Newsletter 115 Spring 2015
Welcome to the delayed Spring edition of this newsletter. While seeking a word from the Lord on what to include in this edition it became clear that production had to wait until after the UK General Election. The result could have been much worse. But there is still cause for concern. Praying before the election, it seemed that an issue which will come to the fore is ‘freedom of speech’. Under the newly elected government there will soon be a significant curtailment of our freedom to practice and express our Christian faith. Previous governments have eroded the freedom which we once took for granted. In the coming five years this process will be accelerated.
In this edition
The Conservative Record
The great Anguish – Part 11 Watch
Watch Preparing for the unexpected
Trumpet Sounds Books
The changing balance of power
Surely it can’t be Islam
An uninspired Qur’an
The Conservative Record
In the last Parliament the redefinition of marriage was sprung on the nation without any mention in the 2010 Conservative Manifesto. Those who opposed the redefinition considered that David Cameron had overstepped his authority and in consequence would suffer heavily at the poles. This has not happened. He has weathered the storm. Therefore there will be little pressure on him to protect the right to freedom of conscience.
Cameron has a record of paying lip service to the protection of freedom, then doing nothing. He gave his verbal support to Miss Ewida when she appealed to the European Court of Human Rights over the wearing of a cross at work. But he did not stop the British Government opposing this appeal.
He disagrees with gender abortion but refused to take effective action to ensure that the law is upheld.
Cameron states that this is a Christian country and that we should uphold Christian values. This Easter the Durham Free School was closed down by the Secretary of State for Education. The school promoted a Christian ethos. The reasons for the closure appear to be not enough tolerance of Islam, lack of teaching about sex and the promotion of creationism. The school was closed despite very good exam results and a high level of parent satisfaction.
Cameron’s past actions provide no assurance for the future. But as set out in the piece which follows we are to pray for our rulers.
As the glorious day of the Second Coming approaches we are to expect the hostility of the world towards our Lord and His people to increase. We are not to be discouraged. The growing darkness is the herald of the dawn.
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God and the authorities which exist are appointed by God.” Romans 13:1
The Bible teaches that the Christian is to be a good law abiding citizen. This is underpinned by the belief that all authority is instituted by God. God will raise up rulers and bring them down. In the book of Daniel it is recorded that both Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar had to learn this lesson. Nebuchadnezzar became an outcast until he acknowledged the sovereignty of the Most High. Belshazzar lost both life and kingdom when he mocked that which God had declared Holy.
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving thanks be made for all men, for kings and all in authority, that we may lead a quiet life in all godliness and reverence.” 1 Timothy 2: 1, 2.
Law, order and stability are a blessing. A stable government is preferable to anarchy. We are to pray for our leaders, thanking God that there are those who are prepared to take on the often thankless task of leadership. Our prayer is that they will preserve stability and the rule of law so that we may lead a quiet life. A life in which we are free to live and practice our faith as Christians.
“Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by Him for the punishment of evil doers and the praise of those who do good.” 2 Peter 2: 13, 14.
We are to be law abiding. Obeying the law is part of being a good witness for the Lord. This is not a problem when governed by rulers who fulfil their role of punishing the wicked and protecting the innocent. But what if our rulers praise the evil doer and punish the good?
“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, your comforts delight my soul. Shall the throne of iniquity, which devises evil by law, have fellowship with You? They gather together against the life of the righteous, and condemn innocent blood. But the Lord has been my defense and my God the rock of my refuge. He has brought on them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; The Lord God shall cut them off.” Psalm 94: 19 – 23.
Rulers can step outside the limits appointed by God. When they devise evil by law they no longer serve the Lord. Our faith is in God. Soon He will punish their iniquity and bring in His reign of righteousness. Until then God calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints. Even in times when evil prevails, we are still to pray for our rulers that we may lead a quiet life in all godliness and reverence.
The Great Anguish – Part 11 Watch
This is the eleventh in a series of articles which reflect on the period often referred to as the Great Tribulation which close the present age. The previous article in the series presented the view that the church will probably still be on earth during this time.
If we are to be on this earth throughout the time of anguish, how should we prepare? We believe it will be a time of suffering for the Jews during which some will flee and need shelter. False prophets and deceivers will come and lead many astray. The church will be hated and persecuted in all nations causing the worldly minded within the church to fall away. A ‘man of sin’ [2 Thessalonians 2: 1 – 12] will arise who stirs up the hatred of the world against the followers of Christ. During this final period there will be some who are martyred and others imprisoned for their faith. And yet it also appears that it will be a time of harvest [Revelation 7: 9 – 17].
There is one word which summarizes Jesus’ teaching on how to prepare. It is the word ‘Watch’.
Gethsemane is a lesson on how we are to understand the call to watch. Before the resurrection came the crucifixion. Before the Second Coming will come the time of anguish [Matt 24: 21]. In those dark hours when Jesus was on trial, condemned, crucified and laid in the tomb the disciples needed strength to stand. If only they had listened to the warnings they would have taken courage. When Jesus said that he would be delivered to the Gentiles to be crucified He also said that he would rise again. The night would precede the triumph. Apparent defeat would herald the victory.
On that evil night Jesus watched. He spent time in prayer with his Father. The cup of suffering could not be removed but a sure hope was set before Him. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12: 2 KJV. He saw the joy that would come out of His sacrifice. Because of that promised joy He was able to endure the cross.
We need to focus on the Second Coming if we are to stand and not give in to temptation in these final days. The night will come before the dawn. But the dawn will come and the fulfilment of all our hopes will be realized. Throughout scripture the focus is on the return of Christ not the trials which will precede His coming. That does not mean that the trials will not come. The joy set before Him enabled Jesus to endure the cross. The assurance of the glory which is to be ours will enable us to hold fast to our faith.
Jesus knew that the disciples would not stand. He had warned that the sheep would be scattered. But for the age in which we live He leaves us with a question: “However, when the Son of man comes will He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18: 8. If the disciples had watched they would not have been scattered. Will the church in these last days watch? The answer to that question will determine whether Jesus will find faith. If believers watch and take His warnings seriously, then there will be faith on this earth when Jesus comes in glory.
Peter thought that he could stand in his own strength and so he fell. Today many ignore the warnings about the last days and think that come what may they will stand. Beware, due to ignorance they may fall.
We are to watch so that when the final hour of trial comes on this world we have strength to stand firm. “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when his glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.1 Peter 4: 12, 13.
In this time of trial the Christians who have taken heed of scripture will not be shaken. They will be refined and purified to become a bride made ready. In these last days their resolute faith will turn many to righteousness. Those who overcome will shine like the stars forever and receive from their Lord the precious words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Watch – preparing for the unexpected
A while ago I wrote a booklet titled ‘Watch – preparing for the unexpected’. This is a booklet which the Lord prompted me to write in order to help Christians prepare for the final years of this age. It is still available. I believe it is a message which needs to be shared with as many believers as possible.
The topics covered are as follows:
Are we eagerly awaiting the return of Christ? The New Testament takes it for granted that the return of Christ is our blessed hope. There should be nothing which excites us more than the prospect of Jesus coming back.
Jesus made it clear that the precise time of His return is a mystery known only to His Father. There are reasons why the time is kept secret. Because we don’t know the time of His coming we must always be ready. Even though I believe that the church goes through the end time anguish I also live in the present hope that He may come at any time. Jesus said that He will come at an hour we do not expect.
Those who are asleep cannot watch. In first Thessalonians Paul likens the contrast between being asleep and awake to being drunk and sober. The drunk is unaware of what is going on around him. Those who are asleep have no concept of coming judgment. They believe that the world will somehow struggle on through all the problems it faces. The one who is awake recognizes the signs and knows that soon everything will change.
If our treasure is all in this life we will not watch. A terrible warning is expressed by Jesus in just three words. “Remember Lot’s wife” [Luke 17: 32]. Lots wife had all her treasure in Sodom. She turned back and suffered the judgment which fell on those cities. Jesus warned that on the day when He sends the angels to gather His church, some will be unable to let go their possessions. In consequence they will suffer the wrath of God.
The prime concern Jesus had for His followers was not persecution. He gives the strength to endure whatever He permits us to suffer. His main concern was deception. We need to be aware that in these last days many deceivers will arise [Matthew 24: 24]. Through the ‘man of sin’ there will be one final delusion which will deceive all those who have not received the truth.
The church at Sardis had a reputation for being alive but was in fact dead. The remedy for their lack of life was to watch. Many works start under the direction of the Holy Spirit but in time become guided by the thoughts of men. The watching recommended here is to repent and return to a reliance on the Holy Spirit who alone brings life.
The faithful church which has maintained its watch will be found by Jesus as a beautiful bride who has been adorned in fine garments ready for the wedding day. She will be a triumphant church who through faithfulness to His word has reaped a harvest for His kingdom.
The seven letters to the churches at the beginning of Revelation all encourage us to be people who overcome. For each church there is a promised reward for those who overcome. We will be among those who are rewarded if in these times we watch.
Other booklets available from Trumpet Sounds
What are the signs that we are living in the final years of the present age? This booklet sets out seven clear signs that tell us that the return of our Lord is rapidly approaching.
The great Anguish
Collects together the articles on the great Anguish that have been serialised in Trumpet Sounds.
Daniel Part 1 and Daniel Part 2 [two booklets]
Chris Hill [Bible Teacher] recently said that he found these booklets the most helpful of all the commentaries he had referred to on the book of Daniel.
The booklets present a fresh look at Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the four beast in Daniel chapter 7 and the prophecy of the weeks in Daniel chapter 9 plus much more are all reappraised.
The Day and Year of the Crucifixion
This was written as a supplement to the booklets on Daniel. It shows how the prophecy of the weeks in Daniel 9 was in part fulfilled by the timing of our Lord’s crucifixion.
Paper copies of ‘Watch – preparing for the unexpected’ and the other booklets can be purchased either through the website using PayPal or by writing to Trumpet Ministries, 48 Newlands, Balcombe, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH17 6JA, UK. Cost: £2.50 each including p+p in the UK or £3.50 each including p+p overseas. Cheques should be made out to ‘Trumpet Ministries’.
Some of the booklets can be down loaded as free eBooks from www.trumpetsounds.net.
The changing balance of power.
What are President Putin’s real intentions? Russian aggression in the Ukraine has led to concern that he wants to reclaim the territories which formally formed part of the soviet empire. The newly independent states which border Russia are rightly concerned. But is the reclaiming of these territories the full extent of his ambition?
The massive re-armament programme in which Russia is currently engaged is causing concern. Currently western thinking is focused on fighting smaller regional wars in the Middle East and elsewhere. A war with Russia is not part of military strategy. As a consequence the strategic defences of the USA and Europe largely rely on systems developed in the 60’s and 70’s.
But in Russia, anti-American sentiment is at an all-time high and many opinion formers and intellectuals are now convinced that a war with the United States is inevitable. Putin’s Russia is engaged in a re-armament programme which dramatically alters the balance of power.
The Sarmat is a Russian liquid-fuelled, MIRV-equipped, [multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle, i.e. every warhead can be independently guided to a specific target.] super-heavy thermonuclear intercontinental ballistic missile, now in development. Its large payload would allow it to carry 10 heavy warheads. It will have countermeasures designed to defeat anti-missile systems. The Sarmat is expected to be ready for deployment around 2020, but other sources state that the program is being fast-tracked and it could comprise up to 80 percent of Russia’s land-based nuclear arsenal by 2021.
During the cold war the Soviet Union was at a disadvantage due to its nuclear submarines being noisy. This meant that they could be easily detected. Following years of development Russia now has the near silent Borey Class submarine. It can dive deeper than 1,200 feet, and carries up to 20 ‘Bulava’ nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). Each “Bulava” ICBM’s can carry ten detachable MIRV warheads, capable of delivering 150 kiloton yields per warhead.
In 2012 it was reported that a Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine armed with long-range cruise missiles had operated undetected in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks.
The next development is the Barguzin Strategic Missile Train. When nuclear missiles are in a stationary location (such as a missile silo), they can be pretty easy to target. But on a mobile platform, they gain a strategic edge. Russian may roll out five such disguised mobile launch platforms each carrying six RS-24 Yars missiles in five years.
Finally there is the S-500 Missile Defence System. Once fully deployed, the S-500 will be able to intercept Western intercontinental ballistic missiles. This means that the concept of mutually assured destruction ‘MAD’ on which the West has relied, does not necessarily apply any longer. If the Russians can take out most of the West’s missiles with a devastating surprise first strike and intercept whatever the West is able to launch back at them, the cost/benefit analysis of a nuclear conflict completely changes.
These new weapons are designed to give Russia the advantage in the event of an offensive nuclear war. So what is Putin’s real intention?
We should not forget that China is also engaged in a massive re-armament programme. At the beginning of this year the Chinese navy comprised 673 surface ships and submarines. Last year they started or launched 60 new ships and plan to do the same again in 2015. For comparison, calculated on an equivalent basis, the UK Royal Navy has 66 ships and submarines. The US Navy has 473 ships and submarines.
Surely it can’t be Islam
On the 14th April, Jeremy Bowen, the BBC Middle East Editor, was interviewed on Radio 4 with regard to the plight of Christians in the Middle East. It seems that he still just can’t bring himself to admit that the real problem might be Islam. The following are quotes from the interview with my comments in italics.
“Christians in Egypt feel very threatened by different kinds of religious extremism.”
Couldn’t bring himself to admit this was not religious extremism in general but specific threats from the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic militants.
“Also in Lebanon they [Christians] are pretty well established and strong but they again feel pressure.”
Again why not speak openly that the pressure comes from the Islamic extremist Hezbollah. Perhaps that undermines the accepted story that Hezbollah are Islamic freedom fighters.
“Palestinian Christians as well feel threatened, not just of course from extreme Islam, but they also feel threatened by what the Israeli government might be doing.”
Interesting! How exactly is the Israeli government threatening the Christian community? Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christians feel safe.
A framework agreement on a Plan of Action regarding Iran’s Nuclear Programme was reached on the 2nd April 2015 with a commitment to reach a final agreement by the 30th June. It includes provision for reducing the capacity to enrich uranium, convert various facilities so that they can no longer be used for enriching uranium and granting of regular access for the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect. In return sanctions will be lifted.
Hardly a day goes by without a senior Iranian Official challenging the interpretation of the framework agreement. Contrary to the text published by the US the following outlines some of what Iran thinks it has agreed to:
• Retaining its enriched uranium stockpile, not having to ship it abroad.
• Keeping thousands (at least 6000) centrifuges to produce weapons-grade uranium, and modernizing its Arak plutonium reactor.
• Continuing its operations at the Fordow plant, under a mountain, in bunkers designed to withstand aerial attacks.
• A massive lifting of sanctions. It wants still more, “immediately.”
• Continuing to develop its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program.
The chief of Staff of the Iranian military has denied that Iran will ever give permission for outsiders to inspect its nuclear facilities.
A nuclear arms race
At best the agreement will slow down Iran becoming a nuclear power for 10 years. This has alarmed the other Gulf States which, like Israel, are threatened by Iran. Saudi Arabia and other states have said that if Iran is left with the ability to develop nuclear weapons, they will develop their own nuclear programmes.
Some picked up that in the Jewish calendar the date the agreement was signed was the 13th Nisan. This is the same date that King Ahasuerus signed the decree calling for the total destruction of the Jews.
The concept of mutually assured destruction ‘MAD’ was mentioned in connection with the Russian arms build-up. This is the strategic policy followed by the West to prevent a nuclear war. It is based on the belief that, whatever we may think about the leaders of other nations, they are rational enough to hold back from the total destruction of their own people. This is the justification for maintaining a nuclear deterrent.
Will MAD work when dealing with a nuclear armed Iran? It was said of the previous president Mahmoud Ahmadinajad, with his apocalyptic mind set, that MAD was not a deterrent but an inducement. He fervently believed that a period of global chaos would usher in the age of the Mahdi. He was not unique in this belief. Many Shia Muslims are looking for the coming of the Mahdi which follows a period of global chaos. Iran already has missiles which can reach most of Europe. So why are they developing longer range ICBM’s. With Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei regularly calling for ‘Death to America’, the Great Satan, there is little doubt about the intended target.
On the 18th March the Guardian newspaper reported that the White House had made clear its dismay at Binyamin Netanyahu’s sweeping victory in the Israeli elections. The White House said that it would have to re-evaluate its policy on the Middle East after Netanyahu abandoned a commitment to an independent Palestinian State. Later Netanyahu clarified that he was stating the reality that there was no possibility of reaching a peace agreement with the Arabs while the Middle East remained in turmoil.
Obama’s cooling of support for Israel has raised the hopes of many Arab’s. A Palestinian Authority official was quoted as saying he would not be surprised if President Obama joined the Arab campaign to pressing war crime charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court.
One of the restraints on Israel’s enemies which has held them back from attacking is the fear that the US will come to Israel’s rescue. If Obama abandon’s Israel that restraint will be removed.
The White House hostility might have been placated if following his victory Netanyahu had formed a national unity government which included left wing elements. This has not happened. Therefore it is very likely that the US will not veto a French resolution to be put to the UN Security Council for the recognition of a Palestinian State.
The French propose the holding of an international peace conference. Following this conference an independent Palestinian State built on the 1967 borders will be recognised.
It is difficult to see how Netanyahu could possibly participate in an international peace conference, the outcome of which has been predetermined. Israel cannot be defended against Arab aggression if there is a return to the pre-1967 borders. If Israel refuses to comply with the Security Council Resolution it will face the hostility of the entire world.
The failure of the US to use its veto to stop this proposal will I believe constitute the rejection warned of in Trumpet Sounds 83 and 113. In both those issues it was said, “When the USA rejects Israel she will cease to be a significant military and economic power in this world”.
An Uninspired Qur’an
“More and more, Muslims are realizing that the Quran does not have the earmarks of a revelation of God but, instead, is a man-made book. And with this realization is coming an exodus of Muslims from the Islamic faith. This academic implosion will have a much greater effect of turning Muslims away from Islam than recent criticisms of the Bible have had over the last several centuries. The reason being that we have been able to answer criticisms of the Bible and demonstrate its trustworthiness. Supporters of the Quran will be unable to do the same.” Dr. Daniel Janosik, Director of Islamic Studies at Southern Evangelical Seminary, US.
A day conference was held recently at Crawley New Life Church under the title ‘The Family’. Families, and in particular our children, are under attack. We need to both be aware of where the attacks are coming from and how we can resist the devil to be victorious in these last days. Two talks in particular, given by members of the church, were very powerful. The first talk under the title “How to be a wonderful parent in law”, dealt with supportive relationships. It had a strong emphasis on how God looks at the family and what He expects.
The second talk had the title, “What is happening in our schools”. It began with the importance of the early years when children soak up what they hear and see. Satan is aware of this and wants to impress his image on children.
In 1985 the National Curriculum was introduced to bring uniformity so that schools could be assessed. Its stated aim was to introduce a balanced, broadly based curriculum. The speaker said that the effect has been to so over load teachers with paperwork that there is no longer time for proper lesson preparation. It is possible to go from school to school and see the same lessons, downloaded straight from the Internet, being used.
Four areas of concern were highlighted in the talk.
1. The influence if atheistic scientists.
The British Humanist Association [BHA] has an established political agenda. Supported by high profile figures such as Richard Dawkins and David Attenborough, they promote the teaching of Evolution. One goal is to outlaw the teaching of Creation and Intelligent Design from any state funded school. They have recently won their long standing campaign to have evolution taught in Primary School. Another item on their agenda is the eradication of all faith schools.
As Christians we need to arm ourselves with the truth. There are excellent websites such as creation.com and publications such as Creation magazine which provide the evidence to refute evolution.
2. Sex Education
The Sex Education Forum states that it provides quality sex and relationship education. They promote the idea that sex education is essential and must start in Primary School. Their material assumes that sex between young adolescents is normal. There is no moral input.
Schools are expected to deal with issues such as homosexuality, transgender, lesbians etc. in a non-judgmental way promoting such life styles as normal. Instances of homophobic bullying have to be reported and recorded. As mentioned in the introduction a school with a Christian ethos was closed down at Easter. One of the reasons given was a lack of teaching about sex.
Parents have the right to see what is being taught in SRE [Sex and Relationship Education]. They can still withdraw their children from parts of it.
3. Globalism and New Age
Globalists have promoted the new way of learning. An extensive knowledge base upon which conclusions can be reached is out. The new way is peer learning where there is discussion until a consensus reached. Feelings now take precedence over logic and reason. Children are introduced early to the globalist agenda which is also the humanist agenda that man can solve his own problems.
What began as multi-cultural education has now become multi-faith. No distinction is drawn between the validity of different faiths. At the same time, the BHA wants to do away with school assemblies especially any religious content.
Children’s books used to have a thread of morality running through them. Now many of the new popular authors promote new age thinking or endorse rebellion, demonic subjects abound. Schools are full of these books. They aim is to capture children’s minds even with picture books for the very young.