Sunday, April 30, 2006

You Are Being Used, Mr. Ahmadinejad

Is Satan influencing your heart and mind Mr. Ahmadinejad (Iranian President)? Undoubtedly he is. Don't you know that you cannot defeat God's chosen people? To Abram, God said: "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse" [Genesis 12:3]. God has not/will not rescind his covenant with Israel, the "apple of his eye". I've been on vacation, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's always fantastic getting away from daily responsibilities. On this vacation I spent a lot of time playing with my “ankle-biters” (aka kids) and doing a bit of reading.
What I’ve been reading in the news lately is simply amazing. Just this last week I read about the situation in Iran: how Iran is using new centrifuge technology to process uranium four times faster than standard technology, and how Ahmadinejad is thumbing his nose at the IAEA and the UN Security Council – (something tells me this man doesn't care about economic sanctions). The Iranian people are solidly behind him, and any sanctions are months down the road IF the U.S., Britain and France can even successfully negotiate sanctions with Russia and China, the other members of the UN Council with veto capability. Unfortunately for the western world, China has just inked a $200 billion oil deal with Iran and Russia is economically tied to Iran's nuclear industry. Both China and Russia are adamantly opposed to any sanctions.
Other News This Week:
Mossad chief Meir Dagan met at the White House. Mossad is the Israel equivalent to the US CIA. There's no doubt that Israel is getting nervous about the fanatical rantings of Ahmadinejad, who's stated that he wants to push Israel into the Mediterranean Sea and wipe it off the map. Huge question: will the international community be able to do enough against the Iranian threats to keep Israel from pulling the trigger? This weekend, Israel successfully launched a sophisticated spy satellite to keep an eye on Iran (launched from Russia, interestingly enough). Iran already has conventional missiles aimed at Israel in Lebanon, manned by the Hezbollah. Lastly, Iran has been testing high speed torpedoes in the Straight of Hormuz, where 25-35% of the world's oil flows through aboard supertankers.
”Lay off the conspiracy novels, dude”, you say? Let's just say, I will be incredibly surprised if this kettle, containing a perfect storm, doesn't boil over in short order. I think the world may be in for a painful jolt. Not just an economic recession due to sky-rocketing oil, but I wonder if this could be Ezekiel 38:16 in the making: "You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, O Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I show myself holy through you before their eyes." If I were not a fervent believer in the infallibility of God’s Word, I would find it hard to believe that we could witness the end of this age - it would simply be too surreal and unbelievable. But God's word is true - it is only a matter of when these things happen. Praise God!
One more brief thing and then I'll close. I've read Ellis Skolfield's "The False Prophet" as I stated on my last post. Very interesting book! A point that Skolfield makes in his book is that the abomination of desolation of Matthew 24:15 (etc) is the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock that have been desecrating the former sites of the Solomonic and second temple since 688AD, on the temple mount in Jerusalem. Actually the location of the Muslim mosque and dome is in the court of Gentiles, which gives perfect meaning to Revelation 11:2 "But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles; and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months." Skolfield makes an interesting, if not an almost irrefutable argument that the third most holy site in Islam is the abomination of desolation upon the temple mount, and upon the site of Lord God Jehovah’s holy of holies.

I plan to write more about Skolfield's book because his theories have support within scripture. They do not adhere to a literal 7-year tribulation with the anti-Christ in the middle, but I think we need to be open to challenge end-time theories made in the 19th century, when confronted with scripture that may be saying something else. The devil deceives the whole world, as I wrote earlier, so challenging what is commonly accepted is not a bad thing, but it all needs to be done under the light of God’s word. Thank God that we have a solid foundation to test and approve what is good and what isn’t.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Up For a Challenge?

I'm going on vacation and decided to take along some light leisure reading. I stumbled upon I've read the first half of his free book The False Prophet on this site, and I must say I am intrigued. He makes some challenging theological arguments about the end times - I'd recommend a look. Thankfully, my vacation involves visiting my parents, who have been Christians almost twice as long as I've been breathing (that's a long time) so I can't wait to challenge their spirit-filled minds with the thesis of this book. Can all the classical theologians be wrong about an upcoming 7-year tribulation and the nature of the anti-Christ? If nothing else, this book is something to think and pray about. I appreciate any author that challenges me with scripture, and encourages me to look deeper into the Good Book. May the Holy Spirit continue to lead and guide us, and keep us from all evil, because let's face it folks - we live in evil and deceptive times.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Are We In For More "Fearful Events"?

In the Headlines this Past Week

Iran Steps Up Military Exercises
The head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards played up the significance of its wargames in the narrow neck in the Persian Gulf through which two-fifths of the world's oil trade passes. "The importance of the ... maneuvers lies in the time and geographical place they are happening as well as the arms used," General Yahya Rahim Safavi told the official IRNA news agency. The Straits of Hormuz, between the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, is a strategic corridor for the oil exports. Iran has been showing off its military achievements in the Persian Gulf, including radar-evading anti-ship missiles, which analysts fear Tehran could use to cripple maritime traffic and block the Straits if threatened over its nuclear ambitions.

Floods in Central Europe Claim More Lives
As Europe emerges from one of the worst winters on record, Central and Eastern parts are not out of the woods yet with rising floodwaters continuing to wreak havoc. The River Danube has risen to record levels, with Hungary, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Germany all losing lives to the waters. In Austria on Tuesday, a the walls of a dam broke causing the death of an 18 month old boy - adding to the 20 lives lost already in the other countries affected.

64 Twisters and 28 Confirmed Dead in Central U.S.
Tornadoes that ravaged the central United States claimed another victim in Tennessee, raising the death toll in the region to 28, state officials said on Tuesday. The tornado outbreak -- which produced 64 unconfirmed reports of twisters across the central United States -- was the deadliest since November, when 23 people died in southern Indiana. The Tennessee storms left a 25-mile (40.2 km) path of destruction, demolishing houses, stripping the bark off trees and hurling people into the air.

'Gospel of Judas': He didn't betray Jesus
Perhaps it wasn't history's greatest betrayal after all, but a simple act of obedience. Judas turned Jesus over to the high priests, not for money, but because Jesus asked him to do so, according to a newly translated ancient document.

Am I being alarmist? No. The definition of alarmist is someone who alarms others needlessly. These headlines speak of a world in trouble; a world that is trying to discredit the message of the cross and the necessity of repentance. The world is ripe for God’s judgment. It is tragically interesting how the “news” of the Gospel of Judas (this is not new news) is racing through our media. People seem almost eager to believe anything that contradicts the bible. For example, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code has been on the New York’s Best Sellers List for 157 weeks and counting, and been number 1 for weeks. It is a ridiculous work of fiction, and yet people are flocking to it and being fooled by it. The financial success of this book has led to an upcoming movie based on the book. For more on this see

Now we have the re-introduction of the Gospel of Judas. The financial success of these heresies will spawn more heresies. The importance of the Christian being grounded in the word cannot be understated. Satan is the ruler of this corrupt world, as I stated in my last article. It is crucial that we are not deceived. Thank God that he is in control.

10Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.
25"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
36Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."[
Luke 21:10-11,25-28, 36]

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Revelation 18: The Whore of Babylon

3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4"Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?"

5Jesus said to them: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 6Many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and will deceive many. [Mark 13:3-6, NIV]

It’s interesting that Jesus’ first response to the disciples’ question was: “Watch out that no one deceives you”. I love this response! The disciples ask “when”, and Jesus responds “watch out that not one deceives you”. Christ’s unconventional response tells us that Satan’s deception will be rampant before his coming.

What is the deception that Jesus talked about? It’s pretty obvious in our day, who is and who isn’t a Christian – right? Is it?!

21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' [Matthew 7:21-23; NIV]

Do we know that we are following true Christianity? Are we certain that we are not being deceived?

9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. [Revelation 12:9 King James Version;emphasis mine]

3[The angel] threw [Satan] into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. [Revelation 20:3 NIV;emphasis mine]

There are about 2 billion professing Christians in various denominations in the world, out of a total world population of about 6.5 billion. I will be bold enough to say that I don’t think all 2 billion people professing Christianity are practicing Christ’s Christianity. Satan is actively deceiving “the whole world”. Satan knows the bible [Matthew 4:6], and therefore knows that he will soon meet his end [Isaiah 14:12-15]. You can be sure that Satan is working overtime in our day!

The most dominant deception in the end times is described in Revelation 18:

1After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. 2With a mighty voice he shouted:

"Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!

She has become a home for demons

and a haunt for every evil spirit,

a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird.

3For all the nations have drunk

the maddening wine of her adulteries.

The kings of the earth committed adultery with her,

and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries."

4Then I heard another voice from heaven say:

"Come out of her, my people,

so that you will not share in her sins,

so that you will not receive any of her plagues;

5for her sins are piled up to heaven,

and God has remembered her crimes.

6Give back to her as she has given;

pay her back double for what she has done.

Mix her a double portion from her own cup.

7Give her as much torture and grief

as the glory and luxury she gave herself.

In her heart she boasts,

'I sit as queen; I am not a widow,

and I will never mourn.'

8Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her:

death, mourning and famine.

She will be consumed by fire,

for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.

9"When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. 10Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry:

" 'Woe! Woe, O great city,

O Babylon, city of power!

In one hour your doom has come!'

[Revelation 18:1-10; NIV]

I did some research on Revelation 18 and ended up back at the Berean Call. Like I said in my last post: I love their ministry. Dave Hunt, in my opinion convincingly equates the Whore of Babylon to the Roman Catholic Church. One of my bibles even entitles Revelation 18 as: “The fall of Babylon, which is Rome; the vision of the woman”. Here’s a link to a chapter out of one of Dave Hunt’s books:

Of course the Catholic church isn’t the only deception used by the devil. I think another huge deception, especially for western Christians, is materialism. We should ask ourselves this: would Christ approve of the time and effort we devote to obtaining the world’s list of “must haves” – nice house, nice car, nice boat, nice vacations, etc, etc. These things aren’t evil in themselves, of course. They can be a blessing as long as we are seeking God’s kingdom first, and we are living “transformed lives”:

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. [Romans 12:2;emphasis mine]

It is absolutely crucial that Christians be committed to studying the bible and yielding to the Holy Spirit for direction. The instruction in Revelation 18:4 is shouting at us to: “Come out of her”. Has the modern protestant church made a complete “Reformation” and come out? Or are we starting to go back in and accept the world’s ecumenical message that “all roads lead to heaven” - I had to shake my head when I heard Oprah say that the other day. I had to do a double take at a photograph showing Pope John Paul II kissing the Koran. I even had an online chat just this week where I was called “ignorant” and “arrogant” for stating that Christ is the only way to God (that’s ok, because I consider it pure joy – James 1:2). Actually here’s the message this one individual left me. I want to share it with you because I think it’s very telling of some of the attitudes in our time:

“What arrogance you display. What gives you the right to speak of God so freely? You speak exclusively from a dualistic Christian viewpoint, living by blind faith alone. Your beliefs are not written in stone. What gives you the right to say that the bible is the correct and final word in our reality? There are many belief systems alive and well on our planet including science. Take some time out of your day to cultivate some awareness.”

We must be in the last of the last days.

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord [Jude 1:3-4 ]

God, help us to diligently contend for the faith and effectively point a lost world to Christ, “…for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” [Acts 4:12; KJV] Help us to read your word, understand it, and do what it says. Amen