What’s Going On In Damascus?

What’s Going On In Damascus?
This Week’s feature Article by Jack Kelley

The city of Damascus is mentioned 60 times in the Bible from Genesis 14:15 to Acts 22:10. Abraham’s chief servant, Eliazer, was from Damascus and Paul spent his first days as a Christian there. According to Flavius Josephus, Damascus was founded by Uz, the son of Aram who was the patriarch of the Aramean people. Aram was the 5th son of Shem, and Uz was the first son of Aram. (According to Job 1:1, Job was from the land of Uz.)

Throughout its history Damascus has been conquered many times. Most notably by the Israelites (1000 BC), the Assyrians (732 BC), the Babylonians (606 BC), the Persians (530 BC), the Greeks (330 BC), the Nabateans (85 BC), the Romans (63 BC), the Byzantines (634 AD), the Mamelukes (1250 AD) and the Ottoman Turks (1516 AD). But the city itself has always survived and is now claimed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.

Several of these conquests are referred to in the Bible. 2 Samuel 8:6-7 describes David and the Israelites. Parts of Isaiah 17 involve the Assyrians, Jeremiah 49:23-27 is about the Babylonian conquest and Zechariah 9:1-2 was fulfilled by Alexander the Great.
An Oracle Against Damascus

Probably the best known prophecy about Damascus is Isaiah 17, called An Oracle Against Damascus. Its 14 verses go back and forth between the Assyrian conquest in the 8th Century BC and a battle that hasn’t taken place yet. One reason we know this is because Isaiah 17:1 says, “See Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins.” It speaks of a battle that will mark the end of Damascus, something scholars agree has not happened yet. Other verses in Isaiah 17 confirm a future fulfillment of this destruction. Specifically, verse 7 tells us that after the destruction of Damascus men will look to their maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. And verse 9 tells of their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, becoming like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation. In the 8th century BC no one turned back to God and it was the Israelites who were forced to leave.

Currently there are three wars going on in Syria, any one of which could lead to the fulfillment of Isaiah 17. The obvious one is the civil war that’s been going on for the last two years. As many as 80,000 have died in this war to oust current President Assad from power and end his family’s control over the country.

But there’s also a secondary war that’s becoming more critical, and that’s an effort underway by Iran and Hizbollah to widen the Syrian conflict into Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel. All parties involved believe this effort could explode into a regional war at any time. If so it could be the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 as well as Psalm 83, which many see as the prophecy of a war that pits all of Israel’s next door neighbors agsinst Israel, and from which Israel will emerge victorious. Just this week, Hizbollah officials confirmed that Syria is serious about expanding the war onto the Golan Heights, territory Israel regained from Syria in 1973.

The War No One’s Watching

The third war is a little known one that could very well be the single deciding factor as to whether the civil war will escalate into the fulfillment of prophecy. This war is between two men, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama. According to informed Middle East sources each man has a vision for how the Syrian civil war should end. Obama wants Assad gone and Putin wants him to stay. They not only can’t agree on how to proceed, but each one is also trying to torpedo the other ones chances of succeeding. These sources say it’s the inability of these two men to agree that is standing in the way of a resolution to the crisis and as long as their disagreement continues the probability of the war spilling over the borders into neighboring countries becomes ever more likely to happen.

Most of the news sources I read have concluded that Obama is outclassed in this disagreement and that sooner or later Putin will have his way. He’s already won a couple of big battles. Refusing to keep Iran in check and refusing to withhold the sale of advanced anti-arcraft batteries to Syria are two of the most obvious. The first has given Assad powerful assistance on the ground and the second will give him protection from aerial attack by Israel. In both cases, Obama stood by and let this happen.

Bible prophecy might favor Putin in this case. According to Ezekiel 38-39 Russia will be a major participant in that battle, and having a strong position in the Middle East would be an important advantage. Remember, when the Moslem coalition attacks it will be from the North (Ezekiel 38:15). That could mean they’ll come from Syria over the Golan Heights. I’m not saying we’re seeing a run up to Ezekiel 38, but we all know it’s coming and if Russia already has a presence in Syria they would have an advantage in mounting what scholars believe will be a surprise attack.

In the mean time, the Russian / Iranian support has strengthened and emboldened Assad. So much so that he was willing to risk using chemical weapons against the rebel forces. Obama had previously said this would not be tolerated, but so far, even after being confronted with clear evidence, he denied it has happened. In Syria this has been interpreted to mean that limited use of chemical weapons will be tolerated.

Israeli leaders have been more resolute. After all it’s their country that’s being directly threatened by this. When they detected the movement of prohibited weaponry into Lebanon for Hizbollah’s use against them they attacked and destroyed it. Again, Obama stood by while Putin authorized the delivery of advanced anti-aircraft defenses to Syria. Its purpose is to prevent further pre-emptive attacks from Israel by denying them air superiority.

Informed sources are beginning to see the hand writing on the wall. As Israel is progressively denied the use of small steps to pre-empt the threat from their sworn enemies their only recourse will be to take big ones. When that happens, one leading Israeli correspondent has said Obama will stand right behind Assad in the line of people to blame.

Are We There Yet?

We’ve come close to the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 before. Each time cooler heads have prevailed and the destruction of Damascus has been postponed. I say postponed because Isaiah’s prophecy will be fulfilled. We have God’s promise on that. He said,

“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come. What I have said, that will I bring about. What I have planned, that will I do” (Isaiah 46:10-11).

Various reports confirm a conviction among Israel’s military and political leaders that war with Syria is coming. (Some say it could be a long one, while others hint that it will more likely be very short.) There also appears to be a consensus among the Jewish people that they must win and win decisively.

If it’s God’s timing this will be the fulfillment of Isaiah 17, and perhaps Psalm 83 as well. If it’s not, we’ll be drawn back from the brink once again to catch our breath and wait for the next run-up. Chances are it won’t be long in coming. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 05-25-13

How Long Will It Be Until the Rapture?

How Long Will It Be Until the Rapture? – By Carl Worline – http://www.raptureready.com/soap/worline6.html

How long will it be until the Rapture? That is the question we all have been asking ourselves for a very long time now. The problem is that there are so many prophetic signs out there that we can no longer see the road we are trying to follow. We over analyze each sign looking for both hidden meanings, as well as obvious meanings, and then we become disheartened when the Rapture fails to occur when we predict that it will happen. We all secretly look for possible dates for the departure of the church. Yet those who openly announce their predictions are usually viewed with, contempt by the prophetic community.

Each time a “watch date” comes and goes I feel disappointed, like the proverbial bride who is stood-up at the altar. I then work that much harder trying to find even more clues and hidden meanings in both Scripture and in current world events. To date, I have been a failure in all my efforts. It is time to take an entirely new approach. I truly have not been able to see the forest because of all the trees.

It is time to take a step back and look at the “big picture,” and not get wrapped up in all of the specific details. When we step back things often come into a much clearer focus. Christians have expected the rapture to occur ever since the crucifixion. Paul wrote his second letter the Thessalonians to assure them that they had not been left behind. Is the Rapture truly “imminent” at this moment in history, or is it still way off in the future? Let’s put aside our obsession with details and specifics for the moment, take a huge breath and re-evaluate what has been happening in our nation, the world, and (of course) Israel.

The overall weather is well beyond weird, and it is getting weirder and weirder by the moment. This has gone well beyond the natural fluctuations that occur at random. At first we suspected global warming was the cause, but what we are experiencing has gone well past anything like global warming can explain. It is almost like God, Himself, is trying to get the world’s attention.

Earthquakes are definitely happening with greater frequency and intensity. The one we had a couple of years ago in Japan moved Japan, itself, 8 feet and knocked the earth a little off its axis and actually shortened the day by a tiny amount. At the same time dormant volcanoes all over the planet are coming back to life. Sinkholes are popping up all over the world as well. This is more than just a coincidence. Something big has to be up. Doesn’t the Bible say something about the Earth longing to be free of “the curse?”

Speaking of weird things going on with the Earth, let’s take a look at the strange noises being heard all around the world. I would dismiss them as wild rumors if it were not for the fact that so many people have reported hearing them. What I find really odd is that those who report them all say that it is impossible to tell the direction from which they come. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem the local religious officials told Jesus to silence the multitudes, those who were there to be a witness. Jesus replied that if He were to silence the people the very rocks would cry out. That seems like an odd response for Him to make at the time, but now it seems that the very rocks themselves are crying out to announce His imminent arrival, while at the same time the people are being silent.

While we are on the topic of weird things occurring in nature let’s take a look at the animals that are dropping dead all over the world. It seemingly started back on November 2, 2010, when thousands of sea birds were found dead in Tasmania, Australia. Nobody thought much about it at the time. A couple of months later over 5,000 red-winged blackbirds and starlings fell out of the sky near midnight on New Year’s Eve in Beebe, Arkansas. The media picked up on this, and on a few subsequent animal die-offs.

There were lots of end-of-the-world jokes and an increase of ridicule of those who study eschatology. When the novelty wore off the ridicule subsided. Nobody noticed anymore, but the slaughter has never ceased. The website below records the carnage that continues to take place. During 2011 this website records 42 mass animal die-off events and includes links to an article on each one. I am not talking about 42 dead animals. I am talking about 42 separate events were there was a mass die-off of huge numbers of animals. In 2012 there were 464 known events where animals were killed off in mass and occurred in 67 different countries. This staggers the imagination. As of May 3, 2013, there have been 222 know mass animal die-offs occurring in 47 different countries. One can only guess as to how horrible this carnage will become by the end of the year. That is, of course, assuming that we make it to the end of 2013.

http://www.end-times-prophecy.org/animal-deaths-birds-fish-end-times.html

I have to apologize here. I said I wasn’t going to get into specifics because it is too easy to get wrapped around the spoke and lose sight of the big picture. My point is that the Bible has something to say about God killing off animals in (presumably) the last days. Maybe He wasn’t joking or using this seemingly odd wording as filler in His book.

“Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away” (Hosea 4:3).

I want to add one other thought here. While all of these animals have been dropping dead our scientific community has attempted to come up with an explanation. Much of what they offer is so ridiculous that it makes me wonder how they can believe this and still laugh at (and reject) the idea that God created the world and everything in it. My answer to these scientific scoffers is this: “So what? The Bible says nothing about whether the scientific community will understand it or not. The Bible says only that it will happen. It happened; end of discussion.”

Let’s get away from strange signs in nature and look elsewhere for the moment. Let’s look at the advances that the homosexual agenda has made in the last few years versus the advances they have made for the 3,000 or 4,000 years prior to that. Wow. There has been an explosion of perversion. Homosexuality is one of the sins that the Bible seems to indicate is especially offensive to God. At the current rate that the homosexual agenda is accelerating and expanding, how much longer can it be before God deals with us in the same way that He did with Sodom and Gomorrah?

If there were any truth to Darwin’s theory of evolution, or the theory of the survival of the fittest, homosexuality would have become extinct a great many generations ago.

Abortion is another sin, which, I am sure, is especially offensive to God. The numbers of victims, both infants and mothers, is beyond my ability to comprehend. The horror seems to be increasing geometrically. I feel physically sickened each time I read of a new revelation in the current trial of the abortionist, Dr. Gosnell. How much worse can it get? How much worse will God let it get?

Everything evil seems to be increasing geometrically these days. Each day, as I read the news on the prophetic websites, I learn of things taking place that are too horrible to write about in this article. Has the love of humanity grown this cold? Didn’t the Bible say something about that happening in the last days?

At the very end of the book of Daniel, the prophet tells the angel that he does not understand what he just written. The angel tells Daniel not to worry about it and to just write it down. The angel also tells Daniel that we will understand what he wrote in the end times. Obviously there are things in the Bible not intended to be, fully understood until the last days. I have read many things in the Bible that I do not understand, and seem strange even appearing there. The following are two examples:

In the biblical account of the fall of the Tower of Babel, God says something that really seems strange to me. He said that one of His reasons for destroying the tower was that if He did not do so, mankind would be able to accomplish whatever it set out to do. Apparently there are limits to the technology, which God will allow us to possess. A few years ago science announced that we were on the very cusp of achieving singularity. Singularity is a difficult concept to define, but an overly simplistic explanation is that singularity is the point where we are actually able to build a computer that can not only think for itself, but actually becomes aware of its own existence. In other words, we would be creating a form of life.

We agonize over the morality of killing unborn children in their mother’s womb who cannot speak for themselves. Imagine what it would be like to have a home computer that would beg and plead with us not to shut it off, or pull the plug, because it would kill it. What if our machines plotted to kill us out of the primordial instinct of self-preservation? Science fiction doesn’t sound so much like “fiction” anymore. How much have we advanced in the years since science announced that we were on the very cusp of achieving singularity? Will God allow mankind to create life, or will He reserve this knowledge and skill exclusively for Himself?

Something else that seems really strange to me in the Bible is how Jesus compared the last days of the end-times to the “Days of Noah.” Up until just recently, such a reference really seemed a bit odd. Did Jesus use an awkward analogy by accident, or did He really mean what He said? Genesis chapter 6 tells us that the world became so evil that God was actually sorry He had made mankind, and decided to destroy the Earth. Only Noah and seven members of his immediate family were allowed to survive, plus (of course) pairs of certain animals. The same chapter of Genesis goes on to tell us that the sin that angered God so much, and caused God so much sorrow, was the mingling of angels that chose to leave their estate (that’s Bible-speak for rebelling against God) and had sexual relations with the daughters of men to produce hybrids. Apparently this is an extremely major sin.

Today our top scientists have hacked their way far enough through the firewalls of God’s computer that they have gained access to the databanks for the very genetic code of life itself. We only understand a tiny fraction of the information we have discovered, but we are already playing around with altering the codes. We are tinkering with the mixing of DNA of animals, plants, and humans. I wonder. Is there anything else that we could think of that would provoke God any more than this? How much more will He allow?

Going back to Genesis once more, wasn’t the fall from grace that Adam and Eve experienced due to their disobedience in eating from the tree of knowledge? Did the forbidden fruit they ate plant the seeds of knowledge that brought us, in part at least, to the point where our knowledge destroys us? I wonder . . .

We constantly search for any clues in the Bible for when the last days are going to be, hoping to find a clue as to when the Rapture will happen. In Matthew, chapter 24, Jesus disciples asked Him directly when the end times were going to be. Jesus started off by telling them not to be deceived by anyone. Well, there is certainly a lot of deception being put out there right now. The next thing He mentioned was the amount of wars and rumors of wars. Can anybody deny that rumors of war abound at the present time, or that the focus of these rumors center around Israel and Jerusalem. In fact, the Bible also specifically mentions Jerusalem being a “cup of trembling” and a “stumbling stone” to the world in the last days.

The Bible tells us that Israel is the “Apple of God’s eye.” Every time I think the situation for Israel cannot get any more, dire, something else happens. There are multiple reports in the news of Syria making chemical weapons available to Hezbollah. Israel is now conducting air strikes deep into Syria. Assad’s only chance to remain in power is to attack Israel so that the nations and people who are opposing him stop their hostilities, lest they appear to be fighting on the side of the Jews. Israel’s only viable option will be to attack Syria. A conventional war would be too costly and take too long. Israel could end Assad’s rule overnight by dropping a nuclear weapon on Damascus and totally destroying Assad and his government. Doesn’t the Bible say something about this is Isaiah in chapter 17?

In Matthew, Jesus talked about many indicators of His return. These include things like famine and pestilence, and He also talked about the persecution of Christians as a sign of the last days and His return. Just look at the rabid and prolific spread of Islam. Notice that I didn’t say “radical” Islam. All of Islam is extremely anti-Christian. Some of its followers are just more vocal than others in spreading the violence and intolerance they profess. Other parts of the world are equally vicious in their persecution of anybody who dares to believe in God, or His son. I find it beyond my ability to comprehend how 70,000 people can be imprisoned in North Korea merely for believing in God or owning a Bible. Just try to imagine the horrors of living in a communist prison where there is absolutely no regard for human rights or dignity.

Is there any possible way that the current political situation in the Middle East could match the description laid out by Asaph during the time of King David and recorded in Psalm 83? The political situation of the world, and in particular the Middle East, is constantly changing. The dominos will not be in such a perfect alignment for very long. I believe that the rapture will occur before the bride of Christ can be harmed by the incredible worldwide Tribulation that is sure to erupt from such a conflict, for reasons that I will give in just a moment.

Christianity is in danger of becoming extinct in many parts of the Holy Land. Stop and think for a moment about how outrageous my last sentence is. Christianity is in danger of becoming extinct in many parts of the Holy Land. How much longer will God allow this condition to exist? Christianity is also in danger of becoming extinct in many other parts of the world.

Let’s move to another area. Doesn’t the Bible say something about signs in the sun, moon, and stars? Have there been signs in the sun, moon, and stars? Most definitely: yes. There have been a ton of them. The sun has been acting up with all kinds of flares. The moon has been going through a series of tetrads, and they have been falling on or near Jewish feast days. That just has to have some kind of prophetic significance just by itself. The stars have been aligning in all kinds of ways that are incredibly rare. Yes, I know that astrology is a big sin. On the other hand, God told us in the very first chapter of Genesis (verse 14) that the sun, moon, and stars were given to us specifically for “signs.” I know there is a lot of arguing about how serious God was when He said this, but He did say it, so I mention it here.

Also, isn’t there supposed to be one of the all-time biggest and brightest comets of all time coming our way later this year?

I believe the evidence in the Bible is overwhelming to support the idea that the Rapture of the church will occur before the Tribulation starts. Common sense seems to agree. What groom would allow His bride to be savagely beaten, especially before the wedding? Jesus told us that at the end of the last days there would be a Tribulation that was far worse than anything that has ever happened before. I believe Him.

I do not believe in the idea of government conspiracies. The main reason that I do not believe in government conspiracies is because our government is not smart enough to come up with these conspiracies, and they would not be able to keep their mouths shut about the existence of a major conspiracy. Too many people would be writing books about them. Nevertheless, Homeland Security has purchased over two billion (that is billion with a “B”) rounds of hollow-point ammunition and has just applied to purchase another billion, or so. The quantity of ammunition they are stockpiling is something that my mind cannot grasp.

Why do they need a dozen rounds of ammunition for each and every man, woman, and child in the nation? Why are they buying hollow-point ammunition? Under the rules of the Geneva Convention even our military cannot use hollow-point ammunition in combat. Obviously, Homeland Security intends to use this ammunition domestically. These same people also purchased 2,700 tanks. Why does Homeland Security think they need a tank? Why does Homeland Security feel they need 2,700 tanks?

I could go on and on about so many different types of signs that we are not only in the last days, but that we are in the “last” of the “last days.” For whatever reason, God wants to keep the date a secret, and we can only guess why. But if we read Revelation 3:3 and believe what it says, we are not only told─we are commanded─to watch for the return of Jesus. What’s more, Jesus says that if we fail to watch, the Rapture of Christ will take us some by surprise, like a “thief in the night.”

If we believe what the Revelation 3:3 says, we can at least know the season of His return. By opening our eyes to what is going on in the world around us we can see with our own eyes that we are in the very last days of that season. The Rapture of the church is going to happen and it is going to happen at any moment. If for no other reason, the Rapture is about to happen because the Tribulation spoken of in the Bible is about to happen, and the Rapture has to happen first.

Why is God sending all of these signs, and especially now?

The answer is so obvious that even a blind man can see it. God is trying to get our attention. He is also not going to violate any of His rules. We are the ones who have to make the conscious decision to accept Him, believe in Him, and believe that His Son died so we can spend our eternal lives with Him in heaven. We have to come to the point that we realize we are sinners by nature and we have to repent of those sins. That is why God does not appear in the sky or take over television broadcasts to address us more directly. We have to arrive at our decision to believe and repent on our own. The scary part is that we have to arrive at this point on our own before the door slams shut “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” At that instant it will be too late. At that moment our individual fate and our eternal destiny will be set forever and cannot be changed.

For those who believe that Jesus is returning soon and that the Rapture is imminent, no additional proof is necessary. For those who do not believe, no additional proof will ever be sufficient.

Where do you stand at this very instant?

Carl Worline

oaktree3168@aol.com

VOLCANIC ERUPTION NEAR IN MIDDLE EAST

VOLCANIC ERUPTION NEAR IN MIDDLE EAST
by Mike Taylor

Psalm:
83:1-4 Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.
For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.
They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.
They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.

War is brewing in the Middle East. The contention between Israel and Syria is a volcanic eruption waiting to happen. The news is awash with the civil war in Syria and the behind the scene maneuvering of Arab proxies fronted by Iran to position themselves to attack Israel and draw them into a wider conflict. We hear of the movement of missiles that have the capability of striking the heart of Israel being bombed inside Syria. I watched the video of the attack and the explosion was 10 times bigger than anything I had seen prior on this attack. The explosions that rocked northern Damascus on Sunday were absolutely massive. It is being reported that they registered about two or three on the Richter scale, as enormous balls of fire lit up the sky that could be seen from all over Damascus. Some say it was a low level nuclear tipped bunker buster bomb that blew up the site of these advanced weapons of war. To date, skirmishes across the border with Syria at the Golan Heights are growing more frequent and the fighting could spiral out of control. Israeli warplanes bombed the outskirts of Damascus early Sunday for the second time in recent days, according to Syrian state media and reports from activists, signaling a sharp escalation in tensions between the neighboring countries that had already been exacerbated by the conflict raging in Syria.

U.N. Peace keepers?

There has been a force of UN peace keepers that have been trying to prevent a clash between the two nations at the border of Syria and Israel, but they have their own kidnaped or captured by Syrian rebels.
The four UN Peace-keepers that were abducted on Tuesday 5/7/2013, remain unharmed according to a UN Peacekeeping spokesperson.
Negotiations to free the men all four of whom are Filipino are underway and the UN Secretary-General has condemned the incident.

The UN confirms that the foreign backed insurgents fighting the Syrian army are behind the abduction and it’s not the first time they have harassed UN Peace-keepers in the Golan.

This is an orchestrated stand-down from UN in conjunction with Israeli, American, Major non NATO Allies and NATO allies. We see an opening in the Golan Heights Syria Border with UN forces monitoring the demarcation line having pulled out of the area as stated, presumably to facilitate an Israeli armored assault on Damascus.

Like a slow motion horror show a major Middle East war is underway, and UN is complaisant in allowing this probable war front opening up, but then when does the UN ever stick to its supposedly anti war agenda?

They are basically facilitating this war with continued support of state sponsors of terrorism and war criminals. The UN was supposed to keep the world safe from wars, but its blatantly obvious actual role is to make this war inevitable.

If the UN stuck to its mandate it could end this war today, demand all parties cease all hostilities, and the funding of the insurgency, and roll in more UN forces to deter Israeli armor and reserves poised to level Syria, and issue arrest warrants and actually bring the real perpetrators of this war to criminal court in the Hague.

They obviously know who these tyrants are, they are the ones prodding the whole thing along funding the insurgents, and goading the rebels and Israel and whoever else stupid and immoral enough to wage unjustified war, and not only that but a war that by any calculation risks triggering an absolute hellish bloodbath of nuclear war with the shattered balance of mutually assured destruction.

IS PROPHECY ABOUT TO BE FULFILLED?

Is this when the oracle of Damascus will be fulfilled? (Isaiah 17:1-3)I believe it could be so as a result of a coming regional war. Nobody should want that or look forward to that. Unfortunately, the next major regional war in the Middle East appears to be closer than ever. But nobody should want it to actually happen. But God is in control of these events. During the next war in the Middle East we will likely see death on a scale that is unprecedented. It won’t be like the wars of 1967 or 1973. It will likely be a fight to the death where nothing is held back. You see, the truth is that most Americans have no idea what is really going on in the Middle East. There are ancient grudges and ancient hatred that go back for thousands of years. There is no “peace plan” that is going to suddenly make everything okay. The Middle East is a simmering volcano of hate and resentment that could erupt at any moment. That is why what is happening in Syria right now is so important. That Israeli air strike in Damascus that reportedly was attempting to destroy a shipment of Fateh-110 missiles that Iran was sending to Hezbollah has brought Israel and Syria to the brink of war. In fact, Syria is calling the air strike a “declaration of war” and is vowing retaliation. The Syrian government is saying that “Israeli aggression opens the door to all possibilities“, but they have not provided any specifics about what they plan to do. Meanwhile, Israel has made it very clear that they will do whatever is necessary to keep Fateh-110 missiles from getting into the hands of Hezbollah.

Israel has every right to defend herself. Think about it, would you be concerned if Russia or China had chemical equipped missiles in Cuba, or Mexico aimed at Los Angeles or Dallas and not do everything in your power to stop them? We had the same scenario during JFK’s presidency and came near to nuclear war with a confrontation with Russia over these weapons being installed into Cuba. Russia blinked first and war was averted. But will it be averted now? When you speak of the religion of Islam, they are not concerned with life, as they are a culture of death and to die for their god, Allah is their goal to enter into their vision of paradise. They have no problem with starting a war, if they think they can actually win. Russia in the recent past was not so insane to risk their lives in a mutual war of destruction. Not so with the actors placed into these drum beats of war brewing.

Are we fast approaching the prophecy in Psalm 83 when the entire region will be engulfed in a war that is designed to eliminate the nation of Israel ? Build up to war has been being facilitated and planned from the last war with Hezbollah in 2006. Thousands upon thousands of weapons have been shipped into Lebanon, Gaza, and their surrounding Arab neighbors have been waiting for just such a moment when Israel will be encompassed by their enemies with a large stockpile of weapons of war. It is reported by the Jerusalem Post:
“Syria has stationed missile batteries aimed at Israel in the aftermath of alleged Israeli air strikes in the country, the web site of Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen TV, considered close to the regime of President Bashar Assad, quoted a top Syrian official as saying on Sunday.”

What would it take to tip the scales to an all out war between Syria and Israel? If chemical weapons are found to be in Damascus or planned to be shipped to the border of Lebanon, then I envision of an assault on that cache of weapons that would release chemicals into the air and kill many people surrounding the explosion, but what would make Damascus a ruinous heap and un-inhabitable? There is an island off the coast of Scotland where scientist exploded a series of anthrax bombs to test what would happen to a flock of sheep. They immediately all died, and the island has been not be inhabited since. Release of this biological weapon of anthrax would make the regions unliveable. Another would be an nuclear tipped device that would make the radiation level so high, that all who would live there would die. The latter would level the surrounding landscape into a “ruinous heap”, as described in Isaiah.

Such an attack would assuredly bring all nations surrounding Israel into a direct conflict with all out war. Their sheer size of numbers of troops and weapons would, I believe, give them the impression that they could destroy Israel. But only one thing they do not figure into their scheme. The God of Heaven is on the side of Israel. As in the previous wars fought in 1948 and 1967, the destruction of Israel was thought to be assured, but with even an overwhelming force, those Arab forces were defeated and it was believed Divine intervention saved the tiny state of Israel. The war will bring us even closer to the time of the beginning of the Tribulation, as Israel will believe they have finally destroyed their enemies and can live in peace. Ezekiel in chapter 38, that on the heals of this victory against their Arab neighbors that Israel will live in peace and safety. BUT,

Ezekiel 38:8 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. (emphasis mine)

When was the last time in your life, have you heard that Israel has lived in peace and safety, “dwelling safely all of them”. You say never and you would be right. Since their birth, Israel has been threatened with extinction from their very ancient cousins in a hatred that has festered for thousands of years. Suddenly, the bible reports they will live in safety, but I believe to feel they are safe, then every enemy surrounding them will be defeated and their lands conquered. Israel will expand their borders to include most of the Middle East, from the Sinai, east to the Euphrates, north to Syria, and south to Arabia, which will include all of Jordan. Why do I say that? Have you noticed that all the nations spoken of in Psalm 83, includes all the people that surround Israel now, but in Ezekiel 38 none of them are mentioned? It is believed that what I have proposed as the borders of the expanded nation of Israel will be won in this coming war, as none of them, including Syria are mentioned. Why is that so? Because God has allowed Israel to overcome their enemies that have come against them and destroyed their weapons of war and along with a major portion of their militaries . They will possess all of their land as spoils of war. What will they possess that they never possessed before? The answer is a major portion of all the gas and oil of the world. How quickly will the enemies of Israel realize that it is unacceptable for Israel to have such wealth and control of a major portion of the worlds oil and gas production? Maybe they will get a reality check in a year, or two? Ezekiel prophesies that God will put a hook into the jaws of the Gog-Magog coalition of nations to even think that they can come against Israel to take what they have won in battle. Money is a powerful motivator for an evil coalition to take what is not theirs.

As a believer in the removal of the church before the tribulation and the revealing of the Anti-Christ, the war spoken of in Ezekiel will be waged not so much by Israel, as they will be overwhelmed with a superior nuclear equipped force, I believe headed by Russia with Iran as their front man. This is when God says that He will fight for Israel. Ezekiel 38,

38:18 And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face.

38:19 For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;…..

38:21 And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man’s sword shall be against his brother.

38:22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.

38:23 Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.

How long will the war that is coming that brings a peace to Israel last? Possibly a short span of time. If this war that Ezekiel prophesied about comes on the heals of the war that is now brewing in the Middle East, we could see Psalm 83 fulfilled and the stage set for Ezekiel 38&39. Theologians are in agreement that this devastating war waged by Almighty God will so decimate the nations that come against Israel, that a peace treaty will be proposed for 7 years to prevent another war and allow Israel to have sovereignty over it’s land even to allow them to rebuild their temple on the Temple mount. There will be no Arab that dares stand in their way, as they have been thoroughly defeated. Israel will recognize that the God of their fathers, is indeed, very much alive and seek to rebuild their temple in haste, and resume sacrifices to Jehovah.

HOW MUCH TIME WILL IT TAKE?

Can you envision the speed of these developments being fulfilled? Psalm 83 brewing right now in the Middle East, quite possibly. Defeat of the nations surrounding tiny Israel with it’s expansion to include all of the Promised Land given to Abraham. Safely and peace brought about for a period. A coalition of a major power force coming against Israel and their total destruction by God on the mountains of Israel, followed swiftly by a peace treaty, as a pact with the devil. The temple rebuilt, and with today’s modern technology, the temple will be rebuilt quickly, as the pieces are already made awaiting their assembly. Then a man will arise who will propose peace, Daniel 9,

9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

This is the prophecy of the appearing of a man of a false peace. A man of deceit and filled with all uncleanness and a lying spirit. He will deceive Israel into a false sense of security. This is the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week of the refining of Israel to make an “end of transgression”. This my friend, is the end of the dispensation known as the Church Age, or the Age of Grace. God has turned His focus away from a people, who were not his people, but has taken those people for Himself and that work is completed. Now He turns to the nation who rejected Him, He calls His brethren, and will purge them as silver is refined in the fire. God has never focused on the Church and Israel in the same period of time. Now is the time that all who believe as I do, the church will be removed from this earth.

The next few years will be a time of tensions mounting and war being waged at a level not seen in our lifetimes, unless you are over 75 years of age and witnessed Hiroshima. The upheaval in the world’s economies will be devastated. Nations will be bankrupt. Prices of raw goods will spiral out of control. Oil will become priceless and gas will be priced to the moon. The amount of time will move rapidly to the Tribulation, if my scenario turns out to be true of this timing taking scripture at it’s word and watching the developments that could speak to it’s quick fulfillment. It could literally be in a few years…maybe sooner. I have been writing messages that speak of the Tribulation being right upon us. This is the time when Israel will be challenged like never before, and God will come to do battle for her.

TIME IS ALMOST UP

The time is almost finished. The clock is a few seconds before midnight and the end of the age of grace. Jesus said in Luke:
21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Folks, we are long past the beginning of these things coming to pass. We have seen prophecy after prophecy fulfilled, and the time of the age being over is on the horizon. Scripture is being fulfilled in our lifetime and the prophecy of what Jesus spoke of is upon us. There is little time for those who will look to Jesus as the substitution for the wrath of God on a unrepentant, rebellious mankind. God’s wrath is about to be unleashed and woe to anyone who misses the ark of salvation we know as Jesus Christ. You have a choice to make….choose to live the horror that is coming or choose the One person who died for your sins, that you will be spared His coming wrath. John 3:16-18,

3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Tribulation is coming. These wars are the run-up to it. Where will you stand? Will you be counted on God’s side and worthy to escape? Luke,

21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

How do we stand before Jesus Christ the Son of man, upon that day? We are found worthy only because we believed John 3:16 and confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Our worthiness will be sealed because of what He did, not what we did, except to believe on the only Begotten Son of God by faith. All others will be thrown head long into what is coming. And coming it is…..right around the corner.

This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying Jesus Christ becomes your Savior and Lord. If there is anything I can do to counsel you, pray with you, or just listen to your cares, then drop me an email to realteam1999@sbcglobal.net, or visit me online for more biblical instructions in these days of the end of the age. God bless you all, till we meet at Jesus Feet.

Confusion Over End Time Events

Confusion Over End Time Events – By Pastor Mike Taylor – http://www.churchofgod-usa.org/1/post/2013/05/confusion-over-end-time-events.html

I receive emails daily from all kinds of people with what they believe the bible is saying. Some believe that, like I do, God will intercede in the affairs of men and remove His bride, His church from the wrath to come. Others believe in a Post-tribulation model or a variation of the Church enduring persecution, martyrdom, and being present on earth when all of God’s Righteous Wrath is poured out on this earth. Layman who point to a proof text that they feel proves their stance is a correct one, reveal that they take the latest bible teacher, or what their denomination teaches and do not study the Word of God to prove the point by scripture in context.

Let’s examine a few of the proof texts that people erroneously interpret as being the same.

Proof text error example #1: Gog-Magog invasion in Ezekiel is the same invasion in Revelation at the end of the Millennium. Let’s compare the two passages and see. Ezekiel chapter 38:

38:2 `Son of man, set thy face unto Gog (a demon leader, notably Satan or other demon inspired prince of this area), of the land of Magog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, (referring to the land north of Israel, probably modern Russia) and prophesy concerning him,

38:3 and thou hast said: Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Lo, I `am’ against thee, O Gog, Prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal,

38:4 And I have turned thee back, And I have put hooks in thy jaws, And have brought thee out, and all thy force, Horses and horsemen, Clothed in perfection all of them, A numerous assembly, `with’ buckler and shield, Handling swords — all of them.

38:5 Persia (Iran), Cush (Ethiopia or Northern Sudan), and Phut, (Libya)with them, All of them `with’ shield and helmet.

38:6 Gomer (central Asia Minor) and all its bands, The house of Togarmah(Southeast Turkey near the border of Syria) of the sides of the north, And all its bands, many peoples with thee,

Note my attempt to identify each of these ancient people that dare come against God’s Holy Land in red, but notice one other thing before moving on. Who is drawing this coalition of invaders? God has put hooks into their jaws, much like reeling in a fish to bring them down for judgment. Also of interest when comparing these invaders with the invaders of Psalm 83 in my last sermon, you won’t find the names of any of these bordering nations that touch the border of Israel. These were the “inner ring” surrounding Israel that has been defeated. But now an “outer ring” of invaders are being brought down to Israel for one purpose. What is that purpose? God will make Himself known to His people that Jehovah, their God, is still on His throne and will be doing battle for them!! Ezekiel chapter 38:

38:16 And thou hast come up against My people Israel, As a cloud to cover the land, In the latter end of the days it is, And I have brought thee in against My land, In order that the nations may know Me, In My being sanctified in thee before their eyes, O Gog.

38:17 Thus said the Lord Jehovah: Art thou he of whom I spake in former days, By the hand of My servants, prophets of Israel, Who are prophesying in those days — years, To bring thee in against them?

38:18 And it hath come to pass, in that day, In the day of the coming in of Gog against the land of Israel, An affirmation of the Lord Jehovah, Come up doth My fury in My face,

38:19 And in My zeal, in the fire of My wrath, I have spoken: Is there not in that day a great rushing on the land of Israel?

38:20 And rushed from My presence have fishes of the sea, And the fowl of the heavens, And the beast of the field, And every creeping thing that is creeping on the ground, And all men who `are’ on the face of the ground, And thrown down have been the mountains, And fallen have the ascents, And every wall to the earth falleth.

38:21 And I have called against him, to all My mountains a sword, An affirmation of the Lord Jehovah, The sword of each is against his brother.

38:22 And I have been judged with him, With pestilence and with blood, And an overflowing rain and hailstones, Fire and brimstone I rain on him, and on his bands, And on many peoples who `are’ with him.

38:23 And I have magnified Myself, and sanctified Myself, And I have been known before the eyes of many nations, And they have known that I `am’ Jehovah!

God will make Himself known again to His people. I’ll let you read on what is the fate of this invading horde that will be decimated. Most of this vast army in the realm of 85% will be destroyed in chapter 39. Continue reading in the next few chapters and you see the details of the newly built temple, when in chapter 43, you see the entrance of the King of Kings, the Lord of Host coming into the temple via the East Gate. It notes a chronological order. A war found in chapter 38-39. The building of the Temple again, sacrifices commencing and at the end, the King of Kings returns to enter from the east gate. All events are future, but before the return of Jesus Christ. It’s part of a grand puzzle that you must assemble from the whole message of the Word of God, not just a piece.

How about we turn now to the account of Gog-magog mentioned in Revelation.

20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

20:8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

20:9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Notice the same name, but who is drawing them to the Holy Land? Who deceives them into thinking that they can kick out Jesus Christ as ruler of this earth, and make war against Mount Zion and God’s Throne upon earth? Their leader is Satan. Gog is a probably demon inspired notion that the humans born during the Millennium, called Magog will be deceived and drawn into a direct confrontation against the righteous rule of Jesus Christ on earth. Both examples are similar by name, Gog-magog, and the end is sure, but they are two distinct battles of more than a 1000 years apart.

Proof text Error #2.

The trumpet sounded in 1st Corinthians and 1st Thessalonians, is the same trump the 7th angel sounds in Revelation. Let us again look at scripture.

15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

And again in 1st Thessalonians chapter 4:

4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Note that the trump is a blast or a signal that was used even during the wilderness of the Exodus and the battle for the Promised Land. I believe this is a reference to a Jewish historical fact of the Feast of Trumpets that was used symbolically to point to the return of Jesus Christ to this earth. But if the mention the Last Trump, as noted in 1st Corinthians passage, does it mean the same as the one in Revelation?

11:14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

What does this angel signal? He announces the beginning of the third woe and the final plagues and bowl judgments being poured out upon this earth of rebellious mankind. The imagery is much to fear, as mankind is being destroyed off the face of the earth.

What is the difference between these trumpets? The first is a sign of joy and gladness and the last is a signal of WAR!! Let me elaborate. IN the time of the ancient Israelites, starting even back to their forefather, Abraham, the blowing of the horns of the altar was symbolic. They were used as signals during the Exodus, during meetings/Holy Convocations the people had with God, and for signals during battle. In Numbers chapter 10 begins what the blowing of the trumpet meant.

10:2 Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.

10:3 And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

10:4 And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee.

10:5 When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward.

10:6 When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys.

10:7 But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm.

10:8 And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations.

10:9 And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.

When Paul was writing about this “last trump”, he was referring to a ceremony that is part of the Jewish way of life for thousands of years. It is the Day of Trumpets, or commonly called the Feast of Trumpets. It is a Holy Day to all who observe it. It is pivotal in God’s plan. We could even call it “God’s Keystone Holy Day.” There are seven holy days. It is the fourth. It is right in the middle.

You could say it is the dividing line between before, and after. There are three holy days that take place before the fulfillment of Trumpets, that particularly have to do with this present time, and then there are three holy days after Trumpets that have to do with the time to come. Paul was speaking of this truth symbolically that there could be three blasts of a trumpet when Jesus Christ comes. The first trumpet sound (note that the voice of our Savior is equated to the sound of a many Trumpets, in Revelation chapter 1.) will make a call for attention. Each blast of the trumpet meant something to the Israelites in the wilderness and it meant the same thing in Paul’s time. The first blast was called the right horn, or trump/shofar of the altar. It was a loud short blast meaning attention. The second trumpet call was from the left horn, or shofar from the altar of God, and it was designed to make the people ready for their marching orders. The final blast was a very long drawn out sound of a trumpet, called the Last Trump. It was the signal to “move out”. Oh, yes we will !!

Second, Trumpets mean different things depending on where you stand before God. To the saints, it means the beginning of all that we have ever hoped for-all that we’ve been promised, everlasting joy. It means salvation and all the wonderful things that come with it.

But, to the enemy of God it means violent and tragic judgment-the end of all human plans that are against God. It is a signal for war. God will make war with rebellious mankind and wipe the surface of this earth clean of sin and rebellion. IN those regards, the two trumpets mentioned in Corinthians, Thessalonians, have no connection with one another when finally blown in Revelation, They are based on the Feast of Trumpets in the former two, a sign of the return of the King, and the latter a sign of Righteous Wrath commencing for total annihilation.

Proof Text Error #3.

The Church will endure the terror that will be poured out on this earth in righteous wrath and judgment. Those who adhere to this position called Post-Tribulationist, and they believe they can prove their stance by a few verses taken out of context. Here is the most common sent to me by unbelieving Christians of their desire to be amongst those being killed during this time of the last 3.5 years of Daniel’s 70th week. They point to this one section of scripture:

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. 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. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

First off, if we were here, we would not be mourning the return of the Son of Man, we would be rejoicing. But beside that, I’m reminded of the verses in Malachi chapter 3:

3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger (two witnesses?), and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:

3:3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

3:4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.

I’ve often stated and I will state again, the tribulation is designed for two things, and two things only. The 1st is the removal of sin from the face of the earth, by fire, by famine, and by divine wrath poured out on the people of this earth. The 2nd reason is the refining of Israel into a nation ready to accept their Messiah. He will make Himself known to them and they will weep bitterly. Zechariah chapter 12:

12:9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

To accomplish this returning of Israel to recognizing their Messiah, God will ordain 144,000 evangelists from the 12 tribes of Israel and enlist His two witnesses for the week of years called the tribulation: Revelation chapter 7,

7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,

7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

7:4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

These are the called of God, who believe in their Messiah and spread the Gospel to all the remaining world. Who is their focus? I believe it is the Jewish people who have rejected their Messiah for 2000 years, because in the very next breath of scripture it says:

7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

7:10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

7:11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,

7:12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

7:15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

7:16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

7:17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Note the immediate difference in these people redeemed and the promise made the the Church, or the family of God. IN verse 15 above it speaks that they are BEFORE the throne and they serve Him in His temple night and day, much like a Levitical priesthood. But note the palm fronds in their hands? Is it a clue of who these people are? Looking up Palm Fronds and its symbolic meaning, Wikipedia notes the following:

“In Judaism, the date palm (Lulav) is one of the Four Species used in the daily prayers on the feast of Sukkot. It is bound together with the hadass(myrtle), and aravah (willow). The Midrash[3] notes that the binding of the Four Species symbolizes our desire to unite the four “types” of Jews in service of God.”

The Promise made to the Church is much more distinct and glorious: Revelation chapter 5:

5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

Another clue is that John starts off Revelation speaking of the 7 churches, which is symbolic for Christians down through the ages, but a dramatic shift of reference is made in chapter 4 with the revealing of the 24 elders. They are symbolic for the Church. And if that is correct, the church is not mentioned again, not one time, until chapter 19, when it speaks of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and then our return with our King of Kings riding on white horses:

Revelation chapter 19,

19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (A sign of the saints) Rev. 19: v 8!

19:15 And out of his mouth Goethe a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treaded the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

Need More Clues?

Another clue that these are Jews that have been the first fruits unto God, is when Jesus was speaking to His apostles and they were inquiring of the end of the age.

24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:

24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

Jesus was speaking of the horror that will be what Jew’s will experience when an attempt to complete what Hitler only began, as Satan wishes to destroy the Jewish people. But Revelation tells another piece of the puzzle. The woman clothed in the sun:

Revelation chapter 12,

12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

12:6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

And further down in the same chapter:

12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. (Israel)

Simply put, this is the time of the refining of Israel. The focus on Israel is continuous, if you take the puzzle and piece it together. So when Jesus comes with His angels to “gather His saints from the four winds” who is He speaking of? Correct, tribulation saints, Jewish people who received their Messiah, and resurrection of those who believed unto the death.

Sadly, many Christians today want a sign when they should get serious about living for God. They say, “when I see things get really bad, then I’ll start acting like a Christian.” What a dangerous gamble with your eternal destination. Jesus said that there would be no sign, except as it was in the days of Noah. Sluggish Christian take notice: Matthew 24: 36-39,

But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 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, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

We should not be slumbering, as being foolish to think that when signs get really bad, then we will change our ways and act like a Christian. Paul said in 1st Thessalonians chapter 4:

5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

5:7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

Conclusion and a challenge

I’m going to repeat what I spoke of in the last sermon I wrote and I want you to think very hard on this truth with a few additional statements:

If you think you can change your ways before Christ comes or can wait till things get bad before you get serious about this Man called Jesus, then you simply fool yourself.

If you in all Biblical error of proof texting think that the Bride of Christ must have the soup beat out of her, before Jesus finally comes to marry her, then you don’t understand the love relationship that Jesus has for the TRUE church, His family, and His elected of God.

Finally, if you feel that God in all His wrath must purify the church with the plagues, the bowl judgments, and the tribulation that will nearly extinguish all of mankind, then my friend you believe that Jesus Christ and His sacrifice of His precious blood and body did not complete the salvation of all who call upon the name of the Lord in repentance and obedience unto a new life. My Brethren, if you take that position, then you have much more serious problems of who the angels will be coming to gather from the four corners of the earth upon the return of Jesus Christ to reign and rule for a 1000 years than the timing of God’s removal of the Church from this planet. I pray that you make that commitment to live like Jesus could come at any moment, because He just might for the next sound we may hear is a trumpet blast.

This is Pastor Mike Taylor, wishing God’s salvation in your life. If you need any help in prayer request, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at realteam1999@sbcglobal.net ,God bless till hopefully, we meet at Jesus Feet.

THE WAYS OF GOD-THE DESERT EXPERIENCE

THE WAYS OF GOD-THE DESERT EXPERIENCE.

05/03/2013

Brethren, I had this in my archives of articles that I was reading today on a question from a brother about a famine of the Word of God in today’s churches. If we want God, we must seek Him, as He wants to do a work in us, from the inside-out. I had read it many years ago, and never thought to posting it, but with today’s darkness surrounding us, I find it appropriate to share it with you. The author is unknown to me. God bless,

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Introduction:
– It is imperative that every child of God should understand His ways.
– We think in straight lines and fixed points, and move in a consecutive manner, that is, from point to point (we start and finish a book; we look forward to something, and look back on something; we measure progress by time spent or goods produced; when we travel, we leave a departure point and arrive at a destination point, etc.).
– God doesn’t think in straight lines, He thinks in circles. He’s doing many things simultaneously, He’s at the beginning and the middle and the end of many things – all at the same time. Therefore, He doesn’t think of things in the context of time, He exists outside of time. Time is irrelevant to Him. He is not affected by time.
– God’s timelessness presents a very real problem for us. God may speak into our life today and we will assume that it’s going to happen today, or very soon. We will probably place it on a time line of some sort. But, God may be speaking to us from a point that is still far into our future. The reason is because He is not concerned with time, and this is why: God does not measure time; He measures growth! When God deals with us, His purpose is growth, maturity, and preparation. And, it always involves death to self! God will draw us into a desert experience with Him to give us the opportunity to grow (to die to self), to learn to trust Him or to gain more insight into His ways.
– And, because of the way we think, our first question is always “How long is this going to take?” We’re not having fun. Dying to self is never fun. But God won’t tell us how long it’s going to take, because He understands that if we know how long, we’ll just try to hold our breath until it’s over. He doesn’t want us to hold our breath. He wants us to die!
– Things don’t have to happen in real time or space to be reality to God. When He speaks, it is a reality. To Him, there’s no difference between the two. So, when God speaks something into your life, it is a reality. It’s already happened. It’s just that there is a process of time required for it to manifest. But, this process of time to us is actually a process of growth to God.
– For us the practical result of all this is that God has spoken words into our lives (even though we must be careful and know, what was spoken by God, and what wasn’t). And because of this, we know He has wonderful plans for us, and that excites us. We have aspirations for God. We want to do all those great things He’s spoken into us. But, many times what we really experience is great frustration, because those things He’s spoken aren’t happening yet! When you’re frustrated, know that God loves frustrated people. He knows you’re frustrated because you care. Also know that the reason they may not be happening yet is that God is still measuring growth, not time.
– In our relationship with God, His purpose is to conform us to the image of His Son. And, He’s content to take as much time as necessary. We, on the other hand, want everything to happen now, without suffering, pain, or sacrifice on our part. And God’s only response to that is – too bad. Adjust your thinking. I’m doing this my way.
– When God is dealing with us, we must learn the value of doing nothing. This seems to be a contradiction; but most everything we do with God (if we do it right) is a contradiction to us (see “How To Know It’s God”). Man was created on the sixth day and his first full day with God was the Sabbath. That’s where we started, and that’s where God wants us to stay. We have to learn the value of doing nothing before God. That’s why quiet time with God is so great – you don’t have to do anything. Just hang out with God. You don’t have to fast for three days to get His attention, or recite long prayers to impress Him. Just rest quietly before His presence and wait for Him. If He doesn’t speak immediately, He will eventually. But, you do have to learn to wait. It’s a matter of respect and submission on your part. God does not act according to your time, He acts according to His will. Anytime a believer decides to press in to God and really get to know Him, one of the first things God will teach him is His Sovereignty! God moves in His time and acts according to His ways. Religion teaches that man is the creator and God is what they created. They expect Him to do what they say, when they say it. Of course, He doesn’t. But they’re too stupid and bound up in their own deception to notice.
– Also, God operates on a different noise level than we do. When we cry out to Him, He whispers back to us. God wants us to learn to be quiet, even when everything around us is in turmoil. Psalm 46 starts out with an earthquake and a tidal wave and ends with God telling us to “be quiet and rest assured that I am God (and everything is under control, regardless of what you see or hear)”. But know this, when you learn how to rest in God, you’ll be accused of not caring about what’s going on around you. In this world, anxiety and hand wringing is the universal sign that you really care (that, and whether or not you’re wearing the appropriate color ribbon or symbol on your lapel). However, in the Kingdom of God, anxiety is only proof that you’re dumb. After all, you’re supposed to be having a relationship with the Prince of Peace.
– God delights in drawing us into times of intimacy with Him. Later in this paper we will see just how He does that. In each cycle of intimacy there are two specific points we must be able to recognize. The first is submission and the second is obedience. In order for us to benefit from being in God’s presence, we must first acknowledge Who He is in submission, and then be ready to obey. Then, in that place, He can touch us and we can be changed. Know that God loves to touch His children in this way, just to be able to watch them respond to Him. (It’s much the same as when we’re holding a small child and want to tickle them just to see them wriggle – I know, wiggle is a word too. But, wriggle is also correct and I like it better. Look it up.)

The Desert Experience God works in us from two different levels: open manifestations and hiddenness. God loves to manifest Himself, and when He does, He’s blessing you. But, that’s not all there is to God. When He’s hidden from you, He’s building something inside of you, and that’s even better! So, sometimes God is hidden, which can be a frightening thing (Psalm 104:29), but we need to know that He likes to hide (Isaiah 45:15).

The great thing about God when He hides Himself is that He hides right beside us. He hides in plain sight – training us how to see Him. It’s like playing hide-and-seek with your children. You always leave a small piece of yourself in view, so they won’t be afraid, and so they can find you. You want them to find you, because you enjoy the look on their face so much when they do.

When God manifests Himself, the experience can be physical; it most certainly will be emotional. He’s touching our body and our soul. But, when He’s hidden, He’s reaching in to our spirit. When He’s hidden, we can’t see Him with our eyes or feel him with our emotions. And it’s at this time that He’s trying to teach us to see Him in our spirit man; so we can know that He’s still there. God desperately wants us to learn the difference – our body has to experience something physical and our soul has to feel emotion, but our spirit can believe and trust and rest, even when we can’t see or feel.

God loves to hide, because He wants to be our hiding place. He’ll take away the external things we tend to want to trust in to give us something better. In manifestations, He’s working from the outside, in. In hiddenness, He’s working from the inside, out. That’s His preference – to work from the inside, out. He wants to touch your spirit. He wants to remove the visible to create new and greater vision inside of you.

There are many disillusioned people in the traditional church today crying out for manifestations. They’re frustrated because they don’t see them (not real ones anyway). God is hiding from them to give them something better. But they don’t understand His ways, so they just keep going from place to place looking for manifestations. They say, “I want to feel your presence, God” and “I want to see you work”. But God says, “If you really believed in your spirit, you’d know I’m here, regardless of the circumstances.” Those who are dominated by their soul have to feel and see, but the spirit man knows the truth and is content in it.

Does this mean manifestations are wrong or bad? Certainly not! Not real ones, anyway. What we have to understand is that manifestations are simply a part of the cycle God uses to draw us into intimacy with Him. People do experience His presence. Then He desires to take them into a deeper walk with Him. So, He hides from them to allow them to learn to see Him in the spirit. But, most people rebel against this cycle. They only want the manifestations. God wants them to move beyond that, but they simply want to stay where they are. In Matthew 17 Jesus was transfigured. His appearance changed and He stood on top of the mountain talking to Elijah and Moses. What a great manifestation! Peter was elated. And what did he want to do? Put up tents and stay there. But, God said, no. He had better things in store for Peter, deeper, more meaningful, life sustaining things.

Most people who experience some sort of manifestation of God’s presence experience a time of dryness soon afterward. And, it’s most probably a desert experience, where God is hidden from them. And most of them don’t know that it’s the best place to be. There are many people who have experienced times of manifestation at some point and they’re still chasing after manifestations. They’re still longing for the soulish experiences. But God wants them to find the depth of their spirit man instead. Many of them are so frustrated with the dryness and the futility of their search that they’ve wandered away from God altogether. They never understood that God wanted to take them deeper into the spirit.

Usually church leaders are blamed when the manifestations are gone. People don’t realize that if those manifestations were real, then men didn’t bring them and men didn’t take them away. Those who are wise will simply take the opportunity to go deeper into God. Those who aren’t will continue to seek the manifestations and in most cases allow their wrong desires to take them into destructive liaisons with familiar spirits.

In this cycle, God uses manifestations to get your attention, to get you all excited about Him. Then, He takes the manifestations away and leads you into the wilderness, where there is absolutely nothing. Then, to make matters worse, He hides from you. And He does all this so He can give you something better! What a paradox this is!

But, if you’re struggling with this, look at Jesus. He’s our model. In Luke 3 He enjoys a visitation from the Father, in full, public view. The Holy Spirit descends bodily in the form of a dove, and the voice of God is heard by all present, saying, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him.” Then, what’s the next thing that happens? Jesus is led of the Spirit into the wilderness, and for the next forty days God has His Son all to Himself. No distractions, no comfort, nothing, just Jesus and the Father spending time together in the desert. Jesus in His humanity is dependent on the Father. The Father loves Him, sustains Him, strengthens Him, reveals Himself to Him, prepares Him, touches Him, and takes Him deeper into Himself.

And He wants to do the same with us. He’ll get our attention with manifestations, but then He wants to take us into the desert, where He has us all to Himself. In reality, He seduces us with manifestations, so He can lure us into the desert where we will be alone with Him. That’s when the real romance begins. The problem is that our body and soul both cry out in pain, they don’t want to lose the dominance they have. But, if we understand what God is doing, our spirit man gets excited – he’s ready to party on with God!

The abrupt change of scenery can be confusing and frightening, as well. At one point we’re in the midst of manifestations (it’s like being on the beach in Hawaii, sitting under a coconut tree with a cool drink in your hand). Then, all of a sudden God is hidden (now you’re in a strange wilderness, it’s hot and dry and you’re thirsty and hungry and there’s nothing in sight). It’s uncomfortable, you don’t like it there, so you start chasing around, looking for Hawaii again – chasing after manifestations.

The desert is a retreat into the heart of God. He’s drawn you into a place of intimacy so He can reveal Himself to you and teach you something about Himself. God can do anything He wants to do. He can fill your soul with manifestations and you’ll feel great. But, when He takes you into the desert, it’s so He can starve your soul into submission. He wants your spirit to rise up and dominate. In the desert, God wants to strip away everything that strengthens the soul. He wants to see your faith rise up so you’re no longer led by what you see or feel. Now you’re led by what you know in your spirit. God takes you into the desert to touch your spirit.

God takes you into the desert to be alone with you. He wants to take care of you. To prove to you that He can. This is personal. He wants to speak tenderly to you, He wants to give you your inheritance, and He wants to see you whole (Hosea 2:14-15). These things can only come out of a desert experience. When Israel got ready to leave Egypt, they took the riches of the Egyptian people with them. That was their manifestations. When they found themselves in their desert experience, the gold was useless. God took them to a place where they were alone with Him, a place where they had to learn to trust Him. But they were soulish. They refused to trust Him. They blew it. That’s why it took 40 years to reach the promised land. God had to wait for the next generation to grasp the significance of the desert experience. They learned to trust God and walk with Him. So, they came into Canaan out of the desert experience. In Luke 4, Jesus came out of His desert experience into a powerful, Holy Spirit-led ministry.

Here’s the end of the cycle – God finally gets you to the point where you no longer live in your soul, but in your spirit. In your spirit, you can see God, trust Him and rest in Him, no matter what circumstances you’re in. Your spirit is never moved. It doesn’t make any difference if you’re having a good day or a bad day; you’re resting in God. And the strength you have in your spirit allows you to enjoy the good day or endure the bad one; but in the end, it’s all the same to you – just another day in God.

And when the spirit man dominates, the will of God is all that matters. Your spirit man lives to please God. In Acts 21:10-14, the Holy Spirit through the prophet Agabus, warns Paul of the sufferings he will endure if he returns to Jerusalem. But Paul wasn’t moved. That is, his spirit man wasn’t moved, because he lived in the spirit. Paul had learned the lessons of his desert experiences with God; so, he knew how to enjoy blessings and endure hardships (Philippians 4:11-13). Only the spirit man can do that. The soulish man has to feel God when pressure comes, or he’ll fall apart.

Finally, in I John 2:20, 27 it says, “But you possess an inner anointing received from the Holy One, and because of this, you know the truth…..and this anointing you received from Him will remain in you for all time, so that you will not need for any man to teach you. But, this anointing will teach you everything you will ever need to know and will not lead you astray. Simply learn to live in what God Himself has taught you.” When we respond to God in our desert experiences, He gives us this inner anointing. All our desert experiences go together to make up this anointing. Our spirit man is living in the continual presence of God. The revelation we receive from God during these times is the revelation that will sustain us in any circumstance for the rest of our lives.

When we’re in the desert with God, He gives us the water that makes up the well that has the capacity to gush out of our lives for all time. We, and those around us, have the opportunity to drink from this water any time we want or need to (see John 4:14). Your resident anointing is made up of all the truth God has deposited in your heart, because you responded to him in the wilderness with faith and obedience. These rivers of water will flow from your innermost being for the rest of your life (John 7:38). It’s always there, in an inexhaustible supply, waiting for the Holy Spirit to bring it to the surface.

So, don’t avoid the dry times. Look for them, ask for them, and then embrace them. We’re back to square one, here. This is not religion. This is not what you’re going to learn in the “tell me what I want to hear” traditional church. We’re talking about having a real, personal, experiential relationship with God, again. It’s the same message, just deeper in God. Stop yearning for manifestations. You don’t need to feel the presence of God all the time. You don’t need to see Him work all the time. You need to experience Him in the desert, as well, just you and God. Let Him love you. Let Him reveal Himself to you, seduce you and lead you out into the desert, where He can romance your spirit and kill your flesh!