Newsletter 118 Winter 2016
As the end of this age draws near we expect that each new year will be more turbulent than the one which has passed. Global instability will increase. There will be wars, famines, pestilence and earthquakes. Men’s hearts will fail with fear of what is coming on the world. As Christians, we are a privileged people for we look forward to the ‘blessed hope’ of our Lord’s return. On the next page there is a reprint of Corrie Ten Boom’s testimony that in the time of trial she received the mighty inner strength of the Holy Spirit. Let us approach the future confident that whatever lies ahead the Lord will give us strength to stand and overcome.
In this edition
The gathering of the elect
Babylon is falling
The changing balance of power
Worship in the Millennial Kingdom
Lifting sanctions on Iran could destroy America
A threat on the doorstep
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The gathering of the elect to be with the Lord.
I recently attended a meeting where the speaker was a passionate advocate of the pre-tribulation rapture of the Church. During the presentation he commented that if there are two church leaders, one of which teaches that the church will go through the tribulation and the other teaches that the church will not go through the tribulation, they cannot walk together in unity. He also considered that the reason why the pre-tribulation rapture was under so much attack was due to a satanic deception intended to rob Christians of their peace.
In my view the mark of Satan’s attack is when issues such as the timing of the rapture are used to divide those who are sincerely seeking the truth. Some on both sides of the argument use vitriolic language to condemn the other side. There are even those who refuse to have fellowship with any who disagree. In Romans, Paul urged the church to avoid such people. [Romans 16: 17].
Pure Biblical doctrine should never divide those who are born again and seek to be true to His word. If it is causing division our response should be to seek from the Lord an understanding of where we are going wrong. Dogmatism with regard to the timing of the rapture should be tempered by the knowledge that sincere men of God have reached different conclusions on this matter.
The following quote is taken from my booklet ‘Watch’.
“My own conclusion is that the gathering of the church at the time when Jesus physically returns to the Mount of Olives is the simplest and most straightforward interpretation of scripture. The considerable information given in scripture regarding the closing years was not given to satisfy idle curiosity but to encourage and equip the saints during the time of testing. We need to know what the Father has chosen to reveal to us so that we are not taken by surprise.”
“Jesus said, “the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” [Matthew 24:24]. That statement tells me not to be dogmatic either way. At what point in time Jesus comes is for the Father alone to decide. His coming will be unexpected and therefore whatever view we hold we are probably wrong. We are to live in the expectation of Jesus coming back while at the same time listening to his warning to constantly watch so that we will be prepared.”
How do we prepare? The following advice comes from Corrie Ten Boom:
“How can we get ready for the persecution?”
“First we need to feed on the Word of God, digest it, make it a part of our being. This will mean disciplined Bible study each day as we not only memorize long passages of scripture, but put the principles to work in our lives.”
“Next we need to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not just the Jesus of yesterday, the Jesus of History, but the life-changing Jesus of today who is still alive and sitting at the right hand of God. We must be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is no optional command of the Bible, it is absolutely necessary. Those earthly disciples could never have stood up under the persecution of the Jews and Romans had they not waited for Pentecost. Each of us needs our own personal Pentecost, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We will never be able to stand in the tribulation without it.”
“In the coming persecution we must be ready to help each other and encourage each other. But we must not wait until the tribulation comes before starting. The fruit of the Spirit should be the dominant force of every Christian’s life.”
“Many are fearful of the coming tribulation, they want to run. I, too, am a little bit afraid when I think that after all my eighty years, including the horrible Nazi concentration camp that I might have to go through the tribulation also. But then I read the Bible and I am glad. When I am weak, then I shall be strong, the Bible says. Betsy and I were prisoners for the Lord, we were so weak, but we got power because the Holy Spirit was on us. That mighty inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit helped us through. No, you will not be strong in yourself when the tribulation comes. Rather, you will be strong in the power of Him who will not forsake you. For seventy-six years I have known the Lord Jesus and not once has He ever left me, or let me down.”
“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”, (Job 13:15) for I know that to all who overcome, He shall give the crown of life. Hallelujah!”
– Corrie Ten Boom – 1974
This is good advice for us all, whatever the future may hold.
Babylon is falling
The twilight of European civilisation is far advanced. Darkness is almost on us. A culture that evolved over centuries is committing euthanasia. The secular mind set which developed in the 20th Century sapped the will to live. Europe went to the death clinic and swallowed the fatal overdose without comprehending what it was doing. Now that she is gasping for breath and death is creeping over her resuscitation is no longer possible.
Casting her Christian heritage aside, Europa went after gods which were no god. She worshipped at the altars of progress and materialism. Reason replaced divine inspiration. Evolution replaced creation. She followed the way which seemed right to her but it was the way of death.
The sanctity of life was cancelled. Millions of young lives were destroyed. But an aging population needs young people to look after it. With so many killed where would the young people come from? They come from lands far away. They come streaming into Europe to take the place of those who never had the chance to draw a breath.
A trickle, became a stream, the stream a river and now a flood. Why is it now that they come? Who sent them on their way?
With them comes their own culture and their own god. Their culture says that it is supreme. All must be brought into submission to their god. Twice before this culture invaded Europe. Twice before it was repulsed. Then Europe was robust believing in its Christian God. Now it is weak. Secular atheism is powerless to stand against faith even when it is a misplaced faith in a false god.
Should we weep over the passing of a civilisation we once thought great? No. The invading culture hates the Western world and all it stands for. But the Bible says that it is God who has put it into their hearts to destroy the harlot which is Europe. The wrath of God has been stirred against the proud Queen who rules over peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues. Her sins have reached up to heaven. She is being repaid according to her works.
Is it premature to start writing an epitaph for Europe? Our leaders hope that Europa will pull through this crisis. The migrants may be absorbed and a new age of prosperity follow.
Europe’s epitaph was written down over 1900 years ago. Whatever God speaks will happen. Before our Lord returns to take up the reins of government on earth, Europe will have succumbed to the hatred of foreign powers.
The demise of the West
In the first 0078article on the Fall of Babylon printed in the Summer 2015 Trumpet Sounds, I put forward an interpretation of scripture which identifies the end time fulfilment of the ‘Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots’ as Western civilisation.
In the past I have outlined the observation that the modern history of Israel and to a lesser extent the world was following a seven year cycle. We have just begun a new seven year cycle. It is already taking on the violent character which I predicted a while ago. This article sees events currently taking place in Europe as the fulfilment of prophecy.
I confess that in the first article I was wrong. For many years I have believed that the collapse of western civilisation would be triggered by a financial collapse in the USA. The events of the 11th September 2001 seemed to confirm that view. Collapse, due to unsustainable borrowing and reliance on the inward flow of Islamic investment, is a real danger. I still believe that a major crisis is coming and will follow a failure by the USA to support Israel. I wrote in the first article that this would be the sign of the fall which would soon follow.
But events have taken a different course. We now see that the ‘Fall of Babylon’ has begun before the financial collapse has taken place. Western civilisation is being undermined by the forces which will soon give their power to create the final beast empire. The demonic powers now at work in Europe will bring it to ruin.
The flood of refugees from the Middle East and Africa has been portrayed as the natural response of those fleeing war and oppression. There are many questions which need to be asked with regard to this mass migration.
Why now? Although flight from Syria can be understood, the Syrian refugees make up a small proportion of those making the migrant journey. Others come from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Eritrea and other parts of Africa. Conditions in these countries may be bad but they have not suddenly deteriorated. The desperate state of their home countries is not the reason for the sudden increase in numbers.
Who sent them on their way? Are there those who are stirring up the multitudes causing them to flock to Europe? At the beginning of 2015, ISIS said that it would flood Europe with refugees, but is ISIS alone in opening the flood gates?
Who is paying for this exodus? How are these people, portrayed as destitute, able to afford the $2,000 to $5,000 charged by the people smugglers? How can they afford to throw away food charitably offered to them and still survive?
For a time Hungary became a main migration route. Before Hungary closed its borders it was observed that most of the migrants were young males. Hungary, a nation whose history has taught it to be tolerant toward the oppressed, turned against the migrants due to their ungrateful and demanding response to the help offered.
One perplexing aspect of the migration through Hungary was the number of discarded identity papers. These included Syrian and European passports, which would have guaranteed residency in Germany and other nations. When they arrive in Germany, 50% of the migrants quickly disappear. Are they seeking work in Germany or do they have other objectives in mind?
Germany took in over one million migrants by the end of 2015. Many in Germany question where the houses, jobs, schools, hospitals are to be found for all these new citizens. The cost to the tax payer will be billions of Euros. Can the German economy take the strain? Sweden which has also thrown open its doors to all who want to come is facing bankruptcy. The Swedish welfare state is crumbling. The migrant invasion could tip a continent already over borrowed back into crisis.
Since the events in Germany over the New Year, Europe has suddenly woken up to the possibility that it has a problem. But because it refuses to define the problem it will struggle to come up with a solution.
God has put it in their hearts
Of the destruction of Babylon the Bible says; “And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled. The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.” Revelation 17: 15 – 18
The supremacist ideology adhered to by many of the migrants’ causes them to despise and hate the corruption of the Western world. They believe that the time has come for their religion to triumph. Is that why many give victory signs to the cameras? So many are on their way that soon Europe will not be able to bear the cost. She will be become desolate as the levels of debt rise. Among the flood are extremists who will burn Europa up with fire. Their bombs and assault rifles causing pain and grief. As terrorism increases economies will be brought to a halt hastening financial ruin.
The Christian response
How should the Christian respond to the destruction of all that has allowed us to be so comfortable? For most of us in Europe the last 70 years have been good. There has been peace. Although there have been ups and downs, we have enjoyed a period of unprecedented prosperity. Most of the world sees us as rich, enjoying luxuries they can only dream of. How should we respond when all this is taken away?
In the first article I wrote that when Babylon falls we are to rejoice. There is a great celebration in heaven when the Harlot is avenged of the blood of the martyrs.
Our response must be more that rejoicing. In these closing years we are to live as Christians. “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place for wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head”. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12: 17 – 21
Can we actually live up to that standard? What if we are to experience some of the suffering that our Christian brothers and sisters in Syria and Iraq are already going through? What if loved ones are killed or enslaved, can we still overcome evil with good? We can, but only by the power of God living in us. Are we resolved in these last days to walk the way of Christ? That will I believe become a real challenge in the days ahead.
The Changing balance of power
Trumpet Sounds 115 commented on the re-equipping of the Russian military. Despite restricted funds they are achieving technical superiority over the US. They now have almost silent submarines which can operate undetected in other nations’ territorial waters. Ballistic missiles in development which can defeat anti-missile systems and their own much improve missile defences.
The autumn of 2015 saw a further development with the Russian deployment in Syria. For the last 50 years a major plank of US foreign policy has been to keep Russia out of the Middle East. Putin has outflanked the West becoming a major player in Syria. With Russian support the Assad government is regaining lost ground. Besides air power Russia has moved into Syria both S300 and S400 surface to air mobile missile platforms.
The S400 has been in service with the Russian army since 2007. It is reckoned to be the most effective surface to air missile system in the world. It is capable of shooting down both aircraft and missiles. The S400 have a 600 km range and travel at 17,000 km/hr. A missile launched from Damascus would bring down a plane flying over Tel Aviv in 100 seconds.
It has a very powerful radar which is thought to be able to detect and destroy even the latest US $500 million [each] F35 stealth fighter. If that is correct, it renders every aircraft the West possess obsolete.
Each S-400 battalion has eight launchers, a control center, radar and 16 missiles available as reloads.
Why does Russia need to deploy such advanced missile systems in Syria? ISIS and other rebel groups do not possess aircraft. Where does the threat come from?
It is believed that Hezbollah has about 100,000 short range missiles capable of striking northern Israel and several thousand longer range missiles which could reach as far as Tel Aviv. Israel has a number of missile defence systems, but these would be incapable of halting a barrage of thousands of rockets. In the event of a massive rocket attack Israel would use the air force to destroy the known launch sites.
If Russia guided by Assad decided to use the S400s to protect Hezbollah, it would nullify the Israeli Air force in any future conflict.
Faced with massive destruction from tens of thousands of rockets, Israel could be forced to use the weapons of last resort. A nuclear attack on south Lebanon and Syria might be its only option for survival.
Some believe that this could lead to a literal fulfilment of Isaiah 17: 1 “Behold Damascus will cease from being a city and it will be a ruinous heap.”
Worship in the Millennial Kingdom
[An extract from the ‘Reign of Christ’ booklet – Chapter 3]
Jesus is coming back to reign. He will reign on earth for a thousand years. We are coming back to reign with Him. The millennial reign of Christ will be a time in which, as foreseen by Habakkuk, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Hab 2: 14
Worship in the Millennium
During His reign there will be universal worship of Jesus Christ as King of Kings. In Psalm 22 the psalmist foresees the suffering of the Christ, but he does not leave it there. He also sees Christ’s triumph when He will reign over the nations. “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord’s and He rules over the nations.” Psalm 22: 27, 28. The one, who was once despised, will become the center of worship. Throughout the Psalms the declaration is repeated that a time is coming when all the earth will worship the God of Israel.
Gathered to Jerusalem
Isaiah chapter 11 looks forward to a time when peace and harmony is restored to the earth. At that time the Gentiles shall seek the Lord. “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place will be glorious.” Isaiah 11: 10. They will seek Him and find Him in Jerusalem. “At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the Lord, and all nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem.” Jeremiah 3: 17. In that city the people will be gathered to praise the Lord, “To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and His praise in Jerusalem, when the peoples are gathered together, and Kingdoms, to serve the Lord”. Psalm 102: 21, 22
There will be set times when the nations are to come and worship. “…everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King and the Lord of Hosts and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” Zechariah 14: 16.
We read in Isaiah that it is not just at Tabernacles that the people are to gather. “And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me, says the Lord.” Isaiah 66: 23.
Some may be surprised to learn that some of the Old Testament feasts are to be reinstated in the Millennium. An explanation is given in Ezekiel. Referring to the reinstituted order of priests we read, “And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the unholy and cause them to discern between the unclean and clean. In controversy they shall stand as judges and judge it according to My judgments. They shall keep my laws and my statutes in all my appointed meetings and they shall hallow my Sabbaths”. Ezekiel 44: 23 – 24. The laws, feasts and Sabbaths will fulfill the same purpose as in the Old Covenant. They will be used as a means of teaching people the ways of God.
In Ezekiel 45 there are four feasts to be celebrated in the Millennial Kingdom. Three feasts, Passover, Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles come from the Old Covenant. To these is added the new feast of New Year. The four feasts will be celebrated as reminders of the completed work of Christ.
Passover sets the sacrifices in context. It reminds of the willing sacrifice of Christ. Unleavened Bread reminds that His was a sacrifice without sin. Tabernacles will be a celebration of the Messiah’s reign. Today nations have their national and independence days. These are days set apart to express national pride. That is the role Tabernacles will fulfill in the Millennium.
The New Year feast is for cleansing of the Temple. Sacrifice is offered to atone for everyone who has sinned unintentionally or in ignorance. This is to teach people that even unintentional sins require a sacrifice so that the sanctuary is not defiled.
Perhaps more surprising than the celebration of the feasts is the reintroduction of animal sacrifice. Of the sons of the foreigners who serve the Lord we read, “their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar”. Isaiah 56: 7.
We understand the sacrificial system to have been completely fulfilled and brought to an end by the all sufficient atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We forget that none of the Old Testament sacrifices ever finally atoned for sin. “And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sin.” Hebrews 10: 11. They existed for the purpose of teaching that there is a need for a sacrifice which can cancel our sin. The only sacrifice which counts is that of Jesus Christ on the cross.
The sacrifices of the Old Testament have been described as the invoice while those of the Millennial Kingdom are the receipt. One looks forward to the payment which has to be made. The other looks back to the payment which has been made. Neither is the payment; that was made on our behalf by Jesus.
Unintentional sin committed during the reign of Christ on earth is already covered by His sacrifice and can be forgiven. The intentional rebellion which takes place at the end of the thousand years can never be forgiven. For such sin justice demands and receives eternal punishment.
With festivals and sacrifices it is natural to conclude that a Temple is needed. “Now it shall come to pass in the later days that the mountain of the Lord’s House shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.” Isaiah 2: 2. Ezekiel adds that God will dwell with Israel. “I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God and they shall be My people.” Ezekiel 37: 26, 27
If we accept that Christ is coming back and will live with His people in Jerusalem and that there will be a house built for Him, then the prophecy at the end of Ezekiel in chapters 40 to 47 ceases to be allegory and becomes the description of a real millennial Temple.
The level of detail is comparable with that provided in Exodus for the construction of the tabernacle. Of both God says that they must be built according to His design [Exodus 25: 40, Ezekiel 43: 10 – 12]. Ezekiel is told to write down the details of the design. The reason given is that the precision of the prophecy would cause Israel to repent. As Israel builds this temple according to God’s design they will remember their past laxness towards His laws. Holiness is to be taken seriously.
When reading Ezekiel chapters 40 to 48 we need to remember that for the writer this was very exciting. Ezekiel was a priest. His life’s work for which he had trained was service in the Temple. Before he had entered into this service he was taken away as a slave to Babylon. A priest without a Temple is like a fish out of water. Life has little point. During his time in slavery the dreadful news had come that the Temple had been burnt down. All his hopes were dashed. Then twenty years into his captivity he receives this vision of a new Temple, a Temple more perfect and more beautiful than the one which had been destroyed.
In this Temple a number of the things which were included in the Tabernacle are missing: There is no veil separating the Holy from the Holy of Holies. The veil symbolizing our separation from God was torn when Christ died for our sins. There is no table of shew bread. The shew bread looked forward to Jesus who is the bread of life. The real bread from heaven is now dwelling with His people the symbol is no longer necessary. There is no lamp stand. Jesus, the light of the world, is now living in the world. There is no Ark of the Covenant or mercy seat. Jesus has confirmed His covenant with Israel and through Him they have obtained mercy. There is no high priest for Jesus is our high priest forever.
There is an altar on which sacrifices will be made as a reminder of the cost of Christ’s sacrifice.
There is a stream of living water flowing from the door. Is this literal river or is it an allegory? Like so much in prophecy it appears to be both. There will be a river flowing from Jerusalem to bring life to a barren and parched land. It also symbolizes the new life which Jesus will bring to a wounded world.
Ezekiel had first encountered God in a vision of His glory beside the river Cheba. That vision assured him that God was not tied to one place but could even be with them in captivity. In this vision Ezekiel the priest is assured that everything which is wrong with the world is going to be put right. There will be another Temple and God’s glory will return.
Lifting sanctions on Iran could destroy America
Following Iran’s supposed compliance with the Nuclear deal, sanctions have been lifted. This allows Iran to start selling its massive stock pile of oil. The price of oil has dropped 70% in the last eighteen months. With the increase in supply the price will drop still further.
The drop in oil prices has already caused havoc for the US energy industry. In 2015, 42 North American Oil companies filed for bankruptcy with a loss of 130,000 jobs. If the price of oil were to recover to $50 a barrel the damage could be managed. But with Iranian oil flooding the market that is not likely to happen.
The Economic Collapse Blog sees a similar sequence of events arising to those which triggered the 2007/8 economic collapse. Then it was due to banks being over exposed to sub-prime mortgage lending. The crisis was triggered when it became clear that much of the money recklessly lent on mortgages would never be repaid.
This time round it is the billions of dollars lent to finance expensive drilling projects. With the falling price of oil, these loans are never going to be repaid. Banks all over the world are exposed to consequences of the falling oil price.1
The Royal Bank of Scotland has warned that 2016 is set to be a cataclysmic year. They forecast that stock markets will lose 20% of their value this year. It is according to their analysis about, a year for ‘return of capital’ rather than ‘return on capital’. 2
A threat on the doorstep
During the last 32 years, Iran has achieved a resounding success in promoting an anti-US and anti-Israel message in Latin America. Iran’s state-owned television network, HispanTV, broadcasts in Spanish 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in at least 16 countries throughout the region.
Formally, Iran has also doubled the number of its embassies in Latin America — from six in 2005 to eleven today. Informally, ….. Iran has established more than 80 Islamic cultural centers promoting Shi’a Islam throughout Latin America. The number represents more than a 100% increase from 2012 ……
Most importantly, however, Iran has established an unprecedented military and intelligence footprint that extends from Tierra del Fuego, at the southern tip of Argentina, up to the Rio Grande, bordering the United States. Iran is active in every country in Latin America.
It is slowly dawning that Donald Trump could be the next Republican candidate for President of the Unites States. In the UK we know little about him. We can easily find out that he is a billionaire property tycoon and that he owns casinos and the Miss Universe franchise. He has been married three times and has five children. We also gather that he has a habit of sounding off provocative sound bites which keep his name and face in the news.
Trump has been an outspoken critic of President Obama. He was a leader of the ‘birther’ movement which questioned Obama’s birth certificate and eligibility to be President of the US.
It is common place not to fully trust what politicians say, but with Trump it seems that doubt of his sincerity reaches a new level. The following quote comes from the Zionica website:
““When I get elected president, . . . Christianity will have power.” These were Donald Trump’s words to his evangelical supporters ….. at the Dordt College rally in Sioux Center, Iowa.
That he would say these words is no surprise. Donald Trump will say anything to anyone to make a deal with them. That he doesn’t mean what he says – even when his listeners think he is “speaking his mind” – is clear enough from his actions. The very next day he “attended church” at First Presbyterian Church in Muscatine, Iowa, a PCUSA church with a female “pastor,” supporting sodomite “ordination” and sodomite “marriages.” Not exactly the “Christianity” his listeners of the day before would have liked to see “having power” in America.”
What would Trump do if elected President of the USA? That is difficult to say. In the past he has floated across the political spectrum. He used to say he was a Democrat. Now he is Republican, but certainly not the conservative which many Republicans are looking for. Of concern is his aggressive temperament. Not a safe thing for someone who will have so much power.