Tag Archives: Last Days

The Red Horse

And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. (Revelation 6:3)

 The first seal[1] released the white horse whose rider carried a bow, but no arrows, and he was “given” a crown – not a diadēma (a royal crown) but rather a stephanos (a victor’s wreath). The first seal begins what we know as the seven-year Tribulation that opens when “the prince that shall come … shall confirm the covenant with many for one week” that brings “peace” to Israel.[2] Considering the placement of this seal (first) and that he carries a bow and no arrows, we can conclude that this rider represents the Antichrist that will come on the scene.

Following close behind the white horse, the second seal brings the red horse. “And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword” (Revelation 6:4).

The first thing we notice about this rider is that “power was given to him.” He does not get this power on his own. So, from where does he get this power? Since the rider of the white horse is Antichrist (arguably), it could be assumed that Antichrist gives him the power. At this point, we need to remember who controls the opening of the seals. “And [the Lamb] came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne … 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 5:7; 6:1). Make no mistake, the One who gives the power is the One who holds the title deed to the earth, i.e., “the scroll.”

In Revelation, John provides, more than any other prophetic book, a detailed description of the events that will take place during Daniel’s 70th week.[3] This time is also known as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” as coined by the Prophet Jeremiah. “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30:7, emphasis mine). Jacob’s other name is Israel. The Tribulation serves to “save” Israel and turn their hearts to their Messiah. Jesus says by way of the Prophet Zechariah, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10, emphasis mine).

Another reason for the Tribulation, in brief, is for God to “clean house” on earth. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). During this awful time, God’s wrath will be unleashed against a sinful world. “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6, emphasis mine). “For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience” (Colossians 3:6, emphasis mine). This is one reason that the Church, i.e., Christians, will be taken out of the world to escape the wrath to come. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

A third reason for the Tribulation is to give the world one last opportunity to repent and turn to Christ. “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). Revelation gives three examples of God’s attempt to save rebellious sinners during this time: 144,000 “evangelists” to proclaim the Gospel,[4] two witness preaching in Jerusalem for three and one-half years,[5] and even an angel proclaims the Gospel to the world.[6] Jesus said of this time, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14, emphasis mine).

The red horse brings the first signs of serious trouble ahead. He is given power “to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword” (Revelation 6:4). He carries “a great sword” which is an implement of war. War takes peace from the earth and it cannot be prosecuted without people killing one another. The red horse brings global war.

Of this time 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 …” (Matthew 24:6-7). The Old Testament predicts some of the wars involving Israel in the “last days.” Psalm 83 speaks of a time when Israel’s neighbors will surround her with the aim to “cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance” (Psalm 83:4). Arguably, this has taken place at least twice. Once when Israel declared itself a nation on May 14, 1948. On that very day, the Arab nations attacked defenseless Israel to prevent her from establishing her nationhood. Miraculously, Israel defeated her enemies. The second time was in the [19] Sixty-seven War, when once again they were outnumbered and outgunned, they took back their beloved capital of Jerusalem and conquered the Sinai Peninsula, which they later gave back to Egypt in a foolhardy land-for-peace deal. However, there are some who believe the Psalm 83 war is yet future.

Isaiah speaks of the overnight destruction of Damascus. “The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap … And behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us.” (Isaiah 17:1, 14, emphasis mine). Even today, as Iran continues to ship and store missiles in Syria and especially in Damascus, Israel periodically makes air strikes on Damascus. Current pictures of Damascus make it look like a war zone. However, it continues to be a city. Israel possesses nuclear weapons that could flatten Damascus with one bomb. As tensions build in the Middle East, we might soon wake to the news that Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, is no more. It is also possible that its demise will happen after the Rapture of the Church.

Ezekiel 38-39 foretells that a confederation made up of Russia, Turkey, Iran, Syria, and their allies will come against Israel. Israel will find itself hopelessly outmanned and outgunned. However, God will intervene and destroy her enemies in such a miraculous way that it will leave no doubt that it is God that saves Israel. Today, we see the stage being set for this prophesied war. All of the nations mentioned by the Prophet Ezekiel have armies and weapons staged in Syria. All they need is a good reason to invade. Could the destruction of Damascus be the catalyst?

All of the end-times prophecies focus on the nation of Israel. However, all the world is involved. Today, Russia wars against Ukraine. North Korea threatens South Korea, Japan, and the United States. China rattles its sabers against the United States. Russia threatens NATO with nuclear retaliation if it interferes with its campaign against Ukraine. There are wars going on in Africa. There is unrest in South America and Europe. Peace is all but gone from the world.

The red horse is saddled and its rider is ready to mount and ride. Will you be around to see peace taken from the earth, or will you be rescued in the Rapture? If you are not sure, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  Revelation 6:1-2

[2]  Daniel 9:26-27

[3]  Daniel 9:24-27

[4]  Revelation 7; 14:1-5

[5]  Revelation 11:1-12

[6]  Revelation 14:6-7

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Perilous Times

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2 Timothy 3:1)

At our Gideon camp meeting this Saturday, our Scripture reading was 2 Timothy 3. A visitor to our meeting commented how the passage sounded a lot like today. The way he said it was as if he had never heard that passage before. That is not surprising. Many Christians today live day to day unaware of what is going on around them. It is understandable. Life is full of activities that need to get done. Between work and family, who wants to spend time keeping up with world events when the news can be so depressing if it can be trusted at all? So, spending free time on entertainment of one kind or another is the preferred choice for spare-time activities.

Pastors that do not preach on end-times prophecy only add to the lack of awareness of most Christians. While the congregants may perceive the growing darkness in our country, they do not associate it with the “last days.” They may just assume that these days are no worse than those in the past;[1] many think that we are just more aware of them due to worldwide media coverage. While that may be partially true, the rapid worldwide moral decline is more pervasive, more diverse, and more rampant than anything the world has ever experienced except, perhaps, for the days of Noah or the days of Lot.[2]

So, what did our Gideon visitor hear that sounded so much like today? Paul said that the “last days” would be perilous (i.e., difficult, dangerous, furious) times.[3] Paul goes on to explain what he means by that. He says, “men shall be lovers of their own selves.” Surely men (and that includes women) have always been somewhat egocentric – thinking of themselves ahead of anyone else. But have we ever seen it to the extent that we see it now?

Paul goes on to list other characteristics of “last days” people. They are “covetous” – that is they are avarice, they love money and material possessions particularly when those things belong to someone else. That also includes someone else’s husband or wife.

“Last days” people are “boasters.” They like to “puff themselves” up about their possessions or achievements whether real or presumed. Closely related to that is “pride.” The Greek word here is huperēphanos, i.e., “showing one’s self above others, overtopping, conspicuous above others, pre-eminent.”[4] In other words, they think more highly of themselves than they ought.[5]

“Last days” people are “blasphemers,” “speaking evil, slanderous, reproachful, railing, abusive”[6] of all things pertaining to God. We see blasphemy everywhere these days, in entertainment, in “science,” and in politics (one particular party that has a donkey as its mascot comes to mind). “Last days” people violate the fifth of the Ten Commandments,[7] which says to honor father and mother; they are disobedient to parents. Going along with that, they are “unthankful” either to God or to their parents or anyone who has benefitted them. They are “unholy,” i.e., impious and wicked. “Holy” means to be “set apart,” especially for the service of God. These people are just the opposite.

Paul continues. “Last days” people are “without natural affection,” that is, “unsociable, inhuman, unloving.”[8] The most glaring evidence for this is the abortion issue these days. These “last days” people do not care about human life. They willingly murder unborn babies even up to the moment of birth, and many advocate for infanticide up to two years of age. At the same time, they want to save the panda, the polar bear, the whale, the planet, etc. – “without natural affection.”

“Last days” people are “trucebreakers.” They are untrustworthy. They lie without shame. They are “false accusers.” Think of the many “righteous” people that have been falsely accused by the FBI lately, while those that are true lawbreakers are set free. Paul says that “last days” people are “incontinent.” By that, he means that they lack self-control. Think of the many instances where we see on the news mobs breaking into stores taking anything they want. Think of angry, left-wing protestors that shout down opposing voices and refuse to listen to reason. Think about those that violently attack unsuspecting victims in public and in broad daylight. That last group, Paul defines as “fierce” meaning “not tame or savage.”

“Last days” people are “despisers of those that are good.” They “call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). To end the list, Paul names other characteristics synonymous with those already listed. “Last days” people are “Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4).

Dear reader, does that not sound like the world in which we live? The visitor to our Gideon prayer meeting surely thought so. This is not just true within our nation, but it permeates the entire world, which is why we hear of wars and rumors of wars[9] worldwide. These things have not always been this way. They are much more pervasive today, and they are converging together all at once. That is the major difference between now and then.

We are living in the “last days,” and it is only a matter of time before the Lord says that it is enough, and He puts a final end to it all. Dear reader, are you prepared to meet the Savior when He comes to clean up this mess? If not, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  “Things Have Always Been This Way!” — Things Have Always Been This Way! | Ernie’s Musings (erniecarrasco.com)

[2]  Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:28-29

[3]  2 Timothy 3:1-4

[4]  Thayer’s Greek Definitions

[5]  Romans 12:3

[6]  Thayer’s Greek Definitions

[7]  Exodus 20:12

[8]  Thayer’s Greek Definitions

[9]  Matthew 24:6-7

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Tisha B’Av

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

At the posting of this article, August 6-7, 2022, Jews everywhere solemnly observe Tisha B’Av or the Ninth of Av. Av is the fifth month on the Jewish calendar which begins with the month of Nissan. Christians, for the most part, are ignorant of Jewish observations and feasts; but the same God that gave observations to the Jews is not a God who does things arbitrarily or at random and without purpose, and He does not change. So, even though Christians are under a different “covenant” than the Jews, that does not render these observations meaningless. It behooves Christians to study and understand the Jewish feasts and observances because, while they may not directly apply to us, they have great significance in our understanding of our God.

Tisha B’Av, like Purim and Chanukah, was not given by God as one of His seven Feasts of the Lord.[1] These “observances” were started by the Jews as memorials to God’s intervention in the life of the nation. Purim looks back to God’s salvation of the Jews that were in Babylon from the hand of Haman.[2] Chanukah commemorated the miraculous preservation of the oil in the menorah for eight days at the cleansing of the Temple after it was desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes.[3]  

Tisha B’Av, however, reminds the Jews of God’s judgments on the nation for one sin or another. These judgments always fell on the Ninth of Av beginning when 10 of the 12 spies sent to spy out the Promised Land returned with a bad report.[4] The website “Rapture Ready” lists 29 judgments against the Jews from Av 9, 1312 BC to Av 9, 2020 AD.[5]

Perhaps the most significant judgments to the Jews were those involving the Temple. The Babylonians razed Solomon’s Temple on Av 9, 586 BC. The Romans destroyed the second temple, Herod’s Temple, on Av 9, 70 AD. Pete Garcia, a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, suggests the possibility (not the inevitability) that the Rapture of the Church could take place this year on Tisha B’Av.[6] (I recommend that you read his article in the link provided below. He goes into much greater detail than I plan to go into here.) Pete got his idea from Greg Lauer,[7] another student and teacher of end-times prophecy. (I recommend that you read his lengthy article as well. He goes into great detail to develop his theory and he employs sound logic in doing so. You can find the link to his article in the endnotes below.)

In brief, here is the summary of the idea that the Rapture could take place on Tisha B’Av – perhaps even today, August 7, 2022. By way of disclaimer, allow me to emphasize that neither of these men are setting a date for the Rapture, which “of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). We cannot know the exact day or the hour; however, we can observe the signs and the season so that we should be ready. Therefore, Jesus said, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 25:13). How can we watch if we do not know what to watch for?

We already see many of the signs of which Jesus spoke[8] taking place: Israel reborn, wars and rumors of wars, famines, and pestilences, economic collapse, worldwide hatred of Israel, the formulation of the Gog of Magog alliance,[9] [10] etc. These “labor pains” are increasing in number and frequency alerting us to the soon return of Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. However, before that happens, the Church must be removed, and that is where the idea of the Rapture on Tisha B’Av comes to play.

Here is the idea in a nutshell. When Solomon dedicated the first temple, the glory of God filled the Temple to the point that the priests could not minister in the Temple.[11] Several hundred years later, the Prophet Ezekiel records seeing the glory of God depart the Temple.[12] The Babylonians then entered Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple of God on Av 9, 586 BC.

After 70 years of captivity, the Medo-Persian Empire conquered Babylon and Cyrus allowed the Jews to return and rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. There is no record that this second temple enjoyed the filling by the glory of God. It was not until the time of Christ that the Temple experienced the presence of God in the form of Jesus Christ. Recall how at the cleansing Jesus declared, “My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:13, emphasis mine). Of course, we know what happened later. The Jews rejected and crucified their Messiah during Passover, 30 AD (or 33 AD, the exact year is debatable). As a result, the Romans destroyed the Temple on Av 9, 70 AD.

The First Temple enjoyed the presence of God the Father. The Second Temple enjoyed the presence of God the Son. There is yet a Third Temple that enjoys the presence of God the Holy Spirit. Where might that Temple be? “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). The Holy Spirit resides within believers, the Church, the Bride of Christ. This Temple restrains Satan’s forces on earth and must be removed in order for God’s judgment to come upon the God-rejecting world. “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now [restrains] will [restrain], until he [i.e., the Holy Spirit] be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8, emphasis mine). When the Holy Spirit is taken “out of the way,” He will take His Temple with Him. This is what we understand as “the Rapture” of the Church.

So, since God does not do things arbitrarily or at random, it makes sense that the “Third Temple,” belonging to the Holy Spirit should also be removed, like the first two, on Tisha B’Av. If not today, then next year, or the next.

No man knows the day or the hour when Jesus will call His Bride home. As His Bride, we should be prepared daily for Him to call us home. It does not necessarily have to be on Tisha B’Av. It could be on Rosh HaShanah, or perhaps on Pentecost or any day when we least expect it. The point is to be ready and watching daily. We have work to do, and when our Lord calls us home, we want Him to find us working to increase His kingdom.

Are you ready to meet Jesus? If not, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


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

[2]  Read the book of Esther.

[3]  Read the apocryphal books of the Maccabees.

[4]  Numbers13:25-14:12

[5]  https://www.raptureready.com/2021/07/15/the-ninth-of-av-tisha-bav-by-jeff-van-hatten/

[6]  “This B’Av Rapture?” — https://www.rev310.net/post/tish-b-av-rapture

[7]  “A Pattern with a Hole” — https://www.alittlestrength.com/articles/2022/2206-pattern.htm

[8]  Matthew 24

[9]  Ezekiel 38-39

[10]  “Magog, Tubal, and Persia” — https://erniecarrasco.com/2022/07/24/magog-tubal-and-persia/

[11]  2 Chronicles 5:11-14

[12]  Ezekiel 9:3; 10:18

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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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I’ve Got A Mansion

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 14:2-3)

An old Gospel song that goes by the same title talks about “a mansion just over the hilltop in that bright land where we’ll never grow old.”[1] The singer dreams of having a “gold one that is silver lined.” Does that not seem somewhat esurient to covet the riches of heaven? I admit that the thought did not occur to me until recently.

When I think of a mansion, I imagine the $5 million (or more) homes of the super-rich or the palaces of royalty. Somehow, I do not think that is exactly to what Jesus referred when He spoke the words of our beginning verse above.

Consider this. “Heaven” as described in Revelation 21-22 enjoys a perfect environment much like that of the Garden of Eden[2] that God originally created. So perfect was that environment, that the first couple could run around naked[3] and not worry about getting sunburned, rained on, or frost bitten. Furthermore, all their nutritional needs were provided. It was a perfect place. Their only shelter were the stars above (and oh, how the stars must have sparkled at night in the pollution-free sky!). There was no need for any kind of building for shelter, much less a mansion.

Heaven will be like that, I think. No mansions of gold with silver trim. Before ending His earthly ministry, Jesus promised that in His Father’s house – only ONE house – are many mansions. That word in the Greek is monē, which means “a staying, abiding, dwelling, abode.” If Jesus meant some kind of building, He could have used the word “castle” – Greek parembolē meaning something like a fortress. Or, He could have used the word “palace” – Greek aulē, meaning “a yard (as open to the wind); by implication a mansion: – court, ([sheep-]) fold, hall, palace.”[4] However, Jesus used the word monē promising that we would have a place to stay and He has many places to stay and dwell for those who follow Him.

Sadly, we too often derive our “theology” from the songs we sing rather than from the Word of God. Next time you hear that old Gospel song, put that golden mansion out of your mind and be happy that Jesus has given you a place in His Father’s house.

Reader, if you are unsure of your eternal abode, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.” Jesus has a reservation for you in His Father’s house, but you have to take Him up on His invitation.

Notes:


[1]  “Mansion Over the Hilltop” by Ira Stanphill, 1949.

[2] Genesis 2:5-9

[3]  Genesis 2:25

[4]  Strong’s G833 definition.

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