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.

Mr. Kerry’s False Hope

“What is the greatest problem in the Middle East?” If you were a multi-millionaire with a degree from Yale University and another degree from Boston College Law School with an annual salary—close to $200,000, and you worked for the President of the United States, and you supervised about 12,000 people, and you had years of government experience, do you think you could come close to the right answer?

Would your answer be the greatest problem in the Middle East is the Islamic State? They have attacked Iraq, Syria, and the Kurds; threatened Israel, Saudi Arabia and Jordan; captured cities, robbed banks, burned churches; raped women and young girls; beheaded people, crucified people, buried people alive; sold women and children into slavery; forced people to pay for protection and starved people to death. They have practiced ethnic cleansing, religious cleansing, forced women into second class citizenship and more.

Would your answer be the greatest problem in the Middle East is the civil war in Syria? As of September 2014, the death toll surpassed 200,000 people. Nine and one-half million people have been forcefully displaced. Three million people have fled the country. Hundreds of thousands live in the squalor of cold tents and go to bed hungry.

Thousands have been tortured, thousands have disappeared, thousands of women have been raped, many men and women have been chained naked to walls and beds, many don’t have enough food or medicine. Chemical weapons have been used and one UN official, Paulo Sergio Pinhero, said, “I have run out of words to depict the gravity of the crimes depicted inside Syria.”

Would your answer be the greatest problem in the Middle East is Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons? Iran calls Israel a one-bomb nation because Iran believes one nuclear bomb is all that is needed to wipe Israel off the map. Iran says if we can make a nuclear bomb, will use it on Israel (and some say Saudi Arabia too).

Israel says she won’t let Iran get a nuclear bomb; Israel budgeted money two years in a row for a war with Iran; Israel increased her military spending to upgrade her air force in 2015. Russia says an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be considered an attack on Moscow, it would heighten the prospect of WW III, and it could lead to the use of nuclear weapons.

Would your answer be the greatest problem in the Middle East is the religious conflict the different groups of Muslims: Sunnis against Alawites; Sunnis against Shiites; Sunnis against Kurds; Sunnis against Yazidis, etc? The civil war in Syria is a war between the majority Sunni population and the minority Alawite population. The Islamic State’s war with Iraq is primarily a war between Sunnis and Shiites, but the Sunnis are also killing the Yazidis and Kurds.

You see, every one of these Muslim sects believes their sect is the only true sect and every one of them believes all of the other sects are pagans. All of them believe they have a religious responsibility to kill pagans and they believe the sect that follows the true Islamic religion will be the last one standing. So even though all of them have people that kill Christians, Jews and others it is a fact that Muslims kill more Muslims than anyone else.

More could be said, but it is time to get to the point. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was recently asked about the greatest problem in the Middle East and according to him it is not the Islamic State, Syria’s civil war, Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons or the religious conflict between Muslims. Mr. Kerry believes the greatest problem in the Middle East is the conflict between Israel and the PA. He even seems to believe that all of the problems in the Middle East can be solved if Israel will just agree to a peace treaty on the PA’s terms.

This is the real Jayvee team in action. Mr. Kerry actually believes the conflict between Israel and the PA is worse than the 200,000 killed in Syria, the nine and one-half million displaced there; the Islamic State beheadings, slavery, rape of women, killing of children; the Russian threat of WW III and the use of nuclear weapons; the multitudes killed in the Islamic religious wars, etc. It is incredible, but he believes that all of these wars, killings, murders, rapes and starvations are directly related to Israel’s refusal to sign a peace treaty on the PA’s terms despite the fact that the roots of these conflicts precede the existence of Israel and the PA.

According to what I have read, Mr. Kerry is probably worth somewhere between 200 and 300 million dollars and his wife Teresa is probably worth somewhere between 165 million and 3.2 billion dollars. So Mr. Kerry doesn’t need a refund on his education at Yale or the Boston College Law School, but his total lack of common sense and his incredible inability to understand the situation indicates that he wasted his money.

His false hope that all of the problems in the Middle East can be solved by forcing Israel to accept a peace treaty on the PA’s terms is misguided. If that treaty gets confirmed while Mr. Kerry is still alive, he will probably shout “peace and safety.” But when those famous words are shouted the problems in the Middle East will make the current situation seem like child’s play.

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

The Approaching Darkness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Approaching Day

This article is about the Second Coming not the Rapture. There are no signs of the Rapture. It can happen at any time and without notice. But there are signs of the Second Coming and the Church is told to watch for those signs.

Many prophecy writers, including myself, believe the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation Period. In that case, the Rapture will occur before the Second Coming because Jesus won’t come back to this earth (He will remain in the air at the Rapture) until the end of the Tribulation Period. So, if the Second Coming is close, the Rapture is even closer.

Most of those who watch the signs think the Second Coming is very close. They know that Jesus said, “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matt. 24:36). But they also know that Jesus said, “When ye shall see all these things (the signs), know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matt. 24:33). And they also know that the Bible says we can see the day approaching (Heb. 10:25). So even though no human being knows the day and hour, prophecy teachers are not contradicting the Scriptures when they say the Second Coming is close.

They believe it is close because God has revealed timing clues along with some prophecies. For example, concerning the Battle of Gog and Magog (Ezek. 38-39), God said it will happen in the latter days (Ezek. 38:16) and latter years (Ezek. 38:8). But in order for this prophecy to be fulfilled, God said Israel will be back in the land; Israel will have cattle and goods; Israel will be opposed by Russia, Iran, Turkey and others, etc. These pre-conditions are in existence today and they seem to be screaming out that the latter days and latter years have arrived.

Another example involves one of the verses mentioned above (Matt. 24:33). Jesus said His Second Coming will be close when all of the signs are apparent in the same generation. Between 70 A.D. and 1948 the nation of Israel didn’t exist so it was impossible to see all of the signs during that span. Between 1948 and 1967 Israel didn’t control the Temple Mount so again it was impossible to see all of the signs. But all of the signs appear to be coming on the scene now. Some prophecy teachers call the appearance of all of the signs a convergence of the signs. Some even think this convergence of the signs is more important than any other sign including the return of Israel. Anyway, this convergence of all of the signs in the same generation is a timing clue signifying that the Second Coming is near.

Bible prophecy requires the establishment of a New World Order (world government) during the Tribulation Period and before the Second Coming (Rev. 13:7). In 2009, Henry Kissinger said, “Pres. Obama has been chosen to bring in the New World Order” and we are now a little more than two years from the end of his second term. In 2013, Vice-Pres. Biden said, “The affirmative task we (the U.S.) have now is to actually create a New World Order.” In 2014, he said, “I believe we and mainly you (the 2014 Air Force graduating class) have an incredible opportunity to lead in shaping a New World Order.” And in 2014, Pres. Obama talked about a coming “new order based on a different set of principles.” So if our leaders are close to the establishment of a New World Order, the world is close to the Second Coming and even closer to the Rapture of the church.

Bible prophecy requires the establishment of a global religion during the Tribulation Period. In Feb. 2014, it was reported that Pope Francis wants to reverse the Protestant Reformation and unite all religions. The Reformation began with a split in the Roman Catholic Church. The recognized beginning of this split occurred on Oct. 31, 1517 when Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. The 500th Anniversary of the Reformation will occur on Oct. 31, 2017. So Pope Francis has established Oct. 31, 2017 as a goal for an anti-Reformation (a reversal of the Reformation by uniting Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and Jews into one religion). He may not be able to do it, but again, if the world is close to the establishment of a world religion (in 2017); it is even closer to the Rapture of the church.

Bible prophecy requires the coming Antichrist and his False Prophet to have the ability to identify everyone and to track all of their buying and selling about three and one-half years before the Second Coming (Rev. 13:16-17). Now, it is being reported that Obamacare requires every American to have a National ID card and that the Dept. of Homeland Security will start enforcing this in 2017. In fact, NBC recently predicted that every American will have a RFID implant by 2017. So the appearance of things that will be used after the Rapture (ID cards, chipping people, etc. by 2017) are timing clues that signify that the Rapture is getting close.

The Tribulation Period and Second Coming also require the arrival of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Rev. 6:1-8) which many believe is the rise of the Antichrist with an increase in war, famine, pestilence and earthquakes (also see Matt. 24:5-7). The Antichrist can’t rise because the church is still here (II Thess. 2:7-8), but this year it has been reported that wars have increased seven years in a row; the price of several foods (pork, beef, chicken, etc.) has reached an all time high and this is just the beginning; drug resistant viruses (pestilences) are spreading around the world, and big earthquakes (those larger than 7.0) have doubled since 1979. How can those who watch not believe that we will soon be going home?

Bible prophecy requires the Antichrist to confirm a Middle East peace treaty that will begin the Tribulation Period after the Rapture of the church. There have been many failed attempts at a Middle East peace treaty, but proposals are now being drafted that will ask the UN Security Council to take over the peace process; to set a date for dividing the land of Israel and creating a Palestinian State; and to enforce the UN Security Council actions with international troops. It means the PA is asking the UN Security Council to dictate a solution and send in troops to enforce it.

After the Rapture, there will be a global economic collapse (Rev. 6:5-6) and a recent report by the Bank of International Settlements recently said the entire world is now in a situation of unsustainable debt and more. As the world approaches the Tribulation Period what it does to Israel will come back on it. The U.S. is trying to erase Israel’s borders and its borders have been erased. More could be said, but many prophecy writers have good reason to believe that they can see the day approaching. Are you prepared?

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

The Horse’s Mouth

Pres. Obama is beginning to receive more than a little well-deserved criticism for his constant fundraising. I am not saying fundraising is wrong. But I am saying that Pres. Obama doesn’t let anything interfere with an expensive trip on Air Force One at taxpayer expense to raise money for his political party; that Pres. Obama has taken approximately 400 trips; that it is not unusual for Pres. Obama to be gone for more than a day and to do something else while he is gone (such as play golf); that Pres. Obama is doing it so much that some are accusing him of neglecting his presidential duties and that there are even rumors that some of his donors are growing weary of being asked to give over and over again.

Pres. Obama is also beginning to receive more than a little well-deserved criticism for not telling the truth. It is obvious that his pledge to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States was not true; that those shovel-ready jobs did not exist; that his administration is not the most transparent administration in history; that many who liked their healthcare plan were not allowed to keep it; that our border with Mexico is not secure, and more. Pres. Obama’s dishonesty is blatant, outrageous and well-known.

Having said that, with war raging in Israel, Syria, Iraq and Libya; an unprecedented crisis on the U.S-Mexican border; a Malaysian airliner shot down over Ukraine (perhaps by Russia); and more; Pres. Obama recently embarked on a three-day, five-stop fundraising trip to the U.S. West Coast. And, on at least one of those five stops, he uttered the absolute truth and if I rightly understand what he said, everyone needs to sit up and take notice. He was talking about some of the problems in the world when he said, “part of people’s concern is just the sense that around the world the old order isn’t holding and we’re not quite yet to where we need to be in terms of a new order that’s based on a different set of principles, that’s based on a sense of common humanity, that’s based on economies that work for all people.”

First, Pres. Obama said, “the old order isn’t holding.” This is absolutely true because a strong Christian based U.S. headed up the old world order until Pres. Obama took office. But Pres. Obama reduced America’s nuclear weapons, reduced America’s military, damaged America’s economy, betrayed America’s allies, spread immorality and lied to the point that most of the world no longer respects or trusts Pres. Obama or the U.S. The decline of the U.S. has caused the decline of the old world order.

Second, Pres. Obama said, “we’re not quite yet to where we need to be in terms of a new order.” This is absolutely true because the Rapture hasn’t happened and the Antichrist can’t be revealed until the church is in heaven; all of the ten regions with their Ten Kings (ten leaders) are not fully developed; the negotiations to produce a Middle East peace treaty have collapsed and more. We’re almost there, but not quite.

Third, Pres. Obama said, the new order will be “based on a different set of principles.” This is absolutely true because the New World Order will be a satanic world order not a Christian world order. It will be “against the Christ” (antichrist), spy on, persecute and kill believers. The Golden Rule, Ten Commandments and all other Christian principles will be discarded.

Fourth, Pres. Obama said this different set of principles will be “based on a sense of common humanity.” People will be viewed as citizens of the world not as citizens of a nation and the values of individual religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc.) will be replaced by a common set of politically correct values, rules and laws that are being determined by the elite.

Fifth, Pres. Obama said this different set of principles will be “based on economies (plural) that work for all peoples.” I have long believed that the world will be divided into ten economic regions (ten trading blocks of nations) that will be transformed into ten political regions patterned after the EU and each one will have their own currency, leader or king, etc. I believe that this must happen before the Antichrist can rise to power and establish a one-world economic system. So the world will be merged in phases or stages: more than 190 nations (economies) will be merged into ten groups of nations (economies) and then the ten will be merged into a one-world government and economic system. Wealth redistribution will be a big issue.

In the 1800’s, someone coined the phrase “straight from the horse’s mouth.” Among other things it means “if you want to know the facts, ask someone that is involved.” What Pres. Obama said about the new order (New World Order or World government) came straight from the horse’s mouth.

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

Why I Am Watching Israel and Gaza

The little book of Zephaniah (3 chapters or 53 verses) begins by prophesying the destruction of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) in the days of King Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. It moves on to prophecies about Judah and the nations as the day of the Lord (a term often applied to the Tribulation period that Zephaniah used more than any other prophet in the Bible) approaches and plays out. Then, it finishes with Judah’s restoration during the millennial reign of the Messiah.

These prophecies clearly have past fulfillments, but some writers think Zephaniah was saying those experiences would be small compared to a greater fulfillment in the future. One of Zephaniah’s more famous statements reads, “The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities (Israel has built a fence to protect her cities), and against the high towers” (Zeph. 1:14-16).

Dropping down to Zeph. 2:1, God told the Jews to gather themselves together (to assemble) and He calls Judah a “nation not desired.” Israel is clearly the apple of God’s eye, but this could mean she is a nation not desired by God at this time because she has rejected her Messiah. And it could also mean that she is a nation not desired by the nations of the world because they want to destroy her.

In Zeph. 2:2, God told the Jews He wants them to assemble “Before the decree bring forth (before the 7 year covenant is signed), before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you (to assemble before the Tribulation Period comes upon the Jews).”

In Zeph. 2:3, God told the Jews and all who will humble themselves to “Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.” He wants the Jews and everyone on earth who will humble themselves to meet before the Tribulation Period begins to seek three things: the Lord, righteousness and meekness. Those who do may be hidden (Raptured) before the Tribulation Period begins, but after it begins it will be too late.

In Zeph. 2:4, God mentions four cities: “For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up.”

God said Gaza, one of the largest and most northern cities in the Gaza Strip, will be forsaken. As I write this article, IDF planes are dropping leaflets in the northern part of the Gaza Strip for a second time advising residents to forsake their homes and clear out. The first time Israel did this, thousands of residents left, but many stayed because they were told to ignore Israel’s warnings. This time, it looks like Israel’s troops will enter the city and it remains to be seen how many people will stick around.

God said Ashkelon, a Jewish city of more than 100,000 people about 8 miles north of the Gaza Strip border, will become desolate. Its closeness to Gaza makes it a frequent target of Muslim rockets. As I write this article, more than 60 rockets have been fired at Ashkelon in recent days; an Israeli teen has been seriously injured; an Israeli man has been lightly wounded; many Jews are spending the day in bomb shelters; and some have moved to safer territory.

God said Ashdod’s residents will be driven out. More than a quarter of a million people live in Ashdod and it is about 18 miles from Gaza. As I write this, the Iron Dome Missile System has shot down 5 rockets; a Patriot missile has shot down a drone; an 8-year old boy has been slightly injured while playing in his yard; fear and anxiety are spreading in Ashdod; and Hamas has rejected an Egyptian cease-fire proposal.

Kiryat Ekron is a Jewish city of slightly more than 10,000 people. It is named after the Biblical city of Ekron and it is located about the same distance from Gaza as is Ashdod. I have read of sirens sounding in Ekron and the surrounding area, but no injuries.

I can’t predict how things will play out, but a best case scenario could be another temporary suspension of hostilities. And a worst case scenario could be that this conflict spreads into a war with Israel’s neighbors (Psa. 83), including Syria (Isa. 17) and Egypt (Isa. 19), or even the Russian/Islamic invasion of Israel (Ezek. 38-39).

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

[Last minute update: Israel is attacking the Gaza Strip from one end to the other by land, sea and air. It is too early to say that Gaza will be forsaken at this time; and Ashdod, Ashkelon and Ekron are still inhabited; but God is in control, His Word must eventually be fulfilled, war rarely goes exactly as planned and, if God allows it, I plan to keep watching Israel and Gaza.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com (this is my new e-mail address)

Nearing Midnight – And the World Keeps Turning and Tilting

This week in our Signs of the Times commentary, we begin with a brief comment on the weather before we move to the major story of the week. In the US there were no significant or catastrophic weather events, but  drought conditions continued in Texas and in California, Kansas and Oklahoma. Something we now see cropping up is the specter of multi-day dust storms due to the excessively dry conditions. Parts of Kansas experienced a two day dust storm; last month Lubbock, Texas had a three day dust storm. People are beginning to compare conditions to the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s, mentioning the creation of the “Great American Desert” across Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, real “Grapes of Wrath” type conditions. Given the severity of some of our weather events over the past few months, it is a blessing that America is not involved in Middle Eastern peace negotiations at present.

Middle East – The major story this past week has been the visit of Pope Francis to the Middle East. It was a trip viewed as quite significant and had much symbolism. It can also be seen as being an event which moves end times prophetical events further along:

  • Pope Francis began his trip in Palestinian controlled territory, signaling his sympathy and support for the Palestinian cause
  • He hugged and kissed the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who recently signed a unity agreement with the terror group Hamas; he referred to Muslims as dear brothers
  • The Pope publicly called for a “State of Palestine” which would be within the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria. He used the term “State of Palestine” several times at differing locations as he spoke across the Middle East; even using it in his Bethlehem homily, showing both his own church and the Muslims that he favors creation of such a state in the Promised Land of Israel
  • The Pope invited Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinean President Mahmoud Abbas to a prayer summit at the Vatican in early June

Through all of his trip, the Pope spoke:

  • As if Muslims worship the same God as Christians and Jews.
  • Emphasizing that the birthplace of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is the Holy Land.
  • Noting that the Dome of the Rock reminds him of the three great faiths — Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
  • Noting that Jews, Christians and Muslims all believe they were created by God and are destined for eternal life.

In doing these things, Pope Francis is showing he has been influenced by the views of many Middle Eastern Catholic bishops who deny Israel’s right to the land and is fueling the anti-Semitism that exists within the Roman Catholic Church. We are seeing the blending of politics and religion in the region that the End Times prophetical events will come to pass. We see the move toward a one world religion, and it clearly appears that the unification of world religions is an agenda topic of Pope Francis.

While the Pope was visiting the Holy Land, there were other signs of the coming one world religion. Bishop Tony Palmer, the man who delivered “the protest is over” message to Kenneth Copland is continuing to call for the unification of all “Christian” denominations, calling for all Protestant denominations to sign the 1999 Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, which is supposed to be the official end of the protest. He calls for a new day of Christianity, effectively calling for Protestants to live in a post-Protestant world. And you know who expects to be the head of this unified church. This is all part of the growing pressure on evangelical Christians to embrace Catholicism as one more Christian denomination in an attempt to make ecumenicism within Christianity one of the driving forces behind a move to a one world religion.

The American State – Tolerance continues to go down a bifurcated path in American society. President Obama makes a speech at West Point this past week, citing terrorism as the number one threat to our country, stating it repeatedly, but refusing to name the source of the threat or its ideological roots. Once more, a pattern of refusing to acknowledge or allow discussion of jihad or Islam and the connection to terrorism. Meanwhile, Stacey Dash, an actress of African-American and Mexican descent, known for her support of Mitt Romney in the last presidential election, was hired by Fox News to provide cultural analysis and commentary. Dash, well known for her conservative views, is savagely attacked on social media sites by liberals and members of the black community; being called crazy, a turncoat, self-hating and useless. Apparently, your race does matter to your politics among the tolerant left in America.

On the economic front, the U.S. gross domestic product dropped 1% in the first quarter of 2014, many economic analysts felt it would have dropped 2% without all the increased spending on Obamacare, raising concerns in some of another recession being upon us. But many mainstream economists shrugged the drop off, calling for 3 to 4 % growth in the second quarter with no real reasoning behind these claims, blaming the current reports on a severe winter. All this while exports dropped around 6% in the first quarter, there are growing concerns of stagnant retail sales (in a country that has 3 to 8 times the retail space per capita of anyone else), we have a reported unemployment rate of just over 6%, yet 1 in 5 households have no one working, and many cities have rates in the mid-teens. Does this make sense to anyone?

Domestically, the Secretary of Veteran Affairs Eric Shinseki resigned under the pressure of the scandal of delayed care for veterans as a result of enrollment practices for benefits. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney resigned as well, one can imagine the toll it takes on a person having to defend the administration’s position on all sorts of scandals.

On the foreign policy front, the President’s announcement that troops in Afghanistan will be reduced to 9,800 by the end of 2014, and to zero by end of 2016 signals the end of about 15 years of war and demonstrates another American foreign policy failure, one of which four American presidential administrations can share in. A speech yesterday by Defense Secretary Hagel that China was a destabilizing influence with its territorial ambitions was met with harsh criticism and condemnation by Chinese officials, demonstrating the strained relationships with China that mirror the strain between the US and Russia. We make speeches, while others lay claim to more and more territory in outright defiance to the US, and seemingly, little intention to curb their territorial appetite based on the wishes of the United States.

As you think of the fact that America has no place in Biblical prophecy in the End Times, why should it be a surprise that we as a nation have leaders who refuse to acknowledge and address what is going on in this country. We will continue our slide from importance into irrelevance in the course of world events in the prophetical stage now being set.

Russia/Ukraine –A top Kremlin adviser accused the US of trying create a military conflict between Russia and Europe over the Ukraine, stepping up the war of words between the US and Russia over the Ukrainian situation. He called the situation in the Ukraine chaotic, and a de facto war. Pro-Russian separatists shot down a Ukrainian army helicopter killing 14.  Meanwhile, US Defense Department officials are claiming that Russia troops are pulling back from the Ukrainian border, while we also denied US mercenaries are operating in the Ukraine. They accuse us of war mongering, we accuse them of retreating. Sounds like we are dealing from weakness once again.

European Union –European Union leaders are meeting to determine how to stay in power in the wake of European Parliament elections that have been described as a drubbing for the mainstream parties. The number of members of the parliament that are from “Eurosceptic” parties (United Kingdom Independence Party and National Front in France) has doubled. The power of Brussels (home of EU) is bothersome to many, especially in the UK, led by Prime Minister David Cameron. But calls for “less Europe” will be hard to realize, and many of the leaders (Merkel of Germany, Hollande of France and Renzi of Italy) believe the movement will lose force when the economy improves and unemployment drops.

The world is turning, but the world does seem to be tilting a little more each day. Yet, as the True Church we know these things (or at least events in general) must move inn this direction, the world must slide towards the abyss and get to the point that only the return of Jesus Christ can save humanity from itself, from its since and defiance of a most holy God. Stand your ground, stand firm for your beliefs, preach Christ, and Him crucified, and take heart.  Because we know that…

Jesus is coming soon!