Category: The Church

Church in the End Times: Apostasy and Cultism

I am attaching a great article by Dr. David Reagan from Lamb and Lion ministries. We are the Last Days church. Part is Philadelphia and the other is Laodecia. Enjoy!

There is much talk going around these days about how unified, triumphant and glorious the Church will be in the end times right before the return of Jesus. This pollyanna image of the Church is certainly attractive, but it does not correspond with what the Bible prophesies.

 Apostasy

 The picture of the Church in the end times that is portrayed in the Bible is not a very pretty one. For one thing, the Bible prophecies that the Church will be racked by apostasy. Jesus prophesied that “many will fall away” (Matt. 24:10). Likewise, Paul said the Anti-Christ cannot be revealed until “the great apostasy” takes place (II Thess. 2:3).

 Paul reveals the source of the apostasy in II Timothy 3:5 — “Men will hold to form of religion but will deny its power.” The fulfillment of this prophecy began in the 1920’s with the ascendancy of the German School of Higher Criticism. This school of thought, which quickly swept American seminaries, advocated that the Bible should be approached like any other piece of literature — with a critical eye. The concepts of the special inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible were rejected. The Bible came to be viewed as Man’s search for God rather than God’s revelation to Man. As a human product, it was considered to be full of myth, legend, and superstition.

 This assault on the integrity of God’s Word opened the floodgates of apostasy. Before long Christian theologians and ministers were laughing about the virgin birth of Jesus, discounting His miracles, casting doubt on His resurrection, and flatly denying His second coming.

 As the uniqueness of Jesus was downplayed, many denominations began to embrace the damnable doctrine of Universalism. And that is where we are today, caught up in the midst of a gross apostasy which says, “Believe what you want. The important thing is to be sincere. There are many roads to God.” All of which makes a liar of Jesus who said: “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:16). The result is that there are a lot of sincere people who are sincerely going to Hell.

 Cultism

 A second set of prophecies warn that the Church will be assaulted by cultic deception in the end times. Jesus emphasized this point repeatedly in His Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:5, 11 & 24). And Paul underlined it in the strongest possible language when he wrote: “The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (I Tim. 4:1).

 The fulfillment of these prophecies began in the 19th Century with the rise of Mormonism and its demonic teaching that Jesus is the brother of Lucifer, one of thousands of Gods created by the super god, Adam, an exalted man. The Jehovah’s Witnesses were next on the scene with their perverted teaching that Jesus is the Archangel Michael.

 This century has witnessed the rapid multiplication of the cults, just as prophesied. Today, lifelong Christians who do not know why they believe what they profess to believe are being sucked into the cults by the tens of thousands.

 Equally appalling is the direct penetration of the Church by cultic doctrine. Well known Christian leaders are advocating the ancient Shamanistic practice of visualization as the key to prayer. Others are teaching one of Satan’s oldest lies — that those who have been born again are “little gods.”

 The latest cultic fad is the concept of Satanic salvation; namely, that we do not owe our salvation to the blood Jesus shed on the Cross but rather to some imaginary torment which He suffered at the hands of Satan for three days in Hell. And then, of course, there is Masonry, the oldest form of cultic penetration of the Church, with its secret blood oaths, its works salvation, and its Universalism.

 The degree of cultic penetration into the Church is perhaps best illustrated by two recent events.

 Church in the End Times: Confusion and Worldliness

 Confusion

 A third group of prophecies indicate that in the end times the Church will be assailed by doctrinal error. These are doctrines that do not damn the soul but which confuse and weaken the spirit.

 In II Timothy 4:3-4, Paul says: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.” There are many popular myths in Christendom today that either rob people of the power of their faith or else deceive them into practicing a presumptuous faith.

 The winds of doctrine (Eph. 4:14) are blowing through the Church at gale force and believers are being tossed here and there by the waves, all in the fulfillment of prophecy.

 Worldliness

 A fourth characteristic prophesied about the Church in the end times is that it will be compromised and corrupted by worldliness. The prophetic picture of this worldly church is found in Revelation 3:14-22, where the church at Laodicea is described.

 The seven churches depicted in Revelation 2 and 3 are symbolic of seven periods of church history. The church at Laodicea, the last to be presented, is representative of the type of church that will prevail in Christendom at the end of the Church Age.

 The picture is a pathetic one. The Church is apathetic, neither hot nor cold. The apathy is a product of the Church’s adoption of a worldly attitude expressed in the words, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.” Jesus responds with a scathing rebuke: “You do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”

 In fulfillment of this prophecy, our churches today are filled with cultural Christians who have accepted Jesus as Savior but not as Lord. They are schizophrenic Christians who walk with one foot in the Church and the other in the world. They are carnal Christians who shout “Hallelujah!” on the weekend but who live like pagans during the week. They are greedy Christians in pursuit of health, wealth, and power. The Cross and its message of sacrifice is as offensive to them as it is to the world.

 Judgment

 Because of the apostasy, heresy, cultism, and worldliness that the Bible says will characterize the end time Church, the Bible prophesies that the Church will come under judgment. In Revelation 3:19 Jesus says to the church at Laodicea, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline.”

 The glitzy, overindulgent church of the last few decades is now tasting the judgment of God. Sin is being exposed. Religious empires are being dismantled. The Lord is calling us from the Cadillac to the Cross. Through discipline, the Spirit is motivating us to humility, righteousness and holiness.

 Judgment has begun in the House of the Lord, where it always begins (Ezek. 9:6 and I Peter 4:17). The Lord is disciplining His Church as a prelude to the pouring out of His wrath upon the world.

 Church in the End Times: Hope and Exhortation

 The Latter Rain

 Is there any good news about the Church in prophecy? Yes, there is. The incredibly good news is that the Bible prophesies a great pouring out of God’s Spirit in the end times to empower those who are receptive to stand against the onslaught of Satan.

 The prophecy is found in Joel 2:28-30. Because this prophecy was quoted by Peter in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost to explain the phenomenon of tongues (Acts 2:14-21), many have assumed that it was fulfilled on that day. That assumption is erroneous.

 The context before the passage (verses 18-27) makes it clear that there will be two outpourings of the Spirit (the “early and latter rain”) and that the final outpouring will occur after the Jews are regathered to their land and re-established as a nation. Also, the context after the passage (verses 31 & 32) indicates clearly that the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy will occur at the time of the Second Coming.

 We have been in the period of the “latter rain” ever since the re-establishment of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948. The Spirit is being poured out, and the gifts of the spirit are being manifest in a way unparalleled since the First Century. The praise and worship of the Tabernacle of David are also being restored to the Church to further empower it for spiritual warfare.

 This great anointing of the Spirit is producing a remnant that is immersed in the Word, committed to righteousness, crucified to self, dedicate to prayer, surrendered in worship, zealous for evangelism and yearning for the soon return of Jesus. It is this remnant that will usher in the Lord’s return on a cloud of praise.

  A Modern Day Prophecy Concerning the Church

 Printed below is an excerpt from a prophecy given by the late Stanley Frodsham, former editor of the Pentecostal Evangel. The prophecy was delivered at the Elim Bible Institute Summer Camp Meeting in 1965.

 “When I visit My people in mighty revival power, it is to prepare them for the darkness ahead…Take heed to yourselves lest you be puffed up and think that you have arrived. Many shall be puffed up as in the olden days…

 Listen to the messengers, but do not hold men’s persons in admiration. For many whom I shall anoint mightily, with signs and miracles, shall become lifted up and shall fall by the wayside. I do not do this willingly; I have made provision that they might stand. I call many into this ministry and equip them; but remember that many shall fall. They shall be like bright lights, and people shall delight in them. But they shall be taken over by deceiving spirits and shall lead many of My people away.

 Hearken diligently concerning these things, for in the last days shall come seducing spirits that shall turn many of My anointed ones away. Many shall fall through divers lusts and because of sin abounding…

 I warn you to search the Scriptures diligently concerning these last days, for the things that are written shall indeed be made manifest. There shall come deceivers among My people in increasing numbers who shall speak for the truth and shall gain the favor of the people. For the people shall examine the Scriptures and say, ‘What these men say is true.’ Then when they have gained the hearts of the people, then and then only shall they bring out these wrong doctrines. Therefore, I say that you should not give your hearts to men, nor hold people’s persons in admiration. For by these very persons shall Satan enter into My people. Watch for seducers!

 Be not deceived, for the deceiver will first work to gain the hearts of many, and then he shall bring forth his insidious doctrines. You cannot discern those that are of Me and those that are not of Me when they start to preach. But seek Me constantly, and then when these doctrines are brought out you shall have a witness in your heart that these are not of Me.

 The minister of righteousness shall be on this wise: his life shall agree with the word and his lips shall give forth that which is wholly true, and it will be no mixture. When the mixture appears, then you will know he is not a minister of righteousness. The deceivers speak first the truth and then error to cover their own sins which they love…

 I desire you to be firmly established in My Word and not in the personalities of men that you will not be moved as so many shall be moved… Diligently inquire of Me when you hear something that you have not seen in the Word, and do not hold people’s persons in admiration, for it is by this very method that Satan will destroy many of My people.”

 An interesting thing about this prophecy is that it was published in Jimmy Swaggart’s magazine, The Evangelist, in October 1987. Later on, the problems encountered in his life and ministries were to serve as a partial fulfillment of the prophecy.

 The message is clear. We must all be on guard spiritually. None of us is immune to deception. Everything must be tested by the Word. If a doctrine fails the test of Scripture, it is to be rejected, regardless of who is teaching it. Our trust is to be placed in the Word and not in men.

 We must stop chasing after men and miracles. A fixation on either will result in deception. False teachers can appear as angels of light. Miracles can be performed by the power of Satan. Our eyes are to be fixed on Jesus, and Him only. Our authority in all things is to be His Word.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3668

DISTRACTIONS IN THE HOLY PLACE

DISTRACTIONS IN THE   HOLY PLACE

by David   Wilkerson | June 14, 2012

[May 19, 1931 –   April 27, 2011]

 

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“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:7-8)

I want to talk to you about mental distractions during prayer and worship, especially in the house of God. Jesus called people hypocrites who came into His presence mouthing words of praise, but whose minds and hearts were preoccupied. He spoke directly to them, saying, “You give Me your mouth and your lips but your mind is somewhere else. Your heart is nowhere near Me!”

What about you? Most likely, you are present in God’s house for an hour every week. Your body is in church but where is your mind? Your mouth says, “I worship You, Lord,” but is your heart a thousand miles away? Where do your thoughts take you during worship and praise?

Do you become preoccupied with family concerns or a business matter that’s been hounding you? How distracted do you get during that hour in church as the congregation draws near to God’s majesty?

It is dangerous to come into God’s house and enter into His presence lightly. “Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified” (Leviticus 10:3). The Lord said to Aaron, “I will not be treated as an ordinary person. If you’re going to come into My presence, you must come before Me sanctified. All who approach My holiness must do so with carefulness and thoughtfulness because of My glory and majesty.”

If your heart is not engaged during worship and your thoughts are not captive to the obedience of Christ, you might as well put a straw man in your seat. At least that is more honest than coming into God’s house with no mind and no heart.

The reason many Christians do not worship with power, excitement and zeal is because they have no intimacy with Jesus at home. Those who have learned to worship and focus privately bring their own fire — a fire ignited in the secret closet of prayer. True worshipers can’t wait to get to church to praise the Lord among His people.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3665

Greatest Church Soon To Be Mega Mosque?

 

Though ostensibly dealing with a building, a recent report demonstrates how Turkey’s populace—once deemed the most secular and liberal in the Muslim world—is reverting to its Islamic heritage, complete with animosity for the infidel West and dreams of Islam’s glory days of jihad and conquest.  According to Reuters:

Thousands of devout Muslims prayed outside Turkey’s historic Hagia Sophia museum on Saturday [May 23] to protest a 1934 law that bars religious services at the former church and mosque.    Worshippers shouted, “Break the chains, let Hagia Sophia Mosque open,” and “God is great” [the notorious “Allahu Akbar”] before kneeling in prayer as tourists looked on.  Turkey’s secular laws prevent Muslims and Christians from formal worship within the 6th-century monument, the world’s greatest cathedral for almost a millennium before invading Ottomans converted it into a mosque in the 15th century.

In fact, Hagia Sophia—Greek for “Holy Wisdom”—was Christendom’s greatest cathedral.  Built in Constantinople, the heart of the Christian empire, it was also a stalwart symbol of defiance against an ever encroaching Islam from the east.  After parrying centuries of jihadi thrusts, Constantinople was finally sacked by Ottoman Turks in 1453.  Its crosses desecrated and icons defaced, Hagia Sophia—as well as thousands of other churches—was immediately converted into a mosque, the tall minarets of Islam surrounding it in triumph.  Then, after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, as part of several reforms, Ataturk transformed Hagia Sophia into a “neutral” museum in 1934—a gesture of goodwill to the then triumphant West from a then crestfallen Turkey.

Even though Hagia Sophia is a Christian center under Islamic domination, several Christian authorities are content seeing it remain a museum, including the Ecumenical Patriarchate, spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians: “We want it to remain a museum in line with the Republic of Turkey’s principles.  If it were to become a mosque, Christians wouldn’t be able to pray there, and if it became a church it would be chaos.”

True enough; one need only recall how back in 2006, when Pope Benedict was scheduled to visit Hagia Sophia, Muslims were outraged.  Then, Turkey’s independent paper Vatan wrote: “The risk is that Benedict will send Turkey’s Muslims and much of the Islamic world into paroxysms of fury if there is any perception that the Pope is trying to re-appropriate a Christian center that fell to Muslims.” Before the Pope’s visit, a gang of Turks stormed and occupied Hagia Sophia, screaming “Allahu Akbar!” and warning “Pope! Don’t make a mistake; don’t wear out our patience.” On the day of the Pope’s visit, another throng of Islamists waved banners saying “Pope get out of Turkey” while chanting Hagia Sophia “is Turkish and will remain Turkish.”

All this is yet another reminder of the Islamic world’s double standards: when Muslims conquer non-Muslim territories, such as Constantinople and its churches—through fire and steel, with all the attendant human suffering and misery—the descendents of those conquered are not to expect any apologies or concessions.  However, once the same Muslims who would never concede one inch of Islam’s conquests are on the short end of the stick—Palestinians vis-à-vis Israel, for example—then they resort to the United Nations and the court of public opinion, demanding justice, restitutions, rights, and so forth.  (See this 2006 LA Times Op-Ed for more on this theme.)

Even in the brief Reuter’s report, evidence of such “passive-aggressive” behavior emerges.  First, this is not about Muslims wanting to pray; it’s about Muslims wanting to revel in the glory days of Islamic jihad and conquest: Muslims “staged the prayers ahead of celebrations next week marking the 559th anniversary of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet’s conquest of Byzantine Constantinople. According to Salih Turhan, a spokesman quoted by Reuters, “As the grandchildren of Mehmet the Conqueror, seeking the re-opening Hagia Sophia as a mosque is our legitimate right.”

Sultan Mehmet was the scourge of European Christendom, whose Islamic hordes seized and ravished Constantinople, forcibly turning it Islamic.  Openly idolizing him, as many Turks do, is tantamount to their saying “We are proud of our ancestors who killed and stole the lands of Christians.” And yet, despite such militant overtones, Turhan, whose position is echoed by many Turks, still manages to blame the West:  “Keeping Hagia Sophia Mosque closed is an insult to our mostly Muslim population of 75 million. It symbolizes our ill-treatment by the West.”

If merely keeping a historically Christian/Western building—that was stolen by Islamic jihad—as a neutral museum is seen as “ill-treatment by the West,” on what basis can Muslims and non-Muslims ever “dialogue”?

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3645

Islam In Africa: ‘An Invisible Genocide Where Sadistic Killers Slaughter And Execute Thousands Of Christians’

We do not see the persecution of our borthers in Christ mentioned in the main stream media. We are praying and standing with you against the fasle religion of the enemy. Keep looking up!

 

The UN does nothing, the world is silent, and most Western citizens, who know little about Africa, do not know it is happening. The goal is creating a big African-Islamic continent. Christians must be killed or expelled.

Fom Nigeria to Sudan, it is raging, the ‘Odium Fidei’, the war of religion.

A genocide epitomized not by the images of Sydney Pollack’s ‘Out of Africa’, which presents a continent that is rich and attractive, but by the Nigerian village of Dogo Nahawa, where Islamists, armed with machetes, killed 300 Christians, mostly women and children.

The Nigerian Nobel Prize Laureate for Literature, Wole Soyinka, called them ‘the butchers of Nigeria’.

It’s an invisible genocide where sadistic killers slaughter and execute thousands of Christians.

According to Philip Jenkins, a leading expert on Christianity, in Nigeria, what is at stake is the balance between Islam and Christianity. It’s the largest Muslim country of Africa, a global leader in oil production and a country where the future of religious cohexistence is precarious, since the country is divided in a half between Islam and Christianity.

The Islamic conquest of Africa began in the seventh century, when the Umayyads spread the faith in the Mediterranean lands which had long been Byzantine. But in deeper Africa, the penetration was difficult and for centuries Islam was unable to climb over the Horn of Africa.

Now, with modern methods of warfare, we are witnessing a wave of Islamization with unforeseeable, tragic consequences. The ‘Islamic project’ is trying to build a unique ‘adan’ (Islamic call for prayer) from the Libyan minarets to the Juma Mosque in Durban, South Africa.

Gambia, Senegal and Mauritania are already 90 percent Islamized, the rate decreases as one moves downward, reaching nine per cent in South Africa and almost none in the rest of the southern region – so far.

The goal is creating a big African-Islamic continent. Christians must be killed or expelled.

On January 3, the Islamic groups issued an ultimatum to the Christian community in Nigeria: ‘You have three days to leave, or you’ll die’.

If on Darfur there was some mobilization in favor of the victims, who cared about the campaigns of extermination sustained by the Christians in Sudan and Nigeria?

The West doesn’t hear the cry of these pariahs, trying to atone for its colonial past by not intervening.

In South Kordofan, Sudan, Christians are still subjected to bombardment, targeted killings, the kidnapping of children, forced conversions.

Over 13,750 Christians have been killed by Muslims in northern Nigeria since the introduction of Sharia laws in 2001.

If the Islamists are dreaming of an Arab caliphate from the Atlantic to the Suez Canal, south of Sahara, Islam is conquering cities and entire populations. It’s collapsing the historical dividing line along the sixteenth parallel, which divided the land of the Cross from the land of the Koran.

All that remains of the ‘dar al harb’, land of war, must become ‘Dar al Islam’, land of Islam.

According to the NGO Open Doors, in the northern states that have adopted Sharia law, five million Christians are under severe repression. Islam has planted the idea that the Muslim religion is ‘original in Nigeria’ and that the spread of Christianity is ‘a threat’, ‘an enemy to destroy’.

The troubles in Nigeria began back with the Kano riots of 1980, when a Muslim leader named Marwa Muhamadu said to the young people that whoever wore a cross or expensive clothes was an ‘infidel’.

The election of Miss World in Abuja in 2002 lit the fire of jihad in a haystack, leaving 200 dead on the ground and 10.000 Christians fleeing.

From the Gulf of Guinea to the Red Sea, via northern Nigeria, Sudan and Somalia, Sharia has become the only law in many regions. Today Islam is the first religion in a dozen of African countries.

A year ago, the Nigerian police stopped a shipment of arms directed to the Hisba, the movement that seeks to impose Islamic law in northern Nigeria, and to the faction of Boko Haram.

The cargo came from Tehran, part of the ‘Africa Plan’ launched by the mullahs to expand Iran’s influence in the continent by supporting Islamic governments and groups. These terror groups use guns, gasoline bombs and machetes, they shout ‘Allahu akbar’ (‘God is great’) while launching attacks on citizens.

They have so far focused on killing Christian clerics, politicians, students, policemen, and soldiers, as well as Muslim clerics who condemn their mayhem. 500 Christians have been killed since last December. 300 churches have been demolished.

The case of the Anglican Rev. Seth Saleh, in Zamfara, is emblematic. In 2003, the director of the local government knocked on his door and handed him a letter. ‘The governor – said the letter – informs you that your church will be demolished before his arrival in town tomorrow’.

In Romain Gary’s novel ‘The Roots of Heaven’, which won the Goncourt Prize in 1956, a Muslim character says: ‘One day black Africa will be on our side, our religion is younger and has the power of the desert, it will eventually triumph. An Islamized Africa will be an irresistible force for the world’.

A prophecy which seems about to become true. Will the world stand to prevent another Rwanda?”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3515

The Two Types of Last Days Christians

Great article from Bill Salus! Keep looking up!

The Two Types of Last Days Christians

on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 by Bill Salus

The following teaching is taken from Revelation Road, Hope Beyond the Horizon.

The historical accounts of the twelve spies contained in Numbers 13-14 point out that there were two types of Hebrews at the time of Moses. Courageous Joshua and Caleb represented those who had faith to die for. They realized the power God possessed, and relied entirely on Him to get through the giant obstacles— literally—that stood between them, and the Promised Land. They understood the signs of their times, and the significance of the days they were appointed to. They must have realized the Genesis 15:12-16 prophecy given to Abraham, predicting 400 years of Egyptian servitude had ended. Thus, they recognized the time had come to enter into the Promised Land in fulfillment of part-two of the prophecy.

(Part-one) Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land [Egypt] that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict [enslave] them four hundred years. (Gen. 15:12-13)

(Part-two) And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out [the Hebrew Exodus] with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall return here, [the Promised Land of Canaan] for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete. (Gen. 15:14-16)

Joshua and Caleb realized they were part of the fourth generation, the one destined to return and possess the Promised Land. Realizing they existed in fulfillment of this Bible prophecy, they exhibited the faith necessary to rely whole-heartedly on the Lord to deliver upon His prophetic promise made to the patriarch Abraham. They trusted the Lord would perform and safely deliver their generation home to the Promised Land. In Numbers 14:9 the two are quoted as saying, “Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.”

Conversely, their ten counterparts were spineless. When they spied out the land promised to them, they were intimidated by the enemies and were unwilling to war against them. Even though they probably understood the above prophecy, and even saw the Red Sea swallow up Pharaoh’s army, they still underestimated God’s power. In so doing they undermined his glory. For their lack of faith and courage, they were severely chastised and wandered in the wilderness, where all but Caleb, Joshua, and those under the tender age of twenty, died over the next forty years.(i)

Both groups were appointed to those hard times. They were all forced to live under the last, harshest days of the Egyptian bondage. Subsequent to their exodus, they were all expecting to enter into the Promised Land in fulfillment of Abraham’s prophecy. But only one group possessed the faith required to stand up to the challenges. One group represented survivors and the other deniers.

What is your condition in comparison? Do you possess the unshakable faith of Caleb? Are you willing to acknowledge the end of time draws near? Can you muster up the courage of Joshua, required to face the challenges appointed to the final generation? In the book of Joshua the word courage or courageous appears seven times, illustrating the importance of possessing a fearless faith. Or, are you destined to wander aimlessly in the wilderness of denial, anger, and depression, while your unbelieving loved ones face the real threat of missing the rapture and being plunged into the tribulation period? Are you a Christian survivor or denier?

End-Time’s Christian Survival

Since powerful prophecies are forthcoming, it’s prudent to prepare for them in advance. There is biblical precedent for prophetic preparedness. It’s smart to fill the storehouses with food in advance of a pending famine— that’s what Joseph did in the Genesis 41 historic account. Joseph possessed invaluable insights into the future, and took the necessary measures to provide for the Egyptians. In the process, his Hebrew posterity was also preserved. Joseph’s actions were blessed, because they glorified God, and were in alignment with the Lord’s plan for that time.

If a Christian exemplifies the lessons of Joseph by preparing for prophetic events, his or her actions, if rightly motivated and appropriately understood, can serve as a testimony to an unbelieving spectator. The goal is to temper the survival efforts with a clear demonstration of whole-hearted faith in Christ, and a wholesome understanding of Bible prophecy.

The believer’s behavior should resemble that of Noah’s. While his ark was being constructed, he used the opportunity to preach to those curious about his foreknowledge of the flood.(ii) Although only his immediate family heeded his warnings, the inaction of those in denial did not deter him from taking the necessary survival measures. In the process, his posterity was also preserved. Noah’s actions were also blessed because they glorified God, and were in alignment with the Lord’s plan for that time.

Additionally, stockpiling some cash, gas, and goods, in advance of the fulfillment of a Bible prophecy can insulate the believer from the predictable panic and hysteria that could follow. Long gas lines, food shortages, and inaccessible ATM machines for instance, can be temporarily avoided. This buys time for some resemblance of normalcy to resume. In the process, the believer’s posterity can also be preserved.

END-TIME’S CHRISTIAN DENIAL

Surprisingly, even though the end-time signs are plentiful and abundantly clear, many Christians don’t believe they live in the last days. The fact that the eschatological message is not being taught from many pulpits has a lot to do with this. Ignorance about the end times keeps many from realizing they live within them.

However, these next few paragraphs are intentionally written for those Christians falling into a different category. There are those who believe, or at least think it possible, that there is such a thing as an end time, but they shudder at the possibility that those trying times have officially been ushered in. In essence, they choose the path of denial. Rather than prepare for the end, they opt to ignore it.

One of the reasons for this is that they are young, and seek to live long, healthy, and happy lives. Or, they’re older and have children or grandchildren growing up that they want to send to college, or marry off. To them, the end times just doesn’t fit into their lifelong plan. In fact, some in this category even hope the blessed rapture gets postponed way off into the distant future.

Even though times are worsening, rather than accept and address them, they cling to the hope that world economies and geo-political events are going to get better. Unfortunately, if there is an end times, and if they are upon us, this mentality of denial can be downright dangerous because in the end analysis it parallels that of the ten-spineless-spies.

Certainly pursuing a noble aspiration, like sending a child through college, is a good thing, but if mankind has been plunged into a perilous period of time whereby hunting and fishing for survival is more essential than getting a four-year business degree, then what’s in the best interest of the child? Should he or she be taught to fish, or how to sell Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) when gas is priced at an unprecedented premium?

This example may sound facetious, but it speaks directly to the point. For instance, Christ says,

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:21)

This passage predicts a time is coming, which will be characterized by great worldwide tribulation. It implies that earning a college degree, or getting married and having a baby, is illogical. This coming “great tribulation” will necessitate survival, and eradicate denial. Everyone alive at the time will be forced to realize that the world is about to end! Christ is referring here to the final years of the biblical “tribulation period,” but some generation will experience this great tribulation first-hand!

This isn’t about minimizing the importance of a good education, which is scarcely affordable these days; rather it’s about being aware of the signs of the times. The fact many pastors avoid teaching about these last days, does not negate the fact that these last days need to be taught about. According to Acts 20:26-28, pastoral responsibilities require that the full counsel of God be taught from the pulpit. The full counsel includes Bible prophecy. Below is a quote that puts this into perspective.

J. Barton Payne, the author of the Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, lists 1,239 prophecies in the Old Testament, and 578 prophecies in the New Testament. That works out to a total of 1,817, by his count. And prophecies involve 8,352 of the Bible’s verses. And because there are 31,124 verses in the Bible, this works out to be about 27 percent of the total, meaning one-fourth of the Bible is prophecy.”(iii)

Picking and choosing what preaching is more conducive to filling the pews is not an option for an end-time pastor. Presenting about sixty-three percent of the Bible to a congregation, does not fulfill the requirements of Acts 20:26-28. Additionally, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that all 31,124 Bible verses are divinely inspired, including the 8,352 regarding prophecy. These two passages teach that even the prophetic Scriptures equip the man of God for service.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

It’s time for Christians to get right with the Lord, get ready for turbulent times, and get raptured, before the tribulation-period gets going!

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3394

False Prophet: Prophecy Has Catholics and Protestants Watching Pope Benedict in April

As April 16th looms, speculation is mounting concerning the possible post-birthday retirement of Pope Benedict XVI. These speculations are fueled by statements last year from Italian media personality journalist and Vatican insider, Antonio Socci, who wrote in The Times of London, “In short: the Pope does not discard the possibility of resigning when he reaches 85 in April next year.”[i][i]

Benedict was 78 when appointed pope in April of 2005 and was quoted then as having preferred a peaceful retirement, “At a certain point, I prayed to God ‘please don’t do this to me’…Evidently, this time He didn’t listen to me.”[ii][ii] Even more, in his book, Pope Benedict XVI Light of the World, when asked if he thought it appropriate for a pope to retire he responded, “If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign.”[iii][iii] This widely reported predisposition adds credence to recent rumors.

While official sources assert his recent trip to Cuba as evidence of his ongoing vitality, a December 2011 Associated Press story from Vatican City asserted, “Pope Benedict XVI seems worn out.”

The internet and Bible prophecy community have been buzzing due to an ancient prophecy attributed to Saint Malachy which predicted some 112 popes culminating in the destruction of Rome, Benedict being next to last. Adding fuel to the fire are assertions from a soon to be released book titled after the predicted last pope concerning a cryptic cipher published by a Belgian Jesuit back in 1951.

Bestselling author, Thomas Horn (Apollyon Rising, Forbidden Gates), has teamed up with a Christian apologist and author Cris Putnam (Pandemonium’s Engine) in the soon to be released book, Petrus Romanus, which explores the intricacies of the Malachy prophecy and the potential role of the pope in biblical prophecy. According to the blog promoting the soon to be released book, the deceased Jesuit priest and codebreaker, René Thibaut, decoded 2012 explicitly as the year for the final conclave. According to calculations at Putnam’s website the date coincides with the recent rumors.

While some Catholic scholars are divided on the Prophecy of the Popes, John Lupia Ph.D. at Roman Catholic News has deemed it genuine. Loyal Catholics are likely incredulous due to Rome’s predicted doom during the next pontificate. This foretold apocalyptic demise has Protestants like Hal Lindsey and Jack Van Impe speculating that the “rapture” of the church — a time when true believers will be caught away into the heavens and saved from great tribulation — will occur very soon. For believers in the rapture, this seems all the more exhilarating amidst the numerous 2012 predictions.

Other Protestants see a remarkable potential that the predicted final pope may personify the false prophet predicted in the Book of Revelation in chapter 13 verses 11 onward. That end-time figure is said to appear as a lamb, a Christian, yet speak like a dragon pointing to the same book’s symbol for Satan. Prophetic commentators have been quick to point out recent Vatican statements calling for an increased role for the United Nations and a world financial authority. While many Catholic faithful are incensed by the insinuation that the next pontiff is the predicted second beast, it is not without precedent. In addition to respected Catholic seers down through time who predicted Rome would become the seat of the Antichrist, Pope Benedict himself, while still a Cardinal, shocked the Catholic community when he confessed that he did not think the Holy Spirit was necessarily involved in the conclave that elects popes. When asked on Bavarian television in 1997 if the Holy Spirit is responsible for who gets elected pope, Cardinal Ratzinger responded, “I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the pope. … There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit would obviously not have picked.”[iv][iv]

Cardinal Ratzinger’s startling admission seems at odds with the traditional dogma of papal succession all the way back to Jesus’ disciple Peter and inadvertently lends credence to the election of a false prophet.

The Vatican has done little to silence the building buzz concerning the next pope and Malachy prophecy. Ratzinger also created a stir when he chose the name “Benedict” seeming to intentionally fulfill the Malachy prophecy’s characterization of him as the “glory of the Olive” (the Benedictine order is symbolized by an Olive branch). With the recent rumors concerning the pope’s soon retirement, this begs the question of whether the Vatican is intentionally fulfilling the Malachy predictions and setting the stage for the coming of Petrus Romanus.

 



 

 

 

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THE PARABLE OF PREPAREDNESS

Another David Wilkerson Classic…. What a man of God!

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27).

Jesus is saying that only things established on a rock foundation will hold up in the coming storm. One man built his house upon a rock “. . . and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock” (verse 25).

The builders of these houses represent two classes of Christians in these last days—the wise and the foolish. They built two different kinds of houses which people were living in when the storm hit.

On one hand, it is encouraging to know there will be a body of believers who will not fall. They will be able to withstand every demonic onslaught that comes out of hell when the storms rage. Jesus wants us to know from this parable that a person who builds his house upon a rock will survive everything that is coming.

Yet, sadly, there will be another group of Christians—people of whom Jesus says, “Their fall will be great” (see verse 27). This means a total, complete, devastating collapse of everything.

At this point, you may be wondering: “What does it mean, exactly, to ‘build a house’?” It is important to know that the house Jesus is talking about here is our walk with Him. We are building a foundation of getting to know Christ, of understanding His ways. We are building into our faith certain characteristics that will determine how we react under pressure.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3351

THE COMING STORM

A great little article from David Wilkerson focusing on the fact that is shaking us right now. We need to be about His will as the time is very short! Keep looking up!

 

When a sleeping child must be awakened, a loving parent takes him by the shoulders and gently shakes him. If the child doesn’t wake up immediately, the shaking becomes a bit firmer. The parent insists, because he knows the child will suffer if he doesn’t wake up on time.

That is precisely what God is doing right now—both to America and to the world. At first, He shook us very tenderly but now His shaking has become violent, because He has not succeeded in awakening us.

The Lord began to literally shake the earth with earthquakes in the late 1980s. A quake in Armenia wiped out almost that entire province. A quake in Japan measuring 6.9 nearly destroyed an entire city. Then came the horrible quake in San Francisco, with more following almost daily in that area. Quakes hit the West Coast constantly, from northern California to San Diego and down into Mexico.

Isaiah prophesies that God will one day rise up and shake the whole earth: “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty . . . and turneth it upside down. . . . All joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone. . . . When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree” (Isaiah 24:1, 11, 13). God is going to shake the earth as if it were an olive tree—till every bit of fruit falls.

Ezekiel says that when God’s fury arises, He will shake all that can be shaken: “All the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. . . . And I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38:20 and 23).

The writer of Hebrews says: “Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. . . . That [only] those things which cannot be shaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:26-27).

God is going to shake everything in sight so that He is revealed as the only unshakable power!

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3341

Catholic And Protestant Journalists, Websites Abuzz About Coming False Prophet “Petrus Romanus”

The False Prophet is the forgotten figure in end time prophecy.  There is plenty of speculation about who the Anti-Christ is, but very little about his “promoter.” Yet if we look deeply enough, we can discover what evangelicals and Catholics have believed about this personality, although there seems to be plenty of room for multiple interpretations in both camps.

We begin by taking what at first glance appear to be bit of a rabbit trail, but it’s actually to establish historical context.  The early Protestant reformers were firmly united in the belief that the Pope was the Anti-Christ.  Actually, as John 2:18 tells us, there are many anti-Christs, but the term is usually reserved for the final one.  Although they had many reasons to believe this, perhaps the easiest to explain is the one tied to one of the Pope’s titles — the Vicar of Christ.  “Vicar” means “substitute” and “anti” can mean “instead of.”  One of the best-known defenses of this point of view is The Two Babylons,  by Alexander Hislop.  He published his work in 1853, after the “Pope as Anti-Christ” theory was no longer so popular among Protestants.

The viewpoint was rooted in the Historicist interpretation of Revelation, which presents amazing fulfillments of most of the prophetic book up to the present time.  However, in an effort to get the Pope “off the hook,” two Catholic theologians started promoting Futurism, which is the dominant evangelical view of Revelation today, and Preterism, which teaches that most of Revelation was fulfilled by the time of the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.  A good source for the Historicist interpretation is The Present Reign of Jesus Christ by Robert Caringola.  The main weakness I see in Historicism is a lack of appreciation for multiple fulfillments, which would open the door for common ground with Futurists.

It turns out that Preterism has historical roots planted long before the Protestant Reformation.  It’s strongly reflected in the writings of Eusebius and may be linked to Saint Augustine, John Chrysostom and Ignatius.  This variety is more properly termed “partial preterism” or “historical preterism” because it allows for more future fulfillment of Revelation than does standard preterism.  It works nicely with Saint Augustine’s amillenial position, which is still the dominant position of the Catholic Church, namely that the  thousand-year period of Revelation 20:3 is symbolic of a great number of years and is our present era.  A blogger, identified only as Nic, on CatholicForum.com equates the False Prophet with the Sanhedrin/Pharasaic elite.  It remains to be seen how many Catholics share this interpretation.

There’s a new interest among evangelical Protestants in determining the Pope’s place in end time prophecy, and some are taking another look at the forgotten figure, the False Prophet. Tim McHyde has written an article on EscapeAllTheseThings.com called Is Pope Benedict XVI / Joseph Ratzinger The False Prophet (a point of view the authors of the new research book Petrus Romanus disagree with). His arguments include the previously cited one, involving the meanings of “vicar” and “anti.”  He also says, “The pope’s mitre literally has two horns.  If you go to the Catholic Encyclopedia, they themselves call it a “two horned mitre” (hat).  Again, its plain meaning is fulfilled in the pope.  He is a like a lamb with two horns.”  Another Protestant site, RedMoonRising.com, takes the argument further, “Catholic commentators such as the late Father Malachi Martin, Kathleen Keating and numerous Catholic visionaries are united in the belief that the Catholic Church will at one time be led by a figure they call the Anti-Pope who will turn against the fundamentals of the Christian faith and accept the Antichrist.” 

There is a variation of this theme involving an extra-Biblical Catholic revelation called “The Great Monarch and Angelic Pastor.”  The anonymous author of An Analysis of Catholic Prophecy writes, “… as Catholics understand it, there will be a Great Monarch and an Angelic Pastor who rule together followed by the Antichrist and then Jesus Christ returns to bring the last judgment.”  The author warns that these two personalities are really the False Prophet and the Anti-Christ, which means that when Jesus Christ arrives on the scene, believers in this prophecy would misidentify Him as the Anti-Christ.

The theme of an anti-Pope is further developed in an article in Examiner.com which quotes from a Catholic audio recording called Reign of the False Prophet.  It mentions a Father John O’Connor.  “Father explains how God will and is punishing the world for sin, and that the Fathers of the Church all wrote that the False Prophet would be a Catholic Bishop who will become an invalid anti-pope while the real Pope dies a cruel death in exile.”

Finally, a Catholic friendly website called EndTimesLion.com fills in more of the details of the anti-Pope theory.  “This Anti-Pope will appear to be elected, but he will not be validly so. This Anti-Pope will physically reside in Rome, at least for a time until the “Anti-Vatican” is moved to Jerusalem.  The election will be done invalidly through electronic means, such as email, fax and phone, based on the excuse that it will be too dangerous to travel to Rome because of the wars and revolutions in the streets.”

It must be remembered that Saint Malachy’s Prophecy of the Popes (learn more by reading the series in the above left column) contains references to both Popes and anti-Popes. It would be entirely consistent with Catholic teaching and emerging Protestant interpretation, for Benedict XVI’s successor, the final pontiff known as Petrus Romanus, to be both anti-Pope and False Prophet.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3338

The Prophecy of the Popes or False Prophet

I am attaching this article by Hal Lindsey in regard to the prophecies of Malachy an Irish onk made in 1158. While definitely not Biblical or canonical in any way, it is amazing how accurate Malachy has been to date. Read and keep in mind the propecy of the second beast in Revelation chapter 13.

The Prophecy of the Popes – Hal Lindsey – www.hallindsey.com

 Almost 900 years ago, Pope Innocent II summoned the Bishop of Armagh, in what is now Northern Ireland, to come to Rome. While there, this Bishop purportedly experienced a vision in which he saw the popes from that time until the end of the Roman Catholic church. He recorded his impression of each of the remaining 112 popes in a series of cryptic phrases.

 Today, Saint Malachy’s vision is called “The Prophecy of the Popes.” Written in 1139, it was rediscovered in the Vatican’s archives in 1590.

 I do not believe Saint Malachy’s predictions rise to the level of the Bible’s prophecies in either their detail or accuracy. However, his predictions have been remarkable in their own way and bear relevance to the times in which we live.

 You see, Saint Malachy’s prophecy seems to predict that the current pope, Benedict XVI, will be the next to last pope of the Roman church. After him will come a pope called Petrus Romanus, or Peter the Roman. Malachy appears to indicate that he will be the one who cooperates with the Antichrist, then will be turned upon and destroyed by the leader of the confederacy that rises out of the old Roman Empire.

 When you consider the fact that Benedict XVI is 85 years old, the world might not have to wait very long to learn if Saint Malachy’s final prediction comes true.

 And if that’s not interesting enough, stir this into the mix. The European Union is virtually teetering on the edge of collapse. I’m sure you’ve been hearing all the talk about Greece in the news. As I write this, the G20 is meeting to discuss how to rescue Greece from total bankruptcy. Germany is leading the effort to bail out the Greeks because if they fall chances are several other EU nations will follow in short order.

 It’s gotten so dodgy that some European leaders have turned to China for help.

 Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve System, recently told CNBC cool

that the European Union is too big (27 members) to succeed. He noted that the divide, both culturally and economically, between the northern and southern countries of the EU is just too great. He thinks that the only way divergent nations can successfully lump their currencies together is if they are culturally close, like Germany, the Netherlands, and Austria. Otherwise, he said, it just can’t work.

 Wow, that means the northern nations of the EU should not be tied, currency-wise, to the southern nations of the EU. That could cause a problem since, essentially, it’s the northern nations that are having to bail out the southern members. And the citizens of those northern nations are none too happy about that.

 Bottom line, of course, is that if the EU can’t make it work (and the futility of previous bailouts of several of the EU nations seems to indicate it will not), then there is every chance that the European Union may collapse. Or, it may turn to someone who has the ideas and the leadership to make it work. Or, at least, make a revised form of it work.

 Now, consider, too, the fact that the Vatican just recently published a report by the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace. It calls for the establishment of a “global authority” and a “central world bank” to rule over the world’s diverse financial institutions. Although this body does not speak directly for Pope Benedict, it carries his authority because the report quotes him extensively.

 In fact, in 2009 Pope Benedict issued an encyclical called “Caritas in Veritate.” In it, the Pope denounced the capitalist mentality as responsible for the global financial meltdown. He also stated that the world’s nations need to transfer part of their powers to a world authority. Then he argued that “there is an urgent need for a true world political authority.”

 To recap: We have an ancient prophecy — issued by a Catholic Bishop — that predicts Pope Benedict XVI will be the next to last pope. It also indicates that the pontiff which follows him will cooperate with the Antichrist, which, in turn will result in “the city of seven hills” being destroyed.

 Then, we have the current Pope and leadership of the Roman Catholic church advocating for a global authority to rule over the world’s financial institutions. Further, the Pope suggests that there needs to be a single world political authority.

 At precisely the same time, the vaunted European Union — which essentially springs from the residue of the old Roman Empire — is facing the possibility of imminent collapse. If that were to happen, it would result in either it disappearing from the pages of history or finding new leadership, retooling itself, and rising again to take charge of the chaos enveloping the world in the wake of its first failure.

 Now, how can anyone look at this convergence of remarkable circumstances and say that Bible prophecy is just so much hooey? Only a spiritually blind and deaf person could conceivably argue that these are not exciting times in which to live. Especially if you’re a believer!

 But Europe’s not the only place in the world witnessing major movement among end-times players. In the last 10 months, the “Arab Spring” has resulted in a geopolitical shift that has brought the Bible’s prophecies concerning the “King of the South” into sharp relief — no — into concrete reality. The nations that span northern Africa and extend down the Arabian peninsula are now formally Islamic states or soon will be. They all lie to the ‘south’ of Israel and, I believe, form the entity that the prophets called the “King of the South” — referring to one of the four spheres of power that will be involved in the war of Armageddon.

 Once again, these remarkable events prove the veracity of God’s Word. And that Word also says that before things get too nasty, Jesus Christ will return to receive all true believers unto Himself. And when He calls us up to join Him in the air, He’ll be removing from this earth the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit. And, friends, that’s when — literally — all hell will break loose upon this world. You do not want to be here when that happens.

 Don’t wait. If you’ve never believed and accepted the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ; if you’ve never received the pardon that He died to purchase for you, do it right now. Accept His free gift of pardon and welcome Him into your life. Trust me. You will never regret it.

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