Israel in Prophecy

We’ve heard a lot of talk lately about moving the U. S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Does this issue have anything to do with Bible prophecy?

Without a doubt, Israel will play an important role in the last days, and it will eventually serve as the capital city of the world (Zechariah 14:9-11). Anything that happens in our world that keeps Jerusalem on the forefront of our minds could be considered prophetic. If we move our embassy to Jerusalem, we are certainly drawing attention to the city that will one day be center of the world, it it’s not already.

Scholars have differed over the meaning of the word Jerusalem, but it seems to mean “City of Peace.” Israel has not lived up to her name, but the Bible says that in the last days, Israel will experience peace for a season. Ezekiel was led by God to tell us that during a time of peace for Israel, their defenses will be down. It is during this time that the 5-nation coalition, along with Russia, will attack Israel in a battle the Bible calls the Battle of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38-39).

So, what can we watch for in the news regarding Israel? We will see continued attention placed upon Jerusalem, and we will eventually see a period of peace for the Jewish people. It is hard for us to imagine peace for Israel right now with all of the tension in the Middle East. It leads me to wonder what will happen so that Israel will have peace. It could be a treaty with the Palestinians and the destruction of Hamas and other factions. Regardless of how it happens, Jerusalem will finally live up to her name – at least for a season.

What about Russia? What role does Russia play in the last days? I’ll write about that next. In the meantime, keep your eyes on Israel. God is moving us toward an amazing conclusion.

Someone Checked His Brain (and Morals) at the Door

brainless    The third largest school district in the country has spoken. USA Today reported Tuesday that the “Chicago Public Schools said its students, teachers and staff could use whichever restroom matches their gender identity.” When I was a kid, gender identity had to do with anatomy. Today, gender identity is determined by how an individual feels at the moment. If a teenage boy decides that he is a girl, then he showers and changes clothes in the girls’ locker room. Really? Have people lost their minds? Is everyone okay with a man going into the girls’ locker room at the local gym and changing clothes? Can’t people see where this is going to lead? We have enough perverted and twisted human beings in our nation today doing the unspeakable. Why would we want to feed their perversion with ridiculous laws? Politicians in North Carolina took a stand against this absurdity by passing a law requiring transgender people to use the restroom that corresponds with the sex on their birth certificate. A representative from the Department of Justice has given North Carolina notice that they are in violation of the Civil Rights Act and will be required to face the consequences if they do not remedy the violation by Monday.

Four years ago, I began writing my book Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days, and I wrote of how our nation would continue its slide into the moral abyss. I stated, “While considering the national slide into immorality and the disdain with which people treat the truths of scripture, unrighteousness will be the new normal in a world heading toward Armageddon.” Although I addressed this move toward immorality, I am still stunned at the stupidity of our political leaders. You would have had a difficult time convincing me three or four years ago that our Federal Government would be threatening a state with consequences if they did not allow men to use the women’s locker room or women to shower with men after a morning workout at the local gym. This is simply an indication of the moral blindness of our secular culture. We should not be surprised by this. Second Corinthians 4:4 reminds us that “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving.” This is the only explanation for the direction our nation is going. Many of our political leaders are blinded to truth and to the consequences of an immoral nation.

I believe that our nation is already under the judgment of God. As you read through the Old Testament, you see story after story of God bringing judgment on a nation or on an individual. While God would pass judgment, it would often take years for the people to realize that judgment had come. In 1 Samuel 15:23, God told King Saul, “He has also rejected you from being king.” Saul continued to serve as the King for another fifteen years before he was ultimately killed in battle. Whenever we stepped out from under God’s umbrella of protection and blessing by passing laws that removed prayer from school, made it legal to murder unborn babies, and sanctified marriage between two people of the same sex, we opened the door up to all manner of consequences. When immoral and self-absorbed people go to the polls, they elect people who continue their agenda of immorality. Scripture says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” The god of America is no longer the God of the Bible. We have become our own gods who simply live for our pleasure. God cannot bless the nation we have become.

Four years ago, I predicted that the 2016 presidential race would be won by a person who would continue leading us down a path toward immorality. I said that the new president would continue an anti-Semitic policy that would ultimately lead Israel to stand alone against Russia and a 5-nation coalition (Ezekiel 38-39). As badly as I want to see a strong conservative in the White House, the Bible says that society will continue a downward slide until Christ’s return. I would love to see a revival and a return to morality in our nation, however, I do not believe it is going to happen. I think that the church must learn how to stand firm against the “wiles of the devil.” We must realize that we are in a spiritual battle and do everything we can to share our faith with those who will listen. Put on your spiritual armor daily. Prepare to engage our culture with God’s truth and shine your light into a world that is growing increasingly dark. If you have not read Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days, I encourage you to read it. If you are unable to purchase it right now, contact me and I’ll send you a digital copy for free. I share important truths in this book that will help you prepare to stand firm in the days to come.

We know where all of this is leading, and it will eventually be glorious for followers of Christ. Do not lose heart. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Our redemption is drawing near.

When Evil Prevails

terror

 

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:10-13

 

We all stand in shock at the terrorist attacks in France yesterday. While acts of terrorism are becoming normal in our global culture, it still amazes me that people can go into a theater and start shooting innocent people in the name of their god. I could share my political opinions or even comment on what I think world leaders should do in response to this act of terror, but I prefer to address a deeper issue. We must realize that what we are watching is simply spiritual warfare. The god of this world is wreaking havoc on our world, and we are moving ever closer to the end of time that was prophesied throughout Scripture. Jesus said in Matthew 24 that perilous times would come before His return.

How do we respond to this? Our first obvious response is prayer for those who have been personally impacted by this devastation and for our leaders as they consider a proper response. Secondly, we should not be surprised. God told us in His word that calamity would come and evil would show its ugly head. We must remind ourselves that terrorists are not really our main enemy. Even ISIS is not our ultimate enemy. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood. The god of this world is our enemy. There is a spiritual battle that is being waged, and ISIS is but a pawn in the hands of the master deceiver.  There are certainly things that our national leaders must do to stop evil in its tracks, and it is my prayer that our president and other political leaders will have the substance needed to take bold stands against this global evil. However, we must see the bigger picture.

Real spiritual battle takes place in other ways. For starters, it begins on our knees. This terrorist attack should call believers to a time of great prayer. Ephesians 6:10 commands us to “be strong in the Lord.” I wrote about this passage in my book Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days, and I find that it has special relevance today.  Any preparation we take for spiritual conflict is built upon us yielding to the power and presence of Christ in us. Then the Ephesians 6 passage continues by telling us to take some steps in our preparation: put on the full armor of God. I urge you to consider the teaching of this passage in light of the spiritual conflict that is going on in our world. The Church of the Lord Jesus must prepare spiritually for what is going on around us. Do not be surprised by terror and persecution; be equipped. God is on His throne, and He will guide you to find strength and hope in the days to come. If you are strong in the Lord and equipped with His spiritual armor, you will be ready for whatever we will face in the days to come.

I have lowered the cost of the digital version of Immovable in hopes that it will be a guide and an encouragement for you during this time. Take steps toward preparing yourselves for the spiritual conflict that will only increase before the return of Christ. Study Ephesians 6:10-18 and Matthew 24 in light of what is going on in our world today. The Bible is clear that God will ultimately win this conflict, so we do not face these battles with hopelessness. We have great hope in Jesus Christ. Let’s pray as never before, prepare for what is to come, engage our enemy on spiritual grounds, and comfort those who hurt. Trust that our faithful God, our Leader in battle, will prevail in the days to come.

God or Country

GodorCountryIn Grayson, Kentucky this week, the recent legalization of same-sex unions was challenged by county clerk Kim Davis. Because Mrs. Davis refused to sign a marriage license of a same-sex couple, she was forced to spend six days in jail. She was released today, but the story is far from over. Mrs. Davis became a Christian four and a half years ago, and Christ changed her life. Because of her commitment to Jesus, she could not agree to have her name on a document legalizing immorality. I am sad to say, but this is simply the beginning of very dark days in our country. I say that because for the first time in the history of our nation, our high court has enforced a new law that stands in stark contrast to the truth of the Bible. This is putting Bible-believing Christians in a difficult spot: obey God or obey the law. I suppose it should not be considered difficult at all for Christians. I would hope that there is never a doubt as to whom we will obey. We have known for some time that Christianity has been under attack in our nation, but today, this attack has become more apparent. We should not be surprised at this infringement upon Mrs. Davis’ constitutional rights nor should we be surprised by future persecution Christians will encounter.

Jesus said in John 15:18-19, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” Those are strong words from our Savior. Have you ever considered being hated by the world? While I do not think my unbelieving neighbor hates me, I do believe proponents of our world system have a seething, burning antagonism toward Christianity. The god of this world is working to stir up world opinion against Christianity, which will ultimately lead to great persecution of the Church. Will you stand for what you believe regardless of the consequences? What if you were Mrs. Davis? Would you sign the marriage license? When I was a child, the theme was always God and country. I am sad to see that it is now God or country.

Celebrating Independence … from God

celebration_same_sexThere’s dancing in the street and gladness in the air, at least in some places. It is sort of reminiscent of how Sodom must have been the night before God rained down a judgment of fire upon them. Yesterday marked one of the saddest days in the history of our nation. The United States of America established the Constitution as the means of governing our Republic, and yesterday five Supreme Court justices snubbed their noses at God and made adherence to the Word of God illegal. It was a dark day because this was the first time we passed a law that blatantly contradicted the Bible. It is the first time that Christians will be forced to decide to either obey God or obey our government. While it should be one in the same, it is not. With the stroke of a pen, five justices declared our independence from God.

I obviously have a problem with this ruling because it stands in contrast to the clear teaching of the Word of God. Marriage is to be between a man and a woman (Matthew 19:4–6; Mark 10:5–9; cf. Genesis 1:27–28, 2:20–24; Ephesians 5:21–32). Same-sex relations are a sin against God (Romans 1:26–27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10; cf. Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). Please understand. Homosexuality is not a bigger sin than lust, dishonesty, stealing, or adultery. In God’s eyes, sin is sin. Jesus had to die for the thief just as much as He died for the homosexual. I want our nation to be blessed of God, but when we pass laws supporting sin and ignore the Bible, God cannot bless us. God is just, and He will punish sin. I believe that this ruling will open the door to all manner of Christian persecution. It is the beginning of the fall of our nation. Whenever we celebrate a blatant move away from God, we are on a slippery slope that leads to Hell.

My problem is that now I am a citizen of a country who legally condones sin and restricts people from following God’s clear teaching. When I say restricts, you may be thinking that this law won’t affect you. Can’t we all continue practicing religion as we see fit – just like the Constitution guarantees? The answer is “no.”

I have someone close to me who is a professional photographer. He makes a living mainly through taking pictures at weddings. He strongly opposes same-sex marriage, but now when he is asked to take pictures at a gay marriage, he will either have to say yes or potentially be sued. I am a pastor. When I teach from Romans chapter one and call homosexuality sin, I am now guilty of a hate crime. Here’s the thing we must understand. When we ignore one part of the Constitution, we are potentially ignoring the whole thing. When I am guaranteed the freedom of expression and the freedom of religion and this freedom is taken from me, we must be prepared for every other freedom to be taken from us in the future.

This is a sad day. I suggest we fly our flags at half-mast. We are not remembering the death of a famous leader. We are acknowledging the death of a nation.

At the same time, Jesus warned us of this. The Bible is clear that challenging days are ahead before the return of Christ. It is critical that Christians prepare for the storm that will only get worse. It is because events like what happened Friday that I wrote the book Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days. Because the message of my book is so critical, I have asked Amazon to drop the price of my book to 99 cents. Unfortunately, I can’t get them to lower the price of the paperback to that amount, but I can control the price on the digital book somewhat. This discount should go into effect by tomorrow. I encourage you to prayerfully read my book and prepare for the days to come.

Remember what Jesus said in John 16:33: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

United States vs. God

Gavel_flagIf you had told me thirty years ago that our Supreme Court would be contemplating passing a law requiring Americans to disregard the Word of God, I probably would not have believed you. I would have thought that our leaders, who are given the responsibility of “interpreting the Constitution and federal law and exercising judicial review to ensure state and federal statutes and policies that come before the Court comply with constitutional principles” (answers.com), would never create a law that stands in contradiction to our revered Constitution. I am afraid, however, that this may happen before the week is over.

Newsweek Magazine reported yesterday, “Many legal experts predict the court will legalize gay marriage nationwide by finding that the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal treatment under the law and due process prohibit states from banning same-sex nuptials.” If the court does legalize gay marriage, this will be the first time a law is passed that blatantly stands against the Bible. Roe vs. Wade certainly came close to such disregard of Scripture, but this issue puts the United States squarely in the camp of having no regard for God’s Truth

If this law passes, Christians will be told that they cannot act upon their belief that the Bible teaches marriage is to be between a man and a woman and that sexual acts between two people of the same sex is considered to be sin. I am burdened about this issue from several perspectives. The number one perspective is that our governing bodies will be legalizing immorality. This is dangerous ground for any nation. God says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD” (Psalm 33:12). The Lord Jehovah cannot be the God of a nation who passes laws that stand so clearly against the teaching of the Bible. If America is not blessed, then we are cursed. God help us.

If gay marriage is legalized, I also have a problem in that my Constitutional rights are violated. I have the right to free speech and the free exercise of my religious beliefs. This right will be infringed upon because it will become illegal for me to speak about my beliefs that homosexuality is a sin. Before you decide to attack me by saying I am a “homophobe,” I am not. I believe homosexuality is a sin just like any other sin. Have I lost my right to believe the Bible? God calls us to forsake sin and follow him. God loves the homosexual, just like He loves anyone else. Just like I would urge someone committing adultery to flee their sin and follow Jesus, I would do the same with someone practicing homosexuality. As an American, it is my right to have this belief. I am amazed at how liberals in our country label me as being intolerant while they are intolerant of me and my belief in the Bible. If gay marriage is legalized, this means America has indeed become a nation without a Constitution. God help us.

Court Foreshadows Coming Persecution

traditional_marriageBiblical values and teaching are under attack. As Supreme Court Justices recently discussed the constitutionality of same-sex marriages, Solicitor General Donald Verilli pointed out that religious colleges would potentially lose their tax-exempt status if they continued to only support traditional marriage. There is no doubt that this decision will bring about the same results in churches all across America. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently said in a speech to the Women of the World Summit, “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” Does Clinton’s statement bother you as much as it bothers me? It doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to see where all of this is going. It seems that every day that passes our nation takes another giant leap away from the teachings of the Bible, which were the very principles upon which our Founding Fathers established our country. We are very close to laws being established that restrict freedom of speech and the teaching of the Word of God. Travis Weber of the Family Research Council recently warned that if the current trend continues, those who refuse to endorse same-sex marriage could face “fines, potentially imprisonment.” We are living in both troubling and exciting times. The church is about to experience very serious persecution in our own nation, but God’s Word tells us to comfort one another as the return of Christ draws ever closer.

How should Christians respond to this trend? Share your thoughts below and pass this along to your friends by clicking the social media links.

Is it the Forerunner of the Mark of the Beast?

microchipBrace yourself. I anticipated this last year when our beloved Heidi was picked up by the pound (she is our Jack Russell terrier not my daughter). When I paid the fine, the “dog catcher’s assistant” informed me that they had inserted a microchip into her body for future tracking. I think what they meant was they did it so they would know who to come after if she got out again. Anyway, I began thinking about how this technology is not far from moving from dogs to humans. I imagined how the concept would be sold to the public. Consider how easy shopping would be if every time you put something in your buggy, it was put into your “cart” for checkout. You wouldn’t even have to pay at the cashier because once you walk out the door of the grocery store, the money is transferred from your bank account to the grocery store’s account. Sounds helpful doesn’t it?

A new Swedish innovation has been unveiled that some people are touting as the next technological move that will sweep the globe. The innovation is not really new because Fido may already have one (or in my case, Heidi). People are actually having microchips inserted into their hands to do things such as unlock the doors to their home or office or to store passwords to certain accounts.  The author of the article I read said, “Swedish entrepreneur Hannes Sjoblad, who started the “biohacking” industry in his homeland, thinks it’s only a matter of time before people use chips to ride public transportation, pay for groceries and track fitness.” I try not to be an alarmist when it comes to last days kinds of issues, but can you see where this is going? The book of Revelation tells of a mark the Antichrist will require people to have during the Tribulation Period: And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:16-17). I remember when I first learned of this when I was a teenager, I couldn’t imagine anyone being willing to have this done. Now, I can see how it will be slipped into our culture as a great, technological advance that will make our lives better. If you think about it, that’s how debit cards became in vogue. One author wrote about this new microchip: “We foresee a future in which everyone will have an implanted chip that will benefit our personal lives as well.”

Jesus said, “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come” (Mark 13:33). I’m sharing this article not because I believe the Tribulation Period will start next week, but because Jesus told us to “keep on the alert.” As the return of Christ gets closer every day (though we don’t know exactly when He is coming), we must be diligent in sharing the gospel and be prepared for increased spiritual conflict. I offer a guide on how to prepare to stand firm during this time in my newest book, Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days.” Jesus is coming again, and the signs are all pointing to it. Don’t let anyone convince you that he knows the date, but just know that Christ is coming again. Will you be ready?

Our Freedoms Under Attack

FreespeechIn my book, Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days, I share that Christians can expect to be persecuted in the days ahead. We have a Christian brother who is being persecuted and whose 2nd Amendment rights have been trampled. I am speaking of Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran of Atlanta. He published a book entitled “Who Told You That You Were Naked,” which is book about what the Bible has to say about sin. Within the book, he refers to homosexuality as being a sin – which of course the Bible does say. The mayor of Atlanta did not like Cochran’s position on this issue, which means the mayor does not just disagree with Chief Cochran but also with God, so he fired Chief Cochran. This is deplorable and quite frankly, shocking. Where are all of the people who marched in New York to protest recently? Where is the ACLU? There should be a national uproar over trampling the rights of an American citizen for one of the freedoms we hold dear – the freedom of speech. I’m writing this because I think Christians must voice their concern and outrage at this unfair treatment. Fire Chief Cochran is a member of a Baptist church in Atlanta and wrote the book on his own time and self-published it originally as a Bible study on the topic of sin. Please sign a petition that is distributed by the Georgia Baptist Convention and voice your opinion to Mayor Kasim Reed. The petition and contact information for the mayor can be found at this site: http://gabaptist.org/petition. If the mayor’s office was flooded with letters and e-mails expressing our outrage, I believe it could make a difference in reinstating the chief. I’m sure Kasim Reed has future political aspirations, and he must know that U. S. citizens do not look favorably on political leaders who use their authority to attack a basic American freedom. In Paris, terrorists attacked the freedom of speech by murdering 12 employees of a magazine publisher. In Atlanta, this freedom was attacked by firing the Fire Chief. Something must be done to not only protect Chief Cochran but also to protect the U. S. Constitution.

Last Days Questions – Part 2

lastdaysI recently had the privilege of speaking at Wall Highway Baptist Church in Madison, Alabama about preparing to stand firm in the days leading up to the return of Christ. A number of questions were sent to me in response to the message. I answered a few in my last blog post, here’s a few more.

Someone asked whether or not the United States was mentioned in the Bible in regard to the last days. There really is no definite reference to the US in Scripture, or specifically Bible prophecy. Ezekiel 38:13 has a subtle mention of what appears to be the colonies of Great Britain, which obviously could be a small reference to the US: “Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages will say to you, “Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?” The word “villages” literally means lion cubs. With a little imagination, you could say that Tarshish refers to Great Britain and the lion cubs are all of the British colonies. I think this is a bit of a stretch. Others have tried to use various passages to refer to the US, but the bottom line is that the United States does not seem to find a place in Bible prophecy. I believe that is because the United States will be of little consequence in the world by the time the Tribulation Period starts. It pains me to say that, but there really is not another explanation. It could happen through economic failure or terrorist attack. It could happen through a merging of nations (there has been talk of merging the countries of North America into one nation). Regardless of the reason, the Bible does not specifically mention the US in prophecy.

Someone else asked, “If all these things (deception, falling away, etc) are supposed to happen, how then should we pray?” In my book. Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days, I describe the various pieces of spiritual armor and their connection to things that will be happening in the last days. Prayer is a vital part of putting each piece of armor in place. I encourage people to take each principle represented by the armor (truth, righteousness, salvation, peace, faith, hearing the Word of God) and pray over that principle. For example, you could say, “Lord, thank you for your truth that is sharper than a two-edged sword. As I go through my day today, please allow your truth to open up my heart and my mind so I can see myself as you see me. Penetrate even to the dividing soul and spirit as you help me discern my motives and actions today. Help me to act on the truth and apply the truth. As I am confronted with the lies of the evil one today, help me to stand firm on the truth of your word. Please protect me from deception, and help me to proclaim your truth today through my actions and my words.”

I think we should also pray for the church today because the church is under great attack. The spiritual battle will affect churches, pastors, and missionaries. Pray for God’s protection and strength. Also pray for our children. Satan wants our children, and we must fight for their souls and their hearts. Pray that God will prepare us for difficult days that will include economic struggle, persecution, and heartache. Ask God to help us be prepared for the unparalleled opportunities we will face as His return draws near. We must be sharing our faith and proclaiming the good news.

Someone else asked, “How would it change your approach if rapture involved evil leaving and us ruling on earth?” The Bible does say that we will reign with Jesus during the Millennial reign of Christ, but it also says that God’s wrath will be poured out on the earth before that time. I do not believe this will happen just because God is angry. I believe it is in part because God is offering one final opportunity for salvation for those who are unbelievers. Some people believe that things will continue to get better and better, and we will be ushered into the Millennial Reign, but I do not believe the Bible teaches that, and our experience certainly discounts that. I do not believe we can watch hundreds of Christians being murdered by ISIS and think that things are getting better. I could sit and imagine how my approach would be different, but I believe the Bible does not indicate that evil will be raptured. 1 Thess 4:16-18 is very clear that Christians will be raptured.

Someone asked if I think the Antichrist is alive today. I believe the rapture could happen in my lifetime, and if it does, then the Antichrist would be alive today. He may be a little boy being raised in some Arabic community, or he might be a young man serving in some minor political office. It is only conjecture because we do not know when Christ will return. If you believe in an imminent return of Jesus, then you would have to believe the Antichrist is alive. I think the rapture could be any day. I think things are going to have to get worse before the Tribulation Period begins, but this could happen quickly. I do believe the Antichrist could be alive today.