What’s the Point?

Matthew 24, selected verses

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many…11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.  12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold…24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect…37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be…42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

I write on a wide variety of topics from personal observation to science to obscure news items that don’t get mainstream coverage.  All of this from a Christian blogger.

What’s the point?  Salvation.  As simple and as difficult as that.

It’s simple, because salvation is the free gift from God through Jesus.

It’s also difficult, because we live on earth, Satan’s backyard.  He’s beaten.  He knows it.  But before the great final judgment day, he wants to wreck creation as much as possible.  He particularly hates us and will do anything, absolutely anything to shake us out of our faith.  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.  1 Peter 5:8

Dealing with the difficult part is what I’m about.  It’s scriptural.  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.    Ephesians 6:10-18

It seems to me that organized religion, be you Lutheran like me, Roman Catholic like my friends, or some other Christian denomination, preaching and Bible studies stay with the nicer part of Christianity; salvation, heaven, love, mercy, etc.  But Paul tells the Ephesians that this is bloody war!  It isn’t about just love and mercy. It’s also about surviving in our faith during our journey on earth.  The immediacy and reality seem to be missing, not urgent.

Matthew 24 is also known as The Olivet Discourse.  Think of it as a mini-Revelation; it parallels the last book of the Bible.  It contains warnings and signs to watch for.  Jesus tells us in verse 42 to keep watch, because no one, not even Jesus, knows when His second coming will be.  The Father alone knows.

For example, most of the chapter warns against being deceived by false prophets, claiming to be the Christ.  Great signs shall be performed.  Will those signs be magic or technology?  Or some of each?

Magical/supernatural deceit?  The Vatican is on record as saying that they are preparing for an alien race of superior, created beings that may well visit us soon and “enlighten” us on what God’s Word really means.  IF that happens, my automatic assumption will be that they are demonic in nature.  The Vatican even has what they call – I’m not making this up – the L.U.C.I.F.E.R. devise to help spot the alien UFOs coming.  See the article and supporting data for yourself: https://jeffreyhking.wordpress.com/2016/06/20/its-a-real-fight/

Technology?  It exists to project seemingly real, solid images which can even return a radar signal.  There is also technology to influence people’s thoughts, make unseen voices audible.  These could conceivably be used to project images of Jesus to counterfeit His coming and lead people astray.  See my article If Possible:  

Something less fantastic; simply understanding scripture better.  This morning I read St. Paul’s account of his conversion on the road to Emmaus .  He became an Apostle.  To be an Apostle along with the other original 11, one had to have seen the resurrected Jesus and have been taught by Him.  Paul saw Jesus on the road to Emmaus, but was he taught by Jesus Himself?

From Paul’s letter to the Galatians:

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.  18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

Verses 17 and 18 are the key here.  Apparently, Paul was three years “in training” before coming to Peter and beginning his apostleship.  But here’s an added piece of information.  It says he went to (Saudi) Arabia, then Damascus.  Why is that possibly significant?

According to the book The Exodus Case, Mt. Sinai is located in Saudi Arabia.  The ancient historian Josephus also places Sinai in Saudi Arabia.  See my article at https://jeffreyhking.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/the-exodus-case-mt-sinai/

It makes sense, yes?  Paul would have gone to the mountain of God for at least some of his education in the Gospel.  Paul’s contemporaries would have understood, this, but we are trying to keep up 2000 years after it all happened!  We need to try a bit harder to be sure we understand.

There are two things we need to do; study the Bible to know God’s Word and to watch and study the world around us.  We are in enemy territory here on earth, and we need to know the lay of the land so as not to be caught unawares by the tricks and snares of the enemy.

And what IS the point?

Salvation.  We are all broken by sin, regrets, and sorrow.  We know we are empty and we need to be filled.  Jesus and His Holy Spirit are the only filling that will satisfy.  They are the only ones that can heal our souls and mend our minds.

If you have accepted Jesus, you need to watch and understand just how this world can deceive you.  If you don’t watch and take care, it will!

If you are empty, if you hunger for fulfillment in your soul, in your life, pray to Jesus.  Don’t worry about whether you know how to pray.  Just call on His name.  He knows it when He hears it.  He’ll answer. 

Psalm 51:17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Once you’ve accepted Jesus, read the Bible.  All of it.  Be aware of the world and don’t let Satan or his angels strip you of your newfound faith.

If we can all make it through, if we all resist the craftiness of the enemy and stay true to Jesus, there will be an eternity of rejoicing and comfort.

He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.  Isaiah 25:8

THAT’S the point!

Betrayed by Their Apps!

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.    Matthew 24:42

If you’ve read my blog for very long, you know that I do my best to follow Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 24 – Watch!

For a quick primer on Matthew 24, this is often called the Olivet Discourse.  Jesus’ disciples asked him about the end times, and Matthew 24 is His answer.  End times prophecies started with Daniel in the Old Testament.  Most of his prophecies came true, enigmatic as they were.

The Olivet Discourse builds on Daniel and provides a very short version of Revelation.  The sequence of events in Matthew mirror the future events related in Jesus’ Revelation to John.  That makes sense, of course!  Jesus “authored” both!

One event that is clear even though not explicitly stated is a one world government.  The Anti-Christ will arrive as a charismatic man who will finally solve the problem of peace in the Middle East.  The indication is that he heads a single government.

When I watch current events and hold them up to Biblical descriptions, I pay attention and watch to see what develops.

That leads tonight to a recent article you may have heard about; certain electric utility customers in Texas realized their homes were getting awfully warm, because their thermostats had been raised by the utility company through the app they signed up for.  Some were aware this could happen, but most were unpleasantly surprised.  They didn’t realize that they had relinquished control of their thermostat to the utility.

My point is that we are gradually giving up our ability to make our own decisions without oversight from some other entity.

Do you use a GPS app on your phone?  Have you ever wondered how those apps detect slowed traffic ahead?  They track your phone and everyone else’s and watch how fast or slow they are going.

Let me tell you an experience of mine dealing with the US Secret Service.  I was working the front desk of a large hotel in Ohio in 1983.  Vice President George Bush was staying there, so we had a lot of security considerations.

My bellman came to me after taking an odd woman to her room.  She showed him her cane.  Sword cane, that is.  With Vice President Bush in the building.

Um…

I called the Secret Service room and told them what had happened.  He asked for her credit card number and said he’d get back to me.  It wasn’t close to a half hour before he called back and said not to worry about her.  She’s not a threat.

They were able to make that determination that fast before we had the internet!  Who knows what information they can mine on us now!

Look you, I’m already in the chute, so to speak.  Society has gotten to the point that we really need to have cell phones, computers, etc.  What we can do is to either be extremely judicious with social media or maybe withdraw altogether.  After all, we were plenty social back in the day when the only phones were land lines…with rotary dials.  If you’re too young to know what that means, just Google it.

Still, we are not to live in fear.  We should live cautiously, not putting ourselves out there too much and inviting trouble.  God is already in our future, and He has everything handled!

COVID Was Likely Engineered

A new essay about the origins of covid 19 strongly suggests that it was an engineered virus.  From the article:

The claim was made by Drs Stephen Quay, CEO of biopharmaceutical company Atossa Therapeutics Inc, and Richard Muller, a physics professor at the University of California Berkeley, in The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

Covid has a gene sequence that is considered extremely rare in strains that are being engineered.  In fact, that particular sequence has never been found in nature.

In addition to the genetic indicators, we’ve learned that Dr. Fauci was part of the chain that funded covid research at the Wuhan facility.  That also lends credence to the idea that covid is a human-engineered virus and not naturally occurring.

There are a couple things I hope you will take from this information.  First involves conspiracy theories.  The term has come to be derisive, dismissive.  That’s a very dangerous attitude to take.  It could lead you to dismiss something you should pay attention to.

I published a two-part series in February of 2020, Watching the Coronavirus.  Part one dealt with documented instances of world agencies doing some pretty outlandish things, including a secret sterilization process in the 90’s that was exposed.  Hard to believe, but true.

Part two was about a theoretical world-wide pandemic and how governments might and should respond to such a thing.  It was called Lock Step and describes exactly what has been going on in real life over the last year and a half!  From my article with a link you can follow:

(Lock Step)…the pandemic simulation staged by Johns Hopkins University in conjunction with the World Economic Forum, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, and other ruling-class heavy hitters in October (prior to the pandemic).

There was at the time evidence to suggest the US military was responsible for the virus as a bio attack on China.  They had a large contingent in the Wuhan area in a cooperative exercise with China just prior to the outbreak.  My question is whether the US or the Wuhan lab let this out.  Obviously, the US was complicit in its development financially.

So…conspiracy theories.  I never buy into them 100%.  I do read, keep watch, and evaluate the information, not whether it’s a “conspiracy theory.”  Why do I try to keep informed of these sorts of things?  The end of the world will not take place in a vacuum.  There will be multiple things happening and coming together to produce the Great Tribulation.  Governments will all be involved.

Jesus warned us in Matthew 24 to keep watch, so I watch everything I can, looking for connections and patterns.  It isn’t as hard as it sounds.  I just read a lot.

The second point is this; Fauci and company probably thought no one would ever know that they were funding research on a bioweapon.  And isn’t this just what all are guilty of at some time or another?  We do something we know we probably shouldn’t do, thinking no one will ever know.  We should, instead, count on every secret thing coming to light sooner or later.

For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.    Ecclesiastes 12:14

It may come to light on earth.  It will certainly come to light at the Final Judgement.

The world is more complicated than most realized.  Certainly, more than I realized not too many years ago.  We should all pay attention.  We should all keep our noses clean!

What About Conspiracy Theories?

The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.    Proverbs 14:15

The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.    Proverbs 22:3

What Should We Make of Conspiracy Theories? is about taking a careful, measured approach to conspiracy theories.  I sometimes write about things that fall into the conspiracy theory file.  I’m never 100% sold on any of them, although I think that they all bear watching.  Why?

The ones I address usually have to do with possible links to end times prophecy.  One needn’t go off madly over each one; just watch as Jesus instructed us in Matthew 24:

23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand…42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what [g]hour your Lord is coming.

Here’s an example.  I am not the only one to suspect that aliens are actually demonic.  Abductees often exhibit the same trauma as those who have suffered possession or oppression.  If one looks at the broadest arc of history, we can start with the Book of Enoch.  While not a part of the Bible, it was found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Jude quotes it in his New Testament letter.

Enoch tells of the fallen Watchers who were led by Lucifer in their revolt against God.  There is a list of several by name and the secret things they taught humans; metal working, music, etc.  I realized it sounded very much like a list of the Greek gods and their areas of “expertise.”  Were the Greek gods real?  Were they fallen Watchers leading humanity astray as they had with other false gods of the Old Testament?

Will they return, not as gods, but as aliens with technology and “wisdom” like the ancient Greek gods?  Will they, as aliens, be the gods of our scientific age just as they were gods of ages past?

Consider that question in light of the Vatican’s L.U.C.I.F.E.R. Device.  It is a binocular, infrared telescope at the Vatican Observatory in Arizona.  What is it for?  A couple reporters went there to find out.  The short version is this – you get better pictures of UFOs with infrared imaging than normal light.  That according to the Vatican officials there.  They also speak of the possibility of eventually engaging aliens who may know more about God than we do.  While the Vatican may not initially require members to change their beliefs, they think that time may come.

See my article It’s a Real Fight.

There are other conspiracy theories about technology, specifically AI, that may be used in controlling populations.  I watch for those, because such abilities would play into the hands of the one world leader prophesied in Daniel and Revelation.

As I said to start out, I’m not 100% on any of these things.  I see possible patterns that may connect with end times, which Jesus warned us to keep watch for, and…I watch.

Let me give you my three categories for evaluating conspiracy theories.  First are the well-reasoned, well-spoken individuals who seem to make sense.  These are perhaps worth a further listen.

Second is the other end of the spectrum.  This is people who are not well-spoken, have no facts, and are armed with only suspicion.  Excited proclamations form the basis of their claims.  Nothing more.

Third is the group that falls in between.  They are not well-spoken and are also excitable.  However, if you listen carefully, they seem to have some facts to verify.  Their manner may be like the second group, but their untrained intelligence has put a few things together worth noting.  I remember watching a lengthy, highly edited and energetic YouTube video about the Nephilim.  The guy was a bit hard to take, but I realized he was dealing in a lot of factual information, so I watched.

Like I said, the style of the second group with the facts of the first group.

All this is to encourage you to watch for what is happening in society, in science…anything.  It is also to urge you to study your Bibles so you can perhaps see things it talks about in the world around you.  When you do, don’t jump in with both feet!!  Formulate your hypothesis or carefully evaluate someone else’s.  Keep an open, if critical mind…

…and WATCH!

Is the Cancel Culture Leading to Something Else?

So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”  And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to [c]continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every [d]tribe, tongue, and nation.    Revelation 13:4-7

I saw this YouTube video of a speaker making the case that the current cancel culture is a dress rehearsal for mass murder.  “Disappearing” people from social media gets the general population accustomed to the idea of people disappearing in general.  At some point, there won’t be a huge perceived difference between digital “murder” and the real thing.

Oppressive governments have used mass murder to squelch opposition since the first countries were formed.  Just ask someone from the Russia of the cold war or even from East Germany after World War II.  Killing people who oppose is how you move your agenda forward.  The hardest part is getting away with that in a society founded on freedom.  You can’t start doing that right out of the gate!  If you slowly get that society to accept it incrementally, however, you can get to that point.

Here’s an analogy.  How do you catch a wild hog?  Step one is to set out food for it in a non-threatening environment.  The pig might be wary at first, but it will grow comfortable with the arrangement as long as the food keeps coming.

Step two is to put up a single length of fence next to the food.  Again, the pig might be wary at first, but it will soon pay that piece of fence no mind as long as the food keeps coming.

With time, you can put up another piece of fence and another until you have a 3-sided pen.  The last step is to put up the fourth piece with a gate in it.  The pig willingly enters the open pen and starts eating.  All you need to do is walk up and close the gate.

Trapped!

How about this?  If you put a frog into boiling water, it’ll do it’s best to escape.  However, if you put it in lukewarm water, it’ll stay all nice and comfy.  You can gradually increase the heat without alarming the frog and eventually have boiled frog, because he didn’t notice the heat until it was too late.

Both analogies are about creating a benign version of the ultimate goal to trap the unwary.  Character assassination becomes real assassination.  The words of the former promote the actions of the latter.

Case in point; a stigma against Asians over COVID started out as language/character assassination.  Now the news is rife with disgusting, violent attacks against Asian people!  Words are charged with negative, provocative feelings, creating divisions among the population, and then applied to the “enemy”, inciting violence against them.

It’s how the Nazi’s went after Jews.  They are a scary example of how the population of Germany was turned against the Jews by character assassination and then drawn into complicity of their murder.  If they’d had the internet back then, the Jews would have been getting canceled out of social media before getting canceled out of life!

Why is this important to recognize?  As I’ve written before, the end times described in Revelation indicate a one-world order, a single leader who will appear to be our savior but will actually commit atrocities against the population, especially against Jews.

Perhaps what we’re seeing now is a section of fence being put up to prepare us for what is to come.  We need to a) know our Bibles so we can know what to watch for and then b) watch as Jesus told us to in Matthew 24.

Is the cancel culture a dress rehearsal for mass murder?  Who knows for sure, but it pays to watch and be ready!

I encourage you to watch the video and decide for yourself how much sense it makes to you.

Brains Rewired?

For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.    Matthew 24:24

The London Daily Mail recently reported on a study done in Hungary which determined that use of smartphones and tablets by children appears to “rewire” their brains in how they perceive the world around them.  Children who used such devices were found to be much more adept at seeing detail, but that comes at the cost of not recognizing bigger contexts.

For example, this picture shows a sun pattern.  Children who do not use smart phones and tablets will tend to see a sun pattern.  Those who regularly use those devices only see the stars and don’t recognize that larger pattern.

If this becomes the norm, these children will grow into being detail-oriented, scientific thinkers.  The cost is that they will likely lose touch with social skills and anything artistic.  From the article:

“Focusing on the global picture helps us in perceiving the world in meaningful, coherent patterns, and not just as a bunch of unrelated spots,” said paper author and Veronika Konok of the Eötvös Loránd University.

“We automatically process the global pattern even if we intend to pay attention only to the details.”

“For example, if we have to focus solely on the small details of a picture like [that shown right] to decide if they are sun-shaped or not, we cannot ignore the big picture, and this slows down our reaction.”

The study expanded to preschoolers.  They found that that group also became more detail oriented in immediately subsequent tasks after only six minutes of playing a digital balloon shooting game.  Conversely, preschoolers who played the physical, non-digital Whack-a-Mole game displayed the normal global focus.

“The atypical attentional style in mobile user children is not necessarily bad, but different for sure,” said paper author and psychologist Krisztina Liszkai-Peres.

Personally, I find the whole rush to digital communications in response to our current COVID climate is not good at all.  It was bad enough before, but now things are accelerating.  My own company has become extremely innovative in remote learning and is having a lot of international success with it.  I admit that it’s effective in terms of reach, but I also fear there are costs that remain to be seen just as in the study discussed here.

I remember the first time I heard of a school district giving grade school students tablets, doing away with printed textbooks.  I know that having a book was critical to retaining information.  I could visualize where I saw something; either the left or right page and whether it was at the top, bottom, or middle.  Kids with tablets don’t have that visual cue to help them.

My daughters sometimes tell me they “talked” to someone when they really mean they texted.  Now I ask if they really spoke to someone.  It’s bad enough not being able to interact with people in person, but we now have a situation where not even verbal cues are present.

The whole trend to digital communication degrades social skills, and that has been accelerated during COVID.

What might this mean for Christians?  While this is interesting and worrying information, I wasn’t sure of there might be an application when it comes to our faith and the future.  Then I remembered the verse above.

What if an inability to see the big picture contributes to the successful deception of people by false christs and false prophets doing great signs and wonders?  Will they only see the immediate razzle-dazzle and completely miss the overall pattern Jesus told us to watch for?  Will they miss the forest for the trees?

Jesus warns us in Matthew 24 to watch.  This is me watching and trying to match current events to biblical prophecy.  This study begs the question of whether the current preoccupation with digital communication is merely softening up the population for the deception to come.

Generally, this is why we need to study our entire Bibles diligently.  This is why we need to know the contents of Revelation even if we don’t now understand them.  It’s important to know and watch for them to happen in some form.

Big Brother

Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.    Revelation 13:6-8

I wrote about the Chinese efforts to enact a Big Brother system in 2018 – EXTRA! EXTRA! 1984 CHINESE STYLE.  They were going to launch a social credit system in 2020 (I don’t know if they did) in which every citizen is closely monitored for “proper” living.  Points are deducted for behaving badly; smoking, buying things you shouldn’t, etc.  This decreases your ability to get health care, travel, and so forth.

Part of this system is a mammoth CCTV system to watch as many citizens as possible.  No ordinary cameras, these are powered with artificial intelligence.  600 million of them in its major cities!

Guess who is number two in the world for the largest number of CCTVs?  That would be us, the USA.  From the article

The US is the second-most surveilled country in the world after China, with one camera for every five people in major cities.

A new report found that bigger US cities had an average of over 112,000 CCTV cameras, or about 2,200 for every 10,000 people.

That was still dwarfed by China, which had 15,880,491 CCTV cameras in places like Shanghai, equal to a camera for every man, woman and child.

Other “Big Brother” countries include Britain, Australia (shocked me!), Hong Kong, and even India!

It isn’t just about the cameras either.  The latest trend is governments requesting personal information from social media platforms like Google, Facebook, and more.  China is number one on that list.  Other countries of note are Malta at number two, the USA, and Germany.

…the American government is busy keeping tabs on its citizens online, too: In 2019 alone it requested personal data from Facebook, Twitter, iPhones, Microsoft and Google on more than 800,000 Americans.

One other area of note is DNA collection.  I wrote Will DNA Identification be Part of End Times? in 2017.  The Chinese were going around collecting DNA from citizens to build their data base.  Whether due to a Chinese culture of obedience or fear, people complied.  Can you imagine the power such information can give a government over its people?

The USA is more circumspect in this area.  There are companies that will analyze your DNA and tell you your genetic heritage.  Unfortunately, that becomes a permanent record at that company.  It’s a short step from the government being able to mine that data.

Hopefully, you can see how things continue to inexorably move toward government control and even a one-world government.  Why is that important to realize?  I refer you back to today’s verses from revelation above.  End times will be marked by a charismatic leader who will hold sway over the world, a one-world leader who will make war on Christians.

Jesus warned us to watch, so this is me watching and urging you to watch.  Read your Bibles so you know what to look for.  Even study Revelation!  As impenetrable as some parts of it are, we should know what it says so we can the recognize events it describes when they happen.

Most of all pray!!  We won’t be able to outsmart these concerted efforts at watching us, but we can live a God-fearing life that will leave us innocent before God if not before governments.  Pray for His guidance, wisdom, and strength.  Start building a strong prayer life now so you will have that practiced communication with God when you need it most!

End Times?

And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the [c]elect’s sake those days will be shortened. 23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.    Matthew 24:22-25

The question on many people’s minds is whether the current times are The End Times.

Depending on your politics, the current state of affairs in this country will make you see nothing but bad news.  Rioters stormed the capitol in DC prompting a huge activation of the National Guard there and across the country.  We are becoming increasingly polarized politically, racially, and culturally.  Between those tensions and the current COVID crisis, civil liberties are being eroded faster and faster.

Can the end be far off now?  Why would anyone even ask that question over these things?  Familiarity with your Bible will tell you why.  Let’s take at least a few points one at a time.

A great account of falling away

The Great Apostacy – This is the great falling away from God described by St. Paul in Acts 21.  He also refers to it in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4:

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

What has happened over the last 5-6 decades?  First, Europe began to adopt more progressive thinking, which led it away from God.  Her magnificent cathedrals are tourist attraction at best.  Many of her churches have been repurposed as dance clubs and bars, bed and breakfasts, etc.

The same has happened in America.  Despite naming Madeleine Murray O’Hare “The Most Hated Woman in America,” the courts and country did her bidding to grow atheism.  Prayer was banned in schools.  Christian displays once welcome on public property and town squares were banned.  Even the basis for our legal system, the Ten Commandments, has been banned from courthouses.

Is there a truly Christian country left on the planet?  Yes, there are Christians in every country, but is any country Christian through and through?

The Anti-Christ – Or the son of perdition in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 above.  He is described very well in both Daniel and Revelation.  He will have great charisma, high intelligence, and persuasive speech.  He will eventually place himself above God.  He will have the entire world eating out of his hands.  For a more detailed description based on Daniel’s prophecy see Daniel – Antiochus and the Anti-Christ.  This is a summary of it I wrote from the book Agents of Babylon by Dr. David Jeremiah.

No one meeting this description has come along yet, but with people forsaking God in large numbers, can he be far away?

Much effort has gone into figuring out the meaning of “666” with no real success.  Just as it has been with Daniel’s prophecies, I think this is one that won’t become evident until the time comes.  There are, however, other momentous events that will show us who he is and let us know with just a few year’s warning that the Tribulation is near.

The Anti-Christ will broker a peace treaty with Israel that is in effect for seven years.  Three and a half years into that he will break that treaty and desecrate Israel with the abomination of desolation.  That is the start of the Tribulation.  Revelation and Matthew 24 – Jesus’ Olivet Discourse – both refer to this abomination, but there is no description of it in the Bible.  That’s because it happened during the time of the Maccabees.  See Daniel – The Abomination of Desolation for that information  This is also a summary of the topic from Agents of Babylon.

Jerusalem

Israel – As Israel goes, so go end time events.  Why will there need to be a treaty with Israel?  Israel is surrounded by enemies, the Arab nations.  Why is this so?  The root of this eons-long conflict is the enmity between Abram’s two sons, Ishmael and Isaac.  The first was by his wife’s maidservant, Hagar.  Isaac was the legitimate son God had plans for to create the Jewish nation.  The strife between them and their descendants was foretold and continues to this day.  Isaac is the father of the Jews and Ishmael is the father of the Arabs.

Ever since reclaiming their land bequeathed by God, they have been protected.  The United States has been a staunch ally all that time.  President Trump historically recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol and placed our embassy there.

However, it appears things will be changing.  Just today President Biden’s Secretary of State pick, Antony Blinken, announced that the embassy will remain in Jerusalem.  Biden will seek to create a Palestinian state in the region, a move that will decrease Israel’s security.

The Rapture – There are two camps on this that will not be reconciled.  First is the Pre-Tribulation group.  They believe that Jesus will come before the Great Tribulation and “rapture” them into heaven.  They will be spared that crucible which God will end before all mankind are annihilated.

Second is the Post-Tribulation group.  They believe that the and all believers will have to go through the Great Tribulation and will be “raptured” into heaven after the suffering.

I agree with the Post-Tribulation school of thought, and I have two reasons why.  One is merely practical, the other is scriptural.

On the practical side it’s a matter of wanting to be pleasantly surprised instead of massively disappointed.  If you think you’re getting a “Get out of Tribulation Free Card” and you don’t…well, that can take a wrecking ball to your faith.

“Hey!  I’m a believer!  What the…  Maybe I got it all wrong.  Now I’m damned!”

That can certainly lead to a loss of faith and real damnation.

If you’re a Post-Tribulation type, you are steeling yourself for that horrid trial.  If you’re wrong and get raptured before the Tribulation, it’ll be a nice surprise instead of a faith-extinguishing event!

Her are my scriptural reasons for being a Post-Tribulation believer.  Essentially, it reads to me like Jesus says so in Matthew 24:

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His [d]elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other…36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of [f]heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.”

Notice the first four words; Immediately after the tribulation.  Verse 36 goes on to say no one knows when that will be.  Then the rapture is described; two men in the field, two women at the mill, and one of each disappears.

Study God’s Word!  Be ready!  I found Agents of Babylon to be highly enlightening given the history Dr. Jeremiah relates to show how prophecies have come true and how we can look for the rest to happen.

We ARE Living in Biblical Times!!

“‘And it shall come to pass in the last days,’ says God, ‘That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.’”    Acts 2:17

Several years ago I told my pastor about an incredible book I’d read; 23 Minutes in Hell by Bill Wiese.  Wiese fell asleep one evening just after noticing the time.  He woke up in hell.  God was there with him.  God’s purpose in taking him to hell was to show him just how bad it really is and to take that message back to earth.  Warn the people!  You need to put a little “fire & brimstone” back in the preaching!

When the episode was over, he woke up, screaming in terror over what he’d just been through.  His wife came running from the bedroom.  As he calmed down, he noticed the clock; 23 minutes had passed.  It took him a while to finally start talking and writing about his experience.  When he began opening up about it, he found himself to be part of a community of people who have had the same experience.  All have been charged with getting out the message that hell is real and is waiting for those not saved through Christ.

My pastor responded that he thought this and all of the near-death stories can’t be true.  God doesn’t need to come to us this way anymore, he explained.  We have His Word in the Bible.  God worked like that in biblical times.  No longer.

I’m not buying that for a second.  God can good and well do whatever He thinks needs to be done.  His Creation, His rules.  From where I sit, I think my pastor’s seminary training biased him against the possibility of God sending modern day prophets to the world.  If it wasn’t part of the seminary curriculum, he wasn’t buying.  I’m not saying that everyone who has been through seminary necessarily has this bias, but I think that risk is there.

But we ARE living in biblical times in more ways than one.  Daniel, Isaiah, Jesus’ Olivet discourse, and Revelations, to name a few, describe what end times will look like and events that will lead to those days.  The Bible described “biblical times” yet to come.

Beyond near-death experiences and visits to hell by His chosen prophets is the appearance of Jesus among Muslims in the Middle East.  It is a real phenomenon that has been happening for some years now.  Muslims who are not sold on their own religion and seeking the truth don’t know where else to look.  There are no bibles within easy reach.  Jesus, in His endless mercy, comes to them in dreams and tells them He is the One they seek.  These dreams are causing many conversions among Muslims.

You might recall hearing about a protestant pastor being held in Iran (I think) for preaching the Gospel.  I listened to a radio interview of his wife.  She related how both of them were visited by Christ in their dreams.  They didn’t wake up suddenly Christian, but that was the start of their coming to faith in Jesus.

So think on it!  Just as He came to the Old Testament prophets, the Apostles, and more, Jesus is making Himself known to those who seek Him or to those He simply chooses.  Not unlike Saul/Paul.

“Killing Christians” by Tom Doyle with Greg Webster is a collection of accounts of persecution, torture, and martyrdom among Christians in the Middle East.  Most all of them are Muslims called by Christ Himself through dreams.  The book is not gory; it does relate horrible things, but it offers no gruesome detail, no nightmare-inducing descriptions.

What is remarkable is how Christ is calling Muslims, and in one nail-biting event, directs the escape of a mother and her children to the safety of a refugee camp.  Their bravery and commitment to Jesus, some suffering torture and martyrdom, are awe-inspiring.  I can only hope that, if I am called to suffer for Christ, I can receive the same strength they did.

You can simply Google the phrase “Jesus Appearing to Muslims” and be awash in links to stories.  Go to YouTube, make the same search, and see all of the videos that pop up with one testimonial after another.  Here’s a sample link to an article:

Is Jesus Christ Reaching Out to Muslims Through Their Dreams?

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/07/05/is-jesus-christ-reaching-out-to-muslims-through-their-dreams/

From the article:

“Tom Doyle, author of the upcoming book ‘Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World,’ and a staffer with e3 Ministries, says he’s seen this phenomenon before.

“We’re seeing that all around. We’re hearing about people that have never even thought about Jesus as savior,” Doyle told Charisma News. ‘They’re content Muslims and they’re having dreams over and over.’

“Doyle believes that ‘our God is a fair God’ and that many Muslims are seeking and that they don’t know where to go. So, rather than a more overt conversion, he claims that Jesus is coming to them in their sleep.”

Just so happened he was in the first link I tried, but there are many more!

Are we living in biblical times?  Oh, yeah!  Are we living in End Times?  Well, I’m just not sure.  It feels like it when stacked up against the Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24.  There are many things happening that sure feel like they are of “biblical proportions.”  Jesus exhorted us to WATCH!  In modern parlance, keep your head on a swivel!  See as much as you can.  Share what you see and learn with other Christians.  Sharpen yourselves against each other.

Because there are now young men seeing visions!

A Covid Curse?

Tower of SiloamOr those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?   Luke 13:4

You’ve probably seen articles and opinion pieces about Covid19 being a curse from God to warn us to mend our ways. You might even think that yourself. We as a nation certainly have asked for it!

A very solid case was made for 9/11 being a warning from God by messianic Rabbi Jonathon Cahn.

But can we know the mind of God? 2020 has been a pretty crap year so far with droughts, a locust plague and now Covid19. Are all these warning signs from God to repent? Does it make any difference? What is the point, after all, of declaring that this is all from God or that these are part of end times? Whatever God may or may not intend as the end game for any of this, doesn’t it make sense to prepare anyway?

Jesus clearly warned us through parables and direct instructions to always be prepared for the end, for no one but the Father knows when He will come again. Whether it’s the end of the world or just your world in a car accident or any disease, the end is always near in some form.

911 ExplosionAs for 9/11, you might recall that there was a huge surge in church attendance which lasted for all of a few months. Things quickly went back to normal. People don’t listen to Scripture, nor do they truly pay attention to anything that might be a warning regardless of size.

It’s like the parable of the rich man who found himself in hell. He saw Moses in heaven and pleaded for just a drop of water. He also begged Moses to visit his brothers so they would not end up in hell like he did. Moses reply? They have the Scriptures and the prophets. If they won’t listen to those, someone coming from the dead won’t have an impact either.

So. Covid19. Is this a sign from God or not? We can’t know. Sometimes poop happens, and that’s about all we can expect in this sinful world. Jesus said as much in Luke 14 above. Did any of those listening think that the Tower of Siloam fell on those people because they were bad? They were no worse than any of the other sinners in town. Sometimes stuff happens.

What if we catch Covid19? Let’s look at the facts. Historically, your average flu has a mortality rate of about .12%. The Spanish Flu mortality rate was 15-20%, astronomically higher than a normal flu. Covid19 has a rate of about 5%. That’s definitely worse than the average flu, but nowhere near as catastrophic as the Spanish Flu of 1918. The vast majority of Covid19 fatalities are 60+ years old, with most deaths among those being over 70.

Why are we, as a nation, going so absolutely nuts over this?

Facemask IncorrectI just came from the grocery. All the workers are wearing masks. Kind of. The masks rarely cover both mouth and nose. Usually just the mouth. Some have them on their chins for, what? Show? I saw a news article wear someone crashed their SUV, because they were wearing their mask alone in their car and passed out from Co2 buildup inside their mask.

Gloves. Watch people who wear them. They take their groceries out to their car and never take off the gloves. Whatever virus might be on their gloves is now on the outside door handle. The gloves are still on their hands as they drive away, so now whatever they might have encountered in the store is all over the inside of their car! When they take the gloves off, are they careful to not touch the outsides of the gloves?

Obviously, masks and gloves are no more than placebos for the general population for as much as they use them effectively.

We are not going to avoid exposure. Period. You’ve read the forecasts that say there will be multiple peaks of deaths and infections after the lockdowns are eased. It could take well over a year before things truly settle down. That’s as good as saying everyone is going to be exposed sooner or later.

What’s my point here? We’re depending solely on ourselves to protect ourselves from Covid19. It’s much how we ended up depending on our efforts to protect the country after 9/11.

PeaceThe best protection is God. It’s that simple. Yes, we must take care of ourselves and not be stupid. But in the case of Covid19, I hope you can now see from the facts that there is simply no avoiding it. What happens when we’re exposed is simply a matter of how our individual bodies respond.

Still, God is the only protection. He may protect us from getting the virus or dying if we are exposed. We may get a fatal case of it. We are on earth for a short time, and we’re all going to die. As in today’s verse, sometimes things go south for no other reason than we live in a sinful world.

When I had bypass surgery many years ago, I had no fear going into surgery that early morning. I had no doubt I would wake up from surgery. The only question was who I’d see; my wife or God. Either one was a great alternative!

So it is with Covid19 or anything else that might happen to you in this sinful world. You’ll either come out of it and return to family and friends or you’ll come out of it altogether…

…and into His marvelous light!