Tag Archives: Christianity

Still Coming

… and said unto them, Occupy till I come.  (Luke 19:13)

As I wrote last week, “For many years now, I come to this time of year with a heightened sense of expectation.” More than ten years ago, I learned about the Feasts of the Lord.[1] By His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus fulfilled first three spring feasts, and Pentecost fulfilled the fourth feast. The last three fall feasts remain unfulfilled, and the Feast of Trumpets comes first in that series. The Feast of Trumpets is significant because it heralds the new year. It is also a holy convocation announced by the blowing of trumpets that summons the people to the Temple.

The connection with the Feast of Trumpets and the Rapture of the Church comes by way of deduction derived from 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; and Revelation 4:1. These passages speak of the sound of a trumpet preceding the Rapture of the Church, so it seems logical that the call could come at the first fall feast that remains unfulfilled.

Although it might seem like a reasonable conclusion, the fact remains that nothing in Scripture tells us when the Rapture will take place. The Bible gives no signs to signal the Rapture. Instead, the Bible (the New Testament) teaches that the Rapture is imminent; it can happen at any time without warning. Jesus said, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Matthew 24:44-46, emphasis mine).

In a different place, Jesus relayed a parable of a “A certain nobleman [representing Himself] went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:12-13, emphasis mine). Our “nobleman,” Jesus Christ, has gone to receive His kingdom and He has promised to return (John 14:1-3). We do not know when. In the meantime, He has commanded, “Occupy till I come.”

Another Rosh HaShanah, the Feast of Trumpets, came and went again, and the trumpet did not sound to call us home, but Jesus did not tell us when He would return. He just told us to watch, wait, and occupy until He comes. When He does come for us, He expects to find us taking care of His business. What will He find us doing?

The Rapture is imminent. It comes without warning and without signs. However, the Second Coming does have signs, and we see many of the signs falling into place. The greatest of these signs is the miraculous rebirth of the nation of Israel. As the signs of the last days[2] increase in number and intensity, we know the time is near, and if the Second Coming of Christ is near, the Rapture is closer. Are you ready? Are you occupied in the task He has given you or are you distracted by the cares of the world? He did not come last Tuesday, or Wednesday, but He may come today. How will He find you?

Reader, if you do not know the Savior, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1] “Rosh HaShanah” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2016/10/03/rosh-hashanah/

[2]  Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21

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Sharpen Your Sword

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Ephesians 6:17)

Earlier this past week, my BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) group met to study Matthew 4, where the Gospel writer recounts Jesus’ temptation by Satan after He spent 40 days and 40 nights without food in the wilderness. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews states that “we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). In his first general epistle, the Apostle John lists three points whereby we are tempted: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.[1] We have evidence of this from the very beginning. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food [lust of the flesh], and that it was pleasant to the eyes [lust of the eyes], and a tree to be desired to make one wise [pride of life], she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat…” (Genesis 3:6).

Matthew records that Satan tempted Jesus by the same means, albeit not in the same order.[2] The order of the temptations is not as relevant as the fact that the temptations are the same as those to which we succumb. Satan first came at Him with the lust of the flesh, “command that these stones be made bread.” [3] Next he tried tempting Him with the pride of life, “cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”[4] It behooves us to take note that Satan quoted Scripture[5] to Jesus, although it was misapplied. (We must take that as a lesson; knowledge of Scripture is not the path to salvation.) Finally, Satan went for the lust of the eyes. “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:8-9). Satan is the “prince and god of this world;”[6] therefore, he had a legitimate right to make that claim.

Jesus did not take the bait. Jesus answered each temptation with a passage from Scripture. The Bible reminds us that “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, emphasis mine). And do not think that because Jesus is God that He held a higher advantage. Satan attacked Jesus’ humanity, and He is every bit as human as you and I.

If Jesus had an advantage, it was His perfect knowledge of the Word of God, which brings me to the reason for the title of this article. Scripture often refers to the Word of God as a “sword.” Our leading verse (above) refers to the Word of God as “the sword of the Spirit.” “For the word of God is quick [i.e., alive/living], and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword…” (Hebrews 4:12). In Revelation, the Word proceeding from Jesus’ mouth is described as a sword.[7]

The “sword” is the final piece of the Christian soldier’s armor.[8] All the pieces of the soldier’s armor are defensive in nature. They are designed to protect the wearer, but the sword is both a defensive and offensive weapon. As a Christian you have surely experienced opposition when you made an argument based on the Word of God. Of course! It hurts. It cuts, “piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Naturally, the lost hearer will recoil at the message of the Bible.

However, as a Christian, if you have not experienced such reactions, perhaps your sword is dull. Maybe you have hidden your sword away somewhere, and it has become pitted and rusted. Then, when you attempt to use it only bruises but does not cut, and the bruises quickly heal and are forgotten. If that is the case, you need to sharpen your sword! You cannot sharpen your sword with a 30-minute sermon or a 45-minute Sunday school lesson every Sunday. You need to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15, emphasis mine). “Study” does not mean to sit down and casually read a few chapters as one would a dime-store novel. The Greek word, spoudazō, means to “to use speed, that is, to make effort, be prompt or earnest: – do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward), endeavour, labour, study.”[9] If you will take just one or two chapters daily, read slowly and carefully, question the text, seek out the meaning of difficult words, etc. you will gain a deeper understanding of the Word of God. And, because you dug it out for yourself, it will stick better in your mind than what you can get out of casually reading it or listening to what the preacher may have to say about it. This is how you sharpen your sword and prepare yourself for the spiritual battle you face every day

Notes:


[1]  1 John 2:16

[2]  Luke records the same account in the order prescribed by John – Luke 4:1-14

[3]  Matthew 4:3

[4]  Matthew 4:6

[5]  Psalm 91:11-12

[6]  John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4

[7]  Revelation 1:16; 2:12, 16; 19:15

[8]  Ephesians 6:13-17

[9]  Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D., G4704

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In Whom Do You Trust?

The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. (2 Samuel 22:3)

The Wuhan Bug[1] infected the world over a year and a half ago, and while in many places life has regained a semblance of normalcy, the fear mongering persists. No one doubts the potential lethality of the bug, and while government agencies over emphasize and exaggerate the case numbers and death counts, the fact remains that overall, the possibility of infection is rather low.[2]

I live in the Great State of Texas where the draconian measures that were applied at the beginning of this “plandemic” have been mostly lifted. The Texas governor issued an executive order that no business can require patrons to wear masks and employers cannot coerce employees to get the “jab.” However, I live in the far-left-leaning Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex that marches lock-step with whatever the Washington DC “wizards” decree. One still finds many big-name stores with “Masks Required” signs on their doors, but thanks go Governor Abbot, they can be ignored – and I do.

Even with this greater degree of freedom afforded to us as Texans, I see many people driving in their cars or walking on sidewalks or in the parks, far away from any other living soul and they are all masked up. Somehow, the government agencies that claim to care so much about our citizens have failed to inform them that the Wuhan Bug can easily penetrate most masks, especially the homemade ones. They fail to inform the masses that the Wuhan Bug cannot survive on open surfaces or in the open air.

What the caring government agencies do stress, is that everyone must get the “jab” or you will die! One not only needs one but two jabs and a booster! Now they say that the “jab” cannot guarantee immunity for more than a few months, so subsequent boosters will be required. You must get the “jab” or you will die. If you do not take the “jab” you are being inconsiderate and unloving to your neighbor. That is what Jesus would have you do! The current governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, encourages Christians to get the “jab”[3] because the vaccines are from God.[4] Really?

I am happy that my church is open once more and masks are “optional.” We do not need to social distance if we do not want to, and for those who are willing, hugs are once more allowed. I like that. I am a hugger. Sadly, our attendance numbers are not what they were before COVID. We used to run three services on Sunday morning, but we are down to two now, and those are not at capacity. Our Sunday school classes are divided between live and Zoom ™ attenders, and many attend the services online. If there is anything good in this is that our online attendance has increased; we have visitors from all over the country and the world, so God’s Word is going out.

Still, I sense a lot of residual fear in our congregation. Many that attend live services come masked and are careful to avoid close contact with anyone. I understand, but the fear they harbor saddens me. They fear the Wuhan Bug because “caring” government agencies aided by their propaganda arm, the mainstream media, have filled their minds with the dread of a virus which they have less than one percent of catching. They believe that the government truly seeks their welfare.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Why would the government pressure healthcare organizations to coerce all healthcare workers to take the “jab,” forcing many to quit their jobs rather than submit? There is already a shortage of healthcare workers as it is. And why are healthcare workers reluctant to take the “jab” if it is really “safe”? Do they know something we do not know?

Many jobs are being lost because employees refuse to be coerced into taking the “jab” – truck drivers, airline workers, etc. Many businesses cannot hire workers because the “caring” government pays them more to stay home and collect unemployment for doing nothing. There is a hidden agenda by “undercover” Marxists leaders in our government to destroy America and bring it under the One-World Government. They are unwittingly setting the stage for the fulfillment of end-times prophecy.[5] The world elites pulling the puppet strings of our government do not hide their intentions. One can read what they have in mind.[6]

So, the fear that I witness in my Christian brothers and sisters comes from misplaced trust in man – the Whitehouse, Congress, the CDC, the NIH – rather than placing their trust in God. Yes, I see them mouth the words affirming trust in God, but their actions tell a much different story. Many of my brethren rushed to get the “jab” taking the propaganda of the media without doing any research of opposing opinions. Now, many of them who have gotten the first, second and booster “jabs” have come down with the virus and some have experienced adverse reactions.[7]  So much for the safety and efficacy of the “jab.”

I advise Christians to develop a healthy distrust of the government – they do not have your best interest at heart – and place your trust completely in God. God cares for you. He knows you inside and out. He maintains a second-by-second record of every one of your more than 3-Trillion cells in your body. He designed your DNA and while “scientists” know part of the human genome (DNA), God programed every single nucleotide combination that makes you, you. God knows the number of days He planned for your life.[8] He already knows the mode of your death – car accident, plane crash, cancer, heart attack, stroke, flu, pneumonia, COVID, etc. You have no control whatsoever in the method of your death. Who knows? You may be raptured out of this world and not see death at all! So why live in fear if you truly trust God? You either fully trust God for your life, or you do not. If you do not truly trust God with your life then fear is knocking at your door. Do not say that you trust God and then go around in fear because of what man has to say. God commands, “Fear not!”[9]

Notes:


[1]  “Wuhan Bug” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/03/15/wuhan-bug/

[2]  “Fear” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/11/15/fear/

[3]  https://townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2021/09/28/hochul-vax-sermon-n2596585

[4]  “NY Gov. Hochul says vaccines are ‘from God,’ sends out her own ‘apostles’ to push jabs” – https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ny-gov-hochul-claims-covid-19-vaccines-from-god-sends-out-her-own-apostles

[5]  Daniel 7:7-8; 9:27; Revelation 13:1-10

[6]  World Economic Forum – https://www.weforum.org/

[7]  This shot is not a vaccine in the traditional sense of injecting an attenuated form of a pathogen that allows our bodies to develop natural immunities. Instead, it is an MRNA gene “therapy” that modifies a person’s DNA. Since every individual’s DNA is unique to that individual, the reactions to the MRNA will differ from person to person. This is why so many different reactions to the injection have been reported.

[8]  Psalm 90:9-10

[9]  “Fear Not” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/08/16/fear-not/

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The End Is Not Yet

All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:8)

Jesus faced the final week of His earthly ministry, and the looming shadow of the cross lay just a few days ahead. He had just capped off His final conversation with the Jewish religious leaders with a scathing pronouncement. “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation” (Matthew 23:33-36, emphasis mine). That is a pretty harsh accusation coming from the sweet and gentle Jesus! He associated them with the original serpent in the Garden of Eden.[1] Notice too, that He claims to be the One who sends prophets to them. Is it not God who sends the prophets? Well, I believe that is the point!

When we study the Old Testament, we learn of God’s struggle and patience with Israel and Judah. Jesus takes on that role as well. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:37-39, emphasis mine).

Jesus knows what lies ahead for Israel, and His disciples wanted to know that too. “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3).

Surprisingly, instead of launching right into a long discourse of the last days, Jesus issued a warning. “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you” (Matthew 24:4, emphasis mine). It seems that the most outstanding feature of the last days is deception. Jesus speaks of wars and rumors of wars, ethnic group against ethnic group, and kingdom (country/nation) against kingdom, but that is just the beginning.[2] The main problem is deception. Jesus goes on to speak of the rise of false preachers and false christs, an increase in wickedness and the loss of love. These false christs and false prophets will perform wonders such that “if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect,”[3] i.e., Christians.

We live in days of great deception. If you do not see it, you are either not paying attention, or you are deceived yourself. Our government lies to us. Our politicians lie to us. Government health agencies lie to us. The news media lie to us. We need to be alert and discerning these days to see the truth hidden among the lies.

The news media diverts our attention from the chaos around the world, but more importantly, the activity around the Middle East, the “cradle of civilization” and the focal point of end-times prophecy.

I follow several good end-times prophecy teachers, but one of my favorites is Amir Tsarfati,[4] founder and president of Behold Israel Ministry. Amir is a native Israeli and a reserve officer in the IDF (I believe he is a major, but not sure about his rank). His home in Israel overlooks the Jezreel Valley, aka, the Valley of Armageddon, so he has a very unique and acute perspective on end-times prophecy and how it relates to current events, especially in Israel and the Middle East. I follow Amir on the Telegram ™ app where he posts current events as they take place in the Middle East. The kind of coverage he provides will not be carried by the mainstream news media. For example, yesterday Amir shared this headline: “’War with Israel already started’ says Iranian FM spokesman: A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry told Maariv that a solution must be found for regional issues according to UN resolutions.”[5]

That is only one example. There are wars and rumors of wars all over the world. Since the fall of the great United States under the Biden regime, China is advancing undeterred on Taiwan, and making deals for lithium with the Taliban government of Afghanistan. North Korea is testing its hypersonic missiles. Iran is on the brink of developing a nuclear bomb, and threating Israel. Russia (Magog of Ezekiel 38) along with Turkey are well entrenched in Syria. Australia has gone totalitarian on its citizens (who cannot fight back because their firearms have been confiscated). To top it off, the world is invading our southern border.

With all of this going on, “the end is not yet.” In Matthew 24, Jesus describes the conditions before His second coming when He will set up His earthly reign for 1000 years.[6] What we are witnessing now are just “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). Things will get a lot worse during the seven-year Tribulation. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22).

Except for the fact that we have friends and loved ones that are lost without Christ that will go through the Tribulation (if they do not die and go to hell first), Christians should not fear the trouble that is ahead for the rest of the world. Jesus promised, “I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10). We cannot know when that will be, but when we see what is taking place in the world, we can know that the time for our departure is very near.

Reader, if you are unsure of your prospect for eternity, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  Genesis 3:1

[2]  Matthew 24:6-7

[3]  Matthew 24:11-12, 23-24

[4]  https://beholdisrael.org/about/amir-tsarfati/

[5]  https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/war-with-israel-already-started-says-iranian-fm-spokesman-680796

[6]  Revelation 20:1-7

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Church And Politics

For our [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: (Philippians 3:20)

I am at the end of my three-year term as a member of the personnel committee of my church. One of the final tasks of my term is to bring in a new ministerial staff member. This week the personnel committee met with the candidate for an interview by the entire committee. In the process of the interview one of the committee members asked the candidate how he felt about politics in the church. He gave what I thought was an appropriate answer. Basically, he said that the church is not about politics but rather about accomplishing the Great Commission.[1] He said that if we teach the Bible correctly, politics will take care of itself. He pointed out that Jesus is neither Democrat nor Republican (nor was He a Pharisee or a Sadducee). As our lead verse (above) states, we are citizens of heaven, not of this world. This world is passing away, but our eternal home in heaven is without end.

I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment. The primary focus of the Church – the Bride of Christ – is to enlarge His kingdom, not the kingdoms of this world. That said, the Church, whether it wants to be or not, is involved in politics and must be active in politics. While the Church is not of this world, yet we are in the world for the purpose of being salt and light in the world.[2] That does not mean that the Church must choose one political party or the other, but those parties, that direct our government make laws that either confirm or deny the Word of God. The Church must stand firmly on the Word of God in the world.

When Jesus said, “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18), He did not mean that the gates of hell would attack the Church and somehow the Church would survive. Rather, He meant that the Church would storm the gates of hell and the gates of hell would not withstand the assault. However, it seems to me that the Church is not doing much assaulting lately, rather it seems to be in retreat.

Again, this does not have anything to do with picking a political party. In many ways, they are equally corrupt. However, the Church must stand against ungodliness regardless of the party that promotes it. To do that, the Church must get involved in politics, not partisanism.

Abortion is murder. It is the destruction of the image of God. Child sacrifice is an abomination to God; therefore, the Church must stand up against it with all the resources it can muster. Because politicians take tax dollars to fund Planned Parenthood, and make laws that protect the abortionists, the issue has become political and the Church must get involved.

The gay-rights alphabet movement tirelessly works to promote their perverted lifestyle onto the general public in an effort to “normalize” their perversion. They are not content to impose their aberration on the adult population; that is not enough. They go beyond and seek to corrupt little children with their deviance. This too, is an abomination to God, and He makes that very clear in His Word. Here again, politicians enthusiastically make laws to “protect” the twisted “rights” of sodomites. The Church must fight against such perversion, and that means getting involved in politics.

There are many other ungodly legislations that could be addressed. The crisis on our southern border for example, is a cesspool of human and drug trafficking. It is all an affront to God and His Word. If the Church is going to storm the gates of hell, it must get involved in politics.

How do we do this? Unless you are living under a rock, the evidence is all around us.  The news media (as far as it can be trusted) tells us it is taking place. There are other independent news outlets that can inform us on what the mainstream media withholds. There are many other Christian resources on platforms such as YouTube, Rumble and others that tell you what the mainstream media does not want you to hear. It takes effort, but God does not have us here in this world sit on our blessed assurance, watching the world go by on the way to hell. Pastors should be reading the new media almost as much as the Bible so that they can identify sinful legislation and those promoting it, regardless of political party, and call on the church to get involved in fighting it.

Just because the Church is non-partisan does not mean that it should not engage in politics. One way or another, the Church is involved in politics. It can either fight for righteousness or allow itself to be overcome by wickedness.

Notes:


[1]  Matthew 28:18-20

[2]  Matthew 5:13-16

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