Sunday, June 29, 2008

Miracles, Signs and Wonders

Prophetic scriptures, as directed to the last days and that generation, contain a variety of warnings. We were informed of what this era would look like in almost every detail imaginable. One of the most consistent and frequent warnings, in the context of "end-times" scriptures is directed towards false teachings and false prophets. Just to name a few of these warnings:

- "At that time many will turn away from the faith and betray and hate each other, and many false teachers will appear and deceive many" (Matt. 24:10-11)
- "Watch out that you are not deceived" (Luke 21:8)
- "Watch out that no one deceives you" (Matt. 24:4)
- "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies...Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into dispute. In their greed the teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up" (2 Peter 2:1-3)
- "But these men blaspheme in matters they don't understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed" (2 Peter 2:12)
- "For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error" (2 Peter 2:18)
- "I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray" (1 John 2:26)
- "Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray" (1 John 3:7)

- "The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They refused to love the truth and so be saved" (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)

- "For a time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths" (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Obviously, false teachings were of great concern in these prophetic writings from Jesus, and the apostles Peter, John and Paul. In fact, these particular warnings are usually included in almost any passage relating to prophecy for our age.

Recently, we have seen an array of claims made by various public figures - such as the ability to make frequent trips back and forth to heaven, visitations and personal messages from angels, "special communications" from God (only given to them) and even the ability to perform resurrections of the dead. Most of these so-called pastors spend very little time in the scriptures, but prefer to rely on their so-called "special communications" with angels and/or God Himself.

The only way to determine if someone is teaching a false message, is to know and understand the scriptures. Many of these false teachers will (occasionally) reference the bible and often make loose associations between their "teachings" and random, unrelated scriptures. In my experience, even a basic understanding of the referenced passages reveals either their lack of understanding, or perhaps an intentional misuse of scriptures. Yet thousands seem to embrace "what their itching ears want to hear" as they observe such false teachings and as they seemingly witness "counterfeit signs and wonders".

False teachings and false teachers. We have an abundance of scriptures which inform us to be aware of this prophetic scenario - a scenario which would only increase as we approach the end of the age. The clear intent of these multiple warnings, as contained in the prophetic scriptures, is to prevent us from being deceived and from being subsequently "led astray". The same scriptures tell us that even though we may see what appear to be "signs and wonders", are in fact "counterfeit" and not from God, but "in accordance with the work of satan".

We have an abundance of warnings. At the same time, there are many claims being made by individuals - claims that range from receiving personal messages from heaven - to the ability to resurrect the dead.

For me - I'll trust the scriptures.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Everything Spinning Out of Control?

As we approach the end of this age, it is striking how many good people in the Church refuse to seriously consider prophecy as a viable explanation for the otherwise inexplicable events we see occuring throughout the world. We hear daily reports of world-wide food shortages, energy shortages, floods, famine, earthquakes, war, ethnic cleansing, disease epidemics, and terrorist threats, just to name a few. The "secular world", interestingly, seems more aware of the significance of these events than the Church. An Associated Press (AP) article with a title of "Everything seemingly is spinning out of control" underscores this general sense of unease based on these world events.

This article describes a sense of helplessness that people feel, because of constant news relating to things such as skyrocketing gas prices, wars, terrorism, natural disasters, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, cyclones, drought and food shortages - concluding that the world has "gone haywire". If you causually scan TV channels, its very common to see a program devoted to questioning the uncertian times we are living in, and why things seem so ominous and threatening on the planet. The secular world is paying close attention to these world events while recognizing that "something" is going on. Certianly, biblical answers are not sought, but explanations typically include global warming or the abuse of industrialized countries' energy consumption. Often, there is no explanation offered, just a serious concern of where the world seems to be heading.

Meanwhile, the Christian community as a whole seems uninterested in these events, and many refuse to accept that biblical prophecy could explain these world events. The secular world seems to have a great awareness of these current events, however without a plausable explanation, we see the term "helplessness" and "hopelessness" used to describe people's reactions. So, while the people watching (secular world) have no viable explanation, those folks who have a scriptural explanation (the Church) seem uninterested and for the most part are not watching.

The apostle Peter warned of this.

"First of all, you must understand that in the last days, scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.They will say 'Where is this coming He promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginnning of creation.' But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word, the heavens existed and the earth was formed by water. By those waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed." (2 Peter 3:3-6)

What exactly is the apostle Peter telling us?

First of all - he gives us a time reference, which he defined as "in the last days". Then he tells us that people would "scoff" at news that the Second Coming could be soon, based on these prophetic signs. According to Webster's Dictionary, one can define a scoffer as someone who shows contempt or mockery of a topic, along with sarcasm, and disrespect. This description is very familiar to prophecy watchers as we attempt to warn the Church of Jesus' return and of the events preceeding this epic event. Scoffers remind us that there is nothing special about our current events because "everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." Nothing could be further from the truth.

Because of His indescribable and inexplicable love for us, God has given us a full description of this age in the prophetic scriptures. The apostle Paul informed us that the prophetic scriptures should serve as a source of hope and encouragement for believers. On the surface it seems confusing - we should have hope and encouragement during such perilous times? In Paul's closing comments, in his first letter to the Thessalonians, he stated that we should encourage and build each other up as we approach these times, because "God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." Earlier in the same letter, Paul stated that we should wait for Jesus, who "rescues us from the coming wrath."

So, we can scoff at the prophetic scriptures, or we can familiarize ourselves with prophecy and seek the hope and encouragement that it brings to our lives. As the world goes through "birth pangs", we know that we get closer and closer the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Nothing could be more exciting.

Is everything spinning out of control?
Yes and no.

Yes - because all of these described events are indeed occurring more frequently and more dramatically as this age progresses - and certianly noticed by those, who unfortunately offer no explanation. As a result, such people find themselves living in fear during these days.

No - because things are very much in control. The future has already been described in great detail through God's prophets. Unlike "the world", we, as the body of Christ should live with the hope and encouragement that prophecy should bring to our lives.

Spinning out of control?

Bring it on. Christ will be here soon. As written by the apostle Luke:

"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" (Luke 21:28)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

What About UFOs?

I have tried to avoid the topic of UFOs, for a number of reasons. However, I am often asked about UFOs, and how they may have a prophetic role. Recently, there has been a lot of media coverage of "sightings" of UFOs, and its hard to ignore. My good friend Mike Mickey, on his website "" has provided a nice review of the topic with an attached video.

My random thoughts:

1. UFOs really became a "story" in 1947 with the infamous "Roswell" story. Interestingly, this is just at the time that many significant "signs" of the last generation also appeared (formation of Israel, genesis of the EU and the WEU, etc). Coincidence?

2. With reports of so-called "alien abductions", the description of the "aliens" is strikingly similar to ancient, historical accounts of demons. Coincidence?

3. Also, with reports of "alien abductions", in every instance, the abduction is a horrifying scenario described, and quite often there is physical/sexual abuse occuring. Additionally, the "messages" received from these "aliens" is typically a "non-Christian" message. Coincidence?

4. Several articles recently written by physicists, suggests that because these UFOs appear to defy known laws of physics, many physicists are stating that perhaps these "sightings" are actually of some kind glimpse into another "spiritual dimension". Coincidence?

Its hard to imagine that UFOs will NOT have some, yet undefined role in end times. This is mainly due to the number of sightings recently and the fact that the whole UFO phenomenon apppeared at the same time that major signs of the end of the generation have appeared.

So, what is the role?

Its hard to know for sure, but many of us focus on 2 Thessalonians 2, which is basically a brief description of the antichrist, as provided by the apostle Paul. In this description we read about the antichrist, and in particular, his deceptions, his opposition to anything related to God and how his work will be in accordance with Satan.

But interestingly, Paul added something that receives much discussion in prophecy circles:

"The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan, displayed in all kinds of counterfiet miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a POWERFUL DELUSION so that they will believe the lie and so that they will be condemned who have not believed the truth..." (2 Thess. 2:9)

So what is this delusion?

Its hard to say, but is it possible that the UFO phenomenon is demonic and will be used, somehow by the antichrist to deceive the population, as he rises to power? If you dig into the topic, it doesn't take long to see how many people in the so-called "new age movement" have embraced the possibility that we are reaching a point in history when the earth will be "purged" of the "bad people" (aka "Christians"), and the earth will enter a new age... Is it possible that just prior to, or just after the rapture of the Church that UFOs will be highly visible, and offer an explanation of the rapture? Could this be the great deception mentioned in 2 Thessalonians?

To take it a step further, many "evolutionists", who can't explain the early origins of life, often propose that the earth was "seeded" for life by aliens. This topic is often discussed in this context. So the antichrist, in attempts to discredit the biblical story of life, as created by God, would certianly embrace an alternative explanation such as aliens bringing life to earth. It would also explain the Rapture of the Church. UFOs could offer an explanation of both items (original life and the Rapture), and after the Rapture of the Church, its not hard to imagine much of the remaining population embracing such an explanation, or, according to 2 Thessalonians, a "deception".

I assume that this story will not conclude until after the Rapture of the Church, and sometime during the tribulation period. However we may see more and more stories of UFOs as we approach the end of the age. I believe it will have a role in end-times prophecy; its hard to imagine otherwise.

The apostle Paul gave us further instruction in this same passage - words that we should cling to as we approach the end of our generation. According to 2 Thess. 2:3 we see the following: "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way". Deception has already started, as we march rapidly towards the tribulation period, and it will continue to do so.

Our job is to read the scriptures and avoid deception. Deception, lies and false teachings - three redundant warnings that we see over and over in prophetic scriptures.

There must be a reason that God sent us these warnings.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ezekiel's Prophecy Rapidly Approaching

The rhetoric coming from Israel, Iran and the U.S. has heated up considerably this past week. Prophecy watchers have been closely following the developments between Russia, who we believe is described in Ezekiel 38-39 as the leader of the invading force against Israel, combined with Iran (aka "Persia"), and many other, Islamic countries surrounding Israel. Just this week, it was revealed that Israel launched a large scale military exercise intended to simulate an attack on Iran, specifically, Iran's nuclear facilities. An ap article this week described a "substantial show of force" by the Israeli air force in which over 100 F-16 and F-15 fighter jets flew over 900 miles in this exercise (roughly the distance between Israel-Iran), and according to one "U.S. defense official", was a demonstration that Israel is serious about the need to confront the nuclear threat from Iran. This "exercise" was intended as a strong warning to Iran.

Predictably, Iran responded with a strong response, stating that it would retaliate if Israel takes such action. In the same article, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz confirmed that Israel will attack Iran if Iran continues its nuclear weapons program.

This rhetoric between Iran and Israel is becoming more and more ominous by the week. As we approach the second half of 2008, we also hear the clock ticking, as Iran gets closer and closer to having functional nuclear warheads. Israel has stated several times, that their intelligence indicates that Iran will have these weapons "on-line" by the end of this year.

I'm not that great at math, but according to my expert calculations. thats a window of approximately six months.

Keep watching for the next big event(s) in the middle east.
Many of us believe that we're seeing Ezekiel's prophecy shaping up exactly as described.

It may be a good opportunity to brush up on Ezekiel 38-39. We know exactly how these events will conclude, as the news of these imminent events have already been written - in advance - and authored by God. God also gave us a little more information regarding this massive attack on the land of Israel, and this is where it gets interesting. According to God, and as written by the prophet Ezekiel, God made a declaration: "I will display my glory among the nations" (Ezek. 39:21), and "I will make known my holy name among my people Israel...and the nations will know that I am the Lord" (Ezek 39:7). Somehow, as God intervenes, as a result of this attack, He will make it obvious that the intervention is indeed, directly from Him.

Interesting indeed.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

There will be famine and earthquakes.....

According to Matthew 24:7, Jesus made the following declaration: "There will be famines and earthquakes in various places". These are two of the signs that Jesus informed us would be occuring just before the conclusion of this age, or, during this last generation. He also said that these signs, along with two others (warfare and pestilences) would occur in a cyclic manner, similar to birth pains.

Since the beginning of this calendar year, we have seen two emerging stories that are noteworthy throughout the world. Because of a complicated interconnection between oil prices and food such as corn being diverted to energy needs, flooding in some parts of the world and a lack of rain in other parts of the world, we are now facing a significant problem with food shortages also known as "famine". There have been an array of articles sounding the alarm that we have what is being referred to a "silent tsunami" regarding food shortages, as rice and other food staples are being rationed in many parts of the world. This has led to rioting in some regions, and food rationing in other regions.

We also know from biblical prophecy that these problems with famine will continue to increase, and during the Tribulation period, it will take one day's worth of wages to purchase enough food for one single day. In other words, 100% of a days wages will have to be used for the purchase of food: "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages" (Rev. 6:6). Needless to say, the problem of food shortages will continue to worsen.

Obviously the signs that Jesus gave would be items/events considered as "newsworthy", otherwise we would not be aware of such events. Food shortages and resulting famine are very much a part of today's news.

This is at the same time that "significant" earthquakes are making daily headlines, with a magnitude 6.8 just this week in Japan, and the magnitude 7.9 having just occured in China with > 70,000 deaths already recorded. Because of resulting refugee camps, and migration of China's citizens fleeing destroyed towns, diseases ("pestilence") are beginning to spread in these regions of China. The death toll will certianly increase over the coming weeks and months in China.

Jesus gave us signs which would be easily identifiable throughout the world. Famine and earthquakes certianly meet this criteria, as both are making daily news this summer; signs which are very easy to track and observe.

Rumors of war in the middle east are also making daily news. Israel "attacking" Iran's nuclear facilities is now becoming an "unavoidable" scenario in the middle east - one which will have enormous consequences which will impact the entire world. This is not only "unavoidable" but seemingly imminent.

Jesus gave us the signs. Are we watching?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

News That You Can't Find

As this age comes to a close, it seems that the truth becomes more and more elusive. The major media constantly paint Israel in the most negative light possible, and we continually hear the news from the most extreme anti-Israeli point of view possible. In the coming weeks, you will probably see news of Israeli tanks entering Gaza and "occupying" Palestinian land.

What you won't find in the news, is information revealing the daily launching of missiles from Gaza into Israel schools, shopping areas, neighborhoods and factories. Just in the month of May alone, there have been three deaths and dozens of serious injuries to innocent Israeli citizens simply going about their daily business. Gaza, which was once a thriving Israel community was voluntarily evacuated by Israel in 2005 and given to the "Palestinians" as part of the ongoing peace process in the middle east. Since that time, thousands of missiles have been launched from Gaza into Israel resulting in death and destruction upon innocent Israeli citizens. This is the news that you can't find easily.

When Israel tanks enter Gaza, in efforts to stop the missile attacks, you'll most definitely see this reported. You'll also see selected interviews with people complaining about this "occupation", and perhaps you will see where Israel targeted and destroyed a generically labeled "Gaza building" when actually, a missile factory, or a missile launching site was destroyed.

Israel is under attack from every border in a never-ending series of suicide bombings, mortar attacks and missile launches, on a daily basis. Yet Israel rarely strikes back. Innocent Israeli citizens are killed or injured weekly. Israel is expected to ignore this, as if it never occured, while being accused of not giving even up more land. During the "peace process" and ongoing negotiations for Israel to give up more and more land, Israeli officials are expected to ignore the daily missile attacks.

God is not ignoring the situation in Israel. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God declared that his "anger will be aroused", and Israel's enemies will face judgment with "plague and bloodshed". Its not a politically correct message in this era of the "user-friendly" God that some churches have created. But God has not changed through the years. His prophetic words will occur exactly as written.

As God gave the land of Israel to Abraham and his descendants, in a permanent covenant, He made the following statement which clarified His thoughts towards Israel:

"I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you." (Gen. 12:3).

This was a definitive statement without qualifiers. God will also directly intervene in Israel, according to His timing. When He does intervene, He will do so in order to make His presence known: "I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the Lord am the Holy One in Israel." (Exekiel 39:7).

And if that weren't enough, God issued a reminder; perhaps for the skeptics:
"It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord." (Ezekiel 39:8)

God is watching Israel - we should be too. We should also pray for Israel as they face their enemies. Once again.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Iranian President Threatens Israel Again

On Monday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once again proclaimed that Israel will soon disappear. As widely reported, he predicted that Muslims would "uproot satanic powers" and he reaffirmed his prediction that Israel will be soon wiped off the map.

As recently reported, President Ahmadinejad stated that Israel is a "stinking corpse" and destined to disappear. This type of rhetoric, coming from Iran has been increasing in recent months, and proclaimed not only by President Ahmadinejad, but by several other public figures over the past several weeks.

This is particularly bothersome, as Israeli intelligence has been reporting their expectation that Iran will be "on line" with the capability to produce nuclear weapons by the end of 2008. The clock is ticking as that date rapidly approaches. Israel has threatened to destroy these Iranian nuclear facilities, but with the political upheavel in Israel, its difficult to see such dramatic military action taking place in the immediate future. There are also rumors circulating, which include U.S. involvement in such an attack, before the end of the President's term.

President Ahmadinejad has approximately 18 months left on his term, and he is determined to destroy Israel before leaving office. It appears that he will have nuclear capability before his term ends. This can only lead to one of two scenarios:

1. Iran does acquire nuclear weapons, and nothing is done to stop this process. The thought of this Iranian leader having such capability is almost unthinkable, but the world must prepare for this possibility and the possibility that he will attempt to launch these weapons upon Israel.

2. Israel and/or the U.S. will destroy Iran's various nuclear facilities, of which there are many, scattered throughout Iran. Such action will also kill many Russian workers and scientists while inflaming the Muslim population in the middle east. Because of Iran's close ties with Russia and Syria, its easy to envision their involvement in a massive retaliation directed against Israel.

Once again, we see clear evidence of the situation in the middle east shaping up exactly as described by the prophet Ezekiel. How these events will develop from this point, as usual, is unclear. However, Iran's rapid progress towards nuclear capability and the increasing rhetoric for Israel's destruction points to an imminent decision for both the U.S. and Israel. Will they allow Iran to complete their goal of the manufacture of nuclear weapons? Or, will they bomb Iran's facilities? If so, will this action serve as the match which will ignite the middle east?

The scenario described above may well be that catalyst. Its hard to imagine a "soft landing" with this current crisis building between Israel, Iran and Syria. And all of this is occurring while Hamas and Hezbollah continue their arms build-up on the borders of Israel.

We keep seeing more and more signs almost daily. I can't help but recall the words of Luke:

"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
(Luke 21:28).

Comforting words indeed.