Friday, July 13, 2012

Could This Be The Year?

Could This Be The Year?- By Grant Phillips - It is said that animals have a sixth sense we humans do not possess. Have you ever watched them just prior to a storm coming your way? Watch the birds, for example. They act differently, don’t they? We have a 21+ year old cat that stays outside in the summer, by his own choice, and we can tell by watching him if a storm is headed our way. Even if my wife and I are leaving for a few days, he knows. Our neighbor across the street has a fairly large dog that stays outside. They too can easily tell if a storm is coming, because the dog will whine at the door until they let him in the house. A storm, of sorts, appears to be on the horizon for this earth. Something is about to happen. Many go about their merry way as if nothing is going to happen or things are going to get better, but for those of us who live in the real world, there is an uneasiness that can’t be explained. The middle-east is a powder keg, waiting to go off at any time. The Muslim Brotherhood continues to envelop its veil of darkness over falling regimes, replacing dictators with something even worse. Iran is straining at the leash to “wipe Israel off the map.” Israel stands guard, hoping they don’t wait too long to deter Iran’s immediate desire. Like a wolf after its prey, Russia inches ever closer to Israel’s backyard, longing for their newly discovered black gold. China longingly looks in the same direction sniffing the wind. The world-wide economy is like a balloon about to burst. Economists are scratching their heads wondering why the United States has not already imploded, and certain that it is only a matter of time until it does. Even though Obama says “the private sector is doing fine,” the common man knows better. Heck, a five year old knows it’s a lie. Unemployment keeps climbing while the wealthy sip champagne, having not a clue of what it means to actually work for a living. Not knowing, or caring, how it feels to not be able to provide for ones family because they can’t find a job. While Nero plays his fiddle, Rome burns. Depravity is so wide spread it makes one dizzy to behold the effect it is having upon the populace. Homosexuality is having an unbelievable success rate of acceptance, even by church groups. Half the population is living together in sin without the benefit of marriage. Violent, sadistic murders are increasing at an alarming speed. Lying and theft are commonplace. From Europe, to England, to the United States, where some of the most loyal of God’s followers preached and wrote in years gone by, God has been cleaned and sanitized from the public mind. He has been booted out of the schools, the public forum, and even the military. The name of Jesus, the Son of God, has been mocked, vilified, cursed and spat upon, and now His followers, in a once Christian country, are starting to feel the heat. In this country, there are no longer any statesmen. We only have politicians, men and women who couldn’t tell the truth if their lives depended upon it. Sadly, there remain far too many who will believe a lie, and so we continue to die as a country. The United States of America, the greatest country this earth has ever beheld, is dying, primarily because of greed. England once reigned upon the earth in such a way that the sun never set upon her empire, but no more. We now follow her lead. Capitalizing upon people’s plight, wolves have taken over the pulpits of many churches, preaching a get rich quick scheme called the prosperity gospel, falsely using the Holy Word of God to fleece the poor and feed their rich appetites. Their putrid faces are often seen on the television and heard on the radio. They post their poison on the Internet and draw in unsuspecting dupes, while the book stores sell their books, making them even richer. Few seem to have a conscience anymore, and those who do are worried at what they are seeing, worried for the future of their children and grandchildren, because they can see no future worth living. Could this be the year of our Lord’s return? I’m speaking as a Christian, not as a Tribulation saint. Therefore, I am referring to the removal of the Church via an event known as the Rapture. Possibly, the most important Presidential election this country has ever faced will be held this year on November 6th. The most frightening aspect of this election is that the Pied Piper is still playing his flute, and many still follow him while dancing to his tune. Our current occupier of the White House rivals any of the narcissistic leaders Rome ever had. This man is so in love with himself, he probably bows before a full-length mirror each morning, in between those times he bows before our enemies. He is not the Antichrist, but if there ever were a small example of what the Antichrist will be like and how people will fall for his lies, this is clearly a sample of things to come. Could God be allowing us to see a foretaste of the future in order to warn us? Could be, and the reality of this warning could be closer than we think. Before I frighten off those who think I may be getting dangerously close to setting a date for the Rapture by insinuating that it may be this year, take a deep breath and calm down. No one is privy to that information but God. However, God has provided signs for us to read, signs for the Tribulation that follows the Rapture of the Church. Just as Jesus expected Israel to read the signs of His first coming, He expects us to read the signs of His return, the second coming. There are two events that must take place before He returns, the Rapture and the Tribulation, in that order. All signs point to the Tribulation. The greatest sign that the Tribulation has begun will be the Rapture. There are no signs for the Rapture. It will happen without warning, in the blink of an eye. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that needs to be done to trigger the Rapture, except one thing; i.e. God the Father will give the nod to the Son to go for His Bride. Could this be the year? Absolutely, but someone says “No, maybe next year or the following year, or …” I agree wholeheartedly, but it could be this year. The point is, are we ready? Whether humans do or do not have a sixth sense as do animals, something is clearly working on the psyche of many of us. It is being felt by too many people to be ignored. Something major is about to happen. Even though the majority may not realize it or care, thousands can sense an impending doom, a storm on the horizon. It’s easy to tell when a bad storm is on the way. The temperature changes. A slight breeze starts to rustle among the leaves of the trees. The clouds begin to darken as they roll toward us overhead. In the distance, a sound of thunder, then lightening is seen far off. A drizzle turns into a downpour. The storm is here. The thunder is deafening. The lightening is dangerous. Hopefully, we have already taken shelter. While dark clouds of judgment begin to form over the earth, the storm is taking shape. The sound of thunder is faintly heard in the distance and gets louder as it draws closer and closer. All the signs of an approaching storm are here. Have you taken shelter? “1 This message concerning Nineveh came as a vision to Nahum, who lived in Elkosh. The Lord’s Anger against Nineveh 2 The Lord is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and rage. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and continues to rage against his enemies! 3 The Lord is slow to get angry, but his power is great, and he never lets the guilty go unpunished. He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm. The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet. 4 At his command the oceans dry up, and the rivers disappear. The lush pastures of Bashan and Carmel fade, and the green forests of Lebanon wither. 5 In his presence the mountains quake, and the hills melt away; the earth trembles, and its people are destroyed. 6 Who can stand before his fierce anger? Who can survive his burning fury? His rage blazes forth like fire, and the mountains crumble to dust in his presence. 7 The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him. 8 But he will sweep away his enemies in an overwhelming flood. He will pursue his foes into the darkness of night. 9 Why are you scheming against the Lord? He will destroy you with one blow; he won’t need to strike twice! 10 His enemies, tangled like thornbushes and staggering like drunks, will be burned up like dry stubble in a field. 11 Who is this wicked counselor of yours who plots evil against the Lord? 12 This is what the Lord says: “Though the Assyrians have many allies, they will be destroyed and disappear. O my people, I have punished you before, but I will not punish you again. 13 Now I will break the yoke of bondage from your neck and tear off the chains of Assyrian oppression.” 14 And this is what the Lord says concerning the Assyrians in Nineveh: “You will have no more children to carry on your name. I will destroy all the idols in the temples of your gods. I am preparing a grave for you because you are despicable!” 15 Look! A messenger is coming over the mountains with good news! He is bringing a message of peace. Celebrate your festivals, O people of Judah, and fulfill all your vows, for your wicked enemies will never invade your land again. They will be completely destroyed!” (Nahum 1 NLT) Even though this passage is about the Assyrian oppression upon Judah, the facts remain the same. God is ready to restore His people Israel back to fellowship with Him. Much needs to happen first in the upcoming seven years due Israel and God’s dealing with the Gentiles, but if the Tribulation could be compared to a seven round boxing match, the bell for round one could sound at any time. Could it happen this year? Of course it can, but whether it does or not, are you ready? Grant Phillips My articles are posted at “Pre-Rapture Commentary” and many are also posted at “Rapture Ready” .

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Does Bible Prophecy Foretell The Destruction Of Damasus?

DOES BIBLE PROPHECY FORETELL THE DESTRUCTION OF DAMASCUS? – Joel C. Rosenberg - Earlier this year, a prominent Member of Congress asked to meet with me in Washington, D.C. I thought the topic was going to be the possible coming war between Israel and Iran. Instead, the official asked, What are your thoughts on Isaiah 17? For much of the next hour, therefore, we discussed the coming judgment of Damascus according to Bible prophecy, and how this scenario could possibly unfold in the coming years in relation to other Bible prophecies and current geopolitical trends in the Middle East. Here is a brief summary of what I said. There are actually two key Biblical prophecies that explain that at unspecified time in the future, the city of Damascus will be completely destroyed judged by God and will not be inhabited again. * Isaiah 17:1-3 The oracle concerning Damascus. Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city and will become a fallen ruin. The cities of Aroer are forsaken; they will be for flocks to lie down in, and there will be no one to frighten them. The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, and sovereignty from Damascus. * Jeremiah 49:23-27 “Concerning Damascus. Hamath and Arpad are put to shame, for they have heard bad news; they are disheartened. There is anxiety by the sea, it cannot be calmed. Damascus has become helpless; she has turned away to flee, and panic has gripped her; distress and pangs have taken hold of her like a woman in childbirth. How the city of praise has not been deserted, the town of My joy! Therefore, her young men will fall in her streets, and all the men of war will be silenced in that day, declares the Lord of hosts. I will set fire to the wall of Damascus, and it will devour the fortified towers of Ben-hadad.’” These prophecies have not yet been fulfilled. Damascus is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on earth. It has been attacked, besieged, and conquered. But Damascus has never been completely destroyed and left uninhabited. Yet that is exactly what the Bible says will happen. The context of Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49 are a series of End Times prophecies dealing with God’s judgments on Israel's neighbors and enemies leading up to and through the Tribulation. How exactly will Damascus be destroyed? When will exactly it be destroyed? What will that look like, and what will be the implications for the rest of Syria, for Israel and for the region? The honest answer is that the Bible does not say. I'm currently writing a novel entitled, The Damascus Countdown, that envisions how these prophecies could come to pass. This will be the third and last in the novel series that includes The Twelfth Imam and The Tehran Initiative (both out now in paperback and ebook). Lord willing, I will finish the manuscript by the first week of August (it's about 90% finished already) and it will release early next year (probably in March). In the meantime, I am tracking events in Damascus and Syria very closely [i.e,, see blog posts: "Will Syria Implode?"; "More than 1,000 Syrian leaders attend premiere of Damascus film"]. I am also praying much for the Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy on the people of that great city. The innocent blood shed by the Assad regime is reprehensible, and heart-breaking and is setting the stage for a terrible judgment. The believers in Christ there are being horribly persecuted, but some are still boldly preaching the Gospel and teaching the Word of God. Let’s pray that they reach all of the people of Damascus and Syria before the judgment comes. 50 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK, THE SUPREME COURT BANNED PRAYER IN SCHOOL: Has that served our children well? On June 25, 1962, the Supreme Court ruled that government-endorsed prayer in school even if it's voluntary is unconstitutional. Fifty years later, do we still believe that driving God, prayer, and the Bible out of public schools has served our children well? “The ongoing contention started when Steven Engel, a Jewish New Yorker, came together with other parents in 1958 to sue New York State over state-endorsed prayer that was being recited in schools, notes one news story. The Supreme Court inevitably sided with Engel and the decision was issued on June 25, 1962 a day that lives in infamy in the minds of many religious individuals and free-speech advocates. The invocation in question was one that had been approved by the New York State Board of Regents. The prayer, which read, Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country, was relatively benign in nature. Still, the parents were adamant that it shouldn't be uttered in the public sphere. The Encyclopedia Britannica notes: The Supreme Court's ruling was released on June 25 and found New York's law unconstitutional by a margin of 6 to 1 (two justices did not participate in the decision). Hugo L. Black wrote the Supreme Court's opinion, in which the majority argued that, by using its public school system to encourage recitation of the Regents prayer, the State of New York has adopted a practice wholly inconsistent with the Establishment Clause. The lone dissent came from Potter Stewart, who argued that the majority had misapplied a great constitutional principle and could not understand how an official religion is established by letting those who want to say a prayer say it. On the contrary, I think to deny the wish of these school children to join in reciting this prayer is to deny them the opportunity of sharing in the spiritual heritage of our Nation. A year later, the high court banned Bible reading in state schools, then overturned a state law prohibiting the teaching of evolution, notes another news story about the anniversary of the Court’s decision. Rulings that prayers during school commencements and athletic events also violated the separation of church and state further fueled the secular-versus-faithful battle. Even unrelated disputes over abortion and health care mandates have emotional roots reaching back 50 years to a bland prayer composed by education officials in upstate New York. Is America better off since we began telling God that He was not welcome in the lives of our children? I think the evidence suggests just the opposite. EPIC FIRES IN COLORADO: Is God using natural disasters to get our attention? A three-day-old wildfire erupted with catastrophic fury Tuesday, ripping across the foothills neighborhoods of Colorado Springs, devouring an untold number of homes and sending tens of thousands fleeing to safety in what was shaping up as one of the biggest disasters in state history, reports the Denver Post. This is a firestorm of epic proportions, said Colorado Springs Fire Chief Richard Brown. The Waldo Canyon fire in El Paso County which had been growing in the forested hills on the city's west side blew into an inferno late in the afternoon, raging over a ridge toward densely populated neighborhoods. An apocalyptic plume of smoke covered Colorado's second-largest city as thousands of people forced to evacuate. The fires have now forced 32,000 people to evacuate. Many of lost their homes and all of their wordly possessions. The fire doubled in size overnight and by Wednesday morning, 15,324 acres were burning with only 5% contained, said Rich Harvey, incident commander of the Waldo Canyon Fire, reports CNN. Catastrophic. Epic. Historic. Apocalyptic. Is it possible God is using natural disasters to get our attention? As I write in Implosion, Natural disasters continue unfolding one after another here in the at home and around the world as they always have. But have you stopped to notice that so many recently are described as historic and unprecedented? Eight of the ten most expensive hurricanes in American history have happened since 9/11. The worst was Hurricane Katrina, which nearly wiped out an American city and ended up costing more than $100 billion. Hurricane Irene made 2011 the worst year in American history for natural disasters, with ten separate catastrophes costing $1 billion or more. In 2011, America experienced the worst outbreak of tornadoes in nearly half a century. In 2011, Texas suffered the worst fires in the history of the state, amid the worst drought in Texas history. In 2011, Virginia and much of the East Coast—experienced its biggest earthquake since 1875. The fact is that throughout the Bible and throughout history God has used natural disasters to shake families, cities, regions and entire nations. Why? To get the people's attention. To warn people to stop drifting and/or rebelling from God and repent. To urge people to let go of anything or anyone else they are holding onto for peace and security and hope in this world and instead turn their hearts wholly and completely to faith in Jesus Christ. Thousands of years ago, God told the Hebrew prophet Haggai to write down these words: For thus says the Lord of hosts, Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations. . . . I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations (Haggai 2:6-7, 21-22). This is Bible prophecy. This is an intercept from the mind of the all-knowing, all-seeing God of the universe. It is a weather report from the future, if you will, a storm warning. It was given to us so that we would be awake and ready and faithful and walking close to Jesus when the tempests come. God told us well in advance that he was going to shake all the nations. That certainly includes the United States. On September 11, 2001, God allowed America to be shaken by horrific terrorist attacks, the worst in our history. In the fall of 2008, God allowed America to be shaken by a financial meltdown on Wall Street, one of the worst in our history. Millions lost their jobs, their homes and much of their savings as a result. Today, God is using natural disasters to shake us as well. Let us pray for the people of Colorado. Let us pray that the firemen are able to get these blazes under control. But even as we pray for these immediate concerns, let us also be praying for all Americans to realize how desperately we need to turn our hearts to Christ, how desperately we need a massive, game-changing, transformative spiritual revival, a Third Great Awakening. Let us urgently begin praying 2 Chronicles 7:14 for our country. In this passage, the Lord God Almighty said, If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Time is running short. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------