Newsletter 107 Spring 2013
Peace, peace when there is no peace
“An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous, and he who is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked” Proverbs 29: 27.
The secular world dreams of an age of peace. A time when, due to the gospel of universal tolerance, everyone lives in harmony. The Bible says very clearly that this can never be. There are two types of people on this world. The righteous who seek to obey and serve God and the wicked that are in rebellion. Light and darkness can never be reconciled. As this present age draws to a close we will see the proof of Jesus’ words, “men loved darkness rather than light”. Those who seek to be ‘upright in the way’ will increasingly be an abomination to the wicked.
In this edition
Signs in the Sun and Moon
Draft National Curriculum for Science UK
The Great Anguish Part 3 – The Believing Jews
The Gold Rush
The Destruction of Marriage
The Danger of Deception
The Question Christian’s are not asking
Signs in the Sun and Moon
“Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons and for days and years;”” Genesis 1: 14.
We are familiar with the sun and moon defining our days, years and seasons. How much thought have we given to their being used for signs? An extraordinary feature of our solar system is the positioning of the sun and moon to produce solar and lunar eclipses. If the moon was slightly larger or smaller, or the sun larger or smaller, or the earth larger or smaller, or the sun further away or nearer or the moon further away or nearer these eclipses would not take place. The size and positioning has been designed to produce both solar and lunar eclipses. The moon is exactly the right size to obscure the sun and bring darkness. But more significantly the earth is exactly the right size to refract the red spectrum of sun light to cause the moon to go blood red during a total lunar eclipse. So when God said that He had created the Sun and Moon for signs our attention is drawn to the two remarkable events arising from divine design.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter quoted from the prophet Joel, “The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.” Acts 2: 20. The sun going dark and the moon blood coloured are two features that God designed into our solar system. Therefore do we need to look any further for a fulfillment of this prophecy than solar and lunar eclipses?
A number of people have commented on the sequence of lunar eclipses which will occur in 2014/15. It is notable that the lunar eclipses coincide with Jewish holy days. The sequence is as follows:
The Lunar eclipses:
2014 Passover April 15, Feast of Tabernacles October 8.
2015 Passover April 4, Feast of Tabernacles September 28.
The two Solar eclipses:
2015 Adar 29/Nisan 1(new year) March 20, Rosh Hashanah September 13.
Mark Biltz pastor of El Shaddai Ministries, in Bonner Lake, Washington first brought attention to this phenomenon early in 2008. A series of four lunar eclipses is referred to as a ‘Tetrad’. Prior to the 20th Century the last time that a Tetrad had coincided with the Jewish holy days was in 1493. Then in the 20th Century there were two Tetrads coinciding with the holy days. Each marked significant events in the modern history of the Jews.
There have been many suggestions as to the potential significance of this future sequence, which will not occur again during the 21st century. David Dolan who knows Mark Biltz writes;
“Mark, Bill and many others have noted that besides the Tetrad which began on Passover in 1493 soon after the large Jewish community was ordered out of Spain (followed by the expulsion from neighbouring Portugal in 1497). The two full eclipse cycles that occurred in the 20th century coincided with seminal historic occurrences in Israel’s short modern history. The initial Tetrad began on the first night of Passover on April 13, 1949. That date was just a little over one month after Israel’s blood-soaked War of Independence came to a successful end. The next Tetrad cycle also began on Passover, in 1967, which fell that year on April 24. That means it was just over six weeks before the short, but intense Six Day War broke out. A solar eclipse closely preceded it on April 20. As you all know, what looked like a probable terrible outcome for vastly outnumbered Israeli military forces turned out to be a stunning victory for them, as was also the case in the earlier Independence War.”
David Dolan goes on to write, that based on the previous occurrences of this phenomena it could be warning of a coming war in which much Jewish blood will be shed. It could break out before or after the Tetrad. He also notes that only the final lunar eclipse will be visible in Israel. Perhaps this is a warning of trouble for those scattered in the Far East where the earlier eclipses will be visible.
So what is the significance of these signs in the sun and moon? They occur at the end of one 7 year sabbatical cycle and the beginning of another. It could be a warning to Israel that the following sabbatical period will be very troubled and particularly a warning of war.
But as this is the only Tetrad which will fall on the Jewish holy days during the 21st Century it could have even greater significance? David Dolan in his comments goes on to share some thoughts on the coming ‘Man of Sin’ and the return of our Lord. David Dolans full comments can be read on line at: http://www.ddolan.com/updates.asp?updateid=203
Speaking about the end times Jesus said that there would be signs in the sun, in the moon. In Luke 21: 25 – 28, at the end of the passage, He says, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” However near or far the return of Christ may be we can be encouraged by the signs in the sun and moon that the one who designed the universe is also in control of history. We can rejoice because we know that the future is in His hands.
Draft National Curriculum for Science UK
The public consultation on the proposed revised National Curriculum for Primary School Science ended on the 16th April. The new curriculum will come into operation from September 2014.
Despite the government’s the stated intent of reducing the burden of the existing curriculum some new requirements have been introduced. Of concern to Christians is the requirement to teach evolution to primary school children. Examples of some of the new provisions are as follows:
In year 4 [age 8/9] pupils should be taught to: explain how the human skeleton has changed over time, since we separated from other primates, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of being on two feet rather than four……. Ensure pupils are introduced to the idea of adaptation and how the human skeleton has changed over time…… Support this work by using the science biographies of Charles Darwin.
In year 6 [age 10/11] explain that evolution happens over time, fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth many years ago; how animals and plants are suited to and adapt to their environment in different ways; and how this leads to evolution. …….Building on the topic on Rocks in Year 3, pupils should be introduced to the fossil as evidence for evolution.
The introduction of evolution into the primary school curriculum is a major coup for the aggressive new atheists. They have been frustrated that despite all their propaganda many are still not convinced that mankind evolved from a lower species. Their answer is to indoctrinate children at an even younger age. If children are taught that evolution is fact they are less likely to believe in God.
It has become accepted that by the age of 14 most children will have stopped attending church. Many in church still do not connect the teaching of evolution at school with their young people leaving. It is a common experience of street evangelists that the question of evolution crops up all the time. Evolution is a very big issue for those actively engaged in evangelism.
Is the revised curriculum a problem or an opportunity? The new curriculum defines what will be taught in primary school. It establishes the target. Rather than scattering fire over the broad area of misconception it can now be directed at the particular issues children are being taught. Much of the speculative science to be taught in primary school can be refuted by the presentation of scientific fact. I pray that there will be those who rise to the challenge of preparing straight forward, non religious, material which by presenting only scientific fact causes the foundations of evolution to crumble.
The Great Anguish – Part 3 the believing Jews
In this series we are looking at the Great Tribulation, or as it will be referred to in these articles, the Great Anguish. The time of anguish will commence with the abomination of desolation standing in the Holy Place. The previous article in this series identified the abomination as an object of idolatrous worship set up on the temple mount.
In the sermon on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave the following warning; “Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains;” Matthew 24: 15,16. It is a warning to flee Jerusalem when this event takes place.
Jesus says flee, but who will flee from Jerusalem when this sign occurs? Not the majority of Jews as they do not recognise Jesus and therefore know nothing of this warning. Out of Israel only the believing Jews who trust in Yeshua and know the gospels will recognise the sign and flee.
The woman clothed with the sun
To follow this story through we will go to a passage in the book of Revelation. Chapter 11: 19 closes with a vision of the Ark of the Covenant in heaven. From this we understand that the visions have moved on to look at the covenant people of God. That conclusion is confirmed by a second vision of a woman clothed in the sun and the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars. The imagery is similar to Joseph’s dream, Gen 37:9, which refers to Israel and his offspring as the sun, moon and stars. Setting the vision in heaven tells us that we are dealing with spiritual Israel, not the Israel of this earth.
At the time of Christ’s incarnation there was a remnant who we could describe as spiritual Israel. It was made up of those who still trusted the word of God and believed that a Messiah would come. Mary, who in faith accepted Gabriel’s word that she would bear the Messiah, was part of the believing remnant. As was her betrothed Joseph who also believed. When Jesus was dedicated in the Temple, Simeon and Anna declared their faith recognising Jesus as the one who was promised. There may well have been many others in Israel at that time who also believed but the leaders of the people were not among them. Their attention was focused on the affairs of this world. Due to that they were blind to what God was doing.
The hatred of Satan
In Revelation 12: 4 we read of the intense hatred that Satan has for the child who will one day rule the nations. That child is Jesus. When He was born Satan stirred up Herod to kill all the baby boys in Bethlehem. Later, when Jesus willingly gave Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, Satan vented all his hatred on him. Because of the Son’s perfect obedience, the Father turned defeat into victory raising Jesus up to heaven.
Satan cheated of victory focuses his wrath on Israel who brought the child into this world. Revelation 12: 6 closes with the woman fleeing into the wilderness for a period of 1260 days. The verses which follow describe the war in heaven, following which Satan is cast out.
The victory is at least in part attributed to the faithful church which was prepared to face death rather than deny her Lord. The willingness to face martyrdom for Christ proves that Satan is a liar. His accusation, set down in Job 2: 5, that man only serves God for what he can get out of Him is proved false. When Satan is cast down to earth he knows that he only has a short time left. That statement sets the timing of what follows at the close of the age.
Verses 13 – 17 return to the woman, again it repeats that she will find a place of safety in the wilderness. There she will be nourished for time, times and half a time. By describing the period in two ways, once as 1260 days and then as time times and half a time or three and a half years, which is also 1260 days, the passage emphasises that this is to be taken as a literal period and not understood symbolically. It corresponds to the trampling of the holy city, the prophesying of the two witnesses and the reign of the beast.
A time to flee
As stated above, this prophecy is about believing Israel not natural Israel. When the Abomination of Desolation appears believing Israel will obey the warning of Jesus and flee to a place prepared for them. In that place in the wilderness they will escape the terrible time of anguish which the rest of their nation will suffer.
It has been speculated that being given eagles wings will be fulfilled by an airlift to carry Jews to a place of safety. Exodus 19: 4 describes Israel’s escape from Pharaoh as being carried on eagle’s wings. To them it may have seemed more like a desperate escape in the middle of the night. But God was watching over them. In this later event it may seem like a rush to escape by any means available but God will be watching over them to keep them safe.
Where is the place of Safety?
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognise that her desolation is near. Then those who are in Jerusalem must flee to the mountains.” Luke 21: 20-21. In this parallel passage in Luke, Jesus is giving a warning of the impending destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies. In 66 AD a Roman army under the command of Cestius Gallus came up to Jerusalem. After surrounding the city for a week he withdrew. The leaders of the Jerusalem church recognised this as the sign given by Jesus to warn that it was time to flee. Within their fellowship they had received a prophecy telling them to go to Pella.
When the time comes to flee the believing Jews will be guided by the Lord where to go. It should be noted that this is another argument against the empire of the Antichrist being global. If Jesus tells people to flee there will be a safe place to flee to. Otherwise it would be a case of out of the frying pan into the fire. There will be at least one place in this world where Satan cannot harm them.
The wrath of God
Following the time of anguish God will pour out His wrath on a rebellious world. Among a series of prophecies in Isaiah which relate to the end of the age God calls on His people to hide for a while until his fury has passed over, Isaiah 26: 20,21. The wording reminds us of the tenth plague of Egypt when the angel of death passed over the land. At that time the people of God were to find security in their homes under the covering of the blood of the Passover lamb. During both the time of anguish and the judgement which will close this age believing Israel will be secure if she trusts in the shed blood of her Passover lamb Jesus Christ.
If the believers in the Messiah do not leave Israel at this time they will be caught up in the trouble coming on their nation. Such will be the anguish of that time that they will cry out to God for deliverance. But deliverance will not come for they did not listen to His word of warning. We must pray for this first group that they will remain attentive to the Lord’s leading and recognise the signs. If they do they will be protected. They will escape the time of anguish, not by being gathered up to heaven, but by being guided to a place of safety.
The Gold Rush
Back in 2008 Trumpet Sounds  commented on how events affecting Israel followed the seven year sabbatical cycle. At that time we wrote of the sabbatical period 2007/8 to 2014/15, “When the USA rejects Israel she will cease to be a significant military and economic power in this world. In consequence Israel will lose the major prop on which she has relied for her continuing existence.” The USA has in this period declined in economic and military power. The following article outlines a growing threat to American supremacy. The next 18 months will see a further major deterioration in the US standing in the world.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has said that the USA is endangering the world economy by abusing their dollar monopoly. By this he is referring to their reckless printing of dollars in order to buy a way out of the present economic collapse.
The dollar monopoly arises from a long standing agreement between The USA and OPEC [Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries] to only accept dollars in payment for oil. Therefore countries such as the UK cannot use GB Pounds to purchase petroleum. First the UK has to buy dollars. The dollars can then be used to purchase petroleum. This results in an insatiable global demand for dollars. That demand both ensures that the value of the dollar is kept high and that the dollar retains its place as the world’s reserve currency.
For a long time both Russia and China have been dissatisfied that the US dollar is the de facto world currency. Over the last decade both nations have been buying gold. Giving rise to speculation that they intend to drop trading in dollars and return to the world’s oldest reserve currency, gold.
Russia has surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest oil and gas producer and exporter. It has used the profits from oil and gas to become the world’s biggest buyer of gold. In the last 10 years it has increased its gold reserves by 570 metric tonnes [worth about $25, billion at today’s prices]. In the first 6 months of 2012 Russia increased its gold reserves by 110 tonnes. In comparison the UK has total gold reserves of 310 tonnes.
China is the second largest buyer of gold. Although the Chinese government never releases any figures, based on its buying of gold, many believe that its reserves are larger than Russia’s. China runs a huge trade surplus. In the past much of that surplus was invested in buying dollars. Now, demonstrating its loss of confidence in the dollar it has moved to buying gold. In 2012 China bought $39 billion of gold and only $10 billion of dollars. China is also now the world’s largest producer of gold.
Russia’s state owned Rosneft is the world’s largest oil company. This brings us back to Vladimir Putin who is effectively head of Rosneft. He is also head of Gazprom the state owned and world’s largest gas company which supplies 34% of Europe’s gas. In February Gazprom signed a deal which gives it exclusive rights to export liquefied gas from Israel’s Tamar field.
Putin with his autocratic hold over the Russian economy is probably the most powerful man in the world. He has the power to change the current world order. Putin will remember that in the 1980’s President Regan persuaded Saudi Arabia to increase production in order to flood the markets with oil. The result was a collapse of the oil price and in consequence the collapse of the Russian economy which was entirely dependent on oil and gas sales to earn foreign currency. Putin, a child of communism, could well feel that now is the time to payback the US for its interference in the 1980’s.
A decision to start trading oil for gold instead of dollars would be disastrous for the US economy. With Russia and China leading the way and other countries following, the demand for dollars would rapidly decline. The US government would no longer be able to sell its debt at favourable rates leading to economic collapse.
China is already moving in that direction. In September 2012 it announced that in future it would trade with nations wishing to buy, sell or trade crude oil using its own currency. The day after this announcement Russia agreed to sell China as much oil as it desired. That shouldn’t be interpreted as an indication that all is now harmonious between Russia and China. There is fierce rivalry between them over gaining control of the oil and gas reserves in the former Soviet Central Asian Republics. China sees the control of these reserves as essential to maintaining energy security should a conflict break out with the USA. Russia is unwilling to give up its former spheres of influence.
Other countries are joining the move to abandon the dollar. Due to sanctions Iran is no longer able to trade oil for dollars. With its new fleet of Chinese built oil tankers it is finding new markets in the Far East. Whether in exchange for Chinese yuan, Japanese yen or Indian gold the oil keeps flowing.
These events are likely to prove to be the cause of the further decline of the US economy and global power in coming months.
Michael Young has launched an initiative to challenge ministers and leaders about replacement theology. Put simply replacement theology teaches that the church has replaced Israel. Due to the refusal of the Jews to accept their Messiah, God has now transferred His blessing to the church. However all the curses remain with the Jews. The Jews having been set aside have no further part in God’s plan of redemption.
Malcolm Hedding an internationally travelled speaker says that in his view replacement theology is more prevalent among evangelicals in the UK than in any other country he knows.
Of great concern is the replacement theology mindset that has led to the Anti-Israel Boycott and Disinvestment campaign which has been waged over the last few years.
There are excellent books available which put forward the case for Israel. But they tend to be large and expensive. His idea is to make available at reasonable cost a booklet which those who support Israel can buy and have sent to ministers and leaders they know. In this way the booklet will not come as a cold call which will be ignored but as a gift from a friend.
The booklet he has chosen is ‘How the Cross became a Sword’ by Dr Richard Booker. The booklet succinctly summarises the way Christianity was wrenched from its Jewish roots by some of the early church Fathers. Antisemitism then became state policy under the Emperor Constantine. He shows how these ideas developed until they became the basis for the persecution of the Jews in the 20th century.
We hope to include a publicity leaflet with the next edition of Trumpet Sounds. Prior to that if you would like to know more about what is proposed or to support the initiative please contact; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Destruction of Marriage
Gay marriage will lead on to the legalizing of polygamy and in time the multiple partner relationships described in the following quote taken from an Australian radio programme:
“It’s a no-brainer that (homosexual activists) should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. …(F)ighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there — because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie.
The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change. And again, I don’t think it should exist. And I don’t like taking part in creating fictions about my life. That’s sort of not what I had in mind when I came out thirty years ago.
I have three kids who have five parents, more or less, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally… I met my new partner, and she had just had a baby, and that baby’s biological father is my brother, and my daughter’s biological father is a man who lives in Russia, and my adopted son also considers him his father. So the five parents break down into two groups of three… And really, I would like to live in a legal system that is capable of reflecting that reality, and I don’t think that’s compatible with the institution of marriage.” Massah Gessen – Lesbian Journalist
The relationship described renders the concept of marriage meaningless. Due to its flexible nature the commitment, which is at the heart of the Christian understanding of marriage, does not exist. Marriage is more than commitment. It is an expression of the covenant relationship between Christ and His church. That is the reason Satan hates it so much and seeks to destroy it both from outside and from within.
The destruction of marriage began many years ago when Christians thought that the easing of marriage laws by governments could apply to them. Accepting that government can define the laws which apply to Christians is a slippery slope. We are very blessed if we live in a country whose laws are based on God’s law. But the normal state of the world is conflict between the laws of the land and the laws of God. For the Christian the law of God takes precedence.
The Danger of Deception
“For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders to deceive if possible even the elect.” Matthew 24: 24
Is it possible for the elect to be deceived? Recently while in India I fell foul of a scam targeted at foreign visitors. Not till afterwards did I realise that I had been conned. Of course we like any other person can be deceived if we are not wary.
But that sort of deception as a result of naivety is not what Jesus is warning of here. This is about deception which leads the elect to put their trust in a false christ or false prophet and in so doing turn away from Jesus.
It is clear from scripture that Satan thinks that the elect can be deceived. He even thought that the divine Son of God could be deceived and deflected from the purpose which God had set for Him. He didn’t employ a head on confrontation but chose more a subtle attack. We can read Matthew 4: 1 – 11 in a fairly detached way for it is a passage we know very well. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that these were very real temptations which Jesus could have given in to. A battle is raging in this passage.
Satan knew that Jesus had the power to turn stones into bread. He knew that as a compassionate man Jesus was touched by the needs all around Him. This was a real temptation but it was not the way of God. Jesus rebuffed the temptation using scripture.
Having been defeated by scripture, Satan then tries to use scripture to deceive Jesus. Again Jesus uses scripture to counter Satan. Finally Jesus uses both scripture and His own authority to order Satan away.
Could Jesus have given into these deceptions? The answer must be yes for otherwise they become meaningless. If He had given in His whole mission would have been destroyed and the possibility of our salvation ended.
In these last days are the elect in danger of being deceived? The teaching of Matthew 24 & 25 which both precedes and follows this statement makes very clear that the elect can be deceived, if they fail to keep watch. The consequence of giving in to the deception is losing their place at the wedding banquet.
Jesus knew the scriptures and used them to counter deception. Part of obeying Jesus’ command to watch is to know what the Bible teaches about the end times. The apathetic attitude of many churches to these things is a life or death matter. Teaching on the Second Coming is of primary importance. Ignorance could lead to deception and eternal death.
“But those who endure to the end shall be saved”. Matthew 24: 13
The question that Christians are not asking
There is growing concern among Christians that we are being marginalised by society. Increasingly our views are discounted as a godless generation pursues its own agenda. Over recent decades Christians have campaigned, protested and above all prayed that the flood tide of secularism would be reversed. Our attempts to resist the rush to abandon the nations’ Christian Heritage have failed. In an article with the title, ‘The question that Christians are not asking’, Randall Hardy reflects on why has the Lord not honoured our efforts?
His study starts with Romans Chapter 1. From this he concludes that the changes to our laws are not the reasons why God will judge this nation; they are an advanced stage of His judgment. Because we have abandoned our faith in God, He has given our nation up to the uncleanness and lust which is now being promoted in law. The root of the problem is the exchanging the truth of God for the lie and the worshipping the creature rather than the Creator [Rom 1: 25]. This is not recent but goes back over 200 years.
From the Bible and History we learn that once judgment has progressed to the stage we are experiencing in Britain, the next stage is to remove that nation or church. The nation and the church are both reaping what they have sown.
I highly recommend this article. A shortened version of the article was published in the May 2013 edition of ‘The Watchman’ magazine. The full version can be read on line at: http://www.amen.org.uk/question