprised when we too are persecuted. Jesus promised us; “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” John 15:20a

Looking back to our text in Acts 5, we find that those who are persecuting the apostles are the Sanhedrin. Later in the book of Acts we find the followers of Christ being persecuted by differing groups of Gentiles and most especially the Romans. Throughout the succeeding centuries Christians have faced persecution from many different religions, ideologies, and governments.

Today Christian persecution comes at the hands of Islamists and various other religions; from communists, socialists, progressives, and other political ideologies; from atheists and agnostics; and from the radical LGBT community as well as other social activists such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU. In fact, I’m certain many of you would agree with me when I say, active Christian persecution emanates from our own White House and the administration which now occupies it.

But, I believe we who are followers of Christ, His True Church, have actually forgotten who our enemy really is. In John 14:30 he is called “the ruler of this world,” in Ephesians 2:2 he is called “the prince of the power the air,” and Paul names him as the devil in Ephesians 6:11. In fact, in Ephesians 6:11-12 Paul warns us to; “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Whether it be religions, governments, or ideologies, these and the mere mortals who lead them, are no more than pawns in this great spiritual war.

Today the True Church of Jesus Christ, the Bride of Christ, is involved in this spiritual war for the universe. Satan’s goal is to corrupt, marginalize, render ineffective, and destroy the Church of Jesus Christ. It is also his goal to destroy God’s chosen people, the Jews and their nation of Israel. Ultimately, Christ Himself will win the war. But, until we are relieved of our duty by either death (which the apostle Paul calls “gain.” Philippians1:21) or Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), we are to equip ourselves with the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and make a stand for the cause of Christ.

Once again as we look back to Acts 5:41, we note that John and Peter rejoiced that they were found worthy to suffer for Christ. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:14 that if we suffer for righteousness sake we are blessed. And James writes in James 1:2 that we should count it all joy when we face trials. Contrary to what is taught in many “churches” today, this is the normal Christian life, to be continually facing persecution for our obedience and fidelity to the cause of Christ. Like so many saints before us, who had also counted the cost, we must be willing not only to suffer, but to lay down our life in the service of the cross.

There is an old gospel song titled “I came here to stay.” I don’t know who the author is, but I believe this song should be on the lips of every Christian as we are involved in this spiritual battle. The chorus of the song says;

Run if you want to, run if you will,
But I came here to stay.
If I fall down I’m gonna get right up.
Because I didn’t start out to play.
It’s a battlefield, brother,
not a recreation room.
It’s a fight, and not a game.
Run if you want to, run if you will,
but I came here to stay.

Know your enemy, know the battlefield, face persecution without fear, rejoice, and having done all to stand, stand therefore!

Why Study Prophecy?

The first great result of the study of prophecy is that the prophetic Scriptures prove to us the authority of the entire Word of God. The Bible is different from every other religious book. There is no other book upon which a religion has been founded which includes prophecy within it. These books upon which false religions or false cults are founded seek to interpret the past or the present, but they are entirely silent upon the future. And yet the Word of God, from the opening chapters of Genesis right through the closing chapters of the Book of Revelation, contain countless prophecies. These revelations of coming events are authentications of the fact that the Bible is of divine origin and therefore both trustworthy and true. The test of the truth of prophecy is always its fulfillment and if that which was prophesied came to pass, we would know that the prophecy was divinely inspired. There is no greater test for proof of the inspiration, validity, authority and trustworthiness of the Bible than the proof of fulfilled prophecy. This could be illustrated briefly by some of the prophecies concerning the coming of Christ. Hundreds of years before He was born, the Old Testament told us the time of His birth in Daniel 9; the fact od of the virgin birth in Isaiah 7; the place of His birth in Micah 5, the intimate details of His life and death in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53; the fact of His resurrection in Psalm 16. One mathematician has figured out, considering only the prophecies concerning the first coming of Christ, that there is only one chance in 87 plus 93 zeros that the Bible could be right on the basis of guess alone.

God has revealed prophecy and then fulfilled some of the prophecies to prove that Scripture is of divine origin, is trustworthy, and is to be studied with confidence. After all, all that we know of God is that which is recorded for us in this Word. If it is not trustworthy, we have no revelation at all. But fulfilled prophecy proves to us that a God who can tell us what is yet in the future is a God who is to be trusted.

Excerpted from “Prophecy for Today” – J. Dwight Pentecost (1961)

Words of Grace for Strength

Dr. Pentecost goes on to talk about the study of scripture revealing the power, wisdom and purposes of God. There is much to commend itself to the study of prophecy within the Bible. The fact that prophecy makes up such a significant part of the Bible is a clear indicator that it has much God would have us know about Him and therefore God would have us study and meditate. However, the Bible is a book of which it is easy to pull verses, passages and even whole chapters out of context and use them to support a position that is in effect, not biblically grounded; to use them to teach in ways that are not biblically accurate. Dr. Pentecost warns of the dangers of studying prophecy, of thinking too much of your station, status or knowledge to judge others faith walk or ministry in the context of their prophetic knowledge in comparison to yours. Always remember that it was the Holy Spirit that opened your eyes that gave you the wisdom and discernment to understand the Word of God. You are no better than others, although you may be more obedient to the Lord’s desires that we study the Word of God.

I sat in enough lectures under the teaching of Dr. Pentecost to know he would never think it wise to study prophecy to the exclusion of the rest of the Bible. The Lord gave us His Word complete in the Bible, it is all the Word that He chose for us to have. As all we know of God is what is revealed in Scripture, the bible is all God chose to show of Himself. That makes every section of the Bible too important not to read, not study and meditate over. In commenting in his mid-90’s on a passage of Scripture which he said he had taught for 70 years, Dr. Pentecost revealed in class an insight he said had never occurred to him before. He didn’t feel that made him wrong in the past but that “The wealth of Scripture is inexhaustible”. That quote, burned in my memory, represents a most concise argument for reading and studying the Bible every day, reading and studying the entire Bible over and over again.

Those who ignore prophetic Scripture as foolish imaginings, who view those studying it as mentally unstable or living in a fantasy world, are ignoring the fact that prophecy was given to us by God that we may know Him better, know His character better. God has chosen to reveal Himself to us through His Word, and a large part of it is prophetic. To ignore it is to be ignorant of the wisdom and revelation of God. Conversely, those who study prophecy alone and candle all they view against prophetic Scripture are equally guilty of ignoring large swathes of Scripture. Their ignorance manifests itself in a different way, but has the same cause; the Bible is a book containing God’s complete Word as He chose to give it to us through the inspired writing of His chosen human instruments.

Why study prophecy? Because it is in the Bible. The better question to ask is why not study prophecy.

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