Isaiah 40:18 – To Whom Will You Liken God?

A full page ad in our complimentary copy of The Epoch Times caught my eye.  The top half displayed the name Shen Yun and a beautiful Chinese dancer in mid-leap.  The text below the fold said: “China Before Communism.”  It went on to mysteriously say:

China was once called “Land of the Divine.”  There was a time when divine beings walked upon the earth, leaving behind wisdom that gave birth to everything from medical innovations to opera, dance, architecture, and even martial arts… A splendid culture flourished in China for 5,000 years.

Upon seeing this, along with the additional ad copy, I was somewhat suspicious.  Given the infiltration of the Chinese Communist Party into all strata of American life, this seemed all too convenient.  “A Divine Culture – Lost.”  Darkness Spreads from China.”  Hope and Renewal.”  Was this a means of presenting the soft and cuddly side of China to counter what many of us see as a threat to our democracy?

Maybe not.  Shen Yun is apparently the official movement of the Falun Dafa, that we may know better as Falun Gong, a dissident, non-Christian group in China that the CCP has persecuted for not toeing the party line.  (https://www.shenyun.com/)  Shen Yun means “Divine Grace.”  The inspiration of Falun Gong and this dance company appears to be Buddhist and Taoist spirituality that has been lost under the tyranny of communism.

Because there are seemingly layers upon layers of intrigue that are deeply ingrained in China, what we see on the surface may or may not be innocuous.  I have no information that Shen Yun has ties of any kind to the CCP.  I hope it doesn’t.  However, even if this theater group isn’t tainted by the devious machinations of those in China who wish to conquer America, there does remain a deeper, darker force behind it.

To understand this, we have to revisit the ad text from above:

There was a time when divine beings walked upon the earth, leaving behind wisdom that gave birth to everything from… 

Seeing this immediately brought to mind the two spiritual rebellions against God that I’ve written of extensively.  The first was the fall of the sons of God (bene Elohim) that we see in Genesis 6:1-4.  The second occurs following the Tower of Babel fiasco in Genesis 11 when God placed His divine sons over the nations into which He had scattered mankind.  All these mighty princes in the heavenlies subsequently chose to oppose God by setting themselves up as gods over their respective nations (Deuteronomy 32:8 – ESV).

This second rebellion provides the basis for this description that Shen Yun gives us.  If you’re familiar with the pseudepigraphal book of 1 Enoch, you know that it expands on these demonic rebellions.  (A pseudepigraphal book is one that uses a famous person’s name as its author but wasn’t actually written by that person.  Thus 1 Enoch wasn’t written by the Biblical Enoch we know from Genesis 5:24, i.e. the first man Raptured.  It was written somewhere in the roughly 500 years during the 2nd Temple Period between the book of Malachi and the destruction of that temple in 70 AD.)

What this ad copy outlines is actually a form of the truth.  The spiritual rebellions against God brought forth the divine beings referenced.  As 1 Enoch tells us, they gave mankind many secrets of heaven exactly as stated:

… everything from medical innovations to opera, dance, architecture, and even martial arts… 

This was not altruistic on the part of these divine rebels.  They also imparted to man the means of making war and of making forbidden love.  Their intent wasn’t to enrich humanity, rather it was to pervert and destroy it.  What they gave to men was the hidden wisdom of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17).  What did God warn if Adam and Eve ate of that tree?  “You shall surely die.”  The divine beings exalted by Shen Yun desired to destroy what God had made good; their purpose was to either make men completely depraved, to kill off humanity, or to alter our genetic makeup so that man was no longer fully human.

The bottom line on the Shen Yun production is that whether it’s secretly associated with the CCP or not, there is a more ancient agenda: It is to lead people away from the One true God by glorifying other gods.

But what does the Bible have to say about this?  Let’s look at several verses.  First, consider what Isaiah 40:18-20 conveys:

To whom then will you liken God,

    or what likeness compare with him?

An idol! A craftsman casts it,

    and a goldsmith overlays it with gold

    and casts for it silver chains.

He who is too impoverished for an offering

    chooses wood that will not rot;

he seeks out a skillful craftsman

    to set up an idol that will not move.

It is to the spiritual rebels that idols are made.  But God points out that they are useless.

Isaiah 40:21-23 goes on to make the comparison:

Do you not know? Do you not hear?

    Has it not been told you from the beginning?

    Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,

    and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;

who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,

    and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;

who brings princes to nothing,

    and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.

It was Yahweh who created the heavens and the earth.  He is the architect and builder of all that exists.  Those who oppose Him, whether divine princes of the spiritual realm or kings upon the earth; they have no power and will come to nothing.

The prophet exalts the Mighty One of heaven in Isaiah 40:28:

Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

    the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary;

    his understanding is unsearchable.

It is He whom we must worship, not because He has attempted to bribe mankind or curry their favor.  No, it is because He is above all these pretenders to the throne and He is worthy.

Should man glorify other gods in any way?  Absolutely not!  It is only in God alone and through Him that we have life.  Isaiah 40:31 encourages us:

… but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;

    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;

they shall run and not be weary;

    they shall walk and not faint.

In these dark days when Satan and the rebellious host of heaven are contending for the souls of men, what should we do in response?

Wait for the Lord.  When we do that, He will renew us and see us through until He brings us home.

Isaiah 37:26 – Have You Not Heard?

For those who think they plot and perform their evil in secret, I have news for them.  God sees it all.  They believe that their ways are higher than God’s – can you imagine?  From time immemorial, man has chosen his own way of living and decided he has no accountability to the God of creation.  If such people believe in a creator God, they may consider him as was once portrayed like the old watchmaker.  He made the watch, wound it up, then set it to running without any further involvement in its operation.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Those who live in this delusion at some point learn how wrong they are!

We find an example of this when the king of Assyria besieged Jerusalem.  This pagan nation – one of the fiercest and most feared throughout history – had already destroyed the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 BC.  Now it was coming against Hezekiah and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.  If Hezekiah had been like all the apostate rulers of Israel in the north, Judah would likely have fallen at this time.  However, Hezekiah was one of a handful of kings who worshiped Yahweh and honored Him.  That made all the difference in the world.

The Assyrian king, Sennacherib, sent his chief military commander, identified as the Rabshakeh, to mock Hezekiah and his trust in Yahweh.  It’s easy to understand how the Assyrians might think Hezekiah’s God was no different from any other.  All the peoples whom Assyria invaded and destroyed had their own gods that proved worthless.  Even Israel’s Northern Kingdom, in Assyria’s eyes, presumably followed the same God as Judah.  Of course, that wasn’t actually the case.  Israel had long ago fallen deeply into apostasy and had no use for Yahweh.  This was the fatal error that Sennacherib made in attacking Judah.

After the Rabshakeh delivered his message of scorn against the God of Israel, and Hezekiah appealed to Him for mercy for His people, Yahweh answered through the prophet Isaiah.  What He said is worth the price of admission.  It’s marvelous and classic.

Isaiah reported back to Hezekiah God’s own Words, in which He directly addressed the king of Assyria.  First, look at Isaiah 37:23-24:

“‘Whom have you mocked and reviled?

    Against whom have you raised your voice

and lifted your eyes to the heights?

    Against the Holy One of Israel!

By your servants you have mocked the Lord… “

Yahweh says to this heathen king, “You’ve ridiculed the wrong God.”  Indeed he has.

The Holy One of Israel goes on in Isaiah 37:26:

“‘Have you not heard

    that I determined it long ago?

I planned from days of old

    what now I bring to pass,

that you should make fortified cities

    crash into heaps of ruins…”

Sennacherib thought that his idea to invade Judah and besiege Jerusalem was something he’d conceived on his own and was part of his brilliant strategy of conquest.  This is why God laughs at the nations (Psalm 2).  They think they are separate  from God and not under His supervision.  He may not be their territorial god, per se, as their own gods were, like Nisroch was in Assyria’s case (Isaiah 37:38), but Yahweh was and is sovereign and above every one of these pretender gods.  This foolish king of Assyria who thought he could take down a nation protected by Yahweh was only following the plan that He already had foreseen and thus could thwart.

In fact, God is like that proverbial fly on the wall in the king’s chambers as Isaiah 37:28 says:

“‘I know your sitting down

    and your going out and coming in,

    and your raging against me.”

Nothing that Assyria considered through its various hostilities was a secret from the Lord.  Not one thought or plan the king and his advisors made was hidden from Him.

As a result, so as to keep Judah safe, Yahweh declared about Sennacherib in Isaiah 37:29:

“Because you have raged against me

    and your complacency has come to my ears,

I will put my hook in your nose

    and my bit in your mouth,

and I will turn you back on the way

    by which you came.’”

This came to pass.  God caused the Assyrian king to pull away from Judah.  Yahweh distracted him and caused the angel of the Lord to suddenly kill 185,000 of his troops overnight in a devastating blow.  God’s Word came to pass.

What can we take away from this today so many years removed?  God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  He sees and knows every scheme of the enemy.  What we’re experiencing in these current, latter days is no surprise to God.  In His foreknowledge, He saw long ago what the evil cabal of globalist elites determined to do to rule the world.  He conveyed the enemy’s plans through the prophets and gave them to us in His written Word.  We already know the end because God has shown it to us.

Will things in the world get worse and worse?  Will people be deceived?  Will depravity rule the hearts of man?  Will there be wars and rumors of war?  Will there be natural disasters like at no other time in history?  Will all these signs converge near the end of days? Absolutely!

Should anything going on around us be a surprise if we diligently read God’s Word and believe what it says?  Of course not.  But, that’s a problem, isn’t it?  How many in the church actually know the Word of God and believe it?

I came across a passage in a book recently that I loved because of its implications.  Here it is:

But equally amazing was that, when it came, the future the prophets foresaw (and here I have in mind the NT) actually followed the plan the prophets had laid out for it. When the future came at a specific time and place, there were people waiting for it. There were those, like Simeon and Anna, who understood it in terms of the OT prophetic vision. In other words, the prophet’s vision was such that it preserved and carried with it a people who both understood the prophets and were there waiting for the fulfillment of their vision. By falling in line with that vision, the NT writers show that they accepted the OT not only as pre-interpreted, but they also were in fundamental agreement with its interpretation. That interpretation, we can see, began long before the time of its fulfillment. (The Messiah And The Hebrew Bible — By: John H. Sailhamer)

This author is saying that in the prophetic future that God foresaw, He also prepared certain people to understand what was coming and to be ready to act upon that knowledge.

How is this relevant?  Who is it that looks for a literal fulfillment of both the coming Tribulation and the sooner coming of Jesus in the clouds to snatch away true believers prior to those awful days?  It is we whom God has prepared through our belief that the notion of a pre-Tribulation Rapture is the truth.  I believe that God has given us a greater understanding of what is to come – that He already spoke of in His Word – than those who do not embrace a pre-Trib Rapture view.

Because of this, we have the means to perhaps endure the blows coming against us with greater fortitude than those who don’t accept this truth.  We grieve at the lawlessness and the atrocities we witness, yet we know that before these things rise to an unimaginable level, the Lord will remove us to the shelter of His house in heaven.

Just like God told Hezekiah not to worry, that He would take care of His people, so we have God’s Word that He will take care of us today.  In the meantime, we need to obediently do what we’re supposed to accomplish as our final tasks.

We need not fret and be anxious.  All this that is going on around us is in the sovereign plan of God.  He’s got everything under control, and we can rest in peace because of this.  Just as God moved and delivered Jerusalem from destruction from the huge Assyrian army, so He will move and deliver us from the terrible things to come by removing us from the earth before they occur.

Let’s trust God that He knows what He’s doing.  How much easier will it be to get through these dark days knowing that He’s coming for us very soon?

Awaken Bible Prophecy Update 10-6-21 – Isaiah’s Pre-Trib Rapture Prophecy

Many dispute the notion of the pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church. I contend that God’s intent is very clear: He will remove His people from the earth before the great and terrible Day of the Lord, i.e. the 7-year Tribulation. Not only does He provide much evidence in the New Testament to this promise, God also shows us through the prophet Isaiah that He will save and preserve believers in Jesus Christ from His wrath to come.

Isaiah 34:2 – The Lord is Enraged

For you who are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, who washed and cleansed you through the salvation you freely accepted, I ask these questions: Is the Lord enraged at you?  Does His wrath rest upon you?  Has Jesus forgiven your sins so as to keep you from God’s day of judgment?  If your answers are “No – No – Yes!” then I have Good News for you.  God is not saving up His wrath to pour out upon you.  You will not be collateral damage in the great and fearsome Day of the Lord when He vents His anger upon the world.

What do I mean by this?  How many of you continue to believe that for some reason you, as a true believer in Jesus Christ, must enter into and endure the terrible indignities of the Tribulation?  Come on, be honest.  You’ve had enough doubts sowed in you over the years by various pastors that you are unworthy to escape this time of horrors destined to come upon the earth – the Day of Jacob’s Trouble.  Some part of you believes to this day that you will be lumped in with the unbelieving world when God rains down His punishment on those who have deliberately chosen not to accept the free gift that Jesus offered – deliverance through His shed blood.  For this reason, you think the coming Tribulation is for you, along with your pagan neighbor or family member.  After all, if they must suffer for their unbelief, surely you must have some part in that.  It’s why you’re double-minded about the pre-Tribulation Rapture.  You think that perhaps it might be true, and God will snatch us out of here.  On the other hand, you have enough uncertainty that you’re bracing yourself for a mid-Trib or even a post-Trib endurance marathon.

Please, in your thinking this way, remember James 1:5-8:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

What’s going on in the world?  The Lord tells us in Isaiah 34:2:

For the Lord is enraged against all the nations,

    and furious against all their host;

    he has devoted them to destruction, has given them over for slaughter.

There are three things going on in this verse.

One: God is enraged against all the nations.  Why?  If you’ve read any significant part of your Bible, you know the reason.  Mankind is sinful and has chosen to live away from God.  His iniquities have been stored up for a day of judgment.  This is inevitable.  Why?  Because the Lord is just.  He will not allow the transgressions that men have committed against Him and His Word to stand.  He has a day of vengeance planned, and it will come to pass.  Is there any remedy against God’s wrath upon sinful man?  Glad you asked.  Of course: salvation through Christ alone by His grace alone through our faith in Him alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Everyone who calls upon the Name of the Lord will be (shall be!) saved (Romans 10:13).  Thus, those who have not called upon the Name above all names will not be saved.  They will not be delivered from God’s wrath and judgment.  The sinful, unrepentant nations are in view here along with the people who inhabit them.

Two: God is furious against all their host.  Who are their host, and why is He angry with them?  Briefly, because I’ve written about this many times in great detail, these are the rebellious sons of God (bene Elohim) who rule as gods over the nations of the world.  These are the mighty princes in the spiritual realm, who joined with Satan to come against their Father in heaven, because the power they determined they could exert upon the earth and upon all humanity was their idol.  They chose to make themselves equal to or higher than God, just as Satan did, as seen in Isaiah 14:14 when he said:

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;

    I will make myself like the Most High.’

For this transgression, these powerful beings who think themselves omnipotent are subject to the fury that God will unleash.  It is they who have continually worked to turn the hearts of men away from the Lord.  Their influence is what has caused the world to reject Jesus Christ as their rightful King and Savior.  In league with Satan, they have multiplied the sins of man, causing depravity and the grievous rot that we see all around us.  Is it any wonder God is storing up wrath for them?

Three: God has devoted them to destruction, has given them over for slaughter.  When we see the term devoted to destruction in the Bible, this is meant to convey total annihilation.  Scripture records this judgment that God decrees upon certain nations.  There are numerous Old Testament situations in which Yahweh told the people of Israel to spare no one and nothing.  If they were lenient in any way, God’s anger came upon them.  The rebellious host of heaven is in God’s crosshairs.  They, along with the nations of the earth that hate Him, are destined for a day of slaughter.

This is serious stuff.  It will be a time in which God gives no quarter.  None will escape.  This is one of the primary purposes of the 7-year Tribulation.  All nations upon the earth, all men who inhabit them, and all the gods over those nations will be completely destroyed.  We know this because following the Tribulation is the Millennial Reign of Christ with all the blessings that entails.  No one who opposes God will enter that 1,000 year period of peace.

Can anyone escape this terrible time?  Yes.  Those who call upon the Name of the Lord during those years will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  No one else.  It will be a time of final reckoning where Jesus will cause all men to answer the question: “Will you trust in Me, or not?”  Those who will, will be saved from eternal torment.  Those who won’t, will be judged and cast into the Lake of Fire for eternity.

Notice how I phrase the question that Jesus poses.  It is one that requires a decision at that time.  He asks it of those who have not already decided to place their lives in His hands.

This is one of many reasons I declare this assurance we have from Christ Himself: We who believe today are not destined for His wrath.  It’s why Paul wrote to Titus that Jesus is our blessed hope (Titus 2:13).  The promise of the pre-Tribulation Rapture is why Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:18 could say:

Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Could there be any possible encouragement Paul might give to the Thessalonian believers if he was teaching them that they must endure the Tribulation?  You know the answer.  There would be none.

So, I urge you brothers and sisters in Christ, believe the promise and the encouragement that Paul brought to the ancient church in Thessalonika, and that John echoed in the letter to the church of Philadelphia in Revelation 3:10-11:

Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.

God will save us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  What an encouragement this is!

Philippians 1:27 – Your Manner of Life

One of the letters the Apostle Paul wrote while imprisoned in Rome was to the church at Philippi.  Through his time in jail, Paul continued witnessing and evangelizing everyone with whom he came into contact.  His message of Good News was so contagious that even his opponents turned from their evil ways to follow Christ.  Paul recounts this in Philippians 1:12-13:

I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.

It didn’t matter who it was: imperial guard, the household of Caesar (Philippians 4:22), or anyone else; Paul preached the Gospel.  He spoke of Christ crucified and the hope that all who believe in Him will be saved.  How many of his captors turned from their wicked ways, became Christ-followers, and perhaps even joined Paul in prison?

His example has inspired many through the years.  I think of Richard Wurmbrand languishing in Soviet prisons for fourteen years following World War 2, much of that time in solitary confinement.  In the book Tortured for Christ that Wurmbrand wrote (https://secure.persecution.com/p-6900-tortured-for-christ-50th-anniversary-book.aspx), he recounted how he made a “deal” with the prison guards: they would torture him and he would preach the Gospel.  For his faithfulness, can you imagine the reaction of these men?  Just as Paul writes, so does Wurmbrand, that some of his torturers, along with his fellow unbelieving prisoners, turned to the Lord.

The marvelous outcome of Paul’s boldness for the Lord was how it strengthened his fellow Christians, as he notes in the next verse Philippians 1:14:

And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

Paul’s witness became an example, not only to his jailers, but to the Christians around him who heard about his unwavering faith and dedication in proclaiming Christ Jesus.  This is why he can write in Philippians 1:27:

 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ … 

In urging this virtue to fellow believers, Paul said in Philippians 1:28 that they should …

… not [be] frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.

In other words, regardless of what came their way, from whatever source, Paul’s brothers in Christ were not to fear.  How many times does the Bible tell us this?  You know the answer as well as I.  In one form or another Scripture tells us to “fear not” 366 times, i.e. once for every day of the year plus Leap Year.  Do you think this message might be important for believers?

How is it then that so many professing Christians have capitulated in fear to the possibility of becoming sick with COVID, and because of that taken the “vaccine” in the hopes of not catching this infection?  It’s one thing to be unaware of the dangers of this unproven gene-altering drug.  I get that.  Some among us are dealing with the stresses and tribulations of life.  They simply have no time to listen to the warnings and/or do the required research to learn how deadly these serums are.

However, there are those – I’m personally aware of some in this category – who heard the message that evil was afoot with these shots.  Various people warned early-on that the jabs were causing serious medical problems far worse than the disease supposedly necessitating the vaccines.  In February of 2021, not long after the release of the vaccines, I warned through my Prophecy Updates that no one should take these drugs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WolyW1tbwIk).

In my own church, several people heard this message.  Despite this, some of them chose to submit to the hype and the narrative that was being promoted from so many quarters.  They took the shots knowing the dangers.

I submit that for that choice, they were not letting their manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.  They gave in to fear.  They decided they would rather trust in the medical establishment and Big Pharma than in God.

Consider true plagues in prior eras when people were dying horrible deaths literally in the midst of those around them.  Who were the ones that ministered and cared for the sick before they died?  By and large it was the Christians.  They cared less for their own lives than in serving the Lord and the “least of these.”  Did they have a “vaccine” to protect them?  Were hazmat suits available to keep the germs away to prevent their infection?

We who are unvaccinated have another choice today.  There is significant evidence that those who received these so-called vaccines are actually transmitting both COVID and other afflictions to those around them.  We truly have an epidemic of the vaccinated who pose danger to other vaccinated individuals, as well as to those of us who are unvaxxed.

The question becomes: How do we – the unvaccinated – respond?  Do we keep far from these individuals who may contaminate us?  Or, do we trust that God will protect us and continue mingling and ministering?

If we are to be obedient to the Lord to occupy until He comes, the answer should be self-evident.  Just as Paul and Richard Wurmbrand witnessed among those who could harm them, they remained faithful to God and fearless as to the consequences.

Should we do any less?

Ephesians 6:11 – The Schemes of the Devil

There should be no one reading this commentary who doesn’t see how darkness has risen in this land – indeed, throughout the entire world.  Many who are secular apprehend that something is amiss, but they cannot describe it or adequately respond to it.  Believers in Christ Jesus, however, have no excuse.  If our guidebook is the Word of God – which it is – and if the Lord clearly states what will happen in the last days – which He does – then all who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ should understand what is happening in the world.  Do they?  I would argue that many don’t.

Probably the most prominent of the deceptions foisted upon mankind of late is the so-called pandemic along with its supposed solution.  Although vaccines have never – ever – been effective against a virus, the rushed-to-market drugs labeled as vaccines have been promoted as the panacea to all our ills.  If only 70% of the populace of the world would get vaccinated, we could return to normal.  Lately, at least in America, I believe that magic number has risen to something like the necessity of vaccinating 90% of the people in order to reach normality once more.

There are many problems with this scenario.  First, of course, is the definition of that which afflicts us.  Is it a pandemic?  Authorities have certainly worked hard to classify it as such.  Compared to the Black Plague in the 1400s or the Spanish Flu in 1918, no one had to convince anyone else that these were serious diseases killing people left and right.  Given that so many cases of COVID were labeled as such, yet had nothing to do with the disease, i.e. automobile deaths or heart attacks classified as COVID fatalities, one must wonder why there has been such a concerted effort to make every death attributable to COVID.

It is well-documented that prior efforts to create gene altering vaccines have failed spectacularly.  Back around 2010, it was thought that researchers had succeeded in this attempt.  They used ferrets as test animals, which have a similar drug response as humans.  Upon injecting them, it appeared as if the vaccines effectively prevented the disease or lessened the symptoms.  Until the ferrets were exposed to a similar virus.  The ferrets all died.  With that result, it became apparent there were significant flaws in the vaccines.

Now that we have a successor generation of these drugs, thanks to Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, and AstraZeneca (in Europe), plus an astounding number of copycat “vaccines” in development worldwide, we are seeing exactly the same outcomes in human ferrets as resulted in the first go-around with lab animals.  The VAERS database used for reporting vaccine injury, which is massively underused by doctors, shows to date in the neighborhood of 17,000 deaths attributable to these shots.  It is quite likely this number could be 100 times greater because of the difficulties in using the system and ignorance that it even exists.  I believe the number of ferrets which died causing the research to end at that time was about 53 of the test animals.

Another question that has been raised is whether a virus – per se – is the real culprit in all this pandemic response.  Certainly there is viral material, but this man-made, engineered bioweapon known as COVID has many more unknown components that are certainly contributing to the disease and its mutations.  Even worse, if that’s possible (which it is), is the nature of the so-called vaccines.  The true ingredients have been cleverly hidden by the pharmaceutical manufacturers – all of them! – and it is only through the diligence of certain doctors and researchers that we know some of what we do.  Among the ingredients discovered in these shots are graphene oxide, nanobots delivered through a compound called hydrogel, and possibly even microscopic worm-like organisms.  Given that the dream of certain people over the years has been to develop drugs which can be universally delivered in order to control people for devious purposes, none of this should surprise us.  This is a quote from a French doctor, Pierre Gilbert, in 1995 discussing this intent:

“In the biological destruction there are the organized tempests on the magnetic fields. What will follow is a contamination of the bloodstreams of mankind, creating intentional infections. This will be enforced via laws that will make vaccination mandatory. And these vaccines will make possible to control people. The vaccines will have liquid crystals that will become hosted in the brain cells, which will become micro-receivers of electromagnetic fields where waves of very low frequencies will be sent. And through these low frequency waves people will be unable to think, you’ll be turned into a zombie. Don’t think of this as a hypothesis. This has been done. Think of Rwanda”

Source (h/t to Pastor JD Farag in his Prophecy Update of October 3, 2021):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mav2dZqQOcE

This brings us to the point of this essay.  Paul in Ephesians 6:11  urges us to:

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

All that is happening around us is a result of Satan’s diabolic schemes.  From the very beginning of Bible history, the serpent has attempted to undermine God and destroy all that He made good.  When the Lord cursed him and declared that the Seed of the woman, i.e. Jesus Christ, would be his demise (Genesis 3:15), he knew he had to do all in his power to destroy mankind.  If man was genetically altered so that he was no longer human, then either the Seed could not come forth, or there would be no one with a human genetic makeup that could be redeemed.

Through the ages we’ve seen Satan’s various attempts to realize this demonic dream.  Now that we’re in the very last days, the evil behind the COVID and vaccine narratives should be evident.  Yet, believe it or not, there are even noted Bible prophecy teachers who deny this reality and call it a conspiracy theory along with the rest of the world.  If those who have amazing insight into all other aspects of Bible prophecy challenge that Satan’s efforts are behind this global phenomenon, is it any wonder that so many church goers – good solid Christians among them – are ignorant of the devil’s schemes?

The whole armor of God that Paul advocates we put on should inoculate true believers from the lies of the world.  For the most part it does, but not always.  We are in a life and death struggle against the powers of darkness.  How do we win?  Only through the Word of God and the blood of Jesus Christ.  This battle is not ours, although we are to stand boldly for the Lord while He fights for us.

It won’t be long before Jesus snatches us away from this alien place.  In the meantime, we must bring the truth to unbelievers and believers alike.  We’re in a spiritual battlezone.  We need to ask God for wisdom, discernment, and truth.  He will give us these qualities in abundance.  For that, we should give Him all praise and glory, because he is the victor in this war.  We who are on His side, can exult in His goodness and glorify Him until He brings us home.

Isaiah 28:15 – A Covenant With Death

Most people who follow Bible prophecy are aware that the trigger for the beginning of the 7-year Tribulation is the covenant that Antichrist confirms between Israel and an entity described as the “many.”  We famously see this in Daniel 9:27:

And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”

The covenant is for a week of years, i.e. seven years.  It is believed by most people who study this passage that this covenant will pave the way for the building of the 3rd temple in Jerusalem, what we also call the “Tribulation Temple.”  This will enable the orthodox Jews to once more begin religious rituals, including sacrificial offerings.  At the midpoint of this period – at the three and one half year mark – “he” (the Antichrist) – will cause these sacrifices to end.  Following in the footsteps of the Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes circa 165 BC, who desecrated the temple by killing a pig there and spreading its blood on the altar, Antichrist will similarly perform the abomination of desecration.  As Daniel describes, the desolator, i.e. Antichrist, will himself ultimately come to a preordained end.

Perhaps you’ve wondered what circumstances would cause Israel to trust Antichrist to broker a deal that is eventually broken.  First is the fact that Antichrist has somehow brought the Jews to a position of faith in his goodwill toward them.  Perhaps they see him as their Messiah for some reason.  If that’s the case, that would certainly convince them that he had Israel’s best interests at heart.  All we can do is speculate about this, as Scripture is silent how this actually comes about.

Secondly, circumstances in the world must bring about  the need for Israel to even consider such a covenant in the first place.  Again, speculation is all we have, with some thinking Islamic pressure necessitates the deal; whereas others, like noted Bible prophecy teacher Bill Salus (and me, who is un-noted!), believe this comes about because of the rise of militant Catholicism.  Regardless of the precipitating cause, God declares that this covenant is not of Him; in fact, it is destined to bring Israel to its knees because it is based on lies.  Consider what Isaiah 28:14-15 says about it:

Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers,

    who rule this people in Jerusalem!

Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,

    and with Sheol we have an agreement,

when the overwhelming whip passes through

    it will not come to us,

for we have made lies our refuge,

    and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;

The overwhelming whip in these verses is also known as the overwhelming scourge (KJV).  This agreement is made with Death and Sheol, a.k.a. Hades in the Greek.  One very prominent mention of these two partners in crime is in the opening of the 4th Seal in Revelation 6:7-8:

When he [i.e. the Lamb = Jesus] opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.

If Isaiah is referring to these verses in Revelation – which I believe he is – then the partners to Daniel’s covenant are Death and Hades, who come riding forth at the opening of this final Seal.  They are bringing an overwhelming scourge that Israel greatly fears.  A scourge is an instrument of punishment which brings affliction and suffering.  Israel wants to avoid this.

The problem is that the agreement made is based on falsehoods.  These untruths may come from all parties to the covenant.  Antichrist knows he’ll break it.  The many, represented by Death and Hades (Sheol) may be plotting to cheat on it.  The leaders of Israel may be trying to retain their positions of power and will do whatever is necessary in selling out their people so as to retain governmental control.  In other words, just as Isaiah says, this is a false refuge against whatever is threatening Israel.

It gets worse,  Isaiah 28:18 tells us the fate of this agreement and of Israel who enters into it:

Then your covenant with death will be annulled,

    and your agreement with Sheol will not stand;

when the overwhelming scourge passes through,

    you will be beaten down by it.

God declares that He will cancel this agreement.  It will fall like broken shards to the earth and be ground into dust.  The trouble that Israel hoped to avoid will come upon her anyway.  Likely the misfortune and torment that subsequently engulfs Israel will be worse than the people ever imagined.

Consider what Isaiah 28:19 says about it:

As often as it passes through it will take you;

    for morning by morning it will pass through,

    by day and by night;

and it will be sheer terror to understand the message.

Even just hearing of what transpires in this horrific evil will cause many to tremble in abject fear, let alone the actual harm that occurs.

God’s plan for Israel requires her to be broken.  Indeed she will be as Isaiah 28:22 tells us:

… for I have heard a decree of destruction

    from the Lord God of hosts against the whole land.

Only through this devastation upon all of Israel and her people during the Tribulation can God get her attention.  Through the witness of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, the preaching of the two witnesses in Jerusalem, and finally by the Gospel proclaimed throughout the world by the angelis host – Israel will finally acknowledge Jesus Christ as her long-awaited Messiah.  She will see the truth of Jesus just as Isaiah 28:16 says she will:

… therefore thus says the Lord God,

“Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion,

    a stone, a tested stone,

a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:

    ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’

God’s hopes and plans for His Chosen People will come to pass.  It will be a hard-won victory for Him and a painful reality for the Jewish nation as Zechariah 13:8-9 recounts:

In the whole land, declares the Lord,

    two thirds shall be cut off and perish,

    and one third shall be left alive.

And I will put this third into the fire,

    and refine them as one refines silver,

    and test them as gold is tested.

They will call upon my name,

    and I will answer them.

I will say, ‘They are my people’;

    and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

Indeed, Israel will repeat the words they proclaimed as Jesus first entered Jerusalem to their fickle acclaim, but this time they will mean them:

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.” (Psalm 118:26)

Isaiah 26:20 – Isaiah’s Pre-Trib Rapture Passage

There are many who dispute the notion of the pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church.  So be it.  They claim to find verses here and there in the Bible that support their various positions, be they mid-Tib, pre-Wrath, post-Trib, or no-Rapture.  I respectfully disagree and declare that God is so clear in His communication to the church, that He has provided evidence throughout the New Testament of His intent to remove the Bride of Christ from the earth prior to the 7-year Tribulation.  Not only that, but this mystery that Paul discussed in 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 is even validated in the Old Testament.

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

Most people who read Scripture from a literal perspective should be able to see that Isaiah 24 is all about the Tribulation.  Several examples should suffice:

Isaiah 24:1

Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate,

    and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.

Isaiah 24:6

Therefore a curse devours the earth,

    and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;

therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched,

    and few men are left.

Isaiah 24:17

Terror and the pit and the snare

    are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth!

Moreover, the prophet tells us that at the end of the Tribulation (Armageddon), the rebellious demonic host of heaven, which includes Satan, will be thrown into Tartarus until their day of final judgment.  The human element in league with them are likewise cast into this temporary prison.  We see this in Isaiah 24:21-22:

On that day the Lord will punish

    the host of heaven, in heaven,

    and the kings of the earth, on the earth.

They will be gathered together

    as prisoners in a pit;

they will be shut up in a prison,

    and after many days they will be punished.

Why does God bring the Tribulation’s punishment upon this planet in the first place?  Isaiah 24:20 provides the succinct answer:

… its transgression lies heavy upon it,

    and it falls, and will not rise again.

Throughout the Bible God shows His unfathomable love, mercy, and grace upon mankind.  However, in His dealing with the children of Israel, we see His wrath as a result of their disobedience.  He reaches a point time and again that He must punish them in judgment because they have spurned His love and chosen another way to live other than in Him.  The example of Israel is reflective of the rest of humanity.  When anyone, whether it’s Israel, with whom God has a special relationship, or mankind in the all Gentile nations, He gives people more than adequate opportunity to choose life with Him.  When they decide not to follow His righteous ways, the time comes that He must bring correction.  The ultimate righting of this wrong will occur during the Tribulation.

The Lord has two primary purposes in raining down His wrath upon the earth during this most horrible of seven years:

One: Through this time He will bring final redemption to Israel in the remnant that finally acknowledges Jesus Christ as Messiah.

Two: He will punish this unbelieving world, while at the same time, redeeming a remnant of mankind that turns to Him in faith.

For all those who believe that the church of true believers in Christ must go through the Tribulation, as always, I have to ask: Where do Christ-followers, saved by the blood of Jesus, fit into this picture?  Are we redeemed?  Have we accepted the gracious gift of salvation offered by our Lord?  Has He removed our iniquities as far as the east is from the west?  If so, why do you think God requires the blood-bought Bride of Christ to endure these horrible days of Tribulation?  Why is our generation so much worse than that of believers in 1700, 1800, 1900, or whatever earlier time, which necessitates our having to suffer through the day of the Lord?  If the Tribulation is for Israel, which it is; if the Tribulation is for unbelievers, which it is – then what purpose in God’s overall plan to draw all men to Himself is served by believers entering into this time of wrath?

Most pre-Trib Rapture believers see the Lord assuring us of His taking us to heaven as protection and blessing in John 14:1-3:

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

If we don’t go to heaven and find refuge during the Tribulation in our Father’s house, when exactly would we do that?  After all, at the end of the Tribulation, when Jesus returns to earth – with His saints following, by the way – He remains here to rule and reign on His throne in Jerusalem.  We’re here also in glorified bodies ruling and reigning under His direction.  During the Tribulation is the only period which believers spend any time in heaven.  Forevermore, at least until the end of the Millennium, we remain on the earth once we come back with Jesus.

Moreover, we also believe that Revelation 4:1 speaks of the Rapture:

 

After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

The church is spoken of, and to, only to this point in John’s Revelation.  Note the verse says: after this.  It is after John is transported, i.e. Raptured, to heaven that he is shown what will occur on the earth following that translation.  This is when the Tribulation begins.  The church is not mentioned again until Revelation 19 as the time of Tribulation concludes.

I stated earlier that Isaiah has a pre-Trib Rapture passage.  Consider what the prophet says in Isaiah 26:20-21:

Come, my people, enter your chambers,

    and shut your doors behind you;

hide yourselves for a little while

    until the fury has passed by.

For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place

    to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity,

and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it,

    and will no more cover its slain.

Can you read this and not see John echoing this in the verses noted above?  God’s people are called to their chambers, i.e. the rooms or mansions in heaven that He has prepared for them.  They provide refuge, that is a hiding place for believers (my people) while God reigns down wrath upon the earth for the sins of mankind.  It will be a bloody, awful time of punishment.

The takeaway is that God will protect His own.  He intends great harm to come upon this unbelieving world, yet because of His love and mercy, He will shelter those who have chosen to align with Him prior to His judgment.

Any other position besides belief in a pre-Tribulation Rapture fails to understand the character of God.  He is our blessed hope.  Because He loves the Bride of Christ, He will provide safe quarters for her.  Jesus is returning soon.  We stand upon this Rock in our faith.  Because of that, He will keep us from the great and terrible day of the Lord.

Government Intervention – A Short Story

As a cautionary tale, I wrote this short story as part of a writing challenge with Faithwriters.com and released it on May 12, 2014.  Given where we are in the world today seven years later (October 1, 2021), I thought it might be instructive to publish this here on my blog.  At the conclusion of the story (about a 3-minute read), you’ll see a comment that one of the reader made at the time.  What do you think?  Farfetched?

 

Government Intervention

by Gary W. Ritter

 

“Do you think this counts as gossip?”

“If it does, then we’ll both be sinners.  I’m calling Rose as soon as we get home.”

Leslie and Juliet rounded the corner heading for Leslie’s home.  As soon as they’d set out on their walk Juliet told her friend the disturbing news she had just learned.

As homeschooling parents both kept a close watch on the political scene.  They knew the contempt, even hatred, many on the left had for those who took it upon themselves to educate their children.  Numerous attempts had been made in recent years to shut down the homeschooling movement.  To date those efforts had been repulsed.

Because many families in the movement boldly professed their Christian faith and actively sought to influence the culture, that was another bull’s-eye for fiery darts aimed at them.  Christianity in the public square was not deemed a tolerant practice, resulting in ever-increasing hostility toward it.

The gossip mill had been busy with the latest news, as much as the practice was frowned on because of Scripture’s strong words against the practice.  But as Leslie said, “This doesn’t betray a confidence, it reveals a grave threat.”

First IRS audits.  Then harassing laws.  Next excessive non-compliance fines.  Followed by dawn raids.  Those who opposed homeschoolers had been working overtime.  But now, if this were true!

The women quickened their steps as they spotted a black SUV in Leslie’s driveway.  They began running when they saw her two children crying and resisting, being herded out of the house by three people they didn’t know.

“What do you think you’re doing?”  Leslie could barely gasp out the words.

Both men wore sunglasses and suits; the woman, dressed in an Adidas track outfit, grasped the children’s hands and pulled them toward the vehicle.

“Who are you?” one of the men said.

“I’m their mother,” Leslie panted.  Right up to the woman in the tracksuit and in her face; she said, “Let them go.”

One of the men stuck a paper under her nose.  “We have authority.”

Juliet grabbed it and scanned the official-looking document.  “This is America.  You have no right to do any such thing.”

“It’s the law of the land now, honey,” the other man said.  “The president signed an executive order.  You homeschoolers thought you could skirt the rules.  Think again.  This is the penalty you pay for your defiance.”

Leslie reached for her children.  One man slapped her hand away while the woman shoved her charges, who were now screaming, into the back seat of the car.  Like a snarling wildcat she recovered and tore at the jacket of the woman who was trying to close the door without mangling hands and feet.

Juliet took two steps and stopped at the sight of the pistol aimed at her.  “You stay where you are,” the man said.

He snatched at Leslie and threw her to the ground.  She scrambled to her feet and was about to charge when the discharge from the gun brought her up short.  Her eyes, wild with fear and anger, bounced among her three adversaries.

“We’re leaving now.”  The children pounded on the window but were locked inside, their faces frantic.

The three adults slowly crammed into the front of the vehicle, the man still training the gun on Leslie.

Juliet knew her friend and her love for her children.  She feared what was next.

It happened.

Leslie lunged for the man with the gun.  He didn’t hesitate.

This bullet wasn’t a warning shot.  Leslie’s hands flew to her stomach.  Her lips tried to mouth some words.  She slumped to the concrete driveway, blood flowing.

The window slid down after the man closed the car door.  He said to Juliet.  “We’re on our way to your house.”

As Juliet began to move the car pulled away.  It drove over the paper giving the agents the right to take away homeschooled children into the custody of the government, which would now raise them in the proper manner.

 

Reader Comment:

I enjoyed reading your story for its strong story-telling elements – good pacing, nice scene setup, and introduction of characters. Having homeschooled both of our children from preschool through high school, I have to say the entire scenario seemed a bit farfetched. I’m aware of the “resistance” to homeschooling (believe me, we experienced our share of it for many years), but the event that took place in your story, along with the characters’ dialogue, seemed unbelievable to me. There may come a day when it gets to this point, but for now, I feel this is a bit melodramatic. Would a government official “really” just hold up a document and say, “We have authority,” without any other explanation? And then shoot the mother?! I hope you won’t take offense with this critique, because I’m totally supportive of homeschooling, and understand the difficulties. This story shows that you definitely know how to write well, I simply struggled with believing the message.

 

Note: This story is published in my volume of short stories called The Panic Omnibus:

 

Isaiah 22:13 – You Did Not Look To Him

In Isaiah 22, the prophet gives an oracle – a vision – for Jerusalem.  I could be wrong, but it appears to me that this is both a lament for what had already occurred and a warning of what was to come with the destruction of the daughter of my people (Isaiah 22:4).  A great threat of invasion was hovering over Jerusalem.  Prudently, they did what anyone would do in seeing such a menace approaching.  Weapons were available elsewhere, so they collected them.  They prepared for the attack by assuring they’d have water.  In order to keep the enemy hordes from breaching the city walls, they reinforced them. (Isaiah 22:8-10)  All that they did in preparation was good and sound planning.

However, they neglected one thing to their ruin.  Isaiah 22:11 tells us:

… But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.

They did all the earthly things they were supposed to do, but had no regard for the One who could truly save them.

The Lord God of hosts called for them to come humbly before Him, seeking His mercy in this situation (Isaiah 22:12); instead they reveled, thinking they were safe, or if not, believing they’d die in merrymaking, as Isaiah 22:13 says:

… and behold, joy and gladness,

    killing oxen and slaughtering sheep,

    eating flesh and drinking wine.

“Let us eat and drink,

    for tomorrow we die.”

Their fatalism angered God.  He declared in Isaiah 22:14:

The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears:

“Surely this iniquity will not be atoned for you until you die,”

    says the Lord God of hosts.

How they approached this coming catastrophe was the worst thing they could do in the eyes of the Lord.

He goes on to foretell that one who served Him, because of his attitude of preparation without spiritual guidance, would be uprooted.  This man had carved out for himself a place of refuge, but Yahweh had no use for his earthly arrangements; they wouldn’t stand (Isaiah 22:15-19).  God would honor another and give him much authority (Isaiah 22:20-25).

This narrative makes me think of what’s happening in the world today.  Many secular people see that something is coming that will be bad, but they don’t have wisdom and insight into what that is.  They’re preparing for calamity, but have no sense of the ultimate disaster that will claim their soul.

Conversely, there are three groups in the church.

One: those who seemingly have little discernment or regard for Bible prophecy and what’s happening all around them.  They’ve buried their heads in the sand and are proceeding to do church as if nothing is going on that will touch them.

Two: those who certainly know the times just as the men of Issachar (1 Chronicles 12:32).  The problem is that they have misread the Word of God.  However they got to this point in their walk of faith, they’ve been completely deluded as to what happens next in these end times.

These are the preppers.  They’re storing away food and guns, perhaps arranging for an underground bunker or a bolthole to which they can flee.  The coming Tribulation is the reality they apprehend and want to make sure they can endure those awful seven years.  Some mock the idea of the Rapture; others appear to ignore it.  In all cases, they seem to be looking for the soon appearance of great evil in the world, perhaps seeing and preparing for the approach of the Antichrist as the culmination of the coming lawlessness.  In the Christian community, there are many who think this way.

Three: the minority of us who place our confidence in the soon return of Jesus through the Rapture of His church.  Through wisdom and discernment we see all that the preppers do, except our approach is entirely different.  We may have small quantities of supplies on hand, since we know that times could be rough prior to when Jesus comes.  However, we are looking up.  Our desire is for the Lord to return so that we can join Him in the heavenly realm as His Bride.  This doesn’t mean – as so many scoffers declare – that we are avoiding engagement in the world until that time.  On the contrary, those I know with this belief in the accuracy of God’s Word as to the Rapture, are engaged furiously in doing what we can to bring others into the Kingdom.  To that end, we are doubling down in how we seek the Lord so as to grow closer to Him.  At the same time, we’re grieving and praying and reaching out as God allows in these darkening days.

Rather than be like the steward Shebna that God rebuked in Isaiah 22:15-19 because he was looking to his own self-sufficiency, our desire is to be like Eliakim, to whom the Lord said about in Isaiah 22:22:

“And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.”

Shouldn’t our prayer and desire be to wholly serve God in these treacherous times?  Should we not respond in the same manner we see that the prophet did in Isaiah 6:8?

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”