Please, remember our Afghan Christians who have been abandoned by America — but not by God. And please, may they not be forgotten or abandoned by Christians who read/watch the article/video below. And as you remember to pray for Afghan Christians, remember also to uphold all of our persecuted brothers and sisters in prayer. Things are intensifying worldwide. But, God is greater, is still their Provider, and will never leave them nor forsake them.
Jesus is coming soon! Let’s pray that the Bride will not give up nor give in, but will be ready!!!
Quote: “My friends, we record this video as a testimony. We want it to remain in history. We want to be remembered by our friends and loved ones that today we have been left in the field by ourselves. But we are not leaving the field, we will fight harder and will continue God’s work.”
So much is happening at “warp speed” these days that is it difficult to keep up with it all! Just like the birth pains of a woman in labor come closer and closer together and intensify the nearer the birth of the baby comes, even so the birth pains of the close of this age are happening incredibly fast and with fantastic intensity. In order for you to catch a glimpse –and I mean a glimpse, for I’ve hardly scratched the surface regarding all that is transpiring worldwide– I have listed numerous links below that are fulfilling the signs spoken of in Scripture pertaining to the end of the age. The list is of stories covered for this month only. For more on what has been happening since 2020, please refer to this link: https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/there-will-be-signs/
Indeed, the prophecies of the Bible are popping off the page in living color in news articles, youtube videos and television broadcasts around the world. The conclusion I draw from all of this is: the world has gone mad, and Jesus is coming very, very soon. If you think what is happening worldwide is bad now, just wait. Things are about to intensify really fast. Just read the Biblical book of Revelation.
If you don’t know Jesus, please take seriously the thought of where you’re going to spend eternity, and on how you’re getting there. You see, Jesus is eternal life itself. Without Him, we have no hope. Unlike any other religion of the world, the God of Christianity so loved this world (including you) that He sent His only begotten Son Jesus down. Jesus took on human flesh, dwelt among us, died for us, and then defied death by resurrecting from the grave. It is because of Jesus’ sacrifice that our sins can be forgiven. It is because of Jesus’ resurrection that we have hope of eternal life. All you need to do is acknowledge that you are a sinner (that you have done things wrong, that you have displeased God, that you are unworthy), believe that Jesus died and was resurrected for you, and confess out loud that Jesus is Lord. It’s as simple as ABC. Admit. Believe. Confess. Just believing this makes you righteous. In Christianity we do not earn our way to heaven. Salvation is a gift. We believe, and God credits it to us as righteousness. https://www.jdfarag.org/abc
And if you are a Christian, please realize the serious nature of the hour in which we are living, for indeed, we are in the final moments of this Age. Let’s be about the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Let’s not be caught up in worry or pleasure or busyness, but rather, let’s pray that we might be found worthy to escape all the things that are going to come upon the earth (Luke 21:34-36). Let’s be washed in the Word of God in order to keep our garments without spot and wrinkle (Ephesians 5:25-27).
Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready?
Holy Light Ministries
“Then said he [Jesus] unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven….And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” Luke 21:10-11, 25-26.
God says, “…I [will] stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it…If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, and they spoil it, so that it be desolate, that no man may pass through because of the beasts…if I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it…if I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast…when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?” (Ezekiel 33:13, 15, 17, 19, 21).
God’s Signs in Nature:
July 30, 2021
A storm survey team from the National Weather Service is being sent to Long Beach, NJ (USA) to investigate as to whether or not a tornado did in fact cause the damage.
July 29, 2021
(bullet points below go with the 2 Preachers video below)
This past week of July: Continuous devastating weather in China with a year’s worth of rain in just 3 days triggering floods killing at least 63 people and displacing more than a million others
July 22-27th (USA) extreme weather: Deadly dust storm in Utah, a giant sandstorm called a Habub in Las Vegas, Nevada; in Eugene, Oregon a car was flipped by a small tornado; a flash flood watch for 4 Gulf states; high fire danger in Southern California; blinding dust storm in Fresno, California; 80 mile per hour gusts in Utah causing a deadly car pile up; temperatures plummeting in Salt Lake City, Utah down to 40 degrees in 4 hours resulting in summer snow; deadly monsoon storms hit Colorado destroying homes, killing one, 3 missing after one inch of rain fell in just 30 minutes.
July 24th a Corfo Lagoon in Argentina turns pink
July 25th violent Typhoon In-Fa hit China, devastating an already devastated country.
July 25th heavy flash flooding in parts of London, England
July 26th Huge hail storm in Para and Fidenza, Italy with a lot of damage with people pulling off to the side of highways with crushed windshields and other damage to their vehicles
July 27th Cernobbio, Italy flash floods with debris of landslides and rainfall covering Lake Como. This came after a weekend of fires in the island of Sardinia
July 27th Nogales, Sonora Mexico heavy flash flood
“7/29/2021 — Largest quake on planet in years — M8.2 — Massive seismic unrest spreads worldwide.”
(Cedar City, Utah flooding video below — nearly 2 inches of rain fell)
July 26, 2021
(bullet points below go with the 2 Preachers video below)
July 13th and 19th Pakistan has 2 Deadly floods, even flooding a medical complex
July 16th Puglia, Italy tornado
July 18th Mumbai, India heavy rain led to flooding which took out bridges, houses, swept away cars and people, leaving animals and people confused.
July 18th Siberia has the driest summer in 150 years as 190 fires rage with 1.5 million hectares burning in Yakutia.
July 20 The Municipality of Achocalla, Bolivia a sudden spinning dust devil sent two football teams running to safety
July 21st Putulmayo, Colombia flash flood
July 21st Juluti Para, Brazil eerie storm clouds cover the sky
July 21st Hebei, China deadly tornado
July 21st Tizapan El Alto, Mexico heavy flooding
July 22nd Arhavi, Turkey severe flooding turned streets into raging rivers
July 22nd Black Sea giant water spouts in Sochi, Russia
July 23rd Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico frightening flooding
July 23rd Haryana, India strange phenomenon of land rising above the waters of a body of water
July 23rd Turrialba, Costa Rica flash flood
July 24th Dinant, Belgium has Sudden flooding
July 25th Sengal Valley, India 11 dead after rockslide (Looked like it was raining rocks)
July 25th California (USA) wildfire threatens to burn up thousands of structures, over 200,000 acres burned in the “Dixie” fire, other fires are growing exponentially (including the “Tamarack”)
July 25th Sardinia, an island of Italy, is experiencing raging fires and evacuations
July 25, 2021
July 22, 2021
July 22, 2021
(bullet points below go with the 2 Preachers video below)
July 13th Chennai, India strange clouds
July 14th Fort Worth, Texas (USA) unusual pink and white clouds
July 15th Conroe, Texas (USA) odd cloud formations
July 15 the Red Apple fire in Wenatchee, Washington (USA)
July 16th Phoenix, Arizona odd clouds
July 19th wildfire smoke from both western Canada and the U.S. chokes New York City (USA) with heavily unhealthy air.
July 20th “China Floods After Heaviest Rain in 1000 Years” (Zhengzou and Henan). Horrific, devastating flooding with rushing water, and an aluminum alloy plant exploded when breached by the water in Dengfeng Henan China.
July 20th Mosquito tornadoes in far eastern Russia (Ust-Kamchatsk)
July 20th Higher than average wildfires in B.C. Canada are rapidly worsening with a state of emergency declared — hundreds flee, air quality is horrible, and their wine country is threatened. Ontario, Canada (the nearest neighbor to B.C.) has also had higher than average fires this year with 735 so far as opposed to 421 last year.
Quote: “Over 100,000 residents were forced to flee their homes as a massive flood swept across the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou.Recently, record rainfall caused widespread flooding to areas around the Henan province. Among the heaviest-hit area was the Zhengzhou, home to over 10 million residents…Based on an article from Bloomberg, the flooding was brought about by rainfall equal to eight months worth of the city’s previous average rainfall levels…Zhengzhou had 18 inches of rain fall or 457.5 millimeters in the last 24 hours. This was the highest-recorded number in history. In fact, it was more than twice the amount of the previous record of 201.9 millimeters in a single hour.”
July 19, 2021
(bullet points below go with the 2 Preachers video below)
July 5th Kuwait air temperatures reach 70 degrees Celsius which is 158 degrees
July 11-14th China (Henan, Hubei, Sichuan) flooding washing away cars, forming massive rivers
July 12th Chihuahua region of Mexico sink holes and flooding
July 13th Wildfires in the western states of Idaho, California, Montana, Oregon, and Washington (USA) with one fire burning well over 200,000 acres. Mega drought conditions are covering 94% of the western USA, with low water in lakes and reservoirs and higher then normal temperatures.
July 14th Province of Rize, Turkey under water
July 14th ‘Flagstaff, Arizona and the Grand Canyon area (USA) more than an inch of rain fell in 15 minutes
July 15th Rare EF2 tornado in Barrie, Ontario Canada leaves behind catastrophic damage that looks like a war zone
July 15th “Apocalyptic”, deadly west German flash flooding of raging torrents — state of emergency
July 15th eastern Belgium, Netherlands and France with heavy rains and flooding, leaving streets like swift, muddy rivers, animals and humans displaced and confused, cars swept away.
July 17th Salzburg, Austria horrific flooding
July 17th the province of Kerman Iran flash flooding
Quote: “The largest wildfire in the U.S. torched more dry forest landscape in Oregon on Sunday, one of dozens of major blazes burning across the West as critically dangerous fire weather loomed in the coming days.”
July 17, 2021
Germany: was hit by the worst floods in 60 years leaving entire communities in ruins, ripped apart, with so many dead and in need of rescue.
Belgium: towns are deserted, rescue services struggling to help the stranded, police helping others, entire families have been displaced, and many are missing, with communities devastated.
(all of the bullet points below go with the 2 Preachers video below)
July 10th: Horrific fires in British Columbia, Canada
July 10th: Hellish fires continue in Northern California (U.S.) scorching 3x more land this year than last year.
July 10th: Raging fires in Wolf Creek, Oregon (U.S.)
July 11th: Six tornadoes in one day in Eastern China
July 11th: Sink hole in New York’s upper west side (U.S.)
July 11th: Lightning killed 74 in 3 states of India
July 12th: Incredible Flooding in India
July 12th: Three sink holes open on a golf course in Florida (U.S.)
July 12th: Drought conditions in Washington state and “heat dome” over the Pacific Northwest (U.S.) with heat so extreme that shell fish are being cooked in the water and farmers are at risk of losing berry, wheat and other crops.
July 13th: Flash Flooding in London, England with a month of rainfall in one day
Quote: “Firefighters working in searing weather struggled to contain a Northern California wildfire that continued to grow Sunday and forced the temporary closure of a major highway, one of several large blazes burning across the U.S. West amid another heat wave that shattered records and strained power grids…In California, officials asked all residents to reduce power consumption quickly after a major wildfire in southern Oregon knocked out interstate power lines, preventing up to 5,500 megawatts of electricity from flowing south into the state…Death Valley in southeastern California’s Mojave Desert reached 128 degrees Fahrenheit (53 Celsius) on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service’s reading at Furnace Creek. The shockingly high temperature was actually lower than the previous day, when the location reached 130 F (54 C).Death Valley also recorded a 130-degree day in August of last year. If that reading and the one Friday are confirmed by experts as accurate, they will be the hottest highs recorded there since July 1913, when the Furnace Creek desert hit 134 F (57 C), considered the highest measured temperature on Earth…Palm Springs in Southern California also hit a record high temperature of 120 F (49 C) Saturday, while Las Vegas tied the all-time record high of 117 F (47 C).NV Energy, Nevada’s largest power provider, also urged customers to conserve electricity Saturday and Sunday evenings because of the heat wave and wildfires affecting transmission lines throughout the region.In Idaho, Gov. Brad Little mobilized the state’s National Guard to help fight fires sparked after lightning storms swept across the drought-stricken region.”
July 10, 2021
July 9, 2021
There were more than 40 after shocks in the 2 hours that followed this California quake as recorded by the USGS.
Quote:“More than 130 houses were swept away in the mudslide, Atami City’s Fire Disaster and Management Agency said. Sakae Saito, the mayor of Atami city, told reporters that up to 100 to 300 households were affected.About 2,830 households in the city lost power, according to the Tokyo Electric Power Company. By Sunday, power had mostly been restored in Shizuoka…Japan is prone to landslides, averaging up to 1,500 landslides annually in the past decade — an almost 50% increase compared to the previous 10 years, according to a 2020 Japanese government report. “
Quote:“Chris Vagasky, a meteorologist with a company that maps lightning events around the world, said sensors picked up 710,177 strikes across British Columbia and northwestern Alberta in about 15 hours, between 3 p.m. on June 30 and 6 a.m. on July 1.”This is a literal firestorm,” said UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain via Twitter.”I’ve watched a lot of wildfire-associated pyroconvective events during the satellite era, and I think this might be the singularly most extreme I’ve ever seen.””
Image below taken from the article above.
July 1, 2021
Signs in the Economy, Famine, Farming, Agriculture, and Shipping:
“And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.”” Revelation 6:5-8
“…and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” 1 Timothy 4:3
Quote: “Taco Bell employee told me there was a ‘national shortage of everything right now,’ and I have decided to get my economic news exclusively from drive-thru employees from now on,” tweeted one patron of the Mexican-food themed eatery.More specifically, a multitude of complaints on social media pointed to a lack of beef, chicken, hot sauce and 10-inch tortillas at the Yum Brands division, which runs nearly 7,500 Taco Bells, most of them in the U.S. “Taco Bell has a ‘district-wide shortage of hot sauce…times are tough,” tweeted one patron. “For anyone craving Taco Bell tonight, I’ll save you the drive, they don’t have chicken or beef, national shortage or something. I just ate black beans in a hard shell,” complained another in a separate tweet.
Quote: “…the impacted websites appeared to be operating again around 1 p.m. Other websites involved in the outage included those for major banks; gaming sites such as Steam; airline websites such as Delta; online news publications such as the Dallas Morning News; and e-commerce giant Amazon.”
Quote: “In the Northern Plains, the Department of Agriculture said Monday that farmers were projected to harvest their smallest crop of spring wheat—crops planted in the spring and harvested in the autumn—in 33 years. This week, the North Dakota Wheat Commission noted in its weekly update that some farmers saw rain and lowered temperatures following last week’s searing heat, but conditions are still worrisome.The region is hardly alone; the USDA also said this week that 68% of the Pacific Northwest’s spring wheat was in “poor or very poor” conditions. At this time last, only 6% of the region’s wheat crop was in this state. All told, the USDA found that 98% of the U.S. wheat crop is growing in areas hit by drought.”
Quote: “Global vaccinations of seafarers are going too slowly to prevent outbreaks on ships from causing more trade disruptions, endangering maritime workers and potentially slowing economies trying to pull out of pandemic slowdowns.Infections on vessels could further harm already strained global supply chains…”
Quote: “While the full impact of the heat wave is not yet known, farms say extreme heat stresses young plants and can result in smaller yields. Unusually warm weather so early in the season may speed up the harvest of some crops.Farms use the old saying “knee-high by Fourth of July” to measure the progress of their corn crops. The corn at Schuh Farms has blown past that.”We’ve never ever had corn like this,” said Schuh Farms co-owner Susan Schuh. “This is Eastern Washington weather with growing corn.”On Thursday in a field west of Mount Vernon, the corn was already waist-high. Steve Schuh said he expects to have corn by Aug. 1 — a full 20 days earlier than normal…The hot weather is also causing grasses to dry out sooner, said Terry Sapp, owner of Hoehn Bend Farm, east of Sedro-Woolley.He said he expects to have just two grass cuttings, instead of three, this season, leaving the ranch with less hay for cows over the winter…Eastern Skagit County took a beating last weekend, with temperatures over 100 for three days straight.Sauk Farm near Rockport lost between 10% and 30% of its apple crop, depending on the age and variety of apple trees, said operations manager Griffin Berger.He said the farm recorded surface temperatures on fruit of between 145 and 155 degrees on Monday.”
Peace Taken From the Earth, Wars and Rumors of Wars, Ethnicity vs. Ethnicity
“Then said he [Jesus] unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…” Luke 21:10
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” Luke 17:26-30
“…the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose….There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Genesis 6:2, 4-8
“And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD….And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;…we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.” Genesis 18:20-22 and 19:1,13
“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3
“And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” Revelation 6:4
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:1-7
Quote: “Mukadam was the daughter of a diplomat, and her status as a member of the country’s elite has shone a spotlight on the relentless and growing violence against women in Pakistan, said prominent rights activist Tahira Abdullah. But the majority of women who are victims of such violence are among the country’s poor and middle class, and their deaths are often not reported or, when they are, often ignored.”
Quote: “Did you know that the U.S. has averaged more than one and a half mass shootings a day so far this year? I know that sounds crazy, but it is true. Monday will be the 200th day of the year, and according to Wikipedia there have been 327 mass shootings up to this point in 2021. And actually the information on Wikipedia does not include all of the most recent mass shootings, and so the true number is actually a little higher. But you can’t really blame Wikipedia, because it is extremely difficult to keep up with all of the mass shootings that are happening these days. In fact, each one barely even makes a blip in the news before the next one happens. We have become a nation that is filled with violence from one end to the other, and many believe that what we have experienced so far is just the beginning.”
Quote: “At least 233 people were killed and 618 people were injured by gun violence in more than 500 shootings across the country during the Fourth of July weekend…In Chicago, after Police Superintendent David Brown raised concerns before the “most challenging weekend of the year” for police, 100 people were shot and 18 people were killed…”
Quote: “In the first five days of July, there were a whopping 20 mass shootings, bringing 2021’s total to 336. May saw 72 mass shootings and June saw 76…”
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3:13
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:2-5
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” 2 Peter 2:1-3
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.16 Ye shall know them by their fruits…Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:15-16a, 21-23
Quote: “In the midst of a great scandal in the Southern Baptist Convention perpetrated by the newly-elected Southern Baptist president, Ed Litton–who has been caught plagiarizing a multitude of sermons from JD Greear and other pastors dating as far back as 2013–another conservative church has announced that they will be departing from the Southern Baptist Convention. Jonathan Sims, the senior pastor of Shelbyville Baptist Church in Tennessee, gave a sermon on July 4 where he lambasted the spiritually weak state of Southern Baptist churches…Sims stated that he has been “grieved for decades” over the fruit of the Southern Baptist Convention and that we can have no doubt about the state of the denomination based on its fruit.”
Fear, Deception, the Vaccine, the Internet, Protests and Those Who Hate Us Ruling Over Us
“And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” Revelation 6:7-8
“16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.17 And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you…36 I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth.37 And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies.” Leviticus 26:16-17; 36-37
“16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:16-17
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3:13
Quote: “The American Hospital Association supports mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers. Dozens of health systems around the country, including the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Mayo Clinic, are requiring their workers to get vaccinated…Washington’s health system, physician and nurses associations should require all their members to get vaccinated, for our sake. Now.”
Quote: “The French parliament approved a bill early Monday that will require a health pass for access to restaurants, bars, trains and planes from the beginning of August. All venues accommodating more than 50 people already require proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid-19 test, including museums, cinemas and swimming pools.France’s parliament approved a law early Monday requiring special virus passes for all restaurants and domestic travel and mandating vaccinations for all health workers…The law requires all workers in the health care sector to start getting vaccinated by Sept. 15, or risk suspension. It also requires a “health pass” to enter all restaurants, trains, planes and some other public venues. It initially applies to all adults, but will apply to everyone 12 and older starting Sept. 30… The bill was unveiled just six days ago…The rules can be applied through Nov. 15, depending on the virus situation. About 160,000 people protested around France on Saturday against a special COVID-19 pass for restaurants and mandatory vaccinations for health workers. Many marchers shouted “liberty!” and said the government shouldn’t tell them what to do.””
Quote: “Shemirani’s son Sebastian Shemirani called for his mom — who has been banned by the Nursing and Midwifery Council for spreading coronavirus misinformation — to be “prosecuted under existing laws” for her comments.“Or if there are not laws in place that say what she is doing is illegal, we should be having a national conversation about what laws we should be bringing in and drafting up legislation for that,” he told BBC Radio 4’s “Today.””
Quote: “Candida auris, which is deadly in 1 out of every 3 patients, is now jumping from person to person, according to a new report.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta reported in 2019 the deadly superbug fungus was spreading around the world and had been reported in 14 states, including Georgia.”
Quote: “Thousands upon thousands of demonstrators were seen in London, Dublin, Paris, Rome, Athens, and other cities across Europe…The demonstrations in France appeared to be the tensest, with riot police firing tear gas as clashes erupted in central Paris…France’s Interior Ministry said that about 160,000 people partook in the protests on Saturday…Thousands of Italian demonstrators gathered in Rome, Naples, Verona, and Milan on Saturday, according to videos and photos published online.In Verona, thousands chanted, “No Green Pass,” referring to Italy’s government decision to implement a vaccine-passport-like system for people to enter local fairs, stadiums, theaters, and other gathering areas…Also on Saturday, demonstrators in Dublin, Ireland, emphatically called on the government to rescind lockdown and mask measures.London, England, also drew significantanti-vaccine demonstrations, with protesters waving flags and singing songs.Some 4,000 people, meanwhile, appeared outside of the Greek parliament in central Athens to protest against mandatory vaccinations…”
Quote: “German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff…said getting vaccinated is important to protect against severe disease and because “vaccinated people will definitely have more freedoms than unvaccinated people.””
Quote: “Police fired water cannons and tear gas on rowdy protesters in Paris, although most gatherings were orderly….In the northern city of Verona, several thousand people marched down the main shopping street, chanting “No Green Pass!” and “Freedom!” They included families with young children, medical doctors who said they are risking their jobs not to get vaccinated and people who likened the Green Pass decision to decisions by fascist dictatorships…”
Note: This is a video of international German lawyer Dr Reiner Fuellmich (who interviewed Dr Martin in a video posted below from July 9th). He is bringing a case before the various courts of the world regarding the “pandemic” (which was not real but planned by the elites of the world) stating it is a crime against humanity and he has proof.
Note: This is an astounding interview of Dr Martin regarding the patents of coronavirus, how this there is no novel coronavirus, and how its always been about getting people to take the present vaccine which was not rushed, but was ready in advance. This is not Dr. Martin’s opinion. He proves this through patent records and other documentation.
Quote: “Around 55 percent of the country’s 9.3 million people have been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The breakthrough cases, or infections in fully vaccinated people, account for around 40 to 50 percent of new COVID-19 cases, Prof. Chezy Levy, the Director-General of the Health Ministry, said in an interview with local radio.”
Conquering and to Conquer
“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” Revelation 6:1-2
“And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many…” Daniel 8:23-25
Quote: “Morocco is the fourth Arab nation to sign the Abraham Accords that formalized normalization of diplomatic ties between Israel, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. Morocco joined the “circle of peace” a few weeks later. The history-making Accords, signed last September, were brokered by then-US President Donald Trump.”
Quote: “In a historic first for the Gulf nations, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) opened its Embassy on Wednesday in the financial heart of Israel, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) building.The UAE thus has become the first Gulf nation to establish an embassy in the Jewish State. Israel established its embassy in the UAE last month…Since the normalization of ties . . . we have seen for the first time discussions on trade and investment opportunities,” said the UAE Ambassador. “We signed major agreements across various fields including economy, air travel, technology and culture.”Israel’s president called the opening of the UAE Embassy “an important milestone in our journey towards the future, peace, prosperity and security” for the Middle East. “Seeing the Emirati flag flying proudly in Tel Aviv might have seemed like a far-fetched dream about a year ago. In many ways nothing could be more natural and normal.”Diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE were established last September with the creation of the Abraham Accords the agreement brokered by America’s then-President Donald Trump that documents the normalization of ties between Israel, the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and shortly after also Morocco as well.”
Quote: “Countries from all over the world are cooperating with Israel in the field of agriculture. This agreement is another opportunity for further promotion and establishment in the world of agrotech,” the ministry said.Water recovery is another area in which Israel leads the world, and is another way in which Israel is working to deal with climate change.The United Arab Emirates uses about 200 cubic meters per capita per year sources said, noting that is twice the amount in Israel. There is a shortage of groundwater reservoirs, a high amount of salinity in the existing groundwater and thus its limited use.
Quote: “The two countries announced Saturday that Israel would sell 50 million cubic meters of water.Herzog’s office said in a statement that Abdullah “expressed his satisfaction after the return of the diplomatic ties between the two countries to their correct path”.The president was quoted as saying he wanted to strengthen economic and tourism ties between the two countries…Jordan is one of the world’s most water-deficient countries and experts say the country has been grappling with one of the most severe droughts in its history.”
Quote: “The flights operated by Israeli and Moroccan airlines will significantly promote tourism and business traffic between the countries,” the Foreign Ministry said. Morocco is one of four Arab countries, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, to normalize ties with Israel under the Abraham Accords brokered by former US president Donald Trump.”
Quote: “A Moroccan air force plane touched down in Israel’s Hatzor Air Base on Sunday morning, reportedly to take part in a multinational Israeli Air Force exercise later this month.The highly irregular landing of the Royal Moroccan Air Force C-130 cargo plane at the Hatzor Air Base near Ashdod was visible on public flight-tracking software, where it was quickly spotted by a number of amateur radar watchers, one of whom shared the information with The Times of Israel.”
Quote: “Indications of a radical policy turnaround in Riyadh towards jumping aboard the peace wagon rolling forward between Gulf nations and Israel were highlighted in a column published on July 1 by Asharq Al-Awsat, the London- based publication close to the Saudi royal house. Last week’s visit by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to the United Arab Republic and Bahran, the first by an Israeli minister to the signatories of the Abraham Accords, was extensively covered in the Saudi media as a historic event, the columnist noted. One paper front-paged a picture of Lapid backed by the Israeli flag, And TV channels have begun inviting Israeli pundits to live talk shows, often introducing them as experts “in Jerusalem.”Decades-long taboos are being tossed, as the Saudis eye the booming trade ties their neighbors are binding with the Jewish state.”
“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” Matthew 24:9-10
Quote: ““All of a sudden Canada looks a lot like the Soviet Union,” Carlson began.“Seem like we’re exaggerating a little bit? Well, they’re burning Catholic and Anglican churches in recent days. Leftist groups are. But Canada’s leaders aren’t condemning the burning of churches. No, they’re endorsing the burning of churches,” he continued.”
Quote: “Keean Bexte tweeted CounterSignal.com’s interview with the church’s pastor.“We are refugees. We escaped from Vietnam to come here to get more freedom, to live, and we think it was a good country – and now it happened to our church,” Pastor Nguyen said. “Maybe it is not safe to be here in Canada compared to Vietnam.””
Quote: “‘Mass protests across Cuba, a nation where demonstrations against the government have been tightly controlled in the past, has seen the arrest of dozens including Christian leaders...“The Superintendent General of the Assemblies of God in Cuba, Moisés de Prada, published a video on the Facebook page of his name in which he agrees that the Cuban people need to be heard. ‘The despair, the crisis of medicines, food, the lack of expression, clear, transparent dialogue, has led a people to raise their voices and need to be heard.’“De Prada emphatically demanded; ‘We are calling for the cessation of repression. We are calling for the cessation of hostilities. We call on the authorities and the people to sanity. Violence breeds violence and the results are harmful,’ he added.”
“There were reports of internet blackouts across the island. Access to mobile internet was rolled out in December 2018 in Cuba but is controlled by the state-owned telecommunications company Etecsa.“Internet monitoring site Netblocks said access to WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Telegram had been restricted by Etecsa’s servers. Mobile internet is the main way for Cubans to access independent news and many said the blackouts had increased the sense of ominous unease following the protests.””
Quote: “In a recent crackdown on online Christian content, the Chinese government banned the WeChat accounts belonging to many registered churches.WeChat is a popular social media in China that many churches utilize. The accounts that The government blocked accounts belonging to churches registered and approved by the Chinese government…In addition to WeChat, many popular Christian websites have stopped updates for good, and the amount of Christian media on the Internet seems to be shrinking rapidly.”
Quote: “Cuban President Miguel Díaz Canel also made public calls for ‘revolutionaries’ to take to the streets to defend the Revolution by fighting protestors. Several reports have since emerged of violence against protesters, including one incident in which an Associated Press photographer was violently beaten by members of the police and Cuban State Security. One protester was also allegedly shot in the stomach.In a post on Facebook, human rights activist and pastor Reverend Mario Félix Lleonart Barroso reported that the authorities had detained Yeremi Blanco y Yarian Sierra, two pastors from the Berean Baptist Mission in Matanzas. Reverend Yusniel Pérez Montejo, of the Eastern Baptist Convention, was reportedly detained in Songo-La Maya in Santiago, and a Catholic priest, Father Castor José Álvarez Devesa, was reportedly beaten and detained incommunicado by Cuban authorities in Camagüey in central Cuba.”
Quote: “Mob violence accompanied by police at places of worship to disrupt prayer or church services was among the most reported incidents. However, false accusations and arrests under newly enacted anti-conversion laws were also among the reported incidents.”
Quote: “It’s probably no big deal, but I can confirm that the “Doomsday Plane” just flew over Missouri and Illinois. There is a mystery as to what it was doing and exactly where it was going…The trip has been described as “highly unusual” compared to the normal routines of the E-4B planes…The E-4B Nightwatch was headed toward the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada and was later confirmed to have the Secretary of Defense on board…According to Twitter, the Secretary of Defense traveled to Alaska after the stop in Nevada.”
For way more information regarding Biblical prophecy coming to pass, please refer to these sources. In them are a plethora of links.
Before 2020 ever came through the door of our lives, each of us was already facing challenges, overwhelming odds, loneliness, financial pressures, injustice, unfairness, depression, anxiety, illnesses, surgeries, divorce, abuse, as well as good things like hopes, expectations, dreams, etc. And then 2020 came upon upon us like a slow rolling tidal wave, and Christians along with the world looked on in perplexity. When the truth hit, it hit harder than the lie, and on top of every other trial of this life the end of the world coupled with a great delusion veiling the eyes of so many including other Christians, family members and friends hit us right between the eyes. Many felt stranded and alone. Single moms and dads were even more alone than before, and children already overwhelmed by insecurities were bombarded by emotional upheaval. Depression and suicide rates sky rocketed across around the world as tensions rose at home among those in lockdown.
What about now? Have Christians recovered from the COVID madness? Have the children? The CDC is still stirring up confusion over masks, children and vaccines, social distancing, the return to normal, and the like. Confusion still reigns, and the news media still propagates an atmosphere of fear. And adults trying to cope with it all, are seeking refuge on some far away beach (vaccine or no vaccine) or another vacation destination. Still others escape into the make-believe world of a movie or tv show or a new relationship online or next door or become immersed in a home improvement project.
But is that the right response? An attempt to get away? What does God’s word say?
In short, here is the story. Each of us is equated with a lamb surrounded by trouble on every side, the enemy at every turn, going through frightening things we don’t understand and don’t want to face and going down paths we’d rather not walk, just trying to survive. In other words, there is nothing new in what we are going through today, for the enemy of our soul still wants to chew us up and spit us out, like a wolf with a lamb. But, there are two kinds of lambs: those who wander off and get lost in search of a vacation to revive them or a wonder drug to make them feel better or a new relationship to make them whole, and then there are those lambs who follow the shepherd wherever he goes. Though some recently have been saying we’re no longer lambs but are lions, no where in Scripture are we ever called lions. No where. We are always referred to as lambs.
Psalm 23 is one of the most if not the most popular and well-known of all the Psalms. Its beautiful poetic rhythm has captured hearts worldwide, and its gentle, pastoral scene has inspired generations of those who have memorized its lines. However, though many have memorized it, not many understand it or have thought about it, and though many have heard sermons on it, not many have have thought about the fact that is comes from a lamb’s perspective. A lamb.
Since we are equated to lambs, let’s take a fresh look at this powerful psalm.
“1 (A Psalm of David.) The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
What is a Lamb?
Since each of us is like lamb, it is important to know what that means. After all, what is a lamb? Have you ever thought about lambs?
A lamb is a herd animal. A lamb is defenseless against any and all predators for it has no sharp teeth or roar like a lion, no claws like a cat, no spray like a skunk, no quills like a porcupine, no tusks like an elephant, no bark or growl like a dog, no fangs like a wolf, no strong kick like a cow, no horns like a bull. They are not stealthy. They are not wise. A lamb cannot scratch its back or its head nor clean its bottom. A lamb cannot shew away flies or other bugs. A lamb does not find shelter on its own. A lamb will fall over a cliff as it blindly follows the herd. A lamb will trample another lamb unknowingly when fear overtakes the herd and a stampede ensues. A lamb can easily drown if it falls into water for it cannot swim and its wool becomes a sponge for the water. A lamb will eat grass down to nothing without ever thinking that it could go to new pasture. Much like a newborn human baby, a lamb is completely and helplessly dependent upon its shepherd to do almost everything for it.
What is a Shepherd?
This being the case about lambs and before we can proceed forward in our quest to understand Psalm 23, we must establish who the incredibly important shepherd is. To begin with, there are hirelings and there are shepherds. A hireling is one who is hired to watch the sheep. Like employees today they work for money, and their ambition is to earn that money. Jesus speaks of such in John 10 wherein He explains that a hireling will abandon the sheep when hard times come or an enemy threatens or something catastrophic looms. A hireling does not love the sheep nor does he/she care for the sheep, for the sheep are merely a means of monetary gain. A shepherd on the other hand, is not there merely for the money but for the sheep. Thus, a shepherd will not abandon the sheep at any time for any reason, for the sheep are their number one priority.
Amazingly, in the evenings a good shepherd herds their flock into a sheepfold made up of fencing or the confines of a cave. But, this temporary protection has no wooden door nor gate. Instead, the shepherd stations himself/herself as the door of the pen. Thus, Jesus says in John 10 that He is the door, He is the good shepherd, and no one but His own sheep enter in to the protection of His dwelling.
Who is MY Shepherd?
Psalm 23 is specific as to who each lamb’s shepherd is: The Lord. The Lord is MY shepherd. This is deeply personal and intimate. He is not just someone else’s shepherd or the herd’s shepherd. He is mine. Which means, He cares for me; He watches over me; He is dedicated to me. He is not somewhere far away, but nearby and involved with me.
Not only is He mine, He is Yehovah. He is not just my lord (Adonai) or my provider or my defender, He is Yaweh or Yehovah. The meaning of this name is found in its root as used in Exodus 3:14 when God tells Moses His name is “I am that I am.” He is the One who is, was, and is to come. He is the self-existent, eternal One, and as such is all that I need.
In case there is any question regarding this, Psalm 80 clearly points out that our Shepherd is God Himself. After all, who but God dwells between the cherubim? “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us.3 Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.” First Samuel 4:4; 2 Kings 19:15; Psalm 99:1; Isaiah 37:16 are a few other passages that state God Almighty is the One who sits/dwells between the cherubim.
Yaweh-Yehovah God who dwells between the cherubim is my Shepherd. He is the One who is watching over me, not because He has to, not because He is paid to, but because He wants to do so, because He loves me. I have a Shepherd who loves me. You have a Shepherd who loves you. Not only this, but He is love itself (1 John 4:8, 16), and thus, will never run out of love or patience for that matter, because “love is patient” (I Corinthians 13).
I have a Shepherd who knows my name. You have a Shepherd who knows you by name. You are not just a number. You are not known by your mother or dad’s name. You are not known by the flaws of your relations. You are not known by what others in your family have done or not done, by their goodness or their badness. You are known for you alone, by your name.
I known my Shepherd’s voice, and so do you. No matter how busy we are, may we never grow dull to His still small voice. Nothing can drown it out. Nothing can silence it. No one can stifle it. Except you, if you do not stay in tune. His voice rings loud and clear in our ears and in our spirit. His voice is shouting to us over the noise, whispering to us in the pain, empowering us in spite of fear. His voice is heard in His Word and through the discernment of His Spirit, if we will read, and if we will listen. Have you read today? Have you listened today?
I have a Shepherd who has not, is not and will not abandon me, ever. He does not flee when dangers come, nor did He seek to save His own life from the wolves. He does not stand aloof from the sheep thinking Himself higher and better and distant. Instead(John 10:10), He laid down His life for me. He laid down His life for you, that we might have life and life more abundantly , that our life might be found in Him (Colossians 3:3).
The LORD God Almighty, Maker of the Universe, Creator of all that is living, the Awesome and Great Eternal God is my Shepherd, is your Shepherd. Why then do we fear when we listen to the nightly news or notice the signs of the times or are going through various trials and griefs? Why then do we cower when a virus or spiritual warfare or persecution is lurking; why do we seek to preserve our lives? Why do we wander off alone in depression and doubt and incredulity?
Our Shepherd is Jesus. Even if the rest of Psalm 23 were never read or memorized, wouldn’t that be enough to still my stormy heart, my raging sea, my overwhelming odds, my family crisis, my medical emergency, my need to succeed, my employment problem, my anything and everything? My Shepherd is God. What else, what Goliath, is bigger than that????
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39.
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Some are still calling for American Christians to fight it out in the courts, to call your congressmen and senators, to legally pursue our Constitutional rights, to not lie down and give up. This nation is unique in that we have, as Christians had legal rights, been the majority, and experienced prosperity. Christians in no other nation of the world can boast like this. Though Christians in other nations do not have a legal leg to stand on and are minorities, we here in America have always had our Constitution and Bill of Rights, the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And so it seems logical during this time of impending doom and growing darkness, that American Christians would appeal to our legal system, stand on the Constitution, and defend their liberties, even to the point of forming militias (which it is our Constitutional right to do). They do not want to simply lay down and die. They are ready to stand and fight.
But… why are we here? Why have we come to this point? Why all the darkness? There is a one word answer to this: Sin.
Here is brief run down of that sin. More could be added to this list. On June 17, 1963, the Bible was removed from the classrooms of America, though since our inception the Bible had been a part of the curriculum of every school. January 22, 1973 the Roe v. Wade decision has led to the legalized killing of millions of babies. June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision legalized gay marriage. And if all that sin was not enough, there’s pedophilia, pornography, the sex slave trade, high divorce rates, broken homes, drug abuse, the accelerated growth of other religions including Satanism which is has been deemed the ‘fastest growing religion’ in America; California just passed a law that children can opt for sex changes and another law that lowers penalties for pedophiles; Washington state just passed a sex ed law that is beyond perverse, which teaches 3rd graders sexual positions etc., the arch of Baal has been erected in Washington D.C. and Baal/idol worship is evident in our nation, and to add insult to injury, the persecution of Christians is ramping up all across the U.S. And then there is the sin that no one likes to acknowledge as sin: love of pleasure, desensitization through movies and music, “sleeping with” and “living with” boyfriends and girlfriends before marriage, dressing like the world (proactively–for both men and women), greed, never being satisfied, always being busy, busy, busy and never having time for God, His word, ministry or our children, keeping our children busy so that they too no longer have time to know God, their parents or the Word, allowing our children to be indoctrinated in the Public school system, prescription drug addiction (anti-anxiety/anti-depressant meds) and the list could go on and on and on.
Do we fight sin legally, Constitutionally, or with an armed militia?
The answer to sin is best found in the words of Jonathan Cahn who said recently, “As for America, the problem is not social or economic or cultural or political. The problem is ultimately spiritual. And so must be the answer. America has turned away from God, and its only hope is that it return to God. Choose true greatness, and lead in that return. Or…continue in this departure from God to destruction and judgment. As for those of you who love this nation and are burdened and fearful for its future, America’s ONLY HOPE is revival. Return. Without it, the nation is LOST.”
America, this is your Last Call. It is time to repent. It is time to return to the God of our founding, the Lord of our Constitution, the very reason that we exist as a nation — and for that matter as a person — at all. America has only been great because she’s been good — a God-honoring, Christian, godly nation. But, now, not only has she ceased to be good and ceased to be great, but the present, unhindered evil in nearly every political office in America is causing this nation to dive headlong into the abyss of God’s judgment. We are one of only two nations (America and Biblical Israel) in this world to have been founded upon God and His word, and thus because we have rejected His Kingship, His Headship, His Lordship. We have shut Him out of our schools, our courtrooms, our businesses and our homes, and now, He is leaving us, and His impending judgment will come soon. But God says, “For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. 7 Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you…” (Malachi 3:6-7). Do not take for granted His merciful offer. It will not last long.
Church, this is your Last Call. It is time to realize that sin has infiltrated our doors, our homes, our hearts. May His conviction fall like fire in your souls when you read this, because our time is short, and His return is immanent. Let us say with David in Psalm 139:23, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” It is time for a return to holiness, for without holiness we will not see God (Hebrews 12:14).
With all that is transpiring in our world today and the swift approach of Revelation and the Great Tribulation/Jacob’s Trouble/the Day that includes economic collapse, food shortages/famine (which are already manifesting worldwide), violent riots, political unrest, and the unprecedented arrival of Christian persecution in the U.S. and ongoing and presently escalating persecution worldwide, this is the prescription of Dr. Jesus. The passage of Philippians 4:6-9 covers incredibly powerful, life-altering topics that we cannot afford to miss!
Philippians 4:6-9 has been the topic of seven previous Bible studies and has included the concept of 4 puzzle pieces: “Do Not Worry,” “Thankful Prayer,” and “Think on These Things.” Today we’re going to cover the 4th puzzle piece found in Philippians 4:9 which is that of “Habitual Practice”.
Philippians 4:9 says, “9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
Now, what were the Philippians to practice exactly? That which they had learned, received, heard, and seen of course! So, what was it that they had learned, received, heard and seen? Before we get to some of those specifics, let’s take a look at the Greek behind those four important words: Learn, Receive, Hear, See, and Do.
A Little Greek Lesson
The Greek word for Learn is not the type of learning that can be attained overnight, but rather, is acquired from experience through a great deal of reflection and discipline.
The Greek word for Received comes from the combination of two Greek words which when combined mean, “to aggressively take alongside,” or “to receive with the mind.” In other words, you really want it and readily receive it.
The Greek for Hear, literally means “to hear (listen)” and figuratively means, “to hear God’s voice” which leads to inner faith. After all, “Faith come by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
The Greek meaning of to See can mean to physically see, but can also mean to perceive with the mind “with inward spiritual perception” all through experience.
And To Do in the Greek means to practice regularly, to “perform repeatedly or habitually” and is not just a one time thing. In other words, what one was discipled in, exuberantly received, heard with their inner ears, and saw with their spiritual eyes, was to be lived out over and over again.
Now in order for us to apply this passage to ourselves, we need to know what they had learned, received, heard and seen in Paul. To better understand this, let’s go back into Philippians 3 beginning in verse 8.
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ…10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death… forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you….17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”
And then Paul goes on to say in Philippians 4:4, 11-13, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice…11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.12I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.13I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
According to this passage, Paul had learned through experience, reflection and discipline to be content, to be satisfied, to have an “inward sufficiency” that comes from the empowerment of Christ. A God-Sufficiency. Paul also knew how to be “abased”, that is, to be completely humble, even humiliated and God-reliant instead of self-reliant or others-reliant, as well as to “superabound” and to have excess. Furthermore, he had been instructed. The word used here should not merely say “I am instructed,” but rather should be translated, “I have learned the secret,” for it does include a message of powerful importance. And the Secret appears to have to do with the art of being famished or full, the art of superabounding in goods or suffering in great need.
In every secret society or brotherhood or fraternity there is always what is called an initiation for the newcomer, and nearly if not always, the new initiate has to go through some sort of pain or humiliation or bloodshed of some kind in order to be initiated into the group. The word used for the mystery religions of Paul’s day for doing such an initiation was the word used here for “I have been instructed” or “I have learned the secret.” It is not just a mere instruction that anyone would learn in the classroom, but rather pictures the initiate closing their eyes and mouth in order to “experience [the] mystery” and thus be “initiated into the wonderful “mystery revelation” of learning.”
The Ceremonial Initiation of Suffering
What is the mystery in which Paul had been instructed? Succinctly put: remaining in perfect peace while suffering. After all, Paul had gone through and would continue to go through extensive persecution, physical and emotional pain, poverty, severe opposition, and deep disappointments. As it says in 2 Corinthians 11, “in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one [195 lashes].25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” And yet in all of it Paul goes on to say,“29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.” In chapter 4 states, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh….14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Indeed, Paul had learned the secret, and had been initiated into “Christ’s sufferings” and that secret was resting in Christ and remaining in God’s peace through it and in spite of it all.
Now, how about us? Have we been initiated? Let us learn this secret of how to be unshakably peaceful, this mystery of being content in Christ no matter where we are located, no matter what is in our tummies, no matter what people are with us or not with us, no matter how much or how little money we have in our pockets, not matter if the economy collapses, no matter what the political climate, no matter who is president, no matter who is in Congress or what mandates or executive orders or laws or judgments are made in the days and weeks and months to come.
Through Paul, the Philippians had learned, received, heard, and seen what to do in the midst of good times and bad times, times of great overflowing abundance and times of little to nothing, days of great discomfort and days of a multitude of benefits. But, have we as modern day readers done the same? The Gospel is not just about the good days, but about the bad. The Gospel, as exemplified through Christ, does not promise us smooth sailing, great wealth, or only good times. Really, it guarantees us the opposite. It says we are blessed when we are persecuted (Matthew 5:10-12), that we are to take up our shameful cross daily and follow Christ (Luke 9:23 and 14:27), that we are to rejoice anyway in all situations (Philippians 4:4), and that when we are generous here (whether we have a little with which to be generous or a lot) then we have riches in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). The Gospel promises us something more amazing, more mind blowing and more incredible than what this superficial world will ever experience. It promises us REST, whether we are rich or destitute, when we are starving or fat and sassy. It promises us a sufficiency in Christ that nothing can touch! It promises us unshakable peace that nothing can defeat! It promises us that we are more than conquerors through Christ (Romans 8). Do YOU know this peace????
We along with Paul are called to count all accomplishments and gains and all that this world looks up to as dung (or as I called it while growing up on a farm “horse apples” or “mud pies” or “cow plop” or in Dutch “stront”). We too are called to fellowship with Christ in His suffering. We are not to be conformed to this world’s standards, but instead are called with Paul to conform to Christ in His death. We are called to follow Paul in his example of following Christ, and are to thus learn the art of suffering well. We are to habitually practice peace in both prosperity and poverty, in humiliation and happiness.
For when we habitually practice what we have learned, received, heard and seen, then “the God of peace will be with you,” and Him being with us, changes us from glory to glory. As it says in Romans 8:16-18, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Let’s keep our focus on Jesus and remain in His perfect peace even as the darkness grows and the world is set up for judgment and the Day of His return draws ever nearer!
An important question to be asked today is this: what is the definition of the Church? It seems in recent months churches have lost the meaning of what being a church actually is, if they ever knew or thought about that meaning at all. They attempt to explain away the fact that they disbanded the Church, saying that the Church is not a building but the people that are in it. Though at first glance I thought I agreed with this logic, I have since concluded otherwise. For the Church (meaning the people in it) are, in fact, a building. First Corinthians 3:9 says so actually. Referring to believers (as a group not individually, plural not singular) the passage states you all “are God’s building.” Paul even goes on to say that he is a “master builder” and that Jesus is our “foundation”, and that everyone is contributing to this building project. Therefore, even if the Church, the body of Christ, the assembly of believers is not an actual wooden building with a cross on it and a steeple, God Himself calls us all His building.
Pastors have tried to gloss over locking their doors by saying that the early church met in homes so why shouldn’t we? Yet another form of logic is that of the reasoning that we as Christians must obey the legal authorities. Though there is some merit to what they have said — for yes the early church did meet in homes and yes we are to honor our secular rulers — in all these explanations the pastors, however, have lost the meaning of the name “church”. Indeed, they’ve even missed the fact that we are God’s building. So, in order to better understand what the Church actually is let’s take a look at both the Greek word for “church” and its Hebrew equivalent. Though you may say “this looks like Greek to me!” please bear with me because laying this foundation is important!
The word for “church” in the Greek is ekklesia (Strong’s #1577). Ekklesia comes from ekkletos, meaning “called out” and is from the word ekkaleo meaning, “to call out.” Thus, the word for church, ekklesia, means “the called people…those called out or assembled in the public affairs of a free state, the body of free citizens called together by a herald,” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, pg 541). And a herald (kerux, #2783) is a preacher, a messenger, one who proclaims, who in Classical Greek was a “public servant of supreme power…one who summoned the ekklesia, the town gathering…a kerux, messenger, was…[a] conveyor of a declaration…in 2 Peter 2:5…Noah was a herald of righteousness…” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, pg 861).
In the Old Testament there are two Hebrew words used for assemblies/gatherings: edah (Strong’s #5712) and qahal (Strong’s #6951). In the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament that had been put together before Christ by 70 leading Jewish Biblical scholars, the word synagogue is equivalent to edah, and the world ekklesia is equivalent to qahal. Though occasionally used in the New Testament to refer to the Church, early on the Greek word synagogue came to be strictly associated with the Jewish gatherings. However, the Greek word ekklesia, which even Jesus used on occasion (Matthew 16:18), came to be regarded as Christian gatherings. (“Jewish Literature in New Testament Times,” https://www.bible-history.com/jewishliterature/jewish_literaturethe_septuagint.htm; “Septuagint,” https://www.septuagint.net/)
For further clarification “…both qahal and ekklesia indicate a calling or summoning to a place of meeting. Qahal and ekklesia are the more sacred terms, denoting the people in relation to Jehovah, especially in public worship” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, pg 1334). Even so, ekklesia is synonymous with episunagoge (Strong’s #1997) used in Hebrews 10:25 which means, “to gather together.”
From what are we as Christians called out? The world system that is under the rule of the evil one and his cohorts. To what are we called? We are called out by a messenger/preacher to gather in worship of our King. We are called to assemble in praise of the King and Kingdom of God that has no end. Thus, we are no longer a part of the system of this world, but have become a kingdom of priests and kings unto our God (Revelation 1:6), are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), are the body and Bride of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27; 2 Corinthians 11:2), and ambassadors of His heavenly Kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:20). Because of this, we live by Kingdom rules, for we are citizens of the country of heaven (Philippians 3:20). While here as ambassadors, we honor those God has placed in power here, but when anything comes into question, we stand on the side of the Kingdom that we represent. He is our head (Ephesians 5:23).
It has been recently, correctly stated by Pastor John Macarthur and the pastoral leadership and elders of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California that,
“As pastors and elders, we cannot hand over to earthly authorities any privilege or power that belongs solely to Christ as head of His church. Pastors and elders are the ones to whom Christ has given the duty and the right to exercise His spiritual authority in the church (1 Peter 5:1–4; Hebrews 13:7, 17)—and Scripture alone defines how and whom they are to serve (1 Corinthians 4:1–4). They have no duty to follow orders from a civil government attempting to regulate the worship or governance of the church. In fact, pastors who cede their Christ-delegated authority in the church to a civil ruler have abdicated their responsibility before their Lord and violated the God-ordained spheres of authority as much as the secular official who illegitimately imposes his authority upon the church…
In short, as the church, we do not need the state’s permission to serve and worship our Lord as He has commanded. The church is Christ’s precious bride (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23–27). She belongs to Him alone. She exists by His will and serves under His authority. He will tolerate no assault on her purity and no infringement of His headship over her. All of that was established when Jesus said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18).
Christ’s own authority is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And [God the Father has] put all things in subjection under [Christ’s] feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:21–23).
Accordingly, the honor that we rightly owe our earthly governors and magistrates (Romans 13:7) does not include compliance when such officials attempt to subvert sound doctrine, corrupt biblical morality, exercise ecclesiastical authority, or supplant Christ as head of the church in any other way.
The biblical order is clear: Christ is Lord over Caesar, not vice versa. Christ, not Caesar, is head of the church. Conversely, the church does not in any sense rule the state. Again, these are distinct kingdoms, and Christ is sovereign over both. Neither church nor state has any higher authority than that of Christ Himself, who declared, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18).”
However, unlike Pastor John Macarthur, so many American Christian pastors (and Canadian for that matter) still have their doors locked. In so doing, these pastors are willingly allowing godless governors and mayors to lead God’s flock, and thus, have forfeited their role as shepherd of the flock of God.
Remember what happened when Israel, a nation under the headship of God alone, asked for a human king? “Give us a king to judge us,” they said. “And the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:6-7). And so, in 1 Samuel 12, Saul is made king at the beginning of the wheat harvest (1 Sam 12:17) – that is Pentecost, for Pentecost is the day of the first fruits of the wheat harvest (Exodus 34:22). And Samuel said to them “I will call to the LORD, and He will send thunder and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking a king for yourselves,” (vs17).
However, God said that the head of the Church is Christ not Caesar (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23), that we are to render to God the things that are God’s (Matthew 22:21), and that we are to respect the rule of law as long as it is righteous and does not conflict with His Kingdom law. And under His law, the Church is an “assembly,” a “gathering” together of those who are called out of this world’s system into the Kingdom of the Son of His love (Colossians 1:13), in allegiance to and worship of their eternal King. Thus, no matter what is happening, no matter who says what, no matter when in history, those called by the name ekklesia/Church are to do what their name implies, which is to congregate together.“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23-25).
Truly, can a body be called a body when it is in pieces? Is the liver the body? Is the stomach the body? Is the tongue the body? Certainly not. One organ does not constitute the body. Rather, it is all the organs, sinews, muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, blood vessels and so forth all joined together that constitutes a body. Even so, the body of Christ is not the body unless fitly joined together, gathered together to build one another up by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, assembled for worship. Therefore, can the Church be called the Church unless it gathers together? The succinct answer is NO.
Throughout the centuries of rulers commanding that Christians not gather together under pain of death, the Church gathered anyway, from the Apostle Paul and John and Peter and the early Church, to those who secretly and illegally gathered in the catacombs under Rome, to smaller nameless sects who hid in the hills and caves during the Dark Ages, the Albigenses and Waldenses of the 12th and 13th centuries, to the Quakers, to the Anabaptists, to the Lutherans and other reformers. And in now in modern times, in China, North Korea, and any Muslim nation including Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, Christians still gather for worship in defiance of godless laws on pain of imprisonment, fines, torture or even death. These did not and do not fear the very real threat of death. Why? Because they are the “Church”, the called out, assembled ones. Assembling is what they do. It is the Church’s nature to assemble.
In Grace Community’s pastoral leadership’s letter to their church they continue by saying,
“The church by definition is an assembly. That is the literal meaning of the Greek word for “church”—ekklesia—the assembly of the called-out ones. A non-assembling assembly is a contradiction in terms. Christians are therefore commanded not to forsake the practice of meeting together (Hebrews 10:25)—and no earthly state has a right to restrict, delimit, or forbid the assembling of believers. We have always supported the underground church in nations where Christian congregational worship is deemed illegal by the state.
When officials restrict church attendance to a certain number, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible for the saints to gather as the church. When officials prohibit singing in worship services, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible for the people of God to obey the commands of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. When officials mandate distancing, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible to experience the close communion between believers that is commanded in Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, and 1 Thessalonians 5:26. In all those spheres, we must submit to our Lord.” (bold type added by Holy Light Ministries)
“Pastor and apologist Alex McFarland says North Pointe [of Atlanta, Georgia] and other churches that are keeping their buildings closed need to rethink the decision.“Merely to roll over and play dead, as it were, and to say that we’re not going to meet again, that’s not New Testament Christianity,” he insists. “If you’re not meeting for corporate worship, you’re not practicing New Testament Christianity.”” (“Christian Apologist: No Time for Churches to Keep Doors Shut,” https://onenewsnow.com/church/2020/07/16/christian-apologist-no-time-for-churches-to-keep-doors-shut)
In truth and with great gravity, Pastor McFarland and Grace Community’s pastoral staff and elders are absolutely correct. If the churches continue to disband, then they ought not be called the “Church” anymore, for in so doing they are in direct contradiction to the meaning of their name and definition as stated in the Bible. The Church, the called out ones, are those who gather and assemble together, they do not disassemble nor dissolve for the sake of any mandate or pandemic. It does not break up, it builds up. It does not blend in, it stands out. The Biblical, New Testament style Church stands out as the called out ones who stand together, without bending or breaking, without hiding or complying, through thick and thin and without compromise or apology for the cause of Christ. Are you a part of that “assembled” Church? Is Christ your head or is Caesar?
Below is an excellent 11 minute May 9, 2021 message by Pastor Tim Stephens who was arrested on May 16th for having dared to “assemble” the body of Christ in Canada. Pastor Stephens is the 3rd pastor to be arrested in Canada in the past few months of 2021. The other two are Pastor James Coates and Pastor Artur Pawlowski. All three who have been arrested are from the province of Alberta, Canada. For more information on them, use this link: https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2021/02/22/persecution-pastor-imprisoned-in-canada/
We have been studying Matthew 24, and last time we reviewed that Christians have been on a 2000-year road trip with the Bible as a road map with vital road signs we are to know and be following carefully in order to reach our intended destination. Some signs started immediately that Jesus refers to as the “beginning of sorrows” such as wars and rumors of wars, nation rising against nation, famines, pestilence, and natural disasters. He instructed them to be wise servants who were speaking the word of God to one another in order to avoid the top warning of Jesus which is deception. I repeat, the word of God is the road map. Without it, we will be deceived.
But there is more that Jesus talked about in Matthew 24. He continues on in verse “9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” And so it has been from the inception of the Church until today.
Acts: In the book of Acts and other New Testament books the story of persecution has been documented. As multiple thousands were being added to the church daily, the disciples were dragged before the Sanhedrin where they were reprimanded, imprisoned, told not to preach Jesus, and were beaten. And on and one it goes. They even beat the Apostle Paul so badly that he was believed to be dead.
Dark Ages: In the Dark Ages 50-150 million were martyred, and countless others were mercilessly persecuted. Nevertheless, Christianity grew by leaps and bounds. In spite of all odds, Christians stood fast to the truth while others new to the faith flocked to the truth in droves. According to John Fox in his book, Fox’s Book of Martyrs, the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the Church.
In modern days, according to the World Watch List of 2019 regarding the top 50 nations who persecute Christians, in 2018, “Christians were persecuted more than ever before in the modern era — and this year is expected to be worse: “4,136 Christians were killed for faith-related reasons.” (Open Doors USA in its recently published World Watch List 2019 (WWL)). “On average, that’s 11 Christians killed every day for their faith.” Additionally, “2,625 Christians were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned” in 2018, and “1,266 churches or Christian buildings were attacked.”
215 million Christians faced persecution in 2018. In 2019, according to Open Doors, 245 million will suffer — a 14% increase, that represents 30 million more people abused for their faith. This means that “1 in 9 Christians experience high levels of persecution worldwide” (note: all quotations in this article are from the WWL 2019).”
“11 Christians Killed Every Day for Their Faith,” by Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, https://www.meforum.org/57925/christians-persecuted-killed
Though, according to the World Watch List, Islam is the greatest persecutor of Christianity worldwide, “North Korea (#1) remains the worst nation [overall], where “never-ending pressure and violence” is directed against Christians: “The primary driver of persecution in North Korea is the state. For three generations, everything in the country has focused on idolizing the Kim family. Christians are seen as hostiles to be eradicated.”
“11 Christians Killed Every Day for Their Faith,” by Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, https://www.meforum.org/57925/christians-persecuted-killed
According to the January 14th edition of Israel Today, an online news source, “As it is written, “Out of the fiery furnace comes forth faith as pure as gold (1 Peter 1.7), and that is nowhere more evident than among the persecuted Christians of Iran, now home to the fastest growing and largest network of churches in the world… The mosques are empty and many disillusioned with a faith that rules by terror are having encounters with the God of the Bible. The Jewish Messiah is appearing to them in dreams and visions – even in person – and disciples forced to meet and worship in secret are rapidly multiplying to such an extent that the authorities are having to admit their presence. Iran’s Intelligence Minister, Mahmoud Alavi, is quoted as saying that mass conversions “are happening right under our eyes” 1.
In a country whose rulers have vowed to destroy Israel, these new Iranian believers are falling in love with the Jewish people and praying for them. And in a land where women are brutally oppressed, most of the leaders of this amazing move of God are women!
…the gospel is spreading like wildfire in one of the world’s most dangerous places for Christians. It’s a church with no property, no denominational leanings, no bank accounts, no assets and no centralised leadership. But it’s a church that knows suffering and even martyrdom.”
Indeed, in spite of intense persecution and horrific martyrdom, family after family in nation after nation would have it no other way. This truth is captured in the words of a few mothers whose sons were of the 21 Coptic migrant workers who were slaughtered on the Libyan beach in 2015. They not only are proud of their sons and not at all angry with God, but also document miraculous signs that followed their sons’ grizzly deaths. Though some are strange and can be readily dismissed, the greatest sign is that of the testimony of their mothers.
“Gaber’s [one of the martyrs] hunched-over, barefoot mother — whose house had resounded with unidentifiable voices singing a hallelujah at the hour of his death, as her Muslim neighbours also confirmed — was quick to express her gratitude that her son had become a martyr.
Youssef’s [another martyr] family members — his young widow with their little boy, his turban-clad father, his mother holding an icon of her crowned son to her chest — told me, as well as each other, how happy they were when they realised that he was in heaven. Gaber’s family had a similar response.
Hany’s [another martyr] mother also readily admitted her joy, especially with regard to her four little grandchildren: once they’re a bit older, they’ll be so proud that their father is a martyr. Milad’s [martyr] parents also thanked God for their son’s martyrdom; and the parents of Girgis (the elder) [martyr] recalled how their son had always wanted to become a martyr. During his captivity they had not prayed for his deliverance, but only that he remain strong. He had remained strong indeed, and was now the family’s pride and joy.
These are just a small number of the modern day faces and voices of the persecution of Christians.
While during the Dark Ages 50+ million were martyred in approximately a 1000- year period, 900,000 have been killed in the last 10 years alone, and around 100,000 are killed yearly in modern times. At this rate, 50 million martyrs will have been killed in a little over 50 years. In other words, the rate of martyrdom has risen dramatically today, and persecution is the norm for a large number of Christians worldwide.
Indeed, the Jesus’ signs are stacking on top of each other, over and over and over and over again all over the world, shaking the world and those who will see it with the startling and undeniable realization that Jesus is coming back VERY soon!
Jesus guaranteed that those who follow Him would have trials and tribulations, including persecution. I want to emphasize two things at this point.
Number one, let us remember continually our brothers and sisters in Christ worldwide who are and will be experiencing persecution of some shape or form. Those who have requested prayer through Voice of the Martyrs and through various other organizations, do not want to be rescued out of these afflictions, but rather, they want to endure them as good soldiers of the cross. Let us then pray that they be strong, that they will be unafraid for themselves or their families, and that their families will have the provision that they need.
And number two, let us not compare our own trials with that of others. Our trials here in the West are not more or less than what they are going through. They are being tried by financial lack; we are being tried by financial excess. They are being tried by impoverished conditions; we are being tried by abundance. They are being tried by the world’s rejection; we are being tried by the world’s acceptance. They are being tried through imprisonment; we are being tried through liberty. They are being tried through death; we are tried through life. Their trial by fire is not ours, and ours is not theirs; but we are both undergoing a trial that will cause our dross to rise and be skimmed by the deft hand of Almighty God so that the gold in us will be refined and pure. As “One Iranian refugee [said] who came to the West [she] shocked her husband by asking to go back, having discovered that lethargy and indifference was a greater threat to her faith than persecution.” Lethargy and indifference… have they corrupted us?
Let’s take a look at 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 at this time:
“7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.8 We [Paul and those traveling with him] are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (emphasis mine)
Our time here on earth is extremely brief, considered to be only a “moment.” Let us remember that our afflictions, whatever they may be, are light. And it is all for our good and for our glory—an “eternal weight of glory”. So, let’s keep things in their proper perspective. Problems are made bigger when we focus on them. But, if we keep God as our focus and what He’s said in His word about tribulations, then we will be able to endure with grace and dignity.
The Christmas of 2014, I attended a children’s Christmas production at a local church. It was a story of all the superheros of the world gathering at the manger. Ultimately the message was that Jesus was the biggest and best superhero in the world.
It seems that everyone wants a superhero or to be a superhero these days. Everyone hates it when Ironman cannot get his fancy iron suit on in order to save Pepper. Everyone hates it when Superman is rendered powerless by kryptonite. Everyone cheers when all the superheros work together to save the earth, like in the 2012 Avengers movie, and everyone loves it when Neo in the Matrix gets up and overcomes Agent Smith, stopping the bullets in midair.
The concept of superheros is not new, however. In the time of Jesus, the Jews were awaiting their messiah. They longed for him to come in power and might, establish his kingdom on earth, overthrow their Roman persecutors, reestablished the glory of Jerusalem, and rule the world in justice and righteousness. They longed for a physical deliverer. They desired a king, a leader, another man-of-war like David who would defeat their enemies once and for all! They were looking for this messiah – a type of superhero – and no other.
So….when Jesus came as a suffering servant, a bloody lamb of Passover, a spiritual Savior with hope of eternal salvation, and cloaking His true identity and glory from them, they rejected Him as abhorrent and unacceptable. This was not the messiah for which they had been waiting and desperately felt they needed.
Throughout the 2,000 plus years that followed Jesus’ crucifixion, Christians have been persecuted and mercilessly martyred. Indeed, Jesus stated that all who follow Him will be persecuted and killed even as He was. HE GUARANTEED IT!
Now, what kind of a superhero is that?
Jesus is our soon coming King. But, for now He is our Passover Lamb. Yes, He will return someday and wipe out the enemy with the sword of His mouth (Revelation 1:16; 19:15), and His clothing will be drenched with the blood of all who oppose Him (Revelation 19:13). But, for now He calls us to endure persecution. Yes, He will one day rule the world with a rod of iron and believers will rule and reign with Him (2 Timothy 2:12, Revelation 19:15). But, for now we are called to be servants, the least of these, even like the prophets and those who hid in caves of which this world was not and is not worthy (Hebrews 11). He is first the Lamb, and then the Lion.
This truly was “foolishness” to the Jews who looked intensely for a political and physical savior. And it is still “foolishness” to Jews and to American superhero Christians. For, however attractive the concept of superheros in this day and age may be, and however nice it may be to think that Jesus is like Superman, is far from accurate. Really, to say that Jesus is like Superman is extremely misleading, for He does not always swoop down and save us from our pain, our persecution, our troubles, our problems, nor death. As much as we want Him to be our physical deliverer, more often than not we have to endure the hardship and suffering even as He did. As much as we strongly desire Jesus to be our superman, our ironman, our hero, He plain and simply is not.
No. Jesus is not a superhero. He is more than a superhero. For he was not merely part human. He was fully human. He was not only part divine. He was fully divine. His birth did not come about through the sexual union of a spirit father and spirit mother nor via an alien father and mother from another planet (unlike the Superman story, and Mormon story for that matter). Rather, His birth was completely supernatural. He was born of a virgin’s seed, but not sexually; rather, it was supernatural via the Holy Spirit coming upon her and the overshadowing of the Highest (Luke 1:35, Matthew 1:18). He laid down His life (John 10:15) and took it back up again, resurrecting Himself (John 2:19-22—verified in Matthew 26:61, Mark:14:58), defeating death, hell and the grave (Revelation 1:18), and has thus made us more than conquerors (Romans 8:37).
Incredibly, Jesus is God Almighty Himself, existing from eternity (Hebrews 13:8, John 8:58, Revelation 1:8, Colossians 1:17). Jesus is the great “I Am” (John 8:58, John 18:6). He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 1:8). Jesus is Creator God, and God Incarnate (Come in the Flesh—1 John 4:2, Philippians 2:5-8) in whom the fullness of the Deity dwelt bodily (Colossians 2:9), the one and only begotten by God the Father (Psalm 2:7, John 1:14; 3:16, 1 John 4:9; 5:1) and upon whom the Spirit of God descended (Matthew 3:16, Luke 3:22, John 1:32). And He has a greater plan than Hollywood and superhero comic strips could ever envision, and cannot be accurately compared to any version of a past or present superhero. His ways are not our ways nor are His thoughts our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9), for His ways are “foolishness” to the world and its system of superheros (1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 3:18-20). His death is a stench to all who do not believe, and the smell of His death on Christians is foul in their nostrils (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). Jesus’ suffering is repulsive to them then and now, and His call to Christians to die to self and desire (Matthew 10:39, Luke 17:33, John 12:25), to pick up our cross and follow Him in spite of the shame (Matthew 10:38, Luke 14:27), to suffer with Him through pain and injustice (Philippians 3:10, Hebrews 2:10, 1 Peter 4:13), to be persecuted for morality (James 1:12, 1 Peter 3:13-22), to endure hardship for His name’s sake (Matthew 5:10-12, Romans 8:36, 1 Peter 4:14) is disgusting to the superhero philosophy of this world. But, this is the real Jesus Christ.
It is a weighty thing to be a Christian. Most Christians throughout the world are being persecuted on some level, but American Christians cannot fathom this concept. We have grown accustomed to a sugar-coated Gospel and an ecumenical, superhero god who wants everyone to be happy, dismisses sin, could not possibly send a non-Christian “good” person to hell, wants everyone to be rich, and who most definitely will rescue us from all our problems. But, that is not the God of the Bible. That is not what Jesus taught. His teaching of sacrifice, self-denial, pain, persecution, suffering and carrying a shameful cross are offensive to the sensibilities of American/Western Christians who just want to embrace life.
I want to embrace life too. I don’t like the concept of suffering, and most of all, I don’t like the bitter truth of persecution that is dawning in the United States of America. It is beyond hard to swallow. I’ve been a Christian my whole life, following Jesus before I could even write His name. I have studied other religions, have written research papers, speeches, learned Biblical languages, and taught classes at churches and in homes. I have gone through stark wildernesses of intense waiting, painful deserted deserts of despair, and depressing valleys. Yet, in all of it, the Word of God rooted itself more deeply in my heart.
But, in all these years the enormity of this concept of “sharing in Christ’s sufferings” did not really phase me….until now. It hit me like a ton of bricks, and made me wonder if the God of Elijah still exists. Yet, I have come to a simple conclusion that both Peter and Joshua came to so many years ago. Their words of timeless truth still resound, resonating past barriers of history and space. In John 6:68-69 we read, “From that time many of his [Jesus’] disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” And then there are the famous words of Joshua the son of Nun in Joshua 24:14-15, “Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
And so it is now. Christian Americans have a choice that is looming in front of them. Will they choose to serve the feel good Gospel of comfort and plenty, the superhero gods who spare them all pain and persecution or will they choose the Lord?
Jesus is not like Superman, nor are we superheros. We are spiritually more than conquerors, and the gates of hell will not prevail against us, but we are guaranteed suffering and persecution in this world. For, this world is not our home. We are pilgrims and strangers here looking for a city whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10, 13). Therefore, I encourage every Christian in the words of Hebrews 12:1-2, “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
This temporal heaven and earth will soon pass away (Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33) and all of its pleasure and pursuits, all of its fun and comforts, and all will burn with a great consuming fire (Matthew 3:12, Luke 3:17). But there is an eternity beyond this life, an eternity that we cannot begin to fathom nor comprehend, an eternity that will be embraced only by those who are true followers of the real, non-superhero Jesus Christ. Knowing this and more, I have counted the cost and have decided that serving the Lord is the ONLY choice, for Jesus is the ONLY ONE with the words of eternal life!!!