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Powerful series of quakes in Japan cause landslide, kills 11

Earthquakes: a token sign of God’s displeasure over sin. See below, John Newton’s Messiah.

Update at bottom: “Swaying every hour

A powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake occurred in Japan today, causing a landslide and 11 deaths. The large temblor was followed by a series of 5.7 and 5.4 magnitude quakes and other aftershocks as well.

It has been a busy week for quakes these last two weeks. After a period of several months of relative quiet, there have been 13 quakes in the 6.0-6.9 range.

A more powerful earthquake has rocked the southern Japanese city of Kumamoto in the middle of the night, a day after an earlier tremor killed nine people. The magnitude-7.3 quake hit at a depth of 10km (six miles) at 01:25 on Saturday (15:25 GMT on Friday) in Kyushu region. At least three people died and hundreds were injured. A village has been evacuated after a dam collapsed, media reports say. (Source)

Rescue crews scrambled through rubble Saturday morning in a desperate search for survivors of a magnitude-7.0 earthquake that struck Japan’s Kyushu Island, the same region rattled by a 6.2 quake two days earlier. (CNN)

Small eruption on Japan’s Mount Aso after earthquake

A small eruption occurred at Mt. Aso in southern Japan on Saturday around 8:30 a.m. local time (2330 GMT Friday) following a strong earthquake in the area, with smoke rising about 100 meters (300 feet) high, public broadcaster NHK reported. The Japanese Meteorological Agency kept its alert level at 2 on a scale of 5 for Mt. Aso, which has had eruptions in the past.
(Reporting by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Michael Perry)

Update: Japan earthquakes: Dozens killed, region ‘swaying every hour’

One can but hope and pray for the soon return of Jesus Christ. Since the fall of man into depravity and sin entered the world, life has been a terrible cycle of disasters, diseases, and death

Messiah, Vol 2, by John Newton (author of Amazing Grace hymn)

Can there be a stronger confirmation of what we read in Scripture, concerning the depravity of man? Can we conceive an employment more suited to gratify the malignity of Satan and the powers of darkness, if they were permitted to appear and act amongst us in human shapes? Could such enormities possibly obtain, if the mild and merciful spirit of the Gospel generally prevailed? But it shall prevail at last, and then the nations shall learn war no more (Isaiah 2:4). 

How transporting the thought! That a time shall yet arrive, when the love of God and man, of truth and righteousness, shall obtain [shall prevail] through the earth. The evils (and these are the greatest evils of human life) which men bring upon themselves, and upon each other, by their wickedness, shall cease; and we may believe that the evils in the natural world will be greatly abated. Sin will no longer call down the tokens of God’s displeasure, by such public calamities as hurricanes, earthquakes, pestilence, and famine.

"That Arousing Shout", the coming rapture of the church

The next event on God’s scheduled plan will be the rapture. After that the wrath will be released in the Tribulation, Armageddon will occur at the end of it upon Jesus’ return, the Millennial Kingdom will be established, satan will be bound during that time, then after 1000 years satan will be let out and there will be one more rebellion and then the eternal state will begin with New Jerusalem descending to a new hearth through a new heaven. But next up, the rapture.

It is a glorious event in which all saints should be anticipating eagerly. It doesn’t matter that the fact of the rapture was revealed by Paul via Jesus and the Spirit in his letter to the Thessalonians and not by Jesus in His incarnation. It doesn’t matter that the rapture has been imminent for almost 2000 years and has not occurred yet. All that matters is that it is promised to every believer that at one point we will be called home, sail through the air, glorified bodily and be with Jesus forever.

Here are some verses for you about the coming glorification of the saints via the rapture. I pray they encourage you.

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

by way of exposition, intimating what is to be the nature of that arousing shout — that the archangel will discharge the office of a herald to summon the living and the dead to the tribunal of Christ. ~John Calvin


Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).

The New Testament is consistent in its anticipation that the return of Christ might occur at any moment. That pervading perspective of imminence prompts three questions. The first question pertains to whether the Tribulation will precede Christ’s coming for the church. The answer to that question is that it will not because the church is never asked to look forward to the tribulation, but they are asked to look forward to Christ’s coming. The second question revolves around how the return of Christ could have been imminent in the early church. The answer here is that no one but the Father knows when the coming will occur, so that Christians including the early church must always be ready. The third question asks why Christ’s imminent return is so important. This answer relates to the motivation it supplies for believers to purify their lives and thereby progress toward the goal of sanctification and Christlikeness. The threefold call of the imminence doctrine is to wake up and obey right now, to throw off the works of darkness, and to put on the garments of holy living. ~John MacArthur


But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)

Why is it necessary that we should have a body? Well, in our last meeting, I made reference to one of the texts that Paul uses in Romans chapter 8, which at least gives us an understanding of why, in biblical doctrine, it’s important that we have the resurrection of the body. And we’ve made the point over and over again that when we talk about resurrection, we’re not talking about living again spiritually. We’re talking about the resurrection of the body. Many theologians have said this, but it bears saying again. If we do not speak of the resurrection of the body, we should not speak of the resurrection at all. It is the resurrection of the body — now, not the present body in the sense that it will be characterized by corruptibility and all of the weaknesses of our aging body. We’re talking about the resurrection body, the spiritual body. A true continuity with this body but, nevertheless, different. The resurrection of the body that is a spiritual body connected with this body is the teaching of the word of God.

So one of the great hopes of the Christian is not simply that he’s to enter heaven, but he’s to enter heaven with a redeemed body, his body resurrected, a beautiful, glorious body, Scriptures tell us, “Like our Lord’s own glorious body.” So that’s our hope. That’s why there is such a thing as the resurrection of the body, and that’s why it’s important for us to understand that. ~S. Lewis Johnson


Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.(1 Thessalonians 4:17)

I shall view our text, in order to our comfort at this time, in three lights. I look upon it, first, as a continuance—we are with the Lord even now and we always shall be. Secondly, as an advancement we shall, before long, be more fully with the Lord than we are now. And thirdly, as a coherence—for we both are and shall be with Him in a close and remarkable manner. ~Charles Spurgeon

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:3)

Here are three words, upon any of which stress may be laid. Upon the word troubled. Be not cast down and disquieted. The word heart. Let your heart be kept with full trust in God. The word your. However others are overwhelmed with the sorrows of this present time, be not you so. Christ’s disciples, more than others, should keep their minds quiet, when everything else is unquiet. Here is the remedy against this trouble of mind, Believe. By believing in Christ as the Mediator between God and man, we gain comfort. The happiness of heaven is spoken of as in a father’s house. There are many mansions, for there are many sons to be brought to glory. Mansions are lasting dwellings. Christ will be the Finisher of that of which he is the Author or Beginner; if he have prepared the place for us, he will prepare us for it. ~Matthew Henry

waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13)

Meanwhile, we live between those two advents—the two “appearings.” At the end of verse 12 Paul refers to that time-span between the two appearings as “the present age.” So he points us to the past, when “the grace of God . . . appeared.” He wants us to live “in the present age”—exemplifying the virtues of grace in the hectic here and now. And he wants us to keep an eye expectantly on the future, as we “[wait] for our blessed hope,” the return of God, our Savior in His full resplendence—which will be the final culmination of both grace and glory. 

In other words, there are past, present, and future dimensions to grace, and the present dimension is the main focus of our text. While we live between these two advents, grace takes us to school. This whole “present age” is the school of grace. ~Phil Johnson

Friends, take joy in the coming of our Lord. Though we may quicken and shudder to think of on facing Him with all our weaknesses and sins, His word has assured us that we may call Him Father, Friend, and Brother. And so we shall always be with Him.

Martyrdom in America and the ‘indomitable human spirit’

On October 1, 2015 a mass shooting took place at an Oregon Community College. The lone gunman shot and killed 9 people and injured 9 others before turning his weapon on himself as police arrived and a battle ensued.

The shooting at Umpqua CC was one of the deadliest in recent memory. The list of school shootings just in recent years is depressingly long. In addition to the UCC shooting this week in Oregon, are the 2015 shootings at Emmanuel African Methodist Church in which 9 were killed during a worship service, the 2012 Aurora CO movie theater shooting, and several recent shootings at military installations such as Ft. Hood and US Navy Yard.

In 2015, The Washington Post reported 204 mass shootings occurring in the U.S. in that year alone, according to ShootingTracker.com. In August 2015, the Washington Post reported that the United States was averaging one mass shooting per day. As of October 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama had given eleven speeches on eleven different mass shootings. (source).

One difference with this particular shooting in Oregon is that the shooter targeted Christians. In Charleston, though it was a church shooting, the motivation was racial. In other shootings, the gunman was a disgruntled employee targeting the workplace or simply an angry young madman locating a place where great numbers of people gather. The Umpqua Community College shooting is unique and represents a deepening of the exposure of our human spirit’s depravity. But before I delve into that biblical discussion, here are the facts surrounding this latest incident.

As the gunman entered the classroom at the Community College, he told all the students, adults, and teachers in the room to lay on the floor. Then he demanded that each one rise in turn and state their religion. If they said nothing, or ‘other’, they were maimed. If they said they were a Christian, the gunman reportedly replied,

“‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second,” Stacy Boylan said in a televised report. “And then he shot and killed them.”

The United States has been relatively shielded from direct assault on Christians solely due to their religion. This shielding is obviously over.

Back in June, the Supreme Court of the United States made a moral declaration in their judicial capacity, rendering an opinion that stated that homosexual people across the land had the right to marry. Wikipedia’s synopsis states,

In the United States, same-sex marriage has been legal nationwide since June 26, 2015, when the United States Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that state-level bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. The court ruled that the denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples and the refusal to recognize those marriages performed in other jurisdictions violates the Due Process and the Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The ruling overturned a precedent, Baker v. Nelson.

Most Christians recognized this as a spiritual watershed moment in our society. God sets up nations and establishes their boundaries. (Acts 17:26). Though only one nation has been specifically established to glorify Him as His special elect (Israel, Isaiah 45:4), the LORD does expect Godly behavior as the Gospel spreads. Moreover, He is always angry at sin. (Psalm 7:11).

The reverse of His setting up nations and working within them is that He also releases nations to their sin when they consistently fail to repent or when they consistently defy Him. This process is described in Romans 1:18-32. It applies to individuals but also applies en masse to nations when enough of the people consistently choose sin over God. That great nations and empires come and go is testament to His work within them. Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, the British Empire … all consigned to the dustbin of history as once great but no more. This isn’t an accident of history but a purposeful work of God.

When the SCOTUS decision came down in June 2015, many American Christians remarked that it seemed that God had turned the US over to its sin and allowed a hardening to take place. At that time, Dr John MacArthur had some wise and encouraging words. He preached that the decision to encourage sch a particularly depraved sin, having reached the highest levels, was a marker that God had indeed turned America over. This hardening and release will have consequences, MacArthur said.

Practical atheism, rejection of the truth, moral relativism has always prevailed in Satan’s kingdom. But here in America we’ve been protected from that in its full fierceness. No more. And by the way, religious liberty isn’t promised to Christians, is it? Freedom isn’t promised to Christians. Persecution is. Persecution is. I think we’re going to feel it. 

There will be a barrage of persecution. These are going to be very challenging days. We will not bow. We will be gracious and we will be loving, but we will render to God what is God’s. (Source: Sermon We Will Not Bow.)

He was right. A mere three months later, Christians were murdered on US soil for the first time solely due to their stated religion. As a nation founded by religious separatists on the concepts of freedom, religious liberty, and one nation UNDER GOD, it has always seemed absurd and farcical that the kind of religious persecution written about in the first century or the Middle Ages could ever happen in the US. Then ISIS formed and many people in the 10/40 Window were martyred, persecuted, hunted and killed for their religious beliefs.

But still, it seemed far-fetched that it would happen here any time soon, despite what the Bible promised about Christians having trouble in this world. (John 16:33).

But Dr MacArthur was right, or more correctly, the Bible was right about what happens to nations that reject Him. Trouble and persecution always follows. America is certainly no exception. For some people, that fact just took a while to sink in. Then Umpqua happened and Christians were killed.

Jordan Standridge wrote at The Cripplegate yesterday about the martyrdom. Here is a short excerpt, and I recommend the entire piece-

When the Devil Points a Gun at You

The world will hate Christians 

I have to begin with this as we heard that the gunman singled out Christians in the shooting. He hated organized religion and made it a point to shoot the Christians in a fatal way. Jesus was clear that Christians will be persecuted (2 Timothy 5:12). He also tells his disciples that the world will treat them just like He was treated (John 15:20-21). When the devil points a gun at you, he desperately wants to kill Christ but he can’t get to him. But we know Christ will ultimately crush his head.

The world can’t stop the Gospel

On the day of their executions, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley knew that their burning would only enflame the light of the Gospel even more. Though John Bunyan’s tongue was silenced, the Gospel spread through his writing at a higher rate than ever before. Time and time again the world has tried to silence Christians and yet you cut a head off and two grow back. You can’t stop the Gospel. Though the devil seems to win battles, he will not win the war. When the Devil points a gun at you he desperately wants to stop the Gospel, but he can’t and it always spreads further.

Here is Adam Ford with One Simple Question

So all this was not to simply recount the news. It was to get us to this point and then remark on a comment made by CNN and former US Representative Gabrielle Giffords. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, CNN reported this comment made by Gabby Giffords. Mrs Giffords was also a victim of a shooting when a politically motivated gunman shot her in the head. She knows the emotions of being a victim of violent crime, and she has experienced the aftermath. In addition to being shot with the physical effects, her wounding ended her political career. Giffords said of the Oregon shooting,

As far as I know, Mrs Giffords is not a Christian. Her Wikipedia page lists her religion as Reformed Judaism.

The human spirit is not indomitable, unless you say it is indomitably depraved. Indomitable means “impossible to subdue or defeat.” The sin-nature that’s in all of us IS impossible to subdue or defeat, without Christ. Our indomitable human nature is exactly why we need Christ! The same community comprised of individuals who mourned the victims’ deaths and injuries at Umpqua and who will attempt to rebound from their heartbreak, is the same community comprised of individuals any of whom may turn around some day and do the exact same thing.

In my early Christian walk, as I began to grapple with the difficult concepts of
total depravity & sin, (Ecc 7:20), I worked through these concepts by
 making collages. If we could see our spirit as God sees it, it might
look like this, as I collaged my representation of the sin-nature.

I’d said that the list of US mass shootings is depressingly long. Mass shootings are not isolated incidents, happening only rarely. Serial murders are not rare. Infanticide is not rare. Abortion infanticide is not rare. They are regular, normal acts from regular, depraved people whose sin nature has not been subdued and resisted with the aid of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

You might think my attitude is excessively dark.  And indeed, things do look dark. Jesus promised that before His Second Coming the earth’s people would be like they were in the days of Noah. (Luke 17:26). Immediately prior to the Flood, the Lord withdrew His Spirit, because He will not strive with Man forever. (Genesis 6:3). The world was released to wallow in its depravity, which had descended to this:

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5).

The reality is, man’s ‘indomitable’ spirit is dark. It’s evil. Left to our own devices, we only think evil all the time. It will be that way again prior to the second judgment, when His wrath is released onto an unbelieving world during the Tribulation after the rapture when the restraining Holy Spirit is removed along with the people He dwells in. Except, Jesus promised, it will be worse. (Matthew 24:21-22).

And here is where the Light breaks.

Our God is so majestic, loving, and kind, He did not leave us to eternally deal with our indomitably evil human spirit. He begot a Son, who is Jesus. He sent His Son to incarnate into human flesh. Emptying Himself, He lived a perfectly holy and sinless life on earth. He dwelled among men and in all man’s depravity, yet in Him there was no darkness for one moment in all His days on earth. Falsely accused, Jesus allowed Himself to be beaten, scourged, spit on, maimed, stripped, and placed on a humiliating and painful cross, to die. Before His death, He took on God’s wrath for His elect’s sin.

We speak of the dark spirit of man, but think of this darkness. The moment when Jesus took on God’s wrath and absorbed the sin of the world, He was separated from God for the first time in eternity. All the world was literally dark. (Matthew 27:45)

This was so that Jesus could become the perfect sacrifice needed to please God and exhaust God’s wrath. God raised Jesus in the flesh the third day, and He ascended to the Father, where He reigns until He comes again.

Now what sinners must do is believe this Gospel. Believe your spirit is not pure and white and able to conquer anger, sin, and death. But believe that Jesus conquered sin and death and became the Door through which we may enter Holy heaven, pure and undefiled, because Jesus is pure and undefiled. The Light has come! Read this, slowly, even though it is so familiar to you-

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

19And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:16:21)

As Dr MacArthur preached, we will not bow. In addition, not only will we not to bow, but we will stand.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:13)

Just as the martyred Christians did on October 1. Stand and declare … for Jesus. Be ready to die answering that one simple question. Are you a Christian? The new martyrs’ light has not been extinguished, but only burns brighter as this world’s spirit of the age darkens. For the Light has come.

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. (Luke 9:24)

"Iran says finds unexpectedly high uranium reserve"

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran has discovered an unexpectedly high reserve of uranium and will soon begin extracting the radioactive element at a new mine, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation said on Saturday. … After decades of efforts, Iran – which has consistently said its program is for peaceful purposes – has achieved a full nuclear fuel cycle, ranging from the extraction of uranium ore to enrichment and production of fuel rods for nuclear reactors. (source)

Immediately prior to this news, just days before in fact, Joel C. Rosenberg had published a bulleted list/factsheet regarding the danger the Iranian Government poses to the world. He lists the Iranian statement of beliefs and intents, especially with regard to wiping out Israel the the US. He lists past and very current statements that Iran intends at all costs to go forward with their dastardly and evil plan to rule the world and wipe out Christians and Jews.

Fact Sheet: The Iranian Leadership’s Apocalyptic Beliefs Joel C. Rosenberg Updated: September 4, 2015
What Iran’s Leaders & Allies Say They Will Do: Annihilate America

• “The slogans of the Iranian nation on Al-Qods Day show what its position is. The slogans ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Death to America’ have resounded throughout the country, and are not limited to Tehran and the other large cities. The entire country is under the umbrella of this great movement [of ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Death to America’].”—Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, July 18, 2015.

And now we discover that they had access to uranium all along.
And now we discover Iran has achieved a full nuclear fuel cycle.

We know from prophecy that Iran plays an important role in God’s plan of judgment. What does the bible say about Persia at the end of time?

The word of the LORD came to me: 2“Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him 3and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 4And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords. 5Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togarmah from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes—many peoples are with you. (Ezekiel 37:1-6)

It is interpreted that of course Persia is Iran. That one is easy because Persia held the name until 1935 when the Shah asked foreign dignitaries to use the name Iran, the name the people themselves used.

Map of Achaemenid Persian Empire at its Greatest Extent (490 BC.) Source

The ancient name for the Persians, which was a name used until the early 1935 before it was changed to Iran, was Elam. People in the tribe of Elam were Elamites.

Elam is first mentioned in Genesis 10:22 as a son of Shem. Shem was Noah’s son. Elam was a real person, Noah’s grandson. You remember the early sons went out and founded tribes. This is recorded as a Table of Nations in Genesis 10. Answers In Genesis has an article with the table, which is like a genealogical family tree but of nations and not individuals. Click to enlarge. You will notice the same names on the Table as are recorded as the nations that fight at the time of the end. Togarmah, Gomer, Tubal…those guys all there at the beginning and their founded nations are there at the end. God is very precise.

The following points regarding Elam/Persia/Iran are from Bible History Online

The Persian Empire was founded by Cyrus in 536 BC., after they succeeded the Babylonian Empire. The first king of the Persian Empire was Cyrus, who issued the famous decree for the Jews to return to their homeland to rebuild their Temple. 

Under Cyrus the Great and Darius the Great, the Persian Empire eventually became the largest and most powerful empire in human history up until that point. The Persian Empire represented the world’s first global superpower.

The capital of the Persian Empire was Shushan. The Empire lasted about 200 years, and came to an end in 330 BC.

From Negev, A. (1990). In The Archaeological encyclopedia of the Holy Land:

ELAM a) The biblical name of a hilly country, ‘Elamtu’ in Accadian, east of the River Tigris (Hiddekel) bordered by Assyria (Mesopotamia) and Madai on the north, the Persian Gulf on the south and Persia on the east and southeast. Its capital was Susa (Shushan). Most of our knowledge of it derives from Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian sources.

There was a constant state of war between Elam and the kingdoms of Lagash and Assyria. By the end of the 2nd millennium BC the Elamites had succeeded in deposing the Sumerian Dynasty of Ur. According to Genesis (14) Chedorlaomer, King of Elam, ruled over all the countries which were formerly under the yoke of Babylon, and the countries on the Jordan were his tributaries.

Abram Rescues Lot
14 In the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, hat they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). (Genesis 14:1-2).

From DD Lowery in his book Elam,

The fall of Elam was foretold by Jeremiah (49:34–9) and by Ezekiel (32:24–5). During the period of the Persian Empire Elam was one of the satrapies, with Susa as its capital. Elamites who had been settled in Samaria impeded the Jews who returned from the Babylonia exile (Ezra 4:8–9).

ELAM (עֵילַם, eilam). An ancient Near Eastern kingdom located in Iran. A rival to the Mesopotamian kingdoms for over 2,000 years. The Elamite Empire influenced many great empires that shaped the biblical world. Over its long history, Elam interacted with the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, and the Assyrians. Under the Persians, Susa—one of Elam’s great cities—makes several biblical appearances.

Biblical Mentions 

Kedorlaomer, king of Elam, appears in Gen 14 as the king whom Abram defeats to bring Lot and his family back home. The next occurrences in the Bible are not until the prophets and the exile. In the biblical text, Elam appears as a prophetic instrument of judgment (Isa 21:2; 22:6), as the object of judgment (Jer 49:34–38), and also as an object lesson for those yet to be judged (Ezek 32:24–25). Assyria deported many Israelites to Elam upon conquering it, which sets the stage for Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. According to Acts 2:9, a Jewish population still remained in Elam into the New Testament period. 

Determining how close the connection was between these earlier peoples and later Elamites remains difficult. Archaeology has shed light on many originally distinct groups during this period, most notably from Elam (Fars) and Susa, which come to be associated together later in history. 

End of Elam (Achaemenid Period, 539–331 BC): Elam Absorbed by Persia. Elam was geographically reduced to Susiana by the Assyrians, and the Medes and the Persians were firmly rooted in the Plateau. When Cyrus II (Cyrus the Great) conquered Babylonia (539) and established the great Persian Empire, Elam (Susiana) fell into Persian hands, becoming a valuable Persian province. The Persians inherited many characteristic traits from the Elamites, who continued to serve in various administrative roles under them. In fact, archives of Elamite clay tablets have been found in Persepolis—an important Persian center—from late in the reign of Darius to that of Artaxerxes (late fifth century). These shed considerable light on the political and cultural atmosphere of the time.
Under Darius, Susa became a prominent city in the empire. Here, set up as the winter citadel for the Persian Empire, that the biblical book of Nehemiah begins, and where Esther is also set. Recent archaeological discoveries in Susa have given clarification to the book of Esther. However, by this time, “Susa, in the province of Elam” (Dan 8:2) had ceased to be anything but the shell of Elam that it once was

Lowery, D. D. (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). Elam. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

When we read of the Elamites being comprised of many different Mesopotamian peoples, it is so. At Pentecost, we’re told that “staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.” (Acts 2:5).

Including:

Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, (Acts 2:9).

Now in the latter days, a glorious thing will happen.

In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.

The LORD has a remnant of His people inside the lands that we read about in the news today. How glorious it will be when He restores them! Daniel had a vision of the end time/last days of the very last days, in which he saw the Elamites-

And I saw in the vision; and when I saw, I was in Susa the citadel, which is in the province of Elam. And I saw in the vision, and I was at the Ulai canal. (Daniel 8:2).

On September 7 I posted a prescient quote from 1967 by S. Lewis Johnson regarding his long-ago perspective of seeing the ascendancy of Biblical nations. The Iranian rise is nothing to be surprised at nor worried about in this day and age. God is incredible and His hand works all that He wills. The things which were prophesied for thousands of years are coming to pass, and will come to pass, because God decreed it.

More to the individual point, when we read of rabid hatred contained in speeches by Iranians declaring death to America and death to Israel, let us not hate them back. In those nations, though there are many Muslims and many false Christians such as Orthodox, a few remnant Christ people dwell. They are being prepared to receive the calling when He deems it the right moment. Some already have been called, and others will become … our brethren.

God deals in remnants. That is His way. And God does mighty things through remnants. 300 against Midian. Two against the Philistine army. 7,000 among the millions in Israel. 120 on Pentecost. A handful of Puritans coming to the shores of North America 400 years ago.

And in our time, faithful men and women in many parts of the world who have left apostate churches meet in tents, homes, schools, libraries, firehouses, storefronts, the buildings of liberal churches, and even less likely places. In countries like Zimbabwe in Africa, men and women who have left the bondage of false religions often meet under the shade of a tree in an otherwise forbidding landscape to worship the one true and living God and hear His Word preached.

Men and women around the world meet in unlikely places, sometimes coming incredible distances on foot just to be together. God’s remnant is truly an unlikely assembly. But His people come together because they understand that it is not numbers, or a building, or other trappings that are of true importance – but the truth as it is found only in Christ and His Word. They understand that it is “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). source

God is mighty and wonderful. Praise His name!

Ecuadoran Volcano Erupts for the First Time Since the ’40s (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Ecuador declares state of emergency over Cotopaxi volcano activity

“We declare a state of emergency due to the unusual activity of Mount Cotopaxi,” Correa said during his weekly Saturday address. “God willing, everything will go well and the volcano will not erupt.”

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Ecuadoran Volcano Erupts for the First Time Since the ’40s
By Erik Klemetti

ECUADOR WAS GREETED this morning with a coating of ash from Cotopaxi. This eruption would be its first since explosions rocked the volcano in 1940 and possibly 1942. Today’s eruption was quite small—two explosions that rained ash (see below) on the southern edge of Quito. Climbers on Cotopaxi heard the explosions in the early morning hours, both of which happened after earthquake swarms over the past few days. … Cotopaxi needs to be closely monitored as eruptions in 1877 produced lahars (mudflows) that travelled over 100 km from the volcano. You can watch Cotopaxi on the IG webcam. 

UPDATE 12:45 PM EDT: It looks like Cotopaxi is continuing to have explosions—check out the recent Tweet with a shot of the growing plume.

Valley of Volcanoes. Wikipedia

My husband and I spent a month in Ecuador with two of his friends. We had met some Ecuadorans when they came to Maine for an exchange program and we flew there to visit them in return. We rented an apartment in middle Quito and branched out from there with our friends ushering us around their stomping grounds.

The volcano Pichincha was front and center in the middle of the huge capital city of Quito. If I wanted to see the top, I’d have to stand on my tiptoes and lean over the sink and crane my head upward.

I was amazed that 2,671,191 people live within mere miles of an active volcano. As a matter or fact,t he entire Valley of Volcanoes, the spine of Ecuador, is filled with active volcanoes. Some population center or another is always threatened. We bathed in hot springs fed by underground magma chambers at Papallacta. We washed our clothes in hot springs tricking down the volcano sides at Baños. Baños means baths. Volcanoes are a way of life to Ecuadorans.

The fences surround little private hot tubs heated by volcanic thermal springs
at Papallacta. You can see the steam on the right behind the pumpkin
and in the middle next to the hut. EPrata photo

Here is a photo of part of populous Quito:

EPrata photo

Here in northern Ecuador near Cayambe, another volcano dominates the skyline, even through the low hanging clouds.

EPrata photo

Naples Italy is another huge population center living among a growling bear. Wikipedia says,

Vesuvius has erupted many times since and is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years. Today, it is regarded as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the population of 3,000,000 people living nearby and its tendency towards explosive (Plinian) eruptions. It is the most densely populated volcanic region in the world.

I feel for all the people around the globe today who are under threat of active volcanoes. Japan and Indonesia are other places where people have been recently evacuated. As we go about our daily life we trust that certain things will work, like the trains, subway, planes, roads, electricity, etc. When there is an interruption like the ah fall on South Quito, it makes life harder than it is already, especially for so many people in Third World countries.

Worse is that these kind of natural interruptions and natural disasters will only continue to increase. We think that we can manage around some light ash falls, some cracks in the road after a temblor, but eventually we will not be able to manage. The seriousness of natural disasters will exceed man’s ability to not only endure them, but even to comprehend them. (Revelation 16:21, Revelation 9:3-4, Revelation 6:14 etc.)

When the rapture happens and we are gathered to Jesus He will unleash all His stored-up wrath and the earth will literally go crazy with earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hailstorms, heat, floods, and more.

Revelation 6:12 says “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;”. The sentence is constructed in a way that seems causal. Earthquake occurs, and within the same sentence with no period, the sun turns sackcloth and the moon turns red. Can an earthquake cause this? Yes, if it sparks a volcano eruption. Read more about this below at the link “Of volcanoes, dry fog and sun as sackcloth

The time is drawing nearer and nearer when sin will be loosed to do its worst, when disasters will top each other again and again- daily. All those who are not true believers will be left behind to face that. Many who think they are believers will shockingly discover they are not, when the true brethren suddenly are gathered up at the last trump into glory and they are left behind.

Just a friendly reminder, that we are not on earth to play, but to work, pray, witness, and labor for the Master.

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Further reading

Of volcanoes, dry fog and sun as sackcloth

CNN: Cotopaxi sends huge ash plumes into the sky

In-Depth Economic Times: Volcano in Ecuador spews huge column of ash

"Gay Marriage: Evidence That the Nation Is in the Biblically Foretold Age of Apostasy" by Dr. James Taylor

A friend emailed me this link to a news article. She said it has been published on Yahoo but was taken down very quickly. It is hosted on CNS News (a conservative news site).

The author is Dr. James Taylor, the blurb about him at the end of the article states, “Senior Pastor at Christ’s Church of Norman in Norman, Oklahoma. http://www.ccnonline.biz. He is the author of the forthcoming book “It’s Biblical, Not Political: How to Line Candidates up Biblically.”

His article is titled:

Gay Marriage: Evidence That the Nation Is in the Biblically Foretold Age of Apostasy

It’s very good. I won’t re-post the entire article here because it’s long but it is worth a read. And bookmark. Or download, you never know how long things are going to stay up or available these days. Here are some excerpts:

Dozens of books have been written in recent years by liberal theologians in an attempt to demonstrate that homosexuality, homosexual relationships, and homosexual marriage are fully consistent with Biblical Christianity. I have grown weary of reading that King David was a homosexual because he loved Jonathan, or that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of a lack of hospitality, or – my personal favorite – that the Bible never actually addresses the issue of homosexual behavior.

I would suggest that the fact that some of such foolishness comes from persons who once professed to be Christians is yet further evidence of the fact that the nation – indeed the world – is well along in the Biblically-foretold age of apostasy. During such a period, we are warned about the prevalence of false teachers. How can we tell whether a teacher is false? Who can we rely on? But for the fact that we have the Word of God, we would be adrift on such matters.

The Book of Romans gives us a description of the end-times society when Jesus will return and God will pour out His wrath, beginning with Chapter 1: “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise they became fools.” I have seen men with degrees, piled on top of degrees that get up and say how you and I evolved from monkeys. Maybe they did, but I sure didn’t! Some of the greatest intellectual minds of the universe talk about how we evolved from a single cell protoplasmic blob! That is beyond the comprehension of the mind. If you saw a Boeing 747 flying across the sky, wouldn’t you assume that because it could fly, it can carry people, its seats are placed in rows, and that it can do all the things it can do; wouldn’t you assume that somebody thought it up, and somebody put it together? Certainly you would not conclude that it was the accidental product of a tornado blowing through a junkyard. Yet, the same mind can look in the sky and see a bird fly by and say, “product of chance.”

Charles Mahoney
Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, exhibited 1936

Please go to the link to read more. It might help coalesce your thoughts or give you biblical talking points on this important end time issue.

The Lord is not slow…the rapture will happen

On one of my older posts, I received yet another comment telling me that I am delusional. Why? Because I believe the Lord’s word that He will return for His bride in the rapture and then render wrath onto the sinning world.

“Aw, they’ve been saying that since the first Christians!” the commenter said. I agree. The Lord told us early on that He will return and take us to where He is. He is preparing a place for us and He will bring us there in His timing.

The passage in 2 Peter 3:1-10 says,

The Day of the Lord Will Come

1This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

8But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,a not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

And it’s true, they are saying it. What is also true is that we still believe it. Our Lord does not lie. No lie can pass His lips.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible explains about the mockers–

Now therefore let us see how this point stands, both on the believer’s part and on the part of these seducers: the believer not only desires that he may come, but, having a promise that he will come, a promise that he himself has made and often repeated, a promise received and reported by faithful witnesses, and left upon sure record, he is also firmly and fully persuaded that he will come:

on the other hand, these seducers, because they wish he never may, therefore do all that in them lies to cheat themselves and others into a persuasion that he will never come. If they cannot deny that there is a promise, yet they will laugh at that very promise, which argues much higher degrees of infidelity and contempt: Where is the promise, say they, of his coming?

 III. We are also forewarned of the method of their reasoning, for while they laugh they will pretend to argue too. To this purpose they add that since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation, v. 4. This is a subtle, though not a solid way of reasoning; it is apt to make impressions upon weak minds, and especially upon wicked hearts. Because sentence against them is not speedily executed, therefore they flatter themselves that it never will, whereupon their hearts are fully set in them to do evil (Eccl. 8:11);

thus they act themselves, and thus they would persuade others to act; so here, say they, “The fathers have fallen asleep, those are all dead to whom the promise was made, and it was never made good in their time, and there is no likelihood that it ever will be in any time; why should we trouble ourselves about it? If there had been any truth or certainty in the promise you speak of, we should surely have seen somewhat of it before this time, some signs of his coming, some preparatory steps in order to it; whereas we find to this very day all things continue as they were, without any change, even from the beginning of the creation.Since the world has undergone no changes in the course of so many thousand years, why should we affright ourselves as if it were to have an end?”

Thus do these scoffers argue. Because they see no changes, therefore they fear not God, Ps. 55:19. They neither fear him nor his judgments; what he never has done they would conclude he never can do or never will.

IV. Here is the falsehood of their argument detected. Whereas they confidently had said there had not been any change from the beginning of the creation, the apostle puts us in remembrance of a change already past, which, in a manner, equals that which we are called to expect and look for, which was the drowning of the world in the days of Noah. This these scoffers had overlooked; they took no notice of it. Though they might have known it, and ought to have known it, yet this they willingly are ignorant of (v. 5), they choose to pass it over in silence, as if they had never heard or known any thing of it; if they knew it, they did not like to retain it in their knowledge; they did not receive this truth in the love of it, neither did they care to own it.

Note, It is hard to persuade men to believe what they are not willing to find true; they are ignorant, in many cases, because they are willing to be ignorant, and they do not know because they do not care to know. But let not sinners think that such ignorance as this will be admitted as an excuse for whatever sin it may betray them into.

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2439). Peabody: Hendrickson.

The Lord will return for His Bride. The Lord has made me ready by His grace. Since then I seek to live a holy life among the priesthood of believers and as a witness to the very ones who scoff at His soon return. So the question is, are you ready?

EPrata photo, with Pixlr post processing