Tag Archives: Last Days

Who is on Your Throne

Ezekiel 1-3: Who is on the Throne?

            As I write this blog, there is a runoff election in Georgia and the United States senate is preparing to vote on the Electoral College for the President. I find this significant in the fact the most powerful position [in my estimation] will be decided and the aftermath will reflect either a positive or negative reaction.

            During the past six months, Americans have been embroiled in the political debate for support of a candidate, the media has played its part, often moving from reporting to persuasion of people. Currently in the world, we are fighting a Pandemic, wars and rumors of wars, famine and cultural differences. So, how are we to deal with all this? In our reading, Ezekiel the priest is privileged to have a vision, a nightmare if you ask me. God through the Holy Spirit allows Ezekiel a very strange vision.

Before we go there, let us take a snapshot look at the setting. In the opening verses of Ezekiel one we have a very specific time and place description. Ezekiel writes during the Babylonian captivity of Judah and Benjamin. [Southern Kingdom] Daniel is in Babylon and Jeremiah has already pronounced doom of Judah.

So here is Ezekiel, a Hebrew priest, some forty years into captivity receiving a vision from God. Ezekiel sees four faces, and figures in a chariot. This reflects the Babylonian deities/gods. Each beast/deity stands for a season and a direction. If we look at this vision, the one on the throne is Nebuchadnezzar, not God. While the Jews were allowed to continue their religious rituals, they were still in captivity because of their stubbornness and rebellion. It would be very easy for the Jews to lament that God had left them. But nothing could be further from the truth. While we will leave God, God will never leave or forsake us.

When we look at the 2020, we could say “What in the world is going on?” Where is God in all this? Why is He allowing all this turmoil to happen? A quick answer would be that God has not left us, but He has let us wallow in our own rebellion and carnality. The problem is that believers think that culture and society is the problem. The truth is “As the Church goes, so does the nation.” If believers were the salt and light they were called to be – we [America] would not be in this condition/situation.

Believers this last year have faced great trials, but the trials and tribulations were not from “persecution for their testimony of Jesus.” Their trials and even anxiety are from being engulfed in the world scheme of things instead of focusing on the mission and task we are called to – You shall be My witnesses – preaching, teaching and baptizing the converted lost souls.  Instead, we have played politics and engaged in societal arguments.

Why was Judah where they were? Because of their rebellion and hard-hardheartedness towards God. Many have asked me “is this the Last Days?” The answer is yes, but is it the cataclysmic last days? I do not know.

Ezekiel was allowed to see who was really on the throne – God, not man, not some deity of a lost nation – but God! This begs the question, who is on the throne of your heart? Have you and I embraced the gods of politics, government, and cultural arguments?

Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is my King, my Lord! We are passing through this world – our allegiance must be to the Eternal Father in Heaven and His Kingdom, not this earthly kingdom that will fade away.

So, does it matter who wins the Presidency – yes. But greater still is who is on your throne?

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Jude: Last Days

Jude: Last Things

            Jude, the brother of James the Younger, not to be confused with James and John the Sons of Thunder. This is a very short prophetic book and is filled with many questions and references outside of our ability to fully comprehend. Topics such as angels, prophecies and the spirit of Balaam are things which will be constantly debated and never settled. So, let us focus on what we can understand, and discover why this small book was included for our benefit in the scriptures.

            Something that I had to finally accept about the church and people who profess Christ, but do not possess Christ – there are unbelievers in the Church. Shocking I know, but as Jude says, they have crept in and have been rewarded for their attendance record, yet never been challenged for a Testimony of Conversion. It should not come as a surprise that many churches are ran like a business instead of a body of believers. Jesus tells us that there are those who “cried Lord, Lord did we not do . . . . ?’ and Jesus tells them I do not know you. Profession is not possession. Jude tells us to “contend for the faith.” This is a good word; I have found that people will compromise and collapse like a deck of cards with they are pressed for their faith. I cannot help but think of the likes of John Hus, William Wilberforce, and John Wycliffe who suffered and sacrificed for the Gospel.  

Jude gives us examples from the Old Testament of the rebuke of God towards these charlatans. He tells of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Balak and Balaam. Even telling of Enoch and the ungodly generations that follow. It is sad to say we live in a day such as Jude describes and find that many in leadership positions, including Pastors are described in Jude 16 – preaching for sordid gain. It has become a job, instead of a calling.             The good news is found in Jude 17 – “But You. . .” keep building, praying, waiting for the Promise of Eternal Life promised in Jesus Christ. So, what is the message – the world will continue as it always has [as in the days of Noah] but that does not mean we have to succumb to the way of living.  Jude admonishes the believers to have mercy on some who doubt, save others, snatching them out of the fire, mercy on those who fear or are weak in the faith. While the world is going to Hell in a hand basket – Keep the Faith and continue to do ministry. While we will not save the world, we will save some through the Truth of the Gospel.  Last Days are here – do not be overcome by them – be found faithful as He who has called us is faithful!

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2 Peter: Stirring Up

2 Peter: Stirring Up

            Quite a contrast from the Peter we find in the Gospels. Here we have the mature, aged Peter giving instructions to the Church. Peter has lived his life with Jesus and been a pillar of faith for the new church and his countrymen. We know that both Paul and Peter die in Rome, under persecution of the faith. Peter now is writing this last letter to remind the saints the importance of the faith and perseverance.  Obviously, Peter knows what it is like to have fallen from the faith because of threats of men.

            I know there are many commentaries and theologians that debate whether Peter wrote this second letter, but since we find that it had acceptance by the early church and God has permitted it in our canon of scripture, I will side with the belief that Peter wrote it, God authored it and included it in His revelation to us.

            In the first chapter Peter reminds the believers how they are to conduct themselves in the world. Our brother James enlightens us on the desired working of trials and tribulations. [James 1:2-5] Peter is wanting to stir up by way of remembrance to the saints what the faith should be and that they will hold to the tenets of faith in a tribulation environment. [1:13, 3:1]

We have the oft quoted 2 Peter 1:19-21, on how the prophetic word comes to us. This is a line drawn in the sand for believer. If we question the authorship of scripture other than the utterances of God – we bring great suspect to the bible as the Word of God. Our bible is not the word of men and their opinions, but the very unction of God to men.

Peter brings to light the rise of false prophets, not just for his time, but in latter days. We live in a day and time where churches and lost listen more to the word of men and their philosophies, then the Word of God. As Believers we must KNOW the bible so that we can “test the spirits’ to know if they are from God.

            Peter gives a very in-depth exposure of what false prophets and charlatans do to people of faith and unbelievers. There is a great distortion of the Truth. Even today we have “fact checking” to verify whether what someone says is the truth or not. But people today are not interested in the truth, they want to hear what they already have made their mind up about. [2 Timothy 3:1-5]

            As Peter exposes the tactics of the false prophets, it is interesting that people are more willing to listen to a lie than the truth. Since Peter was present at the very beginning of both Jesus’ ministry and the Church Age, he would have firsthand witness of what was Truth and what was the message of Jesus and the Gospel. I am impressed with how this brash and flippant natured Peter has settled down his human character to be a defender of the faith. This is the same Peter who fled and denied Jesus in his moment of trial. Peter has learned not to deny or run from conflict and adversaries, but to take a stand for the faith regardless of the consequences pending death.

            Peter writes this letter with his own pending death at hand. Yet he spends the third chapter delineating the pending judgment coming at the end of the age. Peter talks about the Coming Day of the Lord, the inescapability of that day and how that God’s time is not our time. I am reminded of the book Francis Schaffer wrote “How then shall we live?” Since all these things are to come about – how should the people of God live? Will we cave into the pressure of trials and tribulations to find comfort in our earthly time, or will we stand the test, even martyrdom if necessary, to speak the Truth with conviction?

Peter admonishes his audience to “stand fast, be on the guard, but grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord.” Tough days are not coming, they are already here. I read almost weekly how some popular person of faith has either fallen or left the faith due to pressure or failure. Now is a most important time that we, the believers be fund faithful to the TRUTH that has redeemed us. Let our faith be unwavering in the face of trials and tribulations!

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Same Song, different verse

Micah the prophet is our reading for this week. Nothing is new with what Micah has to say to God’s people. Micah ministers during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah; for about the span of 35 years. He writes during the time of Isaiah. All his prophecy is before the fall of Samaria in 722 BC. It is interesting to listen to the warnings over and over again – yet the people of God will not hear the message of calamity and destruction coming for them. The result of their wayward rebellion is destruction and turmoil – a right punishment for their actions against God. It is also interesting that we rarely have to talk about disobedience to the bottom seven of the 10 commandments, for our sins are contained within the first three and our idolatry. Micah brings prophetic judgment against both Northern and Southern kingdoms. While the Northern Kingdom was radical engulfed in Baal worship, Judah is no better, in that they follow suit while still “performing the rituals” at the Temple of Solomon.

I won’t repeat the continued message of how God was going to punish His people, but there are some very pointed verses that bear our attention. In chapter three, we find a very graphic description of just how bad times will be; the people will become cannibalistic and eat their own children’s flesh. [3:1-4]

Sin has always promised more than it could give, kept people longer than they wished and cost more than people could pay. Yet here today we are living in such a time as they. Oh, we may have different descriptions for our sins, but sins they are!

While there will be captivity and exile for God’s people, there is Hope. What a wonderful message from God! Even though mankind will rebel and even hate God, He lovingly initiates the way of return to Him. Jesus the Messiah, He is the Advocate and “Kinsman Redeemer” for us – our Go’El. In Chapter 4:3; a great message of future restoration. The “Last Days” is clearly the time frame for the war instruments to be redesigned. We are not there yet – I see this as the time of the Millennial Reign of Christ. Jesus will have judged the nations, and begun to reign. Only then will weapons become obsolete. The message of Grace and future is caught up in the prophetic prediction of the “Messiah’s birth” in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 promises the coming Messiah – the religious leaders knew where to find the Messiah, even though they were a mere 6 miles from Jesus, they might as well have been a thousand – they didn’t look for Him at all.

We are not without knowledge, God has told us His plan. He accomplished all that the prophets had said. We have the plan of God recorded for us in Revelation and places such as the Olivet Discourse – we are not ignorant – just stiff-necked. What does God want from people, His people? Very clearly it isn’t the sacrifices of animals – God wants us! In Micah 6:8; it is clearly delineated what God wants – a pure heart, a submissive soul – God wants us to BE what we were always intended to BE before sin. “You are to BE holy, as I AM is holy. Years went by before God did what He predicted – remember, God is not slack concerning His Promise – 2 Peter 3:9. We dare not think that God’s delay is His neglect of performing His plans – its called Mercy and Grace!

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