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.

Is God Turning the Bear?

For about 70 years, between 1920 and 1970, the USSR was ever expanding. Soviet leaders gobbled up Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Poland, part of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, East Germany, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia and much more.

In the early 90s, some nations rebelled and demanded their independence. Soviet leaders tried to hold the union together, but the rebellion spread, the Soviets lost their power and the USSR fell apart.

Some political leaders thought the collapse of the Soviet Union meant that the world had entered a new era of peace, but by the end of the decade a former KGB agent named Vladimir Putin had risen to power and become the acting president of Russia.

He went on to become president, then prime minister and then president again. He changed laws, consolidated his power, cracked down on his opposition, rebuilt the military, developed close ties with Iran and quietly nurtured the dream of restoring the old Soviet Union. Some even said he also wanted to take over all of Europe.

Mr. Putin liked to present himself as a strongman and his desire to restore the old USSR troubled some of the former Soviet Union nations. His intervention in Georgia, Kyrgystan, Ukraine, his annexation of Crimea and the fact that he threatened to use Russian power outside Russia’s borders made them nervous.

Several of those former USSR nations joined, or tried to join NATO, primarily for protection. They had broken away from the old power-hungry bear and they didn’t want to be subjugated and forced back in.

About eight months ago when Mr. Putin took over Crimea, western leaders finally decided that he had gone too far and he needed to be turned around. They demanded that he stop supporting the opposition forces in Crimea and threatened to impose sanctions on Russia if he didn’t turn around and leave. Their initial sanctions were virtually meaningless and Mr. Putin scoffed at them, but western leaders continued to ramp up the sanctions and the bear began to hurt.

Almost overnight, there was a global glut of oil triggered by an economic downturn in Asia and Europe, fracking for oil in the U.S. and stepped up production of oil in Saudi Arabia. The price of oil quickly dropped from more than $100 per barrel to less than $60 per barrel. The Russian Ruble collapsed, the Russian economy went into a tailspin, and Russia was suddenly facing the prospects of a recession or possibly a depression.

The looming economic disaster and the likelihood that the Russian people might eventually rebel got Mr. Putin’s attention. He now appears to be looking for a way to save face, turn around and leave Crimea. But he has promised the Russian people that he will retaliate against those who have imposed sanctions on Russia and he has promised that he will solve Russia’s economic problems in the next two years.

The Russian bear’s actions made me think of the battle of Gog and Magog. Gog will try to expand his kingdom in the latter days and latter years. But God said, “I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth” (Ezek. 38:4).

Is Mr. Putin Gog? Is God turning Gog around? How will Gog retaliate? I don’t think anyone knows. We can only say that Russia must turn away from one target before God pulls her toward a second target (Israel).

God also said, “It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought” (Ezek. 38:10).

What is this evil thought? The Bible doesn’t say but it appears to be:

“To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land” (Ezek. 38:12).

And some would add, “To satisfy the ancient Islamic hatred for Israel.”

I don’t know what Mr. Putin was thinking when he told the Russian people he will solve Russia’s economic problems in the next two years, but China and India have offered to help Russia so it will take a little time for Russia’s recession to reach full bloom.

Israel has acquired phenomenal wealth with minerals from the Dead Sea, oil and natural gas, agricultural success, cattle and goods; and Mr. Putin has not been reluctant to steal from other countries. We don’t know when it will happen, but many would not be surprised to see the battle of Gog and Magog in the next two years.

A wounded bear is dangerous and this wounded bear may not be ready to go away. He may turn around and seek a different prey. But regardless of anything I have written, what he has been trying to do to Israel will be done to him. He will become the prey and God will be known in the eyes of many nations (Obad. 1:15; Ezek. 38:23; 39:17-20).

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

Watching For A Hook

The list of experts who teach that Russia, Iran and others will attack Israel in a future war called the Battle of Gog and Magog is impressive (Ezek. 38-39). So for the sake of brevity, I will simply state that God will put a hook in the jaws of Russia’s leader (Ezek. 38:4) and drag him and his allies into Israel in the latter days (Ezek. 38:16) and latter years (Ezek. 38:8). And I will make eight points about this in connection with current events.

First, Israel attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities is not the Battle of Gog and Magog. But, if Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities, Russia and Iran have said they will counterattack and that could be the Battle of Gog and Magog.

Second, I agree with those who say Psa. 83 is a prayer about a war between Israel and her neighbors that will take place before the Battle of Gog and Magog. This war hasn’t happened, but events seem to indicate that it could happen soon. An Intifada has been raging in Jerusalem for more than two months; there is currently a temporary ceasefire between Israel and the PA, but Hamas is threatening to break it and no one expects it to hold.

Third, I agree with those who say Isa. 17 prophesies a war between Israel and Syria that will take place before the Battle of Gog and Magog. This hasn’t happened, but it is something else that could happen soon. The U.S. and several Arab allies have already attacked oil fields, refineries, Islamic State troops, other terrorists and weapons in Syria even though Russia, Iran and Syria warned us not to do it. In the past, Syria, Russia and Iran have threatened to attack Israel, if Syria is attacked. Israel has her troops on high alert and the IDF has just shot down a Syrian jet that supposedly strayed over Israeli territory.

Fourth, on Sept. 17, 2014, Israel’s Minister of Intelligence, Yuvall Steinitz said Iran is nine to eighteen months away from developing a nuclear bomb and Iran already has missiles that can deliver one. He pointed out that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.” Nine to eighteen months will quickly come and go. Therefore, it is obvious that time is running out for Israel to act and for Russia, Iran and others to respond.

Fifth, on Sept. 18, 2014, the P5 +1 (the permanent five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) began what they call their final round of negotiations with Iran over the abandonment of Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. Furthermore, the two sides have agreed to resolve all of their differences by Nov. 24, 2014. So the P5 + 1 and Iran are now less than two months away from their self-imposed deadline, the talks are going nowhere and Iran says she will not give up her nuclear program. In addition to this, because of western sanctions on Russia over her actions in Ukraine, Russia has threatened to retaliate against the west by siding with Iran in these negotiations.

Sixth, in 2013, Israel included almost three billion dollars in her budget to finance a war with Iran. In 2014, Israel budgeted almost three billion dollars more for a war with Iran. In Sept. 2014, while preparing Israel’s budget for 2015, a problem arose. Israeli Finance Minister, Yair Lapid, did not want to raise taxes on the Israeli people, but Israeli Air Force Commander, Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel, wanted more money to upgrade Israel’s Air Force and Prime Minister Netanyahu wanted more money to finance operations to deal with security threats against Israel. Some in the media took Mr. Netanyahu’s request for more money to mean that Israel will soon attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Could it happen in the next nine months?

Seventh, Russia’s economy is in trouble. Mr. Putin is still financing a covert war in Ukraine. Western nations have gradually upped sanctions on Russia and the sanctions are finally beginning to take hold. Russia threatened to cut off the flow of natural gas to the EU, but the loss of income could be devastating. The value of the Ruble has dropped 15% against the dollar this year and a recession is looming. Russia will soon have to change her ways, deal with a recession, or find a prey with silver and gold, cattle and goods.

Eighth, based on the Jewish Talmud (not the Bible) some say 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), the next blood moon will occur on October 8, 2014 (the Feast of Tabernacles) and there will be two more in 2015.

Russia is still causing trouble in Ukraine; Pres. Obama is arming the so-called friendly rebels in Syria; the U.S. and several Arab allies are attacking the Islamic State in Syria; Israel’s war with Hamas is probably not over; so it is quite possible that within months God could set the hook on Russia. Time will tell.

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

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!

 

 

 

Nearing Midnight ~ Israel Stands Alone, Russia Reclaims Power, US in Decline! Just the Facts!

This week as we look at the Signs of the Times we will begin our commentary with Israel. Mercifully, as far as Israel is concerned, the US led peace talks between Israel and the PA have collapsed. For the past 25 years or more, the government of the US has attempted to pressure the leaders of Israel into a succession of bad peace agreements with the PA, causing Israel to give up land and security to an enemy who has never wavered from their goal of complete destruction of Israel and the Jewish people. With each successive administration over these past 25 or so years, the US support of and commitment to Israel has declined to the point that this present administration shows open contempt for Israel as a nation and for its democratically elected leaders. The US in no longer a true friend of Israel.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration long ago surrendered the position that the US doesn’t negotiate with terrorists (as in Iran), therefore we can expect this administration to continue to press Israel even though the PA has signed a unity agreement with Hamas (a terrorist organization who has not nor will renounce terror). US Secretary of State John Kerry claims they were “blindsided” by the agreement between the PA and Hamas. Apparently he must not have been as in tune with the situation in the Middle East as he believed himself to be. This is simply another example of the arrogance of this administration and its glaring lack of understanding and experience in the area of foreign policy.

Which brings us to the Ukraine. The Russian people (through our church family we have contacts among the average folk in Russia) believe the crisis in the Ukraine is the responsibility of the US because of its interference in internal Ukrainian politics. They may very well be right. The Obama administration has been involved in the collapse of several governments in the past 5 plus years, and not once has this led to better conditions in those countries, let alone a move toward a representative form of government. Meanwhile Vladimir Putin continues his consolidation of power and influence in every area of the world where this administration has shown weakness. (It is here I will insert this plea for you to read all of our previous teaching on this blog as it applies to End Times prophecy. Because the US is NO WHERE mentioned in the prophetic Word of God, it appears to me that prophecy is being fulfilled in the fact that this nation’s global influence is in decline.) Even Ann Graham Lotz, during the National Day of Prayer service, warned that America has “strayed so far from the ways of God that time is running out and judgment is coming soon.” She said that “God is urgently warning America to repent now!” I too pray that a national Spiritual Revival will come, but I am aware that the National Political decline is probably irreversible.

One more thing! In the past three to five years we have seen many of the great Pre-Trib, Premillennial, Dispensational Bible Preachers and Teachers “Graduate” to Heaven. This past week Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost joined that number. His book, “Things to Come” was the early catalyst which set me on the path to study, understand, and teach Bible Prophecy. I wonder, in these “Last Days” if God isn’t gathering them to Himself now because of persecution and other “things to come” which Christians in the True Church will face before the Rapture and ensuing time of Tribulation.

There is no better time than now to turn to Christ! John 14:6 it is. Jesus plus Nothing! Because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

Wars and Rumors of Wars!

Last Tuesday our Signs of the Times update concentrated on Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the collapsing peace process. This week I’d like to revisit that subject in some detail, but first we need to take a look at the ongoing crisis situation that exists in the Ukraine, and perhaps gain some insight as to how these two international crises are related to one another in light of Biblical Prophecy.

During the EU and US sponsored talks in Belgium which brought the Russian and Ukrainian government representatives face-to-face, an understanding was reached calling for the withdrawal of all insurgents occupying government facilities. However, apparently each side in this dispute has a different idea of who the insurgents are. The Russians believe the insurgents are those who now control the Ukrainian government having forced the removal of the pro-Russian government. The Ukrainians believe the insurgents are the pro-Russian forces which have barricaded themselves inside police stations and other government facilities.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared Friday that the pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine will only lay down their arms if the Ukrainian government clears out the Maidan (square) protest camp in Kiev, and liberates the buildings that have been illegally seized. And so the stalemate continues. Meanwhile as the US begins to enact more economic sanctions on Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin has halted all communication with President Barack Obama. In fact the Kremlin has shut down all intensive high-level communication between top Russian and US officials.

With the annexation of Crimea completed, and growing unrest in evidence throughout Eastern and Southern Ukraine, I believe it is only a matter of time before Russia completes its takeover ambitions. Russian military elements along the Ukrainian border have engaged in a new series of military exercises in response to ongoing NATO exercises in Poland. As I have stated before, I believe there are several reasons for which Vladimir Putin believes Russia must control the Ukraine. These reasons include:

  • The natural gas pipeline which services all of Europe travels from Russia through Ukraine to Romania’s Black Sea coastal plain into the Black Forest of Germany in the heart of Europe.
  • South Ukraine contains huge natural gas and oil deposits both on and offshore in the Black Sea.
  • South Ukraine is the industrial home of much of the Russian military, with factories producing small arms and ammunition as well as military equipment and components, not to mention vast shipbuilding yards.
  • South Ukraine contains nuclear, coal, and hydroelectric power plants essential for Crimea. The uranium mine at Zheltiye Vody is located in South Ukraine as is Dneprozerzhinsk (the heavy water production site), capable of producing 250 metric tons of heavy water yearly.
  • And finally, there is a significant Russian speaking majority in South Ukraine just as there is in Crimea.

This is all necessary “stage setting” for the End Times war spelled out in Ezekiel 38 & 39 when Gog, of the land of Magog, the Prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal leads his armies and those of Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, and Togarmah against Israel. Crimea and the Ukraine are Russia’s gateway to the south via their ports on the Black Sea.

Turning now to Israel, this past week the Palestinian Authority completed a unity agreement with the terrorist organization Hamas, which controls Gaza. This of course effectively ended negotiations between Israel and the PA as the Palestinians sought a two state solution leading to their independence. For Mohammed Abbas, this was a clear sign he saw the peace talks going nowhere. And, unfortunately, that he cares more about relations with hard-line terrorists than he does about relations with the United States or Israel.

Two weeks ago Mohammed Abbas signed 15 international agreements which require PA to respect human rights and punish war criminals. This past week he signed a unity deal with terror groups whose leaders are war criminals. Every leader of Islamic Jihad and Hamas are considered international war criminals, partly because every single rocket launched from Gaza into Israel is a separate war crime. Under the Geneva Conventions, which Mahmoud Abbas signed onto just a couple of weeks ago, he is required to put them on trial for their war crimes. This simply proves to me that Mahmoud Abbas is himself a terrorist and the PA is a terrorist organization.

This agreement between Hamas and the PA came just days before the Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. On Sunday evening at Yad Vashem during the official state ceremony commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “This evening we will mark Holocaust Remembrance Day and the State of Israel will remember the six million victims of the Holocaust.” Earlier Sunday at his regular weekly cabinet meeting the Prime Minister stated “the main difference between the Jews’ helplessness during the Holocaust and their situation now, is that we now have a sovereign state with a strong military that protects us from those who seek to harm us.” He continued saying “Iran is at the top of the list of those who seek to destroy us” and “Aside from its own nuclear ambitions, Iran finances, arms and trains Hamas and the other terror groups lurking on our borders. Hamas denies the Holocaust while trying to facilitate another one by destroying the State of Israel.”

In the US however, Secretary of State John Kerry and this present administration continued to lay the failure of the peace process at the feet of Israel. This administration over the past 5+ years has continually treated our closest ally in the Middle East with disrespect and disdain, vilifying them for their desire to live securely within their own land. This is by far the most anti-Semitic administration in the history of the United States. From Barack Obama’s demand that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders (essentially the borders of 1949), to declaring his dislike of the Israeli Prime Minister (calling him a liar) to the president of France, to John Kerry’s continued pressure on Israel, stating that Israel was at risk of inviting the third intifada, to his most recent suggestion on April 25, that Israel is on the verge of becoming an “apartheid state,” this administration has demonstrated an unprecedented hostility towards Israel.

In fact, John Kerry’s libelous statement is a dangerous example of the precedent that has been set by this administration. This demonization of Israel only emboldens those who seek her destruction. Israel is surrounded by people’s and nations which seek to wipe her off the face of the map, and John Kerry’s anti-Semitic rhetoric will only lead to more bloodshed.

Israel’s enemies in the PA, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, and the ISL among others are representative of the people groups listed in Psalm 83 whose desire is her total destruction. I believe this too is “stage setting” for the Last Days. Understanding the Scripture, we know that war in the Middle East is inevitable, and its outcome was prophesied many years ago. The tragedy here isn’t the war or its destruction, the tragedy is the many lives which will be lost for eternity because they reject the God of Israel and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Another part of the tragedy that I see in these Last Days, is that because of creeping liberalism within the “churches” in the US, having embraced Replacement Theology, anti-Semitism has infected not only the “church” but our politics as well. This nation is nearing destruction because it has turned its back on God’s chosen nation Israel. (See Genesis 12:3)

If you desire to know more about what the Bible says prophetically about the wars which are still to come at the end of the age, keep reading our blog for this teaching. The End Times are upon us as we live in these Last Days. There is no better time than now to turn your heart toward God because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome