“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NIV)

The question raised in my post a couple days ago is worthy of revisiting. With the many recent revelations of the possible spread of Ebola in the U.S., a prominent American-based political e-zine, The American Standard, has published the thought-provoking “Six Reasons to Panic”. Their writers advise a controlled-panic as opposed to all-out “run off the cliff panic”, but panic nevertheless. It is obvious they subscribe to the notion–at least to the real possibility–that this could be the big one.

Far from going into a panic, my Bible tells me not even to be anxious–not about anything, including a wide-scale Ebola outbreak (Philippians 4:6). If worry or fear creeps into my mind, as a Christ-follower, I must cast all my anxiety on Him (1 Peter 5:7). That does not mean that we pretend that the disease does not exist or that we will not be affected or infected by it; it does imply God’s people will not be shaken by their circumstances.

It helps if we know what’s going on, even if our leaders from the top down don’t have a clue. This is God. In the passage cited above, the Lord said, “When I send a plague.” God announced in Deuteronomy 28:15 and following what he will do when the people he’s blessed no longer follow his laws: He will bring a curse on them, which includes wasting diseases. Do we think God makes idle threats? History proves otherwise.

Why is it so hard to add two and two? It is a cause and effect relationship: First, we take the side of Israel’s enemies, then the U.S. Supreme Court effectively strikes down Defense of Marriage Legislation across the country legalizing homosexual unions. (Pass the Pot in celebration.) As that announcement out of Washington D.C. was made, the late-Thomas Duncan arrived in Dallas from Liberia. What a coincidence? Can anyone say “blood moon”?

The Lord is merciful. We do have an option: We could try and fight the God-sent contagion on our own or humble ourselves (get down on our face and knees) and pray. We must seek His face and turn from our wicked ways–in other words repent of our sin. If we meet these conditions, the Heavenly Father promised, then will I hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin and I will heal their land. The whole idea is to be reconciled to God.

So where is the call for national repentance? Where is the condemnation from pulpits of policies that promote wickedness. Are we that far gone?  I don’t know that it is the big one, but from God’s perspective, why shouldn’t it be?

A fearsome dragon terrorizes the world while his protégé, the beast mesmerizes untold millions. A second beast assists in the deception of the world. The populace is enthralled by this unholy trinity. Meanwhile, a beautiful bride nobly battles for survival. She is overcome by the beast with seven heads. The world has fallen for his chicanery. Yet, there is hope as a valiant prince rescues His bride from certain death. The two beasts are thrown into a fiery prison, while the dragon is chained and bound to a gloomy abyss for a thousand years.

Does this sound like a Sci-Fi action adventure? As amazing as it may seem, these events will transpire within an epic battle of the ages between Jesus and Satan. Our planet, as well as the heavens themselves, are the battleground. This is The War of the Ages.

While written with beautiful symbolism, The Book of Revelation, is an unveiling of the great conflict which is to come. John, the Apostle, was told to write about what would soon take place. Our Lord, himself, is “the Revelator”. It is He who lovingly provides us with the guide on thriving during the distress of those days.

To better understand Revelation, it is good to know its genre. It is written in the literary style of an ancient Greek play. There are flashback scenes but the majority of the letter follows a chronology. Above all, we must heed every word. Blessings will follow those who take the words of this prophecy to heart (Rev. 1:3).

Not all of God’s saints will physically survive the last days (i.e. The 70th week of Daniel), but the wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens (Daniel 12:3). God’s people who rightly interpret prophecy have the advantage. We must trust in the sovereign plan of Jesus no matter what the cost. Our expected-end and destinies hang in the balance. EJ

Dressed to go out

Dressed to go out.

“However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands… The LORD will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him. The LORD will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. The LORD will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish. (Deuteronomy 28:15a, 20-24 NIV)

While Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the the World Health Organization (WHO) stated today (Monday, October 13th) that the Ebola outbreak is “the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times”, Americans are hearing that we need not be overly concerned.

Serious doubts about controlling Ebola surfaced yesterday when it was reported that a Dallas, Texas, nurse has become the first on American soil to contract the virus. Not to worry. According to Dr. Thomas Friedan, Director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it was a “protocol breach” on the part of the unidentified nurse. She had contact with Thomas Duncan, the Ebola-infected patient who has since died. Of course, no one knows what her protocol breach was.

The Word of God gives the clearest insight into what is happening: The Lord is doing what he promised he would do. When his people ceased to obey he said he would strike the land with a curse. Confusion reigns because God said he would send it –and rebuke also.

We are under a curse because we are corrupt and flaunt our sin. Where is the fear of God? So the vile and wicked will contract wasting diseases until they all perish. If Dr. Friedan and his associates, or even his superiors, think they can control God’s curse, they are wrong! They probably ignore Scripture’s warning, the same way Mr. Duncan was ignored as he crossed our nation’s borders.  We all neglect God’s Word to our own peril.

God’s people need not worry or surrender to fear. We have an Advocate who sits at the Father’s right hand. We can come boldly before Jesus’ throne of grace seeking help in our time of trouble.

In these Last Days, Solomon’s prayer is critical for the saints to learn:

“When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when enemies besiege them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come, and when a prayer or plea is made by any of your people Israel–each one aware of his afflictions and pains, and spreading out his hands toward this temple–then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive, and deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of men), so that they will fear you and walk in your ways all the time they live in the land you gave our fathers.” (2 Chron. 6:28-31 NIV)

Might Ebola be the big one that some predict? Whether it is or not, God will be feared or humanity will pay the price.

” And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Speak unto the children of Israel saying, the fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days.’ ” (Leviticus 23:33-34, KJV).

“Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine.” (Deuteronomy 26:13, KJV).

Imagine camping in your backyard for a week out of a house made of palm branches and other material. Sharing a meal, under the stars and just enjoying time with family, appreciating the majesty of God’s creation. That is exactly what the Feast of Tabernacles represents. The children of Israel would build temporary structures (succoths) to commemorate that God was with Israel for 40 years in the wilderness.

This feast which begins at sundown on Wed., October 8, is a time of Thanksgiving to God for the provisions of the fall harvest. Just as Pentecost celebrated the spring harvest and was fulfilled with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2), there will be a future outpouring of the Holy Spirit during this fall harvest.  (Joel 2:23, 28-32). It precedes the Day of the Lord and God will use this gift to bring many to Jesus. Expect to see miracles, signs and wonders which will infuriate the antichrist and cause him to display demonically inspired feats which will deceive the ungodly.

The importance of this holy celebration is shown around God’s throne room, where a great multitude from every tribe, nation and language, is worshipping Yahweh as one. (Revelation 7:9-17).  This is the redeeming power of the Holy Spirit as everyone will understand one pure language. Our Lord reverses the scattering caused by the disobedience at the tower of Babel. (Genesis 11:1-9).

Finally, the Feast of Tabernacles, will be observed during the Millennium. The prophet Zechariah tells us that everyone that is left from the nations (which came against Jerusalem) shall go to the Holy City year after year to worship the King (JESUS).  This is MANDATORY and if the families of a nation do not attend, then there will be no rain for their crops. (Zechariah 14: 16-21).  God loves us so much that he wants us to rejoice with Him and enjoy the fruits of His creation together. EJ.

The Lord said to Moses, ” the tenth day of the seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves and present an offering made to the Lord by fire. Do no work on this day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 23:26-28, NIV).

Also known as Yom Kippur, this Sabbath is a very somber and holy day for Israel. This year it begins at sunset on October 3rd and continues until sunset on October 4th. For religious Jews, their sins are covered on this day for one year. From Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, the Jewish people have been repenting and turning to God with the hope that God seals their name in the Book of Life for another year.

Believers in Jesus know that He is THE Passover Lamb and for those who turn to Him as savior, they have been redeemed by His pure blood. The saints of Yahweh see the crucifixion as both  Passover and Atonement. However, the original Day of Atonement can be found in Genesis 3:21

” The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” (NIV).

Since sin entered the world, it was necessary for the Lord to cover the transgressions of Adam and Eve. So when this Holy Day was given to Moses it was based on what Jesus did in the Garden of Eden. It is a true sign of God’s mercy. Man should have been destroyed on that day but because Yahweh’s mercy exceeds His righteous judgment, mankind survived.

There will come a day when Israel recognizes Jesus as Messiah and Yom Kippur will be fulfilled. Daniel 9:24 is the key.

” Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most Holy.” (NIV)

Yom Kippur will end the 70th week of Daniel, and begin the transition into the glorious age that creation has been yearning for: The Millennium. EJ

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. (Revelation 20:4a NIV)

Decapitations are again in vogue among barbarians. Once thought to be relegated to history books, Jihadists from the Middle East to Algeria to Oklahoma are offering previews of last days’ be-headings. What fuels these hideous atrocities? Might it be a demon spirit of religion?

Jesus faced his religious haters. To the Jewish leaders, our Lord said, “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town… I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.” (Matthew 23:33-34, 36 NIV)

Jesus’ cruelest of executions would not suffice. Once Christ’s enemies acquired a taste for blood, they wanted more. Matthew 23:33-36 suggests killings and crucifixions will regain their first century A.D. popularity. Persecutions began with the Jews, afterward Roman emperors took over.

In days to come, carrying one’s cross won’t be a figure of speech, but a harsh reality. The masters of religion will convince themselves they will be doing God a favor.

Be-headings, as well as crucifixions, have been performed recently while the knife-holder praises Allah. Murderers are committing their heinous acts out of religious obedience.

Translated into the English, an on-line version of the Koran spells it out. Using the search term “head”, we find this among the 28 matches. Sura 8:12, “…I will cast terror onto the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore, strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.”

Who loses their head and other things such as fingertips? Why it is unbelievers, specifically, those who refuse to convert to Islam.

Radical religionists will not be satisfied with just a little blood. Violence begets violence. Less radical Muslim elements will make way or die. As we saw with the early church, saints did not only die at the hands of religious Jews, but by the edicts of emperors as well. So it will be. Soon earth’s kings will take over the business of slaying God’s people.

Take note; in countries like Syria, Christian parents are preparing their children: “Better to lose our head and other things, than to lose our soul.”

There will be terrible times in the last days. Prophecy, however, reveals the reward for the overcomer: “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10 NIV)

But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. (1 Corinthians 13:8b-10 NIV)

The Apostle Paul was trying to restore unity in the Corinth church. The saints had split on a host of issues. One was spiritual gifts. His teaching on gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 was followed up by the “Love Chapter”, Chapter 13. Having a gift but not showing love is fruitless—literally.

Singling out, in vs. 8, gifts at the center of the controversy, Paul asked believers to think in terms of the future. One day, love will remain, but prophecies, tongues and knowledge will not be needed. In fact, tongues will be in the first group of gifts to pass away.

Arriving at the above conclusion is a combination of studying Genesis 11:1-9 and “Rule 5” of The Five Major Rules for Bible Interpretation: “Look for the Near/Far Prophetic in Scripture”. (See “Rules of Interpretation” in our “Book Excerpts” section.)

The Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 is where God made language into languages (tongues). When the rebels scattered in all directions, they became diverse peoples and nations.

On Pentecost, the Spirit was witnessed by devout Jews from all nations hearing the wonders of God in their native tongue. In Acts 2, Jesus’ disciples in Jerusalem were doing the speaking, and pilgrims gathered there from nations, peoples and languages were understanding—and without any confusion! It was a reversal of Babel.

In genuine “Near Prophetic” fashion, Peter explained the miracle that had taken place.
“No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel, ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.’ ” (Acts 2:16-17 NIV)

Acts 2:19-21 and Joel 2:28-32 clearly refers to a future occurrence. Being a Near Prophetic event, Pentecost previewed a much greater, end-of-the age happening. We are referring to Revelation 7:9 where John sees, circling the Lamb and his throne, a multitude that no one can count. Gathered in one spot are saints from all nations, tribes, languages and peoples. The once scattered are gathered. In verse 10, we witness the cessation of tongues.
“And they [the multitude no one could count] cried in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

In one language, the saints from the nations will declare the wonders of God. John heard every word as if they all spoke his native language in unison. Yes, tongues will soon cease. Until then, this supernatural gift will be evidenced in Spirit-filled disciples devoted to fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

For more on this, read “Tongues and Prophecy” in The Prophets of God available on this site.

Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin…
Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” (John 11:47, 49-50
NIV)

In this year of American mid-term elections, with the balance-of-political-power on the line, we should expect wild, even outlandish statements. Polls are now showing Republicans favored to win back the U.S. Senate and build on their sizable majority in the House of Representatives. Seven weeks is a political eternity and much can happen, yet Democrats feel an ill-wind blowing.

With recent polls showing a likely Democrat loss of the Senate by, for example, The New York Times and Washington Post (62% and 53% respectively), the former House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, took to the air predicting a catastrophe of epic proportions—if Republicans win the Senate, that is.

In her interview seen live on Real Time with Bill Maher, Friday, September 12th, the high priestess of U.S. politics, Ms. Pelosi cautioned the world, “Civilization as we know it today will be in jeopardy if Republicans take back the Senate.”

The comparison of Nancy Pelosi and Caiaphas, the high priest behind the Jews’ plan to crucify Jesus, is not far-fetched. Once Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the Jewish authorities had legitimate concerns. The people were running after Jesus. The power structure was witnessing a shift; therefore, a potential loss of position. Jesus was a greater threat to the Temple elite than their Roman occupiers.

Desperate times demand desperate measures. That’s why Caiaphas, and Ms. Pelosi, spoke up with attention-getting warnings. Those with everything to lose had to know what was at stake.

Out of their mouths came prophecy. History shows that Caiaphas was correct in what he said. As John in his Gospel declared, “He [Caiaphas] did not say this on his own.” (John 11:51 NIV)

Soon we will realize that Nancy Pelosi was right as well. The end of the status quo is near! The House Minority Leader has not spoken on her own. The high priest and his contemporary counterpart foresaw the inevitable. What Caiaphas failed to acknowledge, however, was God’s hand against him, and then repent. Time is running out but maybe it’s not too late for Ms. Pelosi.

” Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not yet soiled their clothes. They will walk with me dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my father and his angels.” (Rev. 3:4-5, NIV).

The promises that Jesus made to all 7 first century Churches of Asia Minor were the same promises made to the body of believers throughout the centuries.

” He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

These words were spoken 7 times (the number of completion). However, the promises were conditional, based on each person being faithful and an overcomer. People who think that they fulfill their “religious” duty by attending a weekly service and a few bible studies, could not be further from the truth. The Church is a living body that is to reach out to the local communities and then to the world. Before Jesus returns, the  message of salvation must be proclaimed to every tribe throughout all corners of the world. (cf: Matthew 24:14).

The Holy Spirit will provide us with divine power and the wisdom to speak God’s words. Our job is to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to YahwehWe must reject the ways of the world and through the renewal of our minds, we will be able to discern the  will of God. (Romans 12:1-2).

There is a price to be paid for being the Church that Jesus envisioned. We will be tortured, betrayed, imprisoned or even put to death. (Matthew 24:9, Rev. 2:10). However, the key to defeating Satan is by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. (Rev. 12:11). This is war and we are to run towards the heat of battle not loving our own lives as to shrink from death. EJ.

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is his unfailing love,
to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine. Psalm 33:16-19
(NIV)

To a degree, I admire the people who presently store food and water. At least, they are doing something in preparation for a day of disaster. But for some, “survival-ism” has become a religion–a religion without true salvation.

Large arsenals and the growing business of survival-ism are signs of the times. Dried foods, water purification tablets and stockpiles of heirloom seeds show foresight, but offer false hopes. Famine is but one of the horsemen of the apocalypse. Without God’s help, how does anyone escape a plague or war?

Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. (Psalm 127:1 NIV)

Pity those who deny the obvious. Despite the culture’s war against God and nation’s steady decline in morality, they trust in their wealth. They may fear a host of supposed threats to the environment, yet show no concern for God’s wrath. They live as though their plans were absolutes. How foolish to ignore the Bible’s promise of Christ’s soon return!

The survivalist mentality is the opposite pole of ignoring the signs. The danger of survival-ism is in the mirage of self-reliance it presents. Survival-ism can be as damning as the selfish rich man who refused to comfort the beggar Lazarus.

Saints will not just survive, they’ll thrive. They will follow Peter’s counsel in his letters to the persecuted believers in Rome. They will live godly lives as they love one another deeply. Anticipating a time of great distress should motivate us to do more than create stores of goods. We ought to pursue great acts of love and kindness while we separate ourselves from evil.

Survivalists beware. Only “thrivers” will survive. “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him. I will protect him because he acknowledges my name.” (Psalm 91:14 NIV)

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