Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Tyre Nichols Incident Reminds Me Of The Days Of Noah!

 The Killing of Tyre Nichols by police in the Memphis Police Department has reminded me of something that the Bible says about the culture of earth dwellers just prior to the great flood and Noah's escape in the Ark.

Genesis 6:11 says "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence."

I won't bother to include the video of Tyre Nichol's beating. It has been seen enough times by enough people. It is repulsive and upsetting to watch. I am still mystified that police would be so foolish as to beat a man to death in public with body cams running!

I don't understand, especially after George Floyd's death, why police in the country have not been trained in the better use of non- lethal methods to subdue suspects. With all of our evadvances in technology, especially with the doubling of knowledge every nine hours, why we can't come up with safe and effective ways to arrest suspects.

I have come to a conclusion on all these matters. I still don't think the main issue is racism even though racism is a reality. I think the prevailing evil is violence. Senseless, savage, unrestrained violence. I believe we are reaping what we have sewn in our entertainent, video games, movies and literature. 

God sent a flood for two basic reasons in Noah's day. First, according to the sixth chapter of Genesis, the nephilim had genetically manipulated animals, people, plants and the whole planet so that only one family (Noah's) was left untainted. Second, God sent a flood because the earth was "filled with violence".

Who can deny that our earth is filled with violence? Something must change and change fast before we completely spin out of control and destroy ourselves!

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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Will Jesus Find Faith When He Returns?/Is Religion Dying In The West?

I came to faith in Jesus at an early age, 11 to be precise. Having grown up in protestant churches I was taught very early on that just before Christ returns the world would be in the  midst of a fervent revival and Christ will find a vibrant church waiting to usher in His kingdom. But is that what the Bible really says? Will Jesus really find faith when He returns?

As I approach my 67th birthday I have been able to observe the church for the last 56 years. My conclusion is that the church is in decline and a recent article that I read on gives some evidence that supports a rapid decline that was beginning even before the COVID pandemic.

According to this article, in 2019 there were 4500 churches that closed in the U.S. with about 3000 new church starts. This marked the beginning of a trend that has seen a decline in the total number of churches in America. 

Photo by <a href="">Karl Fredrickson</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>

The number of Americans who describe themselves as Christian has declined over the last decade by 12%. According to the Pew Research Center, one out of three practicing Christians completely dropped out of church during COVID. That is a shocking statistic but I can attest from personal experience in my own church that it is most definitely true.

Thousands of churches, many of them small, could not survive the lock downs and restrictions of the pandemic and closed their doors forever. Sadly, for the first time since 1950 church membership in this country dipped below 50%.

One of the reasons that church membership and attendance is declining in our nation is because the church has lost its appeal to young Americans. We now know that only 30% of young adults who attended church regularly through their high school years are continuing to regularly attend church. 

The time between 2019 and 2021 has been traumatic for the church at large. Those people who said they attended worship once or twice a month declined in every demo graphical category regardless of age, race or marital status. The church in the west has suffered immensely from the pandemic.

Modern church statistics are not the only reason why I believe religion is dying in the West. The word of God gives us some hints about what it will be like just before Jesus comes back. In Luke 18:1-8 we find the Parable of the Unjust Judge also referred to as the Parable of the Persistent Woman

And he spake a parable unto them to this end that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man; and there was a widow in that city, and she came unto him, saying; Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man, yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Now look at verse eight in a couple of other translations.

New Century Version...I tell you, God will help his people quickly. But when the Son of Man comes again, will he find those on earth who believe in him?

 The Amplified Bible...I tell you that he will defend and avenge them quickly However, when the

Son of Man comes, will He find (that kind of persistent) faith on the earth?

The first example from the New Century Translation leads us to believe that when Christ returns He will have trouble finding believers. The second example from the Amplified Bible says that when Christ returns He will have trouble finding persistent praying Christians.

Perhaps both of these translations offer a glimpse into the not too distant future. Christ will return and find a declining church both in it's membership and in it's faithfulness. Both realities are difficult to process mentally. A true sign of the times is a declining worldwide body of believers especially in the west.

We could point a finger of blame at a lot of possible reasons why the church limps to the finish line. By and large the church doesn't preach against social sins, we are too interested in social justice! The church has not taken a stand against immorality, shedding of innocent blood and has failed to preach Bible prophecy and the soon return of Christ.

One thing remains in our own control though. We can control whether we individually have faith, even persistent and relentless faith so that when Jesus returns He finds faith in us.

Let us continue to pray for the repentance and revival of the church in these last days.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2023

A Departure Is What Starts The Great Tribulation!

Photo by <a href="">JESHOOTS.COM</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>

The key to what starts the Great Tribulation is found in a passage of Scripture that I have addressed in a previous article. That passage is Second Thessalonians, chapter two, verses one through three.

1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

The King James translates the Greek word apostasia as "a falling away". There are just a handful of other translations that do the same. Most Bible versions translate apostasia as "apostasy" or "rebellion".

If you would go to the wonderful website,, and look up this passage of Scripture then you would see some great Bible tools. One of those tools is called An Outline of Bible Usage. In this category the word apostasia can mean a falling away, defection or apostasy. The word apostasia does not always mean religious apostasy.

If you were to Google the word defection you would find these synonyms ...absence or desertion. It is interesting that the earliest English Bible translations such as Coverdale, Tyndale and Geneva Bible all translated apostasia as "departure". I am not alone in asserting that the Apostle Paul said that before the man of sin or Antichrist can come on the world scene there must "first" come a departure!

I believe that this departure is the rapture of the church. If the great sign preceding the coming of Antichrist was going to be religious apostasy then I would submit that this represents a pretty weak sign because of the multitude of heresies in the first century to this present hour. Take your pick!

During its early centuries, the Christian church dealt with many heresies. They included, among others, docetism, Montanism, adoptionism, Sabellianism, Arianism, Pelagianism, and gnosticism.

Today we are absolutely deluged by heresy in the church. Here are just a few, the redefinition of marriage, the approval of mass murder of the unborn, the rejection of the inerrant  Scripture, the rejection of the creation account as found in the Bible, the rejection of the Bible as literal truth, the denial of Jesus being the only way to Heaven, the rejection of the eternality and deity of Jesus, the denial of a bodily resurrection of Christ, the belief that humans are basically good, the denial of a literal Devil and literal evil and I could go on and on and on.

So I would challenge this interpretation of apostasia in Second Thessalonians, chapter two and verse three. Religious apostasy is so prevalent that trying to find one key indicator that the tribulation has started would be like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Bible teacher, Brian Brodersen, agrees with the "departure" meaning of apostasia...

The word “apostasy” is only used two times in the New Testament. Second Thessalonians 2:3 is one of them, and the other is in Acts 21:21, where there is a reference to the Jews forsaking the teachings of Moses. The word apostasia is translated “forsaking” there. And interestingly, in 1 Timothy 4:1, where the very words appear, “In the latter times, some will depart from the faith, the word apostasia is not used. Also, in Hebrews 6:6, where it says, “If they fall away,” a different word is used. My point is this, the word apostasia does not necessarily mean a falling away from the faith. That is why Miles Coverdale, John Tyndale, and the translators of the Geneva Bible simply translated it as “departure”. Source

The Apostle Paul made it abundantly clear, before the tribulation starts, before the Antichrist is revealed, there is going to be a mass departure of millions of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. The same man, Paul, referred to this event as the "blessed hope" and our "gathering together unto Him". 

Curtis Mayfield wrote the soulful hit, People Get Ready. The lyrics of that song are appropriate to our topic.

People get ready

There's a train a comin'

You don't need no baggage

You just get on board

All you need is faith

To hear the diesels hummin'

You don't need no ticket

You just thank the Lord

There is a departure coming for those who have trusted Jesus as Savior.

The great escape is imminent, it could happen at any time. Have you believed

on Jesus for eternal life?

All aboard!

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Sunday, January 22, 2023

Does The Antichrist Come Before The Rapture?

 It might surprise readers of this blog that the question that forms this post title (does the Antichrist come before the rapture?) is an exact search term on Google. People are interested in these two topics and they are searching for answers. Fortunately, the answer is easily found in the pages of Scripture.

According to a recent Pew Research article nearly 39% of Americans believe we are living in the end times. Evidently, there are a significant number of Americans who believe in the reality of the "rapture" and the "Antichrist" as well.

It is a question that believers were asking in the first century and it is a question that the Apostle Paul answered in the second chapter of the book of Second Thessalonians. The following is from the first eight verses in the King James Bible...

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

The first thing that I would point out is that Paul described the second coming of Christ as having  two distinct phases. He mentions our gathering together unto Him and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

It is my firm opinion, and I'm not alone, that the gathering together unto Him is a reference to the rapture. The rapture is the event called "harpazo" in the Greek which means a sudden and violent snatching away. This is a wonderful description of the moment when Christians will hear the voice of the archangel and the trump of God and will be snatched from this earth into the clouds to be with the Lord Himself!

The coming of the Lord is a reference to the event which will occur seven years after the rapture which is the second coming of Christ. Believers will accompany Christ at his second coming. At the rapture we go up to meet Christ and at the second coming we come back down with Christ to vanquish the Evil One at Armageddon.

The seven years in between the rapture and the second coming is referred to as the tribulation or time of Jacob's trouble. The Thessalonians had been taught by false teachers that they had missed the rapture and were in the middle this terrible time. Paul was trying to make them aware that they had not missed the rapture and they were not in the tribulation.

In verse three Paul urged them to not be deceived. They were not in the tribulation because that Wicked (Antichrist) had not been revealed yet. The tribulation will be the center stage for the Antichrist. One can't happen without the other!

The Antichrist's behavior is described in verse four. He will oppose God, he will exalt himself above God and he will claim to be God. This is the goal of Satan himself. 

In verse five Paul reminds them that he had instructed them in a previous letter concerning the Antichrist. In verses six and seven Paul answers our question, "which comes first, the rapture or the Antichrist?". Paul said that there is something 'with-holding" the Antichrist from being revealed. In verse seven he says there is someone "he" who "letteth" or restrains the coming of Antichrist. The Antichrist cannot appear until this restrainer is "taken out of the way".

Scholars in the premillennial camp, to which I belong, believe this restrainer is the Holy Spirit who is restraining or holding back the evil one until His restraining influence is removed when the church is gathered unto the Lord at the rapture.

The answer to the question does the Antichrist come before the rapture is NO. The rapture comes before the Antichrist.

The rapture will come before all hell breaks loose on planet Earth. This should bring great comfort to those who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. But this great eschatological truth should strike fear into all those who have never believed on Jesus. 

In the sixth chapter of John, verse 47, we read the promise of Jesus, "He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life." It is my sincere hope that you will believe on Him as Savior today.