Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
“His power will be mighty, but not by his own power, and he will destroy to an extraordinary degree and prosper and perform his will; he will destroy mighty men and the holy people. And through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; and he will magnify himself in his heart, and through peace he shall destroy many. He will even oppose the Prince of princes, but he will be broken without human agency” (Daniel 8:24-25). According to Wikipedia, “Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence.” This understanding of peace is passive in nature. It is the absence of war or other hostilities. Peace like this often seems elusive. Even when countries agree to peace terms, those terms often hang by a thread with the smallest misunderstanding resulting in a loss of peace and a return to hostilities.
Christianity affirms God alone is the source of true peace. The Bible teaches peace is possible but only through Jesus Christ. Through faith in Jesus and His finished work of redemption we can have spiritual peace with God (Romans 5:1). But the Bible also speaks of peace in the Age to Come. This peace will be achieved through Jesus Christ at His Second Coming when righteousness and justice will prevail for one thousand years (Revelation 20:4). Final judgment and the eternal state will commence shortly thereafter (Revelation 21). Leading up to His return to this earth, Jesus reminds us there will be “wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:4). The Bible further predicts there will be hostilities and other unrest in that part of the world the biblical prophets were concerned about—Israel and the Middle East. Peace for this region, according to Bible prophecy, would seem elusive but a false peace would come at some future time when a man more cunning than anyone imaginable comes on the scene and seemingly brokers peace between Israel and her enemies.
Once again, the Bible bats one thousand when it comes to predicting the future. This time, the evidence points to two categories of events I like to call the anticipation for peace in the Middle East and addiction to Jerusalem. Consider this article that appeared in The Jerusalem Post on October 17, 2022—Israel slams Australia for revoking Jerusalem capital recognition—“The Australian government cited its belief that the status of Jerusalem should be resolved through peace negotiations.” No one seems to be concerned about the status of any other city on the planet except Jerusalem. Amazingly, this is exactly what the Bible predicts for the last days.
The quest for an elusive peace in the Middle East and the refusal to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people not only indicates the biblical prophets got it right. It also indicates things are falling right into place on the road to Daniel’s Seventieth Week (Daniel 9:24-27). Again, from the article: “Australian Foreign Ministry Penny Wong said, “Jerusalem is a final status issue that should be resolved as part of any peace negotiations [and] recommits Australia to international efforts in the responsible pursuit of progress towards a just and enduring two-state solution.”
The quest for an elusive peace in the Middle East points to a future time when a man comes on the scene who will seemingly broker the greatest peace deal the world has ever known. This peace deal, however, will end in destruction—“Through peace he shall destroy many” (Daniel 8:25). Furthermore, the Bible predicts the utter destruction of those who concern themselves with trying to tamper with or otherwise change the biblical status of Jerusalem as it relates to the Jewish people and God's everlasting covenant with them—“Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around… It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured” (Zachariah 12:2-3). World leaders are drunk over the status of Jerusalem, and it will not end well for them—just as the Bible predicts.
Finally, are you ready to see Jesus face-to-face? He’s coming soon for His bride—the church. Come to Jesus, confess your sin, and receive His free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. I recently preached about Jesus' promise to return for His church. You can hear it at https://youtu.be/0zr7qkU5O4c.
“Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My plan will be established, and I will accomplish all my good pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9-10). I have not written much lately concerning prophetic trends occurring today. A few reasons include things are happening so fast I can hardly keep up, there are Bible teachers a lot smarter than me writing and talking about these things, and life has simply been too busy to leave much time to write. But I am going to try to do a better job writing about these and other biblical subjects. Maybe this will satisfy the handful of people who have asked me to do so.
Major world events continue to take place further setting the stage for the end-times scenario found in age-old Bible prophecy. Most of the world—and many in the church—remains oblivious to the reality of what’s happening. But for Christians who believe and understand Bible prophecy, the only real surprise is seeing it occur in our lifetime. Some call these major world events prophetic signs, but I prefer the phrase prophetic trends. I believe we are witnessing all the prophetic trends the Bible predicts for the last days just prior to the return of Jesus for His bride, the church. I also believe these trends are rapidly converging. I classify these trends under six categories.
Over thirty years ago, when I first began studying Bible prophecy, we had maybe two or three of these prophetic trends in play. Today, they are all to one extent or another in play. Here are some recent prophetic trends related events that help us to see just how close to the Seventieth Week of Daniel (Dan. 9:24-27) we are, which can only mean the Rapture of the Church is likely a whole lot closer than most are willing to believe. Consider these recent news items:
Aliyah, on Sept. 29, 2022, The Jerusalem Post reported 55,000 Russian Jews eligible for Aliyah were impeded by flight shortage. The article reports about 40,000 Russian Jews have received immigration visas and about 15,000 are in the middle in the process of making Aliyah. “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’” (Isaiah 43:6).
Anticipation, on Sept. 22, 2022, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid joined other world leaders at the United Nations where he endorsed a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in his address in front of the UN general Assembly. Current U.S. President Joe Biden later tweeted, “I welcome Israeli Prime Minister Lapid’s courageous statement at the UN General Assembly.” Not to be out done, Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau tweeted that a two-state solution “with Israelis and Palestinians living in peace, security, and dignity—is in everyone’s best interest.” It seems the predicted covenant with death is approaching. “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week” (Dan. 9:27).
Alignment, on Sept. 23, 2022, The Jerusalem Post reported on changes that have occurred in the Middle East this year. According to the article, Iraq is in chaos, Israel confronts Iran, and Turkey grows closer to Russia, and there have been continued advances concerning the Abraham Accords. The phrase from the article that captures my attention concerns the Turkey-Russia-Iran alliance: “One major trend in the past year has been the continued integration of Turkey into an alliance and partnership with Russia and Iran.” Let me put that into biblical terms for you: “One major trend in the past year is the continued integration of the Ezekiel 38 countries of Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah (Turkey), Rosh (Russia), and Persia (Iran). “And the word of the LORD came to me saying, ‘Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meschech and Tubal, and prophesy against him” (Ezek. 38:1-2).
Arrangements, on Sept. 19, 2022, several news organizations reported the arrival of five unblemished red heifers in Israel from the United States. The Temple Institute tweeted “exciting news to share about a major advance in efforts to raise a red heifer whose ashes can be used for purification—a huge step toward the building of the Holy Temple!” It remains to be seen whether these five red heifers will remain unblemished, and it is my understanding the actual red heifer, whose ashes will be used in the purification of the future third Temple, will have to be born in Israel. See Numbers 19-21 for more about the ritual of the red heifer.
Addiction, on Oct. 5, 2022, The National reported, “The British foreign secretary has been urged to ‘refrain from taking any illegal action’ by the head of the Arab League after the UK’s proposal to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” A day earlier, Palestinian leaders were on the record condemning a proposal by British Prime Minister Liz Truss to move the UK’s Embassy to Jerusalem. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said, “Any change in the status quo in Jerusalem would undermine the two-state solution and will be considered a tacit recognition of the city’s annexation to Israel, which will encourage the occupying state and the settlers’ radical groups to continue their aggression toward our people and toward the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.” Let the reader note he did not mention the Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem. “Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around… It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured” (Zech. 12:2-3).
Austerity, on Sept. 29, 2022, The Jerusalem Post published an analysis, “Nord Stream [pipeline] sabotage will permanently shift global trade.” The article noted the damage to the Nord Stream pipeline is “important and symbolic and will also likely usher in a new global economic order.” It is still not clear who damaged the pipeline. Some have suggested Russia is behind it while others suggest the U.S. is behind it. Regardless of who is behind the sabotage, it is certainly causing a shift in the world economy and may very well be just one more event that is moving the world closer to the predicted one world government and economic system for the last days. “And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark” (Rev. 13:16-17).
It is clear to me the prophetic trends pointing to the end-times scenario predicted by the Bible are all in play and are rapidly converging. The Seventieth Week of Daniel (aka the Tribulation Period or the Great Tribulation) where God shifts His attention back to Israel and the Jewish people and pours out His wrath upon an unbelieving world is close at hand. The message is clear. Come to Jesus so that you can escape all these things which are coming upon those who dwell on the earth. Although some believe the church will go through part or all of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, I believe the Bible is clear in teaching that Jesus will return for His bride—the church—before this time comes upon the world. I recently preached about this event—the Rapture of the Church (our Blessed Hope as believers) and you can hear it at https://youtu.be/6rgIwMelLrk.
“The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks is to speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:7-11).
Every generation since Christ’s first coming has believed their generation would see the return of Jesus in their lifetime. It is no surprise, therefore, to hear someone point this out whenever someone like me suggests we are living near the end of the age and the return of Christ for His church is on the near horizon (see 2 Peter 3:3-5). The difference, however, between all those previous generations and our generation is the convergence of end-time trends we are witnessing today. Previous generations may have witnessed a prophetic trend here or there, but our generation is the only generation that is witness to all of them and they are all converging at breakneck speed. These converging signs or prophetic trends are just too numerous to list but here are a few.
First of all, we have the sign of signs—Israel’s return to the Land. This sign of signs was prophesied over 2,600 year ago by the prophet Ezekiel (see Ezek. 37:11-13). Furthermore, Jews are from all over the world are returning to Israel in record numbers.
Secondly, the Jews now control Jerusalem and Jerusalem has become a burdensome stone to the whole world (see Zech. 12:1-3). The so-called peace process has gone on for decades without success. The parties just cannot seem to get together over the issue of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. A future world leader will arise who will seemingly work all this out but at great cost to the Jewish people and the world (see Dan. 8:25-27).
Thirdly, Jesus predicted an increase in wars, rumors of wars, famines, and earthquakes (see Matt. 24). He also predicted an increase in deception and warned three different times to see to it that no one deceives you. We live in an age of remarkable misinformation, disinformation and outright lies. It is important we know what we believe and why we believe it and that we keep our eyes on Jesus so that we are not deceived in these last days.
Fourthly, we are witnessing the rise of global government. This trend has picked up steam in recent years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Bible, this rise in global government will one day coalesce under ten political leaders who will ultimately give their power to an individual the likes of which the world has never before witnessed (see Dan. 7:7-8; Rev. 13).
Fifthly, the good news of the Gospel has spread around the world. Jesus predicted the Gospel would be preached to every nation before the end (see Matt. 24:14). Furthermore, John predicted God would even use an angel if necessary (see Rev. 14:6-7). Our generation is the only generation that can honestly say this gospel has gone out into all the world.
These are just a few of the many signs the Bible predicts for the last days just prior to the return of Christ for His church. Others include the rebuilding of the Third Temple in Jerusalem, the total breakdown of society, a return to the days of Noah (days of perversion), and the alignment of nations for the last days. This is not an exhaustive list, but these are signs or trends we are witnessing today which, along with the previous five, are all converging together. Folks, Jesus is coming soon!
So, if all these things are true and the end is indeed a whole lot closer than most folks are willing to consider and believe, what should we do? Peter tells us to do three things. First of all, we are to live holy lives by purifying our minds, pursuing holiness, and practicing prayer (1 Pet. 4:7). Secondly, we are to live humbly by loving others, forgiving one another, and serving all (1 Pet. 4:8-10). Finally, we are to live heavenward by focusing on God’s purposes, serving in His strength, and bringing Him glory (1 Pet. 4:11). In other words, as God’s people, we are to live in light of the Lord’s soon return!
“Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). No one can possibly fail to see the lawlessness that pervades our society today. On Tuesday, the nation watched as FBI Director James Comey laid out the case against Hillary Clinton for her total disregard for Federal Law and common sense over her handling of classified information. I don’t know about you but I sat in stunned disbelief as he announced there would be no recommendation for an indictment. As one who holds a TOP SECRET National Security Clearance, I am sure I would already be in jail had I been found to have mishandled only a fraction of the classified information Mrs. Clinton and her staff mishandled. One thing is for sure, there is no longer such a thing as the rule of law. Lawlessness is now firmly entrenched in our society and world.
Jesus foretold this lawlessness in Matthew as one of the signs leading up to His return to this world. I do not believe He is referring to lawlessness in a purely civil sense. I am sure He has in mind lawlessness as it relates to God’s law, as well. Consider how far we have come as a society in just a few short years. That which the Bible clearly calls evil society now calls good. Religious freedom, something not necessarily promised to us in Scripture, is now a thing of the past. Anyone who disagrees or takes a stand on purely religious conviction is shunned, ostracized, and destroyed. To me, it is like a giant whirlpool sucking everything and everyone towards the center of the vortex. I witnessed one such whirlpool as I sailed from Alaska to Washington a few years ago. As the outgoing tide increased in velocity it caused the waters of the intercostal waterway to begin to rotate until it looked something like the picture above. I am thankful the ferryboat captain chose to steer clear of this whirling vortex rather than sail through it. Such a picture is an excellent illustration of how lawlessness works. Society moves further and further away from God and morality at a faster and ever tightening pace.
Lawlessness, according to Scripture, will abound in the last days. Lawlessness, properly understood, is a life of disobedience to the law of God—a deliberate trampling upon His law. It is mankind’s contempt for God and his decision to do as he pleases. The Psalmist writes, “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying ‘Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!’” (Psalm 2:2-3). Such is the irony of man’s rebellion—devising, conspiring, and scheming against God and His ways. The Bible, however, reveals God’s response to such foolishness. “He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain” (Psalm 2:4-6).
I can almost hear the Lord saying, “Scorn My law all you want to but there is a payday coming and it is coming very soon for My Son will soon return and establish His Kingdom which He will rule with a rod of iron and destroy all those who do evil.” Perhaps this is why the Psalmist writes a few verses later, “Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (Psalm 2:12) I do not know about you but as the tide of lawlessness rolls over the world and the rotating vortex of destruction sucks in anything and everything it can, I am taking refuge in Jesus. I would encourage you to do the same. The world is on a collision course to meet the God of the universe face-to-face. It will not be pretty. John writes, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds… And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15). How will you fare when you meet God face-to-face? Will you perish in the way, as the Psalmist writes, or will you join Christ upon Zion—His holy mountain?
I've been enjoying day 1 of the 2013 Pre-Trib Study Group. As in previous years, the conference is occuring at the Sheraton DFW Hotel in Irving. So far, it has been outstanding. Although I will write a fuller report at a later time, suffice it to say the topic--the significance of the modern State of Israel--is spot on. You can read the papers for yourself at www.pre-trib.org/conference/papers.
“Now learn the parable of the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:32-35). The parable of the fig tree, appearing in what is known as the Olivet Discourse, is perhaps one of the most challenging passages of Scripture for Bible students. The challenge stems from the fact that Jesus appears to be predicting a particular period of time in which we can expect to witness His glorious and visible return to earth.
The argument goes something like this: The fig tree represents the nation of Israel. The branch that becomes tender and puts forth its leaves refers to the rebirth of the nation in 1948. Therefore, the generation born around the time of Israel’s return to the land will be alive at the Second Coming of Christ. But is this the correct interpretation of this particular passage of Scripture?
Many conclude this traditional interpretation cannot possibly be correct given Jesus’ words in verse 36: “But of that day and hour no one knows.” He said the same thing in Acts 1:7, “It is not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority.” Paul reiterated this in his first letter to the Thessalonian believers: “Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you” (1 Thess. 5:1).
“If no one knows what will happen, who can tell him when it will happen?” (Ecclesiastes 8:7). It is not unusual for people in legal proceedings or other official venues to execute what is known as an affidavit, a formal written statement that is signed by the author under oath or affirmation before an authorized official. So what does this have to do with Bible Prophecy?
The Bible makes numerous claims about itself. For example, it claims to be the Word of God and therefore perfect. David wrote, “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7). He goes on to describe God’s word as being right, pure, clean, true, and righteous.
In the New Testament we are told, “All Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim. 3:16). Inspired means God-breathed, and since God, by His very nature is perfection, we know that He cannot breathe imperfection. Sounds simple enough right?
It may sound simple but there is one problem. Other books, or so called sacred writings, make similar claims. I remember visiting a temple in India once and looking at a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, the most revered sacred writings of Hinduism. I shared with the attendant how I believe only the Bible is God’s word to us and he quickly responded, “This is the same thing.”
On this week's addition of the Hal Lindsey Report, Hal honors his and my dear friend, Jack Kinsella. Jack went to be with the Lord on Thursday, 14 March 2013. The show is divided into three segments and Jack is featured in the last segment, at 13:15, just before Hal presents the Gospel. You can watch the video of the program below and also read my blog entry in memory of Jack by clicking here: Run Like Jack Ran. You can visit Hal's website here: Hal Lindsey.
“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints”(Jude 3). I just returned from another outstanding annual meeting of the Pre-Trib Study Group (www.pre-trib.org). The meeting took place at the Sheraton Grand Hotel near the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. This was my fourth opportunity to attend, having also attended in 2007, 2008, and 2011. The conference did not disappoint, proving once again to be Christ exalting, biblically focused, and academically stimulating.
Several papers were presented by various scholars around a common theme: Contending for the Faith in the Last Days. Dr. Thomas Ice began the conference with a paper on, “What Does the New Testament Teach about End-Time Apostasy?” Mike Gendron (www.proclaimingthegospel.org) presented a paper giving an overview of “Roman Catholicism’s Drift into Apostasy.” Tom McMahon (www.thebereancall.org) presented a paper on, “Psychology in the Church,” which to me, was the best paper presented at the conference. The so called church growth movement was discussed by the Monday evening banquet speaker, Paul Smith, where he discussed the church growth movement and how it was used to change the church’s focus from theology to sociology. Several other papers were presented, all focusing on end-time apostasy in the church.
“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these” (2 Timothy 3:1-5). It has been my custom for several years to write an article at the end of the year summarizing events from a prophetic angle. Normally, this article finds its way to the blog, email subscribers, and the newspaper around the first of the year. However, I see no point in putting off what I surmise to be the biggest end-times stage-setting event of 2012. And this despite the fact terrorist are this very moment reigning rockets down on Israel from Gaza with Israel poised to respond with overwhelming force any moment. So what is this stage-setting event of which I speak? Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries (www.olivetreeviews.org) refers to it as, “A birth pang of biblical proportions!” The rest of us refer to it as the 2012 U.S. election.
You are welcome to leave comments and you don't have to necessarily agree with me. However, I expect a civil tone and charitable spirit. We can disagree with one another without being disagreeable. "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt." (Colossians 4:6)
Click on the image to learn more
Striving to glorify God by becoming more like Jesus.
Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.