Thank you Treena for your faithfulness, study and in being a good watchman in all of this mess. Praying the sheep will be strengthened. The following letter from Moriel Ministries to Stuart Menelaws of Studio Scotland & Global Vision24/7 is … Continue reading
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Treena again does an excellent job of pointing out error and deception. https://bewareofthewolves.blogspot.com/2018/09/david-nathan-thrown-under-bus-by-jacob.html UPDATED 10-13-18 Please note further information added at the end of this article, thank you Treena. David Nathan (Bread of Life Ministries) has recently … Continue reading
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https://bewareofthewolves.blogspot.com/2018/07/jacob-prasch-make-up-your-mind-how-long.html Jacob Prasch now asserts that the tribulation is not a seven year period after all.. Astonishing! The End Times Explained ( clearing up confusion ) Jacob Prasch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeAgSzjRDJc This is a startling turn-around considering Prasch’s previous messages in which … Continue reading
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Thank you for your faithfulness Treena, God bless you. https://bewareofthewolves.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/false-teacher-jacob-prasch-digs-deeper.html
Apostasia: The Greek noun Apostasy is found twice in the New Testament. Once in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and once in Acts 21:21. The verb rendition of apostasy is used fifteen times in the New Testament. Of these fifteen, only three … Continue reading
If indeed the greatest hope of every believer is the second coming of Christ, something this important should be clearly taught in Scripture, especially in the New Testament. And, more important, this is something that every true child of God should know and understand! What the great hope of the church universal shouldn’t be is a topic cloaked in confusion or a subject of heated debate that splits congregations and churches apart. Paul explains to Titus that those who are saved, should be “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:13; cf. 2 Pet. 3:12; 1 Thess. 5:4-6). That would be difficult to do if the Word of God didn’t tell us specifically what to look for, or if His instructions concerning His second coming were so confusing that any attempt to understand “when” would be met with such heated debate that the true child of God would prefer to be ignorant on the issue rather than face the consequences. The truth of the matter is, Scripture could not be clearer on this issue, not only as to the fact of Christ’s coming and the judgment that will occur when He comes, but also the timing of His coming as it relates to other end time events.1
Biblical prophecy provides some of the greatest encouragement and hope available to us today. Just as the Old Testament is saturated with prophecies concerning Christ’s first advent, so both testaments are filled with references to the second coming of Christ. It has been calculated that over 25% of Scripture is devoted to prophecy. It has been estimated that there are 1,845 references to Christ’s second coming in the Old Testament, where 17 books give it prominence. In the 260 chapters of the New Testament, there are 318 references to the second advent of Christ–an amazing 1 out of every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event. For every prophecy in the Bible concerning Christ’s first advent, there are 8 which look forward to His second!
This means that next to the Gospel message, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is the largest subject recorded in the New Testament. In the not too distant past, eschatology was a somewhat favorite topic. Today, many recoil from extremes and treat the subject with undeserved neglect. The social gospel trends of today tends to concentrate upon the practical, and not the prophetical implications of New Testament truth.2 In the study of Eschatology, we have the witness in Scripture of a progressive revelation. Old Testament Saints looked beyond this present life possessing the hope of the eternal future. Abraham, looked for a city whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:10). The Old Testament Saints, not having received the promises, saw them afar off, and embracing them they confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth (Heb. 11:13). Moses, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he looked to the reward (Heb. 11:26). Moses looked away from everything in order to look intently on one object, he looked away from the wealth of the worldly Egyptian system toward the messianic future. While Jesus Christ is categorically the most important individual ever to walk the earth, the Bible shows clearly that the gospel that Jesus brought was not just simply about Himself, but about “the kingdom of God” (Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 16:16-17).
A.W. Tozer stated; “A reason for the absence for real yearning for Christ’s return is that Christians are so comfortable in this world that they have little desire to leave it.” We have no greater evidence of Christ’s return than His own promise in John 14:3; “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” These are the most comforting words in all of Scripture, from Jesus’ own mouth we have the promise of His return. Think of it! Jesus’ personal signature is on our salvation; as we have received Him, He is coming to receive us.3 The Greek word for “receive” in John 14:3 is paralambano meaning “to embrace or to receive intimately, to or for oneself.” It is a compound word, formed from lambanō (“to receive from”) and para (“beside” or “alongside”). Christ used this word only six times when referring to end time events: twice in the Olivet Discourse passage (Matt. 24:40-41), three times when the same comparison is made concerning the coming of the Son of Man (Luke 17:34-36), and one time in John 14:3. “I will come again and receive you unto myself” is strictly referring to His personal appearing to receive His people to Himself. Paul amplified this promise in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 emphasizing the certainty of Christ Coming to gather together both the dead and living in Christ in the clouds unto Himself. This then is the “blessed hope” of the Church universal (Titus 2:13), a present living hope, an enduring hope. And as Hebrews 9:28 so eloquently puts it; “To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” Jesus Christ appeared first to accomplish His atoning work on the Cross opening the way of access to God the Father, and He will appear a second time to consummate our salvation as we put off the garments of mortal flesh for a heavenly garment.
THE QUESTIONS NEEDING AN ANSWER
Does the Bible provide an orderly list of signs and events which mark the close of this present age, and what are the events surrounding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ? These answers can be found depending on which lens one is viewing the Scripture through. If you approach the Word of God objectively using an impersonal and unbiased approach the answers present themselves. However, if you approach this subject subjectively using your own perspective or through a bias or predetermined approach, error is inevitable and you will miss the mark. One of my favorite authors, Robert Van Kempen said; “If the plain sense makes sense, then you have the right sense.” In other words, we can only discover truth when we interpret and except Scripture in its most normal, natural, customary sense. If you are one who spiritualizes and allegorizes prophecy contiguous to Eschatology, real truth becomes evasive, but if you except Scripture with a face value hermeneutic the truth of Christ’s Second Coming is Scripturally uninterrupted and harmonious.
Events Surrounding Christ’s Return
Jesus, in His Olivet Discourse give us the sequence of events surrounding His return of which there are four main divisions. In the chart above I have provided three; “The Beginning of Sorrows,” “The Abomination of Desolation,” and “The Cataclysmic Signs in the Sun, Moon, and Stars.” The fourth is “The Day of the Lord” and we will now look briefly at these four divisions.
THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS
The Beginning of sorrows in the Greek means “labor pains,” and is better translated “birth pangs” (Matthew 24:8) These labor pains are expected to precede the end, marking the transition from this age to the Age to Come. The picture Christ gives is that of a women in labor who’s “birth pangs” intensify, followed by hard labor then delivery and fulfillment. “The end” (Matt. 24:6,13,14) is not the end of the world as some suppose, but merely the end of this dispensation or age. The Greek word for “end” in Matthew 24:6,13,14 is telos and means the limit at which a thing ceases to be, it always refers to the end of some act or state, its not the end of a period of time but the last in any succession or series of events. Only after false Christ and false prophets appear on the world scene, only after the wars and rumor of wars, the famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, only after the Great Tribulation and persecution of God’s Elect, only after the Son of Man is seen appearing in the sky will the end come. “The end,” is identified by Scripture as the Day of the Lord when God’s Wrath falls upon mankind and His fury is seen in the earth illustrated by the trumpet and bowl judgments of Revelation.
The four divisions given in the Chart below, if viewed in light of a women giving birth can be seen as follows:
Beginning of Sorrows = Labor Pains
Abomination of Desolation/Great Tribulation = Hard Labor
Cataclysmic Signs in the heavens/Sign of Son of Man = Delivery/Rapture of the Church.
Then the Day of the LORD’S Wrath = The End
Within the Beginning Birth Pangs we find seven subsequent events:
False Christ’s – Matt 24:5
Wars and rumors of wars – Matt 24:6
Nation against nation Matt 24:7
Kingdom against Kingdom – Matt 24:7
Famines – Matt 24:7
Pestilences/Disease – Matt 24:7
Earthquakes in various places – Matt 24:7
Religious deception is to be expected, however Jesus is speaking of a time when the world will witness many saying “I am Christ.” The definite article “the” is not found in the Greek and those spoken of here cite the name of Jesus. They come “in Jesus’ name,” and because they come in His name we see it is with the intent to deceive by misrepresenting Christ. The Greek word Christos (Christ) means the anointed one. It is clear by the text that the “many” who come in Jesus’ name are not saying they are the Messiah, but rather, they are “anointed” as they come “In His Name” claiming special anointing and we have no short supply of them today. There is such an encroachment of teachers and teachings that claim prophetic authority today, but fail to present and honor Jesus Christ in a way consistent with the whole of the Scriptures. According to 1 John 4:1-6 we should reject any prophesying that preoccupies itself with mystical ideas. And 2 John tells us the genuine is recognized by the orthodoxy of their message. We are seeing a gradual shift away from the true person and message of Jesus Christ and it is getting more recognizable. It pains me to say that today the Charismatic/Pentecostal segments of the church provide some of the most fertile soil for spiritual deception.4 See Apocalypse Now: Signs Which Can’t Be Denied
ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION
When Jesus said in Matthew 24:15; “Therefore, when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place,” He spent the next five verse giving warning to flee. Why? “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). There has been a lot of confusion and wrong teaching centered around the word “tribulation.” Too often, the 70th week of Daniel (seven years in duration) is recognized as the “tribulation period.” However Scripture never emphasizes this, in fact, the “great tribulation” mentioned in this text is a shortened period of time (Matt 24:22) beginning 3 1/2 years into Daniel’s 70th week, in the middle of the week, and is cut short by the cataclysmic signs in the Sun, Moon and Stars and the appearing of Jesus Christ in the sky (Matt 24:29-30). It is clear by verse 29 that the tribulation is over by the time these signs are witnessed.
So what is the great tribulation? And again we must look at the Greek to get a proper definition. Thlipsis, Greek for tribulation means “to press together, pressure and oppression. Another word used in our Bibles which is translated from the Greek word thlipsis is persecution. In Acts 11:19 the church is seen being scattered because of the “persecution (thlipsis)” that occurred in connection with Stephen. When we compare Scripture with Scripture we find that what surrounds this event is indeed a great persecution. In Revelation 7, the only other place in the New Testament where the term “great tribulation” is used we find a group of people standing before the throne of God who had come out of Great Tribulation.
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, off all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands…then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?’ And I said to him, sir you know. So he said to me, these are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9,13-14).
This great multitude cannot be anyone other than the raptured saints of God. I have several reasons for saying this: First, the timing of the great multitude arriving in heaven precisely parallels the timing Christ gave His disciples in the Olivet Discourse (Matt 24:29,31). Secondly, the great multitude are described by John as coming “from every nation, tribe, peoples, and tongues. Mark sheds some light on this when describing the coming of Christ to gather His elect; “And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of the earth to the farthest part of heaven” (Mark 13:27). “The farthest part of the earth” is speaking of a gathering from or out of every part of the earth, this means every nation, tribe, people and tongue. Third, the fourth and fifth seals parallel the Olivet Discourse and what Jesus describes to be the Great Tribulation. Those spoken of in the fifth seal are the martyrs who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held (Rev. 6:9). The testimony which they held can be nothing other than the Name of Jesus. Two reason for why I say this: First, Acts 4:12 says “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” No other authority or personality, no other system or philosophy can rescue the human soul other than the name of Jesus Christ. Secondly, Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 24:9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” Only believers in Jesus Christ keep the word of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. The martyrs were told to rest a little while longer until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who would be killed was completed (Rev. 6:11), giving us the backdrop that this is an ongoing persecution. The fifth seal describes the great tribulation in progress while Revelation 7 illustrates those coming out of it. And last of all, the great multitude who are standing before God are clothed in white robes having palm branches in their hands. This means they have bodies, unlike those in the fifth seal who are addressed as “souls” this great multitude have resurrected bodies!
The Olivet Discourse was begun with the Disciples asking Jesus a question; “Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives the disciples came to Him privately, saying, tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?“
We find they wanted to know three things, “When will these things be?,” “What will be the sign of your coming?” and “What will be the sign of the end of the age?” I will briefly cover these in the chronological order Jesus gave. First, when the disciples asked, “when will these things be,” they were referring to the temple and it’s destruction, which Jesus said would happen (Matt 24:1-2). This of course is ancient history, the temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 and I will not converse any further on it.
The second is the Sign of the end of the Age which Jesus describes in Matthew 24:29; “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” Let me first point out that this sign is not given until “immediately after the tribulation of those days.” By the urgency of this sign it can be said that the sign itself abruptly ends the Great Tribulation. This makes sense when you consider this to be a worldwide event, all of humanity will now focus and respond as this event is catastrophic. But this sign does more than just get the attention of humanity, this sign announces two things, the coming of Jesus Christ and the Day of the Lord.
To the Believer, God’s elect, this sign will serve as the source of hope and expectation, of redemption; “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring…Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:25,28). The redemption spoken of here refers to the completion of Christ’s saving work, the redemption of the purchased possession (Eph. 1:13-14), the redemption of our body (Rom 8:19-25), when death is swallowed up in victory and this mortal has put on immortality (1 Cor 15:50-58).
To the unbeliever, this sign will serve as the thunder of an approaching storm, however, as horrific as the biblical description is of this sign, it pales in comparison to what is coming upon the earth, namely, the Day of the Lord. Joel tells us this sign will occur just prior to the Day of the Lord; “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD” (Joel 2:30-31).
As I stated previously, the fourth and fifth seals enumerate the great tribulation while Revelation chapter 7 discloses the raptured saints before the throne of God. In between we see the sixth seal opened:
“I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, and mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?‘” (Revelation 6:12-17)
Let me point a couple of things here. When you combine all the Scripture together surrounding this momentous event in history the world, the nations, all of mankind will know its meaning. In fact, mankind gets a double dose of fear, let me explain. The sun being darkened, the moon turns to blood, the stars fall from the sky, the heavens are shaken, a great earthquake accompanied with worldwide tsunamis, every island is moved from its place, and the seas raging all together are dreadful to think about (see Matt. 24:29-30; Luke 21:25-28; Revelation 6:12-17). But all of this is not the sum of the fear gripping the world. For what the world witnesses next is the very thing that causes the great, the mighty, every slave and free to hid in the rocks of the mountains and Matthew 24:30 tells us what that is, the sign of His coming:
“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
When you combine Matthew 24:30 with Revelation 6:15-17 it become clear why mankind will seek to hid, they see Jesus Christ standing upon the clouds of the sky! And just for those who are skeptical, the Greek word for “heaven” in verse 30 can be translated “sky.” Revelation 1:7 adds to this thought; “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” Jesus’ return will be definite, personal, and visible and His presence on the clouds emphasizes His coming is with judgment. The language is plain, the world not only is witnessing catastrophic signs in the heavens and the earth, but every man, woman and child will witness the visible return of Jesus Christ and His coming is twofold, to rapture His church from the earth and His coming is with judgment.
“And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and the will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:31)
Robert Van Kampen, author of “The Rapture Question Answered” says; “Christ’s coming will be like lightning coming from the east and flashing to the west (Matt. 24:27). thus, the sign of His coming will be the visual manifestation of God’s glory returning to earth…Then, when Christ appears, ‘He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other”. There is your rapture of the faithful who endure to the end!”5
The Rapture! When we gaze upon what Jesus taught His disciples, the language is strikingly similar to another passage of Scripture; Jesus will send His angels, with a great sound of a trumpet, and gather together His elect. Sounds a lot like what Paul taught the Thessalonians!
“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:15-17).
If this were not evidence enough, the Greek reveals even more truth that what Jesus is describing in the Olivet Discourse is indeed the rapture of the Church. And again, I quote from Robert Van Kampen as his presentation of Matthew 24:31 is clear and accurate:
“The classic Rapture passage recorded in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says that when the Rapture occurs, we will “be caught up together with them [the dead in Christ] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” The peculiar Greek word episunagō (“gather together” Matt. 24:31) used by Christ when He speaks to His disciples in the Olivet Discourse will prove that point.
Sunagō comes from two smaller Greek words that together mean “to bring together, come together, gather together, or assemble.” It is the root verb from wich the noun sunagoge (synagogue) is derived. Basically, synagogue means a “gathering place,” where people assemble together.
In the Olivet Discourse, when we see the Son of Man coming on the clouds and sending His angels to gather together His elect, why is the Greek word episunagō used to describe this gathering, rather than just the root Greek verb sunagō? The answer to this qauestion is very important. Adding the Greek preposition epi to the verb sunagō gives direction to the gathering. Epi basically means “on” or “upon” (just as epidermis refers to the top layer – epi – of one’s skin–dermis). So when this little preposition is added to the verb sunagō, it gives an upward direction to the gathering. Therefore, episunagō means a gathering together in an upward direction, or “a taking up and bringing together.”6
And when you consider what Paul said to the Thessalonians; “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together (episunago)to Him, we ask you,” (2 Thess. 2:1) more evidence is presented, for this passage of Scripture is an undisputed reference to the Rapture of the saints of God.
1 (Robert Van Kempen; The Rapture Question Answered, Published by Fleming H. Revell a division of Baker Book House Company. Preface pp. 13-14).
2 Herbert Lockyer; All the Doctrines of the Bible; Zondervan Books Zondervan Publishing House, p.267; (Edited by myself).
3Spirit Life Bible; Jack W. Hayford; Thomas Nelson Publishers; p.1602 “Kingdom Dynamics”.
4Scott: January 15, 2011
5(Robert Van Kempen; The Rapture Question Answered, Published by Fleming H. Revell a division of Baker Book House Company. Preface pp. 84,85).
6(Robert Van Kempen; The Rapture Question Answered, Published by Fleming H. Revell a division of Baker Book House Company. Preface p.184).
Between all of the increased natural disasters, political chaos in the Muslim nations, political and religious unrest and corruption in the world today, and the economic problems sweeping the world we can now begin to see certain signs, or clues that the end of the age is fast approaching. The very thought of it leaves many today bewildered, disorientated and somewhat panicky, not to mention all the other various subjects on Biblical Prophecy. For the most part, as long as things are going well people sort of block it all out of their minds until the next catastrophe and you then see the masses jamming into the church looking for answers. Jesus said; “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, at the doors!” (Matthew 24:32-33). As winter fades and spring approaches, the budding of trees signifies the coming of summer. This is the picture Jesus is giving with the parable of the fig tree. The signs described in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24) by Jesus will give warning of His Second Coming. It is interesting to note that these sign began to appear in earnest only after Israel became a Nation again in 1948. And in truth, none of the signs were relevant until Israel was reborn as a nation.
Jesus said there would be wars and rumors of wars, revolutions, wars between Ethnic Groups, widespread famine, disease, and earthquakes in many places of the world (Matt. 24:6-7; Luke 21:10-11). Widespread religious deception, lawlessness and anarchy will increase, and finally the appearance of the Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:3-4). Alongside of the appearance of the Antichrist will be the emergence of the apostasy, or falling away as the love of many, if not most, who call themselves Christian will grow cold (Matt 24:12). The Greek word used here for love is “agape,” this verse describes not the love the world knows and shares, but Christian love. It is the agape love revealed in Jesus, seen as spiritual and selfless, a love that is a model to humanity.
A waning love is the picture given here which decreases gradually in intensity like that of the moon which shows a decreasing illuminated surface between a full moon and a new moon. The agape (Christian) love for Christ and each other will be reduced to the infidelity of the faith and the absence of belief itself. It will be because of the name of Jesus that many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another (Matt. 24:9-12). The shadow of this waning love is being cast upon the church today as well as society. Never before has the church been divided as it is today. In spite of the Bible’s teaching that there should be no schism (division) in the body, that the members should have the same care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25), denominational and doctrinal lines have been established partitioning the body of Christ into neat little groups all opposing one another. Oh sure, there is a lot of talk of love today but still there is very little of it unless you run in certain circles and conform to their particular group think. Some might even love you from a distance so long as you are not a threat to what is relatively true to them, truth it seem is now subjective to the individual. Real love rejoices in the truth (1 Cor. 13:6), not much of that going around today.
These signs are compared to the labor pains of a women about to give birth. “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). “Sorrows” literally means “birth pangs.” The world will witness these birth pangs and they will increase in intensity and frequency until Jesus Christ returns. For example, earthquakes are one of the signs given by Jesus and the number of massive earthquakes is undeniably increasing. I’m not a big fan of Hal Lindsey, in my opinion he has been wrong about a great many things on the subject of Eschatology, however, he gave some statistics which I will include here, you can also see the video if you like here.
Japan’s 9.0 quake was 8,000 times greater than the New Zealand quake last month.
Haiti’s Quake was a 7.0, Japan’s 9.0 quake was 5,000 times greater than the Haiti quake.
The USGS classifies Major Earthquakes between 7.0 to 7.9
Great Earthquakes are classified at 8.0 and above.
The USGS (US Geological Survey) Yearly expectations of quakes are usually 17 major earthquakes a year and 1 great earthquake a year. Earthquakes greater than 9.0 usually only occur once every 20 years. The Great Japan Quake is the third 9.0 earthquake in the last eleven years. It is the seventh major quake of 2011 and the fourth most powerful earthquake in recorded history. Of the ten most powerful earthquakes in recorded history, six have struck since the rebirth of Israel in 1948. Three of them have happen within the last six years alone. It has been determined that the Japan earthquake alone shifted the earth 4 inches on its axis. News reports indicated that many of Japan’s coastal cities were now 6 feet below sea level because the Island shift east. Every time there is a high tide, these coastal cities are flooded. Japan’s island of Honshu was Shifted 8 feet and it was recorded that the shift on the plants axis changed time itself. These are hard facts, and when you consider in the condition of the church today, it becomes self evident we are fast approaching the end of the age.
A felt faith is replacing orthodox Christianity as False Apostles and False Prophets are busting out of the seams claiming God is revealing new things to the church today. To them, God is moving in a way that is different and more relevant to the world now. People are giving up their Bibles for new revelations, men such as Rick Joyner, Bill Johnson and many others are preaching sermons that the Bible is being superseded by new revelations. Ecstatic experience is now sought as a valid “God” encounter and anyone who holds to the bible is looked upon with distain. Yet everything about these new movements resemble very little of Christianity, the entire movement is characterized by satisfying one’s own flesh and carnal nature, especially in light of the many “manifestations” where people slither like snakes, bark like dogs, and crow like chickens. It’s about getting as much as you can for yourself, the greater anointing, the next manifestation, seeking after the next sign and wonder. We live in a time of indifference and carelessness! A time of corruption and violence! A time of uncertainty.
Scripture tells us that the last days well be met with a society that is barren of virtue but abounding with vices. People will be characterized by all sorts of self-centered and unnatural perversions. Some will maintain an outward pretense of Christianity but refuse the reality of the Christian faith. “BUT KNOW THIS, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” – 2 Timothy 3:1-5a If you are honest, the above verses are in fact characteristics of the modern and post-modern cultures. And sadly they are traits which have overrun the church. Even stronger language is given by the Holy Spirit Himself of the condition of the church in the latter times; “Now the Spirit EXPRESSLY says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron” – 1 Timothy 4:1-2. Ever wonder why you can’t seem to reach many with the truth of the Gospel today? Why many of our Church leaders won’t answer for their false doctrine, why they refuse to be transparent and accountable? Here is your answer why! “having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.” We are seeing the above verse played out before our very eyes, we are watching the church apostatize, we are watching our leadership out right deny the essential doctrines of Christianity. Abandoning God’s Word they are motivated by evil spirits and have become insensitive and lethargic to spiritual truth.
So if the Bible predicts that all these things will come upon the earth just prior to the return of Jesus, why do we gasp as though all is hopeless and lost? Most view Bible Prophecy as just doom and gloom yet within its confines is recorded the hope of the church, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the resurrection and rapture of the Church, His millennial kingdom, the new heaven and new earth, and lastly, God dwelling with men, in the end, we win.
We should pray for the people of Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake and the tsunamis which left this nation in devastation. Earthquakes and tsunamis are events that should bring us to our knees in repentance (Luke 13:2-5), or at least cause us to pause and reflect on the judgments of God upon humanity for our lack of repentance. This event will either harden hearts more toward God, or by God’s grace will break them with contriteness—there is no neutral response. When we view pictures and video of the devastation they remind us of how fragile we really are. We should understand how our reliance upon things can easily be wiped out. It should humble Humanity, especially how we so easily love to elevate our “greatness” instead of acknowledging God’s. As we have seen in recent days, the disturbing phenomena and violence of tsunamis strikes terror in the hearts of people.
Through the events in Japan we see the future prophetic events spoken of by our Lord Jesus Christ casting their shadow upon us. Since coming events cast their shadows beforehand, when we see these things begin to come to pass we know that Christ’s coming will be soon. The budding of the fig tree (Matt 24:32-35) for instance, has been interpreted as a symbol of the restoration of the nation of Israel (which has come to pass). The phrase “and all the trees” (v. 29 KJV ) may indicate the growth of nationalism among the nations of the world. And in recent years, we have certainly seen a tremendous increase in nationalism.1 “This generation vs.34” refers to the generation alive when all these things take place.1
In the future, just before the Day of the Lord there will be a cluster of celestial and earthly disturbances that will act as a prelude warning to the Day of the Lord.
The sixth seal informs us that there will be this “huge earthquake” accompanied by a cluster of catastrophic celestial signs:
“Then I looked when the Lamb opened the sixth seal, and a huge earthquake took place; the sun became as black as sackcloth made of hair, and the full moon became blood red;” – Rev 6:11-12
And I don’t believe this will be some regional earthquake; instead, it will be global, since “every mountain” will be moved from its place. Given the magnitude of this earthquake, it makes perfect sense why the Bible employs tsunami language in two passages on the sign of the Day of the Lord:
“And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth nations will be in distress, anxious over the roaring of the sea and the surging waves” – Luke 21:25. The Greek describes the surging waves as the tossing or swell of the sea. These cataclysmic events are not simply metaphors; they will actually happen. These signs signal the end of the age simultaneously extinguishing all natural lights in the heavens, plunging the earth into total darkness. Accompanying this celestial sign the earth will experience worldwide earthquakes causing tsunamis mankind has never witness before.
Nations do not “distress” over mere ten foot waves. This will be global tsunamis on a massive scale. Interestingly, the Greek term for “surging waves” (salos) can mean “earthquake.” Also, the text indicates that the nations on the earth are not so much distressed and anxious over the celestial signs as much as they are with the roaring of the sea and surging waves.
The other text is Rev 6:14b:
“and [every] island was moved from its place.”
Again, mere ten foot waves do not accomplish this. No wonder Scripture prophecies that “people will be fainting from fear and from the expectation of what is coming on the world.” When these bewildering events occurs, unbelieving mankind will panic and desperately seek hiding places among the rocks and in caves because they will then know with horrifying certainty that the wrath of God is about to commence.
This is a sober truth. Do not fall into the Amos syndrome, in which his audience was deceptively self-assured that they were right with God and that the Day of the Lord was for those “other people.” “Woe to those who wish for the day of the LORD! Why do you want the LORD’s day of judgment to come? – Amos 5:18 Today is the day for self-examination.
However, the signs given for the end of the age and for Christ’s return will have different effects on different individuals. For those who have chosen to worship Satan’s king, they will be gripped by incredible fear. But for those who have chosen to be true to Christ, God’s King, they will know incredible joy. Charles Haddon Spurgeon showed a remarkable understanding concerning the relationship of these events and summed them up beautifully. The following are excerpts from his sermon entitled “Joyful Anticipation of the Second Advent.”
“I must leave this first point, concerning the terrible time [a time of fearful national trouble] when this precept is to be carried out, by just reminding you that, when the Lord Jesus Christ shall come, the heavens shall tell us: “There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars.”…Now I come to the remarkable precept itself: “Then look up, and lift up your heads.”…Let there be no looking down because the earth is quaking and shaking, but let there be a looking up because you are going to rise from it; no looking down because the graves are opening; why should you look down? You will quit the grave, never more to die. “Lift up your heads.” The time for you to hang your heads, like bulrushes, is over already, and will certainly be over when the Lord is coming, and your redemption draweth nigh. Wherefore, “look up, and lift up your heads.”2
Wiersbe, W. W. 1997, c1992. Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament . Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.
2The Treasury of the New Testament, vol. 2, “Joyful Anticipation of the Second Advent,” Luke 21:28-31 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, n.d.), p. 130.
3Written by Alan Kurschner on 03/11/11 Edited, Changed and expounded on by Myself.
“Now as he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age? And Jesus answered and said to them: Take heed that no one deceives you.“
In the last article, “Exploring Prophecy: The Question” We looked at the Disciples question concerning the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the age. Here in the Olivet Discourse Jesus sketches the prevailing conditions of the present age down to the very end, culminating with the Day of the Lord when God will judge the earth and Jesus will vanquish the Antichrist and the false prophet throwing them into the lake of fire at Armageddon. We see here where Jesus beginning his discourse, answers the disciples question with a solemn warning to “Take heed that no one deceives you.” This describes that which is closest to Jesus’ heart concerning His people, deception. Jesus above all others, understands the power and destructiveness of deception. The very purpose for His coming was because of the deception that began in the garden thrusting all of humanity into spiritual depravity. Because of deception, all of humanity is at enmity with God, disobedient, and by nature are children of wrath. “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” – Ephesians 2:4-5.
Deception has eternal consequences, and there are as many forms of deception as there are faces in the world. Anyone of us are capable of either deceiving or being deceived. “Deception is a cruel act…It often has many players on different stages that corrode the soul” – Donna A. Favors. Deception begins with one first deceiving one’s self, and always ends by deceiving others. Religious impostors will always steadily degenerate, and with them, those who follow them. Paul told Timothy, “but evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” – 2 Timothy 3:13. Is it any wonder why Jesus began with such a warning to “Take heed?” It is safe to say that Jesus’ warning that no one deceive you includes yourself.
The only way to be true to oneself is to be truthful with God, trusting in and relying on His Spirit and His Word to guide you into truth. I have discovered Confession is the best way to hamper the deception of oneself if you understand that confession is agreeing with God, meeting Him on His terms. Jesus gives an example with the Pharisee and the tax collector who went up to the temple to pray. “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me a sinner! I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” – Luke 18:11-14. Who was deceived? Confessing truthfully to God diminishes self deception, while comparing yourself to others only leaves you praying with yourself, God is nowhere to be found.
The question which begs answering is, “Why such an urgent warning?” The next verse gives the answer, “For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will deceive many” – Matthew 24:5. To understand the magnitude of this religious deception several points must be considered which will open our understanding as to just how nefarious these spoken of here are. First, they come “In Jesus’ name.” Because they come in His name with the intent to deceive shows us they will misrepresent Christ. Secondly, they say, “I am Christ.” The Greek word Christos means, anointed. It is clear by the text that the “many” who come in Jesus’ name are not saying they are Messiah, but rather, they are “anointed” as they come “In His Name” claiming special anointing. One does not come in the name of another claiming to be the one who’s name they invoke. Another way of looking at it is, they will claim the same anointing as Christ himself alleging equality with Jesus.
There are two facets to consider here, The first is the counterfeit Christianity Jesus is describing here, the other is the antichrist himself. One is a system, the other is a person. We have several examples in Scripture which go hand in hand with this thought. The parable of the Wheat and Tares (Matthew 13:24-30) tells us that through Church history and unto the consummation of the age the true Church (Wheat) will be intermingled with the counterfeit (Tares). Tares were very common in Palestine and closely resemble wheat, they are not really distinguishable from the wheat until the grain appears at harvest time. Interesting is the fruit of the tare which is black and poisonous. It will be at the end of the age where the two (wheat and tares) will be separated. The fundamental difference between true Christianity and the Counterfeit is the true will always point to Jesus Christ preaching repentance toward God and faith toward Jesus Christ. The Counterfeit on the other hand draws men after themselves looking for quick results that require little sacrifice. Nor will they care for the flock of God. Paul exhorted the Ephesian elders that savage wolves would come in among them not sparing the flock of God. And also from among themselves men would rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves (Acts 20:17-30).
Satan has always tried to get a foothold on the Church and has been successful through his emissaries posing as ministers of the Gospel. Many falsely boast of their superiority to the foundational Apostles and Scripture categorizes them as “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” – 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. The Greek word for this transformation of Satan and his agents of deceit exposes them as schemers, people who disguise their real agenda by masquerading as ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Anywhere in the New Testament where you see “false brethren,” “false prophets,” and “false apostles,” be assured that Satan is at work. It is Satan’s desire to dominate the Church. The seven letters to the seven churches recorded in Revelation 2-3 demonstrates this as the Churches were infiltrated with the doctrines of Balaam and the Nicolaitans. The name “Jezebel” appears as a doctrine to seduce God’s people into both a literal and spiritual fornication. Satan or “devil” is used no less than five times in the seven letters. It becomes clear that Satan dwelt within the churches as we see “Satan’s throne,” “where Satan dwells,” “the depths of Satan,” and the “synagogue of Satan” in opposition to the Church. The spiritual war, the race to be run that Scripture speaks about is within the church walls, not the world. And the conflict will continue until the Return of Jesus Christ. This is why Jesus told His Disciples to “Take heed, that no one deceive you.” In the context of Matthew 24 it is those within the church who will become the apostate, who will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, who will betray one another and hate one another (Matt. 24:11-12). I comes upon the true church to watch, to take heed the warning Jesus gave to the church and to be sober and vigilant, watching as that day may be soon upon us.