A Faithful Brother in the Lord is Called Home

I saw the news today that Pastor Ken Silva, the President of Apprising Ministries and author of the blog at www.apprising.org that we link to on the right has been called home to be with the Lord. I am torn between joy for my brother that he is free from the suffering of this life, safe in the arms of the Lord , and grief that I will have to wait until the Lord calls me home to meet one of the men who’s faithful handling of the word taught me so much from the time I just a baby as a Christian.

My prayers is that more and more of us will step faithfully and boldly into the proclamation of the truth as we are called. While we are all here to watch for the signs of the Lords let us never forget the object of our watching, and the one who we are to proclaim to the nations until he comes. I think if we remember the legacy of faithful Christian men and women that have come before us – and we remember Ken, they would want most to be remembered for pointing others to the truth of the Gospel.

“Don’t you say, ‘There are still four more months, then comes the harvest’? Listen to what I’m telling you: Open your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ready for harvest. John 4:35

I can imagine my brother received a hearty “well done my good and faithful servant” today from our Lord. I pray someday that all of you and I will hear the very same.

Linking to his second to last post here on the Power of Prayer . We are so blessed to serve such a powerful, loving and gracious God.

http://apprising.org/2014/09/24/power-of-prayer/

The one who opens and shuts

I’ve been thinking about a part of Revelation that many of us skip quickly through when we are looking for the good “eschatological” bits to assemble our pretty charts and tables and spreadsheets about the end times. Not that any of those things are bad in and of themselves, as good Bereans we should be searching the scriptures and comparing one passage to another to see how they all fit together. Recently though I keep coming back to Revelation 2 and 3, the letters to the seven churches.

Today I’m thinking very much about Revelation 3:8

I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. (Revelation 3:8, ESV)

He is the one who opens the door – and he is the only one who can shut it. How is a door that’s to be kept closed stay closed – it has a lock.  As I’ve been watching the events unfold in the world these past few months, without really posting much, I finally had this moment where I was able to put to words what I’d been thinking about what I’m seeing. It is like the tumblers inside a lock are slowly being maneuvered into position so that the lock will pop open at exactly the right moment. Those tumblers being in position, I believe, is the fulfillment of every single prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled before the second coming of Christ.

Specifically, looking at what is going on this week in Russia and Ukraine – we see the unmistakable emergence of a new (yet also old, but new for this century) and powerful force in Russia under Putin. Where there was one great power in the world after the fall of the Soviet Union – now we see that even the formerly mighty United States dare not oppose this new aggressive stance of the Russian leader. As the Bible identifies in Ezekiel 38-39, a power from the North with Persia, Turkey, Libya and Sudan will one day attack Israel and be utterly destroyed by God. We see the Obama administration in the Unites States continue to posture and threaten to not come to Israel’s aid if it doesn’t keep with the current leaders framework for “peace” with “palestinian” proxies of the region’s Arab leaders. We know that at the critical moment, that Israel will have to depend on God alone (Zechariah 12:2-8) and He will defend them personally. We see the rising power of a huge country in the East that many fear will make war with it’s neighbors over a number of territorial disputes, one that is rapidly building up the capability to field a huge army and we know has the labor and industrial manufacturing capacity to field a military of frightening scale (say 200 Million men) in a very short time.

Right now both the EU and the US look exceptionally weak, economically, militarily, and morally. As many of us agree, it is that weakness that will invite the crisis that invites a wicked leader of terrifying power, the rise of the little horn that will uproot 3 of the ten.

We’ve already seen so many small moves, I think like the methodical click, click, click of the tumblers in a lock moving into position.

click click click

Israel is reborn

Rome reappears shortly thereafter

Israel is in under constant threat from its neighbors (a time of trouble)

The balance of power in the world crumbles and new players emerge

Rome continues to rise again as an economic power (but a weakened one) Daniel 2 again

The power of the North aligns with Persia, Libya and Sudan – and soon I expect more and more with Turkey as unrest there continues to grow

Egypt falls into a state of chaos and weakness and does not emerge from it (as Isaiah predicted)

A huge power rises in the East that has an excess of men who will never have a chance to marry due to its evil childbearing policies, and cultural preference for sons- one with a huge industrial base that could be shifted to military production in the blink of an eye (like the US did in WWII)

click click click

Do you see any more tumblers on the lock moving into place? I’m sure I’ve forgotten a ton. This would be a great place to point out those verifiable events (not secret conspiracy theories or wild youtube rants) where we can plainly see a resemblance to prophetic events we know or suspect are yet in the future.

Someday soon the clasp on the lock is going to pop open (sooner perhaps for some of us) and the door will be open that no one can shut for those of us that love the Lord. Let’s be ready, and let’s be about our Master’s business while we await his return for us.

The Criminalization of Christianity

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 1 Peter 4:12

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Above is a guy who is quite well known in the US – Phil Robertson from the Television show “Duck Dynasty”.  He and and his family have since the inception of their show been up front about their Christian faith, and never shy about sharing the Gospel. Now we see this week Phil has run afoul of the worldly powers that be who have decided it is not permissible to say a critical word about homosexuality.

Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson suspended by A&E for comments on homosexuality

The interesting thing about this story – from comments I’ve seen from Phil in the past, I don’t think he really cares that he was taken off the show, but this illustrates a growing trend in the US and across the world that we need to be aware of and watching.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but this week I kept seeing a theme repeating itself over and over.  Christians are no long being allowed to follow the commands of scripture without risking prosecution or great civil liablities.

COLORADO JUDGE: Bakery Owner Discriminated Against Gay Couple By Refusing To Bake Wedding Cake
In Colorado – a bakery is being told they MUST make a cake for a homosexual wedding that goes against their Christian beliefs.

Family Says They Did Tip Gay Server, Didn’t Leave Note

The above story was a hoax perpetrated by a misguided homosexual activist seeking attention. The most troublesome part was the family accused responded by gushing over how supportive they were of gays in order to dispute the story. What if this had happened to a bible-believing Christian couple? Would the media have believed them or would they now be facing discrimination charges or a lawsuit of some kind – all due to an evil self-serving hoax.

Outside of these stories, American businesses are being forced to adopt secularized values and reject the Christian beliefs of their owners or shareholders:

U.S. asks Supreme Court to review Hobby Lobby’s birth control mandate challenge

The US Supreme Court has taken up this case, and I believe we expect to hear a ruling on it and several related cases sometime next Spring. I am not hopeful that they will support the rights of people in business to have and express Christian beliefs in their place of business. This will continue to put a chilling effect on Christian speech and further marginalize those who claim the name of Jesus as savior both culturally and economically.

In the UK the story is much the same with this result earlier this year:

Christian B&B owners Hazelmary and Peter Bull ‘forced to sell up’

 

So did we know this was coming – Yes.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, ” 2 Timothy 3:12

I think it is a surprise though to many in the west especially in lukewarm churches that there will be a cost to truly following Jesus. I expect the trend continue among the lukewarm, as they are spat out of the Lord’s mouth that they will turn even farther from biblical faith and reject the true Christ of the Gospel.

But as adopted Sons and Daughters of the most high – even though trouble is coming we need not fear.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
(Psalm 91 ESV)

 

Prime Minister Netanyahu once again acknowledges the fulfillment of Bible prophecy

This popped up in my facebook feed this morning from Joel Rosenberg:

Netanyahu declares to world leaders: “In our time the Biblical prophecies are being realized.”

I think it’s fascinating that God would put a man in leadership over Israel who is well versed, and seems to be becoming more well versed in scripture. While it seems he does not know Christ- he is seeking God in the scriptures which is a good start. I would love to be a fly on the wall on the dark night of the soul for Mr. Netanyahu if God should choose to reveal the identity of the messiah to him in someplace like Isaiah 53. I guess I’d love to be a fly on a the wall in any place where someone is having their savior revealed to them for the first time – what a joyful moment that is for us that are in Christ!

Anyway, we all speculate here that soon Mr. Netanyahu will have many more scriptures to point to that illustrate how God’s promises are sure – and how is blessing on Abraham’s descendants will not be broken.

The Daily Sacrifice – the Tamid

All around the world we see the growing evil as the weight of sin takes its toll on a world that seems all too happy to give itself over to depravity of every kind. We know that some day soon the God of the Universe will pour out his wrath on this and bring justice to the place where evil has been allowed to flourish. I’m not writing about Syria – it seems to be balanced on a razors edge, a country filled with horrors of every kind as evil is unleashed and it takes its toll on so many in there – and is about to be multiplied as the President of my country weighs his options for a military attack.

This post is not about that – it is about the words that God has given us through the prophets, and from the lips of his only Son that will tell us when the time has come for his return.

For a long time I speculated, with great uncertainty about what this meant:

From the time the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1, 290 days. Daniel 12:11 HCSB

I’m still speculating, but something I’ve been watching in the news I get each day has my attention. I was always puzzled – by the term “the daily sacrifice” – did it mean the slaughter of a lamb in the temple, was it something that was about to happen some Passover (and then didn’t?). I guess I’m not that smart because I kept on looking at all these high holy days for the people of Israel to renew their tradition of sacrifice when I should have been digging a little deeper than that.

A couple weeks ago I was scanning through my facebook newsfeed and saw something from the Temple Institute –

EXCLUSIVE: TEMPLE INSTITUTE OPENS NEW SCHOOL FOR TRAINING PRIESTS

beit-sefer-kohanim-events

What caught my eye is that they kept mentioning training the Kohanim for the “Tamid”. I had seen that word before – it took me a while to remember.. ok I had to Google it – to realize that I’d seen that word before in Daniel 12:11, Daniel 8:11-13, and Daniel 11:31.

Now it was bugging me – why hadn’t I noticed this before that the daily sacrifice meant a daily service by the priests at the Holy Temple. I went back to my concordance again – how many times did this show up in scripture – 104 times… ugh.. that’s going to be a lot to dig through, but then I started noticing something – it meant a few different things and only in a few places was It written a certain way

הַתָּמִיד֙

and then did it mean daily sacrifice – in Daniel and in Numbers 28 where the scriptures spell out specifics about the daily offerings and those to be made on holy days in addition to the daily. So my point is – this scripture points to that prescription for what the priests are to do each day in the Temple. Got it.

Now back to what got my attention – The Temple Institute started training the Kohanim (men who can trace their ancestry to Aaron), to perform the Tamid – or daily sacrifice. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around what this means. They claim they are doing “dry runs”, “training”, “practice”, they used a fake sheep – but they are doing it and from the articles I’m reading it sounds like they are doing it regularly now if not every day.  I guess this makes me wonder out loud – do we still need a temple to be built? Part of me hopes yes – what a sign that would be of the days we live in if a new temple would stand on the foundations of the Temples built by Solomon and Ezra.

Go to their website – www.templeinstitute.org or visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Temple-Institute/22738684968 to see a LOT more.

What if though, the Kohanim were doing this every day, and by some future turn of events their ability to do this was taken away by forces from the Antichrist regime. Perhaps they would say if it become widely publicized, that it’s “too provocative” or “too offensive” to muslim sensibilities who fear that the Jews will demolish their mosque and rebuild a temple. Would that be taking away the daily sacrifice in God’s eyes, taking away of the Tamid? I don’t know, but this development seems to bring us a lot closer to the day we are all anxiously awaiting, the day our Savior’s foot is firmly planted on the Mount of Olives to establish his kingdom here on earth.

I also saw this the other day:

Area Near Al-Aqsa Mosque Collapses

Israel might not have to demolish the buildings that stand there now – they might collapse due to the muslims own foolishly building on unsteady foundations, or God himself may decide that those particular celebrations of man’s depravity have stood their long enough.

A picture of the hole: https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/1175516_10150353869344969_961628246_n.jpg

We all know what comes next- the abomination of desolation is set-up on a wing of the temple – then as my current favorite TV personality Silas Robertson says, “It’s on like Donkey Kong!”

Inching toward Ezekiel 38

As a matter of course nearly all prophecy watchers have speculated about when and how the prophecy of Gog of the Land of Magog will be fulfilled.

In previous posts we have identified the players :

Turkey – identified by the names of several descendants of Noah in the text (Magog, Meshech, Tubal)

Iran – aka Persia

Sudan – aka Cush

Libya – aka Put

Russia – aka the hordes of the uttermost north, there are no nations North of Russia that I know of if you draw a line on the map north from Israel.

The trouble we’ve had thus far is that Turkey is still officially aligned with the west via NATO and hasn’t shown a clear official or diplomatic alignment with Iran and Russia as of yet, which would be a precursor to the attack that Ezekiel recorded in his prophecy from God. We watch Turkey suspiciously since their government under Erdogan has had an Islamist tilt that is unprecedented in at least the past century since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. A tension has existed for quite some time between Erdogan’s government and the military who have been of a more secular, pro-western faction of Turkish society.

It appears that secular, pro-western, pro-NATO command of the military may have been swept away this week with the appointment of 4 new high level military commanders within the Turkish Heirarchy.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/major-sweep-of-turkish-top-brass-by-the-government-.aspx?PageID=238&NID=51959&NewsCatID=338

It’s hard to say for sure – but it is something to be watching for sure. I’ll be watching the attitude these generals take toward cooperation with NATO and the EU in the near future. If we are right and Turkey is moving to align more closely with Russian and Iran, I’d expect a souring relationship with NATO and the west.