Thursday, December 11, 2014

God's Judgments: Nuclear Weapons or Near Earth Objects?

I am aware that there has been debate among born again believers as to what the objects are that descend upon the earth at the time of the second and third trumpet judgments.  

The Second Trumpet Judgment

Rev. 8:8-9  ″The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, 9and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.”

The Third Trumpet Judgment

Rev. 8:10-11  ″The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. 11The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.”

What is this object?

Some say that this is a description of a nuclear weapon while others say that this is most likely a description of a Near Earth Objects (NEO's), like meteors. In order to satisfy my curiosity, I decided to compare the two and find out for myself which object was most likely the one described by John in Revelation. Let's look at a very brief description of both of these types of objects.

The stages of a nuclear missile launch
  • When a nuclear missile is launched, its fuel is ignited and it ascends upward. 
  • The fuel is depleted in all stages before perigee, which means that the missile is still ascending at the time the fiery engines fall silent.  
  • The payload is then propelled by a much smaller fuel source to guide it to it's destination and align it above it's target.  
  • The warhead is then released and is almost in free-fall as it descends.
  • Upon reentry, the heat shield encapsulating the warhead glows brightly.
  • Once reentry is made, the weapon is either triggered in the upper atmosphere (creating an IMP) or is detonated just above the ground.
Here is a video to better show you what has just been described:


The stages of an impact by a Near Earth Object (NEO) 

As an NEO enters Earth's atmosphere, the friction begins to burn off the outer layers of the object.  You can see this with the naked eye as this process lights up the sky. The object leaves a trail of fire and smoke as it plunges toward it's final destination.  It will either burn up and/or explode in the atmosphere, or it will continue burning until it makes impact.  This size of such objects varies, but these NEO's can be massive! The color of the object can give us clues as to what the NEO is mainly comprised of, but there is no telling what this object is specifically made of unless it leaves traces that can be tested.


Now, let's look at those two scriptures again:

The first one describes the object as: "...something like a great mountain burning with fire..."
The second one describes the object as: "...a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch..."

If you compare the two objects, the nuclear warhead and the NEO, then it seems that the latter would best describe what the writer is seeing. 

Why I believe it's NOT a nuclear warhead 
  • The nuclear warhead is nowhere near the size of a mountain.
  • Although the warhead's heat shield would glow as the warhead enters the atmosphere, it would not be burning like a torch or mountain (which leaves fire and smoke) Remember, the fuel source is exhausted, so it can't be describing rocket fuel.
  • John also knows the difference between something that is smoking and burning, as opposed to something glowing hot. This example can be found in Revelation when he is describing Jesus' appearance ("His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace..." Revelation 1:15a). So the objects that John saw falling from the sky weren't glowing hot, they were on fire.
Why I believe it's a NEO
  • One of the objects was a huge as a mountain.  NEO's come in all shapes and sizes.  There certainly are asteroids/comets that are the size of a mountain.
  • The objects were burning with fire, with one of the objects being described as burning like a torch.  This would signify flame and smoke, both of which are the result of a NEO entering earth's atmosphere.
Now, other scripture in Revelation speak about judgments being released "in the air."  This could be determined to be a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere or, as history has shown us time and time again, it could be a NEO explosion in the atmosphere, releasing something toxic to humans.

Here is an example of a meteor exploding in our atmosphere.  Remember, this was a meteor that was less than 15.5 yards long, which is not very big compared to what's out there.  Just look at a football field and count off 15 yards.  It's not that long.  It was traveling at 32 miles per second.  Watch what happened when it exploded in the atmosphere over Russia.


So, that's my take on the subject.  I have avoided going to any other web site to review what their thoughts are because I didn't want my own thoughts on the matter to be influenced by other people's opinions.  I'm sure there are many others who have put more time and effort in seeking the answers to the same question than I have.

Please comment below.  I'd be very interested in hearing what your opinion is.


Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!
TribulationHarvest.net

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Left Behind: I'm In The Minority Report

!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!  I have briefly described scenes in the movie in order to offer up my opinion.

As many of you may have already noticed, the new film, "Left Behind: The End Begins," has stirred up a lot of controversy among Christians. First there is the controversy between those who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, those who believe in a mid-tribulation rapture and those who believe in a post-tribulation rapture.  Then there is the controversy between those Christians who like the film and those who expected more. I will not attempt to address the former controversy in this post (I'm saving that for another time), but will instead attempt to address the latter.

As we all know, opinions are mainly subjective. In this case, either you liked the film, "Left Behind: The End Begins," or you did not.  I've read film-goers' positive and negative responses as well as online reviews from established Christian web sites and I can't seem to agree with the negativity that has been circulating throughout parts of the Christian community regarding this film.

Let's address some of the negative comments you may have heard about this film.

#1 This new film is not like the books or the original movie.

Since this is a "reboot" of the Left Behind series, complaints about straying from the original storyline found in the books and the original movie just don't seem to make sense to me. It's a reboot, not a remake. If anyone is going to see this film expecting to see an updated version of the original movie from opening title to closing credits or that it tells the story of the first book from cover to cover, then let me tell you that you will be disappointed.  

Star Trek recently had a "reboot." Among the changes made was the addition of Spock's romantic relationship with Uhura, Capt. Pike's altered future (he's alive and well), and the destruction of Spock's home world of Vulcan. This wasn't part of the original series or the theatrical releases that resulted from the popularity of the series, but it didn't deter many people from going to see this film.  The same should be true about the new Left Behind film. The changes in the storyline should not deter people from seeing this film.  Here are a few of the changes that have been made:
  • Hattie isn't the ditsy blond from the books
  • Rayford's indiscretions are noticed by his daughter earlier on in the time line. 
  • Raymie is raptured in Chloe's presence.
  • Buck has use of his personal satellite phone on the plane.
  • Characters on the plane actually have a story line and aren't just there to take up space.
  • The film focuses only on the day of the rapture, beginning with Chloe's arrival at the airport as she returns home for her dad's birthday, and concluding with the dramatic landing of Rayford's aircraft.
I could go on, but I believe the point has been made. This is a REBOOT, not a remake or rehash of the original story line.  There is no mention of a Tribulation Force at the end of the movie, only the ominous statement by Chloe that this was just the beginning of what is to come.

#2 Christians are portrayed as lunatics.

A woman in the movie approaches Buck in the airport terminal and immediately begins to bible bash him. We all know the type. These people lack wisdom and humility and tend to be very judgmental.  What I'm trying to say is that these people are real and their behavior, although well meaning I'm sure, is overbearing and just pushes people further away from Jesus. It may be difficult to watch a Christian movie that has a character that makes us cringe, but it's a part of our Christian culture and we can't run away from it.  We can't shove it in a closet and pretend it doesn't exist.  We have to own it.  It's real.  The film makers understand this and put it right out there for everyone to see right from the start. This scene not only instructs Christians how NOT to witness to unbelievers, but also helps us to understand how many non-believers view Christians.  The film makers show empathy toward unbelievers who have had to deal with people like this in the past (which may have helped push them further from making a decision for Christ). This is a teaching moment, people!  

In another scene, as Chloe describes this incident at the airport to her mother, she lets slip that she believes the woman at the airport is just as crazy as her mother.  Her mother is wounded, which makes Chloe regret her choice of words. Her mother tries to share God's word with her, to prepare her for what's coming, but before she can, Chloe makes an abrupt departure.  Another missed opportunity to share God's word on wide screen? Some may see it that way. I just don't happen to agree with them.  I'll explain why in the next section.

#3 The name of Jesus is never spoken and scripture is sorely lacking.  It's a watered down version of the book meant to appeal to the widest Christian audience possible.

How many people know what Christians are going to say before they say it? How many unsaved know that we're going to tell them that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and that no one goes to the Father except through Him... or that Jesus shed His blood for them to cover a multitude of sins... or that they need to be born again to enter the kingdom of God? How many of them have heard those words from church, on television, in secular movies, in soup kitchens, and yes, even at church?  Yes, the words are out there, but the unsaved aren't falling to their knees in droves.  They remain on the broad and easy path that leads to their destruction.  The film makers decided to take a different direction.  Gone is the in-your-face preaching that would drive many of the unsaved away from this movie, and in it's place is a real life example of what life is for many people.  

What do I mean by that?  Here is Irene.  She's the mother of Chloe and Raymie and is wife to her pilot husband Rayford.  A year prior to the events of the movie, she became a born again believer in Christ.  During the past year she's quoted all the scripture and shared her faith with her reluctant family, yet they still do not believe.  Her daughter even goes so far as to say that her mother "drank the Kool-Aid."  So what does Irene do?  She doesn't press.  She lives her life as a faithful Christian woman and surrounds herself and her family with symbols of her faith.  She tries not to push them away from the truth, but attempts to gently draw them to Jesus by setting an example for them.  Yes, she still tries to share her faith with them because she loves them and longs for their salvation as well, but she also knows that she can't go too far because that will just drive them further away from the truth.  You can see that when Chloe comes home and Irene places her gardening gloves on top of her bible.  She doesn't want to push.

We see Irene's faith by the jewelry she wears, the bible on the table (mentioned above), mention of her church attendance, the little reading nook she has set up with a pillow that says Pray and subtle artwork of Jesus on the cross.  Many people would look at this as a way to plug Christianity into a movie that has no Christian underpinning, but I disagree.  I see the little nook she has set up, the one Chloe glimpses at as she searches the house for her raptured mother, as a subtle message.  What is that message?  Get alone with God, no matter where it is.  Get to some small, quiet, private place where you can be alone with Him. Pray and confess your sins.  Repent and give your life to Jesus.  That's what I took away from that ever-so-short glimpse of Irene's little nook.

So, scripture doesn't play a major role in the movie, but Irene's faith does.  That reflects real life.  I don't beat my friends and family over the head with scripture.  They know what I'm about and they've heard me say it all.  How I live my life is my testimony to those who refuse to repent and believe.  That's what this movie is to me... real life.  It doesn't beat you over the head with something you already know.  As a side note, scripture is presented on screen at the end of the movie before the credits roll.  The closing credits roll with the beautiful voice of Jordan Sparks as she gives us her rendition of the song, "I Wish We'd All Been Ready."  

Some people want to draw a line in the sand with a detailed list of examples of what a Christian movie should contain.  If it doesn't meet their demands, it's deemed a poor example of Christian film making and they automatically give it a thumbs down.  I have to honestly disagree with that.  There are Christian films that are made solely for Christian audiences and then there are those rare Christian films whose main purpose is to reach out to the unsaved. I believe that Left Behind: The End Begins is an example of the latter.  

The conversation, the questions and the scripture all come after watching this film, when you and those who have seen the film begin to share your thoughts.  This film is a door that starts the conversation moving in God's direction.  It's like handing a tract to someone.  First they look at the cover and then they read what's inside.  Look at the film as the tract cover that invites the one receiving it to want to read more.  What's inside that tract is what we share when the movie's over.  It's not the film's responsibility to witness to the lost, it's ours.  

Take someone to see this movie.  They won't feel as if they're being force fed scripture, which may allow them to open up and begin asking those questions that they've been dwelling on for awhile.


Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!
TribulationHarvest.net

Friday, September 19, 2014

Should We Be Encouraging The Reciting Of The Salvation Prayer?

I was perusing one of my social network news feeds today when I came across a post from someone I've been following for a while. One click brought me to his web site. The main portion of this page consisted of his version of the "sinner's prayer." At the end of this prayer were words similar to the ones I've used in the past myself. To paraphrase: "If you prayed this prayer with a sincere heart, then congratulations!!! You are now part of the family of God!!!

In the past, I had included my own version of the sinner's prayer and a congratulatory word of encouragement on my personal blog sites and in a self-published booklet I created. At the time, I believed it was a necessary part of witnessing. One day, when reading my own version of the sinner's prayer, doubt hit me and the questions came...

What is the "sinner's prayer?" If someone's repeating what I say they need to pray, is it coming from their heart or is this individual looking at this prayer as some sort of "magic spell" to be cast that will assure him/her of their salvation? Why do Christians feel that this prayer needs to be recited when you become a born-again believer? Is it scriptural, or is it a Christian tradition that has crept into the church? 

These are the kinds of questions that ran through my mind in the past and were once again triggered when I read my Christian brother's web site post. What I had once taken for granted was true had become something that I began to distance myself from.  

I haven't made a big deal out of this when fellowshipping with my Christian brothers and sisters. I sometimes keep these things to myself because I feel as if I'm perceived as someone who is trying to rock the boat or someone who has "the spirit of division" (yes, someone actually said that to me concerning another issue). Since it has once again been thrust upon me, I guess I need to share what I see as an unnecessary addition to witnessing for Christ.

What is the "sinner's prayer?"

I've been instructed since I was a young Christian that one of the most important acts you can perform is to recite the sinner's prayer or to lead someone in the sinner's prayer. It's not a prayer of specific words like those recited in other religions, including Catholicism, but is rather an expression of your acknowledgement of your sinful state, and an acknowledgement of who Jesus is and what He has done for you. It's also a confirmation of our repentance and our decision to lay our lives down, take up our cross and serve Him for the rest of our days, being lead by the Holy Spirit. 

That's what it's supposed to be, anyway. But what is the sinner's prayer, really? Since the words aren't written in stone, they can vary from person to person. Oh, the basic concepts are there and the key words and phrases are used, but the "formula" for this prayer is pretty loose. To the person repeating this prayer, it would seem that his/her salvation is resting on reciting just the right words that will complete this transformation from sinner to saint. You and I both know, it doesn't work that way.

What the sinner's prayer really is, is a rehashing of what the repentant believer already knows. It's useless because what it's meant to do has already taken place. The heart has already changed. The individual has already believed and repented. So what's left to do? If not the sinner's prayer, then what???

Let me give you an example of what I have found. Here is a portion of scripture where Philip witnesses to an Ethiopian, who then receives Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

An Ethiopian Receives Christ
26 But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.) 27 So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” 30 Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this:

“He was led as a sheep to slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He does not open His mouth.
33 “In humiliation His judgment was taken away;
Who will relate His generation?
For His life is removed from the earth.”

"The eunuch answered Philip and said, 'Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?' 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. 36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, 'Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?' 37 And Philip said, 'If you believe with all your heart, you may.' And he answered and said, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.' 38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing." Acts 8:26-39 (NASB)

Look at verses 36-38. Then focus on verse 37. Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." Then the eunuch made a confession of belief, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God," and Philip baptized him in water. There was no sinner's prayer, only a confession of belief... of faith. This reminds me of another portion of scripture that says, "that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." Romans 10:9-10 (NASB)

With the heart a person believes and repents, resulting in righteousness (a transformation of the heart) and with the mouth, he confesses, resulting in salvation. It's the outward confession of the inward change that completes the transformation from lost sinner to newly born saint. Confession of our faith in Christ is important. Why? "And I say to you, anyone who confesses Me before men the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God" Luke 12:8 (NASB)  When we confess our faith in Christ before men, Jesus is then able to confess our name before the angels of heaven, declaring us as one of His adopted children. Oh, and such a moment that is! "I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." Luke 15:7 (NASB)

I can find no example in the New Testament where anyone was lead in a form of sinner's prayer leading to their salvation. Sinners were instructed to believe and confess. Belief is followed by repentance and confession of Jesus as Christ. There is no other standard set down by Jesus or the Apostles by which we are to include in this most personal act between the repentant sinner and God. To say that there is something more to do in order to receive salvation would be to add to the word of God something that just isn't there.

So, to answer my own question, "So what's left to do? If not the sinner's prayer, then what???" The answer is to request a confession of faith.  
You: "Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God sent to save you from sin's curse?"
Them: "Yes, I believe Jesus is the Son of God."
You: "You don't know how happy I am for you. Now let's talk about baptism, my brother/sister."

I could go on about forming close ties and possibly mentoring a few of those who God has rescued by the work of the Holy Spirit through you, or I could get into the subject of baptism, but that's not what this post is about.  

I hope I've given you something to think about. It's never easy to have a long held belief challenged, especially when it comes to our Christianity. I'm speaking from experience. What is important is that we take what we think we understand and hold it against the light of God's word. Does it hold up? If not, it's rubbish and needs to be excised from your life and tossed in the bin.


Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!
TribulationHarvest.net

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Am I Good Enough To Go To Heaven?

"Am I good enough to go to heaven? Yes, I think I am. Only people like Charles Manson, Nidal Hasan (the Ft. Hood killer), those Islamic guys that are beheading people in the middle east, child molesters, rapists and the like actually deserve to go to hell. Those are the really bad people."

Sounds reasonable, right? But if that's the criteria by which we are comparing our own actions to in order to determine if we are “good enough” to go to heaven or “bad enough” to go to hell, then most people should be heading for the pearly gates when they die, right?

Image from planet-science.com
Qualification for entrance to heaven (or hell) is not based on how we compare to others or how we compare to the standards we set for ourselves. Your life may look pretty good through your own eyes, but what if you looked at your life through the eyes of One who is sinless? What if we were judged not just by our actions, but by our thoughts? If we're not going to be honest with ourselves and admit that our actions alone would condemn us, then how about the thoughts that run through our head. What about how that flash of judgment that crossed your mind, ever so briefly, when you saw that grossly overweight woman at Walmart dressed in those tight and revealing clothes, folds of skin spilling out of ever strained edge of clothing? What about the hate (and angry words) that rose within you when someone righteously judged you of living in sin? What about those thoughts of how you were going to get even with the one who just stabbed you in the back at work? How about seeing someone attractive and contemplating, just for a moment, what they looked like naked or contemplating having sex with them if given the chance? Am I hitting home yet? No? What about advertising the short comings of others in order to make yourself look good? What about flaunting your “wealth” in front of those who are surviving from paycheck to paycheck? What about contemplating what new possession to purchase next instead of figuring out how you can spend that money to help those in need? That's just the tip of the iceberg. Unrighteous thoughts stream through our mind on a daily basis. Can you honestly say that you are in complete control of your thoughts and emotions? I didn't think so. Our “goodness” when compared to God’s standard for “good” falls far, far short.

The biggest mistake we make is when we trivialize our sins. Have you ever lied? We may say, “Yes, but they were little white lies, nothing serious. I never intended to hurt anyone when I lied.” Have you ever stolen something? We may say, “I've taken some office supplies or shop supplies home from work, but no one's going to miss them. Besides, I didn't have enough time to go shopping for them myself. I live a very busy life.” Can you see what we’re doing? We’re trivializing our crimes. What we’re saying is that what we did was of so little consequence that we can’t actually call them sins, but the bible warns, “He who says he has no sin deceives himself.” (1John 1:8)

The truth is if you've lied, then you are a liar. If I catch you in a lie, wouldn't I be just in lowering my level of trust in you? If you have stolen anything (the value of the stolen item is irrelevant), you are a thief. If I was at work with you and caught you walking out the door with company property, should I believe that you would never steal something of greater importance or value if given the opportunity? Maybe even steal from me?  If you've looked at someone with lust, then you are an adulterer. If you constantly lusted after women, would I trust you to be around my wife when I wasn't there (or would I even feel comfortable with you being around here even if I was there)? These may seem like small indiscretions, but they hold serious consequences, not just on a human level, but even greater on a spiritual level.

What we need to hear is the Judge’s ruling for lying and stealing and adultery. The judgment is that those who commit those sins shall "have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone." Revelation 21:8  

So, all liars, thieves and adulterers go to hell. You may say that you don’t believe in hell, but that’s just like a criminal saying that he doesn’t believe he'll ever be caught, tried and sent to prison. What we believe or don’t believe doesn’t change the outcome of God’s judgment.

If we are honest with ourselves, then we have to admit that we fall far short of God’s perfection. So what do we do? What can we do to make things right between us and God? Maybe church attendance or helping out the less fortunate. After all, good works must count for something, right? Maybe if the good things I do outweigh the bad, that will get me to heaven. No! Some religions may offer this destructive teaching, but nowhere in the bible does it state that we can do anything of ourselves to rid ourselves of the consequences of the sin in our life. Even ONE sin separates us from God. So what’s to become of us?

We must let go of our attempts to save ourselves and reach out to the One who can save us. The moment we cease our own attempts to sneak into heaven’s back gates and instead repent and believe in Jesus, depending on Him to save us, our life changes. The bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not works, lest anyone boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

You may still wonder how a perfect and loving God could send anyone to hell. To put it plainly, He doesn’t. Sin entered the world through Adam and Eve. They, in turn, passed this sin nature down through their offspring, infecting everyone who would ever be born. God created hell for Satan and the angels who rebelled against God. Hell was never intended for mankind, but mankind fell, and that opened them to eternal separation from God in hell because sin cannot enter God's presence in heaven. Thankfully, God created a way of escape for those who choose to repent and give their lives to Him. The Jewish people brought their sin offerings to the Lord at the Temple of God to be slain, the blood offered to temporarily cover their own sins. God did something much more wonderful. He sent the Perfect Lamb to be a sacrifice for us all. His shed blood didn't just cover our sin, His blood eradicated them broke Satan's power over us.

Those who seek to have their sins covered in the precious blood of the Lamb of God receive the gift He offers... the gift of forgiveness and of a restored relationship with our Father as we go from spiritual death to a total rebirth... a spiritual resurrection... being born again and receiving the promise of eternal life with God.

Yes, those who surrender their lives to God and live for Him receive this gift, but those who do not make that choice remain in their sinful state and await the judgment that comes for all who die in their sins. Many who hear about this gift don’t take the opportunity to ask for it. They would rather complain and argue about why God would let mankind sin in the first place or why He made a man who was capable of sin, rather than stop, think and repent. Unfortunately, they would rather keep arguing, using human knowledge and understanding, making vain arguments all because they can't fathom the things of God.

Be encouraged, because just as God has continued to call out to you to repent, He continues to call everyone else who is unsaved, offering them this free gift of salvation. Most will scoff at the offer or outright refuse to hear anything about it. Will you be one of them or will you heed the call of Jesus and finally take that step forward, choosing Him and the eternal destiny He has for you? It’s your choice whether to spend eternity with God. YOUR CHOICE! To do nothing is to choose to stay the way you are.

"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18

First published on June 3, 2010

Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!
TribulationHarvest.net

For My Yoke Is Easy And My Burden Is Light

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"   2 Corinthians 6:14


These scriptures are staples of our Christian walk. Let’s look at this from a Jewish perspective.

From what I understand, during the time of Jesus’ ministry here on earth, a Rabbi's yoke was his way of interpreting the Torah.  The way to find out what a Rabbi’s yoke was, was to ask him what he thought was the most important commandment.

What was Jesus’ yoke?  Let’s see what His answer was when He was asked what the most important commandment was:
36Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37And He said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38This is the great and foremost commandment. 39The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40

So what is Jesus’ yoke? Love God/Love your neighbor.  If that’s the yoke, then what’s the burden we’re pulling along with us? The burden is keeping the word of God.

The yoke is used to make the burden lighter.  If the yoke is to love God and to love our neighbor, then love compels us to keep the word of God, making the burden of keeping God’s word easier... lighter.  

Being unequally yoked means you are unable to keep up with what you’re yoked to because of size or ability or because of walking in opposing directions.  If the yoke you've taken up causes you to walk beside someone other than Jesus, then you are automatically unequally yoked.

We can apply the yoke to different areas of our lives, like marriage, relationships, etc… but I believe the crux of this scripture is all about Jesus!  If we’re not yoked along side Jesus, then who or what are we yoked to?  Religion?  Self?  Poverty?  Stress?  Anger? 

We need to be yoked to Jesus.  He’ll never take us in a direction we shouldn't be moving in or travel faster than we are able.

First published on July 9, 2013.

Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!
TribulationHarvest.net

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Stop Casting Pearls and Start Shaking The Dust Off Your Feet Christians!!!

As Christians, we know how subtle the enemy (Satan) can be. He often dissuades us from pursuing a relationship with God and tries to convince us to take a break from Christianity for a while, hoping to separate us from Him and lead us to that wide and easy path that leads to death. What we don't expect from the enemy is encouragement to continue witnessing to the lost.

What???  Satan convinces us to continue witnessing? I believe that he does, and here is why I say that. He convinces us to continue witnessing to a resistant soul, someone who is so entangled in the enemy's web that the enemy is convinced he/she will never submit to God. Why would he do this? Think about it. If the enemy can get you to spend your time constantly witnessing to a resistant individual who does nothing but reject God and mock you, then those unsaved individuals out there who are truly seeking the truth will be, for the most part, ignored.  Great plan, don't you think?

There are those who eagerly accept the word of God, and there are those who reject it outright. The problem I used to have (and many Christians still have) is that I used to spend a lot of time trying to use the word of God to show people that God is real and that they need to repent of their sin. Unfortunately, the more resistant a person was to receiving the word of God, the more time was taken away from those who were urgently seeking someone to answer their questions about salvation.

Look, Jesus gave us the perfect example on how to deal with non-believers who totally reject who God is.
  • Don’t cast your pearls before them (they’re just going to trash the word of God). 
    • Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." Matthew 7:6
  • Shake the dust off your feet and walk away (if they’re not going to accept the salvation message, move on).  
    • "Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet."  Matthew 10:14
  • Let the blind lead the blind (if they’re intent on continuing in the same direction, let them go).  
    • Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Matthew 15:14
We can’t neglect the rest of the harvest just because of one person. The consequences of that are just too great.  

Jesus taught those who wanted to listen.  I don’t recall any recorded incident in the bible where Jesus purposely sat down with those who rejected Him and tried to convince them otherwise. Everyone makes that personal decision whether to believe and repent or to deny and remain blissfully ignorant. Who were those who followed Jesus out into the fields and hills? While some were there to mock Him or test Him, the majority were those who wanted to hear what He had to say, to sit under this Prophet's teaching. They were those who thirsted after God.

We must understand that having a human nature means that we take on much more responsibility than God wants us to have.  We constantly have to battle that way of thinking.  It’s the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to convict the sinner, to open his eyes and to change his heart.  It’s His responsibility to convince the sinner of who God is.  Our job is to share the word of God with those who will listen and to point people to Jesus.  If they truly don't have any desire to give their life to God, then we’re to move on, NOT double down and put a more concerted effort and increased time into trying to convince them otherwise.

"That's not loving... we need to fight for them until the very end... how can you call yourself a Christian if you're willing to give up on them so easily? Surely God didn't say... Can you hear the enemy's voice?  He's trying to make us feel guilty for abandoning someone to hell.  Don't listen to him.  The enemy uses this flaw in Christians to delay them from reaching those who the enemy knows are on the verge of repentance or who have opened their heart enough to begin seeking the truth.  He has convinced Christians that we can’t love the sinner if we’re willing to walk away, but that’s a lie.  We've been instructed by God to do just that.  

For those who have hardened their heart against God, our personal walk with the Lord is our witness.  That doesn't mean that we don't pray for all of those who have rejected Him.  Our prayers for lost souls is powerful, but let's us not be deceived into believing that our one-on-one witnessing is the only way to witness to these individuals who have a heart of stone.

So what do I suggest?  If someone doesn't accept the salvation message, offer to give them some information (tracts) or point them to a specific Christian web site.  If they won’t accept the information, then let them know that you’re there for them if they have any questions or if they need prayer.  Always share the love of Christ with them through selfless acts and a warm smile.   That is a wonderful witness.  


The most important thing is to allow God to place you in the harvest field to reap as much fruit as possible before your time here on earth is over.  We're called to plant, sow and reap the harvest.  We're not called to pull up the tares.  We need to leave that to God.  Continue to pray for those who have rejected the message of Jesus Christ, but continue even more in pursuing those who are hungry for Him.



Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!
TribulationHarvest.net

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Ottoman Empire Is Being Revived As The Feet Of Iron And Clay



Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!
TribulationHarvest.net

Friday, August 01, 2014

And God Will Send Them A Strong Delusion

As the millennial reign of Christ approaches, so do the ominous hoof beats of the coming Tribulation. Biblical prophecy makes it clear that God is going to send a powerful delusion upon an unrepentant population. (2 Thess. 2:8-12)

Ever since sin entered the garden, mankind has chosen self over God. It is the result of our fallen nature. God has been patient, giving mankind every opportunity to repent, but time is running short.

The desire to live our own lives apart from God is just as strong today as it was in the beginning. Today, we have Wicca, Scientology, Humanism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Universalism, Rastafarianism, Agnosticism, Atheism, Islam, etc... Mankind's attempt to bring meaning to their lives apart from YHWH continues to occupy the minds of the majority of the population as they spend their time fulfilling their own desires and seeking their own "truth"... a truth that fits their own individual moral code. Christians know there is only one "truth," and that is Jesus (John 14:6)

What happens when an individual, group, city, nation or worldwide population becomes stiff necked, hard hearted, and turn their backs on God, choosing instead to satisfy their own fleshly desires and worship their own false gods? The bible is full of examples of the consequences of these actions. Here are just a few you may be familiar with:

- The fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 3)
- The great worldwide flood. (Genesis 6-7)
- The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and their inhabitants. (Genesis 19:1-25)
- The fall of Nineveh (Nahum 1-3)
- 40 Years of wandering in the desert because a generation was denied entrance into the promised land. (Numbers 14)
... and numerous incidences of God's chosen being taken into captivity.

After these judgments, mankind, as a whole, has still refused to repent. Lessons learned are soon forgotten as time passes and memories fade. So here we are today, in what people would like to believe is a more enlightened age. As mankind continues to push God away, they are unwittingly setting themselves up for the consequences to follow, just as those who have lived before us have done. This time, the consequences will involve falling under a strong delusion that God is going to send during the Tribulation.

What exactly is the definition of a delusion?

Strong's: Delusion(4106) plané Error, delusion, deception

Oxford Dictionary: "an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument..."

Cambridge Dictionary: "something a person believes and wants to be true, when it is actually not true"

Mirriam Webster: "something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated"

Some of the consequences of this "delusion" will be:

-Being ensnared by a one world religion and one world government/economic system
- Receiving the mark of the Beast, declaring themselves an enemy of God, suffering God's wrath during the Tribulation, and sealing their ultimate fate.
- Being deceived into believing that Christians are the enemy and participating in the worldwide persecution and execution of born-again believers.

So, who exactly are these people who will fall under this strong deceptive influence? Read Romans 1:18-32, John 8:42-47, and 2 Thess. 2:8-12. As you can see, mankind hasn't changed throughout the course of human history. Mankind's increase in knowledge has allowed us to invent new and convenient ways to sin, but our sin nature has not changed. It rules the lives of those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and of those who refuse to live in obedience to God's word.  Sin also challenges born-again believers, who continue to live in these fleshly tents and experience daily battles.

Man's heart is wicked, God's word tells us so (Jeremiah 17:9, Matthew 15:19). Being under the influence of this strong delusion will cause reason and logic to fly out the window. As a result, the majority will not experience a repentant heart as they endure the judgments of God during the Tribulation. No. Instead of coming to God on their knees, they will do just the opposite. They will shake their fists at God, curse Him, and reject Him. (Rev. 16:8-11)

When we harden our heart toward God, our connection with Him is severed. We hinder and quench the Holy Spirit and begin living our lives in the flesh. (Heb 3:12-19 , Prov. 29:1 and 1 Thess. 5:19) Those promises of God that we believed He would fulfill (if we ever truly believed in Him) are void, because they are conditional. Many people throughout biblical history have hardened their heart toward God and lived to realize the consequences of their actions:

- Pharoah
- The generation that perished as they wandered for 40 years in the desert
- King Nebuchadnezzar

Even the disciples had developed a hard heart which blinded them to the truth (Mark 6:35-52, Mark 8:14-21).

Why would a loving God purposely send a strong delusion to deceive those who have not yet made a decision for Jesus? Wouldn't that be a contradiction in God's word? Didn't Yeshua (Jesus) die so that all could be saved?

God will be sending this strong delusion at a time when born-again believers have already been raptured, rescued in the blink of an eye from the 7-year tribulation to come. Those remaining on the earth will be in one of two groups:

- Those who come to repentance and choose to live their life for Yeshua (yes, it is still possible to become a born-again believer during the Tribulation).
- Those who will continue to reject God.

Unfortunately, with the Holy Spirit no longer holding back the full force of evil in the world after the rapture, Christians during this time will suffer worldwide persecution. That would include the United States as well. Even now, Christians are being persecuted all over the world.  Even in the United States, bible believing Christians are being classified as radicals and possible terrorists.  We are in the first stages of worsening persecution.

During the Tribulation, those living under this strong delusion will honestly believe that they are performing a beneficial act for the good of mankind and world peace by persecuting, arresting, torturing and killing those that they deem "intolerant," "racist," "judgmental," "divisive," "dangerous," and, believe it or not, "delusional." But that's not all. Sin's ferocity, no longer restrained, will be multiplied many times over.

This strong delusion will help the Antichrist affirm his position as the head of the New World Order, a one world government.  Most inhabitants of the planet will see him as mankind's savior during a time of economic and social upheaval.

To recap:

- Biblical prophecy reveals that God is going to send a strong worldwide delusion during the Tribulation.
- This delusion will affect everyone who is not a true born-again believer.
- Those under this delusion will eagerly and willingly take the mark of the Beast and even worship him and his image.
- Christians will be persecuted and martyred by those who believe they are actually doing something good.
- Biblical history reveals a multitude of examples of God's righteous judgments against a wicked, rebellious and unrepentant individual, group, city, nation and world population.
- This delusion will help cement the position of the Antichrist as the head of the one world government and as mankind's savior.
- This is just the precursor to their eventual defeat and eternal punishment.

Don't leave yourself open to this delusion.  Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior today.  

All scripture, unless otherwise noted, is quoted from the New American Standard Bible

Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!
TribulationHarvest.net

Thursday, May 15, 2014

'Gay Christian' or 'Christian Fighting Same Sex Attraction?'

How we define ourselves goes a long way in determining what kind of Christian we are and are to become. We can be focused so much on the sin that plagues our life that we tend to let the sin define who we are. I would like to focus on a label that continues to be a major issue to the church... gay Christians.

I was once asked by a friend why Christians focus so much on homosexuals when there are so many other sinful people out in the world that we deal with on a daily basis. The truth is, those other sinful individuals aren't in our schools trying to teach our children that such behavior is acceptable. Those other groups of individuals aren't marching in parades flaunting their sin. Those other groups of individuals aren't trying to normalize their behavior, making it acceptable to live a sin-filled life while still professing to be a Christian.

Let's just look at the label, “gay Christian.” The word, “gay,” describes the Christian, making their sexual identity more important than their “Christian” identity. There is a difference between being a “gay Christian” and being a “Christian who struggles with same sex attraction.” One places the focus on 'self' and the other on 'Christ.' It's all semantics, isn't it? No, it's not.

I've seen Christians give up the fight and settle confidently into a gay relationship, boasting online and in public how satisfied they are in their new found freedom. How could that happen? How could someone who was fighting the good fight suddenly give up on what they confessed was a sinful lifestyle? The answer is complicated. For some, it begins by doubting God and who He really is. For others, it begins by questioning God's word. It begins by imagining what it would be like to stop fighting a battle that's taken so much effort to wage, making them feel weary and weak. It begins by wanting to come out of the shadows and finally reveal a secret that they have tried so hard to keep hidden from everyone for so many years.

You see, during this time, the enemy is interfering with their thought process. He's trying to steer them into a “Garden of Eden” moment when they will listen to his subtle lies mixed with truth, a twist of scripture, a moment of doubt, a promise of something better. Eventually, the individual begins to believe the lies. Maybe God made them this way and this is the lifestyle God chose for them. Maybe those scriptures they stood on in the battle with the enemy don't really mean what Christians say they mean. Christ never specifically spoke out against homosexuality. John and Jesus loved each other. The scriptures in the OT that forbade homosexuality are law, and we are no longer under the law. Love is love, right? So it doesn't matter who you're with as long as you love them.

They forget that the enemy is the father of lies. He's been a liar from the beginning of time and he continues to lie. For the Christian who fights same sex attraction, a twist of scripture, a change of view, and the promise of ending the battle is so tempting, but as we know, it's also a path to destruction. God doesn't just call homosexuality a sin, He calls it an “abomination.”

When they embrace the gay lifestyle, their god is no longer the God of the bible, but a false god; a god they've created who resembles the one true God, but is, in fact, an counterfeit. The god they create is a god who accepts their lifestyle as god-ordained and blessed, not sinful. Their lives are no longer lead by the Spirit, but by self. They dismiss conviction, but what they're actually doing is quenching the Spirit, attempting to smother His voice while turning up the volume on the voice that keeps assuring them that they are going in the right direction. Many of their decisions (politics, education, spirituality, etc...) now become based on what would be beneficial in promoting and/or normalizing their chosen lifestyle instead of what Jesus would command they should do.

How we identify ourselves is important because it sets the stage for the decisions we make in the present, which will affect our future. Are you defined by who you are in the world or who you are in Christ? Are you a 'gay Christian' or are you a 'Christian battling same sex attraction?' Will you continue to fight the good fight and endure to the end?

Don't let your same sex struggle define who you are. Put Jesus first and remind yourself often that there is a reward waiting for you when you complete this race. The fight may be difficult and you may feel you are living a life that is contrary to what your sexual attraction may be, but God will either deliver you from those desires or give you the strength every day to endure. The most important thing to do is to keep Jesus at the center of your life, the center of your attention. Read His word. Talk with Him and open your heart to Him. Having same sex attraction isn't sinful. Acting upon those desires is. Be strong in the Lord!!!

Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!
TribulationHarvest.net