In our last article, I addressed the most common question that I am asked by people who are curious about Bible prophecy, “why prophecy? Why now?” How do we really know that we are living in the “last days?” For myself, the answers can be found in the words of Jesus in Luke 21. In this passage Jesus gave us two very specific events that we know have happened in human history. The first was that there would come a day when Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed and all the Jews would be dispersed throughout the world. This was primarily fulfilled in 70 A.D. when Rome did just as Jesus predicted. The second part of what Jesus said, “Jerusalem would be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles is fulfilled.” In other words, there would come a day when Jerusalem would no longer be controlled by Gentiles.
Israel became a nation again in 1948, but it wasn’t until 1967 that Jerusalem came back under Jewish control. This recent event is the direct fulfillment of the words Jesus spoke almost 1900 years ago. Let’s be honest, after 1900 years we just might need a little help in making a case that Jesus could actually be coming soon. Then in the same passage Jesus says, “When you see these things happen, then stand up and lift up your heads because your redemption draws near.” As Christians we are called to know our Bibles and to know what is happening in the world today. When we see these two things converge, then we must begin to try and wake up the world to the impending return of Jesus. I believe that the church today as a whole is either not aware of the prophetic parts of the Bible or they are not aware of what is happening in the world today. To this end we will use this series of articles, along with the clear cipher given to us by Jesus, to show that the Bible and our newspapers are converging like never before.
As we begin searching for the convergence, I want to bring the following passage to your attention:
- 2 Thes 2:1-4 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 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. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first (rebellion / apostasy / departure / revolt), and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition/Apollyon; 4 Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. KJV
While we are not going to take on all of this passage on right now, I do want to make it plain that before Jesus comes, there is going to be a great falling away. Other translations use rebellion, apostasy, departure and revolt. While there are certainly other theories about the full extent of what this word means, I am going to cover this from the more traditional perspective. Just for another perspective, there was an interesting article in “Prophecy Watchers” on 05/2017 by Dr. Andy Woods where he outlines that historically “falling away” could also be translated departure. Dr. Woods believes that this departure is likely to refer to the rapture. While the article represents an interesting possibility, the problem for me is that the entire passage is emphatically trying to show that there are going to be some pre-requisites to the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.” Dr. Woods does not include the first two verses, but they are unique in that they directly address two separate events. Whether they happen on the same day is up for debate, but neither of them can happen until the man of sin is revealed, sitting in the temple of God and showing himself to be God. Since this “Abomination of Desolation” happens in the middle of the tribulation, many have used this passage to justify their belief in mid-tribulation rapture. For most of us, the idea of the church being gathered to Jesus is typically thought of as the Rapture of the church. So if the rapture cannot happen until the departure — which is the rapture — then this passage just doesn’t make any sense. Why can “the rapture” never happen until the rapture happens? Unless the gathering, like the one mentioned in Mark 14:27, is not the rapture or there is more than one rapture. Stay with me on this as this next point as it gets a little tricky. Some have asked the question just how the first rapture, which resurrects the dead and provides an escape for the church, wouldn’t also be necessary for those who are killed or survive the tribulation. Nonetheless, this is a can of worms that I am not willing to open up right now. If you are interested in examining the rapture further, then I recommend the series “Introduction to Prophecy,” which you can find on my website at prophecydays.com. When it comes to the rapture, I believe God has simply left us to debate these things and I would never break fellowship over something like the rapture. Gary Stearman of “Prophecy Watchers” seems to agree that even though there is a great deal of disagreement over the rapture, that we shouldn’t separate further based on this issue. See the article by Gary titled, “Things Hard To Be Understood, Peter, Paul And The Church.” For myself, I believe that God did not give us prophecy to predict the future, which even includes the rapture. I believe God gave us prophecy so that we would know that God knows the future. This means there is a heavy veil over prophecy and that we may not know some things are going to happen until right before or sometimes after they happen. For now, let’s proceed with the idea of a great falling away of the church as being a sign of the soon coming of Jesus.
When I think about other passages that might give us some more information about exactly what this coming great decline in faith might look like, I think about 2 Timothy 3:1-9.
- But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. NKJV
While I do think this passage speaks for itself, I do want to point some things out. The first is that this passage tells us when this situation will happen, “in the last days.” While the laundry list of evil is certainly impressive, I tend to run through most of them thinking, “exactly what is specific to the last days?” It seems like most of this could be said about many eras in human history. But then comes several very interesting details – “having a form of godliness, but denying its power.” For me this is so definitive of the New Age Movement because they are so pushing for all this good in the world without acknowledging the presence of God because they are attempting to turn all of us into gods. Of course, this is the signature temptation of the Devil and as such we would expect his children to continue to use it. Since the time of Christ, I don’t believe that we have ever had a time where mankind is so obsessed with being good, but then they turn around and deny that there is a God.
The next phrase that sends me into some serious contemplation is, “always learning, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.” This is a direct reference to the educational system that is in place in the last days and it matches the education system of higher learning that we have today. Never has there been a time where knowledge has increased like there is today, and yet, morally and socially we are going backward everywhere in the world. The world has gone literally crazy! The last morsel of deeper truth that is likely to present in this passage about the “last days” is the mention of Jannes & Jambres. This is a clear reference to when Moses opposed by the evil magicians in Pharaoh’s court when he demand that the children of Israel be let go. (Exodus 7:10-12) These magicians were able to cause their rods to become snakes, and they represent powerful unseen entities that are warring against God. What I am saying is that along with this decline of the church, there is going to be a corresponding surge in evil. This may be linked to the opening of the Abyss in Revelations 9.
The idea that we could face this kind of demonic resistance again or that there could be one last “golden pagan age” that happens just as we head into the “last days” should be somewhat shocking or at least a foreign idea to most of us. This is something that the church just hasn’t really faced since its early history. I honestly believe that the reason for this is because when Jesus came out of the grave, He took dominion over this unseen realm. Wherever the church and the gospel have encountered occultism around the world, it has dried up to the point that people really wonder if there is anything supernatural in the world today. As modern Christians we have trouble understanding how Jesus cast out demons left and right or that people really worshipped gods of wood and stone, but our Bible says that it is real with real power behind them. More importantly, as we get closer to “last days” that we are likely to see a return of occult power that will fascinate people and entice them in. This is why more women leave the church these days to join Wicca than any other organization. Paul tells us exactly the same thing in Ephesians 6:12, “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Funny how we quote this verse so often, but we don’t actually act like anything else is going on or that we are involved in a spiritual battle. As the time of Christ’s return gets closer, I believe we will continue an ever growing amount of demonic activity causing many to resist the truth, corrupting young minds and becoming quite adversarial to those who have faith.
A great falling away must also mean that there are going to be a great many false churches that are preaching a false Gospel that glorifies a false god. Some of these false churches that we see today are preaching a religion of works, but the Apostle Paul is quick to point out the folly of such ideas.
- Gal 3:1-4 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? NKJV
Even in the church, the ecumenical movement is now in full swing and the number of players is growing. The one world religion of those who are “spiritually enlightened” is gaining ground as we speak. A religion is actually seen as the enemy and we must form a one-world religion in order to bring the world together as one. Chrislam (the fusion of Islam, Christianity and Judaism) is real as mankind tries to bring the danger of religion back under some kind of control. No longer can Jesus be the only way. In fact, we don’t need saving, just as long as we aren’t actually bad compared to someone else. I mean, as long as we weren’t Hitler right? Any religion will get us there as long as it isn’t the God of the Bible. The problem is that the Bible tells us that there would come a day when pastors and teachers would give to the people what their itching ears so long to hear.
- 2 Tim 4:3-8 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. NKJV
This passage confirms something what I have turned into one of my rules for evaluating any given doctrine or teaching. “Be careful of anything that is exactly what you want to hear.” Our false-self, our false-dreams and desires are huge motivators for our beliefs. This verse is telling us that if preachers preach what people want to hear, then people will flock to them. Sometimes this even makes me leery of large churches for just such a reason. If there is one thing that is sure about all of us, we can deceive ourselves. Masses of people can deceive themselves even easier because we get the peer pressure affect. The Bible is full of warnings not to be deceived and it may be the signature condition of the “last days.”As if all of this does not cause us to wonder just how far the church can go in the wrong direction, then there are the examples of the seven churches in Revelations.
Church #1 – The Loveless Church (Rev 2:1-4:1)
- “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for my name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place — unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”‘
This church is very bright and extremely discerning because they know their Bibles so well that they can sort out the false prophets left and right. Honestly, they sound a little like the Pharisees. Their works abound and from the surface they look like the perfect church because their patience is amazing! However, they have completely forgotten that Christianity is a “love relationship” with God. They have lost the context of Christianity, which is to simply be in love with Jesus. They have reduced the gospel to the gospel of Martha instead of sitting quietly at the feet of Jesus and basking in His presence like Mary. When was the last time you just delighted in utter quiet of the Holy Spirit as the still small voice overwhelmed you with His love? When was the last time your church did this? If our motivation for all we do does not go back to the fact that we love Jesus, then in the end it will fall void and be perceived as a big gong – think “Gong Show.” (1 Corinthians 3:1) Works are great, but we cannot let works or the knowledge of the Bible replace our faith and our deep relationship with Jesus. Repent and fall back in love with Jesus by spending time with Him every day. If the church will do this, then the joy of the Lord will become our strength again and bring a fresh wind of revival to the church.
Church #2 – The Persecuted Church
- “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: 9 “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”‘
While the persecution of the church is finally getting some attention, the year 2015 was a record year in modern times based on the sheer number of Christians that were killed for their faith. Last year, 2016 also saw a tremendous number of murders as well. This situation has been near and dear to my heart. As a result, I have joined joshuacord.org in raising money to make a documentary about the extent of Christian persecution around the world. Currently we raised enough money to have a filmmaker visit 6-7 countries. We also saw a miracle happen when we received a visa to visit Syria. You know, the country we just bombed. Persecution is a reality of the “last days.” The passage that I find the most interesting is the description of the beheaded Saints in heaven, who are continually asking God “how long will it be before you avenge us?” (Revelations 6:10) Unfortunately, we are literally in a situation where the Christian population is very close to being wiped out in the Middle East and unfortunately we can expect this to only worsen around the world. I believe that we are all supposed to join together and help our brothers and sisters as much as possible. As Paul has said, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to them who are of the household of faith.” (Gal: 6:10)
Church #3 – The Compromising Church
- “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘these things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to my name, and did not deny my faith even in the days in which Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. 17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”‘
While there is some debate about the Nicolaitans, the consensus is that there may have been sexual immorality involved, which also ties into the story of Balaam who seduced the children of Israel in a similar manner. There are those who believe that there may have even been actual ritual prostitutes involved. This is entirely possible, as we know this was a major problem part of some pagan cultures where Christianity had spread to. The real bottom line here is that the deeds of this church were something that God hates and that means it was sin. Today there are many churches that are literally enticing people to sin and this is yet another sign of the fallen church. The church needs to repent and to call sin for what it is instead of celebrating it. Only then can the Holy Spirit lead us to be a witness to those around us.
Church # 4 – The Corrupt Church
- “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. 24 “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations — 27’He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ — as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘
There are those who use this to say that women should not lead at all in church. While I believe this issue is not decided in this passage, we do have to remember that during the history of the early church, female occult priestesses were common in the pagan / occultic world. As we know, Jezebel through a false type of prophetic spirit actually lead Israel into this type of sin. Here again the Bible clearly warns us against this type of situation. Sadly, any recent survey of Christians in America shows little if any difference on most of what the Bible would clearly call sin. Christians simply don’t score much different on pre-marital sex, pornography, abortion, divorce and most other moral issues. This is exactly the type of situation that Revelations is warning us of. As the true church we must hold fast till Jesus comes without compromise knowing we are not the author or the finisher of our faith.
Church # 5 – The Dead Church Revelation 3
- “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘
There are several interesting items that are brought up here. The first is that we are told that the faith of a church is dead unless there are also works that go along with those who have heard, received and held fast to their faith. This is exactly the same conclusion that the Apostle James makes in James 2:14-26. There is only one solution for a church that has works that are inconsistent with the faith of Christ. They need to hold fast or repent! The other thing that jumps out at me about this church is that Jesus wants them clothed in white, which happens to be just like a bride. The other thing that may be shocking for some is that there are those in this church who are in danger of having their name blotted out of the Book of Life. The implication here is that this type of church might end up being quite common as we get closer we get to the “end times.” While this disconnect between the walk and the talk of Christians is getting worse, we know this faith devoid of works has been in full bloom since 1998. That was the year that George Barna published “The Second Coming Of The Church.” This was the first time that we realized that there appeared to be no difference between Christians and non-Christians in the morality department. This is exactly what Revelations describes as characteristics of the Sardis and the Thyatira church.
These kind of statistics leave many of us asking, how is it possible that when it comes to divorce, adultery, drug use, pornography and, gambling that the church doesn’t score any differently that the rest of the population? While I really do preach the gospel of grace the best I can, I have to admit that something is also very wrong with the church. The modern church seems to keep sinning so that grace may abound, which something that Paul expressly forbid. (Romans 6:1) Furthermore, I am not one to espouses the doctrine of a salvation of works, but I have to say it sure would be nice to see more of them coming out of the church. The truth is that there are times that we need to examine our faith and now is one of those times. We need to see if we are really in the Lord or are we just fooling ourselves. (2 Corinthians 13:5) I believe that Revelations may be saying that this is exactly what is going to happen to the church, as we get closer to the end of human history. The sad truth presented here is that such a fruitless church just might miss out on the rapture or return of Christ because of the clear warning to always be watching for the “thief that comes in the night” is a direct reference to Matthew 24, where Jesus is referring to how people are caught completely off guard by his return.
Church # 6 – The Faithful Church
- “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept my word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie — indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial, which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘
This church is not the biggest church or the strongest church, but they have persevered! In fact, when it comes to worldly riches, they just might be the poorest around. Everyone likes to ignore them or discounts them because they are so counter culture. They just don’t care what the world thinks. When all is said and done, the world will know that this church was spiritually wealthy beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Why? Because they remained at the feet of Jesus worshiping Him and not the world. Indeed, the world will do the same to them and they will know just how much Jesus loves this church! I love this particular passage because God gives this church a promise that if they persevere, they will be kept from the “hour of trial, which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. If this idea of being kept from an “hour of trial” is speaking about the rapture, then you could also argue that many of the other types of churches in Revelations could potentially miss the rapture. A sobering thought to say the least, but none-the-less this is the only church that the Holy spirit makes this promise to. These are the over comers and they also appear to be the ones who will be reigning and ruling with Jesus in heaven. Clearly, they are the bull’s eye of what God wants His church to be and the anti-thesis to the next church on the list.
Church # 7 – The Lukewarm Church
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘these things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked — 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘” NKJV
Of all the churches talked about here, for me this is the one that especially rings true of America. The earthly riches that we have here are astonishing compared to other areas of the world. When you consider that someone making $30,000 / year is in the top 1% of the moneymakers in the world, and yet no one in America would be happy making such a small amount. Unfortunately, earthly riches can be just like the thorns in the parable of the sower. The cares, riches and pleasures of this life can choke the good seeds that God is planting in our lives, so that there will be no heavenly fruit. This church does not know that they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked because they are so distracted by their wealth and need for nothing. However, be careful when you judge them too harshly. Then there is the political climate change that has developed here in America and around the world bringing in a new day of political correctness. No longer can we speak the truth because it might offend someone. All the while, no one is more offended by political correctness than Jesus. He wants to spit them out of His mouth. Nothing is good or bad and nothing is hot or cold. For me it is astonishing that the Bible so correctly describes what is wrong with political correctness 2000 years ago.
The solution that God presents here is a little puzzling at first. God wants us to buy into the real treasure, which is a gold refined by fire. God wants us to be in white garments, so that we will be properly clothed when we meet Him. God does not want the shame of our nakedness to be exposed. None of this can happen unless our eyes are anointed and rededicated to see things as Jesus sees them. Then comes this amazing God that is so relational and makes a promise we can all take to heart. God says that if we will hear His voice and open the door to our lives, then He will come in and dine and fellowship with us. His presence in our lives is what will help us to discard the treasures of this life and be an over comer of the thorns. In the same way that Jesus will come into our lives, He will later invite us into His, to the point that we can even sit with Him on His throne. The choice between the wealth of the world and the riches of a relationship with Jesus will determine our fate. Why is Jesus telling the politically correct he will spit them out of His mouth? Because Jesus loves them and He doesn’t want that to happen to them.
State Of The Church
There are a few things about all of these passages that we need to contemplate. The first thing is that these are all churches. The Bible doesn’t call them false churches or fallen churches, and yet none of them are perfect. Each church is told something different because each church has it’s own set of problems. This is encouraging because I believe God sees all of His children this way. It doesn’t seem to matter what character of the Bible you look at, the Bible records the good, the bad, and the ugly all in the same breathe. God sees us as we really are, we would all be naked and ashamed if it were not for the cross and that needs to be kept in mind here. In Christ, there is no more condemnation, but there is a clear reality that God is calling us to maturity in Him. When we look at God’s motivations behind His dealings with these churches it is clearly one of profound love. Discipline from God comes out of love and that is why God has to say some very confrontational things to all of these churches. Some may call it tough love and I think that may be a fair assessment because for the most part each of these churches is given a fair amount of warning. The goal of the message to each church is to wake them up and to move them towards a deeper relationship with God. It is also hard to miss the clear promise of rewards that will be given to them that overcome just as Christ overcomes. This is the final encouragement that the Holy Spirit gives each of these churches and we like Paul need to press on to the mark of the high calling of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14-15)
After finishing this brief examination of the 7 churches of Revelations, I cannot think of a more adequate message for the churches that are in existence today. Sure human nature doesn’t change and the problems of mankind are age old, but the amazing relevance of these churches to the modern churches amazes me. Though many will argue that the church has gone up and down in the sliding away from or towards God, what I am saying here is that when Christ returns for His church, it is in decline. There is no exact finishing or defining point for this slide of the church, but there are many who believe that the false prophet of revelations, will lead a false religion that will ultimately worship the beast / anti-christ. To this end, we have seen this same decline in the modern church and it has not escaped the attention of the previous generations. For example, William Booth, the man who started the Salvation Army, was asked by a Bishop what he though were the biggest threats to the church were in the 20th century? This is what he said:
The church without the Holy Spirit.
- Christianity without a price.
- Forgiveness without repentance.
- Salvation without regeneration / transformation
- Politics without God (AKA – Communism)
- Heaven (reward) with no hell (consequences).
This statement certainly does stand as a thought provoking assessment of the modern church and how they have fallen away from our true calling as the body of Christ. As we continue to see the church falling away, I believe that we will come to the point that there really is no difference between Christians and the rest of the world and this is almost true now. We are told that this falling away is one of the signs of the times that we are supposed to look for. End times or not, now is the time where we need to sound the alarm and issue a call towards repentance. As a church, we need to return to our first love. We need to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying and walk in a different direction that may be politically incorrect. Unfortunately, the church is more worried about what some people will say than what the Lord says. The church is openly embracing immorality, lifting up false gods and espousing false gospels. The church, like God’s people Israel, can be caught up in a great decline. During one of these declines and falling away from God, the Bible makes this statement. “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6) Plain and simple, Jesus has ceased being the King of the modern church and now everyone does whatever they want. What kind of church will we be if we no longer look like Christ, who is the author and finisher of our faith? How do we wake them up? I personally believe that prophecy is specifically designed for this purpose! People may have become dead to the cry of “wolf,” but they are obsessed with the supernatural! I believe there is no more relevant or accurate book in understanding our world and the geopolitical circumstances facing the world today. Just as prophecy proved who the Messiah was the first time, so prophecy in these times of great deception will prove that the Bible is true and that God knows the end from the beginning.
Three More “Last Days” Clues In Luke 17
- Luke 17:20-29 – Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”
- 22 Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. 23 Men will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. 24 For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
- 26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. NIV
When you look at the first part of this passage, there are those who believe that the only Kingdom of God that we will ever see one earth is the one inside us. They don’t believe in the literal return of Jesus and the literal Kingdom of God being here on earth. The idea of the Kingdom of God being inside us is difficult to take in one breath and appreciate the true significance of this statement. Consequently, I do not want to take anything away from it by arguing against it because it is real and many books on this subject could easily be written. However, I believe there will also be a literal fulfillment as well. I go back to Daniel in the 2nd chapter when I think about the literal Kingdom of God. When God comes, He breaks in two all the other kingdoms of the world and fills the whole earth with peace so that everyone has a place to nest. This just hasn’t happened. The kingdoms of the world are going along just fine and so many people have no portion in this world. The other way I look at this is that if we believe that Jesus was a literal person, who was literally sinless, who literally died for our sins, who literally took away our sins both past present and future, who literally rose from the grave, who literally spent time with His disciples after His resurrection, who literally predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, who literally predicted the dispersion of Israel into all the nations until one day when Jerusalem would no longer be trodden down of the Gentiles, but now we are supposed to switch gears and believe that there is no literal return of Jesus. What about the warning to those who would miss it? The truth is we have no reason to suddenly believe that Jesus is speaking allegorically about His return. This is the same Jesus that His own generation missed Him because He came as the suffering servant instead of the reigning and ruling Messiah that had come to set up His Kingdom. This is the Jesus that I believe is coming and a Mr. Rodgers He is not.
The next part of this passage tells us many things, but the first is that many anti-christ’s will present them selves claiming to be the Christ. In other passages, we are also told that they will deceive many believers, but this passage goes on to confirm that Jesus will return in a very specific way. Jesus will come in the sky and flash like lightning from one end to the other. Fairly easy to see how this would be good way to differentiate the return of the real Jesus from any false ones. Nonetheless, this is our first of the clues about the return of Jesus is that there will be a good number of counterfeits. Of course, the greatest of these will be the anti-christ himself, along with the false prophet that leads the world into accepting and worshiping the beast /anti-christ. While there may not be that many currently in the running for a false christ, there are a lot of groups running for false religions that run counter to Christianity. The biggest candidate for this is Islam. Not only does Islam say the opposite of the golden rule, but also the founder of Islam is nothing like Jesus. Still, Islam is soon to become the world’s #1 religion. (For more information on Islam, go to prophecydays.com and see the teaching series with the same name.) While Islam may be a possibility of where a false christ might come, the current best candidate for the anti-christ or false prophet is the Pope. One doesn’t need to be a Protestant to believe this, because many Catholics have predicted the same things throughout history. According to the prophecy of the Popes, we are on the last one. In troubling fashion, the current Pope has called for global governance and departed from the morals held by Christians for 1000’s of years. Still, this passage warns us of the coming delusion in the form of false religions and false christ’s, so we need to be on the lookout. This same warning is repeated in Matt 24:21-25 and Mark 13:22. The detail that these passages add it that there will be “signs and wonders” that accompany these false christ’s. This is the Jannes and Jambres scenario that we have already talked about. I like to point this out to people as often as I can, because it means that there has to be an increase in supernatural occult power for this to happen. This will be an astonishing thing for most people because they don’t even believe in anything beyond what they can see, taste, smell, and touch. How will people explain this and how will these entities explain who they are? For now, I will move on, but we will explore more about this in our article next month.
The Days Of Lot
The next clue given here is that the return of Jesus will have something to do with what was happening in the “Days of Noah.” Next months article will be fully devoted to this subject, so for now we will move on here to the next clue, which is stated as being the same as the “Days of Lot.” Certainly, there are those who believe the Days of Lot and the Days of Noah were very similar, but I am going to take a more traditional view of what we know was obviously happening in Sodom. For our purposes, the Days of Lot are also the Days of Sodom and Gomorrah. The idea of rampant sexual immorality being the case here goes back to the story of what happened to the angels when they came to visit Sodom and how Lot protected them from the crowd outside his house that had come for them. The reality is that this is fast becoming the case around the world as sex trafficking is in our own back yards. Furthermore, the changing of the definition of marriage in America has not only further damaged the first institution founded by God (the family), but it has also opened up all Christians and Christian organizations to persecution because they cannot accept the law of the land. This will allow the far left to discriminate and eventually separate Christians and Christian organizations from any kind of government support, tax exemptions, involvement and even accreditation. This would have devastated the Christian community and made us outlaws. On the other hand, God as never let a little fire or persecution on His church go un-used. This may exactly what the Holy Spirit meant in the earlier passage about buying gold refined by fire.
Speaking of one of the sins of Sodom, for many of us it may feel difficult to not want react differently to the sin of homosexuality. However, it is important to note that this sin did not specifically make the 10 Commandments. Yes, it is an abomination, but so is a proud look. (Proverbs 6:16-19) Unfortunately, I wonder if I have ever made it a day without committing this sin. It is Jesus who said that we shouldn’t attempt to pick something out of our brother’s eye when we have something even bigger of our own that we aren’t dealing with. Now I’m not trying to minimize the impact here of this movement. The family is the first institution that God founded and the whole success of our society is based on it! I recognize that homosexuality, along with divorce, adultery, drug use and pornography, may literally destroy the family and our society. Consequently, we must stand against this movement the best we can. However, what I mean by the best we can is that we must try to continue to love the sinners, but stand against the sin. The challenge is to not forget that the cross was necessary for all sin, including our own. This is why we, as a church, need to be transparent about our own sin and humble ourselves before the world, so that we can share the good news that Jesus has died for all of our sins. While we may feel led to refuse to bake a cake for their wedding, we should feel compelled to make them a cake for any other reason we can think of. We must try to kill this movement with kindness, so that the love of God can make it to their hearts. We must not let the devil take the open arms of Jesus on the cross and turn them into hate. We need new and creative ways to still show the love of Christ, while we stand firm on the foundations that God has provided in His word. This will be the challenge as we move forward into a world that is increasingly hostile towards the church and our message of hope and redemption.
Remember, we just had a presidential candidate (Bernie Sanders) who does not believer that any born again Christian or a Christian who believes that Jesus is the only way should be in any public office. Unfortunately, this unprecedented persecution is also another sign that we are truly living in the last days. As we end this discussion, I hope that you can see that we are truly living in a time where the church is falling away from following God. This in and of it self is not proof that we are in the last days, but as we continue to show the great convergence, the case becomes quite compelling. Thus far we have determined that we are living in the days where “Jerusalem is no longer trodden down by Gentiles.” The geopolitical situation has progressed to the point that Jerusalem has become a “burdensome stone” for the whole world. We are living in the days where the world is starting to persecute the church in unprecedented ways and finally, we are once again living in the days of Lot. Hopefully God has gotten your attention by now, because we are just getting started!
I hope you will be able to rejoin this series next month as we look at the “Days of Noah”, but please take a few minutes to look up some of the articles listed here. Remember, the cipher that Jesus gave us says, “when you see these things happening, then stand up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near.” This means that part of our goal is not just to show you what the Bible says prophetically, but to show you that what the Bible says is really happening around the world. It is to this end that we believe you will begin to see the convergence and stand up for Jesus. After 1900 years of sleeping, maybe we need quite a few alarm clocks to wake us back up to the fact that one day Jesus is really going to literally return!
For more information on see the prophetic series, “The Convergence” please go to prophecydays.com where you will find the video, audio and notes from the series.
The Falling Away
Study Compares Christian and Non-Christian Lifestyles
Do Non-Christians and Christians Live Different Lifestyles? – https://www.christiantoday.com/article/american.study.reveals.indulgent.lifestyle.christians.no.different/9439.htm
STUNNING CLAIM: U.S. AT POINT WHERE ‘ELECTIONS DON’T MATTER’
Of Abortion, By Abortion, For Abortion
Ben Carson Ties Hillary Clinton to Lucifer at Republican Convention
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/ben-carson-hillary-clinton-lucifer-republican-convention-rnc-gop-trump-166725/#2UWT7PHMWgbeEqvZ.99
Caught on Camera: Obamacare Architect Admits Deceiving Americans to Pass Law
California Steamin’: HHS Gives Abortion Rule a Pass
Welcome to a Bernie Sanders Wiccan ritual
Bernie Sanders’s Religious Test for Christians in Public Office
California to ‘punish’ faith-based colleges for ‘holding wrong views’
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2016/06/california-to-punish-faith-based-colleges-for-holding-wrong-views/#VmObV2qGcohbk3TZ.99
Canadian Christian Law School Fights Accreditation Ban Over Opposition to Homosexuality
Obama’s Foreign Policy Guru Boasts of How the Administration Lied to Sell the Iran Deal
Planned Parenthood Will Not Face Justice Because There Is No Justice In America
Obama Can Force Coverage of Birth Control and Abortion Drugs on Churches, Admin. Lawyer Says
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/obama-force-churches-cover-birth-control-abortion-drugs-lawyer-tells-supreme-court-160019/#XLxazjeoM2tk13Ph.99
United Methodist Church Bans Intelligent Design Group From General Conference
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/united-methodist-church-bans-intelligent-design-group-general-conference-creation-evolution-155368/#kEqUZ5o27zTBqhzS.99
Justice Scalia warns that the US Supreme Court is causing the ‘destruction of our democratic system’
POPE INVOKING GLOBALIZATION – Pope tearing down Christianity in bid for One World Religion
Bow Down, Witches: Pagans Flock to New York City for Festival
I put a spell on you, Mr. President – LA Times publishes an article about how to hold a spell on Donald Trump to curse him and our country.
Planned Parenthood Chief Is Asked What Should Happen ‘If a Child Survives an Abortion Attempt.’ Here’s Her Response.
Pope Says Having A Personal Relationship With Jesus Is Dangerous And Harmful
Obama can kill you with a drone!
Obama Plans To Reduce Deficit By Cutting Tax Exempt Status Of Christian Churches
VIDEO: This Rabbi Just Issued a Chilling Warning to America… And It’s Going Viral
Persecution Of The Church
Francis Chan: Christians Will Be Relevant If They Become Rejects, Stand With Jesus
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/francis-chan-together-2016-christians-relevant-rejects-jesus-166599/#X93BrsDhDmb7yS5C.99
7 Signs That America Declared War on Christianity
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/signs-america-declared-war-christianity-163165/#lB72zEl3xBizcCJY.99
Obama Can Force Coverage of Birth Control and Abortion Drugs on Churches, Admin. Lawyer Says
Report: 2015 Saw ‘Most Violent’ Persecution of Christians in Modern History
Wyoming School Tells Students They Can Only Pray in Private — Here’s How Well That Went Over
Vatican rejects “chosen people” claim, calls on Israel to end “occupation”
From Pakistan to America, Christ’s Prophecy of Christian Persecution Coming to Pass
The Days of Lot
FEDERAL COURT BLOCKS OBAMA’S TRANSGENDER-BATHROOM ORDER
Christian baker takes ‘compulsion of speech’ case to Supremes
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2016/07/christian-baker-takes-compulsion-of-speech-case-to-supremes/#DKs9ZxSBjiI1hx0s.99
Churches Can’t Have Sex-Segregated Bathrooms, Make Transgender Feel Unwelcome, Unless Closed to Public, Iowa Commission Says
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/churches-sex-segregated-bathrooms-transgender-feel-unwelcome-closed-to-public-iowa-commission-166167/#j4F2JmqAlTEFKHou.99
Canadian Christian Law School Fights Accreditation Ban Over Opposition to Homosexuality
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/canadian-christian-law-school-fights-accreditation-ban-over-opposition-homosexuality-164764/#qIDluKWiaJq73gI0.99
BISEXUALITY STUDY: 1 in 3 American Young Adults Identify on Bisexual Spectrum
Canada May Ban Anti-Transgender Speech With 2 Years in Prison
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/canada-may-ban-anti-transgender-speech-with-2-years-in-prison-164382/#14qLCLmsmZ95BgCt.99
Obama Orders All Public Schools to Apply Transgender Bathroom Access Rules; Texas Ready To Fight
American College of Pediatricians Says Teaching Children Transgenderism Is Normal Is Child Abuse
Tom DeLay: Justice Dept. Wants to Legalize 12 ‘Perversions
Breaking News at Newsmax.com http://www.newsmax.com/Newsmax-Tv/Tom-DeLay-Justice-Department-perversions/2015/06/30/id/652929/#ixzz4Ih8vLPVK
Canada Legalizes Most Sex Acts With Animals
Rubio: Gay Agenda’s ‘Next Step’ is to Define ‘Mainstream Christianity’ as ‘Hate Speech’
Want more? Visit us at prophecydays.com for the complete series.
Dr. Kevan Kruse has been practicing Chiropractic in the Bay area since 1992. Educated at the University of Tampa and Life University, Kevan received a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and a Doctorate of Chiropractic. Kevan was born in Florida, but he was raised with down to earth Midwestern values. These values translate into an office that is dedicated to serving patients in a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere. Each patient is evaluated on an individual basis and treated appropriately.
Dr. Kruse is also open to multi-disciplinary approaches to health care, with his focus being primarily chiropractic and nutritional ways to help solve health problems. His fascination and extensive participation in sports makes his treatment of automobile accidents, work related injuries and sports injuries especially on-target. Dr. Kruse is married to Alexandra and they have two sons named Wiatte and Whestan. Dr. Kruse supports many local charities and attends Bell Shoals Baptist church, where he occasionally teaches classes on various topics.
Why is the church important? The church is where the friends of Jesus meet and grow. It is a hospital for those who admit they are sick and who want to get better. The church is not a building or an organization, it is just people. The church is also part of your spiritual family. Does anyone you know have a perfect family? Good, because that won’t happen in church either. You won’t like all the people there, but you will grow to love many of them. You may have to visit around some to find the right church for you, but if you work at it, you will be better for it. My church friends are one of my greatest sources or encouragement and joy.