Question # 290….(05-05-06) In Psalms 23, what is the rod and the staff that comforts us?
Answer…..The pictorial analogy conveyed in the 23rd Psalm is one of a loving Shepherd tending for his Sheep. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” and it continues to include the portion you inquire about. (Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.) The Psalmist pictures himself in the Valley of the shadow of death, yet he is reminded that the Lord (the good shepherd) is with him. He refers then to the rod and staff of the Good Shepherd. A shepherd often used a rod (shebet) for walking, and usually selected a walking rod to be a stout stick that he would always have in his possession to use to fight wolves off from the sheep. Moses carried a rod when he became a shepherd, and lent its use to the Lord to lead the children of Israel, like sheep in a wilderness. A walking-defending rod can also be described as a large branch, and of course the prophet Isaiah depicted our Lord as the Good Shepherd, or The Branch, an offshoot of Jesse, from the House of David that shall reign and rule this world with a “rod of iron”, and not just with a breakable wooden Shepherd’s stick. (Psalms 2:9, Rev. 2:27; 12:5, 19:15) The Lord’s rod is unbreakable! The law of the Lord will one day be absolute, and He will reign with wisdom and might and establish peace and righteousness.
A staff (mish’ enah) was also a strong walking stick that provided stability to the traveler, but it also symbolized authority. Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Joseph and David all carried a staff with them on their sojourns. A staff was simply a rod that had been decorated or emblazoned with an insignia of authority or equipped with a spear component for leadership or for fighting.
When the Psalmist states that the rod and staff of the Good Shepherd comfort him, he is basically acknowledging that Jesus uses His rod (defense stick) and Staff (rod of authority) to ward off the evil one and the wolves that want to attack us. Of course, God’s word is often viewed as a guide, and a light, and as a rod to keep us on the safe and straight pathway, (away from the pits of danger) and as a staff to remind us that he is our loving sovereign Shepherd! (John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.) (John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.) The Lord has given his life for us so that we may be assured of eternal life, and since we know the integrity of the Shepherd, we can take comfort that He will be with us even in the valley of death, and, as the Psalmist concludes; that we can know that we shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever!
Question # 289…..(5-17-06) I study the bible and the news a lot since 9-11. I have been reading all I can about Islam and Middle East history. I am at a loss as to why when the President of Iran say's again and again that Iran is awaiting the Hidden Imam and that chaos must happen before he can appear, and continues on to say that Iran must help the world chaos happen. Why is no one reporting this?
Answer…..Most news outlets, particularly those based in the West overlook everything the fanatical Islamists say, and pass it off as nothing more than Arab bravado. Yasser Arafat also used to say the most vile and provocative things in Arabic, and then say another for English consumers. Arafat was never held accountable by the media for his double-speak. Most Westerners simply cannot fathom the maniacal ideology that pervades the Islamic mindset, and the deep rooted hatred that lies therein for Israel. Many westerners tend to expect that the Arab world is simply a culture given to emotional outbursts that play on the overdramatic. In fact, the West is somewhat intimidated by the fanaticism of Islamic fundamentalism, and by virtue of their desire to mentally dismiss the threats emanating from the Middle East, they choose to settle back into their comforts zones, and allow the rhetoric of hate that resides in the Islamic-Arab anti-Israel psyche to go unchallenged. A good example currently is the fact that Iran says it is pursuing nuclear power for peaceful and energy purposes, but then their leaders boldly assert that once they obtain a nuke, they will exterminate Israel. This is rhetoric that the liberal West wants to dismiss, because they don’t wish to stand up and fight against anything. The liberal pacifist mindset thinks that all people are rational and pragmatic, and that all problems can be worked out through reason and compromise. The liberal-humanistic philosophy does not understand demonic hatred, for they matter of factly do not believe in God, nor in Satan. Through their pragmatic humanistic concept of tolerance, they are blinded to the threat posed by Iran, and the forces of darkness that permeate our fallen world.
Islamic tradition says that the Mahdi will be a descendant of Muhammed through his daughter Fatima. When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad boldly declares that "Israel must be wiped off the map," he is actually quoting an earlier Iranian leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini. He doesn’t quit there either, but adds that, "Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation’s fury." The Islamic Mullahs that have overtaken the leadership in Iran are actually the willing puppets of a demonic host known in the Bible as “the prince of Persia.” This demonic Prince is utilizing the religion of Islam to gather a force against Israel. According to Shiite Muslim teaching, Abul-Qassem Mohammad, the 12th leader whom Shiites consider descended from the Prophet Mohammed, disappeared in AD 941, but will return at the end of time to lead an era of Islamic justice. Ahmadinejad says; ‘Our revolution’s main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the 12th Imam, the Mahdi.’ Shia Muslims believe that Imam Mahdi is the only son of Imam Hasan al-Askari (the 11th Imam) who was born on 15th of Sha’ban 255/869AD in Samarra, Iraq. Imam Mahdi then went into occultation (or his status as Hidden. He is supposed to re-appear when Allah wills. Shiites acknowledge Jesus, but only as a minor prophet, and one who will worship and follow the coming Imam Mahdi. Though there are differences in Sunni and Shiite belief, they both hold to a "second coming" motif, in which the Mahdi comes to lead Islam to world conquest. Though the Sunnis and Shiites disagree about the lineage of the Mahdi, both would rush to support him, if the word came that he had unveiled himself. Christians viewing the present situation in Iran and Iraq should remember that over eighty percent of the combined Shiite population are Twelvers. In the 1,132 years since his demise, Allah is said to have given the Mahdi the power to hide. (It is ironic that all these demonic entities such as the Mahdi and the Queen of Heaven are supposedly hidden until a chosen day) Twelvers teach that Muhammed Ibn al-Hasan, the Twelfth Mahdi, will come back to this world in the last days, in visible form as the great Imam Mahdi. He will bring peace to all the earth, and justice to all men. During the years when the Ayatollah Khomeini ruled Iran, many elevated him as the long-awaited Mahdi. Some referred to him as the Mehdi, a term that emphasizes Messiahship. The Twelvers teach that after the return of the Imam Mahdi, Jesus will return to become one of his followers, to stand up and pay homage to the Twelfth Imam.
I am presently writing an article on the “Prince of Persia”, an article that details the demonic principalities that invoke inflammatory venom against God’s strategic interests in this world. The prince of Persia is an old adversary that battled against Israel once before. This principality is a minion of Satan, and He is active right now, religiously and geo-politically, working to instigate tensions in the world against Israel. If we could see the unseen forces arrayed in battle formation in the world, it would frighten most of us to death, but they are indeed out there, and the rhetoric being vomited out of Iran these days is just one piece of the evidence that the legions of Hell are rising to inflame the world to war against the Lords chosen people. Satan is using the false religion of Islam to foment an uprising targeting Israel. In Satan’s strategy, he is using the eschatology of Islam to encourage the Mullah’s to incite the masses in a rage against Christianity and Israel. We call it the clash of civilizations, but in reality, it is a pre-Armageddon clash in the supernatural world that Almighty God is allowing to rise, so that HE can judge the nations in the Valley of Decision!
Question # 288…..(04-25-06) I wanted to see what you thought about the secularist efforts to change the calendar designations BC and AD from their Christian based origin to the politically correct designations B.C.E. and C.E.
Answer…..The modern secular trend to append dating abbreviations with B.C.E. and C.E. are a byproduct, usually of the anti-Christian political proponents for the Separation of Church and State. The socialists and secularists promote the idea that since the whole world is not Christian, it is unconscionable and intolerant for the West to force the non-Christian world to observe the historical calendar references to Christ. The ACLU is more often that not behind most of the attempts to erase any historical or traditional attachments our nation has to the religion of Christianity. The ACLU was established by the Socialists in the 1920’s as a means of eradicating everything to do with Christianity in America. This was, and has been a decades long strategy by the Anti-Christian proponents to leaven the power of the Fundamental Churches of America, so that the US could be absorbed into a Socialist Democratic universe that would eventually cojoin with the center of Antichrist political power based out of the European geo-political theatre. The Kentucky case against the BC-AD time scales indicates to me that the ACLU is going another step further to assist in the elimination of how the West measures time in history. One of the things that will be an affront to the Antichrist is the fact that the world still measures Time according to when Jesus came into the world. One of the things the Antichrist will do when He assumes power is to change the way history measures years and time. The traditional Western and Christian-based BC and AD designations are based upon the measurement of time before Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea, (Before Christ-BC) while the AD, or Anno Domini designation is a Latin phrase, meaning, in the year of our Lord. These designations have served western culture as a method of measuring time since the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Dates and events throughout history have been referred to as BC and AD since the incorporation of the Julian calendar in the 8th century and the later revised Gregorian calendar in 1582. Thus, the usage of BC and AD in the West commemorates the two millennia since Christ’s birth as a different epoch in world history. The BC-AD time-measuring system serves as a way of marking the Christian era from the epoch of pre-Christ Israel. The numbering of years per the Christian era is currently dominant all around the world in both commercial and scientific use. Presently, it is even the common international standard, recognized the United Nations. This is due both to tradition and to the fact that the solar Gregorian calendar has for a long time been considered to be astronomically correct. By utilizing the history of the Bible, Anglican Bishop James Ussher derived that 4004 BC was the likely date of Creation. Bishop Ussher used the chronologies of Genesis Chapters 5 and 11 to accurately calculate the amount of time back to Adam from the death of Nebuchadnezzar. The prophecies of Daniel (chapter nine) detailed a measurable time-line counting down to the birth of Christ. The Christian dominated West has thus dated its calendar counting forward from Christ. Ironically, this is also how God is now checking time, which brings me to a special prophecy in the book of Hosea. "After two days will He revive us, and in the third day, raise us up," and we (Israel) shall live in his sight, wrote the prophet. (Hosea 6:2) In verse eleven of this chapter, the prophet also predicted; "O Judah, He hath set an harvest for thee, (Israel) when I returned the captivity of My people." Twice in Scripture, God reveals His own reckoning of time as compared to mans. "For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night" (Psalms 90:4). "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2nd Peter 3:8). So, the physical restoration of Israel into the Promised Land signals that God himself is counting down the time since Christ was born into the world towards the epoch day when HE moves to harvest a kingdom for Israel. It has been nearly 2000 years, or 2 days in Gods reckoning, and the signs of the times point to the fact that it is about time for God to return unto Israel. The prophet Daniel also alluded to thought process the eventual Antichrist will engage in: (Daniel 7:24-25 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.) As the world marches ever closer to the Empire of the Antichrist, we as Christians should be aware that one of the many things the Antichrist will seek to do is to eradicate any connections to Jesus, and one of those is the way in which we presently describe history in the BC and AD vernacular, and its historical association with Christ.
Question # 287….(04-19-06) I am a Christian and was always interested to know about some specific prophecies in the Bible, especially concerning Israel and the Arab world. I love the Israeli although I am not a Jewish/Hebrew/- I am just an Ethiopian. When I see every movement of the Arabs, Russia and China I some times find myself almost to hate them. Why do they want to destroy the state of Israel and the people of God? Any way today I read your article, Iran in Bible Prophecy and the Prince of Persia and understood better why this is so. But my question is (1) Is America also going to be against Israel? (2) What is the final fate of America? Will it fall? Why, since it is Israel's real supporter? (3) Is the Anti-Christ from Europe or from the Islamic world? I hope I will get the answers for this. God bless you and your ministry - in Jesus' name!
Response…….We as Christians must always remember that Christ loved the whole world, (He is not prejudiced against anyone) and came and died for the sins of all mankind. It is unfortunate that so many people have rejected his gift, and that so many nations are blinded to His Truth. As Christians however, we must pray for our enemies, and hope that the Gospel of Christ can reach their hearts.
In the final analysis, as the world nears closer to the Armageddon scenario, the Bible says that ALL nations of the world will confederated against Israel, and that is because Satan is the Prince over the nations of this present world system. (Zechariah 14:1-2; Joel 3:2, 9-14; Isaiah 34:1:3; Psalms 2:2-8; Psalms 83; Matthew 24:9; Luke 21:20) Russia will eventually lead her allies (Ezekiel 38) in a giant invasion against Israel from the North. China will also have allies in the East, and lead a coalition of nations across the Euphrates (Iraq) in an all out assault against the Western powerbroker. The Antichrist, during the Tribulation era will have been granted universal power by the Global governance system of the Ten Kings, but he will find opposition at the midpoint of the Time of Trouble in the North (Magog) and East (Daniel 11:44). These three spheres of Global power will confront each other over the perplexing and burdensome conflict in the Middle East. The Arabs and their demonic religion of Islam will continue to inflame the seeds of anti-Semitism that pervades the whole world and compel all three Global power centers to encircle Israel. Oil is the primary tool of enticement the Arabs are wielding for all nations to confederate themselves against Israel in the Final Showdown. Hatred of Israel is a product of the power of Satan, and His great hatred for God’s chosen people, and their King; “Jesus Christ.” This is the basis of world-wide phenomenon of anti-Semitism. Satan is seeking Israel’s total annihilation, as it is his strategy to discredit God’s pledges to Israel, and to establish His Son on the throne of David. Prophetically speaking, I easily foresee that America will someday soon lose its preeminent position as the superpower of the world, because Bible Prophecy reveals no great benefactor for Israel during their hour of Trouble. America’s demise will come about through several things. One of those factors is the prophesied Rapture of the Church, which will see the US losing millions of its people. Also, the US-dollar-based world economy will suffer as America disintegrates from power. America will most likely be amalgamated into a greater EU or something akin to a trans-Atlantic superpower, and become the basis of the empire of the Antichrist based out of Greater Europe. When these political and strategic geo-political shifts occur, America will be coerced into altering its foreign policy towards Israel from its current pro-support to a position that accommodates the ambitions of the Ten Kings, who will grant their power unto the eventual Antichrist. Personally, I foresee a coming Day of Judgment for America, primarily because it has abandoned its Christian roots, and Jehovah God, in favor of a secularist democratic society that is conducive to a cultural environment that is suited to the acceptance of the Antichrist. That impending judgment will be allowed by a just Almighty God and may come in the form of devastating terrorist attacks, and or economic upheaval. We as Christians should pray that America will repent of its national sins, and continue to truly support Israel, instead of strong-arming Israel’s arm behind its back and forcing it to compromise on its Promised Land. The USA is guilty of condoning the so-called Peace Process that is only aimed at appeasing the Islamic blackmailers who hate Israel, in the hope of retaining Oil Supplies in the Arab world. The US is blindly hoping that the Arabs will accept a 2-state solution, when in realty, bible Prophecy reveals that the Arabs will never accept Israel on any terms. The on-going UN peace process is a charade of Antichrist strategists aimed at ensnaring and uprooting Israel, and establishing a Global Governance apparatus over the whole world.
Question # 286….(04-17-06) How can you claim that the god of Islam and the god of the Bible are not the same God?
Answer….Well, there are several reasons that the God of Islam and the God of the Holy Bible cannot possibly be the same God, but a couple mentioned here should suffice.
(1.) The God of the Bible foreordained before the creation of the world that He would manifest himself as the Son of Man in the body of Jesus Christ to be the sacrificial Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. Jesus Christ was therefore the Son of the Living God. Allah lays no claim to sacrificing himself for anything, and rejects the Divine concept of there being any Son of God.
(2.) Islam is the only modern “religion” that actually orders a death sentence for anyone who dares to break the chains of domination and believe in any God other than Allah. The God of Islam, Allah, cannot be the same god as the God of the Bible, for Jehovah God plainly says; “Thou shalt not kill.” Muslim scholars state that to leave Islam is an insult to Allah, and is therefore punishable by death. If the God of the Bible is the same as the God of the Koran, how then, could God be insulted as long as one continued to believe and worship the one true God? If Allah and Jehovah were the same, how could He be insulted just by people changing subject religions when He is supposedly the god of both? For many Muslims, it is not devotion to Islam or Allah that keeps them going to the mosque, it is fear. Any Muslim who converts to Christianity is under the mandatory penalty of death by “Allah.” The god of Islam is bloodthirsty, and unforgiving, and unloving. The God of scripture is patient, loving, longsuffering, not wishing that anyone perish, but that all come to the knowledge of the truth. The god of Islam and the God of the Bible are totally different in their character. That is not to say that Jehovah God cannot be a God of wrath. While God is loving and just, HE will not forever strive with men’s persistence in sin and unrighteousness, but He will bring all to a just judgment.
Question # 285…..(03-28-06) Will the Antichrist be of Jewish descent, or have a Jewish background?
Answer……The ethnicity, and or national and religious background of the future Antichrist cannot be absolutely determined from scripture. However, the Bible does give indicators that he will be of Gentile and quite possibly of European or Roman descent. (Some scholars would also assert that the Antichrist could possibly come from the Greco-Assyrian domain, which would be typecast as the eastern leg of Daniel’s great image.) That the Antichrist is not Jewish can be seen from biblical paradigms, or prophetic typology, and from the prophecies of Daniel. Most commentators agree that Daniel chapter 11 depicts Antiochus Epiphanes, a Seleucid ruler, and a Gentile, as one who typifies the future Antichrist. Nowhere in the Bible is a Gentile ever seen as a type of Christ; and for good reason too since Christ Himself was to be a Jew. Since Antiochus was a Gentile, then the pattern is established that the Antichrist will also likely be a Gentile. Secondly, biblical imagery supports a Gentile origin of Antichrist. Scripture pictures Antichrist as rising up out of the sea (Revelation 13:1; 17:15). In prophetic literature the sea is often presented as a panoramic image of the Gentile nations. Thus, Antichrist is seen as a Gentile progeny. The nature of the era known as the "Times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24) supports a Gentile Antichrist. It is agreed by most premillennial advocates of eschatology that the period known as the Times of the Gentiles does not end until the literal second coming of Jesus Christ. Thus, it should be readily agreed that the Antichrist will be the final ruler in the Latter Days of the Times of the Gentiles, and therefore not likely to be a Jew. (Daniel 2:34-35, 40-44) This prophecy concerning the “times of the Gentiles” depicts the ten kings giving rise to the final Gentile ruler (Antichrist) who will be destroyed by Christ Jesus when he returns to establish His kingdom. If this is so, how then can a Jew be the last ruler at a time when only Gentiles are forecast by prophecy to have world wide dominion? To say the Antichrist is to be a Jew would contradict the very nature of the Time of the Gentiles. Bible Prophecy from Daniel not only indicates that Antichrist will be Gentile, but it also hints that he may come from the dominion of the ancient Roman Empire. This is understood from Daniel 9:27 where the one cutting (confirming) the covenant with Israel is said to represent the revived Roman Empire, since it was the Romans who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70AD. Finally, that the Antichrist is a Gentile ruler is also the thrust of Revelation 17:9-12. This prophetic passage says that the Beast (John's term in Revelation for the Antichrist) is one of "seven kings" (17:10), thus, a Gentile (Roman) ruler. (17:18) This eighth beast would come from among the former seven, and so in Revelation 13:3 he is depicted with one of his heads (mountains) smitten unto death, and later being restored, and demanding the worship of the whole world. The idea that the Antichrist will be a Jew smacks of Anti-Semitism, which is a strategm of the demonic realm. Even though the Bible loosely hints that the Beast will come from a former world empire, the Bible specifically makes it a point to avoid tying nationalities to the identity of the Antichrist. Nation-states, in reality are a relatively modern mechanism of governance. The Bible seems to veil the actual ethnical background of the Antichrist to prevent the undue discrimination against certain peoples, such as the Jews. Many scholars espouse the idea that the Antichrist must be a Jew for Israel to accept him as their Messiah. But in reality, the prophetic word makes no such assertion. The Antichrist will seek the worship of all nations, (not just the Jews) and by crafting an all inclusive peace process in the Middle East will lead all religions to accept him as the “One” worthy of worship. In fact, when the Antichrist enters into the newly raised Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, and proclaims Himself to be God, Israel will rebel against him. It is ironic that in these serious times, most religions in the world are anticipating the arrival of an “enlightened one.” The Muslims are looking for the Mahdi, the Jews still await their Messiah, others look for an avatar or a cosmic christ, and Catholicism teaches that the Church will have to go underground and emerge later when the Pope establishes the kingdom of the Church. All these things point to the fact that the Antichrist and his cohort the False Prophet will have to work some mighty miracles to compel the whole world to worship the Antichrist. And this He will do…..(Revelation 13:11-14 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.)
Question # 284…..(03-27-06) Where will the raptured Christians be located during the time that the Millennial Kingdom takes place on earth? I wrote to one ministry and they told me that only Tribulation era saints will reign on the earth. This is a confusing matter to me.
Answer…….Usually most of the confusion about where Church era Saints will reside during the Millennium stems from the reference made specifically about the Tribulation saints in Revelation chapter 20. (Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.) Many people consider the fact that John specifically designated these saints that refuse the mark, image, and worship of the Beast as an indicator that only they will live and reign on the earth with Jesus Christ when he establishes his kingdom. However, while the Tribulation Saints will indeed reign with Christ, it is also true that Church era Saints will also return to reign with Christ on the earth. All who have a part in the first resurrection shall reign with Christ on the earth for the thousand year kingdom. (Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.) Some other scriptures that correspond to this view are the following: (Isaiah 35:10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.) The book of The Revelation describes how that we are made kings and priests unto God and that we who have served and suffered for the Lord shall also reign with him when He comes. (on the earth) (Revelation 1:5-7 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.) (II Timothy 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us) (Revelation 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth .) Paul informed the Thessalonians that Christians would be with the Lord forever. (I Thessalonians 4:16-18 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.) Of course at the end of the Millennium, Christ will deliver up the Kingdom to His Father, and we shall live eternally in the New Heaven-earth and the New Jerusalem. The most comforting thing to remember, regardless of one’s whereabouts in the Millennium is the fact that we shall ever be with the Lord!
Question # 283…..(03-14-06) If the rapture is taught in the Bible as you insist, then why wouldn’t God simply designate when it was to occur or include some signs for its occasion?
Answer…..I cannot pretend to know the mind of our Lord, but I know that everything he does is for our welfare and well-being. Personally though, I think God did not divulge the time of the Rapture for two or three reasons. (1.) God knew the tendency of human nature was to procrastinate and to scoff and doubt. Since Jesus instruction to his followers at his ascension was for us to be busy about the spreading of the Gospel, he refrained from divulging too much information about the time for the rapture. (2.) Until his ascension back into Heaven, and His enthronement as the Worthy Lamb, Jesus could not reveal the specifics of God’s Revelation. (3.) Thirdly, and perhaps the clearest reason for keeping the rapture date a Divine providential secret (thief-in-the-night setting) is that once that information was conveyed, it would have also permitted the Devil to be knowledgeable of the timing. Thus, God in his infinite omniscient wisdom by keeping the rapture secretive has confounded the Satanic conspiracy and the logistical strategy of Antichrist. But even with the rapture being scripturally cast as a thief-in-the-night (unannounced) event, there are still signs to indicate that it is imminent. One such indication is from II Thessalonians 2:1-3: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;”) One sign that certainly indicates the nearness of the rapture is the Great Falling Away (apostasy) within the universal church. Our gathering unto the Lord (rapture) is closely followed by the emergence of the man of sin.
Question # 282…..(03-07-06) How do you know for sure that there is such a thing as the Millennium?
Answer……The Millennial Kingdom is actually referred to in both the Old and New Testaments. The term “millennium” has come to be used to describe the era of time when King Jesus will literally reign universally in this world from his throne on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. The term” millennium” is from the Latin language and simply means one-thousand. The reality and promise of the kingdom of the Lord, although noted in the OT, remained a mystery, undefined in its duration and timing until it was further depicted in the prophecies of The Revelation of Jesus. In chapter twenty of The Revelation we gleam several facts about the Kingdom of the Lord. (1.) Satan will be bound and incarcerated in a bottomless pit prison for exactly 1000 years. (2.) During this period, the saints of the Lord will rule with Christ on the earth for 1000 years. (3.) After the 1000 year reign of Christ, Satan will be loosed from his prison, and recruit a vast number of rebels and wage his Last Stand against the Lord, whereafter he will be cast into the lake of fire along with his followers. (4.) Immediately after Satan is destroyed, the Great White Throne Judgment will take place, enforcing the sentence of all unrighteous of all ages to Hell. The one-thousand year reign of Jesus Christ is alluded to by many OT scriptures, such as the following: (Zechariah 14:9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.) All the prophets contributed information about the kingdom. For instance Isaiah chapters 11 and 35 describe the natural environment of the Kingdom. Micah chapter four describes the majestic royal legal reign of Christ when his law shall be the law of the land, and peace will prevail. Isaiah 2:4, Joel 3:10, and Micah 4:3 depict the absolute sovereign authority the Lord will exercise during His reign, and to the peace of the Prince! The whole point of eschatalogical emphasis surrounding the miraculous re-gathering of a remnant of Israel into the Promised Land is so that God can fulfill his covenant to make of Israel a great nation, and send a King (in the line of David) unto her that will establish the kingdom pledged to her, and to make her the head of the nations. The 70th week prophecy of Daniel reveals that the Lord will only be crowned and anointed most holy after the restitution of Israel. Only the Pre-Milllennial position holds to an actual literal thousand year period in the future when Christ will return to this world and destroy his enemies and establish the kingdom the Disciples inquired of Jesus about, 2000 years ago. To hold to any other position on the 1000 year reign of Christ, requires one to explain away hundreds of prophecies that depict literal circumstances. The mere fact that Satan is not bound in chains today should be evidence enough that the literal and physical kingdom of our Lord is yet future.
Question # 281…..(03-06-06) Couldn’t there possibly be a gap of time between the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation? And if so, wouldn’t that throw cold water on there being any significance to all this end-times speculation?
Answer……I realize that there are a lot of writers that theorize that there is a rapture gap. However, I do not proscribe to that theory. I firmly believe that Daniel’s prophecy concerning the yet remaining 70th week of Israel’s historic 70 weeks (490 years) of judgment is set about the seven year span of the Tribulation era. The 1st 69 weeks (shabuim) of these weeks ran their course through the crucifixion of Jesus. (Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.) God foreknew that Israel would reject their Messiah, and that he would be caught up into Heaven. God’s plan for Israel also necessitated their Diaspora and a later return of a remnant. The restoration of Israel by a remnant of Jews in 1948 signified that the nearness of the 70th week was not long away. The rebirth of the nation of Israel should always have been a clear sign to the Church that its program in this world was drawing to its climactic close, and that God would return his program for Israel to the world’s center stage. The information concerning the 70th week alone does not preclude that the Rapture cannot occur well before the start of Israel’s 70th week, or the Tribulation period. However, Paul, writing to the church at Thessalonica gave us further details concerning its timing sequence. (II Thessalonians 2:1-7 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.) Paul refers to the ongoing “mystery of iniquity” that Satan is orchestrating as his counter strategy to God’s plan in the present world. Satan’s master plan of conspiracy is to plant his own man (Antichrist) on the throne in Zion, as opposed to God’s plan to see Jesus (the rightful heir) seated on His throne in Jerusalem. (This supernatural battle is the whole basis of today’s conflict in the Middle East) Referring to the apostate antichrist, Paul tells us that Satan’s plan for antichrist is being withheld from realizing its final stand until the “hinderer” or “restraining power” is removed in that functionality. Only after the restrainer is removed will Satan be permitted to make his final push for world power. This hinderer-restrainer is pictured as gradually having become a diminished power by virtue of the fact that the Church has become fallen away from it power-supply. There is only one entity that meets the detailed requirements described by Paul, and that entity is the Holy-spirit endowed Church. God, Christ, and Holy Spirit are omnipresent, but the spirit indwelled believer is not omnipresent. Paul further stipulates that as soon as the Holy Spirit indwelled church is removed, Satan attains the leverage to unveil his Antichrist, and will quickly move to consolidate his worldly powerbase. The Rapture event will be a moment of opportunity for Satan. For the very and only first time in human history, he will have no hindrance in carrying out his conspiracy. Satan has been chomping at the bit for this unique opportunity for thousands of years, and He won’t waste a second in marshaling his minions of Hell to establish his antichrist in Jerusalem, inside a rebuilt Jewish Temple, exulting in seating himself upon an abominable throne, and proclaiming himself to be God, and demanding that the whole world worship him. This act, known as the abomination of desolation is a mid-tribulation (mid-70th week) event and precipitates world events that work to move the world towards Armageddon.