Newsletter 108 Summer 2013

The Lord is on the throne

“If the foundations are destroyed what can the righteous do? Psalm 11: 3

Readers of this newsletter will not need to be convinced that we live at a time when the foundations are crumbling. All around we see the foundations of society which we once took for granted being destroyed. We could be overcome with grief due to the world in its folly trampling what is good. Like Jeremiah we recognise that our nation having forsaken the fountain of living water is hewing out broken cisterns, cisterns which hold no water and therefore are worthless. The new foundations replacing the old will not support a stable society. Further breakdown of society will bring misery to millions.

What can the righteous do? Psalm 11 provides the answer. The Lord is on the throne. He knows what is happening and distinguishes between the righteous and the wicked. He will soon bring this present age to an end. He is coming to reign. The foundations so recently swept aside will be rebuilt, stronger than before.

Now, in the gathering gloom, is the time for the bride to make herself ready for the Bridegroom. If we are called on to suffer it will be for His glory and for the perfecting of the Bride. The word of the Lord to the churches in Revelation was to overcome through perseverance. That is the same word He brings to us.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30: 5

 In this edition

The narrow Gate – don’t be mislead by false teachers

A remarkable conversion in Iran – from Joel Richardson’s web site

The wicked strut about – the short lived celebrations of those who defy God

The Great Anguish Part 4 – the unbelieving Jews

Our God is tolerance – A ruling of the US Justice Department

Answers in Prophecy – Autumn Meetings

Change always comes from the bottom up

Egypt – What next for the Muslim Brotherhood

Read my lips – double speak in Jordan

Rights

The Narrow Gate

There is a huge gap between the statements that ‘Christ accepts you as you are’ and ‘Christ accepts you as you are and cleanses you from your sin’. Without this qualification ‘Christ accepts you as you are’ on its own is a lie. As such it is a comforting false gospel which is gladly received. There is no challenge to change or repent of past sin.

‘Christ accepts you as you are’ is written on the sign post which points to the broad way leading to destruction.

At the side of the broad way there is a narrow gate. Any sinner can approach it but passing through is not so easy. In Luke’s Gospel [Ch.13] Jesus says that many will seek to enter the gate but will not be able to. The immediate context of His statement is the Jews who had heard His message but not accepted it. They will be excluded from the kingdom of God. But the warning extends beyond the Jews to all those who imagine that they are part of the kingdom of God but have never entered through the narrow gate. They have been given the false assurance that ‘Christ accepts you as they are’. When the day of reckoning comes to their horror they find themselves outside the gate. These people, finding the door locked, demand to be allowed through. The Master of the house says that he never knew them. Having missed out on the blessings they thought would be theirs they go away to eternal misery.

Christ accepts us as we are provided we recognise that we are sinners who need to be cleansed. Any gospel which offers salvation without repentance is a lie. The work of cleansing cannot begin until we have confessed our sin and asked Jesus into our lives. It is not enough to believe in Jesus, we must allow Him the right to challenge and change us. Only then will we have passed through the narrow gate and started on the difficult way which leads to life.

From Joel Richardson’s Web Site

One of the interviews we conducted earlier this year was with a friend who is an underground church planter and pastor in Iran. It was a very powerful interview. One of the stories that he shared, I need to pass on to you all.

My friend—let’s call him Ali—while in Iran had heard about a man who had become a believer in a fairly remote village with no other known believers.  Wanting to find out how this man had come to believe in Jesus, he traveled to the village to meet with the man. The villager related how a man had visited him; he wore a white robe, had longer hair and a very commanding presence. The man in white spoke at length to the villager and told him to write down his words. The villager agreed. After hearing the villager’s story, Ali asked him if he could see what was written that had caused him to become a Christian. The man showed Ali a large journal.  In Farsi, the first line began as follows:

“In the beginning was the word. The word was with God, and the word was God…”

The man was holding a hand written copy of the entire Gospel of John. According to the man, it was the man in white who had relayed this story to him, verbatim.

Stories like this are actually common in Iran, where many new believers are coming to faith through divine encounters, dreams and visions. Hearing some of these stories was extremely encouraging. By Joel Richardson

The Wicked Strut About

“the wicked strut about on every side when vileness is exalted among the sons of men.” Psalm 12: 8 NASB

We have seen much strutting about in recent months. The progress of the Same Sex Marriage Bill through parliament has been one cause for the wicked to celebrate. Over coming months and years they will have many more reasons to party.

We should continue to pray against the rejection of God’s laws and for strength for those who make a stand. We must also acknowledge that many battles will be lost. Decades ago the foundations of our society were rejected. Many Ministers of religion no longer believed God’s word and in consequence the people left the church. The Bible having been discredited was no longer accepted as the foundation of our society. Without a solid foundation the whole structure crumbles.

For a time those who live in opposition to God’s laws will strut about. As the Christian heritage of this country continues to be dismantled many will proclaim that a fairer, more equal, more tolerant society has been created. For the righteous there will be hostility from the world. “Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and imposters will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3: 12, 13 nasb. We are entering the years when the followers of Christ are hated by all nations.

The celebrations of the wicked will be short lived. Most who strut about today will still be alive when Jesus returns. That day will bring honour for the righteous but for the wicked judgment.

The glory of the gospel is that all who are now wicked can be deemed righteous when they repent of their past way of life and have faith in Christ. All of us were once counted among the wicked. “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasure, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.” Titus 3: 3. Some Christians will deny that description ever applied to them. Jesus made it clear that to even think in the ways set out above condemns us as guilty.

The wicked will resent being identified as such. They will see it as hatred and become our enemies. Jesus said that we must love our enemies. It is an act of love to warn them of the consequences of their actions. We must especially pray for those who have the courage and position to speak out words of warning.

The Great Anguish – Part 4 the unbelieving Jews

The previous article in this series looked at the assurance that there will be a place of safety for the believing Jews. A place where they will be protected during the time of great anguish which will end this present age. When the Abomination of Desolation is set up on the Temple Mount they are to flee. Most Jews will stay behind. They do not recognise Jesus as their Messiah and do not know of His warnings. What will happen to those who remain in the land?

Suffered Enough?

For those who pray for Israel and recognise that God still loves that nation it is hard to accept what the Bible teaches. As a people the Jews have suffered not just in the 20th century but throughout the last 2000 years. We feel that they have suffered enough but according to scripture their anguish is not at an end. The worst is yet to come!

When Jesus spoke of, “a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will,” He was quoting Daniel 12:1. In Daniel the time of distress is a warning for Israel. It will be the worst time that the nation has ever experienced. So that we do not confuse it with other times of suffering the nation has experienced it is said to occur just before the resurrection of those who sleep. The timing is confirmed by Jesus who places it immediately before His glorious return.

In the context of Daniel this time of distress primarily refers to the nation of Israel. In future articles we will look at how far and in what ways it will affect the rest of the world.

Rebellious Israel

Throughout their history the Jews have, due to disobedience, brought suffering on themselves. God promised to bless them if they kept His laws. He also warned that they would suffer if they went their own way. Prophet after prophet was sent to call the nation back to God. But they persisted in wanting to be like the nations round about. Eventually, just as God had warned, they were expelled from the Land and sent into exile in Babylon. They returned from exile a chastened nation.

When their Messiah came, due to the hardness of their hearts, they would not recognise Him. Again they were sent into an exile, an exile which lasted 1900 years. They have now returned to the land but, sadly the Bible warns that the Jews are going to commit one last tragic act of disobedience.

“I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. John 5:43. Some debate whether this is a prophecy, I believe that it is. It warns that the day will come when Israel accepts a false Messiah. He will be a man who both claims to be the Messiah while at the same time standing in opposition to the real Messiah and His followers. Instead of providing reconciliation with the Father the false Christ will turn people away from God leading them to worship Satan.

Jesus spoke of the Abomination of Desolation standing in the Holy place as the sign to flee. The second article of this series concluded that this abomination is both an object of idolatry and a reference to a man. In 2 Thessalonians 2 we read of a man of lawlessness who is to be revealed before the coming of Jesus. He will display signs and wonders from Satan which will deceive all who have not received the truth both Jew and Gentile.

The same man is described in Daniel Ch 11. The similarity in language between Daniel 11: 36 and 2 Thessalonians 2: 4 points to Daniel being the source which Paul was quoting. This man’s pride and arrogance will be beyond anything this world has ever experienced. A strong delusion sent by God will cause people to actually believe that this man is all he claims to be.

The Jews will accept this man as their saviour. He will bring the longed for promise of peace. At last they will believe that they will be able to live securely in their land. But the man who they hoped would save them will turn out to be a blasphemer and filled with hate towards them.

Acceptance of this man with his Satan worship will be the worst form of idolatry. It will usher in the final tragedy of the Jews, described as a time of anguish like no other by both Daniel and Jesus. It will be their ultimate rebellion and act of disobedience. The consequences of which are heart braking not just for those who pray for the conversion of the Jews but also for God. For a time He will turn away from them allowing them to suffer the consequence of their sin.

“ It will come about in all the land,” declares the Lord, “that two parts in it will be cut off and perish, but the third part will be left in it.” Zechariah 13: 8

Of those living in the land two thirds will perish. It will be a time of anguish greater than any they have experienced in the past. The bitter lessons of the twentieth century taught the Jews that there are those who hate them so much that they want every Jew to be killed. There is coming a time when the Jews will be confronted with the real prospect of the ‘final solution’ being implemented. Such will be their oppression that they will fear that none will survive. This will become their time of anguish such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time.

For how long will Israel suffer?

At the end of the lengthy vision recorded in Daniel chapters 10 to 12, an angel asks “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?” In answer the one who we identify as Jesus replies, “it will be for a time, times and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.” Time, times and half a time corresponds to the length of time that those who flee to the wilderness will be protected [Revelation 12: 14]. The period is also given as 1260 days which is three and a half years.

For three and a half years the Jews who rely on their own strength will suffer. Their suffering will continue until their power is shattered. The purpose of the suffering is not punishment but to bring the nation to repentance. Once all hope has been extinguished then will they cry out to their God to save them.

Two other periods of time are mentioned in the closing of this vision. “From the time the regular is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up 1290 days. How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1335 days” Daniel 12: 1

A possible interpretation of these three periods of time follows. The 1290 days start with the setting up of the abomination of desolation. The 1260 days refer to the period of intense suffering. It is possible that there is a 30 day period between the setting up of the abomination and the beginning of the suffering. This is a period in which those who heed the warning of Jesus are to flee. For this brief period of 30 days the unbelieving Jews will place their hope in the Man of Sin who promised to bring them peace. But it will soon turn sour. Far from being their saviour he will turn out to hate them. Over the next 1260 days the persecution will intensify.

At the end of the 1290 days when all hope has gone the remnant of Israel will cry out to God. At that time Jesus their Messiah will intervene and fight on their behalf. He will bring the time of suffering to an end. The 1335 days could refer to the event which Daniel and all sincere Jews long for. On that day having vanquished His enemies the Messiah will claim the throne of David and establish His reign of peace over the entire world. All who see the coming of that day will truly count themselves blessed.

“Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but she will be saved out of it”. Jeremiah 30:7.

In the next article we will look at who will be saved. The saved will enter the kingdom as a transformed people.

Our God is called Tolerance

The US Justice Department has determined that in order to advance the goal of tolerance, parents may be denied the right to determine their child’s education. The Justice department believes that the Government rather than parents should decide whether home school, state school or private school is best for a child, thus overturning the parent’s right to determine their child’s upbringing, long accepted as one of the foundations of a free society.

This opinion has arisen as a response to an immigration judge granting asylum to the Romeike family. The Romeike’s fled Germany after facing the possibility of heavy fines and having their children taken away for choosing to home school their children. They chose to home school their children because the public schools were teaching lessons antithetical to their Christian beliefs.  Under a 1938 Nazi era law home schooling is illegal in Germany. The law has never been repealed.

In 2003 another family, the Konrad’s, challenged the German law in the European Court of Human Rights.

The court upheld the German ban concluding that society has a significant interest in preventing the development of dissent through ‘separate philosophical convictions’. In this judgement they contravened the founding document of the court, the United Nations declaration of Human Rights, which in Article 26 guarantees that the parent has prior right to determine how their child will be educated.

Currently, with the support of the Home School Legal Defence Association, the Romeike’s are appealing a court decision given in April to remove their asylum status. If the appeal fails they will be deported back to Germany to face fines and the removal of their children. On the 26th June, the Justice Department submitted a brief to the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, stating Germany’s laws that suppress religious homeschooling, aim at promoting tolerance and are not grounds for claiming persecution. The Justice Department further asserted that Germany’s open opposition to the “development of religiously or philosophically motivated ‘parallel societies’ ” is designed to create an “open, pluralistic society.”

More on this story can be found on http://www.hslda.org.

In the name of tolerance, dissent cannot be tolerated. Christians are by virtue of their faith members of a religiously motivated parallel society. Parallel societies need to be suppressed if the aim of achieving an ‘open pluralistic society’ is to be achieved.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see where this is heading.

Answers in Prophecy

A new series of seminars will be held this autumn at Crawley New Life Church, The Glade, Furnace Green, Crawley, RH10 6JL. The speakers will be Philip Wren and Jim Cottington. Sessions will run from 7.00 pm to 8.30 pm on Saturday evenings and generally be in two parts.

Sessions will either be teaching from the Bible on a prophetic theme or will look at world events in the light of scripture. There will also be a coffee break and time for questions.

  Dates            Autumn 2013

7th September  Israel in the End Times Philip
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem Jim
5th October The Muslim Brotherhood – Part 1 Philip
The Muslim Brotherhood – Part 2 Philip
History, beliefs and future
2nd November Responding to Kingdom dominionism Jim
Judgement begins at the house of God – what does this mean? Philip
7th December The Seven Empires – Part 1 Philip
The Seven Empires – Part 2 Philip
Daniel 2/Revelation 17

There is in general a lack of teaching in the churches on matters relating to prophecy. The return of Christ is a subject which is avoided and yet according to the Bible it should be our ‘Blessed Hope’.

Many are put off the study of Bible prophecy seeing it as too confusing, complex, divisive or irrelevant. Answers in Prophecy seeks to teach prophecy in a way which is; simple, straight forward, uniting and very relevant. The focus is on what the Bible teaches not on speculation.

Recordings of past Answers in Prophecy seminars are available on the trumpetsounds.net website.

Change always comes from the bottom up

King Josiah did right in the sight of the Lord. From an early age he walked in the way of his father David. He purged the nation of the high places and detestable idols. He broke down the altars and ground them to dust. Then he moved beyond the confines of Judah into Israel. There also he destroyed all the places of pagan worship.

After cleansing the land he proceeded to restore the Temple. It was during this time that the Book of the Law of the Lord was found. Alarmed at what he heard the king sends Hilkiah the priest and the officials to consult Huldah the prophetess. She confirms that because of their wilful idolatry God will bring calamity on the people of the land. Huldah assures Josiah that as he had humbled himself before the Lord, calamity would not come in his time.

Five years earlier the prophet Jeremiah had started his ministry. During these years when Josiah was cleansing the land and restoring the worship of God, Jeremiah brought warnings of judgment. Outwardly the nation was experiencing a revival. After the dark years of Manasseh and Amon’s reigns it must have seemed a wonderful time for the godly. The laws of God were being recovered and true worship restored.

Jeremiah, like Huldah, saw that the heart of the people was not in the changes their king was instituting. “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love it so. Jeremiah 5: 30, 31.

Jeremiah mixed among the people. He knew that as soon as their righteous ruler had gone they would revert to their old ways. Therefore for the next 41 years he would repeatedly call the people to repent.

When we consider the state of our nation we need to know where the heart of the people really is. We pray that our government will be restrained from abandoning the godly laws on which this nation was founded. Despite the prayers offered up over decades the steady rejection of God’s law continues. Why hasn’t God listened to our prayers? It is because He reads men’s hearts.

 “And the people love it so”. The people have rejected our Christian heritage. They have preferred other gods. In consequence God will allow calamity to come on the nation. Revival cannot be imposed from the top down, if attempted it will not last. Only by the transformation of the hearts of the people can a nation be changed.

We should not expect when we pray for our government that it will restore righteousness to our nation. It cannot do that. We pray that it will preserve laws which will protect the weak and allow us the freedom to serve and witness for Christ in peace.

Egypt

A predicable outcome of the ‘Arab Spring’ was the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood. It was especially predicable in Egypt due to the Brotherhood being the only political party sufficiently organised to cash in on the opportunities arising from the ousting of Mubarak.

In the 2011/2012 elections for the People’s Assembly the Brotherhood won 235 seats. The Salafi Islamic Bloc gained 121 seats. Together the two Islamist parties gained 356 seats out of 508 seats and 17,672,400 out of 27,065,135 total votes 65%. In the presidential elections which followed Mohamed Morsi failed to capitalise on the Brotherhood’s previous success. Standing in the second round against the more moderate former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik he only managed to gain 13,230,131 out of 25,577,511 votes cast 52% of the total. This was put down to his being an unknown uninspiring speaker who was inclined to ramble on for literally hours. Despite these short comings the Brotherhoods efficiency in mobilising their voters managed to get him elected.

In June a petition to remove Morsi from office received over 22 million signatures. This was followed at the end of June by street protests with an estimated 30 million taking part. In response to such an incredible display of anger against Morsi’s brief presidency the army stepped in to remove him. The Western media reported the army’s intervention as a military coup. That is far from the truth. It was an essential action in a fledgling democracy which lacks the checks and balances to prevent an elected dictatorship. Initially western governments were hostile to the army’s action. Fortunately as they have come to understand the reality of what happened they have become more muted in their condemnation.

Why the turn round in support?

Morsi was totally reliant on the Brotherhood for his electoral success. He came to power promising to lead an inclusive government but from the start pleasing his Brotherhood colleagues has been a priority. He has expanded the number of the Brotherhoods ministers and Governors. This alienated non-islamists.  In November he issued a constitutional declaration granting himself full executive authority. He followed this up by forcing through an islamist constitution. While pursuing an islamist agenda Morsi failed to get to grips with the challenges facing Egypt. Rising food and fuel prices, a stagnant economy and high unemployment have not been tackled.

Morsi’s incompetence on gaining power has been the greatest surprise coming out of Egypt’s ‘Arab Spring’.  It was known from the start that he was a hard line islamist who intended to implement sharia laws as the basis of the new constitution. He was also dedicated to the creation of a pan Arab caliphate. But why didn’t he recognise that the Brotherhood’s past popularity was built on a concern for the poor and disadvantaged? Within a corrupt society it was the Brotherhood who provided health care, jobs and education. A more astute politician would have given food prices and employment a higher priority. 85 years in the political wilderness did not prove a good preparation for power.

After this debacle is the Muslim Brotherhood finished? Recep Erdogan Prime Minister of Turkey would say that it is not. His electorally successful AKP party is Muslim Brotherhood inspired. Over the last 10 years he has whittled away the secular constitution slowly turning Turkey into an Islamic state.

He has got away with it because the economy has until very recently done well. In 2011 the Turkish economy grew by 8.8% second only to China. Since then growth has declined.

In June protests in Istanbul over the proposed redevelopment of Gezi Park were brutally suppressed. There were strong protests from the EU and UN regarding the level of force employed to control the demonstrations. Despite this Erdogan appears to have succeeded in retaining popular support within the country.

Egypt has been given a second chance. The question which coming months will answer is whether the majority are sufficiently organised to defeat the Brotherhood and Salafists at the next elections. It is probable that infighting and divisions will lead to failure to capitalise on the opportunity. If that happens we can expect an islamist government which rapidly cracks down on the army and any other potential challenge to its power.

Read my lips

Quote from former Jordanian Prime Minister Abdelraouf Al-Rawabdeh

“Once, when I was running for office, someone tried to give me a hard time. He approached me and asked: “What do you think about America?” I asked him: “Are you asking me as a politician or as a candidate?” He said he was asking me as a candidate, so I said: “America is an enemy state, which provides weapons to Israel, kills our Palestinian people, controls our Arab countries, expropriates our oil, and destroys our economy.” So he was pleased, but then he said: “And as a politician?” I said: “America is our friend. It stands by us and provides us with aid.”

Rights

The modern emphasis on rights is far removed from the movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960’s. Then every person joining in the civil rights marches was required to sign the following pledge before they could participate:

1.     Meditate on teachings of Jesus daily.

2.     Remember that the non-violent movement seeks justice and reconciliation, not just victory.

3.     Walk & talk in the manner of love/charity, for God is love.

4.     Pray daily to be used by God.

5.     Sacrifice personal needs. Greed has to go out the window.

6.     Observe with both friend & foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.

7.     Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.

8.     Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue or heart.

9.     Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

10.   Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain of the demonstration.