Thursday, February 21, 2013

ENCROACHING TIMES

Encroaching Times
2/14/2013
 
“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” Revelation 13:1. As planet earth takes on the appearance of what the Word of God plainly teaches us about the days of Noah and Lot, it seems many in the Christian community become more astonished at world events. The Bible gives us every reason to believe there will be an all encompassing world government in place in the last days which will be managed by the antichrist. The book of Daniel and the book of Revelation are our guides in learning what the antichrist has in store for planet earth.
 
Commerce has so fully connected all the nations of this planet, that what is emerging is a massive blending of earth’s cultures – for better or for worse. Most people don’t see the significant prophetic ramifications of such merging and blending. This mergence is all the design of the evil one to set up his all encompassing government. As we here in America watch our leaders reframe our nation into a Marxist socialistic society we can be assured these are the plans set down by Satan himself. Take a look around the nations of this world and you will see this same phenomenon occurring simultaneously wherever you set your gaze.
 
Many today are concerned about America’s economy yet see little to no significance that the worldwide economy is actually what’s in the enemy’s crosshairs. A huge majority of folks simply won’t see the big picture. They refuse to believe that one foreign nation’s economic downfall could bring chaos to the shores of America. Since many people these days have no use for God and scoff at His word they won’t know what’s coming until it hits them head on. That fact alone should give the rest of us cause to pause and reflect on biblical prophecy. Many simply shrug off the fact that Greece’s economy has flat lined. Greece’s economic problems have begun a ripple affect across Europe. What’s that all about? What does Greece have to do with the economy in the rest of Europe’s capitals? Or America for that matter? It’s simple really. We are now so connected financially to each other that as a world community every time a nation’s economy collapses the entire world economy will be adversely affected. Just as Greece has begun to scrape rock bottom, many other nations have begun their own decent into financial ruin. This, of course, will be miniscule in comparison to what will happen when the US economy finally gives way to all the false prosperity in which we have been immersed, especially within just the last four years. Certainly humanity is experiencing very strange times, some are quite fearful at what they see approaching.
 
If you are a Christian and you are fearful of the events currently shaping this world then you are falling for the enemy’s deceptive antics. Fear mongering is a goal of the evil one (Satan) as he attempts to gear up in his anticipation of the Rapture. Satan’s most debilitating tool is fear and he uses it quite efficiently. Many people fall for Satan’s lies, even Christians. This allows Satan to build strongholds that become huge stumbling blocks in a person’s life. When a Christian becomes overwhelmed with the fearful situations confronting them, it means they’ve lost sight of God. Who is it that gets us through our day by day struggles? Here’s a clue, His name is Jesus and He is our God and Saviour.
 
For many years contentment has been very high here in America. For the most part we’ve placated ourselves with a sense of false prosperity which led to a false security. This all occurred when we as a nation decided to leave behind the God of all creation and His precepts. In our world today many have journeyed into the realm of self-importance, self-reliance, self, self, self, which ultimately leads to self-destruction. When “self” becomes the overwhelming factor, thus power in a person’s life, they stop helping others as they stop relying on others for help. Here in America the majority of people now believe it is the government’s responsibility to take care of them, such as a parent would take care of their little child. In many of those cases these Americans believe it’s their right to live off the government dole – self-impotence.
 
Apparently some folks are waking up to the fact that America is not immune to the upheavals which occur in other nations. It has become obvious to some that we are no longer separated from the chaos that occurs on the other side of the globe. This is becoming a frightening fact that the self-absorbed in America have no concept of how to face. There are more than a few who have shrugged off America’s impending financial collapse, not to mention the very obvious truth that America herself has been transformed while moving “FORWARD” into the realm of the one world government/currency/ecumenical system which will be headed up by Satan himself.
 
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;” Luke 21:25. Now that we can see the one world everything gathering steam we’ll begin to move into the arena Luke speaks about, that of distress of nations – perplexity. It’s the idea that we might actually feel some heat from all the current distress of nations that perplexes American’s. We can see the US is being destroyed from within and yet we are clueless and helpless as to how to stop the approaching disaster. A large number of manufacturing jobs have been relocated to other nations around the world leaving the American worker to try and survive on minimum wage incomes and/or handouts from the Federal and State governments. In the meantime, the cost of everything soars. Perplexing? Most assuredly.
 
“…there shall come in the last days scoffers…” 2 Peter 3:3. The Greek word “eschatos” is translated into our English word “last” and it actually means extreme or uttermost. I believe we are living in those extreme last days of which the Apostle Peter speaks. Being one who is continually confronted by scoffers I can tell you they have become quite common in these last days. Surely we must be very close to that “uttermost” time. If so, should we be all that surprised in regards to the strange even extreme worldwide events currently unfolding before us? Bible prophecy is God’s way of telling us what will occur in the future. Are we not now moving into exciting times in regards to how close the Rapture must be? Certainly to those who are lost the future that is approaching is one which will cause much anxiety and perplexity. Yet Christians should be comforted by the current state of worldwide affairs.
 
The conclusion we come to as we view our current state of worldwide events (nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom - wars, and rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, pestilence – in divers places) is that the birth pangs Jesus speaks of in Matthew 24 are obviously upon us. Sadly, as this world moves ever closer to destruction, the majority of folks will turn to someone who has already convinced them that he can bring about a utopian existence to this crazy, seemingly out of control world.
 
I’ve read that many people are beginning to emigrate from the US in search of greener pastures. This is an exercise in futility. This world is going to be equally and adversely affected by the severity of a major economic, thus societal, collapse; no one nation will be better off than any other. You can run but you can’t hide.
 
Numerous websites are promoting preparedness in regards to what they see as an approaching collapse of our economy and the possibility of civil unrest. Preparedness is not a bad thing, in many cases being prepared for calamities, unforeseen circumstances, or even impending droughts will help those who are prepared make it through such events. Remember, the most important preparedness is being prepared for eternity. At this “eschatos” (extreme) point in time our eternal destiny should already be settled.
 
Being prepared for an eventual economic collapse will take a lot more than just a little food set aside. Preparing for civil unrest is going to be even more difficult, especially if the Feds are allowed to confiscate all the guns. Don’t forget about the Homeland Security and their recent purchase of enough hollow point ammo to shoot every American at least six times. Something evil this way comes – and he is the destroyer.
 
“And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” Revelation 6:5-6. In the last days a full day’s wages will be necessary to purchase one meal, not everyone will be blessed with work and wages. Many see usefulness in stocking up on silver and gold as a solid and reliable form of currency in these last days. There is a line in the old song, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” by the late Larry Norman, which says “a piece of bread will buy a bag of gold”. Well, that certainly sums up the usefulness of gold in the last days. No, what we should be stocking up on is treasures that will last for an eternity. What are those treasures? They are whatever the Holy Spirit leads you to be involved in during your life on earth. 
 
The republic on which the US was founded is gone, probably forever. But the born again see a glorious future with the King of kings at the helm. Those who remain lost will never understand what awesome godly living is all about. Those who are born again will see glorious times on earth when the Lord returns with His saints and His Kingdom is ultimately established.
 
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” James 1:22. As we, the followers of Jesus Christ allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives He moves us into the realm of establishing ourselves as doers of the word and not just hearers. As we are focused on doing God’s will for our lives, the many antics of the enemy cannot overcome us, and fear will not take seed in us. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. Therefore, fear not my brethren, Jesus is at the door.   
 
God bless you all,
 
Ron Graham

SCFOFFERS TO THE END

Scoffers to the End
2/20/2013
 
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”  2 Peter 3:3-4. It’s interesting to hear the words of scoffers today as their voices sound hauntingly familiar to Peter’s description of those who will surface in the last days. What do we think about when we think of scoffers? Initially when we consider the scoffer, people who have either given up on God ever returning to earth or those who don’t believe in God at all come to mind. There are others though who fall into this arena, but all have one thing in common, they don’t trust God.
 
In this age of “Hurry up with my Big Mac and fries”, we have discovered that humanity has a serious problem when it comes to patiently waiting the arrival of anything. This is also true among of the followers of Jesus Christ. The presumption that we, the Ekklesia of Christ, should be out of here by now has caused much controversy in regards to Biblical truth. Some professing Christians were so obsessed with Christ’s imminent return that when He didn’t return as they predicted they grew weary of waiting. Many people who professed Christ now reject Him as they have become scoffers. Some have resorted back to their previous ungodly lifestyles saying “Where is the promise of his coming?” Peter tells us that scoffers will come not only walking after their own lusts, but intentionally professing ignorance of earth’s past.
 
The word in the Greek for “last” in “last days” is “eschatos”, and when we read the definition of that Greek word, the explanation is headed up with the word “extreme or uttermost”. Therefore we are obliged to understand that Peter here is writing about the “extreme/uttermost end of days” on planet earth. Many believe as I do that planet earth is currently somewhere in that particular time frame. This is especially true since scoffers have become not only more vocal, but prolific as well.
 
Jude gives us one more detail of these scoffers “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers [scoffers] in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” Jude 1:17-19. Jude tells us they are not indwelt with the Holy Spirit. He compares them to those who the Apostles of our Lord Jesus had spoken of previously. Peter and Jude are referring to the same lot of people, so we know that the scoffers Peter mentions are also without the Holy Spirit.
 
The Greek word used by both Peter and Jude for scoffer as well as mocker is “empaiktēs”, and this Greek word comes from a root word that means - to deceive. Once again we are confronted with another attempt by Satan to deceive the masses. By encouraging the scoffers to promote his lies and deceit he gains ground among the biblically illiterate while mocking God’s promises and attempting to destroy the faith of the people who make up the true body of Christ.
 
The Rapture of the Ekklesia is a bone of contention that always brings out the scoffers and mockers. There are many who just can’t, or won’t, grasp the concept of the biblical reality of an imminent Rapture. Frankly, those who believe the Bible clearly indicates an imminent Rapture are in the minority among professing Christians. Many Christians believe that because the actual word “Rapture” isn’t in the English versions of our Bible that it is not biblical. The truth is, hints and indications of the Rapture are clearly seen throughout the Old and New Testaments, beginning with Enoch. Another very interesting fact is that the Bible was translated into Latin some 1400 years prior to being translated into English. The Latin word “rapiemur” was translated from the Greek word “harpazō”, which is translated into English as “caught up”. So for fourteen hundred years the word Rapture was in the Bible – in Latin. It’s significant to note that we derive our English word Rapture from the Latin word “rapiemur”.
 
“…walking after their own lusts…” 2 Peter 3:3. The Greek word “epithymia” is translated into English as “lust”, which means desire, craving, longing for. The Greek word also indicates there is a desire for what is forbidden. These scoffers are overcome with their own lustful desires which produce uncontrolled longings. As a result they are the scoffers and mockers Peter writes about. They begin to seek after that which is forbidden by God. They turn away from a desire to know God and they begin again to follow the enemy, finally doing everything they can to corrupt those remaining faithful to God. Yes, there’s more to these scoffers than ridicule. According to Peter and Jude they are not born again.
 
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” 1 John 2:18-19. Many who at one time professed to be Christian now mock Christ and deny His deity; this seems a common occurrence in these extreme last days. Are these not those who John writes of who went out from us, but they were not of us? What became of them? Are they now those who John proclaims as antichrists? They are the scoffers and mockers of God and the brethren, and as many of us who believe in an imminent Rapture can attest to scoffers have begun to proliferate in great numbers in these “extreme” last days.
 
Their mockingly scornful attitude towards God is clearly seen in the second segment of those two verses from 2 Peter 3. “Where is the promise of his coming?” Can we not hear the sneering and see the twisted lips and rolling eyes of those who doubt God? There is surely a sense of distain in and among the scoffers of the last days. The statement “Where is the promise of his coming?” surely must be an affront to God. Will God’s children question Him as to His timing, or His purpose for that matter? Placing our faith in God means we trust Him to be perfect in His ways, and that includes trusting His promises as well. “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen” 2 Corinthians 1:20.
 
Peter describes quite well those lust seeking scoffers “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:5-7. With the scoffers statement “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” we see that their ignorance was intentional; they have a purpose. Therefore we understand from the words above that their agenda was to deny God’s word thus deny earth’s past history in order to appease themselves while remaining in their lusts. I’m sure we’ve all heard from these folks in more recent times.
 
Those of us who believe God’s word concerning the worldwide deluge know that there was nothing that remained the same on earth after that which occurred during the antediluvian times. But the willingly ignorant Peter speaks of are those who are wrapped up in their own desire and lusts, so much so that they are blinded from the truth. They deliberately give inaccurate accounts of the varying degrees of changes the earth has made over the last 6,000 years. Just like so many scientists today who are blinded by their god of mammon, acknowledging God’s truth has become a foreign concept to them.
 
Peter goes on to explain to the brethren a very special attribute of God. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. Is God tarrying on purpose? Peter says God is not slack in His promises, not as some men view slackness. The Greek word “bradynō” is translated as slack and it also means to delay or be slow. God has such a love for mankind that He is not willing to pull the plug ahead of the appointed time. He wishes that everyone should have ample opportunity to go through a change of mind in regards to their seeing the truth and seeking Him. He does not delay the end. It will come at God’s appropriate time.
 
Satan knows that his time is limited and he must convince people that there is no such thing as God. Flawed and evil as Satan is, many already believe his lie. Satan is feverishly working to create doubt in people’s minds about the existence of an all powerful God. Over the past six millennia, many have believed Satan’s lies and perished as a result. To be sure, there are many more willful scoffers who have taken the baton of their father the devil and began their steep decent down a very slippery and destructive path.
 
For the born again believers in Christ there is no doubting the promises of God. He’s coming back, first to remove His Ekklesia (the saints) and then to put an end to the Great Tribulation and establish His millennial Kingdom. My brethren, humanity is currently teetering on the precipice of the extreme end of the last days. How do I know? Peter’s scoffers are increasing and becoming incredibly antagonistic.
 
God bless you all,
 
Ron Graham
ron@straitandnarrowministry.com