A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label The Remnant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Remnant. Show all posts

April 1, 2024

After the Resurrection: Are We Living in the Power of Jesus?

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead into Life Everlasting is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. No other religion on the earth has an empty tomb. Christians are the only believers who follow a leader that died and then came back to life, with the promise that we, too, can have Eternal Life. Admittedly, the Bible doesn't reveal everything about that miraculous event or what followed. But there are enough hints to give us hope to seek Him and His way of life. The Bible, itself, tells us, "There are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were recorded one by one [and in detail], I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written". That's a lot of details we don't have. But it doesn't mean those details are not many, mighty, miraculous, and real. 

Have you ever stopped to think about what happened immediately after Jesus rose; what occurred in addition to the details the Bible does give us? I can only imagine the shock and disbelief, and even fear, when Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome arrived at the tomb to anoint him with precious oils, only to find the tomb empty! Granted, Scripture says [both in Mark and Matthew] that Jesus had told them He would be betrayed into the hands of His enemies, and they would kill Him. After three days He would be raised from death to life. The Bible recounts that on one hand, they did not understand Him, nor did they ask Him; and secondly, they were deeply grieved and distressed. 

My first thought is that they had seen Lazarus raised from the dead by Jesus, Himself, and perhaps they were confused... who is going to raise Jesus? As far as I am aware, Scripture doesn't give us any clues that He explained it was by the power of the Holy Spirit. But they were about to be exposed to all the indescribable and supernatural ways in which we can, not only be connected to the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, but live our lives in the same power and miracles. For me, the mystery, the power, the force, the strength, and the authority exhibited in the Resurrection event should overwhelm the mind and senses of every Believer! After all, He told Martha, the sister of Lazarus that not only will Believers live even if we die, but we will never die (John 11:25)! 

So, while they had clues of what was coming, they did not understand. But after the Resurrection! -- Oh, how their world must have been turned upside down. They went from profound grief, disappointment, and depression to being astonished, astounded and awe-struck at the power of the Living Christ in the world! John reports that Mary Magdalene saw the Lord in His pre-Ascension form, and later that evening, the rest of the Disciples saw Him as they met behind barred doors, fearful for their lives.He stood among them, speaking Peace over them, and breathed on them, giving them The Holy Spirit. He also told them He would send them as His Representatives -- not as emissaries of the itinerant Jewish Rabbi, but as ambassadors of the Messiah and Son of God! Then they witnessed the one Disciple [Thomas, who had been absent when He came the first time] stick his finger in the wounds Jesus had received on the Cross and Thomas's profession of faith that Jesus was real and who He said He was. But the part of this passage in John that gets forgotten is verse 30 ... There are also many other signs [attesting miracles] that Jesus performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book ... as if this is not enough to believe that by trusting what He has revealed, we may have Life in His Name!

The account of Luke offers us a little more information about what happened after the Resurrection. It seems that there were more women who had gone to the tomb to prepare the Lord's body, and two angels appeared to them, reminding them that Jesus had told them that He would be crucified and rise on the third day. They reported all these things to the Disciples, but being typical men of that era, they did not give credence to the women's story. So, Peter, Himself, got up and ran to the tomb. Finding it empty, he went away wondering about what had happened. The Bible then tells us that this same day, a Disciple of Jesus, named Cleopas (Luke 24:18), and a companion were traveling to a village called Emmaus. They were discussing all the strange things that had occurred since the crucifixion, and Jesus, Himself, began walking with them, asking them what they were talking about.

They couldn't believe this stranger hadn't heard about Jesus of Nazareth, "a prophet powerful in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people". They relayed that they were downhearted because they had hoped He would redeem Israel and set them free from the rule of the Romans. They also shared that the women went to the tomb that morning and had seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive! Those who followed up on the women's report also went to the tomb, but found nothing. Jesus reprimanded the men, calling them "foolish" and "slow of heart" because they had not believed in everything the prophets had spoken down through the centuries. He then explained and interpreted everything that Moses and all the prophets had written about Him in the Scriptures. Yet, the two men still did not recognize Him. 

The three then approached the village of Emmaus and the men urged Him to stay with them. As they enjoyed the evening meal, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. Suddenly, God opened their eyes and they recognized Him, before He vanished from their sight. They got up that moment and went back to Jerusalem to report that the Lord had really risen and appeared to Simon Peter, leading us to believe that the second man walking to Emmaus was indeed, Peter.  

The texts of both Matthew and Mark do not vary greatly from the others, except that Matthew reports there was a great earthquake after the crucifixion, and suggesting that it contributed to the stone being rolled away from Jesus's tomb. Matthew also suggests that there were some Roman guards who witnessed "everything that had happened", resulting in the chief priests bribing the guards to keep quiet about the supernatural events. They feared for their own safety and position if the Jewish masses learned [let alone believed] that Jesus could be the long-awaited Messiah. Scripture then makes the startling statement: "this [fabricated] story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to the present day".  

But both Matthew and Mark offer something that the other gospels do not ... what is known as The Great Commission. After chastising them [in Mark] for not believing the women who had testified of His resurrection, He commanded them to "Go" and make disciples of all the nations. They were to "help the people learn of Him, believe in Him, and obey His words, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you". He then promises them that He will be with us always, no matter what the circumstances, even to the end of the age. And then they witnessed His ascension into Heaven and sit down at the right hand of God.

So, what is the age He is talking about? The "Church Age", which the first chapter of Acts introduces. And it is the Book of Acts that shows us the effects of Jesus's ministry on earth AFTER the Resurrection. I love the language of this first chapter in Acts; the words that describe the supernatural manifestations of Jesus's Deity and His divine power and authority. Luke, the author of Acts, describes the appearance of Jesus after His Resurrection "by a series of many infallible proofs and unquestionable demonstrations, appearing to them over a period of forty days and talking to them about the things concerning the kingdom of God". Now, I don't know about you, but I want to know all the details of those forty days! What did Jesus demonstrate and what were the things He told them about the kingdom of God? But it is the encouragement He gives them that "you will be baptized and empowered and united with the Holy Spirit, not long from now". And so it was, on the day of Pentecost, that a rushing, violent wind came from heaven, bestowing tongues of fire on each of the Disciples as they received the Holy Spirit and were filled with the power of Jesus.

There are other displays of supernatural events after the Crucifixion and Resurrection ... the veil of the Holy of Holies in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom; the earth shook (the aforementioned earthquake) and the rocks split; tombs were opened, and many bodies of believers were raised to life; and coming out of the tombs after His Resurrection, they entered Jerusalem and appeared to many people; He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, the majority of whom were still alive, but some were dead; many wonders and attesting miracles were taking place through the apostles [as noted in Acts 2]. The Lord moved in the lives of these faithful people who, day after day, met in the temple, continuing with one mind and breaking bread in various private homes. They met together with joy and generous hearts, praising God continually, and receiving favor with all people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were being saved. 

THIS ... this is what it looks like to be living in the power of Jesus! Yet, we as modern-day Believers in Him celebrate one day a year in honor of His Resurrection. Our lives change -- maybe for a couple of hours -- IF we happen to hear an inspiring sermon. But come Monday morning, any supernatural considerations we might have entertained have evaporated and we're back in our natural lives. Sadly, many of our modern churches have little resemblance to the beginning of the Church in the Book of Acts. 

On Sunday, I decided to tune into the live broadcast of a mega-church we attended 15 years ago. The pastor we had liked had retired, and I will tell you that I have never heard a more lukewarm sermon on the spiritual repercussions and power that the Resurrection symbolizes! They touted the 200+ baptisms they would be doing during the service -- and believe me, I do not belittle that accomplishment! But if these baptized people are not stewarded, trained, and equipped to go out and do what Jesus did Himself, and commands us to do -- heal the sick, cast out demons, cleanse the lepers (the physically, spiritually, and emotionally shunned), raise the dead, and spread the Good News of the availability of Salvation and the Kingdom through faith in our Lord -- then the end of the Church Age is definitely in view. 

So, ask yourselves this ... are you moved in your heart and spirit, as you think upon the Resurrection of Jesus and all it portends for you? Are you committed to sharing all you have learned of Him, and the ways [including the supernatural] that He has touched your life? Do you truly want the life that the Disciples experienced with Him -- or are you comfortable to live a "safer" life in the world? Are you willing to lose this life to gain all that the Lord wants to give you in the next one?  I fear if the lukewarm sermon I saw streamed on Sunday is any measurement of the power of Jesus's Resurrection in the American Church, Jesus is going to have to come soon to save "even the elect" from weak and powerless faith. Pray that His remnant will continue to walk in Spirit and Truth; not cowering or hiding from the power and authority that is ours to change the world. We have a purpose and a destiny until the day He returns. Come, Lord Jesus! Strengthen us and Empower us!

Romans 1:4-5    [He] was declared to be the Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of holiness by His resurrection from the dead; Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of His Name among all the nations ...                    

December 26, 2023

The Church and Our "Post-Christian" Nation

It grieves me to say this. But when, in 2015, I first became cognizant of the depth to which the institution of Religion in this country was willing to compromise and sacrifice our culture of Christian faith to avoid conflict, I began to become greatly concerned. At the time, it was quite apparent to me that Christianity in America was undergoing a change.  Isis was in full terror mode, but I couldn't say that we were physically suffering as our fellow Christians in Syria and the Middle East were ... yet.  In the U.S., our form of "persecution" was mainly cultural at that moment in time, and the response of the Christian community was fluid and varied, and mostly tepid. 

There was a growing number of Christians who no longer wished to support a culture (monetarily, philosophically, or socially) that they saw as flying in the face of their faith. They no longer wished to perpetrate the corrupt "Babylonian" culture of this country.  As author, Rod Dreher explained it, "The contemporary values of this nation no longer corresponded to the values of [their] faith, and so they sought to construct alternative forms of community that enabled them to withstand long-term chaos and the inevitable breakdown of the broader social and cultural order." 

Of course that philosophy covered a broad spectrum of Believers, but what was becoming apparent to me was that it covered people who chose to surround themselves with like-minded Believers who shared the common goal of serving God as the Bible dictates; not as the culture demands, or as a prescribed brand of "American" Christianity. A simple example of that would be Christians who were struggling with established denominations within Christianity who were not standing up for Godly principles and commandments as they pertained to our changing culture, and who, instead, chose their loyalty to their 501(c)3 status over their obedience to Christ. So, in the ensuing years, I have seen many Believers choose to return to a "Book of Acts" home church model. That doesn't mean they traded one "building" for another. It means that, just like in the First Century AD, small groups of 15-20 followers of Christ gathered together in a home to study the Word [in all its instruction and wisdom] and to equip each other to do the work of the Lord.

I have seen many Christians naturally following this path. As we are faced with the reality that Biblical Marriage is no longer the law of the land, and as the leaders of our government have chosen to continue to use our tax dollars to fund an organization that promotes and profits from abortion, it is clear that our beliefs are in conflict with that of the nation. If we are to be true to our faith and our calling as followers of Jesus Christ, it will be necessary that we strengthen ourselves against the infringement of the culture upon our lives.  I tend to liken it to living "in this world", but not being "of this world". 

But now, here we are eight years later, and we find that the institutional Church still fails to see the truth of how we are failing the culture. Yes, we may appear as strong as ever within our own subcultural of Religion. But the Church needs to take off its blinders and see that Christians are now seen as outside the "norm" of modern American values. Add to that, the notion that our "American Christianity", which has always stood on the pillars of God, Country and Tradition, could be seen as being in conflict with Biblical faith, which is centered on sin, Christ, and His blood. Jesus's message was all about denying the power of sin, seeking His righteousness, and sharing the Good News that He brought His Father's Kingdom from Heaven down to earth. 

I am not advising the kind of faith that renounces or disavows the culture in which we live. On the contrary, I would hope that we would do as Jesus did, and engage the culture, showing compassion and love to those who are lost in their sin, yet never wavering from, nor betraying, God's guiding tenets and commandments. How are we to affect the culture, if we do not ever enter into encounters with the culture?  How can you share the Good News of Jesus Christ, if you are not willing to develop friendships with those who don't know Him?  Jesus didn't compromise on sin, and neither should we. But if my goal is to tell someone of the saving power of Christ, how do I do that if I ignore or avoid them? 

Let's be honest, those of us who believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and live our lives accordingly, are most likely in the minority of Americans who call themselves "Christians".  That term is beginning to cover a lot of different belief systems -- from those who accept gay marriage and abortion as approved by God; to those who believe in the political definition of Social Justice; to those who don't believe in Evil and Hell; to those who think the Bible is no longer relevant ... and they all call themselves "Christians"!   

But, that doesn't mean we Biblical Christians stop loving them or being who we are -- followers of the Son of God -- and living our lives as He commanded us.  It means that we must detach ourselves from the un-Godly ways of society, as well as recommit ourselves to the spiritual doctrines of the Bible as we proudly and boldly engage with those in the culture who do not agree with us. Let's not yield to compromise or concessions in order to make ourselves appealing to the culture. At the same time, let us not adopt a Pharisaical, holier-than-thou attitude towards our fellow Believers. Instead, let's be proud of how different we appear to the culture, and glory in our "strangeness"; let's be separate, but inviting, and continue in this manner for as long as we can.  After all, that's how our Lord lived His life on this earth.  He marched to a different drummer within the culture to which He was born; yet, He never compromised His allegiance to our Father, while inviting everyone who "had an ear to hear" to accept the glorious promises of the Kingdom of God.

But, I would be remiss, if I did not also say that the Lord warns us in His Word that eventually the world will no longer be tolerant of us. We must not be blind to the truth that evil is not only escalating in the world, but being tolerated on a greater scale. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the rapid changes in science, health care, and technology that increasingly diminish the divine nature of man. The attributes that we share with God no longer seem of value to our culture or the world. In fact, man is encouraged to reject God -- the One who created him -- and has begun to worship his own creation, leading to futile thinking, unrighteousness, and hearts that have grown cold and dark. As man worships his own creativeness, his wickedness grows in proportion. And those of us who possess true faith are increasingly scorned and ridiculed.

But you'd be surprised how insulated and isolated many Christians are to what's happening in the world outside their Churches. Which is why I often fear that the deception the Enemy is planning will find too many of my fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ unaware of the warning signs. The Church must pay attention to the red flags that Jesus, Himself, speaks of in the Bible. In Matthew 24:24, Christ tells us, For false Christs and false prophets will appear and they will provide great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect (God’s chosen ones). Jesus is telling us that the AntiChrist will deceive the masses -- and, yes, even some Christians! How can that be possible? It's easy to contemplate when you think of how our politicians and the media are complicit in deceiving the masses. They lie in order to convince us that the evil we are seeing is really for our own good -- all so we will remain tolerant of it... until it is too late. But do we see the Church countering that message in an effective way? 

Please do not misunderstand me! I am not trying to bash "the Church", which I prefer to call the Body of Christ, who will be composed of a Remnant who refuse to be deceived. They will be the Believers who steadfastly uphold God's Word because they have eyes to see and ears to hear! They will not willingly put on the dirty veil that clouds their spiritual sight. Instead they will remain true to their God and try to help others see the warning signs of the coming deception which is designed to lead to chaos and destruction. So, I ask you to listen when the faithful ones [who make you feel uncomfortable] try to warn you to pay attention. Remember that God tells us His people perish for lack of knowledge. And that lack of knowledge leads to ignorance, and ignorance leaves you vulnerable to the deception of Satan. Let us be determined to be a part of the Remnant; those who are not afraid to stand alone, if need be, to protect the sacredness of God's Word and His plan of redemption for the world. In the midst of the growing evil, chaos, and deception, we CAN be effective for the Kingdom! It is our duty and our obligation to our Savior; and it is our privilege to shine His Light into the coming darkness for all the world to see! 

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Jude 17-23.       But as for you, beloved, remember the [prophetic] words spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They used to say to you, “In the last days there will be scoffers, following after their own ungodly passions” .... keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously and looking forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ [which will bring you] to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy but with fear, loathing even the clothing spotted and polluted by their shameless immoral freedom. 

May 2, 2023

A Review of Where We've Been and Where We're Going

It's been a few days since I've written because the Holy Spirit has been speaking to me about things He revealed to me several years ago, and asking me to revisit those posts in light of what He is unveiling today. It actually feels like I've made a complete circle and it's time to reiterate some topics ... Jesus's voice never becomes outdated and we sometimes need to be reminded of what He has said.

It's been nearly 12 years since the Lord asked me to write this blog for Him, with the purpose of speaking to anyone who was becoming aware [and alarmed] over seeing the changes in the inherent character and nature of our country. I was to write of my own thoughts, as well as the truth the Holy Spirit would reveal to me; always pointing the reader back to the Sovereignty of God. There were days that I had no idea what to write, and He clearly led me to His heart. 

So, I've spent these last few days taking a bird's eye view of where I started in this journey and where it looks like we're going; examining how my perspective has changed [if any], and how far down the track this runaway train has traveled. It's been interesting to see that the Lord began by highlighting the political aspects of our changing world, then focused me on "preparing for what's coming", then led me to the knowledge of spiritual warfare and the advancement of the Kingdom of God as our assignment. I'm actually astounded at all in which He has counseled me, and at the rate He has chosen to disseminate information to me. Now, I find that there are some things we need to reassess to see if we are still in alignment with Him.

I look back on the things and ideas and plans that were at the forefront of our changing way of life, and realize that those things are still important and at the center of my everyday existence. In 2008, my husband and I wanted to escape the "expendable" and "throw-away" mindset of our American generation, and return to the sustainable lifestyle of our grandparents.  We wanted to embrace the lost traditions and skills that allowed past generations to perpetuate and preserve things of value.  We didn't want to take anything for granted -- and that included our ability to provide food, shelter, and protection in any storm that threatened our lives. 

And because of the precarious state of our economy and our national security, those ideals seem even more important today. If anything, the storms that threaten our lives have increased in number and intensity! Back then, we were just considering the possibility of economic hardship. In fact, the reality of a worldwide plague, the scarcity of food, the loss of our national stature in the world, and the threat of World War III weren't on anyone's radar. But just as I stated then, I knew to the depths of my soul, that we were about to enter into a spiritual battle that most Christians would be unaware of and unprepared for. 

Their 'Normalcy Bias" kept them believing that not only were we indestructible as Americans, but they believed what a lot of our Churches were teaching: that we would never face the onslaught of Satan's evil because Jesus was going to swoop down and rescue us to take us to Heaven before any "of the bad stuff happened". I have been encouraged in these latter days from seeing Christians becoming more open to the truth that the Bible prophecies the trials and tribulations that are now squarely in front of us. But I find that there are still those who think that this terrifying future will be played out in an organized, structured, and orderly fashion -- in a manner that we will clearly discern and anticipate. But that's not how our Enemy plays the game.

I am thankful my Lord and the Holy Spirit have continued to reveal the truth to me -- no matter how ugly it was to be. My husband and I were shown what was to come years before the actuality was evident: the fundamental changes to our society; the economic decline; the growing threats of foreign enemies; the domestic threats to our peace and tranquility; the slow and stealthy erosion of our Constitution; the plagues and pestilence that were being readied to be unleashed; the consequences of lax security at our borders; the impending death of the American dream for the coming generations; and the rise of chaos, disorder, and lawlessness.

BUT, we were also blessed to be shown the power and hope that the Lord will bring to the Faithful Remnant who refuse to bow down to the Anti-Christ spirit that seeks to pervade the Earth. We feel a greater responsibility and duty to care for those who were not as farsighted as we, and we will ALWAYS take a stand for God's Kingdom. I will be honest ... there have been times it has been overwhelming. There are so many who have been oppressed and tormented by the Enemy to keep them off the spiritual battlefield. And there are not enough of us who have overcome those attacks and stepped into our Divine purpose to set those captives free to help in the advancement of the Kingdom. So we sometimes feel exhausted and tired from our greater responsibilities and duties; we can become mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually weary. But, we declare that we cannot, and will not give up! We will never accept defeat! 

And I renew my pledge to my Lord that I will continue to share what He shows me; I will not shy away from the revelations of the Holy Spirit. At the same time, I do not revel in being the bearer of bad news, and do not take delight in what I see coming upon the world. And I don't profess to know how the Lord's plans for us will play out, but I do know this ... He is not the Author of evil, nor does He seek to harm those who belong to Him. He endeavors to warn us, so that His good, and perfect, and acceptable will for our lives can be realized. But all people -- Christians and unbelievers alike, must recognize that Evil exists and it is mounting up what may be the final attempt to eradicate who it perceives as its mortal opposition ... the human race. 

So, as a summary, where the world has been is where it's continuing to go; and it's building steam for a cataclysmic conflict between Good and Evil. It cannot be avoided, but how we decide to face it is up to us. We've been given free will to determine our mindset and our path. What I wrote in 2014, still holds true today, nine years later ... "We were chosen for this time because our Maker knew He could count on us; He knew our steps would be sturdy and our pace would be constant. He knows we will be unmovable and unchanged in our purpose, posture, or position. We can handle the load and tackle the task [He has given us]. We will survive and overcome because our strength and perseverance lies in the Lord. And the best part? He's right beside us, sharing the load [and leading us into the battle]. Yes, we've been given a lot to cope with these last few years ... but too tired to go on? Not a chance! We've just been toughened and tempered for what lies ahead ... and we're ready, willing, and able"!  

I pray that your spirit is enlightened and encouraged. Don't be afraid! You have been redeemed by the Lord and summoned by name. You belong to Him!

Psalm 62:5-6    "Yes, my soul,  find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken."


November 19, 2022

You Can Not Only Survive Today's Uncertainies ... You Can Thrive!

Today, I'm going to use a post I wrote in 2014 as the source to speak on our ability to thrive in the midst of these uncertain times.  Many of us are wondering about the destiny of our nation; a nation that was founded on Godly principles, but seems to have lost its compass along the way. In the 2014 post, I quoted Isaiah 1:9, which reads, If the Lord of Hosts had not left us a few survivors, we would be like Sodom, we would be like Gomorrah.

Although this vision and prophecy was given to the prophet Isaiah about the destiny of the nation of Israel during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, the kings of Judah, it also foretells the future of the tribe of Judah during the End Times. Furthermore, I believe its message should be heeded by our own nation, as well. I just love the multiple layers of significance that the Bible holds throughout all generations! Those who say it is no longer relevant in our time are sadly (and dangerously) deceived.

Isaiah laments his sinful nation ... he accuses them of immorality and criminality; they have forsaken the God who made them a great nation above all others, and they now only show Him contempt -- and worse, still, they ignore Him. Because of their "detestable disobedience", the future of their country is bleak. Their land has been attacked by enemies and strangers occupy what was once so generously bestowed upon them. And then the prophet tells them something that should have stopped them in their tracks, and caused fear to bring them to their knees. The nation of Israel -- indeed, all the world, including today -- knows what befell Sodom and Gomorrah. And Isaiah is showing them they deserved the same judgment. We read in Ezekiel, Chapter 16: "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me...".  The purpose of this post is not to dwell on the sexual immorality and perversion that were practiced in Sodom and Gomorrah, but to take to heart the judgment that fell on them, and to recognize the hope that is in the remnant that survived.

Isaiah received spiritual perception in the 7th Century B.C. to minister to the nation of Judah. He knew that God had a purpose for them, but he needed to make them see how far they had wandered from Him. All Israel knew that God had poured fiery sulfur on the cities, completely destroying them and all of their inhabitants. (To this day, the area where Sodom and Gomorrah were located remains a desolate wasteland.)  So Isaiah wants them to ultimately understand what God did out of the midst of that tragic judgment, and how they deserve the same verdict. He points to a particular nature of God as their reason for hope.

He tells them that "the Lord of hosts" spared a remnant, and it is that Sovereignty and Mercy that He wants his nation to recognize. And it is very important to take note of the name for God that Isaiah uses in this verse. In Hebrew, "the Lord of hosts" is spoken of as Jehovah-Sabaoth. From our human perspective, this is the name of God to run to when there is no other help. From God's perspective, this is the name He uses when He wants us to know that He is not only the One who delivers us, but also the One who judges us. He wants us to bow our knee to Him. This particular name of God meets our failure, and offers deliverance... when we are willing to repent.

Isaiah wants Judah to realize that their actions deserve the devastating and complete punishment that befell Sodom and Gomorrah. They need to acknowledge that Jehovah Sabaoth -- "the Lord of hosts" -- has rightly judged them, but He is also going to deliver them by the means of that remnant. A small group will survive His judgments in order to fulfill God's purpose for them.

Over 700 years later, the Apostle Paul quotes Isaiah's forewarning of a remnant, in Romans, Chapter 9.  He says, "And Isaiah solemnly cries aloud over Israel:  Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, only the remnant will be saved [from perdition, condemnation, judgment]!  Paul is trying to tell the Hebrew nation that God's own prophets have foretold this sad and frightening truth -- that their disobedience deserves full destruction, BUT through God's mercy, He will leave them a remnant that will survive ... a Jewish remnant that will bow their knew to their King and Messiah.  

The same is true for us today! We can be part of a remnant in this nation -- and the world -- that displays our supernatural power [that comes from Jesus Christ] in the midst of the downward spiral we see around us. We can step into our destiny to help others see that we have a purpose for the Kingdom of God and to spread that glorious hope. 

We can tune out the voices of this modern world and tune into the voice of our Master. Because while it may seem like the world is going mad and is out of control, it doesn't seem that way to Jesus. He has the foreknowledge of where the world is going before it results in His return. He has told us in His Word ...  You will continually hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end [of the age]. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish and the time of unprecedented trouble].

None of these things we are experiencing is a surprise to Jesus! And they shouldn't be to us, either. He told us they would happen so we would not be shocked or surprised. But somehow we have been deceived into thinking these warnings weren't meant for us. So we react in fear and anxiety. But we have a choice as to how we respond to these foretold events.

Instead of living in apprehension and dread, what if we lived in the knowledge that the things Jesus described must happen before He returns? What if we looked at it as if these events signaled His rescue for a world in which bedlam is flourishing? What if we saw the events for what they are -- the descent of a world that has rejected God's Sovereignty; His right to rule over His creation?

You see, we have a choice of how we think about the failing condition of the world. We can choose to be troubled over the circumstances we find ourselves in; or we can rest assured that it's all going along according to God's plan... and we know the Victory that awaits us. We can look at our reality from the perspective that the glass is half empty, or we can rejoice that it is half full. We can join the "misery loves company" club, and align with those who bemoan the loss of our prosperity, the threats to our affluent way of life, or the erosion of our constitutionally guaranteed freedom. OR we can trust that God has a plan, and we are part of it! And our part is to trust in Him as we actively seek to bring salt and light to a world that is awaiting His glorious appearance. 

We can show people that everything they are clinging to [their material things, their wealth, their job, their social status] ... it's all just illusion! It may all disappear, but you can choose to believe that God is delivering you to a new and fresh revelation of His will for your life. Even in the midst of misfortune and the decline of nations, God is always moving forward towards His ultimate finale ... the return of our Lord. And we have choices to make as we participate in His timeline. We can not only survive the events that are foretold, but we can thrive in them because we know where they're taking us. And we can share the reason for our hope and optimism in a world that appears defeated. 

So, we don't ignore Jesus's warnings, nor do we stay rooted in them. We rejoice that we have been born for such a time as this, and that we can choose to abide in the inner calm and spiritual well-being as a Christian who trusts in God's plan. We will not only survive these days, we can thrive!

#endtimes #endtimesprophecies #thriveinthesetimes #godsentimeplan 

Isaiah 28:21    For the Lord will rise up as at Mount Perazim, He will be stirred up as in the Valley of Gibeon, To do His work, His unusual and incredible work, And to accomplish His work, His extraordinary work. 

September 20, 2022

"The Big Picture": The Lord's Judgment and Mercy; Hope and Redemption


More and more, I have been hearing from people who are feeling the tension in the world; most are Believers, some are not; but they all can sense that something dark is coming upon the earth. It is in these times and seasons of fear among men [which, let's be honest, that is what it is], that I earnestly seek the Lord for His clarification and the counsel of the Holy Spirit. I know the warnings against man's rebellion that can be found in the Word, and I know the Good News of the strength, peace, and joy of the Lord that are ours in the midst of such darkness. But I don't have a crystal ball to see into the future to forecast what we might experience in the coming days or years. I can only draw inspiration from Scripture and what it reveals. And lately, I find myself studying the words of the minor prophets at the close of the Old Testament. They speak of both God's judgment and mercy, which are both sobering and hopeful as we reside in a world that is in such turmoil.

So, it is with great anticipation and expectation that I view the approach of the beginning of the High Holy Days of Judaism in less than a week. At sundown on Sunday, September 25th, the Feast of Trumpets commences. This Fall Feast, as ordained by God nearly 4000 years ago, was to begin with the blowing of the shofar to remind the Hebrew people that it was 10 days until the Day of Atonement, when the people were to make amends [by blood sacrifice of animals] for the sins they had committed against Him. Between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement (known as the Ten Days of Repentance), people could repent of their sins. The Feast of Trumpets was [and still is] a call to examine our lives because they will be judged.

Fast forward to approximately 600 B.C. [or 2622 years ago], and the prophet Zephaniah hears these frightening words from the Lord, "I will completely consume and sweep away all things from the face of the earth [in judgment]”. Zephaniah had prophesied during the reign of godly King Josiah, whose father and grandfather (Kings Amon and Manasseh, respectively) had profaned the statutes of the Lord and led the people of Judah into wickedness. Josiah rediscovered the Law and brought religious and social reform and restoration to Judah. But it was to be short-lived, as his son Jehoiakim is forced to pay tribute to Nebuchadnezzar and eventually delivers the treasures of the Temple into the hands of the Babylonian king. It is Zephaniah who prophecies that the blasphemous worship of Baal; and "the names and remembrance of the idolatrous priests along with the [false] priests"; and "those who have turned back from following the Lord, and those who have not sought the Lord [as their most important need] or inquired of Him” will bring the downfall of the nation of Judah.

Zephaniah declares that the wealth of Judah will become plunder for its enemies; neither their silver nor their gold will be able to rescue them. He warns that God has set apart another nation [for His use]; a nation that has accepted His invitation to bring judgment upon Judah. The merchants will be silenced and destroyed and all who weigh out their profits in silver will be cut off. The economy and the security of the nation are in dire jeopardy because the spirits of men are in stagnation -- they do not fear God. Zephaniah prophecies that "The great [judgment] day of the Lord is near; near and coming very quickly... That day is a day of [the outpouring of the] wrath [of God]". Except for the names and places, this prophecy in Zephaniah, chapter One, could be spoken over nations today. 

BUT, Zephaniah, chapter Three, brings hope out of the devastation. True, the prophet holds to the forecast of judgment for the rebellious and defiled; for those who did not listen to nor heed the voice of God and accepted no correction; and for those who trusted in their own power rather than the power of the Lord. But just a few verses later, we read that the Lord promises deliverance from captivity for His remnant.... for those who grieve for the appointed Feasts [which have been outlawed]. God promises that their shame will be turned into praise and renown, and that He will gather them together, and restore their fortunes and freedom. 

God tells the godly remnant of Judah to patiently wait for Him; for the day when He will rise up as a witness against the rebellious nations. He says, "For it is My decision and My right to gather the nations, To assemble kingdoms, To pour out on them My indignation, All [the heat of] My burning anger; For [in that day] all the earth shall be consumed by the fire of My zeal". So, in the midst of His righteous judgment, God promises mercy to His faithful remnant. “Then I will give to the peoples [clear and pure speech from] purified lips [which reflect their purified hearts], that all of them may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him shoulder to shoulder (united)".

That's why it's important that we keep our eyes and hearts on these Fall Feasts. From their institution in the Old Testament until the Day Jesus returns, they offer a time of Hope, Repentance, and Redemption that we, His faithful Remnant, might be spared His judgment that is due upon the ungodly world. It is such a blessing that God has given us these Feasts to prepare; to spend days in repentance and contemplation on how we can serve Him. It is a time of remembering and repentance for not living up to our full potential as sons and daughters of God. BUT we, who are saved by grace through our faith in Jesus as our Savior live with the certainty of the ancient prophets that our sins are forgiven and we are pardoned; that the blood of Jesus covers our sin and we stand blameless. Whether our Lord returns on this Feast of Trumpets or on a Feast day in the future, we do not fear the judgment of God. Rather, we praise Him for sending His Son back to claim us as His righteous harvest.  

The bottom line is this: It is inevitable that God will punish the wicked. But we have hope in this day when it seems that evil is running unchecked and victorious. God's remnant may number few, but we have the comfort that He will not forget us. So, I am grateful to God for those who reach out; those who are awakening to the sound of the Holy Spirit in their lives. They may not fully understand why their hearts and spirits are being quickened, but it is evidence that the Lord is readying Himself to return. God, the Father, is nearing the final number of His remnant who are willing to answer His call and seek Him. What a joy to be able to speak of the prophetic truths and promises in the Word. And Lord, we look forward to celebrating the Feast of Trumpets on the 25th and excitedly look forward to the Feast of Tabernacles, when You will reside in our midst. Hallelujah!

#Godsjudgment #Godsmercy #RemnantofGod #Feastoftrumpets #thelordsfeasts #bibleprophecies

Revelation 11:15   Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.

July 2, 2021

What Does The Lord Require Of A Nation?

At the end of my last post, I made the following statement: "We must recognize that our God and His ways are eternal; they are unchanging. And the words He spoke through His messenger Micah, nearly 2800 years ago, still ring true." If you read that post, and if you have taken the time to read the short Book of Micah, then you cannot deny that God spoke through the prophet Micah about ancient Israel's persistent rebellion and wickedness. The prophet made it clear that the earth and all men in it should be aware that the Lord God will be a witness against those who choose evil over righteousness. Micah particularly spoke against those who would use their social or political power for personal gain.

Micah warned that God would come down from His Holy Temple in Heaven and "tread upon the high places" and the worship of false idols. The Bible issues a strong warning against the oppressors, saying God is going "to devise disaster from which the rebellious will not be able to remove their necks". The rebellious nation will no longer walk in haughtiness [acting arrogantly superior and disdainful], "for it will be a time of disaster". 

Rulers and prophets of a nation who hate good and love evil will be denounced for all the sin they have engaged in; for the depraved and cruel things they have perpetrated. The Bible makes it clear God will bring a day of retribution for the leaders and prophets "who lead His people astray". There will be retributive justice for leaders who cry "Peace" to those who feed and bribe them, but declare war against those who are unable to put anything into their gluttonous mouths. In those days, says Micah, "the day shall be black" over such leaders; they shall be put to shame, and "there is no answer from God".

We must take these warnings from this ancient prophet seriously. It is folly for us Christians to think that the words spoken to ancient Israel and Judah do not apply to our beloved nation. And it is equally foolish and reckless to ignore the sins of our nation that are right before our eyes ... if we care to look at them. Remember ... as I told you in the last post, our God is Immutable. He does not change His character. The nature of His moral qualities are the same today as they were 2800 years ago when He spoke through Micah. Yes, there were good and righteous followers of Jehovah in that day, just as there are today. But we must not think ourselves and our nation superior to the rebellious kings and their followers in Micah's day just because we've had centuries of human inventions that have made our lives more convenient. We may be more technically and industrially advanced, but that doesn't make us more obedient to God. Nor should we consider ourselves more "spiritually" superior because we think we have figured out all there is to understanding God. We must not let our pride elevate us above those we think less worthy. If anything, I'm afraid mankind has raised the philosophies of humanism and rationalism above a belief in a sovereign, supernatural God. 

NOTE: Humanism emphasizes man's potential apart from any supernatural Being, and makes man the moral authority in both the individual and society; we are all able and responsible to lead lives that are personally fulfilling while also contributing to the greater good of society. Rationalism is the philosophy that reason and experience should be the basis of our opinions and actions, instead of any religious or spiritual belief system. In other words, there is no moral absolute, such as the Bible. Whatever seems right to the individual, will be his or her standard for behavior.  As a character in a fiction book I'm reading, says, "It would be best for men to deal decently with one another in accordance with God's principles. But what are we to do if we have men to whom God is of no account?" I think we can all see how far that is from God's plan, mandates and statutes. 

There is plenty in the ancient Book of Micah, and in our modern understanding of how far we have strayed from God's righteous principles, to warrant concern over how God regards our nation and the world. And if you do not understand that Jesus is throughout the Old Testament, and along with God, the Father, took a stand against disobedience and man's refusal to stay faithful to a covenant with his Creator, then you probably find it difficult to read the whole counsel of God in the Bible. But I'm not here to just sound the alarm against rebellion. I also want everyone to know there is HOPE! 

In the same chapter of Micah that the prophet repeats the Lord's warnings against the Rulers and Prophets, this bold prophet also declares, "But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob [Israel] his transgression, and to Israel his sin." Will not God give us the same power, justice, and might, because we are filled the Holy Spirit? We can call upon our leaders to lean on the Lord and return to His ways and walk in His paths. 

Throughout the Bible's long history we get a picture of God's justice in juxtaposition to His power and grace to save a remnant for His Name's sake. In the words of the 19th Century Christian theologian Charles Ellicott, "The thundercloud of darkness that descended upon sin again and again was always contrasted with a glimpse of sunlight through the storm clouds." From Noah to Isaiah, to Jeremiah, Paul, and John, in the Book of Revelation -- there is a picture of God's righteous anger, condemnation and wrath followed by His declaration to deliver and save a remnant, chosen by grace. Micah is no different. And because we are created by an Immutable God, the standards He held for all those who have come before us, are the same standards He holds for us. The violence, greed and deceitfulness of powerful men is leading to a demoralized state among mankind. Freedoms that Christ died to give us are being eroded and we see children treating their parents with contempt; as Micah says, a man's enemies are the men of his own house.

So, while we can look at the history of the Bible and see that the leaders and the people did not listen to their watchmen concerning the coming judgment and wrath, we can also see that the watchmen never stopped declaring their confidence in the Lord to deliver a remnant. And as much as we want to believe that all the world will come to the Light of the Lord, the Bible doesn't tell us that. Yes, the Gospel of the Kingdom is going out to all the world and then the end [of the kingdom of darkness] will come as the Lord descends from His throne -- but that does not tell us that all the world will receive the hope that is in the Kingdom; just that they were given the opportunity to hear and accept the promises that come with Salvation to enter the Kingdom.

I think I am not the only whose spirit discerns a terrible wickedness that is coming. And if we are able to learn the lessons from our Bible, then we know that it is time to repent and mourn lost opportunities; and to know the possibility that God may once again, in His Sovereignty, decide to consign our deserved punishment to our enemies. Just as Nebuchadnezzar and the king of Assyria carried out God's discipline against His beloved but faithless people, so might He deliver us into the hands of our enemies -- if we do not repent and return to Him. But are our wounds incurable? Are we doomed? The Destroyer is approaching. We should not be concentrating on the trouble in our enemies' cities, but need to bewail it in our own.

It is my earnest desire that all who stumble across this little blog will take notice of God's promises of both His Justice and His Deliverance. Take heart! We will see marvelous and miraculous things! Our enemies will eventually be defeated! There will be a remnant for His inheritance because He does not retain His anger forever. He delights in His steadfast love for those who seek Him in perseverance and righteousness. He will be faithful to tread all of our iniquities underfoot and cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. He will gather both Jew and Gentile to His bosom, as we, [all who remained the faithful remnant] reap the rewards of not bending our knee to the Enemy. Hang on, it's going to be a bumpy ride and rocky path we journey on, but if we hold to our testimony of Jesus, [and Him alone], we are assured of participating "in that day [when] the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of His people." The Lord, Himself, will come to lead His remnant of faithful children in a triumphant procession! Hallelujah!

Micah 6:8     He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?


November 4, 2020

Be Hopeful! The Destiny Of Our Nation Is At Hand!


I'm sure there is no one who would disagree with my statement that, at this moment, the destiny of our nation is looking precarious and our future seems uncertain. We appear to be a nation divided; not only along political lines, but in regards to social issues, racial matters, and economic principles. Our nation is bracing for predicted unrest in the coming days -- no matter who wins this Presidential election. As evidence of these disparities, voter turnout is forecast to be the highest we've seen in over a century. For those of us who look to God during this national crisis, what does all this portend?

Well, I would tell you that I don't have all the answers. Like many of you, I can recognize that our nation has strayed from its dependence on God, and the Enemy has sown an abundance of weeds into what was meant to be a good harvest for the Lord. Once centered on sound Biblical principles, the heart of our nation has slowly been corrupted and tempted to follow man's selfish desires. The will of God has been overlooked as this nation followed the ancient path of Molech worship, ritually sacrificing children in the act of abortion. We've seen God's institution of marriage, His design for genders, and even His plan for eternal life erode in favor of a social-scientific model for living one's life. By all appearances, our shifting cultural standards have led to the deterioration of Biblical morals and laws. But does that mean that God is done with us? Has He turned His back on the United States of America? Will we, like so many fallen nations in world history, be forgotten by future generations?

Here's how I suggest we look at our situation .... just like all those ancient nations, there are two segments of the citizenry: the general population and what God always sees as "His remnant". These are the true, moral, and pure followers of Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. So, if you are a righteous follower of Jesus, then you are part of the remnant of the United States of America. And God has instilled the destiny of our nation into our hearts. His purpose and plan for this nation will be carried by us, as believers and the remnant -- not the unbelievers, no matter how much they outnumber us.

Let me give you a visual. I want to take you a little deeper into the reference I made above about the sowing of wheat and weeds. The unbelieving population is like weeds that Satan has sown into the world. The Bible calls them "tares". From the outside, they look just like a kernel of wheat, [and therefore just like the remnant], but on the inside, their center is black and poisonous to man, producing sleepiness, nausea, convulsions and even death. Without God, the unbelieving general population has degenerated into willing subjects of leaders who are false teachers and prophets leading them astray. But as the remnant, God looks at the condition of the center of the seed He planted, and sees the fruit of our nation's destiny. 

And I think He does that for all the nations! Just take a look at China. If you are looking through spiritual eyes it's not hard to see that the world characterizes China as the repressive and controlling Communist regime. But God sees the remnant of the underground church in China, and their courage and faith. They are the ones who carry the purpose and destiny of their nation as far as God is concerned. The same thing can be said of us! As the remnant, we carry the destiny of this great nation, and as the Ekklesia, we will see the purpose and will of God done in this nation! As of this moment, we don't yet know what that will look like --- will we be afforded four more years to make amends for our national sins and rise up as the true Ekklesia, governing this nation in spiritual righteousness? Or will we be subjected to persecution and unrighteous control and restraint -- in both our faith and freedoms? 

I remind you again -- regardless of the outcome of this election, God will see us as the remnant! Whether in the midst of triumph or defeat, we can count ourselves blessed to be part of the remnant. And let us not forget the example of Elijah, who cried out to the Lord after receiving the death threat from Jezebel. He bemoaned the fact that God's people had abandoned Him; had torn down His altars and killed His prophets -- and now they were trying to kill him! He begged God to just let him die; he'd had enough! We may well be facing such a dry and unproductive season, but we must remember that God did not abandon Elijah in his darkest hour! God had a plan and a purpose for Elijah in the future and destiny of his nation. And He will for us, too!

Just like ancient Israel, the history of our nation is found in both a positive divine destiny and a negative demonic destiny. We are in the midst of that struggle for our nation, and we must engage in spiritual warfare to see God's purpose for America fulfilled. Let us act as the Ekklessia and intercede on behalf of the remnant of the United States of America! 

I want to give you a quote from Asher Intrater, an apostalic leader of a congregation of Messianic Jews in Israel. He knows well the purpose and destiny of his nation, and what he speaks over the remnant in Israel is applicable to us. I want you to take his proclamation to heart; this is meant for you!  "You are the representative within your nation that carries the destiny that God desires for your nation. You contain within you a vision for the salvation [and deliverance] of your nation. Your future is to be among those from all the nations who will gather each year to worship King Yeshua in Jerusalem. This is The Destiny of the Nations that is carried within the remnant of every tribe and tongue and people and nation ... including Israel and including your nation."

So, let us sit back and watch the results of our national election with hope and spiritual clarity. Yes, we all have our desires and expectations about this election. All of us want to experience a future full of comfort, security, and prosperity. But if that is not to be our reality, we must never lose sight of the truth that we are the remnant of this nation and our destiny lies in our tireless and tenacious representation of God's will and purpose on the earth. We are the fruit of righteousness in this nation, and it doesn't matter what the "outer shell" looks like. We each have a destiny and we have been born into this nation to see its destiny align with God's purpose. We have the authority and the authenticity of the Word of God to lift us up. Do not give in to despair or fear. Rejoice and abound in hope; may our God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as a member of the believing remnant. Amen!

By now, we all know that our election has been compromised and we must join together to pray in the spirit for God's justice to prevail. Do not give in to a spirit of fear or deception or dejection. As the Ekklesia, our prayers need to move beyond asking God to "fix this election", and ask Him to show us how to out-strategize the Enemy in the spirit. Just like Joshua waited for instructions from God about how to defeat the Canaanites, let us all pray and listen for a strategic plan to defeat the demonic tactics coming against this election. It is clear -- We are in a spiritual battle for our nation. Let us put on our spiritual armor and stand as the Children of Light against the forces of darkness and evil. God is for us, so who can be against us? 

Psalm 22:28      For the kingship and the kingdom are the Lord’s and He rules over the nations.




October 4, 2020

End Times Revival: Does The Bible Prophecy It?


I must admit I have wrestled with this question for quite awhile. And what I am going to present to you is my evolving position on this subject. This is where I am today. I am well aware of the modern-day "prophets" who preach that an awakening in the spirits of men will lead to a worldwide revival before the awesome Day of the Lord. I never want to discourage anyone or be perceived as against a revival, but I honestly do not see a Biblical interpretation of an End Times Revival.

And please hear me .... that is not to say that revival isn't real or does not happen. I do not have any authority to declare that. Throughout history, Revivals have occurred in times of need -- the Protestant Reformation in the 17th Century; the 18th Century Revivals led by John Wesley and George Whitefield; the three Great Awakenings in America (18th-19th Centuries); and the Asuza Street Revival and the Toronto Blessing in the 20th Century, to name a few. And I know the heart of "the Church" is to see Revival. But it doesn't take a very discerning spirit to recognize that there has been no revival in the Church that has defeated the wickedness in the world. In fact, the Church that resides in the building has been more about maintaining their position of compromise and accommodation in order to try and remain relevant to modern society [and to keep their status within man's law]. But this position has only seen wickedness and lawlessness rise while abdicating any power and authority they might once have held to change the world. That has left the Body of Christ sitting on the fence in a Laodicean, lukewarm posture.

That being said, I do see revival in the midst of small groups who recognize that the Holy Spirit has left the Church building, and who are willing to be true Disciples of the Lord and take His Gospel of the Kingdom outside the building, wherever they are led. This Body is the Ekklesia, the representatives of God's government on earth; those willing to go on the offensive and take God's Truth of who we were created to be, in spite of opposition, whether from unbelievers or believers. And when discerning that Truth [in all things, including today's prophecies of a worldwide revival], I go to the Bible to see what Jesus prophesied.

Nowhere do I see Jesus telling us to look for such a revival before the end of the Church Age. In Matthew 24, His Disciples ask Him for signs that will signify the end of this Age and His Coming. He warns not to be lead astray by those saying they are coming in His Name. That includes false prophets and teachers, which are not necessarily men who are seeking to deceive others, but may be deceived themselves into thinking they are hearing from God. Jesus goes on to say that we will hear of wars and rumors of wars; nations and kingdoms rising up against each other; famines and earthquakes. Then comes tribulation and martyrdom; being hated by all those who hate Him. Then a great falling away will occur, meaning there will be those who stumble in their faith and will betray their fellow believers in order to save themselves from persecution. The lawlessness will cause hearts to grow cold, and love will escape them. Jesus says the one who endures [and perseveres in their faith to survive the persecution] will be saved [delivered; rescued]. 

Jesus doesn't sugarcoat it. It's going to be difficult to live on this earth as we get closer to His Return. Nowhere do I see Him say that we can expect a Revival to ease our suffering and usher Him in. In fact, rebellion comes first, which results in the falling away and hearts growing cold. Again, I pray for revival and rejuvenation and renewed strength among those who are willing to contend in fervent prayer [as the Ekklesia] in order to hold up the appearance of the Man of Lawlessness, who will set things in motion for Jesus's eventual Return. I recognize the purpose of the cycle of Revival throughout the history of the world because it snatches victory out of the hands of the Enemy every time someone repents and receives Christ as their Savior. Revivals please the Lord because the Father doesn't want to lose even one of His creation. Revivals are real and we can most definitely pray for them to happen because that is how the Gospel of Salvation has advanced across the globe. And now I see the revival in the Ekklesia advancing the Gospel of the Kingdom, which is what Jesus came preaching, and what I think is spurring the Enemy to advance his kingdom of wickedness and lawlessness.  

Even as the Church grows "cold", there will always be pockets of Believers who remain "hot" to share the Gospel of the Kingdom; leading people to repentance, then salvation, and on towards entering the Kingdom of God on earth. And I believe the number of people who exemplify that kind of "revival" will be relatively small in number. You see, those I hear prophesying today of a great worldwide revival resulting in millions of people becoming part of "the Church" doesn't seem to correspond to Scripture. If that were so, wouldn't the Bible reveal an expanding and extension of the Church Age instead of it growing cold? I don't see the Word telling us that the Church will be purified in the Last Days. Instead it will "fall away".

I hear modern-day prophets using Scripture such as Psalm 22:27-28 to justify that this worldwide Revival is going to happen: All the ends of the earth shall remember and return to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and He rules over the nations. But when read in context, I believe this is referring to the Millennial Kingdom, the 1000-year reign of Christ after His return. And I also witness many today who like to take such snippets of Scripture as Joel 2:23 to point to a Revival in our time: Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. I, too hope for vindication as we pray that Father God will forgive our complacency, our contentment, and our self-satisfaction in our selfish deeds. 

I know the American Church sincerely desires a Great Revival because we can no longer ignore the immoral state of our nation. We are awakened to how we have failed as the Church in living up to the covenant made with God when those first faithful servants stepped foot on this ground. We've always been a prosperous and blessed nation, and we see that identity in jeopardy. We're more divided than ever along racial lines; the Freedoms enshrined in our Constitution seem to be slipping away; and more people are leaving the Church building because they are not being fed in the Word. They intuitively know that there is more to walking in the footsteps of the Lord than church attendance, and their spirits are hungry for a true encounter with Jesus to discover their purpose on this earth. 

These are the people seeking personal revival and they will be the ones who advance the Kingdom of God -- right up until the moment of the corporate revival of the Jews. This is the promise of Revival in the Bible! This was made so clear to me some years ago when a dear friend opened up the Lord's revelation through Romans 11. For the first time, I saw that the Remnant of Israel [those who choose to call on the Name of the Lord], will receive their salvation and reclaim their original status as the nation who will lead the world to the knowledge of God. And the fullness of saved Israel will bring about the Glory of God on the earth, as Jesus returns and defeats Evil. Then all those who are saved will enter into the Millennial Kingdom. 

So, we can take heart that revival is real! It will happen as it has always happened -- in small pockets and in cycles. And we should pray for those revivals, because as Gentiles grafted into the cultivated olive tree that is God's Chosen People, it is our faithfulness to expand the Gospel of Christ [in both Salvation and Kingdom messages] that will provoke Israel to jealousy in the coming End Times, and they will want the security we have in Christ. While revival might not look like what we hear being prophesied throughout the modern Church, it will look like whatever God intends to use to redeem the world. Pray about what your part in that revival looks like, and how you can become part of God's Promise to Israel and the world!

Jeremiah 30:17     For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast: ‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’


May 8, 2020

Who Will Be The Remnant?

     WARNING: I'm going to take you on a wild ride today; and my words will most likely be difficult for you to accept. But I ask that you read to the end of the post, and it is my hope that you will ultimately be encouraged.
     Popular among our Christian vernacular these days is the word remnant; a concept that there will be a bold group of Christians who will rise up and be obedient to God's call on their lives, defending His Kingdom on earth and carrying out His will in the midst of great opposition and persecution. The remnant will persevere and endure until Christ returns! In effect, we see the remnant in purely Christian terms.
     As a result of much study in the Old Testament, I have been able to see that God's plan to carry out His redemption for mankind has always been fulfilled through a remnant. So, it makes sense that the final fulfillment of that plan would be carried out by a remnant, too. Following me, so far? But where is the Biblical evidence that the final remnant of the Ages will be Christians?
     Let me build my case for asking that question ... The first mention of a remnant in the Bible occurs in Genesis 45 when Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, has prospered in Egypt to become the "father of the house of Pharaoh, and ruler over all of Egypt". His brothers [not recognizing him] appear before him to buy food for their starving families and Joseph reveals himself to them, telling them, "God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors." Here, we get the idea that a remnant is a group of people destined to survive calamity and catastrophes. And the people of Israel were to be a surviving remnant throughout history. They repeatedly suffered major trials and tribulation that brought them to the brink of extinction, but remained the people whom YHWH, in His mercy, spared to be His chosen people.
     Many of the prophets of the Old Testament prayed for the remnant of Israel to survive their circumstances. Isaiah prayed for the remnant which would be left after the Assyrian invasions. Jeremiah prayed about the plight of the remnant of Jews who fled to Egypt after Jerusalem's capture by Nebuchadnezzar. Micah prophesied about a remnant of the Jewish people who would return after the Exile in Babylon. Zephaniah identified the remnant with the poor and humble of Israel. Zechariah prophesied that a remnant would be present at the time of the coming of the Messiah's kingdom; a remnant that would be put into His fire, refined, and tested. "They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God’” (Zechariah 13:9).
     So, why am I taking the time to point out the history of the Jewish remnant? First of all, I want you to see what Jesus says in Matthew 15. If you will recall, a pagan Canaanite woman approaches Him about healing her daughter of oppression by a demon. But what is Jesus's response? “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Did you get that? How many of us, in our Christian faith, have believed that Jesus initially came for all men? Yes, ultimately, Salvation and the Kingdom are offered to all men, but only because the Jews rejected Him, and He later appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus and instructed him to take it to all men! But can you accept that God still has plans to use a remnant of the Jews?
     So, if you're thinking, "Well, the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah, so how can they still be a remnant used by God? Paul addresses this in Romans 11. We must remember that the Early Church existed of both Jewish and pagan converts to "The Way" [faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who brought Salvation and the Kingdom to earth]. This faith was not yet identified as "Christianity". So as Paul travels to these small home churches, preaching the Good News of the Kingdom [which requires Salvation to enter into it], he identifies himself as a Jew when he lays out God's plan for all mankind.
     Speaking to his fellow Jews in Romans 11, he says, "I ask, then, has God rejected His people? By no means!...  Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 'Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.' But what is God's reply to him? 'I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.' So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.... What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, 'God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.' So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.  Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!"
      Then Paul switches audiences. In Romans 11:13, he says, "Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them." 
     And in case this all sounds too mysterious, guess what? Paul actually addresses "the mystery of Israel's salvation [or restoration as it is called in the Aramaic translation). Continuing to speak to the Gentiles in 11:25-29,  he says, " Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.... As regards the gospel [of the Kingdom and Salvation], they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." I want you to understand that when God declared in Genesis 45 that there would be a remnant of Israel on the earth for "many survivors", He is declaring that there would always be a remnant of Israel as His chosen people. They would survive being taken into captivity by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Nazis. 
     And will Israel truly be restored to their original position and purpose? Will they be the ones to reveal the Most High God to the world as God intended? As Paul reveals, "God is more than ready to graft back in the natural branches [Israel] when they turn from clinging to their unbelief to embracing faith... they are still greatly loved by God because their ancestors were divinely chosen to be His. And when God chooses someone and graciously imparts gifts to him, they are never rescinded."  And the prophecy of Isaiah will be fulfilled! "Coming from Zion will be the Savior, and He will turn Jacob away from evil. For this is My covenant promise with them when I forgive their sins.” God will make sure He has a remnant of Israel to lead the world to knowledge of Him!
     That is made clear in Revelation 7, when Jesus returns to establish the New Heaven and New Earth: "After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel". 
     I tell you all this because I want to be sure that we Christians understand that we have not replaced nor surpassed the remnant of Israel as God's chosen mouthpiece to lead a lost world to Him. Yes, we are grafted in, and until the fullness of that remnant comes to fruition, we have been assigned to carry on the Gospel to the world. Can it be said that there is only a remnant of us that see God's plan, or a remnant of us that are carrying the true message of the Gospel of the Kingdom? Of course! In that sense, a Christian remnant exists and is very important to God's plan. 
     But I would love to see us recognize that there is a growing remnant of Israel that exists now, and through them God is growing closer to execution of His ultimate plan. There is a growing number of Messianic Jews in Israel and around the world that have been unblinded and see Jesus as their long-awaited Messiah. However, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist Judaism has rejected them and they are outcasts. Yet this remnant of Jewish believers is the HOPE of Israel and the Jewish race, and God's grace is empowering this modern remnant to fulfill their destiny. Their numbers are growing and the remnant of Christians who see and understand this are standing together with our Jewish brothers. In the midst of the Enemy's latest plans to discourage and dishearten us, we ought to be celebrating that YHWH is once again preserving a divinely chosen remnant of Israel unto Himself. This foretells that the arrival of the Lord and Savior of all mankind. Hallelujah!

Isaiah 27:6    In those to come, Jacob shall take root and Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit.