Thursday, February 28, 2013

Is There any Hope for America?

“Everybody Wants to Rule the World”
Last month, we looked at a number of historical efforts to “Christianize” different cultures at different times—each one by political leaders who believed they were exercising “God-given authority” to rule over the earth. Usually, those involved in orchestrating such efforts misquote the book of Genesis and point to Adam and Eve’s failure to “take dominion” as the basis for needed “restoration” of this mandate. And of course, such a goal always comes by human effort—which is nothing but another attempt to reach “heaven” by climbing up another way (Jn:10:1).
Dave Hunt and  TBC  have long addressed Kingdom-Dominionism in many forms—from the heresies and evil deeds of Roman Catholicism to the aberrations of Reformed theology and modern Reconstructionism to the extrabiblical and occultic practices of the Charismatic Latter Rain movement (see  Whatever Happened to Heaven?  and  Temporal Delusion ). Each of these historic cults and schisms has shared the same goal: to establish a “Christian” religious and political authority—first nationally and then globally. Historically, however, such attempts have always led to the  removal  of “Christian liberty” through tyrannical oppression and eventual persecution of true saints in Christ. The same holds true for the ongoing advancement of ecumenical unity in the New Religious Right of today—a  converging  church that is being built on the foundation of “common ground” with Masons, Mormons, and even Muslims.
It should be clear from Scripture and history that our God-given assignment is not to take dominion over unregenerate individuals, nor to become lords over human government, but rather to preach the gospel and make disciples. Yet, the temptation for some to “Christianize” the nation—and ultimately, the world—through human government is too great.
In divining “God’s Plan for America,” (see Part One ) Pat Robertson and other Christian patriots have evidently not consulted with the Scriptures—or else they must not be familiar with the depictions of world kingdoms as they pertain to past, present, and future prophecy. Did not the statue dreamt of by Nebuchadnezzar and interpreted by Daniel depict Babylon as the head of gold, Medo-Persia as the chest and arms of silver, Greece as the thighs of bronze, and Rome as the legs of iron—all fulfilled in history? And despite all the emotional idealism about America’s unsurpassed wealth and unrivaled power, where does America fit into this vision of earth’s sequential kingdoms?
Is America “The Stone Kingdom”?
Most conservative evangelical scholars would agree that the US will be squeezed into the “western” foot and/or toes mingled of iron and clay. Yet, Robertson insists that “the magnificence” of the US  dwarfs  that of every single kingdom identified in the vision of Nebuchadnezzar? This is, at best, pure delusion! That is, unless Robertson somehow believes that America is itself the “stone cut out of the mountain without hands” (Dn 2:45) that crushes them all. But how could such a twisting of Scripture occur? And where is the discernment of viewers and the rebuke of leaders who seek to protect their flocks from such deception?
Probing further, it appears that Robertson’s hopes are indeed pinned on a little-known aberrant doctrine that refers to America as “The Stone Kingdom.” In a book by that title, author E. Raymond Capt claims to present “compelling evidence that the United States of America  is  that final kingdom!” In fact, the author declares that America will “become a great mountain and eventually fill the whole earth.” At first glance, one may dismiss this notion as ridiculous but harmless. However, as TBC has long documented, Christian Dominionism is a “doctrine of devils,” which continues to deceive millions while laying the foundation for the coming kingdom of Antichrist.
Strange Doctrine Makes Stranger Bedfellows
One basis for this heresy is the doctrine of British Israelism, an idea originating in the mid-1600s, which attempted to prove that Western Europeans were principally descended from the “lost” tribes of Israel. Some even attempted to connect the Royal Family to the lineage of King David. A number of “Bible teachers” pursued this idea, and by the mid-1800s it became a significant “Christian” movement, impacting the direction and development of various cults—including those established by Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, and Herbert W. Armstrong. Joseph Smith declared that “the whole of America is Zion itself from north to south” ( Even today, Christian Science adherents proclaim that “America is The Cradle for the Second Coming of the Christ” ( Pat Robertson’s declaration that all the kingdoms of history “are dwarfed by the magnificence of the United States” seems to echo these unbiblical sentiments.
When viewed in this light, one can begin to see the method behind Pat’s mantra when he repeatedly insists: “God has a plan! And he’s not finished with this nation yet! We are a covenant people! Don’t let any politician tell you we’re not! This nation was ordained by God in the midst of the nations of the earth.... We are here! God Almighty has a plan, and that plan is not finished yet.”
Tragically, not only is Robertson filled with the pride of Christian nationalism—which is rooted in the unbiblical doctrines of British Israelism, Freemasonry, and Mormonism—but he is sadly mistaken that such defiant declaration is warranted on the basis of Scripture. Though he evidently intends to encourage anxious believers and crestfallen patriots lamenting the course of their nation, his position is in direct conflict with the Scriptures.
Viewed in this light, calling America “the stone kingdom” is exceedingly dangerous. Under no circumstances should the professing church exalt America to the position reserved for Christ! This nationalistic idolatry is particularly offensive when one understands the extent to which the United States was conceived and built not by God, nor by his Spirit, but by  Masonic  hands that  literally  cut out and established America’s capitol—as well as its first great cities. Were true Christians among these occultists? Absolutely. Did they invoke the name of God? Most certainly. But America’s founding was an unholy mixture of the sacred and profane—with evil men and seducers, being deceived and deceiving others, mingled with many good men (some godly) who “knew not what they did.”
The pattern of deception continues now as it did then: True believers and professing Christians alike engage in ecumenical efforts for the building or restoring of “God’s kingdom on earth.” In the process, they “wittingly or unwittingly” practice occult methods for the purpose of “entering” the heavens, after the manner of ancient pagan kingdoms. Tragically, while believing themselves to be more educated and advanced, many “modern” Christians are no better off than the ancient Hebrews who “ignorantly” worshiped Baal.
The Cornerstone of American History—or Heresy?
Perhaps one of the most obvious examples of America’s occult foundation can be seen in the Babylonish ceremony for the laying of the US Capitol cornerstone. Dressed in full Masonic regalia, our nation’s first president, George Washington, presided over the elaborate parade and ceremony—entirely conceived and conducted by  Freemasons —which concluded with a ritual “dressing” of the cornerstone with an engraved silver plaque, on top of which was poured corn, wine, and oil, and “sealed” with a Masonic chant.
Is such ritual Christian—or pagan? Could America’s “destiny” have been “sealed” from its very foundation and dedication to the god of Freemasonry? Lodge records faithfully document every detail of the cornerstone ritual’s procession—which concluded with “The President of the United States, the Grand Master... and the Worshipful Master of No. 22, taking their stand to the East of a huge stone; and all the Craft, forming a circle westward, stood a short time in silent awful order”  ( ).
If the modern reader did not know the event being described, the parallels to the practice of witchcraft (also called “the  craft ”) are striking—particularly with regard to the reverence paid in “silent awe” to the  East . In a counterfeit reference to Christ’s Second Coming (Mt 24:27), Freemasonry regards divine light, or knowledge, as coming “from the East.” This is why the former women’s auxiliary of Masonry (now open to all male and female relatives) is called the Order of the  Eastern  Star. Though cloaked in a “Christian” veil, the Gnostic light of this star is Lucifer, “light bearer,” which Scripture also depicts allegorically as “a bird of prey” (Jer:49:16).
What about 2 Chronicles:7:14?
In clip four of the preview for  God’s Plan for America , Robertson simultaneously issues a caveat and a call to action with the question:
And so God says to us, “Will you be faithful to the covenant? Will you renew the covenant that I made with your forefathers on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean when they knelt in prayer and claimed this land for me? Will you renew that covenant?” And if we do, we will enter a period of unprecedented prosperity and blessing, and the blessing of heaven will be showered down upon us. And that’s the challenge that I give you and He gives us. To renew once again that covenant, and to grasp hold of the plan that God had before the creation of the earth, that this land would be here, as first among nations.
Once again, Robertson exposes his own heresy with the declaration that God intends for  America  to be “ first  among nations.” This is defacto anti-Semitism. And yet, even those evangelicals who reject this unbiblical doctrine fall into the same trap of exalting America to an idolatrous height. As we’ve seen, American believers in particular love to view Scripture through the myth of an imagined covenant with God—which they believe makes the United States a “Christian nation.” Though it  was  once a nation of predominantly Christian-minded people who long enjoyed peace and prosperity—as a partial result of governing and living by biblical values—America was never ordained to be “The Stone Kingdom.”
This aberrant view of history, in turn, results in a skewed perspective when it comes to interpreting and applying Scripture. As Dave Hunt responded on  Search the Scriptures Daily  radio: “If you don’t recognize that there is a difference between Israel and the church, you will be very confused both as to salvation and the Rapture [and] the Second Coming. God...has promised full restoration of Israel to her land. There’s no restoration to a land for the church. There’s no way that you can make the prophecies to Israel fit the church, but people try.... For example, you have 2 Chronicles:7:14:
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Dave continues, “Now, there are people who...say, ‘Now, look, if the church in America would just confess her sins, and get right with God, and really—let’s have a campaign of prayer, and pray and  pray  for our country—God would turn America into a Christian nation.’ But of course, God...never gave the Americans America, and he certainly never gave the Christian Americans America. So they are badly mistaken when they try to apply [2 Chronicles:7:14].”
Tragically, innumerable campaigns, programs, and crusades have been based on this single verse alone—leaving untold millions of believers under the delusion that this is a promise of God  for   America . Stop right there. Consider the context! The entire chapter is about Solomon’s dedication of the temple and consecration of the nation of  Israel  to God—an account that starts all the way back in the second chapter. Throughout Scripture, the  only  nation and the only culture that God addresses as “my people” is Israel and the Jews.
Although it is true that the account of Israel throughout Scripture has various application for  believers  both personally and corporately, it is a patent falsehood to misapply this promise to the United States—or to any other country. For example, can you picture an evangelistic crusade in China based on 2 Chronicles:7:14? In India? In Syria? Why not? After all, if the promise of this passage is directed to God’s people  everywhere  (the Bride of Christ), then why not encourage the persecuted church to rise up and proclaim this promise for a communist nation? a Hindu nation? a Muslim nation?
The absurdity of this suggestion should illustrate the seriousness of wresting Bible passages from their context. And yet, even “solid” evangelicals have put their trust in a promise  never intended  for American believers. But despite decades of political activism and countless perennial prayer events, faith in America’s flag—along with its moral fabric—has continued to unravel. Even culture warrior and psychologist James Dobson acknowledged bleakly in his farewell address at Focus on the Family:
We are awash in evil and the battle is still to be waged. We are right now in the most discouraging period of that long conflict. Humanly speaking, we can say we have lost all those battles....
The secular media was quick to rejoice at this admission, as  Washington Monthly  columnist Steve Benen gloated in his “Political Animal” column of April 12, 2009:
Whether Dobson and his cohorts give up now or not, his assessment about their lack of success is nevertheless accurate. The culture war is all but over, and far-right evangelicals have precious little to show for their efforts. After about three decades of fighting, the culture warriors are hard pressed to point to any progress at all.
Considering this dismal reality (from an earthly perspective), is our goal for evangelism  really  to help make America “be a great nation again?” If that’s the hope we’re promoting through grand crusades with popular bands and patriotic bunting, then I fear it is false advertising for God. It’s like the well-intended, but misguided gospel presentation of the classic Campus Crusade tract,  Four Spiritual Laws,  in which the first law states: “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” Really? What if that plan includes pain, suffering, trial, tribulation—and by worldly measure, abject failure?
The  truth  is, God’s word declares: “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tm 3:12). And unlike the imagined “God’s Plan for America,” this is one principle repeated throughout the New Testament that  does  apply to the church in America. Therefore, if crusade converts pray to receive Christ, and then have their earthly dreams fall apart—or after years of ceaseless labor in some ministry of conservative political activism, they see the degradation and depravity in our nation continue to spiral out of control, what will be the end of their faith? As the Apostle Paul mused, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor:15:19).
With great respect for all those who have labored for the vision of a “Christian America,” I submit that our God-given purpose in evangelism is  not  to “dominate” government, nor to restore an Edenic utopia. Our Creator has promised to do this in His time: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD” (Zec:4:6). Until that day, we are strangers in a strange land—pilgrims on this planet, whose assignment is  not  “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (the endless material accumulation for ourselves and our posterity) but rather to participate in God’s great rescue mission—which was that of Christ, who came “to seek and to save that which [is] lost” (Lk 19:10).
Unlike America’s broken (and impossible) promise of “liberty and justice for all,” only one King and His Kingdom offers true “liberty and  salvation  for all” who believe: Jesus Christ. This alone is the greatest (and only) hope for America—and for the world.
With whom will you share God’s  truly  wonderful plan today?

By Mark Dinsmore (

Friday, February 22, 2013

The 7-Year Period Of Great Tribulation

Also Known As The Time Of Jacob's Trouble

What Jeremiah saw

We are first introduced to the time of the Tribulation in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, and the prophet calls it the time of 'Jacob's trouble' because it will primarily center on the Jews in Israel. This is our first clue as to who will go through the Tribulation and who it will affect. As we have shown throughout this series on the Rapture, when Jesus returns for His Church, made up of believing Jews and Gentiles, and 'catches them away' to be with Him in Heaven, the Bible says that God will once again focus on the Jews, and the great and terrible time of the Great Tribualtion will begin. And that's why Jeremiah calls it the time of 'Jacob's' trouble - because it's about the Jews even though it will have ramifications that affects the entire world.

"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall
be shortened." Matthew 24: 21

There are those that would interpret this passage in Matthew to mean the fall and destruction of Jerusalem in70 AD at the hands of the Romans, but could not possible fit. This tribulation that Jesus refers to is the greatest tribulation that this world
will ever see, eclipsing even that of Hitler's Holocaust which killed 12,000,000 people, half of those being Jews. So let's once again turn to our friend Clarence Larkin and see what the bible has to see about this soon to be fulfilled prophecy of Scripture.

The Tribulation is focused on the Jews and Israel

"Turning to the Old Testament we find in Jer. 30:4-6, that it is the time of "Jacob's Trouble," and is compared in its sufferings to the "birth-pangs" of a woman. In Eze 26:34 it is spoken of as the time when-Israel shall "Pass under the Rod; " and in Eze. 22:19-21, we read how that God is going to cast Israel into His "Melting Pot, " where they are to be refined as "gold is refined." See also Mal. 3:1-3, and Zech. 13:9. Daniel speaks of it as a "Time of Trouble" for his people, the Jews. Dan. 12:1.
From these references we see that "The Great Tribulation" is something that has to do with the Jewish people, and is a judgment through which they must pass as a "refining process" to fit them to again be God's chosen people. Indirectly the Gentiles will be affected by it, but the Church will be "caught out" before that "Great and Terrible Day of the Lord."

The Prophet Daniel in his Vision of the "Seventy Weeks" (Dan. 9:20-22) was told that it would be 69 weeks from the going forth of the Edict "to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince." Those were "Prophetic Weeks, " in which each week stood for "seven years, " and they were literally fulfilled, for it was exactly 483 years of 360 days, from the going forth of that Edict, B.C. 445, until Jesus rode in triumph into Jerusalem, A. D. 30, and was hailed as the promised Son of David.
Within a week the Jews had Jesus crucified and then "God's Clock" stopped, and the remaining "one" week, the "Seventieth, " has still to be fulfilled. In the meantime, in the break between the "sixty-ninth" and "seventieth" week, the Holy Spirit is gathering out the Church, and when it is complete it will be taken away, and then "God's Clock" will begin to tick again, because He will again be dealing with. His People the Jews.
It is during this last, or "Seventieth Week" of Daniel's "Seventy Weeks, " that the Tribulation is to occur, and as the "weeks" of the already fulfilled "sixty-nine" weeks, were each "seven years" in length, so this last, or "Seventieth Week, " must be the same. The length then of the "Tribulation Period" should be "seven years, " but Jesus tells us in Matt. 24:22, that for the "ELECT'S SAKE" Those Days Shall Be Shortened. Not the "Elect" of the Church, for they are "caught out" before the Tribulation, but the "Elect" of Israel, the 144, 000 "Sealed Ones" of Rev. 7:1-3. source - Dispensational Truth by Larkin

The coming restoration of the Jews
I have always found it interesting that in the very end of Time, God decides to wrap things up in the same place and with the same people that He started with - the Jews and in Israel. You have to remember that the Jews are the one who wrote the New Testament, and in the early church there was no such thing as a non-Jewish Christian. We Gentiles are forever indebted to the Jews for that. This is what Paul says in the book of Romans -

"Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, [take heed] lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in [his] goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural [branches], be graffed into their own olive tree?" Romans 11: 20-24

See what Paul is telling us? That we Gentiles (non-Jews) have been 'grafted in' to the Olive Tree that is Israel and the Jews, and as such we should not be "boasting' but we should have respect and fear. Because it is a special privledge to be grafted into the family of God, and Paul promised that the Day is coming when the Jews will once again recover from their 'blindness' and see for themselves that Yeshua is indeed the Promised Messiah, and this is what will happen to them -

"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." Romans 11: 25-27

When Israel was restored on May 14, 1948 (click here to read about that fulfillment of prophecy), that was just the beginning of God's Plan in the end times for the Jews.

The character of the Tribulation
While the "Tribulation Period" shall last for about seven years, as to its severity it will be divided into two parts of three and a half years each. The second or last part so far exceeding in its severity the first part as to be known as "The GREAT TRIBULATION."

Click image to view full-size chart by Clarence Larkin

What was to happen during Daniel's "Seventieth Week" was not revealed to Daniel. He received a communication which he did not understand and was told to "seal the Book up until the Time of the End." Dan. 12:4, Dan. 12:8, Dan. 12:9. All Daniel knew was that the contents of the Book had reference to the "Time of Trouble" that should befall his People at the "Time of the End" (of their sorrows), not the "End of Time." What that "Sealed Book" contained is no longer a Mystery, for the Apostle John saw the "seals" of that Book broken, and was told to record what it contained. The "Seven-Sealed Book" of the Book of Revelation is the Book that Daniel was told to seal up.
If we want to know then about what is to happen during the Tribulation, all we have to do is to read and study the Book of Revelation from Rev. 6:1 to 19:2 to 19:1.
As the Dragon is cast out of the Heavenlies in chapter 12, and he is cast out in the "Middle of the Week, " it follows that chapters 6 to 11 inclusive cover the "First Half" of the Week, and chapters 13 to 19 inclusive the "Second Half." See the Charts on "Revelation" and "Daniel's Seventieth Week." source - Dispensational Truth by Larkin

The Seven Seals
Revelation talks about a series of seals that are opened, as as they are it triggers certain events. Here is a brief overview of these seals and what will happen when they are opened. All the seals occur in the first 3.5 years of the Tribulation, or the first half of Daniel's 70th week.
The First Seal - A "White Horse" appears, the Rider of which is uncrowned at first, but is afterward crowned. He has a bow in his hand, and goes forth conquering. This rider is not Christ. Christ as the Lamb, is holding and breaking the "seals" of the Book. He does not appear as a White Horse Rider until chapter 19.The "Rider" is Antichrist, and pictures him before he is crowned and becomes the Chief Ruler of the "Ten Federated Kingdoms" of the revived Roman Empire. He is the "Prince who is to come, " and who shall "confirm the Covenant" with the Jews for "one week." Dan. 9:26, Dan. 9:27. This proves that Antichrist appears at the "beginning" of the "Week" and not in the "Middle" as some claim.
The Second Seal - A "Red Horse" appears, the Rider of which has power to take peace from the earth. The symbolism is clear. Red, the color of the horse, is a symbol of "blood, " and the sword of "war." The time is clearly that prophesied by Christ. Matt. 24:6, Matt. 24:7. The outcome of these wars will probably be the "Ten Kingdom Federation" over which Antichrist shall become the head.
The Third Seal - A "Black Horse" appears, the Rider of which holds a pair of scales in his hand and a voice cries-"A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." The meaning is clear. When all able-bodied men are drafted for war, the fields remain untitled and "famine" follows, just as Christ prophesied. Matt. 24:7. The olive and the grape do not need cultivation, so their ruthless destruction is forbidden.
The Fourth Seal - A "Pale Horse" appears, the Rider of which is "Death." It is noteworthy that the Riders of the first three horses are not named. They will be recognized when they appear.Hell (Hades) follows in the wake of "Death" ready to swallow up his victims caused by war and famine.
The Fifth Seal - When the Fifth Seal was broken John saw the "souls of martyrs" under the Altar. These Martyrs, whose "souls" John saw are not the Martyrs of "past ages; " they were taken up with the Church, but the Martyrs who will be killed for the "Word of their Testimony, and who love not their lives unto the death" (Rev. 12:11), during the Tribulation. After the Church is caught out the preaching of the "Gospel of the Kingdom" will be resumed. Matt. 24:14. As it is a proclamation that Christ is about to set up an "Earthly Kingdom, " it will be exceedingly distasteful to Antichrist and his followers, and a "Great Persecution" will follow. Matt. 24:9-11. It is the "souls" of the martyrs of this Persecution that John saw under the Altar. They asked that their death should be avenged, but were told to rest for a "little season" until they were joined by their fellow servants and brethren who should die as they did. The promise is fulfilled in Rev. 20:4.
The Sixth Seal - When the Sixth Seal is broken great "physical changes" will occur on the earth. Joel 2:30, 31 ; Matt. 24:29; Isa. 13:9-1 Isa. 13:1. So terrible will these changes be that men will call upon the mountains and rocks to fall and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb. The 24th chapter of Matthew should be compared with Rev. 6:1-3.
Between the breaking of the "Sixth" and "Seventh" Seals there will be a pause or interval, during which 144, 000 of the Children of Israel, 12, 000 from each of the Twelve Tribes, will be "sealed." As there were 7000 in Ahab's time who would not bow the knee to Baal (1Kings 19:18), so in the Tribulation there shall be 144, 000 of Israel who will not bow the knee to Antichrist. They are "sealed" by an angel, and the "Seal" is the imprint of the "Father's Name" on their foreheads. Rev. 14:1 ; 22:4.
Then John saw a "Blood Washed Multitude." Rev. 7:9-11. This introduces us to another class of saved of the "End Time." They are not the Church, for they come out of the "Great Tribulation." They are probably Gentiles who accept Christ as their Saviour after the Church is caught out. They are saved and shall serve God in His Heavenly Temple, and never hunger or thirst any more, but they are not part of the Church and shall not participate in any Millennial blessings on the earth.
The Seventh Seal - At the breaking of the "Seventh Seal" there will be "silence in Heaven" for a limited period. This will be a period of preparation for the greater conflict to follow. Following the "Silence, " Seven Angels in succession sound upon Seven Trumpets.
source - Dispensational Truth by Larkin

The Interval

Between the sounding of the "Sixth" and "Seventh Trumpets" there will be an "Interval, " just as there was between the breaking of the "Sixth" and "Seventh Seals." During this "Interval" a "Mighty Angel" will come down from Heaven having a "Little Book" (open) in his hand. This "Mighty Angel" will be Christ Himself, for the description of Him corresponds with chapter 1:12-14, and as His "voice" is like that of a Lion, this identifies Him as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah of chapter 5:5; and in chapter 11:3, He speaks of the "Two Witnesses" as "My Witnesses." When the "Mighty Angel" shall set His "Right Foot" on the "sea, " and His "Left Foot" on the "earth, " and lift up His hand to Heaven, and swear that there shall be "Time no longer" He shall take formal possession of the Earth. The expression, "Time no longer, " should read, as in the Revised Version (margin), "No longer delay, " for Time does not end until the close of the "Perfect Age." While Christ at this time will take formal possession of the earth, actual possession will not be secured until He comes again to the Mt. of Olives, at the close of the Tribulation.

As awesome and as terrible as these 7 Seal Judgments are, they are only the beginning of the Tribulation periond. After these will follow the seven Trumpet Judgments and the seven Vial Judgments. And it all leads up to the Battle of Armegeddon. This period will last, in total, apporximately 7 years as God cleanses the earth, restores the Jewish people and uses them to bring the glorious Gospel of Yeshua Ha'Maschaich around the world one more time.
Source: (

Monday, February 18, 2013

No Substitutions

By John MacArthur

In the last several years, the proliferation of specialized ministries and parachurch organizations has been astounding. Today there’s a separate ministry for every biblical viewpoint, theological perspective, or practical interest, not to mention all the pseudo-Christian groups focused on social and political activism. It’s likely that if you have got a particular spiritual itch, you can find a ministry that will scratch it, or you can find someone eager to launch a new organization to appeal to like-minded people.
The problem with the plethora of parachurch organizations is that so many of them exist outside the authority and influence of the church. The term parachurch ought to indicate a cooperative relationship, but often that’s not the case. Some pay lip service to the church; others are openly indifferent to it. Few of them—perhaps very few—are actually accountable to the church, adhere to biblical guidelines for leadership, and have a strong commitment to biblical doctrine and theology.
That’s particularly dangerous as these organizations and ministries pull believers’ attention, loyalty, and financial support away from their local congregations. Rather than devote their time, energy, and support to life and ministry in their local body, believers are segmented off from the rest of the church, focused only on the issues and concerns that appeal to them. Too often, the parachurch organization becomes the central spiritual focus, while the church is pushed further and further to the sidelines. That defies the Lord’s design for His church and cripples the Body of Christ, which can’t properly function if its members are all headed in different directions, pursuing different priorities.
You see a similar trend on Christian college campuses, where many young men and women are preparing for lives of ministry without a strong connection to the church—if left unaddressed, that disconnect only deepens with time. In fact, much of the full-time ministry work going on in the world these days—whether in charity groups, missionary endeavors, Christian education, or some other parachurch activity—happens outside and apart from the church.
And while plenty of those parachurch organizations are doing valuable, necessary work, the trend away from the church—the only institution the Lord established and promised to bless—is still a serious cause for concern.
The solution is to be thoughtful about the ministries you’re supporting, and aware of their influence in your life and participation in your local congregation. One of the key points we consistently stress at Grace to You is that we cannot replace the church in the lives of our listeners and readers, nor do we want to. We can’t possibly fulfill your spiritual needs for worship, fellowship, accountability, and discipleship. We’re a complement to your local church—not a substitute.
The same should go for every other ministry or parachurch organization, and you should be wary of the ones that are comfortable being disconnected from and unaccountable to the church. Instead, look for ministries that prompt you toward greater involvement and service in your congregation—that prompt you to be more committed and connected to what the Lord is accomplishing in your church.
Our series on the importance of the local church officially comes to a close today, but it’s clear this is a topic that will continue to come up throughout the life of our blog. The church is at the heart of every believer’s life, and it’s related—whether directly or indirectly—to everything we discuss in this digital space. In fact, we’re already prepping more in-depth series on some of the topics we’ve recently touched on, including baptism and the Lord’s Table.
For now, we want to give John MacArthur the last word on the importance of the local church. His words focus on attendance and membership, but they encompass the spirit of everything we’ve discussed over the last several weeks about the necessity of involvement in your congregation.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Demise of Biblical Discernment

Feb Cover.jpg In last month’s issue of this newsletter we exhorted our readers to discipline themselves to read the Word of God daily. The emphasis was on developing a habit, the best and most necessary habit—one that every believer should have. Of course, we encouraged reading the Bible as a basis for living one’s life by what it teaches, which is the only way that one who is born again spiritually can mature in the faith. Yet, here is the simple truth that too many Christians have missed: if we don’t read God’s Word for ourselves, we can’t truly know its instructions. If we don’t know God’s instructions, we can’t follow Him, and we therefore can’t do what pleases Him. Tragically, many if not most Christians haven’t considered that simple truth. Their spiritual beliefs tend to be a collection of things they’ve heard (sermons, radio, TV, books, movies, etc.) mixed with what they may or may not have gotten from the Bible. They have been spoon-fed rather than getting their spiritual meals directly from God’s Word.
Why is that tragic? Wouldn’t it be of value to get input from the various Christian media regarding the teachings of our Lord? Hasn’t our Lord gifted teachers to help believers better understand His Word? Certainly, but if that is our primary feeding of God’s Word, it leads to a spiritual anemia at best and makes us defenseless against spiritual deception at worst. How can a believer tell the difference between a good teacher and a false teacher? Although Scripture tells us that God gave some to be teachers (Ephesians:4:11), His Word also tells us, “There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies” (2 Peter:2:1). So how can we know what’s what and who’s who?
Most Christians are not asking such questions—nor do they seem to be concerned about the consequences related to a lack of biblical discernment. The second chapter of Hebrews begins with a warning that we could drift away from the Scriptures and find ourselves going along with something that seems biblical but is not. More and more frequently these days, I hear confessing and professing Christians excusing themselves and others for their unbiblical beliefs and practices by declaring that they all nevertheless “love Jesus.” What Jesus might that be? Is it the biblical Jesus—the One who declares that He is “ the way, the truth, and the life”? Is it the Word incarnate, who challenges everyone who professes to be a believer in Him by asking: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke:6:46). Would our reply be, “Sorry, Lord, I wasn’t aware of most of the things that you said”? If that’s the case, having “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians:2:16) is a wishful delusion.
Just so there is no misunderstanding, the heart of this article is a concern for the fruitfulness of everyone who truly knows the biblical Jesus, everyone who has by faith alone put his or her trust in Christ as Savior, the One, the only One, who could (and did) pay the full penalty for the sins of mankind. For those who have put their faith in Him and have received His gift of eternal life, what follows is their life in Christ , which is all about living a godly and productive life. Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John:10:10). A believer’s fruitfulness not only greatly enriches his own life, but his new life in Christ becomes a testimony, a witness to the truth of the gospel that changed his life, so that others may be drawn to Jesus. Yet a believer’s life in Christ will be spiritually futile if he (or she) doesn’t really know what Jesus taught.
An unproductive life in Christ is bad enough, but it can go far beyond just being spiritually feeble. Not knowing the Word of God sets one up for being spiritually deceived. Again, it should be rather obvious: if we don’t know what the Bible says, we can’t discern what is true to it and what is contrary to it. Consequently, a person who is ignorant of the Scriptures is ripe for being led away from God’s truth. When such a condition becomes epidemic among Christians, they become collective pawns of God’s adversary, Satan, and participants in the apostasy as well as unwitting contributors to the emerging religion of the Antichrist (Revelation 13). But could such a thing happen?
Both Dave Hunt and I have been observing trends in the evangelical church for 35 years. In those three and a half decades significant developments have taken place, all of which have greatly undermined the belief in and dependence upon the Scriptures. We have documented such developments in the twenty years of TBC’s existence and five years prior to that in The Seduction of Christianity . In past articles we have shown from God’s Word that Satan’s primary strategy as the deceiver of mankind is reflected in his initial statement to Eve in the Garden of Eden, a tactic calculated to weaken her trust in God’s Word by questioning it: “Yea, hath God said…?” (Genesis:3:1). Down through history, he has expanded his assault on the Word beyond planting seeds of doubt to distorting, denigrating, corrupting, compromising, and outright lying about the Scriptures. In the last 30 years, some of his most effective devices have seduced Christians away from the written Word of God, replacing it with subjective and experiential content (feelings-oriented beliefs). Briefly (see our archives for more extensive writings on these subjects and others), that drift has been a major contributor to the demise of biblical discernment .
For example, the false teaching known as Rhema vs. Logos says that God speaks today to believers with the same or even greater authority than is found in the Bible. For decades this doctrine has led millions of Charismatic and Pentecostal believers away from the objective, written Word of God.
The subjective pseudoscience of Christian psychology, with its goal of integrating psychology with the Bible (primarily through psychological counseling), has infected the conservative evangelical church with the humanistic doctrines of self-love and self-esteem. Even more damaging, it has all but eliminated the belief in the sufficiency of the Scriptures for multitudes of Christians.
The Church Growth Movement (the attempt to increase church membership through various consumer-oriented devices aimed primarily at meeting the “felt needs” of the lost) has turned to the “way that seemeth right unto a man” (read marketing ) in opposition to God’s way. That development has been a major factor in ushering man’s so-called wisdom into the church and distancing it from the Scriptures.
The youth-oriented Emerging Church Movement (ECM) is an attempt at supposedly reaching the “culture” for Christ by emulating that culture and much of its worldly affinities. ECM writers (many of whom have conservative evangelical backgrounds) have advocated  “reinventing Christianity” in order to reconcile it with what the world believes and acts upon socially, psychologically, politically, morally, scientifically, and theologically. Because it claims absolute authority in its doctrines , the Bible itself is the chief obstacle to the ECM, and therefore “must be re-imagined” in order to accommodate man’s thinking. Such distortion of God’s Word is deceptively tragic for a generation of young Christians, few of whom have been discipled in the faith.
These are just a few of Satan’s most successful assaults against the doctrines of the Bible and the people of God. Should anyone be surprised that the Adversary would be so effective among those who profess to be Christians? Shocked perhaps, but not surprised. When an army lacks training, discipline, and is ill equipped to do battle, should it come as a surprise that the enemy is taking many of its soldiers captive?
Let’s spell out the problem in spiritual terms once again: lack of training (no discipleship), lack of discipline (not reading the Scriptures daily), and being ill equipped (mishandling the Sword of the Spirit). But don’t take my word for it! Let’s go to God’s infallible Word. Regarding the particular time when biblical truth will be abandoned by great numbers in the church who have been deceived, Jesus gives us a sobering warning, characterizing the last days prior to His return in these words: “Take heed that no man deceive you….” He then adds that the deception will be so great that the very elect will be vulnerable (Matthew:24:4,24). Furthermore, most of the epistles also address the subject of believers drifting away from sound doctrine.
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul wrote, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine ” (2 Timothy:4:3). Paul is obviously speaking to the church. Those in the church who do not study the Scriptures for themselves cannot endure (take to heart and live out) sound doctrine (God’s instructions). He wrote to the church at Ephesus, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine , by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians:4:14).
Scripture seems to be making it quite clear that not enduring sound doctrine opens one up to spiritual deception. To the Ephesian elders Paul issues a warning of what would take place after his departing: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts:20:28-30). This was Paul’s parting warning to his beloved Ephesian believers, a message of critical concern for their future in Christ. Paul knew what devastating destruction would result from their turning to false doctrine . It was a message that he preached continuously and tearfully during his three years with them.
Those who do “endure sound doctrine,” besides having the primary foundation for a fruitful life in Christ, are also equipped to discern and resist the wiles of the Adversary’s many deceptions. That’s the good news. The not-so-pleasant news is that they will find themselves on the front lines of a spiritual battle that is increasing in intensity daily. One need only conduct a cursory review of the Scriptures and later church history to get an idea of how destructive, even deadly, have been the consequences related to the church’s non-adherence to biblical doctrine. We see many reacting today by claiming that it is the doctrines of the Bible themselves, especially when they are accepted dogmatically, that create division. Such thinking is a fulfillment of “not enduring sound doctrine.” It is false doctrine itself that divides because it separates a believer from the truth.
Paul clears up the misconception: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans:16:17). Incredibly, it is that verse, misapplied, that has been used against the multitudes who have contacted us because their church leadership would not hear their concerns regarding false doctrines and programs that had entered their fellowship. Most have been threatened with “disfellowship” for actually enduring sound doctrine. Such situations are intensifying throughout the church, undoubtedly for some of the reasons listed in this article but perhaps in fulfillment of Peter’s prophecy: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God…” (1 Peter:4:17).
Although for decades we at TBC have been exhorting and encouraging believers to be Bereans (i.e., to check out everything they are being taught by searching the Scriptures—Acts:17:10-11), we too have experienced the increased intensity of the spiritual battle and witnessed its exponential growth. The latest issue, which we submit to you for prayer support, is a threatened lawsuit over the book we published by David James ( The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? ). The complaint is that the author used too many quotes from the New York Times best-selling book, The Harbinger , without permission from author “rabbi” Jonathan Cahn and publisher Charisma Media Publications (CMP). The complaint further states that our use of the quotes has inhibited the sales of The Harbinger and has thus financially damaged Cahn and CMP in an amount yet to be determined. In effect, we are being told that we must limit our documentation in warning the body of Christ of the biblical errors in The Harbinger. In other words, we cannot be Bereans or like the watchman of Ezekiel:3:17-19 without Cahn’s permission.
This is the first time in my 35 years of working with Dave Hunt and our addressing nearly every major religion, religious cult, aberrational Christian sect, unbiblical trend, religious publication, book, media production, etc., that any organization or individual has even hinted at suing us. Now, however, we are being threatened with legal action by those claiming to be in the church. More critical than the unbiblical action of a brother threatening to take another brother to court (1 Corinthians 6) is the issue of preventing the biblical evaluation of a work that is influencing hundreds of thousands of professing and confessing Christians, as well as those who don’t profess to know Christ. We have hired a copyright attorney to address the legal issues and have responded to the attorney for Cahn and CMP. Even so, we covet your prayers that the Lord will be glorified throughout the process.
As the spiritual battle rages around us, the Word of God gives us directives regarding how we are to function in it. Paul gives Timothy general instructions: “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy:1:13). In ministering correction, he writes: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Timothy:2:24-26). Then there may be times that, as the Spirit leads us, tougher action is to be taken: “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority . Let no man despise thee…” (Titus:2:15). Titus was to minister the Word of God to his flock, his authority was the Scriptures, and he was exhorted to stand fast in them that he not be despised for backing away from sound doctrine.
Our prayer is that all who name the name of our Lord Jesus Christ will follow Paul’s encouragement to Timothy and to us as well: “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine….Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee….Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (1 Timothy:4:13,16; 2 Timothy:4:2).   TBC

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Spiritual Warfare

Have you ever noticed the glassy-eyed look you get from some people when you mention spiritual warfare? It is especially alarming when talking to another person who claims to be a Christian, and they look at you like you came from another planet and need to be locked up for your own good. It is alarming because it corroborates the immaturity of a fellow Christian.
Satan uses a double barrel method of attack against us humans. With some he shows himself as evil and draws those (non-Christians) in to worship him. With most of us however, Christians and non-Christians alike, he works at making us believe that he really doesn’t exist.
I firmly believe that far more people than we even realize are possessed to one degree or another by Satan’s demons. At the very least, many, many more are strongly influenced by Satanic forces, and don’t even realize it.
The one thing that needs to be made clear is that Satan is not omnipresent; he can only be in one place at a time. He is not God, who is omnipresent. However, he has an untold host of fallen angelic beings in his camp. We know he seduced one third of the angels to follow him, but one third of what? We don’t know. Satan and all of his army of fallen angels, or evil spirits, are hard at work.
One of the many times the Apostle Paul was attacked by Satanic forces is told us in the following passage.
16And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 17The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 18And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. (Acts 16:16-18)
We know that the damsel, a young girl or young woman, did not come in a friendly manner to meet with Paul, simply by taking a closer look at the Greek word in verse sixteen that is translated as “met” in our English. The Greek word means “to meet in a hostile fashion.” Also, the verse clearly says that she was possessed by a “spirit of divination.”
People today do not realize just how dangerous it is to play around with weegie boards, tarot cards, séances, etc. You are entering an area you know nothing about and the only thing on the other side is evil. We call this evil Satan, and he is very real.
The Lord tells us by the pen of Paul to:
11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:11-12)
A Christian cannot be indwelt by an evil spirit. Why, you ask? The Holy Spirit resides within the Christian and will not allow it. However, that does not mean that Satan, via his demonic army, will not attack us in some way. He will try to trip us. He will try to influence us by any means possible. We are his enemy, and this is not a game. It is war.
There are three groups of people that Satan attacks, and I believe he does so by the following methods. 

Left to our basic nature or instincts, without laws, human beings would be like a pack of wild rabid dogs, attacking others and even those within the pack.
God had to give us a set of laws to obey in order to protect society. He provided them by a fellow named Moses. Consider what happened to Noah’s generation. They were so defiled, God had to destroy them all, except Noah and his family.
It is my opinion, but I believe a correct opinion, that many today would do things that would shock even the person doing them, if it were not for the law of the land. As we well know and observe, many do them anyway. How many more murders, robberies, rapes, etc. would there be, if there were no law?
Satan knows man’s nature, and he uses it for his benefit.
If you don’t agree, consider the following verses.
9What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17And the way of peace have they not known: 18There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:9-18)

Weak Christians
This group of people would include those who have not been saved very long, and those who have, but are just too lazy to put on the whole armor of God. Read Ephesians 6:10 through the end of the chapter.
One way Satan will attack these Christians is by loading down their time with other activities.
He will try to make them dependent on others to spoon feed them on the Word. There are a bunch of these folks walking around.
He will provide them with excuses to avoid their prayer life and time in the Word.
He will tempt them with the “goodies” that the world has to offer.

Maturing Christians
Christians, who are students of the Word and try to live for the Lord on a daily basis, will most definitely be attacked in some way by Satan, because they are a menace to him.
Their intent is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives by how they live, what they do, and what they say.
They speak out for Jesus.
They love His Word. They won’t bend by going against what the Word says.
When they sin, and they will, they are on their knees in repentance, not to get saved again, but to restore the fellowship that they broke between themselves and their Heavenly Father. They are always His child.
The more wicked the world becomes, and it’s getting quite vile, Satan induces others to hate and mock them. Hopefully with pressure from their peers, they will crumble under temptation.
As I write this article, I have been tempted throughout to do something else and come back to it, but I am determined to stay the course. Satan does not want me to write this article. Any pastor who has preached very many sermons will tell you that it never failed when the reality of Satan and his forces was the subject matter, a negative force was present. 

As I look through the window of politics, I see Satan hard at work. In this country alone, the political field is bleak, to say the least. There are some, and I emphasize “some,” men and women in the political arena who are desirous of following our Constitution and actually serving the citizens in the manner designed by the Constitution. Most however are servants of greed and other satanic forces. These servants of Satan have the populace so blinded, they continue to retain their offices election after election, and therefore continue to dismantle the greatest nation ever assembled by God-fearing patriots.
As I peer through the window of Hollywood, Satan is pulling out all the stops to reveal just how disgusting he is. Again, there are a few even within the Hollywood scene who have character. For the most part the lifestyle of Hollywood would be like comparing pigs wallowing in slop while wearing expensive jewelry and tuxedoes (or evening gowns). Could there be a more corrupt people all gathered in one place? There is a possibility of close ties with our nation’s capital, each with an equivalent lifestyle, but generating a different type of filth and garbage upon the common folk.
As I gaze through the stained glass windows of the churches, Satan is sitting on the front row, cheering on his puppets. All that glitters is not gold. Many so-called shepherds of the flocks are actually hirelings. Their master is not the one and only true God, but one who wants to be God. His name is Satan. Jesus said to the Pharisees,
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)
Satan is real. He took with him an army of fallen angels from Heaven, and is always in combat fatigues. It makes no difference if we accept this as fact or not. It remains true. We are at war. It is a spiritual war, but it is war no less.
One last time, I observe through another window, the window of the family, the first institution established by God at the creation. Within the first family of Adam and Eve, Satan interjected jealousy, greed, and murder. It has gone downhill since. Today, the family, as God meant it to be, is in the minority. If someone attacked your family, would you fight for them? Of course you would. Would you lay down your life for them? Of course you would. Satan is attacking your family, and he wants their soul. What are you going to do about it?
We are supposed to be living in the age of knowledge. We say we are more civilized than any generation before us. Is that so? In reality, we have become as they were in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot. Does that ring a bell? Consider the following verses.
"26And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luke 17:26-30 NKVJ)
Just prior to this day spoken of in the above verses, approximately seven years, Jesus Christ will remove His bride, the true Church, from this earth. Are you ready? Satan is pulling out all the stops. Are you being blinded by his lies, or are you heeding the Truth? Do you scoff at the mention of a spiritual warfare? Are you one of those who roll your eyes and under your breath says something like, “Oh, here we go again?”
Jesus warns us through the pen of the Apostle Paul.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
The war will soon be over. Whose side will you be on when the dust clears?