Monthly Archives: March 2018
.Signs of the Times
Jesus said that just as the sky gives signs of inclement or fair weather (Mat. 16:2-4), just as nature gives evidence of something to come (Lk. 21:30), so the Endtime will be marked by signs of the coming storm. Although some of these events ultimately will take place before the Second Coming of Christ, that many are already occurring reveals the nearness of the Rapture. Some of the signs we are told to look for are as follows:
1. WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS (Dan. 9:26; Mat. 24:6).
2. RESTORATION OF ISRAEL AS A NATION (Ezek., Chapt. 37). Since 1948 the world has been closely observing the miraculous preservation of the tiny Nation of Israel from their sworn enemies who had vowed to exterminate them. God had already given them tremendous victories against astounding odds in the 1948 and 1956 wars. But in 1967 with Russian-trained and Russian-supplied armies, the Arabs once again were sent to annihilate Israel. In June, 1967, outnumbered forty to one, the small ill-equipped Israeli army totally defeated the combined armies of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. In less than three hours of the first day of the war, Israeli fighter planes destroyed 300 of Egypt’s 340 planes—a Miracle of Miracles! Can it not be obvious to anyone that God has miraculously preserved the Nation of Israel since her restoration in 1948?
3. MATERIAL AFFLUENCE (Lk. 17:27-30; II Pet. 2:6-7).
4. SPIRITUAL APOSTASY (II Jn. Vss. 7-11).
5. OVERPOPULATION (Gen. 6:11-13; Mat. 24:36-44). Already the world is bulging with over 6.4 billion people, and there is speculation about how many people the Earth can support. Within a decade that figure could be near 7.0 billion. Such numbers pose real problems for the Earth’s natural resources.
6. INCREASED KNOWLEDGE AND TRAVEL (Dan.12:4). No age has seen the speed with which man currently travels and communicates. One of two families changes residence every five years. Telephones and telexes and satellites carry instant communication. Rockets travel to outer space. The speed of this age is unparalleled.
7. NATURAL DISASTERS (Mat. 24:7). Every week, it seems, we hear of earthquakes, storms, tidal waves, or some other calamity occurring somewhere on the globe. Who has ever known of so many volcanic eruptions or so many ecological problems? Truly ours is a unique age.
8. PERILOUS TIMES (II Tim. 3:1-5). Our nation was stunned when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated November 22, 1963, followed by the assassination of Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr., April 4, 1968, and then the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy by Sirhan Sirhan on June 5 of the same year. Fear, a sense of peril, it seems, came upon the American people. Things were not safe anymore. Even though we were not at war, we were scared. And now we have experienced September 11, 2001, and the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
9. LAWLESSNESS (Jude, Vss. 17-19). And added to that has been the more recent scourge of terrorism worldwide. We cannot walk our streets at night; we cannot leave our doors unlocked; we cannot board an airplane without wondering if some mad gunman might be aboard. We fear for the safety of our home and family. Is it any wonder if we are more uptight than our forefathers, more restless, less at peace? No age has experienced the insecurity and turmoil we are facing today.
10. FALSE PROPHETS (Mat. 24:11-12, 24). Recent best sellers on this subject have made us aware of the subtle deception of so-called Christian prophets. Many have been deceived and will continue to be led astray.
11. ANTICHRISTS (Mat. 24:5). Many false messiahs have appeared, claiming to be Christ; but we know there is only One, and this same Jesus is coming again (Acts 1:11).
12. WICKEDNESS (Mat. 24:12). During the 1960’s people began to turn their attention to the fact that we may be living in the Last Days—and indeed we are! Civil disobedience and riots were the order of the day. It seemed that a moral dam had broken loose. Overnight, it seemed, there was a total collapse of morals. There was a flood of legalized pornography, nude obscene performances on stage and movies, wife-swapping, topless entertainers, coed dormitories, skyrocketing divorce rates, sexual promiscuity and introduction of the pill, rock festivals accompanied by all kinds of open sexual immorality and drugs, communal living, rampant venereal disease, the burning of draft cards and the American flag, the popularity of anti-war songs, wholesale deserters from the armed forces … and all this with the endorsement of the liberal clergy. The liberal clergy believed that God was acting in all this. Radicals who should have been tried for treason became our national heroes.
13. DEMONIC ACTIVITY (I Tim. 4:1-3). When the Bible speaks of the fierceness of the Wrath of God or His fierce Anger, it uses a word meaning “burning.” But when it speaks of the fierceness of the demonic activity or wickedness, it uses words characterizing “vehemence, harshness, danger, and savagery.” This will be the spirit of this age.
14. PERSECUTION OF THE SAINTS (Mat. 24:9). Believers dying as a testimony for their Faith is nothing new in this world. Every age has had its martyrs. It is estimated that millions of martyrs are buried in the Catacombs … that in 1900, approximately 36,000 people laid down their life for Christ … that in 1970, approximately 230,000 people died for their Faith in Christ … that in 1986, approximately 330,000 followed Christ in martyrdom. How many since then?
15. DRUGS (Rev. 9:21; 18:23). Many people are surprised to learn that drug abuse is mentioned in the Bible. No, the word “drug” is not used, but another word meaning “drug” is used; that is, the Greek pharmakeia, translated “sorcery.” When the word is used, it means “magic.” But when it applies to drugs, drug use, and the druggist, a form of pharmakeia is used. The Bible says that in the Endtime men will give themselves to drug abuse. Has any age ever witnessed such a fulfillment of this as we are seeing today?
16. SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL (Mat. 24:14). Through literature and telecommunications the Name of Jesus Christ is going forth into all the world.
“But I say, HAVE THEY NOT HEARD? YES VERILY, THEIR SOUND WENT INTO ALL THE EARTH, and their words unto the ends of the world” (Rom. 10:18).
What nation in the world, at some point, in its history, has not heard the Gospel? Jesus said:
“So likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Mat. 24:33).
That word “near” does not mean “soon” or even “immediately.” It is the Greek word eggus, meaning “at hand, nigh unto, ready.” The verb form means “to draw nigh or to come nigh.” It means “imminent” or the next thing on the agenda. All these things either are being fulfilled or have been fulfilled. All things are “ready.” We believe, then, that Christ could return for His People at any moment.
“Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come.
“Therefore BE YOU ALSO READY: FOR IN SUCH AN HOUR AS YOU THINK NOT THE SON OF MAN COMES” (Mat. 24:42, 44).
“Be you therefore ready also: for the Son of Man comes at an hour when you think not” (Lk. 12:40
Swaggart, J. (1986). A Study in Bible Prophecy (pp. 17–20). Baton Rouge, LA: World Evangelism Press.
By Loren Larson
J. Swaggart Ministry
Galatians 5:1 – “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
THERE ARE MANY LIBERTIES we are called to hold to as believers. None are liberties we have paid for, earned, or even deserve. Each and every one of them was paid for by Jesus Christ as He offered up Himself as a sacrifice for lost humanity at Calvary. It is our responsibility to stand fast in the freedoms afforded us by Christ. Let me highlight a few powerful benefits afforded to all who will dare to believe that these are theirs for the claiming!
FREEDOM FROM SIN
Jesus paid the price to free us from the penalty, the power, and (one day) the presence of sin. Most Christians are aware of the truth that Jesus died to pay the penalty for the sin that they have committed, but what most do not realize is the truth that in the Cross, the power of sin over the individual believer was broken. The sin nature that resides in every human from the moment of birth will continue to corrupt the heart of that human unless somehow stopped. Romans, Chapter 6, teaches us that our union with Christ caused the power of the sin nature to be rendered idle and useless. It still resides within the framework of the human heart, but it need not cause us trouble as long as we continually keep our faith in Christ and Him crucified. One glad day when the trump of God shall sound, we shall be glorified, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and the presence of sin will no longer be a reality for all eternity.
FREEDOM FROM LAW
Jesus gave us His righteousness so that we should no longer be accountable to the law. This does not mean that the believer is free from the moral code. The truth is, God expects far more from us — relative to holy living — when we come out from under the law. The law was never meant to be a saving agent. It convicts the human race of wrongdoing but does not supply the power to live holy. Only grace can supply the power to overcome sin. So, we are freed from the law and the ordinances that were against us because Christ nailed them to His Cross and forever took them out of the way. The Christian will never be judged by the law. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness — not the destruction of the law, but rather the end of trusting law, rules, routines, or anything else as the means to righteousness. Once again, our union with Christ has caused us to become dead to the law, and we are free from its requirements and are declared righteous as a result of our faith.
FREEDOM FROM THE WORLD
The believer has access to grace that frees us from the desire for worldly pursuits! We have all felt the pull that the world and its ungodly system can place upon the heart of the believer. It is very easy in this life to concentrate upon the temporal rather than the eternal. There’s nothing wrong with desiring God’s best for us as it pertains to what we own, what we drive, or where we live. However, when the pursuit of these temporary items chokes the desire in us for the things of God, then we have our priorities out of line, and our faith is in danger of being destroyed. The Bible tells us that we have been crucified to the world and the world to us through our union with Christ. Our faith in the Cross will cause God’s grace to remove the worldly desires from us. It will break the pull of those desires, and they will not be dominant over the priority of our walk with God.
FREEDOM FROM THE DEVIL
He has destroyed the devil’s power over us. While the Devil still remains as our adversary, constantly seeking out whom he may devour, Christ Jesus destroyed his power and his dominion by His one sacrifice on Calvary. He defeated all powers of darkness on Golgotha’s hill and destroyed the power of the Devil and all the principalities under him. He made a show of them openly and declared His victory over their power of oppression and destruction. Our simple faith in Jesus’ work sets us free from the adversary, who would destroy our faith, our family, and our world. Jesus was manifested to destroy all the works of the Devil, and this He has done. It is for us to claim our liberty from Satan’s power by ever placing our faith in Christ and Him crucified.
FREEDOM FROM SELF
He has freed us from the dominating desires to please “self.” When man fell, he became self-conscious. Prior to this, man was God-conscious and thoughts of self, if they existed at all, were secondary. After the fall in the garden of Eden, man became dominated by both sin and his selfishness. Our whole lives are about us. We put ourselves first and everyone else last. However, our union with Christ has the power to defeat selfishness and overcome selfish desires. It even has the power to place a care for others in front of our natural care for self. Now, as a servant of the Lord, I am equipped to serve others and not just myself.
All of these benefits are for those who access them daily by faith in the finished work of Christ. I have been united with Christ, crucified with Christ, buried with Christ, and raised with him to live in Him through a brand-new power source. I am determined, by the grace of God, to stand fast in the liberty that Christ died to provide!
By Loren Larson
J. Swaggart Ministry
Psalm 106:13 – They soon forgot His Works; they waited not for His Counsel:
For the past few weeks, this simple Passage has played a key role in directing my life. The Verse describes the attitudes and the actions of the very first group of people that God called His Own, the Hebrews. Having faced the horrible bondages of slavery in Egypt, the Israelites had cried to God, and He had delivered them from Pharaoh’s grasp. How long the events of the plagues lasted, no one can be sure. Some have speculated that the plagues, culminating in the Passover, may have lasted as long as nine months. In all this time, God proved Himself faithful. He guarded the Hebrews from the plagues that struck Egypt, and He brought them out with a high hand, with the strength of youth in their just-healed bodies and the wealth of Egypt in their pockets. When Pharaoh relented and repented of letting God’s People go, and with determination mounted a chase to destroy them or bring them back, God opened up the Red Sea for His People and executed the monarch and his armies as they attempted to cross through the same. However, human nature being what it is, it wasn’t long before this blessed people began to complain. How quickly we forget all that God has done for us!
Forgetting What God Did Before
Faith is a funny thing. At times, moved by Faith in expected provision from God, we face mountains of difficult situations. However, just a few days after our latest Miracle, the one that God Himself supplied, we face a new enemy, an uncomfortable situation, or a difficult circumstance, and we seem to forget all that God has done for us. My friend, the greatest thing that God has ever done for you or me was the saving of our souls. What new life! What new joy! What eager expectation of good rose up in our hearts! With the sin stain drowned in the efficacious Blood of the Lamb of God, we felt the freedom from death’s grip and the release from the dominion of sin. Then, in our youthfulness, we entered into the time where He carried us and proved Himself to us over and over again. Faith in His Person and His Word escalated us to new heights and pacified the heart with peace that passed all understanding. How many Miracles since then has He performed for you? How many times has He come through for you? Has He ever failed to keep a Promise or perform a Word that He gave specifically to you? I must testify by saying, “Never.” In one particularly trying time, God spoke to my heart and said, “This test will be over by the end of May.” That trial concluded on May 31 of that year. When I realized that the God of Heaven had spoken and then faithfully executed His Promise, all I could do was weep and praise Him for His Faithfulness. So, why would we doubt Him in our current distress? When we fail to remember what God has done for us in the past, we pave the way for doubt and unbelief to reign supreme in our hearts. Put yourself in remembrance of what God has done in your past, and it will secure the steps for your future!
Proceeding Without God
Whenever doubt and unbelief dominate the mind and heart, the human being almost always makes the mistake of proceeding into the situation without God. Now is the time to wait for His Counsel. Now is the time to seek His Direction. If we will approach the situation with prayer, yielding to God’s Wisdom will guarantee a successful journey through the minefield just ahead. One day at a time, seeking His Will for every step, will lead you successfully across the terrain and into the safety of His Provision. Wait on Him to lead! Tell Him you are sure that He will lead you just as He has done so many times before. Recall to mind what He has done for you in the past. Cry out to Him and let Him show you what to do. Wait on His Counsel! Wait on His Guidance! Don’t move until you know you have heard His Instruction. He’s done it before; He’ll do it again. Wait, I say, on the Lord!
By John Rosenstern
J. Swaggart Ministry
2017 developed into an exciting year for Bible prophecy enthusiasts. 2017 represented several milestone anniversaries for the nation of Israel. God promised He would regather the nation of Israel in the last days. The First Zionist Council convened in Basel Switzerland 120 years ago in 1897. Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael—the Land of Israel—secured under public law. Theodore Herzl sought to prepare the Jewish people to fulfill what was in their hearts for nearly 2,000 years—their return to Israel, their chosen land. In Isaiah 11:1-12, Isaiah speaks to us that the second regathering of Israel out of the four corners of the earth will be an “ensign.” This word indicates it will be a signal of what God is doing at a particular time. Never before in history have Jews been regathered out of the four corners of the earth. We have seen the Hebrews taken out of Egypt in Moses’s time and the regathering of Jews from Babylon after 70 years of captivity. However, the Roman Empire’s dispersion of Jews in AD 70, and then in AD 135, scattered Jews throughout the world.
Balfour Declaration, November 2, 1917
World War I brought devastation to Europe, but it also changed the map of the Middle East. Many nations in the Middle East were part of the Muslim Ottoman Empire that had reigned for over 600 years. The tiny spit of land known today as Israel was part of the land governed by the Ottomans. Since the time of Jewish diaspora, Jerusalem suffered 44 besieges and multiple foreigner occupations. Although some Jews had always lived in the land, they lived under difficult conditions. The Balfour Declaration was named after British Foreign Secretary Arthur J. Balfour. He submitted a declaration of intent to establish a Jewish homeland in Israel (Palestine). In 1919, the Treaty of Versailles entrusted the British with the administration of Palestine through a system called the “Mandate.” For various reasons the recognition of the Jewish homeland in Israel was delayed. The promise was made but not fulfilled by the British.
Resolution 181, November 29, 1947
The name “United Nations,” coined by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was first used in the Declaration by the United Nations on Jan. 1, 1942, during the Second World War, when representatives of 26 nations pledged their governments to continue fighting together against the Axis powers. On Oct. 24, 1945, 51 nations joined together to create the United Nations. The purpose of the UN is to maintain international peace and security, foster cooperation in solving international economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian problems; and promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Woodrow Wilson’s concept and idea of creating a League of Nations—an organization conceived in similar circumstances during the First World War and established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles “to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security”—would now be a reality.
The realization of 6 million Jews destroyed in the Holocaust fostered a need to resolve the conflict in the Middle East that was left unresolved by the British during the Mandate years. The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was a proposal by the United Nations, which recommended a partition of Mandatory Palestine (Israel) at the end of the British Mandate. On Nov. 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly adopted the plan as Resolution 181(II). Harry Truman threw the weight of the United States behind the plan by voting in favor of it. With passage by the UN, Israel was soon set to establish her reborn independence. Under great opposition by the Muslim Arabs to annihilate her, Israel would fight the birth pangs and declare her independence on May 14, 1948.
The Six-Day War, June 5-10, 1967
Ever dissatisfied with the United Nations resolution that created a Jewish state, the Pan-Arab Muslim nations never accepted Israel and sought to destroy her, as they tried in 1948. Israel’s triumphant victory enabled her to take possession of Jerusalem. From 1948 until the Six-Day War, the country of Jordan illegally occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank, known in the Bible as Judea. During Jordan’s occupation there were no dissenting voices in the world of its illegal occupation. The Arab Islamic nations failed in war to retake the land. After the 1967 war, they would adopt a new strategy. They would use propaganda and make the Arab Palestinians appear to be victims and gain world sympathy by their obstinate occupying landlords—Israel.
The United Nations passed Resolution 242 after the Six-Day War in an effort to establish a just and lasting peace between Israel and the nations of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and later, Syria. On Oct. 6, 1973, hoping to win back territory lost to Israel during the third Arab-Israeli war, in 1967, Egyptian and Syrian forces launched a coordinated attack against Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Taking the Israeli Defense Forces by surprise, Egyptian troops swept deep into the Sinai Peninsula, while Syria struggled to throw occupying Israeli troops out of the Golan Heights. Israel counterattacked and recaptured the Golan Heights. A cease-fire went into effect on Oct. 25, 1973. Another United Nations resolution was passed—Resolution 338. I used to think that Psalm 83 was a specific war to occur in the future. I am now persuaded that it is a time frame that began from the independence of Israel until now. The nations of the world that have sought to cut Israel off from being a nation by military power, but since their failures, they have endeavored to cut Israel off from being a nation through peace, with nearly two-thirds of the United Nations resolutions being against Israel. It is as though the very creation of this organization and existence have been about the Israeli and Palestinian issue.
President Donald Trump recognized the capital of Israel as Jerusalem on Dec. 6, 2017! The year of Israel’s convergence of anniversaries! Immediately after his decision, the Islamic Arab nations of the world expressed their dissatisfaction. Their “confederate” efforts to cut Israel off from being a nation were now diminishing. The Islamic Arab majority UN Security Council cast a vote to condemn Trump’s decision. Subsequently, after a veto from the United States, the General Assembly of the UN voted 128-to-9 against Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. The majority of the world stands in opposition to Israel. Only a few nations stand by her. I am proud of President Trump’s decision to stand for God. Because it is only those who hate God that seek to cut Israel off from being a nation. God bless America!