“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”
When I made the decision after a 44 year career in mid-2016 to retire at the end of the year, my wife Diane and my plan was to move from Jackson, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee to be near our 3 children and their families. Many people asked me my future plans after retirement and my typical response was to lose weight, get in shape, spend time with the family and that I wanted to write a book. When asked what I wanted to write about there was a high level of surprise from most when I told them I wanted to write about Biblical prophecies and how I believe they pertain to our lives today. What few knew about me was that I have studied eschatology (the study of Biblical prophecy) since the fall of 1976, over forty years ago. This has entailed reading hundreds of books, watching TV programs, attending conferences and getting numerous blogs. So, if I may, let me quickly explain how I got to this point in my life.
I was raised along with two brothers and a sister by a single mother who was a very strong Christian. We grew up in a traditional Lutheran church in Rosemead, California. As an 18 year old freshman at Occidental College I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting held in my dorm. I was so excited I borrowed a car from a friend and drove home that night to tell my mom the good news! I had accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior! Years later, I was at dinner with a friend and somehow we got talking about end-times prophecy and I was asked if I had ever read Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” (which by the way has now sold over 15 million copies). I had not and my friend lent it to me that night to read. I remember distinctly going to bed around 10:30PM and starting to read it. I stayed up all night. I simply could not put it down and read it in it’s entirety that night!
What struck me more than anything else was his basic premise that in numerous places in the Bible, the one pre-requisite for all end time’s prophecies to be fulfilled required FIRST that the Jews must RETURN to their homeland of Israel. This occurred officially on May 14, 1948 when the nation of Israel declared their independence. Interestingly, the vast majority of the Bible was written while the Jews were still in their land and refers to the fact that in the last days “when the Jews are back in their land”, those things predicted for the end times would soon occur. It was in 70 A.D. when the Roman emperor Titus conquered Jerusalem and dispersed the Jews to the four corners of the world. This started a 2,000 year diaspora to 70 countries where the Jews were absent from their God given land but held hope for “Next year in Jerusalem”. When the Jews began migrating back to Israel, they recreated an ancient, common language and culture that made it appear as though they had never left. So, Hal Lindsey’s point was that before we would experience those things foretold to occur in the last days, the Jews must first RETURN to Israel. These promises were made 2,000 to 2,600 years BEFORE the Jews had ever left! Today, they are back in their land! So, what comes next?
In the Olivet Discourse Jesus responds to the disciples’ questions of when He will return to save the world, He said:
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree (Israel): As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out (the re-founding), you know that summer (the last days) is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
In essence, I was and am convinced that it took the re-founding of Israel, a concept ridiculed by the world for 2,000 years, to start the clock running for end-time events that would lead up to the return of Christ to fulfill God’s promises to us. The whole idea of Replacement Theology, the concept that since the Jews endorsed the crucification of Jesus, had been dispersed from their land because of their sins for so long, were located all over the world, there was simply no way they would or could ever come back and enjoy the Blessings of God. Therefore, Replacement Theology assumed the promises originally made by God to Abraham were instead intended or “transferred” to the Christians. The oldest book in my collection (bought by a friend of mine for 25 cents at a garage sale), called “40 Future Wonders of Scriptural Prophecy” and written in 1866 endorses this notion that there was no way the Jews could be the recipient of God’s Promises because of their iniquity and their 2,000 year global dispersion. Obviously, Replacement Theology, while still taught by some, has proven totally false with the Jews final return to Israel. Interestingly, when the French Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal was asked by King Louis XIV to prove the existence of God, his simple answer was “The Jew.” No peoples in the history of the world have been so attacked, despised, and separated from each other for thousands of years and yet come back together as a nation that quickly became a global scientific, economic and military power. One example of the blessings given to God’s chosen people is that while Jews today comprise less than .3% of the world population, they have received over 27% of all Noble Peace Prizes ever awarded!
But getting back to my basic premise that we are seeing things unfold as prophesied in the Bible and how strongly I feel compelled to pass along the knowledge I have gained over these 40 years through my studies, I decided this blog would be the best and fastest way to reach out to many. Why, you may ask? Because things are happening today at an accelerating pace that I could not have envisioned when I first began my journey. More importantly, as Jesus said about those end-time events (wars, rumors of war, famine, pestilence and earthquakes in diverse places – Matthew 24:6-8) they would begin slowly (like a woman in travail or labor) and intensify as the end approached. Of course as the contractions near birth get closer to each other and more intense, the parents don’t then have to wait for another 6 months for the baby to be born! Yes, we have always had these events but never have we had so many powerful earthquakes, so many people dying of famine, or hundreds of millions dying in wars that we have seen in the past 100 years.
I guess this then brings me as to why do I feel compelled to write this blog?
“The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, speak to your countrymen, and say to them: ’When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and he blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood shall be on his own head. Since he heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken the warning, he would have saved himself. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.”
Because of my passion for learning more about God’s promises and the ease that He has given me in understanding His prophecies, I have interpreted this to mean perhaps my calling is to tell others about these current and coming events. Humbly, I am not claiming to be smarter than anyone else but in many, many discussions over the past 40 years with many hundreds of people I have learned that while most have heard of things like the anti-Christ; Armageddon; heaven and hell, etc. through Hollywood movies, they know very little or nothing about the Rapture, the war of Gog and Magog, the abomination of desolation, the Tribulation period, the False Prophet, the mark of the Beast, etc. As Jesus said in the Olivet Discourse, there are REALLY bad times coming! But in the same way Noah and his family were removed before the Flood and Lot and his family were removed from Sodom before the judgement of Sodom and Gomorrah so they would NOT go through the coming foretold judgement, we can take solace in the fact that if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will not have to go through the earthly “hell” that will be coming during these fast approaching end times! My intent through this blog is to acquaint you with the promises of God and even if you don’t believe me or the Bible, at the very least be looking for these various signs and know that as long as you are alive, you can still seek God’s forgiveness. And as the Bible states, I write these things not to scare you but rather to comfort you with the knowledge there is an absolute solution to what we face as sinners. I will deal with the history of the Rapture in a future blog but wanted you to understand where my idea of this blog came from. I was surprised when wondering what I should call this blog and the following scripture came to my mind with the single major takeaway, other than the promised Rapture that will keep believers from having to suffer through a very, very bad 7 year Tribulation period before Christ returns, was that we are ALL supposed to comfort one another with this promise:
“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 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. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
The fact that danger is approaching today should be enough to cause us all to search out the “watchmen” who have been placed in our midst to warn us of the imminent destruction that will soon be unleashed on this unsuspecting world.
“Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes.”
These watchmen are men and women of today who know of the danger coming and know that they must speak out on it or risk breaking God’s will for them:
“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.”
Ezekiel 3:17 and Ezekiel 33:7
They can do this by interpreting the Bible’s prophecies regarding the end-times and then communicate them to all those who do not know or recognize the signs of those times. They understand clearly what they must do, how and why.
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. ALWAYS (capitals mine) be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for this hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
1 Peter 3:15-16
The dangers are evident today and God is warning us all who would listen to His Word and to his prophets (watchmen or servants) to take heed, listen and pray that they are found “…worthy enough to escape all those things that will come to pass.” (Luke 21:36)
Just as it was in the days of Noah and Lot (where God told them the EXACT (capitals mine) time the destruction would come and also what form it would take so that they could be prepared), we can know for sure what these curses are and when they will come IF we listen to Him and His prophets because “…Surely the sovereign Lord does nothing WITHOUT (capitals mine) revealing His plan to His servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7)
Also, we are reassured of the accuracy and surety of His Plan, given to the prophets by God and what we should do with it when we receive it. “We also have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:19). Not only can we be sure that God will let us know of His plans for us and for the world through His prophets, but we are admonished repeatedly in the Bible to listen to what is said and take heed. “If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.” (Deuteronomy 18:19)
Through the Bible, the written Word of God, we can with confidence ascertain what His plan for mankind is because we have his Word that clearly states that he does NOTHING without first revealing this plan to His servants (the prophets) and that he will personally hold all accountable who DO NOT LISTEN. Furthermore, His plan has a wonderful promise IF WE KEEP A FEAR OF THE LORD: “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but in the fear of the Lord continue all day long; for surely there is a hereafter and your hope will not be cut off.” (Proverbs 23:17-18).
And, for those who place themselves in the category of being able to decipher God’s prophecies for others…”If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command.” 1 Corinthians 14:37. This I do with passion and humility! But, and more importantly, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origins in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”. (2 Peter 1:20-21).
Since God’s divine Authorship penned every word in the Bible, John (the author of the Book of Revelation, along with many other books in the Bible) recognized its completion and perfection with the conclusion written in Revelation, the very last paragraph in the very last book of the Bible. Advising that we could be sure that what we were reading ALL that God wrote to us and for which He intended us to read, with NO need for further additions, John writes (remember however, God inspired John to write); “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19)
In order to thwart any critics that might believe in writing this blog I am doing exactly that which John admonishes us NOT to do (i.e., add or delete from the Word of God), I shall adhere to and quote from the author of the Book of Acts:
“But I have had God’s help to this very day and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike that I AM SAYING NOTHING BEYOND WHAT THE PROPHETS AND MOSES SAID WOULD HAPPEN (capitals mine)”.
The Bible goes on to say that prophecy is a gift from God and that to those who receive this gift, there are responsibilities to improve this gift through reading, meditation and exhortation and that in doing so they will save themselves and THOSE WHO HEAR THEM.
“Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. DO NOT NEGLECT THE GIFT THAT IS IN YOU (capitals mine), which was given to you by the presbytery. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”
1 Timothy 4:13-16
In summary, the Bible gives us a very clear picture of that which is about to happen in the last days, how to ascertain when they are coming, and what we can do to save ourselves and our loved ones from eternal shame and damnation. We can be sure because we have the “…prophetic word made more sure.”
- God does nothing without revealing His plan to His prophets. (Amos 3:7)
- In these last days prophets will be placed in our midst to warn us of the impending danger (Acts 2:17)
- These individuals will have a gift that not all have, but from which all can profit. (! Corinthians 12:4-11)
- Through continual meditation, study, and exhortation their message of end-times prophecy will develop for all to witness (1 Timothy 4:13-16)
- When they speak, they will proclaim that their words are the Lords command. (1 Corinthians 14:37)
- Prophecy was not “invented” by man, but spoken by men as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21)
- We will do well to listen to prophecy to see us through troubling times. (2 Peter 1:19)
- God will “call to account” those that DO NOT listen to His words. (Deuteronomy 18:19)
- The unbeliever will view prophesy as foolishness. (1 Corinthians 2:14 and Proverbs 1:7)
- There is a hereafter for those that fear the Lord. (Proverbs 23:17-18)
This blog is but one man’s attempt to reach out to others before the day comes when those unprepared will be caught unaware. That day is coming, AFTER THE TRUMPET SOUNDS, when all the watchmen are gone and those that are left will not have the prophecies, prophets or understanding to explain what has just happened and that which is yet to come.
The danger IS coming! A watchman is on the wall and is blowing his trumpet. Many one day will hear God Himself say “I appointed watchmen over you and said ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.” (Jeremiah 6:17). “Therefore you shall have night without vision and you shall have darkness without divination; the sun shall go down on the prophets and the day shall be dark for them.” (Micah 3:6)
Are you listening? Are you ready to take those steps to save yourself? Are you prepared to meet your God and Creator? My intent is to help you learn what the Holy Bible says and I hope you and your friends and loved ones take note.I truly hope so because the end is indeed coming quickly, more quickly than most would ever believe…