Category Archives: End Times

The White Horse

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. (Revelation 6:1)

The first sight[1] John saw when the risen Christ summonsed him to heaven was the vision of God on His throne.[2] In His right hand, God held a scroll written on the front and back and sealed with seven seals.[3] The scroll represents the deed to the earth that was lost in the Garden of Eden.[4] No one in heaven or earth was found worthy to take the scroll and break open the seals[5] except for “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”[6]

In order to understand what John saw, we need to look back to the law of the kinsman-redeemer.[7] This law allowed a close relative to buy back land lost for whatever reason so that the land would remain in the name of the family. The book of Ruth[8] serves as a good example of this law in practice. Ruth, a Moabite, followed her mother-in-law, Naomi, to Bethlehem after the loss of her husband and father-in-law. Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, had owned land in Bethlehem, but Naomi could not redeem the land because of her status as a woman. The book of Ruth is a short four chapters, so to sum up the account in brief, Boaz, a close relative, took a shine to Ruth and agreed to marry her and redeem the property that had been lost. (There is more to the story, but I will leave it to the reader to research the details.)

Carrying this idea to the scene John witnessed in heaven, we understand the loss of earth’s possession through Adam’s sin. The Lamb, who is the Second Adam,[9] is the kinsman-redeemer that has the legal right to buy back the lost property by virtue of His shed blood on the cross. “And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne” (Revelation 5:7).

Up to this point, the tense of John’s record is present tense, i.e., the time of John’s writing. At the opening of Chapter 4, he is called up to heaven. Many excellent end-times biblical scholars see John’s call up to heaven as a “type” of the Rapture of the Church, because the Church is no longer mentioned on earth and is not seen again until she returns to earth following the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS.[10] From the opening of Chapter 6, the tense changes to future.

“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” (Revelation 6:1). The opening of each of the seals brings judgment upon the inhabitants of the earth. The first seal brings the rider on a white horse.

“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 6:2). Many mistake the rider on the white horse to be Christ. They come to this conclusion from His description in Revelation 19. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war” (Revelation 19:11) However, here the Lamb, with the scroll in hand, releases the rider on the white horse; He cannot be both the One who releases and the one released. The fact that it is Christ releasing this judgment and all those that follow demonstrates that He is ultimately in full control of all that takes place.

So, who is the rider on the white horse? Without going into all the various opinions, the best possible explanation is that this one is the Antichrist, aka, the son of perdition,[11] the little horn,[12]the prince that shall come,[13] the abomination of desolation,[14] and the beast.[15]

The identity of Antichrist will be revealed at the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation. Christians should not waste their time and effort trying to identify the one that will fill that role. Christians will not be on earth when he makes his appearance because the Church has been raptured at this time.[16] His appearance will go unnoticed by most of the world, but for those left behind who have some familiarity with biblical end-times prophecy, he will be recognized when he affirms a treaty that will bring peace to the nation of Israel. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:27, emphasis mine). This act begins the Tribulation in earnest for seven years (one week).

The first rider comes mounted on a white horse which symbolizes a conqueror. Notice that the rider holds a bow, but he carries no arrows. The crown he wears is a stephanos – a victor’s crown or wreath – that is “given” to him. He does not take it by force, but rather by diplomatic means. The Prophet Daniel describes him as a big talker: “And he shall speak great words against the most High” (Daniel 7:25). Through the eloquence of his speech, he convinces the rulers of ten nations to cede power to him, or perhaps they unilaterally agree that he is the best man for the job of ruling the world. He has a bow indicating military power, but the fact that he has no arrows suggests that he conquers without using the military power accessible to him.

Even now the world prepares for the coming of a one-world leader. One does not need to search very hard to hear the term “One-World” proclaimed by government leaders all over the world including those in our own “land of the free.” Our own government is little-by-little ceding the sovereignty of our nation to the United Nations. Recently, President Biden gave up authority to the World Health Organization (WHO). “These proposed amendments are written to strengthen the organization’s ability to unilaterally intervene into the affairs of nations merely suspected of having a ‘health emergency’ of possible concern to other nations. If these amendments are approved, the WHO will have the power to declare an ‘international health emergency,’ nullifying the powers of nation states.”[17]

For many years now, the U.N. has had plans in place to divide the world into 10 regions.[18] The cabal of the uber-rich elites of the world that gather in Davos, Switzerland, make up what is known as the World Economic Forum. This group has grand plans for setting up a one-world government, and they do not hide their intent. They publish their plans on their website[19]  and offer access to their meetings on video which one can watch on their website.

The world is primed for Antichrist. The late Belgian Prime Minister, Paul-Henri Spaak once said, “We do not want another committee, we have too many already.  What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all people, and to lift us out of the economic morass into which we are sinking. Send us such a man, and be he god or devil, we will receive him[20](emphasis mine)

The white horse is saddled and the rider is ready to mount. In a speech at the COP26 meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 1, 2021, Prince (now King) Charles, speaking on the topic of global warming, said, “Here we need a vast military-style campaign to marshal the global private sector. With trillions at his disposal far beyond global GDP, and with the greatest respect beyond even the governments of the world’s leaders, it offers the only real prospect of achieving fundamental economic transition”[21] (emphasis mine). Who is he that needs “trillions at his disposal”? Do the UN, the WEF, and the WHO already have a leader in mind waiting in the wings?

The Antichrist is already in the world and preparing to take his place in this great cosmic drama. We cannot know who he is. In fact, he probably does not know himself. However, the stage is being set. As we see all of these things falling into place, true Christians can know that our Lord and Savior will soon shout, “Come up here!” and we will rise to meet Him in the air. I am not looking for Antichrist, the rider on the white horse. I am looking for Jesus Christ. Are you ready to meet Him? If not, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  “The First Sight” — The First Sight | Ernie’s Musings (erniecarrasco.com)

[2]  Revelation 4:2-5

[3]  Revelation 5:1

[4]  Genesis 3

[5]  Revelation 5:3

[6]  Revelation 13:8

[7]  Leviticus 25:24-27

[8]  Ruth 1-4

[9]  Romans 5:12-21

[10]  Revelation 19:11-14

[11]  2 Thessalonians 2:3

[12]  Daniel 7:8

[13]  Daniel 9:26

[14]  Daniel 11:31; 12:11; Matthew 24:15

[15]  Revelation 13:1

[16]  John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-12; Revelation 4:1-2

[17]  Biden’s Amendments Hand U.S. Sovereignty to the WHO – Liberty Counsel (lc.org)

[18]  UN Divides the World into 10 Regional Groupings: The UN Divides the World into 10 ‘Regional Groupings’ (nuclearsuntan.blogspot.com) There is a link to the UN article in this article, but access was denied because I did not have permission. That alone is suspicious.

[19]  The World Economic Forum (weforum.org)

[20]  Christians Together : EU architect would welcome God or the Devil.

[21]  (4) WATCH: Britain’s Prince Charles gives statement at COP26 climate summit in Glasgow – YouTube

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The First Sight

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:11)

 

The book of Revelation puzzles many who read it. It seems strange and sometimes bizarre. Many avoid the book because the contents elicit fear about the predictions of things to come. However, the book of Revelation is the only book of the Bible that promises a blessing to those who read, hear, and apply its contents. “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 1:3).

Revelation opens with the last remaining apostle of Jesus, the Apostle John, “in the Spirit the Lord’s Day.”[1] The Roman government arrested and exiled John to the prison island of Patmos for preaching the disruptive Gospel of Jesus Christ.[2]

The initial recipients of the book were seven churches in Asia Minor: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.[3] To these, the risen Christ addresses individual letters.[4] These churches existed in John’s day, but because of the commendations and reproofs Jesus gives to these churches, some have seen in them patterns of each throughout church history.

John then describes his first glimpse of Jesus as though in a vision. This is not the Jesus John remembers during His earthly ministry. This Jesus is awesome to behold. John says, “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (Revelation 1:12-16). The dazzling sight caused John to fall at His feet in awestruck fear, but that tender, familiar voice reassured him of the One he loved. “… Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:17-18).

John saw Jesus in the midst of seven lampstands holding seven stars in His right hand. Jesus explained to him that the seven lampstands represented the seven churches and the seven stars represented the seven angels, i.e., messengers or pastors, of the seven churches.[5] The image reminds us that Jesus dwells among His churches and that He keeps and protects the pastors of His churches in His right hand (a position of power). This should also serve as a warning to pastors. Just as Jesus’ right hand protects His messengers, He also has the power to crush the pastor that fails in his responsibility to Jesus’ Bride, the Church.

As noted earlier, Jesus dictates direct messages to each of the seven churches. Immediately following the last word to the church of Laodicea, John looks up and sees an open door in heaven and hears a sound (Greek: phōnē) like that of a trumpet that said, “Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne” (Revelation 4:1-2, emphasis mine).

Many see the Rapture of the Church in these verses. John is commanded to “come up here” and “immediately” he sees the throne of God for the first time. From this point forward, the Church no longer appears on earth until Christ returns with His saints in Chapter 19.

There are many who teach that the Rapture is not taught in the Bible. They correctly argue that the word “rapture” appears nowhere in the Bible. However, neither do the words bible or trinity, yet no one will argue that these concepts are not taught in the Bible. “Rapture” translates the Greek word harpazō into the Latin raptus meaning “to seize; to catch away or up; to pluck, pull, or take by force”. This is what happened to John. He was on the earth and “immediately” he was caught away into the throne room of God.

Jesus gave us the first promise of the Rapture before going to the cross. He said, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3, emphasis mine). Paul teaches of the time when the trumpet shall sound and our corrupt bodies will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. The dead in Christ will rise from their graves, and we who are alive will join them to meet Jesus in the air.[6]

John enters the presence of God and his first sight is the throne of God. The person seated on the throne appears not as a human or any other creature, but rather as a glorious splendor. Of Him, John says, “And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald” (Revelation 4:3). The Bible teaches that God has no human form, except in the form of Jesus. Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24, emphasis mine). John was given a privilege that even Moses (or anyone else for that matter) was denied. Moses, who spoke with God face-to-face as with a friend,[7] wanted to see God in His glory, but God denied his request, “And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (Exodus 33:20, emphasis mine). Yet, somehow John saw God in all of His glory and did not die. In our corrupt human bodies, we cannot withstand the glory of God’s presence. However, at the Rapture, our bodies will be transformed in such a way that we can be in the presence of God in His full glory and not be harmed, just like John.

The scene overwhelmed John. There were lightnings, thunders, and voices. Around the throne of God, John saw 24 thrones upon which seven elders sat wearing white robes and crowns of gold.[8] Some suppose these represent the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles. Others suggest that they merely represent believers of all the ages. In either case, the white robes represent the righteousness of Christ conferred on them. The golden crowns are stephanos, which are “victors crowns” awarded to them for conquering sin, not through their own righteousness, but through the blood of Christ.

John then sees seven lampstands around the throne defined as the “seven spirits of God” Some suggest that these seven lampstands represent seven attributes of the Holy Spirit as described by the prophet Isaiah. “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him [i.e., Jesus], the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:2, emphasis mine). We know that the Holy Spirit indwells believers and thereby indwells the Church. In the first chapter, John sees Jesus in the midst of seven lampstands, which represent the churches. Now, these same lampstands (i.e., churches) are seen around the throne of God. I see the lampstands representing both the Holy Spirit and the churches wherein the Holy Spirit resides. The attributes described by Isaiah certainly apply as well.

Around the throne is a crystal sea. It is difficult to know what John saw in this. It is all strange and wonderful and beyond words to describe. John could only relate what he saw by his limited earthly vocabulary. But then he sees four strange creatures full of eyes and with six wings each. One “beast” had the head of a lion, the second the head of a calf, the third the head of a man, and the fourth the head of an eagle.[9] The eyes represent the omniscience of God and the four different heads represent all of God’s creatures: wild animals, domestic animals, human beings, and avian life. All of God’s creation never ceasing to praise Him day or night “saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8).

John then observed that when these praised God, the 24 elders prostrate themselves and cast their victor’s crowns before the throne saying, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11).

With the focus on the throne, John spots something new. “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals” (Revelation 5:1, emphasis mine). By its description, we know that this “book” is actually a scroll – perhaps parchment – with writing on both sides, rolled up and secured with seven seals. Many suggest that this scroll represents the title dead to the earth and the kingdoms thereof. When God created the earth, He gave dominion over the earth to man whom He created in His image on the sixth day of creation.[10] However, man lost that dominion when he sinned in the Garden of Eden.[11] The dominion of earth transferred to Satan. Paul calls him the “god of this world.”[12] When Satan tempted Jesus, he offered Jesus the kingdoms of this world if He would only bow down and worship him. “And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it” (Luke 4:6, emphasis mine). However, his ownership is only temporary.

Then John saw and heard a strong angel proclaim, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” (Revelation 5:2). And no one in heaven, on earth, or under the earth was found worthy to take the scroll and break the seals. The situation was dire indeed. All of God’s creation hung in the balance and there was no one to come to the rescue. John says, “And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon” (Revelation 5:4).

John’s tears were soon assuaged. “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof,” John says, “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth” (Revelation 5:5-6). John the Baptist saw this Lamb come to him to be baptized in the Jordan and proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He was slain on the cross, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and rose again on the third day.[13] Horns represent kingdoms and the Lamb has seven representing completion. All the kingdoms belong to Him. He is “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16). Seven eyes suggest omniscience with all the attributes of the seven Spirits of God.

Only the Lamb, by virtue of His sacrifice, is worthy to take and open the scroll. “And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne” (Revelation 5:7). When the Lamb took the scroll, a great celebration broke out in heaven. The four living creatures and the 24 elders prostrate themselves before the Lamb. “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).

Then the rest of heaven breaks out in praise, “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:12-13).

Worthy indeed! I cannot imagine how John must have felt at the first sight of heaven and the throne of God. I cannot wait to see it for myself!

The 14 chapters that follow bring us back to earth and the events that will transpire during the seven-year Tribulation. The scenes are horrific. However, the Church, the Bride of Christ, will not experience the horrors of the Tribulation. The Church, as we saw will be around the throne of God and not on earth. Will you be there or will you experience the horrors that are coming upon the earth? Your ticket out of here was purchased by Jesus more than 2000 years ago. All you have to do is accept it. Check out my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  Revelation 1:10

[2]  Revelation 1:9

[3]  Revelation 1:11

[4]  Revelation 2-3

[5]  Revelation 1:20

[6]  1 Corinthians 15:50-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

[7]  Exodus 33:11

[8]  Revelation 4:4

[9]  Revelation 4:6-8

[10]  Genesis 1:26-28

[11]  Genesis 3

[12]  2 Corinthians 4:4

[13]  1 Corinthians 15:3-4

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All New Things

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (Revelation 21:5)

 We have entered the new year, 2023. How does the future look? Do you think this year will be better than last?

Let us take a sober look at conditions worldwide. North Korea is testing nuclear ballistic missiles and threatening South Korea. China continues to build up its military and threatening the tiny island nation of Taiwan. Iran is within weeks of enriching weapons-grade uranium and continues to threaten Israel and the United States. Russia relentlessly batters the sovereign nation of Ukraine without regard for millions of innocent Ukrainian citizens. Russia, Turkey, and Iran along with their allies are amassing armies and military equipment in Syria and setting the stage for the Gog of Magog war against Israel described in Ezekiel 38-39. The wars and rumors of wars Jesus predicted are all over the world.

Violence permeates the entire world. There are riots in China, Iran, Russia, France, Brazil, and many other nations. Here in the United States, violent crimes go unanswered. Jesus said the last days would be as in the days of Noah,[1] which were days filled with violence.[2] Jesus also said that the last days would be as the days of Lot.[3] Those days were characterized by rampant sexual deviancy.[4] Consider what goes on today with the LGBTQ+ movement and their agenda to pervert innocent children with their drag queen shows that they conduct with children. What are the parents thinking! Children are being trafficked for sexual purposes to deviants and perverts, and if that is not bad enough, abortion continues to rise even with the reversal of Roe v Wade.

On top of all of that, economies are failing all over the world. When that happens, evil leaders become desperate and look to war in order to distract their people from their sufferings. Vladimir Putin has openly made threats of nuclear attacks on any nation that opposes his advances on Ukraine. North Korea, China, and Iran echo their own threats. Meanwhile, the Globalists, many of whom are powerful people in our own government, lick their chops like buzzards circling a dying corpse, eagerly waiting on the demise of the nations so they can come in, “build back better” and install a New World Order.

Our world is sick and getting sicker by the day; 2023 offers no hope for improvement.

What follows, I wrote two years ago with a few changes to bring it up to date.

I am not a pessimist, but I do read what the Bible has to say about the end times. If the Bible is true (and it is), things will get worse before the Lord returns. Jesus said, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:6-8, emphasis mine).

Does that not sound familiar these days? So, do not expect 2023 to get better; it will only get worse. Now, what do we do in light of this dismal outlook; crawl under a rock and hide away? NO! We face the future with the assurance that God has all things in His control.

 What Does God Have to Say About It?

As Moses prepared Israel to enter the Promised Land, a new land filled with giants, dangers, and unknowns, he encouraged them not to fear because God was with them. “Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 1:21, emphasis mine). As Israel prepared for battle against their enemies, the priests were to encourage the people, “And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you” (Deuteronomy 20:3-4, emphasis mine). The unknown is frightening, but God promises to go with us and even to fight our battles,

So, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6, emphasis mine). When we attempt to face challenges on our own, WE WILL FAIL, but God will never fail us or leave us alone.

God has unlimited resources. When Syria harassed Israel, their efforts were constantly thwarted because God, through Elisha, warned the king of Israel before every attack. The king of Syria suspected that he had a spy within his ranks, but one of his servants told him about Elisha the prophet who warned the king of Israel ahead of every attack. Therefore, the king of Syria sent an army and surrounded Elisha’s house. “And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And [Elisha] answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha” (2 Kings 6:15-17, emphasis mine).

“And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD” (1 Chronicles 28:20, emphasis mine). David referred to the Temple Solomon would build. Solomon had the promise that God would not abandon him until the work was complete. Today, believers are the “living temples” of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). As long as God lends us breath, we have work to do “for the service of the house of the LORD.”

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness … For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” (Isaiah 41:10, 13, emphasis mine). When we trust God, He is our strength and our help, He sustains us and holds our right hand.

 Jesus said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:6-7, emphasis mine). God cares for all of His creation, even those we would count as insignificant. He knows us intimately, even to the most minute detail – the number of hairs on our heads. Since God cares so much for common sparrows, how much more does He care for those created in His image?

What Can We Do?

When Babylon conquered Judah, Nebuchadnezzar carried away the Jews in three deportations. Nebuchadnezzar set Gedaliah as governor over Judah after the third deportation to Babylon. They were going into captivity. In that circumstance, the people are encouraged to “fear not,” accept the situation, and it would be well with them. “And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan sware unto them and to their men, saying, Fear not to serve the Chaldeans: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you” (Jeremiah 40:9; 2 Kings 25:24, emphasis mine). God promises to be with us even in difficult situations.

Jesus said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28, emphasis mine). The Greek word translated “fear” (used twice in this verse) is phobeō, from which we get the English word “phobia.” Strong’s defines it this way: “to frighten, that is, (passively) to be alarmed; by analogy to be in awe of, that is, revere: – be (+ sore) afraid, fear (exceedingly), reverence” (emphasis mine). With that in mind, Jesus says not to fear or be frightened of those that can kill the body – that would include COVID-19. Rather, we should “revere” the One who ultimately determines our eternal destiny.

When Jesus selected His disciples, Luke records the account this way: “And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men” (Luke 5:10, emphasis mine). The world may be falling down all around us, but we are not to “shelter in place.” Jesus gave us the “good news” for us to share with those around us.

Jesus also said, “And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:29-34, emphasis mine). We are not to be overly concerned with our material needs. Jesus promises that God will provide what we need.

 “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation [i.e., behavior/conduct] in Christ” (1 Peter 3:12-16, emphasis mine). When we are secure in the Lord’s care, we can be confident to face whatever the future may bring. When others see our confidence, they will want to know the reason for it, and we need to be prepared to give an answer.

 Conclusion:

We cannot stop 2023 from coming. We cannot alter the circumstances that 2023 will bring. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, emphasis mine). However, we can control our own outlook when we place our trust in God knowing that all things are under His control and that He cares for His own. Again, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27, emphasis mine). Ultimately, we have the promise of eternal life with Him in a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1-5).

Notes:


[1]  Matthew 24:37-38

[2]  Genesis 6:13

[3]  Luke 17:28

[4]  Genesis 19:5

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Came and Coming

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (Galatians 4:4)

Today is the 1,686th Christmas since the holy day was first sanctioned in AD 336. Before then, the date of Jesus’ birth remained in question, but December 25 was not considered an option. “Around AD 200, Clement of Alexandria wrote: ‘There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord’s birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon [May 20] … Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi [April 20 or 21].’”[1]

This year December 25th falls on Sunday and this will not recur again for another 11 years. What better day to celebrate the birth of our Lord than on “the Lord’s Day”! Of course, we gather and worship together every Sunday, the Lord’s Day, because it commemorates His resurrection from the dead. So, this Sunday, we remember both His entry into this world to die for our sins and His victory over death to provide eternal life for us.

He came once as foretold by the prophets. I have not counted them myself, but supposedly, there are over 300 prophecies foretelling Jesus’ first coming.[2] “Using the science of probability, we find that the chances of just forty-eight [48] of these prophecies being fulfilled in one person to be only one in ten157[1×10157].”[3] That is a mathematical impossibility! Even so, Jesus fulfilled every prophecy concerning His first coming.

The Old Testament also foretells of Jesus’ second coming. However, the OT prophets conflated both prophecies of His first and second coming. For them, the prophecies foretold the coming Messiah who would rule as king over all the world. In retrospect, we can read these prophecies and distinguish those that have been fulfilled by His first coming and those that are yet to be fulfilled.

Since Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of His first coming, we can conclude that He will fulfill all those concerning His second coming beginning with Jesus’ own promise of His return. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3, emphasis mine).

The most meaningful thing for me about this Christmas is knowing that just as Jesus came the first time, He is coming again. As we study the prophecies of Jesus’ second coming, we recognize the “signs of the times” that signal the soon return of Jesus. I look forward to what 2023 will bring. I hope to meet Him in the air.[4]

He came, and He is coming again. Are you prepared to meet Him? If not, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1] Christmas – Wikipedia

[2]  Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus at his First Coming – Jesus is God and Lord Ministries

[3]  Josh McDowell, More Than A Carpenter, (Tyndale House, Wheaton, Ill, 1977), p. 103.

[4] 1 Thessalonians 4:17

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The Fullness of Time

Adoration of the Child

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  (Galatians 4:4-5)

It’s that time of year again; Christmas is in the air. Regardless of your perception of Christmas – it’s too commercial, it’s under attack, it’s just a pagan celebration dressed up in Christian garb, etc. – it is altogether appropriate that Christians set time aside to commemorate the first advent of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

At this time we remember the miraculous conception and birth of God made man (John 1:14), but too often our focus shifts away from the significance of that event to the sappy sentimentality of the Nativity scene. As sweet as the image of a cuddly infant lying in a feeding trough adored by loving parents and worshipped by shepherds and wise men may be, the fact remains that this baby was God clothed in human flesh. The thought that the Creator condescended to take the form of His fallen creation (Philippians 2:7) to redeem as many as would receive Him (John 1:12), should leave us awestruck.

This was no afterthought on the part of God. In my article, “Why Satan?,” I address the issue of why God allowed sin in the first place, but along with the possibility of sin, God provided a way out (Hebrews 4:3; Revelation 13:8). From the very beginning there was the promise of a Savior (Genesis 3:15). Eve understood this promise, and at the birth of her first-born she rejoiced, “and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD” (Genesis 4:1). The literal translation of the Hebrew actually says “I have gotten a man Yahweh (the Lord).” She believed that she had given birth to the Savior according to the promise of God. But the time was not right. God wanted His creation, man in particular, to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28; 9:1). Abraham “Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be” (Romans 4:18).  That promise was not only for Abraham, “But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:24-25). For “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). So, when the time was right, God entered the world He created (John 1:3) as a helpless baby – fully God and fully man – to give up His life to buy back and restore His fallen creation. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Very soon, at the fullness of time, He will return for His own as He promised: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3). So, regardless of your perspective on Christmas, as Christians it is a good time to remember that baby in the manger was God who came to die for us that we may live with Him, and soon we will be with Him.

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