Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Scene before Christ returns...

(This blog has been updated 10/29/14)

Harold Camping is an easy target,

Yes, we've all seen the Facebook posts for the atheists "Rapture Party" happening may 21st. It's easy to mock Harold Camping's False prophecy. Heck, I've even done it on several Facebook posts with pictures of the "End of the World" Billboards that I took here in the Mile High City.
Anyone that's read even a small amount of the Bible will know that Camping is a candidate for a "Silence of the Lambs" suit and a padded room all to himself.
. While Camping insists that he knows the exact day and hour of Christ's second coming, the scriptures are extremely, vividly clear about the subject.

Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount spoke several paragraphs on his return to earth the second time and how no man on earth can know the day or hour of his second coming.

No man knows the day or the hour, not the angels in heaven, nor the son, but only the Father. Matt 24:36

Watch out that no one deceives you, for many will come in my name saying, "I am the Christ" and will deceive many. Matt 24:5

For it is not for you to know times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. Acts 1:7

So you see, even a casual reader of the bible can very clearly discern that those who claim to know dates, days, and times of Christ's return are clearly reading a version of the bible 99 percent of us don't recognize. It amazes me that people still follow these false prophets. Camping has already missed at least one date back in the 90s.

However, and on a very serious note...Jesus also spoke very plainly about some very specific signs that we can look for that would precede his second coming. Here's a few examples from the Bible...

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. Matt 24:7

You will hear of wars and rumors of war but see to it that you are not alarmed, such things must happen... Matt 24:5

Jesus is telling us that war and talk of war will be wide spread before his return.

There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of the birth pains. Matt 24:7

There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands. Luke21:11

As any pregnant woman knows, the birth pains Jesus talks about come with increasing frequency as the birth gets closer and closer. He also stated clearly famines will be happening in various places around the world. Jesus spoke clearly of famines and plagues or pestilences (depending on which version you read) we now have a new virus Ebola, that there is NO vaccine for as of this writing. Unlike the flu, Ebola kills 50-70% of the people that get it. AIDS was the first such disease or pestilence (if you will) that I had heard of in my lifetime. I even had a relative who had AIDS that I and my family had numerous holiday dinners with before he died.
But this new pestilence, Ebola, there IS NO CURE OR VACCINE as of yet. I'm not a conspiracy theorist or alarmist, but as far as I'm concerned this writer and musician has never seen a plague or disease like this that cannot be cured or stopped once it gains traction in a society. If it came to our shores unchecked (which it already has in a small number of people), there is a possibility that it could spread rapidly just as it's doing in Africa right now killing at least 50% of those who contratct it. I'm not saying that will happen, but it surely is a possibility. The bible says in Revelation that just such plagues and wars, and famine will kill one third of mankind in the last days. As a bible believing Christian I have to look at these current events and take stock of the times I live in.

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by ALL NATIONS because of me. (Emphasis mine) Matt 24: 9

Jesus very clearly states that Christian persecution will increase to the point that anyone who names the name of Christ will be persecuted in some way, and many will be put in prison and killed. We see this already in places like China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, North Korea, and many Islamic States. I was in China in 2009 during the 60th anniversary of the Communist takeover and I can tell folks that many pastors of what are called "House Churches" were being arrested and are still to this day being rounded up just "disappearing". Recently, in the middle east, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and other nations, Christians are being beheaded in front of cameras by ISIS, or other extremely violent Islamic groups.
In 2013-2014 entire villages, towns, and even cities, Christians have had to flee rapidly against the march of the extremely violent ISIS, and those who stay behind face a certain death by beheading, or raped, tortured and sold as slaves.

Here in the U.S. and Europe we have remained relatively free to be outspoken Christians for two centuries, but even here in the west, people that are obvious, publicly speaking Christians that put their faith out in the marketplace of ideas are ridiculed, made fun of and mocked by secularists, mainstream media talking heads, those with a radical agenda (GLAAD/NAMBLA), late night talk show hosts and comedians and many of those that will not follow God's authority, but rather their own.
My own son's Christian University had to fight off it's own (U.S.) government which was trying to force the health and human services abortion pill mandate down their throats, making them comply to supply those abortion inducing drugs against their will and Christian beliefs.
It's becoming increasingly uncomfortable to be an honest, open, and forthright traditional bible believing Christian here in the west as well, which should be a warning and wakeup call to us believers to strengthen and harden our faith now and speak up, before we cannot speak out for our faith at all without being persecuted in a real way.

And many false prophets will arise and deceive many people. Matt 24:11

we're seeing today a vast array of false prophets, even a good number that claim to be Christians and have large (or small) churches, the bible makes it clear through Jesus Christ's own words that there will come a "falling away" first, before other signs happen. Some translations name this an apostasy. What is that, an apostatsy?
well, it's the church itself beginning to veer away from true traditional Christian teaching and doctrine.
Christ said that things will get so bad before He returns that even church goers will defect from traditional Christian teaching.  Matthew  7:15,  2 Peter 2:19,  2 Peter 2:1. Just take a look around in the book aisles at Walmart or book stores, and there's a preponderance of "preachers" talking self help, be positive and prosper, speak health and wealth and you will have it, and more recently there's a good size number of "Christian Teachers" that are boldly and arrogantly starting to try to pass off behaviors like Homosexual Marriage, saying that it's perfectly acceptable within the framework of the Christian theology and church! Recently I read an article on a well known "Worship Leader", "Christian singer" and self  styled "Theologian" that has come out gay, and is professing openly that God is ok with that, and that she does not need to confess this perverse sexual immorality as sin, and stop doing it, and more importantly  this so called "Theologian" is TEACHING THIS AS CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.
That type of  deception and what Paul called a "different Gospel" 2 Corinthians 2:11, is being fed into minds of young people in churches and quite a few Pastors are just fine and dandy with that.
That false gospel heretically flies in the face of the previous 1,900 years of traditional Christian teaching. In my humble opinion we are seeing great apostasy, and perverse doctrines of demons now being taught as Christian theology. If that's not a falling away I don't know what is.

At that time, many will turn away from the faith and betray and hate each other. Matt 24:10

Because of the increase in wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. Matt 24:12

How's your Love holding up today Christian? and I say this to myself as well...
Jesus very plainly states that non believers and even believers will lose their love for one another as the time approaches of His second coming because society will become so coarse, so numb to sin, so crazed with self adulation and greed, so prideful (and I'm saying this to those of us in the church as well) so enamored with ourselves that we want God and those who speak for God out of our lives. Societies will become so in love with sin that anyone that speaks up against that fact will be labeled crazy, extremist, and relegated to the fringe even though it's not true.
I believe Christ also meant that people's ability to care for, and show compassion to one another will be greatly diminished because sin will be so present in our culture before he returns.
How's your love holding up? How's mine holding up? Questions we need to ask ourselves.

For false Christ's and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. Matt 24: 24-25

Great deception will be widespread and put out by many "Gurus", television false christs, self help leaders, movie personalities, rock stars, captains of Industry and politicians and all of those that deny Jesus Christ but hold themselves up as "teachers of enlightenment", and even many who claim to know Christ but by their actions you can clearly see that they do not.
IMHO Christians will need to be in daily prayer for discernment asking God for clear heads, wisdom, and the ability to know the true from the false.

So while I'm typing this on May 21st 2011 (Updated 10/14) and atheists are throwing "Rapture" parties posting Facebook jokes and having a good laugh at Harold Campings expense. We can chuckle at his foolishness... However, we have to seriously know that Jesus gave us some very clear signposts of his return, and remember His words that "He who stands firm to the end will be saved" should also be front and center on our minds...

Don't shoot me...I'm just the Sax Player