Thursday, June 30, 2011

Advance of the Gospel (2) - Eternal Gospel

After the sealing of Israel (Rev 7:1-8), John saw great multitudes being saved by the gospel.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb (Rev 7:9-10).
Those who see Revelation as a book of doom and gloom often miss these verses. The number of people saved by the gospel will be a multitude so large that no one can count them. When the Times of the Gentiles are complete, and the Jews join the team, the fulfilment of this promise will be possible.

A vision of the 144,000, representing the Fullness of Israel (Rev 14:1-4), is followed by the eternal gospel going to the nations.
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people (Rev 14:6).
When Israel has received the gospel, the church that includes Israel will proclaim the gospel of Jesus to every tribe, language and nation on earth.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

►Advance of the Gospel (1) - Epochal Event

The collapse of human government and the fullness of Israel are the epochal events that mark the end of the Time of Distress. These events release the Holy Spirit to carry the gospel to the world. The epochal event that marks the beginning of the next season is the Advance of the Gospel. Several changes will make a rapid advance of the gospel possible.

  • With all constraints gone, the Holy Spirit will be free to do his stuff in a new way.

  • The suffering of the Time of Distress will have purified the church. It will be radical and ready to preach the gospel.

  • Christians will have been forced to build strong relationships with each other in order to survive through the Time of Distress. People will be able to see the new commandment being lived out in their neighbourhoods (John 13:34). They will be drawn to Christians loving each other as Jesus loves them.

  • The nations of the world will have trusted human government for peace and prosperity. When peace and prosperity are stripped away, and governments go down the gurgler, people will be desperate for a better saver. Jesus will stand out from the pack.

  • Many people will have experienced Christian love and generosity during the tough Time of Distress. They will have tested this love and proved it is real.

  • The gospel will be preached in the power of the Spirit. He will accompany the gospel with signs and wonders that confirm the gospel by openly proving the love and power of God (Mark 16:16-17).

  • Christian communities will have developed a model of justice that works. Local judges administering God’s law will deal effectively with crime and injustice, while allowing most people to get on with their lives.

  • Jewish Christians will preach the gospel of Jesus and the Kingdom of God with zeal and fervour throughout the world.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Collapse of Human Government (7) -The Kingdom Emerges

Daniel saw Jesus’ ascension into heaven.

One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom (Dan 7:13,14).
Jesus is the Son of Man, but this is not a description of the second coming, because Daniel saw him arriving in heaven. Daniel saw the ascension and enthronement of Jesus, not the second coming. After Jesus came into the presence of the Father in heaven, he was given the authority gained by his death and resurrection. This huge victory made the defeat of the political powers on earth inevitable.

The democratic empire that accumulates vast political powers in a vain attempt to resist God’s shaking of the world will collapse into such a mess that the people of the world will not trust human political power again. Daniel traces the cause to heaven.
But the court will sit for judgment,
and his dominion will be taken away,
annihilated and destroyed forever (Dan 7:26).
Christians do not need to fight against human political empires, because God will come in judgment against it. He will annihilate the ultimate human government, killing the credibility of political power forever.
Whens human political power is smashed, the Kingdom of God will emerge.
His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom,
and all rulers will worship and obey him (Dan 7:27b).
When human governments cease functioning,a huge power vacuum will exist on earth Those who have trusted in democratic government will be desperate for something different and better. With the ultimate human government crushed by events it could not control, people will be desperate for a Saviour who keeps his promises. The Kingdom of God will be very attractive.
God will replace human rulers with local judges applying his law.
Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms
under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints,
the people of the Most High (Dan 7:27a).
Political power will be chopped up, pushed down and spread around to ordinary people who trust and obey Jesus. Justice will be administered by local, voluntary, wise judges applying God’s law. Jesus will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The kingdom of the world
has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ,
and he will reign for ever and ever (Rev 11:15).
The kingdoms of the world will disappear and be replaced by the Kingdom of God. Human government will be replaced by godly justice.

People will not need a government to tell the how to live, because the gospel enables them to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and obey him. Faith in Jesus destroys allegiance to human authorities, who demand authority for themselves and give it to principalities and powers. The gospel gives people freedom to walk in the Spirit, which robs the spiritual powers of influence.
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms (Eph 3:10).
God will use the church to defeat the spiritual powers of evil by taking authority off political authorities and giving it back to ordinary people walking in the Spirit.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Collapse of Human Government (6) - Principalities and Powers Deposed

Human political power and spiritual warfare are closely related. The concentration of human political power shifst spiritual power towards the “principalities and powers” that fight against us. Without human rulers, their power on earth would be much weaker. When human rulers and empires disappear, their power will totally broken.

Spiritual power and political power go together (Eph 6:12). The leaders of nation have authority to enforce their will on any citizen of their domain. Everyone living in a nation must accept their authority their political rulers. The mayor, the council and the council officers have authority to act on behalf of anyone resident in their town or city. This power and authority creates a distortion of spiritual, because these political leaders are vulnerable to spiritual attack. When they succumb to attack, everyone under their authority is affected.

Spiritual evil follows political authority. When demonic forces attach themselves to a king or president, they become “principalities and powers”, because they have authority over everyone in the nation. Whenever, a political leader is influenced by evil spiritual powers, the people under his authority are vulnerable to the same attack. When we submit to political leaders, we open ourselves up to spiritual forces at work in their lives. Political leaders come under spiritual pressure, because they hold authority over an entire nation. The enemy forces concentrate against them, to expand their power.

Once a principalities or power gains control over a political leader, it has easy access to all everyone submitted to that leader. As the political leader accumulates more authority, the principality that controls him gains greater power over more people (Dan 10:13). If an evil spirit gains control over one person, he can make that person’s life miserable. If the same spirit were to gain control over a king or president, he can control a nation.

Many Christians have an overinflated view of the enemy’s power. Many believe that spiritual forces of evil are almost as powerful as the Holy Spirit. The truth is that Satan’s power is an illusion. By concentrating their attacks on a few powerful people, the forces of evil have leveraged their limited power. Political power has magnified the authority of spiritual evil.

Wherever emperors, kings and presidents have gained authority, evil spiritual forces have united to get control of that authority. When political power evaporates, principalities and powers will be reduced to common evil spirits defeated by the cross. The collapse of political power and authority will leave evil spirits with no place to stand. They will be diffused through society where they are fragmented, powerless and easily defeated. When political leaders lose their power, the spiritual forces that dominate them will be powerless too.

Jesus’ death on the cross was a massive defeat for powers and authorities.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (Col 2:15).
Paul described this victory in his letter to the Ephesians.
He raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come (Eph 1:20).
This is a completed action. Jesus has already ascended into heaven far above all human power and authority—in this present age, so the principalities and powers have already been destroyed.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Collapse of Human Government (5) - Best Government Fails

The people of the world will be disturbed by the fate of the Democratic Beast, because it was expected to be different from other governments. Hopes will be high, because this governent will have been formed by good people with strong Christians support. Expectations will be huge, because it the most democratic government that ever existed. People are not surprised when evil leaders do harm, but the expect democratic government to be a force for good. When this good democratic political power collapses in a morass of troubles, those who have relied on it will be totally disillusioned with political power.

The collapse of the best human government ever will be so horrifying that the people of the world will never trust human political power again. They will be left with no place to turn.

  • Confidence in political power will be shaken to the core.

  • Human government will be exposed as a false hope.

  • Faith in democracy will be annihilated.

  • Trust in military force will be shattered.

  • Confidence in police and security forces will be crushed.

  • The principalities and power will be totally disarmed.

  • Political power and control will crumble, collapse and disappear.

  • The faith in political power that hides in human hearts will be dissolved.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Collapse of Human Government (4) - Politicians Flee

The disastrous consequences of the Time of Distress and the Big Battle will terminate the confidence political leaders throughout the entire world.

Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb (Rev 6:15-16).
The many stars falling from the sky confirms that kings an rulers everwhere will lose their power. Instead of strutting on the world stage, politicians and kings will hide under the rocks and caves. Those who have trusted in political power will be filled with terror.
  • Political leaders will flee their offices.

  • No one will be willing to take their place.

  • The money will be gone and stresses will be huge, so no one will be interested in power.

  • The existing political order will collapse in all nations.

As the empire of man is nearing its last gasp, human governments will collapse and evaporate everywhere. When the people of the world see the harm done to their cities and economies by the their leaders policies, they will be furious. Those leaders who are not destroyed by the bombs will be hounded out of office by violent mobs. They will try to escape, but will find no safe place to hide.

People who are trusting their government to provide security and prosperity will be shocked when nothing happens. Those who call on their political leaders to make decisions about the future will find that there is no one there. That will be scary for many people, but they will not be as scared as the politicians themselves.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Collapse of Human Government (3) - Sixth Seal

The opening of the sixth seal describes the collapse of human government and democratic power.

I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place (Rev 6:13-14).
These events are not literal. The Old Testament prophets often described the collapse of a great nation in the same language. One exmple is Ezekiel’s descripton of the the defeat of Egypt by the armies of Babylon.
When I snuff you out, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give its light (Ez 32:7).
These words are a graphically describe the collapse of Egypt at the hand of Babylon. The sun continued to shine, but the prophecy about Egypt was fulfilled. Other prophets used similar language to describe the collapse of a nation or empire. They described the collapse of a human government as the sun and moon falling from the sky. Other examples are Is 13:10 and Is 34:4-5.

References to the sun, moon and stars turning to blood or falling from the sky are an apocalyptic description of the collapse of human government and political power.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Collapse of Human Government (2) - Big Battle

The Big Battle will be the “last hurrah” for human government. The Democratic Beast that was supposed to save the world from diaster will collapse into a terrible mess. This great nation empowered to bring peace to the world will be destroyed by the dreadful war that it started.

When Christian prophets speak comfort and salvation to the people of Israel, they will not just speak destruction against the military forces besieging the land. They will also announce the destruction of human government and political empires that have instigated the conflict and dominated the world. Their prophetic declarations are foreshadowed by the declarations recorded in Revelation 18-19.

These prophetic words will release the power of the Holy Spirit to bring down political power throughout the world. When military weapons go haywire and strike back on the armies that launched them, some of this terrible destruction will strike their home cities. Political leaders will be destroyed by their own weapons.

The cities of the nations collapsed (Rev 16:19).
This destruction is described in the book of Revelation.
From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, fell on people. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible (Rev 16:21).
John had never seen bombs and missiles. When he saw them in his vision, he described them as huge hailstones, because that was all he knew. The Big Battle will end with bombs falling on capital cities and centres of power throughout the world that have not already been destroyed by economic crisis (Rev 6:5-6) and terrorism (Dan 7:6).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

►Collapse of Human Government (1)

The Time of Distress ends when human governments collapse under the weight of their failed programs and broken promises. If their rise to power is grand, their collapse will be spectacular. Faith in human government and political power will be destroyed forever.

Human political power is a huge obstacle to the Kingdom of God, because it undermines his authority by offering false salvation. The spread of democracy has increased this faith. Before the Holy Spirit can bring the kingdom of God to fullness, this widespread trust inhuman political power must be swept away.

For most of human history, the world has been controlled by kings, emperors and sundry political powers. During the last few centuries, various democratic demagogues have taken over this controlling role. Before the Kingdom of God can come to fullness on earth, this human political power must be destroyed. The visions of Daniel and Revelation describe how God will do it.

During the Time of Distress, enormous political authority will be given to a dominant nation in order to bring order during a time of shaking. The season will climax in a great rush of hubris that attempts to create a perfect government and spread its influence throughout the world. However, excess political power always leads to disaster. The grandest endeavour ever will collapse into chaos.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fullness of Israel (5) - Revelation

John had several vision of the Fullness of Israel.

Then I heard the number of those who were sealed:
144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,
from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,
from the tribe of Gad 12,000,
from the tribe of Asher 12,000,
from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,
from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,
from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,
from the tribe of Levi 12,000,
from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,
from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,
from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,
from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000 (Rev 7:4-8).
The actual numbers sealed are symbolic not literal. Ten symbolises completes and twelve represents Israel. 12 time 10 squared is a perfect symbol for the fullness of Israel. Twelve is also the number representing the apostles. This passage is a promise that Israel will fulfil the apostolic calling announced to Abraham (Gen 12:3) and Moses (Deut 4:6-7).
Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb (Rev 14:1-4).
This is the fulfilment of the sealing seen in the earlier vision. It leads to a powerful advance of the gospel.
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people (Rev 14:6).
The eternal gospel will be proclaimed to all those who live on earth.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fullness of Israel (4) - Blessing to the World

The calling of the Jews will be a major turning point in history, so Christians should be working and praying for their spiritual eyes to be opened. They should be praying for the Jews to be restored to a place of blessing, so blessing will return to the entire world. (Prayer for the military success of the state of Israel will not fulfil this promise.)

The fullness of the Jews will usher in a time of great blessing for the world.
But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring (Rom 11:12)!

This works in two ways:

  1. When the season of Jewish desolation comes to an end, Satan’s last legal authority to work on earth will be gone, so he will be easily routed. As Christians bind his authority, so he will be exposed as weak and feeble. The forces of evil will be shut down by the church that has been purified by suffering, so their abilility to do evil will be massively curtailed. With evil defeated, a major obstacle to the kingdom will be gone. The end of the Times of the Gentiles will bring a rapid decline in evil that opens the way of the Kingdom of God.

  2. The Fullness of the Jews does not just bring blessing to Israel, it means “life from the dead" for the church (Rom 11:15). The Jews will be back in the team where they belong. The church will no longer be truncated. The Holy Spirit will no longer be constrained by part of the body of Jesus being missing. With his team complete, the Holy Spirit will have a new freedom to work in the world

But if their transgression means riches for the world,
and their loss means riches for the Gentiles,
how much greater riches will their fullness bring (Rom 11:12).
The Fullness of the Jews opens the way for the rapid advance for the Kingdom of God. God will be free to pour out his Spirit and bring his Kingdom to fulfilment.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fullness of Israel (3) - How

Many Christians are confused about how the Fullness of Israel occurs, but God’s solution fits the problem. The Jewish problem is "seeing". Paul explained to the Romans that their eyes have been blinded to prevent them from seeing the truth.

God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day. (Rom 11:8).
Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Rom 11:25).
This spiritual blindness lasts until the end of the Times of the Gentiles. The Jews will need to have their spiritual eyes opened and their hearts cracked before they can receive salvation (this is the only way anyone can come to salvation).

Zechariah prophesied that after the nations besieging Israel are destroyed in response to prophetic prayer, God will pour his spirit out on Israel so their eyes are opened to understand that Jesus is their messiah.
I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son (Zech 12:10).
At the end of Times of the Gentiles, the Spirit of the Lord will be poured out on the hearts of all Israel. They will receive a Spirit of Supplication that causes them to cry out to Jesus for salvation. The Spirit of grace will give them faith to receive the salvation that comes through grace.

The Holy Spirit will open the eyes of the hearts Israel to know Jesus. They will stop looking for a warlike messiah and realise that Jesus who died on the cross and "who was pieced" by a spear is their messiah. This realisation will produce a great flood of repentance. As Israel realises that Jesus reigns at the right hand of God and that they have been saved by the prayers in his name, the whole land will be filled with tears. When they realise what Jesus has done for them, they will weep with sadness and joy. The weeping will be greater than when King Josiah died (Zech 12:11-14).

The Spirit moves out after the nations besieging Israel have destroyed themselves.
I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the people of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD (Ezek 39:29).
Many Christians believe that the Jews will be converted when Jesus returns to Jerusalem. This is not true. Seeing is not believing. The Jews saw Jesus for three years while he exercised his ministry on earth, but they did not believe in him, because their hearts were hard (Rom 10). Nothing has changed, so seeing Jesus again would not bring them to faith. Israel’s problem is hardness of heart (Rom 10). The only cure for spiritual blindness is the Holy Spirit; he alone can change hearts.

The Jewish people will not come to salvation by seeingJesus return to Jerusalem. Their hearts will be changed when the Holy Spirit moves to open their spiritual eyes.
The fortress will be abandoned and the noisy city deserted till the Spirit is poured on us from on high (Is 32:14-15).
The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire (Is 4:4).
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants (Is 44:3).
The Jews will be converted by an outpouring of the Spirit and the preaching of a prophetic church. This is not a change in game plan. The Jews receive salvation like everyone else, by repenting and believing in Jesus as the Spirit moves.

Crushed and Broken Spirits

On Tuesday morning after the latest earthquake, I went for a walk around our suburb. The streets are usually empty of people and full of cars driving to work and school on a weekday morning. This Tuesday, the streets were full of people, because many work places and schools had not yet reopened. People will out with shovels and wheelbarrows, starting on the task of shoveling silt from their lawns and gardens. Where liquefaction had come up through cracked foundations, people were shovelling sandy silt out of their houses. In a few cases a bit of sewage is mixed in. This was the third time that many had undertaken this task.

I was struck by the number of broken people. Many feel like they have had enough and wanted to move away. Others just did not have the energy to start cleaning up the mess one more time. I have never seen so many shattered spirits. It left me feeling really helpless. I did not know what to say to these broken people.

  1. I suppose I could have told them that God loved them, but that would be hard to accept.

  2. I suppose that I could have advised them to ask Jesus into their hearts, so they could have perfect peace. But that seemed a bit trite.

  3. I could have told them to go to church on Sunday. If the worship service is up to standard, they would get a lift strong enough to keep them going until the next Sunday.

  4. I would love to have been able to tell them to believe in Jesus and they would be joining a community of people who love one another and pray for each; a community where people stand together sharing what they have and supporting each other; a community that shovels each others silt. Unfortunately, that community does not exist in this part of the city.

The earthquake is not my real worry. The aftershocks will fade and disappear in less than a year. But that is not the end of distress. Our nation has lost the blessing of God, so there are worse economic shocks and social distress to come. My real worry is that the the body of Christ is almost totally unprepared for the opportunities that lie ahead.

Christchurch Earthquake

On Monday, Christchurch was struck by another serious aftershock, 6.3 on the Richter scale. I was away for the day attending meetings in our capital city, so I missed the shake. My wife was home on her own, but her brother was visiting from another town, when the quake struck. This was good for her, but scary for him, as he is not used to earthquakes. I managed to get home at night, but the flight was a couple of hours late, because the airport had been close for several hours, disrupting flight schedules.

Many of the damaged buildings in the central city area collapsed further. The eastern parts of the city experienced further liquefaction. For some it was worse than in the February quake.

We just had a little bit in the back corner of our section. Only a couple of wheelbarrow loads to remove. No further damage to our house.

Here are some photos that we took when we went for a walk yesterday.

The windows are no longer square

Sunk into the ground.

A room has fallen off the back of the house.
This mobile generator is providing us with electricity.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fullness of Israel (2) - The Promise

God’s promise to Israel is most clearly stated in Romans 11. Paul promises that although the Jews have stumbled, they did not fall beyond recovery (Rom 11:11). The time will come when Israel is reconciled to the Lord again.

As far as the gospel is concerned they are enemies on your account, but as far as election is concerned they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable (Rom 11:28,20).
Although the Jews became enemies of God by rejecting the gospel, their election is still sure for the sake of the patriarchs. Once God calls a people he does not change that calling (Is 54:10, Jer 31:37).

When the Fulfilment of Israel comes, the vast majority of Jews will come to believe in Jesus. By believing in him, they will move back over the green line into the place of blessing. Paul described this as being grafted back into the olive tree (Romans 11:22-24).
If they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again (Rom 11:23).
They have been shut out for a time, but will eventually come back under blessing of.
Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved (Rom 11:25-26).
As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable (Rom 11:28-29).
The church and Israel will become one in Jesus.

Salvation will come to the entire nation at the same time. Each individual will have to come to faith, but God will work things so that this happens to most of the nation at the same time. The entire nation will be touched by the Spirit during the same event. Just as the religious and political leaders rejected Jesus (representing their people), the religious and political leaders of Israel will believe and serve Jesus.

The restoration of the Jews is based on a promise of the book of Moses.
The LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the LORD will drive you. But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him (Deut 4:27-31).
Although Israel was dispersed among the nations, God was not breaking his covenant. Their dispersion was the fulfilment of the curses attached to the covenant, so when that punishment is complete, they can receive the blessings of the covenant again. The same warning and promise is given in Isaiah 51:17-23.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

►Fullness of Israel (1)

The Fullness of Israel is one of the epochal events that marks the beginning of a new season. Traditionally, this event has been called the "calling of the Jews", but "fullness" is the biblical term.

Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness (Rom.11:12)!
The Fullness of Jews is one of the major turning points in history.

Looking at the history of the Jewish people, it would be easy to believe that God is finished with the people that he once called his own. That is not true. Although the Jews are under God’s judgment for their rejecting their Messiah, the Bible teaches that they will be restored to a place of blessing. This will happen when they acknowledge that Jesus is the Messiah whom they have been seeking.

The following diagram shows God's covenant with Israel. To the left of the green line is the curse of the covenant. On the right of the green line is the blessing promised in the covenant. The blue line represents the history of Israel.
The ministry of Jesus is represented by the yellow line. Israel rejected Jesus and passed to the left under the curse of the law (Matthew 23:37-39). Jesus filled the terms of the covenant on behalf of all those who believe in him by dying and rising again, so the church (red arrow) receives the blessing of the covenant. (The new covenant is not really new, but is a fulfilment of the old covenant). As the church grows, the red arrow will become much larger.

The nation of Israel is currently on the left of the green line, under the curse. Although the nation of Israel has been restored, its restoration as achieved "by the sword" (Ezekiel 38:8) by military and political action, not by the direct hand of God. The restored nation will continue being trampled by the Gentiles. However, God has not forgotten Israel. The time will come when Israel is restored to blessing.

When the Fullness of Israel comes, the vast majority of Jews will come to believe in Jesus. Through believing in him, they will move back over the green line into the place of blessing.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Time of Distress (24) - Four Epochal Events

The Big Battle is the epochal event that marks the end of the Time of Distress. Four epochal events mark the beginning of the next season. They open the way for the Holy Spirit to be released to bring transformation of the earth.

  • The Fullness of Israel

  • Collapse of Human Governments

  • The Gospel released throughout the earth

  • The Kingdom of God comes.

Time of Distress (23) - Christian Prophets

At the peak of the big battle, God will intervene and bring it to an end.

The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God (Is 52:10).
His arm will be released by his prophets. When Israel is besieged and the people are full over fear, Christian prophets living in Jerusalem will speak out prophetically and warn the nations gathered for battle that they will be destroyed. They will speak judgment in Jesus name. Their prayers will release God’s hand (Is 67:6-7).

Christian prophets will speak to the Jewish people and encourage then to trust in God for their deliverance. They will warn them note to hope in military deliverance. This prophetic message was foreshadowed by Isaiah.
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins (Is 40:1-2).
The Christian prophets will announce that Israel spiritual exile has ended. They will promise that Israel will be delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit, not my military force (Zeph 3:14-16). The people of Israel will not believe the prophets, but when deliverance that was prophesied becomes a reality, they will remember their words. They will bless those who prophesied in the name of Jesus. This is the true sign that the Times of the Gentiles has ended.
Look, your house is left to you desolate… until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord (Matt 23:38-39).
These prophets will have to be scrupulous about timing. They must not announce Israel’s return to blessing, until God gives the word. Some Christian prophets have already disqualified themselves for this role by announcing the end of Israel’s desolation, when God had not spoken. These prophets would have no credibility if they were required to promise deliverance for Israel during a time of great disaster, because they have promised this before and been proved wrong by events.

The prayers and declarations of the Christian prophets will release the power of the Holy Spirit. He will bring the destruction of the political and military powers of the world by causing their weapons to fall back on themselves. There are several reasons ways that he might achieve this goal.
  • Atmospheric conditions might make remote controlled weapons go haywire.

  • Computers viruses and worms might sabotage the control of weapons.

  • The people controlling the weapons might fall into confusion and turn the weapons on themselves.

Every man’s sword will be against his brother (Ezek 38:21).
On that day people will be stricken by the LORD with great panic. They will seize each other by the hand and attack one another (Zech 14:13).
The outcome will be amazing.
  • The military forces that are besieging Israel will totally destroy themselves. Their destruction is described in Zechariah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 39:3-5.

  • This military destruction will back fire on the headquarters of these nations as well. Their leaders will be destroyed by their own weapons.

The cities of the nations collapsed (Rev 16:19).
The declarations and prayers of the prophets will save Israel from terror.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Time of Distress (22) - Epochal Non Event

One key epochal event does not occur at end the Time of Distress. Jesus does not return at the end of the Time of Distress. He will not return to deliver Israel, as many Christians expect.

  • The Time of Distress brings the end of the Times of the Gentiles, not the end of history.

  • The next season is the Kingdom of God, which is the work of the Holy Spirit.

  • Israel’s greatest need is not military deliverance, but a spiritual awakening. Spirit awakening is the forte of the Holy Spirit.

  • Christians hoping to be rescued by the second coming will be disappointed.

  • Jesus returns at the end of history to wind up life on earth. He does not return to Jerusalem to reign over a Jewish empire called the Kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit will bring in the Kingdom of God.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Time of Distress (21) - Valley of Decision

The global struggle between big powers will spill over into Israel. This is often called the battle of Armageddon, but that is a misunderstanding of a single verse in Revelation.

Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon (Rev 16:16).
John did not intend to indicate the site of the big battle, but to explain why it affects Israel. The Hebrew words transliterated as Armageddon refers to the Mount of Meggido, which was seared in Jewish memories as the place where King Josiah died. He was one of Judah’s best kings, but at the peak of his career, he was drawn into in a battle between Egypt and Assyria, and was killed by a random arrow. Jeremiah composed a lament, because his pointless death was a tragic waste for Judah, as it never had a good king again (2 Chron 35:20-25).

The same thing will happen in the big battle. The western Beast and the Islamic powers will be continuing their posturing and Israel will get drawn in. The Islamic nations will decide to invade Israel to gain control of resources (Ezek 38,39). The Beast of the West will already be there (Dan 11:40-45). Significant numbers of mounted infantry will join this battle.

Joel says that will be gathered in the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:12). This is not a place but an explanation of what happens. The word Jehoshaphat means “God judges”. This event will bring judgement on the powerful nations.

Joel also refers to the valley of decision
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!
For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision (Joel 2:14).
The people of the world will make a decisions about their political and military leaders. The people of Israel will make a decision about Jesus.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Time of Distress (20) - Different Battle

This battle will be different from previous world wars. It will often be a personal struggle between political leaders.

For most of history, war was a personal struggle between one king and another, with each being supported by a small retinue of followers. Most kings could not afford a large number of troops, so the armies involved were quite small. Battles could last for several years, but were usually quite localised. Ordinary people did not get involved in war, unless they lived close to the battlefield. The greatest threat to their lives came from looting soldiers who had not been paid or supplied with provisions.

The nature of warfare changed dramatically during the nineteenth century with the development of total war. The emergence of nationalism changed war from a contest between two kings into a struggle between nations. Kings fought over territory. Nations tend to fight over causes, and everyone in the nation is drawn into the war effort by reducing their consumption and manufacturing equipment for the army. Civilians became the target for artillery and bombs. In total war, civilian casualties often exceed the number of military casualties.

As the Time of Distress gets underway, wars between nations will morph into personal struggles between political and military leaders (Dan 11). Assassinating evil political and military leaders will be morally acceptable. Personal attacks against undesirable political leaders will be an effective tool for projecting the Beast’s power in the world. The fear of a personal strike will cause many hostile leaders to submit to the Beast.

The weapons of war will change.

  • Concentrating large numbers of infantry in one place will be superfluous.

  • Sophisticated military weapons will have made personal warfare viable.

  • Unmanned predator drones will intimidate the people by reminding them that they are under surveillance and under threat of attack. They will only kill a few people, but will torment many (Rev 9:1-6).

  • Independent mobile strike teams will be efficient tools for strategic assassinations.

  • Remotely controlled weapons will project power of across great distance.

  • Many military engagements take place been combatants on different continents.

  • Targeted missiles will strike against military targets and strategic assets.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Time of Distress (19) - ►The Big Battle

The epochal event that marks the end of the Time of the Distress is a Big Battle.

When the Time of Distress is getting very distressing, the last remaining political powers in the world will engage in a battle to the death.

  • The Battle will emerge out of series of skirmishes between the Western beast and the Islamic powers.

  • Trade wars will break out in various places.

  • Control of oil fields will become a big issue.

  • Minor military powers will try to gain control of local trade routes and shipping lanes.

  • China will take advantage of the situation and push into Central Asia to secure control of minerals and oil.

  • The Western beast will be used to getting its own way. It will begin a series of confrontations, assuming that it old enemies will be intimidated and back down, as in the past. This time their enemies will push back.

  • The Islamic nations will want to punish the Beast for its policies while controlling the Promised Land. They will believe it has not gone far enough, so they will attack the Beast where it is exposed in Israel (Dan 11:40-45).

  • The Eastern powers will be tired of being pushed around by the Western Beast and will decide to have a go at the Beast too (Rev 16:12-14).

  • The Islamic nations will attack Israel to plunder and loot the precious metals that were stored there during earlier economic crises (Ezek 38:12-13).

  • The major players in the big battle will be the Beast, representing the Western powers, the Islamic nations inspire by the Prince of Persia, and the powers from the East. Russia is too weak to be more than a bit player in these struggles.

The Old Testament prophets focus on the combat that occurs in Israel, because that was their interest, but the battle will take place on a much broader scale. It will affect many of the cities in the world (Rev 16:19). The confrontation in Israel will be a small part of a much larger battle.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Time of Distress (18) - Not the Tribulation

This Time of Distress and trouble will be a time of persecution for Christians. As the earth will be thrown into chaos, political power will be consolidated in a desperate attempt to hold back that chaos. One mighty nation will gain influence over a large part of the earth by promising to bring back peace and prosperity. Christians will see through the promises and stand against them. The Beast will use its power to annihilate any opposition, so it will be very painful for many believers. However, because it opposes God, the situation will deteriorate even more.

God will allow this persecution to purify and strengthen the church and make it ready to receive the Kingdom. Christians who are not fully devoted to the Lord will fall away, but those who stay true will be strengthened by the refining process.

To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end,
I will give authority over the nations (Rev 2:26).
Christians who suffer through this season will inherit the Kingdom of God

This Time of Distress should not be called "The Tribulation". Many Christians will experience terrible trials, but this will be no different from the experience of many Christians down through the ages. Describing it as something unique is unfair to Christians in other times who have often suffered terribly for the Lord.

Being under pressure is a normal for Christians. We are taught that we should always expect tribulation.
In the world you have tribulation, but take courage,
I have overcome the world (John 16:33)
We must go through many tribulations to enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).
Christians should always expect tribulation. Whenever they are true to Christ, they will be a threat to the world, and this will always bring opposition. The Greek word "thlipsis", which is translated as tribulation, affliction or trouble, literally means pressure. Our word tribulation comes from the Latin word for threshing sledge. It often refers to trouble in a spiritual sense, and describes the pressure that all Christians will experience if they live in obedience to Jesus.

The Time of Distress will be a very painful season, but Christians can take comfort from knowing that God is merciful, so this terrible season will be cut short. They should rejoice in these trials, as they will soon see the Kingdom of God springing forth on earth.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Time of Distress (17) - Suffering

During the Time of Distress, the church will suffer for Jesus. The letter to the Hebrews describes what it will be like.

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions (Heb 10:32-34).
This season will really tough for Christians, so they should be prepared to suffer. Those who follow Jesus will have to turn the other cheek again and again.
  • Many will be ripped off by violent and ruthless men.

  • Some who have prepared will have all their resources stolen.

  • Many will starve because they have been robbed.

  • Justice will be rare.

  • People will be killed, because they have food, and someone stronger wants it.

  • Human life will be cheap and the protection of the state will disappear.

  • Suffering will lead to victory.

Looking for the Second Coming or rapture during the Time of Distress will lead to disappointment. Instead of seeking to escape, Christians should:
  • prepare for a tough time, as Satan will not give up without a fight;

  • prepare for persecution;

  • build strong communities where Christians will be safe;

  • raise up a prophetic voice that understands the times;

  • speak prophetically to the nations;

  • pray for the real salvation of Israel;

  • speak prophetically to the people of Israel to prepare them for faith in Jesus.

During a time of trouble, the safest place is a strong Christian community. Paul insists that we should counter evil by doing good.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:21).
In the same letter, he gives instructions about building strong relationships with other Christians.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Honor one another above yourselves.
Share with God's people who are in need.
Practice hospitality.
Live in harmony with one another (Rom 12:10,13,16).
The best antidote to evil is strong communities where Christians can stand together to protect those coming under attack. Those standing alone will be vulnerable.
Faithful prayer during affliction produces joyful hope.
Be joyful in hope,
patient in affliction,
faithful in prayer (Rom 12:12).

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Time of Distress (16) - The Church

The Time of Distress will be a huge disappointment for many Christians, especially for those have believed false doctrines.

  • People who trust the prosperity gospel will find themselves suffering.

  • Many hoping for a rapture rescue will find themselves living through tribulation.

  • Those who see the state of Israel as proof of God’s faithfulness will be disillusioned when Israel is invaded by a western nation (not Iran or Russia).

  • Those who believe in democracy will be shattered when their governments begin to persecute them.

  • Christians who trust the power of the state will be shocked when they collapse.

Most Christians will be unprepared for the Time of Distress and will be thrown into confusion and despair. Many will fall from the faith and the church will appear to die.

John saw the truncated church being persecuted severely.
When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them (Rev 11:7).
The people of the world will celebrate joyously, because the church that has cramped their style is gone (Rev 11:10). But just when it seems to be totally dead, God will raise it up again.
The breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them (Rev 11:11).
A radical church that has survived below the radar will burst onto the world stage. The people of the world will be amazed and shocked when see what God has done.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Time of Distress (15) - Israel Humbled

In subsequent decades, several external rulers will control the people of Israel. They will continue to be trampled by the Gentiles as Jesus had warned (Luke 21:24). This will be a huge disappointment for those who have come to Israel looking for peace.

John warned that the Jewish people would be in exile for a time, times and half a time. Daniel gave a similar prophecy, but adds an extra warning.

The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, "It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed" (Dan 12:7).
Daniel had seen a vision that described the manoeuvrings of powerful nations, so he asked the angel how long these events last. The angel explained the vision. The “holy people” is Israel. The angel declares that the power of Israel will be broken after a “time, times and half a times”, ie at the end of the Times of the Gentiles.

The Zionist movement used the manoeuvrings of powerful nations to achieve a return to their land. This has placed the Jewish people at enormous risk. The Israeli government has mitigated this risk by accumulating massive military force, and the Israeli people now trust this for their security. This false trust will have to be broken before the people of Israel come to faith in Jesus. Military defeat will break Israeli faith in their political leaders and military power, opening the way for faith in Jesus.

When several nations are attacking Israel and there is great trauma in the land, the Holy Spirit is poured out on Israel.
There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. (Dan 12:1).
The trauma that climaxes the Times of Distress leads to the Fullness of the Jews.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Time of Distress (14) - Rash Action

The Times of Distress will go to a new level when violent leaders in Israel take rash actions in an attempt to force things to happen.

Sons of the destroyers among your own people will rebel in fulfilment of the vision, but without success (Dan 11:14).
When the nations are distracted by a disturbance elsewhere in the Middle East, violent people will use force to push their agenda for the dominance of Israel. Their strategy will fail, because they are rushing ahead of God’s plan. Their failure will bring the wrath of the nations down on Israel.

This disaster will end with Israel being invaded. An army led by a powerful Western nation will invade the nation of Israel from bases in the Middle East.
The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it (Dan 11:16).
The expression "power to destroy" literally means "destruction in his hand". The invading army will have weapons of mass destruction. It will be so powerful that resistance is impossible.
And he shall set his face to come with the strength of his whole kingdom, and with him equitable conditions; and he shall perform them (Dan 11:17).
This powerful Western nation will take control of Israel an attempt to impose a solution for the last outstanding problem in the Middle East. The President will use military power to force Israel into a more equitable solution to the Palestinian problem. Israel might be forced to accept an independent Palestinian state. Ironically, Israel will find the security it seeks while trampled by a powerful nation.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Time of Distress (13) - Israel

Daniel prophesied that multitudes from his nation would receive salvation after a Time of Distress. It would be a time of trouble for his people.

There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered (Dan 12:1).
Perhaps because the Times of the Gentiles are drawing to an end, the leaders of Jewish people rushed ahead of God plan and use political manipulation and military power to establish a Jewish state in the land of Palestine. Ezekiel speaks of people who have returned to the land by the power of the sword.
A land that is restored by the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel who had long been desolate… and now all of them live in safety (Ez 38:8).
The Jewish people responded to the trauma of their holocaust in Europe, by seeking security in their own land. Over the last sixty years, they have established a nation state for themselves that is now providing relatively security.

Security in a homeland will prove to be a false hope, because during the Times of the Gentiles, their security comes from being scattered them among the nations.
The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach (Rev 12:14).
God kept the Jewish people alive among the nations for two thousand years. Gathering in one place leaves them vulnerable to the powers of evil and trusting political manoeuvrings and military power. This is a lose-lose combination. The Jewish people will only be safe in their land, when they trust in God through Jesus. Trusting in a homeland will prove to be a disaster.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Time of Distress (12) - Democratic Beast

The Beast emerges during the time of distress in a form that is totally different from previous empires. The people of the world will be amazed when they see it.

The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast (Rev 17:8).
This is a different type of empire. The key to why it is so different is that it seemed to have died and then come back to life again. When it came back to life, the entire world follows it.
One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast (Rev 13:3).
The beast is a form of government that once existed, was destroyed, but will come back in a way that will dazzle the world.
The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction (Rev 17:8).
This form of human government existed before John’s time, but had come such a violent end, that no one expected to see it again. It once existed, in John’s time it did not exist, but in the future it will come back into existence.
They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while… The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction (Rev 17:9,10).
Rome had a number of different types of government. The key is a form of human government that did not exit during his lifetime, but did exist previously. It is different from the sixth king, which exists at the time when John received his vision. When John was alive, Rome was the ultimate empire controlling a large part of the ancient world. This means that the Roman Empire is the sixth king. The key to identifying the awful beast is to identify the different form of human government that was brought to a violent by the Roman Empire.

The major form of human government that existed prior to the Roman Empire was the Roman republic. It was a copy of the democratic republic had begun in Greece much earlier. The Roman Republic began in 500 BC and lasted for nearly five centuries. Consuls were elected for a year. An elected Senate was responsible for passing laws and appointing government officials. Not everyone had the right to vote, but the Roman Republic was based on the principle of democracy.

Democracy in Rome came to a violent end about thirty years before Jesus was born. Julius Caesar and then his successor Caesar Augustus turned the Roman armies against Rome and destroyed the Republic. By the time Jesus was born, the Empire was fully entrenched in power. Ironically, Christianity began and democracy died at about the same.

Having received a fatal blow when Caesar August took control of Rome, the democratic republic appeared to be gone forever “The beast that once was, now is not” is the democratic republican form of Government. The beast with the “fatal wound had been healed’ and the “beast who was wounded by the sword and lived” represent the restoration of democratic government in a republic.

The idea that the beast of Revelation represents restored democracy is confirmed by John’ statement that the beast comes out of the sea (Rev 13:1). Throughout Revelation, the sea represents the people of the world.
Then the angel said to me, "The waters you saw…. are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages” (Rev 17:15).
Most empires come into being when a few men seize control. This beast is emerges as the people govern themselves. The only way a great multitude of people can govern themselves through democracy.

This concept will be difficult for many Christians to get, because they have been taught that democracy is a Christian form of government. This is not true, as democracy is the opposite of the Kingdom of God. In democracy, authority resides with the people. In the Kingdom of God, authority resides with God. This makes them opposites.

If a group of people choose to obey God, they will not find his will by voting. They will find his will be listening to the Holy Spirit. They many even need prophets to declare his will. Democracy does not lead to the will of God, so it cannot produce his kingdom. There is plenty of evidence in scriptures that when the people got to vote with their feet, they walked away from God’s will.

Democracy is a form of adultery. People freely surrender to a democratically elected ruler, who is not their true king Jesusm in return for the pleasure and security. This adulterous relationship makes the Beast that exists in the time of distress totally different. Earlier empires mostly killed and stole to provide wealth for the emperor and his elite. A democratic empire has to provide benefits to everyone in order to keep getting their votes.

Time of Distress (11) - Role of the Beast

The book of Revelation describes the emergence of the Beast and explains that it will do four things. They are quite different from what many Christians expect.

1. Blasphemy

The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies…. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven (Rev 13:5-6).
A person blaspheming usually speaks against God to mock him. The Beast is different, as it speaks “proud words” not rude word. It insults God by claiming his place and offering salvation that is better than the salvation offered through Jesus. This is the blasphemy of the Beast.
He will speak against the Most High and…try to change the set times and the laws (Dan 7:25).
Political messiahs will promise complete human salvation using political power. Most people believe there is no God, so human government is the only hope for salvation. The Beast is an attempt to create a better world by applying human wisdom to government. It is not established by evil men to do evil, but is established by good men to do good.

2. Economic Control
The Beast will control the economic system to prevent economic collapse.
It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave (Rev 13:16).
Political powers have always manipulated the little people who are poor. Their misery does not change. The big difference is that the Beast controls the rich and the powerful. It will even control those who are too big to fail (the big and the free). These activities will make preferred merchants and traders very rich (Rev 18:11-20).

3. Worldwide Influence
Authority and influence will be surrendered to this dominant nation by governments all over the world (Rev 13:5).
And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation (Rev 13:7).
For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled (Rev 17:17).
The nations do not disappear during this period. They carry on, but give some of their sovereignty to the dominant nation, so it can deal with crises sweeping across the earth.

John calls this behaviour adultery and names the beast as a prostitute.
The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries (Rev 18:3).
The nations belong to God, so they should have been loyal to him. Instead they surrender to a power nation for pleasure and prosperity. They compromise to get what they want

Daniel suggested that some nations would be broken up under the Beasts influence (Dan 7:7). This has already happened in Yugoslavia, Somalia and Sudan, and may possible happen in Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan.

4. Christians Persecuted
Christians who cannot accept the authority and the provision of the Beast will experience terrible persecution.
It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them (Rev 13:7).
If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go.
If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed (Rev 13:7).
As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them (Dan 7:21).
Some Christians will understand that the Beast is a false messiah offering a false hope. Those who warn of the dangers of trusting this dominant nation for salvation will be persecuted savagely.
This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people (Rev 13:7).
The main role of the Beast is to persecute Christians to create the suffering church that will be ready to receive the kingdom.

This powerful nation does not engage in blatant evil. It controls trade and puts big business back in its place. It puts uncooperative Christians back in their place, too. It promises to bring peace and prosperity to the people of the world. These are things that all good governments are expected to do. Many Christians will applaud this nation when it begins to exercise greater influence in the world.

The book of Revelation warns that this Beast will collapse and fail eventually when the next season emerges. This is a positive message for Christians, as the church is guaranteed to endure and outlast the Beast.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Time of Distress (10) - Terrible Beast

A few powerful nations will begin to dominate the nations of the earth. They will be given permission to intervene is horrible situations all over the world to try and bring control. One powerful nation will rise above the rest and dominate the world. At the beginning of the Times of Distress, this nation will be celebrated as a force for good in the world. The people of the world will welcome its greater involvement, as it rolls back some of the distress. It will receive widespread democratic support.

As the Times of Distress progress, the true character of this political power will be revealed and people will realise that it is opposed to God. Many Christians will wake up and realise that the mighty empire they trust has morphed into the Terrible Beast of Revelation and Daniel.

The king will do as he pleases… He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place (Dan 11:36).
The Terrible Beast will be different from those the empires that have gone before. They were established by military power and anyone who opposed their rule was forced to submit with ruthless violence. The new empire will get its power in a different way. Instead of being conquered by force, the people of the world will be deceived into offering voluntary submission to it.
He deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived (Rev 13:14).
The people of the world will be deceived into supporting the Terrible Beast. Many national leaders will freely submit to this new empire, because it offers military and financial support. This Beast will not rule the world directly, but the influence of its power will extend further than any previous empires.

This Beast will be a democratic empire.
The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast (Rev 17:8).
People will be impressed with the democratic form of government, because it seems to give them control over the power of the state. A democratic republic will seem like the best form of government ever. (Its true nature will eventually be revealed). People longing for peace and prosperity will support any government power that promises to fulfil their dreams.

The only challenge to this aggregation of political power will come from Christians who understand the signs of the time. When most people are calling on the political powers to do more to turn back the overwhelming crisis, they will expose the real character of the “best government ever”. Suggesting that this democratic republic is just another manifestation of the beast will make them unpopular. Opposition to the Beast will lead to the persecution of the God’s people (Rev 6:9-11).

Many Christians will miss the emergence of the Beast, because they are looking for a wicked man, who will gain control by devious means and then wreak evil on the world. This is a mistake. The Terrible Beast is not a manifestation of evil and wickedness, as is often assumed. This view has been spread by movies and books, but it is not based on the scriptures.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Time of Distress (9) - Political Messiahs

As the Time of Distress progresses, smaller governments will collapse under the strain. The governments of some small nations will not be able to cope with the pressure and will go broke. Politicians will be so overwhelmed by these situations and and flee from office. Many smaller nations will fall into anarchy, because no one is willing to take the risk of running for office and there is no money to maintain the structures of government. Jeremiah described what it will be like.

“In that day,” declares the LORD,
“the king and the officials will lose heart,
the priests will be horrified,
and the prophets will be appalled” (Jer 4:9).
This will produce huge disappointment and political leaders will be cursed.
Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness (Is 8:21-22).
The situation will be slightly different in larger nations. Local councils and regional governments will grind to a halt, as revenues disappear and politicians flee from power. People will look to national and federal governments for deliverance from trouble. Political power will shift from the local to the center in a last desperate attempt to bring order in the emerging chaos. The larger the nation, the longer political messiahs will be hold out by promising deliverance and hope.

We live in a very materialistic age, where people are obsessed with their physical comfort. When difficult times come, the majority of people will submit to political messiahs who promise to restore their affluence. If even if they are uneasy about losing their freedom, the will not do anything about it, because they believe in peace and security, even though it is disappearing. Whereas previous dictators gained power by military force and police power, the people of the world will welcome political messiahs, because they promise to deliver them from distress.

These political messiahs will not succeed, because they are working without God. Things will get worse and worse, despite their best efforts. They will demand more and more power in order hold things together, but will usually make the situation worse.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Time of Distress (8) - Power and Persecution

The season begins with trouble and disaster spreading throughout the world. Unprecedented terror and dread terror will abound on earth as a spirit of fear take hold of human lives. This will culminate with human governments accruing enormous powers. The season will climax with political power concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people, but being dramatically expanded in scope.

The principalities and powers will use the times of distress to soften the world up for their power play. When people will see their political leaders on television declaring peace and promising to restore broken dreams, their faith in political power will be boosted. Fear of the future and faith in the state are a dangerous mix. When fear and dread are pervasive and faith and trust inhuman government is widespread, accumulation and concentration of political power is easy.

The Time of Distress will be the last hurrah for Human Political Power. At the season begins, governments everywhere take up emergency powers, as people cry out for relief from their troubles. Most people will support their leaders, as they attempt to turn back the tide of evil, so those with power will deal ruthlessly with those who oppose them. In many places governments will be successful in turning back the worst evil, at least for a while.

A few Christians will see where the accumulation of political power is leading and speak against it. This will lead to the persecution represented by the fifth seal of Revelation.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained (Rev 6:9).
Christians who expose their political leaders as human messiahs will face terrible persecution.

Many more Christians will welcome the expansion of political power as a solution to the problems that they care about. They will be immune from persecution and life will go on in some sort of normality until the political powers fail.