Be Very Alert!- By Val Hollard (NZ)
On Watch at the Door. No 209, December 15, 2015
Every month reveals much more evil than the previous one. Deception is rife.
Hatred of Christianity and our God is on the rise. Recently I had a woman to whom I was trying to witness yell at me and accuse my God of all the evil in the world. It is her god that is the problem. Mine has the solution.
Recently 14,000 people attended the Parliament of Religions in Salt Lake City where a clear animosity against Christians was evident. One of the speakers was Diana Butler Bass. She says that conventional, comforting Christianity has failed and does not work. She is looking forward to a new spiritual awakening which is a Great Returning to ancient understanding of the human quest for the divine. In a book of hers she openly rejects the Cross and the atonement. Rob Bell, author of Love Wins, Shane Clairborne who was mentored by Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren have all glowingly endorsed it.
How can the Christian community cope when their leaders express doubts? Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury made news when he admitted that the terror attacks in Paris made him doubt the presence of God. Hasn’t he read the Bible?
The Bible predicts all this evil in the last days. But God is still on the throne and in command, and He will bring much good out of the evil. Justin Welby has no understanding of Islam. According to him, the manner in which ISIS militants had distorted their faith, so that they believe their acts are glorifying their god, is “one of the most desperate aspects of our world today.” But ISIS is true to the Qur’an!
Pope Francis is equally clueless. Recently he told worshippers in a mosque in the Central African Republic that “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters.”
There is a really desperate need in the church today for leaders who understand the signs of the times and are preparing their flocks for hard times and persecution. I listened with despair to Paul Wilkinson at the Berean Call Conference say that the teaching that the church may have to go through some part of the last seven years has left people in England in fear of how they are going to get through that period. Will they be strong enough to resist the mark of the Beast? Paul said he was able to reassure them and tell them that they wouldn’t be here then. Another Paul several thousand years ago told Christians to stand firm and not be frightened of those who oppose them. Not being frightened is to be a sign to the opposers that they will be destroyed, but believers will be saved – and that by God. (Phil 1:27-28)
It leaves me astounded that a good Christian like Paul Wilkinson could teach something like this! Recently we have seen dozens of Christians beheaded because they wouldn’t renounce their faith in Jesus. What is the difference between that and deciding whether or not to take the mark of the Beast? And then we have John McArthur telling people they can take the mark of the Beast and then repent. The Bible makes it quite clear that this will not be an option. May God raise up leaders who prepare their flock for hard times and don’t teach distorted views of Scripture, comforting sermons, and that we should all be rich and not suffer!
There is increasing fear in the world. In Europe and other places women and girls are becoming too frightened to go out alone in case they are raped, the United States has issued a worldwide travel alert warning American citizens of “increased terrorist threats” in the wake of the Paris attacks, terrorism is now the most important issue for American voters, Brussels has been in lock-down, and according to one commentator fear has engulfed the whole of Europe. Now is the time for Christians to grasp what the Bible teaches about coping with fear.
I’ve often told people to watch Turkey! Turkey has a population of about 76 million and 98% are Muslim. For some time Turkey has been a secular Muslim country, but under Erdogan they are becoming increasingly more radical. Turkey hates Jews, Israel, Christians, Kurds, and as we have just seen Russia too. It secretly loves ISIS as millions of dollars of oil that ISIS has stolen passes into Turkey. Large numbers of the ‘refugees’ have come to Europe via Turkey. Now Angela Merkel is wooing Turkey as she wants the refugees to stay in Turkey. Leaders of the EU are offering billions of dollars to Turkey to raise the refugees’ standard of living to keep them there. Turkey is also demanding to be included in the EU’s Schengen area so that its citizens can enjoy visa-free travel in Europe. Imagine millions of Turkish Muslims who are becoming increasingly radical pouring into Europe legally!
Israel’s SodaStream has become the target of the Palestine Human Rights group in New Zealand. The group launched the first of its planned protests around the country in Hamilton to try and get Israeli products off the shelves. SodaStream previously had a factory within a settlement in the so-called West Bank. SodaStream has now shifted its factory to the Negev. The PHRNZ says the boycotts and handing out fliers will continue as long as it is made anywhere in Israel. As they are not just focussed on the West Bank settlements, their real intention seems to be to destroy Israel as a nation. When the factory was in the West Bank, the Palestinian employees were given pay and benefits far higher than anything else they could find there. Will all these unemployed Palestinians now fill their idle hours planning on how to kill even more Israelis?
A recent poll has found that 48% of Palestinians interviewed believe the real goal of the present “intifada” is to destroy all Israel as a nation which would be replaced by a Palestinian state. The actions of the PHRNZ seem to support this same view.
The demonstrators say they are using the same tactics as were used against apartheid in South Africa to influence change. Israeli ambassador to New Zealand Yosef Livne has condemned the movement’s tactics, and said that they were using a well-known anti-Israel scare tactic employed by people motivated by hatred and ignorance. Israel is anything but an apartheid state. Bless Israel: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” (Num 6:24-26)
Going back to Paul Wilkinson and his talk at the Berean Call Conference, it seems that pre-tribulationists are getting desperate to find ways to stop an ever-increasing number of people falling away from their views. Paul says that a view that puts the church in the tribulation (last 7 years) is a form of Replacement Theology as the church will suffer what God has planned for the Jews. It is believed that God deals with the church and Israel separately, but this is not borne out by history. God has never stopped dealing with the Jews. The Temple was destroyed during the church age, as was the restoration of Israel as a nation in 1948. Paul also said that the pre-tribulation view is a form of Protestant purgatory. He doesn’t seem to understand what Roman Catholic purgatory is all about.
I have heard pre-tribulationists cry out “Please don’t take away my blessed hope.” Paul expresses this view too. But Christians right down the centuries have always had the blessed hope. It is not the Rapture, though this may be included for some, it is the resurrection and being with Jesus. Otherwise millions of Christians would never have had that hope fulfilled. Paul also claims that believing in a pre-tribulation Rapture motivates holy living. My Bible teaches that we should always be motivated to live holy lives! We could go to be with the Lord at any moment.
Near the end Tom McMahon joins in. There appears to be terrible trouble coming for people who are not pre-tribulationists. Tom refers to 2 Thessalonians 2 and says that those who have not loved the truth and who impose their own views will be sent a strong delusion by God. Really? Jacob Prasch says we shouldn’t divide over this issue and I agree. Pre-tribulationists, however, should defend their views based on Scripture and not on clichés that have no support in Scripture or in history. The things Paul says are what I used to say before shifting my views.
An impressive line-up of people is blaming terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere on global warming. The list includes Obama, Prince Charles and UN top-dog Ban Ki-Moon. They ignore all the evidence to the contrary. And why does climate change turn Muslims into radical terrorists but not those in other religions?
We have been shocked by the increasing number of mass killings in countries like France and America by Islamic terrorists who are simply following what the Qur’an teaches. So it is with horror to see that our city of Hamilton has been warned by social agencies at the forefront of helping refugees that if it ignores the plight of refugees, i.e., doesn’t give them good housing, provide jobs, etc., then we can expect things to happen as is happening in France. Why, may I ask, are we bringing in such people as refugees? Many New Zealanders face the same problems that were raised but they don’t go around shooting people. Lord, please give us Christian refugees! Maranatha! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
CHRISTMAS IS COMING – OR IS IT GOING?
For Christians it is a personal choice how you celebrate Christmas, or if you even celebrate it, but Jesus should always be the focus. Nevertheless, celebrating Christmas in some way is a cultural tradition in New Zealand even if it is a mainly secular festival. Now there are people who want to change the name of this holiday to something more “culturally sensitive” so that non-Christians, in particular new migrants, can feel more comfortable.
Human Rights Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy, patron of the Auckland Regional Migrant Services (Arms), has aroused the ire of some people by saying that Arms will be avoiding the word Christmas and will instead be talking about “happy holidays” and “season’s greetings” and a “festive lunch.” Although this move might be considered good for migrants, it flies in the face of what New Zealand stands for, and would see our country slipping even further away from its Christian roots to see Christmas called by any other name. There is the added danger that Muslims would see this move by Arms as an acknowledgement that if they find something of our culture offensive, they can speak up and we will adjust to suit them.
However, even secularists are saying this is a step too far and believe that migrants should be taught how to be New Zealanders. They want to keep Santa, Christmas carols, Christmas cards, and all the other (pagan!) trimmings.
Christmas is gradually being outlawed around the world. In the UK, Muslim teachers at a state-funded school led children to chant, “Do we send Christmas cards? No!” and “Do we celebrate Christmas? No!” Primary schools and kindergartens in Germany have decided to do away with a Christian celebration and are replacing it with a generic “festival of lights” so as not to offend Muslims. Muslims in Maryland US have been successful in banning Christmas in schools there because it is offensive to them. Brussels has also banned Christmas trees because they are offensive to Muslims. Here in Hamilton we have no problem as yet with Christmas trees. Hamilton proudly boasts the tallest Christmas tree in New Zealand at 27 metres in the centre of the city, Garden Place. And it will be shining extra brightly this year, with more than 3000 new lights hanging from its branches.
This will be the last Alert! for a while as I take a break. I wish you all a joyous and blessed Christmas/Hanukkah and a prosperous New Year. Whatever you do, don’t let other issues rob you of your main focus: your relationship and walk with the Lord Jesus Christ and our blessed hope in the resurrection. Don’t forget to be good Bereans and check everything I say. But it is my great desire to see you all fully prepared for what is coming and to be kept on the narrow way, so that you will receive a joyous reception when you reach your final home.
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