Home Before Dark

Back in the ’60s and ’70s, Charles Kuralt of CBS News took us all “On the Road” with his scenery-chewing segments on life in America off the interstates. Sick and tired of the politics and competition for hard news, he felt Americans were better served with observing what was real and enduring. We agreed, and Americans still enjoy seeing the USA in their Chevrolet. Christians especially should be very familiar with the biblical admonition to live our lives as pilgrims and strangers on the earth, keeping our ultimate heavenly destination on the front burner of our minds. The broad path of the interstate will never satisfy the spiritually thirsty and those looking for the City of God.

As we travel, the way well lighted by His Word and grace, let us exhort one another all the more. “Home Before Dark” is a collection of observations and encouragements from the journey, written to illuminate the path and help the believer to keep their priorities straight in light of the rapidly falling darkness, indicating the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Home Before Dark is available on Amazon.com

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Got a Minute?

So what is time really? Let’s take the lowly “second”. 60 of them in an hour, right? Did you know that a “second” did not become a base unit of time until the 1800s? Did you know that it was only after 1967 that today’s definition of a second was finally settled, and that it has to do with cyclical changes that occur inside a cesium atom at a certain temperature?

Next time you are in a quiet room and you hear the second hand on a clock, think about how long it took humans to define that “second”. Then ponder milli-seconds, nano-seconds, micro-seconds, kilo-seconds, mega-seconds, and 15 other divisions of the lowly second. 1Corinthians 15:51 says that “in the twinkling of an eye we shall all be changed.” GE measured the twinkling of an eye and it comes out to a deca-second, or about a tenth of a second, lest you think that the bible doesn’t talk about the divisions of seconds and such, because it does. We will receive our new bodies in a deca-second! When you listen to that second hand tick, open a document in your computer and watch that curser blink in time to the second hand. These tiny divisions of time and life are all around us but are a blur because we are too busy to look for God at the atomic level, but look at what Colossians 1 says, vs 16 and 17:

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

What things? The sum total of everything. ALL things, both visible and invisible. God is in the sub-atomic business. He created everything out of nothing. How big is your God? Big enough to be in the tiniest detail.

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The Pre-Post Tribulation Rapture

Monday, September 29, 2014
Pete Garcia

I think I stirred the pot with last week’s article.  It probably didn’t help things that I dropped it into several non-pre-trib forums on Facebook.  Talk about vitriolic rhetoric on a grandiose scale.  At least confirmed my beliefs that all the other views, regardless of how much they differ from each other…will all line up against the Pre-Trib view lock-step.  So what I’m about to write then might seem a bit controversial but…the Bible teaches both a Pre and Post-Tribulation coming of Christ

Pre-Tribulation Rapture

Chronologically speaking, Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians is one of the first, if not the first letter written to first century believers.  In it Paul explains a revelation that had been directly given to him from Christ.  (1 Thess. 4:15; Gal. 1:11-12) Paul shares that at a future point in time, Christ would return in mid-air and the dead in Christ would rise first then those who are alive are translated from mortal to immortal and go to be with Christ forever.  On at least three separate occasions in his first epistle to the Thessalonians, Paul reiterates that we are not appointed to wrath but only those who have rejected Christ will be. (1 Thess 1:10, 2:15-16, 5:9)  In fact, in all Paul’s epistles there is a consistent theme that when boiled down to the bare essentials state:

  1. Deliverance will come before the coming wrath.
  2. The dead would rise first in resurrected bodies, and the living would be transformed from mortal to immortal all in less time than a ‘blink of an eye’.
  3. That we as believers, should take comfort in seeing the coming ‘Day of the Lord’.

Dr. David Reagan had this to say about it:

Finally, the day of the Lord occurs at the same time but is not exactly the same as the “day of the Lord Jesus.” This exact phrase is found two times in scripture (1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14). This seems to refer to the time that Jesus comes for His own and matches with “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:8) and the “day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6) and the “day of Christ” (Philippians 1:10; 2:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:2).

Six of these seven references point to the time that Jesus will come for the saints at the beginning of the tribulation. As a rule, these references refer to rejoicing and not wrath. The reason is simple. For although the inhabitants of earth will be experiencing the wrath of God, those taken from the earth at the beginning of the day of the Lord will be experiencing heaven.  (Source)


I should probably add in Pre-Wrath and Mid-Tribulation believers as well in this group, because they tend to pull a majority of their end-times source documents from the Gospels, Revelation, and the Old Testament, but tend to down play what the Apostle Paul had to say in his epistles.  These believers’ focus heavily on the Olivet Discourse chain of events, but in particular to Matthew 24: 29-31, and 36-44.  The ‘Day of the Lord’ is viewed as after the Tribulation, but directly preceding the return of Christ at the Second Coming.  Their view, in a nutshell is:

  1. Christians will enter into the Tribulation because we don’t deserve to escape what’s coming.
  2. Christians will have to endure to the end or at least to the end of the Sixth Seal Judgment (for Pre-Wrath), in order to be Raptured.

Now, when Post-Tribulation believers do reference Paul’s epistles, it’s almost exclusively centered on 2 Thessalonians 2…and they make a fine mess of it.  One would have to do all sorts of mental gymnastics to really grasp what Paul was saying. If in fact, he was promoting a Post-Tribulation Rapture from their explanation of it…despite the fact that Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians in an effort to refute the notion that the Thessalonians were taught by a false teacher pretending to be Paul, they were in the ‘Day of Christ’ already.

If you believe the Rapture is Post-Trib, then you by default, have to pull heavily from the Olivet Discourse, the Old Testament and anything beyond Revelation 4.


Like I said, the Bible teaches both views; which one applies, also depends on who you are.

For the unbeliever, Paul wasn’t speaking to you.  Therefore, the Pre-Tribulation Rapture will happen and leave you here on terra firma to enter into the worse period of time mankind has ever faced. (Matt. 24:21-22)  From your perspective, Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, and Revelation 6-18 then become very applicable to your situation.  If you remain until the end, and still have not converted, your rapture is not being caught up, but being caught away, into eternal damnation. (Matt. 13:37-43)

For the believer in this waning age of the Church, we who are alive and remain will one day, be surprised and/or relieved to finally hear that Trumpet call, and the Shout and will know, that we are about to go to be with our Lord and Savior in glory.

Since we are in the Church age, and have been since that first Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended down as ‘cloven tongues of fire’, (Acts 2:1-4) what Paul had to say, is of the utmost importance.  Paul was given what we would call, Progressive Revelation.  In that he was given new information that had not yet been revealed to anyone else…even the other apostles (Gal. 1:1-2, 11-12).

This revelation is not Plan B, or some emergency action on God’s behalf, but had been in God’s mind and purpose from before even the foundation of the world.  (Eph. 1:3-6)  His Gospel message, as found in 1 Cor. 15:1-5, his plans of salvation (Rom 10:9-11), and his revealing of exactly what happens to the believer at the moment of salvation (Eph. 1:11-14), were not only shocking but different than what even the Apostle Peter knew at the time of the Pentecost when he was preaching to the crowd of Jewish men.  (Acts 2:38-39)  Another way to think about it is like this. Progressive revelation is why the Bible was written by 40 different men spanning over 1,600 years.

God didn’t reveal everything to Adam. . . although He could have.

This is also why both views (Pre and Post) have such strong feelings about why they view their position to be correct.  Both views can quote scripture with the best of them. Both can argue passionately about why they think their position is right.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…only one view is going to actually happen.

So which one will happen for the believer?  Are we destined to go through all or part of the time known as Daniel’s 70th Week?

Seeing as the Apostle Paul was given the ministry to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13; Gal. 2:7), and most of modern Christendom is or came out of the Gentile nations, it would appear he would be speaking to us.  And really, in this dispensation, once a person becomes a Christian, he/she is neither Jew nor Gentile anymore IN Christ, (1 Cor. 10:32; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15) but have become a ‘new creation’.  Just as we were born as sons and daughters of the first Adam, in Christ, we become adoptive sons and daughters in the Last Adam. (1 Cor. 15:45)  In other words, we become a whole new race in Christ.

Now, it should be noted, that the Gospels were written as record of Christ’s birth, life, ministry, and death…all of which occurred under the age of the Law.  (Gal. 4:4-5).  It wasn’t until the moment of His death, that the temple veil was torn in two, signifying that the Holy of Holies was no longer exclusively just to the Jewish Priests, but to everyone.  (Matt. 27:50-53)

When you read through the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), you will find a version of Jesus’s Olivet Discourse.  In each of these, there are plenty of clues that should tell you, that what He’s saying, doesn’t apply to the Church (Matt. 24:15, 20-21) because the Church is not under Sabbath travel restrictions. Neither are we exclusively in Judaea, nor do we preach the ‘gospel of the kingdom’.  We preach Christ crucified, Christ is our Sabbath, and we are from all over the world.  Furthermore, the Post-Tribulation nature of Matthew 24, ties directly into the preceding chapter, in which Jesus issued his final warning shot to those who had rejected His message and offer of the Kingdom;

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessedis He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ” Matthew 23:37-39

We know according to Scripture, that it’s not until the end of the Tribulation that the Jewish people (those who remain) will cry out and finally recognize Jesus as their Messiah.

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.  Zechariah 12:10

The Gospel of John on the other hand, has no Olivet Discourse, but rather, has the Upper Room Discourse.  This would be where Christ reveals to His disciples (minus Judas Iscariot), some ‘precious promises’ that ONLY applied to the believer.

“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 have 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

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.John 14:26

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:15

Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  John 16:7-8

The Upper Room Discourse, is very different in both the nature of the discussion and the intimacy with which it is entrusted to His disciples. Even the timing of John’s Gospel (the last written) was well into the early church age, written somewhere around AD85. Then there is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which is the last book written.

Interestingly, John is told what to write and even how to break up the book (Rev. 1:19), and in so doing, he records 19 times, the use of the term ‘ekklesia’ which gets translated as ‘church’ or ‘churches’ in our English translation of the Bible.  But 18 of the 19 references, are all used in Chapters 1-3, and 22.  The last use of ‘ekklesia’ in chapter 22, is only used in which John is instructed to give this message out to all the ‘ekklesia’.  But the term for church is used nowhere in context with anything that happens between chapter’s 4-21.

Instead, terms such as ‘elect’ and ‘saints’ are used to refer to those believers who are enduring the wrath that is being poured out upon it.  These people are not in the Church, because the Church is already gone.  That age/time/dispensation is already concluded at the ‘catching up’ of the Church.  The exclusivity of the use of the word ‘ekklesia’ is now replaced with the use of more generic terms such as ‘elect’ and ‘saints’, which can also be found in the Olivet Discourses and the Old Testament.  The word ‘elect’ is used in conjunction with the nation of Israel corporately (Isaiah 42:1, 45:4, 65:9, 65:22) and ‘saints’ individually (Psalm 37:28; Daniel 7:25; Rev. 13:7).


In coming to terms with the prophetic juxtaposition of the Bible, which teaches both Pre and Post Tribulation positions, I have become fully convinced, that those who hold to any other view than a Pre-Tribulation view are not any less Christian than those who don’t. They just remained confused as to who they are in Christ and what the timing and the purpose is of the Tribulation.

In short, the Tribulation is the same period of time, which is also known as Daniel’s 70thWeek, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, and the time of the Seal, Trumpet, and Bowl Judgments.

Just as the Jewish believers in Jesus day (and before) were expecting only one coming of their Messiah (as another Moses or David), and were caught asleep at the wheel; so too will those fail to distinguish between Christ’s coming FOR His church at the Rapture, and His coming WITH His Church at the Second Coming.  (Zech. 14:5; Jude 1:14; Rev. 19:7-8, 14).

Seeing as there will not be unity in belief on this subject until the Lord actually returns, there will remain a biased understanding for those who seemingly trade in their ‘Blessed Hope’ for that ‘Woeful Anticipation’ of what is to come upon the earth.  The great Bible teacher Jack Kelley once said, “I wish people got Raptured according to their view of it”…and in all fairness, I couldn’t agree more.

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The Anti Rapture

Monday, September 22, 2014
Pete Garcia

With the upcoming re-release of the Left Behind movie due out next month, you can rest assured that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture haters will come out in droves.  The secular world, Hollyweird in particular, seems fixated on this idea with the return of Christ, but not in a good way.

It has in recent years released a number of films mocking it, or turning it into some kind of bizarre horror spectacle.  Granted, what follows after the Rapture will be a horror show on a ‘biblical’ scale, but the Rapture in and of itself is not anything to fear for the believer in Jesus Christ.

As Left Behind gets released into theaters, there will be a growing chorus of Bible teachers and expositors who will become more vocal in refuting it.  They are seemingly convinced that the Church is destined to go through either part, or all of the Tribulation.  I suppose that is a relatively normal reaction, given the perilous times we are increasingly finding ourselves in.  After all, the signs are all there for an impending economic and societal collapse, as well as an increase in: wars and rumors of wars, pestilences, earthquakes, and strange natural phenomenon.  And since the Rapture didn’t pan out in 2011, 2012, 2013, and thus far into 2014, a natural tendency occurs in our minds to think that if the Rapture doesn’t occur by 2018 (70 years from 1948), then all bets are off.

The supposed ‘delay’ in our Lord’s coming, has given rise to a number of biblically incompatible eschatological theories.  I confidently call them ‘biblically incompatible’, because they are.  They are in a sense, Anti-rapture, and attempt to pervert or change what God’s word says on the subject.  On the surface, some of these views might appear to have theological legs to stand on, but if you drill down just a little bit into what actually “supports” their arguments, it falls apart very quickly.

Most recently, there is the Pre-Wrath position, which posits that we go through at least the first five Seal judgments, but not the Trumpet or Bowl judgments. (They attempt to distinguish between Man/Satan’s wrath, from God’s wrath)  Then there is a Mid-Tribulationposition that has us being raptured at the 3.5 year mark of the seven year tribulation.  There is the Post-Tribulation position that states the Church must endure through all of the Tribulation.  And finally, there is the Pan-Tribulation position (which is the predominant position in Protestant churches here in the west) in which it will all work itself out in the end, so why bother teaching it.

The one thing that all these positions have in common, is that they neglect the Word of the Lord, in that the Church (i.e.…the Body of Christ) has no place, position, or purpose for entering any part of this highly specified time period.  There is also a fundamental misunderstanding of who and what the Church is.

The truth of the matter, is that while we are still here and the Lord has yet to return, we will be on earth either until either death takes us, or the Lord catches us up.  That reality does not in anyway, diminish what God’s word promises.  If the Church were destined to go through the Tribulation (i.e. the 70th week of Daniel), I think that the teachings in the New Testament Epistles (both General and Pauline) would be abundantly clear.  There are mentions in the Gospels, but the Gospels weren’t written to the Church specifically.  They are a recording of Christ’s birth, life, ministry, death, burial, and resurrection…and Christ lived and died, under the age of the Law.

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  Galatians 4:4-5 NKJV


Aside from Christ’s discussion on building the Church in Matthew 16:13-20, the Church was all but a mystery.  Even in Acts 1, the disciples were still under the impression that the Kingdom promised to Israel was about to be ushered in.

But instructions for the Church to endure and maneuver through a period of time specifically set aside for Israel in the last days, is seemingly absent from the pages of Scripture…and that would be because they do not teach that the Church goes through any part of the Tribulation.  Follow my logic here:

The seventh Seal Judgment, triggers the blowing of the seven Trumpet Judgments, in which the seventh trumpet triggers the pouring out of the seven Bowl Judgments.  So Christ opening the seven Seal Judgments, triggers all the rest.

ALL the Judgments, are divinely appointed wrath.  The only difference between the first four Seal Judgments, and the last three, is that the first four are not “Supernatural” in nature, but rather, are God’s removal of any kind of restraint from the world…and the effects are devastating.

But the Judgments (all 21) cannot begin, until Christ has removed His Body from the earth, back to Heaven, to be where He is. (John 14:1-3)

Since the Holy Spirit permanently seals and indwells those believers who are baptized into the Body of Christ via the Holy Spirit, it stands to reason, that if the Holy Spirit’s role of restrainer is removed, so too will those bodies in whom He seals and indwells. (Eph. 1:11-144:302 Cor. 1:21-22)

The Restrainer (2 Thess. 2:7), is definitively a ‘He’.  That leaves you with three options:

  • Satan
  • Michael the Archangel
  • Holy Spirit

The Restrainer ‘restrains’ lawlessness, and has been, so that pretty much rules out the ‘father of lawlessness’…Satan. (John 8:44)

The Restrainer ‘restrains’ lawlessness, which is not another individual, but a condition.  Michael is a finite being and is NOT omnipresent, therefore, cannot be everywhere at once.  Thus, he does not qualify as one who can restrain lawlessness.  Besides, he has a job already. (Daniel 12:1Jude 1:9Rev. 12:7)

This leaves the only One capable, of restraining the condition of lawlessness, and that is God the Holy Spirit, who existing before Creation (Gen 1:2), was given in a particular role at Pentecost to the Church. (John 14:162615:2616:7) until that time is complete.

The Church Age had a beginning, Pentecost (Acts 2), and will have an ending. (Rev. 3:10)

This is why the Apostle Paul even wrote 2 Thessalonians in the first place…because someone had come along, pretending to be an apostle, telling them they were now in the Day of the Lord (the time of the Tribulation).  The Thessalonian church were deeply shaken by this, (2 Thess. 2:1-2) and Paul had to reassure them, that THAT day could not happen, until three things occurred first:

  • The falling away happened
  • The Restrainer is taken out of the way (God the Holy Spirit is not removed, just His role as the restrainer is done away with (Gen. 6:3)
  • And then the lawless one will be revealed (2 Thess. 2:7-9)

If the Church is to endure, ANY portion of the Tribulation, is Christ now going to unleash the judgments (Rev. 6:1) upon Himself, if the Church is His body?


The clear, Biblical answer, is a definitive no.  Not only does the Bible NOT teach the Church will endure God’s wrath, (1 Thess. 1:105:9Rev. 3:10), and that we are NOT looking for signs inside the Tribulation, but that we are too be looking eagerly, for the Blessed Hope, which is the appearing of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

The rhetoric is heating up, along with the scoffing and turning away, even from those who profess Christ, mocking the promise Christ made to us (2 Peter 3:3-7), that He will come again, and receive us unto Himself (John 14:1-3).  Don’t let anyone steal your joy, or your hope, in that promise, because one day soon, Christ will break back into human history, and in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, transform both the living, and the dead, into our glorified bodies, so that we can dwell with Him forever. (1 Cor. 15:51-56Romans 8:28-30)

As with Adam, all men die.  But Christ is the ‘last Adam’, and through Him, all men live, forever.  And as Eve was taken out of the side of Adam, as a help-mate, so too was the Church, born out of Christ’s side to be His help-mate. (1 Cor. 15:45John 19:34)  Paul explains this ‘mystery’ in Ephesians 5, echoing the spiritual reality of Genesis 2:23-24, that the two shall become one.  We are brought into Christ by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13) at the moment of belief (Eph. 1:11-14).

The Church is unique in its role and nature in God’s administrating over Creation.  The Church was in God’s mind, before the foundation of the world, (Eph. 1:4) and we are not Plan B or an afterthought with Israel’s rejection of Christ.  We serve the purpose of bringing about God’s purpose for making a people for Himself into one, new Man. (Eph. 2:15)   When you come to understand who and what exactly the Church is, then you will see the ludicrousness of the idea, that the Church must then be ‘purified’ by the Tribulation, in order to become ‘acceptable’ to God in any form or fashion.  Christ, who perfectly fulfilled the law (Gal. 4:4-5) perfectly in His life and death, paid it all on the Cross…and then said ‘It is finished’ (John 19:28-30).  If we are truly the Body of Christ, then what more can WE add to what Christ has already done?


Furthermore, it’s not even tribulation that purifies us…

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:2-3

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Prophecy 101


“Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth

 I tell you of them.”

(Isaiah 42:9)

 “Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,

And I will do all My pleasure’.”

(Isaiah 46:9-10)


“Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass,

you may believe that I am He.”

(John 13:19)


The future is coming. Profound, isn’t it? Because you’ll no sooner read that, but it’s here. We are barreling headlong into it every minute of every day. The current moment doesn’t even exist, really, in as much as each minute merely slips through our fingers like warm sand on a sunny day, and before you know it you have more days in your past than in your future. We can’t see one minute ahead, and yet we make our plans, watch the seasons come and go, and then marvel at how fast it all flies by. “Where did the time go?” is a common lament in these fast-paced times. Truth is, no one gets out of here alive, and the minutes tick by, days drip off the page.

And yet I will say something even more profound: some day, maybe not too long from now, I won’t even be able to say that “the future is coming”, because from our perspective on this side of eternity, time as we know it will have wound down. And for those we love who have passed on, their future is already sealed. It’s only the living, really, who can even consider boasting in some sort of “future” as we understand it in the time domain. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Now, that elusive “future”, as we normally define it, is or has been very important to every human. Whether you plan for it, as every sensible human should to some degree, or whether you take absolutely no thought for it whatsoever, everything you do, and a lot of what you say and feel will affect it for better or worse. If you live foolishly and disregard health, safety, and even the law, your future might turn out pretty sour and full of regret. If you live wisely and try to avoid the big stupid stuff, you will probably reap the benefits of your level head, which, while being a good thing for you and all those around you, reality being what it is, you might get hit by a bus in the fog tomorrow morning. Ah, the late, great you.

So what’s my point? It’s this: we all know tomorrow matters. Even for those who have convinced themselves to be atheists or existentialists so they can take the spiritually lazy route, deep down they know tomorrow matters. Reality check: if there were no such thing as God and faith, the self-proclaimed atheist/agnostic wouldn’t even have a religion in the first place. Atheism is the “anti-faith” religion, the polar opposite of truth – which does exist, and can be known. The adherents of such “beliefs” are simply being rebellious, not original or independent in their thinking as they like to believe.

There is no alternate, or opposite belief system that exists independent of truth, in the same way that Satan is not an opposing force to God, but a rebel fully against Him (the “Father of Lies”). Think of it this way: why do vegetarians eat patties that look like hamburgers? It’s because this ideology is not so much “for” something so much as “against”, and I am referring to those who have politicized or spiritualized their food choices either because of radical environmentalism or New Age beliefs. They are not pro-veggie, but anti-meat. The atheist then, is opposing God, period, no intellectualizing needed, check your brain at the door on this one,  and pass the A-1 sauce, please.

Now, the bible has a lot to say about numbering our days and making provision for eternity. It also contains a lot of warnings so that we can have some idea of where this old world is heading. Again, we have choices to make: take the Bible seriously for all things pertaining to life and eternity

(you WILL live forever – somewhere), or  just go on whistling in the dark and hope it all comes out OK in the end. One of these things is wise, the other eternally and regretfully  foolish.  As that old Sesame Street song goes, “one of these things just doesn’t belong here…”

Most people today think the Bible is full of dusty old sayings uttered by dusty old people in goat sandals who really don’t communicate well, and are so intellectually lame they can’t seem to get their point across to a generation that just wants some drive-through spirituality, hold the guilt please. The truth is, the Bible is a very unique set of writings, and in order for the honest seeker to take prophecy seriously, the subject of this article, I have to take a moment to establish that the nuts and bolts of what we call bible prophecy is even worth taking seriously. Without that, we might as well be talking about “Moby Dick”. But who quotes chapter and verse of Moby Dick anyway?


Inspiration or Perspiration?

First, the Bible is not just one single book, it is actually a collection of 66 books, the “canon of Scriptures”. These 66 books cover history, poetry, prophecy, wisdom, literature and letters, convey the future, teach essential doctrines, and outline the redemptive plan of salvation for every human who ever lived and curiously and courageously peered into its pages looking for the answer to the eternal question, “why am I here?”

These 66 books were written by 40 different authors who came from a variety of backgrounds: shepherds, fishermen, doctors, kings, prophets. And most of these never even met one another; consider further that they had no way of communicating with each other in the  pre-technology age. So, no earthly collaboration would have been possible, as these 66 books were also written over a period of 1500 years.
Furthermore, they were written in 3 different languages, Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. And finally, these 66 books were written on 3 different continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe. This shows the varied historical and cultural circumstances and experiences of God’s people, with different gifts and callings, and people everywhere who have been a part of His plan for mankind.With me so far? 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1500 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents. They contain no contradictions, no historical or scientific errors. They contain a common theme, a scarlet thread, if you will, of God’s great love and a salvation available to all who repent of their sins and receive forgiveness thanks to the once-for-all finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and instruction in righteousness…” (2Timothy 3:16). God’s Word is truth, it is infallible, and is living and active and able to pierce the human heart with bare truth, driving right on down through our very marrow, discerning the thoughts and intents of our innermost being. Which is precisely why people tend to stay away from it, you think?  Written by  humans? I don’t think that self-possessed and self-glorifying humans would dare admit to having hearts that are “deceitfully and desperately wicked above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9) and go on to write a best-seller about it.And if that is not enough, these books are woven throughout with prophetic forth-telling, events described that have yet to take place, various events that were future for most generations in one scope or another. Christianity is based on the infallibility of the Scriptures, and is the only “religion” that a) addresses the sin issue, and b) depends on the literal fulfillment of events. If God’s prophets are not 100% correct, then the Bible is not true. Therefore it is very important that every believer understand what the prophets have said, what has been fulfilled, and what has yet to be fulfilled or in the process of being fulfilled. These things we can study and understand. And for those who have not yielded their hearts and wills to Christ, prophecy should serve as a dire warning to be heeded in all seriousness.

Maybe you’re one of those who likes to see the numbers, and not just take my word for it. That’s OK. So, for the scientist and mathematician in you, here is something to chew on.

The number of prophecies in the Scriptures about Jesus of Nazareth being the fulfillment of all that God has promised in the Messiah is about 300, those being made before he was even born. What is the mathematical possibility of just one man accidentally fulfilling, or maybe even purposefully manipulating over 300 predictions written hundreds of years before his birth? If it’s either accidental or manipulative, you have lost me already and there is no reason to be a Christian. Hey, I’m not gullible. God gave us brains, and He expects us to use them.  But neither is true, and truth is what we are in pursuit of here.

Professor Peter Stoner (1888-1980) was Chairman of the Departments of Mathematics and Astronomy at PasadenaCityCollege, and Chairman of the Science Division of Westmont College from 1953 to 1957. This man calculated the probability of one man fulfilling only a handful of the over 300 Messianic prophecies. In 1944, he published his research results in Science Speaks: Scientific Proof of the Accuracy of Prophecy and the Bible.  Stoner concluded that the probability of one person fulfilling just eight of the prophecies was one chance in 1017 (one, followed by 17 zeros). How about one person fulfilling just 48 of the over 300 prophecies? Stoner calculated these odds at one chance in 10157 — a statistical impossibility, I’m thinking.

Stoner presents an illustration that should drive it all home – take 1017 silver dollars (10,000,000,000,000,000) and lay them on the face of Texas, covering all of the state two feet deep. He says,  “Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man.”

Stoner considers 48 prophecies and says, “we find the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10157, or  –

1 in



This is something every person who thinks believing in the God of the Bible as revealed through Jesus Christ is nothing more than blind faith must consider.

Now, why do I begin here? It’s simple. In all my years of walking with Jesus, I have frequently found myself trying to communicate the necessity of the new birth and walking by faith to someone, only to find an iron curtain come down in my face right about the time that I present the truth as it is found in the Bible. All of a sudden the person I am speaking to is an expert on a Book he or she has never even read, and their objections generally sound something like this: “Too many people have had a hand writing this book to make it God’s Word. Too many people interpret it any way they want. Too many people don’t believe in it, and they can’t all be wrong.” Yes, and too many people parrot these lame excuses for not picking up the bible for themselves, and continue to compare themselves with one other, instead of comparing themselves with the only perfect and holy One, the only One whose opinion really matters.

This is the heart of it: when a Christian’s testimony gets a bit too close for comfort to a non-believer’s heart, that place that all too often has a ‘do not disturb’ sign hung on it, all they have to do is say, “but I don’t believe that the Bible is the Word of God” — invariably and conveniently ending any discussion on the need to heed the words of Jesus that, “you must be born again.” Because, if He did not really say that, or if it’s open to multiple interpretations, you’re off the hook and you can go back to whatever it was you were doing that tends to resemble Christianity Lite, with one-third less conviction, and their self-contained spiritual commitment-free zone.

Now, I am not in the arm-twisting business, and neither is the Lord. I’m just trying to bring some reason to the matter – so you can of course still believe what you want, you have a free will; but that doesn’t mean the Bible isn’t true nonetheless, and again, you are whistling in the dark on that. So likewise, this article is going to go merrily on, with or without you, but if you shut the door now to God’s Word and it’s power to change you utterly from the inside out, you will never really understand bible prophecy and those things which ARE coming on the earth, ready or not.  Remember the title of this article?  “Are You Ready for the Future? Well, it’s Ready For You”.

So, beg or borrow a bible, (stealing is a sin!), and finish this with me, you won’t be sorry. I hope you can do that much, your eternity depends on it. Better a little anguish now while you have your wits about you and a comfy couch, than a lot of anguish and regret later in a very hot place. This is our jumping off point, an understanding that Jesus Christ is not some random figure who twisted things to fit an agenda, but the One who came the first time as a suffering servant and atonement for sin, fulfilling hundreds of prophecies – and will return again in glory to judge the living and the dead, bringing planet earth to it’s knees over the issues of sin and holiness. I hope you stay with me. It won’t hurt near as much as dying unprepared to meet your Maker.


No Shallow End in This Pool.

As I indicated earlier, when Jesus came the first time, the Old Testament Scriptures yielded plenty of information to the reader about just who they were to expect as their Messiah. And we should not be surprised at this if we even remotely comprehend how powerful and omniscient God really is. Prophecy is the proof text for the Scriptures. Only a God who knows the end from the beginning is able to tell us how it will all come out. It’s a bit like being in an airplane and watching a parade down below. From that vantage point, there really is no time constraint on that parade, because you would be in a position to see both the beginning and the end, all at once. From your lawn chair on the curb, you have to await each segment. God is not bound by time, yet His creation is. Another way to look at the difference is to consider the mechanics of writing a book.

Suppose I am writing a novel. I write this in my novel:

“Mary laid down her work. The next moment, there came a knock on her door.” Mary lives in the time domain of the story I am writing about her. She did one thing, then the next thing took place, and to the reader it is a smooth, flowing series of events.  Now, she cannot get out of that time domain, I put her there and she is a limited creature bound by my novel’s universe and it’s laws.  But I, who am Mary’s maker, do not live in that imaginary time at all. Between writing the first half of that sentence and the second half, I might sit down and think about Mary for 3 hours or so, or however long I want to. I can think about her as if she were the only character in the book for as long as I want, because I have all eternity to do it. But that time I spent thinking about her does not appear in my book. I wrote half the sentence, and then got back to finishing it much later. Days, weeks, months, millennia, it matters not.  But anyone reading about Mary would never know that. In the same way, God has infinite attention to spare each of us, He is not bound by time, and this is borne out in Scripture as it says that His thoughts toward us are as the sands of the sea.

So if you think that bible prophecy is the imaginings of created humans, let me ask you this: is the God (author) of the universe so limited He is unable to communicate His plans with lowly humanity? If He wishes to tell His creation of His plans beforehand in a manner they can understand, who can stay His hand? This great gift to us has come in the form of the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation.  And somewhere in the middle, in the book of Daniel, we have one of the most phenomenal prophecies of all, and again, for those who want some concrete numbers, there is no mistaking that God definitely does math, even though I do not.

The Book of Daniel was written 500 years before the birth of Jesus. Many try to discredit the time of writing of Daniel, and in light of the importance of this prophecy, this is understandable, spiritually speaking.  In Chapter 9, Daniel predicts the very day that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem and allow Himself to be worshiped for the first time. The prophecy states that 69 weeks of years (69 “7s”, or 69×7 = 483 years) would pass from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until the coming of the Messiah. Since Daniel was written in Babylon during the Jewish captivity after the fall of Jerusalem, this prophecy was based on the Babylonian 360-day calendar. Thus, 483 years x 360 days = 173,880 days.

According to records found in the ShushanPalace, and confirmed in Nehemiah 2:1, the decree to rebuild Jerusalem was issued by the Persian king, Artaxerxes Longimanus, on March 5, 444 BC. Remarkably, 173,880 days later (adjusting for leap years), on March 30, 33 AD, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (fulfilling Zechariah 9:9). Five days later, Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross just outside Jerusalem. (crucifixion as a form execution did not even exist when His last words were foretold hundreds of years earlier in Psalm 22, but the Romans would later adopt it.) Three days later, the New Testament declares that Jesus rose from the dead, fulfilling many other prophecies too numerous to mention here. But the majority of humans alive at that time, and even those who saw Him with their own eyes, missed it. And so one must wonder why few if any actually were watching and waiting for His first coming – a clue as to what the days would be like leading up to His 2nd coming? Perhaps so.

This next point may sound like the most obvious thing in the world, but just so we are all on the same page: the #1 focal point of all of future prophecy is the  second coming of Jesus Christ. This is the centerpiece of prophecy in this age, this is what we watch, wait, and look for eagerly. Prophecy students are caricatured as loony toons carrying signs that say, “The End is Near!”, but this is nothing more than a cynical misrepresentation and not even true on a ”technicality”.

Jesus is coming, yes. This will usher in the end of this present order, but really is only a beginning. If our claims, observations of the times, and teachings are not centered on Jesus’ return, it is not the real deal. In other words, if someone claims to understand future events but they do not focus on the return of Jesus, it is not biblical prophecy, but a counterfeit. A good example here would be Nostradamus. I don’t care how poetic he is in his prognostications, it’s not going to be 100% reliable and so he fails the truth test. The bible warns that in the last days that many false prophets will arise and deceive many, (Matt. 24:24) but if you understand the real deal, the counterfeit will be easily detected. It is ALL about His return. Nostradamus may provide some clues if he had some sort of prophetic gift, but the Bible predicts the truth. Big difference.


But how do we know this coming will take place at all?

The book of Acts, the gateway book into the church age, begins with His ascension into heaven. When Jesus was taken up bodily, the people watched Him ascend into the clouds and out of sight. Two angels appeared in their company and said this: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This SAME JESUS, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11). Here is a promise we can believe in, and so true believers have been watching the skies ever since, keeping in mind the Bible’s track record of fulfilled prophecies up to this point, and studying numerous other passages that shed considerable light on this promise. Considering how precise God was with Daniel 9, how much can we understand about coming #2? Glad you asked, and this leads me right up to the present day and age.

Having studied prophecy for nearly 3 decades, I can say confidently and without any hesitation, that we are indeed living in the times of the signs, and one must seriously consider the odds of all the following signs coming together in one generation all the while being painfully aware of how many missed coming #1. Once you consider these, you will be hard pressed to deny that Jesus must surely be coming soon, and if you are not His, time is running out for you. Can you be fully persuaded that the God of beginnings and ends loves you and has provided for your eternity through Jesus, the One who is to come?


Global “Warning”.

The next thing on the agenda, factoring in a time of some possible and random world-wide upheaval in the area of politics, financial crises, various pestilences and like perils (the Bible calls these “birth pangs” as the world moves from the kingdom of man to the Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour) is the Rapture of the Church. This is an event in which Jesus snatches up the true believer (having become His through the new birth, out of every tribe and nation), meeting them in the clouds and taking them to heaven for the duration of a 7-year season that will come on the earth to judge a thoroughly wicked generation. This time period  is commonly referred to as the Tribulation, or Time of Jacob’s Trouble. There are various views out there about the timing of the rapture, but the Bible teaches that since this is a time of God’s wrath, and Christ took our wrath on the cross, those who have trusted in His finished work will not be judged a second time for any reason; God does not judge the righteous with the wicked. There are no events or signs that must be in place for this to take place, and it will come upon the world without warning; it is a sign-less event. (Matthew 25; Luke 21:26; 1Cor. 15:52; 1Thess 1:10; 1Thess 4; 1Thess. 5)

And since Bible prophecy focuses on God’s plans for the nation of Israel primarily, we understand that the season of time for these events is directly related to the time frame on earth that sees a re-gathered Israel in the ancient land of her fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They missed coming #1, but since they are still His chosen ones, He will once again present them with the opportunity to see that He was, all along, their Messiah. May 14, 1948 was the date of one of the most amazing fulfillments of prophecy ever, and we look to Israel today as God’s timepiece for both Jew and Gentile alike. (Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 1:7; Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24)

In addition, in your history books, you will find that at the precise time that God was reestablishing the modern state of Israel, prophecy was being fulfilled in another very important way. The key Gentile kingdom  of the last times, a revived form of the Roman Empire, was being framed out, beginning in 1948 and continuing today through layers of treaties, which will be the fertile ground from which the final world ruler/despot/dictator will arise, the one the bible calls “the Antichrist”. The book of Daniel, once again, provides multiple reasons as to why a EuropeanSuperstate (growing into a great economic power as I write) will be the seat of final world government when Jesus returns. The 4 major world kingdoms  that God deems important to the prophetic timeline were/are: Babylon, which was conquered by the Medo/Persian empire, which in turn was swallowed up by the Greeks, which in due season gave up the ghost to the Romans. This account is found in Daniel 2 –  and while there is much that could be said here to further verify this exciting layout of world history that was written centuries before it took place, prophecy students can surely see “the handwriting on the wall” as the EU takes center stage in many critical areas of fulfillment both economically and politically.

Once the rapture of the church takes place, the world will immediately turn to survival mode and life as it has been will be radically altered, as people do their best to attend to the necessities of life in the area of buying and selling, health and well-being, and protecting their loved ones. And yet, with the world headed into a season about which the bible has more to say than any other, if we are considering the following scenario honestly, how can we not find ourselves becoming sober-minded about the future of planet earth, foregoing trivialities and focusing on what is really important?

Bible prophecy is a huge subject, but I trust that by simply outlining a portion of what is to come as I wrap this up, it will encourage you to do your own homework on these things.

Here is a summary of the top signs of the times with Bible references:

The Jews would begin to regather in Israel (Isaiah 11:11-12; Ezekiel 37:21-22; 38:8); The nation Israel would be born in one day – this was fulfilled literally on May 14, 1948 (Isaiah 66:8) Over five million Jews have returned to Israel in recent times, coming from the north, south, east, and west (Isaiah 43:5-6; Jeremiah 31:7-10). Nearly a million Jews have emigrated from Russia in the north. This continues on today.

Israel, once a desolate desert during the Diaspora, would blossom in the last days and export produce to the whole world (Isaiah 27:6; 35:1-2; Ezekiel 36:34-36). Advanced irrigation technology has caused the land to blossom. They currently export over 800 million dollars worth of fresh produce each year including over 200 million in flowers.

The Hebrew language would be restored (Zephaniah 3:9). The end of the 19th century brought about the revival of Hebrew as a spoken language. In 1948, Hebrew became an official tongue of the modern state of Israel. The son of Elieazer Ben  Yehuda was the first child in Israel in modern times to be fluent in Hebrew, fulfilling this prophecy.

False Bible teachers will arise and introduce heretical teachings, have many willing followers, and cause others to reject God’s Word (2 Peter 2:1-2) There will be a great falling away from the true faith (2Thess.2, 1Timothy 4, 2Peter 2). Spiritual deception will be on the rise. Every major cult in the world today has appeared on the scene within the last 125 year or so, and the New Age movement continues to build and grow, taking many unforeseen forms such as the Emergent Church and a growing arm of liberal theology. Instant spiritual gratification through contemplative and mystical  practices is now accepted in orthodox Christianity, much to the dismay of biblical Christians.

The rise of technology and a global communication infrastructure  (Revelation 11:9-10; 17:8). The Bible says that the whole world will see certain events unfold, and “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”  (Daniel 12:4). The doubling of human knowledge, once occurring only every several decades, now happens every 18 months. The sum of human knowledge is now accessible via home computer; the entire Library of Congress could exist on one hard drive.

The Antichrist will arise as a peacemaker with answers to all the world’s problems but in reality will present a false peace to destroy many (Daniel 8:23-25). With all the problems facing mankind, multitudes are looking for a savior, from many faiths and religions; this one powerful man will usher in peace and prosperity and deceive many, often with false signs and wonders. In the last days, possibly coinciding with the Rapture of the church, Israel will sign a peace treaty with her neighbors that the Antichrist will confirm for 7 years up front, but eventually break (Daniel 9:27). Currently the world’s governments are striving over an Israeli peace treaty. Many have tried – The EU, the US, Russia, etc.- but in God’s timing, this will happen and the floodgates to prophecy fulfillment will blow open with incredible and swift force.

Another event whose fulfillment is yet to come is a massive invasion of tiny Israel by a coalition of nations, mostly Muslim, and headed up by the Russian federation. This invasion could take place any time, and the book of Ezekiel gives amazing ( and alarming!) detail as to the who, what, and wheres of a war in which God shows Himself strong on behalf of Israel, as He has many times before, putting her enemies down on the mountains of Israel. What this might do to the cultural and ethnic make-up of the Middle East during the climactic 7 year period, we cannot say at this time, but how can the peoples of the earth not sit up and take notice of God intervening in the affairs of men at that time? (Ezekiel 36- 39)

There will be a global government (Daniel 2:40-44; 7:23; Revelation 13:7-8) The world will be subdivided either into 10 governing regions or the EU will have 10 kings. This has been the subject of great interest to prophecy students for many years, due to the “10 toes” prophecy in Daniel 2, part of the “Metallic Man” image that King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed about when he was over Babylon.

A global economic system will exist (Revelation 13:16-17). This was unthinkable in the days of the early church. Yet today, globalists in every level of government are seeking to unite the world to solve current economic failings. Connecting the world monetarily is crucial to their goal, and the bible says that one man will see to it that no one buys and sells without pledging allegiance to him spiritually. Everyone has heard of 666, but only in our time has the technology existed to make it a reality. The current digital payment systems that exist around the globe are part of a huge technological framework/infrastructure that has been building since the days of the old IBM punchcards, the precursor to today’s computers.

There is currently a move to put an RFID chip into every single thing manufactured in the world, to enable each human to be tracked in every move they make every minute. In fact, RFID (radio-frequency identification) can be utilized in a chip as tiny as the period at the end of this sentence. Or it can be made into powder and tattoed on the hand or forehead, visibly or invisibly. This was predicted before any human knew what a “computer chip” was. Imagine that!

In addition, talk of a global currency has moved to action since the G20 summit this past April. Something to watch.

Famines would be common (Luke 21:11; Revelation 6:5-8)

Wars and rumors of war (Mark 13:7-8). This includes ethnic disputes (Matthew 24) Pestilences and earthquakes would be common in diverse places. Can you say, “swine flu”?

Jerusalem will be a cup of trembling to all surrounding peoples and a burdensome stone (Zech 12:2,3). This is in the news every day, all eyes are on that city and it’s inhabitants – and why?  The only thing they have to offer the world is that it is the center of the universe (Ezekiel 5:5) and claims to be the home of the world’s 3 largest religions. Look for this prophecy to continue to be fulfilled in ways we perhaps do not even understand at this point.

Humans will be utterly obsessed with self and self fulfillment; acting in ways that are not natural both physically and soulishly, brutal, unloving, disobedient and increasingly rebellious (2Tim.3). Of all prophecies, this is perhaps the most vexing and troublesome as we interact with one another on a daily basis. A world that is in deep trouble in every way now faces out of control human behavior without natural affection for one another. Consider these final verses as defining this future season: “ Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21;26); and, “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.” (Matt. 24:22)

Yes, this is heavy. No, I don’t want to soft-pedal it or make it go down easier. Americans, it would seem, prefer everything with a spoonful of sugar, but spiritual sugar is bad for you, just like the other kind. If someone had not been brutally honest with me about my lost condition, I would not be writing this today.

The good news? Jesus died for you. All you need to do is come to him in humility, in full knowledge that you have broken His laws. Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Not some, but all. Humans are all in the same drifting and sinking boat, and if it were not for Jesus, we would all perish. Our hearts may condemn us, but Romans 3 goes on to say, “…being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”  Is there better news than that? Repentance, forgiveness, new life in Christ. It really is that simple. Even more so, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”  (Hebrews 2:3)

He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus!

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Revelation 22:21,22)

And so ends the Book.


Posted in Spirit of the Age | 5 Comments

Moscow, Magog and the Mideast Mess: The Red Thread

kremlin tinyWhile the world may have been caught off guard by the latest headlines involving Russia here in early 2014, I have always subscribed to the viewpoint that everything we see, in order to really understand the world scene – and bible prophecy in particular – has to be framed by a much bigger screen. The larger the better. This is called “context” and we are going to look at a whole lot of that today.

The crisis gripping Ukraine did not emerge overnight. It was birthed from geography and history, and it is very helpful here to understand a bit of both.  I never took a shine to world history until I got saved, and realized that the most important book of all was not only a history book but history written in advance – a book of “the big picture”.  And while America may be a young country with a pretty short memory, the mindset of nations on the other side of the world, those with a far longer and more complex past is that history matters tremendously in how they conduct their todays and how they plan their tomorrows. Example: remember back in 1990, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, a sovereign nation, based on the fact that it was once part of Iraq? Yeah, it’s like that, only there are a lot more square miles at stake both in our topic this morning, and in the bible.

_73443054_ukraine_crimea_304 Let’s take a look at this place called, “Crimea”.  For most of history, it was part of Russia but when the USSR collapsed it became part of Ukraine. Ukraine also has had only a short window of independence since 1991.The west would remember Crimea best as the site of the Yalta Conference in 1945.

This is where Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill got together and divided Europe into east and west following World War II. Stalin was the big winner there in getting Europe to hand him the eastern bloc nations, because Roosevelt was preoccupied with getting his leftist wonderchild the UN set up so this was minor to him – but not to the millions who would be trapped in a Communist hell for the NEXT 45 years. But Yalta mistrust gave way to the Cold War, Russia and the West began a nuclear stare down with the baby boomers in the middle, learning how to duck and cover and hide under our little school desks in case they dropped the big one on us. I was never quite sure how that was supposed to work.

What specifically precipitated the current crisis however is this: Last November, the president of Ukraine was expected to sign a landmark trade agreement with the EU, bringing them closer economic and political ties. But Russia is their number 1 trading partner, so they threatened trade sanctions with Ukraine, forcing them to walk  away from the deal with the EU. But many Ukranians long for closer ties to the West and so they went to Kiev by the tens of thousands to protest the breakdown of the agreement.

So Russia basically said nyet to their western overtures, as they did back in 2008 when Ukraine wanted to join NATO – which prompted Putin to ask them if they really wanted nukes pointed at their heads. So Putin is saying hey, you can protest all you want, you can change your government all you want but you cannot change your geography so good luck with that. I learned yesterday that Moldova and Georgia are set to sign similar agreements with the EU in June, so what will Russia do about that? I call it, “Geography’s Revenge”.

Some background on Putin might be helpful here: His grandfather was one of Lenin’s cooks. I guess if you can survive that challenge you’re made of pretty sturdy Slavic stock. He then went on to work in some capacity for Stalin. Putin himself was a former KGB colonel. Boris Yeltsin made him head of security for Russia, then prime minister, then acting president, in fairly short order. Immediately he oversaw 2 Chechen wars, and his rise to power has coincided with the rearmament of Russia that continues today.

Putin has rebuilt the Russian army into a lean mean fighting machine: he oversees the world’s third largest defense budget at $70 billion; and these are largely special ops troops and trained guns for hire, some of whom showed up in Crimea in an undercover capacity. Who over 50 today would argue that the reason for this military readiness now is to reclaim territory lost in the Soviet empire’s demise? And Crimea would be the place to start for a few reasons we are going to look at this morning, not the least of which is because it is Russia’s warm water port, it’s where they have their naval base, and this is the location that gives Putin access to the Mediterranean.

Last Fall, Forbes declared Putin the most powerful man in the world. That alone should stun Americans out of their media induced stupor, because with that comes the inconvenient truth that we are no longer leading, or even respected on the world scene, and that any threats we may make now lack any teeth.

For instance, last week, our president announced sanctions on Russia; but not on the country as such, but on a handful of “individuals” in Russia.  Now, to Americans that makes no sense; why would you sanction Bill Gates  economically to get Obama to do what you want.  But in Russia it makes centuries of sense: the background here has to do with an old accepted way of doing business in Russia: an elite group of extremely wealthy Russian cronies, called the “Oligarchy”, actually controls the country, and these men, these oligarchs, have become obscenely wealthy, largely based on their connections to Putin. In addition, Moscow has withdrawn over $100 billion from Western banks in preparation for possible sanctions, so they aren’t exactly trembling in their jackboots over our threats.

In reality, sanctions will only increase nationalism within Russia and feed off anti-Western sentiment; and secondly, push China and Russia closer together. So what if the US doesn’t like the Crimea vote? China wants nothing to do with all this Cold War 2.0 stuff and maybe we should call this next round of hostilities The Cold Shoulder.

And let’s think down the road a bit here:  if Western investors now take their money out of Dodgei, it is very possible that Russia may choose to end their dependence on the dollar, which would have a very negative effect on our economy here at home. And considering the EU’s position here, if Russia decides to cut off Europe’s natural gas, the global economy would certainly take a significant hit, and sanctions could backfire completely. But as they say, it’s never too late to panic.

Now let me add another facet to this already complex situation (and I bet you did not see this one coming:): Russia’s got religion.  The old school communism with atheism at it’s core has given way to a state run church that Putin is all too happy to help resurrect himself, and with state monies. Can you just imagine the outcry if the U.S. were to build a state church with money from Wisconsin Electric, or Pacific Gas and Electric, or any other such companies or utilities with in our borders? The outrage would be heard all the way to Khazakstan.

Russian_Imperial_Family_1911Here’s some helpful time travel: Back in 1917, the Russian Tzar and his family, of the Romanov dynasty –Czar Nicholas, his wife, and 5 children– were run off to Siberia where they were executed by the Bolsheviks at the start of the Russian Revolution and the beginning of Communism under Lenin. This atheistic ideology where the State is God, wanted nothing to do with any Czars spelled with a C, or Tsars spelled with a T. (There is a Hebrew word, ‘sar’ that appears in Daniel 10. That’s for extra credit today).

Interesting word, “Tzars”. This is not our president’s version of Czars:

It’s actually a derivation of the word “Caesar” (latin), or Kaiser (Greek), because the Tsars were considered the Emperors of the “eastern leg” of the Roman Empire. When the Roman Empire broke down around 476AD, it split into 2 different religious ideologies: 1)Western Roman Catholicism which bows to the authority of the Pope, and 2) the Eastern Orthodox church who wanted nothing to do with the Pope but still resembles Catholicism in nearly every way. The Orthodox communion is the 2nd largest Christian denomination in the world, with some 300 million adherents. Putin will not even allow the Pope on Russian soil.

But note this: these titles: Caesar, Kaiser, Tzar – all have one thing in common, in that they represent the combining of secular government authority with religious church authority.  Like the Caesars in John’s day or Napoleon’s Holy Roman Empire, The Tzars were thought to be the divinely appointed heads of the Eastern Orthodox church, and in his case, over an empire that stretched from Poland to the Pacific. Communism wanted no such leader to compete with the State. But believe it or not, almost a century later, the church has regained most of the influence it enjoyed under the Romanovs. And Putin? What did we say you get when you combine the office of a powerful political leader with a religious one?

You get a bona fide, Grade A, federally funded and approved CZAR – Caesar – Kaiser – Emperor.

Thanks largely to Putin, between 1991 and 2008, the share of Russians identifying themselves as Orthodox jumped from 31% to 72%. Only 18% of Russia’s population today do not identify with any religion.

Now Putin, who was himself baptized in secret as an infant, is starting to acquire a supernatural persona in Russia – and his name is said to mean, “the path”, or “the way”. He himself has overseen the reconstruction of over 23,000 churches that had been destroyed or abandoned under Communism. A new church was erected in 2003 as a monument to the Romanovs themselves, something unthinkable only a generation ago, and they are canonized saints and official martyrs. In addition, Putin publicly states that since most of Europe is rooted in Christianity, Russia is the new leader in supporting Christian values and morals; he is quickly gaining support from religious leaders in Europe. Keep in mind that this Christianity is state sponsored Eastern Orthodox; Protestants need not apply.

He also passed a law that returned all church property seized by the Communists to the church, making the Russian Orthodox church the largest landowner in all of Russia. He is quite conservative regarding abortion and gay rights, so how’s this for irony – America is likely more secular today than Russia. But think of it this way: in order for Russia to be part of the last days global religion, whatever form that will assume, their Communist religion of atheism would have to be rejected in favor of some sort of spirituality. It’s just another piece of the prophetic puzzle.

Some pertinent history: The first Russian city was founded in 860 AD.  For the next 100 years, the area was overrun by Turkish and barbarian clans and tribes. When they themselves were finally conquered, around 965, it was at the hand of the “Kievan Rus” clan, thus was born the nation of Ukraine, City of Kiev, and Russia itself as a nation-state.

Also at that time, the Greek Orthodox (Byzantine)  priest in Crimea baptized the very first Russian Emperor Vladimir, when he married a Byzantine princess. So think this through: Crimea and Ukraine are the very spots where Russia (Rus) was born both as a religious entity, and as a geopolitical entity. This is where it all began, and now Russia has begun to restore what they call Crimean holy places. So you can see how important this area is to Russia, as well as a very interesting people group called Cossacks, who are from Crimea and Ukraine. More about them shortly.

Another dip into the history pond would be helpful here before we tie this up with a biblical bow: 160 years ago this weekend (March 28,1854) the Crimean War began. This is where it gets very timely: At this time, the Ottoman Empire under the Turks was disintegrating, and the French and British feared the rise of a vast Russian empire to fill the void, one that would invade the Balkans, the Mediterranean, India, and the Middle East. Europe sent  warships and troops into the Black Sea, ready for an all out war.

During this time, the Ottoman Turks ruled the Middle East, and the Russian Orthodox church had the oversight of the holy places in Jerusalem. Along comes Napoleon III, who really needed a popularity boost in France, and felt this was a good time to bring the Vatican in on this action in Jerusalem. The regathering of Israel was still 100 years in the future at this point.  But this caused a flash point in Jerusalem, where monks and priests resorted to violent brawling in the Church of the Nativity (Bethlehem) over who should have the key to the front door: the papal Catholics or the Orthodox priests.

Forty died fighting in the church, and this caused the war to really escalate in Crimea itself, and in total, more than 800,000 died in this war. It is considered the first modern war, with telegraph and steam engine technology, journalists, railroads, and brutal weaponry, and its influence is  largely lost in the mists of 2 world wars to follow, but here is why we care:

For over a decade now, Russia has been laboring to reconstruct a major Russian presence in Jerusalem which today is under not the Ottomans, but – Israeli political control. Is this new religious nationalism something that Russia may use to their own advantage in seeking to fight for a strong religious presence in Israel, looking to oversee holy sites once again? I read a news quote last week that stopped me in my tracks: “The next time Russia expands southward, it will be for religious reasons.”

Yes, the world considers Israel to be the number one threat to world peace. No, they are not at the center of Russia’s current actions. But, we need to have an eye on the potential for Israel to become the center of this story.  Why do I say that?

What does the bible say? There is more than one significant segment of bible prophecy at work here: Daniel 2, and Ezekiel 36-39.

Through the Prophet Daniel we learn that four successive kingdoms would conquer one another leading up to the days of the Second Coming.

In Daniel Chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a large metallic image symbolizing the major earthly kingdoms to come is one of the most vivid prophecies in the Bible.

From Babylon’s head of gold, to the Medes and the Persians (Kurds and Iranians) chest of silver, to the Greeks belly of brass, and finally the iron kingdom of Rome, history has again proven the Bible to be true in every way in that each of these kingdoms did indeed conquer the previous one, with a revival of Rome reserved for the latter days -the two legs of East and West taking the form of 10 toes of iron and clay, coming together but not totally, a nuance you will pick up on when you read Daniel 2. Both are still around in the end times, but the bible says they have some trouble getting along with one another.

Then in Ezekiel 36-39, we have an amazing set of prophecies concerning the rebirth of the nation of Israel after having been in captivity among the nations for over 2000 years, followed by a latter days invasion by a coalition of nations lead by a great power directly to the North of Israel. This is referred to as the War of Gog and Magog. These prophecies have the full attention of bible scholars today because they clearly point to fulfillment following a miraculous regathering of Israel which took place 66 years ago in May.

Never in history has there been a world power to the North of Israel that could both instigate and field an army on the level of the one described in Ezekiel 38-39, until the modern era and the rise of superpower RUSSIA.  Dwight is going to go into detail this morning on who all the players are, but here are a couple of interesting statistics to whet your appetite: considering the players in this still future invasion, the Muslim world is well represented; Russia’s own standing army is over 50% Muslim so factoring in their general contempt for Israel, let’s just say they’re motivated.

Ezekiel 38:4 says this: “I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords.”

So what about those Cossacks? With the current events in Crimea and Ukraine, they are finding their way into the news again, but probably not for the exact reason I am going to give you today.

Who are they? The Cossacks played a key role in Crimea’s reabsorption into Russia.  Primarily, they are committed to assisting the motherland take or keep any land they choose. They are rabidly pro-Orthodox and will defend the church at any cost as well. Cossacks are from the Ukraine/Crimea area historically, a caste of warriors who have guarded the borders of the empire for centuries –  “Eastern Cowboys” of sorts, but known for their brutality. No one really knows ethnically who they are, but they are still around, today a paramilitary force throughout Russia. Oh, and the main thing they are known for? They ride horses exclusively. A few years ago, Putin signed a law not only giving them the status of state militia, but they are paid by the government, and they answer to Putin who determines who their ranking officers are. No longer a rag-tag lot of sel-appointed vigilante types, today they are 600,000+ strong: a great company, splendidly clothed, armed with swords — and ready to go when Putin says so. I find that quite interesting in light of Ezekiel’s prophecy.


Exciting? Yes. Complex? Perhaps, but know this: Mr. Putin is a shrewd man in embracing the Orthodox church, rebuilding the trust of the citizens, and promoting himself a spiritual leader, so that whatever he does, the church will sanction it as they have him to thank for their new status. I cannot overstate the credibility this gives him at home. He’s crafty and he is a chessmaster (he’s Russian!): and while we don’t know his next move, I suggest that the West will never see this situation for what it is because the new spiritual dimension here will completely elude the secular West, and so the Russian invasion of Israel just might catch most everyone off guard, as suggested in Ezekiel 38:13.


I would encourage you to do your own homework on these things, and keep looking up as the hour is late.


Mary Danielsen


Posted in Spirit of the Age | 13 Comments

Lift Up Your Heads: A Time Like No Other

The world is entering into a time unlike any we have ever seen. No, we are not just entering it, we are neck-deep in it. I know, I have been watching, waiting, analyzing and digging into prophetic studies for decades. My very first Bible study ever was on the book of Revelation, and if “you are what you eat” applies to spiritual things, well it’s no wonder the Lord got a hold of my heart to embrace the things to come with joy and anticipation.

But not everyone embraces this often weighty topic with joy; in fact, more and more I get a reaction resembling fear and even panic. The Fear Factor as it relates to prophecy is a very real condition, and I don’t want to make light of it because I don’t take it lightly. But I do want to offer some gentle suggestions to those who struggle with a very real sense of foreboding at the thought that ‘the end is near’, with it’s accompanying birth pangs and global tragedies as outlined in the Scriptures.

Having been involved in a ministry for many years that stays on the cutting edge of Bible prophecy, I have learned that there are only 2 responses that stir in the heart of a believer when they hear that time is short, and that the human race is headed for certain “unpleasant” events on our way to redemption and the consummation of all things. As I said, some respond with excitement, joy, and a rush of adrenaline that usually leads to a voracious appetite for “more of that”. If a believer grew up in a denominational tradition that never acknowledged the Bible’s tendency to predict the future with 100% accuracy, these Christians tend to react with the most incredulity that they were kept out of the Revelation loop for so long. I was one of those who was religious but spoon-fed only those things my denomination deemed palatable or necessary for my possible redemption at my last breath. Note, I said, ‘possible’ redemption. They never really knew the way to San Jose after all, it turns out.

But here I wish to address those who feel great discomfort at the mention of certain events on the prophetic horizon. Things like global government and the accompanying dictatorship, famine, pestilences, wars, and financial insecurities or all-out ruin. The natural response to threats such as these would be fear, as we are all hard-wired to survive and give all we have for our lives. The Bible says that those who are on the earth at that season will literally experience their hearts failing out of fear of what is coming on the planet.

But the key word here is: natural response. As in, the “natural man”, or unregenerate, or fleshly. To all those Christians who struggle with a fear response to any solid case presented for prophetic fulfillment, you need to know that while your response is natural and understandable, it is not biblical. There are many things in life that scare us out of our wits, and we will feel fear, sometimes daily. But feeling it, and acting on that fear or living by it is not the proper choice for the believer in Jesus Christ, those to whom have been given the keys to the Kingdom – to come. Not an earthly kingdom. This world is passing away, rapidly, and we look forward to the one in which righteousness dwells. This should be good news to all those who are vexed by the lack of righteousness and justice in this life.

But in order for that to happen, God has deemed it necessary that planet earth endure some serious birth pangs as the sin of mankind reaches its fullness, making His judgments righteous and pure, to His praise and glory. Wow, I can get pretty wound up at the thought. I am so looking forward to the day Christ returns in His glory. But I digress – sort of.

Let me propose a perspective that might help anyone struggling with this ‘fear factor’.

Let’s say for the sake of my case here that there are people that God has actually given the task of sounding the trumpet and letting folks know just how late the hour is, and in exercising these gifts, also exhorts them to live their lives in such a way that they really believe that time is short.

2Peter 3:11 suggests that this is exactly what a right perspective should be when we see the handwriting on the wall. “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.” In other words, when we realize that things could be winding down, we should live like we believe it and thus accomplish even more for the kingdom than if we believe we have all the time in the world.

With me so far?
Now let’s say you have a chance to hear a well thought-out prophecy presentation, one that brings forth ample evidence, based on Scripture and solid research, that we are edging closer and closer to that time of which the Bible speaks. But perhaps you are one of those who tends to keep your distance from prophetic topics because it is distressing. But maybe on that day there is someone – perhaps a friend or relative of yours – listening in who sees their lost state, understands that they don’t have all the time in the world after all, and receives Christ before it’s too late. Would you say then that the presentation was meant to terrify, or that the Holy Spirit was truly convicting and working? I have no doubt that countless people have gotten saved thanks to a well-timed and well done prophetic Bible study.
I know many myself, as a matter of fact.
I had the “hell” scared out of me reading the Book of Revelation. Chapter 3 to be exact.
Thank you faithful pastor for teaching that book.

But if you still think prophecy is merely frightening and has no other value that you can see, think about this: what if no one was watching these things, what if no one was warning? What would the Church be like? Even as fewer and fewer give heed to the times, we can see a great lukewarmness, and social gospel of ‘purpose’ infiltrating and taking over the body of Christ, to her great peril. But what if no one bothered to address the times in any way? Would you feel more comfortable, or would you at some point be indignant that no one told you in love which end was up? If you want to send a loved one to hear a church service in the hopes they will give their lives to Christ, where do you send them? If all they got was a feel-good seeker doughnut instead of a full breakfast of the gospel, would you be angry that your loved one was not challenged spiritually and simply allowed to simmer in their own sin? It seems more and more that even believers fail to understand what the Church of Jesus Christ even exists for.

As we do get closer, more and more signs will be in place and more and more evidence will present itself that the Bible is the pure word of truth. This is a guarantee. It is not meant to make us feel good, however. So what should our response be as children of the One who has all things in His grasp?

The Bible warns us of these things so we can know what to expect. We are told that when we see these things BEGIN to take place, (implying we will be watching all along if we are believers) we are to look up, lift up our heads (not bow them down in fear) and rejoice because our redemption is nigh. We are told to comfort one another with the blessed hope of the rapture. Fear indicates we do not trust our Lord with the events coming upon the earth, that He should come up with a different method or plan as this one does not suit us or keep our comfort zone in tact. It could also indicate a closer connection to this life than we ought to have, a love for our lives that could indicate that the things of heaven are farther from our thinking than they should be. Lukewarmness? Maybe. Only the fearful know that in their hearts, I am not their Holy Spirit. But if you are one of those who reacts with fear instead of excitement or joy, I would encourage you to set your affections above, and count all things loss for the sake of Christ. This life is but a vapor, eternity is, well, forever. And only by keeping our eyes on Jesus hour by hour can we avoid the carnality of reacting with fear at the thought of His soon return.

Rev 19:10b – “Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

2Timothy 1:7 – “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
– Mary Danielsen

Posted in Spirit of the Age | 22 Comments

Cutting the Un-Biblical Cord

A lot of folks today seem vexed by the idea that people just can’t seem to agree on anything.

“Why can’t we all just get along?” is the rallying cry of the liberal side of life that believes that in order to co-exist in this life we have to homogenize, neutralize, and super-size our toleration of every possible theory, algorithm and ideology. Whether it’s politics, religion, healthcare, or child-rearing, increasingly, differing points of view on almost any subject, with a side order of political correctness thrown in, can generate passionate, even violent responses from both the left and right sides of the socio/political aisle.

But, in spite of all our vast differences, believe it or not, I am going to say something now that no living being will be able to argue with. Really. Alright, it’s pretty basic and not too profound, but it is no less true. Here it is: every living being, whether plant, animal, or homo sapien, has to eat in order to maintain life. Yep, that’s it. I know, you are overwhelmed with revelatory insight right about now. But just think at how basic I had to get to find something EVERY living thing can agree on! That should give you an idea of the complexity of our world at this point in time. A world where any opinion or spin, no matter how wacky or wicked, can have a written or oral audience 24/7, whether on the airwaves or internet. Wacky and wicked, it is.

So, let’s keep it basic. We all agree that every living being is designed – oops, we now disagree already perhaps – so let’s say that each living thing eats according to it’s physiology and each living thing needs certain nutrients. People eat people food, horses eat what they require, and plants take nutrients from the earth. Because we need to eat so frequently, we spend a lot of time acquiring, preparing, and digesting our nutrients. If we eat more than we require, we also have to spend any remaining time trying to work off the evidence that we can’t seem to stop taking in food. Now, in a simpler time, people lived on farms and raised their own protein and carbs, taking in and then burning off what they just ate, for survival’s sake. In fact, our great-greats probably spent most of their waking hours pondering their next meal and doing what it took to get it. How primitive and unproductive, you might be thinking.

But life moves forward: suppose humans reach a point in their ‘evolution’ on earth where they still need to eat, but can no longer be hunter/gatherers due to social change. Over time, with the industrializing of all aspects of life, let’s say we got ourselves a bona-fide, city-fied, electri-fied, consumer-driven world in which our every waking moment is governed by governors, industry and self-proclaimed experts on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? Survival mode is hard-wired into us.

Fear not, the only thing that might change, really, is how to acquire nutrients – from whom, and from where. The small country farm could give way to the ‘mega-farm’, which in turn could become enslaved to multi-national corporations to process and distribute mass quantities of well-preserved foods to a bona-fide, citi-fied, electri-fied world that cannot feed itself. That might work, but doesn’t it sound a bit – unnatural? What is natural anyway? Behold the humble cow, one of man’s two best friends in the world. Cows are designed (there’s that word again) to eat grass, not grains and assorted protein
by-products; they should live 15 years (not 5), give beef and butter and real milk, and – I suspect – should not be injected with a vast array of chemicals designed to destroy both the animal and the human who benefits from it’s many talents. Crops should be grown with sun and rain and dirt as they are designed to, as opposed to season-extending and life-shortening chemicals; and people should be students on the types and quantities of nutrients needed, and the consequences of living outside those paramenters so they can make informed decisions in spite of a radically changing world. But the world system, being what it is (fallen) and owned by who it is (Satan) has persuaded us to tamper with the natural order of life to serve egos and unbridled greed. Processing, poisonous additives, unholy profits and a veneer of ‘prosperity’ have tempted the now global ‘food industry’ to make the natural, God-given and enjoyable pleasure of eating an often dangerous mine-field of scientific experimentation.

So here is a snapshot of the world as it has embraced progress: malnourished, sedentary, overweight, diabetic and stressed. Artery-clogged and stroke-ready, depressed, violent, self-absorbed, uninsured and insomniac. But there are always pharmaceuticals to ease our pain and side effects are rare, so see your doctor if you experience any of the above. But all is well, global citizen, as there is enough processed food on the shelves in the Great American Supermarket to feed us all. We have tamed the hunger beast, for there is nothing we cannot do, we lack for nothing, and are lord of all we survey. Huzzah! And – we did agree on something.


I know enough about the world’s system to know that everything about it is corrupt, it’s fading away, and I shall not put any hope whatsoever in it’s false premises and promises. I know enough that if I weren’t a believer, I would be frustrated beyond words at how things are run in this life and how little justice is served. I think it’s very possible that I would be the poster child for clinical depression if I didn’t have the solid foundation of Jesus to build upon each day. So, by God’s grace and to keep my sanity, as I still have to eat/drink/breathe in this world, I still spend a goodly amount of time acquiring and preparing family nourishment but I also add to that the pursuit of truth with any time I have left.

But how about another human need? It’s no less basic and foundational, yet I will bet dollars to donuts I won’t get unanimous agreement on this one. Here’s the premise: humans are more than the sum of what we eat and drink and wear; we are spiritual beings that because of creation know full well there is a God behind everything we see (Romans 1); we are sinners in need of a Saviour (Romans 3:23), and God has provided for us all that is needed for life and godliness (2Peter 1:3 ) Some will agree with this, but I would have lost some by now I’m sure. But if you have already been reconciled to Christ through His atoning work on the cross – through genuine repentance and faith in that work – you are a new creature in Christ, old things having passed away. And like any new life, your first requirement is to – eat. Can we all agree on that premise as believers? I hope so, or the rest of this article will not be a consensus.

Because of His Word, the owner’s manual for humans, we can know everything there is to know on this side of eternity concerning what God requires of us. We know His Word is foundational to life, because the Scriptures tell us that ‘in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’ (John 1:1); that ‘heaven and earth may pass away, but My words will never pass away’ (Matt 24:35; 1Pet 1:23); and that He ‘exalts His Word above His Name’ (Psalm 138:2). Whether you are a seeker looking for the answers to life’s dilemmas, or a new believer looking for a bottle of ‘milk’ whereby to grow, or a seasoned saint who has learned how to dig deep for a hearty meal, the Bible is indispensable and foundational to anyone who thinks they have it all figured out. It corrects, rebukes, reproves, and yet comforts in the darkest hour. It’s milk, meat, vitamins, side dishes and dessert all in one. It’s pure, and cuts through the lies of this world, and nourishes us to the very marrow of our bones. “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Deut. 8:3) What in particular is it about that last verse do today’s Christians not understand? Plenty, apparently.

We have been generously supplied with a food source that comes from God Himself – true, trustworthy, pure, unadulterated, life-giving. No additives, the only preservative effect is that for those who live by it, it preserves the soul for eternity. It is free, it prevents (spiritual) death, it is readily available. It can be stored up in the innermost being for times of famine and scarcity, and is a source of fuel – for extra energy when times are hard…and light for when it’s dark! And no one has ever had to ‘shed the excess’. In fact, I have yet to hear of a case of someone who has gorged themselves on the Scriptures to excess and whose spiritual health is compromised. More good news!

Now, let’s suppose that once upon a time (not too terribly long ago) Christians were able to feed and be fed within their community of believers, their ‘circle of influence’. A time when each local church, as governed by God and as the Holy Spirit gave direction, used its gifts and callings in a way that was simple and unadulterated. This is no fairy tale! Kind of like when people lived in small communities,
rural or urban, and knew where the food was coming from and built a solid life around that. People did their usual living and dying, marrying and burying, of course, but the local congregation acquired, prepared, and digested the Word for themselves, they ate regularly, and God gave the increase. They took it in, and ‘worked it off’ by being ready in season and out and living it out. Result: a healthy local body. So simple! But this model of Christianity may be on it’s last legs, in the same way that we no longer grow our own protein and carbs on planet earth. Let me explain.

There are those movers and shakers in the church today that might say, “how primitive and unproductive is the old fabled way, when what we could be doing is repackaging our food for more people. Isn’t it time to let someone else prepare, slice and dice, pre-digest our food for us, so we might actually change the world with mass-produced yet feel-good fillers that might be palatable for any spiritual persuasion? If all the food looks and smells and tastes the same, we could industrialize and popularize and homogenize our product so that we can all feel like we have eaten the same spiritual food each day.” And the more watered-down it is, the more we can feed. Christianity Lite! One-third less conviction, less filling, tastes great going down.

But is processed spiritual food of any value to the church? And who are the processors and where is the ingredient list so I can see what’s inside and make an informed choice? Well, the processors are the publishing industry who take the latest fads and fancies of the church and re-package it for undiscerning Christian consumption. This includes former Christian publishers who have sold out to the huge secular book companies like Zondervan (owned by Rupert Murdoch and FOX),
Thomas Nelson (owned by InterMedia Publishers, a private investing group), and Multnomah (owned by Random House). The mega-church is not unlike the corporate farm; the book publishers are not unlike the multi-national corporations who market their agenda/product. Ever since The Prayer of Jabez, and right up through the Purpose-Driven Life, and on into the latest Emerging Church tome, the Christian best-seller, with it’s formulas for success and re-inventions of the gospel is nothing more than man’s attempt to build bigger and better barns, by the arm of the flesh, and create a customer base for whatever it is they’re selling. Do I enjoy these comparisons? No, not one bit. Neither do I like it that there are churches that are abandoning the ‘small family farm’ approach to ministry, where leaders are letting a best-seller teach their people with a program that by default creates a back-door denomination and clones parts of the body that were meant to be distinctly unique. Richard Bennett has written the following about this trend that has taken over many churches:

Displacement of Pastors and the Consequences
“The ‘40 Days of Purpose’ campaign of purpose and community is distinct from other movements we have seen in recent times. Rick Warren asks pastors to devote their church and their people to an intensive forty days of reprogramming their understanding of God, Christ, and how one becomes a Christian. He promises at the end of forty days that the church will be transformed. Through his book and the agenda laid out, he teaches for forty days on nearly every aspect of the Christian life. This type of interference in the running of a church opens the way for an insidious take-over of that church. In Scripture the function of pastors is to teach and to be watchmen and guardians of the flocks the Lord has given to them. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers.” (Acts 1:28) To hand over their position before the Lord to another who will for seven weeks teach his own doctrinal messages based on a multitude of flawed paraphrases of Scripture is utterly unbiblical. The church is the pastors’ and elders’ charge. It is not theirs to bring in debased ideas that infiltrate every important area of the church life. In Warren’s book and movement, God’s absolute sovereignty is flatly denied as men are counseled to determine their own destinies.”
The Purpose-Driven Life: Demeaning the Very Nature of God by Richard Bennett


I could not agree more with this brother. When we follow the latest spiritual fad, we are told that there are no side-effects and that there is no need to read the label, and those who do are ‘heresy-hunters’ and intolerant and narrow-minded. What did I say earlier in this article about our physical food choices? ‘People should be students on the types and quantities of nutrients needed, and the consequences of living outside those paramenters so they can make informed decisions in spite of a radically changing world.” As much as this applies to our physical bodies, how much more does it apply to ‘reading the label’ in what we take in spiritually? Would you – do you – allow the kinds of toxins into your physical bodies as are floating around the church today? Things such as emergent mysticism, purpose-driven relativity, and seeker sensitive powdered milk?

When you call your family to the table each day, do you disregard warnings of food-bourne toxins and safe food-handling practices? Do you leave perfectly good food purchased with hard-earned money out on the counter to rot and bring illness to those you love? Or do you carefully acquire, prepare and offer up the best possible meals to bring growth and soundness to the bodies of those you love? With our natural bodies, we care for them and keep them safe, if we are wise, so that we can live a productive life – even all the while knowing we will die someday! No one likes to be sick, and yet the body of Christ seems to care not one bit if it allows spiritual poison to enter it’s bloodstream. Few blink when their churches turn to programs that serve up a plate full of adulterated fluff that never satisfies, cause spiritual malnourishment, and make the sheep sedentary, lazy, self-absorbed, and bring the cancer of apostasy into a formerly healthy ‘body’.

What can be done? Are we just too far gone to reverse this trend? I have great respect for the godly Pastors who labor among us; but I have no respect for those who take His Word so lightly that they give place to pre–owned teachings and neglect to be led by the Holy Spirit in their calling. God’s people will continue to get ripped off if they refuse to be discerning about what they are being fed. Even when we are sheltered in our mother’s womb, there is a cord that nourishes and fosters life when we cannot feed ourselves. All I can do in my own small way is to plead with today’s shepherds to nourish and shelter the sheep, and to cut that un-biblical cord with any ministry that embraces today’s smorgasbord of emergent-ecumenical-purpose-driven-seeker-sensitive junk food, and get back to communicating a faithful rendering of God’s holy Word – for the health of those for whom Christ has died.

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
2Timothy 4:2-5




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Earth Pangs

OK, so our moms told us not to talk about politics or religion. We ignore that and really, all we do talk about is politics and religion. But the weather is always a safe topic, right? Unless it just makes us cranky, which this winter certainly does. Seriously, let’s talk about the weather. Mom would be proud. At least it’s never boring.

We are all noticing some major earth changes, upheavals even, in the weather patterns. In fact, when you do the research, it’s a bit shocking, just how much this old world is rocking and reeling. I did some of that research this week, and found that beginning around 2010 bets were off regarding which records would fall next. And here in 2014, they keep on falling – like dominoes. Keeping track of it all is a bit daunting, I will admit, but we sure do get a good picture of what we all are seeing to be true.

People tend to ask me if judgment is coming/already here, but my best answer, for now, is that the birth pangs are on the increase. Hope this chart helps regarding the current happenings on planet earth. I will be adding more info as time goes by.


What on Earth?

Earth Pangs


2010   (the warmest year ever recorded in the U.S.)

January 3 Cosmos Comet Slams into the sun
January 3 Solomon Islands 7.2 and 6.6 quakes and a series of smaller ones Massive landslides, violent waves, tsunamis 1000 homelessVillages wiped out Haiti quake 9 days later….
January 12 


Haiti 7.0 quake on previously unknown faultline Most severe in 200 years 220,000 dead Worst disaster modern history
January 14-20 Diverse places 6.8 quakes 5 per day 41 quakes in 6 days
January CA, Haiti, Costa Rica, Alaska, Yellowstone Earthquake swarms 1033 in one week
Jan. 17 – Feb 1 Yellowstone 1620 quakes 2nd largest swarm ever there Super Volcano site 2000x the power of St. Helens
February WashingtonDC Snow Worst in 111 years
Feb 12 Rome 



25” snow

Heaviest in 24Years

Heaviest in 44 years

February 27 Chile 8.8 quake; shut down seismographsfor 22 minutes Most powerful in 50 years;130 aftershocks


Ground shook for 90 seconds

Affected 2 million peopleKilled 500 Changed axis and length of daysFelt 1800 miles away

Tsunami warnings in 53 countries


Last week of Feb N.E. USA Three blizzards 91 mph winds,Million without power NY 21 inches of snow Most US cities had record snow
March 20 Iceland Volcano Previously dormant for 187 years Disrupts all of Europe, cancels flights
March 31 Rhode Is. Flooding Worst in state history
April 4 Baja 7.2 quake Ground shook for 90 seconds 90 aftershocks Shifted Calexico region 2 feet south
April 14 China – Tibetan plateau 6.9 quake Ground shook for a minute Left mountainous region in ruins
April 30 – May 7 Nashville Flooding A “once in 1000 year event”
May 6 West. Ireland 2.7 quake Lasted 10 seconds First ever in their history
May 26 Pakistan Record heat 128.7 F All time record
May – June Central Europe Worst in Poland in 160 years Worst in Slovakia in 1000 years
June S. China Drought Worst in 100 years
June 14 Iraq Record heat 125.6 F All time record
June 16 Kuwait Record heat 129.2 F All time record
June 22 Saudi A Record heat 125.6 F All time record
June 23 Niger Record heat 118.8 F All time record
June 22 Chad Record heat 117.7 F All time record
June 25 Sudan Record heat 121.3 F All time record
June 25 Russia near China border Record heat 108.1 F All time record
July 15 Global Record heat NOAA declares that June is the hottest day ever in history
July 18 AlaskaAleutian Is. Quakes – 6.6 and 6.0
July 23 Philippines Quakes 4 massive 7+ quakes
July 16 regions of Russia 

From Japan and southward







Caldera Super volcano

Worst in 130 years 


Eleven 6.0 quakes




Hundreds of quakes







Has never erupted in history

July 18 Argentina Record cold Coldest in 10 years Buenos Aires has coldest temp ever 6 mill. Fish die, worst ever in history
July 29 Russia Record heat 102 F Hottest ever
July 27-30 Pakistan Monsoon 1600 dead; 20 million homeless Most dams in country collapsed Flood of the century
September 4 Christchurch, NZ 7.1 quake Moved earth surface by 11 feet
October 5 Russia Tornadoes Unusual and sudden drop in temps 5 drop simultaneously Similar incident in AZ a few days later
October New Zealand Severe storms Worst Spring storms in living memory
October 7 Michigan, Bolivia, Peru, Pakistan, Spain, India Mysterious cracks in the ground 200 yds long and 5’ deep


60% of the world’s most dangerous quakes have occurred in the last 21 years.


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Russia Staffs Mediteranean Fleet

DEBKAfile Special Report May 12, 2013, 7:19 PM (IDT) Tags:  Turkey,  Syria,  Russian Navy,  Russian S-300,  Binyamin Netanyahu,  Vladimir Putin,

Russian Navy Admiral Viktor Chirkov said Sunday, May 12, that the process is underway for creating a permanent staff to run Russian fleet operations in the Mediterranean Sea.  Speaking at Sevastopol, the Black Sea fleet’s home port, Adm. Chirkov said a staff of 20 officers was already in place. And the Mediterranean deployment would comprise five to six warships and their service vessels as well possibly as nuclear submarines which, say our military sources, are armed with nuclear ballistic missiles.

DEBKAfile’s military sources: The new permanent deployment is the next Russian step for safeguarding Bashar Assad’s regime in Damascus and deterring military attacks on his Hizballah allies and Iranian interests in their three-way bloc.

Moscow is also announcing loud and clear that Russia is finally restoring its military presence to the Middle East in 2013 after the last Soviet squadron exited the Mediterranean in 1992.

The Russian naval step came 24 hours after two car bombs reduced to rubble the center of the Turkish town of Reyhanli near the Syrian border, killing 46 people and injuring scores. Turkish ministers at the scene Sunday openly blamed Syrian military intelligence for the attack’s planning and execution.

This raised concerns in Moscow that Ankara was preparing to deliver a serious reprisal, possibly in the form of an aerial or missile assault, on Syrian military targets.

Russian tacticians reckoned that, after Israel’s two air strikes against Assad regime targets, the Tayyip Erdogan’s government could hardly avoid direct action without appearing to be failing in courage in the eyes of the Turkish public.

Some action is doubly pressing as Prime Minister Erdogan prepares to travel to Washington to meet President Barack Obama on May 16 and present him with evidence that Assad has used chemical weapons in his war on Syrian rebels.

The Reyhanli bombings and Turkey’s potential retaliation sent a fresh wave of alarm across the Syrian neighborhood. Once again, Israeli Air Force warplanes thundered Sunday across South Lebanon and over Hizballah strongholds in the eastern Beqaa Valley near the Syrian border.
Given all these circumstances, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s chances are virtually nil of getting anywhere in his trip to the Black Sea resort of Sochi to persuade President Vladimir Putin to hold back advanced S-300 anti-air missiles from Syria. He can expect to find the Russian president driving full speed for arms deals – not just with Syria, but also with Iraq, Yemen and Sudan.

Putin clearly regards Obama’s decision to keep the US clear of military involvement in the Syrian conflict as an open gateway for a Russian military comeback to the Middle East after a

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