Posted in end of days. prophecy, israel, Obama, peace and security

When they are saying peace and security…

While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3)

Israel has never had peace or security. Not for any real length of time. Their constant falling away-repent-falling away cycle prevents that. their penchant for making alliances with hostile nations in vain hopes of forestalling attacks also is a sad pattern. (Ancient Assyria, Egypt, Cush … 2 Chronicles 18:1-2, Isaiah 31:1, Isaiah 20:5)

Praying for the peace of Israel as Psalm 122:6 says really means as Gill’s Exposition says, a future peace in the Millennium:

“but for the spiritual and heavenly Jerusalem, the church of God, and for the peace of it; that Christ, the Man, the Peace, the Peacemaker, who then was not come, might come; that the members of it might enjoy spiritual peace in their son is, and might have peace one with another, and be at peace with their enemies; and enjoy the abundance of peace and prosperity, which will be in the latter day;”

It will be then and only then Jerusalem has peace. That doesn’t stop Israel from seeking it though. Nor does it stop false friends from pressuring it upon Israel, either. The Israel Daily newspaper Haaretz this morning has a front page dedicated to peace. An opinion article from Obama is prominently placed there. Here is a photo of today’s front page from Haaretz:

In an exclusive article for Haaretz’s Israel Conference on Peace, Barack Obama says that the only solution is a democratic, Jewish state living side-by-side in peace and security with a viable, independent Palestinian state.

Peace talks have once again stalled out. Each President has tried to resolve the issues in the Middle East ever since Israel was created as a nation in 1948. Each president has failed. Only the antichrist will be able to [seemingly] resolve the conflict there but he will prove to be a betrayer and tear up the peace treaty he negotiates halfway through the covenant’s time period and turn around and persecute Israel to their almost bloody death. This is part of God’s plan.

This latest round of peace talks has ended with a sputter. Secretary of State Kerry failed to make headway. Tablet Magazine actually claims that America is the Arsonist in the Middle East, and that it was “Kerry’s failed peace negotiations set off the spiral of violence between Israel and the Palestinians.” Apparently someone has to blame someone.

Obama is pushing the issue once again after it has languished on the back burner these long months. A deadline set by Kerry 9-months ago has approached and it is time to renew attention to the issue. Hamas isn’t unaware either and has ramped up rocket fire in this last week. Joel C. Rosenberg writes today,

Escalation: 130 rockets fired at Israel since midnight. IDF calls up 40,000 reservists for possible ground operation in Gaza

(Washington, D.C.) — My heart is breaking over the escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians as the situation goes from bad to worse, hour by hour.

  • In recent days, Palestinian extremists kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teenage boys.
  • Then Jewish extremists kidnapped and murdered an Arab teenage boy, apparently burning him alive.
  • Meanwhile, Palestinian extremists in Gaza began firing rockets at Jewish and Arab civilians in southern Israel.
  • More than 220 rockets have been fired at Israel since July 1st. And just since midnight, 130 rockets were fired at Israel.
  • Israel’s “Iron Dome” system is shooting down many of them.
  • The Israeli Air Force is striking Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government authorized “Operative Protective Edge” to ratchet up attacks on the terrorists in Gaza. The IDF is calling up 40,000 reservists for a possible massive ground invasion of Gaza.

I know the prophecy in Thessalonians is trotted out any time anyone ever says “peace and security”. The verse is actually pointing to the Day of the Lord, AKA the Time of Jacob’s Trouble AKA The Tribulation. However, it does do for us to keep the prophecy in mind as we watch unparalleled events in the Middle East occur. ISIS is advancing, a caliphate has been established, rocket fire is barraging Israel, the deadline for the peace talks is renewing pressure on everyone involved, and let’s not forget the violence in northern Africa and central Africa. Several of those nations will take part in the Psalm 83 war.

Jordan King: ‘We fear spread of Iraq chaos’
Floodgates open as ISIS takes over swaths of both Syria and Iraq
C. African Republic church attacks leaves 17 dead
Mild quake shakes Lebanon, western Syria and northern Israel
63 Women Escape Extremist Abductors in Nigeria
South Sudan Official Orders Curfew Violators to be Shot Dead

We won’t know the day or hour, or even whether the Day of the Lord is approaching very near, but we can see that the world is in turmoil and in need of its Savior once again. He will return in wrath next time though. Before there is peace on earth there will be wrath.

As for us Christians, John MacArthur reminds us,

You say, “Will we be there at the day of the Lord?” No. We’ll be taken out before the day of the Lord. Now as you know through all the years it has been my conviction to teach you that we are taken out before that final seventieth week, that final seven-year period begins. The great promise is that we have not been appointed unto wrath. We have been appointed unto glory. If you know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, the future you look for is all glorious. If you don’t know Him, the future you look forward to is all terrifying. It is no insignificant thing that the whole world has its eyes on the Middle East, that’s where all the consummation of God’s history will take place. It could be in this generation, it could be soon. We must be ready. If you know Christ, you’ll be taken before it hits. If you don’t, you’ll be destroyed when it comes.

Posted in end time, peace and security, rapture

Middle East peace: "both states given assurances of peace, security and mutual recognition."

The Jerusalem Post reports today:

Kerry: Israel, Palestinians agree to hold sustained talks on all issues
The Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will meet again within two weeks in either Israel or the Palestinian territories to continue peace talks, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday following the initial round of talks in Washington. Kerry, speaking with the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators at his side, declared that the parties in the historic conflict had agreed to hold “sustained, continuous and substantive” conversations on all issues requiring resolution for a final peace agreement. Kerry said the parties had agreed that the only solution the conflict is the implementation of a two-state solution, with both states given assurances of peace, security and mutual recognition.

 U.S. gave Israel, Palestinians letters of assurance in order to renew talks 
Content of letters remains classified, yet probably addresses the issues of borders and refugees; Kerry says objective of talks is to reach a final-status agreement within nine months.

“The United States administration gave the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams on Tuesday letters of assurance which outlined the U.S. position vis-à-vis the peace talks, their conduct and their goals, in order to facilitate the renewal of peace talks, a senior Israeli official said.  The content of the letters remains classified, yet it likely addresses the issues of borders and refugees. Although disagreement remains over some technical details, the parties reached consensus over a number of issues, which Kerry announced at the press conference. In addition to the nine-month timetable with its goal of a final status agreement, Kerry said: “The parties have agreed to remain engaged in sustained, continuous and substantive negotiations on the core issues, and they will meet within the next two weeks in either Israel or the Palestinian territories in order to begin the process of formal negotiation.

The Great Gathering Up (rapture) is described in 1 Thessalonians. The Thessalonians were concerned because they thought the rapture was going to take place very soon, in their lifetimes, yet some of them had died already. The living brothers got worried. Were their dead fellow believers going to miss it? Paul wrote back. That letter is the Thessalonians letter 1 and 2. The reason that Paul was writing to the Thessalonians was to reassure them that the friends and relatives who had died were not going to miss the rapture. Paul began explaining it this way:

The Coming of the Lord
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 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. 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 4:13-18).

You notice Paul said ‘the coming of the Lord’ and uses the pronoun “we”. This passage describes the believing dead who are reunited with their by-then glorified bodies, and the living faithful who will also be instantly transformed into glorified bodies. We will be ‘caught up’ to meet Jesus in the air. In a great glory train He will lead us all home. It all happens very fast in the blink of an eye. (1 Corinthians 15:52).

By the way, the rapture is also mentioned in John 14:1-3: “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 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.”

The 1st Thessalonians chapter ends with verse 18. Paul continues in chapter 5.

The Day of the Lord
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4).

You notice now Paul is now talking about them. He doesn’t even go into the Day of the LORD (judgment) because that was well covered in the Old Testament. Paul acknowledges this by saying to them ‘you know full well…’. It was the rapture they had a hard time understanding. They were confused about the friends who had died and how it was all going to work. How was it going to fit into the new scheme of things? It was a newly revealed concept to all believers. (1 Corinthians 15:51). It was the rapture they had a question about. So now Paul goes on to reference the Judgment Day, AKA The Day of the LORD, but not to explain it, because they already knew.

Even today, two thousand years later it is a comfort to think about the blessed moment when we will be reunited with our Lord. We shall be with Him evermore from that moment, never out of His presence and always in His glory and purity and holiness. Wow. That IS a comfort.

So, in chapter 5:1, Paul begins by saying, “Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you.” That phrase ‘now concerning’ is a Greek way of changing the subject. It was a linguistic marker, meaning ‘pay attention, new subject.’ And Paul does launch into a new subject, the Judgment of the Lord also known as the Tribulation. He is not talking of the rapture any more, but of the wrath of God leveled on the remaining unbelieving world.

 So when we read of people saying “peace and security” it is in fact a harbinger of the rapture, because the phrase is related to those who are in the Tribulation. And since the rapture precedes the trib, how much closer is the great gathering together with Christ? But the phrase “when they are saying peace and security” it does not directly relate to the rapture. When they are saying peace and security destruction comes. We are not appointed to destruction, but of homecoming. Just please be aware that 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 is about us in the rapture and 1 Thessalonians 5 is about them in wrath and destruction- and that is where the phrase “peace and safety” is (or “peace and security” as stated in other translations).

“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief;” (1 Thessalonians 5:4)

We don’t even need to seek a sign or know when, exactly. It will happen suddenly and then we will be gone. We don’t even need to worry about the wrath of the Lord, we are not appointed to it. (1 Thess 5:9). That Day will not overtake us. We are the “we” Paul wrote about in chapter 4, not the “them” in wrath of chapter 5.

I think the rapture will be soon. Paul thought it would be soon. I believe the point is to understand eschatology so it will give us an urgency to holy living and witnessing. And to live as if each moment on earth will be the last moment before rapture- or death. We live in expectation of the great reunion either of spirit through death or the body if we are alive and raptured. Yes, they are saying peace and safety. Yes, they are talking about confirming a covenant. Damascus is being destroyed and Egypt is falling and a whole host of other things are happening that align with the way Jesus said things will look like in the last days.

Since 2006, just 18 months after I was saved I began to gravitate to prophetic study. We live in a state of expectation without setting dates and times, but then again, we know He is coming soon! We know this. It is truer today than it was in Paul’s time when Paul said, so therefore He is coming sooner than soon!

As always, keep your eye on Israel. She is the umbiculus urbis, the omphalos, belly button of the world- all the events taking place there should concern us greatly. We should be watching with a laser focus and that should energize us to live as holy people.

“‘Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 20:7). Consecrate means to set apart or to set aside. Set yourselves apart for holy works. Always ask yourself, is this the thing I want to be doing the moment I hear His trumpet and meet Jesus? Is this the thing I want to be saying the second I hear the trumpet and am caught up? Be holy. He is coming soon.

Posted in borders, european union, israel, peace and security

(UPDATED) EU Redraws Israel Borders to 1949 Lines

Update at bottom.

The title above is from Israel National News this evening. The recent re-attention to Israel by the US in its attempts to re-start the peace talks, Israel’s hints to engage in a military option very soon regarding Iran, and this bold and highly non-biblical, non-God approved move to re-draw Israel’s lines heats the prophetic landscape up to a very prophetic degree.

For the first time, the EU formally forbids trade with bodies located beyond 1949 Armistice lines, including Golan

“The European Union has issued orders forbidding its member states from cooperating, transferring funds, giving scholarships or research grants to bodies in Judea and Samaria, eastern Jerusalem , and even the Golan Heights, Haaretz wrote Tuesday. The new instruction, promulgated by the European Commission, which is the operative arm of the EU, sets parameters for cooperation between the EU and its members states, on the one hand, and Israeli governmental and private elements on the other. The instructions are for the years 2014 – 2020 and will go into force on Friday, July 18. The decision also states that any future agreement signed with Israel must include a section that says the “settlements” are not part of sovereign Israel and therefore not included in the agreement. A senior source in the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the new EU decision is dramatic, and can be called “a true earthquake.”

I agree, it is huge.

How dare they say what Israel’s sovereign borders are! Israel is its own nation, and sets its own borders. Going even higher, the LORD takes a personal and intimate interest in His nation and His Land.

“Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)

Israel responded:

Israel Condemns EU Move to Limit Funds Beyond 1967 Border
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would accept “no external dictates” on its borders after a European Union decision to restrict subsidies to organizations operating beyond its 1967 borders. “I would expect that anyone for whom stability and peace in the region is really important to find time to discuss this issue after resolving more urgent problems such as the civil war in Syria and Iran’s race to achieve nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said in a text message.”

“The European Commission, the union’s executive arm, said it will soon publish “guidelines” making good on a December pledge to deny EU funding to Israeli organizations in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights. “All Israeli entities whose place of establishment is within the green line will be considered eligible,” EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told reporters in Brussels today. The green line refers to Israel’s pre-1967 borders. The guidelines will cover central EU funding and won’t affect contracts between individual European governments and Israel, Kocijancic said. She said the result could be funding restrictions in “a very small number of cases.”

‘Disconnected Europe’

“Israeli captured the three areas during the 1967 Middle East War with its Arab neighbors. It has since withdrawn troops and evacuated settlements in Gaza and annexed the Golan in a move that has not been recognized internationally. Israel says the fate of settlements in the West Bank must be resolved in peace negotiations.”

“The EU decision shows “once again how disconnected Europe is, and why it can’t play a real partnership role in negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinians, Minister of Regional Development Silvan Shalom said today on Army Radio. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, welcomed what she called a “significant move.” “The EU has moved from the level of statements, declarations and denunciations to effective policy decisions and concrete steps which constitute a qualitative shift that will have positive impact on the chances of peace,” she said. The decision comes before a visit to the region this week by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is trying to revive peace talks that have been suspended since 2010.”


Isolating Israel…it’s prophesied. Though the fulfillment will occur at Armageddon, the unbroken line of prophetic history hurtling us down the timeline to that moment is speeding ever closer.

“The burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: “Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. “On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it.” (Zechariah 12:1-3)

Netanyahu’s quote about stability and peace… yes…it’s all about peace and security.

“While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:3)



War drums beating again. We’ve had a little ‘time off’ from the near misses, brinksmanship and vitriolic rhetoric, but now it’s back. This time with action, not just words. It is widely believed that Israel is behind the strike on Syria’s Russian-anti ship missiles

U.S. Officials: Israel Behind Recent Syria Airstrike
“A series of explosions last week at a critical Syrian port was the result of airstrikes by Israeli warplanes, multiple U.S. officials told CNN on Friday. Regional media widely reported the predawn explosions at Latakia on July 5, but no one had officially claimed responsibility. Three U.S. officials told CNN the target of the airstrikes were Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles that Israel believes posed a threat to its naval forces. The officials declined to be named because of the sensitive nature of the information. So far, the Israeli government has also declined to comment to CNN. The Syrian rebels said on Tuesday that “foreign forces” had destroyed advanced Russian anti-ship missiles in Latakia, hinting that Israel may have been behind the attack.”

But then later the US said for sure that Israel did the deed.

Russia did not take that lightly, or even lying down. “coincidentally” Russia just ordered 160,000 troops to combat readiness in a “surprise drill” and said to be ready by July 13.

‘Russia stages large-scale military drills’
“Russia has staged large-scale military exercises in the country’s Eastern military district aimed at enhancing the defense capabilities of its armed forces, Defense Ministry says. The drills, which are the largest surprise check of combat readiness of the Russian military in the post-Soviet period, started on Saturday. The surprise training exercise involves over 80,000 troops, some 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 aircraft and helicopters 70 warships and will continue until July 20. “The main goal of the drills is to check the readiness of units to carry out their missions, and to assess the quality of their training and technical preparedness,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement. On Friday, during a meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu Russian, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an unexpected military drill, urging all forces to enter a state of full combat readiness on the night of July 13.”

Remember, there is a prophecy regarding a yet-unfulfilled battle of Psalm 83 involving a surprise attack on Israel by all of Israel’s abutting neighbors (which Israel wins, claiming the lands). There is also prophesied a surprise attack led by Russia along with Turkey and Israel’s further neighbors that is also yet unfulfilled (Ezekiel 38-39). Both of those are widely believed to be end of last days prophecies or prophecies to be fulfilled during the Tribulation. No one is quite sure of the order, as in which comes first or maybe they are nearly simultaneous, but many believe that Psalm 83 would be fulfilled first because Israel is said to be dwelling in the center of the Land in Ezekiel 37:12 and had accumulated much goods. Israel is prophesied to in the Psalm 83 battle and it is supposed that she spreads out and occupies her abutting, by then defeated neighbors. None of these neighbors make another murmur, and are not listed in the Gog-Magog coalition, so it seems that they would be set aside or nullified first. Many believe that a defeat in Psalm 83 does the trick.

Isaiah 17:1 and onward prophesies the complete destruction of Damascus, Syria and its environs. This also has never been fulfilled.

“On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot in the midst of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves. And they shall devour to the right and to the left all the surrounding peoples, while Jerusalem shall again be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:6)

Posted in end time, missile, north korea, peace and security, prophecy, south korea

North Korea Loads 2 Missiles Onto Launchers, tells UK to consider evacuating ambassadors from Pyongyang

Here is the latest from Steve Herman on the Korean peninsula, reporting for Voice of America. VOA material is in the public domain.

Report: North Korea Loads 2 Missiles Onto Mobile Launchers
“South Korea’s military is stepping up preparations for anticipated missile launches by North Korea. Meanwhile, the Cabinet minister in Seoul in charge of North-South relations says it is up to Pyongyang to keep in operation the only joint project of the two Koreas.South Korea has dispatched two of its warships, equipped with advanced missile tracking radar, amid rising concern North Korea could soon conduct provocative missile launches.One ship has been placed off the west coast of the Korean peninsula, the other is monitoring the east coast. South Korea’s semi-official news agency, Yonhap – quoting what is described as a top government official – reports North Korea has now placed a second intermediate-range missile on a mobile launcher. The Ministry of National Defense in Seoul on Thursday confirmed the movement of one missile. The Yonhap report says both missiles have now been hidden in a military facility near the east coast.”

Above, North Koreans attend a rally against the United States and South Korea in Nampo, North Korea, April 3, 2013. Reuters via VOA.

“They want to scare the world well enough so that after the missile test or nuclear test when we decide to convene and pass another round of sanctions against them, another round of condemnation, we would think twice, do we really want to bring the escalation by another notch up or not,” said Mansourov. South Korean officials and independent defense analysts speculate Pyongyang may time missile launches to coincide with an April 15 national holiday. That is when North Korea celebrates “The Day of the Sun” to commemorate the birth of its late founder, Kim Il Sung. At the only joint project involving the two Koreas, the Kaesong industrial complex, operations were suspended Friday, which is a national holiday in North Korea. On the two previous days, the North did not allow any cargo trucks or South Korean citizens to enter. The vehicles and the managers of numerous small factories making household goods were not given permits required to cross the border.”

End VOA Report. There is more at the link. Next, in the UK Telegraph we read,

North Korea tells Britain to consider evacuating Pyongyang embassy 
“We can confirm that the British Embassy in Pyongyang received a communication from the North Korean government this morning,” said a spokesman for the Foreign Office. “It said that the North Korean government would be unable to guarantee the safety of embassies and international organisations in the country in the event of conflict from April 10,” he added.”

In the Telegraph article above, the UK spokesman said that Russia also said it had received the same notice. Though we understand that North Korea blusters annually every spring, this time seems different.  As the official is quoted in the Telegraph article, “Unfortunately, the situation (on the Korean peninsula) is not developing in the way that we would like.”

Amen to that.

The world is certainly paying attention. In separate Voice of America tweets (@W7VOA) today, ‘Australian Prime Min. Gillard tells Pres. Park her nation fully supports efforts to cope with North Korean threats and Australia’s heart is with South Korea’ and ‘The Philippines foreign minister tells reporters his country considering offering U.S. use of military bases there if North Korea attacks.’

I don’t know if this is accurate, being from a lay-person in Florida on Twitter, but it seems so, “Thank you to our troops supporting the United Nations Command (S.Korea). Army: 19,755 Navy: 274 Air Force: 8,815 Marines: 242.”

We have focused our attention on our troops in the Arabian deserts so long that we also need to

remember the troops in the Asian sphere; Hawaii, Japan, Guam, South Korea.

However, if the situation is not moving in the direction the officials would like, is it moving in the direction as Jesus would like? Of course. Jesus said that there would be wars and rumors of wars. (Matthew 24:6). He goes on in the first part of verse 24:7 to say, “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Photo caption, Juche Tower Monument to the philosophy of Juche = self-reliance. Wikipedia).

His dialog in Matthew 24 with the Disciples is a Tribulation discussion. Jesus is speaking to them about what will happen to the Jewish people and the world in the future “Time of Jacob’s Trouble.” (Jeremiah 30:7). There will be wars because in Revelation 6:4 we read that peace will be taken from the earth and to the rider of the war horse “he was given a great sword.”

If the rider is to take peace from the earth, peace must have existed upon it prior. This is the peace and safety spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 5:3, that “While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” It is the peace spoken of in Ezekiel 38:8b before the Gog-Magog alliance attacks Israel, “Its people were brought out from the peoples and now dwell securely, all of them.”

In Barnes Notes, we read of the Revelation verse where peace is taken from the earth by the rider on the red horse,

The characteristics of the period referred to by this are:

(a) that peace and tranquility existed before;
(b) that such peace and tranquility were now taken away, and were succeeded by confusion and bloodshed; and,
(c) that the particular form of that confusion was civil discord, producing mutual slaughter: “that they should kill one another.”
(d) The presentation of a sword: and there was given unto him a great sword. As an emblem of what he was to do, or of the period that was referred to by the opening of the seal.
The sword is an emblem of war, of slaughter, of authority Romans 13:4, and is used here as signifying that that period would be characterized by carnage.

I’m interested in the ‘great sword’. Sword is a symbol of war in the bible. This time it is a great sword. In the Greek great means ‘great, in the widest sense.’ A great war tool that brings great carnage…could it be thermo-nuclear? Very likely. But that is then. What about now?

Wars and rumors of wars are nothing new in the Age of Grace. For the past 2000 years, there have been wars and rumors of wars. However the context of these rumors and threats from North Korea if placed within the context of everything else happening, makes the situation more closely aligned, in my opinion, to the coming prophecies in Matthew and Revelation (And Zechariah 10).

All the officials seem to believe that though North Korea’s bluster is annual, this time is different. And that difference is causing them to make troop deployment and war materiel movements based on their collective assessment of the Korean situation being of a more threatening color than previously. If we look at Matthew 24 and Revelation 6 and 1 Thessalonians 5, for there to be such worldwide peace, perhaps it is brought on by war. Perhaps something occurs first to shake the world into shock and push them over the edge into wanting peace at all or any cost. Perhaps this is that moment.

Perhaps not.

But we still watch, wait, and look up for our Redemption.

After relating that there would be wars and rumors of wars, Jesus went on to say, “See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

How much less should we be alarmed given that we are dwelling in the Age of Grace? Jesus advised the disciples not to be alarmed, and that would be taking place after terrible wars that thrust Israel into the clamor for peace we discussed above, after the rapture, after mystifying cosmic incidents, massive storms… seems pretty alarming! But don’t be alarmed in that context is “Don’t be scared because it is all unfolding exactly as I wish. Have no fear, I am in control.”

We live in a beautiful time. It is a time of Jesus. We read in the bible of the heroes, Moses, Jeremiah, Elijah, David, Daniel, Rahab, Jael…but what of the decades and centuries in between where multitudes of Israelites just lived their lives in regularity an anonymity? There are countless men and women who lived, worshiped the LORD and died, of whom we know nothing. Yet Jesus put us here, now, at a time such as this, when His mightiest works will be shown, prophecies unfold and the rapture occur. We are His ambassadors for that time when we can call people to repentance, share the Gospel, and be His lights in the darkest time as yet.

How great is that? Jesus said how great it is to serve Him:

“If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:26).

Posted in false prophets, false teachers, peace and security, tribulation

While they are saying peace and security

Here is some Middle East news. Things are deteriorating so rapidly over there it is breathtaking.

1. Jordan’s King Abdullah dissolves Parliament, calls early elections
“The royal decree follows Abdullah II’s pledge to bring in political reforms aimed at avoiding anti-government unrest in the wake of the Arab Spring. Jordanians have been pressing for a greater say in how their country is run and demanding corruption be tackled. Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood said in July its political party, the Islamic Action Front, would boycott the polls. The group has called for the monarch’s powers to be curtailed, and for an overhaul of the parliamentary system in which the prime minister is appointed by the king rather than elected. It has said it would boycott polls until such measures were introduced.”

The King may look stable but no situation in the ME is stable right now. This editorial in the UK Guardian asks, “Is Jordan heading for chaos?” The answer is yes. Yes it is. No nation will survive the chaos that is coming, and the chaos will begin in and around Israel.

Iran is not stable, either. Iran’s rial currency plunges in value, causing riots.

2. Iran’s currency plunges, protests in streets, clashes with police
“DUBAI (Reuters) – Riot police clashed with demonstrators and arrested money changers in Tehran on Wednesday in disturbances over the collapse of the Iranian currency, which has lost 40 percent of its value against the dollar in a week, witnesses said.”

Lost 40%!!!??? Imagine if the dollar had lost 40% of its value in one week!

This next one merits an uh-oh.

3. Another mortar has fallen into Turkish territory, and Turkey is even more incensed now. Turkey is a member of NATO. NATO nations are allied by treaty and must come to each other’s defense if attacked. The Lebanon Daily Star reports this afternoon, “Israel says Syrian mortar strike was attack on NATO. Says attack on one NATO member attack on all

“PARIS: Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor said on Thursday a deadly Syrian mortar strike on a Turkish town had to be considered an attack on a member of the NATO alliance. Israel is technically at war with Damascus and occupies the Golan Heights that it seized in the 1967 war and later annexed, but it has generally taken a cautious line on the uprising in its Arab neighbour. “One has to say that according to the NATO treaty, it was an attack on a member of NATO, and that means France,” Meridor told reporters during a visit to Paris, referring to France’s membership of NATO. Syria and Israel have not exchanged fire in three decades, and a parliamentary briefing in July by the Israeli armed forces chief about the risk of “uncontrollable deterioration” in Syria were interpreted by local media as a caution against opening a new fighting front with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.”

3a. The UN scrambles to defuse Syria-Turkey tensions
“UNITED NATIONS – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was “alarmed by escalating tensions” between Syria and Turkey and warned that the risk of the 18-month-long Syrian conflict embroiling the entire region was growing, his spokesman said on Thursday. “The Secretary-General is alarmed by escalating tensions along the Syrian-Turkish border,” Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters. “As the situation inside Syria deteriorates yet further … the risks of regional conflict and the threat to international peace and security are also increasing.”

Speaking of peace and security, there is this headline from today too:

Turkey seeks ‘peace and security,’ not war with Syria

And the UN speeches last week were full of references to peace and security.

“The world is in need of a new order of trustworthy leaders offering peace and lasting security.” Iran’s President Ahmadinejad, UN Speech, 9/2012

“Jordan’s King Abdullah said in his region of the Middle East, new opportunities are needed, especially for youth, to “fill the universal desire and basic human right to live in freedom, dignity and peace. … Abdullah also spoke of the Palestinians’ need for dignity and safety. UN Speech, 9/2012

Prophecy says, “While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

While they are saying…

Now it should be noted that the context of the verse is of the Day of the LORD, which means the Tribulation leading up to the actual moment of Jesus’s reappearance, coming in glory. But the problem of false prophets who tout peace around the next corner is as old as the hills. God told Jeremiah to say,

“They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:14)

The wicked false prophets were telling the people that peace was coming, and that no trouble was on the horizon. They dressed the bleeding wound lightly. That wound was the Israelites’ separation from God. They were faithless, and the false prophets were capitalizing on their penchant for listening to the easy cure rather than the hard one. There are always people eager to hear an easy message being preached, and in that day, ‘peace, peace’ was the most favored one.

It is like that today, with so many false prophets and false teachers. The message most favored in the American church these days is “prosperity, prosperity.” The false ones preach an easy message to tickle the ears, and they find many willing listeners to heap up to themselves as eager followers to their false message. (2 Tim 4:3).

In the Tribulation, though there will be catastrophic wars, destructive natural disasters, and an economy and government gone wild, the false prophesiers will be saying “peace and safety is just around the corner!” As always, there will be eager people willing to listen to the false message and who refuse the hard cure: humble repentance.

In this day, just prior to the coming Tribulation, they are saying “peace and security!” with increasing fervor. (Imagine how many people will be saying it then, and how often, if it is so frequent now!)

The verse right before the one in Jeremiah 6 where they were saying “peace, peace”, is this. I believe it to be apt today. It closes out chapter 5:

“An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?” (Jeremiah 5:30-31).

Posted in peace and security, prophecy

While they are saying peace and safety

Though there are things we can’t know, there are things we do know with unalterable confidence:

 “When people say, “There is peace and security,” destruction will strike them as suddenly as labor pains come to a pregnant woman, and they will not be able to escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

We know that there is no peace and safety outside of Jesus.

Of this verse, note several things. First, no matter what translation you look at, the verse invariably says ‘when they are saying/while they are saying.’ The verse does not state ‘after they say’.

Additionally, the translations invariably use the phrase ‘peace and safety/peace and security’, which is what they are saying these days! The world is now seeking the increasingly elusive quality of peace and security.

The word security is from the Greek compound, meaning not and totter. The notion behind the word is they will be looking for a ‘firmness that equates to security.’ There is nothing on the earth that offers a foundational firmness that equates to security. There is no treaty, no house, no nation, no leader, no idea, no government that will offer the security that God does. The only security there is, is God.

That is why the drive to find peace and security ratchets up at a frenzied pace, because as the world crumbles into not-peace (war) and not-safety (chaos), they look toward something, anything, that will provide security.

We know war does come. There is no peace. The Tribulation opens with a horseman riding on the waves of war, unleashing it upon the world. (Revelation 6:3-4). Damascus is destroyed, (Isaiah 17), The Middle East goes to war (Psalm 83), Iran attacks Israel (Ezekiel 38-39), and the rest of the world is drawn into war after war (Matthew 24:6).

Now here is an interesting verse: Jeremiah 8:10b-12. Jeremiah speaks of conditions of the Israelites that mirror ours today, “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the Lord.”

The priests and prophets spoke of superficial things, not getting to the heart of the matter, which was their sin and failure to repent of. We have that today, preachers refusing to speak of sin but instead treating the people with a bandage when what they need is a tourniquet. They dress the wound as if the people are not dying!

They speak of peace but there is no peace, none inside themselves with God and none outside themselves with each other. They are so seared with sin that they don’t even blush anymore. They have no shame at their deeds, and so, that important word “so,” meaning because of their failures before the Lord, they will be brought down and punished. As it was then, it will be again.