God Protects Israel from Hamas

israel-newspaper-theirgodchangesrocketpathinmidairAmazing!! That’s really all I can say, though I should not be surprised. I just read an article on Inquisitr entitled, Israel Miracle? Gaza Strip Hamas Complain: ‘Their God Changes the Paths of our Rockets in Mid-Air.’ The article is repeated on several news outlets, and Joel Rosenberg wrote about it as well on his blog. The article tells of numerous missiles that were shot at Israel only to have them mysteriously pushed off course by an unseen force. I watched an interview last night on Fox News where a representative for the Israeli army explained basic information about how Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. The representative explained that the system measures the trajectory of the missiles and launches a counter attack on the missile to intercept it in the air before it can land in Israel. The report said that around 500 missiles have been intercepted, but I thought it interesting that a total of 3500 missiles have been launched toward Israel. I thought then that it was odd because I couldn’t imagine Hamas just blindly shooting into Israel without targets. Tonight, thanks to my friend George Rogers, I read about God’s intervention in this battle. While some of these missiles should have hit their target, God used things such as a strong wind to blow the missiles off target causing them to land in the sea or in areas where no people lived.

God will protect Israel. The world will eventually see that while the world is pulling away from Israel, God is not. Ezekiel 38-39 tells about the future Russian coalition attack on Israel and how God will protect Israel. These events of God’s deliverance of Israel we are seeing today, that will probably not make it onto most news channels, are a small glimpse of what is to come. Pray for the peace of Israel and for the salvation of those who do not know Christ.

Putin: Political or Prophetic?

PutinVladimir Putin, president of Russia, has an agenda, though we may not fully understand it. While many political leaders are trying to figure out Putin’s next move and trying to determine how to stop his strategic acclamation of more territory, the Russian president simply thumbs his nose at Western leaders and stays his course. Julia Loffe wrote in the New Republic: “Russia, or, more accurately, Putin, sees the world according to his own logic, and the logic goes like this: it is better to be feared than loved, it is better to be overly strong than to risk appearing week, and Russia was, is, and will be an empire with an eternal appetite for expansion.” What is really going on? What is Putin up to? I think we can return to Bible prophecy to answer these questions.

Russia is going to lead a coalition of nations against Israel in a battle called the battle of Gog and Magog described in Ezekiel 38-39. For Russia to head up such an attack, what do you suppose would have to be true about Russia?

  • They will obviously need to have garnered some respect and influence in the region.
  • They will need to know that they can initiate such activity without western interference.
  • They will need strong respect from the Arabic nations who hate Israel.
  • They will need the military resources and backbone to be able to arm their soldiers for such an invasion. (One can only guess what rich, industrial resources Russia will gain by taking over eastern, Russian speaking Ukraine. They have already secured the home of the Black Sea Fleet in the Ukraine.)
  • They will need to have no fear of the U.S. or any other nation who may disagree with what they are doing.
  • They will need to position themselves as friends with anyone who hates Israel and promote a global intolerance of the Jewish state so Israel will look like the bad guys.

Maybe we could all put our heads together and list additional reasons, but my point is that all of the things we see happening today are leading to an end that was prophesied thousands of years ago in the Bible: leading a coalition of nations in war against Israel.

We cannot date when all of this is going to happen, but I do believe there is something to Putin’s strategy to ensure his role as president of Russia. All of this could linger for another 100 years, but it sure seems like something is building now. It could take 15, 20, 25, or 50 years to develop or it could happen in the next five years, but it is coming. We do know that Putin will be president until at least 2018. We must respond by praying for Israel, sharing the gospel freely, doing everything we can to reach the nations with the gospel (this includes the unreached people groups of the world), preparing ourselves physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially for what may be difficult times ahead, and preparing our children to stand strong for the cause of Christ. We are living in challenging but exciting times. Jesus said to be alert and watchful. Be diligent and faithful. Jesus is coming again.

Israel – Alone

Israeli soldier stands beneath a flagI sat watching the news last night feeling as if Bible prophecy was being lived out before my eyes. Actually, I predicted nearly three years ago that the world would become more and more anti-Semitic, but I suppose I am still shocked by how much of the world seems to be opposing Israel (see my blog on November 10, 2011 – “Iran”). The Bible predicts in Ezekiel 38 that when Russia and the five-nation coalition attacks Israel, Israel will not have an ally really stand with them. They will stand alone. If you read through Ezekiel 38-39, you will not find any other nation standing with Israel. The significance of the world opinion right now, which is anti-Israeli, goes right along with the prophecy. I am amazed that anyone would criticize Israel for protecting themselves when attacked, and I am amazed that anyone would be so harsh toward Israel when civilians are hurt in Gaza because Hamas is using civilians, including children, as human shields. As I am sure you know, Israel has agreed to a cease-fire, but Hamas has refused. My point is not to make a political statement, but rather it is to point out that once again, God is right. Israel is gradually losing the global support, even the support of American leadership. When this attack does happen sometime in the future, that is the attack of Russia and the other five nations, there will be no allies to stand with Israel. Just watch as the world continues to back away from Israel, and know that this is but one more sign of the coming end of the age.

What do we do? Well, first of all, pray for Israel and pray for our nation’s leadership. Anyone who sides with Israel’s enemies are on the wrong side. Remember that Israel is the apple of God’s eye. Our nation’s leaders need to beware. Secondly, prepare for growing spiritual warfare. As the return of Christ draws closer, spiritual conflict will intensify. This is actually the topic for my new book that I hope to have out sometime in the near future: Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days. Thirdly, look for the opportunities that will be abundant during the days of difficulty. There will be many opportunities to share your faith and serve others in Jesus’ name. Fourthly, study the Word of God as never before. Great deception will spread in the days ahead, and we must know the truth of God. Finally pray. I know I said that first, but Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:18-20 to pray all the time in all ways for the conflict is too challenging for us to engage the enemy of our souls alone.

One final thing I didn’t mention. Get ready by making sure of your relationship with Christ. Are you truly saved? If you died today, are you certain that you would spend eternity in heaven? If not, why not right now tell Jesus that you surrender your life to Him? Confess your sin to Christ, and tell him that you give your life to follow Him. Jesus is coming again. The prophecies in the Bible will come to pass. Are you ready?

Could Hamas’ Refusal for Cease Fire be Prophetic?

ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN-GAZA-CONFLICTHamas has refused to sign a cease fire treaty with Israel as the Israeli hating terrorists continue to send missiles into Israel. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated on Wednesday that the only solution for the region is the destruction of Israel, and that the armed confrontation must expand beyond Gaza. While these events are terrible in that human lives are at stake and the instability in the region affects the whole world, is there any other significance to these events regarding Bible prophecy? While I realize that you cannot put a date and a time to some of the prophetic events of the Bible, you can study them and compare them to current events in an effort to see if it is possible for the stage to be set for the events the Bible predicted would happen before the return of Christ. The Bible prophecy of specific interest to me is found in Ezekiel 38-39. God led Ezekiel to know of a future battle that would take place between Israel and a five-nation coalition led by Russia. We know without a doubt that three of the five nations are Iran, Libya, and the region of Sudan/Ethiopia. The other two nations are possibly Turkey and Germany. Ezekiel said there would be other nations with them as well. It seems quite easy to me to see how the events going on today in the Middle East could lead to such a war. Russia is continuing to grow in prominence and is moving further away from the United States and closer to the Arabic nations who see Israel as their arch enemy. Ezekiel indicates that Israel will stand alone against this great attacking army, but they will have one decisive ally: God. This great battle will be over quickly as God will step in and miraculously deliver Israel.

One thing that is significant about this prophecy is that Ezekiel says that Israel will be living securely before this battle begins. Consider the words of Ezekiel 38:8 “…[Israel] has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety.” Has there been a time when Israel has lived in safety since they became a nation in 1948? Not really. Ezekiel goes on to describe Israel as having “unwalled villages” and being a “peaceful and unsuspecting people—all of them living without walls and without gates and bars.” There is only one way that this could happen. Hamas and others in the region will have to be eliminated or the region will have to come to some type of strong peace agreement. It is difficult for me to imagine Iran and Hamas agreeing to peace with Israel. It is easier for me to imagine Israel destroying Hamas and her other enemies or at least rendering them so weak that they are of no consequence. While one cannot say for sure that today’s events are certainly leading to the Ezekiel 38 war, it is easy to see how it could.

Continue to watch the news and read the Bible. Jesus commanded us to be alert as to current events because they are signs of His return. What are your thoughts about what is going on in the Middle East? Do you think it could be setting the stage for the fulfillment of Bible prophecy? Share your thoughts below and pass this on to your friends.

Are Tornadoes A Sign of the End Times?

tornadoapproach660_20140617_070012Two deadly tornadoes demolished a town yesterday in northeast Nebraska killing a five-year-old and injuring nineteen others. Half of the town was destroyed. The twisters were about one mile apart wreaking havoc through a small town north of Omaha. One eye-witness said, “It was like God dragged two fingernails across the land.”

Has this type of destruction been normal throughout history or has it been on the increase in recent years? As I think back in my life, I do not remember experiencing natural disasters in such frequency as we have in recent years. It is possible that I was just not aware of it as a young adult or as a child, but I am very aware it now. My family and I were at home late one night in 2011 when a tornado hit our home, so I know that experience has heightened my awareness of tornadoes. Studies regarding the increase of tornadoes are inconclusive due to changes in the method of record keeping. However, it still seems to me that there are more deadly storms than ever in the past. My question is, “Does this have any bearing on whether or not we are living in the last days?”

Matthew 24:7-8 says, “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” Jesus predicted that not only wars would increase as time was drawing to an end, but also there would be great natural disasters: famines and earthquakes. The word “earthquake” comes from the Greek word seismos. We get our English word seismology (the study of earthquakes) from this word. It is interesting to note that the same Greek word that is translated earthquake in Matthew 24 is used in Matthew 8:24 where the New American Standard Version of the New Testament translates it as “a great storm.” While the word can certainly be translated as earthquake, I think there is a broader concept that can be applied that involves a meteorological disturbance. I believe Jesus was pointing to changes in the weather and an increase in all types of storms. These disturbances will be a sign, and Jesus said it is the beginning of birth pains. This means that they will grow in intensity as Christ’s return draws ever closer. The Tribulation Period will be filled with horrific events, but I believe that even before the Great Tribulation starts, the birth pains will continue to grow ever more pronounced. What does this mean for us? We can anticipate disasters to be on the rise and tornadoes and earthquakes to be commonplace. Jesus is giving us warnings, and He is calling us to be on the alert. This means we should be actively sharing our faith, following His Word, and living by faith. Not only must we face such disasters with faith and not fear, but we must comfort one another with the reality that Jesus is coming again.

What are your thoughts? Do you think tornadoes have been on the increase? Reply below and share this blog with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Cashless Society – A Sign of the Times

a-cashless-societyI am a fan of Wendy’s and consider one of the corners of the restaurant near my church to be my office annex. Recently, Wendy’s began a program offering cashless purchases, and it made me think about what seems to be a concerted move in our country toward a cashless society. The New York Times recently reported that banks and retailers are trying to develop new payment systems using cell phones, and they’re working on ways to protect customers’ personal information. Wendy’s is just one of many merchants seeking new payment systems. What does this mean for us? While the convenience of a cashless society would seem to be desirable, there are several things that one needs to consider.

The most obvious concern in our privacy driven society is the danger of your privacy being threatened. We’ve already seen the potential of this with the Target debacle, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Hackers will forever be finding new ways to tap into secure systems in an effort to steal identity and finances, but hackers are not my only concern. Our government seems to be working harder to gain access to our personal lives, and we cannot help but wonder where all of this infringement upon our privacy could land. We learned not long ago that the NSA is more involved in snooping upon U.S. citizens than we once realized, and those who have less trust of our government fear this breach of privacy has no end.

I believe that in the last days, government will not always be our friend. The Bible does point to persecution of believers in the last days, and we are finding that government officials are gaining greater access to our personal lives than ever before. If a particular government became rogue or even not friendly toward Christians, our current technological advances will make it easier for the activities of Christians to be traced bringing about greater opportunity for persecution. I realize these words might make me sound like an alarmist. The Bible does point to greater persecution, and for that to happen in the U.S., it seems to me that it will need government sanction.

Another thought about a cashless society is that it will make it that much easier for the mark of the beast to be administered to unsuspecting citizens. The Bible says in Revelation 13:16-17 that a mark on people’s foreheads or the back of the hands will be required for the purchase of basic goods: “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.” I think it is clear to see how this mark will be a natural by-product of a cashless society.

Jesus told us to be on guard for the signs indicating we are in the last days. Stay alert. Things are happening that will ultimately lead to the return of Christ. Are you ready?

Lawlessness Points to the Return of Christ

Evil_EyesSomething is terribly wrong! I recently read of an unbelievable crime that took place last week in Waukesha, Wisconsin. This crime did not happen downtown in a large city like Atlanta or Chicago. Waukesha is a small town with a population of less than 9,000 people. This was not gang related or even connected to drugs. The crime involved an attempted murder on a twelve-year-old girl by two of her friends. The victim was stabbed nineteen times by her friends as the perpetrators sought to impress a fictional, ghoulish character on the internet who appears in horror stories. Both suspects had a fascination with stories about death and horror and planned this assault on their friend in an attempt to act out their fantasy.

The Bible teaches that the last days will be a time of incredible lawlessness. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 says that this lawlessness must happen before the return of Christ: “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.” While this passage is speaking specifically of a time called the Great Tribulation Period, we know that the days leading up to the beginning of this seven-year period will be times of great spiritual darkness. The “man of lawlessness” will be a chosen leader during the Tribulation Period, but I believe it also means that he will be alive and well before the Tribulation starts and before the Rapture of the Church takes place. I also believe that Satan is working to create an environment where the “man of lawlessness” will be accepted. This is happening now. The story of this attempted murder in Wisconsin sends chills down my back as it seems to be nothing less than demonic. Satan is working to lead people, and even children, to do the unthinkable. The darkness around us is growing as the stage is being set for a spiritual conflict unlike any conflict ever experienced in history.

I have no doubt that the last days are upon us. Jesus told us to be alert and to be on watch. He is coming again. Let’s be diligent and faithful as we await His return.

The Midnight Hour

Have you heard the story of the Missouri principal who angered atheists with his comments about God in a graduation speech? You can view a news report online or read an article about the incident. The principal reminded people at the graduation ceremony that even though the nation’s motto, “In God We Trust,” is on U.S. currency and “God is reflected in the very fabric” of the nation, it is inappropriate to mention God at a secular ceremony. Being that prayer is not politically correct, he gave the crowd an opportunity for a moment of silence. After the silence, he told the people that “in case you’re interested, during my moment of silence, I gave thanks to God for these great students, their parents, their teachers and for this community.”

 As you can imagine, there has been a backlash from atheists and the P.C. police, who feel called to make snuffing out religion and its free exercise their mission in life. I can’t help but feel that our founding fathers are rolling over in their graves. George Washington would have been banned from the podium with this comment, “While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” If John Adams were still alive, I suppose he would never be asked to speak at a graduation ceremony if he included this quote from a letter he wrote to his wife: “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival

It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.” Patrick Henry is remembered most for his “give me liberty or give me death” quote, but here’s another one that would stir up the p.c. police: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Last_Days_ClockI could go on with so many quotes from founding fathers pointing to our religious heritage, but my purpose is to emphasize that we have drifted far away from the original moorings of our nation. You could look at this from a number of angles, but consider the fact that a moral and religious decline is prophesied in the Scripture. The Bible says that this kind of deterioration will happen before the return of Christ. Is it possible that the hands of God’s clock are ticking ever closer to the midnight hour? Consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:9-12: “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” Paul was led by God’s Spirit to write these words in 2 Timothy 3:1-5: “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these.”

 I think by reading these words, you can see that we must move into a time where Christianity becomes a small voice in society. Should we be surprised that principals are being threatened if they use God’s name in a graduation address? This is just a small step to lead to a Matthew 24 or 2 Timothy 3 kind of world. Jesus is coming again. I believe we are in the last days. The Church must stand strong and be obedient to God’s call.

Sin on Steroids

As it was in the days of Noah…

In the last few days, we all stand in shock as the news fills our minds and our television screens:

Six killed and thirteen wounded as a Hollywood director’s son goes on a killing spree because he felt that girls were not attracted to him. A seventeen-year-old girl was beaten nearly to death, allegedly by her boyfriend, for tangled fishing lines. Former New England Patriots football star kills two people because he was bumped by someone in a bar causing him to spill his drink. The daughter of two Hollywood stars walks topless through Manhattan to protest Instagram’s nudity policy.

What is going on? Are people going crazy? What we are seeing is the steady, moral decline of a nation that comes in response to the belief that morals are not absolute, life is cheap, and there are no consequences for sin. Some of the insanity could be attributed to mental instability, and no one would doubt that. Regardless of your conclusions, there is no doubt that our nation is slipping down a slide of immorality and degradation, and our slip does not seem to be slowing.

I return to the prophetic phrase from Matthew 24: “As it was in the days of Noah.” I wrote recently about that phrase commenting that it certainly pointed to the surprise return of Christ, but it must also reflect upon the rampant sin that described the culture before the flood. There is no doubt that our culture is consumed in self-interests, immoral lusts, and murderous reactions to uncontrolled anger. While the Bible describes numerous things that will be happening when Jesus returns, sin on steroids is one of them. One cannot help but look around at what is going on around us and realize that the moral fabric of our society is becoming unraveled. Jesus is coming again. Get ready. Trust Him as your Savior. Seek Him as your Guide. Surrender to Him as your Lord. Jesus is coming again.

As It Was in the Days of Noah

I just heard about Jeff Kinley’s timely book, As It Was in the Days of Noah. In light of the recent big screen debut of the movie Noah (made $44 million during its opening weekend), Kinley’s book calls attention to the real significance of this Old Testament story. Regarding the movie, don’t go to the theatre expecting to see a movie version of the Bible story. Hollywood took great liberties to write a script that did agree with the Bible. While the story of God destroying the earth, except for Noah’s family who was delivered in the ark, is a significant and true story from the Bible, it is Jesus’ reference to the ancient story of God’s judgment that should tweak our attention. Matthew 24:37-39 states, “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” There are some important parallels between Noah’s story and our story.

One parallel is that our world is full of iniquity and flagrant disregard for the things of God. It was this disregard that brought about the world-wide flood that killed every living thing that was not safely sheltered inside the ark. Our world is currently displaying this same contempt for the things of God. One cannot help but feel that we are quickly moving to a place in our world where God can no longer tolerate the wickedness that abounds. Some Bible translations, like the English Standard Version, stress the condition of the days of Noah in verse thirty-seven of this text: “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” While there are more families serving the Lord than just one, we cannot help but consider the darkness of our day and wonder how much longer our Lord will wait until He returns.

Many translations seem to focus the attention of Christ’s words on the surprise of Christ’s return, as compared to the surprise of the global flood. No one believed Noah and scoffed at his warnings. People were shocked when it began to rain (It had never rained before), and I am sure many of them raced toward the ark in hopes of being delivered. It is also possible that even though they were warned by Noah, they were so deceived that they did not realize their death was imminent until it was impossible to seek the refuge of the ark. The Bible says that Jesus is coming again, and His return will catch the world by surprise. Jesus is coming again. Will you be ready? You might want to check and Kinley’s book and decide for yourself if we live in a world that is similar to the days of Noah.