Nearing Midnight: How Not to Be Deceived

Nearing Midnight: How Not to Be Deceived – Todd Strandberg – http://www.raptureready.com/rap16.html

There isn’t a more important decision in life than to make Jesus Christ the Lord of your life. We were all born into sin, and nothing but the blood of the Lamb of God can save us from damnation. Sadly, most people will die lost because they were deceived into rejecting a relationship with God.

The Bible contains many warnings against being deceived. “Let no man deceive himself” (1 Cor. 3:18). “Be not deceived,” Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:33. Paul also warned the Galatians, “Be not deceived” (Gal. 6:7). The epistle to the Hebrews offers yet another warning about deceit: “But exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13).

We need to be on guard because the devil’s favorite trick is convincing people they are saved when they really are not. In America, polls show that around 85 percent of the population claims to be a member of the Christian faith. These same polls find that only about 20 percent of them have had a born-again experience. In Europe, the disparity is even greater.

I get constant reminders about deception by operating a top-rated site on the Rapture. Every few days I receive a letter or an email warning that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is a lie from the devil, and I need to repent before it’s too late. The position these critics take are not new or original attempts to discredit the truth of the Pre-Trib Rapture. After 28 years of operation, I’ve heard every end-time argument a thousand different ways.

The attacks from these people only help to strengthen my Pre-Trib view. Most of them have no Scripture to back up their claims. Their opinions of my supposed deception are simply the result of their own confused and misguided beliefs.

The problem of deception became clear to me when I was recently looking though my old cassette tape collection. I noticed that many of the teaching tapes were from people whom I later found to have major flaws in their doctrinal beliefs.

One name that stands out is Hobart Freeman. He was part of the Word of Faith Movement before it became fixated on money. Freeman was a very good teacher. Most of the tapes I have from him are about cults. One of his messages was on the subject, “How Not to Be Deceived.”

The ministry that Freeman ran was small, and I had lost track of him. It surprised me greatly when 30 years later I looked him up on the Web and found a Wikipedia link that showed he should have taken his own advice on avoiding deception.

Freeman held to the view that modern medicine was an extension of ancient witchcraft and black magic, so he told people to quit taking their medicine. Over 90 people died in his church and untold hundreds suffered death or complications from listening to his messages on tape or radio.

In 1984, Freeman was charged with negligent homicide but his day in court never came. Two weeks before the trial date, Freeman became a victim his own teaching when he died from congestive heart failure complicated by an ulcerated gangrenous leg.

The vast majority of examples of deception can be boiled down to one common problem: People coming up with their own reality rather than using the one God has provided for us. Free will allows us to make decisions, but it doesn’t give us the ability to determine truth. The Bible warns that Man is incapable of telling right from wrong:

“There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10-12).

One sin nature is the key reason why we can’t trust our own judgment. The role of the devil as the great deceiver of nations is an even bigger reason why we need to turn to the Bible for all moral guidance. Satan’s ability to whisper into the ears of mankind explains why “truth” now comes in so many varieties.

I am very wary of any teacher that has the habit of being an endless source of new biblical revelations. They are the ones who constantly find hidden messages in every verse of the Bible. Unless you are a baby Christian, you should already be familiar with most Church doctrines. Any truth that needs to be coached out of Scripture by someone, was never there in the first place.

Christians should not just be mental sponges soaking in every teaching that sounds appealing. We should be like the Bereans of Acts. When Paul and Silas shared the gospel, the Bereans didn’t merely take them at their word-they searched through Old Testament Scripture to make sure what they were hearing lined up with God’s Word.

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11).

Deceivers are now at an all-time high. This is the worst time for anyone to be relying on the so-called wisdom offered by the world. We’re not even at the point yet of seeing the prophesied demonically inspired “signs and wonders.” And yet the vast majority of the world is already deceived. To stay clear of deception, we need to place all our trust in the Bible.

“For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matt. 24:24).

 

Nearing Midnight: Climate Change Rhetoric Is Heating Up

Nearing Midnight: Climate Change Rhetoric Is Heating Up – Todd Strandberg – http://www.raptureready.com/rap16.html

Never mind the brutally cold winter that brought historical low temperatures to the eastern U.S. or the polar vortex that froze over the Great Lakes for the first time in living memory; scientists from NASA and NOAA are warning that 2014 may turn out to be the warmest year ever. These same scientists have already declared that 2013 was one of the 10 hottest years on record; despite the fact that North America had its coldest spring ever.

The reason why this year is predicted to be in the running for the title of the “warmest ever” is because of a forecast of a strong El Niño in the Pacific Ocean. “We have above-normal temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean and that often precedes an El Niño because there’s a large volume of above-average water temperature below the surface of the ocean,” Anthony Barnston, chief forecaster for the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, told ABC News.

I do understand that earth’s climate system is much larger than the U.S., so it’s possible to be cold in one place while it is hotter in another region. Since this is the third year in a row that America has had cold winters, I would ask the people at NASA and NOAA to double check their math. If the earth was warming up, I would expect to have a string of warm days at some point in winter.

The only nation that reported prolonged record heat in the past year is Australia. The folks down under confirmed that 2013 was the hottest year in more than a century of standardized records. All other zones reported temperatures that were slightly warmer than the normal average.

Climatologists did make a smart move by switching from global warming to climate change. I remember at least two conferences on global warming being postponed because of snow storms. Since one-hundred-percent of the problem with green house gas is the warming effect that it has on the globe, switching to something generic seems counterproductive to the cause. It’s like doctors telling patients they may have a health anomaly to avoid telling them they may have cancer.

Up until the latter part of 2007, there were some strong signs of global warming. During the past six years, various regions of the world have experienced cold snaps. Here is a log of several examples:

2008: Areas of China and central Asia saw snow for the first time in living memory.
2009: The American Great Lakes had one of its coolest summers on record.
2010: Record low temperatures chilled Florida from top to bottom.
2010: Deadly record cold hit Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile.
2011: Nowata, Oklahoma set a new record low for the entire state at -31 F.
2011: South Korea had the coldest weather in 96 years.
2012: Jim River, AK reached the all-time-record coldest temperature of -80°.
2013: China experienced its coldest January in decades.
2013: Germany had its coldest March, since 1883.
2013: This year was the coldest average spring ever in the U.S.
2013: NASA records the coldest temp ever: -135.8 degrees in Antarctica.
2014: Chicago had is coldest November to March, ever.

I often wonder what will happen when we eventually have a blazing hot summer. If lefties are able to stay true to their faith in the face of all these counterproductive weather events, I can’t imagine how they would react when the climate turns their way. People have been fired from various universities for questioning the validity of global warming. A professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology wants to send climate change deniers to jail.

Anyone with a basic understanding of Bible prophecy should know that global warming, even if true, will ultimately be one of mankind’s least important worries. There are plenty of coming judgments that will cause far greater damage to the earth.

All these tree huggers and environmentalists fail to grasp that this planet will still be here a 1000 years from now. Jesus, Himself will purify the earth with fire. Unless someone has dealt with their sinful condition, they wouldn’t be around to see God restore the earth to its pre-fall glory.

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

Nearing Midnight: A Good Man for All Religions

Nearing Midnight: A Good Man for All Religions – Todd Strandberg http://www.raptureready.com/rap16.html

One of the greatest misconceptions in Bible prophecy is the belief that the Antichrist and his sidekick, the False Prophet, will be people of an unmistakable evil nature. This view is so strong that some of history’s greatest mass murders have been labeled as Antichrist contenders.

The Bible actually paints a picture of men who are initially, extremely well-liked. The Antichrist will come and magically solve most of the world’s economic and political problems. Revelation 13:4 says that the people’s approval of him will so great, they openly, “Worshipped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?'”

The False Prophet also will be a very likeable individual. He is described as a lamb that speaks like a dragon, which means he will be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. His primary end-time roll is to act as the Antichrist’s main cheerleader, but will also have special powers that allow him to perform miracles deceiving vast numbers of people:

“And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast” (Revelation 13:12-14).

I’ve always found it unproductive to speculate about the identity of the Antichrist. The Bible says he will not be clearly known until the second half of the Tribulation. Since he is a political figure, he could appear out of nowhere.

I think the False Prophet is more likely to be spotted-ahead of the Tribulation hour. Because religious organizations are generally static keeping their leadership in office for several years, there is great chance of a current religious leader fulfilling this role.

I have been truly amazed at how strongly Pope Francis comes on as a possible candidate for the role of the False Prophet. He hasn’t even been in office for one year and he has achieved a rock star following. In fact, he was just on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. On a wall near the Vatican is a graffiti image of the pope as superman, flying through the air with his white cape billowing out behind him.

Actor, Kirk Douglas, regularly writes editorials for newspapers and in one of his articles he called Pope Francis, “A good man for all religions.” When considering that the False Prophet will head a harlot church-an amalgamation of all world religions-the Douglas title takes on an ominous nature.

My problem with Pope Francis is not just with how he may fit into Bible prophecy. His doctrinal beliefs are what have me most concerned. When asked about his views on same-sex marriage he responded, “Who am I to judge?” He has openly asked atheists to join the prayerful in promoting peace. He has also been one the ecumenical popes holding ceremonies with leaders of other religions.

The most troubling sign is the warm relationship he has developed with the liberal media. The Bible warns that the true gospel message will normally cause people to be offended. The “love” gospel message that Pope Francis promotes is music to the ears of a press that hate any moral guidelines. The Pope has become the king of religious fluff with headlines like: “Pope Francis Warns Unemployment Can Lead to Suicide” and “Pope Francis Gladly Blesses Parrot Belonging to Male Stripper.”

A few days ago, an interesting thing happened while Pope Francis was addressing tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square. He had two white doves released by children standing next to him-while he prayed for a peaceful resolution to the crisis in the Ukraine. Once the doves where let go, both were immediately attacked by a crow and seagull; I can only wonder if God was trying to show that empty symbolism is no match for evil forces that wish to devour us.

We must be close to the Tribulation hour because there are several people that have me wondering if they have some end-time role. Putin has the perfect characteristics of the Gog leader. Last week, the anti-Israeli President Obama said, lasting peace requires, “Access to holy sites [Temple Mount] for all faiths.”

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

The Demonic Knockout Game

The Demonic Knockout Game
By Todd Strandberg

Our nation is in the grip of an epidemic of black-on-white crime. The latest trend in this problem is a practice called the “knockout game.” It involves assailants (mostly young black males) attempting to “knock out” an unsuspecting victim with a single sucker punch to the head.

Calling this a game is a sick joke. You would have to be a hate-filled psychopath to find this entertaining. Striking someone in the face as hard as possible can be fatal. Attempted murder is the only proper way to label this type of attack.

In just the city of Syracuse, the “knockout game” is blamed for two deaths:

Michael Daniels, 51, was beaten to death, outside the Los Amigos Market. Ander Grady, 16, was found guilty of manslaughter and his 13-year-old co-defendant pleaded guilty to assault.

Jim Gifford, 70, was punched and kicked after he was knocked unconscious outside a 7-Eleven in September, dying four days later at Upstate University Hospital. Romeo Williams, 18, has been charged with first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault.

There is no national record of how many of these knockout attacks have occurred because the liberal media is doing everything possible to cast doubt on the problem. Not a single major-broadcast has run a story on the trend. I did find that John Stewart of The Daily Show made a quick reference to the “knockout game,” saying it was equal to the fictitious war on Christmas.

How can there be any doubt about the intentions of black ruffians randomly punching someone of another race in the face? It has happened at least a hundred times. The only thing to disbelieve is the depth of depravity required to carry out such an attack.

It’s easy for the liberal media to ignore attacks on whites (they don’t count in a politically correct world). However, the news of attacks of Jewish residents in Crown Heights has forced them to give some secondary coverage to the matter. There is a long history of tension between the black and Jewish communities.

Councilwoman-elect, Laurie Cumbo was just elected to represent Crown Heights. Since the problem is occurring in her district she obviously felt compelled to express her concern in a letter to supporters. She started out by calling the “knockout game” an epidemic, but then she offered one excuse after another for why young blacks are attacking Jews:

“In many ways governmental neglect, outside uncontrolled influences and failed leadership have led to the breakdown that so many young people of color are currently facing.”

Nowhere in her 1,200-word letter did Cumbo directly condemn the youths who have been carrying out the vicious attacks. By blaming the problem on economic disparities she evoked what the Anti-Defamation League calls: “Classic anti-Semitic stereotypes.”

These attacks are disastrous for the social standing of blacks in America. If you’re a youth of any African decent, it would be very disheartening to have the majority of the people you encounter on the street taking a defensive stance as you pass by them.

The “knockout game” is rocket fuel for hate groups. Already websites that track race-related crimes are popping up all over the Internet. If you go to any news story on the “knockout game” offering a reader-comment section, you’ll find them full of statements that reflect the growing feeling of persecution on the part of whites.

I think we are on a hopeless collision coarse with racial unrest. The liberal media is fanning the flames by ignoring the dangerous trend. Many blacks think they live in a state of total oppression, and whites—who are in a position of responsibility by their majority status—prefer to cowardly bite their tongues and do nothing until something forces them to act.

The collapse of the welfare state will likely be the event that uncorks this brewing volcano. When the EBT cards go void, people will go mad. I guess the only question is this: Will there be so much black-on-black violence that anyone will notice the black-on-white hostility?

I see this breakdown of racial harmony as just one more reason for us to hope for our deliverance in the Rapture. In heaven, there is no racial strife, because in Christ, we are all brothers and sisters.

“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:27-29).

–Todd

Nearing Midnight: Is America about to Get Fired as the Leader of the Free World?

Nearing Midnight: Is America about to Get Fired as the Leader of the Free World? – Todd Strandberg – http://www.raptureready.com/rap16.html

This month will likely go down as the worst ever for diplomatic relations between America and the rest of the international community. The Obama Administration has presided over an endless series of financial and intelligence missteps.

We started October with a deadlock over the federal budget, which made several nations nervous about the safety of holding dollar denominated securities. The Chinese, with $1.3 trillion of our debt, made the rare occasion of openly criticizing Washington D.C. for allowing the financial crisis to take place. Xinhua News Agency, China’s leading government-controlled news outlet, said the rest of the world should start to “de-Americanize” away from U.S. financial dominance:

“The world is still crawling its way out of an economic disaster thanks to the voracious Wall Street elites. Such alarming days when the destinies of others are in the hands of a hypocritical nation have to be terminated.”

Thanks to the standoff, President Obama was forced to cancel a trip to the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation). What resulted was an incredibly embarrassing picture of all the world leaders standing on a stage at the meeting, and the U.S. only represented by John Kerry-who was forced to stand in the back row-and far off to the side. Beforehand, the person representing America was always front, and center.

Some of the worst diplomatic bad blood resulted from revelations that America has been spying on some of its closest friends. There is a general understanding that allies, spy on each other. What is unforgivable is allowing this information to get into the public. Four times last week we had nations calling our ambassadors and other representatives onto the carpet for invading the privacy of their citizens.

1. A French newspaper reported that the NSA had swept up 70.3 million French telephone records in a 30-day period. The French government issued a formal complaint and put the issue of personal data protection on the agenda of the European Union summit.

2. In Italy, major media outlets reported that a parliamentary committee was told the U.S. had intercepted phone calls, emails and text messages of Italians. Premier Enrico Letta raised the topic of spying during a meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State.

3. Germany was shocked to learn from data provided by NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, that the mobile phones of German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been a target of the U.S. government. Merkel called President Barack Obama to confront him on the matter, saying it would be “A serious breach of trust” if confirmed. The White House refused to admit it had been eavesdropping on Merkel’s calls, but promised it wouldn’t happen in the future.

4. In Mexico, it was made known that information NSA collected to fight drug traffickers was also used to spy on the emails of two Mexican presidents: Enrique Pena Nieto, the incumbent, and Felipe Calderon. The Mexican government called the targeting of the presidents, “unacceptable.” Pena Nieto has demanded an investigation.

The most troubling rift in U.S. diplomatic relations occurred with Saudi Arabia, and it had nothing to do with spying. The Saudis have come to the point where they are unhappy with the alliance between Washington and the kingdom.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi intelligence chief, told European diplomats that the United States had failed to act effectively against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He also said the kingdom was unhappy with Washington growing closer to Tehran, and its failure to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed an anti-government revolt in 2011. Prince Bandar promised there would soon be a “major shift” in relations between the kingdom and the United States.

If it gets to the point where the Saudis decide to move away from the petrodollar monopoly, it will be disastrous for the U.S. economy. Over a trillion dollars’ worth of Middle East oil is transacted in US currency. A switch to a new system would collapse the dollar and cripple our standing on the world stage.

There can be little doubt that America is well on its way to being fired as the leader of the free world. The only wonderment in my mind is why it has taken this long for America to be given the boot.

America’s absence from Bible prophecy would seem to confirm that our dominance will continue to fade. Since the Antichrist is predicted to become the undisputed leader of all inhabitants on earth, our decline may indicate how close we are to the Tribulation hour.

“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).

“And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by [the means of] those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by the sword, and did live” (Revelation 13:14).