Archive for the ‘Prophecy’ Category

Many of us began preparing for Christmas and the five ‘F’s a month ago: festivities, family, food, fellowship, and fun. It’s easy to forget one of the most important aspects of the season: forgiveness – and renewed hope. Christmas is the celebration of an actual historical event that forever changed the world, as the God who never changes carried out His plan to change the hearts of mankind.

No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done or what kind of past you’ve had, there’s always hope – if you open up your heart and receive the greatest gift of all. As the song says:

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing…

Through the centuries before Christ, the prophets predicted the promised Messiah would come – and from where He would come. Micah 5:2 states:

But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”

According to God’s preordained plan, when the perfect religious, cultural, and political conditions were in place, Jesus Christ left the Father’s presence and entered this world to become one of us. Isaiah 7:14 states:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel,”

Three of the most astounding words in history are, “God with us.”

Most people don’t have a problem with a baby in a manger, but the same baby we sing about during Christmas grew up and preached repentance to all people only to be killed by hypocritical religious leaders.

An infant in a feeding trough isn’t too confrontational or threatening. But Jesus declared that He is the Truth and the only way to God the Father (John 14:6). This claim is something to seriously consider. Why? Because evidence backed by archaeology, eye-witnesses, and history suggests it’s true.

So what is the meaning of Christmas? At the perfect time, Jesus was born for the purpose of dying for our sins. He lived a sinless life and sacrificed Himself so that we might believe in Him and live eternally. This really is good news! The gospel is the greatest gift God has given the church – because the message about Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the greatest treasure God has given the world…

Read the full post by David Fiorazo

*Originally published by Freedom Project Media

Was Jesus created or is He the Creator? On this doctrine, eternity depends. Is He the Messiah and is the Bible true?

If Jesus Christ is God and if the Bible is inspired – literally “God-breathed” by the Holy Spirit – then everything Jesus said and taught is true. If everything He said is true, then Christians had better understand what the Scriptures say about Him and obey his teachings. Jesus stated:

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.(Luke 21:22)

For this study, we are well beyond the ridiculous claim some people make that Jesus was a myth and never existed. One young woman said He was “made up by religious people in order to control society.” This is complete ignorance of the evidence, history, archaeology, prophecy, and of course, hundreds of eye-witnesses who saw the risen Christ.

Then there are those who say, “That’s your truth, not mine. I evolved, I wasn’t created.” Are there many ways to the only living God or is there a narrow path we must take by faith?

Breakpoint’s John Stonestreet recently said, “These four things are true for all people: Christ is risen, Christ is Lord, Christ will restore all things, and we are called to this time and place in history.”

Sermon video:

We know and believe Jesus Christ is both Savior and Lord, and our faith is based upon not only His finished work on the cross, but on His divinity and humanity. Let’s dig-in to the doctrine of the God-Man.

For example, in Colossians 2:9, Paul writes about Christ:

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,”

“Fullness” is from the Greek word, “plērōma, a recognized term in theology denoting the totality of divine powers and attributes found in Christ. The verse further adds “all fullness.” Jesus was and is 100% God — not 99.44%. 

But why did Paul add, in bodily form? In Greek philosophical thought, matter was evil; spirit was good. It was unthinkable that God would ever lower Himself to take on a human body. BUT He did! 

Still today, mockers insist Jesus was just a man; a good man perhaps, but certainly not God.

The third and fourth century Trinitarian Controversy focused on the mystery of the incarnation and the relationship between the Father and the Son (both of Whom were called ‘God’ by Christian monotheists). What does it mean regarding the divine nature that the Son had taken on flesh, died, and was raised for the sake of humanity?

For the growth of Christianity, this was a historical moment of intense struggle in church history to establish a common language by which to state the doctrine of faith without distortion, and in a manner that would do justice to the God Christians worship.

CLICK TO SEE FULL POST FOR STUDY NOTES, COMMENTARY, AND REFERENCES!

You’ll also notice Christ’s two states, humiliation and exaltation. Christ not only took upon him the likeness and fashion, or form of a man, but one in a low state; His whole life was a life of poverty and suffering. But the lowest step was his dying the death of the cross, exposed to public hatred and scorn.”

The exaltation was of Christ’s human nature, in union with the Divine. At the name of Jesus, not the mere sound of the word, but the authority of Jesus, all should pay homage. It is to the glory of the Father, to confess Jesus Christ is Lord; it’s his will, that all men should honor the Son as they honor the Father, (John 5:23).

Now the hymn

Philippians 2:5-11 –

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exaltedHim, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

If Jesus rebuked many of the early churches for straying, leaving their first love, putting up with false doctrine, or for being lukewarm, how could we, American Christians, think He wouldn’t harshly rebuke many of our seeker-sensitive, shallow, lukewarm churches today?

Some might claim the Church is thriving here in the United States of Entertainment. I would ask them why then doesn’t it translate out into society. Who is driving culture today, Christians or atheists and secular progressives? Biblical morality or godlessness?

The truth is too many professing believers have generally conformed to the world and have failed to defend and preserve culture through Judeo-Christian values. We are to be salt in society: to not only flavor and enhance culture but to influence it as well. Salt is a preservative, but it can also irritate, especially if it touches an exposed wound. Paul told believers at Ephesus to walk as children of light and,

Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; (Eph. 5:11)

Too many in American churches do just the opposite! We accommodate popular sins (abortion and homosexuality). Why? Because the Supreme Court ruled they are legal, of course. But just because something is legal does not make it moral. Has the Supreme Ruler and Judge changed His mind on certain sins? Not at all!

We have watered down the Word of God and have lost our saltiness and power to transform society for good. Some larger churches have a reputation for being alive, but their discipleship and doctrine is rather ineffective. I attended a megachurch for several years and kept running into unregenerate and unconverted people, many of whom thought they were saved. 

God woke me up at 3 AM recently and this message is the result. My heart was heavy; we were wrapping up our Bible study on the book of Colossians – a church Paul commended for their faith and love, by the way – and we were examining the geography of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) and many cities that had Christian churches in the first several centuries.

*The following is a partial transcript to the sermon from video:

In Revelation chapter two and three, Jesus harshly rebuked five out the seven churches within the same area. I couldn’t help but wonder what He would think of churches in America today. It’s a sobering thought.

Would Jesus rebuke us, Christians in the United States of Entertainment, the way He did several churches in Asia Minor? 

Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3 So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. Revelation 3:2-3

This quote has been attributed to several people, one of whom is Dwight L. Moody:

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.”

We will all stand before the Lord one day and be judged for how we spent our time. Your husband or wife won’t be there, neither will your children, coworkers, or friends on social media. It will be you alone before Jesus. And that should sober up every one of us in this room.

Here are some important QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  1. Is your life bearing fruit for the Lord Jesus Christ? JN 15:8
  2. Are we passionate about eternal and spiritual things? COL 3:2
  3. Who or what is our first love? What’s our main focus? 6:33
  4. Have you conformed to our culture – or to Christ? ROM 12:2
  5. Do we love this world more than we love God, His Word? 1 JN 2:15-17
  6. Are you prepared for persecution when it comes? 5:11-12

Are we, individual believers in Jesus who make up the church in America, succeeding at what’s most important? Are we loving the Lord God, loving our neighbors, preaching the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ alone, making disciples, raising godly children, impacting culture, and encouraging the faith of other believers?

Or are we just giving God lip service?

American churches, especially many of the larger, higher profile mega-churches, often have a good reputation simply due to their popularity, numbers or size (quantity). But this is often a very inaccurate picture of the overall health, discipleship, and maturity (quality) of a church. Is the body of Christ being built up in faith and equipped for ministry? (Eph. 4:11-12)

According to Barna research and several other studies and surveys, it appears American Christianity is producing the most biblically illiterate church members in history, confused about what the Bible teaches, unable to fully understand let alone explain and defend the essentials of the faith. What ever happened to discipleship? We can learn from the earliest Christian churches that it doesn’t take long to stray from truth.

Revelation 3:1  “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.

Wake-up! Repent! Notice what Jesus also says to the church in Sardis:

5 He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

*We all have ears – but – are we listening? What is Jesus saying to the churches in America who have grown comfortable and complacent? What is He saying to individual believers? Do YOU have ears to hear from God?

Is your life bearing fruit for the Lord Jesus Christ?

We just finished the book of Colossians in our weekly Bible study and looking at the geography at that time, we talked about the many early Christian churches in Asia Minor which is modern day Turkey.

…The Colossian church was just 12 miles from the church of Laodicea and about 95 miles from Ephesus, a booming city at the time. Laodicea was also prospering and growing, located next to a new trade route, they had it made.

But that’s what lots of people would say about America, which is why we’re making this comparison today. We are prosperous, proud, and self-sufficient. Look at our big and many churches!

May we take to heart the warnings to the early churches:

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked; …19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

READ FULL POST, SERMON TEXT & SHARE!

Just for a few minutes, let’s set aside debates and arguments about things like politics, gender, abortion, evolution, same-sex marriage, and religious freedom – to name a few. What really matters? Everything in life hinges on whether or not Jesus is God. Think about it. We know He existed historically – but what’s the final verdict? Is He a liar, a lunatic, or Lord and God?

Questions are good! But don’t deny the answers if they can be backed up with facts and evidence. Did Jesus tell the truth? Is there one living God or can we make up as many gods as we want.

Maybe you’re someone who thinks Jesus was just a good teacher. Is the Bible wrong about Him? What if the men He spent three years of His life with were all telling the truth? What about all the miracles they witnessed and the claims Jesus made? They believed Him enough to die for their faith.

Why didn’t the Jews and Romans who killed Jesus refute the testimonies of hundreds of eye-witnesses that saw the risen Christ? The burial tomb is still empty. Why couldn’t the authorities find the supposed dead body of Jesus and stop the spread of Christianity?

The events surrounding the life of Jesus, especially His virgin birth, crucifixion, death, and resurrection either happened or they didn’t. We’re talking about actual history and the fact that if these events documented in detail throughout Scripture really took place, it changes everything – and should affect how we live today.

C.S. Lewis stated:

“You must make your choice: either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us…”

So – is Jesus a Liar? Was Jesus wrong about anything He taught? Many call Jesus a good person, Rabbi, or a prophet, but if He didn’t tell the truth, can He really be good?

While the Old Testament prophets usually said, “This is what the Lord says,” Jesus said, “I tell you the truth.” In addition, prophets spoke for God, but Jesus consistently spoke as God. The Jews knew exactly what He meant because on several occasions, they tried to kill Him for claiming equality with God.

Was He a Lunatic? Have you read what Jesus actually taught? He was pretty bold and controversial! For one thing, He declared to the Pharisees that He existed before Abraham (John 8:58)! Jesus made twenty-three “I Am” claims and used seven major metaphors such as, “I am the light of the world… the bread of life… the good shepherd… the resurrection and the life.”

Is Jesus Lord then? No one in all history has successfully proven Him wrong. If Jesus spoke the truth, then there are tremendous consequences for not believing in Him! For one thing, He promised to return one Day to judge the living and the dead. He also talked about heaven and hell as actual places, and the need for people to confess our sins and be saved.

Truths about Jesus Christ revealing He is GOD

  • Jesus was with God in the beginning, (John 1:1)
  • Jesus is equal with God, (Phil. 2:5-11)
  • He was born of a virgin; became a man, (Matt. 1:18, Jn. 1:14)
  • He forgives sins, (Mark 2:10)
  • He performed miracles, (John 10:32)
  • He is one with the Father, (John 10:30)
  • Jesus came from the Father, (John 16:28)
  • He is the Christ, (Mark 14:61-62)
  • He is the Messiah, (John 4:25-26)
  • Jesus came to give spiritual life, (John 10:10)
  • He gives the right to become God’s children, (John 1:12)
  • Jesus bestows eternal life, (John 10:28)
  • Jesus became man, (Philippians 2:5-11)
  • Jesus is fully God, (Philippians 2:5-11)
  • His death was a ransom for our sins (Matthew 20:28)
  • Jesus died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8)
  • Jesus rose from the dead, (Luke 24:46, Acts 2:24)
  • He ascended to Heaven and is at God’s right hand, (Mark 16:19)

Colossians 1:13-17 states:

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

And in Col. 2:9-10,

…In Christ, all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

Those of us who believe need to turn from the world’s ways back to God, stop playing church, and submit to the authority of Christ. If Jesus was in fact the predicted Messiah, then the Bible is true and all other gods must be false.

Every other way of salvation won’t work out in the end. Jesus overcame death and the grave, and His resurrection proves Jesus is the only way to the Father. If you’ve been following a different god or another path, don’t put off this decision. Please trust in Him while there’s still time!

Historical, prophetic, and archaeological evidence confirms the resurrection of Jesus Christ – and it has absolutely nothing to do with the Easter bunny, chocolate or pastels! 

The Case for Christ movie came out last year based on the outstanding bests-selling book by author and former atheist, Lee Strobel. He was a Chicago Tribune journalist who set out to disprove Christianity and traveled the world in an effort to do so. 

He did meticulous research and interviewed the world’s top historians, theologians, and medical experts while examining the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Disappointed because he accumulated so much evidence supporting the Bible and none to refute the claims of Christianity, he sat in his office one day and a co-worker said to him:

“Lee, when is enough evidence enough evidence?”

His investigation was completed and Strobel became a born-again believer. 

Many historians outside the Bible wrote about Jesus, about His followers, Pontius Pilate, key events and places; they wrote about the crucifixion – including the solar eclipse occurring for three of the hours Jesus was on the cross, a great earthquake, and the persecution of countless disciples of Christ. 

Jewish non-biblical historian, Josephus writes about Jesus in “the Antiquities of the Jews.” Josephus was an eyewitness to much of what he recorded in the first century A.D. Under the rule of Roman emperor Vespasian, Josephus mentions the execution of James and describes him as the brother of Jesus the Christ, and describes Jesus as a wise man and the messiah. 

Sources outside the Bible could be reconstructed this way: 

“Now around this time lived Jesus, a wise man. For he was a worker of amazing deeds and was a teacher of people who gladly accept the truth. He won over both many Jews and many Greeks. Pilate, when he heard him accused by the leading men among us, condemned him to the cross, (but) those who had first loved him did not cease (believing). To this day the tribe of Christians named after him has not disappeared…” 

And according to Old Testament scholar, Gleason Archer: 

“As I have dealt with one apparent discrepancy after another and have studied the alleged contradictions between the biblical record and the evidence of linguistics, archaeology, or science, my confidence in the trustworthiness of Scripture has been repeatedly verified and strengthened…” 

Those who are open to the truth can research for themselves. You’ll learn about the early dating of the New Testament documents compared to other ancient literary works; overwhelming archaeological evidence, hundreds of fulfilled prophecies listing specific details about Christ, and of course, plenty of eye-witness testimony not to mention the thousands of people through the centuries willing to die for the faith. 

Acts 1:3 says Jesus presented Himself alive to the apostles after the crucifixion, by many convincing proofs, AND appeared to them over a period of forty days! What did Luke mean by “Many Convincing Proofs”? 

To answer this question we need to go to the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15. 

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 

Why didn’t the Jews and Romans squash Christianity before it took off? First of all, we just read Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies and that He appeared to more than 500 believers at the same time! 

If this weren’t enough, Paul testified to the fact most of these people were still alive at the time this was written (verse 6) so it could not be refuted! There were far too many eye-witnesses of the risen Christ. 

then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 1 COR. 15:1-7 

Weeks earlier, James was a skeptic. About the half-brother of Jesus, the Bible says “even His own brothers didn’t believe in Him.” But this James became a pillar in the early church and leader of the Jerusalem Council. Tradition holds that James was martyred for his faith in Jesus Christ. 

What changed his mind and radically transformed his life? The truth of the resurrection; Jesus appeared to James personally. Eye-witness testimony is critical in a court of law. 

Others the risen Christ appeared to included Mary Magdalene, the other women, Peter, the disciples including Thomas, Cleopas and one other on the Emmaus road, in Galilee to over 500 people, and to Paul on the Damascus road. These are just those we know of from Scripture. 

Then there’s prophecy: Seven hundred years before Christ was born, the prophet Isaiah said Jesus would be like a lamb led to slaughter, and: 

He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. Isaiah. 53:45 

Christ offered Himself, voluntarily enduring brutal torture and death, so why do we call it ‘Good’ Friday and ‘Easter’? Because His shed blood washes us clean and because He lives, so will we! Those who believe are assured an everlasting Hope that anchors our souls.

Moreover, on what we know as Palm Sunday, the very gate Jesus rode through on a donkey the week prior to being crucified, the Eastern Gate, will be the gate through which He enters Jerusalem when He returns. 

Who could have ever manufactured such an intricate story – a masterpiece combining thousands of years of historical events, written by at least 40 different authors on three different continents, including prophecies in perfect and specific detail? Who could have created and insured the carrying out of such an elaborate plan in advance? 

It had to be God! Fulfilled prophecy reinforces the truth of Scripture. 

Before His death on the cross, Jesus told His followers over and over what He came to accomplish and how it had to happen. In Luke’s gospel, after Jesus’ resurrection: 

He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:44-48 

Examine the evidence – and believe! 

A favorite Scripture of mine is Psalm 90:12 which states, “Teach us to number our days that we might gain a heart of wisdom.” As world events unfold and division in America increases, Christians need discernment today more than ever. With all that’s happening around us, it is so easy to want to avoid reality or become comfortable and complacent in life, but we must not.

At the end of each calendar year, it is reasonable and wise to look back and acknowledge God’s faithfulness, evaluate where we are as individuals and as a church, and learn from any mistakes. It is also imperative we have a sense of urgency and recognize the spiritually desperate condition of many around us. One priority should be to consider how we can be more effective in advancing the kingdom of God by sharing the gospel and living out our faith as we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18).

We don’t need to be news junkies, but we should be informed and knowledgeable so we can watch, pray, and be ready for whatever the Lord will bring. In no particular order, here are some key subjects to consider:

  1. Keep your eyes on Israel.

After decades of little change in the “peace process” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, President Trump decided to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Of course, the UN Security Council rejected this resolution, and the U.S. took a bold stand for Israel and against the United Nations. This is yet another sign we are living in the most prophetic times in history.

Around this same time, Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Israel would follow the United States in withdrawing from UNESCO. Along with signs including earthquakes, famines, wars and rumors of wars, 2018 will see increased opposition to Israel and America. Intensifying spiritual warfare is a given, and just as predicted, a coalition of nations is ready to attack Israel. For students of the Bible, times are exciting indeed.

  1. Religious Freedom teetering on the brink.

The Supreme Court case of Colorado baker, Jack Phillips will be a catalyst for future decisions as well as the direction of free speech in America. Many on the extreme Left would make it illegal to practice Christianity if they could, but that is essentially what is happening with nondiscrimination laws and “inclusive” policies giving special rights to protected classes (LGBTQ). And when Christians refuse to play the game and celebrate what is considered sin, activists and radicals often bully, intimidate, or sue them into silent compliance.

In a breaking story, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided Thursday in favor of activists that sued Christian owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa for not baking a cake for their gay wedding ceremony. Aaron and Melissa Klein are now forced to pay the lesbian couple $135,000 for alleged “emotional distress.” Justice was not found here.

3. Sex outside of marriage the new norm?

Seeing the increase of abortion, cohabitation, divorce, homosexuality, the gender identity debate, and sex trafficking, it’s no wonder some of us believe we are a nation in crisis. Nearly 70% of Americans now say it’s acceptable to live with their partner before getting married. In addition, only about half of professing evangelical Christians think abortion and sex outside of traditional marriage are sins. This should greatly alarm us. Hollywood has played a leading role in the promotion of promiscuity, sexual deviance and the normalization of homosexuality; government schools have co-starred, but we often forget so-called “higher education.”

Commenting on Young America’s Foundation survey of new courses offered at 50 top colleges in America, author Frank Turek said they “promote a dogmatic secularism with a kind of religious fervor intent on urging students to abandon reality and live in their own sexual fantasy world.” He concludes the article by saying “professors who teach these courses may have the best of intentions. They may think that what they are doing is right and true (all the while declaring truth and gender are relative). But you don’t have to support their dogmatic delusions.”

4. The Critical Fight For Life

There was some good news in 2017. Survey’s indicate today’s youth are more pro-life than the previous generation. Abortion clinic closures far outpaced newly opened abortion facilities, and forty-nine abortion facilities — 35 surgical and 14 medication only clinics — closed or halted abortion servicesThe common sense “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” passed in the House 237-189, and Trump promised to sign the bill into law. We are told the Senate will vote as well. The bill bans abortion at the point that science increasingly shows that unborn children feel pain.

America is just one of only 7 (out of 198 nations) that allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

President Trump did sign a bill allowing states to withhold money from Planned Parenthood, and the DOJ recently launched a federal investigation into Planned Parenthood’s practices and the sale of fetal tissue. But perhaps one of the most interesting pro-life moves the president made was a three-word change to an obscure HHS document that defines life as “beginning at conception.” According to Al Perotta, the Trump administration added that phrase and:

“HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.” If the U.S. government says life begins at conception and its job is “serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life” then it has a duty to protect the unborn by any legal means necessary.

5. The American (Laodicean) Church will keep conforming to culture.

New research not only indicates liberalism has infected Christianity, but more people now prefer to consider themselves “spiritual but not religious.” Abandoning the institutional, traditional church, some claim they love Jesus but not the church. Since the church is the bride of Christ, is it biblical to love one and not the other? Surveys also show more professing Christians accepting moral relativism while pursuing comfort and self-fulfillment.

Just as disturbing, there is a segment of Americans who consider their faith important and attend church regularly, but do not hold to biblical perspectives such as the inerrancy of Scripture and essentials of the faith. Abandoning truth, they prefer to be “inclusive and welcoming.” Because of this hypocrisy, the Christian worldview has been distorted and confusing to a watching world.

  1. Christians will continue to be hated and discriminated against.

We cannot and should not compare the treatment of American believers with persecuted Christians in restricted nations around the world, but things are intensifying. Bullying and discrimination are wrong no matter who is involved, but often overlooked is the blatant intolerance toward Christians by the very people touting inclusion, diversity, and “tolerance.” Public opinion has shifted revealing an acceptance of this double standard. Jesus told His followers that since the world hated Him they will hate us as well (John 15:18).

While Christians recently celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ, atheists and scrooges took their rebellion up a notch this year attacking nativity scenes and putting up billboards. Books have been written with examples, but I’ll mention one. The liberal Washington Post came out with an article for Christmas suggesting Jesus didn’t really exist because the evidence doesn’t add up. (What evidence could he possibly be looking at?) The Post didn’t even bother to fact check nor did they provide any new research – so – why do you think they happened to publish the anti-Christian piece on Christmas?

  1. Media Malpractice: epidemic and rampant.

All through 2017, the liberal media consistently and irresponsibly parroted negative news angles on President Trump, the GOP tax cuts, the economy, borders and immigration, national defense, transgender rights, etc. The average for the year was 91% negative coverage of Trump. We’ve never seen anything like this; liberals are not even trying to hide their allegiance to the Democrat Party any longer.

That same media ignored most positive news including job growth, the Dow rising 5,000 points in a year for first time in history, unemployment for African Americans dropping to a 17-year low, and Christians freely celebrated Christmas in parts of Iraq and Syria formerly under ISIS control. But all this generally isn’t good news to the mainstream media because we have a Republican president.

  1. Lawlessness and worldliness will increase even more.

Character, integrity, and morality took a hit in 2017 as sexual assaults, misconduct and scandals rocked the headlines. Billionaire George Soros shifted $18 billion from his hedge fund to his network of godless liberal foundations. Media silence. Ready to ramp up the chaos and division, “the resistance” increased via professional protests with Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and even pro athletes protesting (Trump) the National Anthem.

Finally, our obsession with technology is in danger of becoming an addiction. Today’s kids know more about social media, gaming, entertainment, and technology than they do the Bible, the Constitution, and American history, but they sure can take great selfies! These are tomorrow’s leaders of our nation. Sadly, many adults are not far behind. It is true technology can be used for good purposes, but it is often used for meaningless, mindless entertainment. We must not conform to the world’s ways (Romans 12:2). The Internet has seduced many within the church as well.

Overall, it was a faith-testing year for many of us. Good will continue being called evil and truth will continue to be attacked and redefined. If America stays on course down this destructive road where there is no longer an objective truth or fixed standards of morality, we’re in big trouble. But thank God He always causes us to triumph in Christ (1 Cor. 15:57)! Christians have an eternal, secure hope which anchors our soul (Heb. 6:19) as well as a true peace found only in Jesus Christ. We serve a Mighty God, and we can be confident no matter what happens, God will be faithful to the promises in His word.

 

*Read more from author, David FiorazoHis top selling book The Cost of Our Silence, Eradicate (Blotting Out God in America), and his latest – Redefining Truth (Oct. 2017)

This is part 2 of the chapter 15 excerpt from The Cost of Our Silence

history5-newspapersOn May 14, 1948, a most remarkable event took place when the nation Israel was born in one day, as prophesied in Isaiah 66:8. This is unprecedented in all of history: Over five million Jews have returned to Israel, and as predicted, the remnant was restored (Isaiah 11:11-12; Ezekiel 37:21-22; 38:8). Never before in history has a people been dispersed and scattered among the nations of the earth and then return to their homeland from the north, south, east, and west (Isaiah 43:5-6). Nearly a million Jews traveled south from Russia alone, tens of thousands have left France, and the emigration of Jews to Israel from other nations continues.

About the size of New Jersey, Israel is not just the center of the universe, but the center of attention politically, spiritually, and geographically. The Bible was proved true when Israel became a desolate wasteland for about 1,900 years, but today we see the fulfillment of several more prophecies, such as Israel will bud and blossom, and fill the whole earth with fruit (Isaiah 27:6; Isaiah 35:1-2). Israel now exports fresh produce to the world to the tune of 800 million dollars each year, including over 200 million dollars from flowers and plants.

Nearly uninhabited and desolate a century ago, this little nation exports well over 40 billion dollars’ worth of goods. Tourism is one of Israel’s major sources of income and economic growth, attracting a record 3.54 million foreign tourists last year. According to the World Bank, exports of total goods and other services Israel provided to the rest of the world were over $91 billion (USD). How is this possible? Some suggest it is because of the increased rainfall while others point to Israel’s irrigation technology. Let’s not forget God.

According to the prophets Amos and Joel, the mountains of Israel would one day flow with sweet wine, and God would restore the people so they could rebuild ruined cities (Amos 9:13-15; Joel 3:18). They would plant vineyards and gardens, enjoy the land, and God promised they will not again be rooted out from their land which I have given them. Amos and Joel are among the first biblically prophetic books written sometime between 750 BC and 835 BC.

The prophet Isaiah also describes forests of trees filling the formerly barren land and specifically mentions the cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, juniper, pine, and cypress trees (Isaiah 41:18-20). God fulfilled His promise to open up rivers, springs, and fountains of waters so people would know the hand of the Lord has done this. In the last hundred years, approximately one billion trees have been planted in Israel. This is all part of Bible prophecy!

Just as predicted, the city of Jerusalem had been destroyed, trampled underfoot by the Gentiles (Luke 21:24) since AD 70. According to prophecies, Jerusalem would be – and was – rebuilt on its own ruins (Jeremiah 30:18; Zechariah 12:6) and reestablished in 1948. The Jewish people finally regained full control of the city during the Six-Day War in 1967. On June 7 of that year, the Israeli army broke through and returned Jerusalem to the Jewish people for the first time in 1,897 years! Israel has been attacked many times and even outnumbered, and yet – somehow – this tiny nation has not only survived, it has thrived.

Another major prophecy that was fulfilled is the restoration and revival of Hebrew as the spoken language (Zephaniah 3:9). According to Jewish News, the process began in October 1881 as Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and his friends agreed to exclusively speak Hebrew in their conversations, leading to Hebrew becoming the national language of Israel once again.

Around that time a belief existed that “one of the criteria needed to define a nation worthy of national rights was its use of a common language” in the society, but the language had not been spoken as a mother tongue since the second century. Because of his goal to reestablish the language, Ben-Yehuda is said to have raised his son to speak Hebrew throughout his childhood while sheltering him from other languages. One of the keys to its revival was the development of the first Hebrew schools in small communities during the early 1900s. Regardless of how man thinks it happened, we must acknowledge that God made it happen.

The burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel. Thus declares the Lord who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him, “Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it (Zechariah 12:1-3).

Similar to Old Testament times, the very existence of Israel and Jerusalem causes surrounding nations to tremble; their hatred of the Jews is almost irrational. In modern times, Hitler tried wiping out the Jews, as will the Antichrist during the tribulation. As news reports today are filled with the global conflict over Israel, many nations have formed an alliance against Israel (Psalm 83:4-8), particularly Muslim nations sworn to her destruction…

WHAT ABOUT ISLAM?

How does Islam fit in to the end times? Several years ago, author Joel Rosenberg said, “To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it. A new evil is rising in the world.” We can see evil be spoken of as good right before our eyes whether it is on our television screens or the Internet.

ISIS is beheading and persecuting Christians and “infidels” worldwide as was prophesied in Scripture (Matthew 24:9). The growing terror this generation is witnessing is part of the predicted end time lawlessness, and political correctness in America often gives the terrorists a pass. This should be another wake-up call for America, as we are in the midst of a dangerous combination of events. Ignorance is partly to blame while a complicit liberal media attempts to cover for Islam, but even Christian leaders have been complacent when it comes to discerning prophecy and world religions.

There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims, accounting for 23% of the world’s population. In America, estimates suggest 3.5 million; 250,000 of which may be classified as those committed to radical Islam. Until recently, most Americans have looked the other way, but with instant news and Internet access, we hear about Christians or Jews being killed on a weekly if not daily basis. (Please check out Voice of the Martyrs at persecution.com) We have been warned about this persecution in the pages of the Bible, and we are to have a reverent fear of God rather than a fear of man.

Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, and the gospel is the power of God for salvation. God has purchased people from every tribe and nation with the blood of Christ (Revelation 5:9). As ISIS continues their murderous rampage, spreading terror in places like Syria, Iraq, Nigeria (Boko Haram), and elsewhere; there are also reports that more Muslims are hearing the truth about Jesus for the very first time and are coming to faith in Christ. Other followers of Muhammad are turning to the only living God and Savior because of the godless reign of terror. God is at work through the Holy Spirit in the most terrible times even when we don’t see the results right in front of us.

Joel Richardson and Walid Shoebat are two who suggest the Antichrist will emerge from Turkey, Syria, or Iraq. Modern Turkey is practically immersed in what used to be the Assyrian Empire, and Turkey’s role in the end times seems to be supported by the prophets Isaiah and Micah as they refer to Assyria’s opposition to the Messiah. Many others who have studied Bible prophecy, such as Hal Lindsey and David Jeremiah, point to a European Antichrist (which is the standard view among Christians), because it is doubtful the Jewish people would support an Islamic leader. How it plays out sure will be interesting.

A majority of Muslims would never work with any other global government or religion unless it included or endorsed Islam and Shariah Law. According to the Bible, the Antichrist will be of Roman descent and will rise to power in Europe. Can you imagine Muslims submitting to or supporting a European leader? Particularly those seeking a Caliphate (a form of Islamic state including religious and political control or leadership) will not rest until Islam dominates the nations. ISIS is unwilling to coexist with other religions or political systems, period.

We cannot deny the truth regarding the deception and oppression of Islam. Due in part to modern technology, some Christians in the West have reluctantly discovered the brutality of a people who show no mercy to those who oppose their agenda. In addition, since ancient times, Islamic forces have stormed through villages and cities in vicious killing campaigns, beheading and slaughtering the innocent they consider to be infidels. The fact this is happening today should be of no surprise to those who are informed.

One problem many of us in America have is we now find our country enabling Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and other terrorist organizations either directly or indirectly. It is no longer any secret the Obama administration openly supports Islam – remember the president’s 2009 speech in Cairo when he first signaled his loyalty to Muslim nations? Now, ever since the “Arab Spring” in early 2011, Sharia Law has been implemented in several Islamic countries, and the persecution of Christians has reached record levels as a result.

Dedicated followers of Islam have been seeking a caliph to carry on the prophet Muhammad’s original vision of Islamic domination through conquest. Many believe they have their man in Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. “Abu who?” You may be asking. It shouldn’t surprise us that American news consumers do not know who he is. Always protecting the president, few media outlets reported in 2010, one year after President Obama released Abu Bakr al Baghdadi from an Iraqi jail, Baghdadi formed ISIS, and they have been on a bloody rampage of terror, death, and evil ever since.

 

revelationSome see the rapid advancement of Islam as part of the prophecy regarding the last days authority given to the beast for forty-two months to engage in war against the saints and overcome them (Revelation 13:5-7). Allegiance and worship is demanded by this “beast,” and all those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will follow him. Whether or not the final Muslim caliph is the Antichrist the Bible refers to remains unclear.

The fact is that pure Islam aims to dominate the world, and the hateful savagery of deceived, dedicated followers cannot remain hidden any longer. Be reminded, Islam means “submission,” and a practicing Muslim disciple is one who has submitted his life to Allah. Let’s be clear – their movement will continue to advance for a time. However, according to Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39, Islam will suffer at least a partial defeat when they come against Israel.

Many Muslims, particularly in America, appear to be moderate and do not follow all the tenets of Islam; but why don’t they publicly renounce acts of terror in the name of Islam? Sadly, we cannot ignore or forget what a small number of Muslims did in the months and years leading up to September 11, 2001. They lived among us, assimilated our culture, and carried out a massive act of terrorism that changed America forever.

Some of what I’ve written may be misinterpreted as hate speech due to those who discriminate against all Muslims because of the actions of the radicals. That kind of discrimination is wrong, just like discriminating against all Japanese citizens in America was wrong when their country bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. We must be discerning and loving, but we also need to be informed and never back down from the truth. There are Muslims worldwide working to implement Sharia Law in as many countries as possible to fulfill their goal of global conquest.

Though America doesn’t even seem to be a blip on the radar of end times prophecy, Israel will be the one to stand its ground according to Scripture. Arab nations will come against Israel and will not succeed, but because they love bloodshed, they will be consumed by it, and their land will be desolate (Ezekiel 35:6-7, 15). Some say this prophecy against Mount Seir has already been fulfilled.

Author, evangelist, and prophecy expert Dr. David Reagan of Lamb Lion Ministries reminds us the future of all Arabs isn’t as bleak. He writes:

Like the Jews, a remnant of the Arabs will emerge from the Tribulation with their hearts turned to the one and only true God, Yahweh (Jeremiah 12:14-17). The most remarkable prophecy concerning the future salvation of an Arab remnant is contained in Isaiah 19:16-25. Isaiah says that when the Lord strikes Egypt and Assyria, they will turn to Him and He will have compassion on them and “heal them.” Isaiah then presents an incredible picture of Egypt, Assyria, and Israel living together in peace, worshiping the same God!

There are obvious contrasts between Christianity and Islam, particularly relating to end times doctrines. Nowhere in the world are Christians persecuting unbelievers, threatening lives, attacking places of worship, chasing people out of their own homes and villages while killing any who resist. However, most of us have seen headlines and news stories telling about the gruesome slaughter of Christians in what are now Muslim-dominated cities and countries.

In Mosul, for example, the Christian population was over 100,000 a decade ago. Within a month of ISIS proclaiming leadership and slaughtering minorities, estimates have dropped from 5,000 to around two hundred Christians or fewer. In the summer months of 2014, a statement was issued by ISIS, the al Qaeda offshoot, to dwindling Christian populations where the Islamic State is taking over. They are implementing a “dhimma” contract, a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy. The statement added:

We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract – involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this, they will have nothing but the sword,

In some cases, ISIS gives infidels three options: Convert to Islam, pay exorbitant taxes, or be killed. Those of us in the West should not be shocked by the advancing evil in our time. Not only does the Bible predict it, but common sense says as man becomes more godless, evil will spread like disease. The fact remains evildoers need salvation through Jesus Christ.

Our reaction to terrorism and evil should be faith, love, and steadiness because it is for times such as these, Scripture is filled with the words “fear not.” The Holy Spirit that God gives believers in Christ is a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind – not one of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). We are also encouraged to stand firm and in no way be alarmed by your opponents or adversaries even if it means we are called to suffer for His sake (Philippians 1:28-29).

In light of current world events including political upheaval, we must revisit these and other relevant Bible passages with a fresh perspective.

…We keep our focus and keep the faith by remembering this life is temporary and every prophecy in Scripture will be fulfilled. We can be confident God’s justice and His judgment will prevail. Malachi 4:1-3 states:

“For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the LORD of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.”

“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the LORD of hosts.

God is concerned about reconciling the world to Himself and saving the souls of mankind, not about saving the United States or preserving the earth. The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and this world as we know it will pass away and be destroyed, which is why we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:10-13).

…Understanding prophecy will also enable us to keep current events in perspective. With all the bad news, terror, and chaos in a shaky world today, we know how it all ends, and we can have an unshakable hope in a never-changing God. Let us worship Him with reverence and thankfulness because we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28).

Yes, we are to obey Jesus’ command to go and make disciples by the uncompromising preaching of the gospel. However, until we get our own houses in order, call the church back to repentance, and seek personal and corporate revival, our power and effectiveness will continue to be limited. God calls believers to holiness and obedience and says, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance (1 Peter 1:14-16).

… If however, Christians do not see the need to repent, America has no chance of preservation. Has God ever allowed any nation to survive who had so much favor and the blessing of God only to turn its back on Him? Where are the watchmen warning the church about impending danger? Is today’s church reliving history?

In the past, God would allow His people to be attacked so they might turn back to Him. Isaiah wrote to the Israelites:

your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear (Isaiah 59:2). Through the prophet Joel, the Lord told them to return to Him with all their heart, even after all their disobedience and sin, reminding them He is gracious and compassionate (Joel 2:12-13).

[end of excerpt]

*Part of the conclusion to the book:

…Our silence has had tragic consequences, but from now on, let’s be prepared and useful to the Master (2 Timothy 2:21), encouraging people to be saved and lukewarm believers to return to Jesus Christ. These may be the final hours in which to take action… A time is coming when we will no longer be able to speak.

Then comes the end; when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death (1 Corinthians 15:24-25).

 

*Click here if you missed Part 1 of this excerpt!

 

eastern-gateFrom now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He. John 13:19

(Excerpt from the closing chapter in The Cost of Our Silence)

Three major things happen when we understand Bible prophecy better: Our faith is strengthened, our hope in Christ is encouraged by the fulfillment of prophecy, and we are more excited to tell others!

Did you realize the most dominant subject in the New Testament next to salvation is the second coming of Jesus Christ? His return is our hope.

To those who trust in Him and obey His commandments, God has promised a fulfillment to our hope in Christ and security in His presence for eternity. The entire Bible points to Jesus Christ, and prophecy should encourage us to dig deeper into the Word of God, marvel at its perfection, and trust its truth – particularly concerning what is yet to come.

According to scholars, there are 1,845 references to the return of Jesus Christ in the pages of the Bible. In fact, references to the second coming outnumber references to the first appearance of Jesus by an 8 to 1 margin! We easily get lost and overwhelmed by prophecies and their meaning until we take a closer, more concentrated look. At least one quarter of the Bible is prophecy (some suggest one third), so we must make a sincere effort to understand these Scriptures.

Jesus’ return is highlighted in seventeen Old Testament books, and within the twenty-seven New Testament books, there are 321 mentions of the second coming. This latter number equates to one out of every thirty verses in which the return of Christ is mentioned.

Prophecy indicates believers who are alive when He returns will be ushered into the kingdom of heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). All of the promises in the Old Testament to Israel will be fulfilled as well as the New Testament promises to believers, and Christ will reign as King over the whole earth for one thousand years. This is the end of history as we know it: The earth will be completely destroyed (2 Peter 3:10), and the universe imploded and replaced by a new earth and new heavens in which we will be with Him forever.

Jesus prophesied saying, Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away (Luke 21:33). Jesus made this statement over 2,000 years ago, way before the printing press was invented, and today His words remain accurate, trustworthy, and indisputable. The Bible is the best-selling book of all time, and hundreds of millions of Bibles and portions of Scriptures are distributed every year worldwide.

It amazes me with all the evidence and Scripture proving the existence, deity, and truth of Jesus Christ that many still refuse to believe. One reason for this may be the fact His birth and earthly life had one purpose, but His return will have a very different purpose – the final judgment of all mankind…

The “God-breathed” sixty-six books in the Bible were written by forty different authors; men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21 NIV). These messengers of God came from diverse backgrounds, and Scriptures were written in three different languages over a period of 1,500 years on three different continents! There are no contradictions or inconsistencies in the Word of God, and over 25,000 archaeological finds support the fact that people, places, and events mentioned in the Bible are real and accurate. Skeptics who say they need more evidence simply do not want to believe – it is an act of the will.

What human being could have ever manufactured such an intricate plan – a masterpiece combining thousands of years of historical events, as well as prophecies, in perfect and specific detail? More importantly, what man could have created and insured the carrying out of such an elaborate story in advance, well before many of those written about were born, before nations were formed, and years before historical events had even taken place? Over a span of thousands of years, hundreds of prophecies were made by men living in different time periods and who had never met or communicated with one another!

The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting (Psalm 119:160).

FULFILLED BY JESUS CHRIST

In the events surrounding His birth, Jesus Christ – Emmanuel, “God with us” – fulfilled prophecies about the Messiah no other person has fulfilled. Could these events have been manipulated? As for details surrounding the crucifixion and death of Jesus, at least twenty-eight prophecies were fulfilled. Jesus Himself fulfilled more than 300 prophecies. What are the odds? For those who have an open mind, evidence produced by an honest investigation of the life and death of Christ should astound even the most intellectual skeptics and mathematicians.

In his book, Science Speaks: Scientific Proof of the Accuracy of Prophecy and the Bible, Professor Peter Stoner (1888 – 1980) calculated the probability of one man fulfilling a handful of Messianic prophecies. Stoner was Chairman of the Departments of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena City College in California and Chairman of the Science Division at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. His research revealed the mathematical probability of one person fulfilling just eight of the prophecies was a mind-boggling one chance in 1017 (one, followed by 17 zeros)! The word impossible comes to mind.

The odds of one person fulfilling forty-eight prophecies equal 10 to the 157th power! Imagine the astronomical odds overcome as Jesus Christ successfully fulfilled hundreds of prophecies – which He has – and there are more to come when He returns.

God leaves nothing up to chance. Rather than provide a lengthy list here, let’s take a look at just a handful of key Bible prophecies about Jesus Christ fulfilled by Him:

  • The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem of a virgin; He will be called Immanuel and live in Nazareth (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:23).
  • He will be a prophet like Moses, enter Jerusalem triumphantly, riding on a donkey (Deuteronomy 18:15; Zechariah 9:9; John 12:12-19).
  • He will be rejected by His own people and betrayed by one of His followers for thirty pieces of silver (Isaiah 53:1-3; John 1:11; Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 26:14-16).
  • The Messiah will be mocked, taunted, spit upon, severely beaten, and flogged (Psalm 22:7-8; Isaiah 50:6; 53:5).
  • He will be tried and condemned to die by crucifixion (Psalm 22:14-16; John 19:15-16).
  • His hands and side will be pierced; His garments will be divided by casting lots, but His bones will not be broken (Zechariah 12:10a; Psalm 22:16-18; 34:20; John 19:36).
  • The Messiah will bear the sins of many and pray for those who kill Him (Isaiah 53:12b).
  • He will suffer with sinners, die with criminals, and He will be buried with/by a rich man (Isaiah 53:12a; Matthew 27:38, 57-60).
  • The Messiah will be raised from the dead (Psalm 16:10; 30:3; 1 Corinthians 15:4-8).
  • He will make His enemies a footstool for His feet; He will be exalted and will sit at God’s right hand (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 12:2; Acts 2:32-36; Hebrews 10:12-13).

Another interesting point occurred when Jesus told the disciples the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed. They asked Him when that would happen and what would be the sign of His return. The first thing He said was, See to it that no one misleads you (Matthew 24:4). Jesus immediately went on to explain some of the signs to come, such as wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, false teachers, and the persecution of Christians. We are seeing all of these things today, including nations fighting nations, all of which He described as the beginning of birth pangs (Matthew 24:8).

A new level of evil has arisen as people justify more sinful behavior, bringing us to new heights of godlessness. Persecution of the godly will increase, and evil men will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:12-13). Some believers have departed from the faith, and even Christians are being seduced by doctrines of demons. This is a wake-up call to the remnant!

Though many good churches exist in America and people are still being saved, it is only by the grace and mercy of God and the presence of active, committed believers, His true church, that the Holy Spirit’s presence and power is restraining more evil in our land. I certainly would not want to be around when the church is gone and Christians are raptured.

Believe it or not, with all the warnings from Scripture and the signs we are beginning to witness, people will still be surprised and caught off guard when Christ returns (1 Thessalonians 5:2-5).

You may have heard the story about Ruth Graham responding to Billy Graham after she read a draft of a book he was writing. She said to her husband, “Billy, if God doesn’t punish the United States of America, He’s going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!” Some sources indicate she made that statement in the mid-1960s, not long after the Bible and voluntary prayer to God were banned from government schools.

…At the return of Jesus Christ, He will enter the city through the now cemented and sealed Eastern Gate (Ezekiel 44:1-3; Nehemiah 3:29). This significant city gate is one of eight gates to Jerusalem and was walled up by Muslim conquerors in the 16th century. Just as the Bible teaches, the Eastern Gate to the city remains closed and will be sealed until the Messiah returns. The glory of the Lord will come by way of the gate facing toward the east (Ezekiel 43:4). The Eastern Gate is the only one that has been shut for 500 years.

This is both interesting and significant due to the fact the city walls and gates in Jerusalem have been torn down and rebuilt more than once. And when they were rebuilt, it was always on the same spots. The oldest city gate, the Eastern Gate was the only one not to be rebuilt by Suleiman the Magnificent around AD 1540. In addition, some of the massive stones in the wall were identified as masonry from the 6th Century BC, which is during the time the prophet Nehemiah rebuilt the city walls and gates.

Read the entire book excerpt here: