America’s Spiritual Decline

The spirit of Antichrist has been in the world at least since God said the seed of woman would bruise Satan’s head (Gen. 3:15). God’s curse was the beginning of a great earthly struggle between good and evil. In the beginning, it focused on preventing the first coming of Jesus. It is now focused on preventing the Second Coming of Jesus. It will continue until this world is destroyed by fire (Matt. 24:35; II Pet. 3:10).

The Antichrist won’t be revealed until the church is Raptured, but the spirit of Antichrist is already here (II Thess. 2:6, 7; I Jn. 4:3). It is anti-God, anti-Jesus, anti-Truth, anti-Christian, the Apostasy, the falling away, the departure from the faith, the emerging church, liberalism, humanism, globalism, inclusiveness, replacement theology, non-Christian religions and the like.

Among other things, this wicked spirit will lead to perilous times, blasphemy, fierceness and despising those that are good in the last days (II Tim. 3:1-4). It will make the world more dangerous (wars, nuclear weapons, more deadly pestilences etc.). Humanity will become more despicable (ungodly or contemptuous of God). People will become more brutal (behead people, burn people alive, cut babies in two); and society will become more intolerant of those who serve God at the end of the Church Age (persecution).

Instead of a worldwide revival with the church converting the world, the people on planet Earth will move farther away from Jesus until all that will live godly in Christ will suffer persecution (II Thess. 2:3; Rev. 3:16; II Tim. 3:12). Christians all over the Middle East are being persecuted right now and it is a growing problem in the U.S.

Jesus, the Disciples, Paul and many of the early Christians were persecuted. A pastor that I know recently preached on “Preparing for the Coming Persecution.” Rev. Franklin Graham recently said that he is concerned about “persecution in this country” [the U.S.]. He added that, “We’ve already seen many laws that have been passed that restrict our freedom as Christians. I believe it’s going to get worse.”

About two weeks ago there was testimony before a U.S. Senate subcommittee that the U.S. received about seven million immigrants in fiscal 2014. They came from many places, but most were Hispanics and some were Muslims.

God loves all of them. He wants all of them to know that Jesus died for everyone’s sins. He wants all of them to accept Jesus as their Savior and to go to heaven.

But it should be understood that seven million immigrants, plus the multiplied millions more that are expected to arrive in the next 3 to 4 years, are going to impact the already failing spirituality of the U.S.

No one can deny that there are places in the world where the church is growing, but the U.S. is not one of them. Many pastors say that they think the Apostasy has already started in the U.S. They see very little difference between most of their church members and the lost. Apathy and moral failure are already widespread in U.S. churches.

This is the point: The growing persecution and spiritual decline of America is bad enough already, but it is going to get much worse in the future. It is difficult to say how many Muslims are coming into the U.S. when people are saying the number is much higher than our government is letting on. And Pres. Obama has already said he will increase it even more. It is sad to know that Syrian Muslims are being brought in, but Syrian Christians are being refused entry. Bringing non-Christians in and keeping Christians out changes things.

Increasing the population of Muslims is going to mean more mosques; more demands to stop monitoring mosques, more demands to stop profiling Muslims; more demands to bring in extended families of Muslims; more demands for Muslim prayers before Congress, at city council meetings and the like.

It will mean more demands for Sharia Law: more attempts to get rid of the Bible, portray Christians as hate-mongers and extremists, send Christians to sensitivity training, get rid of chaplains in the military and the like; more demands to change school textbooks, lunch menus, etc. and perhaps more terrorist attacks, especially on churches.

Muslims are coming (and being brought) to the U.S. for many reasons, but the primary reason they are coming is to fundamentally transform the U.S. into a Muslim nation.

I have been to Mexico and seen many faithful Hispanic Christians. The vast majority is nominal at best. About 75-80%, say they are Catholic. They say they are Catholic because their parents were Catholic or they believe they were born Catholic. But their Catholic beliefs are far from traditional mainline Christianity. In many cases, their beliefs have been blended with ritualism, magic, voodoo, varied Indian cultural practices and the like.

Several years ago, a missionary took my wife and me to a Roman Catholic Church in Mexico and a voodoo ceremony was being performed in the church. I am not against legalized immigration (and I don’t blame anyone for seeking a better life), but I am saying that letting 25-30 million people with many kinds of strange beliefs come into the U.S. in the next 4 to 5 years (and not letting Christians in) will decrease the percentage of true Christians in the U.S.

Understand that the Bible is not wrong. Every jot and tittle will be fulfilled including what it says about persecution. Understand too, that what Islamic terrorists do in other countries (behead Christians, burn churches, burn people alive, cut babies in two, sell people into slavery) they will also do in the U.S. Their threats to raise the Islamic State flag over the White House and to blow up the White House should be taken seriously.

The spirit of Antichrist is already here and a flood of epic proportions is on the way. It will further weaken the U.S. spiritually and we should be concerned for our Lord, our children, our grandchildren, others and ourselves.

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

Taking Care of His Business in Your Backyard

And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).

“My Father’s business.” It is a phrase I have used often in my writing and preaching. In my mind it evokes thoughts of sharing the gospel, sharing my testimony or witnessing. (Witnessing, given the circumstances may not be the same as evangelizing. Another story for another day); showing the love of Christ and the face of Christ to an unbelieving world. As Christians, we should want to help solve the world’s problems, help heal the world’s hurts.

However, we should realize that task can never be done in a complete or permanent manner by our  own efforts, even when we are guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Total, complete and permanent healing is going to take the Second Coming of Jesus. Nevertheless, we are to work in the world going about our Father’s business. And let us not forget a very important fact: We can reach out to the world and should but our primary responsibility as members of His Church is to other members of His Church.

 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2  Corinthians 5:10).  

With this particular verse, I actually prefer the rendering in the New American Standard Bible:  

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

This makes it clear that the bema seat judgment—the judgment of rewards—is a judgment of deeds done in the body from the point in time when one joins the Body of Christ. Things done before one comes to Christ are not part of our appointed before the bema (for that would make for a works based salvation).

And while I am not saying we would not hear, Well done, good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21, 23) for things we may do to minister to those outside of the Church, I believe the clear focus of this passage in 2 Corinthians deals with the Body of Christ; serving and ministering to others within the Body of Christ. Being about our Father’s business should begin at home, within the Body; within the local church we attend, for starters.

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10).

In Galatians, the apostle Paul is clear in his instruction that doing “good” is expected and required, especially in the Church. And whether you hold to the Pauline authorship of Hebrews, writing under the influence and guidance of Paul, or even if Paul had nothing to do with Hebrews, the author is stating that ministering to the saints is not something forgotten by God, for He is a just God.

The complaint in the opening verses of Acts 6 is that widows within the local Body were not having their daily needs met. It was a situation serious enough for the twelve apostles to address and resolve. Taking care of His business within the Body of believers is serious, important work demanding immediate attention.

If you are called by the Lord to go serve in some dark corner of the world (it seems dark corners are all we have in the world anymore), by all means be obedient to the call and serve the Lord empowered by His Spirit. But know there is a mighty work of service that probably needs to be tended to right in your backyard.

It may be your next door neighbor who might happen to not be a believer, but it might also be the person sitting next to you on a Sunday morning, someone as faithful and obedient to the Lord as you are. You can seek a mountaintop experience with the Lord, but remember, the gospel accounts had Jesus and His disciples coming off the mountain and getting back into day to day ministry. Jesus wasn’t going to let the three stay on the mountaintop linger and neglect what was next on the agenda. He brought them back down among the multitudes.

If you are focused on the needs of your local church Body, you will most likely come into contact with many neighbors and friends, with people in your local community. It will give you the opportunity to reach others for Christ at the same time you are helping other members of the Body.

It does not have to be an either/or. It can most definitely be a both/and. By seeking to be discerning of needs in the local body of Christ, you will learn to discern the need for Christ locally outside of the Body: because you will be more in tune with those living around and amongst you.

The Lord might give you a mountaintop experience, He might send you far afield from your home. But He has work that needs to be done in your own backyard, and it will please the Lord if you recognize it and step up to do it.

Whatever the Lord has for us to do, and wherever He has placed the work, we should be about our Father’s business and just go do it as He has asked.

We Will Have a King Over Us And It Must be Jesus

Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man. – Genesis 9:6

In this instance in the Bible we first see the concept of government as the protection and defense of the individual. Given what humanity had become by our disobedience, God saw the need for humanity to have government as protection of the individual. The sacred nature of life made in His image  coupled with the sinful nature of man made it necessary.

You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor. – Leviticus 19:15

Clearly, God desired a just and fair governmental structure. Impartiality is a bedrock premise to the proper functioning of governing and judging in a way that pleases God.

So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.” Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the Lord. So the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed their voice, and make them a king.” And Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Every man go to his city.” – 1 Samuel 8:10-22

The nation of Israel was to be the one people which would be governed on this earth by the Lord, yet they sought what others had, and chose not the better way as a result. For what could be better than a nation governed by God (far superior to even a nation under God).

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. – Romans 13:1-7

Paul, in the book of Romans, lays out the Christian obligation to obey the governing authorities, as leaders are put in place by the will of God. This is sometimes hard for the Christian to understand and accept when under what appears to be bad or evil leadership. While Paul assumes the governance by righteous authorities, he makes no provision in Romans 13 for instances where government is less than the biblical ideal in his epistle.

So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:18-20

Peter and John display what is a clear reason to disobey governing authorities, a rejection or repudiation of our Lord Jesus Christ. They were willing to risk their lives for the Gospel (and indeed, all the apostles except John died a martyr’s death; and many disciples of Christ have died as such since and continue to do so to this day). It could come to a point when one need choose the condemnation of man or the abandonment of faith. The apostles chose the better way of eternal over earthly life and reward.

We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life-physical,intellectual, and moral life. But life cannot maintain itself alone. The creator of life has entrusted us with the responsibility of preserving, developing, and perfecting it. In order that we may accomplish this, He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources…Life, faculties, production-in other words, individuality, liberty, property-this is man…What then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. Each of us has a natural right-from God-to defend his person, his liberty, and his property… If this is true, then nothing can be more evident than this: The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense…God has given to men all that is necessary for them to accomplish their destinies. He has provided a social form as well as a human form. And these social organs of persons are so constituted that they will develop themselves harmoniously in the clean air of liberty…May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.  (Excerpted from The Law: The Classic Blueprint For a Just Society – Frederic Bastiat, 1850)

Bastiat in his treatise states that law should do no more than protect individuality, property and liberty, and nothing more. For more than that is a violation of rights established by God. Bastiat sees the harmonious workings of liberty as providing more than any system of rules and regulations can ever do, for they will eventually favor the few or the one over the totality, and as such, destroy liberty through improper use of law.

This was a long way to go to get to the heart of the matter. While a well balanced government, righteous in actions and placing individual liberty and property above all else may be what is divinely inspired, man on his own is incapable of that over the long run. Personal desires or greed, the sinful pull of personal wealth and power will eventually erode the most well-intentioned forms of human self-government. I believe this is the erosion we are seeing in our country at an ever accelerating pace today, but it has been building for some time. And this is no surprise given the sinful nature of man.

As Christians, we should participate in the process of electing leaders, seeking out and supporting those with a biblical worldview, with a platform that mirrors our beliefs. But as Christians, we need realize that we are only trying to hold the line, delay the continuing slide of this country, the inevitable slide towards end time events. We should be seeking to reach the lost, and be doing so by trying to elect Christian leaders. But we need recognize a key fact; we need Christ in our lives and over our lives.

We are lost without Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are incapable of true, biblical governance without Him to head it up, and this will not happen until His Second Coming and the establishment of the Millennial Reign. Jesus must return or the plans, the purposes and the very will of God for humanity cannot be fulfilled. For left to our own devices, we would have ourselves a king (or an individual or small group would force one upon us), and one which cannot, by the definition of our sin nature, be good for any great length of time (length as the Lord would count it). In Him alone can the fulfillment be.

Jesus is coming soon!

EvenSoCome.

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

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

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

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

1. We have a God who cares.

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

2. Our God will supply all our need.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Jesus is coming again!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

EvenSoCome

Not the Rapture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red Heifer

Recently, a friend asked, “What is a red heifer? What is the big deal? Does it have anything to do with Bible prophecy?”

For starters, that innocent looking young female animal: 1) could be the last thing that is needed for the Jews to rebuild the Temple, 2) it could trigger a major religious war between Israel and the Muslims, 3) it could be the first qualified red heifer since the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D. and 4) it could be a unique sign that the Second Coming of Jesus is very close.

The Scriptures are found in Numbers 19:1-22. They refer to an ordinance of the law that was commanded by the Lord (vs. 2). They involve the cleansing of defiled people; especially those who had anything to do with the tabernacle (setting it up, taking it down, carrying it in the wilderness, carrying the furniture or vessels, serving there, etc.); and those who had anything to do with a deceased person (caring for them, being with them at the time of their death, preparing their body for burial, burying it, etc.; Num. 19:4, 11, & 14).

God told the Jews to slay a red heifer without spot and blemish and upon which never came a yoke (vs. 2), outside the camp (vs. 3), to sprinkle its blood before the tabernacle seven times (vs. 4), to totally burn its body (vs. 5), to burn cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet with it (vs. 7), to gather the ashes and place them in a clean place outside the camp (vs. 9), to save the ashes for making a water of separation (vs. 9), to take a portion of the ashes and mix it with running water (vs. 17), to sprinkle the mixture of ashes and water upon unclean people and the tabernacle, all who served there and everything in it (vs. 18), on the third day and on the seventh day and they will be clean (vs. 19).

Why God chose a heifer (young female cow) for this sacrifice is a mystery. The Bible doesn’t say, but according to some Jewish sages the heifer is a reminder that the Hebrews in the wilderness defiled themselves by making a golden calf (Ex. 32:4, 7). Moses took their golden calf, ground it into powder, put the powder in their water and made some of them drink it (Ex. 32:20).

The heifer had to be red (the color of sin): “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18). Jesus was made sin for us and our sins were laid on Jesus (II Cor. 5:21a; Isa. 53:6).

The absence of blemishes and spots means the red heifer was required to be perfect (Num. 19:2). Just two hairs that were not red disqualified it. Jesus qualified as a sin sacrifice because He was without blemish and spot (I Pet. 1:19). He knew no sin, did no sin, and had no sin in Him (II Cor. 5:21; I Pet. 2:22; I Jn. 3:5). He was perfect.

A yoke was put on work animals in Old Testament times to pull a plow, cart, etc. A red heifer that has never been yoked is an animal that has never worked (Num. 19:2). God was saying works have nothing to do with cleansing or salvation. We are saved by grace not by works (Eph. 2:8-9).

Slaying the red heifer outside the camp (Num. 19:3) pointed to Jesus who died outside the gate (Heb. 13:12).

The blood of the red heifer had to be sprinkled seven times in front of the Tabernacle to cleanse it (Num. 19:4). Sprinkling the blood seven times signifies complete cleansing. Blood symbolizes the blood of Jesus (I Jn. 1:7-9). We are cleansed by the blood (I Jn. 1:7); have access to God by the blood (Heb. 10:19-20); overcome Satan by the blood (Rev. 12:11); have been purchased with the blood (Acts 20:28); are justified through faith in the blood (Rom. 3:25); are redeemed through the blood (Eph. 1:7) and more. Since God required the sprinkling of the blood of a red heifer in front of the Tabernacle in the past, it is believed that He requires the sprinkling of the blood of a red heifer in front of any Temple is built in the future.

Completely burning the red heifer so that nothing remained but a pile of ashes signifies that the sacrifice was finished. “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (Jn. 19:30).

Three things (Cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet) were burned with the red heifer. Cedar was considered an incorruptible wood. It was used by royalty in their palaces (II Sam. 5:11, 7:2) and in the Temple (I Kings 6:18; Ezra 3:7). Jesus was incorruptible royalty (Psa. 16:10; Luke 1:31-33; Matt. 27:38; Rev. 19:16) and He will be our Temple in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:22). Hyssop was used to sprinkle the blood on the lintel and side posts of the houses in Egypt before the death angel passed over (Ex. 12:22). It was used to lift the vinegar-filled sponge to the mouth of Jesus when He died on the cross (Jn. 19:29). And following his sin David said, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean” (Psa. 51:7). For those who apply the blood, Jesus is our Passover and His death on the cross will make us clean (I Cor. 5:7). Scarlet symbolizes sin (Isa. 1:18) and Jesus was made sin for us (II Cor. 5:21).

The ashes were placed in a clean place outside the camp (Num. 19:9). There is a little debate about where Jesus was buried, but most say it was in a new tomb that had never been used outside the city (Luke 23:53).

According to some Jews (not the Bible), the ashes were ground up (like the golden calf in the wilderness), pulverized, beaten with rods and sifted. Jesus was severely beaten and His visage was marred more than any man (Mk. 15:15; Isa. 52:14). After the red heifer was burned and sifted some say the ashes were. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow (Isa. 1:18a).

The person who gathered the ashes saved them to use in the water of separation (Num. 19:9). This solution was prepared by mixing a small portion of the ashes with running water (a pinch of ashes with lots of clean water from a natural source such as a spring; Num. 19:17). Then, the water of separation was sprinkled upon the Tabernacle, everything in it (the vessels, music instruments, etc.), everyone there (the priests, musicians, etc.) and anyone who had anything to do with the dead (Num. 19:18).

The Jews say the heifer must be three years old before it is sacrificed. As far as I know, the Bible doesn’t say this, but I found three possible reasons in my studies: 1) Some suggest that God was revealing that Jesus would die after three years of ministry, 2) Others suggest that a three-year old animal is in the prime of his life and Jesus died in the prime of His life, and 3) Still others suggest that the Jews require it to be three years old because Abraham wanted a sign that God would give him the Promised Land and God told him to prepare a sacrifice with a heifer, she-goat and a ram that were three years old, and a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon (Gen. 15:7-10). Sacrificing a three-year old heifer was part of God’s sign to Abraham.

Some say the ashes of the tenth red heifer must be mixed with the ashes of the previous nine sacrificed red heifers. That is tradition not what the Bible says. For whatever it is worth, I have read that some Jewish rabbis say the old ashes that have been hid for 2,000 years have probably been contaminated and are most likely unfit for use.

Some Jews say the tenth red heifer will be sacrificed by the Messiah. That comes from the Mishna not the Bible.

Some Jews say the tenth red heifer will be in use when the Messiah returns. They will probably use some ashes from the next red heifer in the first half of the Tribulation Period before the Second Coming of Jesus.

Anyway, the Temple will be rebuilt before the middle of the Tribulation Period (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15-21; II Thess. 2:4 and Rev. 11:1). And the Temple, plus everyone who builds it, everyone who serves in it and everything that is used in it must be cleansed with the water of separation made with the ashes of a red heifer without spot and blemish (Num. 19:17-19).

A red heifer was born in January 2014 that may qualify if it remains perfect until January 2017. Not everyone agrees, but I am convinced that the Rapture is before the Tribulation Period. The existence of a red heifer without blemish and spot is significant, but it only points to Jesus. He is a better sacrifice (Heb. 9:13-14).

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