Newsletter 117 Autumn 2015

Did you wake up on the morning of the 28th September to watch the moon turn red? In southern England it was a cloudless night with a clear view of the stars. As the shadow of the earth obscured the moon it did turn red.

Was the Tetrad of eclipses significant? We are aware of the historical events which occurred around the time of past Tetrads. In each case the timing of those events was only loosely connected with the eclipses. The present outbreak of violence in Jerusalem could be the start of something significant [see the article headed Palestine later in this newsletter]. We will have to wait and see.

In this edition

Praying for our nation

The migrant Crisis

Unbelievable

Jacob’s Trouble past or future

How well did you score? – China’s pressure to conform

Palestine – a new book by Ayatolla Ali Khamenei

Syria

The people of the millennial kingdom

Booklets from Trumpet Sounds

Jeremy Corbyn

Praying for our nation

How should we be praying for our nation and the world? The answer to that question will depend on our understanding of the purposes of God for the times in which we live.

This was brought home to me in recent weeks through involvement with three separate gatherings of Christians. All three groups are concerned about the state of the nation. All three understand the need to pray. All three believe that the church has a significant God given role to play in the fulfilment of His purposes in our time. But the way in which they prayed was very different.

I was at ease with two of the groups. They share my understanding of the times, recognising that we are approaching the end of this age. Jesus warned, that it would be a time when there are false prophets and deceptive teachings within the church. These will be troubled times in which many fall away from the truth and rebel against God. They recognise the need to strengthen and encourage the remnant church. A church made up of those believers who hold fast to the truth of God’s word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. There are many such Christians who are finding it difficult to find a church which is standing for the truth. The prayers of the first two groups faced up to the reality of the times in which we live. They sought to hear from God how we can strengthen one another so that we stand firm in a time of increasing opposition.

During the third gathering I became uncomfortable. I would sum up the meeting as; much bold praying but little discernment. Initially there was soul searching over the deterioration in the church and nation during the last 60 years. This was followed by confession of the failure of the church to stand against the tide of evil. Then much triumphalist praying over how the church could and would turn the situation around.

Whereas I believe that the perception of the times by the first two groups is soundly based in scripture, the third group had succumbed to wishful thinking. Although not spelt out, from comments made, I concluded that the leaders subscribe to the mistaken belief that it is up to the church to build the Kingdom of Heaven on earth prior to the return of Christ. If that is what Jesus expects of us, then in our generation we have all been guilty of serious failure. Instead of the kingdom being built Satan has had a field day.

For me the Bible is clear that the kingdom will not be established prior to the return of Christ. In fact there will be a falling away from the truth before that time comes. Building false hopes is dangerous. When hopes fail those who were taken in feel that they have been let down by God and may abandon their faith.

Some in the third group were Christian leaders for whom I have great respect. Although I would not wish to in any way to be divided from them it was difficult to enter into the prayers.

How then should we pray? We do not need to be overcome by guilt or ground down by a sense of failure. The church has done a valiant job in resisting as far as it can the tide of evil that has flooded our country. Without that stand things would be even worse. We should pray for and uphold those who are in the front line of the stand against evil. But all we are doing is fighting a rear guard action to hold what ground we can until that glorious day when our Lord returns to take up His reign on earth. We do not despair, for if we are indeed living in the closing years of the age, terrible times are what we have been warned to expect.

It is through trials and persecution that the Father is preparing a bride worthy of His Son. Let us pray with understanding of the times. Pray that true believers will be strong when facing opposition from the world. Even if we lose all, pray that we will, like many of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, stand firm in our faith and the wonderful hope of salvation that is in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Migrant Crisis

It would be impossible to write about the Bible and current events without comment on the big issue of recent months. Many are asking if the flood of migrants entering Europe has prophetic significance.

The last issue of Trumpet Sounds carried an article with the heading, ‘The Fall of Babylon’. It proposed that the Western world of Europe and the United States fitted the description of ‘Babylon that Great City’ [Rev.14:6]. If so the Bible foresees its sudden destruction. In the past it seemed that Babylon’s fall would come through a financial crisis resulting from unsustainable levels of national debt.

That is still a major risk but we can now add another factor which will soon bring the Western world down. That factor is a flood of migrants who are not prepared to integrate into western society. Instead they seek to impose on the West their own religious culture. Germany and Sweden are two countries which are suffering the consequences of an open door policy to migrants.

Soeren Kern of the Gatestone Institute reports that Germany is suffering from a migrant crime wave. There are parts of Germany’s major cities which are now no go areas for the police. Based on past statistics 10% of migrants are likely to engage in crime. With an estimated 1.5 million migrants expected to enter Germany this year alone that is a potential additional 100,000 to 150,000 more criminals. Migrant gangs engage in petty theft, drug dealing, shoplifting and breaking in to homes and cars. There are tensions between different ethnic groups which erupt into violence. These gangs show a contempt for the police and will violently resist arrest.

Sweden is in a much worse state. The Government has admitted that it has run out of resources to cope with the flood of migrants. It has even warned that due to a lack of housing future migrants will have to be housed in tents. Not a good prospect when faced with the Swedish winter. The Government is borrowing heavily to meet the cost of providing for the existing migrants.

Writing in 2014, Lars Hedegaard, a Danish historian commented. “If there is any lesson to be drawn from history, it is that what you do not think will happen, does. Time and again. The final consequence of the West and, above all, Sweden’s immigration policy is that the economy will collapse, because who is going to pay for it all? And economic breakdowns, once they happen, always happen very fast.”

The above does not even take into account the boast by ISIS that among the migrants there are several thousand Jihadist, planted in readiness to make war on and destroy the West.

Unbelievable

You have probably heard by now of Eva Brunne the Swedish Bishop who has asked for a church in her diocese to remove the cross and put down markings to show the way to Mecca for the benefit of Muslims. She is openly lesbian and has a young son with her wife, a fellow lesbian priest. She refers to Muslim visitors to the church as angels and regards anything less than her actions as stingy towards those of other faiths.

With church leadership in such a confused state, it is no surprise that Sweden is heading up the nations which are in danger of disintegration.

Jacob’s Trouble – Past or Future?

The above is the title of a paper circulated in September by Chuck Cohen of Intercessors for Israel. In the paper he asks the question; “Why should believers pray for and help the Jewish people in the nations to make Aliyah – return to the land of Israel – if two thirds of them are going to get slaughtered there in Jacob’s trouble?”

He then comments on the wide spread teaching that before the time of Jacob’s trouble the church will have been raptured and be with Christ in heaven while the Jews are left on earth to suffer. It is taught that this time of suffering is allowed because even after the Jews return home they remain stubborn and stiff necked, refusing to repent or bow the knee to Jesus their Saviour. Therefore while the church is in heaven enjoying the marriage supper of the Lamb, millions of Jews living in Israel will be left to die on earth.

Search the scripture

Chuck is to be applauded for challenging accepted prophecy teaching. It is good for us to examine what we teach and to be forced to search the scriptures to see if what we have believed is true. Sadly there are some who are so rigid in their interpretation of prophecy that they will not tolerate any who question their beliefs. Their state of mind is similar to that of the Evolutionist who cannot even contemplate the idea of creation.

Chuck draws a distinction between the time of Jacob’s trouble and the Great tribulation. He correctly states that Jacob’s trouble relates specifically to Israel and its people the Jews. The Great Tribulation he believes will affect the whole world.

He proposes that a straightforward reading of Jeremiah 30: 5 – 10 places Jacob’s trouble before the return to the land. In which case the Nazi Holocaust could be the fulfilment of that time of suffering.

Likewise, in Zechariah 13: 7 -10, Chuck believes that there is a past fulfilment to these verses. “Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered:” is quoted by Jesus [Matthew 26:31] as applying to the time of His crucifixion. Therefore is the warning, in Zechariah 13, that two thirds will die referring to the judgement which fell on Israel after their rejection of the Messiah? In the years after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD the population of the Jews declined from 4.5 million to 1.5 million.

You can read what Chuck wrote on the ifi website:

http://www.ifi.org.il/teachings/article-print/jacobs-trouble-past-or-future

Future suffering?

In my booklet the Great Anguish I comment: “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,” Matthew 24: 21, He was referring back to 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 it is said to occur just before the resurrection. The timing is confirmed by Jesus who places it immediately before His glorious return. In the context of Daniel this distress primarily refers to Israel at a time when they have resumed their place among the nations.”

I hope that Chuck is right in suggesting that Jacob’s trouble and the two thirds killed are fulfilled. But, as noted in the comments above, there are other scriptures which point to a future time of trouble.

The Abomination of Desolation

Jesus warned that when the Abomination of Desolation is seen standing in the holy place those living in Judea should flee. Some see this as having been fulfilled in 70 AD. However when the history of those years is examined there is no event which can be identified as fitting Jesus’ warning. Therefore if this is not past but still future, there will come a time when it is necessary to flee the land.

Why will Israel suffer? Jesus made a statement which may well be prophetic. “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. It foresees that the day will come when Israel, along with the rest of the world, 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.

Acceptance of this man with his Satan worship will be the worst form of idolatry. This will be their ultimate rebellion and act of disobedience. It will usher in the final tragedy of the Jews, described as a time of anguish like no other by both Daniel and Jesus. The consequences of which are heart breaking 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.

Aliyah

Should the Jews return to Israel? It is quite clear from scripture that the final events of this age are set against a background of the Jews having returned to the land. This is a return in unbelief as described in Ezekiel 36. It is in the land that they will be brought to repentance and receive a new heart. However it seems that it is through one final time of suffering that this repentance and cleansing will come about. As for those who have already received Jesus as their Saviour, God will spare them this suffering provided they flee the land in obedience to Christ’s warning. The Christian church should stand ready to receive them. Therefore Jews should return with the proviso that if a false Messiah, as described in the Bible, is accepted by their nation they must be prepared to flee.

Will the church be enjoying the wedding feast in heaven while Israel on earth suffers? Israel is the bride. There can be no wedding feast until the bride is ready. The wedding will take place on the day when in the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans, “And so all Israel will be saved”. On that day Israel will be grafted back into the root. That day will come when the deliverer turns away ungodliness from Jacob and Israel receives a new heart. On that day Gentile believers coming from the East and the West, from the North and the South will be received into Israel and sit down in the kingdom of God.

How well did you score?

It has been reported on Prophecy News Watch that China has embarked on the largest behavioural conditioning experiment in history. Every citizen will be given a score based on their conformity to Government set criteria. They will be rated on their political views, credit ratings, purchases and social media etc. Scores will determine eligibility for loans, travel visas, work opportunities and much more. Your life prospects will be determined by the score. Worse still your score will affect that of your family, increasing the pressure to conform. A person’s rating will by 2020 form part of the national ID card system.

How will Christians fare under the scoring system? One assumes badly.

Who will run the system for the government? US owned IT companies.

Palestine

Coinciding with the nuclear deal with the Western powers, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei [Supreme Leader of Iran] published a book with the title ‘Palestine’. The subject is the destruction of the Jewish state. He claims that he is not anti-Semitic but is accepting a well established Islamic principle. The principle is that a land which falls under Muslim rule even for a brief period of time can never be ceded to non-Muslims. That land forever belongs to Islam even if the majority of its inhabitants are not Muslim.

This principle does not only apply to Israel. Maps widely circulated within the Muslim world show the extent of former Muslim lands which also must be retaken from the infidels. These lands include large parts of Europe and Russia, about a third of China and the whole of India, together with the Philippines and Thailand.

But to Khamenei Israel is a special foe. He gives three reasons for singling Israel out. First they are a loyal ally of the Great Satan the USA and a key element in its evil scheme to dominate the Ummah [Islamic ruled lands].

Second reason is that Israel has waged war on Muslims on a number of occasions. Perhaps we would interpret that as Israel being the only nation with the guts to stand up to Islam.

The third reason is that the Jews occupy Jerusalem, which for Khamenei is Islam’s third holiest city.

Khamenei does not advocate a conventional war against Israel. Nor does he want to massacre Jews. His favoured approach to ridding the Islamic world of Israel is to adopt low intensity warfare against Israel which is designed to make life unpleasant or impossible. In that way the majority of Jews will be persuaded to leave the country.

He believes that there will be what he calls Israel fatigue. Both the Jews and the nations which support Israel will no longer be prepared to sustain the cost. They will start looking for a practical and legal means of ending the conflict.

Khamenei believes in a one state solution. He proposes that initially Israel, the West Bank and Gaza should all revert to a United Nations Mandate. He then proposes a referendum on the future of the single state. In the referendum all Palestinians including the refugees in the surrounding nations would be able to vote but Jews who have come from other places would not have a vote.

The outcome of the referendum would be certain. As a concession the 2.2 million Jews, who are not classed by Khamenei as coming from other places, will be granted acceptable status [seems to be code for dhimmi] and allowed to remain.

[Main source Amir Taheri. ‘Palestine’ is only available in Farsi and Arabic]

Syria

Is ‘Syria fatigue’ already in progress? If so it is proof that Khamenei is right in his assessment of the commitment of the West to remain involved in the Middle East. Since Russia stepped up its support for President Assad there seems to have been a change in the reporting of what is taking place in Syria. Have you noticed that recently references to Assad have changed from his being described as a brutal inhumane dictator to the least bad option for the ongoing government of that war torn country?

Are we being prepared for a capitulation which will allow Assad to stay in power? The migrant crisis has taken its toll on western resolve. Any solution which will stem the flow of refugees will be grasped at.

The People of the Millennial Kingdom

[An extract from the ‘Reign of Christ’ booklet – Chapter 2]

When Jesus returns we will come back with Him. In our resurrection bodies we are coming back to reign. When we return our initial task will be to pick up the pieces of a shattered world. The skills we have learned in the present age will be used to God’s glory in the age to come.

Prior to the return of Christ, Satan will stir up a rebellion. It is a desperate attempt to reassert his crumbling authority over the world. In Revelation it is described as the reign of the beast. Second Thessalonians refers to it as the apostasy under the ‘man of sin’. God allows this rebellion “that they may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” 2 Thessalonians 2: 12.

At the end of the present age Christ will return to claim His throne. Satan will incite the armies of the beast and kings of the earth to resist Him. All those who have followed the ‘man of sin’ to make war on Christ, will be destroyed [Revelation 19: 21]. As will those who worship the beast and his image or receive his mark. They will be subject to the wrath of God [Revelation 14: 9 -11].

Who will be left for us to reign over?

This rebellion has often been portrayed as global and absolute.  If that is correct it raises the question, who will be left for us to reign over? If all have followed or worshipped the beast, all will be destroyed.

Jesus is coming back to reign over the nations [Isaiah 2: 4, 42: 1]. We will share in that rule as confirmed in the Lord’s word to the church at Thyatira, “and he who overcomes and keeps my works to the end, to him I will give power over the nations, …” Revelation 2: 26. Therefore there will be nations and peoples who are not condemned in the judgment that falls on the beast and his followers.

Sheep and Goats

To understand this we look to one of the fundamental qualities of God, which is mercy. The deception of the ‘man of sin’ may be widespread and severe but many will not be taken in. Those who show mercy will receive mercy. This is I believe the interpretation of that much debated parable of the sheep and the goats found in Matthew 25: 31 – 46.

At the end of this age there will be a judgment. If there is no literal reign of Christ on earth the judgment in this parable would be the final judgment. If it is the final judgment it throws up problems for it is based on works not faith. A tiny act of mercy will be rewarded with a ticket to heaven. This contradicts the New Testament teaching that salvation is by faith not works.

If we understand that the parable of the sheep and the goats is not the final judgment but is about who will populate the millennial kingdom, then the problem is removed. It becomes a parable about mercy.

The parable identifies three groups of people. The Sheep, who are selected because they showed compassion to ‘My brethren’. The Goats, who are rejected because they had no compassion. And My Brethren.

My Brethren

Elsewhere Jesus defined His brethren as “those who hear the word of God and do it”. Luke 8: 21.

‘My brethren’ will stand out as a distinct group because by this time they have received their resurrection bodies. They have been judged and found worthy. Those who are part of the first resurrection are described as blessed and holy. The second death has no power over them and they are not part of this judgment. [Revelation 20:6].

The Sheep and the Goats

The sheep are those who showed mercy. In the brethren’s time of need the sheep had compassion on them. The reward for mercy is to be shown mercy. The goats however showed no compassion. They followed the beast in his persecution of the saints. Now they follow him into everlasting punishment.

A problem many have with this interpretation is the reward given to the compassionate sheep. They are to; “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” The sheep are welcomed into the kingdom of Christ on earth. From the foundation of the world it was the intention of the Father to establish a kingdom ruled over by His beloved Son. Therefore it can be said of this kingdom that it was prepared before the foundation of the world. On the ground of their mercy they are granted a foretaste of the eternal kingdom in which all the righteous will dwell.

If the sheep now accept the rule of Christ they will enjoy eternal life. This is not a second chance. It is prolonging their first chance because they have not died. These are the people who will make up the nations which populate the planet during the reign of Christ.

The Messiah’s Reign

Psalm 72 closes with the words, “The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.”  In his closing words King David asks for a blessing on his reign and that of his son who will follow him. As we read the Psalm it is clear that, as a prophet, David is being inspired to see beyond his own time to the reign of a future king. A king whose reign will last for ever and will extend to all nations. It is a psalm which gives an insight into the kingdom which the sheep will enter during reign of Christ.

It will be a righteous reign. People will be judged according to God’s law not the arbitrary laws of man. Because of this there will be justice for the poor. The children of the needy and those who have no helper will be delivered. There will be no more violence or oppression.

Famine and starvation will not exist in Christ’s kingdom. There will be an abundance of grain. Harvest will be plentiful. Creation will be restored. Worship will be continuous.

His reign, as the psalm expresses it, will lead to an abundance of peace. Isaiah picks up the theme with those well known words, “They shall beat their swords into plough shares and spears into pruning hooks” Isaiah 2: 4. There will be no more war between nations.

This is the kingdom intended by God from before the foundation of the world. It is a kingdom which will last for one thousand years [Revelation 20: 4] and then, for all who gladly accept the reign of Christ, it will continue into eternity.

The enduring rebellion

Not all will gladly accept His rule. Psalm 72 states that He will have to crush the oppressor. Just as the roots of rebellion remained in the descendants of Noah so the ‘good people’ who inherit this kingdom will still have sin in their hearts. There will be those whose hearts are inclined to wickedness.  To maintain the reign of justice and peace Jesus will have to rule with an iron rod. Of this time we read in Isaiah, “He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked”. Isaiah 11: 4. Revelation takes  this up describing the King of Kings and Lord of Lords as one who will rule the nations with a rod of iron, [Revelation 19: 15].

Many in this kingdom will pay lip service to honouring Christ. When the opportunity arises they will rebel. The rejection of Christ’s rule will lead to the final judgment.

Booklets from Trumpet Sounds

Signs

Are we living in the closing years of the present age? The booklet gives seven major signs which convinced the author that we are very close to the time when Jesus will return.

Watch

The word which summarises the New Testament teaching on the return of Christ is ‘watch’. We are repeatedly called on to watch but what does that entail? This booklet gives guidance on what it means to watch and be ready for our Lord’s return.

 The Great Anguish

The title of this booklet deliberately uses the word anguish instead of tribulation. This is to encourage a fresh look at the events which will close the present age. What will this time mean for the church and for Israel? The closing chapter is headed ‘Living in Victory’. Those who are prepared will come out of this time as a bride worthy of her groom.

The Reign of Christ

Jesus is coming back to reign. Topics covered include, who will reign with Him, the people of the kingdom, worship in the kingdom, the renewal of creation and Israel during the millennial reign of Christ. It ends with the wedding feast, the final judgement and the eternal city.

Daniel Part 1

Daniel Part 2

Two booklets which take a fresh look at the book of Daniel. They consider Daniel as a person as well as set out interpretations of the prophecies. The author does not wish to be contrary in presenting conclusions which are sometimes differ from past teaching. Therefore he asks readers to pray and search the scripture for confirmation if the interpretations are correct.

Chris Hill has commended these two short studies in Daniel as the best he has read.

The Date of the Crucifixion

This is a companion booklet to Daniel Part 2. It given as support for the interpretation put forward for the prophecy of the weeks.

Booklets are available by using the contact form on the contact page.

Cost is £2.50 each including postage.

 

Jeremy Corbyn

Many in the UK were stunned when Jeremy Corbyn came from nowhere to be elected as leader of the Labour party. He is a republican with extreme left wing views on economics and nationalization. Many in the Labour Party think that his views will render their Party unelectable.

Is it true that Corbyn could never be elected? The election of Alexis Tsipras in Greece and more recently Justin Trudeau in Canada raise the specter of a future Corbyn election victory. Both Tsipras and Trudeau were elected on promises of an end to austerity. Like Corbyn they promised that in some magical way existing policies can be reversed and the good times come again. It appears that for Corbyn the way out of austerity is to roll the presses to print more money so that we can return to spend, spend, spend.

The greater concern with Jeremy Corbyn is the company he keeps. As a bank bench MP he supported hardline Irish Republicans and embraced all who were enemies of Israel.

In 1984, shortly after the IRA’s attempt to assassinate Margaret Thatcher and the rest of her cabinet, Corbyn invited Sinn Fein/IRA leaders to the House of Commons. To this day he refuses to condemn the IRA for causing thousands of deaths and injuries.

Another political cause he cares deeply about is the Israel/Palestinian conflict. He has sided with the extremists against Israel. On camera he has been recorded calling Hamas and Hezbollah, friends. He is involved with ‘Deir Yassin Remembered’, an organization run by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen. He has over the years shared platforms with other anti-semitic extremists.

Corbyn defends himself with the claim that rather than being an obscure bank bench MP he has been involved in his own way with the peace process. Standing alongside the peddlers of hate and welcoming those who indiscriminately kill makes one wonder what sort of peace he believes in.

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