Signs of the Times: Weather Events

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As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age? in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 
~Matthew 24:3, 7

It’s a common question: What are the signs of the last days?

Unfortunately, some so-called “prophecy experts” sensationalize various natural events (such as blood moons) as signs of the times by taking isolated Scripture out of context.  Jesus Himself simplified things for His disciples, however, when they uttered the same common question regarding the last days.

Jesus warned of false messiahs, wars and rumors of wars, nations and kingdoms rising against one another, and famines and earthquakes.

Here, we spend considerable time discussing world events such as wars and rumors of wars, as well as the rise of the false prophet and the Antichrist.  Today, let’s focus on the weather events that Jesus referred to: earthquakes.

Over the past years, the frequency and severity of earthquakes around the world have shot off the charts.  Here are some statistics:

  • Image result for earthquakes graph by decade

    Earthquakes by Decade

    In a recent 48-hour period, 69 earthquakes hit the Pacific “ring of fire.”

  • 16 of those measured at least 4.5 of the Richter scale.
  • Five of the 69 hit the island-nation of Fiji.
  • An 8.2 magnitude earthquake hit in the Pacific Ocean, fortunately deep enough (over 300 miles) not to cause a tsunami.
  • Experts believe an earthquake of at least 8 on the Richter scale is imminent in California.
  • Related image

    Volcanoes by Decade

    The Pacific “ring of fire” contains 452 volcanoes, which are also highly impacted by tectonic shifts brought about by earthquakes.

Indeed, the earth is shaking like never before in history.  Interestingly, God warned (through the prophet Haggai) He would one day shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land.  He went on to say He will shake the nations and will fill His house with glory (Haggai 2:6-7).  It is a warning that we are living in the last days.

But, be encouraged.  Prophecy is not to scare, but to prepare.  The earth might shake, but we (believers) shall not be shaken!

I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
~Psalm 16:8

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
~Psalm 55:22

My soul waits in silence for God only;
From Him is my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken…
He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
~Psalm 62:1-2, 6

Lift up your heads, dear friends!  Our redemption is drawing near.

Signs and Instructions

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Pull up a chair and get your Bible ready, study friends!  We’re diving into it today.

We have spent almost 11 weeks studying Israel, the covenants, end times and Jesus’ return.  But I want to make one thing clear before we make practical application today.  Roughly 25-35% of the Bible is prophetic (depending upon what Bible expert you ask!)  But we must not focus there while ignoring the rest.  All of God’s Word teaches us how to live, and that is critical.  If Israel and/or prophecy become the only focus, we will be lop-sided Christians!  Know and understand the place of Israel and prophecy in the context of all of Scripture.

Now, let’s make our way toward practical application of that idea!  We’ll consider the signs of the end, then look to “non-prophetic” passages to help us understand how to live.

Here are some signs of the times:

  • Re-birth of Israel.  (Ezekiel 36-37)  Israel cannot invite their King home if there is no home to invite Him to! This is the key prophecy of Jesus’ return, and it occurred May 14, 1948.
  • Godlessness around the world.  (2 Timothy 3:1-5)  In his letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul provided a very long list of moral failures that would occur in the last days.  Take a look at that list and decide for yourself whether or not those verses describe today’s culture.
  • Related imageTremendous increase in natural disasters. (Matthew 24:7)  Worldwide natural disasters have more than doubled since 1980.  Moreover, the intensity of storms and the resulting damage has increased far more.
  • Wars and rumors of war.  (Matthew 24:6)  War has been constant in our world for decades, but nuclear capabilities have risen to a level making those threats of war much more apocalyptic.
  • Russia, Iran, Turkey in coalition.  (Ezekiel 38)  The stage is set for the war of Gog and Magog as described by Ezekiel.  Russia, Iran and Turkey are undeniably identified as the primary players (along with other minor players) in the northern invasion.  Each of those nations now hold military positions on Israel’s border with Syria.
  • Signs of the rise of the false prophet and Antichrist are all over.  Though we (Christians) will be raptured prior to the Antichrist being revealed, we see false prophet and Antichrist-like figures in the world today.

The signs are everywhere! So, what instructions are we given?  Now is the time to open God’s Word, so crack open the Book and let’s take a look!

  • 1 John 2:15-18.  We are not to love this world or the things of it.  Those who please God will live forever.  The last hour is here and the Antichrist is coming.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.  We are all running a race, and we must run to win.  To compete, we must persevere and not give up.  We discipline ourselves so we will not be disqualified.
  • Hebrews 12:1-2.  We must lay aside every encumbrance (sin) that entangles us and keeps us from running the race to win.  When we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, we are guided rightly.

Finally, let’s consider Luke 19:11-13:

While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business with this until I come back.’”

Friends, the kingdom of God is about to appear.  Jesus told a parable that mirrored Himself when He described a nobleman going to a distant country.  He has gone to the heavenly kingdom to prepare a place for us!  But, just as the nobleman in the parable, Jesus left us here, with His resources, to do His business until He returns!

Again, I say: We must be about our Father’s business in these days until He returns.  The time is now…we have no time to delay.  Are you doing business with the resources He left you?

That is my prayer for all of us (myself included!)  As we do His business, let’s be faithful watchmen who shout the warnings to those around us!

We’re nearing the end of the study, but we’re not there yet!  So, I’ll see you tomorrow!

Despite the Rise of One World Order, God is Still in Control

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Hi everyone!  We are finishing up the summary of week 4’s session called “Beyond the Horizon.”  This is part of the study, Why Israel Matters. What is posted here is a summary of a live class being taught at CalvaryPHX in Phoenix AZ on Sunday mornings.  There is more info here, and it is definitely not too late to join us live at 11:00 am in Room 209.

This week we have focused on what happens on earth once believers are taken away in the rapture.  We know that God’s plan for the Jewish people resumes, but difficult times will be in store.  The tribulation will commence and Revelation 17-18 describe the rise and fall of the false prophet (along with One World Religion) and the Antichrist (One World Government).  We’ve even looked at modern day signs that clearly show the stage being set.  But we are left with a question: “What does One World Government need in order to come to fruition?”

In short, it needs one world leader!  Early 20th century leaders knew that.  Here are two examples:

“The nations are ready to give the kingdoms of the world to any one man who will offer us a solution to our world’s problems.”
~British Historian Arnold Toynbee (early 1900’s)

“We do not want another committee, we have too many already.  What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all the people and to lift us up out of the economic morals into which we are sinking.  Send us such a man, and whether he be God or devil, we will receive him.”
~President of the first UN General Assembly, Paul-Henri Spaak (early 1900’s)

The world is looking for a “One World” leader.  Sadly, the world will get what it’s looking for when the Antichrist is revealed.  But take note, believers: we won’t be here!  2 Thessalonians 2:7 says:

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.

You see, while the mystery of lawlessness (evil) has been at work in our world from the beginning, he has been restrained by the Holy Spirit.  Only when the Restrainer is removed, will the Antichrist have free reign (for a short while) to wreck havoc on earth.  Because the Holy Spirit dwells within us as believers (Romans 8:9, 1 Corinthians 3:16), He will depart this earth when we are taken up in the rapture!  We don’t have to worry ourselves, or even try to figure out, who the Antichrist is, because he will be revealed only after we are gone!

But we are seeing the stage being set for the revelation of the Antichrist.  Europe (from which the Antichrist will arise) is in crisis.  Human rights atrocities, immigration of jihadist masses, pro-Muslim/anti-Israel sentiment and movement toward a confederation of states that will ultimately become the 10 horns described in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream are all happening on the world stage even now.

The Vatican has a strategy.  Doors of “unity” are opening to the masses, with the idea of making jihadist immigrants “good people.”  Once God’s Word is thrown out the window and One World Religion takes its place, it will be completely about “being good, saying good and doing good.”

But let’s end with this truth: God is in control…and always will be!  Here are some passages to encourage you:

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
~Colossians 3:1-3

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
~Philippians 3:20-21

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
~John 16:33

Rest in the might of our Lord, Jesus Christ!  No matter what the world throws at us, He will forever rule and reign from His throne!

Nice work this week!  Next week we’ll get into God’s love story with Israel.  If you can make the live study, please do!  If not, join us back here at the virtual study table!  Shalom!

What will the US Peace Plan Look Like?

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Hi friends!  Are you like me…anxiously awaiting the unveiling of the US peace plan?  While I believe the peace plan will offer the Palestinians unprecedented resources to better the lives of their people, I will be shocked if they ever agree to a peace plan with Israel.  Why?   Because they don’t want peace with Israel…they want to convince the world of the Jewish “occupation.” That “sells.”  It gives them a degree of legitimacy on the world stage, and garners the sympathy of those who will financially support them.

But the White House is confident they can cut the “deal of all deals” and have some degree of peace in the Middle East. If the Palestinians will not come to the table, how can that be accomplished?

As you know, President Trump made a landmark trip to the Middle East soon after his election.  During that trip, he began to build bridges with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the Emirates, while re-establishing strong ties with Egypt and Jordan.  The past week or so has been full of visits between foreign leaders of those countries and the US and Israel.  They are locking the soon-to-be-announced plan into place.  But how will it differ from the previous attempts at peace?

First, it is not just an Israeli-Palestinian deal.  Trump’s plan is to bring about peaceful coexistence between the aforementioned Arab nations and Israel. For decades, the US has tried to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, thinking that would spawn opportunities for peace throughout the Middle East.  President Trump turned that idea on its head and is offering a new plan: peace in the broader Middle East, forcing the Palestinians to either come to the negotiating table with a sincere desire for peace, or risk losing its Arab allies in the region.  Indeed, I believe that is at stake for the Palestinians.

Will it be a political deal?  Some (including me) think not.  I believe it will be a business/economic deal, whereby relations will be normalized between those Arab countries and Israel, and they will share in initiatives such as transportation, agriculture, technology, etc.  It is believed the Palestinians will be offered the same working relationships and unprecedented aid in making life better for their people, yet they will not be given Jerusalem as their capital.  They will probably be offered land (perhaps in the Sinai Peninsula), but they will likely decline the deal.  (Currently, they are refusing to even talk to the US negotiating team, and to my knowledge, have not even allowed conversations about peace with Arab countries.)

“The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity!”
~Abba Eban, The Jerusalem Post, 11/18/2002

The plan will force the hand of the Palestinians, who will be left out and without an ally in the region, other than Iran and Turkey.  Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the Emirates, Jordan and Egypt will all enjoy the benefits of collaborative efforts with Israel.

Interestingly, when Ezekiel describes the War of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38), those nations are NOT described as part of the coalition that comes against Israel!  Thus, we again see the stage being set for the Northern Invasion.

Now…one last thing before we call it a day.  Some are saying, “Well, if President Trump is bringing peace to the Middle East, couldn’t he be the Antichrist?”  No.  While he may be successful in closing a deal, it will not be as Scripture describes.  In our English translations, Daniel 9:27 indicates the Antichrist will “make” or “confirm” a treaty with Israel.  However, in Hebrew, the word means “to intensify, to make spectacular.”  Thus, a peace plan could be in place when the Antichrist comes on the scene, and he will intensify it.  “How,” you ask?  By allowing the Jews to rebuild their temple!  THAT is what will win the Jews over!

Finally, the Bible also says the Antichrist will come from the same region as the empire that destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD.  The United States was not around in 70 AD!  The Antichrist will not come from America!  However, if you read this morning’s post entitled Rise of “Mystery Babylon,” you know exactly from what region the Antichrist will come!  So if you missed it, go back and read it!

We live in very exciting times, don’t we!  We are seeing the Lord bring about the culmination of His plan for the Gentiles, and SOON, we could hear the trumpet sound and be out of here!  Keep your eyes on Israel…God’s time piece.  The final moments are ticking away!