This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4 NIV)

What good is a cake recipe that fails to include all the key ingredients? If, for instance, the recipe listed flour and sugar but no eggs, would we have a cake? We’d have a cake that looks like a disaster. In a similar way, we must never over-simplify God’s plan of salvation or we risk losing the very thing we hope to gain.

Salvation is at the center of the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Lord wants all to be saved. Where problems surface is when we make conversion the same as salvation. The evangelist without the pastor and teacher is cake batter without the hot oven for baking. In building up the Body of Christ, proclaiming the Gospel is irreplaceable, yet so are the other parts of the five-fold ministry of Ephesians 4:11-12.

The Great Commission is precise in its language. We are to make disciples of all nations, not stop at converts. Conversion is a necessary stage–as is repentance, but the outcome Christ had in mind are disciples. Only disciples can produce disciples. It will be true followers that testify to Christ to every language and people, not converts. Global proliferation of the Gospel is the cake the Master has in view. Pastoring and teaching is the process by which disciples are produced.

Does a person belong to Jesus if they reject the true Word of God? If Pre-tribulation Rapture and Amillennial teachings are false—which serious investigation reveals they are—then what does that say about their teachers? Who bears on their neck the weight of the millstone, professor or duped student (Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42, Luke 17:2)?

Our Savior wants no one to perish, desiring, instead, that all be saved and to come to a knowledge of truth. Salvation without truth is a contradiction. Truth is the goal. Believing Christ comes “at any moment” or that God will save though we promote the lie, is not Bible. Dreams of being saved without the knowledge of, and love of, the truth, is a recipe for disaster.

They perish because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:10)

candle-dying-out The wicked are denied their light, and their upraised arm is broken. (Job 38:15)

As the candle of this age burns down, its flame becomes a flicker. What will remain is a smoldering wick. Soon deep darkness will settle over the earth. Night is coming, a time when no one can work (John 9:4).

A week before Christmas, heads-of-state gathered in Paris to “fight the evil of global warming”. Two hundred nations signed a document immediately hailed as a giant leap for mankind. “Saving the planet” is a fraud. It is a code phrase for dimming the lights.

In the industrialized world, war has been declared on fossil fuels. Though no reliable substitute exists, producers of natural gas, coal and oil are now targets for extinction. Industries that have fueled the engine of progress are cast as villains in this contemporary play.

Lead by revered scientists and academicians, the wisdom of this age is literally and figuratively ushering in the night. Fulfilled are sayings found in Scripture: Their minds are darkened. Thinking they are wise they become fools and the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God (1 Corinthians 1:19-20, 3:19-20).

The Savior whom men have rejected is the source of all illumination (John 1:9). “Let there be light” was spoken by Him, then there was light.

Jesus said, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds are evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:19-20 NIV)

Lights will continue to dim until great distress falls over the land, but those who possess wisdom that comes from God will shine like the brightness of the heavens (Daniel 12:1,3).

 

 

 

This what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says, “If you are determined to go to Egypt and you do go to settle there, then the sword you fear will overtake you there, and the famine you dread will follow you into Egypt, and there you will die… by the sword, famine or plague; not one of them will survive or escape the disaster I will bring on them.” (Jeremiah 42:15b-16, 17b NIV)

As Syrian refugees enter Europe and America, some are arguing we need to welcome them as an act of compassion. This post will argue the opposite. It is disconcerting to see Syrian men of fighting age fleeing to the U.S. and Europe rather than mounting an effective resistance or, at least, remaining in proximity to their homeland. What kind of counterattack can be mobilized to regain lost ground if fighting men have been disbursed to England or Kentucky? It has created a resistance void in cities and towns throughout the region.

Humanitarian work is currently going on in camps in Jordan and elsewhere in the region. Had aid for food, blankets, tents, as well as medicine, been given from the same governments opening their borders, an international crisis would have been averted. Supplying transportation to the west for 100,000 Syrians since 2012, instead of emergency assistance to the refugees is unprecedented!

(Oh, and what about the credible reports that ISIS, The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has been printing fake Syrian passports. Shouldn’t Syrian immigration be stopped until the matter of forged passports is resolved?)

Something other than humanitarianism is afoot. I suggest that a massive influx of Middle Easterners is an attempt to alter forever the political, social and religious landscape of two continents (i.e. Europe and North America) and, therefore, the world. Are we seeing the final stage of the global proliferation of Islam or a global caliphate?

What else explains why Muslims are readily admitted into the U.S., while Syrian or Iraqi Christians are denied. Though the Christian population in Syria is at ten percent only .004% who’ve entered are Christian. According to recent published reports, Syrian refugees numbered 2098 Muslims and 56 Christians.

Another concern ought to be higher on the priority list than humanitarianism, that is national security.  Already, the number of Muslim immigrants is so large and growing that federal agencies are unable to adequately track the activities of suspected or potential terrorists.

This blog has stated that God’s judgment on the West is imminent. In “Demolition” (December 6, 2013) I, John, described Western leaders as appointed by God as destroyers. As a demolition team, they have emerged to supervise the uprooting and tearing down of their respective nations. Observe their “progress” the last two years.

With respect to Syrian refugees, “Do NOT go West!” You will regret it. Keeping Iraqi and Syrian Christians from entering America may be God’s way of preserving their lives. For Western Christians seeking refuge abroad, I offer this: Rather than fleeing, better to remain and build local shelters or Christian communities. Begin constructing an ark of refuge for God’s people–only then will you save yourself.

Jeremiah, the prophet, warned fellow Jews living in Judea that, by escaping to Egypt, they would encounter the very thing they thought they were fleeing; namely, the sword of Babylon. This “prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5) is speaking God’s Word to saints world-wide. Prepare for disaster. Perform great acts of love, while the opportunity lasts, especially for the household of God (1 Peter 4:7-13). Then we will show ourselves worthy of our calling and true citizens of the Kingdom of God on earth.

drama masks

   The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

     He [Jesus] replied,… “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.” (Matthew 16:1-2a, 3b NIV)

William Shakespeare wrote “All the world’s a stage,”  (As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII), “and all the men and women merely players.” Thus begins Shakespeare’s oft-quoted monologue “The Seven Ages of Man”.

In the Gospels, the Pharisees and Sadducees acted out their opposition to Jesus to the end. Though they had long before settled on who he was, they came to test Christ by asking for a sign from heaven.

These religious leaders were hypocrites. They were players wearing masks. They posed as sincere inquirers, yet they had sinister motives. They were confident they could lure Jesus into a verbal trap, discrediting him among the people while casting him as a rebel to Roman authorities.

They were wrong. Were they not so into their role, the Pharisees and Sadducees might have become curious, observed the signs, then followed Jesus. From the sky’s appearance they could predict the weather, but the knowledge of their true Messiah alluded them.

Information is rapidly increasing (Daniel 12:4), yet awareness of the signs continues to escape the so-called wise. The scroll revealing last day’s events was sealed in the time of Daniel (12:9). God opened it to our view through the Apostle John. Having Scripture, such as Revelation, makes it obvious we are in the last days. So why then are so many acting oblivious? Is it an act?

During our moment on stage, our words and their effect indicate the part we play. John the Baptist’s and Jesus’ message was “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near” (Matthew 3:2, 4:17). Similar lines were presented to Christ’s disciples (Luke 10:9). They are ours, also, to memorize and recite.

“Jesus is coming soon!” is not a scare tactic; it’s Bible! (cf. Revelation 1:3, 22:10, 12, 20)

Are we calling men and women to repentance? Are we accepting the tests of ridicule, rejection, persecution and threats coming from fellow actors playing the adversary? Like Noah, are we true to our script as a preacher of righteousness? (2 Peter 2:5)

Very soon the spotlight will fade; we’ll exit the stage. Was ours an act? If so, how well did we do? Only the Playwright’s judgment will count.

 

 

top 12

The priests, the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the LORD. But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the LORD had commanded him to say, the priest, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, “You must die!” (Jeremiah 26: 7-8 NIV)

Airline executives become upset when an inspector suddenly grounds one of their planes. If the safety official determines the jet should not fly, it is because they serve the public’s interest. The executives, on the other hand, serve the company. Anything that cuts into profits is unwelcome.

Jeremiah’s charge was to speak God’s words. For fulfilling this calling, Judah’s prophets and priests wanted him dead. Despite their prophet and priest name, they did not serve God or the people, but the king. Instead of obeying God and addressing the nation’s sin problem, they turned on His messenger. Convenience and status quo trumped the well-being of the people, so Jeremiah’s warnings made them hostile enemies.

In the interest of saving my brothers and sisters, I offer a dozen reasons why the status quo must be immediately interrupted. Continuing to operate without seeking forgiveness through Christ and turning to Him for mercy will result in catastrophe.

Judgment is ahead if we fail to consider the consequences for our…

#1- Refusal to turn from wickedness (2 Chronicles 7:13-14, Revelation 9:20-21)

#2- Drowning in debt (Proverbs 22:7)

#3- Enemies on the outside (Deuteronomy 28:25)

#4- Wide-scale violence, threats of anarchy and corruption on the inside (Genesis 6:11-13, Luke 17:26)

#5- Ignorance of God’s signs and ways (Matthew 16:3, Jeremiah 5:12)

#6- Idolatry, gross immorality and decadence (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

#7- Failed leadership (Matthew 15:14, Hosea 4:6)

#8- Preparations for war among the nations (Mark 13:5-8)

#9- Deceit and the lies promoted among the people (Jeremiah 5:30-31)

#10- False prophets who promise “peace and safety” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, 2 Peter 2:1-3)

#11- General lack of fear and reverence for God (Deuteronomy 25:17-19, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

And #12- Worship of people and created things rather than the Creator whom we cannot see (Romans 1:18-32)

What would you add to this list?

Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ Now then, hear the word of the LORD…” (Amos 7:14-15 NIV)

For some time, Brother Elijah and I have shared this blog. We offer our insights, but neither he nor I claim that we are prophets. Our role is to teach what the Bible says about future events. We have a great responsibility to accurately interpret Scripture (not adding to or taking away from prophecy) so, in the last days, God’s people will be equipped for every good work.

Chiefly, our mission is to separate false prophecy and false prophet from the true. Readers and students will judge if we are right or not. I am only a gardener whom the Lord chose to stand before men and share His Word.

During a recent class, I was asked if I knew any prophets. It was a direct question, so I answered “No, I do not.” I should have added, “I believe I’ll know ‘em when I see ‘em.”

Elijah and I want to help others have the same confidence. (I have written “The Prophets of God: Recognize them, Listen to them, Follow them” on this subject.) Our thesis is: Study the genuine thoroughly; then you will easily identify the counterfeit.

I have known many who either accepted the title or promoted themselves as “Prophet or Prophetess.” (Thank you Lord for your mercy! In my ignorance I was one; that is, before I subjected myself to the test of Deuteronomy 18:20-22).

Foreknowledge may come from God and be spoken by anyone whom He chooses (ex. Balaam and Caiaphas). But know this: Those who possess the full anointing will resemble and sound more like Jesus, Elijah, Jeremiah or John the Baptist than a Wall St. banker.

We must pay careful attention to the prophets of old. Speaking God’s judgment was their role. Not one, not even The Prophet Jesus, placed “Prophet” before their name.

Our posts will continue to encourage a right understanding as well as broadcast the prophet’s saving message. When God reveals his divine messengers—as he surely will—receive them as if they were Our Lord himself (Matthew 10:40-41).

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them… and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20a NIV)

Don’t recall who said it, but I do remember when I read it. It was right after the “9-11 Attack.” I’m not even sure of the exact quote—yet I subscribe to the author’s point: Hatred for Christians and Jews throughout the world (and in particular the Middle East) is a direct consequence of Christian unwillingness to go and make disciples of all nations.

When the Risen Christ spoke his words in Matthew (above), he was instructing his followers as a commander would his most trusted officers. Our Savior and King commissioned those he ransomed with his blood: From that time forward, they were to continually mount the offensive, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20b). Therefore, any disciple naming Jesus as their Lord, was to be a fearless soldier (2 Timothy 2:3).

For some time there have been unconfirmed accounts of trained Muslim terrorists moving into Europe posing as Syrian refugees. Add this to the Jihadists who are already in Munich, Paris and London. What of the terrorists that have been entering the U.S.? In general, radical Islamists have their commission: Spread out, have children to non-Muslim women and form sleeper cells.

When a foxnews.com report “The Biggest Sham” broke this week, it featured a since-deleted photo of a long line of men dressed in orange prison jump-suits. They were walking (presumably from prison) on a street of an unidentified American city. It was pictorial evidence of a federal release of six thousand plus drug-dealers and drug-traffickers. Over thirty thousand, many with long criminal histories, may soon be freed. The reason: These inmates qualify under the changes in federal drug-law sentencing guidelines. Since the changes are retroactive, those who served a certain minimum number of years are turned loose.

I know better than to portray all felons in a negative light, but the picture was menacing. It had the look of uniformed soldiers, refreshed, strengthened and eager to return to the battle. From this “Biggest Sham” story I visualized thousands of drug kingpins, dealers and traffickers roaming the country bent on revenge, acquiring territory/power and ill-gotten gain as well.

New recruits ready to cover the globe should be emerging from our churches. Refreshed troops should be continually added to the soldiers evangelizing the lost, but where in America is this happening? There are wonderful Christian inmates who served their time, and now serve Christ. Sadly, the majority of the reinforcements are going to the other side. Those bent on destruction are joining the terrorists. They are filling the positions of the martyrs within the devil’s ranks. What about the ransomed? What strategic positions are we occupying?

Our commitment to Jesus as obedient and fearless soldiers is now more vital than ever. We know who wins the final victory. So let us “soldier-up”!

“Each tree is recognized by its own fruit.” (Luke 6:44 NIV)

Released from his Communist prison in 1965, and urged to leave his beloved country, Richard Wurmbrand did so reluctantly. He and his wife Sabina eventually emigrated to the U.S. In May of 1966, the Romanian pastor was invited to testify before a joint Congressional committee.

Before the TV cameras, Richard Wurmbrand spoke of his experience as a prisoner under Communism’s rule. He concluded his testimony by removing his shirt to reveal the deep scars covering his back. More eloquent than words were Wurmbrand’s wounds.

I conclude that it is unlikely that Dr. John Walvoord, then President of Dallas Seminary (DTS), viewed his Christian brother’s testimony. If he and his fellow theologians had watched and listened, they would have surely realized their error and altered their “escape the tribulation” position. How could anyone maintain Christians will avoid great distress when scars from fourteen years of torture and pain revealed otherwise?

What if Richard Wurmbrand was invited to sit among Dr. Walvoord’s DTS students as he lectured on his Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine? Would the Doctor’s presentation convince Rev. Wurmbrand that the horrors of Communist prison were not tribulation or persecution? What about Watchman Nee’s response to Dr. Walvoord’s lecture–that is had the great Christian mind survived Chairman Mao’s Communist persecution and then been invited?

Throughout the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, Dr. Walvoord continued writing and lecturing. He spoke to theologically-friendly congregations on the Church’s imminent escape from tribulation. Meanwhile, as “the voice of the underground church”, Richard Wurmbrand was authoring and speaking to a range of believers as well.

The two men’s audience represents disparate parts of Christianity. Walvoord’s segment of Protestantism repeats the mantra that they will avoid tribulation in the rapture, that the Antichrist will be revealed after they leave this earth. Wurmbrand’s listeners are under no such illusion.

The Wurmbrand’s made a promise to fellow-believers at home: They would come to the West in order to tell of the sacrifices for the Gospel being made behind the Iron Curtain. Their newsletter, now known as “The Voice of the Martyrs”, was a result of that promise. Richard Wurmbrand’s ministry has had great impact on awakening the Church to support those willing to serve the Lord in difficult and dangerous places. The martyrs say, “Give us the Bibles and Christian materials; we will take the risks.” As a result of Rev. Wurmbrand’s legacy, many are receiving Jesus in areas hostile to Christian evangelism.

Dr. Walvoord’s message has had much influence on Christian radio, books, magazines and movies, as well as Christian TV. For Walvoord’s and his disciple’s efforts, American denominations and churches of all sizes have adopted a Dispensational “any moment rapture” statement of faith.

If only those who make up this segment of popular Christianity would honor this Sunday, November 1’s “National Persecuted Christian Day.” Maybe the voice of one brave, scarred martyr would change their opinion. Perhaps then the Church in America would unite then prepare to join our persecuted brothers and sisters.

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.” -Jesus (Matthew 24:45-47 NIV)

John Walvoord and Richard Wurmbrand, two men whose ninety-plus-year lifespans closely paralleled each other. Wisconsin-born (U.S.) Walvoord (1910-2002), and Romanian-born Wurmbrand (1909-2001), two men who individually made and continue to make a tremendous impact on their Christian spheres.

For thirty-four years (1952-1986), Dr. John Walvoord was the distinguished president of Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS). He authored numerous books on prophecy and was perhaps the foremost Dispensational theologian of his day.

Among Dr. Walvoord’s best-known works was “The Rapture Question” (1979). In it he laid out his arguments for a sudden, “any-moment” taking up of the Church (rapture) immediately prior to “the Tribulation”—the term he used for the last seven years of this age. So, according to this renowned Bible scholar, the “taking up” was an escape from intense suffering for all Christians. With authority, Walvoord wrote that the Church will be transported far from the great distress that marks the time of the end. In effect, Dr. Walvoord’s life exemplified his teaching. He escaped the persecution that was simultaneously happening outside his Western world.

While Walvoord was acquiring his Doctorate of Theology (Th.D., 1936), a half world away the Jewish Richard Wurmbrand and wife Sabina were becoming followers of Christ. Their native land was being overrun by Nazism. Anti-Semitism was running rampant. Aryanism, or a master race philosophy, dominated the political scene. Before World War II ended nine years later, John had moved up the ladder of academia in Dallas. Richard, on the other hand, had endured harsh imprisonment for resisting Hitler’s threat to the Church.

Rev. Wurmbrand’s beliefs would cost him his freedom again in 1948. After the Communist take-over of Romania, he would return to a jail cell. His crime was stating “Communism and Christianity were incompatible”. For his strong stand for Christ, this pastor would spend fourteen years in the most inhumane conditions imaginable, a Communist prison.

While Dr. Walvoord was donning his doctor’s gown in 1952 as Dallas Seminary’s president, both Wurmbrand and Sabina were suffering under dreadful conditions in notorious Romanian prisons. Their whereabouts and well-being were hidden from each other as well as their friends.

While Dr. Walvoord was stepping into his new leadership responsibilities at DTS, Pastor Wurmbrand had already endured three years of solitary confinement and countless tortures. Cold, wet and dark cell conditions had given this once-renowned Romanian Protestant leader an advanced case of tuberculosis. In 1952, Pastor Wurmbrand was coughing blood among a ward full of terminally-ill, starving and severely mistreated inmates. “Tortured for Christ” and “In God’s Underground” detail this period in Wurmbrand’s life and ministry when he boldly shared the Gospel with jailer and dying alike.

In Part 2, we will compare the last thirty-five years of Walvoord and Wurmbrand’s ministries as they shared the same North American continent.

“Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.” (Revelation 6:11 NKJV).

The entire history of this age will soon be written. While many attempt to pacify the fearful, the wise are taking note of God’s signs. Modern pastors reassure their unsettled flocks with the promise Jesus will return “prior to” Antichrist’s appearance. “Peace and safety” are implicit. Their sheep repeat: “Great Tribulation is coming, but thank God I won’t be around to see it!”

Satan has deceived many so-called “Bible-believing” Christians into declaring “any moment Jesus will come and we’ll escape.” Can Christ come on any given day or will he arrive on a set day with accompanying signs in the sky? Does resurrection occur, as they say, while we are taken up in the rapture? And what of all the unfulfilled signs?

There are definite signs for which we need to look. In 2nd Thessalonians, we have lots of signs. Paul reminded his former students what he had taught. As a fellowship they had swallowed the false teaching the Day of the Lord had come and gone. The Apostle was clear: This day cannot come until the apostasy (the falling away or rebellion) occurs (cf. Matthew 24:10) and the man of sin is revealed (2:3). The man of sin or son of perdition will take his seat in the temple of the LORD claiming to be God (2:4) (In Part 1, we discussed this sign’s fulfillment at the 70th week’s midpoint.)

We learn in Revelation 13 that at the 42-month mark, the Antichrist will be revealed by demanding universal worship. Those who resist him will be forced to take the beast’s mark. This sets the stage for our sign of the end.

God’s people will stand firm in their resistance. Those remaining true despite the beast’s power are spoken of in Revelation 12:11“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (NIV).

God’s resisters are a major sign of the end. Saints always oppose the beast, even to the death. For some, their refusal to take the beast’s mark will cost their head (Rev. 20:4). These martyrs are the souls heard under the altar when the 5th seal is opened (Rev. 6:9). Together they appeal for vengeance (i.e. the Day of the Lord’s Judgment). They are comforted with a promise that God will bring the wicked to justice, but only after the full number of their brothers are likewise slain (Rev. 6:10-11).

This will be a sign of Christ’s coming. Once the last martyr sheds his blood, then the beast’s power will be broken. The beast’s last publicly guillotined saint will set off a series of prophesied signs that directly precede Jesus’ coming in the clouds.

In 2015 a live video feed picked up radical black-clothed Muslims beheading faithful Christians. This is a “can’t miss sign”. It presents evidence of how close we are to the end. Those serving Antichrist will make an example of elect martyrs. Those who hold to the testimony of Jesus and obey God’s commands are already being decapitated.

Prepare now. When the full number of the faithful lose their heads, then look to the east. Redemption will be drawing nigh. EJ.

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