Prepare or Perish; I Cannot Be Quiet.

“Come, NOW is the time to worship.”

2021-03-27 House on FireI wish this could be more gently expressed, but like a man seeing the house of a friend on fire, I must SHOUT IT.  There is too little time to say, “Oh, maybe I will disturb him or interrupt his nice supper; I’ll call him later and tell him his house is on fire.”  What kind of friend would I be!?  That said, no one can force you out of a burning house if it is your choice to stay there.  But still, I have to warn that Jesus made it clear, we must Be Ready or we will perish.

We have examined the evidence of evil.  There are people who sell other people into the sex trades or some form of indentured servitude.  Just as bad, there are people who buy and use them.  There are people who will sell drugs to anyone with money to purchase, no matter how badly addicted their victims are; others who will turn a blind eye to crises because it is politically inconvenient or will cost them their job or make them look foolish to others; even more who simply shrug and say, “Well, I am not doing that.  It is not my problem.”  The mass of German citizens seemed shocked when they were paraded into POW camps after WW2 and said, “Oh, my, we didn’t know.”  But their complicity was in not listening to the warning sirens of Jews being “labeled” and marginalized; ignoring the buildup of power into a select few, all in the name of “purifying the race;” making life better for “all of you.”

We have looked at the Scriptures for what Jesus, the apostles, and Old Testament prophets taught about hell and its misery.  Gehenna (translated ‘hell’ or ‘fiery furnace’ or similar analogies) was the garbage dump outside Jerusalem in Jesus’ day, “where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.”  This was His picture of hell; a place not intended for human habitation, but where those who cannot serve their purpose wind up; a place of disposal; strangely, a place “chosen” by those who will reside there because they refuse to trust the Creator and Jesus, in [whom] the whole fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily

Evil is evident.  Hell is authentic.  So how can one avoid it?  Jesus spent most of his parables telling about the Kingdom of God and how to get into it.  He gave several stern warnings, though, against being deceived.  In Matthew 24, four times He told His followers to beware.  He then conclude this teaching with a blessing and a severe warning (verses 45-51) .

 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.  Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.  But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites.  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

He then tells the story of ten women who went out to meet a bridegroom.  In that culture, the groom would come to his bride at an unannounced time after meeting with his friends.  Five were foolish and five were wise.  At the end of the story, this Jesus that everyone thinks would always be so kind and forgiving, excludes the foolish women from the groom’s banquet, and quite harshly!

He then tells a story of a landowner who commits responsibilities to his servants while he is away.  The wise servants invest his loans to them, but a foolish one hides the money so he can give back only what he received.  He gets a tongue lashing that would make Bear Bryant blush, and the land owner orders the worthless servant [to be cast] into the outer darkness . . .  where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

He concludes a trilogy of parables with a story of sheep and goats being separated.  To the “goats on the left” Jesus will tell them, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels . . . And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  Note, the eternal fire was never intended for humans.

The fearful thing for most people is that Heaven is not our default destination.  In our natural state, the way we are born, we are already condemned to hell!  John wrote in his Gospel, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.  Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already!John 3:16-18

That is why Jesus told the Pharisee that he needed to be “born again!”  Being born into this life was NOT enough!  As lovely or successful or rich or powerful or comfortable as one can be, we are all condemned to hell UNLESS we specifically and personally take a step of faith and “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” to be saved.

It would be “nice” if everyone would get into Heaven, but Jesus clearly teaches that many will NOT!  How can I invite you to read the Gospels, the Good News, so that you do not have to go to hell?  What can I do to persuade you that you were created for a better life than this?  Are there any words I can write that will convince you to trust Jesus for eternal life?  What can I show you of how much God, the Father, loves you beyond the fact that Jesus died in your place, in my place?

The promise is completely inclusive: ANYONE can come to Jesus, regardless of past sin, problems, ethnicity, success or failure; NOTHING excludes you!
But the promise is completely exclusive simultaneously: ONLY those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved.

Someday, at the name of Jesus every knee [WILL] bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue [WILL] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” when He is fully revealed at the end of time.  But there is a special blessing and fellowship of the Holy Spirit and of other Christ-followers for those who bow their knees now, and confess now that Jesus Christ IS Lord.  Do not be deceived. 

Please, dear friends reading this blog, you to whom I have emailed this link, those of you just stopping by for a visit:
Pray to Jesus to be born again and to guide you by His Holy Spirit.
Begin reading the Bible, especially starting in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).
Find someone near you who knows Jesus and start meeting regularly.

If you do not know of anyone in your hometown or country, email me at capost3k@gmail.com and I will help you find someone out of our international connections.  If you want to Zoom with me, just email me, but I encourage you to find someone locally who speaks your ‘heart language.’  Please, prepare or you will perish.

 

Hell Is Authentic


The result of living without Jesus is .  Not just a fantasy, not just a short-term separation from what is good.  It is a final loss, a final “mercy” of God to those who refuse any blessing.  He will not let an evil person go on hurting others into eternity, or even themselves; so He places them in outer darkness (Matthew 8:11-12), alone and apart from any source of light or life, because that is what they have chosen.  “All that are in hell choose it.  Without that self-choice, there could be no hell.  No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.  Those who seek find; to those who knock it is opened.” (C.S.Lewis, The Great Divorce)

If they would choose to know The God Who Is Here, anyone can enter into His Life, Light, Joy, Peace and every other blessing that comes from living in consistency with “the universe.”  There is only one way to know The God Who Is Here, and that is by getting to know Jesus, the Messiah, aka Christ.  “Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)  There simply is no other way.  Father loves each one of us so much that if there was another way, He would inform us and provide us with the alternatives.  But THIS is the nature of the universe.  It is what He created and knowing Him is the only way. (Acts 4:10-12)

Like the Children of the Day sang, “Don’t try to drive the darkness out; You just turn on the light.”  Hell is the absence of light.  It is the absence of love.  It is the absence of community.  It is the absence of peace.  It is the absence of selfless joy.  It is the absence of life. 

Note, by that I do not mean the end of existence.  It that were the case, “hell” would not be all that bad.  If when we died we simply vanished into nothingness, there would be no reason for warning and inviting people to Life.  However, God created each of us, created YOU, to enjoy Him forever.  There is no Infinity Stone that can simply snap away our existence.  The gift of existence is without do-overs. (Romans 11:29)  We were created for eternity and “He has put eternity into man’s heart.”  (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

One of Job’s visitors described hell as the destiny of all those who do not know God, a dreadful place he calls the king of terrors.”  Hell will be a place of eternal death, because its inhabitants will be separated eternally from the Source of Life.  There, like the demons who believe and shudder (James 2:19), its occupants will hate God and the exposing light of his glory.  “It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.” (C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain)

Before Him “Every heart will melt, and all hands will be feeble; every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water” (Ezekiel 21:7).  Just as the kings of the earth will call to the mountains and rocks, “Hide us from the face of Him who is seated on the throne” (Revelation 6:16), in hell God will give them what they want, a place of complete eclipse, darker than anything we can imagine. (Matthew 22:13; 25:29-30

As we have noted before (see ), anyone who longs for joy can find it.  Moses said in Deuteronomy 4:29, “If you will seek Yahweh your God, you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.” But this is not like trying to find Easter eggs, either in the yard under bushes, or a hidden message in a movie.  You do not have to scour the internet or decode mysterious anagrams or learn a particular language.  God is not hiding, making you wade through mazes or difficult terminology to find Him.  He makes Himself clear to anyone willing to see Him (Romans 1:19-22)  Further, He has revealed Himself throughout history via prophets, priests, church leaders and lastly through Jesus.

It would be nice if we could say those who go to hell will only stay there for a little while and then be granted entry into Heaven, kind of like an earthly prison sentence.  But remember those who go there go by their own choice because they do now want to live in God’s Kingdom; they refuse to live with someone else that is there; they object to His rulership.

So what awaits one who refuses to believe what God has revealed about Himself? 
“This is what Yahweh, the LORD, says:
“Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!’
But they said, ‘We will not pay attention.’
Therefore hear, O nations, and know what will happen to them.
Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people,
    the fruit of their devices,
because they have not paid attention to my words;
    and as for my law, they have rejected it.…
Therefore this is what Yahweh says:
‘Behold, I will lay before this people a stumbling block against which they shall stumble;
fathers and sons together, neighbor and friend shall perish.’”
(Jeremiah 6:16-21)

You have this opportunity while you live. (Hebrews 9:27-28)  There is no guidance on making this decision after you die, and why would anyone refuse the Lord of Life now while they can learn to know Him before that time?  The choice is yours to make.  we will look a little more at the choice.

Intermezzo Guest Blog: Will Vaccine Passports Control Your Daily Life?

Former Clinton Adviser: Mandatory Vaccine Passport Could Lead to ‘End of Human Liberty in the West’ – by Jack Phillips  March 29, 2021

Former Clinton adviser Naomi Wolf said that mandatory COVID-19 vaccine passports that have been proposed in recent days would be the “end of human liberty in the West if this plan unfolds as planned.”

“‘Vaccine passport’ sounds like a fine thing if you don’t understand what those platforms can do. I’m [the] CEO of a tech company, I understand what this platform does,” Wolf, who’s also an author, told Fox News on March 28. “It is not about the vaccine, it’s not about the virus, it’s about your data. Once this rolls out, you don’t have a choice about being part of the system. What people have to understand is that any other functionality can be loaded onto that platform with no problem at all.”

Wolf said such data can be “merged with your Paypal account, with your digital currency,” adding that “Microsoft is already talking about merging it with payment plans.”

Wolf noted that it happened in Israel, “and six months later, we’re hearing from activists that it’s a two-tiered society and that basically, activists are ostracized and surveilled continually. It is the end of civil society, and they are trying to roll it out around the world.”

“It is absolutely so much more than a vaccine pass, it is — I can not stress enough that it has the power to turn off your life, or to turn on your life, to let you engage in society or be marginalized.”

Going a step further, Wolf likened such plans to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) surveillance of its population and promotion of a “social credit score.”

2021-04-02 Vaccine PassportsA handout image shows the Excelsior Pass, a platform that lets New Yorkers present proof of COVID-19 vaccination at events. (Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo)

“How does [the CCP] keep a billion people under the thumb of a totalitarian regime?” she asked. “The CCP can find any dissident within five minutes, and that can happen here literally within months.”

Wolf referred to reports about Biden administration officials proposing the idea. The Washington Post and CNN — citing anonymous, unconfirmed sources — have suggested that the administration is working toward developing a national vaccine passport standard. New York state has proposed its own “Excelsior Pass” that would be used in large-scale venues such as Madison Square Garden. The plan has been lambasted by civil liberties groups and proponents.

On March 29, White House press secretary Jen Psaki addressed the claims, saying the administration doesn’t see a federal mandate for vaccine passports. “We believe it will be driven by the private sector,” she told reporters.

In other countries, such passports have already been created. Israel set one up in February to grant people access to gyms and hotels, Iceland now uses a passport to allow foreign travel, and Saudi Arabia has an app-based passport for people who are inoculated.

“The thing underpinning all of this is, what are you going to use it for?” said Melinda Mills, director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science at the University of Oxford, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Is it for international travel? Is it for getting a job? Is it for buying milk?”

An Aboriginal Mental Challenge: Can You Read Without Preconceptions?

2021-02-27 G.K.ChestertonG.K Chesterton is the source for today’s blog: a challenge to do some mental gymnastics to discover something we may have been missing.  In his 1925 philosophical tome, The Everlasting Man, the “prince of paradox” presents an interesting challenge: to read a Bible story from an aboriginal mindset.  You see, we have Christmas and Easter, jewelry and architecture, names of streets, cities and buildings and so many myriad additional references in our world to that unique man, Jesus, that it is difficult to imagine anyone anywhere in our global community that does not know something about Jesus.  And depending on the source of that something, our views of Jesus have been significantly shaped by the introductions we have been given, whether from a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, friend, enemy, or Christian/anti-Christian teaching.  And Chesterton contends that much of our view, even in the “Christian west” is significantly distorted.

So I wish to challenge you, as Chesterton has challenged me, to do some mental exercising.  Set your mind as though you have never heard of Jesus, a Christian church, or anything “christian.”  Pretend for this exercise that your only exposure to the divine has been the thunderous clouds that bring rain and frightening lightning; a starry sky at night and the warm and sometimes burning heat of the sun at day; the long graceful hop of a wallaby or neck of a giraffe; the worrisome growl of a bear or roar of a lion; a baby’s sweet coo and cry and the caress of your beloved.

Begin by beguiling your brain into thinking you have never received a Christmas gift or hunted an Easter egg or walked on Christchurch Avenue or stood in front of the spires of Notre Dame Cathedral.  You have never heard of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, David, Paul or John.  Equally, you have never heard of Aristotle, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammad, Rama or Krishna or Zoroaster.   Add to that, you have never been concerned with politics, social structure or economics; no Communists, Conservatives, Democrats, Greens, Liberals, Republicans, Socialists, Tories or any other ideology for guidance of a nation.

This is a difficult mental exercise, but I encourage you, that it is not impossible.  Settle in your mind that you have never been taught anything about any god or history of creation, whether theism or atheistic evolution.  You have never worried about issues of government or society.  Your mind has been focused all these years on eating and drinking to stay alive and whatever day-to-day activities were required to survive, be at peace, avoid enemies and enjoy your time on earth.

Now, with this mindset, approach a new short book someone has brought you.  Its title is very short, just four letters, L-u-k-e.  If you can find it in its original formatting, without chapter and verse numbers, all the better.  (Chapters and verses were added centuries later to make research and memorization easier.)

However, it is available at a website where you can look up your language in which to read it.  If English is your native language, I encourage you to use the ESV noted in the website connection.  If another language is your “heart language,” feel free to try to find it under the ALL tab when you pull down the languages from the little arrow by the default version that opened.
So sorry, Mongolian is not on the list . . . yet.  But Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, Tagalog and LOTS of others are there.
Any Gujariti readers here? 😉

2021-02-27 Biblegateway

Now that you have emptied your mind of any preconceptions about this little story, begin with Luke’s introduction to his narrative for his friend, Theophilus.  Read the short biography at a single sitting if you can; in your heart language it should not take much more than 90 to 120 minutes .  Remember, you have never heard of these people, Luke, Herod, Elizabeth, Martha or Jesus before.  Your entire impression of these people will come from your reading this for the first time!

You may want to have a pencil and paper handy, and note what you discover about some of the characters introduced to you for the first time.  Questions are sure to come up, as we begin with no information on the culture or history of these people and events; Why did He say THAT!?  Why did she do that!?  Why was He so rude?  Why did that confuse them?  Isn’t Jesus supposed to be meek and mild? Aha, you’ve slipped from the aboriginal mindset and are remembering something you’ve heard.  Try again! 😁

If you want to dialog about your questions, email me (capost3k@gmail.com) or comment here.  No guarantees I have any answers for you.  Either Tim Keller or Rick Warren wrote (but I cannot find the referemce), “When someone thinks he knows all the answers, you have to wonder if he knows all the questions.”   (Similar to a Confucius quote.)

Here’s to hoping you have a good week and discover who Jesus really is.
Enjoy Peter Hollen’s and Home Free’s a-capella performance of Amazing Grace.

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”  C.S.Lewis

Intermezzo Blog: Prophetic Word for President Biden from Jonathan Cahn

An apology to my email followers: the other day I erroneously reposted the blog of January 21.  My old brain just seems to slip a cog every now and then, and it is too easy to click buttons on the computer.  But once the reposting went to your email there was no way to retract it.  This was the blog I intended to send.

2021-02-10 Jonathan CahnJonathan Cahn leads Hope of the World, a service to Gentiles and Jews examining issues of prophecy and end-time events.  While somewhat flamboyant (his website is a little ‘busy’ for my tastes), he is impressive as a Bible teacher in that he does not go beyond what the scripture says; no predictions of dates or even seasons; no announcements of “Look here is the Christ in the inner room!” (Matthew 24:23).  And he is very thorough and discreet in his exposition of what the Bible says about the second coming of Jesus.

If you have 35 minutes, you may want to check out his YouTube of the Inaugural Prayer Breakfast for Barack Obama on March 11, 2013.  I suspect someone in the president’s staff thought, “Okay, here’s a Jewish rabbi who is also an evangelical Christian; we can kill two birds with one stone and have him speak, appealing to voters from both camps.”  Boy, did he get an education! 😄

Joking aside, this is Rabbi Cahn’s recent message to our new president, who we must acknowledge is in the position because of God’s will.  I, along with any other Christ-followers, am praying FOR President Biden that he will recognize Father’s voice when He speaks and respond appropriately to the grace of Jesus, winning for himself and our nation a reprieve from the disasters that the current divisions in our county portend.

Intermezzo: Too little, too late, but better late than never . . . same for each of us!

President Trump delivers a positive and unifying message, a little late, but better now than never.
https://www.theepochtimes.com/trump-calls-on-americans-to-promote-peace-amid-reports-of-planned-demonstrations_3655924.html?utm_source=news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2021-01-13-4

The president is not wise and often has done things that weaponized his opponents easily enough. This time, his January 6 speech gave them the ammunition to again engage in political theater of impeachment with no hope of conviction, and that, with only a few days away from his departure from office. Nancy Pelosi’s full-on hatred for the man who defied her “take it to the bank” predictions in 2016 only inflames her adversaries, which may be part of her “playbook.” (“Stir them up and maybe the deplorables will get rabid enough to attack again.”) There is nothing to be accomplished in pursuing this course of action while more important legislation gets cold on her desk . . . like removing biologically correct, but politically inconvenient language of “dad, mom, son, daughter, etc” from congressional matters. Okay, that one did not get cold; she made sure this “important piece” got voted on.

We have come to a sorry state in the USA in which our nation will soon not be a world leader. America must fade to the background as nations around “The Epicenter” take center stage and actors far removed from American ideals must play parts in an unfolding drama of literally Biblical proportions.

God does not force any person or nation to take a particular course of action, but from His eternal and all-wise vantage point, He knows exactly how this theater will all go. He did not write the script, any more than He chose what you would eat for breakfast this morning. But knowing what will happen, how you and I will choose within the framework of free will with which He endowed us, He has laid out little tidbits of information, “trailers” (if you will allow a movie metaphor to intrude on the theater one) which give us enough information to understand that He does know.

See Matthew 24, Daniel 11 and 12, and Revelation, beginning with chapter 4. However, do not become obsessed with “interpreting” these things with one eye on a newspaper and one of a blog about prophecy. Remember Jesus instruction that applies not only to its momentary application, but to all prophecy: “Now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.” (John 14:29)

His emphasis in all His parables about the end of time was simply “Be ready.” Are you?

What We Know So Far ;-)

The election of our president was not a landslide for either candidate as some had predicted. It was, in fact, a reflection of the wider divide in our country between worldviews of our culture and of what a president needs to be. So our 45th was not assured on Tuesday night that he would continue to serve, and our potential 46th was not certain he would replace him. My brother sent me this perceptive graphic analysis.

There have been several clear-sighted responses to the election process that are finally filtering into the Christian media and reminders that our presidents do not get to choose themselves. If you followed a link in last week’s blog, October 31, 2020, I noted a reference to Daniel 2:21: HE removes kings [presidents] and sets up kings.”

The God Who Is Here, our Creator, the Maker of Heaven and earth, the sustainer of the universe, has not been caught off guard. His sovereignty is still intact and He is still on His throne. His plan for the ages is still progressing and will find its fulfillment in the return of Jesus as was told to the original disciples on the Mount of Ascension: “This Jesus . . . will come in the same way as you have seen Him go.”

He remains King of kings and Lord of lords. The Bible still gives us guidance for every issue we face in our daily lives, whether that includes how to accept and work with an egomaniac as president or a half-asleep abortionist. The bottom line is our president nor any human government is going to bring in an age of enlightenment, pure justice and mercy and peace. Only the Prince of Peace will accomplish what our hearts desire.

He is still alive at Father’s right hand to make intercession for us, and though we may not get everything we wish for when we pray, He will supply every need, even if that is grace to face death and thus participate in the resurrection of our Lord.

Remember, Jesus, not our president nor our government, is still our only way to Heaven, our only means of salvation, the only author and finisher of our faith. Our neighbors still need to know that He loves them, and they need to know that WE love them. Even the rioters and murderers need to know this, maybe “especially” so, and we may be the means for them to understand His love as he plants it in our hearts for them.

In another blog, I will comment on why He allows men like Nebuchadnezzar, Genghis Khan, Adolph Hitler or Donald Trump/Joe Biden to take rulership over us for certain periods of time. But rest assured, He has chosen our next president through our participation, and He is setting a stage for events we cannot yet see clearly. But we remain confident in the end result: Jesus will reign.

The Electoral College Map as estimated by new outlets as of 11/06/20

For What Will You Be Ready In The End?

2020-10-03 Socrates
A University photo of Socrates taken by Plato, his student

Among an older generation there is always a sense that the world is getting worse than it ever was before. Take this quote attributed to Socrates somewhere between 469-399 BC: “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love gossip in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

Sounds like what I heard my parents’ friends saying at church when I was in grade school. And what I’ve heard my peers say about Generation Z, the 5-25 year olds born after 1996. And what I suspect Socrates’ grandpa said about his group of young “useless philosophers.” 😉

Many generations have heard prophecies of end time events leading some to expect the Apocalypse in their lifetimes. The warnings of impending doom on civilization become more vociferous with each passing year, especially after that Half-Century mark of 50 years old. The clamor of loud music and the boisterous noise of the younger generation impinges on the ears of the older one, whether they are students in 400 BC or 2020 AD. And amid the noise, the wondering of us oldsters, “How long can this go on? How much worse can the world get? When will The God Who Is There say ‘Enough’!?”

It is an error to say history repeats itself, but as some have said, it does rhyme. This is evident from prophecies about Israel going into Babylonian captivity in Jeremiah 31 and the slaughter of innocents in Bethlehem about two years after Jesus was born. And there are many other examples of “double” or even “triple” fulfillment of prophecies in the Bible.

This is not because the prophets misunderstood what Father was saying to them, nor is this a case of applying a literary picture after the fact. This is simply the evidence that “history does rhyme.”

Taken out of context, one can assume there is no difference between the youth of Socrates’ day and ours. On the microcosmic level of particular events this is true, but at the macrocosmic level of world events there is a huge difference. Socrates’ students did not have twenty-four hundred years of youthful rebellion about which to read. Ours do. Thus, history rhymes but actually never repeats itself. Every event that appears to be a repeat has one more event preceding it than its predecessor.

History is not repeatable and really is progressing to an ultimate destination! That destination pictured in our minds depends heavily on our view of prophecy and of The God Who Is There. If you do not believe in His prophets nor prophecies, you may picture humankind progressing into space and exploring and colonizing new worlds before our sun finally implodes millions of years hence. You may picture an extinction event that will wipe out life on earth, or a dystopian future of self-annihilation from damaging the environment beyond its ability to sustain us.

If you have experienced The God Who Is There as He has revealed Himself through Jesus, called the Christ (i.e. the Anointed One, the Messiah), then you will likely be reading the Bible to get to know Him better. And there you will find explicit guidelines for the “end of the age.”

Matthew 24 is the clearest and most comprehensive description provided by Jesus, and expanded by Paul, Peter and John in their letters. But be careful in reading what Jesus said would be signs of “the end of the age.” Many people point to “wars and rumors of wars” or “famines and earthquakes in various places” as if these were signs of the end times. But they are NOT. Jesus explicitly says, “All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.” (Matthew 24:8)

He was intentionally vague about when the signs of the end would be fulfilled so as to prevent people from relaxing like the virgins and servants in Matthew 25! His focus was on Be Ready! like in my blog on September 12, 2020.

Within the next 60 to 70 years, very few of us alive today will still be here on earth; possibly none of us! It is most important that we keep foundational principles of Scripture in front of us while we anticipate our end or the world’s end, whichever may come first.

  1. God will wrap up the end of this world someday; maybe tomorrow, maybe quite a few years from now . . . but it will happen. (2 Peter 3:9-10)
  2. We will not know the day or the hour; possibly the “seasons,” but be very careful .  It may be farther off than we think, or it could be just around the next turn of events. (Matthew 24:26-36; Matthew 16:2-4)
  3. The identity of The Antichrist (according to John there are many smaller ones) is a mystery; i.e. we will not know until he is revealed. (I John 2:18; Revelation 13:1-8) Thus using numerology to decipher the mystery of his number, 666, only leads down rabbit holes with no end and no value.
  4. Do not become obsessed with end time events.  They will happen whatever we believe about them.  Our only responsibility is to be faithful to Him who has called us to live as lights in an ever-darkening world. (Revelation 2:10; Joshua 24:14-15)
  5. Jesus instructions on future prophecy is very clear:  “I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.” (John 14:29)   In other words, He did not tell us what was going to happen so we could make accurate predictions about what was going to occur next week.  However, He did give us prophetic words so that we could recognize the times when they occur.

So how close is the end? Well, closer than it was when the young people around Socrates acted up; closer than when the author of Hebrews said, “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” Yet we could be decades away, but in view of the macrocosm of history, it is very difficult to imagine another century. So how soon? It really doesn’t matter if one is ready.

Then this came in my email from a friend, just yesterday, Friday, October 2, 2020: https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2020/september/amazon-rolls-out-new-hand-scanner-and-its-already-being-compared-to-revelations-mark-of-the-beast

It’s NOT “the” mark of the Beast, but it is getting us ready for it.

So, for what are you ready?

Be Ready for . . .

The one question extremely few would have answered correctly in June, 2015:  Where do you see yourself in five years?  A typical question asked by head-hunters or human resources’ interviewers, most would not have anticipated working from home, taking turns watching children who could not attend school, looking for work since so many jobs folded up for the duration of the pandemic, and changing routes to avoid rioting crowds in some cities.

Nine months into 2020, most of us would agree that this year has not gone according to our expectations.  From a virus by multiple names from Wuhan to Covid-19, churches that cannot meet or even sing, riots and graffiti disparaging police, a run-up to an election that no one expects to solve anything — to wildfires and locust swarms, hurricanes and extreme deadly heat, the majority of the year has felt like a slow-motion lunge off a ladder face-first onto concrete..

Loneliness settled into some of the most disparaging situations as nursing home residents met the Spectre without even a loved one with whom to hold hands as Death ushered them into an even bigger unknown.  Civil unrest erupted into violent lawlessness as BLM appropriated the protests over George Floyd’s death to foment destruction and mayhem, calling for the reorganizing of police the way Hitler did before consolidating his power in the Third Reich.

Some are speculating on whether the pandemic is judgement foretold in Revelation, one of the Four Horseman, perhaps.  It has been said that while history does not actually repeat itself, it does rhyme.  Such is the case with the current crises through which we are living.  A careful reading of the end-time events described in John’s Apocalypse (aka Revelation) will suggest that “these are just the beginnings of birth pains.”  There are more to come. 

The Gold MineDr. James Christie describes some of the events of the end of time with a wisdom born of one thoroughly steeped in Scripture and balanced in his understanding of how to disclose a complex piece of literature.   I have referenced his work, The Gold Mine, before (), and now it just seems to become more relevant as the months crawl by.  I encourage you to download it and read it as soon as possible!

So if we are facing a wrap up of this age, how much worse will things get before they finally get better?  Well, things have been much worse at other times in history:

  • the Crusades lasted almost 400 years from 1060 to 1430 killing hundreds of thousands in the name of God (on both sides of the Christian/Islamic divide).
  • the Bubonic plague of the middle 1300s killed 40% of Egypt, 30% of the Middle East, and about half of the 100,000 people in Paris. The worst hit area was Mediterranean Europe, including Italy, Spain, and southern France.  There, about 75% to 80% of the total populations died. 
  • sometimes called the War to End All Wars, or The Great War, WW1 resulted in 15,000,000 civilian and military deaths and precipitated the Spanish Flu which took another 40,000,000 lives around the world.
  • Hitler’s regime murdered 6,000,000 Jews and hundreds of thousands of others in the POW camps, while 60,000,000 soldiers and civilians died on both sides of the avoidable conflict we know as WWII.
  • Stalin forced starvation on an estimated 4,000,000 to 10,000,000 Ukrainians when food was scarce in the Soviet Union, but his campaign of Holodomor was entirely a political construct.
  • the Chinese famine of ’58-’62 killed an estimated 45,000,000 people.
  • in ’75-’79 the Kmer Rouge murdered between 2,500,000 and 3,000,000, sometimes simply because they wore glasses and were therefore suspected of being intellectuals who would oppose Pol Pot’s programs.

And this minuscule list only touches on the “big” man-made events of a few centuries and overlooks the natural disasters and calamities that have fallen on mankind for millennia;  think Yellow River flood, Hurricane Katrina, Indonesian tsunami, California wildfires! 

And even these do not account for the tremendous damage and suffering caused by Khans, emperors and despots, nor for harm caused by weapons of mass destruction and murder by chemical warfare.  Nor does this list take into measure the economic and personal devastation of events such as the Crash of ’29 or the ethnic “cleansing” by almost every group who enjoyed a short season as the “preferred demographic.”

2020-09-12 The Four HorsemenYet the end times are described by Jesus as being something of a magnitude more!  “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved.”  (Matthew 24:21-22)

For the follower of Jesus, that is those who are His disciples, and not just “bench warmers” who attend church or have a statue at home, this would be a good time to refocus on how Father can take our struggles and turn them into triumph for His glory.  This triumph may seem drowned out by the loud roar of life’s chaos but God’s sovereignty is never at stake, even if it feels like our plans are falling apart.  In fact, it is often in the middle of the worst darkness that His goodness and grace can shine the brightest through us.

There are dark days ahead for the world, but the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.” (2 Peter 2:9)  So these are days that call for faith that Father knows what He is accomplishing as the timeclock for this age winds down.  It is the opportunity to let our lights shine!

A friend told of some monks who were captured in WWII and put into a concentration camp.  Their reaction was that of Christ’s followers: they simply proceeded to serve the new community they were among.  And so it may be for some of us.  We must be prepared to lose our lives for Jesus’ and righteousness’ sake, or we are clinging too tightly to something we will lose anyway!  As Jim Elliott penned before giving his life to reach the Waorani Indians in Ecuador, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”  

We may not be called to reach hostile Indian tribes or remote island people like John Chau, but we may be called to reach out to our neighbors in love.   Who is to say that the mission field might become dangerous in our cities and in our suburbs as people make politicians and “causes” their gods?  The end is near, as I have noted in previous blogs, whether that is merely my end or the end of the age.  It is certainly closer than when Jesus, Paul, Peter and John predicted it.

So Jesus’ main message was not get ready, not watch for world events, not identify the anti-Christ, not even attend church.  His main message was: The Kingdom of God Is Near.  BE ready!  Now, where do you see yourself in five years?