Zechariah: Don’t Forget the New Turban!

     Have you ever noticed how when the tough get going the going suddenly gets tougher?

     How many times have you decided it was time to rise up and do that “something” the Lord had been prodding you towards only to meet with a roadblock the moment you stepped foot out of your house?

     I am part of an intercessory prayer group that meets three times a week. In the course of our work we have opportunity to pray for many missionaries.

     Here are just a few of the requests we have sought the Lord for: Missionary friends in Honduras lost a thousand dollars of monthly support; A missionary friend to college campuses lost a hundred dollars of monthly support; A new missionary got to his field only to discover the building his church was meeting in was no longer available; Bible translator friends were almost finished their translation only to have their computer crash and their double redundancy back ups fail.

    Joshua the high priest in Zechariah’s day would be able to sympathize with these folks. The Bible says of this man, “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him.” Zechariah 3:1 NIV

    You may be saying, “Sure, I can believe Satan resisted Joshua. He was a high priest. I can certainly believe the Devil is out to get missionaries. But me?… I am just not that important.”

     Allow me just a few words if you will. You are probably right. Satan himself is probably not going to attack you personally. He is too busy lining things up for the anti-Christ. But you are part of a “royal priesthood” according to I Peter and that makes you a viable target for at least one of Satan’s flunkies.

     If these are the last days then the kingdom of darkness is going to do everything in its power to weaken the kingdom of light using discouragement and demoralization.

    These days we are all hearing, “You can’t do it!”

     “You’re too weak!”

     “You are such a sinful loser. You can’t even fix yourself.”

     That’s not just negativity on our part. It’s the devil.

     So what do we do about it?

     We must wait on the Lord. James tells us to “submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

   Notice that step one is submitting to God. In Zechariah Chapter 3 as Joshua is accused by Satan, God rebuked the devil on Joshua’s behalf. God also told Joshua that if he would follow the ways of the Lord that he would be given authority to rule. God himself put Joshua in royal robes and at Zechariah’s request gave the high priest a new turban.

     We need that from God too! We need God to cover our minds with His cleansing power so that when the enemy comes at us with all his “You’re not worthy hoohah” we are ready to come back with “I am the righteousness of God in Christ.”

      Such a mindset in the face of a spirit of discouragement requires wholesale submission to God so that the Father can rebuke the devil on our behalf. In these perilous times the church must not be disempowered by the arguments of the enemy. We have to pull down every lofty thought that raises itself up against the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

    How? Don’t forget the new turban!

Zechariah: The Political Landscape Of the Millenium

     For those of you who thought you’d escape politics once Jesus came, guess again. There will be a government and it will be upon “his shoulders”. Jesus will put democracy under his feet along with every other idea of men. Maybe it is the best governmental idea fallen men can come up with but as Isaiah reminds us “His ways are higher than our ways”. Isaiah 55:9

    Zechariah, among other prophets gives us a glimpse into the rule and reign of Jesus during the Millenium.

     “the LORD will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past.On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west, for half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south. On that day the sources of light will no longer shine, yet there will be continuous day! Only the LORD knows how this could happen! There will be no normal day and night, for at evening time it will still be light. On that day life-giving waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half toward the Dead Sea and half toward the Mediterranean,  flowing continuously both in summer and in winter. And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one LORD–his name alone will be worshiped. All the land from Geba, north of Judah, to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become one vast plain. But Jerusalem will be raised up in its original place and will be inhabited all the way from the Benjamin Gate over to the site of the old gate, then to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses. And Jerusalem will be filled, safe at last, never again to be cursed and destroyed. …In the end, the enemies of Jerusalem who survive the plague will go up to Jerusalem each year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Shelters. And any nation anywhere in the world that refuses to come to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, will have no rain….On that day even the harness bells of the horses will be inscribed with these words: SET APART AS HOLY TO THE LORD. And the cooking pots in the Temple of the LORD will be as sacred as the basins used beside the altar.  In fact, every cooking pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be set apart as holy to the LORD Almighty. All who come to worship will be free to use any of these pots to boil their sacrifices. And on that day there will no longer be traders in the Temple of the LORD Almighty.” Zech. 14:3-21 NLT

     After the Battle of Armageddon the Lord will institute his reign on the Earth. He will be the King of Earth. He will not ask for a vote of the people. Nor will he seek the permission of a parliament. He will not rule to please men but out of His divine right to rule.

      Freedom of religion will be a thing of the past. Jesus alone will be worshipped and shall bring glory thereby to the Father. Further he will dictate how He is to be worshipped. It seems that the Jewish system of festivals (at least Tabernacles) is instated for the nations.

     All of Jerusalem will become dedicated to the worship of God, Everything in it will be used for worshipping Him by sacrifice. Yes the Jewish system of sacrifice is reinstated in the Thousand Year Reign! Why we do not know. The writer to the Hebrews indicates that the need for sacrifice was done away with when Jesus gave His life on the cross. Yet need it or not Ezekiel 40-42 and Zechariah 14 indicate that the sacrificial system is very much a part of the worship which is to come.

     I believe that King Jesus will rule his world and his nations through the group of immortals who return with him at the Battle of Armageddon. It is an awesome thought that I would ever be considered worthy of such an honor, me a man of so many failings and foibles, me!

      Oh as I think of it I have to speak the words of Paul, ” I  consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us!” Romans 8:18 NIV

    How about you?

The Branches of Men Part 3

       In the Millenium the accursed will be those who refuse, in spite of all that will have happened, to follow Christ in his new government.

        “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach  a hundred will be considered accursed.” Isaiah 65:20

    These accursed ones then will be the third branch of men living in the Millenium. They will live and dwell among the race of immortal men and the race of long-lived men. But their span of existence will be much shorter. Somehow disease will still affect them. Age will still take them. Perhaps they will be survivors of the tribulation who received the mark of the beast. Perhaps they will be descendants of those reprobate ones. Perhaps they will be rebellious descendants of the righteous men and women who repopulate Earth. Whoever they are it is these individuals who will organize into nations and oppose Christ.

     For those who conceived  an entirely peaceable kingdom during the Millenium I would say that peace is the general rule, but as with all things earthly there is always an exception. The prophet Zechariah seems to agree.

     “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain. If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The Lord will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.” Zec. 14:16-18 NIV

     Perhaps war will not ensue directly after Jesus takes the throne but we know eventually it will come. These accursed ones will grow in population until they rise to threaten the entire world one last time.

     “When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth-Gog and Magog-to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore.They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.” Rev. 20:7-9 NIV 

     It is a frightening thought that the power of sin is so great that there will be those who, even after walking through the terrors of the Tribulation, even after seeing Jesus ascend the throne of nations, will still oppose God’s rule.

     There is a line from “Come Now Is the Time To Worship” that is very telling here.

     “One day every tongue will confess You are God. One day every knee will bow. Still the greatest treasure remains for those who gladly choose you now!”

      I am choosing Jesus now so that my hope may be secure in that Thousand Years! My life is already hid with God in Christ and so it shall remain. How about yours?

The Branches of Men Part 2

     My son is taking a Victorian Novels class in college. So when he calls we often talk about the latest book he is reading. He just started Tess Of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. Somehow today as we got talking about the class we went off track to discuss our blogging and ended up in a conversation about J.R.R. Tolkien (heady conversations really).

     Anyway that led  us to the topic of the future race of men you and I have been talking about in these last few blogs. Tolkien’s books discover many races of creatures: elves and  orcs, dragon and hobbits and oh yeah three kinds of men. The wizards or the Maier are a race of immortal humanoids. The Dunedin are a race of men, mortal but very long-lived. Finally there are the race of “middle men” ordinary men with shorter life spans.

     I see three races of men in the Millenium. Those who rule and reign with Christ, we spoke of in our first blog on this subject. These men and women will have glorified human bodies immortal and filled with power.

    But there is a second group of men, alluded to in Scripture, which corresponds to Tolkien’s Dunedin.

     “No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands.” Isa. 65:22 NIV

     I believe something is going to happen in the Millenium which restores mankind’s ability to live long and prosper, so to speak. Something in the atmosphere changes, something in the water…something to make it like it was in the beginning. You know Adam lived 828 years. Methuselah lived to be 969. I believe that there will be a race of men who while not immortal will have lives that go on for centuries and centuries. Why do I believe it? Well because the Bible says there will be such a race  in Isaiah 65. Now this is one of those fun-house mirror things I talked about three blogs ago. We can’t really tell for sure what we are looking at. The image is kind of blurry but I really don’t think Isaiah is talking about the people who come back to rule and reign with Christ in Revelation 20:4,because those people will have been resurrected and its pretty clear according to I Cor. 15 they will then have incorruptible and immortal bodies. How can something immortal and incorruptible die? I don’t think it can.

    So who are these long-lived mortals? Hmm not really sure… Maybe they are people who lived through the Tribulation but didn’t take the mark of the beast or end up getting whacked by an earthquake or a hundred pound hail stone. Maybe they are children born to those who rule and reign with Christ (can they still have kids?)

    Anyway what we do know about them is that they are blessed.

    “They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. ” Isa. 65:23,24 NIV

      The mysteries of the Millenium intrigue me. I long to discover that day for myself and see if what I have thought all these years on this side is really how it will be or will it look entirely different?

     Now for the third branch of the race of men? Can you guess who they are?

The Branches of Men Part 1

      In the Millenium the race of men will have three branches.

      The first branch is seen in the New Testament:

      “Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus, for proclaiming the word of God. And I saw the souls of those who had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their forehead or their hands. They came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” Rev. 20:4 NLT

     This first branch of humanity is the branch that rules and reigns with Christ. It is composed of all those who are part of the “first resurrection”, a divine act carried out by Christ in which all the righteous dead of the ages are brought back to life and granted new redeemed bodies capable of living forever. Revelation indicates that this group is composed of two types of people. As the Millenium begins there will be people already sitting on thrones of authority. This will include all the saints who have passed on to Heaven in death as well as those who rose in the rapture.

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with him forever.” I Thess. 4:16,17 NLT

     The raptured righteous together with the Old and New Testament saints will be judged at the Bema seat of Christ during the 7 years of Earth’s Tribulation. While Earth and its inhabitants face a time of trouble unlike any other in history the saints of God in Heaven will worship God and be qualified for their role of rule to come.

       “But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone’s work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames.”  I Cor. 3:13-15 NLT

        The second type of person included  in the first resurrection will be those who did not leave Earth in the rapture because they were not true Christ-followers, but who came to follow Christ during the Tribulation. Many of these late-comers will be slain for their faith and at the first resurrection they shall be raised to rule with Christ as befits their martyr’s status.

       As the Millenium begins this branch of man’s race will be revealed immortal and indestructible. Our new bodies will not retain their current weaknesses but will be filled with a Heavenly power that makes us glorious in power and life.

      “It is the same way for the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies, which die and decay, will be different when they are resurrected, for they will never die. Our bodies now disappoint us, but when they are raised, they will be full of glory. They are weak now, but when they are raised, they will be full of power. They are natural human bodies now, but when they are raised, they will be spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, so also there are spiritual bodies.” I Cor. 15: 42-44 NLT

     Oh for this day to come! Even So Lord Jesus come quickly!

The Mystery of the Millenium

   What does it mean to reign?

    From the prophecies given to Daniel  we know that the time of AntiChrist’s reign on Earth and the subsequent period of the planetary judgment will be seven years.

“He will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. Then as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration,  until the end that has been decreed is poured out on this defiler.” Dan. 9:27 (NLT)

     The prophets point to this coming “Day of the Lord” with  absolute certainty. It is coming and according to the prophecies in both the Old and New Testaments our world is set for this seven-year period to arrive shortly.

    But what lies beyond this time of tribulation? The prophets also speak to that. The time beyond the judgment of Earth is divided, by the Bible, into two periods. The first is called the Thousand Year Reign. The second is called New Heaven and New Earth (see Rev. 18-22).

      The Thousand Year Reign is a period shrouded in mystery. We see it in Scripture but we see it as though looking through a fun-house mirror. The whole of it is twisted and bent out of proportion. I can only tell you what I think I see. But that is enough to excite me to service for my King!

     I know it is a thousand years long. I know that in that time those who have followed Jesus will be co-rulers with Christ over the Earth.

     ” Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus, for proclaiming the word of God. And I saw the souls of those who had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their forehead or their hands. They came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” Rev.20:4 (NLT)

    What does it mean to you to reign with Christ? Reign is such a loaded word. To me it means to have authority but not just over men. It means to have authority over all the creation as I was originally meant to.

     “For you made us only a little lower than God, and you crowned us with glory and honor. You put us in charge of everything you made, giving us authority over all things–the sheep and the cattle and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents.” Psalm 8:5-8 (NLT)

     I will swim with the dolphins in the ocean and the great whales. They shall carry me from one shore to another on their backs. I shall ride upon the lion and the zebra across the great plains and they shall keep me warm in the cool of the savannah nights. I will call forth the winds and they will obey. I will pray for rain and it will come to water my gardens. Now that is really “Reinventing the We’ll”!

    The communion between my God and me will be completely restored. Being perfected, I will be always in His will. This means that every prayer I utter will be answered. I will never wonder again if I am off track or praying wrong. I will know my God and He will know me face to face and the communion Adam had will be mine somehow.

    In that I will be able to tend my Eden as Adam tended his. At my command the plants will grow. The beasts of my forest will not fear me and I will not fear them for that curse which was given after the flood will be removed. I see the Thousand Year Reign as Lewis’ Narnia or as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, beautiful, idyllic!

     There is much more the Bible reveals in shadow about the Thousand Year Reign. We will say more on that later. In the mean time tell me what you think comes after the Tribulation.

The Reality In the Fantasy

     Have you ever wondered about our culture’s fixation with fantasy?

I mean why are movies like Star Wars, Lord Of the Rings or Harry Potter such blockbusters? Why do we love the Weasleys and the Wookies so much?

I was asking the Lord this question in regards to the Harry Potter story specifically. Why does this one story grab hold of so much of our population?

     I’ll tell you what I think is the Lord’s answer. Harry Potter is a metaphor for the times we live in. The story taps into some kind of collective consciousness, a common understanding of what life is like and will be like in the future.

      Harry lives in a world where most of the population is completely in the dark about how the planet actually runs( the Muggles). Yet there is another group, perhaps almost as large as the first, which understands the way of the world and yet chooses to walk in complete denial of the facts that the world it knows is threatened. Choosing to hold onto a foolish hope that evil can never rise to a place of preeminence this group refuses to heed the warnings to prepare. Finally there is a third group, smaller than the other two, which understands the signs of the times and chooses to sound the alert whatever the cost and to prepare whatever the penalty.  

     Now that is not a much different paradigm than the one in which I live. Much of my world does not even know the first thing about the Word of God. I once watched an episode of Jeopardy in which the contestants on the panel could not answer simple questions like “Who received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai?” or “Who died on the cross?” 

     Without knowledge of the Bible men (like the Muggles of Harry Potter) cannot have a clear view of how the world actually works. So many are operating under a false set of “truths” which are leading them down a primrose path to Hell.

     But in my world there is a second group of people, almost as large as the first. This group of people dub themselves practicing Christians. Yet they have no personal experience with God. Their religion is nothing more than ritual and form without substance. No miracles exist in their world. Prophecy is not something to be bothered with and the point of conversion is really only to get the biggest church attendance in town. When certain “overly zealous”  brothers and sisters in the faith start talking about the end of days or spout off about how the church should operate in the supernatural, this group moves to “calm them down”.

    The third group of people in my world are the Harry Potters, the Luke Skywalkers, The Frodo Bagginses. These are the people who know that there is something in the world beyond the natural. This group knows the dramatic claims of the Bible. This group believes those claims and actually seeks to live them out. This group also knows that part of the promise is that the very nature of who we are and what we are here to do is threatened and attacked by a magic far deeper and older than our histories can record; For this magic comes from a place and time before us. This group knows that the world is beset by a supernatural power that seeks to destroy us all. This group also knows that there is  yet a God, named Jesus, who loves us and who has done an incredible  work on our behalf to save the world. This group lives by faith and prayer. This group lays hands on the sick and watches them recover. This group believes in a God who is coming to take them out of this world. This group believes that the world is coming to an end of days. This group lives as though that day was around the corner.

      Why do we love Harry Potter so much? We love it because somewhere deep inside of us it strikes a chord no matter which group we fall into by our choices. the story resonates with something in us, something that tells us that though it is fantasy the reality is not so far removed.

Daniel: The God Of Fortresses

       The final act has well begun. The characters strut about the stage playing out the parts God wrote for them in the beginning. Meanwhile waiting in the wings is the shadowy figure of the arch-villain waiting to be revealed.

     Who is Antichrist? Until the final events are set in motion, I am convinced we shall not know. Daniel does reveal that he is heavily involved in Middle Eastern and Eastern European politics (Daniel 11). The prophet also reveals that this “king” will worship a god of fortresses and will even believe himself to be god. He will trust in superior military might and will honor no god above himself.

      “He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain.” Daniel 11:37-39

    In ancient times the idea that someone would not believe in God or gods was patently ridiculous. The idea of a spirit realm was universally accepted and everyone was tied to some spirit being. So the thought that a king would appear on the world stage and say that he worshipped only himself and that all other gods were not worth honoring was pretty radical.

     Today though we live in a culture that is ripe for a king who will not serve any god. Religious pluralism and even the rise of humanism and atheism have made the world stage a veritable hot-house for the Antichrist mentality. The religious scene is well set for Antichrist to walk on stage. No one doubts that. The political blocking is almost complete. His entrance is prepared.

     But I have something to say to Christians  who realize that hour is late and the entr’acte is about to begin. If Antichrist serves a god of fortresses, so do we. In fact “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run into it and they are safe.” Proverbs 18:10 NIV

        Our fortress is secure and the name of the Lord is  our defense in every situation. Even as the world stage gets set for the coming of the man of lawlessness the power of prayer in the name of Jesus will never fail. When Jesus comes he will find a church that is operating still in the power of the Holy Spirit and seeing prayers answered supernaturally where no natural means of answer exist!

     “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14: 12,13 KJV

     You see Antichrist may serve a god of fortresses. But we serve our God who is himself a Fortress!

Daniel: The Conspiracy King

     Have you seen the ads on television sponsored by the Masons? Ben Franklin is depicted encouraging young people to consider joining the order as many famous folk throughout history have. Apparently the Masonic Order is doing a membership drive. I’m assuming this means that membership is down. How would we know really? I mean, do secret societies publish their rosters?

     My son had an interesting experience with this a few weeks ago which rattled him enough to make him call for my advice.

     He works at Radio Shack in a town near his college. He wears a name tag and being fairly gregarious he is known by most of the merchants in the strip mall where he is located; So when the first Mason came in and said “Joe you would make a great addition to our chapter.” He didn’t think much about it.

     When the second Mason approached him at work the next day using the same words and buying the same item as the first guy  Joe thought it a little strange.

      However, when the third guy visited the next day buying a third like item and suggesting the same thing, my son was beginning to get freaked out.

     On the fourth day another Mason came in buying again the same item as his predecessors. This time though he said , “it seems some of your family members were good Masons. You should consider joining.”

     Joe was on the phone with me as soon as the guy left.

     Both my father and grandfather were members of the society. I think my grandmother was Order of the Eastern Star. My father was a member of the Masonic order in West Berlin and my grandfather haled from the chapter in Winchendon MA, How the Masonic Chapter of Philadelphia became privy to that information, how they tracked down the great-grandson of one of their former members four states away or even why they would is beyond me.

     Frankly secret societies like the Mason’s have always hovered in my imagination somewhere between the mysterious and the darkly creepy. The situation my son was involved in bordered more on the latter than the former.

     The Book of Daniel talks about a power more dark, sinister and hidden than any other  secret society on the face of the planet ever dreamed of being.

      “”After this period of sixty-two sets of seven,  the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. The end will come with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end. He will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven,  but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. Then as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration,  until the end that has been decreed is poured out on this defiler.” Dan: 9:26,27 NLT

      This king is anti-Christ who is coming. Many believe that he is coming to power in the aftermath of the Battle of Gog and Magog. Some think it will be that battle that will launch him into the position of world leader he so craves. But here is the secret and hidden part. He is already in the world, has been for millenia. He has been jumping leader to leader for countless centuries.

    John wrote this about him, “Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the end of the world has come.” I John 2:18 NLT

     Daniel indicated that this demonic power would be manifest first in an individual who would lay low the city of Jerusalem shortly after the death of Messiah. This happened in 70 A.D. under the leadership of the Emperor Nero. A likelier character for antichrist was never found during the time. However Nero did not accomplish the other items on the Daniel 9 list.

        AntiChrist moved on after Nero and he has been working behind the scenes of world politics moving his agenda forward ever since. Who knows where he has rested his head in the last two Millenia? Dracula? The Borgia Popes? Hitler? Stalin?

     Wherever he has been, wherever he is, we know what he is looking for. He is awaiting the event which will launch him to the position of Commander-in-Chief of the world, a position he has never come close to before now. A world war fought over Israel from which he will broker a peace treaty will bring him that prize he has so longed for.

     What do you think the governments of Earth would give to the man who could bring peace to the Middle East? I bet his secret society wouldn’t need to run television ads to get members.


      So much has been written about what the next step is for Earth. Israel is now a sovereign nation, meaning the world has now crossed the line definitively into the “last days”. But what comes next?

source kingdom engineers.com

     A war approaches on the horizon like the first fingers of the sun gripping the edge of the Eastern seas. Perhaps in Ezekiel’s time the battle partners seemed unlikely; But today we would not only say such a war was possible, most would say such a war is probable. The battle lines are to be drawn between a unified                        

                                                               nation of Israel against Turkey and certain portions of Mother Russia along with Iran, Libya and Sudan. Now I don’t know about you, but such a battle to me seems imminent. We have but to stray a little with the flame of diplomacy and such a powder keg will be lit as will set these nations to unstoppable war. In this regard it can be seen Scriptural prophecy seems far from fantastic but wholly credible.

     Ezekiel 38:13 indicates that certain nations will oppose this war. Possible dissenters are: Saudi Arabia, Spain, Crete, Greece, England, America, Canada, Australia, even Japan, China and India. Any of these seem likely and plausible according to our current world picture.

      Ezekiel indicates that the enemies of Israel will experience a resounding defeat at the hands of God (not Israel). The devastation will be so severe that it will take the Jews seven months to bury all the dead. The work of burying will be so great, in fact, that a whole town will spring up around the industry of grave-digging (see Ezek 39:15-16). Further, enough enemy weapons will be collected that Israel will be able to heat their homes for seven years by the burning of them (Ezek. 39:9,10).

     Now what catches me about this prophecy is its imminence. I am not so interested in knowing exactly who all the players are but in the fact that this prophecy could actually explode onto the world stage with tomorrow morning’s headlines.

      I have said before the church of today needs to be like the “men of Issachar who understood their times and knew what to do.” In light of the unfolding of final prophecy in which we live what are we to do?

      We need to be like the wise virgins of Matthew 25 who when the bridegroom (Jesus) was delayed in his coming, “were wise enough to take along extra oil” for their lamps. Matthew 25:4

How do we take along “extra oil”?

1. By being prepared for the battle ahead: “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil.” Eph: 6:11 NLT

We must be mentally emotionally and physically prepared for the days that lie ahead for “These are the times that try men’s souls.” (Thomas Paine, “The Crisis”). We do this by taking all our focus off the world and placing it in Christ.

2. By Praying without Ceasing: This is more than just being aware of God’s presence 24/7. It means no matter what comes against you, keep your habit of prayer and pray about everything from the loss of a nail to the threat against the nation.

3.  By Staying in the word: The Bible is our source of truth and in the days ahead we are going to need to know it. Read and study it until you know it back and forth. John Milton, the blind bard who wrote “Paradise Lost”, could quote the whole Bible. When you get to that point you can probably consider a short rest from your studies.

4. By not getting involved in foolish arguments: There are plenty of things to fight about. Almost none of them are eternally important. Let it go and get back to worshipping.

4. By praising God in everything: Praise drowns out the voice of Satan and hopelessness. Thanksgiving brings peace. Every morning you should find ten things to praise Jesus for and spend some time thanking Him.

5. By getting Back to Church: I’m not just talking about going to Sunday morning service although that’s a start. You need to be active in your church body. You are a muscle of the church and every muscle that doesn’t work-out atrophies. Some Christians are as shriveled up as a paraplegic’s thigh because they refuse to be active in their church. In the days ahead such useless muscles will be amputated by God so they don’t hinder the whole body from getting into the Presence!

6. By keeping your eyes on the prize: This world isn’t our home! We have a better heavenly reward. No matter what don’t give that up!