Well folks, it’s over. According to a well-known televangelist on TV - he, as a prophet of God, commanded that the COVID19 virus was healed and that its authority in America was over. According to him - that night - at his pronouncement and demand - the COVID19 virus was cast out of the USA. (Kenneth Copeland Ministries - telecast on March 29, 2020)
Why am I writing about such a things?
Because it is dangerous and false doctrine like this that will cause great shame and reproach to come upon the church in these difficult days. Unfortunately, there will be those who will hear this, who will “name it and claim it” for themselves, and who will then take no precautions in the future. We’ve already seen what this kind of stuff can do in Arkansas. Now it has a greater likeliness of happening elsewhere among those who hold to such terrible doctrine as this.
Am I saying that God cannot heal the COVID19 virus and eradicate it from the entire United States? He can. Do I believe that this false prophet’s declaration did it? Nope. The reality is that false prophecy uttered by a false prophet has not come true - because today there continues to be new cases found, and people will die of it by tomorrow. That means that this individual is a false prophet. No one should listen to him or fear or follow anything he says. He needs to repent and stop teaching and following a false doctrine that says he can make pronouncements using Jesus’ name - and they have to come to pass. The truly sad thing about this false doctrine is that when people don’t experience healing - and when, as it did, the coronavirus continues to spread in our nation - this false prophet will say it is only because those who get sick and die did not have enough faith. So, in the end, the problem is not with the prophet - it is with the terrible person who did not believe enough.
Let’s take a look at Scripture for a few moments.
God spoke of those He would send as prophets to Israel. But in the process God revealed that some might say, “How will we know?” Look at the passage below:
"You may say in your heart, 'How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?' 22 "When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. Deut. 18:21-22
God’s answer was very simple. When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if what he says does not come true - the Lord has not spoken. It is that simple. Now, if the pronouncement made - or honestly, the demand that was shouted - does not come to pass, then the ones making it are not prophets and the Lord has not spoken through them. The mark for a true prophets of God is 100% accuracy in his or her prophecies. There is no room for fudging on this. There was a false teaching out at a supposed school of prophets that we learn how to prophesy. If we get a few wrong, we will learn from it and prophesy better next time. Sadly, that does not square with God’s Word.
Note what is said happened when both Samuel and Agabus prophesied below.
Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail. 20 All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD. 1 Samuel 3:19-20
As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" Acts 21:10-11
There we see an Old Testament and a New Testament prophet. Both had their prophecies come to pass. Agabus even prophesied of a famine that would come - and it came.
Here is the danger in such false doctrine as that which happened on March 29th of this year. People who follow these two men will ignore any wisdom in going out into the world and taking precautions against catching this virus. As a result some will most likely contract it - and sadly some may even die as a result. The shame and disgrace and ill will that will come upon Christians for this will be great. We are already seeing where those in the media are mocking things like this - and who lump all Christian’s together. They say we are dangerous - and should be treated accordingly.
Saints, please be wise when it comes to televangelists and supposed prophets who claim to speak for God. If their pronouncements do not come true - they are charlatans who are deceived at least, and dangerous at worst. God does want us to pray in faith - but the faith we have is in His Word. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. Our faith is not in what we decide to shout in demands of God. Our faith is in coming humbly before Him - even boldly to the throne of grace to find help in our time of need. It is interesting that we don’t find one instance in the New Testament of any apostle or believer commanding God to do something. Our place is not to put our DEMANDS before Him - shouting things like this:
"In the name of Jesus, standing in the office of the profit of God, I execute judgment on you COVID-19...I call you gone...No more...And the United States of America is healed and well again...It's dead. At exactly 12 noon on the 29th day of March. It's over. It's over."
These are the demands of a false prophet - not the humble requests of a servant of God. Just remember saints, the next day, and today the 31st COVID19 isn’t gone - it isn’t no more. It is NOT over. If anything, these two false prophets are making declarations contrary to God’s will.
Consider these words of Scripture.
"If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome name, the LORD your God, 59 then the LORD will bring extraordinary plagues on you and your descendants, even severe and lasting plagues, and miserable and chronic sicknesses.” Deut. 28:58-59
"If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence, if there is blight or mildew, if there is locust or grasshopper, if their enemies besiege them in the land of their cities, whatever plague or whatever sickness there is, 29 whatever prayer or supplication is made by any man or by all Your people Israel, each knowing his own affliction and his own pain, and spreading his hands toward this house, 30 then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know for You alone know the hearts of the sons of men, 31 that they may fear You, to walk in Your ways as long as they live in the land which You have given to our fathers. 2 Chronicles 6:28-31
By biblical terminology what we are experiencing is a plague. It is honestly nothing like the Beubonic plague or the Great Plague of the Spanish Flue of 1918. Nevertheless it is a plague that has come upon the world - and upon the United States. Honestly, if you want to look at a biblical response to this, it would be that we should do the following:
So, we’ve seen 3,580 since February 29th, when the first man died of Coronavirus in the state of Washington. The numbers we have reflect deaths in 30 days due to COVID19. Since February 29th, a rough estimate of the abortions in the United States has been around 2300 per day (that is a low number because it does not take into account abortions induced by medicines - that number would be more like 3000 per day). That would mean that since COVID19 began taking lives in the United States, we’ve taken the lives of 69,000 babies in the womb. We’ve seen 65,420 more deaths by abortion than by COVID19 since it started. Worldwide, the abortion rate is conservatively said to be 125,000 per day (Other reliable estimates say it is as high as 170,000 per day - but we will go with the Guttmacher Institute’s numbers). That means that while COVID19 has resulted in roughly 41,660 deaths since the first reported death in Wuhan, China on January 9th, abortion in that time (82 days) has resulted in 10,250,000 babies being aborted. So, we’ve seen 10,208,340 more deaths due to abortion than COVID19. Why did I go through all that morbid math above? It is because our nation and our world is deep red in the death of the unborn. 10,208,340 more dead from it than even from the dreaded COVID19. Please stay with me because there is a reason I went through all this.
Our false prophets (remember them) made a declaration that COVID19 was over on the evening of March 29th. It was a false prophecy. But do you think for one moment that God is willing to cut us free from this plague, or any other plague, when during the same amount of time we’ve killed 65,000 more babies in the United States, and over 10,000,000 more worldwide? I am neither a prophet or a son of a prophet. But I am a student of the Scriptures. Oh, and by the way, I am writing this to speak to the biblically orthodox, conservative Christians in America, not those who do not know Christ. Brothers and sisters in Christ - we are in God’s crosshairs. It is not time to embrace false doctrines or false teachers who would dare proclaim COVID19 over and done - while the blood of 69,000 babies in the U.S. still remains. We’re responsible for 60 million plus babies aborted since 1973. Do you really think that we are not under God’s discipline for this - if not His judgment?
Now is the time for serious, deeply repentant, broken-hearted prayer in our nation. We don’t need false prophets to declare false prophecies to ease our burden in this time. We need a greater burden. We need for prayer to begin to grow at a rate far more exponential than what we are seeing with COVID19. We’ve now had 2 weeks with more time on our hands than usual. Unfortunately, too many have decided that the purpose for this time is to binge-watch old TV shows and movies. I have to honestly say I’ve watched too much on TV - and spent too little time crying out to God for my own heart, as well as the hearts of those in God’s church. If there was ever a time for prayer meetings to be flooded with the concerned (albeit through platforms like Zoom instead of in person) who are praying for a reviving among God’s people and awakening in our nation it is now. If there was ever a tie and a ceasing of any more deaths due to abortion. My prayer is that we would not listen to false prophets, but that God would raise up true ones to speak to His people there was every a time when we should be days. Prophets who would write down our sin with an iron stylus and call us to repent and return to God. Those who prophesy only good things, according to God’s Word - will have plenty who flock to them. They will find in the end that they will be disappointed because of the lies they believed. But may God grant us true prophets who will remind us of the following.
"If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (emphasis mine)
(Photo used by permission, CDC via Unsplash - cdc-L0jLHqF7Q94-unsplash.jpg)
Another open massacre of people in a public place has happened. Actually within a very short amount of time two of them happened. This was followed by the usual sad tale of the events being painted for political advantage. Since I am not a part of this type of public debacle, I’ve grown numb to it.
But there is a response I am a part of in our culture. I am a part of those who say that my thoughts and prayers are with those who suffered the horror of losing loved ones - or with those who face waking up tomorrow and deciding whether to go to Walmart or not. My thoughts and prayers are with those who now face fear, very real fear now that their relatively peaceful community has been shattered by senseless violence and insanity. What is difficult is to hear too many say that offering thoughts and prayers is useless, or even worse, counterproductive.
As a Christian leader such words are like a slap in the face. But today, as I spent time reading God’s Word, I was struck not by godless liberals - but by God Himself. It was quite a shock when this happened, yet it did. If you will indulge me for a few minutes, I’d like to share what happened.
Deuteronomy 31 was the chapter where I was reading, and these were the words that struck my heart with great force.
"Then My anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide My face from them, and they will be consumed, and many evils and troubles will come upon them; so that they will say in that day, 'Is it not because our God is not among us that these evils have come upon us?' "But I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they will do, for they will turn to other gods.” Deuteronomy 31:17-18
This section is where God speaks to Moses about how God’s people will turn from Him after Moses dies. It is in this context where God says the above statement. There were two things that caught my attention immediately.
First was that when they depart from God and no longer obey Him - His anger will be kindled. When God hides His face from them - there will be “many evils and troubles” that will come upon them. Before I continue though, I want to make a very important distinction. This was not written to the ungodly or unbelievers. This was written to those who were supposedly believers. They had left God. They no longer obeyed Him or gave Him honor. The result was that God hid Himself from them. They no longer knew His presence and favor and protection as a society. The result was that evils and troubles came upon them - many of them. These kind of things were said to consume them. I could not help but think of our current situation and all those that have gone before it. But why would God allow these things to happen? Then I read the rest of the passage.
Secondly, I saw the reason God allowed this. It was to get the attention of His people so that they would recognize something very important. Here is the quote. “Is it not because our God is not among us that these evils have come upon us?” Again I am not writing to the ungodly saying this. It is not the ungodly who will recognize this. They could not care less about the presence of God. But Christians . . . the faithful and the believers should recognize this. Do we realize that God is not among us, at least not in power sufficient to see our culture changed. For generations the culture has been changing the church when it should be the other way around. All of this was like a slap in the face. And so I believe the Lord began to ask me the very pointed question.
“Are you truly thinking and praying about what is happening?”
I had to stop reacting to my pride being injured (for you will see there was not that much to be proud of) and begin to ask that same question. Am I thinking about what is happening in my nation? Do I recognize the lack of God’s presence and blessing in the United States of America? Have I grasped what a horror it is that heritage of godly men and women of the past has NOT been handed down to this generation? Have I thought about the lack of God’s protective hand over our nation, over our schools, our homes, our cities? Have I thought about the fact that we are a divided nation? Have I considered that probably the only time when our nation was more divided was before the Civil War? How much thinking have I put into where we are? Honestly, I’ve not thought about it in God’s presence much. I’ve spend time listening to others trying to sway me one way or the other. I’ve even had times where I was caught up in anger and frustration about it. But as for genuine time spent being concerned for the things of God and the lack of His presence in my life and in the life of the church, there has not been much time at all spent. Maybe those criticizing us have a point?
Then came a question as to my prayers. Outside of throwing a few brief prayers about those hurting and struggling with losing family and friends - I have not prayed all that much. I’ve prayed, but have I really prayed? Let me explain that statement for a moment. It is one thing to pray once for those who have lost loved ones in these events. But have I prayed about the cause? How long and how often have I been disturbed about the fact that God is not among us? Now I know that there will be some who will come back with a theologically correct statement that He is always with us. But let me ask even them. Do we truly know God’s favor in this nation? Can we honestly say that His favor rests on the United States? When was the last time our nation was truly rocked by a national revival? When was the last move of God upon our nation that resulted in righteousness being restored in our land? When was it that the churches were filled with broken, repenting saints getting right with God and each other? When was it that we watched what I just said result in a wave of effective evangelism blow across our nation like a breath of fresh air? If I were completely honest with you I would have to say that I have not known of one in my lifetime.
So what am I doing about it. I am among those who think that the political leaders of our land cannot answer what is happening today. They are part of the problem and too many are more concerned with their re-election that they are with re-viving our national conscience and character. Only God can turn our nation around. In light of that “so-called belief” of mine, am I praying? I say that I am. “Let them know that they are in my thoughts and prayers.” Are they? Am I praying with a brokenness and repentant heart because the Lord is no longer with us in the United States? Am I crying out to Him for revival and His return in power upon His church? Are we doing this? Are we crying out to God for revival and His return to the church? Are we crying out for God to do such a work that our “national character” is affected? Then where are all the prayer meetings happening in our nation right now? Where are the gathering of God’s people to repent and return to Him - calling upon Him to revive us again so that we will rejoice in Him?
Here is my conclusion after truly thinking and praying about this. I know many in the religious community will not like this conclusion. I think we honestly deserve the derision of the ungodly in our nation. But I do not think we need to respond by being offended and by lashing out with our own view of how they are not helping things either. Here is what I truly believe we should do. I think we should passionately give ourselves to thoughts and prayers concerning these things. Whether or not they know it or would even admit it, thoughts and prayers are very powerful. They exhibit their greatest power when they are followed by action and a renewed commitment to spending the gospel to our nation. They are truly a powerhouse when thoughts and prayers yield a church filled with those who are rich in good works, rich in gospel proclamation, and rich in the power of God to truly change hearts. May God have mercy on me (and us) for not truly thinking and praying for our nation. AND - may He return to us - return in power because we think as He thinks - pray and He leads - and live as He dictates. That, my precious fellow saints, is what we truly need in this hour.
November 8th is approaching quickly - what to do - what to do!? That is the scenario that most of us face as we watch the time when we will step into a voting booth and express our right and responsibility to be patriots. The problem we also face is how to be both a patriot in the United States and also be a Christian in our conscience. To be perfectly honest with you - I am also in the throes of such a decision. I continue to pray about it - read to become better informed - and maybe - just maybe fret about it a little more than I should (Told you I was going to be honest).
First of all, I need to be candid. I will not under any circumstances vote for the Democrat Party or their standard bearer Hillary Clinton. The Bible teaches us that the life in the womb does have rights. It may not have rights in the eyes of the Democrat party or in the eyes of their presidential candidate - but God’s authority is infinitely higher than theirs - and He says that the precious baby in the womb is His masterpiece. God forbid that I would do anything to strengthen the hands of those who add innocent blood through abortion to the massive amount we’ve already spilt advancing erotic freedom without responsibility. I also cannot vote for this agenda because I am not in agreement with giving the LGBT community a carte blanche to rewrite the first amendment to the Constitution so that religious freedom is stamped out via the revisionist decisions made by the Supreme Court. There are a host of other reasons that would take too long to list here, but suffice it to say that until the agenda in the Democrat party changes - I will be casting no votes for any of their candidates.
Now to the much harder part of the coming election. Can I vote for a man like Donald Trump - who if he said and acted toward my wife or daughters in the manner in which he has - I wouldn’t want him to be in charge of anything - other than his own reformation of character? If I can do this - what would I be sacrificing as a believer and as someone who holds to a biblical definition of character? (all the time knowing that I don’t even measure up in some areas myself - thank God for His grace and gift of righteousness through Jesus Christ!) That is where I am having such a difficult time - even today. These are matters that I will have to continue to wrestle with for a few more weeks. Eventually I will go into a booth and vote my conscience - and hopefully support someone who will lead our country, albeit haltingly, in a somewhat better direction that it is currently being led. Each time I consider that - I am no more excited than I was before.
If you began reading this hoping I would come up with some magic formula to make this easier - I’m sorry that you will be disappointed. God has begun taking me in another direction - even as I continue in the quandary over how to cast a vote that will in some way honor Him. It has always been a comfort to me to remember God’s sovereignty in this world. That sovereignty can both change the direction of a nation toward righteousness - or allow a nation that turns from Him to descend into ruin. Both are seen clearly in Scripture - especially when it refers to His people.
God began putting the question into my heart, “What are we going to be doing on November 9th?” If Trump is elected, and that is a big “if” will all our problems be solved? I am so glad to see so many prayer meetings and special times of prayer being called. It is an encouraging thing to watch God’s people pray. But can I ask if we will be praying after the election? Will we have the same passion to pray - when maybe, and it is a big “maybe” Hillary Clinton may be elected president of the United States? Are our hopes so set on electing one candidate over the other that we are blind to the spiritually desolate condition of the church in the United States of America? Are we so set on protecting our Constitutional rights that we are deaf to God’s call for bus to lay down all our rights for the sake of His gospel and His kingdom? Will we be so depressed that Christians were so divided over - and let’s be honest about this - such a divisive candidate that we don’t see our need to come together over a greater need of loving one another and living to glorify God and advance His gospel - no matter what form or perversion of our government that will exists after this election? Will the upward call of God in Christ Jesus be enough to motivate us to pray as passionately after the election as the political call to win an election over the ungodly agenda of the Democrat party? I hope and pray the answer to such questions is that we will pursue God with greater passion - knowing that no government has ever been able to extinguish the glorious light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The early church and the persecuted church have shown us that regardless of those who reign in the realms of men - God still reigns over the hearts of His people. They had no political standing and yet turned the world upside down. They advanced the gospel through their willingness to lay down the lives for Jesus Christ. They advanced the work of God with no favor in the courts - no favor with the emperor - and often with great persecution from others within their society. Yet God prevailed. The one thing God is graciously allowing me to begin to see is that when it comes to His gospel and His plan and purpose - neither Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will prevail over it. God is sovereign - and His eternal purpose WILL PREVAIL. I hope you will forgive me for quoting such a long section of Scripture as I close this article - and engage in a little exegesis as well - but here we go. Paul wrote something we need to grasp - prior to a call for prayer. We might need to see it again - in light of our current circumstances.
To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; 10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.
Paul makes it clear that our purpose is to “preach the unfathomable riches of Christ” which is the riches made available to us in His gospel. This glorious message has been being presented to our world since it began. It truly began to mean something to us at the Fall - when our sin meant separation from God - and the prospect of eternal punishment for such a foolish rebellion. This message is called the “manifold wisdom of God” which is supposed to be being made known to all “through the church.” This plan and purpose - that the gospel be proclaimed through the church is in accordance with God’s eternal purpose. LET ME PUT THIS IN ALL CAPS - NOT BECAUSE I’M MAD - BUT BECAUSE IT IS IMPORTANT. GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE IS THAT THE CHURCH LIVE AND PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE WORLD. According to Paul it is through the relationship we have with Christ Jesus our Lord - that we have boldness and a confident access to God - so that we might carry out this purpose!
13 Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.
Paul also states. in one small sentence, the reality of his life as he lives to accomplish God’s eternal purpose of preaching the gospel to the world. He is facing tribulations - troubles - trials - hardships - beatings - all because he chooses to embrace God’s eternal purpose. He tells them, “not to lose heart” at the tribulations he is facing. Instead he says that those tribulation are for your glory! What?! Yes - it is our glory to see that living for and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ will involve tribulations. In fact Jesus Himself told us that we would be treated just like He was if we embraced true discipleship. So where does this lead us? Paul had to preach the gospel in a hostile environment - without political support - facing persecution and difficulty. Yet he spoke of boldness and confidence in the midst of it. HOW!?
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. - Ephesians 3:8-21
Paul knew the true battle was not for a political win over society - but over the manifestation of Christ dwelling in the hearts of His people. He knew the true battle was that we all would be rooted and grounded in love for God and one another. He knew the true battle would be to know the breadth, length, height, and depth of the love for Christ. This is a love for the Father. This is a love for one another. This is a love for the lost. It is even a love for those who hate us, persecute us, and speak evil falsely of us on account of our embrace of Jesus as Lord. And this battle was so that we might be filled up to all the fullness of God Himself - as His Holy Spirit works in and through us to preach the gospel, speaking the truth in love. Paul also promised that this battle was going to be won on our knees as we trusted in the one who as able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or imagine - according to the power with which God will work in us and through us. This battle was to see God glorified in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever!
Dearest precious saints of God - on November 9th our calling will be the same as it was prior to the election. It will be to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. It will be to love one another as Christ has loved us. It will be to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth for the glory of God. It will be to see the glory of God shine ever brighter THROUGH His church! So - regardless of whether Trump or Clinton become president - our purpose remains an eternal one. And just as Paul has indicated through the Spirit in Ephesians - HOW MUCH MORE DOES THAT CAUSE CALL US TO PASSIONATE PRAYER! Oh pray, dear saints - pray prior to this election. But please, I beg you, please don’t think all is lost if it does not turn out as you hope and pray. Regardless of who is our president - our Lord still reigns supreme! So, therefore, let us be bold, be loving, be prayerful, and always be abounding with hope that our work in the Lord is NOT in vain! And may that work always be to take the gospel of Jesus Christ everywhere for the glory of God!
Just musing on the future . . .
I am a pastor - and one who holds ultimate value in the Word of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ in my life. As such I cannot compromise how I teach God's Word to fit how my culture views what God calls sin. I also cannot adopt how many in the church are altering the message of the Gospel to fit our culture's sexual revolution. (Just a note - that revolution began in the 60's when heterosexual immorality was embraced - not just in the 2000's with the most recent downward step into homosexual marriage and its legalization last summer by the courts). This places me squarely in the sites of those who at one time said all they wanted was tolerance - but who now have made it clear that they will not tolerate God's revelation on these matters.
I am writing this now because the day will come when such things cannot be spoken or written without censure, severe fines, and eventually arrest. That is where our culture is going - that is where our nation is going - and that is what I am viewing at present in my mind's eye. I am neither a prophet nor a son of a prophet. But I am a student of history - both secular and biblical. Therefore here is what I see as I muse on the future.
We are already living in a day when they will not put up with sound doctrine - but will gather to themselves teachers according to their own lusts. This will grow steadily worse - to the point where sexual immorality (especially "living together" and homosexuality) will rarely be mentioned. It will all be about love and tolerance and acceptance. There will be little mention of sin and how God points out exactly what sin is - and how He responds to it. Judgment will be a dirty word. In many ways the apostate church will be a tool in the hand of the enemy to attack the remnant on these matters. The statement will be something like this. "We need reasonable churches - not ones that dogmatically judge everyone according to 'their interpretation' of what the Bible means." This will be a rallying cry to shut down free speech not only in the public sector - but even within the walls of church itself.
There will be a growing list of laws that hem in Biblical believers so that they cannot express their views in public. Those that do will find themselves facing the wrath of a legal system that no longer protects religious freedom when it comes to holding Biblical beliefs dealing with sin. There will be fines, re-education, and for those who continue to resist arrests. Businesses will be forced to conform to a "way of doing business" that is inclusive, except for how they treat biblical believers.
Churches will be facing several changes that will soon be coming to us via the courts. There will be challenges to freedom of religion as the state forces itself into situations where the need for "thought conformity" is necessary. This will lead to first the church being told it can only preach within its walls - that internet access can be denied on the basis of hate speech (i.e. saying heterosexual and homosexual sin is wrong, gender is something assigned by God at birth). The air waves will slowly be shut down to churches as well, based on these same things. There will also be challenges to the tax exempt status of churches and gifts to them. Eventually tax exempt status and tax deductions for gifts will be either restricted (to government accepted churches) or done away with all together. The state will hold title to all benevolent giving - which will be based on their accepted guidelines (which will be politically motivated and doled out as reward for conformity to the state agenda). Eventually the psychiatric community will join the state in condemning outright those who hold to sexual immorality being sin. This will be seen as a mental disorder - making the way for some to be institutionalized for their beliefs. Pastor's sermons will become subject to law suits - if they are deemed by the state courts to contain the new definitions of hate speech. This will lead to bankruptcy for some churches - while others will accept court rulings to either fire their pastor or face serious fines and government backlash. Pastors who preach such things will be sent off to prison for "speech violations" or for re-education in some sort of internment camp. Many godly men will be detained, arrested, and will disappear in these situations.
The true church will go underground in America. Facing these things - facing the loss of their leader(s) - facing the loss of their facilities - and facing the specter of losing their freedom - many will show their true colors and become apostate. They will either flock to government sanctioned churches - or will leave the things of God altogether. The church will shrink back to a size that matches those who are truly born again. It will seem sad and discouraging - but it will be a much godlier church - given to intercessory prayer - and willing to suffer for Christ any cost. There will be a brokenness that will prevail with the true remnant - and will lead to churches underground who glorify God in all they do. Many will risk gave danger to witness to others of the gospel - but oh what a glorious church it will be!
Some may think I've lost my mind saying such things. Others may criticize for this sounding so defeatist. But I would only remind them that what I've described here is what has happened in the communist countries of the Soviet Union (now Russia), China, countries behind the former Iron and Bamboo curtain, and now is happening slowly in Europe and Canada. These countries are further down the road to Socialism than we are presently - but we seem to be gaining steam (Ominously so with the candidacy and success of Bernie Sanders at present). This actually is not any kind of prophecy - it is a history lesson. It is one that is NOT being taught to our children, because we've forgotten what sacrifices were made on our behalf to fight Communism and Socialism. As far as "negativism" or "defeatist" rhetoric - I can only answer that any true rallying cry needs to first swallow a cup full of realism first. I am about to issue a rallying cry - but it is one that will most likely be rejected - as it was throughout history - both biblical and secular.
Church awake! These are not days in which we should falter or get lost in the midst of what is going on around us. These are days much like those Paul spoke of when he said this in Romans 13:11-14,
"And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts." (NASB77)
Repent and return to Jesus Christ precious saints. The day is late - very late in our nation. The stakes are enormously high in an hour in which we must prepare our hearts to be "strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might." This should not shock us that the world hates us - because it hated Him and still does. It is a day to remember the height from which we have fallen, repent, and do the first works again. Works of seeking God's face - confession of sin - submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ - humbling ourselves and praying - and seeing our first love restored so that there is nothing - ABSOLUTELY NOTHING more precious to us than the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood so violence is to be repudiated in our cause. We are to return to a white hot love for Jesus - a white hot love for one another in the church. We are to return to holiness, mortification of sin (our own), and a selfless, self-giving, gospel-centered, gospel-proclaiming life lived for the glory of God in all things.
Saints - I am in the same place as all of you. Such things shake me and cause me to tremble. May it be that we tremble in fear of God and not in fear of man. May it be that our trembling and fear bring us back to Him - back to seeking, loving, and knowing Him as the greatest of all things in our lives. I dearly love all of you and only hope to be found, along with you, faithful to Him in this hour. May God have mercy on the church in the United States. - PJ -
What is happening in our world today? It seems that over the past several years the world around us has become much more dangerous. The recent Paris terror attacks are a reminder of the ability of our enemies to strike at the very heart of western nations. As I thought about such things recently I read in the book of 1 Kings some things we should take very seriously. We should read these things and fear God - and turn to prayer for our own hearts, the hearts of those we love, and the hearts of those who lead our country in this hour.
As many of us labor to understand what is happening to our nation, we unfortunately labor under the thought that this is a Christian nation. While this nation was founded for the most part on wise and godly principles, we need to come to grips with the reality that our nation no longer functions under those principles. Our nation moved away from God in the 1950’s and 1960’s and adopted a lax attitude toward heterosexual immorality and divorce. That was followed by the abortion decision in 1973 and the greed that began to seriously infect our land in the 1980’s and 1990’s. By the 2000’s we had left just about every godly principle there was to abandon - and had become a very godless nation. The leadership of our Republic had abandoned itself to the radical immorality and godless attitudes that had infected the airwaves for decades. What I am trying to recount for you is the fact that our nation has abandoned following and serving God - and has chosen instead to follow and serve the flesh instead.
There is a biblical example of this kind of abandonment of God by a nation. It happened in the latter years of king Solomon of Israel. He is not the only example of it - but because of how God dealt with him - we need to take a closer look at the late years of his reign as king. Solomon began as a godly man - but his love of “many foreign women” brought him low. God warned of this - but Solomon chose his sensual desires over God’s Word and ways. As a result in his latter years he did not follow the Lord , but turned away from Him. He began to worship other gods as his foreign wives influenced him more and more. Note the narrative given to us in 1 Kings 11 -
“For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites. Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon. Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. 1 Kings 11:4-8 (NASB)
As Solomon turned away from God he was led to worship other false gods. The worship of these gods involved sexual immorality, the depreciation of marriage, and eventually homosexual acts and even the sacrificing of babies to the horrible god Molech. It was a descent that almost mirrors that of our own nation. Thus it should be no surprise that God is dealing with us much like He did with Solomon. It might be wise of us to see how God disciplined Solomon and judged his sin.
“Now the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the LORD had commanded. 1 Kings 11:9-10 (NASB)
God was angry with Solomon for his actions and choices. As a result of this, God began to take the kingdom away from Solomon - and eventually all but Judah revolted against his son. But even while Solomon was alive God began to do something to him and his kingdom. He began to raise up “adversaries” against Him. Before chapter 11 is over we read that there were two different adversaries that God raised up to discipline Israel. These adversaries began fighting against Israel militarily. But they did not fight with a full war - but in ways that eerily match that of the current adversaries of the United States. The type of problems they caused were by being “marauding bands” against Israel. They would attack an unsuspecting town and wreak havoc against it - killing people and destroying homes. These were the precursors to the type of terrorist activity we see in our day.
Let me be very clear with you. I believe that ISIS and Al-Qaeda are adversaries that God Himself has raised up against the United States of America. These groups have been allowed to strike us - and the rest of the West in order to be a disciplinary measure to help wake us up. What is happening in our world in regard to these two groups is that they are being allowed to be a kind of marauding band among us. It is truly a sad thing to watch - because if I am interpreting accurately what our response is - it is not good. Instead of reacting with horror and repentance toward God for our gross sins against Him and His holiness and Word, we are reacting with anger toward our enemies - and a doubling down in wickedness. We are NOT turning toward the Lord - but we are hiding our heads in the sand. We think that we are winning this battle - that this is just the JV team that we are beating. But unless we repent and return to the Lord - this is only a small portion of what is coming our way. I fear that things are only going to get worse - with attacks that have biblical proportions to them. God said through His prophets that things would happen to Israel that would make their hands hang limp. They would be the kind of things that would blow the minds of the people of Israel. And I fear that our continued and amped up rebellion is only making such a future inevitable for our nation.
I fear that in the days to come there is going to be a destruction that will make our earlier discipline seem like nothing in comparison. We are going to face a military defeat or a disaster on our own shores that will make our mouths hang open and our ears tingle as we hear of it. It will be greater than that which happened to us earlier on 9/11. I do not rejoice in this - but instead want to weep and wail over what is going to happen. I love this country and do not desire its destruction. I love our military and do not want to see it demolished. But if we do not repent and return to God - that is what is in our future. I don’t know of any timetable - nor is this meant to be some sort of prophetic warning. It is just a clear understanding of the Scriptures and of how God deals with those who turn from Him in rebellion.
To close out this article - I want to answer a question that some of you may have. What can we do? How can we avoid this? I am not sure we can avoid it - because our sin is stacked to the heavens - and we’ve shed innocent blood on our land unlike any nation before us. But our own hope is in repentance and return to God. I truly believe with all my heart that our choices are revival or ruin. I would urge everyone to pick up some sort of study that deals with repentance and return. A good one I’ve used recently is called, “Fresh Encounter” by Henry Blackaby. But a study alone is not what we need - we need action - brokenness - true repentance - and a radical return to God. The things we are seeing and the sense of inevitability that is brooding upon our land and indeed upon the world lately is because our God and Father will not be merciful forever. There is a day of reckoning - especially for the church who should know better. May God grant us a heart broken over sin and rebellion and a shock and horror of how far we have gone individually and corporately into sin. May He graciously work in our hearts and may we see true repentance in the days ahead. It is truly our only hope in this hour.
For the past couple of years I have been inundated by a tidal wave of information and articles dealing with the fact that we are about to experience the last in a tetrad of blood moons on September 28th of this year.
Let me explain a few things as I get started on this subject. First of all let me explain what a blood moon is. A blood moon occurs when there is a lunar eclipse. The moon during these events takes on a red hue - thus the name, “blood moon.” The next thing I need to explain is what a “tetrad” is. That is when in a period of 2 years a series of four blood moons take place. This is a very rare occurrence - made even more rare because these four blood moons that have been happening have all fallen on Jewish holidays since 2014. The final blood moon will happen on September 28, 2015, which also happens to be the date of Sukkoth for this year (The Feast of Booths). The other blood moons in this tetrad have taken place on Passover (April 15, 2014), Sukkoth (October 8, 2014), and on Passover (April 4, 2015). This is a very rare occurrence, happening only 9 times in the last 2000 years. But there is one more thing that is happening on the 28th of this month. On that day it will also be the day of the Shemitah. What is the Shemitah? In the Old Testament Israel was to forego planting of crops every 7 years (Leviticus 25). After 7 or these 7 year periods (49 years) there was to be a “Jubilee year” or a Shemitah of Shemitah’s. On that year every debt was cancelled - and the Jewish people would return to the land of their tribe to receive it as theirs once again. Now I know that all this may seem strange to you - but hopefully this will all make sense in just a few more sentences.
What is happening on September 28th is that on the same day there will be the fourth in the tetrad of blood moons, a Jewish feast day (Sukkot), and the day when the Shemitah of Shemitah’s takes place. All this coincides on Monday, September 28th, 2015. This is the only time this will happen in the last 2000 years. Because of this strange coordination of days all falling on the same day - the world of prophecy teachers and followers has made predictions and prognostications at a fever pitch rate. Having recently read several of these sites recently I want to make a few comments about the whole “blood moon” craze that is happening among prophecy teachers and predictors.
Some prophecy teachers have made some hefty predictions about what will or may happen on this coming Monday. Everything from nuclear war to the financial collapse of the United States to the invasion of Israel have been put out on the internet and in chat rooms and other venues.
Now I will probably not win a prophecy guy popularity poll for saying this, but though I find all this interesting and even fascinating from a Bible scholar point of view, I am concerned that “blood moons” and the “shemitah” and “tetrads” are what are consuming us spiritually in the prophecy movement. Whether or not some spiritually significant event is going to happen on September 28th I do not know. What I DO know is that I don’t believe that God would have us focus on this kind of pseudo-biblical scholarship as a means of primary guidance for our lives.
Over the years I’ve been a student of biblical prophecy, I’ve noticed that there is a sad tendency for this movement to latch on to the sensational rather than on solid exegetical study of the Scriptures. I’m not sure how many books have been released based on the latest, greatest prophecy sensationalized claim since I’ve become a believer. But I think I could probably fill an entire bookcase with them. What is sad is that all of them have fallen short of delivering on the date of the rapture - or the next big prophetic event happening on or near the date they have given. What is even sadder is that I’ve watched people get all fired up about “blood moons” or oil or the next middle east crisis, but not have a passion to study to show themselves workmen approved so that they could handle the gospel and the Word of God rightly. The usual end of all this is that fewer are interested in prophecy - not because it is a study unworthy of our attention - but far more because of the most recent crack-pot whose wild-eyed predictions went south in the end.
Apart from the whole “blood moon” saga or recent days - there has been enough evidence to fill a whole room of bookshelves when it comes to what is happening in our world - and its relation to the 2nd coming of Christ. All we have to do is to study our Bibles to see that the events spoken of in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 and other places in prophecy are upon us. What I find most disturbing about our current focus is that it lacks a call to repentance and return that we desperately need in this hour of the church. All the time that we spend tracking down the history of Shemitah events, blood moon events, and tetrad events are historically interesting - but they don’t seem to be bringing the kind of deep conviction and repentance that always comes when true revival is coming from God. Where are our hearts when it comes to the sin in our own lives as well as the breath-taking sprint towards sin in our society? Where is the concern about the lack of God moving mightily to break hearts in His church in our day? Where is the call to desperate prayer that should be attached to claims that it all may be over in a matter of a few days? These are the things that concern me when I read through the most recent predictions of the prophecy experts. The prophets of the Old Testament made predictions to be sure. But their predictions were almost always side by side with a call to repentance and return to God. Their predictions (which by the way either came true - or are going to come true) were part of God calling His people to return to Him with all their hearts!
OK - let’s say that we have until Monday the 28th before a world-changing event is about to take place. Don’t you think we should hear with that a call to extra-ordinary prayer, repentance, and an almost insane boldness in preaching the message of the gospel? I honestly don’t know if the 28th and the last of the tetrad of blood moons on the Shemitah of Shemitah’s is going to yield a world-changing event from God. What I do know is that my own heart needs to be revived - needs to be broken much deeper over my sin and my disobedience - needs to be much more deeply concerned about the lack of holiness, prayer, and Holy Spirit power in the church - needs to be far more concerned over the multiple millions who need to hear the gospel. And - whether the blood moon day materializes in a shocking event or not - those other things still remain. What am I going to do about them? That may be the more “life-changing” event that needs to happen! Would you join me in praying that it would?
The recent Supreme Court decision about marriage has made me think a lot. I've seen a flurry of statements asking me to "like" if I stand for traditional, biblical marriage. I honestly don't think this will do much for our nation. Let me give you one that is slightly more challenging.
What happened Friday was a foregone conclusion for our nation. We've departed from the Lord - first and foremost in the evangelical, bible-believing church - myself first in line to be rebuked on that matter. Since Friday the verses that are flooding into my mind have to do with US humbling ourselves (meaning the church) and praying - seeking God's face - and turning from OUR wicked ways.
Friday's decision did not come suddenly - I can honestly say that it has been coming since the 1960's and earlier as we've rejected loving and seeking God in the church - and have embraced church growth (i.e. numbers, bigger buildings, bigger attendance, bigger offerings, etc.) over true church vitality in Christ. We've embraced religious political power, embraced comfort, and embraced the American way rather than a passionate commitment to Christ, His church, and His gospel being taken to the ends of the earth. We've had warning after warning in our nation - including 9/11 - ISIS - growing racial tensions - liberalism raging in our churches - the rising radical atheist movement - and honestly, scandal after scandal in the church itself.
If I can be painfully honest for a moment - these things have not led to me hitting my knees in brokenness over my own sin - and deeply concerned prayer for my nation. These things have not moved me to prayer that lasts more than an hour or day - or maybe at the most a few days.
Friday's decision saddened me - scared me (because of what I see coming for those who hold to biblical morality) - and sobered me as to where we are (as a nation and as the church in this nation). Throughout the day I knew that angry cries for a return to whatever pitiful view of marriage we had up to Friday - were like trying to hold back a tsunami with my hands held out in front of me. Our only hope - my only hope - is that this will truly break my heart in such a way that I will do the following things.
#1 - TRULY HUMBLE MYSELF BEFORE GOD - admitting that my/our current religiousness is never going to bring about change - first in me - second in the church - and third in our nation. I absolutely MUST admit my bankruptcy spiritually and cry out for His fullness with desperate abandon (Matthew 5:3)
#2 - PRAY - and this means prayer that is radically beyond the norm (which I need to admit at times is pretty pitiful). What should have happened - and I hope still does - is that the churches who truly believe that this was a travesty - will be flooded with people demanding daily prayer meetings where we cry out to God until revival comes to the church - and hopefully to our land as a result of REAL renewed, revived Christianity breaking out among God's people again. The early church responded to far worse than what we saw Friday (the arrest and beating of the apostles - and a trial before officials the next day where they were commanded not to preach any longer in the name of Jesus). Their response was to gather together as one for prayer. Their prayers were not for better legislation - or different political leaders. Their prayer was that God would grant them greater boldness to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. God responded by shaking the place where they met - and filling them with the Holy Spirit and with a fresh boldness to share the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. (read Acts 4:1-31 to see this up close and personal)
#3 - SEEK GOD'S FACE - This phrase means that we seek His favor. I've read of revivals that have changed nations. In fact our nation has had several. These came in times just as dark as the ones we are in today. They came because people reached a point of seeing that answers were never coming from the public sector, the governmental sector, or any other sector where man is supreme. They realized that pride had brought the nation down - crushing it under the weight of sin and selfishness. ( I want to challenge you to read about the 1st and 2nd Great Awakening in the United States, about the Prayer Revival of 1857, the New Hebrides Revival, the Great Revival of Wales, and The Shantung Revival - Let what God did in those moments fill your soul and spirit with a passion to see Him truly revive the church again in our day!)
#4 - TURN FROM MY/OUR WICKED WAYS - This may be the most painful thing to admit. Please understand it would be easy to confess all the pet things we focus on (abortion, gay marriage, sexual immorality, etc) because that usually does not involve us personally. (Yeah! all those sinful people and their wicked ways - they need to repent!) But I put the "my" in that statement because the gist of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is that we turn from OUR sin - the sin that WE'VE embraced that has led to not knowing the hand of God upon our land any longer. My concern is that far too many of us (myself included) will once again make our facebook posts - bemoan the ungodly (and it is truly ungodly) decisions being made - get mad about the direction of our country - and in the end - not spend even 30 minutes a day actually DOING what 2 Chronicles 7:14 says. Very few pastor's offices will be visited with people pleading with him to begin daily prayer meetings where we cry out for revival. Soooo - with that as my background statement - and confession of MY OWN sin I want to propose the following to myself first - and to the church in the United States second. If you agree that we not only should respond to the Supreme Court decision this past Friday in broken-hearted sadness over the unrevived state of the church and our own lack of passionate pursuit of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you want to agree that we shouldn't just feel something for a few hours (then go back to normal) but actually DO something (meaning give ourselves to prayer every day until God brings revival in lives, our churches, and hopefully our land). Then - honestly - don't press like - or repost - or retweet. Please join me in just being heart-broken before God and begin crying out to Him - for yourself, your church, and your nation. Precious saints whom He loves so very much - this is our only hope.
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