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Q- Who is going to enjoy or benefit the most from The Priests of God?

A- Without a doubt it will be the saints who are most eager to do God’s will. The “God is in heaven to serve me crowd” won’t get much further than the first chapter.

Q- Why do you think that?

A- Part of it is human nature. We do not like to challenge our assumptions. One of them may be that God has a big net that takes everyone who confesses Jesus to heaven. I won’t argue who goes to heaven and who doesn’t; that is not my call and, certainly not my purpose. My purpose is to accurately interpret prophecy. If we are in the end times, then we have another aspect of being saved to concern ourselves with. It is not who goes on to glory; it is who will stay for the next age, the Millennium. To be a part of Christ’s blessed kingdom of righteousness, most do not realize they must first live through a lot of hardship at the end of this age. Living means overcoming, or enduring to the end, and standing firm ’til Jesus comes with his rewards for the saints.

A major premise of The Priests of God is that God has specific priestly criteria in order to make it through the distress of the last days. So, being among the privileged to serve King Jesus, belongs to those who enter the narrow gate. Take Noah for example: He met God’s specifications in the first age, and, so, he and his family were saved. We ought to understand the concept of following criteria to make a selection. It’s part of life. It will be as it was in the days of Noah, except there will be multiplied thousands of Noah’s, world-wide, chosen to lead God’s people to salvation from the jaws of the beast. The difference between Noah’s time and now is our tests will be more compressed and intensified.

One of God’s criteria for Noah ought to wake us up. He had to have an accurate picture of what was going to take place. He received the prophetic word, believed it and acted accordingly. Most lack Noah’s clarity. When it comes to God’s set times and laws, the devil confuses, deceives, uses peer pressure, undermines, distracts, leads astray and causes apathy. I once heard a well-known pastor say that he was okay with his confusion about prophecy, as if it were an okay state of mind. I guess he thought everyone should be muddled like he was. The underlying message was no one should be so prideful as to think they have prophetic truth–like Noah did. Is God the author of confusion? Believe me, I was totally confused after seminary and almost two decades of ministry. We should not find this condition acceptable. How can the Lord expect his people will act in concert with his plan of salvation if prophecy was not knowable? The Lord is our guide through the valley of the shadow of death, through the traps and tribulations of the last days. He is the Light, but what if we are walking in darkness? The problem of the many contradictory voices is a big one. Unless we filter out the noise, and listen to the Spirit of truth like Noah, the narrow way to life will elude us.

God’s truth is attainable. Wisdom is too, but it must be pursued. Many Christians think they can fritter away the present, then, when they need it, wisdom will fall like pixie dust. That certainly isn’t the example Noah gives to God’s people. He produced an ark with his hands. He built something. It wasn’t just lip service. God expects his saints to manifest their knowledge of prophetic truth with goods and services that will save others in His family–the Noah way. The Priests of God and our other books are a means to that end.

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For forty years–one year for each of the forty days you explored the land–you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you. I, the LORD have spoken… (Numbers 14:34-35a NIV)

“Your protection has expired.” Recently, this notice flashed upon my screen, It informed me that, if I failed to renew, my laptop would be subject to all sorts of nasty attacks.

Throughout the economically and technologically advanced world, protection is big business. Everything from body-guards, to sophisticated home alarm systems, to anti-theft devices, to watch dogs, to guns, are purchased with the hope of keeping us safe. We are convinced security can be bought with money. We are lulled into believing our nation’s safety is guaranteed by our strong defense. But is this true?

If God is for us, who can be against us? But what can protect us if the Lord is against us?

In Numbers 14, the Israelites sinned once too often. At Kadesh, the people turned against Moses and sought a leader who would take them back to Egypt (Num. 14:4).God’s anger burned against the rebels. He said to Moses:

“How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them… (14:11-12a)

It was clear that the same men that the Lord delivered from bondage in Egypt, that he saved at the Red Sea from Pharaoh’s army and provided food and water for in the desert, had become objects of the Almighty’s wrath.

The ten spies who gave a bad report were quickly stricken by a plague and died (14:36-37). The rest who banded together against the Lord were doomed to die in the wilderness. God turned his face against them.

We might say, for their unbelief, Israel’s protection expired. They would suffer for their sins. The grumblers would learn what it was like to have the Lord against them (14:34).

America is being over-run with malcontents, rabble-rousers, rebels, cowards, liars, looters and others who hold the Lord in contempt. There won’t be any warnings or flashing signs, but the Lord has turned his face against us.We have no more protection.

Hope of ever living in the Promised Land belongs to the Joshua’s and Calebs, as well as to the children of the saints.  From here to the end of the republic, we will see nothing but evidence that the nations who’ve known God’s blessings, and witnessed his miracles, are no longer protected.

In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior… Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.  (Daniel 8:23-25 NIV)

The world is in the grip of the spirit of rebellion. This will certainly take us to a very dark place. People at all levels of society rail against authority. National leaders vigorously enforce some regulations or make rules of their own while refusing to enforce other laws. Militias prepare to combat their government. Mob-like crowds gather to shout at and physically threaten police. Sports stars boldly sit or kneel while the public address announcer invites everybody to honor their country and its flag by standing. Everyone does what is right in their own eyes; a sure sign of the end.

These are the prophesied days. These are the times when rebellion is popular.

All rebellion is against Heaven’s throne. Witness the trend to rebel against one’s God-given gender. It is now improper to ask someone their sex as in “male or female”. From here until Christ’s return, the correct phraseology will be “What is your sexual orientation?” or perhaps, “What is your preference?” Rebels want liberated from the plan and purpose of their Creator. It is a classic rebellion for the end times (cf. Psalm 2:1-3). When Jesus establishes his government, order and sanity will be restored.

Paul warned Timothy–and us–there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents [my emphasis]… (2 Timothy 3:1-2). Rebels receive their start in the home. The bad news for rebels is that they tend to reproduce after their own kind.

Rebels will become completely wicked. This paves the way for the stern-faced king as described in Daniel 8. (See top.) The rebels’ rebel will emerge to lead the great rebellion, first against the holy people, then against the Holy One himself. We know how that turns out. Can anyone say “Armageddon”?

Among the saints, there will be no rebels. God requires full submission to divine authority and complete surrender to Him who made us and who bought us by His blood.

Currently in full motion, the rebellion or falling away will soon reach its climax. Highlighting the falling away (apostasy) will be the celebrated, those who today call themselves Christians, even “Bible-believing, born-again Christians”. They will boast of how they threw off their repressive chains.

Contrary to some so-called teaching on the last days, all-out rebellion against the Holy must occur before the man of lawlessness (a.k.a. stern-faced king) is revealed, the man doomed to destruction–and prior to the coming in glory of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3). First, rebels will be identified–perhaps by a mark–before they are eliminated.

The meek, however, shall inherit the earth. No rebel bearing the beast’s mark will stand in the presence of Our King. It will be as though they never lived.

Zion will be redeemed with justice, her penitent ones with righteousness. But rebels and sinners will both be broken, and those who forsake the LORD will perish. (Isaiah 1:27-28)

wildfire

“This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Look! Disaster is spreading from nation to nation; a mighty storm is rising from the ends of the earth.” (Jeremiah 25:32 NIV)

In the American Pacific Coast state of California, last month’s Santa Clarita Valley fire swept across the countryside north of Los Angeles in unprecedented fashion. Officials estimated, through the fire’s first week, that it was burning 10,000 acres (4046.8 ha.) per day. At one point, fifty-five (55) square miles (142.4 sq. km.) were left in charred ruins as the fire raged.

Wildfires are unpredictable. They can rapidly change course and destroy everything that lives, but it only takes a spark to ignite one. In the case of the recent Santa Clarita fire, it was more than likely an arsonist’s match.

The dry landscape of California is analogous to the current state of our world. It will only take a spark to start an unprecedented blaze, one that cannot be contained. More likely it will be the gasoline and torch of an angry leader such as North Korea’s Kim Jong-un or an agitated Chinese premier. Nero, a deranged emperor, was rumored to set Rome ablaze then blamed Christians.

A firestorm of words launched in the media may create the next civil war. A future disaster will ignore borders ultimately producing the global holocaust many predict. We are near the set time, plus the conditions are almost right for an unstoppable, fast-spreading fires that consume.

Long ago it was spoken to the prophet Jeremiah  that in the last days disaster would spread from nation to nation (see above).  As God’s chosen people, we must heed the words of the prophets by preparing to abandon homes and possessions. With an ark of refuge, we must be ready to join a fellowship of saints who joyfully lose all for the sake of the Kingdom.

“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city.” (Jesus’ warning in Luke 21:20-21)

ostrich head in hole

“Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 NIV)

Optimism should not be confused with hope. Optimists are purposely unaware of the negative. (This is illustrated by the ostrich’s “head in the sand”.) They opt to view the world through “rose-colored glasses”, so truth is distorted. Warning: Watch out for perpetual optimists.

Hope, on the other hand, does not filter out the painful realities of this life. It may even embrace them. Despite trying circumstances, true saints cast their eyes on heaven. They look beyond the present–whether good or bad–meditating on God’s promises. Jesus willingly carried his cross knowing a crown would follow crucifixion (cf. Hebrews 12:2).

In Ben Sherwood’s The Survivor’s Club, the author argued that “optimistic” POW’s in North Vietnam’s Hanoi Hilton, or optimists adrift in an ice-cold sea, have a poor chance at survival. When false expectations of early rescue shatter, they lose faith, then the will to live. Those who do survive are those who quickly adjust to their new reality. Fueled by hope of overcoming, they cope as best they can with each difficult challenge.

The Apostle Paul warned some Thessalonians (see above) that they were living an illusion. A lie had taken root within the fellowship. While false prophets had exploited the blind optimism of the “Peace and Safety” crowd, the children of light were not fooled. The clever fraud had given the unsuspecting victims what their itching ears had yearned to hear.

A strategy of the evil one is not unlike the farmer who strokes the chicken’s neck and back to calm it just before the hatchet falls.

The Bible of these wicked deceivers has scratched out phrases, verses and chapters. They advocate Isaiah to Malachi should remain unread. Other references to the prophets and their prophecies are scrubbed: “Too negative!” is the verdict. “The images are too disturbing,” their spiritual leaders say. “We worship a God of love, not an angry God,” they boast.

Current U.S. campaign slogans such as “Hope and Change,” “Stronger Together” or “Make America Great Again” are market-tested to comfort anxious voters. In effect, they promise “The future is bright, but only if we elect our candidate.” This is coupled with “If the other wins, the worst will happen!” Optimism and pessimism are manipulations. Devoid of genuine hope, they are two imposters masquerading as reality.

Our Lord prayed for his disciples. He asked that they remain in the world, yet not be of it (John 17:15-16). Jesus’ followers’ awareness of the signs of the times must be sharp. Their buoyed spirits are not due to their leaders’ charisma, their nation’s prosperity or the size of its army. (Such hopes have a shaky foundation.)

God-inspired hope is anchored in an unrelenting trust in Christ and a thorough knowledge of prophecy. Those who have this kind of hope will endure every trial. Those optimistic about “peace and safety” will not escape. In this wicked and adulterous generation, they are shipwrecks waiting to happen.

slaves_in_egypt

When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, and they said, “May the LORD look upon you and judge you! You made us a stench to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” (Exodus 5:20-21 NIV)

While God worked to free Abram’s descendants from their misery and bring them into the Promised Land (cf. Genesis 15:13-14), the people were overcome by their fears. It seems they wanted a better life for themselves in Egypt–though they were slaves–rather than deliverance.

Earlier, God described to Moses what would happen (Exod. 4:21b): “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.” Which part of harden Pharaoh’s heart didn’t Moses understand? God’s servant passed the complaint up the authority chain: Moses returned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.” (Exod. 5:22-23)

For the Hebrews, they could blame God for their harsh treatment and reject his words, yet He would fulfill his gracious promise anyway (Exod. 6:6-9). It is the Lord’s pattern that things get worse–much worse–before he acts to fulfill his precious promises.

Yesterday, my late-brother’s daughter gave birth to her first child. The midwife had been carefully chosen. All was prepared for the blessed event. The baby balked at coming on time.

Days past our niece’s “due date” the labor began. Then complications. It was more than the midwife could handle. So, no water birth, but off to the hospital they went. Hard labor cast a doubt over a long-anticipated process. Would mother survive? Would baby be okay? God answered in the affirmative! It is all good now, thank the Lord! Mom and baby girl are fine.

The world laments news of one atrocity after another. With each mass shooting or bombing attack, Christians cry, “Come Lord Jesus. Come!” Do we stop and consider that, according to the Bible, labor pains then the hard labor precede Christ’s return?

Some would teach rescue precedes great tribulation, but has that ever been true of God?  For the saints, Daniel and Jesus prophesied a time of great deceit and intense persecution. This is followed by unparalleled distress (Luke 21:7-24, Matthew 24:4-25). Paul warned in 2 Timothy 3:1, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.”

Does this sound like we should be optimistic about the near future? We ought to ask “Do we want rescued or a better life in Egypt?” If you and I believe God’s Word, we prepare for the worst before the, oh, so much better. -jf

So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel– let the reader understand– then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  (Matthew 24:15-16 NIV)

According to Wikipedia, the on-line encyclopedia, “Doomsday Preppers was an American reality television series that aired on the National Geographic Channel. The program profiled various survivalists or ‘preppers’, who are preparing to survive the various circumstances that may cause the end of civilization, including economic collapse, societal collapse, and electromagnetic pulse.”

Anyone taking the Doomsday Prepper approach in the last days is as misguided as the father who, instead of boarding Noah’s ark, moved atop a high mountain. His family may have survived a bit longer than the lowlanders, but so what! The outcome was the same (cf. Genesis 6:13).

The Bible offers God’s saints two possible escape routes: The first is specifically for his people who live in Judea (see Matthew 24:15 above), in the region of the Mount of Olives. In order to guide men and women in the Holy Land, they must be Scripture readers. Jews have the prophets Daniel and Zechariah while Gentiles also have Matthew. Those who reject the Lord’s instructions may exist a little while. Still they will perish.

In the end times, an alternate plan has been decreed for those who live among the nations: It is the “Jesus Way” (cf. John 14:6, 6:39). Like the mission God presented to Noah,  building the ark will save those who enter in. Those who believed the Word lived to see the next age. Those who trust in their own abilities and resources will perish in this present age.

Survivalists living off the land and off the grid or storing goods in a bunker will all fall short of the goal of survival. The devil would deceive us into thinking butter, bullets and beans are what’s necessary to weather any storm. This strategy is foolishly misguided.

Jesus’ Way is to form communities of sincere love, truth, endurance, sharing and mobility. As Hebrews urges, Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the day approaching.” (10:25)

True Preppers are guided by God’s Spirit. As with the rest of the Lord’s flock, they find security in the sheepfold and eternal life in the Shepherd.

 

 

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34 NIV) –Jesus

Since Descending into What? was posted over a week ago, have we seen chaos increase or decrease? A glance at recent headlines reveals the precipitous fall continues–only faster. For example, there was a likely terrorist-related air disaster over the Mediterranean; Venezuela, once a paradise for socialism, was described this week as “a living hell”; and American intelligence reported China’s nuclear subs are ready to terrorize the South China Sea and the Pacific, waters vital to the nation’s interests. If that’s not enough, days ago, China sent a warning to the U.S. that her military is prepared for war if provoked.

End time events will happen so fast, heads will spin. While the world seems eager to fulfill last day’s prophecy of “wars and rumors of wars”, the Lord is preparing his sword. Soon the earth will have its great war. This war of all wars must occur before the 1000-year reign of Christ can begin.

The Prince of Peace alone has the power to halt our fall into oblivion. This is seen in “Shalom”, the traditional Hebrew greeting. Its meaning is more comprehensive than simply “peace”. Shalom implies “well-being, prosperity and rest”–in other words,  the full blessing of God. Shalom is a synonym for “perfect peace” (Isaiah 26:3) or “the peace of God” (Philippians 4:7). This is chaos’ opposite.

A sword (Matthew 10:34) is the Lord’s instrument for bringing peace. Tent Stake Ministries and others explain the composite meaning of the three Hebrew characters from which Shalom is derived. Shin, Lamed and Mem reveal how peace comes. Our Prince “destroys the authority that brings the chaos”.* In his first epistle, John described it this way: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” (3:8b NIV)

The saints also have a large role in overcoming confusion’s source (Revelation 12:11, Romans 16:20). Darkness, deceit, terrible times, death and chaos will have increasing power. Far from doom-and-gloom, our world’s downward-direction shows that He who bears the two-edged sword must soon appear to bring relief to the righteous and disaster to the wicked (2 Thessalonians 1:5-7). When all Christ’s enemies become a footstool for his feet, then the Kingdom will usher in an unprecedented age of glorious “shalom” peace to men on whom God’s favor rests (Luke 2:14).

*Thanks to Brother YY for his insightful teaching on Shin, Lamed and Mem or שׁום .

For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause… God will stretch out over Edom the measuring line of chaos and the plumb line of desolation.           (Isaiah 34:8a, 11b NIV)

As if serious warnings of the health risk related to the Zika virus is not bad enough for Brazil, host country for this summer’s Olympic Games, they have impeached their president. Brazil’s senate has voted to bring their leader, Dilma Rousseff, to trial on corruption charges. She has been suspended from governing for at least six months, or until her trial is over. For now, in a distressed Rio, it is let the games begin.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the presumed candidates for the nation’s highest office have their own problems. Former State Department head, Hillary Clinton, is attempting to keep her campaign ship afloat while the FBI tightens their investigation into charges she illegally used a private email server to release classified information. These are charges Mrs. Clinton has staunchly denied.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump is drawing criticism for not releasing his current tax returns. Regarding the billionaire businessman, a story broke yesterday in The Washington Times that the widely-circulated Washington Post has dispatched twenty investigative reporters to dig for dirt. The news is The Post will be searching for sleaze in each phase of Mr. Trump’s past life. Let the ripping and shredding of politicians intensify in America.

As the fabric of Western democracies, like Brazil’s and that of the U.S., tears to pieces, many are being driven to the devil! Weeks back, a headline in The Conversation asked “Can a burgeoning Satanic movement actually effect political change?”

Satanism is no longer a small, anti-establishment spiritual movement, it’s become big business as well as a political force. When people distrust their leaders, it leaves a void that chaos fills. It has begun. We are descending into darkness!

Christ is the cosmic glue that holds all things together (Colossians 1:17). Once His Mighty Hand is taken out of the way, then what? Prophecy indicates one will emerge from the anarchy, the mob-rule, the destruction, the wars, violence and social upheaval. He will lead the Satanic revolution and point worshipers toward the altar of Baal. He will be the solution desperate rebels crave.

Soon the perfect storm of confusion will bring Satan’s spawn to the forefront. His name is “The Abomination that Causes Desolation”. After he is thrown into the Lake of Fire and his master, Satan, is cast into the Abyss, 1000 years of the Prince of Peace follows (Revelation 19:20, 20:2-3).

The wicked spirits of this age, the powers and principalities of this world, are, in fact, creating the present descent into chaos. While the Anti-Christ is the Prince of Desolation,  Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

Next, we will examine what the Great Cosmic Conflict of the Ages will be fought for. Let the war begin! JF

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matthew 19:28 NIV)

Speaking to his disciples (above), the Savior pledged–or so it seemed–a throne for each, as well as great riches (19:29). In the next chapter, James and John’s mother asked the Lord to grant her sons positions at the right and left (of his throne).

A question first needed answered: “Were James and John willing to drink of the cup from which he drank?” When they said, “We can,” Jesus responded, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” (20:23)

The mention of thrones and wealth planted seeds of ambition in all twelve (20:24). Ambition is only a kingdom trait if it inspires service and sacrifice, not lust.

Holding on to the vision of authority and the power, riches and honor that go with it, the disciples inquired again in Acts 1:6-8. (“Are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”)

Jesus’ reply did not feed their desire for fame. Instead, he humbled them. (“Its not for you to know the times and dates the Father has set by his own authority.”) They would be Christ’s witnesses beginning in Jerusalem and proceeding outward to the ends of the earth. If there was a throne in their future, they would be too busy carrying the gospel to sit.

The Federal Head principle explains what Jesus’ disciples did not know: With Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, David and others, the Lord made a covenant he would honor throughout all generations. In the way Jacob’s twelve sons were first generation Israelites, the disciples would become spiritual ancestors to a great family. Two millennia later, Jesus’ followers owe much to the twelve. When Christ prophesied about thrones to Peter, James, John and the others, he was peering down time’s corridor to twelve of their spiritual offspring.

Everything promised in Acts 2 to the 120 in the upper room, including the gift of the Holy Spirit, belongs to this generation of believers. But–and here is the rub–so does the cup Jesus promised! Teachers may reject the premise that Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 applies to Gentile Christians, but they are foolishly dismissing the fact Jesus’ disciples are Federal Heads.

Heavenly crowns and pleasures preoccupy our thoughts. Riches are gladly received, yet when, for example, Matthew 24:9-10 or 24:21-22 are read, our humanity often kicks in. No longer do we wish to have the Federal Head principle apply. Does it work that way with an inheritance? What we inherit is not ours to choose.

If the first generation of disciples (our Federal Head) understood that endurance was part of their mission (i.e. Matt. 28:18-20), then it is guaranteed those who will receive a hundred times will overcome tremendous hardship as well (Acts 14:22, 2 Timothy 2:12).

Entering the kingdom is not for everybody. The cup of suffering will not be offered to all. Crowns are worn by only a few. Jesus, our chief Federal Head (1 Peter 2:21) took up his cross before he wore the crown (Hebrews 12:2-3). Disciples of all ages must do the same.

First generation or last, the Great Commission has not changed. Our Federal Head requires our service, not our willingness to be served. All will be fulfilled–the great suffering as well as the future great exaltation. JF

 

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