Newsletter 114 Winter 2015

The autumn edition of Trumpet Sounds proposed that 2015 will prove to be a significant year for the fulfilment of prophecy. A likely economic crisis in the US will change the shape of global politics. In the last issue I shared my thoughts on the seven year cycle which is forming a pattern for these last days. I believe that the next seven years will be marked by increasing terrorism.

The inability of the forces of law and order to contain such a threat was illustrated by events in Belgium. In January, Belgian police foiled a major terror attack by Jihadis who had returned from Syria. This time they were fortunate. After the operation a Belgian official said that it takes 24 police officers to shadow one jihadi. With at least 100 fighters returned to Belgium from Syria it would take 2,400 policemen to monitor them all. In Britain where we may have as many as 500 returning jihadi’s that would equate to 12,000 policemen, which is 10% of the entire police force in England and Wales. It will be impossible to shadow them all.

In this edition

The building of an Ark

The Great Anguish – Part 10 Living in victory

Are you an extremist?

Israel and the US

World Yoga Day

Reaping what we sow.

A State the many Palestinians don’t want

The Faithful Church

Evolution’s Achilles Heel

Oil

The building of an Ark

In this issue there is an article titled ‘the Faithful Church’. It considers some of the issues in which churches are departing from accepted scriptural truth. Some churches are going emergent, adopting trendy ideas and abandoning what they consider negative doctrines in order to make the gospel more acceptable. Other churches no longer give reverence to the Bible as the word of God, while some have dispensed with it altogether. There are churches which are keen to jump on the worldly band waggon endorsing the values of the modern society and other churches which are quick to go along with the world’s hostility to the Jews.

Due to these trends an increasing number of Christians find that they are no longer comfortable in the fellowship to which they belong.
The church to which I belong has fasted and prayed over its future. We believe that the Lord has given the following word, “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes, for you shall expand to the right and to the left, …..” Isaiah 54: 2. We are to enlarge our premises in order to become an Ark where those who seek to be true to the Lord can find a spiritual home. I know of other fellowships which have received a similar word.

The Great Anguish – Part 10 Living in victory

This is the tenth in a series of articles which have reflected on the period of anguish which will close the present age. The last three articles have set out what the Bible teaches about the ‘man of sin’ who becomes the central character in the great tribulation.

The first article in this series opened with a quote from Hal Lindsey’s book ‘The Late Great Planet Earth’. The quote referred to the tribulation as “…that period of the most ghastly pestilence, bloodshed and starvation the world has ever known”. Comfort is provided by the belief that we as Christians will be gathered out of this world before that time of tribulation starts.

Many find that the arguments from scripture used to justify the belief in an early rapture of believers are weak. The more natural and obvious meaning of scripture is that the gathering of those who remain coincides with Christ’s return to earth. If that is correct the Christian church will remain on earth throughout this time.

A common mistake made by those who teach that the church will be raptured before the time of anguish is to confuse the tribulation with the outpouring of God’s wrath. The tribulation is the culmination of man’s rejection of the gospel. It states in 2 Thessalonians 2: 10 that the final deception comes about because men “did not receive the love of the truth”. Instead of the gospel the world will accept a false christ as its saviour.

The wrath of God is His response to the rejection of the gospel, which has been demonstrated by the world’s treatment of the faithful church. Whereas the anguish will last three and a half years, the wrath may only last a few days. It is represented in the Jewish feasts by the 10 days of awe which come between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This is the final chance to get right with God before the Day of Judgment. Christians do not come under God’s wrath. They will either be removed or hidden during this time [Psalm 57:1, Isaiah 26: 20, 21, Zephaniah 2: 3].

What will it be like to live through the time of anguish?

To help us take a fresh look at this time, there has, in these articles, been a deliberate replacing of the word tribulation with anguish.

The first thing to say is that it will be a time of anguish. Those who hold fast to their faith will be heartbroken as they see many, with whom they once walked in fellowship, taken in by the deceptions of the devil. In Thessalonians 2: 3 a falling away is coupled with the revealing of the ‘man of sin’. Jesus also said that “…because lawlessness will abound the love of many will grow cold”. Matthew 24: 12.

It will be like the days of Noah. Noah built the Ark as a testimony to the people. For years he had warned of coming judgment. It is easy to picture him, after all the animals had been taken in, still standing at the door. Standing, waiting, hoping that some of those he had warned would come in and be saved. Eventually God had to shut the door. None had listened, none had come, Noah’s sadness must have been very great. Yet for us, as we will see, there is an assurance that in the dark days which lie ahead, many will listen and be saved.

In an earlier article it was noted that Jesus did not speak of just one deception but that there will be many false christs and false prophets. In the final time of anguish more than ever we will need to be on our guard against wolves in sheep’s clothing. The prime concern that Jesus had for His followers was not persecution. He gives the strength to endure the hostility of the world. His main concern was deception. Discerning of spirits is a spiritual gift which we need to cultivate in these last days. Discernment, reinforced by our knowledge of the word of God, will enable us to recognize the false spirits at work leading the church astray. It is probable that large sections of what is called the church, lacking discernment will accept the ‘man of sin’ as who he says he is. This will add to the anguish of those who understand the times, recognizing the deception for what it is.

There is a verse in Revelation 13 which quotes Jeremiah. “He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the perseverance of the saints”. Revelation 13: 10. The context of the verse in Jeremiah 15 is the Lord no longer accepting intercession for His people. Instead they are now condemned to destruction. The Lord calls on us to persevere despite the anguish of seeing so many being led astray. They will become our persecutors and as a result bring judgment on themselves.

The verse in Revelation confirms that one purpose of the time of anguish is to purify the Bride. Those Christians who are deceived by the beast will, like the 5 foolish virgins, be excluded from the wedding feast. They, like the world, will be subject to the wrath of God. We are to faithfully persevere so on that glorious day it will be shouted out “the bride has made herself ready”.

Millions of faithful followers of Christ are already in a time of anguish. For them there will be little difference between what they are experiencing now and what is to come. At present they are persecuted by fanatical members of false religions or by totalitarian dictatorships. They already know what it is like to be despised and rejected, to be falsely accused and imprisoned. To be denied work or housing. Jesus said that we must count the cost before becoming one of his disciples. Even now many of our brothers and sisters in Christ know that the cost of discipleship will probably be their death. The main change for them during the final years will be that, as well as the disparate groups who hate them, opposition to the gospel will also be unified and focused in one man.

Because there is reason to believe that the direct rule of the ‘man of sin’ will not necessarily be global there is hope for our suffering brethren. The letter to the church in Philadelphia [Revelation 3: 7 – 13] commends them for remaining faithful and keeping the command to persevere. Because of that they are kept from the hour of trial which shall come on the whole world to test those who dwell on the earth. Some in our time who have already suffered will not be called on to endure more. Although multitudes will be deceived not all nations will accept the rule of the ‘man of sin’.

But in those nations which are destined for judgment, which includes Europe, we must prepare to endure the suffering that our brethren already know. False accusations and discrimination will be our lot. Economic isolation may well follow. The ‘man of sin’ when he is revealed, like his forerunner Antiochus Epiphanies, will ban all worship other than that directed towards himself. Before that time there will be economic collapse which will affect many nations.

“In the world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”. Matthew 16: 33. Nothing can happen to a Christian without the Lord permitting it. If He permits it, He will give us the strength to endure it. In the days of tribulation the Lord is purifying His Bride. He will also be reaping the final harvest in which the full number of the Gentiles is gathered in.

We read of that harvest in Revelation 7: 14. The harvest will be reaped by those who remain faithful. Jesus said that in these times when we are hauled before the courts we are not to worry about what to say. He will grant us wisdom which our adversaries will not be able to refute [Luke 21: 12 – 19].

A change of atitude

Our attitude to prophecy needs to move away from being fatalistic or escapist. Instead we should be triumphant. Through prayer we can hold back some of the evil which is coming on the world. Through our faithfulness we will see many coming to the Lord. Jesus tells us to lift up our heads when these things begin to take place. In this time of great anguish, not only will the Christians be on earth during that period, but it is essential that they are present if God is to complete His work among the Gentiles. Towards the end of the anguish there may well come a time when the church appears to be crushed and defeated. But just as the cross was turned from defeat into victory so these final years will lead up to the glorious triumph of the church.

Are you an extremist?

There are certain topics which Trumpet Sounds returns to again and again. One topic is the redefinition of tolerance and eradication of Christian values.

Following the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, President Obama spoke forcefully of the need to win the war against extremism and announced a plan for a global summit on the subject. We agree that extremism is harmful society and needs to be countered. But what is extremism?

The Oxford Dictionary defines an extremist as; “A person who holds extreme political or religious views, especially one who advocates illegal, violent or other extreme action.”

In an article for Prophecy News Watch, Michael Snyder lists 72 types of American that are considered to be “extremists” or “potential terrorists” in official U.S. government documents. Included in the list are; those who are; Anti-abortion, those who have a negative view of the UN, those who believe in end time prophecy, members of the Christian Action Network, and many more. Snyder, an evangelical Christian, says that he fits at least a couple of dozen of the extremist types listed.

Well that’s the USA and they are paranoid about such things. Then as I write the news is coming through that a Christian magistrate has been reprimanded by the Lord Chancellor for expressing the view that it would be better for a child to be brought up in a traditional family rather than by a gay couple. For holding such extreme views, the magistrate has to undergo equality training if he wants to resume his role.

Extremism to Obama, and it would seem to government ministers in the UK, appears to cover anyone who does not hold their particular liberal, progressive, ‘enlightened’ world view. Yes, you are an extremist.

Israel and the US

The relationship between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama plumbs new depths. It has been known for a long time that Obama is furious with Netanyahu for not acquiescing to a deal with Iran over its nuclear programme. Netanyahu believes that the deal on the table will leave Iran within months of a nuclear weapon and that sanctions should be tightened.

Now Congress has stepped in. Netanyahu has been invited to address the House by the speaker John Boehner. He referred to Netanyahu as a, ‘great friend of our country’. The White House is up in arms claiming a breach of Protocol. But perhaps Congress is aware that they will receive a more realistic assessment of the situation in the Middle East from Netanyahu than they will ever get from Obama.

World Yoga Day

The United Nations has declared that June 21st is to be International Yoga Day. This comes three months after India’s newly-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the idea during his address to the U.N. General Assembly. The resolution adopted by the General Assembly gained a record number of co-sponsors. An unprecedented 177 countries signed on, including the United States, China, France, the United Kingdom and Russia.

It is easy to dismiss International Yoga Day as being as irrelevant as the other 121 special days named by the UN. How many take much notice of World Toilet Day or the International Day of Happiness? We all need the first and want to enjoy the second but that is not the same as International Yoga Day.

It is believed that there millions of people who practice Yoga in the UK. Many are evangelistic in their belief that yoga is beneficial to society. A special day will boost their confidence in promoting yoga in schools, hospital and other public institutions. In business yoga is promoted as a way of relieving stress and a help to decision making.

Yoga is rooted in Eastern mysticism. It is about using mantras and other techniques to empty the mind in order to achieve inner silence. In that state it is believed that we can experience the power within us. Some Christians believe that the exercises without the meditation are harmless. As one Yoga teacher explained, “to experience the stilling or emptying of the mind, Yoga practitioners must first master the physical postures and movements of Yoga meditation. The physical exercises, themselves a religious Hindu ritual, are designed to bring a person into contact with spiritual beings.” Cindy Senarighi, Lutheran pastor and the founder of “Yoga Devotion.” Senarighi encourages her students to take a favourite Bible verse and turn it into a Mantra. Reducing it to a single word said over and over again until silence is achieved.

True meditation on the word of God does not take this form. Instead of emptying our mind we fill it with the word of God. Repetitive words and mantras are never used and our mind never becomes inactive. We are not seeking an altered state of consciousness. We seek instruction from the word through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Meditation on the word of God unlocks its treasures feeding us with a rich spiritual feast.

[World Toilet Day may sound ridiculous but it is in fact one of the more worthwhile UN initiatives. It recognise that 2.5 billion people do not have access to proper sanitation. Coupled with lack of clean drinking water this is the major health risk for a third of the world’s population.]

Reaping what we sow.

An article on Ynet News made a connection between the widespread anti-Israel propaganda in the western media and the growth of terrorism in the West.

The media is constantly making inflammatory allegations against Israel. It supports accusations of war crimes in Gaza or uses terms such as ‘a community of child killers’. Israel is presented as the biggest monster on earth.

Accepting this false propaganda as the truth, many Muslims ask why Western Countries are allowing these crimes to go on. Why does the West bomb Muslims in the Islamic State and not bomb Israel? Why do the strong economic ties still exist between Israel and the West? Why does the decadent West, which pretends to be advanced and enlightened, cooperate with the monster?

Faced with such hypocrisy Muslims become angry about such apparent injustice. In their mind we know about it but do nothing. Our spewing out lies against Israel, will rebound against us. They see us as a knowing accomplice in the crimes against Muslims.

Our leaders struggle to know how to counter the rise of home grown terror. One answer is to speak the truth.

A State the many Palestinians don’t want. by Bassam Tawil

Listening, in both English and Arabic, to the latest speeches of Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas and his fellow Fatah Central Committee members, we get the uncomfortable feeling that the Palestinian State, now being promoted in Europe, will not only be a threat to the stability of the entire region, but to us who have to keep living here, as well as to those countries in Europe who promote it.

As Palestinians discuss among themselves, far from the diplomats in their five-star hotels, rather than accept this “gift” that Europe seems determined to push down our throats, many people increasingly see no choice but to launch a “Palestinian Spring” revolution. It would not be, as you might think, to rid them of Israel but finally to rid us of our wretched leadership and corrupt system of government and to stop the European counties that are imposing this brutal system on us by financing it.

We do not want to do this, of course, but if we are forced by Europe to have this corrupt dictatorship called Palestine, terrorist groups such as Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, and ISIS will flood the West Bank in less than a week, and our lives will be even worse than what we have now. We simply do not know what else to do to defend ourselves from these “Goodists” of Europe.

The Palestinian leadership, which represses people rather than confers with them, would of course deny all this to the European diplomats. The Palestinian leaders just want to keep the funds coming and keep their jobs. And of course, the European diplomats do not talk to us, the man on the street, the frustrated rest of us. They only talk to each other, their “counterparts,” as they call them, in their air-conditioned meeting rooms and hotels.

If European leaders really cared about us, instead of sending money to us to help rid them of the Jews, they would help us find a better leadership, a leadership that would care about the daily lives and well-being of its people instead of just taking more and more free money from Europe. It is now a big business for the Palestinian leaders, and comes with no conditions; why should they stop?

It is to this Palestinian leadership whom these European leaders would like to abandon us: a government that not one of them would want to live under for a day.

Bassam Tawil, is a scholar based in the Middle East.
The above is extracted from an article published by the Gatestone Institute.
http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4991/palestinians-enemy-europe

The Faithful Church

Recently Jim Cottington the Pastor of the fellowship to which I belong preached four sermons on the distinctives which define Crawley New Life Church. That is not to say that no other churches hold these beliefs, although possibly not many hold all four. Because, in the wider church each distinctive is under attack it is good to remind ourselves of their importance.

Distinctive 1. The Bible is the word of God.
We believe that the whole of scripture from Genesis to Revelation was inspired by God who moved men to write down what He had shown them. As we read in 2 Timothy 3: 16, the whole of it is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. While many may claim to still hold this position it is increasingly evident that in reality most believe that the Bible merely ‘contains’ the word of God. That is a watershed. Once that line is crossed it becomes possible to pick and choose which parts one likes and which are put aside.

When 2 Timothy 3: 16 is read in context it becomes clear that the scripture Paul is referring to as being profitable is the Old Testament. The very part which causes us most difficulty and which we would like to set aside.

If we interpret the Bible as ‘containing’ the word of God it becomes possible to modify it in order to avoid opposition. We can cut out uncomfortable passages such as those which deal with human sexuality, or offensive passages which warn that God will be our judge. Cross the line and the true church becomes the compromised church which like Laodicea is no longer of value to God. He will vomit it out.

The true church recognises, through the Holy Spirit, that the Bible is God’s gift to bless us. It leads us in the ways of righteousness. As the psalmist wrote, “thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119: 11. It is the truth against which all other knowledge is tested and the measure to which the values of society should conform.

Distinctive 2. A Pentecostal Church
A Pentecostal church recognises that God wants to dwell with His people. This principle was established in the Old Testament when God gave instructions to build the Tabernacle. The Lord said the he would consecrate the Tabernacle so that He could dwell among His people.

In the opening verses of his gospel the Apostle John bears witness to what he had seen, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, …”. John is blown away by having met with God in human form who came to dwell with us. But that is not the end, God sent the Holy Spirit that He might continue to dwell among His people.

He dwells with us to bring joy, peace, hope, strength. He comes to teach us, guide us and comfort us. Jesus promised that if any come to Him and drink then rivers of living water will flow out of him. Through us He will bring new life to the world.

Therefore as a Pentecostal church we expect to see God’s power at work. At the same time we need to be on our guard. There have been many deceptions which pose as the power of the Holy Spirit at work but are in fact from the prince of this world. We are a Bible based Pentecostal church testing everything against the word of God.

Distinctive 3. Israel
The church has not replaced Israel. We have been grafted in to the inheritance of Israel and by the grace of God can receive all the blessings promised to Israel. But Israel still has a special place in the heart of God. Many, still to be fulfilled, prophecies can only be understood by applying them to the literal descendants of Abraham.

Because God loves Israel, Satan hates her. He stirs up the hostility of the world by spreading lies. Absorbing that hostility many churches are turning against Israel. Rather than searching out the truth they are content to believe the lies. They deceive themselves into thinking that they are serving God and standing for justice when they condemn Israel.

We are to pray for Israel. The relationship of the Church to Israel should be one of provoking her to jealousy. By our love for them they should see in us all that they lack.

Distinctive 4. The Second Coming
In the fullness of time God sent His Son into the world. In the fullness of God’s time His Son will return. Because of the first incarnation we can be certain of His return. There will come a time when we will be gathered up to be with Him

The re-establishment of the State of Israel is a key prophetic indicator that we are approaching that time. Are we ready for His coming?

Jesus told us to watch. Few churches today teach on the fulfilment of prophecy and the Second Coming and the need to be ready. Correct teaching on the return of Christ helps us to recognise and avoid some of the errors which are being widely circulated around churches.

The above are key areas in which many churches are departing from the truth. The divide between the faithful church and the compromised church is becoming more evident. Now is the time to choose.

Evolution’s Achilles Heel

In Greek mythology Achilles was dipped by his mother into the River Styx to make him immune from attack. Holding him by the ankles she failed to dip his heels into the water. These became his vulnerable point which eventually led to his downfall. We use the phrase ‘Achilles heel’ to describe a fatal weakness in what otherwise seems impregnable.

Creation Ministries International have used ‘Evolution’s Achilles Heel’ as the title of both a book and 96 minute DVD documentary. The DVD demonstrates how that, what appear to be the impregnable strongholds of the evolution belief system, are its fatal weakness. The topics covered are Natural Selection, Genetics and DNA, the Origin of Life, the Fossil Record, The Geologic Record, Radiometric Dating, Cosmology, Ethics and Morality. Can evolution theory answer these weaknesses once they are properly explained?

The documentary interviews 15 Ph.D scientists, all specialist in the relevant field, who received their doctorates from secular universities with an evolutionary world view. Computer animations are used to illustrate the points being made. I highly recommend this DVD. It is the best that I have watched for debunking the evolution myth.

Not only is the DVD excellent but the additional material is worth watching. In the extended interview section, some of the scientists talk about their struggles when forced to confront science which contradicted their evolutionary atheism. For some it took years to work this dilemma through. There is also a section on the scientist’s CVs, demonstrating that they have all been involved in ongoing research.

The book and DVD are available from:
Creation Ministries International, 15 Station Street, Whetstone, Leicestershire LE8 6JS. Phone 0116 2848999, or on line shop at www.creation.com
Book £8.00, DVD £12.50

From the Creation Ministries international website.
“The book and DVD represent a direct, targeted demolition aimed at the very pillars of the foundational belief system underpinning our now-secular culture. It’s also part of the biblical command to reach the lost with the Bible’s Good News.”
“In a nutshell, it’s a comprehensive outreach tool like no other (see also 2 Corinthians 10:5). Our prayer is that this documentary will eventually be seen by millions through being screened in churches, television broadcasts, and by many millions more through personal DVD distribution.”

Oil

What is happening to the supply of oil? The forecast scarcity of a few years ago has turned into abundance. The price of oil is now under $50.00 a barrel, which in the short term is good news for motorists and the economy. The fall in price is due to oil production increasing faster than demand. This increased production is the result of the US exploiting its shale oil reserves, OPEC failing to agree a reduction in production and Russia, the world’s largest oil producer, pumping more oil to maintain revenue to offset the effects of Western sanctions.

But why is production continuing to rise? Surely it is in the interests of producers to cut production and maintain the price. Outside the Middle East the cost of producing oil exceeds $50/barrel rising to $65/barrel for North American shale oil. Most oil producing countries rely on a high price for oil to supply the tax revenues needed to balance their national budgets.

One speculation on the cause of the current oil glut is that Saudi Arabia is deliberately maintaining production to crash the price of oil in order to cripple its neighbour Iran. Saudi Arabia is in as much fear of an Iranian Nuclear bomb as Israel. A weapon Saudi Arabia can use against Iran is oil. Cash rich Saudi Arabia can weather low oil prices for a time. But to balance its budget, which depends on oil exports, Iran needs to sell its oil at over $100/barrel. With the lack of resolve on the part of Western nations to deal with Iran, Saudi Arabia may be taking its own retaliatory action.

Another speculation is that the US and Saudi Arabia are working together to cripple the Russian oil industry as a response to Russia’s invasion of the Crimea and support for Assad in Syria.

At $50/barrel the North American shale oil industry could be in deep trouble. Heavily in debt [estimated at $500 billion] and with the cost of production greater than the current price many companies are facing bankruptcy. That level of bad debt could bring the US economy down.