Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Return of the King

 I am taking this time to do some rambling.  I know there will be those who disagree with me and that is alright.  If my opinions are wrong, then there is nothing to worry about.  However, if I am right there is much to worry about and what happens to you both physically and spiritually will be devastating. Just give this some thought and prepare yourself spiritually for the coming events.
As we have entered the season of remembering the birth of Christ we look back to the past on that night in Bethlehem in a manger where Christ was born.  Yet, there is a more significant event that we should be looking to celebrate, and that is the coming of Jesus Christ KING of Kings and LORD of Lord.
Every Christmas season Laverna will watch several Christmas movies. Some may be musicals, but most are stories with a touchy-feely Christmas theme. They were warm, entertaining, and usually try to communicate a moral or positive message about hope, giving, and loving one another. But generally, they never come close to describing the true faith of Christmas as it is found in the coming of Jesus Christ according to the facts of Scripture. As stated by the Apostle, they were without real hope.  The world was looking for hope when Jesus came as the baby in the manger.  Today the world is watching again for someone to bring hope.  Someone who can stop the evil that has infected mankind.  The days are filled with evil and violence and getting worse every day. 
Our church just completed a study in the book of Revelation.  One of the lessons I have learned from this study is the realities in which we need to prepare for the coming persecution of Christians.  In the day we are living where everyone is easily offended, I wonder how Christians will be able to survive the coming persecution when the personal trials and tribulation we face as the regular part of daily life are so devastating to many so-called Christians?
I would like to preach and teach more about the coming events of the end times, but Christians today can't even survive the regular daily trials without falling apart.   A prolific biblical point is that followers of Christ will face trials and tribulations on a regular basis. The fact of the Christian facing trials is not a matter of “if,” but a matter of “when.” We see this repeatedly in passages like 1 Peter 4:12:
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange was happening to you. – 1 Peter 4:12
Unfortunately, the health and wealth brands of Christianity has deceived most American Christians into thinking following Christ is just a bed of roses. There will be challenges to the faith, and as American Christians, we don’t know this; and, American pastors aren’t telling us anything different. So, we are sheep headed to the slaughter. Right now, 42 million professed Christians in America have given up on their faith, and most of which did so when faced with a severe trial. American Christians must be prepared to face real difficulties of faith.
The Christian persecution seen on the news in the Middle East is a normal part of following Christ.
Christians should expect difficulty. Scripture even goes as far as to teach that we should expect persecution. Listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 10:22-23:
All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted… – Matthew 10:22–23
Did you catch it said “when” you are persecuted? America has been an anomaly compared to Christian history and most of the world today. Persecution is the default response from the world to Christians. So, as stories of Christian persecution in the Middle East, Northern Africa, and North Korea shock us in America, we must realize that is the norm. We also need to know that we are called to remain faithful when faced with persecution. American Christians need to know that God has called us to be martyrs and not to deny our faith. And unfortunately, we must understand this because at some point towards the end-times there will be universal persecution. If America is around at that point, then one can guarantee Christians in America will be persecuted.
The United States will not exist as a world superpower forever.  I know, you believe I am wearing my tin-foil hat.   Contrary to what is often said, we are given many precise details of the end-of-this-age. In those details, we can know the nations involved in the empire of the Leopard, Bear, and Lion. Even within the aspects that are debated, it’s clear that America is at best diminished in power before the empire of the Leopard, Bear, and Lion rises to power.  And if we’re struggling to remain faithful now in America, we’ll fare even worse in the face of national calamity. We need to prepare to stay faithful when life is difficult.
Now, I don’t pretend to know a time-frame for this.   However, the Bible is accurate in giving us the signs of the end time.  The American Church as we know it will change.  Right now, there are over 300,000 Protestant churches in America. Just do the division (300,000 divided by 50 states), and that's an average of 6,000 churches per state.
This reality that we need to prepare to face goes together with the previous reality. If America faces tribulation and changes so will churches in America. But I believe church as we know it can change far before that point.
What will happen when there is no one willing to serve as pastor?
    At any given time, 75% of pastors in America want to quit.
    More than 2000 pastors are leaving the ministry each month.  That is 24,000 each year.
What will happen when churches close because of a lack of support? The support of the church is based on giving.  There is a push to eliminate charitable contribution as a tax deduction. When tax exemptions are removed, donors will give far less than they are giving now. Churches will become liable to property taxes. That means that many churches will have to forfeit their property to the government because they won’t be able afford the taxes. Many of them wouldn’t be able to pay them now. If donations went down, they would be that much further from being able to pay them. As a result, churches that reside on valuable properties in urban locations would be immediately vulnerable. Eventually, so would everyone else.
What will happen when Christians are reporting other Christians for "Hate Crimes"?  Hate Crime laws aim to impose on the nation a relativistic, amoral and necessarily anti-Christian worldview, opposed not only to Biblical teachings but also to natural law as perceived by human reason. This anti-Christian worldview is ideological and provides the philosophical rationale for the antichristian.
Hate Crimes include being prejudice. Defined “prejudice” to include the “bigoted thoughts” of religious organizations.  If a church teaches same-sex marriage is wrong, it becomes bigotry!  If you speak against the sinful actions of a person, it becomes a “hate incident” as “harmful words or actions” motivated by “prejudice,” which specifically includes “religious beliefs.”  In other words, if you have moral principles based on your religious faith you are prejudiced!  
 Again, if we are struggling to remain faithful in such times of blessings how will we stay faithful when times are difficult? Whether that is the way in which things for the church will change who knows? And at that, the loss of giving is probably the least of what could happen to the American church.
I know that there are those who do not care about what could happen because they believe they will not be here when evil become rampant. Mainly they think there will be a rapture before the seven years of tribulation.  A recent Newsweek poll found that 55 percent of Americans believe the Rapture is real, and a Pew Research Center survey revealed that 27 percent of U.S. Christians believe a related event, Jesus' return to earth, will "definitely" happen by 2050.
Six in 10 evangelical leaders, or 61 percent, say they believe in the Rapture of the Church compared to 32 percent who say the End Times doesn't happen exactly this way, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey.
 But we need to consider that the rapture might not happen at all before the so called 7 year tribulation.    
    Christians currently face persecution in 105 of the world’s 196 countries in a geographic sweep which extends across northern and western Africa, across the Middle East, throughout Asia and down into Indonesia.
    There were more than 26 million documented cases of martyrdom in the 20th century alone.
Most Western Christians genuinely have NO IDEA what life has been like for some Christians in other areas of the world. Islam has used crucifixion as a form of punishment since medieval times. According to the Quran, resisting Islam is met by death, crucifixion, or the cutting off hands and feet (Surah 5:33). Today, the media is mostly silent and politically correct on such barbaric activities, but it cannot hide the fact that it is happening in the 21st century under political Islam.
I gave this information to show that there is great persecution taking place right now.  Yet, this is not accepted as the Great Tribulation that is to take place in 3 ½ years after the Rapture takes place.  Could it be that the prophecy experts have it all wrong?
If you are found to be a Christian by the religious police in Saudi Arabia, they behead you. In China, untold hundreds of thousands have died for the sake of Jesus. In fact, worldwide, about 30,000 Christians are being killed every week because they won’t deny Jesus as Lord.  And you think because God has spared the church in America that “the great tribulation” is in the future?
Don’t you realize that it’s just the mercy of God that tribulation hasn’t come to America-yet? I am concerned about the American church’s ignorance and arrogance.  But of course, none of the above is bad enough to be formally classed as “the great tribulation.”  Your view might change if it is you, your wife or your child that had to give their life for the Lord, but I doubt it. We’ll close our eyes and keep on singing, “Happy, happy, happy when THE tribulation comes, we’ll all be raptured out.”
How many times have I heard the Great Tribulation is not about Christians but about Jews.  In just about every discussion about the rapture, you will hear mention of the Great Tribulation, the most significant persecution of Christians and Jews in world history. Many people believe that the Great Tribulation is a time of trial specifically and exclusively for the nation of Israel. Therefore, the Church will be raptured before this time.  The Great Tribulation is the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. 

There are those who believe that two out of every three Jews will be killed during this time.  That means that out of the 14 million plus Jews living in the world today only about 4.6 million will survive this period of persecution before the LORD returns. By the way, 5.5 million of them live in the United States.
Does this argument hold up?  I don’t think so.
The Great Tribulation is described in Matthew 24, Jesus' famous Olivet Discourse, which gives us some of the details about the first half of the 70th Week. Jesus described the Great Tribulation this way:
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake, those days will be shortened. Then, if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the `Christ!' or `There!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore, if they say to you, `Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or `Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24: 21-27).
It is understandable, why many believers would want to keep the Church out of the Great Tribulation.  The danger to America, however, lies in those who have embraced a theology less than 200 years old. It gives them a free Rapture ticket. While they are sure there will be a great Tribulation--of wars ending in a final war--they are brainwashed to believe they won't suffer a moment of agony.

One of the most common arguments used for this purpose is that when Jesus spoke about this terrible time, He was not talking to the Church; He was talking to Old Testament Jews. When Jesus gave the Olivet Discourse, the Church did not yet exist because He had not yet died, risen, and ascended to heaven, and the Holy Spirit had not yet been poured out at Pentecost. Therefore, proponents of this view conclude, the entire context of this discussion should only be applied to Israel.
I disagree. While the disciples were unaware of the future formation of the Body of Christ, Jesus certainly wasn't. He repeatedly referred to mysteries such as the sending of the Holy Spirit, His crucifixion, and the spiritual kingdom of God that were not to be understood by Jewish and Gentile believers until sometime later.
Also keep in mind that, when Jesus described the Great Tribulation, the disciples to whom Jesus spoke were the same disciples that became the foundation of the Church at Pentecost. In fact, this chapter begins with a question from His disciples: “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matt. 24:2). These disciples were essentially asking, “What is the sign of Your coming for us? When is the end of the age for us?” They weren't asking about when the end of the age would come for another group of people. They were asking on behalf of themselves.
Jesus answers the disciples by talking about the events that lead up to and includes the Great Tribulation. If the Church will be raptured before the Great Tribulation, as many believe, Jesus never answered their question. In fact, He was downright misleading. This is not an acceptable conclusion.
But Jesus does answer their question. After describing the Great Tribulation, He goes on to say: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24: 29-31).
There can be no more clear, direct response than that. The disciples asked, "When are you coming back?" Jesus told them. We know from the many, many scriptures in the New Testament (none clearer than Acts 1:9) that, when He comes back, He comes back only once.
And remember, too, that Jesus was talking to believers, not unbelieving Jews. This means that the Church can expect to go through the period He just described. We see the same pattern in 1 Peter. In 1 Peter 4:7, Peter makes it clear that his frame of reference is the end times — “the end of all things is at hand” — then he goes on to admonish his flock: “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you” (1 Peter 4:12). Peter then concludes, “but partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (v. 13). Here, we see the trial by fire immediately preceding Christ's return and the warning not to be surprised or deceived — the same pattern as in Matthew 24.
The fact that the Church will be present during the Great Tribulation is reinforced by the fact that, throughout the Olivet Discourse, Jesus kept saying, “you.” When you see the abomination of desolation when you see these things beginning to occur. He was clearly referring to the disciples in their future identities, as members of the New Testament Church, not their identities as Old Testament Jews that they would leave behind.
The Bible teaches that the Church will endure the Great Tribulation, the most significant time of persecution and martyrdom of believers in world history. This is why Jesus tells us three times in this passage not to be deceived (Matt. 24:23-26) and not to look for Him until the appropriate time. When is the appropriate time? When the sign of the Son of Man flashes from the east to the west (Matt. 24:29). At this time, every believer will look up. Jesus will break through the clouds, with the blast of a heavenly trumpet, to take believers to glory (Matt. 24:29-31). But make no mistake: this glorious event will not occur until after the opening of the sixth seal — after Great Tribulation is complete.
Here is a warning that was given by Paul, I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. – Romans 11:25
In 1966, there were some heated discussions taking place in some evangelical churches about the Second Coming of Christ.  It was during that time I started reading the history of the doctrines that were the prevalent view of the Church.  What I found was many of the prevailing views have extremely shaky biblical support—one of which is the restoration of Israel. The predominant view of replacement theology flies in the face of the bulk of biblical support. This phenomenon is also true when it comes to the location of the empire of the Beast Nearly uncontested since the first century, Christianity has held to the idea that the empire of the Antichrist would be a revived Roman Empire in Rome. But the biblical support for this is very weak, while all the while there is clear evidence in Scripture for a Middle Eastern location of the empire of the Beast in Revelation. It is also clear that the empire of the Beast will be a revised Ottoman Empire or in other words, an Islamic Caliphate. With this being the case, the present rise of Islam and especially Turkey means that the empire of the Beast is rising right now. By 2028 Islam will be the world largest religion.
We are in the end times now.  It is not some future event that will happen but is taking place today right before our eyes.  In the next few years, you will see people giving up their humanity to be controlled by AI. The age-old promise of becoming a god is about to become a reality in our own time.  As mankind turns away from God and places his trust in his own devices, the door will be opened for Satan to control the very thoughts and actions of man.  Those who do not go along with these advancements will be eradicated.   

According to SingularityHub an AI website here are eight areas where we’ll see extraordinary transformation by 2025:
In 2025, $1,000 should buy you a computer able to calculate at 10^16 cycles per second (10,000 trillion cycles per second), the equivalent processing speed of the human brain.
November of this year a giant supercomputer built by the University of Manchester is now ready to start running real-time simulations of regions of the brain. Named SpiNNaker (Spiking Neural Network Architecture), this machine operates via a “massively parallel” computing platform, meaning it sends small bits of information to multiple destinations at the same time, just like the brain. The machine took 12 years of construction and over $15 million of investment to complete.
The Internet of things (IoT) is the network of devices, vehicles, and home appliances that contain electronics, software, actuators, and connectivity which allows these things to connect, interact and exchange data.  IoT involves extending Internet connectivity beyond standard devices, such as desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets, to any range of traditionally dumb or non-internet-enabled physical devices and everyday objects. Embedded with technology, these devices can communicate and interact over the Internet, and they can be remotely monitored and controlled.
The Internet of Everything describes the networked connections between devices, people, processes and data. By 2025, the IoE will exceed 100 billion connected devices, each with a dozen or more sensors collecting data. This will lead to a trillion-sensor economy driving a data revolution beyond our imagination. Cisco’s recent report estimates the IoE will generate $19 trillion of newly created value.
We’re heading towards a world of perfect knowledge. With a trillion sensors gathering data everywhere (autonomous cars, satellite systems, drones, wearables, cameras), you’ll be able to know anything you want, anytime, anywhere, and query that data for answers and insights.
You will become as a god.  All-knowing.
8 Billion Hyper-Connected People is taking place right now. Facebook (, SpaceX, Google (Project Loon), Qualcomm and Virgin (OneWeb) are planning to provide global connectivity to every human on Earth at speeds exceeding one megabit per second.
We will grow from three to eight billion connected humans, adding five billion new consumers into the global economy. They represent tens of trillions of new dollars flowing into the global economy. And they are not coming online as we did 20 years ago with a 9600 modem on AOL. They’re coming online with a 1 Mbps connection and access to the world’s information on Google, cloud 3D printing, Amazon Web Services, artificial intelligence with Watson, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, and more.
The entire health industry will change. Existing healthcare institutions will be crushed as new business models with better and more efficient care emerge. Thousands of startups, as well as today’s data giants (Google, Apple, Microsoft, SAP, IBM, etc.),  will all enter this lucrative $3.8 trillion healthcare industry with new business models that dematerialize, demonetize and democratize today’s bureaucratic and inefficient system.
Biometric sensing (wearables) and AI will make each of us the CEOs of our own health. Large-scale genomic sequencing and machine learning will allow us to understand the root cause of cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative disease and what to do about it. Robotic surgeons can carry out an autonomous surgical procedure perfectly (every time) for pennies on the dollar. Each of us will be able to regrow a heart, liver, lung or kidney when we need it, instead of waiting for the donor to die.  This is happening now, not in the future.
Augmented and Virtual Reality has been used to play games, but that is changing.  Billions of dollars invested by Facebook (Oculus), Google (Magic Leap), Microsoft (Hololens), Sony, Qualcomm, HTC and others will lead to a new generation of displays and user interfaces.
The screen as we know it — on your phone, your computer and your TV — will disappear and be replaced by eyewear. Not the geeky Google Glasses, but stylish eyewear. The result will be a massive disruption in several industries ranging from consumer retail to real estate, education, travel, entertainment, and the fundamental ways we operate as humans.
The movie Iron Man had an AI called JARVIS that controlled the suit worn by Tony Stark.  Artificial intelligence research has made strides in the past few years. If you think Siri is useful now, the next decade’s generation of Siri will be much more like JARVIS from Iron Man, with expanded capabilities to understand and answer. Companies like IBM Watson, DeepMind and Vicarious, continue to develop next-generation AI systems. In a decade, it will be normal for you to give your AI access to listen to all your conversations, read your emails and scan your biometric data because the upside and convenience will be so immense.   You may not realize it, but right now you are being programmed for just such a time.  How many times have you been asked by your computer to allow you to control your phone messages, your location, and your email accounts?  What is happening in your life is being taken over by AI.
You will find it to your advantage to surrender your will to be controlled by a machine.

Another area of control that is taking place right now is called Blockchain.  If you haven’t heard of the blockchain, I highly recommend you read up on it. You might have heard of bitcoin, which is the decentralized (global), democratized, highly secure cryptocurrency based on the blockchain. But the real innovation is the blockchain itself, a protocol that allows for secure, direct (without a middleman), digital transfers of value and assets (think money, contracts, stocks, IP). Investors like Marc Andreesen have poured tens of millions into the development and believe this is as important of an opportunity as the creation of the Internet itself.
Two years ago, about 150 central bankers from 60 countries around the world convened at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the 40th anniversary of its annual central banking seminar, a private event titled “Policy Implications of Persistent Low Inflation and Rates.”
Economic and financial luminaries such as economist and Harvard president emeritus Lawrence Summers, founder of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Ray Dalio and the People’s Bank of China deputy governor Yi Gang gave talks on the low-interest rate, low-growth environment and monetary policy around the globe.
And then there was a presentation, “The Digital Asset Economy,” by a different type of financial player: Adam Ludwin, chief executive officer of Chain, a San Francisco-based startup helping enterprise clients such as Visa, Citi, Nasdaq and other giants of finance capitalize on blockchains, the technology behind Bitcoins.
Ludwin said, “A lot of times you hear, ‘10 years from now, maybe one government will issue their money on a blockchain,’” he said. “I don’t think it’s 10 years. I think it’s within five, for sure.” Part of it is driven by the private sector enthusiasm, said Ludwin, whose company has partnered with incumbents such as Visa, Citi, Nasdaq, Fiserv, Capital One, Fidelity, State Street and others: “The private sector projects we are working on anticipate and are eager to have a central bank currency as a feature in the long run.”
A one world economy is just around the corner.
You many not believe as an American Christian that tribulation and persecution are coming your way.  You may feel that you belong to an exceptional group of Christians that will not suffer for the cause of Christ.  I hope you are right.  I pray that you never are faced with the persecution Christians around the world are seeing today.  Just keep this in mind.  If you are not on board with the changes coming to the world, you will be viewed as a problem of society.  These changes are happening in the next few years, some are here already.  The question is, are you ready for the hour of tribulation that is coming to America?  Are you willing to stand for what is right and true?  Jesus is coming back again will you be ready?  Will your faith remain steadfast?  As we celebrate this season of remembering the birth of Christ, remember He is coming again will you be ready?

1 comment:

  1. There's no reason to despair for there's always someone there that loves you more than you'll ever know doesn't matter what's in store. When it all comes to an end He will take us by the hand and He'll show us throught the land where Peace and Joy will never end. If we stay faithful.