Newsletter 113 Autumn 2014

World events are moving fast towards a conclusion. The day of the Lord is rapidly approaching. Are we ready? In these last days our Lord’s command is to watch. In the Garden of Gethsemane He said to the disciples; “Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation”. As the day approaches there will be turmoil in the world and false prophets in the church. Many will fall away from the truth. If ever there was a time to which Jesus’ words apply it is now.
The purpose of writing and speaking on prophecy is to encourage Christians to ‘watch’, to be prayerful and vigilant and above all look up, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is able to bring us through to be with Him in glory.

In this edition

The Islamic State

The Great Anguish – Part 9 How will Satan deceive the world?

The House of Commons

The growth of mysticism in the church

Ebola and other diseases

More Dangerous than ISIS – the perception of ‘Christian Extremism’

‘The Mystery of the Shemitah’ by Jonathan Cahn

The Sabbatical Cycles

The Islamic State

Does the Islamic State have prophetic significance? It was too early to say in the last edition of Trumpet Sounds. I now believe that it has huge significance.
When I first heard about ISIS my thoughts went to Revelation 9: 14 – 15. A voice comes from the altar which is before the throne of God commanding the release of the four demonic angels bound at the great river Euphrates. God has prepared them for a purpose and has known from the beginning the exact time when they will be released. Their purpose is to kill one third of mankind!! On present numbers that is 2.4 billion people.
These verses must trouble those who complain – how can a God of love do …….? The explanation is given in verses 20 and 21. He does it to bring people to repentance.
ISIS is demonic. It emerged from the area of the Euphrates River, probably about a year ago but came to prominence with its rapid conquest of Iraq this summer. The world has been stunned by its unthinkable brutality. This is I believe a warning of much worse that is to come?
The Trumpet Judgments [Revelation chapters 8 and 9]
The release of the four angels is the sixth of the trumpet judgements and the second woe to come on the world. The trumpet judgments are all demonic. Being demonic we only see the effect not the demons behind the judgment. The first four judgments targeted the natural world. The final three target those people who lack the seal of God.
When the third trumpet sounds a star called wormwood [bitter] falls from heaven. Then when the fifth trumpet sounds it refers to a star already fallen from heaven. It is natural to assume that this is the same star as fell on the sounding of the third trumpet. He is given permission and the key to release those who are imprisoned in the bottomless pit.
A plague of demons emerge with a leader named Abaddon. This Abaddon will go on to become the Beast who it is said has been released from the bottomless pit [Revelation 11: 7 & 17: 8]. The star which falls from heaven is Satan as confirmed in Revelation 12: 9. Abaddon is his antichrist, soon to rule the world.
Under the fifth trumpet, the first woe, the plaque of demons is allowed to terrorise mankind for a period of five months. The demons are described in Revelation 9 but will be invisible to us.
Global Jihad
That time of terror when men wish to die is followed by the release of the four demonic angels given the task to kill a third of mankind. In the past like many others I believed that this would come through vast conventional armies stirred up to war. I now believe that the demonic angels will achieve their end by other means. The army they stir up numbers 200 million, a staggering number even by today’s standards but at the time of John, when the population of the Roman Empire was only 71 million, it must have seemed unbelievable. John emphasises that this was the number which he heard [Revelation 9: 16].
In the order of events as set out in Revelation the fall of Babylon the Great comes before the reign of the Beast. The global economy, pictured in scripture as Babylon the Great, will soon collapse. The resulting economic conditions, similar to 1920’s Germany, will be fertile ground for the spread of extremist ideology. Fundamentalist Islam has long proclaimed that both the Collectivism of the East and Capitalism in the West have failed. Only Islam has a vision for the future. With the failure of western capitalism vast numbers of both Muslim and non Muslim will be caught up by the demonically inspired cause. Spread over the world, 200 million jihadists does not seem so unimaginable and following the brutality of the Islamic State a death toll of 2.4 billion no longer seems figurative.
There is no way that the existing forces of law and order can control that number. This will begin the terrible time of which Jesus spoke [Matthew 24:21]. During that time Satan will reveal his Antichrist. After the horrors of the second woe the world will see him as a saviour and breathe a brief sigh of relief.

The Great Anguish – Part 9 How will Satan deceive the world?

Towards the end of this present age there will be a great celebration in heaven when Satan is cast down to earth. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. But soon he will no longer be able to appear before God to bring his accusations. The reason for his overthrow, as given in Revelation 12: 11, is the faithfulness of those who were prepared to face death rather than deny their Saviour the Lamb of God. The martyrs have been willing to serve God even if it costs them everything. By their deaths they have proved Satan a liar.
Cast down to earth Satan is enraged with the woman Israel and her offspring the followers of Christ [Revelation 12: 9, 17]. They have been the cause of his downfall. If he is going to enforce his rule as god of this world the faithful must be silenced. How will Satan deceive the peoples of this world into accepting his rule? How will he turn them against those who choose to belong to the kingdom of God?
Many interpretations of prophecy relating to the time of anguish at the end of this age look at it through western eyes. The ideas put forward assume that the whole world is like the West with the same political, economic and technical conditions. Therefore the man of sin is presented as a political leader who enforces his rule through the power of technology.
But the population of the western world is a small proportion of the whole. The conditions which might enslave the West do not apply in Africa, India or China. In India teaming millions have little regard for rules and authority. It is recognized that there are several economies which function in parallel. Hundreds of millions live outside controlled economy. Satan, given three and a half or even seven years to enforce his rule will be faced with an impossible task. Politics is not strong enough to bring everyone under his control; therefore other strategies will need to be employed.
The first strategy will be the reign of terror described in the article on the Islamic State. It is after these woes that the beast will be revealed. God allows Satan to inflict on man this time of suffering as a call to repent. For Satan it is a time of chaos designed to prepare the way for His man who has been released to fulfil this hour.
The political rulers of this world will look for a leader to rescue them as crisis after crisis engulfs humanity. Many in the secular West will accept a leader who promises to guide them through the calamities which are destroying the planet.
The second strategy is religious. In the wider world it is not a leader but a prophet which is called for. It appears that Satan has been preparing for this day for thousands of years. The religions he created have placed in men’s minds the longing for a saviour.
The Bible recognizes a twofold deception. Revelation 13 describes two beasts. The first is the ‘man of sin’. The second is the false prophet who causes the world to worship the ‘man of sin’. The false prophet will fulfil the role of saviour that Satan has created in the hopes of every religion. He will be of greater significance than the beast when it comes to bringing the people of the world into line.
A false saviour
Hindu’s hope for Krishna, Buddhists’ for Maitreya, Zoroastrians for the Saosyants. Of most interest is the belief of Muslims who occupy that part of the world which will be the epicentre of end time events. It is difficult to generalize about Muslim beliefs as reliance is placed on the Hadith [the sayings of Mohammed] to interpret the incomprehensible Qur’an. There are many collections of these Hadiths. This leads to the variety of interpretation held by the various sects within Islam. Some Sunni Muslims dismiss the belief in the coming Mahdi as a Shi’a concept. Others disagree claiming that the belief in the Mahdi is as much Sunni as Shi’a. Mahdi al-Muntadhar means awaited saviour.
However both branches of Islam are agreed that an essential sign of the end of the age is the descent of Jesus Christ from heaven. Popular Islamic writer Harun Yahya quotes the following hadith regarding Jesus’ coming. “Allah will send ‘Isa (as) son of Maryam to Earth. He will descend with two angels wearing two beautiful garments in his palms to the white minaret in the east of Sham [Damascus]. (Tirmidhi, Fitan, p. 59)
Islamic eschatology runs parallel to Biblical teaching on the end times but reverses the rolls. In Islamic teaching Jesus when he comes, besides denying his divinity and breaking the crosses, will also fight against the Dajjal the Islamic antichrist. The Christian student of prophecy can see a perfect match in the Mahdi supported by the Islamic Jesus and the beast and false prophet of scripture.
The Bible says of the ‘man of sin’ that his coming “according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish…” 2 Thess 2: 10, 11. Could it be that one of the lying wonders which Satan has prepared is the apparent descent of his false christ from heaven? After all it is Satan who wrote the scripts which the false religions follow.
A supernatural hoax
Contemplate what effect such a wonder would have on this world. Muslims would be overjoyed proclaiming this as the absolute confirmation of the authority of their prophet. The other religions would see in this miracle a sure sign that the saviour they hope for has come. The supernatural hoax will unite all religions as one.
According to the hadith the Mahdi will bring to Jerusalem the Ark of the Covenant and the tablets of the law. Such a token of good would immediately win over the hearts of the Jews.
What of Christendom? Many Roman Catholics will look for a lead form their Pope. If he is deceived by this sign they will follow. The Eastern Church which follows a patriarchal system will also largely look for a lead from the hierarchy.
And the Protestants, will they see through this deception? Jesus said that the false prophets would “deceive even the elect if that were possible”. He goes on in the Sermon on the Mount of Olives to emphasize the need to be vigilant. This points to the possibility of the elect being deceived if we do not watch. Part of watching is to be familiar with the teaching of scripture. Jesus makes clear that when he actually returns his coming will be unmistakable [Matt 24: 29 – 31].
There is within the church an appetite to see all things supernatural as proceeding from God. Without discernment, based on the knowledge of scripture, Christians will be deceived. Like the five foolish virgins, when Jesus actually appears, they will not be ready.
The world will be against us
Two questions were posed earlier in this article. The first question was; how will Satan deceive the world into accepting his rule? The answer is that his man will be seen as the only one able to save the world from the demonic chaos Satan created.
The second question was; how will Satan turn the people of this world against those who choose to belong to the kingdom of God? By creating an apparently supernatural appearance he will convince the world that Jesus Christ has returned. According to Islam their christ will break the crosses and declare to the world that he is not divine. He will seek to eradicate all worship of him as the divine Son of God. The religious will obey the false prophet and take up his cause against those he declares to be false believers.
Jesus said that there will come a time when his followers are hated by all nations. Praise the Lord we know that we are on the winning side. Far from defeat, the Bible indicates that, for those who are prepared, these times will see a harvest of souls for the kingdom.

The House of Commons

On the 13th October the House of Commons adopted the motion to “recognise the State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two state solution”. The vote was 274 for, 10 against.
I watched part of the debate on BBC Parliament. The speeches were depressing. Some MPs only knew what they had seen and heard on the media. The pictures of injured women and children had made the expected impact. Others revealed their ignorance of history. One MP called on Israel to recognise the Palestinian State as the Palestinians have recognised Israel! If only they had. The motion was presented as a way of supporting the forces of moderation against extremist such as Hamas. Mahmoud Abbas was one of the moderates who needed support. There seemed no comprehension that Abbas has in the Arabic media frequently called for the destruction of Israel or that he has been working on reconciliation with Hamas listed by the UK as a proscribed terrorist organisation. MPs were encouraged that support for the motion had been given by the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church!
A gift to extremism
The part of the debate I watched lacked a rational explanation of how accepting a Palestinian State now and negotiating later would further peace, and certainly no comprehension that their naive support for the motion was playing straight into the hands of extremists.
The Israel Foreign Ministry responded as follows: “Premature international recognition sends a troubling message to the Palestinian leadership, that they can evade the tough choices that both sides have to make and actually undermines the chances to reach a real lasting peace”,
Because our nation has made light of the suffering of Israel and sided with violent men, a whirlwind of violence will come to our streets. We will not escape the woe soon to spread over the whole world.

The growth of mysticism in the church

“There is a profound and imminent danger taking place within the walls of Christianity. Doctrine has become less important than feeling and this has led to a mystical paradigm shift. Sound doctrine must be central to this debate, because New Ageism has a very idealistic side to it offering a mystical approach to solving human problems”. Ray Yungen

Ebola and other diseases

Ebola has hit the headlines. It is spreading fast and at present has no cure. Seventy percent of those who contract the disease die. The world is on alert to prevent the spread of Ebola from West Africa.
In Uganda a man died from a related virus. Marburg is similar to Ebola but generally thought less likely to spread due to causing death much more rapidly. The Ugandan authorities have the outbreak under control.
Another disease which we haven’t heard so much about in Europe is Chikungunya. In Central and South American it has become a pandemic with over a million victims to date. So far it has spread to 26 countries including the United States. It is forecast that in 2015 victims will number millions.
Chikungunya was first identified in Tanganyika in 1952. Since then there have been outbreaks in Africa, India and South East Asia. It is spread by mosquitoes and while generally not fatal its effect is severe. The name Chikungunya means ‘that which bends up’, a reference to the excruciating joint pain causing victims to curl up. There is no cure but most recover in time although the joint pain can last for months or years. Those who have endured it say you feel as though you are dying and if you are not dying then you want to die to escape the pain.
The Islamic State is a warning that the second woe of Revelation 9 is soon to be fulfilled. The outbreaks of the incurable diseases are a warning that the first woe is also coming.
The sting of a scorpion
The first woe is described as follows: “They were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; their torment was like the sting of a scorpion when it stings a man. And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die but death flees them.” Revelation 9: 5, 6.
The death stalker scorpion found throughout the Middle East and North Africa delivers a powerful sting which causes excruciating pain, fever and convulsions, symptoms similar to Chikungunya. The sting is not usually fatal other than in the very young, the elderly or infirm.
The time is soon coming when mankind will be terrorised by demons. The terror will be induced by fear of what is coming on the world. Fear in response to plagues for which there is no cure and to the prospect of extremism running out of control.
Those who have the seal of God on their lives are protected from this woe. Their hope is in Christ. There is no need to fear for He is sovereign over the affairs of this world. If we have heeded prophecy we know the future and have confidence in him.

More Dangerous than ISIS – the perception of ‘Christian Extremism’

Islamic extremism is correctly identified as a threat to British society. This has been brought into the spot light with the Trojan Horse allegations against some Birmingham schools. The Government response has been to require the teaching of what it calls ‘British values’.
On a number of occasions I have heard reports, on the BBC, which, when commenting on Islamic extremism in schools, have identified the teaching of creation as science as similar extremism. Therefore as a person who believes that God created the heavens and the earth and all the creatures in it I am now regarded as an extremist on a par with those who teach militant jihad.
The Daily Telegraph reported that the new Education Secretary will ban the teaching of creation as fact in state funded nursery schools. This confirms a perceived connection between believing in creation and extremism.
I may protest that my intentions are entirely peaceful. I have no wish to threaten or cause harm to anyone. But still I am now considered an extremist.
Why is the world so insistent on making the connection between a belief in creation and extremism?
Islamic fundamentalism is a real threat to the United Kingdom. It has the potential, in time, to erupt on British streets in various forms of disruptive violence. This is underlined by the statistic that twice as many British Muslims are serving with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq as serve in the British Army. An indication of where loyalties really lie.
Does the governing establishment believe that creationists present the same level of threat to that of the Islamic fundamentalist? The answer appears to be yes. Creationists may not be about to suicide bomb shopping malls and underground trains but they are a serious threat.
Creation as a religious idea can be tolerated because it can be mocked and discarded as a myth. But when it is shown that naturalistic evolution is no longer scientifically credible, that is threatening. Even worse is to inform children that there is good evidence that the earth is not billions of years old but of more recent origin.
Once these ideas get out the whole framework of secular society will crumble. If the universe and life did not come into existence by chance, the only alternative is the existence of a creator. Even worse is the thought that the creator might be the God of Christianity who expects us to obey His laws and will hold each of us to account.

‘The Mystery of the Shemitah’ by Jonathan Cahn

In this book the author observes how financial crisis have tended to follow the seven year cycle of the Jewish Sabbath years. It is a sequel to his previous book ‘The Harbinger’. The earlier book sets out the warnings of impending judgment which God has given to the United States. Judgment brought about by the nation turning away from its foundation on the word of God. The Mystery of the Shemitah develops the theme of coming judgment and suggests that the timing may fall within the seven year cycle. Because Cahn won’t go so far as to commit himself on this issue the build up falls flat.
The presentation would not convince a sceptic. Cahn sensationalises and presents as secret knowledge matters which would be better dealt with as straight forward observation. The sceptic would see that the infromation, as presented, could be interpreted in other ways. Within the many words there are some striking facts. For instance the timing of events surrounding the attack on the World Trade Centre in 2001 and the economy crash of 2008 both are tied closely to the sabbatical cycle in a number of ways.
One thing that struck me from reading the book is that judgment, if it falls, often comes in the month of Tishrei following the end of the Shemitah. Tishrei is the month of harvest. It is in that month, after the Sabbath year has ended, that we either reap a harvest of blessing from obedience or a harvest judgment due to disobedience.
Having written on this subject in the past I am predisposed to accepting that end time events are following a seven year cycle. However to see this cycle we should look not at the United States but the people to whom it was originally given, Israel. I reprint below some extracts from Trumpet Sounds 83.

The Sabbatical Cycles

“And you shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield, but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.” Exodus 23:10-11
An important part of the Law of Moses was the Sabbath year when the land was allowed to rest. It was intended as a year when the land could recover and also to be blessing to the poor. Every seventh year the Israelites were to let the land keep a “sabbath of rest” by not sowing their crops (Lev. 25:2-7). This sabbatical year was called “the year of shemitah” or “release”, since all debts were remitted that year (Deut. 15:9; 31:10). The Sabbatical year begins in the autumn on Rosh Hashanah, the first of Tishri, which is the seventh month. In the Jewish calendar it is the start of the civil year.
The importance of the Sabbath year as part of the Law is emphasised at the end of 2 Chronicles. Failure to observe the sabbatical years is given as a reason for Judah being taken into exile by Babylon.
“And those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept Sabbath until seventy years were complete.” 2 Chronicles 36: 20-21
The present day celebration of the Sabbatical Year
With the return of the Jews to Israel in the late 1800’s the question of letting the fields lie fallow for a year became a burning issue. The early settlers requested that the rabbinate issue a ‘hetter’ (permit) to allow them to continue working the land during the sabbatical year of 1889. In response three respected Rabbis came up with the formula called ‘hetter machirah’. This allowed the Jew to temporarily sell the land to a non-Jew for the sabbatical year so that the young and fragile agricultural settlements would not collapse. The practice of ‘hetter machirah’, continues to this day. It has always been controversial as it was seen as more about observing the letter rather than the spirit of the Law. Some of the ultra-orthodox Jews are fiercely opposed to it.
The dating of the Sabbath years conforms to a table published by Benedict Zuckermann in 1856, which lists the sabbatical years in ancient times. His table is generally accepted as the standard position.
A Seven Year Cycle?
Contemplating the prophecies of Daniel caused me to consider the recent history of Israel within a framework of the Sabbath years. Was there a clear seven-year cycle which could be identified? I share my thought for your consideration. I have used the Jewish calendar years as this is clearer.
5733 (1972/3) Peace
The Yom Kippor War of the autumn 1972 gave Israel a brief period of peace and security. Following their rapid defeat the Arabs for a time considered the IDF invincible.
5740 (1979/80) Isolation
In July 1980 Israel declares, “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.” This begins a process in which Israel experiences increasing isolation by the international community.
5747 (1986/7) Intifada
First Intifada begins in October 1987 lasting through to 1993. The catalyst for the uprising was the ambush by the Israeli Defence force of seven members of Islamic Jihad in Gaza on 1st October 1980 and the shooting of a Palestinian schoolgirl by an Israeli settler. The Intifada was brought to an end by the Oslo Accords.
5754 (1993/4) Dividing the Land
The Oslo Accords were signed on the White House lawn in September 1993. They collapsed in July 2000 with the rejection by Yasser Arafat of the terms offered by Ehud Barak. The accords centred on the agreement to create separate Israeli and Palestinian states.
5761 (2000/1) Second Inifada
The second intifada began in September 2000. The uprising became global with the September 11th 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre. This attack began the war on terror. Towards the end of this period the West started to realise that it has entered into a war it can never win.
The autumn of this year (2008) begins the next sabbatical cycle. What will the next seven years bring?

5768 – 5775 (2007/8 – 2014/5) Collapse of the USA
I believe that the next seven year period will see the collapse of the USA as a major world power. The new sabbatical year has already seen a marked change in approach by the USA to Israel, particularly by President Bush, who is pushing hard for a Middle East peace settlement before he leaves office. Both in Annapolis and more recently in Israel a desire to appease the Arabs has become evident. When the USA rejects Israel she will cease to be a significant military and economic power in this world. In consequence Israel will lose the major prop on which she has relied for her continuing existence. Pray that she will come to rely on God for her protection instead of the USA.
The next seven years will also see the relentless rise of Islam towards becoming the dominant power in the world.
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Since writing the above in 2008 the US support for Israel has been seriously compromised. In parallel we have seen the United States under the present President lose much of its foreign policy credibility. But this is not the fulfilment of what was written above. Full judgment is yet to come. It will probably come in the month of Tishrei 5776 [Autumn 2015] after the close of the current Shemitah and will follow a significant rejection of Israel by the United States. The shock waves will be felt around the world.
The next sabbatical cycle?
5776 – 5783 will become an age of terror. God will release on the nations which have turned against Israel the demonic powers that Israel has had to face. Terror will come both from extremists and disease. The Islamic State and Chikungunya are warnings of what is to come.
Will this period see the fulfilment of the plaques and conflict foreseen in Revelation chapter 9? Time will tell.

In every situation we are to remember that prayer changes things.