24. Interpreting the Russia-Ukraine war.

The three prophetic wars in the Bible, namely the Ezekiel 38-39 war, the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-14,16) and the Final battle with Gog-Magog (20:8-9) are either against the nation of Israel or against the saints of God. These three wars will help totally annihilate the forces of evil and firmly establish the kingdom of God. On the contrary, World War 1 and World War 2 were not prophetic wars but were the two major wars out of the many wars that have been fought since Jesus said, “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars.” (Matthew 24:6) The two World Wars wars were fomented (instigated, stirred up) by those who were plotting to establish the ‘New World Order’ and therefore we should not be alarmed if World War 3 breaks out even before the first prophetic war! “See to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom … All these are the beginning of birth pains.” (Matthew 24:5-8) Some assume that WW3 will be the Ezekiel 38-39 war or even the ‘Battle of Armageddon’ but they are not because the prophetic wars are geographically specific. Both WW1 and WW2 were not fought in the land of Israel because they were not fought against the Jews, whereas the prophetic wars will be fought in the land of Israel because it will be against the Jews and the saints of God. However, the world wars did affect the Jews more than any other ethnic group and their persecution in Europe birthed the desire to return to their homeland after WW1 and the strengthened their resolve to establish the nation of Israel after WW2. Amazingly, the land of Israel was relatively calm during the world wars whilst it was raging elsewhere, much like the eye of a storm which is relatively calm whilst the storm rages on the outside. Looks as if God had shielded the land of Israel as the apple of his eye ! If at all there is a WW3, it will once again be fought away from the land of Israel because it will have nothing to do with the Jew.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has the potential to trigger WW3, just as the assassination of Archduke of Austria Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire by a Serbian nationalist on June 28, 1914 precipitated WW1. On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and within a week, Russia, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Serbia had lined up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, marking the beginning of WW1. Likewise, the invasion of Poland by Germany on the 1st of September 1939 caused Great Britain and France to declare war on Germany within two days, marking the beginning of WW2. But it will surprise us when we realise that both these World Wars were probably pre-planned. If indeed Albert Pike, the head of Freemasonry in America sent a letter dated August 15th 1871 to Mazzini, the head of Illuminati in Italy, laying out the plot for the three World Wars which would result in establishment of the One World Government and the kingdom of Lucifer, then it is scary to know that both the World Wars played out exactly the way he described it in his letter. Then it should not surprise us, if the current standoff between NATO and Russia is yet another deliberate attempt by the global elite ( a small group of powerful people who hold a disproportionate amount of wealth, privilege and political power) to engage Russia in a war because they think Russia is too big, powerful and independent, to fit into the New World Order or in Latin “Novus ordo seclorum”, which means “A new order of the ages”, that will emerge out of the chaos they orchestrate! Many world leaders have been heard advocating the ‘New World Order’ which is in agreement with the stated objectives of Freemasonry, as is evident from their latin phrase “Ordo Ab Chao”, which means “Order out of Chaos”, that they cause upon the earth to create the “new order of the ages”. But first they have to create a problem before suggesting the solution. They have successfully baited (deliberately annoy) Russia by lobbying for Ukraine’s membership in NATO and have provoked (incite someone to do something) Russia to attack Ukraine, because that has given them the legitimacy to form an international coalition of nations and even an ‘international legion’ of mercenaries against Russia, to cut them to size, if not ( perhaps even) overthrow them ! The conflict has all the signs of their making! They could have easily averted this war at the start, if they wanted to, by assuring Russia that Ukraine will not join NATO, but these warmongers in the west wanted this war with Russia anyway and don’t seem to have the slightest qualm ( uneasy feeling about one’s own conduct ) in having pushed Ukraine into this war. They still can stop this war, if they want to but they don’t want to, because their goals matter more than the sufferings of innocent Ukrainians who had to flee from the conflict or have been caught in the crossfire. Instead, they are supplying them with weapons ( not to mention the profit the military-industrial complex stands to make from it sales) and are cheering the Ukrainians to fight till the last man standing, without even committing their own troops. The Ukrainians have become pawns ( a person used by others for their own purposes) in the hands of the west to achieve their goals but sadly the Ukrainians don’t seem to realise this truth. Yet the west is angry about the Russian invasion but they seem to be self-righteous in their indignation because their double standards are too apparent to overlook! Can’t help but call out the hypocrisy of the west but that doesn’t mean the Russian invasion is justified. However, the Russians might succeed in defending their national interests but at a great cost, as the war drags on. It will cost them many lives and their economy because of the mounting sanctions. However, God’s hot anger is not aroused when Russia attacks Ukraine but will be aroused if Russia turns aside to invade Israel, if they be the nation that starts the Ezekiel 38 war! “When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign Lord.” (vs18)

Meanwhile, Russia stands in the way of the globalists, hindering their efforts to establish the New World Order because the are not party to it. Therefore, the ‘kings of the west’ will be challenged by the ‘kings of the east’, if they try to expand towards the east, just as Russia and China have already challenged NATO’s expansion towards the east. Even the European union has expanded towards the east, adding member states that are ‘in the least bit’ (in the slightest degree or in any respect) European! The ‘kings of the east’ will maintain their order in the east, resulting in the east-west divide. Choosing between the two will be like choosing between brutes and liars! The ‘kings of the east’ are brutes while those of the west are liars! The west has consistently lied to the world about every war they have started, be it the Afghan war, Iraq war, Libyan war, Syrian war … and now the Ukraine war! Their unholy alliances are intended to overthrow the nations of the world and establish the New World Order. Thank God there is a third side to this conflict! Not the side of the non-aligned nations for they too will be forced to choose sides! The third side is that of Christ and the armies of heaven. The kings and their armies from the east and the west will gather together at Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-16) to fight the rider on the white horse but they will be totally annihilated by Him. (Revelation 19:11-21) Therefore, let’s not align ourselves with the ‘kings of the east’ or with the ‘kings of the west’ but with the one from above who is the ‘King of kings’ ! Amen.

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23. Hades vs Hell.

Many think that ‘Hell’ is the English translation of the Greek word ‘Hades’ or of the Hebrew word ‘Sheol’ but they are not aware of the fact that English translations of the Bible like the NIV and the KJV had used the word ‘Hell’ to mean both ‘Hades’ and ‘Gehanna’ (which infact is the actual Greek word adapted from the Hebrew word ‘geenna’ and is translated as ‘Hell’) whereas the NASB and the Amplified Bible left the word ‘Hades’ untranslated but instead translated the word ‘Gehanna’ as ‘Hell’. For instance, Luke 16:23 in the NIV reads: ‘And in *hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.’  *The foot note says the actual Greek word in the passage is ‘Hades’ and not ‘Gehanna’. When the NIV and KJV translated the word as ‘hell’, NASB and the Amplified Bible left it untranslated. (In fact the Malayalam Bible translators got it right because they made a distinction between the two and used two different words in the translation : ‘Paa-dha-lam’ for  ‘Hades’ and ‘Na-ra-gam’ for ‘Gehanna’.) However, the translators of NIV did some justice by leaving the word ‘Hades’ untranslated throughout the book of Revelation whereas KJV translators did injustice to the truth with their choice of word. The Bible teaches that no one has gone bodily to Hades as it is the abode for unsaved departed souls, until the final judgement but thereafter, they will be cast bodily to the eternal fire, if they are eternally condemned. How then can they justify the use of the word ‘hell’ to mean both ‘Hades’ as well as the ‘lake of fire’, if these are two distinct places?

How are these two places distinct?  John in his vision saw Jesus place his right hand on him and say: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and HADES.” ( Revelation 1:17-18)   The Bible further reveals that  HADES  is not just the name of a place but also the name of the being who once exercised authority over Hades. ‘When the Lamb opened the fourth seal … I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death and HADES was following close behind him.’ (Revelation 6:7-8) The reason why death and Hades will have to give up their dead is because Jesus has wrested (forcibly pull something from a person’s grasp) control of the keys, meaning he has got the authority to bring up the captives of death, from Hades and judge them by their deeds. ‘Do not be amazed at this for a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good will rise up to live and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.’ (John 5:28-29) ‘The sea gave up the dead that were in it and death and HADES gave up the dead that were in them and each person was judged according to what they had done … Then death and HADES were thrown into the lake of fire.’ (Revelation 21:13-14)  Since death and HADES were thrown into the lake of fire, they together with the rest of the horsemen who came when the seals were broken, are therefore evil entities destined for hell. And since HADES cease to exist thereafter, it is therefore a temporary place whereas the ‘lake of fire’ or ‘hell’ is eternal. The phrase ‘lake of fire’ is a metaphor that describes hell better than the word itself ! The Greek word Gehenna or Gehinnom translated as  ‘Hell’  is the name of  a valley in Jerusalem called the valley of Hinnom, outside the city wall of Jerusalem, where the garbage from the city was burnt; where the fire never died and worms thrived. It was this picture that Jesus alluded to when he described hell: “their worm do not die and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:48/ Isaiah 66:24) Jesus further remarked that this ‘eternal fire was prepared for the devil and his angels.‘ (Matthew 25:41) Therefore, the first to go there will not be men, contrary to popular belief and claims by those who have supposedly seen visions of men already burning in hell. Nobody has been to hell yet and the first to go there will be the beast and the false prophet and those who have taken the mark of the beast. ‘The beast was captured and with him the false prophet who performed the miraculous signs on his behalf … The two were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur.’ (Revelation 19:20). “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he too … will be tormented with burning sulphur … And the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever.’ (Revelation 14:9-11, Matthew 13:40-42). Then after the thousand year rule of Christ, when Satan is released from his prison, he together with those who joined with him in the final rebellion will be thrown into hell.  ‘And the devil … was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever.’ (Revelation 20:10)  Thereafter at the judgement of the dead, those from Hades whose names were not found in the book of life were thrown into hell. ‘If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.’ (Revelation 20:15) ‘Paradise’ was prepared for departed souls who were saved while ‘Hades’ was prepared for departed souls who were not saved. ‘Hell‘, on the other hand, was prepared for the the devil and his angels but those who reject Christ will find themselves in hell, together with them. It would therefore be naive ( lacking wisdom and judgement) on our part to think that Hades and Hell are the same.

Did we get the whole thing wrong in English? Why else do we say in the Apostle’s creed: ‘He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead..’ ? Jesus never went to Hell but to Hades, to the depths of the earth, where men were in bondage. ‘Seeing what was ahead, David spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave ( again the actual Greek  word is Hades ), nor did his body see decay.’ ( Acts 2:31) ‘What does he descended mean except that he also descended to the lower earthly regions?’  (Ephesians 4:9) That is where the rich man went when he died and was in torment but Lazarus the beggar went to paradise. The thief on the cross also  went to paradise but Jesus descended to Hades, where he preached to the spirits in prison. ‘He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built …’ ( 1Peter 3:18-20) ‘For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body but live according to God in regard to the spirit.’ (1Peter 4:6) Peter uses  the obscure reference to make a point about the ultimate good that came from the suffering Jesus endured. When he rose from the dead, he ascended, taking along with him the captives in paradise. Infact the thief had the shortest stay in Paradise! ‘When he ascended on high, he led the captives in his train and gave gifts to men.’ ( Ephesians 4:7) ‘ … so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. For surely it is not the angels he helps but Abraham’s descendants.’ (Hebrews 2:14-16)

There is an underworld beyond that of Hades where neither man nor Christ has been because it is the place where fallen angels who had done the forbidden, are languishing in prisons, awaiting Judgement : ‘And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home – these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for Judgement of the great Day.’ ( Jude v 6) ‘ … God did not spare angels when they sinned but “sent them to hell” ( again  the actual Greek word is the verb ‘Tartaroō’ ταρταρόω,  meaning “throw to Tartarus”), putting them into ‘gloomy dungeons’ ( some manuscripts say ‘chains of darkness’) to be held for Judgement …’ ( 2 Peter 2:4) Both Hades and Tartarus are therefore temporary places of imprisonment, until the final judgement when it will be emptied and thereafter will cease to exist, giving way to the new heaven and new earth. ‘Earth and sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them … Then I saw a new heaven and new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…’ (Revelation 20:11- 21:1)

So then the saying ‘hell on earth’ was never theological correct because hell is not here. Hell is eternal whereas this earth is temporary. Hell will exist even after this old earth passes away but will have existed even before the new earth was created. So where is it? We know not, but hell is for real! Once cast to Hell, there is no way out! But there is a way out of Hades, because Jesus holds the keys to death and HADES! Why should it surprise us if God ‘gleans’ ( to gather leftovers after the first fruits and main harvest) for souls among those who came from Hades, to save them from eternal damnation because he alone can fathom the horror of being condemned to hell for eternity. Many Christians might think that this teaching is heretical because God can’t be so merciful to those who heard the gospel and called on his name but were never born again or be so just to those who never heard the gospel but lived by their conscience. Yet these Christians wouldn’t mind sloganeering : “Plunder Hell; Populate Heaven!‘Judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgement!’ (James 2:13) ‘Be merciful to those who doubt, snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy mixed with fear …’ (Jude vs 22-23) The bottom line is : ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ (Joel 2:32) Saved from what? Ultimately from eternal damnation in hell BUT that is not their ticket to heaven. “I tell you the truth, no one can see / enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 2:3,5) Amen

22. Seven harvests of souls. (Part 7 of the Rapture series.)

1. THE ‘DEAD IN CHRIST’ RESURRECTED BEFORE TRIBULATION : “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (John 5:25) ‘Since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man … But each in his own turn : Christ, the firstfruits; then when he comes, those who belong to him.’ (1 Corinthians 15:21,23)  ‘For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the ( first ) trumpet call of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first.’  (1 Thessalonians 4:16) 

* The ‘dead in Christ’ also include old testament saints who were resurrected in their spirits as they ascended with Christ. ‘When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.’ (Ephesians 4:7) But they await bodily resurrection, together with the new testament saints. ‘These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what was promised … only together with us (New testament saints) would they (Old testament saints)  be made perfect.’ (Hebrews 11:39-40) However, the Bible does say that some saints were bodily resurrected at the time of Jesus’ death.‘The tombs broke open and bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life … and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the Holy city and appeared to many people.’ ( Matthew 27:52-53) They entered heaven led by Christ. ‘And he is the head of the body, the Church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.’ ( Colossians 1:18) Could they be the 24 elders found seated in the presence of God?(Revelation 4: 4)

2. THE ‘ALIVE IN CHRIST’ RAPTURED BEFORE TRIBULATION : I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.” (Luke 17:34-36) According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep … After that we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.’ ( 1 Thessalonians 4:15,17)

* The ‘dead in Christ’ and the ‘alive in Christ’ together constitute the ‘Raptured saints’. The ‘Tribulation saints’ comprises of multitudes of nominal Christians  and Gentiles who will believe in Christ, on account of  ‘Rapture’ but many among them will be martyred for their faith. The ‘Raptured saints’ and the ‘Tribulation saints’ together constitute the ‘Church’, which is the ‘body of Christ’. Just as crops are not harvested just once but several times, during a season, as and when it ripens, souls too are not harvested together but several times, as and when they mature. All the Raptured saints in heaven will constitute the ‘firstfruits’; all the tribulation saints on earth can be reckoned as the ‘main harvest’ and the survivors from tribulation who will be found worthy to enter the millennial kingdom and the dead in Hades, who will escape from being condemned to hell at the last judgement, will make up the ‘gleanings’.

3. THE MARTYRED TRIBULATION SAINTS  ( MOSTLY GENTILES ) RESURRECTED BEFORE THE MILLENIUM : ‘When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained … they were told to wait a little longer until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.’ (Revelation 6:9-11) ‘After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb … These are they who have come out of the great tribulation.’ ( Revelation 7:9-14) ‘At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels with a loud ( last ) trumpet call and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.’ ( Mark 13: 26-27/Matthew 24:30-31)  ‘For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable and we will be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.’ ( 1Corintians 15:51-52) ‘I saw thrones on which were seated those who have been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God … They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years … This is the ‘first resurrection’. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first Resurrection … they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.’ (Revelation 20:4-6)

* Since the Gentiles and Jews are martyred at two different stages during the tribulation, it makes sense to differentiate between the two harvests. Many nominal Christians and Gentiles will believe in Christ and be martyred during the first half of the tribulation while Jews will turn to Christ only during the second half of the tribulation, after the ministry of the two witnesses; the desecration of the temple and the events that follow. However, both Gentile and Jewish saints who are martyred during Tribulation will be resurrected together before the millennium. Those who escape martyrdom and survive the Tribulation, will also enter the millenium, provided they haven’t taken the mark of the beast. ‘There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image or for anyone who receives the mark of his name. This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandment and remain faithful to Jesus.’  (Revelation 14:11-12)

4. THE 144,000 FROM ALL THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL RAPTURED DURING TRIBULATION : ‘Then I heard the number of those who were sealed : 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.’ ( Revelation 7:4) “When you see standing in the holy place the abomination that causes desolation … let those in Judea flee to the mountains … For then there will be great distress unequaled from the beginning of the world …” (Matthew 24:15-21)  ‘A woman (which is Israel) clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head ... She was pregnant … gave birth … her child (her firstfruit) was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman (the Jewish church) fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.’ (Revelation 12:1-6) ‘Then I looked and there before me was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion and with him the 144,000 … They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.’ (Revelation 14:1-4).

* The two witnesses (Enoch and Elijah), who will be killed during the tribulation, by the beast from the Abyss (the false prophet) but will be resurrected, three and a half days later, are not in a category by themselves because they should have been counted with the ‘dead in Christ’, had they been dead in the past but since they are still alive, they will be the last of the two pre-testament and old testament saints respectively, who are yet to die and be bodily resurrected. ( Revelation 11:3-12) ‘These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth’ (Zechariah 4:14)

5. THE MARTYRED TRIBULATION SAINTS ( MOSTLY JEWS ) RESURRECTED BEFORE THE MILLENIUM : ‘Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” … “Take your sickle and reap because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth and the earth was harvested.’  (Revelation 14:13-16) ‘And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb.’ (Revelation 15:2-3) ‘And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded … They had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.’  (Revelation 20:4-5)

* The reason they are mostly Jews is because almost all Gentile believers will be killed before the abomination that causes desolation’ is set up ‘in the middle of the seven.’ (Daniel 9:27) ‘Then I saw another beast coming out of the earth … He ordered them to set up an image in honour of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived … and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.’ ( Revelation 13:11-15)

6. THE SURVIVORS FROM TRIBULATION WHO ENTER THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM : “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates his sheep from goats. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father … I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine (the believers), you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels …’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)

* However, many of the descendants of the survivors who entered the millenium, will be wicked and will join Satan for the final rebellion against God but the righteous will inhabit the new earth and populate it. ‘When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth – Gog and Magog – to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.’ (Revelation 20:7-10)

7. THE DEAD FROM HADES WHOSE NAMES ARE FOUND IN THE BOOK OF LIFE AT THE FINAL JUDGEMENT AFTER MILLENNIUM : “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” (John 5:28-29) ‘Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it … And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them … If anyone’s name was not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.’ ( Revelation 20:11-15)

* At the final judgement of the dead, it was not the names of the living, who reigned with him for a thousand years, that were looked for in the book of life but of the dead who came up from Hades. Why look for their names in the book of life if that was not probable ? ‘All who sin apart from the law will perish apart from the law and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law … For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law … they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness …) This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.’ (Romans 2:12-16) It would be the justice of God to those who never heard the gospel but lived by their conscience. They will be judged by their deeds and if they have done good, will rise to live. As for those who believed the gospel and confessed his name but were not born again, they didn’t go to heaven but to Hades when they died, contrary to popular belief. “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again … no one will enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” (John 3:3,5). Nevertheless, the Bible say ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’ (Joel 2:32) ‘If you confess with your mouth,”Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’ (Romans 10:9-10) ‘lf any man builds on this foundation … his work will be shown for what it is … fire will test the quality of each man’s work … If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.‘ ( 1 Corinthians 3:12-15) It just takes believing and confessing the name of Lord to escape the raging fire of hell but it takes more than just calling on the name of the Lord to enter heaven. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven but only he who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7: 21) Amen.

21. The last trumpet. (Part 6 of the Rapture series.)

‘Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet shall sound, the dead will be raised imperishable and we will be changed.’ (1 Corinthians 15:51-52) What is the last trumpet? Some assume it to be the seventh trumpet mentioned in the book of revelation, but was Paul actually referring to it?  The book of revelation was written in 96 AD, over 40 years after Paul had written his first letter to the Corinthians in 54 AD and therefore he obviously couldn’t be referring to the seven trumpets because prior to  the revelation John received at Patmos, there weren’t any reference in Scriptures about the seven trumpets of judgement. Further adding to the doubt is the fact that John didn’t write  about the resurrection of the dead in the context of  trumpets just as Paul wrote in his epistle to the Corinthians, further proving that they both were referring to  different events!  ‘The seventh angel sounded his trumpet and there were loud voices in heaven which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ and he will reign for ever and ever.” ( This is the mystery of God that was accomplished when the seventh angel sounded his trumpet, as sworn before God by an angel in Revelation 10:7) … Then God’s temple in heaven was opened and within the temple was seen the ark of the covenant.’ (Revelation 11:15-19) Further down we read: ‘Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues.’ ( Revelation 15:6) Since the judgements of God weren’t over with the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the dead in Christ were not resurrected yet but instead God’s judgement continued, culminating with  the seven bowls of God’s wrath.

So if the last trumpet is not the same as the seventh trumpet, what then was Paul referring to? He was probably referring to the two trumpets in the book of Numbers. The Lord said to Moses: ‘Make two trumpets of hammered silver and use them for calling the community together and for having the camps set out. When both are sounded, the community is to assemble before you … If only one is sounded, the leaders – the heads of the clans of Israel are to assemble before you … At the sounding of the second blast, the camps … are to set out. The blast will be the signal for setting out’ ( Numbers 10:1-6) Referring to these two trumpets, Paul wrote : ‘The Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the TRUMPET CALL OF GOD and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who  are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.’ (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)  This is the first trumpet, signalling the setting out ( Rapture ? ) of the saints to heaven; those who were dead in Christ as well as those who are still alive. Then at his second coming, the second trumpet or the last trumpet, will sound and the tribulation saints will be gathered together with the Raptured saints. “They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud TRUMPET CALL and they will gather his elect from the four winds, [ from one end of the heavens to the other / from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.]” (Matthew 24:30-31/ Mark 13:27) ‘And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.( The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. Second death has no power over them but they will be priests of God and of his Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.’  (Revelation 20: 4-6) Amen.

20. Firstfruits from among men. (Part 5 of the Rapture series.)

‘Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep … but EACH IN HIS OWN TURN : CHRIST, THE FIRST FRUITS; THEN, WHEN HE COMES, THOSE WHO BELONG TO HIM. ( 1 Corinthians 15:20-24) We therefore understand from this passage that all the saints are not resurrected together but the ‘FIRSTFRUITS’ will be resurected before those who will  be resurected only at the second coming of Jesus. Paul differentiated between the two groups of saints by putting one before the other, when sequencing the order of their resurrection.

The passage prompts me to ask  two key questions – Qn 1: Who are  the ‘Firstfruits’ and when will they be resurrected ? (Those who are quick to debunk  pre-tribulation Rapture, should honestly try to answer this question.) To start with we need to ask the question : What does the term ‘FIRSTFRUITS’ mean?  As the term itself suggests, it is any fruit or grain that was harvested first because it ripened first. The term also implies  that there could be more than one harvest during a season because the  fruits don’t ripen together. Sometimes trees bloom twice within a year, if conditions are conducive and the fruits are harvested several times, as and when it ripens. Scripturally, the term ‘FIRSTFRUITS’ mean those souls who are ‘harvested’ first and it also implies that there will be souls who will be ‘harvested’ later on. Paul was possibly referring  to the ‘FIRSTFRUITS’ when he wrote: ‘the dead in Christ shall rise first. After that we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.’ (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)  It is interesting to note that even in this passage, we find an order of resurrection which places the ‘dead in Christ’ before the ‘alive in Christ’. Does the Bible actually refer to believers as  FIRSTFRUITS? ‘Creation waits with eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed … we ourselves who have the FIRSTFRUITS of the Spirit groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons , the redemption of our bodies.’ (Romans 8:19-23) ‘He chose to give us birth through the word of truth that we might be a kind of FIRSTFRUITS of all he created.’ (James 1:18) From these passages we understand that the term ‘FIRSTFRUITS’ include all the saints throughout the entire Church age and not just those who were resurrected with Christ and ascended with him.( Ephesians 4:8) John even called the 144,000  from the tribes of Israel who were to be sealed, as ‘FIRSTFRUITS’ ! ‘Then I looked and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion and with him the 144,000 … They were purchased from among men and offered as FIRSTFRUITS to God and the Lamb.‘ ( Revelation 14:1-4)

Qn 2: Who are ‘those who belong to him’, who will be resurrected when he comes ‘And I saw souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection.’ (Revelation 20:4-6)

In conclusion, the ‘Firstfruits‘ are the Raptured saints and they include the ‘dead in Christ’ who will rise first, the ‘alive in Christ’, who will be ‘caught up’ together with them ( 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17) and also the 144,000 who will be sealed from the twelve tribes of Israel and will be ‘snatched up’ to God during the tribulation. ( Revelation 7:4, 12:5,  14:1-3) The Tribulation saints who will be martyred and  are next in turn to be resurrected at the second coming of Jesus can be called the ‘Secondfruits’. However, both are considered blessed to take part in the ‘first resurrection’. ‘The second death has no power over them but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.’ (Revelation 20:6) The rest of the dead will be resurrected only after a thousand years at the ‘second resurrection’. ‘And I saw the dead, great and small standing before the throne and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books … If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.’ (Revelation 20:12-15) When God has chosen us from among men to be to firstfruits unto him, why settle for the second? Amen.

19. The open door.(Part 4 of the Rapture series.)

See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut … (Why?) … I know you have little strength yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name … Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on earth.” (Revelation 3:8-10) John entered through this door and was shown what must take place after the Church age. ‘After this I looked and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here and I will show you what must take place after this. At once I was in the Spirit and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it … Surrounding the throne there were twenty four other thrones and seated on them were twenty four elders’ (Revelation 4: 1-4) (The Greek word Presbyteros translated as ‘elders’ has always been used to address the elders or official leaders of the Jewish community.) Old testament Prophets like Isaiah and Ezekial had seen visions of God seated on his throne (Isaiah 6:1-2, Ezekiel 1:25-28)  but they never saw men seated in the presence of God. Who then are these men seated on twenty four thrones and whence did they come from? Are they the saints who were  bodily resurrected after the death of  Christ and ascended together with him to heaven? ‘The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the Holy city and appeared to many people.’ (Matthew 27:52-53) ‘When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.’ (Psalm 68:18/Ephesians 4:8) Or are they the ‘dead in Christ’ who were the first to rise at Rapture? ‘For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet call of God and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.’ (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) Why twenty four elders? The priesthood was divided into 24 division ( 1Chronicles 24:1-9) and therefore the 24 elders may represent the entire priesthood of believers.(Exodus 19:6, 1Peter 2:9) Whoever they might be, the truth of the matter is that since these redeemed men are seen in heaven all throughout the time of the fulfillment of the book of Revelation, beginning with Chapter 4, they must have been Raptured prior to it. And they get to witness the glorious event mentioned in Chapter 5, when the Lamb of God is glorified: ‘Then I saw the Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders … Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels … they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!” ( Revelation 5:6-12) This would be in fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer : “Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began … Father, I want those you have given me to be with me and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you have loved me before creation of the world.” (John 17:5,24) The Church, the Lamb’s bride will be ‘caught up’ to witness him take the scroll from the right hand of Him who is seated on the throne and open its seals.

In the parable of the ten virgins, Jesus said that the door would be closed soon after the wise virgins have entered. ‘At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom … The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came ‘Sir!Sir!’, they said. ‘Open the door for us! But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ (Matthew 25:1-10) Those who debunk pre-tribulation Rapture should answer this question: When do they presume the door to be shut? If it is before tribulation, who then are these virgins who entered before tribulation? If it is after the tribulation, at the second coming of Jesus, what sense does it make to shut the door when infact John wrote: ‘I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse whose rider is called Faithful and True … The armies of heaven were following him riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.’( Revelation 19:11-14) Why go up to heaven in a post-tribulation Rapture when they all are coming down? As mentioned earlier, the purpose of the open door is ‘that you may escape all that is about to happen and that you may stand before the Son of Man’ ( Luke 21:36) Metaphorically, the door stands for Jesus because elsewhere he said : “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture.” ( John 10:9) “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) Amen.

18. Why a pre-tribulation Rapture ? (Part 3 of the Rapture series.)

We found from Scriptures that Rapture is not a myth but the truth because the concept of the righteous escaping the judgement of God has a strong Scriptural precedent. Infact Paul instructed the Church to encourage one another with these words: ‘According to the Lord’s own word … we who are still alive and are left will be caught up … in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Encourage each other with these words.’ ( 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18) We also found from Scriptures that this promise is for those who have entered into a blood covenant with God through the sacrifice of Jesus and have received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Now to conclude this exegesis, it would be encouraging to consider the three scriptural reasons for a pre-tribulation Rapture :-

1. Rapture will take place because the person of the Holy Spirit will not leave behind the Church, the bride of Christ in whom he took residence on the day of Pentecost, when he is taken out of the way for the man of lawlessness to be revealed. The only reason why the Antichrist is being held back from coming on to the world stage before the appointed time is because the person of the Holy Spirit is present on earth: ‘ … the day of the Lord … will not come until the rebellion (Greek: apostasia means turning away, rebellion)  occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction … you know what is holding him back so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.’ ( 2 Thessalonians 2:1-7) The mission of the Holy Spirit can be  better understood from other parallels in Scripture. For instance, the Bible says that the physical presence of God prevented the Egyptian army from vanquishing the army of Israel on the banks of the Red sea, prior to the crossing over. ‘By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud … and by night in a pillar of fire … Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left it’s place in front of the people … The pillar of cloud moved from the front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.’ ( Exodus 14:19-20).  Likewise, the Holy Spirit stands in between the forces of darkness and of light and he has prevented the kingdom of darkness from vanquishing the Church. But the moment the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way, together with the Church, this world will be subjected to Satan and he will set up his end time kingdom but it will last only for 7 years because God will judge his kingdom and will destroy it during the tribulation. Another parallel in Scriptures that reveals the mission of the Holy Spirit is the story of  Eliezar who was sent under oath by Abraham to find a bride for his son Issac and upon finding  Rebecca, she was entrusted to his care and he brought her safely to Isssac. ‘So the servant took Rebecca and left. Now Issac had come from Beer Lahai Roi … And as he looked up , he saw camels approaching. Rebecca also looked up and saw Issac. She got down from her camel and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?” “He is my master,” the servant answered … Issac brought her into the tent … and he married her.’ (Genesis 24:61-67) The reason why the Holy Spirit wouldn’t leave behind the Church, the  bride of Christ, when he is  taken out of the way, is because he was entrusted with the bride of Christ and he has to take her to Christ who will come in the air to receive her, just as Issac came out to the fields to receive Rebecca. That is why the Scripture says that both the Spirit and the bride eagerly await the coming of the groom. ‘The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” (Revelation 22:17)

2. Rapture will take place because it would be the justice of God to the righteous: ‘Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? … Be it far from you to do such a thing – to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike … Will not the judge of all the earth do right? (Genesis 18:23-25) In all acts of judgement described in the Bible, we have never seen the righteous becoming victims of his wrath, ‘for God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)

3.Rapture will take place because it would be the greatest witness to the world: What would the day be like when countless believers are found missing? The realisation of the truth will sink into the hearts of those who never believed and countless will believe and will turn to the Lord. Infact more Gentiles will be saved during the tribulation than now. ‘After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language … These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’ ( Revelation 7:9-15) There is a interesting parallel in the book of Revelation about the response of the unsaved to the rapture of the two witnesses who can be said to be ‘dead in Christ’. ‘Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them,”Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. At that hour there was a great earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed … the survivors were terrified and gave Glory to the God of heaven.’( Revelation 11:12-13) yet there will be many who will refuse to repent of what they had done and glorify God but will curse him. (Revelation 16:9,11,21) The purpose of Pre-tribulation Rapture is not only to keep the righteous out of judgement but also to get the wicked to believe and repent. Amen.

17. Who will be Raptured ? (Part 2 of the Rapture series.)

There are some paradoxes ( a seemingly contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true) in the Bible, which might seem contradictory but upon reasoning, both the statements are found to be true. For example, we read in Joel 2:32 that : ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved‘ yet Jesus contradicted that statement when he said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the Kingdom of heaven but only he who does the will of my father who is in heaven.” ( Mathew 7:21 ) However, both these statements are found to be true in their respective contexts ! In other words, all it takes to be saved from hell is to call on the name of the Lord BUT it takes more than just calling on the name of the Lord, to enter heaven! Jesus said,“I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again … no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of the water and Spirit” ( John 3:3,5) but on the contrary, there are Scriptures which implies that some who were not born again will still escape from being thrown into the lake of fire because their names were found written in the book of life. ‘Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it … And I saw the dead, great and small standing before the throne and books were opened … The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books … death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them … The lake of fire is the second death … If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.’ – Therefore it also implies that if anyone’s name was found written in the book of life, he was not thrown into the lake of fire – (Revelation 20:11-15) This raises some controversial and uncomfortable questions! 1). Why were the names of those who were given up by death and Hades looked for in the book of life, after the thousand years was over ? 2). If their names were already in the book of life, why were they not resurrected at the start of the thousand years ? Who then are these people? Could they be the Gentiles who who never heard the gospel but lived according to their conscience (Romans 2:12-16) or nominal Christians who confessed the name of the Lord but were never born again? Yet because they called on the name of the Lord, they will be saved from hell  but will not be considered ‘blessed and holy’ to part take in the first resurrection. For we read: ‘And I saw the the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the word of God … They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years’.   ( Revelation 20:4-6) The following  words of Jesus further validates this truth: “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and THOSE WHO HEAR will live … Do not be amazed at this for a time is coming when ALL who are in their graves WILL HEAR  his voice and come out- those who have done good will rise to live and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”( John 5: 25- 29) In saying so, Jesus clearly  differentiated between the first and the second resurrection.

Thus far we considered the resurrection of the ‘dead in Christ’ and now considering the Rapture of the ‘living in Christ’, Paul wrote : ‘According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command with the voice of the arch angel and with the trumpet call of God  and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.’ ( 1Thessalonians 4:15-17) The ‘dead in Christ’ and the ‘living in Christ’ are those who have been ‘marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing their inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession.’ (Ephesians 1:13-14) How else can a person ‘be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet’ (1 Corinthians 15:51-52), if it not be for the deposit of the Holy Spirit in them? How can a person receive the Holy Spirit unless he or she has been washed in the blood of the new covenant in Christ? So it is imperative that a person be born again and have a covenant relationship with God if he or she has to escape the coming wrath of God. It is to the faithful believer that Christ promised : “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” ( Revelation 3:10) The day is coming when God will summon his people saying: “Gather to me my consecrated ones who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Psalm 50:5) Amen.

16. Rapture : Myth or truth ? (Part 1 of the Rapture series.)

The exegesis ( critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of Scripture ) about Rapture are all contradictory because those who regard it as a myth ( a widely held but false belief or idea), claim that the idea of a Rapture has no historical precedent (an earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances) while others who believe it to be the truth, seem to  differ in their understanding about the timing of the Rapture;  whether Christ’s return will occur as one or as two events. Those who assert a pre-tribulation Rapture see them as two events, holding the view  that the rapture will precede the  second coming of Christ whereas those who  assert a post-tribulation rapture see it as one event, at the second coming of Christ. Those who are critics of  the  pre-tribulation Rapture claim that this doctrine was not around for 1800 years but it is a relatively new doctrine among the American Evangelical Protestants since the nineteenth century. (They assert that this teaching was popularized extensively in the 1830s by John Nelson Darby, who had been influenced by Margaret McDonald, a teenage girl who had a vision of a pre-tribulation Rapture during the revival in Glasgow, Scotland. Darby who was one of the founders of the Plymouth Brethren, went to investigate this revival and was convinced about this teaching about Rapture though not about the manifestations of the Spirit that took place there. He eventually brought this teaching to the United States where he met the great Evangelist  DL Moody, who then became the world wide disseminator of this theology of dispensationalism and pre tribulation Rapture. It was further popularized in the United States in the early 20th century by the wide circulation of the Scofield study Bible and later on the novels and films  based on these novels captured the Christian imagination.) The critics of this theology also assert that it is a layman’s interpretation of Scriptures,  without  proper understanding of the original Hebrew and Greek texts. But that is not a prerequisite to understand the truth because Jesus himself said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children.” ( Luke 10:21) Amen.

What we have to find out is whether this teaching has a Scriptural precedent and not just a historical precedent,  because many a fact overlooked by the previous generations  have been rediscovered by the next. If it does have a Scriptural precedent, then the origins of this teaching can be traced back to the early church; to the Apostles and even to Christ himself ! However, our search for the truth immediately uncovers the fact that the word ‘Rapture’ doesn’t exist in any of the English translations of the Bible. Instead we find  the  Greek word harpazō (Ancient Greek: ἁρπάζω, meaning ‘to snatch away’ or ‘to seize’) as used in  Paul’s  first Epistle to the Thessalonians to describe the event in which believers in Christ will be snatched away from earth into the air. ‘According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that … we who are still alive and are left will be [caught up] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.’ (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17) The Greek word ‘harpazō’ has also been used several times in the new testament to describe other similar situations. For instance, the book of Acts says, ‘the Spirit of the Lord suddenly [harpazō – took away] Philip and the eunuch did not see him again …’ ( Acts 8:39) In another instance, Paul says : ‘I know a man in Christ  who was [harpazō – caught up] to the third heaven. Whether in the body or apart from the body, I do not know … was [harpazō – caught up] to paradise.’ ( 2 Corinthians 12:2-4) And yet in another instance John wrote: ‘A great and wondrous sign  appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with a sun … she was pregnant and … was about to give birth … the dragon stood in front of the woman … so that he might devour her child the moment it was born …  she gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule the world with an iron sceptre. And her child was [harpazō – snatched up] to God and to his throne.’ ( Revelation 12:1-6) In this context, it could mean the ascension of Jesus Christ, as mentioned in Acts 1:9 and/or could mean the first fruits of the Church being snatched up to heaven to keep them from the reach of the enemy. In addition to all these verbal reference are  the graphic details of the escape some had from God’s judgement, which further strengthens our belief in Rapture. The waters of judgement prophesied by Noah came upon the world and all mankind perished but Noah and those with him in the Ark were kept from the rising waters. (Genesis 7:23) The judgement foretold to Abraham came upon Sodom and Gomorrah, reducing these cities to ashes  but Lot and his family fled to the mountains and  were kept from the rain of sulphur.( Gen 19:17-25) The judgement prophesied by Moses came upon Egypt and devastated the land but the Israelites in Goshen were kept from the plagues. (Exodus 8:22,9:7,10:23,11:7) The judgement feared by the people of Jericho came upon them and leveled the wall and their city but Rahab and those with her inside the house were kept because she tied the scarlet cord to the window in keeping with the oath made by the two spies sent by Joshua. ( Joshua 2:8-21, 6:22-25)
The four instances mentioned above about those who escaped God’s judgement have one thing in common: they were all taken out from the theatre of action. But then in most cases the theatre of action was limited to a region as in the case of Sodom, Egypt and Jericho and those who were objects of his mercy ( Ro 9 :22-23) were either shifted to another location, as in case of Lot and Rahab or were already in another location, as in case of the Israelites in Goshen, whereas during the floods, the theatre of action was worldwide and Noah and those with him in the Ark were lifted up above the waters of judgement. ‘… by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire being kept for the day of judgement and destruction of ungodly men.’ ( 2 Pt 3:6-7) In that case, the objects of his mercy will have to be removed from the theatre of action, which is the entire world, to keep them from the flames of judgement. Would you like to be trapped in it or escape from it ? All these incidents are in agreement with what is said in Scripture: ‘For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ ( 1 Thessalonians 5:10) Jesus himself prophesied about the impending judgement when he said: “For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch and pray that you may be able to ESCAPE ( Greek: ekpheugō means to escape or slip through ) all that is about to happen and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” ( Luke 21:35-36) So how are you supposed to escape? By Rapture?

15. The three prophetic wars.

Numerous wars have been fought since Jesus spoke these words about the end of the age : “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen but the end (meaning the end of this earth and final judgement following the Millennial rule of Christ ) is still to come. Nations will rise against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms … All these are the beginning of the birth pains.” ( Mathew 24:6-8 ) However, the Prophets did specifically predict certain wars that will take place which will eventually usher in the Kingdom of God. These wars are collectively called the ‘prophetic wars’. ( Isn’t it strange that the Bible didn’t specifically predict the first and the second world wars nor does it predict the third world war but categorised them under ‘wars and rumours of wars’ and not under the ‘prophetic wars’ !)

The first impending prophetic war is the one which has come to be known as the ‘Ezekiel 38 war’. The word of the Lord came to me, saying: “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog ( the Islamic nations of southern Russia that were once part of the Soviet Union? ), the prince of Rosh (‘Rosh’ in Hebrew means ‘head’ or ‘leader’ and therefore it has been translated as ‘chief prince’ in some translations but it could also be the proper name of a predominant ethnic group called ‘Rus’or ‘Rhos’ from which the name ‘Russia’ was derived), Meshech or Mosoch ( Legend has it that King Mosokh or Meshech, the son of Japheth founded the city of Moskva or Moscow. Josephus, the Jewish historian said that the people of his day known as the Moschevi and Thobelites were founded by Meshech and Tubal respectively [Antiquities I.6] Wilhelm Gesenius, the world class Hebrew scholar and lexicologist also identified Meshech as Moscow, the capital of modern Russia) and Tubal or ‘Tobal’ (William also identified Tobolsk, the second oldest settlement in Asiatic Russia and the historic capital of the Siberian region as the city founded by Tubal, the son of Japheth. The name of this patriarch is still preserved in the river Tobol and the City of Tobolsk in Russia is still a monument to him. His conclusion was that these people make up the modern Russian people) and prophecy against him and say: … I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army … Persia ( Iran), Cush ( upper Nile region south of Egypt which would include Sudan and Ethiopia?) and Put ( the region to the west of Egypt which would include Libya, Tunisia, Algeria ?) will be with them … also Gomer ( Turkey?) with all its troops and Beth Togarmah ( the region of Anatolia which is now part of modern day Turkey?) from the far north with all its troops – the many nations with you … you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from the nations to the mountain of Israel, which has long been desolate and now all of them live in safety … ‘ (Ezekial 38:1-8) It is interesting to note that the names of many prominent Arab and Islamic nations were not mentioned, probably because they would be the ones who would sign a peace treaty with Israel ie Egypt in 1979, Jordan in 1994 and recently UAE , Bahrain, North Sudan and Morocco signed the Abraham Accords in 2020. We can expect many more nations to follow suit in the coming years. However, some are suspicious of the Abraham Accords assuming that it could be the covenant the Antichrist will make with the nation of Israel but this fear has no rationale because that treaty wouldn’t happen until the Church is raptured and the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way for the Antichrist to be revealed. Furthermore, some assume that the war mentioned in Ezekial 38-39 is the ‘battle of Armageddon’ mentioned in Revelation 16: 14,16 but they are two different battles altogether because Ezekiel spoke about a coalition of nations from the north and south coming against Israel, who ‘will go up, advancing like a storm … will invade a land of unwalled villages … a peaceful and unsuspecting people … to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder’ ( Ezekiel 38: 9-13) whereas John wrote about the nations of the world being gathered from the east and the west against Israel for the second prophetic war : ‘The sixth Angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates and it’s waters was dried up to prepare the way for the kings of the East … Then I saw … the spirits of demons who go out to kings of the whole world to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty … to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon … to make war against the rider on the horse and his army’. (Revelation 16:14,16, 19:19) Armageddon is located 60 miles north of Jerusalem on Mount Megiddo, facing the valley of Jezereel to its east and it has been the site of many military struggles in Israel’s history because of its strategic location. The plain of Megiddo ( 2 Chronicles 35:22) is about 200 square miles in area and some historians estimate that more wars have been fought here than any other locations in the world. It seems to be an appropriate setting for the final struggle between good and evil.

The context of the prophecy in Chapters 38,39 is the return of the people of God to the mountains of Israel as prophesied in Chapter 36 and that they shall be one nation in the land and no longer be divided into two kingdoms as prophesied in Chapter 37 and the measuring of the rebuilt temple as prophesied in Chapter 40. In between these two events is the war that would result in the total regathering of Israel and the construction of the temple.(Though the nation of Israel was established on the 14th of May 1948, only a fraction of the Jewish diaspora have been gathered from the nations and the temple is yet to be rebuilt. ) It is in this context, we need to read this prophecy : ‘When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign Lord … I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains … so I will show my greatness and my holiness and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations … I will now bring Jacob back from captivity … I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind … I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.’ ( Ezekiel 38:18- 39:29) There is however an ambiguity concerning the timing of the ‘Ezekiel 38 war’ because some believe it will happen before Rapture while many others believe it will happen after Rapture, at the start of the tribulation. There are also those who believe it will happen halfway into the tribulation and still others who believe it will happen towards the end of the tribulation, assuming it to be the ‘battle of Armageddon’ and ‘Gog’ to be the Antichrist. Apparently ‘Gog’ is the leader of the invasion and the Bible says he will be killed and will be buried in the valley of Hamon Gog towards the east of the Dead Sea whereas the Bible says that the Antichrist and the false prophet who will lead the ‘battle of Armageddon’ will be captured and will be thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur. ( Rev 19:20-22). There is still a mention of ‘Gog’ again at the end of the thousand year rule of Christ, when Satan will be released from his prison and he will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth – Gog and Magog – to gather them for battle. Here Gog is not referred to as a person but as a place and Satan who is leader of the hordes, was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. (Rev 20:7-10) Some call it the ‘war of Gog and Magog’ and it is the last of the three prophetic wars.What is common to these three prophetic wars is that they all are against Israel and the camp of God and He fights to deliver His people.

The world is increasingly getting polarized and the stage is being set for these prophetic battles and the nations of the world are aligning themselves in keeping with these prophecies. The only thing that needs to happen before these events is the Rapture and it will come unexpectedly upon us. “Be careful or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life and the day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap … Be always on the watch and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen and that you may stand before the Son of Man’ ( Luke 21: 34-36) Amen.

14. In those days, at that time.

Anyone who has read through the prophets would have come across this phrase and might have wondered where it fits in the time-line of endtime events. But the context of those passages seem to suggest that it refers to the time of Christ’s second coming and the beginning of his millennial rule. So the phrase ‘In those days ( or the last days), at that time ( or in the fullness of time) ‘, probably means ‘The day of the Lord’.

Let us consider some of those passages to substantiate the above interpretation:- ‘IN THOSE DAYS, AT THAT TIME, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them to the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.’ ( Joel 3:1-2) “IN THOSE DAYS when your numbers have increased greatly in the land … AT THAT TIME they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the Lord’ and all the nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the Lord …” (Jeremiah 3:16-17) “The days are coming”, declares the Lord, “when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. IN THOSE DAYS, AT THAT TIME, I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line and he will do what is just and right in the land. IN THOSE DAYS Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called. ‘The Lord Our Righteousness.” (Jeremiah 33:14-16) “IN THOSE DAYS, AT THAT TIME,” declares the Lord, “the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the Lord their God. They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.” (Jeremiah 50:4-5) “IN THOSE DAYS, AT THAT TIME”, declares the Lord, “search will be made for Israel’s guilt but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah but none will be found, for I will forgive the remnant I spare.” (Jeremiah 50:20)

All the above references speak about the restoration that would happen to the nation of Israel and the Apostles who knew these prophecies, asked Jesus, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom of Israel?” But he replied, “It is not for you to know the time or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth” ( Acts 1: 6-7) In saying so, Jesus emphasized the urgency in establishing the Kingdom of God prior to the restoration of the kingdom of Israel, which he said would happen at the appointed time. ‘Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children…’ (Isaiah 66:8 ) That moment came about once again since the Exodus, when on the 14th of May 1948, the nation of Israel was reborn. However, this seems like a partial restoration because a full restoration would happen only after their spiritual restoration ‘IN THOSE DAYS, AT THAT TIME’. ‘Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel would be saved.’ (Romans 11:25-26)

‘Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know summer is near. Even so when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door … no one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven but only the Father … Therefore keep watch because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.’ ( Matthew 24:36-42) Amen.

13. The day of the Lord.

The Bible refers to the ‘day of the Lord’ as the ‘day of his coming’, when he will visibly establish his Kingdom on earth. But there seems to be some ambiguity about which day the Bible refers to as the ‘day of the Lord’. Could it be the 1) day of Christ’s secret coming in the air to receive his Bride at Rapture (1 Thesslonians 4:15-17) or the 2) day of his second coming in the clouds when all men will see him (Matthew 24:30) or the 3) day when God creates a new earth and new heaven and the Holy City, the new Jerusalem comes out of heaven and God makes his dwelling with men? ( Revelation 21:1-3 ) Most passages seem to allude to the second coming of Christ while others seem to allude to the period of the tribulation as a whole. However, there are certain events that must precede the day of the Lord and that would help us to ‘find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of God was pointing’ ( 1 Peter 1 :11), ‘as men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit’. ( 2 Peter 1:20)

The prophecy by Joel is an ideal text to start with, because he clearly predicted the events that would precede the day of the Lord, most notably the predictions about the sun, moon and stars, which we can consider as the most prominent harbinger that would herald his coming : ‘I will show wonders in the heavens and on earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.’ ( Joel 2:31) ‘For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened and the stars no longer shine. The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem and the earth and sky will tremble.’ ( Joel 3:14-16) This was prophesied by the Prophet Isaiah too, when he said : ‘See, the day of the Lord is coming – a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger … The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.’ (Isaiah 13:9-10) ‘The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed for the Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem …’ (Isaiah 24:23) All this is in agreement with what Jesus taught would precede that day: ‘There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.’ ( Luke 21:25-27) And John, while writing down the Revelation of Jesus, wrote: ‘I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black … the whole moon turned blood red … the stars in the sky fell to earth … the sky receded like a scroll … every mountain and island was removed from its place … for the great day of their wrath has come and who can stand?’ ( Revelation 6:12-17) All the above references allude to the second coming of Christ and not to his secret coming in the air to receive his bride because that is likened to the ‘thief in the night’ ( 1 Thesslonians 5:2, Revelation 3:3) and that day obviously wouldn’t be preceded by anything significant that would herald his coming.

The other events that would happen on this day, at the second coming of Christ, further distinguishes this day from any other : ‘On that day , when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her ( The battle of Armageddon – Revelation 16:12-16), I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations … On that day I will strike every horse with panic and every rider with madness … On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem … On that day I will set out to destroy the nations that attack Jerusalem … I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on the one they pierced … On that day the weeping will be great … On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity … On that day, I will banish the names of all idols from the land and they will be remembered no more …’ (Zechariah 12:3 – 13:2) ‘A day of the Lord is coming when … I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it … Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives will be split into two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south … Then the Lord your God will come and all the holy ones with him. On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost. It will be an unique day without daytime or nighttime – a day known to the Lord. When evening comes, there will be light. On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea (Dead sea) and half to the western sea (Mediterranean sea) … The Lord will be King over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord and his name the only name.’ (Zechariah 14:1-9) ‘In that day the mountains will drip new wine and the hills will flow with milk and all the ravines of Judah will run with water. A fountain will flow out of the Lord’s house and will water the valley of acasias’ ( Joel 3: 18) ‘In that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon and they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days ( at the end of the 1000 years)’. ( Isaiah 24:21-22, Revelation 20:7-15) All the above references further alludes to the second coming of Christ and not to the end of the ages when the first heaven and first earth will pass away giving way to the new heaven and new earth.

However, certain passages makes no distinction between these three days because the focus was on holy living and not eschatology. For instance, Peter wrote: ‘But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people we ought to be ? We ought to live godly lives as we wait eagerly for the day of God to come. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.’ ( 2Peter 3:11-13) Amen.

Other references you can read: Isaiah 2:11-21, Zephaniah 1:14 -18, Malachi 4:1-3

12. The last days.

There is a popular misconception that the last days are the closing moments of this age, whereas the Bible calls the entire Church age – the last days! When Peter stood up to address the bewildered crowd that had gathered on the day of Pentecost, this is how he rephrased (shown within brackets) the prophecy by Joel : ‘And afterward ( In the last days – Greek : eschatos means last or final ), I will pour out my Spirit on all people ( meaning even Gentiles ). Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants ( meaning even Jews), both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful (glorious) day of the Lord.’ (Joel 2 :28-31/ Acts 2:17-20)

The words ‘afterwards’ and ‘before’ signify a time frame within which these events would take place and Peter declared that it had begun on the day of Pentecost when the Spirit was poured upon the 120 in the upper room. The Apostles seem to have understood that the last days began with the dawn of the Church age and now we have reached the last hours of the last day. Interestingly, Peter wrote: ‘With the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.’ ( 2 Peter 3:8-9) Joel was right in calling this period of time, the last ‘days’ because two ‘days’ or two thousands years have gone by since the outpouring in the Jerusalem and the Prophet Haggai was right too in prophesying : After two ‘days’ ( two thousand years) he will revive us, on the third ‘day’ ( third millennium ), he will restore us that we may live in His presence.’ ( Haggai 6:2)

Now that we have entered the third millennium, what are we to expect? Firstly, the outpouring of the Spirit upon all flesh as prophesied by Joel and secondly, the ‘wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire, billows of smoke. The sun turning to darkness and the moon to blood’, before the second coming of Jesus. Obviously, we have no role to play in the manifestation of the signs and wonders but the outpouring of the Spirit requires our role in gathering and preparing the vessels, just as the 120 gathered in the Upper room and were constantly in prayer. ‘Therefore, prepare your minds for action, be self controlled …’ ( 1 Peter 1:13) ‘The end of all things is near. Therfore be clear minded and self controlled so that you can pray.’ ( 1 Peter 4:7)

The outpouring that began in Jerusalem has since been poured out upon many nations throughout the Church age and we will further witness the same before it finally culminates in Israel, as prophesied by Ezekiel : ‘When Gog attacks Israel, my hot anger will be aroused … I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains … I will make myself known in the sight of many nations … I will bring Jacob back from captivity and will have compassion on all the people of Israel … I will gather them to their own land, not leaving anyone behind …. I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.’ ( Ezekiel 38-39)

The ‘day of the Lord’ is a dreadful day for the world but it is a great and glorious day for the Church; for those who longed for his return. ‘He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.’ (Revelation 22:20)

11. The last lap.

Faith, resembles a marathon. But why do people punish their bodies to run a gruelling marathon race? The sense of personal reward they get and the physical benefits of the exercise are often the reasons given. The same two rewards apply in the spiritual realm : great prizes await those who keep the faith and the very process of living by faith builds strong character.

There are three stages to a long distance race: The intial laps tend to be faster but before long, their pace slackens and the runners are faced with the nagging temptation to drop off. However, some refuse to give up and they press on to reach the finish line. On entering the final lap, the cheer of the onlookers spur them up and they seem to draw on an energy sourced from within the soul and pick up their pace as they come closer to the finish line.

So also the Church has entered the last lap of this gruelling race. After the Acts of the Apostles and the Apostolic fathers, the early Church gradually started losing momentum and then as it made through the medieval ages, it barely managed to trudge along until the call to revival started reverberating through the last few centuries. Since then the Church has picked up pace and now but it has reached the final moments of this race. ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, let us throw of everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.’ ( Hebrews 12:1-3) The prize is not just for those who come first but for everyone who finishes the race. Therefore Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness …” ( 2 Timothy 4:7)

Even the greatest of saints have fallen prey to this nagging temptation to drop off. While fleeing from Jezebel, Elijah lay down under a broom tree and prayed, “I have had enough, Lord. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (1 Kings 19:4) Exhausted from the ordeal, he fell asleep but was woken up twice by an angel, only to find a cake of bread baked over hot coals and a jar of water, by his head. Strengthened by that food, he travelled forty days and forty nights to reach Horeb, the mountain of God and there he was told what to do next, and thereafter he was caught up in a whirlwind to heaven. Similarly, when John languished in prison, because of Herodias, he send his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who was to come or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back to John and report what you see and hear … Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me” (Matthew 11:2-4,6 ) Assured that his labour was not in vain, John went on to lay down his life and was undeterred even in the face of death. If these giants of faith fumbled on their tracks and needed some prodding to gather pace, we too definitely need some prodding to spur us up, as the ‘fulfillment of the ages have come upon us’. ( 1 Corinthians 10:12)

The Church started out loud in the Upper room on the day of Pentecost and it is not going to end in a whimper! ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all the nations and the desired of the nations will come and I will fill this house with glory … The glory of the present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,” says the Lord Almighty. (Haggai 2:6-9) Amen.

10. War in the heavens.

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and the dragon and his angels fought back.’ (Revelation 12:7) There is a battle being waged above our heads that we aren’t aware of but we experience the everday effects of this struggle as we live our lives on earth. ‘For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.’ ( Ephesians 6:12)

Two parallel histories seem to occur simultaneously: one on earth and the other in heaven. However the Bible views them together. The ‘Revelation’ (Greek : Apokalypsis meaning ‘uncovering’ ) or parting of the curtain, allowed John to have a quick look behind the scenes and to witness for himself, the war in the heavens and its impact on earth. Little did Daniel know what was involved, when he started to pray until the Angel told him: ‘Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding … your words were heard and I came in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty one days. Then Michael, one of the princes came to help me because I was detained there with the king of Persia … soon I will return to fight the prince of Persia and when I go, the prince of Greece will come … I took my stand to support and protect Michael. ” ( Daniel 10:12- 11:1) These comments by the angelic messenger hint of heavenly warfare, human beings know little about. As we fight the good fight of faith against evil on earth, the supernatural universe seems to be simultaneously at war and sometimes it can break out into actual violence on earth. Isn’t it unusual for a war to end in six days and for a nation to capture enemy territory thrice its own size? But it did happen in June 1967 when Egypt, Jordan and Syria declared war against the nation of Israel. (Iraq later joined the Arab coalition). But the war was over in a matter of days after Israel seized control of Gaza, West Bank (including east Jerusalem), Sinai peninsula and Golan heights. Strangely, it was reported that people saw visions of angels descending on earth and undoubtedly, it affected the outcome of the war. (Promised Land, 2005, by Derek prince)

A war is being waged on this planet between good and evil, a war that reflects a larger struggle in the whole universe. But no matter where it is fought, God is in control. Events are marching onward to a definite climax as each player unwittingly ends up fulfilling God’s plan and purpose. But what is the mission of the Church, in this battle? The mission of the Church is to establish God’s Kingdom on earth. So we were taught to pray : ‘Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth (by men) as it is done in heaven (by angels)’. We are not called to a physical combat with the forces of darkness but to fight the good fight of faith. Hence,‘the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, we have divine power to demolish strongholds.’ ( 2 Corinthians 10:4) Therefore ‘put on the full armour of God … the belt of truth buckled around your waist … the breastplate of righteousness in place … feet fitted with the boots of peace … take up the shield of faith… helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit… and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayer and request. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:13-18) May God open our eyes to see that ‘those who are with us is more than those who are with them’, just as he opened Elisha’s servant’s eyes : ‘… he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.’ (2Kings 6:16-17) Amen.

9. We the Church; We the people !

We have often heard it being said: ‘Be in the world but be not of the world.’ That is being in two different realms at the same time – the spiritual and the physical ! The Apostle Paul wrote : ‘Our citizenship is in heaven’ (Philippians 3:20) yet he could unashamedly say, “I am a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city ( Acts 21:39) … the commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” “Yes, I am,” he answered. Then the commander said, “I had to pay a big price for my citizenship.” “But I am a born citizen,” Paul replied. ( Acts 22:27- 28) Paul was being pragmatic about his dual citizenship and was not hypocritical as some believers are, who think being spiritual means to be unpatriotic. That is fanaticism!

We have learnt about sets and subsets in Mathematics and to say the Church is a subset within the world means one is within the other and therefore cannot be disenfranchised ( denied citizenship rights ) but still the other has no rights within the subset. The Church was meant to influence the world and not the world influencing the Church. Therefore Jesus said,“You are the SALT OF THE EARTH … the LIGHT OF THE WORLD… let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13,14,16) Paul further adds to these virtues by calling us, ‘the AROMA OF CHRIST among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.’ ( 2 Corinthians 2:15)

The Church will not be overpowered as long as the Holy Spirit stands in the way but once He leaves with the raptured saints, the ‘man of Lawlessness’ will be revealed who will overpower the tribulation saints (those who refuse to worship the beast or his image and would not receive his mark on their foreheads or their hands). ‘The beast was given power to make war against the saints and conquer them … All the inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb … this calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.’ (Revelation 13:7-10) ‘He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.’ ( Daniel 7:25) ‘When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.’ ( Daniel 12:7)

But now that the Church is still here on the earth, with the Holy Spirit standing in between the Church and the World, just as the pillar of cloud stood between the armies of Israel and Egypt (Exodus 14:19-20), the Church will not be overcome. “I will build my Church and the gates of Hades will not overcome (or prove to be stronger than) it.” (Matthew 16:18) History bears testimony to this fact that every effort to destroy the church has only caused it to grow in number as someone rightly said,“The blood of the saint is the seed of the Church.”

However ‘the secret power of lawlessness is already at work ( scheming to set up the kingdom of the beast ) but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.’ ( 2 Thessalonians 2:7 ) A ‘battle for the soul of the nation’ is being fought in the heavenlies and it has broken out into the earthly realm and if ‘WE THE CHURCH; WE THE PEOPLE’, as patriotic citizens, do not rise to defend our God given freedoms and liberties, as upheld by the Constitution, then our children will have to contend for their freedoms in a tyrannical State. The founding fathers defended it with their lives but a new generation ( whether be Millennials or post Millennials) has grown up, many who have being indoctrinated by the academia and the media, to hate nationalism, patriotism and religion. They wouldn’t mind trampling on the sacred values that their forefathers upheld and wouldn’t hesitate to commit acts of violence and arson, even to burn down the nation, all in the name Socialism. In my previous articles titled ‘Endtime lawlessness’ and ‘From Theocracy to tyranny’, I had mentioned that this slide to tyranny seems unstoppable but at least we can slow down its pace and keep Democracy alive until Christ returns or else we will find ourselves in a tyranny because we took our freedoms and liberties foregranted. The least we can do is to pray and educate ourselves and others and stand for the truth and ‘be the resistance’. Amen.

8. Prophets and politics.

The jurisprudential ( theory or philosophy of law ) concept of separating Church ( or religion ) and State, was meant to safeguard these two establishments from mutual interference, because the founding fathers believed that there could be no religious freedom or true secularism without this ‘wall of separation’ between the two. The law prohibited the government from favouring one religion over another or even favouring religion over non-religion but it was never meant to keep ones personal beliefs and convictions out of politics or public life because the constitution entitled every citizen the right to practice their faith.

The Law of God given through Moses also ensured a kind of separation between the Kingship and Priesthood in Israel by entitling two different tribes to administer this office, to prohibit any individual or community from usurping all authority and power in the nation. But the law was never meant to prohibit Kings from expressing their religious convictions in the public arena. King David was thought to be ‘notorious’ for his public display of faith and was unapologetic when confronted by his own wife. (2 Samuel 6:20-22) However he never violated the sanctity of the Priesthood by taking it upon himself unlike King Uzziah who usurped the authority of the Priests and was judged by God for doing so. (2 Chronicles 26:16-20)

On the contrary, Christ is both King and Priest like Melchizedek, who was King of Salem and the Priest of the Most High God at the same time, long before the Mosaic law was put into effect. (Hebrews 7:1,14-17) During the Millenial rule of Christ, we will witness this law separating Church and State being repealed because the Church is destined to rule with Christ. ‘You have made them to be a Kingdom and Priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth.’ ( Revelation 5:10 ) There will be no more secularism because ,‘The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord and his name the only name.’ (Zechariah 14:9)

However this separation of Church ( or religion) and State did not hinder the ministry of the Prophets because they were the messengers of God, who were directly accountable to God. They were sent by God to Anoint kings or to depose them, when they corrupted themselves and led the nation astray and no one dared to question the Sovereignty of God and the authority of his Prophets to intervene in politics. Prophet Samuel was sent by God to anoint Saul as the first King of Israel but when God rejected Saul, Prophet Samuel was sent on a secret mission to anoint David as the next king and the elders of the town trembled with fear at the very sight of him because they knew his coming meant something was up. (1 Samuel 16:4) If it not be for the Prophets, who else would dare to go up to the King and confront him for having another man’s wife? (2 Samuel 12: 1-14) Prophet Nathan was a familiar face in David’s court as he was his personal seer but Prophet Elijah came out of nowhere to stalk the streets of Samaria with the message of God for King Ahab and then disappeared for three years, becoming the most wanted ‘fugitive’ because he alone had the power to bring rain. (1 Kings 17:1-3, 18: 1,10) Prophet Isaiah was a giant in Jewish history because he spent his days in the corridors of power as an adviser to four Kings of Judah and helped set the course of his nation. He even prophesied about other nations in relation with Israel and predicted nearly 200 years earlier, the ascension of Cyrus to the throne of Persia and that he would be the one to issue the decree to rebuild the temple. (Isaiah 44:28) The ministry of the Prophets of God extended beyond the borders of Israel because God was concerned about the Gentiles too. Prophet Jonah was commanded to go to Nineveh to warn them of judgment but instead he fled to Tarshish because he couldn’t acknowledge God’s concern for a pagan nation! (Jonah 4: 2,11)

The Prophets not only revealed the will of God but also acted swiftly when they saw an attempt to overturn the will of God. When Adonijah proclaimed himself as the next King after David, Prophet Nathan was alarmed and he went to meet the aged King along with Bathsheba and confirmed God’s choice of Solomon as the next King of Israel. (1 Kings 1:5-35) Likewise when Queen Athaliah proceeded to destroy the whole royal family and proclaimed herself to be the next regent of Judah, Jehoiada the Priest hid young Joash, the son of Ahaziah and his nurse for six years in the temple and restored him to the throne after overthrowing the queen in a coup with the help of the commanders of the army. ( 2 Kings 11:1-21) They didn’t contend that, ‘whatever happens, God is still on the throne’ but we have Prophets and Pastors today who make that assertion. Rightly so! But isn’t that statement an unsolicited answer to an unwarranted question ? We should rather be asking these questions : What is the will of God and is it being done? Why else were we taught to pray: ‘Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth ( by men ) as it is done in heaven ( by angels )’. At a time when the authority of Prophets to intervene in politics is being seen by many as an infringement of the law separating State and Church and many doubt the credibility of prophecies, it is imperative that we stand firm on the word of God concerning this matter. The word of God says that the Church is ‘built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone’. (Ephesians 2:20)

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the Prophets.’ (Amos 3:7)

‘Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his Prophets and you will be successful.’ (2 Chronicles 20:20)

God is not man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?’ (Numbers 23:19) Amen.

7. The day Truth triumphs.

Truth’, the word that seems to have lost its sanctity over time and has come to mean whatever one believes, has always been and will always be singularlistic in its eternal existence whereas ‘falsehood’ has been and will be pluralistic with all its blatant lies. ‘Truth’ has existed from time immemorial and will outlast this universe, into eternity but ‘falsehood’ has been around only since the fall of Lucifer and it will meet its end in the lake of fire.

He was a murderer from the beginning not holding on to the truth for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)

And no wonder for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising then, if his servants masquerades as servants of righteousness.’ ( 2 Corinthians 11:14-15)

The Prophet Isaiah lamented : ‘Truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The LORD looked and was displeased … appalled that there was no one to intervene; his own arm worked salvation for him… He put on righteousness as his breastplate and … he put on the garments of vengeance … so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes.’ ( Isaiah 59:14-18)

Truth is destined to triumph, on ‘The Day of the Lord’! ‘The Lord Almighty has a day in store … when he rises to shake the earth. In that day … men will flee to caverns in the rock … from the dread of the lord and the splendor of his majesty …’ ( Isaiah 2: 12-21)

‘I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war … the armies of heaven were following him … He treads the winepress of the fury of God Almighty … the beast was captured and with him the false prophet … the two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.’ ( Rev 19:11- 20).

Truth cannot be destroyed or covered up forever for ‘there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed or hidden that will not be made known.” (Mathew 10 : 26 )

This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ.’ ( Romans 2:16)

As believers, let us always seek the truth, speak the truth and stand with the truth ‘for we cannot do anything against the truth but only for the truth.’ ( 2 Corinthians 13:8 ) Amen.

6. From Theocracy to tyranny ?

Where is humanity heading to ? If we follow the course of human history, can we see where we stand now and where we are going ? Are we going from Theocracy to tyranny ? Did I mention God? Why is it politically incorrect in a democratic society with freedom of speech, to say, “God exists”, when those who believe in the existence of a God, far outnumber the atheists ? Shouldn’t that be proof of the existence of a God, because an overwhelming majority have their consciences bear witness to this truth ? Why is it that those who pretend to be atheists, rail at God when they go through hell on earth? Isn’t it right to conclude that there are no true atheists but only rebels, because the consciousness of a God seems undeniable ?
Wasn’t it a nation of rebels who had seen the unquestionable acts of God, that rejected Theocracy and asked for a king ? ( 1 Samuel 8 : 7 – 22 ) If Monarchy was instituted by God as the next best form of governance, why has it become a thing of the past ? Was it not expected to fail because absolute power was being endued upon a mortal, who was prone to corruption ? If nobles were empowered and made the custodians of the state, when Kings became increasingly corrupt, shouldn’t Aristocracy been the next best form of governance ? Didn’t they fail as well to safeguard the interests of the common man over the ruling class ? If empowering the common man was the greatest social experiment in the history of humanity and Democracy was the next best form of governance, then why is it being undermined by those with vested interests? Did our innate human nature for corruption, guarantee the failure of all these successive forms of government ? What kind of shadow government do we have now ? Is it an Oligarchy, with Multi National Corporations and the Military-Industrial complex throwing their weight behind the candidates of their choice and the Media giants using their platforms to socially engineer the outcome of the polls, to install their puppets in office? Doesn’t history remind us that it was the failure of Democracy that opened the way for autocrats, dictators, tyrants and despots to rise to power, who herded the sheeple to Tyranny ? Do those who call for the abolition of the constitution and judiciary and those who demand the defunding of all law enforcement agencies, realize that they are unwittingly being used by antidemocratic forces to overthrow the very foundation on which this democracy was built ? Will this rebellion against all forms of human government, fomented by satanic forces, eventually make way for the rule of Satan ? This downward slide to tyranny seems unstoppable but shouldn’t we do something in our power to slow this down? Will exercising our democratic right to vote be enough, if we fail to exercise our conscience in choosing the right candidates; choosing the ones who stand for democracy and rejecting the ones that have a nexus with the global elite who seek to set up the New World Order ? Shouldn’t we keep Democracy alive, as long as it can last, by not carelessly casting our vote for those who want to pull it down ? But what is the blessed hope for humanity? Back to Theocracy, once the full cycle of other forms of governance have ended ? Doesn’t it make sense then to pray, “Thy Kingdom come” ? Amen.

( This is the unabridged version of the article originally posted in a secular group on LinkedIn. Since members are required to open up the platform for discussion, instead of being affirmative about their faith, every sentence was phrased as a question to get the message across. )

5. The mystery of the 7 Churches and the 7 Angels.

Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches : to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyathira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea.” (Rev 1 : 11 )

The cities mentioned were actual cities in the ancient world where a church existed. John listed them in the order in which a messenger on the road would have found them, starting with the chief city of Ephesus and then circling back clockwise. The cities lie in what is now part of modern Turkey. But none of these churches survived the religious wars that took place. However these seven churches represent the universal church throughout the age. Since these churches existed at the same time, it would be irrational to interpret them as different periods of the church age. According to this interpretation, the Church age has been divided into different periods based on Church history.
Ephesus upto 170 AD
Smyrna upto 312 AD
Pergamos upto 606 AD
Thyathira upto 1517 AD
Sardis upto 1750 AD
Philadelphia upto 1900 AD
Laodicea upto Rapture.
The fallacy of such an interpretation is the notion that we are in the Laodicean period of lukewarmness and therefore there can’t be an endtime revival. Yet the greatest revivals happened after 1900 AD. The Welsh revival in 1904, Asuza street revival in 1906, the healing revivals from 1947, the latter rain movement in 1949, the Charismatic revival in 1959, Jesus movement in 1970, just to mention a few ! Infact the 20th century has witnessed more awakenings and revivals worldwide than in the centuries preceding it.

In addition to this incongruity, some have even gone to the extent of identifying the seven angels of the seven churches, as men through whom these periods of church history were ushered. That is because the Greek word ‘angelos’, which was translated as ‘angels’ or ‘messengers’, could mean either angelic or human messengers or even both.
But whom did John see in his vision? “The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand … are the angels of the seven churches …” ( Rev 1 : 20 )
‘I saw the seven angels who stand before God and to them were given the seven trumpets.’ ( Rev 8 : 2 )
Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues.’ ( Rev 15 : 6 )
So undoubtedly he was speaking about angels ! Just because the letters to the churches were written to the ‘messengers’ of the seven churches, does it mean that the seven stars in the right hand of Jesus were men ? ( William M Branham taught about the seven church ages and identified St Paul, St Irenaeus, St Martin, St Columba, Martin Luther and John Wesley as the six ‘messengers’ that preceded him and declared himself to be the seventh and last messenger to the Laodicean church. No wonder the ministry he founded eventually became a Christian cult! )

What then is the central message in all these letters to the churches ? A searching of the hearts by the ‘one who stood among the seven golden lampstands’, revealed the state of the churches, which otherwise is the state of believers themselves :
Ephesus the ‘loveless’ church,
Smyrna the ‘suffering’ church,
Pergamos the ‘worldly’ church ,
Thyathira the ‘adulterous’ church,
Sardis the ‘hypocritical’ church,
Philadelphia the ‘faithful’ church and
Laodicea the ‘complacent’ church.
The call to repentance rings through the letters and five out of the seven churches were admonished to repent. But it was to the ‘faithful’ believer that Jesus promised : “See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one will take your crown.” (Rev 3 : 8 – 11 )
So whatever be the period we are in or whichever be the church that we attend, what matters is our obedience, if we want to ‘escape all that is about to happen and be able to stand before the son of man.’ ( Lk 21 : 36 ) Amen.

4. The mystery of the seventy ‘sevens’ ( Dan 9 : 24 – 27 )

Vs 24“Seventy ‘sevens’ (Hebrew : ‘shabua‘ means week’ or ‘seven’ ) are decreed for your people (Israel ) and your Holy city (Jerusalem ) to restrain transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy.”

In this passage ‘shabua‘ doesn’t mean ‘seven’ days or a ‘week’ but ‘seven’ years, as understood from Dan 12 : 7 where it states: “It will be for a time, times and half a time ( meaning a year, two years and half a year ), when the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things are completed.” So if half of a ‘shabua’ adds upto 3 & 1/2 years, then one ‘shabua’ is 7 years and seventy ‘shabuas’ are ( 70 × 7 ) 490 years.

Vs 25Know and understand this : From the issuing of the degree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed one comes there will be seven ‘sevens’ (49 years) and sixty two ‘sevens’ ( 434 years ). A total of 483 years.

There were three decrees that were issued for the restoration of the temple and the city :-

1. The Babylonian invasion took place in 586 BC. After the 70 years of exile (counted from the time Jehoiakim was taken as a captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 608 BC), prophesied by Jeremiah (Jer 29 : 10 ), was fulfilled (Dan 9 : 2 ), ‘the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus, King of Persia, to make a decree, during the first year of his reign ( 538 BC ), to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken through the prophet Jeremiah.’ ( Ezra 1 : 1 – 4 ) The first group of exiles returned under the leadership of Zerrubbabel and they began to rebuild the temple but before long the work was hindered until second year of the reign of Darius, King of Persia. ( Ezra 4 : 5, 24 )

2. The second decree was issued by Darius during the second year of his reign when he confirmed the decree made by Cyrus. ( Ezra 6 : 3, 12 ) So the temple was completed during the sixth year of his reign ( Ezra 6 : 15 ) but the wall and streets of the city were not restored. After this a second group of exiles returned under the leadership of Ezra in 458 BC, who had received a letter from Artaxerxes, King of Persia, during the seventh year of his reign ( Ezra 7 : 8 – 26 ) but there is no mention about any rebuilding in the succeeding chapters of Ezra.

3. The third decree was issued by Artaxerxes in the twentieth year of his reign when the last group of exiles returned under the leadership of Nehemiah in (445 BC ? ). He had sought the permission to go to city of Judah and rebuild it ( Neh 2 : 5 ) because he was told: “The wall of Jerusalem remains broken down and its gates burnt with fire. ( Neh 1 : 3 )

The street shall be built again and the wall, even in troublous times.” ( KJV )
This prophecy was partially fulfilled when Nehemiah completed the wall in 52 days ( Neh 6 : 15 ) but the restoration of the city and its streets were far from over. Once the city wall was built, it was possible to restore the city within, without fearing the hostile enemies outside.

Vs 26 “After the sixty two ‘sevens’ ( 434 years after restoration ), the Anointed one ( Messiah ) will be cut off but not for himself” (meaning for the sin of others). This was fulfilled in 30 AD when Jesus was crucified for the ‘sins of the world.’ ( Jh 1 : 29, 1Jh 2:2) “Then the people of the ruler (Romans) who will come will destroy the city and the Sanctuary.” This was fulfilled in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the city and set fire to the temple as prophesied by Jesus . ( Mt 24 : 1 – 2 ) What Jesus spoke of as the ‘birth pains’ ( Mt 24 : 8 ) are summed up by Daniel in these words : “The end will come like a flood. War will continue till the end and desolations have been decreed.”

Vs 27He ( referring to ‘the ruler of the people’, which is another term for the Anti-Christ who will come out of the resurgent Roman empire) will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven’ (70th ‘seven’ ). In the middle of the ‘seven’ ( 3 & 1/2 years into the tribulation ) he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And in the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation ( Mt 24:15) until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” ( Rev 16:10 ) Amen.

3. The book of Revelation and the order of events.

Rev 1 : Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.
Rev 2 – 3 : ‘Seven Churches’ represent the entire Church age – ‘Seven messengers’ with a message from him who stood among the ‘seven golden lampstands’.

( Two events that will take place before the Tribulation begins ) :-
👉🏻 Rev 4 : John saw a door standing open in heaven (Mt 25 : 10 – 11 ) and heard a voice say, “Come up here and I will show you what must take place after this (Church age ).” He saw a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. Surrounding the throne were twenty – four other thrones and seated on them were twenty – four ‘elders’ (Greek : presbyteros – elder of a Jewish community ). Who are they ? ‘Raptured’ (Greek : harpazo – to catch, steal or carry off – 1 Thess 4 : 15 – 17 ) saints ?
👉🏻 Rev 5 : The Lamb was found worthy to take the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne and open the scroll and its seven seals. Jesus glorified in the presence of the saints (Dan 7 : 14, Jh 17 : 5, 24 )

Rev 6 : The ‘seven seals’ were opened and the inhabitants of the earth were judged.

( Two events between 6th and 7th seal ) :-
👉🏻 Rev 7 : 144,000 from the tribes of Israel were sealed. (Ro 9 : 27, 11 : 5 )
👉🏻 A great multitude from every nation, tribe, people, language – ‘the full number of Gentiles has come in’ ( Ro 11 : 25 ) – These are they who have come out of the great tribulation.

Rev 8 – 9 : 7th seal was broken and the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them. The inhabitants of the earth and their ‘gods’ (fallen angels ) were judged – a third of everything was destroyed.

( Two events between the 6th and 7th trumpets. ) :-
👉🏻 Rev 10 : A mighty Angel with a scroll in his hand was standing on the sea and the land and swore by him who was seated on the throne that the mystery of God will be accomplished when the 7th Angel blows his trumpet.
👉🏻 Rev 11 : 1 – 6 Temple was measured but the outer court was excluded – given to the Gentiles. They will trample the holy city for 42 months. Two witnesses prophesy for 1260 days.

[ Events during the 1260 days that are revealed in Rev 12,13 ,14, should be read in between Rev 11 : 6 and Rev 11 : 7 :-
👉🏻 Rev 12 : A woman ( Jewish Church ) was about to give birth and the dragon stood in front to devour her child the moment it was born – child was snatched’ ( Greek : harpazo ) upto God – There was war in heaven – The great dragon , that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan was hurled to the earth and his angels with him.
👉🏻 Rev 13 : Rise of the Antichrist ( Beast out of the Sea ) and the false prophet (Beast out of the Earth ) – ordered that the image of the first beast be set up in the temple ( Dan 9 : 27, Mt 24 :15 -16 ) – all who refuse to worship the image to be killed – forced everone to receive the mark of the beast.
👉🏻 Rev 14 : John saw the Lamb and with him the 144,000 who did not defile themselves with women. When did the 144,000 reach heaven? The male child who was snatched’ ( Rev 12 : 5 ) ? – Three angels flying in midair – proclaimed the eternal gospel and warned the rest of the mankind against worshiping the image of the beast or receiving the mark of his name. ]

Rev 11 : 7 – 14 The two witnesses finished their testimony and they were killed by the beast that came up from the Abyss – their bodies lay in the street of Jerusalem but after three and a half days, they came back to life and ascended into heaven.
Rev 11 : 15 -19 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet and there were loud voices in heaven, which said : “The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ” Then God’s temple in heaven was opened.

Rev 15 : Seven Angels with seven bowls of wrath came out of the temple in heaven.
Rev 16 : Seven bowls of God’s wrath was poured out on the earth and the kingdom of the beast was judged.

( Two events that John was shown after the bowls of God’s wrath ) :-
👉🏻 Rev 17 : John was shown a Woman ( false Church ) riding on the beast (Antichrist ) – the woman is the great city on seven hills – Babylon
👉🏻 Rev 18 : John was shown the fall of Babylon – never to rise again – in one hour her doom has come !

( Two events between the 6th and 7th bowl that are revealed in Rev 19 should be read in between Rev 16 : 14 and Rev 16 : 17 :-
👉🏻 Rev 16 : 15 / Rev 19 : 1 – 10 Stay awake and keep your clothes / The wedding of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready – fine linen was given her to wear.
👉🏻 Rev 16 : 16 / Rev 19 :11 – 21 The kings of the earth and their armies were gathered together at Armageddon / to make war against the rider on the white horse and his army – the beast ( Antichrist) and the false prophet were captured and were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Rest of them were killed by the sword that came from the mouth of the rider on the horse – flesh will rot while standing on their feet ( Zech 14 : 12 – 13 ) – birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

[ Rev 16 : 17 Seventh Angel poured out his bowl into the air – out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne saying, “It is done !” Then there was a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake that the great city split into three and the cities of the nations collapsed, every island fled away and the mountains could not be found.]

Rev 20 : Satan was bound for a 1000 years – the tribulation saints were resurrected ( first resurrection ) – Judgement of the livingMillennial rule of Christ began – At the end of 1000 years, Satan was released from prison – gathered the nations for the final rebellion – Satan was thrown into the lake of fire – Great white throne – second resurrectionJudgement of the dead – those whose names were not found in the book of life were thrown into the lake of fire ( second death).
Rev 21 : John saw the new heaven and new earth. He saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down from heaven.
Rev 22 : John was shown the River of the water of life – Final exhortation to keep the words of this book. Amen.

2. The endtime lawlessness.

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, … that day will not come unless the ‘rebellion’ ( Greek : Apostasia means turning away or rebellion ) occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed … For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work but the one who holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed …’ ( 2 Thess 2:1-8)

The ‘secret power of lawlessness’, which is already at work, is setting the stage for the ‘man of lawlessness’ to come onto the scene, as soon as the Holy Spirit moves out of the way and leaves with the ‘raptured saints’. This pervasive power seeks to plunge the world into a state of lawlessness and anarchy, even before the ‘lawless one’ could be revealed because that would be the setting in which the Antichrist will come on to the world stage and usurp all authority. There are already uprisings against all forms of elected Governments, Civic authorities and Institutions. (‘Antifa’ calls for the abolition of the Constitution and thereby doing away with the ‘rule of law’ and the need for law enforcement agencies like the Judiciary and the Police. The organization doesn’t have a visible leadership but its cadres are bound together by this ideology of human freedom from the ‘rule of law’ and there is a display a brotherhood among those who have identified with them. This ideology seems to won the hearts of a godless and perverse generation who wish to live as they want. They add teeth to protests organized by others groups by infiltrating and perpetrating acts of arson and violence. The BLM movement is currently being used by ‘Antifa’ to push forward their agenda and we now hear the BLM leaders calling for the abolition of the Police department. Those who have converged on the streets of the world, demanding equality and justice, are trying to overturn the foundations of ‘righteousness and justice’ laid down in the Constitution and yet expect to live in ‘peace and safety’. If these activists who protest against racism around the world, are still Antisemitic, then they are being racist as well and that exposes the deceitfulness of this movement, for it is not really about equality and justice but a revolt against the ‘rule of law’ and in essence, against the ‘law of God’. )
When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do or what is the Righteous one doing ?’ (Ps 11 : 3 )
While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly as labour pains on a pregnant woman and they will not escape.’ ( 1 Thess 5 : 3 )
The disciples asked Jesus,“When will this happen and what will be the sign of your coming and of  the end of the age?” Jesus answered:… At that time many will turn away from the faith and betray and hate each other … Because of the increase in wickedness,  the love of most will grow cold …” ( Mt 24 : 10, 12 )
When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” ( Lk 18 : 8 )

This rebellion being fomented by satanic forces against human government instituted by God, is unwittingly being led by corrupt men and who will inadvertently make way for the tyrannical rule of Satan, through his man, the Antichrist. He will come on to the world stage with his solution for world peace by abolishing all that divides humanity i.e. color, caste and creed. He will be seen as a true champion of human freedom until he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God ( 2 Thess 2 : 4 ) and will cause all who refuse to worship the image to be killed and will force everyone to receive the mark ( Rev 13 : 15 – 16 ).
Even after the Millennial rule of Christ, when Satan will be released from his prison, he will go out to deceive the nations and gather them for the final rebellion against God and the sheer number of rebels who will resent the righteous rule of Christ will surprise us ! ‘In numbers they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people.’ ( Rev 20 : 8-9 )

As more people are being misled to join this revolution, let the Church of this age heed to the counsel given by Paul to the early Church :
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authorities is rebelling against what God has Instituted and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.’ ( Ro 13 : 1-2 )
When you hear about wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first… when you see these things happening, you know that the Kingdom of God is near.” ( Lk 21 : 9, 31 ) Amen.

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1. Seven signs of the end times.

  1. Israel will be regathered.
    ( Isa 11 : 10 – 12, Eze 35 : 24 – 30, Mt 24 : 32 – 34 )
  2. False Christs and false prophets will appear and false doctrines will abound.
    ( Mt 24 : 2, 11, 24, 1Tim 4 : 1 – 2, 2Pt 2 : 1 – 3, 2Pt 3 : 3 – 4, Jude 18 -19 )
  3. Persecution and apostasy will increase.
    ( Mt 24 : 9 – 10, Lk 21 : 8, 12, 16 -17, Jh 15 : 18 – 21, 16 : 1 – 2 )
  4. Knowledge and communication will increase.
    ( Dan 12 : 4, 1Co 8 : 1 )
  5. Lawlessness will increase.
    ( Mt 5 : 12, 2Tim 3 : 1 – 4 )
  6. World will be in a state of turmoil.
    ( Mt 24 : 6 -7, Lk 21 : 9, Dan 9 : 26 )
  7. There will be signs in the heavens and on earth. (Lk 21 :11, 25 – 26, Joel 2 : 30 -31 )

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. ( Rev 22 : 20 – 21 )