Welcome to Looking Up

The name of this blog is taken from Luke 21:28 where Jesus says: “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

Daniel 9:18 – God’s Great Mercy

What a difference it makes when someone humbles himself before the Lord versus standing before Him and defiantly saying that he’ll continue on in life in his own way.  The outcome for the person who bows his knee completely to God receives His blessings and favor.  In contrast, the one who chooses the path of rebellion earns only trouble.

I know of a person who is in this position right now.  God made a way for him to gain freedom from the bondage that he brought upon himself in his past.  To realize what the Lord would have for him meant that he needed to totally surrender himself to certain disciplines, to be patient in the process, and to persist with a heart wholly committed toward God in obedience.

That’s a problem.  This person has a rebellious streak.  He continues to declare that he’s going to solve the issues in his life his own way.  He had a wonderful opportunity to grow closer to God in an environment where he could learn, study, and grow, but he squandered it.  For some reason he got the notion that his problems have a quick fix to them rather than requiring him to diligently work through them.  Good luck with that.

In the book of Daniel, we see a man who is completely humbled before God.  His heart is completely soft toward the things the Lord wishes to convey to him.  Since his youth he has desired to live his life God’s way, and He has immensely favored him.  Daniel chose to follow God rather than the ways of man.  When challenged to turn from the Lord and worship idols, Daniel chose believing loyalty in Yahweh alone.  This created the opportunity for God to pour out dreams and visions, and to use Daniel as a conduit for prophetic utterances that have had incredible influence upon believers.  Someone who is committed to God creates such conditions.  A person in rebellion never will.

One of the things that Daniel did was to take responsibility for the sins of his people.  Of course, these transgressions came at the hands of a stiff-necked people who simply wouldn’t do what God required.  It earned them severe consequences.  Don’t we have to take responsibility for ourselves rather than play the victim?  In a deeply profound prayer, Daniel spoke of the iniquities of Israel that he knew of which required repentance.  However, first, he reiterated a great truth about Yahweh.  We see this in Daniel 9:4:

I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments…”

He stated who God is: One who keeps His Word and pours out love and blessings on those who faithfully obey Him.  This is our God, just as it was Daniel’s God.  The Lord doesn’t change.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Daniel listed the sins of Israel that caused her to go into captivity.  Here are several noted in Daniel 9:

  • Did wrong (v5)
  • Acted wickedly (v5)
  • Rebelled (v5)
  • Turned aside from God’s commands (v5)
  • Didn’t listen (v6)
  • Committed treachery (v7)
  • Didn’t obey (v 10)

We learn in 1 Samuel 15:33:

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry…

For all intents and purposes, when the person I spoke about above disobeyed what God graciously had for him and rebelled in that, he was practicing witchcraft.  By elevating his own way over the way of God, he was worshiping himself and committing idolatry.  This has opened demonic doors that God will not shut until this person learns obedience.  The precedence from ancient Israel to today is clear.  Daniel expressed this as he continued praying in Daniel 9:11:

All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him.

These curses are laid out in Deuteronomy 28 and speak of the blessings and curses of God.  When anyone attempts to defy the Lord, he walks in sin and is an open conduit for the demonic.  A person’s or a nation’s disobedience removes God’s hand of protection, which allows the forces of darkness free reign in that situation.

What does it take to reverse course?  Again, we learn from this incredible man of God what is necessary.  It requires one to humbly – humbly – come before God in surrender and repentance, having a true and heartfelt desire to get right with the Lord.  Look at what this prophet prayed in Daniel 9:17-18:

Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy.

Look at the appeal for God’s mercy that is present simply because He is righteous (and we are not).

The astounding thing in this passage is how God answered Daniel’s prayer.  Daniel had come before God entreating Him about restoring the Jews back to Israel after the prophesied seventy years of captivity in Babylon.  In response, the Lord would certainly do that, but He also gave Daniel vision and insight into the far future of Israel.  Israel would indeed be restored, but in that latter time she must endure terrible destruction in order for her transgressions to finally be atoned for.  Surely this is not what Daniel wanted to hear, but it was what God had purposed.

The person that I discuss here may have to go through extremely challenging circumstances if he ever wants to get right with God.  I don’t know how it will play out.  Before any of that can occur, the Holy Spirit must convict him of his sin of rebellion, and he must rid himself of the disobedience that rules in his life.  I can only pray that God will bring him to complete brokenness for this to happen.  Until then, his life will have nothing but problems and frustration.  This is the way it was and has been for Israel; the same principles apply today for that nation and in our personal lives.

Until we choose life in Christ through obedience to Him, what can we expect other than trouble?

1 John 5: 5 – Who Overcomes the World?

Once more we need to deal with a controversial issue.  It’s a great separator of those who believe in the pre-Tribulation Rapture and those who are post-Tribulational in their understanding.  But it doesn’t stop there, even among pre-Tribbers this idea is troubling.  I don’t say that the controversy causes division necessarily, but it does create a rift in the outlook many of us have in regards to these end times.

What could this issue be that is so arguable among believers?  It has to do with imminence and attachment to the world.  Nothing to see here, let’s move on – right?  Not so fast.

I actually wrote about this subject a couple years ago.  The essay was posted to Rapture Ready as I recall, and it disturbed some folks, so I know it touches a nerve.

Here’s the thesis posed as a couple of questions: If we are looking for the (soon) return of Christ to snatch us away from this world, why are we fighting so hard for this world?  What is the implication of this as to future generations?

Most believers can agree that Jesus is returning some day, i.e. His 2nd Coming.  The question is one of timing for many.  There is a large swath of those, whom I have no doubt are truly saved, but insist that believers will go through the Tribulation, and that how we deal with this impacts our children for years afterward.  On the other hand, many of those who believe Jesus will return prior to the Tribulation, who trust in the doctrine of imminency, also look at the world as a seemingly permanent place of residence and want to continue fighting to make it better.

On the surface, you might ask what’s wrong with this?  Aren’t we to occupy until Jesus comes?  Absolutely.  The issue becomes how tightly we hold on while occupying.

For me, it comes down to what Scripture says as to how we’re to live.  This connects deeply with Bible prophecy.  When we examine the literal Word of God regarding the end times, in my mind there is a straight progression downhill.  I read all that the Bible outlines as to the heart of man and where that leads, and I don’t know how others come up with the interpretation that they do.

God has clearly shown us in His Word what happened to His Chosen People as they turned away from Him.  He was exceedingly merciful, but He reached a point of no return.  Once the Israelites crossed this line, their destruction was sure.  God declared it would happen, and it did.  First the Northern Kingdom of Israel lost its sovereignty to Assyria, then the Southern Kingdom of Judah became a byword following its defeat to Babylon.  Similarly, in Jesus’ time, He prophesied the end of Israel and it came to pass, initially with the destruction of the temple and later completely after a final rebellion against Rome.  God compared Israel and His people as worse than Sodom and Gomorrah in their abominations and could no longer tolerate their disobedience.  They loved their sin too much and the corruption in their midst from top to bottom of society was so thorough that the people were irredeemable.  Their hearts were toward other gods and the innocent blood they’d shed cried out.  What was left among them to save other than a remnant?

William Shakespeare from his play The Tempest declared that the past is prologue to the present.  Similarly Karl Marx said that “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”  I don’t agree with Marx in any of his ideology, but this statement certainly rings true.  The fate of Israel was a tragedy.  What is occurring in America and the world today is indeed a farce because we should have known better given the prologue from the past.

Why do we think that after aborting 70 million babies – the literal killing of innocents – that our nation deserves any kind of reprieve?  Why in the world when half the country celebrates abortion and much of the other half abides with it that such a nation can be redeemed?  At the same time, corruption has taken hold in every level of government and in the vast majority of corporations and different realms of society.  Satan has his hand on the throttle, and he’s accelerating like a madman.  All signs, from both the human realm and the physical, are flashing red.  What is happening all around us in every sphere is the classic definition of convergence of end times events.  Make no mistake in this: God is in control.  He is allowing Satan a free hand.  Nothing Satan does is outside of what God allows.

If we’re not at a point where God finally throws up His hands and says that He’s had enough with mankind’s deceitful and rebellious ways, I don’t know what that would look like pre-Rapture.

That being the case, why are believers fighting to improve this world and more specifically our nation?  What is the attachment?  Isn’t there a time for every believer when he should say along with God, “Enough is enough”?  When will we stop holding onto this world and all the things in it?  What does God intend for us as believers?  Are we to grasp this life and hang onto it, or are we to hold it loosely?  When do we realize the truth that we should be in the world but not of it?  Is there a point where we determine the world is clinging to us and that we have to break free of its grasp?

Even more importantly, what does our attitude toward this world, and how we continue to keep trying to push back against the darkness, impact our children?  Think about this.  Let’s say that believers rise up and somehow defy Bible prophecy.  Suppose we’re able to insert a massive revival into the prophetic timeline prior to the Tribulation?  What is the implication of that?

Obviously, believers who have succeeded in this effort get a reprieve.  The darkness stops closing in, light returns for a time, and we don’t have to deal with the mess of chaos or lawlessness that is closing in so rapidly.  We delay it.  We win.  Hoorah!  Our lives get better and all is good – right?

King Hezekiah had a similar moment in his life.  The prophet Isaiah informed him that he should get his affairs in order, as he was going to die.  This distressed him, and he prayed for a reprieve.  God heard his prayer, and Isaiah immediately returned to let Hezekiah know that He had graciously given him another fifteen years of life.  But consider this exchange in 2 Kings 20:16-19:

Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. And some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”

The remainder of Hezekiah’s life would be one of tranquility.  However, destruction would come upon his house following his death.  Did that concern him?  Nope.  He apparently had no concern for his children.  Since Hezekiah would have peace and security, all was well.

Is there a parallel for today?  I think so.  Bible prophecy will come to pass.  If it doesn’t, then God isn’t God and His Word is no longer trustworthy and true.  If the satanic darkness of today is delayed, it will still come sometime upon America and the world.  Our generation thus gets a pass if we’re successful in pushing back, but at some future time, perhaps even the very next generation, all this mess will return.  It must.  As a result, we’ve kicked the can down the road and given it to our children.  The cup that was meant for us passes to our kids.

Isn’t there something wrong with this thinking?  Perhaps the church simply doesn’t think in these terms.  It seems to me to be exceptionally selfish.  The apostle in 1 John 5:3-5 states:

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Where is our faith when we encounter Bible prophecy?  Do we believe it or reject it?  Isn’t saying yes to what God has ordained part of our victory in overcoming the world?  Shouldn’t our attitude in these last days be one in which we strengthen our faith through the Word of God and then stand strong in it?  Is standing the same as fighting?  Are our brothers and sisters in Christ in the 10/40 Window able to fight against the powerful forces of Islam, Hinduism, or Communism?  Or do they simply seek God more diligently so that they can stand in the day of their trial?  What about us?

This is a thorny issue, and it certainly runs counter to the prevailing narrative.  The question becomes: How will we overcome the world?  What does the way we respond now mean to those who might potentially come after us?

Perhaps we should bolster our faith, face the darkness as children of the light, and shine with the grace and love of Christ.  Maybe we are the generation which is to go through these times.  If so, how does that change our response to this gathering gloom?  What does that mean for us as believers in such a time as this?

1 John 4:18 – Whoever Fears

God’s purpose in raising up Israel as a nation – as His Chosen People – was for the Jews to be a light to the world.  In this responsibility, they were to represent the Holy One of Israel so that all peoples in all nations would be drawn to Him (see Genesis 12:3, Psalm 72).  By and large, Israel failed in this task, however, Daniel was one Jew who was a wonderful example of what this blessing to the nations looked like.  Through the ability that God had given him to interpret dreams, and because of his steadfast faith in the face of adversity, Daniel demonstrated the wisdom, might, and authority of the living God.  His example, along with how God dealt with the pride of the king, brought Nebuchadnezzar into a saving relationship with him.  There were other kings that followed because of Daniel who also came to know the Living God.

Once the kingdom of the Medes and Persians succeeded Babylon, Daniel remained in a position of authority.  It was known that he represented the God of gods, had no specific loyalty to any kingdom of man, and served Yahweh only, which in turn enabled him to serve the king well, whichever nation this king represented.  Through this service, Daniel distinguished himself (Daniel 6:3), and this caused intense jealousy among his pagan peers.  As an ambassador of the King of kings, Daniel’s conduct was above reproach.  These petty men could find no fault in him with which to accuse and bring him down (Daniel 6:4).  They hated Daniel and could not countenance who he was and the favor he had with King Darius.  In the minds of these schemers, Daniel’s Achilles heel was his faith and worship of God – whom these men hated.

The Medes and Persians had a strange law.  A king who signed a decree was subject to that decree, even though he was the one who initiated it.  The high officials in the court of King Darius plotted how to trip up Daniel and remove him from power.  They hoodwinked Darius and had him sign into law a decree that no one could worship any “god” except the king.  Upon attaching his signature to this bogus legislation, Darius could not revoke it.

When Daniel heard of this, it didn’t faze him.  He would bow down to none other than Yahweh.  His believing loyalty was such that even if worshiping God meant his death, he would be faithful.  We read in Daniel 6:10:

When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.

That day was just like any other for Daniel regardless of the consequences.  He was the personification of what the apostle latter wrote in 1 John 4:18:

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Daniel was perfected in love and had no fear.  Of course, this led to his guilt before the unjust law.  When Darius realized the trap that had been set and into which he walked, Daniel 6:14 relates:

Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him.

But there was nothing he could do.  The penalty for Daniel’s transgression was death by being cast into the lions’ den.  Darius did what he must under the law but declared at that point in Daniel 6:16:

… “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!”

The king had a bad night.  He hated what he’d done and agonized continually with no sleep.  Daniel 6:19-20 relates what happened next:

Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”

Think about this.  There was no way Daniel would be alive after spending the night in a den of hungry lions.  Yet, Darius knew that Daniel’s God was like no other.  With hope upon impossible hope, the king calls out to Daniel.  Was there some way that this God Daniel served had rescued him?

Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened, and Daniel 6:21-22 relates:

Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”

The king was overjoyed, but he was also enraged at the men who had put both him and Daniel through this trial.  Darius had the officials and all their families thrown into that very lions’ den Daniel had just been in as punishment for having maliciously accused this favored son of the Most High God.

But it was through this ordeal that Daniel endured which caused God’s light to shine and to turn the heart of another pagan king so that he also would serve the Lord.  Darius’ subsequent decree declared that Yahweh is “the living God” who “delivers and rescues.”  Moreover, in the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, “in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.” (Daniel 6:26-27)

Daniel had done in faith what he was supposed to do.  He brought the light of God and His blessing.  This second mightiest of all kingdoms prospered because of this.

Briefly, for comparison, let’s consider the actions of the church and those in it today.  When COVID began, it’s understandable that no one knew how serious it might be.  Fear porn was rampant with predictions of untold numbers of potential deaths.  Churches by and large bought into this narrative.  They submitted with great apprehension to the fear.  When the government and the medical establishment spoke, the church listened and obeyed.  Rather than rising up as the people of God, churches obediently closed.  It was exactly what the purveyors of the COVID scam intended.  They hate God.  Anything they could do to harm His people by keeping them from gathering was what their father the devil wanted.

Only a very few pastors had the integrity and faith to keep their churches open for whomever in their congregation desired to continue in the assembly of the saints.  Some pastors did this to their detriment because of unjust laws or executive orders that had been instituted.

The vast majority of churches did not shine God’s light in the midst of this turmoil.  They failed in their God-given duty to know the times, to declare God’s justice and mercy, and to dispel the darkness that this manufactured chaos brought.

There were only a few Daniels in all the world.  Is it any wonder that we’re at the end of the Church Age?  The Beast System is rising.  The church is shrinking back just as the Bible prophesies that it would.  Apostasy is rampant.

Will we stand in the way of Daniel against this deadly tide of hate that is causing so many to fall away?  Or will we determine in our hearts to worship God and serve Him regardless of the consequences?

Daniel 4:25 – Till You Know

The greatest pagan king in the history of the world became a believer in the Most High God after He taught him many lessons of who He is and humbled this man in an amazing way.  King Nebuchadnezzar became an absolute vessel of God for the fulfillment of His purposes.  The king was steeped in pagan culture and in the ways of the gods of Babylon.  He was full of himself, prideful and arrogant.  Yet, the Lord brought him to a knowledge and reverence of Him and turned his heart.  Nebuchadnezzar’s story is one of the most dramatic in all of the Bible.

None of this happened overnight.  Nebuchadnezzar is a textbook example of Proverbs 21:1 which says:

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.

Yahweh had raised up this king to become the most powerful ruler of the greatest kingdom in the world.  Assyria, the most feared of all nations because of its brutality, was lesser than Babylon.  God gave Nebuchadnezzar the prophetic dream of kingdoms to come that Daniel described and interpreted.  It showed Nebuchadnezzar and his rule as the golden head, greater than any other.  That had to swell the king’s pride to unimaginable proportions, but that encounter with this Jewish youth also set the stage for Nebuchadnezzar’s eventual conversion.  It was in this experience of having the dream, and in Daniel’s ability to hear from God, that the king got an inkling that Yahweh was greater than any of the gods he knew of and worshiped.  After all, Daniel proclaimed who this God was in making known the dream.  He said in Daniel 2:45:

“… A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this … “

Nebuchadnezzar then acknowledged this truth in thought and words, but not yet from his heart, when he stated in Daniel 2:47:

…“Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.”

But this was only the start of the internal change that was to come.

The king’s next coming face-to-face with the Lord came when he erected the giant image of himself for all to bow down and worship.  What hubris!  But remember, Daniel had told him how mighty his kingdom was.  Why wouldn’t he exalt himself upon learning of this?

However, it was in this episode that Nebuchadnezzar saw true faith in action when Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego wouldn’t worship the king.  They were willing to die rather than give their loyalty to any but their God.  How confounding this must have been for the king!  Naturally, it made him furious, but his tune changed quickly when the three youths emerged from the fiery furnace intact.  Just as puzzling for Nebuchadnezzar was his having seen the fourth man in the fire with an appearance “like a son of the gods.” (Daniel 3:25)  None of the gods the Babylonians worshiped ever appeared like this to save their faithful ones.  Who was this God that these young men followed?

All this certainly made Nebuchadnezzar reflect on the gods of his people and this God of the Jews.  The Holy Spirit was working in his heart, but he was still king of the most powerful and glorious nation upon the earth.  Who was he to bow to anyone or anything, even the God who astounded him by His actions?

But Yahweh had a plan.  The first part of it occurred when Nebuchadnezzar had another dream that Daniel interpreted.  To Daniel’s horror he saw how this fearsome king would be brought low.  He had to relate what he saw, and surely Nebuchadnezzar pondered its significance.  But how was he to know the way it would actually play out?  In his ignorance, he didn’t take God’s warning to heart.

The decree of foretelling came from God Most High through His divine messengers.  The Watchers in Yahweh’s Divine Council had determined beforehand what the punishment would be for the king upon proclaiming himself as greater than God.  This happened in Daniel 4:30:

…and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?”

That was the tipping point.  The Lord brought down the hammer of judgment upon him as related in Daniel 4:25:

… that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.”

The nature of this lesson was repeated several times (Daniel 4:17,32).  Nebuchadnezzar would be as a beast in the field until he knew God.  This happened and the transformation in his heart occurred.  Daniel 4:34 tells us:

“At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever…”

Even better, he said in Daniel 4:37:

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

This king of kings had been humbled by the Lord Most High.  No longer did he believe that he was the mightiest being in the world.  There was a God in heaven far beyond him in authority, power, and glory.

The Holy Spirit had worked in this man’s life.  Nebuchadnezzar gave his heart to God.  We will see him in heaven.  Won’t it be amazing to hear this king’s story of conversion from his own lips?

1 John 2:18 – Antichrists

Who is an antichrist?  Between the book of Daniel and John’s writings, we get a good indication.  More than that, we also get a glimpse of THE Antichrist.

When King Nebuchadnezzar took Daniel and his three friends to Babylon, because of their faithfulness to God, He honored and blessed them.  The key to this blessing was how they responded to the food that was given to them.  The reason Daniel believed it would defile them was because it had been offered to the pagan gods of the Babylonians.  Note what Paul said in this regard in 1 Corinthians 8:7:

However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.

The ancient Israelites continually sought after other gods.  In so doing, they emulated the ways of the surrounding pagan nations.  To honor and appease their gods, they sacrificed meat and drink to them.  The Jews doing this were exceptionally weak in faith toward Yahweh and did likewise.  Thus they defiled themselves.  Daniel wanted nothing to do with this practice; even the hint of potentially eating food offered to any god but Yahweh was anathema to him.  For Daniel’s faithfulness – his believing loyalty – the Lord rewarded him.  As Daniel 1:17 says:

As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

Moreover, Daniel 1:20 tells us:

And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom.

When the king had his astounding dream of the kingdoms in the world that were to come, the “wise” men in Nebuchadnezzar’s service were helpless in responding to the demand that they first describe the dream before giving its interpretation.  But as Daniel prayed and glorified God in Daniel 2:23, he shows us what the Lord did for him:

“To you, O God of my fathers,

    I give thanks and praise,

for you have given me wisdom and might,

    and have now made known to me what we asked of you,

    for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”

In simple terms, God anointed Daniel with wisdom and the ability to interpret dreams and visions.  The enchanters and sorcerers had no such anointing because they were not of God.  As we’ll see in a moment, they were antichrists.

When someone comes to the Father in Spirit and in Truth and keeps his commandments, he is blessed as 1 John 2:5-6 describes:

… but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

This walk comes from acknowledging Jesus Christ as the Son of God and as Savior and Lord.  Upon giving God glory by placing our faith and trust in Him, He transforms us and makes us different from those in the world who refuse to rely on Him.  The difference is pointed out in 1 John 2:26-27:

I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

By our turning to God, He gives us His anointing.  It’s different for everyone, but just as Daniel received the anointing of the gifts to enable him to gain favor with Nebuchadnezzar, we likewise as followers of Jesus receive the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit to enable us to walk in holiness, righteousness, and in the fullness of God.  All this results because we love God and do what He says.

In contrast are those of a different mindset that the apostle warns of in 1 John 2:15:

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

The distinction is clear.  If we truly love God, we won’t love the world.  If someone loves the world, he has nothing to do with the Father.  Lovers of God have the blessing noted in 1 John 2:20:

But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.

God provides us with this special anointing and protection because of the darkness that will soon be upon us.  It is coming because, as 1 John 2:18-19 declares:

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

There are those in the world – even coming from the church – who should know God and give Him their lives.  However, they have chosen not to.  These men and women are false prophets and teachers.  They are antichrists, having no real difference from the Chaldeans of Daniel’s day who practiced magic arts and deceived those around them.  Antichrists are deceivers and liars because they don’t know the Father.  As Jesus said to and of such men in John 8:44:

“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

And so we see a glimpse of the man who will be the son of perdition, the man of lawlessness (John 17:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:3).  The Antichrist will lie and deceive beyond what we can imagine.  His anointing – if we wish to call it that – will be from his father the devil.  Satan will impart to Antichrist all his power and the wiles by which he has deceived mankind since the Garden.  The antichrists in the time of Daniel and those around us today are mere shadows of what this man of sin will be.  The whole world will fall for what he says and does – to the destruction of many.

Yet, there will be those who resist.  The love of Christ will enter them and the Holy Spirit will fall upon them to give them truth.  But the price they’ll pay for coming to the Lord during this time is great.  They will suffer persecution and death as the cost of faith in Christ.  Despite that, these believers during the Tribulation when Antichrist reigns will save their souls.  All who follow Antichrist will lose them.

How much easier is it today, before Antichrist is revealed to the world, for us to choose Christ and to live for Him!  Since we know this, shouldn’t we do all that we can to snatch as many around us as possible from the fire to come?

1 John 1:6 – Fellowship With Him

Light and darkness.  Truth and falsehood.  These concepts and realities are becoming more clear every day.  As the world spirals downward toward its oblivion that will be marked by the 7-year Tribulation, the difference between those things which are God-given, and those which oppose all that He is and does, is growing greater.  The apostle says that believers can and should know the difference.  In 1 John 1:5-6 he states:

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

The issue comes down to one of fellowship with the Father through His Son Jesus Christ.  We can claim all we want that we are Christians.  But words mean things; they can also be deceptively used.  The real question is whether we live out what we proclaim.  Are we exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit that is definitely a marker regarding our relationship with the Lord?  True fellowship with God should result in the characteristics and virtues Paul lays out in Galatians 5:22-23:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…

Can someone not born-again exhibit these qualities?  Probably some of them.  But isn’t there something indefinable about each one of these in a person who is saved?  Because a Christ-follower should also be concerned about those around him in the community of believers, as well as for those who don’t know Christ, perhaps that hidden aspect of these attributes is the focus.  The believer should have a wider, more encompassing outlook for the welfare of others, just as Jesus did.  These properties should be altruistic in their reach, not just practiced for one’s own gratification.  If an unbeliever is kind or gentle, is the purpose through selfish ambition or selflessness?

Is this partially what John is getting at regarding a claim of fellowship with the Lord yet walking in darkness?  The light of God is overwhelming and eventually all-encompassing.  Currently in the world, believers have the privilege of reflecting His light, but we are limited.  We’re like that tiny candle in the darkness.  Through our obedience in walking with God, we dispel the darkness, but it’s still black and chaotic beyond where our light shines.

A day is coming that the light of the Lord will completely eliminate darkness.  We’ll get to bask in that light.  In the meantime, the church, which is supposed to be the bastion of illumination in the world, is generally failing in its task.  It’s been compromised and has become, not simply in this world, but of it.  This is the lie that John speaks about.  The church isn’t practicing truth.  As a result, it has no fellowship with God.

In fact, 1 John 1:8 tells us this very thing:

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Churches that pretend to be holy places yet don’t call out sin, in fact embrace it, are prime examples of this.  How can a church say it belongs to Christ but places homosexuals in the pulpit?  How is it that these places that should call out sin and demand repentance for a true relationship with God, tell people that God loves them and doesn’t require them to change?  They don’t believe sin is sin.  This is exactly the problem as 1 John 1:10 declares:

If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Surely these are churches that deceive themselves because the truth is not in them.  This encompasses everyone there from the pastor to the people sitting in the pews.  Anyone in such a church who truly desires to live for God should run from that place.

John declares that forgiveness is possible, even for those in the midst of this darkness.  He says in 1 John 1:9:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

What a gracious promise!  If we seek the light, the Lord will bring us out of the darkness.  Through this cleansing we are then able to stand before a righteous God – our Savior and Lord.

2 Peter 3:14 – Be Diligent

The prophecy of Peter regarding these last days is being fulfilled right before our very eyes.  We who believe in the pre-Tribulation Rapture hold fast to this eschatalogical promise, i.e. that Jesus will come in the clouds to snatch His beloved from the earth – literally to rescue us – prior to the great and terrible day of the Lord: the 7-year Tribulation.  The time is coming – very soon – when God, in His justice and mercy, will have had enough of the transgressions of sinful, depraved humanity.  The Lord is longsuffering, but He knows that regardless how much time is extended to mankind, the vast majority of the people of the earth will choose not to accept the free gift of salvation bought by the blood of Christ at Calvary.  This point of no return is essentially no different from that which Jesus spoke of to His apostles when He sent the Twelve to the lost sheep of Israel.  Look at what He said in Matthew 10:14-15 regarding the hard hearted:

And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.  Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of Judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

At some juncture, a decision must be made, whether by one who is bringing the Gospel, or the Lord Himself: it’s time to move on because the people will not listen and turn from their wicked ways.

Since the time of the Apostles, believers have anticipated the return of Jesus.  The Thessalonian church looked for it and questioned Paul about certain of its aspects; and so it’s been ever since.  However, corrupt men over the years misinterpreted Scripture for their own purposes.  They decided the pre-Tribulation Rapture didn’t suit their earthly plans.  As a result, they propagated the notion that there was no such event; that there was only a 2nd Coming at the end of the Tribulation.  Similarly, there have been others who declared there was no Rapture, no 2nd Coming, nor even an actual 7-year Tribulation.  As a result, they’ve messed with the entire understanding of the larger narrative of God, to the detriment of many.

It was this future that the apostle described in 2 Peter 3:3-4:

… knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.  They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming?  For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

In the 1970s and 1980s following the release of the book The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey, many believers eagerly watched and waited for Jesus to come back.  But God’s timing wasn’t yet right.  Because of that, people grew weary of doing good, in the sense of obeying the Lord’s command to be alert, watchful, and ready.  Through their impatience they were disobedient to Christ!

Fast forward to today.  The times are markedly different.  I know that believers 30-40 years ago wholeheartedly maintained that the time was near, but the difference between then and now is the absolute convergence of ALL prophetic signs.  Not only that, Jesus said we are to know the season because of these prophetic markers.  For those of us who faithfully adhere to the pre-Trib doctrine, that season is definitely now.  This is not just wishful thinking on our part.  All one needs to do is read what the Bible says about the final days and look at the world through this Biblical, prophetic lens.

Yet what do so many do, even a large swath of believers?  Just as Peter stated, they mock the idea that the Rapture is truly imminent.  By their words, they fulfill Scripture.  Amazing.

The time is near.  God is shaking the world, and more importantly, the church.  He is making people get off the fence.  Do you have one foot in the world, and one foot in heaven?  Decide.  If you wish to make the world your home, do so.  If you wish to be with the Lord, now is the time to step into the place where eternity with Him is possible.  Those who choose otherwise, are stepping into the coming wrath of God – to their detriment.

Should we not do what 2 Peter 3:14 instructs?

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

We who anticipate Jesus to come at any moment will know this peace, even in the midst of the chaos and increasing lawlessness around us.  This itself is a sign.  Understand and be ready!

2 Peter 2:14 – Insatiable for Sin

God spares no condemnation against false prophets.  The entire chapter of 2 Peter 2 details His intense passion concerning these men from times past to today who lead people astray.  Their heresies are fueled by greed and lust.  They exploit others for monetary gain and to satisfy their base instincts of sensuality.  The false words they speak will bring them destruction.

So great is the sin of false teachers and prophets in the eyes of God, that He compares and equates it to the sons of God (bene Elohim) that transgressed their heavenly boundaries as outlined in Genesis 6.  In fact, 2 Peter 2:4 states:

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment…

The text speaks of angels having sinned.  It seems that New Testament writers generally tried to simplify the description of the members of the heavenly host when they described them.  We can have no doubt, however, that these are the bene Elohim.  Here is Genesis 6:1-4:

When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive.  And they took as their wives any they chose.  Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.  The Nephilim were on the earth in those days and also afterward, when the sons of God came into the daughters of man and they bore children to them.  These were the mighty men of old, the men of renown.

We notice a couple key points in this text.  The sons of God came to earth because they lusted after human women.  In their lust, they took them as they pleased.  In the 2nd Temple Period book of 1 Enoch that describes this event, it also points out that these spiritual entities – in disobedience to God – imparted forbidden knowledge to mankind.  In effect, they expanded upon the sin committed in the Garden when the serpent (another of God’s rebellious sons) tempted Adam and Eve with the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

In this transgression committed by the “angels,” it appears as though they may have profited in some manner besides satisfying their lustful desires.  Our text, in discussing the iniquities of the false prophets in the comparison with the divine beings that fell, states in 2 Peter 2:14-15:

They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin.  They entice unsteady souls.  They have hearts trained in greed.  Accursed children!  Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray.  They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing…

Balaam was all about the money.  Peter goes on to condemn these false prophets and teachers with a disturbing statement.  He says in 2 Peter 2:20-21:

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.  For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.

What I’m about to say is extremely controversial, but I don’t know how else to interpret this passage, also in light of similar verses elsewhere.  It certainly seems as if the men referenced here once knew the Lord in a saving relationship.  If they had escaped the defilements of the world and previously knew the way of righteousness because they’d been given the holy commandment of God, doesn’t it appear as if they’d previously been saved?  After all, the sons of God, a.k.a. the angels, that rebelled all certainly knew of God’s complete saving grace – they were in heaven for goodness sake – yet they freely chose to disregard it.  Keep this analogy in mind in comparing those men who similarly decided to spurn the mercy of God.

As the final verse says, they returned to their vomit to wallow in the mire of sin in the world (2 Peter 2:22).  How else would they return to this condition unless they were graciously delivered from it?  Is it possible these men with their abominable agendas indeed tasted of the liberty of salvation but chose to walk away from it?

Is it conceivable that a person can be indwelt through the Holy Spirit and decide to reject Him?  Nothing or no one can snatch a person away from the saving hand of Christ.  Can there be an exception, i.e. the person himself who has free will to deny the Savior?

I don’t know the answer to this question; I can only read the text and interpret it through my personal Biblical lens.  Few teachers even want to approach this subject.  But what is the plain, literal meaning that we read?

The one truth I do know about this is that when we remain in the Word of God and continually seek Him, He imparts truth to us.  Through His Word He will also supernaturally keep us.  What’s a sure way to wander away from Him?  By not reading the Bible with a seeking heart that desires to know Him more.  When we are diligent in our pursuit of the Lord, I have no doubt that indeed, nothing or no one can take us away from the love of God, not even ourselves.  Because we’ll have no desire to go anywhere else.

Awaken Bible Prophecy Update 12-1-21 Vaccine Injury – Gulf War Syndrome to Today

One of the things I’ve tried to do over the last several Prophecy Updates is to show the deep-seated desire of certain individuals to destroy the lives of as many people as possible.  This effort includes mercilessly killing many, or at the very least, stealing their health and well-being.  Oh, look, I just happened to describe one of the traits of the devil who wants to steal, kill, and destroy.  Perhaps there’s a connection between these maliciously evil people and Satan.  Who would have guessed?

We know from numerous sources of late how evil Dr. Anthony Fauci is.  He’s the classic example of the child who becomes an adult psychopath.  Multiple pieces of evidence show how he has tortured animals in the interest of science.  Worse, he has condoned the use of extremely deadly drugs in the treatment of disease.  He is behind the use of AZT to treat HIV, and this drug has been shown to actually cause serious auto-immune symptoms.  Fauci has been around a long time and has a remarkable track record of backing dangerous and deadly vaccines and other drugs.

If you’ve connected the dots like we try to do in these Prophecy Updates, you’ll know that great evil is operating in the world.  It originates from the spiritual realm and infects much of mankind because men choose to reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This opens them up to significant demonic influence in their lives.  Satan seems to work overtime with individuals who are highly placed in society and/or greatly influential in the affairs of humanity.

We currently see this playing out in the creation of the COVID bioweapon that was created so as to release deadly, gene-altering, so-called vaccines upon an unsuspecting public.  As we’ve previously pointed out, the temptation to test certain drugs is irresistible to certain people.  In addition, a small group of wealthy, globalist elites – a worthy few –  have been planning for many years to gain control over the entire world with the purpose of enslaving mankind.  Put these desires together and a long history toward this wicked objective unfolds.

To add to this body of evidence, I want to briefly discuss how the illness, known as Gulf War Syndrome, surfaced after the 1991 Gulf War in Iraq and how that may influence even what is going on today with the adverse effects we’re seeing as the COVID shots are administered.

2 Peter 1:9 – Whoever Lacks These Qualities

As believers in Jesus Christ, we receive many blessings.  I love what Psalm 103:2-3 says in this regard:

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

    and forget not all his benefits,

who forgives all your iniquity,

    who heals all your diseases…

The greatest miracle for any of us is the forgiveness of sins, that we might be cleansed so as to come into the presence of the Lord.  Life in this world is hard because of sin.  It has caused great harm to all mankind (and even to the earth) since that fateful day in the Garden.  Sin has led to disease and affliction of every kind, crippling our bodies, and as a result, causing many to believe that God doesn’t exist or care.  But He promises to not only remove the yoke of our transgressions, He also gives His Word that He will heal all our diseases.

But, someone might say, He doesn’t.  Look at the many believers who have been sick in body or soul and died that way.  Since that’s the case, He’s obviously not trustworthy to keep His promises.

They forget one thing.  The statement above doesn’t say when God will provide this healing.  It actually has a two-fold fulfillment.  Forgiveness of all our sins must occur before death in order for us to be made righteous before God.  However, He may choose to heal us of our diseases in this body in this life, or He may bring about this complete healing in the next.  If that’s the case, our time on the earth may never see the physical healing we desire, but how much sweeter will it be to be more whole than we can imagine once the Rapture occurs and we’ve been given our glorified bodies?

The qualities God gives those who trust in Christ are so numerous, we often neglect to give Him thanks for them.  We’re all generally familiar with the fruit of the Spirit as Paul outlines in Galatians 5:22-23:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

A list of benefits we tend to forget is those that the apostle stated in 2 Peter 1:5-7:

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

Let’s examine them briefly with definitions from the Strong’s Concordance, because it’s a worthy progression to consider in our lives as believers.

  • Faith
    • This is trust and fidelity, a moral conviction of the truthfulness of God
  • Virtue
    • This is a moral goodness or uprightness
  • Knowledge
    • This is doctrine or wisdom
  • Self-control
    • This is mastery or self-restraint
  • Steadfastness
    • This is a patient, even cheerful, enduring as one waits
  • Godliness
    • This is devotion, holiness, and piety toward God
  • Brotherly affection
    • This is philadelphia love, fraternal in nature, for our Christian brethren
  • Love
    • This is agapé love, affection, or benevolence, even a love-feast

Putting this together, here’s what we get:  Our moral conviction of the truthfulness of God leads to our walking in upright goodness and excellence.  When we do this, God pours out His wisdom and gives us knowledge that we might not otherwise have.  As we move about in this life through reading God’s Word and absorbing what He gives us in understanding, we grow in self-restraint.  As we master ourselves, there is less of us to master, as there is more of Him in us.  This enables us to have patience as we wait for Him to redeem us completely from this earth.  We can be of good cheer knowing that there is more than what we experience here on earth.  Our minds and hearts point more toward the Lord and our devotion for Him increases.  From the holiness that blossoms within us, we get out of ourselves and see how much God loves each and every one of us.  Knowing and experiencing this, we reach out to others who are of like mind, believers in Jesus Christ, and embrace those in the church, the Body of Christ.  But it doesn’t stop there.  God so loved the world…  Through our growth and maturity He enables us to do likewise, even to the loving of our enemies.

Wow.  As 2 Peter 1:8 summarizes:

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have every means available to us to be effective and fruitful in our Christian walk.  That’s such an encouragement.  However, it appears that Peter is also giving a warning that the next verses in 2 Peter 1:9-10 show us:

For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

There are those who neglect to nurture this great salvation that God has given us.  By failing to walk in the manner He prescribes for righteousness and holiness, the flip side to gaining all these benefits is that a person will stumble and be unfruitful.  Such a person will fail to represent God well and will lead a barren life that brings no profit to God or himself.

But Peter says that our reward is rich and well-deserved when we truly do all that God desires for us, and we walk through the doors of opportunity that He opens.  Indeed, let us be diligent in all we do that Christ alone gets all the glory and we are blessed in return.