Be Very Alert! No 188

Be Very Alert! – By Val Hollard (NZ)

On Watch at the Door.                                                                                      No 188, February 17, 2015

THE THINGS THAT ARE TO COME… (Rev 1:19)

Before I became a Christian and was terribly ill I used to do lots of jigsaw puzzles to take my mind off my suffering. Now I puzzle about the things that are to come and try and get an accurate picture by lining up Bible verses. Prophecy buffs are putting the pieces in all sorts of different places. Here are my provisional thoughts and I would ask you to be good Bereans and check everything out for yourselves.

I begin with Daniel’s 7 years and the abomination of desolation. “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” (Dan 9:27) These seven years are usually referred to as the Tribulation and the ‘he’ refers to the Antichrist who appears in the first Seal of Revelation 6.

When the Antichrist appears, he will make or confirm a 7-year treaty with Israel. There will also be an increase in many of the things we are already seeing today: earthquakes, wars, famines, plagues. (Matt 24:7-8, Rev 6:3-8) These are described as birth pains for the Great Tribulation, brought about by the Antichrist, is yet to come. For Israel, there will be a time of relative peace because of the treaty, but for Christians persecution will continue to increase. (Matt 24:9-10, Rev 6:9-10)

By the middle of the seven years, a new Temple will have been built. At the midpoint of the seven years, the sacrificial system the Jews would have begun will be stopped and the treaty broken. (Dan 9:27) The Antichrist will set up an ‘abomination of desolation’ in the Temple. Jesus refers to this in His discourse on the Mount of Olives and it is also sets the scene for the Great Tribulation which is the time of Jacob’s trouble (Matt 24:15, Jer 30:7) When the Jews see this Jesus warns those who are in Judea (today the “West Bank” or “occupied territories”) to flee to the mountains. (Isa 63, Bozrah) A foreshadowing of this occurred at the time of the Maccabees in the 2ndC BC when Antiochus Epiphanes, a Greek king of the Seleucid Empire, set up an ‘abomination of desolation’ in the Temple.

In Matthew 24:15-21, it is Jesus who calls this a time of Great Tribulation and refers the reader to Daniel (Dan 9:27). A dreadful time is prophesied for the Jewish people when two thirds will perish (Zech 13:8-9). In the Holocaust one third of all Jewry died, but this coming time will be much more severe. But there will be a good outcome. The remaining third will be disciplined and come to repentance as a nation. In their despair, they will call on God and He will rescue them. (Zech 13:9) Jeremiah and other prophets and also Paul speak of the final restoration of Israel by God after they have been disciplined. (Zeph 3, Mic 7, Zech 13, Rom 11)

The Antichrist will set himself up in the temple and proclaim himself to be God. (2 Thess 2:4) The world will worship him and he will perform all sorts of signs and wonders. He will seem to have the answers to all the problems facing the inhabitants of the earth and will have great power, being empowered by Satan.

As many of the Jews will have fled from Jerusalem and Israel shattered, the world, which has been blaming Israel for all of the world’s problems, will cry out “Peace and safety.” (1 Thess 5:1-3) Sometime after the midpoint of the Tribulation, sudden destruction will come like a thief in the night to those living in darkness. They will be surprised by what is happening. But Christians will understand and we are instructed to be alert and self-controlled. (1 Thess 5:1-11)

This ‘sudden destruction’ will begin with celestial signs and great upheaval on the earth. The signs are described in many places, especially Joel 2, Matt. 24, Acts 2, and Revelation 6:12-14. These signs spell good news for the believer but strike utter fear in the ungodly. From Revelation 6:15-17, we see that the ungodly will be absolutely terrified and will try to hide, calling on the mountains and rocks to hide them as they realise the significance of the signs and that the wrath of God is coming. They want to hide from “the face of him who sits on the throne.”

Jesus describes a similar scene in Luke 21:25-27. “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” It is clear from Revelation 6 and Luke 21 that at this time everyone will see Jesus returning.

Peter’s address to the crowd in Acts 2 is of special interest. Quoting Joel 2, he defines the limits of the Church Age. The Church Age began at Pentecost and ends with signs in the heavens and on the earth below. “I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Acts 2:19-21) Significantly, Peter omits part of Joel 2:32 as it applies to the Jews and their deliverance will come later.

For believers the appearance of these signs will bring great hope. “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” The church must be removed before the Day of the Lord begins with God’s wrath being poured out. “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess 5:9) This is the event we call the Rapture or Harpazo, the snatching up of the church. It is the time when believers will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, along with all those who have died in Christ, and be with Him forever. (1 Thess 4:13-18) This is the day Christians long for. It is the resurrection.

Christians are given numerous warnings to be prepared for this day: avoid drunkenness, don’t be caught up in the anxieties of life, watch and pray, be alert and self-controlled, don’t ignore prophecy. We should not be surprised when these things happen because we are children of the day and not of the night. This day will not surprise us like a thief. (1 Thess 5:4-11) Jesus also gives parables to warn us in Matthew 24 and 25. We are instructed to prepare now. The five foolish virgins had lamps but no oil in them. And when these signs begin to appear don’t even think about looking back like Lot’s wife, or wanting to hide like the nonbelievers. Jesus says look up. Jesus is only coming for those who are waiting for Him. (Heb 9:28)

The Day of the Lord which follows the Rapture is also described as a time of both blessings for believers and judgment and wrath for the wicked. The prophets used the term to describe a coming time when God would break into history with great glory and bring an end to the corruption on the earth and replace it with a worldwide kingdom under the reign of King Jesus.

The Day of the Lord begins with God’s wrath being poured out following the celestial signs and continues right through the millennium. “They called to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand it?”” (Rev 6:16-17) God’s wrath begins with the fearsome Trumpet and Bowl judgments.

But before the judgments come, there is a pause and the bride of Christ is seen in heaven wearing white robes and standing before Jesus. (Rev 7:9-8:1)

The Day of the Lord will also be a time of great judgment of nations for the way they have treated Israel (Joel 3). God will gather the remnant of Israel and give them honour and praise among all the peoples of the earth. (Zeph 3) Jesus will return and set up His millennial kingdom and the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up to Jerusalem every year to worship Him and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. (Zech 13, 14)

The order of events I have presented here is the same as found in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24. It is impossible to allegorise all these passages which show us what is coming shortly. Neither should Christians be ignorant of prophecy and have a blind optimism that everything will somehow turn out well for them.

When the massive celestial and terrestrial disturbances begin, the people who are to be raptured will have prepared themselves and will be eagerly expecting that event. They won’t be fainting or wanting to hide in caves. They will recognise the Shekinah glory that appears in the sky as the return of Jesus. We could well be the generation that sees all these things.

I have tried to put some of the pieces of the puzzle together here, but there is still much to be understood. Jesus has told us ahead of time, so now is the time to prepare so that we are not deceived. (Matt 24:25)

RISE OF ISLAM IN THE WEST

Sharia Law in New Zealand: Islamic Sharia Law creeps in little by little, until one day you discover it is full blown and you can’t do anything to stop it. We already have aspects of Sharia Law being applied in New Zealand, such as in food products like yoghurt, and in the provision of prayer rooms for Muslim workers. Now we have an Islamic KiwiSaver fund which promises not to invest in alcohol, Western entertainment or pornography. The Amanah KiwiSaver Plan has now been officially launched and has about 200 members. Goldman Henry is operating the fund.

CHURCH NEWS

In Germany, compulsory income tax on Christians in Protestant and Catholic churches is driving people to renounce their faith. In Germany, church members are required by law to pay tax to the government to fund church activities. Under German law, anyone who was baptised as a child is automatically a member of the church and obliged to pay the tax.

Now the government has decided to extend the 8 or 9 per cent charge to capital gains income. As a result, up to 400,000 Germans have officially filed declarations to leave the church to avoid the increased tax. There is even a fee for renouncing your church membership.

New Bible version expunges all mention of Israel and any reference to Jesus as a Jew. Jesus becomes a Palestinian Arab. The Palestinian and Sabeel Liberation Theology groups have partnered with the Presbyterian Church in America to bring this about. At the heart of it is a deep hatred for the Jewish people and Israel.

At the forefront of this movement is an Arab Palestinian Anglican Priest called Rev Dr Naim Ateek who is the founder of the Sabeel International Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. Sabeel has Friends of Sabeel in the US, UK, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia. Sabeel is endorsed by Anglican vicar Stephen Sizer.

The Bible is a Jewish book and the Jewish lineage of Jesus is plain for all to see. These people have created a different Jesus about which we are warned. They say they are seeking reconciliation between Palestinians and Jews, but only through Jesus, the King of the Jews, can this be brought about.

Trinity Broadcasting scandal: The former chief financial officer of Trinity Broadcasting, the nation’s largest Christian broadcasting network, has filed a lawsuit against her former company and its top bosses for allegedly threatening her with a loaded gun when she objected to “unlawful distributions” of $100 million to themselves and others.

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