Monday, September 26, 2005

Of Fear and FEMA 

Once again, cities in the south, including most of this country’s oil refining capacity, have narrowly skirted disaster.  Or have they?  President Bush is suggesting the laws regarding when federal troops can move into an area without being invited by local authorities be rewritten to allow more immediate federal response.  Considering the criticism that has been leveled at Bush and his administration for not responding sooner to Katrina, and too soon to Rita, it is not surprising that he has asked for increased authority to respond to “catastrophic emergencies.”

Understandable as it may be, the move nevertheless opens the door for unprecedented direct federal control anywhere in the United States without the express agreement of affected local authorities.  This of course raises the specter of martial law, shock troops marching through U.S. cities, forced evacuations, and FEMA camps sprouting up across the landscape.  For those who have paid much attention to the dreams and visions of the last days of America that have been published over the last few years, it is difficult not to have a visceral reaction to even the mention of FEMA.  It is fairly well-known and expected by the Prophecy Club set that FEMA will run the death-camps set up to deal with Christians who refuse to take “the mark of the beast,” and that guillotines and perhaps other devices of death and torture will be the most prominently featured hardware at these camps.

It was interesting to watch the evacuation of New Orleans as we observed large numbers of displaced people basically becoming wards of the state, herded to facilities throughout the country.  Practice run?  Perhaps.

While we continue to watch for earthquakes and solar flares, the prospect of a nuclear attack on U.S. cities, whether intentional or accidental, could be just the sort of “catastrophic emergency” needed to fully establish unquestioned federal supremacy over local and state authorities at the discretion of the President and his advisors.  Just such attacks are predicted for December of this year.  Or has one well-known prognosticator told Art Bell replacement, George Norrey, we have had the last “merry Christmas” the world will ever know.

Is it certain that these predictions will come true this year?  Maybe not.  But there certainly is not long to wait before we find out.  

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Prophets to no Profit (Jeremiah 23:31) 

Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness. Jeremiah 23:9)

I have been led to a number of interesting Web sites over the last month or so and have become familiar with a number of “interesting” prophetic personalities.  The one thing I find “attractive” about them is that they are virtually unheard of by the “church-at-large” vis-à-vis such notable figures as Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyers, and the entire Elijah List cabal. This is a plus, as it quite likely that if the Lord has anything to say to the church today, that it will most likely come from some totally unexpected voice rather than the highly paid, highly esteemed Christian entertainers that pass for prophets and apostles to the enthusiastic applause and financial support of the Christian masses.

Just as the Pharisees of Jesus’ day were taken totally by surprise at the sudden appearance out of nowhere of the scruffy and uneducated, unorthodox, and unprofessional baptizer, so I have been searching for a voice certain among the stable of unlikely prophets and apostles that can be Googled from the vast wilderness of Internet obscurity—the familiar voice of the God—a voice with the unmistakable resonance of eternity, a voice that only His sheep can recognize.  A voice that is unfortunately not often discernable among the well-known Christian glitterati.

The disconcerting thing about each of these lesser lights is that for some unknown reason, they are unable to “deal straight” when it comes to relating scripture.  From Sherry Shriner and Harry Walther’s Paul bashing, to Benjamin Baruch and David Eell’s rapture-phobia (a widely prevalent affliction among modern-day prophets), to C. Peter Wagner and Bill Hamer’s confusing eschatological scenario, it seems no one is able to just relax and allow the scripture to be the final authority in these and all other matters.  

I am the first to admit that I don’t know everything and I don’t have every line of scripture totally figured out.  I don’t know if the rapture takes place at the beginning or the middle of the “Tribulation,” and I’m not 100 percent sure how we know exactly what marks the beginning of the Tribulation.

Having said that, here is what I do know for sure.  I know that “the church” is mentioned more than 20 times in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation and then is not mentioned again until the chronological narrative of the end times is concluded in chapter 21. Between the end of chapters 2 and 3 and the opening of the first seal in Revelation chapter 5 a scene strikingly reminiscent of the “rapture” is described in chapter four, i.e., a trumpet blast and a command to “come up hither.”  

I know that every measure of time mentioned in the Book of Revelation adds up to three and a half years—not seven years.  

I know that a group of 144,000 from every tribe of Israel is NOT the church, because there is neither Jew nor Gentile “in Christ.”  I also know that a group of people of said to “without number” and taken from every nation is NOT the same group as the group with a specific number taken from the 12 tribes of Israel.  And I know that this second group is also NOT the church for the same reason that the first group is NOT the church.  I also know that many of those who presume to comment on the “last things” are desperate to make BOTH of these groups “the church.”  What I don’t understand is why.  Why insist on doing such violence to the clear meaning and intent of scripture?  

Where we can we find a commentator that will deal honestly with the scripture as it stands?  Chuck Missler probably comes as close as anyone.  And Ken Parsons of warzonewinner.com seems to be a fairly straight shooter.

According to David Eells, all things will be dissolved PRIOR to the 1,000 year millennial kingdom.  Makes you wonder why John put the chapter describing it AFTER the chapter describing the 1,000 year kingdom.  But according to this brother, the rapture and the resurrection are synonymous, so the rapture does not occur until the end of the 1,000 year kingdom. Either that, OR the Heavens and Earth pass away PRIOR to inception of the kingdom.

It is encouraging to see Mike Bickle somewhat conspicuously back-peddling to a more traditional premillennial view of the coming kingdom, having come to the brink of the abyss of a Wagneresque neo-amillennialism.  He continues to fumble and bumble about when attempting to push the rapture out as close as possible to the actual second coming event, but in the attempt he leaves only a matter of days for all of the vial judgments to take place, as it is incumbent upon him to begin the rapture event and the descent of the Lord Jesus prior to any of the vials being emptied, at the occurrence of the final trumpet judgment. And then he makes the rapture an extended process rather than a suddenly-of-God event that may take a month or longer to accomplish.  That should be enough time to get those seven chronologically inconvenient vials poured out on the earth.

Nevertheless, it is heartening to see that the word “rapture” has reasserted itself into the vocabulary of such an influential teacher as Mike Bickle.  Perhaps we can look forward to the term regaining some semblance of respectability, which it has been totally lacking since falling into disrepute by Stan Johnson and the Prophecy Club club and other Left Behind bashers.

Jack Van Impe is lost to us now, having gone the way of Chuck Colson and Tony Compolo, all the way to Rome.  Apparently none of these men have read Dave Hunt’s “A Woman Rides the Beast,” or if they have, they have not been persuaded.  So there stand Grant Jefferies, Hal Lyndsey, and John Hagee pretty much where we left them not so many years ago.

So where are the prophets the Lord spoke of in Amos 3:7?  A Google search yields precious little worth reporting.  But with the earth about on its last leg, with the earthquakes about to ring out, and the sun flares threatening to scorch the landscape, now would be a really good time to hear from one.

So I’ll keep up my search and if I find anyone interesting—more interesting than Prophet Yahwah or Elija the Tishbite, I’ll be sure to let you know.  In the meantime, if you know of a real prophet on the earth today, drop me a line and let me in on it.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Portent of Things to Come? 

Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans bringing destruction of Biblical proportions.

The images of thousands upon thousands of men, women, and children awaiting rescue from the rising waters, without food, water, or basic sanitation are both heartbreaking and frightening.  Roaming bands of armed looters, sniper shots aimed at rescue helicopters, reports of rape and beatings, videos of men and women growing increasingly desperate and increasingly angry can be viewed with indifference only because the events are taking place somewhere else—not in my town.

But what is happening in my town? Gas prices are skyrocketing and it is being blamed on those faraway, surreal events. Gas shortages coupled with the closure of the largest port in the United States could soon result in shortages of fresh fruit and vegetables and who knows what in places as far away as Missouri.

We’ve been sitting here waiting for the other shoe to drop. Take a good look—the same thing could very well be coming to a town near you.  Before it’s over, many of us may be herded into FEMA camps “for our own protection” only to be led to the guillotines reserved for all those who refuse to take “the mark.”

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Mat 24:21)

The residents of New Orleans were warned repeatedly to flee the storm to come, but many doubted the predictions would come true.

How many people today doubt that the Big Trouble spoken of by Jesus may actually come to pass in our lifetime?  

Things are beginning to shape up.  The things predicted so long ago are gradually coming into focus.  Trouble is on the horizon, tribulation just around the corner.  There is only one way to find refuge, and that is to come to Jesus before the levees break and trouble rises like a flood.  Right there where you live.

As the prophet Neil Young once intoned, “Are you ready for the country? Because it’s time to go.”  

But go ye and learn what that meaneth.

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