Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The last days, earthquakes and more

3/16/11 Wednesday

I am sure we have all heard about the earthquake in Japan, though I was surprised when a spiritual leader we know was only dimly aware that something happened “In China or someplace” and said we should pray for them. There are many good reasons to seclude yourself and I hope that was why she was so unaware of what is going on in the world around us. Isolation can be good or can be dangerous, leading to a disconnect from reality. I think a big part of the world is disconnected in many ways, even here in the United States. Governments purposely disconnect their populations, feeding them only the stories they want them to know, and thus leading their sheep in whatever direction they desire. Truth and information become enemies to those who deal in falsehoods, thus wiki leaks is considered to be such a threat.

The question then is “What is the truth?”. That question is often hard to answer for we are surrounded by so many stories and discerning what is a lie and what is not can be difficult to say the least. This is true on so many levels but the most important realm where we need to discern the truth is in the spiritual one. In the spiritual realm we have God, Yehova who is the light of the world and in whom there is no darkness or falsehood. And there is Lucifer, who is the opposite, a liar and the father of lies, hater of all that is good, and the epitome of evil. Lucifer desired to be God and thus started a cosmic battle, that we are in the middle of. It’s like a cosmic chess game and we are the pieces moved about on the board, only we can make choices in the process and thus control our fate. But it’s a wicked game, though calling it a game is incorrect so contest would be more accurate, but in this contest there is life and death facing us all.

I believe we are in the last stages of this contest, a contest that has gone on for as long as mankind has been on the earth. The earthquakes we are seeing are just the birth pangs, preliminary tremors of what’s to come. It is at this time that we must find the truth, and I see that truth in Jesus and His words, spoken over two thousand years ago, verify that. “Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21)

It is always important to not pick just a sentence out of the bible, or any other book for that matter, and build a doctrine on it. This is how the father of lies can introduce destructive heresies into the mix, and thus cause discord and lead many astray. This speech that Jesus made regarding the last days is recorded on three of the gospels and can be found in Mathew chapter 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. I highly recommend reading all three versions of it in order to glean as much truth as possible.

These last days will be like nothing we, here in the U.S., living in our comfortable luxury, can comprehend. Even as I wandered homeless, with severe brain damage and only the clothes on my back, unsure of where I would sleep, or where my next meal would come from, even then my life was good, for despite the hardship I was fed and clothed. There are many who’s life is much worse, who are killed daily because of what they believe and many who starve, are raped, tortured, and maimed, so I understand I am blessed. These words of Jesus are happening right now “You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 All men will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By standing firm you will gain life.” (Luke 21:16) In the Muslim countries, such as Egypt, there are rewards paid by the state to those who turn in anyone who was born a Muslim but accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord. Egypt paid out over fifteen million in rewards in just one year. Most of those rewards went to family members who turned in their father, sister, brother, mother, or other relatives and friends, knowing that death was a result in many cases.

Here’s an interesting thing I just noticed in this scripture. Jesus said “They will put some of you to death” and then two sentences later said “Not a hair on your head will perish”. How can that be? Understand that Jesus sees through spiritual eyes. He is eternal, has always been and will always be. We find at the start of John’s gospel this opening statement;

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” Jesus is God, the part of God that came to earth and suffered in order to offer us eternal life. So when Jesus says “Not a hair on their head will perish” He’s referring to how those who die for Him, who endure to the end, will live forever with new bodies in heaven with Him.

Let’s go on with this study of the last days. It’s not going to be a complete study by any means, for that would require a book to cover it all and debunk the myths and lies that have crept into Christian theology. There is so much wrong that is just blindly accepted by so many, who also blindly follow anyone who is put on a pedestal and can talk well.

Mathew 24:3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" 4 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ, ' and will deceive many.

In all three gospels where this speech is recorded, Jesus starts out saying “Watch that no one deceives you”. This concern with deception is found throughout the bible, both old testament and new. It’s no accident this is included as the church has been plagued with falsehoods and lies since the beginning. Here’s an interesting take on the “Many will come saying I am the Christ” part of this. Most interpret it as saying people will be presenting themselves as Jesus returned in the flesh again, and that is probably true, but lets expand that. I think that this can also refer to those who say that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, but from that basis, that truth, go on to deceptive doctrines and ideas. There are many who say they believe in Jesus but when you compare their beliefs to others interpretation of the bible it’s clear that they aren’t compatible.

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Mathew 24)

There have been many wars and earthquakes since the time of Jesus, and with them all many who proclaim “It’s the last day. Jesus is coming”. World war one and two spawned a lot of this and with it came some cults such as the Jehovah’s Witness that started by setting a date for His return. When Jesus didn’t they rearranged their theology to explain it away and continued on their deceptive way. What we need to look for is all the pieces of the puzzle coming together, and part of that puzzle is found in Zechariah 12, where it reveals that all the nations of the earth will come against Jerusalem. It is this part of the puzzle that I see happening before my eyes, happening this very moment with all the riots and revolutions in the Middle East. All the countries that were in any way sympathetic with Israel, or the U.S., are under attack and falling to radical Islam.

Despite the growing secularism in this world, the rise of atheistic belief that there is no God and religion is something man made up, these last days will be a religious war. Jesus said it will be like the days of Noah, where every man does what is right in his own eyes, and that we see for sure, but in the midst of it we see a rise of Islam, this radical religion that preaches death to further it’s cause. When faced with death most people will bow to the wishes of the one with the sword in his hand and at least feign allegiance to their god.

"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Mathew 24)

The history of all religion involves death. It is this history that turns many away from the truth of God’s love. In that cosmic contest, between good and evil, it is evil that always stirs up the pride and ego in those who have endorsed a belief in good, yet turn to doing the very things they deplore. An illustration I would like to use is a clean clear pure glass of water. I can take one drop of anything that is not clean pure water and put it in the glass, and thus corrupt the whole thing. You may not be able to see it, or taste it, but corrupted it is still. This principle holds true in our lives and is one I work hard against, to try and achieve that pureness Christ desires in me.

I know that my sins have been forgiven, that I have been made as pure as freshly fallen snow, but that doesn’t mean I can keep on doing what I know to be wrong. One of the most damnable doctrines that is widely accepted, because it sure sounds good and makes life easy, requiring almost no effort, is a form of grace that says you can keep on purposely doing what you know you shouldn’t and not have to worry about a thing. Because I have things to do I can only touch on this. Here’s two scriptures that need to be recognized.

Hebrews 10:26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

1 John 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4 The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Ok, three scriptures 1 John 3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. 4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. 7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin,

The reality is none of us are perfect, but God judges the heart and in that I take comfort. I don’t want to do wrong but when I do I feel bad. It’s when you no longer feel bad, when you’ve developed a hardened and calloused heart and choose to do wrong, that you are in danger of eternal judgment.

Back to the subject of the last days. One of the pieces of the puzzle will be a revival among the Jews. Whether you like it or not the Jews are, and always have been, God’s chosen people. A good part of the trouble we see in the world is the hatred that Satan has for God’s people, and that hatred is stirred up in all whom are manipulated by that enemy. It’s sad that down through the ages many of those easily manipulated have been those who call themselves followers of Christ. Understand, Jesus was a Jew, all the apostles were Jews, and the fact is that we, who are followers of Christ, have been grafted in to the vine.

Paul makes this clear in Romans 11:11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring! 13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

Zechariah, which I referred to earlier, says 12:10 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

This to me is a clear indication that in the last days the Jews will come to understand who Jesus is, a miraculous thing God will cause to happen. Watch for it and understand that when it happens the end is near.

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 15 "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel--let the reader understand-- 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible.

There are already many false prophets. In the Charismatic circles of Christianity we find quite a stir in this area. There are houses of prophesy opening up where you can go get prophesied over. Am I saying they are bad? No, I can’t do that and it would be wrong to blanketly categorize anyone. I can say this though, if all you hear from someone who claims to be a prophet is what you want to hear, be wary. Everything must line up with what the bible says and if any “prophet” says something that doesn’t, they are false. Prophets call God’s people to righteousness, to living a pure life that is holy and acceptable to God. A prophet, who truly hears from God, is never wrong. The test in the old testament was clear, if you were wrong you were stoned to death. Despite that there were plenty of times when the prophet business was booming, with hundreds of people prophesying, often for money. So here’s a prophesy. There will be an earthquake in Indiana that will effect the Ohio river valley. But that’s just one of many that will come.

25 See, I have told you ahead of time. 26 "So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. 29 "Immediately after the distress of those days " 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' 30 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. 32 "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

That’s it. I’m out of time and have many responsibilities calling my name. Forgive me for an incomplete study, but you bear a responsibility to study and learn for yourself. Got to go.

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