Be Very Alert!- By Val Hollard (NZ)
On Watch at the Door. No 189, March 3, 2015
IS PROPHECY IMPORTANT?
Recently I heard a song on Radio Rhema while I was waiting for a programme to start that made me think. The words “I want to live like there is no tomorrow” were repeated over and over again – many times. There may have been other words earlier, but I missed them. Is it biblical to live like there is no tomorrow, or is it biblical to prepare for tomorrow? We certainly should be prepared to meet our maker at any time, but if our life here on earth is to continue tomorrow then we must be prepared for it. (There is another song on Radio Rhema with the words “Everything will be okay in the morning,” also repeated many times, but I won’t go into the problems with Contemporary Christian Music and its evil influence here.)
Many, including Rick Warren, teach that prophecy is unimportant. Others ignore biblical prophecy and are attempting to bring the world into a perfect state by their own efforts, believing that only then will Jesus return. Many are like the Laodicean church of Revelation 3 and are totally blinded, enjoying their comfort and wealth.
Many believe that the bride of Christ won’t be on earth in the last seven years so don’t think the study of most of the Book of Revelation is important. However, we are clearly told that those who read the words of this prophecy and take it to heart will be blessed. (Rev 1:3, 22:7)
If a Christian is not interested in prophecy then they are not really interested in being with Jesus because it is Bible prophecy that gives us that blessed hope of the Rapture/Resurrection and being with Jesus for eternity. The angel told John to write, “Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev 19:10) The fulfilment of prophecy is what makes the Bible unique. Christians who are not interested in prophecy should get out their scissors and remove a huge hunk of the Bible: all the prophets in the Old Testament and many other passages, in the New Testament most of the Book of Revelation, Thessalonians, a good part of the Gospels, and other passages in the epistles. About 1 in every 24 verses in the New Testament contains prophecy.
At the first coming of Jesus, at least 300 prophecies were fulfilled and very few could have been arranged by Jesus Himself. There are hundreds more prophecies related to Jesus’ second coming. The Jewish hierarchy had access to all the prophecies of the first coming and still got things wrong. We should learn from their mistakes and make sure we prepare appropriately for the second coming. It takes some effort, but getting it wrong can have eternal consequences. Paul tells the Thessalonians not to treat prophecies with contempt. (1 Thess 5:20) Jesus, when discoursing on the end times, says not to be deceived four times. (Matt 24)
It is agreed by many that we are close to the return of Jesus. The media is full of things that are prophesied to increase: violence, lawlessness, breakdown of the family, the apostate church, love of oneself, love of money, homosexuality and being caught up in the cares of this world. But of special importance are the increase in persecution of Christians, the nations rising up against Israel and the Jews, and the rise of Islam. The world is becoming a very dark place.
Peter says: “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (2 Pet 1:19) The world will become much darker during the 7-year Tribulation.
The Tribulation is frequently referred to as “night.” “You know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” (1 Thess 5:2) The bridegroom comes for his bride in the night. (Matt 25:6) Jesus also says, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” (John 9:4) In the Song of Songs, the lover comes at night for his sweetheart.
When the Tribulation begins, the Holy Spirit will no longer be present to convict people, just as in the period between Jesus breathing His Spirit into the disciples (John 20:22) and Pentecost when the church became empowered (Acts 2). A reverse process will happen. At the beginning of the seven years, the Restrainer, the Holy Spirit, will be removed and there will no longer be any conviction of sin, though the Holy Spirit will still be present in believers until they are raptured. (2 Thess 2) That will be a very dark time indeed. That is why we are instructed to work now because it will be too late then. And Peter tells us that during those dark days it will be prophecy which will guide us until our rescue out of this world.
Many have been taught that the 144,000 Jews in Revelation 7 will be like Billy Graham’s taking the gospel to the world with amazing effect. But this is eisegesis, reading things into the text which are not there. Immediately following in the same chapter is the Rapture of the bride of Christ. It is as if God is suddenly shifting His focus from the Church to the Jews. Another common example of eisegesis is the belief that John being called up into heaven in Revelation 4:1 is the Rapture of the Church. That is not what the text says. It is certainly a type of the Rapture, one among a number in Scripture. At this time, it is extremely important to check all that we have accepted from Bible teachers and make sure that our beliefs agree with what the Bible says and not read things into it, nor put the teachings of men above the Word of God as the Roman Catholic Church and other cults do.
Many pastors have some head knowledge of biblical prophecy, but fail totally in recognizing what is going on around them and seeing the headlines in the media as fulfilment of prophecy. They don’t see the nations closing in on Israel, the rise of Islam, nor the increasing persecution of Christians (and other non-Muslims) as prophecy. And many especially don’t want to preach anything that people might find disturbing. However, shepherds of the flock will have to give an account of how well they have prepared people for unprecedented persecution.
The way Isaiah describes the actions of the Antichrist is exactly what we are seeing now. (Isa 10:5-14) The nations are being plundered and Islam is creeping in with little objection being raised. Do we see big objections to halal foods, prayer rooms for Muslims, an increasing number of mosques and Islamic Centres, a Sharia banking system, and so forth? A recent article titled “Road to Islam: Prayer, peace, prejudice” in The New Zealand Herald illustrates the creeping power of Islam. Several converts to Islam living in New Zealand are interviewed and Islam is discussed in a very positive way. More than 5000 Pakeha and Maori in New Zealand now identify as Muslim and the number of people converting is growing, according to the report. Satan is readying the nations for the acceptance of his Antichrist.
Israel will hold elections next month and if the post-election government does not agree to divide up Israel, the EU members are readying themselves to strike Israel with sanctions, and a former peace envoy says that the UN Security Council is also likely to come against Israel if the new government does not make progress. This is fulfilling prophecy. God’s Word says that He will gather the nations against Israel for their sins before He saves a remnant. These news items are telling us that we are drawing very close to that period called “night.”
We must be awake, alert, sober-minded and watching out for deception. We need to prepare for the coming night, not lie back with a blind optimism believing that somehow everything will turn out right. Because biblical prophecy has shown itself to be true hundreds of times already, and never false, we should be encouraged. The good news is that in the darkness of the night, Jesus will come and rescue His own. Believers who have understood prophecy will see the signs and not be afraid: they will be ready to depart from this world. Jesus will bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. (Heb 9:28) Rest in that blessed hope.
FURTHER END-TIMES DEFINITIONS
Apocalypse refers to the revelation or unveiling of Christ. (Rev 1:1) Apokalypsis means ‘making fully known, revelation, disclosure.
Eschatology – Christian eschatology is the study of what the Bible says is going to happen in the last days or end times from shortly before the return of Christ and including all that will happen upon His return.
Parousia – In Matthew 24 the disciples ask Jesus what will be the sign of His coming (Parousia). The Greek word Parousia means coming, presence or arrival, or someone coming in order to be present. It is used 17 times to refer to the second coming of Christ, four of these in Matthew 24. In first century literature it was used of the visit of an important dignitary to a city or land. In the New Testament it is used as a technical term to speak of the arrival and presence of Christ in glory.
The former pastor of Mars Hill Rob Bell and his wife Kristin have included gay marriage in their new book The ZimZum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage. In an interview with the couple, Oprah Winfrey asked them why they included gay marriage in the book, Bell replied, “One of the oldest aches in the bones of humanity is loneliness. Loneliness is not good for the world. Whoever you are, gay or straight, it is totally normal, natural and healthy to want someone to go through life with. It’s central to our humanity. We want someone to go on the journey with.” He then added: “Lots of people are already there. We think it’s inevitable and we’re moments away from the church accepting it.” Bell warned that if the church keeps resisting same-sex marriage it would “continue to be even more irrelevant.”
Teenagers at a California high school were publicly shamed for disagreeing with speakers allowed to push an LGBT agenda during an English class, according to several upset parents.
Forty years after the Swedish parliament unanimously decided to change the formerly homogenous Sweden into a multicultural country violent crime has increased by 300% and rapes by 700%. Sweden is now number two on the list of rape countries, surpassed only by Lesotho in Southern Africa. In an astounding number of cases, the Swedish courts have demonstrated sympathy for the rapists, and have acquitted suspects who have claimed that the girl wanted to have sex with six, seven or eight men. The perpetrators have been exposed as mainly Somalis without Swedish citizenship.
In America, a Florida father is outraged by his son’s world history book. One part reads, “There is no god, but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God.” Students were instructed to recite this prayer. The history book includes prayers and scriptures from the Qur’an. The chapters on Judaism and Christianity are missing. The school says this is due to a manufacture mistake. The school also said that the Pillars of Islam are benchmarks in the state curriculum and must be taught.
The former chief financial officer of Trinity Broadcasting, America’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.
In a last-ditch effort to avoid a complete collapse of one of the city’s primary water sources, the city of Sao Paulo in Brazil, population 20 million, has proposed cutting off the water supply up to five days a week, allowing residents to access water only twice per week, or about eight times monthly.
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