Monday, 29 February 2016


Matthew 24 And The Pre-Trib Rapture - A Bible Study by Jack Kelley -

Lately I've been receiving questions again about various rapture positions.  Several of these questions have to do with the claim that in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25) Jesus in effect said the Church will have to endure all of the seven years of Daniel's 70th Week including the Great Tribulation. In this study I will attempt to show why He could not have done so.
This won't be a verse by verse study of the Olivet Discourse, but rather a look at the verses within the passage that people use to support something other than a pre-trib view. If you want a verse by verse study you can go to my four part series entitled "The End times According To Jesus."
It's important to begin any study of this nature with a review of the overall context of the Olivet Discourse because it's the most important factor in understanding what Jesus was really saying and to whom He was saying it. It will also help us see what was going on in the disciples' minds.
It was just a couple of days before the crucifixion. Jesus and His disciples were walking over the Mt. of Olives toward Bethany where they were staying at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. The sun was getting low in the late afternoon sky, casting a soft golden light on the white Temple and its surrounding buildings. It was such a beautiful sight the disciples called it to the Lord's attention.
In reply, Jesus said, "Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." (Matt. 24:2).
It was the second time they had heard Jesus say this. The first time was a couple of days earlier on what we now call Palm Sunday when He had told the people that because they didn't recognize the time of His coming, the city would be destroyed (Luke 19:41-44).
He was holding the nation accountable for their failure to understand Daniel 9:24-27 where nearly 6 centuries earlier the angel Gabriel had told Daniel of a 490 year period that would begin when they received permission to rebuild Jerusalem and culminate in the end of the age. Gabriel told Daniel that the Messiah would come 483 years into that period (Daniel 9:25). Sure enough, here He was standing in their midst right on time.
There's no indication from the Biblical record that Jesus ever spoke to the disciples about the fact that the coming Church Age would interrupt Daniel's prophecy and delay its completion by about 2,000 years. In fact from Acts 1:6 we learn that 40 days after the crucifixion they expected Him to restore the Kingdom to Israel at that time.
It wasn't until James explained things to them some 20 years later that they understood how Israel was being set aside while the Lord took a people for Himself from among the Gentiles (Acts 15:13-18). A word study on this passage will reveal a hint of the rapture, and shortly thereafter Paul became the first person on Earth to present a clear teaching on the doctrine of the rapture (1 Cor. 15:51-53, 1 Thes. 4:16-17), saying He was revealing a secret in doing so (1 Cor. 15:51).
Therefore, on that afternoon on the Mt. Of Olives all the disciples could have known for sure was that 483 years of the 490 year prophecy of Daniel had passed, there were only 7 years left and Jesus had just told them that the Temple, all of its buildings and indeed all of Jerusalem were going to be destroyed. It must have been quite a shock to hear this, and it prompted four of them (Peter, James, John and Andrew) to come to Him privately for clarification.
Comparing Daniel's prophecy with what the Lord Himself had repeatedly told them, they were beginning to understand that Jesus was about to die, and so the questions they asked Him had to do with when the Temple and the city would be destroyed, what would be the sign of His (second) coming, and of the end of the age, by which I believe they meant the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy (Matt. 24:3)
These were Jewish men speaking with the Jewish Messiah about the future of Israel and in His 2 chapter answer Jesus referred to Israel repeatedly, but never said a single word about the largely Gentile Church or the amount of time that would pass before the final seven years were completed.
After some general observations about things that would happen, Jesus gave them this summary of the future.
"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,  but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matt. 24:9-14).
Not only is there no mention of the Church in this summary, several of the things He said are not even relevant to the church. They were intended for Israel. For example, it's Israel that has always been hated by all nations because of Him, it's Israel that has experienced many turning away from the Jewish faith, it's Israel that has to remain faithful to the end to be saved, and it's Israel that has been promised a Kingdom on Earth as a testimony to all nations.
What Will Be The Sign Of Your Coming?
Beginning in Matt. 24:15, Jesus gave the first specific sign of His coming and once again it concerned Israel. The abomination of desolation He spoke of requires a Temple, indicating a national presence for Israel in the promised land with people adhering to their Old Covenant relationship with God. We now know that hasn't been possible for nearly 2,000 years but the disciples had no idea.
The people Jesus told to flee when they see the abomination would be living in Judea, historically the area around Jerusalem. They were told to pray their flight won't take place in the winter, when the weather in Jerusalem can be bad, or on the Sabbath, because covenant keeping Jews are uniquely forbidden from traveling on the Sabbath (Matt. 24:15-20).
Jesus said the abomination of desolation will be the sign that the Great Tribulation is beginning (Matt. 24:21). This is a time when Jeremiah 30:1-11 tells us two things will happen; all the nations among which the Jews have been scattered will be destroyed, and Israel will be purified in preparation for the promised Kingdom (Jere. 30:11).
Jeremiah called this the time of Jacob's trouble (Jere. 30:7), which is the Old Testament name for the Great Tribulation, and said it will result in David becoming their king (Jere. 30:9) something that hasn't happened yet.
The Church is nowhere in view here and in fact both Paul (Romans 5:9, 1 Thes. 1:10) and Jesus (Rev. 3:10) promised that the Church will not be present for this.
"Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other" (Matt. 24:30-31).
Some claim this is a description of the rapture but if that's true it violates the Jewish context of the passage without any explanation or justification. It's based on the fact that the Greek word for trumpet appears both here and in 1 Cor. 15: 52.  But that is not an acceptable reason to tie these verses together, because there are other factors that make them obviously different.  One is that in 1 Thes. 4:16-17 the only angel mentioned is "the archangel" not some unknown number of angels scouring the heavens.  Another is that it turns the rapture from a signless, secret event into one that can't happen until there is a sign for all the world to see, and until the second coming is already in progress. It would mean that while all the world is standing there watching Jesus descend from heaven in power and glory, He will suddenly scoop up the Church and return to heaven without completing His trip to earth.
It would also violate His promise, made personally and through Paul, that He will keep us from the hour of trial that's coming upon the whole world, delivering us from the time and place of God's wrath.
Those who see the rapture here claim that the Church is "the elect" the Lord was talking about. But I disagree. Throughout the Old Testament, Israel was called God's elect and since Israel was the topic of their discussion, it's much more likely that's who the Lord had in mind. Also, according to Daniel 12:2-3 Israel's resurrection will take place at the Second coming making it possible that Matt. 24:31 is referring to Old Testament saints being rounded up to receive their resurrection bodies.
Finally, there's no mention of the Church being "the elect" in the gospels. In the only times the Lord mentioned the Church at all (Matt. 16:18 and Matt. 18:17) He did not use any form of the Greek word for "elect". The first clear description of the Church as the elect did not happen until Romans 8:33 which Paul wrote over 20 years later. In my opinion, to think that the disciples would have understood the Lord to be referring to the Church in Matt. 24:22 and Matt. 24:31 is an unwarranted assumption.
So far in His answer to the disciples the Lord has given us an overview of the end times (Matt. 24:3-14) and then a more detailed chronological order; abomination of desolation, the Great Tribulation, and the Second Coming (Matt. 24:15-31).
And Of The End Of the Age?
Beginning in Matt. 24:36 He turned His attention to things that will happen after He returns. These will signal that the end of the age has come, and they provide His  answer their final question. We know this because of the specific way in which He identified the day of His coming as "that day and hour" (Matt. 24:36) and "at the coming of the Son of Man" (Matt. 24.36, 39). He was speaking of the day of His return.
Some people say that no one will be eating and drinking, or marrying and giving in marriage before the Second Coming like they were in the days of Noah. They say the terrible effects of the Great Tribulation will have made that impossible. Therefore Matt. 24:36-39 has to be referring to the rapture. But I think they're missing the point. First of all, people have found a way to socialize and get married in the worst of times. But more importantly I think the Lord's point here was that just as people had no idea the world was about to end in the days leading up to the flood, no one will know the world is about to end in the days leading up to the second coming.
And notice how the Lord compared "the days before the flood" in Noah's time to "at the coming" of the Son of Man rather than the days before His coming. The worst time ever to come upon mankind will have just ended. Man's natural tendency after any catastrophe is to believe things will return to normal, but when they actually see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with power and great glory they will finally know things will never be the same again. That's why they will mourn when they see him coming (Matt. 24:30).
Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left (Matt. 24:40-41).
These verses are often used to support a rapture after the Great Tribulation. Aside from the fact that seeing them this way violates the context and chronology of the Lord's message, as well as His promise to the Church, there's a translation problem here. The Greek word translated "taken" means to "receive unto oneself" and a form of this word provides the clue of the rapture I mentioned in Acts 15:13-18 where it's translated "take for himself" (Acts 15:14). It literally means "to take for the purpose of carrying away." Before the Lord turns back to Israel to fulfill the missing 7 years of Daniel's prophecy, He will take for Himself a people from among the Gentiles and carry us away.
So the word "taken" in Matt. 24:40-41 is not a problem, but the word translated "left" means to "put away" and was often used in the context of a divorce.
Rather than being a description of the rapture, where Paul's definitive teachings never even mention unbelievers, let alone their disposition, these two verses are a summary of the Sheep and Goat judgment (Matt. 25:31-46). Both take place after the Second Coming and both involve the final destiny of believers and unbelievers who will survive the Great Tribulation and live to see the Lord's return.  Believers will be received into the kingdom but unbelievers will be put away into a place of eternal punishment.
The Lord finished his explanation of things that will mark the end of the age with several parables that describe the judgments He will conduct after He returns. I devoted an entire study to the subject of these parables that you can read in my two part posting, "Understanding the Olivet discourse Parables." For the purpose of this study let's just review the clues as to their timing to help you see they cannot be meant for the church.
Matt. 24:29 begins "Immediately after the distress of those days" and refers to the end of the Great Tribulation. Matt. 24:30 signals the Second Coming, with more detail contained in Matt. 24:36-44 including the first warnings that people on Earth will not know the exact day or hour of the Second Coming in advance. I believe this is due to the fact that both the Sun and Moon will have gone dark (Matt. 24:29) and it will be difficult to keep track of time.
Matt. 24:45-51 contains the parable of the faithful and wicked servants and describes how the Lord will deal with them "when He returns". It ends with another warning that people won't know the day or hour of His return in advance (Matt. 24:50).
Matt. 25:1-13 is the parable of the Ten virgins (bridesmaids). The opening sentence begins with "at that time". Everything from Matt. 24:30 forward has been about the Second Coming, so the phrase "at that time" refers to the time following the Second Coming. There are many other reasons why this parable can not be about the Church that are detailed in the study I referenced above. Like the others, this parable ends with a similar warning about the unknown day and hour of the Second Coming (Matt. 25:13).
Matt. 25:14-30 is the Parable of the Talents. By the opening word "again" we know that the Lord was referring to the same time as the previous ones.
And in Matt. 25:31-46  the Parable of the Sheep and Goats gives us the clearest indication of timing yet. It begins with, "When the son of Man comes in all His glory, and all the angels with Him ...". As I pointed out earlier it's the judgment of tribulation survivors, some of whom will be believers and will be welcomed into the Millennial Kingdom, while the others will be taken away to eternal punishment (Matt. 25:46).
The Church is the Bride of Christ, the most highly regarded group in the history of humankind, and the one with whom Jesus is closest. Failing to mention us even once in His signature discussion of the end times can only be explained by the fact that throughout the Olivet Discourse the Lord was focused on Israel and not the Church.  Therefore any attempt to use this passage in reference to the rapture of the Church requires taking portions of it out of context, and in some cases a reinterpretation of the text is necessary as well.  The Pre-Trib Rapture of the Church remains the only position that is consistent with a literal interpretation of the Scriptures. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.

Saturday, 27 February 2016


Don't let anyone kid you when they talk about the so-called Two State solution to one of the Middle East conflicts. Yes, once upon a time it used to be a singular conflict. Now it's plural - 'conflicts'.
As an aside, pay close attention to what has been occurring in Syria. Take note of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China and Iran. These conflicts may well have global ramifications. Also, do yourself a favor and listen to J D Farag's 21st Feb 2016 video HERE. I make no apology for the prophetic (same may say speculative) nature of JD's update. It's time for some Christians to take their heads out of the sand buckets and get themselves a clue.
But back on point - the Two State solution is touted by earnest advocates as the only way to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians. In fact, these pundits have often suggested that it is the only way to bring peace all over the Middle East and, ultimately, the world. Even crazier than this wild assertion is the amount of activists who nod their heads in accord.
Israel is expected to embrace two separate entities (Hamas and the PA) who actively plan its destruction. We live in an irrational world where Islamic terrorists plausibly justify murder via the Qur'an and hadiths. Christians are either murdered or treated as dhimmis in Islamic dominant nations. Yet Islam is called a religion of peace and tolerance.
The Two State solution is a fractured fairy tale propagated by deluded idealists and outright antagonists of Israel. Don't believe it. It's a farce. What Islam wants is a One Sate solution - one without Israel.
Furthermore, a lot of Christians are either consciously or unconsciously climbing into the same leaky one-state-boat. Some are already sitting happily on its deck chairs sipping Kool-Aid. The mask has been slipping off the clerical face. And it isn't pretty.
As noted previously, while Christian Zionists are routinely accused of Israel-idolatry, Palestinian Christian leaders and organizations are focused on their own nationalist agendas. Not just land claims, some also co-opt Christ and Scripture into the Palestinian cause against the Jew.
The Palestinian Authority claims Jesus was a Palestinian Muslim and the first Palestinian martyr. One can understand Muslim bias. Bethlehem Bible College's President, Jack Sara, should know better. Yet during the 21012 Christ at the Checkpoint Conference, he alluded to Ezekiel 37 and put his own spin on it:
'The hand of the Lord was on me and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of the West Bank- Bethlehem, Jenin and Salvit and Nablus and Ramallah. It was full of bones....He asked me 'Son of Man can these bones live? Can the Palestinian people live?' Then He said to me 'prophesy to these bones and say to them "dry bones hear the word of the Lord."'....You see the Palestinian people were and are a lot like this valley of dry bones that is in need of the Church to come and prophesy life on them.' (Emphasis mine)
Sara twisted Ezekiel 37 and misapplied it to his Palestinian cause. The prophecy of the Valley of Dry Bones concerns national Israel, not the Palestinians, and not the church. These people are disinfecting Scripture and the land from any current or future national Jewish claim. That's what the incessant "occupied territory" squealing is really all about.
A tactic in the anti-Zionist clerical arsenal is to mendaciously demonize Israel. Sizer, Burge and Hanegraaff are notable offenders. Yet there are many others who hold leadership positions.
In one 2009 example cited by CAMERA, Lutheran Bishop Margaret Payne was corrected on several (typical) claims she and others had made about Israel. Instead of humbly acknowledging her errors, she got her clerical frock in a knot. When the errors weren't corrected, they became lies. Nothing has changed - the lies are perpetuated to this day:
"For most Christians, Lent is a time of introspection, fasting and repentance. But for Rev. Loren McGrail, a pastor in the United Church of Christ working in Jerusalem, the forty days before Easter are an opportunity to use her position at the YWCA in Jerusalem to broadcast anti-Israel propaganda to fellow Christians in the United States." (Emphasis mine)
Another wretched tactic is to question Jewish ethnicity. This is what several people associated with Bethlehem Bible College have done in the past. How would you react to someone questioning yours? Would these people dare question the ethnicity of certain other minority groups? I guarantee you they wouldn't. The PC police would promptly tar and feather them.
This past week I came across a popular Christian blogger who did this. He asked the question and invited responses. Had he bothered doing some simple research, he'd have found plenty of scientific data supporting Jewish ethnicity. Heck, even David Duke acknowledges it. What motivates someone to ask such a politically incorrect question?
The reason he did so is because of his postmillennial theology. There's no room in his tradition for a prophetically valid Jewish nation now, or in a future millennium. These Christians are averse to allow a Jewish state for whatever unbiblical reasons they can concoct to justify their objections.
Another typical objection is that there is only One People of God. Hence Israel is not the people of God. Sorry, no cigar:
1) There will be a number of peoples of God (see Isaiah 19:25). And Israel will be prominent (see Isaiah 60:12 and Zechariah 8:23).
2) Jews can verify their ethnicity through science. See, for example, Chris White's Video. See also this article by Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz.
3) God has promised a future for a redeemed ethnic Israel in their land (see Jeremiah 31:31-37; Ezekiel 36:22-28; Amos 9:14-15 etc).
Has God indeed said (Gen 3:1)? Yes, He did. Take it up with Him.
End of story.
I've read book after frustrating book which denies a future for Israel. These scholastic Christian writers indulge in clever games of theological obfuscation. They're only too happy to oblige you with "informed" reasons why the plain meaning of a particular verse or book (e.g., The Revelation) needs to be plumbed further until it reads nothing like its original sense.
God's word is clear on most things. It doesn't need clever redefining unless one's tradition cannot accept what it says. Why would you play hermeneutical games when it comes to Israel (covenants and eschatology) or Genesis (creation), but not your own salvation (soteriology)?
I'm beginning to throw my hands up in despair as to what some Christian clerics actually believe in a number of key areas....and whether I ultimately care. They appear to be obstinately locked into their positions. For now I'm relegating them to the willfully deluded category.
One day we'll all have to answer to the Lord. Are we all comfortable with that?
I know I'm not.


Are the Jews of Today Really Descendants of Abraham Who Should Inherit the Land?

“And He brought him forth abroad, and said: ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars, if thou be able to count them’; and He said unto him: ‘So shall thy seed be.’ And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness. And He said unto him: ‘I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.’”
Genesis 15:5-7 (The Israel Bible™) (Photo: API Flickr/Wikimedia Commons)
Perhaps the strongest voice claiming the present day Jews settling in Israel are not descended from the original Hebrews is Tel Aviv University historian Shlomo Sand. In his international best-seller, The Invention of the Jewish People (2008), he asserts that the Jews of today did not originate in the Mediterranean and that a “nation-race” of Jews never existed.
Jews today, he claims, share a common religion but not a common ethnic background. His book argues that there is no evidence of the expulsion of the Jews from ancient Israel, and therefore it never happened, meaning that the diaspora is a modern invention.
He claims that Judaism was a religion which arose outside of Israel based on massive conversions that continued until the rise of Christianity in the fourth century and that most Jews today are the descendants of people who lived elsewhere in the world, the products of conversion.
Sand equates the Jews’ longing for Israel, what he calls “the mythical Kingdom of David”, with other European nationalist movements. The significant difference according to Sand is that the holy land was to be longed for but not lived in until the divinely sent Messiah arrives.
Sand’s theory has becoming a lightning rod for controversy, attracting criticism as well as high praise. His book received the “Prix Aujourd’hui” in France and has been translated into more languages than any other Israeli book. Haaretz called it a “success for Israel”. Eric Hobsbawm, a Jewish retired professor of history and fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, selected Sand’s book as one of his “Books of the Year” for 2009.
However, Professor Sand has also been criticized for his methodology and how he relates to sources and physical evidence. In addition, he admits that this area of history is not his expertise. But without a doubt, the strongest objection to Sand’s rebuttal of modern Jewish claims on the land of Israel comes from recent developments in the area of practical genetics.
In 2010, Harry Ostrer, a medical geneticist from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, published a study concluding that many “geographically and culturally distant Jews still have more genes in common than they do with non-Jews around them,” and that such genes were of “Levantine origin”.  Ostrer said, “I would hope that these observations would put the idea that Jewishness is just a cultural construct to rest.”
Sand replied to the genetic study’s refutation by saying, “Hitler would certainly have been very pleased.”
Breaking Israel News spoke to Bennett Greenspan about the genetic aspect of Judaism and how it relates to the Jewish claim to the Land of Israel. Greenspan founded Family Tree DNA, the first American company to offer genealogical DNA testing directly to the general public, and his conclusions are based on a database of hundreds of thousands of genetic samples .
“On the Y-DNA test that tracks the paternal line, 75-85% of Jews have a Semitic ancestry, that is to say they are from the Middle East. ‘Semitic’ may also include Turkey and Northern Syria, going back 3,000 years,” Greenspan explained.
He said that according to the genetic results, “I am a Jewish Arab. The world has Christian Arabs, Muslim Arabs, and Jewish Arabs. The difference is that 2,000 years ago, the Muslim Arabs didn’t yet have a religion, and the Jewish Arabs did. Our Temple was defiled, the Jews revolted, and we got beat. The Jews were exiled from our land by the superpower of the day.”
“Shlomo Sand is wrong when he says that Jews are no more related to other Jews in other places in the world than to Christians or Muslims,” Greenspan stated unequivocally to Breaking Israel News. “The genetic facts do not at all support that theory, and do support the opposite. The genetic evidence is strikingly clear.”
Sand’s premise, even when he wrote the book, was outlandish to many critics. His reason for taking such an untenable stance was that he believed a common ethnic basis for Judaism “nourishes anti-Semitism”. However, by denying Jewish ethnicity in an attempt to prevent anti-Semitism, Sand’s thesis has become a battle cry for haters of Israel.
The creation of the modern State of Israel has once again made Judaism a national identity and not just a religion limited to the occasional visit to the synagogue. The scattered children of Abraham have gathered together as an unmistakeable result of God’s covenant. Science has proven this to be undeniably true.

Friday, 26 February 2016


Will the ANTICHRIST Expose

the New World Order?

– By Michael Stenger
There are times when people offer such a profound perspective, that I need to stop writing and let THEM speak. Today, I present to you an example of that.
It is a rare thing to see such exceptional writing from someone who isn’t a native English speaker. And, when that person offers thoughts and ideas that are deeply profound… well, like I said, I want them to do the talking.
Michael Stenger sent me just such an article, from Switzerland. And, I am deeply impressed by what he has written.
I encourage you to read all of it and think about what he has to say.
Subscribe to The Shock Letter and receive my articles in your inbox:

Will the ANTICHRIST Expose the New World Order? – By Michael Stenger

(I shortened his title to save space – JL)
note: Just to give you an idea of how good a writer Michael is, I have made no edits. You might catch a couple typos, but they are exceptionally rare. And, I probably added some in transferring his text to here. Michael truly has a first-class mind, and provides us with a great example of what it means to sincerely follow Christ.


Are Saudi Arabia and Turkey planning to invade Syria? 
This is the single most important question of today. It is much more important than the machinations of the upcoming presidential elections in America, more important than the turmoil embracing the European Union as a result of mass migration, more important even than the impending worldwide economic collapse.
Right now, whether Saudi Arabia and Turkey are planning a joint invasion of Syria is the single most important question of our time.
The reason for this is that if Saudi Arabia and Turkey do decide to invade Syria, Vladimir Putin has let it be known that he would use tactical nuclear weapons against Turkey to stop them. Vladimir Putin does not make this kind of threat idly.
A steadily building antagonism between Russian and Turkey in Syria has existed for a number of months. It is not an exaggeration to say that a proxy war between Turkey and Russia is already well underway. 
Almost two weeks ago the Syrian military air base of Minagh, some six kilometers from the Turkish border was seized by Kurdish forces heavily backed by Russian air power. There they attempted to dig in, until Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan launched a two-hour artillery bombardment of the base from within Turkey. This Turkish bombardment was an indirect attack on Russian forces and is an example of the deadly tit-for-tat being played out between these two powers.
Vladimir Putin is waiting for the right opportunity to settle accounts with Turkey for the shooting down of a Russian fighter plane on November 24th. The question is whether Putin will feel the need to react and strike back now or wait until later. In this context the Turkish artillery bombardment was a highly calculated risk from the Turkish president.
Russian-Turkish relations are extremely volatile, they rest on a knife edge.
Then comes news that has rocked the Middle East to its core. Turkey and Saudi Arabia seem to be massing huge numbers of troops on their respective borders to Syria. Saudi Arabia and Turkey have both dismissed any talk of an invasion with the explanation of it being merely an internal military exercise. If this is so, it would be the largest military exercise in the history of the Middle East.  
At the same time the Saudi's are warning that Bashir al-Assad will "be removed by force," if necessary. Turkey is also suddenly claiming that it may be necessary for them to establish a "safe zone" in northern Syria, strictly for "humanitarian reasons." All the while their troops are building up on their respective borders in huge numbers.
Saudi Arabia and Turkey have both invested significant amounts of money backing Sunni groups in the Syrian civil war. These same groups now stand on the edge of total defeat. Despite this fact, Saudi Arabia remains just as resolute that Assad will be removed from power.
The Saudi Foreign Minister, Jubeir, even went so far as to say that if necessary Saudi forces will cooperate in a ground invasion to "hold ground...that one cannot...from the air."  
If this comes to pass, and Saudi Arabia do invade Syria alongside Turkey, with a view to proactively removing Assad from power in Damascus, then Saudi Arabia and Turkey will be fighting directly against elements of the Syrian army who would still defend Assad. These elements of the Syrian army would be backed and bolstered by Hezbollah, who are backed by Iran, who are in turn backed by Russia.
Effectively the Syrian civil war could morph from an internal conflict between transnational actors into an international hot war between nation states. Iran and Russia would be on one side and Turkey and Saudi Arabia on the other.
The huge danger at this point is that any outright clash between Turkey and Russia would allow Turkey to invoke the NATO charter, demanding allied protection against Russian "aggression," thereby sucking America, Britain, France and all NATO members directly into a confrontation with Russia.  
This, by definition, would be another world war. At the very least it would be the most dangerous point of international diplomacy since the Cuban Missile Crisis of the 1960s.
Tensions between Russia and the West are already heightened. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev last week claimed that Russia and the West are in the grips of "...a new cold war." Outspoken Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, has gone even further claiming that a third world war is actually already underway, "...I call this struggle a third world war by other means."
Syria stands on the brink. Nation states are greedily snatching up land for themselves and the competing interests that are driving them are increasingly drawing nations into open, outright conflict. As this is read today, the air forces of twelve separate nations are in combat over the skies of this one single country.
The world is sleep walking into a new world war. While people are watching the outcomes of presidential debates, primaries and caucuses, chaos in Europe and just trying to cope with the day to day issues of everyday life, anarchy is breaking loose in Syria, anarchy that may engulf the entire region, or beyond.
The Syrian landscape is moving and shifting rapidly. Syria may provide the spark for a lager conflagration that is yet to come, one that has the potential to drag all nations down into the abyss. 
With so many end times Bible prophecies seemingly on the brink of fulfillment, the events that are occurring now on a daily basis can only lead us to conclude that the end of this age approaches rapidly.
Time is short. Keep looking up.


Thursday, 25 February 2016


 No one knows the day or the hour of the Lord's return. Time after time, people who have tried to pin point the day, month, or year...are proven wrong. The Bible does instruct us to be ready for that day over and over again. Some of the words or phrases it uses to warn us are: to be sober, be alert, must also be ready, let us not sleep as others do, but let us watch. 
 Many of these instructions are accompanied by descriptions of how people will be asleep, drunk, eating, drinking, marrying, and even scoffing about the Lord's return. The spiritual blindness that envelops the world has them believing things will continue on as they have been. In this article, we will view deteriorating global conditions through the clear biblical lens that warns: People will say, "peace and safety," then sudden destruction follows.
 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6"Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, 'There is peace and security,' then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober."
 Sin, spiritual darkness, moral decay, and decadence have blinded many of this world's inhabitants to the fact that a day of reckoning is coming. 
 This planet will see economic chaos, wars increase, natural disasters mount, and evil unhinged on every side as history reaches its final climax. The Bible warns us numerous times about how severe global conditions will be prior to Jesus' return. I believe there are several reasons for the Bible's warnings. One reason is the fact that...understanding the perilous times we live in will motivate us to live holy lives as believers.
2 Peter 3:11Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God...
 Another primary reason for the Bible's warnings is the fact that a majority of the people in this world are blind to the fact that Jesus is coming soon and there are clear signs everywhere pointing to that climatic event. A biblical understanding of the times we live in should motivate every Christian to witness to others. 
 We have been commissioned to go into all the world and preach the gospel. In my own heart, knowing that time is short creates a sense of urgency to tell people about coming judgment and salvation through Christ alone.
 I can understand how people in the world are not discerning about the perilous times in which we live, but what I cannot fathom is the deep depth of apathy regarding Bible prophecy and the nearness of the Lord's return. I see this widespread in the Church today. I have explained the root cause of the last days apathy among many believers in detail in my previous articles: "Is Bible Prophecy Relevant" (Part One and Two). 
 It's safe to say that many Christians are clueless about how current geopolitical conditions point to the nearness of Jesus' return because they don't study Bible prophecy or simply ignore it all together. That's a shame because there are things happening all around us that point to the fact that this world is growing darker, more volatile, and more desperate with each passing day. Let's take a look at some of the news from just the last few days to get a realistic view of current global conditions:
The situation in the Middle East is unstable on every side. Tensions are rising in the region and Israel faces increased threats as never before:
 Lt. Col. Steinberg, Commander of Battalion 931, said his forces do not encounter Hezbollah on the border fence daily, but that didn't mean their forces and 100,000 rockets were not there. A considerable risk remains of an inadvertent conflict breaking out and escalating quickly. This could begin with a Hezbollah response to IDF action, with Hezbollah moving advanced missiles into southern Lebanon. -Jerusalem Post
 Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah, are entrenched and empowered by the presence of the Russian military in Syria. Iran has operators in both Syria and Lebanon and their goal is long-term and united. Their ultimate goal is to destroy the Jewish State. Both Iran and Hezbollah have free reign in the region do continue gaining ground unimpeded, except for the Israeli Lebanese border where the IDF keeps close tabs on weapons shipments and has conducted airstrikes to stop weapons convoys from being delivered into terrorists hands.
 It is still unclear whether Russia has a plan on how its adventure in Syria might end and if its new military assets on the ground, like the modern fighters and S-400 anti-aircraft missiles will remain there. Given this, it seems the longer the Russian military campaign in the region lasts, the stronger Moscow's alliance with Iran, Hezbollah and possibly Iraq will become. This alliance threatens strategic Israeli interests with regard to Iran and Hezbollah.  -Jerusalem Post
 It remains unclear what role the Russians will play in the short term, butEzekiel 38tells us that there will be a day when the Russian army will lead a vast invasion from the North to plunder Israel.
The situation in the Asia-Pacific region could certainly boil over at any moment.
 Although I don't believe China or the United States desire a large scale conflict, it may be inevitable. With all of the saber rattling in the region and influx of weaponry into the contested South China Sea arena, conflict may ensue by accident, miscalculation or calculated risk.
 The Chinese military has deployed an advanced surface-to-air missile system to one of its contested islands in the South China Sea according to civilian satellite imagery exclusively obtained by Fox News, more evidence that China is increasingly "militarizing" its islands in the South China Sea and ramping up tensions in the region.
 The imagery from ImageSat International (ISI) shows two batteries of eight surface-to-air missile launchers as well as a radar system on Woody Island, part of the Paracel Island chain in the South China Sea. It is the same island chain where a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed close to another contested island a few weeks ago. China at the time vowed "consequences" for the action. Woody Island is also claimed by Taiwan and by Vietnam.-Fox News
 The United States and its allies including Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines all have a strategic interest regarding the "free passage" of ships and aircraft in the South China Sea. China continues its military build up to counter what it refers to as "continued aggression by certain parties." 
 China has made massive military gains in size, scope, and technologically advanced weapons systems. The latter is certainly due in part to the PLA's theft of U.S. military data and classified information. China's ultimate role in the end times remains to be seen, but with its growing military's quite possible that it will have a major part to play in the Armageddon campaign.
 In just the past few months we had Ebola and now the Zika virus, and other outbreaks that continue to increase with time. In many parts of Africa and Asia, famine and drought dominate people who are desperately hungry and thirsty.
 Islamic terrorism is at the doorstep here in the West:
 It seems as though people, especially here in the West...forget that the threat of terrorism is very real and it possess a constant danger to everyone everywhere. For the most part I believe people have their heads buried in the sand when it comes to the dangers we face. The lives of the rich and famous, the Kardashians, and the silly musings over sports teams seem to dull memories of the bloodbath that terrorists brought to Paris last November. 
 People forget about the beheading in Oklahoma, the murder and injuries of Canadian military members in Ottawa or the shootings in a Lindt Chocolate store in Sydney that left two innocent people dead and several others injured. Islamic terrorism is a threat that cannot be ignored, although many people including, Christians, seem lulled to sleep by endless entertainment and complacency that mirrors the sentiment..."peace and safety." Here is a recent report: 
 Top U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that ISIS was likely to attempt direct attacks on the U.S. in the coming year and that the group was infiltrating refugees escaping from Iraq and Syria to move across borders. ISIS "will probably attempt to conduct additional attacks in Europe, and attempt to direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016," Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday.-CNN
I could devote entire articles to the dire economic situation facing the world today. We are seeing signs of some sort of major market correction, large scale crisis, or total collapse in the near future. In just the past year we have seen the plunge of the markets in Asia and most notably China, along with the tanking of the Russian Ruble oil markets and their major players like OPEC, Venezuela, and Russia are all dealing with the repercussions of the sinking oil prices. 
 People are rejoicing at the gas pump, but it seems as though much more is at play, and only time will tell what desperate nations will do to gain their economic footing.No one knows exactly where all this economic news is heading and how things will play out. Many of the best economic minds are warning that we are in for a tumultuous ride and the end result could be catastrophic for the global economy.
 A famed investor has warned that financial Armageddon is just around the corner, and it's being fueled by moronic central bankers. 
 We're all going to pay a horrible price for the incompetence of these central bankers. The Singapore based American investor said central bankers are doing everything they can to prop up financial markets, but it's all for naught. He predicts their unconventional monetary strategies will lead to a stock market rally in the near future, but deep trouble later this year and into 2017.
 "This is going to be a disaster in the end," he said. "You should be very worried and you should be prepared."-Jim Rogers interview by CNN.
 In Revelation 13:16 ...the Bible tells us there will be a day when no one can operate in the global economic system without the mark of the beast. Make no mistake, this will be a system of worship. The Antichrist will institute total global economic control by requiring everyone to take the mark in order to buy and sell. 
 No one will be able to buy food, water, gasoline, electricity, medicine, clothing, or anything without having the mark on their right hand or forehead. This will be a time of total economic control. It brings the evil or the Nazis and Stalin to mind. 
 The horrific and total control they wielded to oppress people is but a foreshadowing and microcosm of what the Antichrist will bring on the entire globe. We don't know for certain, but it isn't hard to believe that we are seeing the very tip of the beginning of a global economic crisis that will one-day result in total domination by the beast.
 Revelation 13:16-18"Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.
 Despite all of the economic woes, threats of terrorism, geopolitical tension, and natural disasters, many people are still lulled, entertained, or fooled into a sense of peace and safety. It is critical for every believer to be ready to give others a reason for the hope we have in us with gentleness and respect. As global conditions continue to deteriorate, some people will be looking for answers and hope. We know the God who gives hope.....not just when things begin to unravel, but for eternity!
 If you are a Christian, it's not the time for apathy and business as usual. It's time to be a bold witness for Jesus. If you don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are in eternal danger. One day soon, the holy God of the universe will send His Son to judge everyone. There are only two possible outcomes you will face. 
 One is eternity in heaven with Jesus and unsurpassed joy. The other is an eternity in hell without anyone to help you. It doesn't have to be that way for you. Today is the day of salvation for anyone reading this article, if you will repent and trust Jesus as your Lord and Savior. You can learn more about what it means to follow Jesus and salvation by clicking: Are You Saved.
 Be alert, sober, and living holy even as much of the world is saying, "peace and safety" then sudden destruction.
 All for Him,