Poetry by Kay Cude
Kay Cude is a Texas poet. Used with permission
Poetry by Kay Cude
Kay Cude is a Texas poet. Used with permission
Click to enlarge. Poetry by Kay Cude. Used with permission.
By Elizabeth Prata*
This is a study of one of the LORD’S ‘Four Sore Judgments’, plague.
The LORD has “Four Sore Judgments” to which He sends at times upon the earth. In other translations they are called the “LORD’S Four Severe Judgments.” They’re mentioned in Ezekiel 14:21:
For thus says the Lord God: How much more when I send upon Jerusalem my four disastrous acts of judgment, sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast!
The four are Sword, Famine, Pestilence, and Beasts. Wesley’s notes says, “How much more – If they could not be able to keep off one of the four, how much less would they be able to keep off all four, when I commission them all to go at once.”
The Lord mentions three judgments together quite frequently, sword, famine, and pestilence. The judgment of beasts isn’t mentioned as much but usually when it is it’s with the other three, thus comprising the Lord’s Four Sore Judgments quartet.
If they fast, I will not hear their cry of despair. If they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. Rather, I will finish them off by sword, famine, and plague. (Jeremiah 14:12).
See how the siege ramps are mounted against the city to capture it. And by sword, famine, and plague, the city has been given into the hand of the Chaldeans who are fighting against it. (Jeremiah 32:24).
But I will spare a few of them from the sword, famine, and plague, so that they can tell of all their abominations among the nations to which they go. Then they will know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 12:16).
Three of His judgments are usually enough to perform His will upon the people, as seen here in Ezekiel 6:12,
The one who is far off will die by plague; the one who is near will fall by the sword; and the one who remains and is spared will die of famine. In this way I will exhaust my wrath on them.
Revelation 6:8 mentions the beasts as the added 4th:
And I looked, and there was a pale green horse. Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following after him. They were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill by the sword, by famine, by plague, and by the wild animals of the earth.
Plague and pestilence are interchangeable terms. In Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (pp. 1280–1281), we read:
PESTILENCE Devastating epidemic that OT writers understood to be sent by God (Exod. 9:15; Jer. 15:2; Hab. 3:5; Amos 4:10), sometimes by means of a destroying angel (2 Sam. 24:16; 1 Chron. 21:15). God sent pestilence as punishment for persistent unbelief (Num. 14:12) and failure to fulfill covenant obligations (Deut. 28:21) as well as to encourage repentance (Amos 4:10). God withheld pestilence from Egypt to allow for survivors to witness to His acts of liberation (Exod. 9:16). Earnest prayer averted pestilence (1 Kings 8:37); fasting and sacrifice without repentance did not (Jer. 14:12). Pestilence is often associated with war and siege conditions (Exod. 5:3; Lev. 26:25; Amos 4:10; Luke 21:11).
And this list of verses:
Plague or Pestilence, The
Inflicted by God. Eze. 14:19. Hab. 3:5.
One of God’s four sore judgments. Eze. 14:21.
Described as noisome. Psa. 91:3.
Israel threatened with, as a punishment for disobedience. Lev. 26:24, 25. Deu. 28:21.
Desolating effects of. Psa. 91:7. Jer. 16:6, 7. Amos 6:9, 10.
Equally fatal day and night. Psa. 91:5, 6.
Fatal to man and beast. Psa. 78:50. (marg.) Jer. 21:6.
The Egyptians. Exo. 12:29–30.
Israel for making golden calf. Exo. 32:35.
Israel for despising manna. Num. 11:33.
Israel for murmuring at destruction of Korah. Num. 16:46–50.
Israel for worshipping Baal-peor. Num. 25:18.
David’s subjects for his numbering the people. 2 Sam. 24:15.
Often broke out suddenly. Psa. 106:29.
Often followed war and famine. Jer. 27:13. Jer. 28:8. Jer. 29:17, 18.
Egypt often afflicted with. Jer. 42:17, with Amos 4:10.
Specially fatal in cities. Lev. 26:25. Jer. 21:6, 9.
Was attributed to a destroying angel. Exo. 12:23, with 2 Sam. 24:16.
The Jews sought deliverance from, by prayer. 1 Kin. 8:37, 38. 2 Chr. 20:9.
Predicted to happen before destruction of Jerusalem. Mat. 24:7. Luke 21:11.
God’s judgments upon the apostasy. Rev. 18:4, 8.
The diseased state of man’s heart. 1 Kin. 8:38.
Source: Torrey, R. A. (1897). The New Topical Text Book: A Scripture Text Book for the Use of Ministers, Teachers, and All Christian Workers
It is a very dread situation when all four are unleashed. If you read Revelation 6, you will see that the four are unleashed all at once, or in very rapid succession. Jesus called it the worst time on earth there ever has been or ever will be. (Matthew 24:21). A quarter of the world will die when the seal is unsealed and these four sore judgments are commissioned to go all at once:
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6:7-8).
Sword is war, and war brings famine. Wars and revolutions interrupt supply lines, empty grocery stores, and ruin agricultural land. War makes food scarce, which depletes the body and opens it to more diseases due to compromised immune systems. War brings famine in that way.
The third sore judgment of the four that the LORD had linked in Ezekiel 14 is Pestilence. Pestilence has been present on earth for centuries and is is forecast for the people who dwell on the earth during the Tribulation in the future. (Revelation 6:8, Luke 8:11). According to the Greek word used in Luke 21, loimos, pestilence is a plague or a disease. Diseases are usually considered plagues when they are widespread and contain a high mortality rate. The American Heritage Medical Dictionary defines pestilence as “A highly infectious, usually fatal, epidemic disease; a pestilence.”
We see in this article of the outbreak of Influenza as WWI was concluding:
From 1917 to 1920, the virus infected one-third of the Earth’s population, which at the time was about 500 million people. If the same ratio of infections were to happen today, it would be the equivalent of 2.5 billion. That would roughly be the equivalent today of every man, woman, and child in Africa, Europe, and North America becoming infected.
The LORD promises to abolish the four judgments from the land someday,
And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. (Hosea 2:18)
What a day that will be!
I can’t say definitively that the COVID-19 virus is a judgment from the LORD, because I don’t know the Lord’s mind. We see from scriptural history, however, that He does send plagues for various reasons, all of them negative.
He is the Light. He is shining in heaven, and in the faces of each of His sheep. Soon, His light will be seen not by faith but by sight. Praise Him for His love and His wrath, for He is HOLY.
*This essay was first published in July 2012 and was updated on 3/2020.
By Elizabeth Prata
The Time of Jacob’s Trouble as it is known (the Tribulation last 7 years) is about Israel. Israel is the hand on God’s prophetic clock. These things must come to pass as it is prophesied that Israel on that last day will stand alone with all her enemies around her.
<i>The word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves</i>.” (Zechariah 12:1-3).
Why? So that they turn to their Messiah, the One whom they rejected but now call upon!
Although there have been seiges and wars around Jerusalem before this time, we also know that this particular event is still future. The verse says “on that Day”, which is always a reference tot he Day of Judgment.
<i>For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.’ </i>Romans 11:25-26).
That verse tells us that Jews in Israel will be accepting Jesus as Messiah during the Tribulation. He will remove the partial hardening so that they will see the truth and be able to call out to Him. At long last, they will ask for Jesus!
<i>And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son</i>. (Zechariah 12:10).
Though rejected by His own people for 2000 years, on that Day He will pour out grace. Not mete it out, not dribble it out, but POUR it out upon those who refused to know Him but now clamor for His grace.
There are niche segments of study within the theological world that are more valued than others. Discernment gets a bad name, often rightly, because many discernment writers tend to drift toward a more “censorious spirit” as Gill said in his Exposition, stating, “Censorious persons rarely have the good will of their fellow creatures” in mind. However as the pendulum tends to swing, it makes a full arc and for a while discernment receives a poor reputation in total, even while there are good discernment writers and speakers out there (Justin Peters comes to mind) mixed in with the cranks and angry ones.
Though all Christians are called to discern between right and wrong, some have been given extra discernment as a gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:10). While on the one hand it’s not to be abused, it’s also not to be dismissed. (FMI on the gift of discerning of spirits, go here).
Eschatology is another area of study which also receives a poor reputation, in no thanks to many Christians themselves. Eschatology is the study of last things, AKA, prophecy, especially the period since the First Coming of Jesus Christ. Though it’s forbidden, some date-set and of course the end date at which their predictions pass with no fulfillment make a mockery of Christ’s name to unbelievers and a disappointment to the believers who were drawn in. Others who study eschatology badly simply perpetuate ridiculous theories concerning the end times. Others wrongly insist that eschatological subjects are biblically unknowable.
My blog covers three areas; discernment, prophecy and encouragement. I’ve seen the pendulum swing from side to side in each of these areas over the last 7 years of daily blogging here at The End Time. I have maintained from the beginning of my blogging life and my Christian witness in real life, that prophecy is important – because it was important to Jesus. Last days are spoken of in almost every book of the New Testament. Paul spent a good deal of time teaching it to the Thessalonians. Even as the babes in Christ that they were, Paul pulled out all the stops to ensure that these Thessalonian Christian babies knew the importance of living with a very present knowledge of Christ’s imminent return. Doing so gives us a heart for the lost, a fervency in life, and a strength to look forward beyond persecution or trouble. I refuse to marginalize prophecy as a legitimate area of study.
Here is Michael Holst stating the point of eschatology so much better than I ever did.
12 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE ANTI-CHRIST
by Matthew Holst • April 01, 2016
One of the Apostle Paul’s great preoccupations in both of his letters to the church at Thessalonica is the second coming of Christ. He was not only concerned with getting the doctrine “right” but also with the great pastoral implications of such teaching. In 1 Thessalonians he writes concerning the second coming of Christ in relation to the resurrection of the dead and the gathering together of saints who are alive at that time. In 2 Thessalonians he reinforces what he had already taught at Thessalonica (2 Thess. 2:5) concerning the dangers of the last days, specifically with regard to the great apostasy in the church induced by the revelation of the Man of Lawlessness.
Depending on your eschatological framework, your identification of the Man of Lawlessness and his activities may differ from what I wish to offer in this post. Coming to terms with the fact that there will indeed be a Man of Lawlessness plays an important role in the life of the believer as he or she eagerly waits for the day of Christ’s coming. In days of relative peace, we must ready ourselves and forthcoming generations–especially our own children–for the days of anarchic deception that will accompany the Man of Lawlessness.
We, in the Calvinistic and Reformed church, have not done justice to the Scripture’s teaching on this matter. We often rightly respond to the “Left Behind” industry with dismay and sarcasm. In so doing, however, we have, perhaps inadvertently failed to sufficiently and soberly grasp Scripture’s teaching on this period of history which will be instrumental in bringing about a catastrophic and irreversible apostasy. Here then, are twelve biblical observations about the Man of Lawlessness (MoL) to help prepare us for that day.
For the rest of Mr Horst’s essay, go to the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.
I’d like to reiterate that the Rapture (when Christ calls for His Bride in the air, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17) and the Second Coming (when His feet touch down at the Mount of Olives at the end of the Tribulation, Mt 16:27, Zechariah 14:4) are two separate events.
Dr Donald Gray Barnhouse preached a great 22 minute message called “Expecting God”. In it, he ties together prophecy from Matthew and Malachi, regarding the Tribulation and the removal of the Church prior to that Great Day of the Lord. He teaches this so clearly and concisely but so insightfully that I wanted to share.
One thing Dr Barnhouse said was that the coming of Jesus we are eagerly expecting will be in several stages. This is a notion that even recently in one particular comment stream on this blog, people have a hard time understanding. It is an obstacle which often makes them want to deny the literality of the coming 1000-Year Kingdom, AKA the Millennium Kingdom.
Just as Jesus came the first time over 33 years, Barnhouse said, His second coming will be 7 years plus 1000 years. (Tribulation plus Millennium).
I can only link to the sermon, it is not on Youtube to embed. When you go to this link, the screen shot below is what you’ll see. Just click on “Expecting God” and enjoy!
Poetry by Kay Cude
A friend on Facebook asked me a question. I like questions. They send me searching the Bible for a Spirit-led answer. I enjoy studying for a purpose. Here is the question:
How it can be that the bible states that most people will go to hell, yet in the tribulation, so many are saved they can’t be counted? Is the dynamic different in the Tribulation?
As for most people going to hell, yes that’s true. The Bible says that Jesus promised-
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13-14)
A specific answer as to how many will be saved during the wrath known as the Tribulation period can’t be given, because we cannot quantify “many” and “few”. We know for example, that many people died in the Flood (most actually). Few were on the narrow way, (only 8 people actually. Noah and his family). We know that most were sent to destruction when four of the five cities of the plain were destroyed. Admah, Zeboiim, Sodom and Gomorrah were thriving cities full of people, and most were sent to destruction when the angels came to destroy them with brimstone. (Genesis 19:13, 24-25; Deuteronomy 29:23). Only a few were saved (4 actually, and one of those turned out to be a false convert).
Over the course of world history we can’t know how many means few and how many means many. But we notice the fact that as soon as Jesus began teaching the hard truths, most left him. (John 6:60, 66). If we look at the scene in context as a microcosm of the world population, most people throughout history have either rejected Him outright or left the faith showing they never were of Him at all.
Therefore I believe the dynamic in the Tribulation is different. I base this on the verse in Matthew where Jesus said the Tribulation will be a unique time in world history. (Matthew 24:21,
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.
As for why so many would be saved, it is because the Tribulation is the fulfillment of the Bible’s promises. John MacArthur says in his sermon “Tribulation Saints part 1”,
“We have prayed that some day there would be a sweeping revival across the world that would bring millions of souls into the Kingdom. It has been the prayers of God’s people through the centuries that God would bring a great harvest of souls. And He will. One day it will come. It will be the greatest movement of God’s saving power in terms of sheer numbers that the world has ever known. Now that anticipation of that should not shock us because God longs to save…”
Revival is something we always pray for, but we don’t often realize that the revival that comes might look very different than the revival we envision in our head. Usually we envision a peaceful, joyful revival that sparks cultural change and personal peace. Yet the revival ahead in the Tribulation will be in a time of blood and war and grief and widespread martyrdom.
The reasons so many will be saved are found in Romans 11:26, that all Israel will be saved, and in Genesis 12, the fulfillment of Abraham’s covenant that all (pagan) nations through Abraham will be blessed.
If you’re interested, you can hear about salvation during the Tribulation explained more fully in John MacArthur’s sermon “Tribulation Saints” parts 1 and 2, expositing these verses from Revelation 7 under discussion.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10).
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:13-14)
Praise the Lord who saves!!
I’ll be passing along links and verses and essays during the day on The End Time Facebook page that in my opinion help us work thought last night’s Paris horror, to dampen fear of the same occurring in the US and pointing to Christ.
Here is last night’s essay, I pray it encourages you.
Everything is ALL about man’s relationship to God. He gives peace (reconciliation) that passes all understanding. Those without His peace perform war and horror and carnage. It is nothing new. It only upsets us because it is fresh.
Yet in Christ there are three words:
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens…. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. … ll this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:5, 11, 18-19).
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 2:12)
As Challies said, “as we were transfixed by the horror of the Paris terror attacks last night, what is there to do but mourn the depravity of man. Denny Burk asks us to consider praying Psalm 10.”
What a blessed relief the rapture is to look forward to!!!
In his tremendous sermon delivered last Sunday, July 19, Pastor John MacArthur demonstrated once again the qualities of a superlative shepherd.
After Memorial Day he planned to go on vacation as usual. He delivered a sermon to help his flock prepare for events that may occur while he was gone. He said in his good-bye for now sermon, “Hope for a Doomed Nation” that
So as we look at our nation – and I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few weeks when I’m not here. I’m just kind of preempting that a little bit by helping you to be able to think through whatever happens. I have to say at this point that there are many churches who aren’t helping.
One event was obviously what turned out to be the devastating Supreme Court decision to legalize homosexual marriage in all 50 states as the law of the land. We knew that the Supreme Court decision was coming out in early June, and we knew the decision would not likely swing to the moral side of the compass. So the Pastor was preparing his flock to receive bad news and retain their spiritual equilibrium (and ours too, if we listen to GTY). However, in addition to the SCOTUS decision, we also endured the Charleston church shooting, Chattanooga military base terrorist shooting, Louisiana movie theater shooting, and the Planned Parenthood videos. A lot happened while their senior pastor was away.
So much so, that the rapidity of our moral collapse as a nation is dizzying. The collapse is coming from many different directions. That’s partly why it’s dizzying, our heads are swinging from this side to that to detect all the incoming. So though Pastor MacArthur’s vacation was going to be the usual length, most of the summer, MacArthur had an opportunity to return and preach for one Sunday, July 19 before resuming this week. In the face of moral collapse, heightened danger physically and spiritually for every Christian in this country, and grief over the heinousness of the Planned Parenthood videos, how can a pastor best help his flock at such a time as this?
He opened that sermon, We Will Not Bow by saying,
A lot is happening at a very rapid rate. And with all the discussion that’s been going on, I’ve been kind of eager to get to you, and maybe help to give you a perspective.
His phrase, ‘get to you’, was filled with urgency and the word ‘to’ was emphasized. You’ll hear it if you listen. It reminded me of a mama on a playground suddenly hearing her child cry because he fell down, and her instinct is to rush over and scoop him up and protect. That was the attitude in his statement, a shepherd rushing over to protect the sheep, to calm them and give them food. This in itself is encouraging.
The sermon was encouraging as much as it was informative. Toward the conclusion of it, MacArthur focused on the relief that is in store.
No matter what is occurring in the world or the United States ultimately there will be an end. The end for believers will be blessed relief from the corruptions of our flesh, the battles against the temptations of the world, and the deliverance from the presence of satan and sin. It will all end and for us, the end will be a holy blessed relief. It all can be summed up in one word: Jesus. He gives the relief and His work on the cross actuated it.
Part of that relief will be the righteous satisfaction in seeing evildoers punished. The end for those who do not love Jesus is eternal conscious torment after having been judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. I know this isn’t a palatable statement for many to read, but once we are glorified at the rapture and the end of all things plays out, we will be part of Jesus in every way. He longs for making all things right and we will too. Sinners’ sins are so terrible against our Jesus that we will want to see Him enthroned, claiming His position as dispenser of justice.
But that same event brings us relief, relief. Verse 6, “It is only just for God to repay with affliction.” And implied, it is only just for God to give relief. He will give relief to His own. Affliction will end. Persecution will end. Suffering will end. That’s His promise. And it will end for those that belong to Him—those who have been afflicted by a God-rejecting, Christ-rejecting world.
And what does that relief look like? Verse 10, we’ll be glorified with Him on that day, “to be marveled at among all who have believed.” I love to think of that. We’re going to look at each other and say, “Whoa, did you turn out amazing! I never could have imagined.” I’ve told you before, I know there are many of you, that when we get to heaven, I won’t recognize. Perfection with obliterate any memory of what you used to be.
We’re just passing through, aren’t we? We’re just passing through. (John MacArthur “We Will Not Bow“)
I began this essay saying what a good shepherd John MacArthur is. I have several friends who had opportunity to hear the sermon live last Sunday. They both tweeted how blessed they were to hear it and be comforted along with many other solid believers. I write this essay because not everyone has such a blessing.
As the moral slide gains steam and hurtles down that downgrade, many discerning believers are left adrift inside their local congregations with unworthy shepherds. Some pastors are just plain unskilled at being able to comfort through scriptures. These pastors preach topically, usually three points of self-help sermons such as “Three Ways to Get Your Kids to Listen to You” or “Six Ways to Change Your Life”. Self-help is no help at all when trials come.
Other pastors are ignorant of eschatology or are unwilling to give it credence. Thus they avoid scriptures that refer to the end of all things such as the Matthew 24 or 1 Thessalonians verses, which actually are designed to comfort. (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
Other pastors are not saved and are actually agents of satan. We don’t like to believe this, but it is true far more often than most people realize. S. Lewis Johnson preached,
And so it was inevitable, Paul says, that factions would exist in the church. For there must also be factions among you that those are approved may be recognized among you. In fact, the factions and the process of being approved by the way in which we respond to the problems of the local church is really an anticipation of a separation that is to occur at the judgment seat — well, at the Great White Throne judgment.
There are people who are in ostensible fellowship with local churches that are not going to be in heaven. We know that. The Bible details that, too. Satan is very active in the Christian church seeking to overthrow the ministry of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And so, consequently, he infiltrates the Christian churches. And if it’s a Christian church that is a fruitful church there will be some there that are not emissaries of our Lord but are really emissaries of Satan. Paul talks about that in 2 Corinthians chapter 11.
And he says “not only are they sitting in the pew, they’re standing by the pulpit.” As a matter of fact, the ones standing behind the pulpit are more dangerous and more likely to upset the Church of God. And so Satan is very anxious to have one standing behind a pulpit, or standing behind this pulpit, too, for that matter.
For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)
So for those who do not have the blessing of a faithful pastor, and/or are attending a church filled with false doctrine but don’t know where else to go, or are dealing with factions and disgruntled members, or who simply feel alone even in the middle of a local congregation, take heart.
We are sojourners on this hostile planet. But that will end. Relief is on the way. Praise Jesus.