Choosing Jesus – When?

Let’s start this message with a couple of Scriptures to set the stage.  The first is Philippians 2:10-11, which says:

“that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

And then we’ll also quote Romans 2:4-9:

Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when His righteous judgment will be revealed. God ‘will repay each person according to what they have done.’ To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, He will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile;

I was at a men’s Bible study recently where these verses were discussed, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts about them.  Look again at verse 5:

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when His righteous judgment will be revealed.”

Stubbornness.  An unrepentant heart.  Storing up wrath.  The day of God’s wrath.  Do you know who the Apostle Paul is writing to?  It’s to believers!  He’s not concerned with unbelievers—that’s a different message.  These are people in the church of Rome who are professing Christians.

What is that wrath?  Believers have a date with Jesus very soon when He comes back for His true Church.  We will be caught up in the clouds with Jesus in the event known as the Rapture.  Following that, our judgment will be at the Bema Seat before Christ where we will either receive crowns as rewards, or not.  Our sin has been dealt with by Jesus on the cross; there is no more judgment against us for what we’ve done in our flesh.

Then what could Paul possibly be saying?  What wrath could they be storing up that will be enacted against them?  Consistently throughout the Bible the Day of Wrath is considered the 7-year Tribulation.  I can read this as no other way than Paul saying that these believers will face God’s wrath in the Tribulation.

There are three scenarios for us to consider as a result of these verses in Romans.

  1. The first is what I call true believers, that is, those who walk with the Lord with a humble and contrite heart and seek to do His will. Do those of us in this group stumble and sometimes sin?  Absolutely!  But it’s not a lifestyle.  When the choice arises to sin or not, the absolute majority choice is to walk away and not sin.  It’s a condition of the heart that causes people in this group to believe that God is who He says, that He is kind and merciful, but also a fearsome judge.  The thought of diving into sin through rebellion and disobedience is far, far from the hearts of the people in this group.
  2. This second group is whom I believe Paul was addressing in his letter to the Romans. These are believers presumably, certainly professing believers.  But the people in this group have a heart problem.  What is that?  They are stubborn and have a hardness in their heart.  They are living in sin, choosing sin, and stubbornly ignoring God’s commands for the way they should live for Him.

Paul lays out a serious indictment to these folks.  They are storing up God’s wrath for His day of wrath and judgment.  To me, this can only mean that Paul’s warning is that these people will go through the Tribulation unless there is a radical change in their heart and their behavior.

God’s intent in having us go through this life as believers is to refine us as gold or silver are refined in a fire.  We have troubles.  We have tribulation.  We are to press through these things and mature in our walk with Christ.  If we don’t; rather, we consistently give into sin, in fact, choosing it rather than saying, “No,” what else can be the result than God desiring us STILL to be refined through the fire?  He wants us as His Virgin Bride, one who has been purified.  The person who continually chooses sin has not been purified.

We should take heed to what Paul says in this letter.  Watch out!  This is a warning.  Remember in Philippians quoted above that every knee will bow and every tongue confess.  Are those diving into sin bowing their knee?  Remember also, that it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance.  If we spurn His kindness, there are consequences.  The consequence in the case of believers with stubbornness and unrepentant hearts may indeed be the opportunity for them to learn those virtues through the horrors of the Tribulation.

This warning certainly gives me pause.  It should likewise make those in this category think long and hard about their relationship to their presumed Lord and Savior.

  1. Those in this third category are those who are unbelievers. There is no question that they are destined for the Tribulation.  In God’s mercy, many will come to faith in Christ during this terrible time.  If these people don’t, then they will earn their final judgment at the Great White Throne where they will be separated as goats, while those who are sheep will go on to eternal life with Christ.  As goats, as rebellious unbelievers, these hard-hearted individuals will go into eternal darkness, separated from Jesus forever in the Lake of Fire.

All will bow their knee and confess Jesus as Lord.  It’s all about timing.  For those who haven’t yet done so and chosen Christ, the question is: When?

Why Bible Prophecy

It seems as though Bible prophecy has a bad name these days.  When believers in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture espouse this position, there are numerous “Christians” who ridicule the notion that Jesus will come back for His church in a timely manner.  Why is this such a strange and unpopular notion?

If these scoffers were to look more deeply into Scripture, they would see that Pre-Trib is heavily supported through numerous passages.  There are two contrasting Bible study techniques.  One is called exegesis, while the other is called eisegesis.  One is a valid way to understand God’s Word, the other is not.

Exegesis says that we should take Biblical text and read out of it what is there and apply that to our understanding through careful analysis.  In other words, the text says what it says.  Eisegesis takes the opposite approach, whereby someone reads into the text his preconceived notions and biases.

Just this simple description should make it clear what the most profitable means is of understanding God’s Word.  Eisegesis is like math.  Remember the saying: Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.  So it is with how we treat the Bible.  The Bible doesn’t lie, but liars lie about the Bible.

This particular blog post is not the point at which I’ll lay down the case for the Pre-Trib Rapture.  Hopefully, over time I’ll expound on that.  The point of all this is that Bible prophecy is rampant throughout the Bible, and it’s all true.  Either it’s been fulfilled or it will be in the future.  Prophecy comprises up to one-third of the Bible.  It’s important, and God wants us to know that and to take it seriously.  He also wants us to know His plans for the ages.

A famous statistic in this regard is that there are about 318 Biblical references to the first coming of Jesus.  Each and every one of them was fulfilled.  The odds against such a thing are beyond astronomical.

So, how do we read Bible prophecy and learn from God what He intends?  Simple.  We follow the Golden Rule of Interpretation.  We take what the Bible says literally.  A condensed version of this Golden Rule reads:

“When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense.  Therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, visual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate text…clearly indicate otherwise.”

And that’s the problem with those who mock the Pre-Trib Rapture.  They allegorize verses pertaining to it or make them them symbolic.  They do the same with much of the Bible, particularly anything having to do with prophecy.  In other words, they apply eisegesis to the Scriptures and read into them whatever they think in their fallible, human, sinful minds those passages should mean rather than taking the plain, literal sense of them.

The Apostle John—John the Revelator—warns us in the final chapter of the last book of the Bible against such folly.  He writes in Revelation 22:18:

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll.

Isn’t someone who makes up things about what the Bible says adding to the words of this book?  I certainly wouldn’t want to be those who stand before God at judgment with that mark against me, particularly after having been so succinctly warned.

Bible prophecy is for our benefit.  It is to know God’s ultimate design for this world and beyond.  More than anything, it is to both show His love to those who willingly follow Him and to warn of His wrath upon those who choose otherwise.

Choose wisely.

Prophecy Update 1-22-19

Please Note: This blog entry is a recap of the prophecy update I did in my Facebook and Youtube video posts on this date.  You can watch this and many other teachings at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7dsJSzy9TJV2dq9exmCRhQ/videos?view_as=subscriber if you wish to get ahead of these written blog posts.

The Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God.  Inspired means that men were guided by the Holy Spirit to write God’s truth.  Inerrant is defined as having no error.  Infallible means that the Bible, as God’s Word, cannot contain error, because God cannot make mistakes and He knows all things.

In this regard, I want to mention two quick verses before we get to the update itself.  The first is 1 Chronicles 12:32, which says:

of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do.”

God highly praised the men in the Israelite tribe of Issachar because the knowledge they had enabled them to understand the times.  Should this be any different for us today?  Certainly not!  God gives us the tools and the means to understand the times with knowledge.

The second verse pertaining to this is Acts 17:11.  This says:

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

God calls these Bereans men of noble character because of the very fact that they loved the Word of the Lord so much that they dug deeply into it.  Their desire was to assure that what Paul said was the truth and supported by Scripture.  In the same way, whether it’s what I say or write (or anyone else for that matter) the person on the receiving end of my words should always verify in the Bible that I’m not misleading you in any way.  The way to do this is to read your Bible daily and know the entire Word of God from beginning to end.  Keep His Word with you constantly, and you’ll not easily be deceived.

Now, for this prophecy update, I want to touch on three interesting items in the news.

  1. First, read Ezekiel 38:11:

You will say, “I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people—all of them living without walls and without gates and bars.”’

Ezekiel’s War, the Gog of Magog War is chronicled in Ezekiel 38-39.  Scripture describes a future war with three major players and several minor ones who all come against the nation of Israel in the latter days.  These players are Russia, Iran, and Turkey, and we see this scenario developing before our very eyes daily in Syria, where these three nations have carved out portions of that country for themselves.  There will be a time in the near future when the events in Ezekiel will ALL come to pass.

But that’s the issue I have right now with this prophecy.  God’s Word, as I mentioned earlier, is inerrant and infallible.  Thus, everything about a prophecy must be fulfilled.  Look again at Ezekiel 38:11.  What is the conditional criteria?  ”All of them living without walls and without gates and bars.”

Here’s a recent headline in Jews News dated 1/15/2019: “Israel’s hi-tech border fence transformed the country, and this is why Trump always uses it as an example for what he wants for border security.”  The article goes on to say that Israel has a 14 km (8.7 mile) border fence with Egypt and a 34 km (21 mile) border wall with Jordan that is 26 m (85 feet) high.

Does this create a conflict with the Ezekiel prophecy?  To my mind it certainly does.

Why do I bring this up?  There is another potential war that many believe will occur prior to the Ezekiel war, that being the Psalm 83 War.  I’m not going to get into Psalm 83 in this post.  I hope to do so in a subsequent blog in some detail.  The point is that there is much dispute among those who follow Bible prophecy.  There are many respected teachers on both sides of the argument, which is: Is there going to be a Psalm 83 War in the future, or was the prophecy for that war fulfilled when Israel became a nation on May 14, 1948, when various surrounding nations came against her?

I happen to believe that Psalm 83 has not yet been completely fulfilled and is still future.  If that’s the case, I also believe that through Israel’s victory in that war, the walls, bars, and gates so necessary now to Israel’s existence will no longer be needed at that time.  Only after Psalm 83 has been completed can Ezekiel take place as foretold.

  1. Let’s next read Revelation 13:1,4,14,16-17:

The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name…People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?”… Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived…It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.”

These verses speak of what will occur during the 7-year Tribulation with the rise of the antichrist who will institute a one-world government that forces everyone to submit to it if they desire to be able to conduct commerce of any kind—such as buying food in order to eat.

In The Straits Times dated January 20, 2019, a headline reads: “Majority of world population support globalism, survey finds.”  This survey reports that perhaps populist movements aren’t as popular as many believe.  Rather, that “the global public favours cooperation between nations.”  People in this survey look favorably upon immigration (it doesn’t say whether this is legal or illegal), and they believe climate scientists who declare we have a climate change threat to the world.

With all these issues facing the world, more and more people are becoming concerned.  The climate (excuse the pun) is right for the rise of someone, anyone, who can take charge and lead us out of all these problems to a safer, saner world.  Perhaps a messiah—a global leader who is so charismatic, highly favored, intelligent, and in the right place at the right time for the world to place its faith and trust in him.  And, if he needs to institute a system to control buying and selling to make his plan work—so be it.  Many will decide that this is the only way to go.  They will follow him—the antichrist—and they will follow him straight to hell.

  1. Finally, in Romans 1:25,28,30 we learn this:

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen….Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done…slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;”

The UK  Daily Star dated January 19, 2019 has this headline: “Humans to download their SOULS onto microchips so they can ‘live FOREVER’.”  The article contains a couple of interesting quotes.  A Mr. Skellett says, “I see benefits from it [microchipping], but it also opens up a whole roster of other things—like being reborn.”  Our Mr. Skellett goes on to say, “Well, I would say that nurture is all to do with learning; you are a product of everything you have experienced, your likes and dislikes and that’s arguably your soul.  Your soul is you, it’s your beliefs, it’s your values.”

For as long as the recorded, secular history of man, he has sought the means to be immortal, e.g. with the Fountain of Youth.  We have cryogenics that freeze man and his brain, cloning, and even propagation of many offspring.  I saw an article the other day about a man who hopes to father 2,500 children.  He says he has already begotten 100 children.  His preferred, and least expensive, method is through direct sexual intercourse, but for a higher price he’ll also “help” others through artificial insemination.

The sad part of all this is that man is already immortal; it’s simply a matter of location, i.e. where will he spend eternity.  We all have a choice.  If we reject God, who offers the free gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, He allows us to suffer the consequences of that choice, namely, to remain separate from Him forever, in a horrible place known as the Lake of Fire.

However, if we choose Jesus through the repentance of our sins, believing in our heart that He is God, and confessing our faith in Him, then we are saved, i.e. born again.  Through this simple act we have the wonderful outcome that we will live forever with Christ in joy, peace, and the glory of God.

Prophecy Revealed & Blessed

I mentioned in my initial blog post that prophecy comprises a significant portion of the Bible.  God’s servants, the prophets, wrote up to one-third of Bible text that involves future events described from a prophetic perspective.  Just from that alone, it should be evident that prophecy is important to God.

However, God doesn’t stop there, He makes it clear by stating in His Word that prophecy is one means for Him to communicate with His people.

Amos 3:7 says: “Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”

Here we see that God wants to inform us of the future.  We are to know what’s next.  God’s heart is that we discern and understand the times.

The Book of Revelation is often avoided by Christians.  They say it’s too scary or confusing; as a result, it must not be for them.  I beg to differ.  Revelation is one of the 66 books of the Bible that comprise the entire Word of God.  He didn’t allow it be part of Scripture and then tell us it’s all right to ignore it.

In fact, here is Revelation 1:3, which informs us: “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.”

There is actually a special blessing to those who read Revelation and other words of prophecy.  But there’s also a caveat.  We’re to keep those things written here, in other words, to know them and make them a part of our lives.

But this little verse gives us even more.  It says, “the time is near.”  What time?  The time chronicled in this book.  Now, you may say, “This was written 2000 years ago.  Surely that time has passed or it’s simply not going to come.”  God’s Word never returns void (Isaiah 55:11).  His Word will come to pass.  Remember a day to the Lord is like a thousand years to us (2 Peter 3:8).  We get impatient, but God has His own timeline.

Jesus gives us this encouragement in Revelation 22:7, where He says: “Behold, I am coming quickly!  Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

God’s revelation in Revelation is one we need to heed.  These things to come will be upon us more quickly than we think.  As a result, God warns us and tells us to prepare.  If you look at the world through a Biblical, prophetic lens everything that is happening around us will be much clearer, because that is exactly what God desires for us.

One final thing.  For those of us who study and heed Biblical prophecy, God has a promise for us.  In 2 Timothy 4:8 the Apostle Paul writes: “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

What could be better than that?  Through prophecy, we gain clarity as to what’s coming in this world and in the next, with Jesus in heaven.  He even gives us a crown of righteousness for being faithful to His Word, those of us who love Him enough to anticipate His soon return!

We are wise to heed God’s Word relating to the prophetic.  Jesus is all about prophecy as Revelation 19:10 informs us: “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

If you love Jesus, you should likewise love His prophetic Word.  In doing so, you’ll be blessed and receive great joy.

Blog Introduction

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.”

I have no doubt this blog will be quite different from the majority of blogs that many might read.  I’m a pastor as well as an author with a passion to convey God’s Word relating to Bible Prophecy and End-Times events.

The Church – along with the world – is largely illiterate on Bible prophecy, particularly when it comes to end-times teaching.  Perhaps God will use this medium to bring greater understanding of His will and purposes in the world as I concentrate on devotions, teachings, and prophecy updates.

My hope is that people who read this blog will be struck by these facts:

  • Prophecy comprises about 1/3 of the Bible.
  • Few pastors teach or preach on Bible prophecy.
  • The world is growing considerably darker.
  • The worldview of most people doesn’t enable them to understand what is going on and to place it in the proper context.
  • Those in the Church who don’t study Bible prophecy aren’t watching, occupying, and looking up as the Lord Jesus commands.

Quickly about me:

I’m a lay pastor – Missions Director in my local church. Because of my long association with Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), the Lord has placed on my heart the persecution and suffering of those around the world who live for Christ and are punished for that love by hostile governments, even their families and friends.

The books I write all have a Christian worldview with a strong emphasis on end-times events.  As I write this, my published books available on this website and through Amazon.com include:

NOVELS

Whirlwind Series:

Sow the Wind

Reap the Whirlwind

There Is A Time

The Tattooed Cat

SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS

The Panic (Omnibus)

The Panic

Flying Dollars

Spa Treatment

Zapped! (Omnibus)

Zapped!

Wedding Day

You Choose

The novel I’m currently writing and about three-quarters through poses the question: What if aliens appeared on the world stage at the height of World War II and changed everything?

If some of these things sound of interest to you, stay tuned.  God bless.