March 2017 Prophetic Observer
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The Last Trump
by Bob Glaze
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 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" (Matt. 24:4-7).
These are signs of the impending Tribulation Period, that seven-year period that will come upon the world after the departure of the saints at the Rapture. However, even though these signs are now evident, it does not mean that we have entered that period. We have, evidently, entered the final phase of the Church Age at this time. When this phase is complete, we will hear the "last trump."
"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Cor. 15:52).
God uses men to bring about change at His direction and guidance. It is ironic that the man of the hour's name is Trump, which has no prophetic meaning. However, as he continues to dismantle the status quo in Washington, he could be the very catalyst that begins the downward shift to end this age. President Trump is carrying out his campaign promises, and the dark side is testing his resolve. He is trying to correct a century of bad judgments and deviation from the Constitution and moral law. He is, in effect, pounding on the gates of Hell, and the hounds have been sicced on him. This is spiritual warfare, and Satan's arena is in jeopardy. Trump's tenacity is what the church should have been doing all along, and they now should support his actions from the pulpit.
There is a drastic change going on in America that is causing Satan to push back because the gates of Hell are under attack as never before. His time is short, as he knows, so he has unleashed the hounds of Hell in an effort to hold back the advance of Christians that are knocking on Hell's gate. Unlike Cerberus of Greek mythology, who guards the entrances of the world of the dead, these spawns of Hell are real and are active in many forms. These hounds have taken liberalism to a new level by adding rebellion against God in its vilest form.
Unable to approach God in their wrath, they must approach the nearest persons to God: Christians and Jews, as well as their belief system. We will attempt to identify some of these hounds and their methods, the first of which is the immediate past administration. We are not the judge of their soul's destination, but their works are evidence of demon possession, or at least demonic influence.
In order to make the transfer of office from his administration to Trump's administration harder, Obama worked feverishly in his last days to issue directives that would slow down the new president. In essence, he buried land mines in every avenue of progress to make President Trump spend his first hundred days defusing one crisis after another. Obama made much pretense of working with Trump while all along trying to undermine the new president's promised policies.
An article found at www.nytimes.com entitled "Obama's Last Days: Aiding Trump Transition, but Erecting Policy Roadblocks," stated: "Only two days after the election, President Obama sat by President–elect Donald J. Trump's side in the Oval Office and declared that the No. 1 priority in his last days in the White House would be ensuring a smooth transition of power." The article added that "Obama and Kerry are like tenants who trash a place as they are being evicted."
The article adds that Obama made this statement while all along he was insuring his legacy and priorities as the law of the land. "In his final days he banned oil off the Atlantic coast, established new environmental monuments, protected funding for Planned Parenthood clinics, ordered the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, criticized Israeli settlements and punished Russia for interfering in the recent elections through cyberattacks."
Knowing the president had pledged assistance and loyalty to Israel, Obama deliberately tried to sabotage that trust by abstaining on the anti-Israel vote on Resolution 2334 that condemns settlements on Israeli soil. By not voting "no," it allowed the resolution to pass. According to www.jewishpress.com, Vice President Biden served as Obama's henchman to persuade Ukraine to vote in favor of the resolution. Although the resolution passed, nothing has changed because the United Nations is a "paper tiger" and has no teeth.
According to the LA Times, President Obama personally directed his Administration's lobbying efforts ahead of the expected vote. The majority of the nation members of the United Nations are biased against Israel and the United States, and should be immediately dispatched to another host or disbanded as a liability to freedom everywhere.
Obama's last dastardly deed was to delay moving the United States Embassy to Jerusalem. According to the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act of 1995, the embassy was to be established in Jerusalem no later than May 1, 1999. There was a clause that stated that it could be postponed six months at a time, if necessary, because of national security. Clinton, Bush, and Obama have implemented that clause every six-month interval because they did not want to deal with the Muslim states.
Obama just kicked the can six months farther down the road in order for Trump to have to deal with it. However, Trump may eliminate the need to kick the can any farther. When this happens, it may surely be the catalyst that initiates the battle of Ezekiel 38-39. That war will bring us to the brink and will be a sure sign that we are about to hear the "last trump."
The next impediment for President-elect Trump was Obama's decision to grant work permits to nearly 5 million illegal immigrants. "Brushing aside warnings from Republicans, President Obama announced Thursday night that he is granting temporary legal status and work permits to nearly 5 million illegal immigrants, igniting a constitutional furor that amounted to a declaration of war against the incoming Republican majorities in Congress." This action energized another 5 million hounds.
He said that "this new deal would be offered to illegals that had been in the United States at least five years: Come forward and register, pass a background check, and be granted a stay of deportation and a work permit good for at least three years" (www.washingtontimes.com). This meant that it would continue into the next presidency and the new president would have to deal with it. It was meant for Hillary, but it didn't turn out that way. The article continued, "By ignoring the will of the American people, President Obama has cemented his legacy of lawlessness and squandered what little credibility he had left."
And there is one group of hounds that howl even louder than politicians: Hollywood. One website listed forty Hollywood stars that spoke out against President Trump (www.ew.com). Among those listed are Samuel Jackson, Cher, Barbra Streisand, Whoopi Goldberg, Miley Cyrus, and Arnold Schwartzenegger. These, along with Al Sharpton, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Amy Schumer, and Jon Stewart, promised to leave the country if Trump won the presidency. Trump won, but they are still here. In order to move to another country, they must first find out if that country will allow their presence. Only one promised to move to Mexico; the rest, to modern English speaking countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
We might add that there are several conservative actors in Hollywood that support Trump. The one probably most conservative is Pat Boone. In an interview with the UK's Daily Mail, Boone went after Meryl Streep because of her anti-Trump rants. "A very fed up Boone made the remarks as he arrived at the 25th annual Movieguide Awards. He also criticized Hollywood's conformist liberalism. Boone said that 'politically Hollywood is almost 99 percent liberal. Not to say leftist, that is towards socialism and not wanting any abridgment of anything they want to do if they can make a buck doing it'" (www.conservativetribune.com).
There are many other hounds that could be mentioned. However, we would be remiss if we forgot to mention the Democratic Party. There are many good and decent Americans that vote Democrat in elections and really don't condone those that are supposed to represent them. And, I am sure, some would desperately wish to replace those politicians who lead the party.
However, some of the polls taken of Democrats are disturbing. One CBS poll reveals that 70 percent of Democrats believe that Christians are as violent as Muslims. "Former President Obama and other leaders in the Democratic Party have repeatedly suggested that Islam is not more violent than any other religion. Obama told Muslims in February 2016 that Islam means 'peace,' although it actually means 'submission'" (www.breitbart.com).
The "dogs of war" will continue to nip at the heels of the Trump Administration as leftovers from Obama and the previous administrations of Bush and Clinton. Many unresolved issues with North Korea, China, Russia, Iran, Persia, Iraq, and the Palestinians will continue to test the resolve of President Trump.
It is difficult to choose from the many deliberate actions that Obama took while president. He often served the enemies of the United States more than the Americans that elected him. However, we should be more concerned about the millions that continue to worship him. Obama, Hillary and Bill, John Kerry, the entire Democratic Party, as well as many mainstream Republicans have done their worst to delegitimize the presidency of Donald Trump.
Most of the nations of the world are used to having the United States be the first nation to offer assistance to those in need. Many (perhaps most) nations have received help from us with no strings attached. These same counties see the Americans as an affluent cash cow that can be taken advantage of while they are voting against us in the United Nations. But, the real crime is that our own politicians are selling us down the river, all the while "howling" about our injustice, wealth, and greed that the entire world should take advantage of. From the very beginning, Mr. Obama said that one of his goals was to level the playing field for poor nations—and that at our expense. He has never wavered from that goal, and is continuing to do so even today. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!
A Fresh Look At Revelation
by Larry Spargimino
Bible prophecy makes up a large portion of the Holy Bible. Some of it has already been fulfilled. Some of it awaits fulfillment.
The prophetic Scriptures provide exciting and inspirational reading. Bible prophecy shows God's sovereignty and authority over the affairs of men and nations, and gives promise that a better day is coming for the saints of God, and indeed, for this whole planet. Prophecy demonstrates that while God is longsuffering, His longsuffering has its limits. The doom of the wicked is certain. Though we should not rejoice at their final end, it is comforting to know that the rampant evil that God allows to continue will, at some time in the near future, be brought to a dramatic end.
However, no sooner have we delved deeply into Bible prophecy, than we make the startling discovery that there are a great variety of interpretations and views. Passages that we thought were absolutely clear to us are explained by some prophetic researcher in a way that is far different than what we understood those passages to mean. Determined to find the right interpretation, we purchase books, commentaries, and video presentations. We attend conferences and ask questions, yet for all our efforts we discover that there are a multitude of controversies that we never imagined ever existed. The more we seek to pursue certainty, the more uncertain we become.
Recently, Joel Richardson shook the prophetic world with two books: The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth About the Real Nature of the Beast, and a sequel, The Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist. This author moderated a three-hour debate (the video of which is available from Southwest Radio Ministries) between Richardson and Thomas Ice, the latter supporting the European Antichrist view. Just recently, Richardson shook the prophetic world again with his latest book, Mystery Babylon: Unlocking the Bible's Greatest Prophetic Mystery. Historically, several cities have been identified as Mystery Babylon: Rome, New York, Jerusalem, and now Richardson argues for Mecca. Richardson and Bill Salus are scheduled to debate this issue at our East Coast Prophecy Conference in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 2-4, 2017. Please call 1-800-652-1144 for further details.
There are many other issues that prophetic researchers are divided over: the Rapture in relation to other end-time events; the nature of the "Millennium"; the identity of the "Restrainer"; the Gog/Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39; and Israel and the church, just to name a few.
Those who have carefully studied the issues are ready to admit that they, too, have many unanswered questions. One thing they know for sure: the "last word" has not yet been said or written on Bible prophecy. We sometimes wonder: "Is there a last word?"
The Promise of Revelation and the Purpose of Scripture
None of this should lead the diligent Christian to give up on prophecy. In Revelation 1:3 we read: "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." There is a promise here, and we certainly don't want to miss a promise. It is for those who read, hear, and keep what is revealed. But if we are not sure precisely what it says, is the promise null and void? And how could anyone who heard the Book of Revelation read out loud in a gathering of believers, as it was done in the early church, carefully analyze particular passages? Even your choice from a menu spoken to a waiter sometimes has to be repeated. It's hard to analyze, and retain, what we hear. The promise of Revelation 1:3 is itself a mystery.
One of the pieces of the puzzle is the question: Is this passage to be interpreted literally, or figuratively? Good question, because much of the controversies raised by prophetic researchers deal with just this issue. Realizing that the passages are not flagged with red markers indicating "interpret literally," "interpret figuratively," big questions that allow a variety of very different answers are raised. With all the debate and disagreement over the book concerning how to interpret it, and what it says, it is impossible to read the Book of Revelation without asking a number of questions which lead to other questions, which in turn raise many other questions.
One of the factors that muddies the waters is that interpreters often interpret Revelation in terms of their own particular situations. For the first couple of centuries of Christendom, for example, when Rome was persecuting the church, many commentators identified Rome as the Great Harlot of Revelation 17-18. Men such as Lactantius, Tertullian, Irenaeus, and Jerome all referred to Rome as "Babylon." With the rise of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, along with the European Common Market and the euro becoming the currency for several nations, it was common to speak of "the Revived Roman Empire." With Barack Obama changing "times and laws," the American President, along with America, underwent very close scrutiny by prophetic writers. With the rise of fanatic Islam in the present day, Mecca has now become the center of focus. Can interpreters ever break free of this insidious pull?
No doubt, the Bible is a book of truths, but it is also a map to God. Is it possible that some Christians study and debate the map without ever making the journey? And, might it be necessary to realize that to truly know God we must seek Him until we pass through the outer, informational realm about God, and personally enjoy the living presence of the Lord? Believe it or not, there is an exhilarating freedom in NOT reading the Book of Revelation to win an argument!
No doubt, the Bible is a book of truths, but it is also a map to God. Is it possible that some Christians study and debate the map without ever making the journey? And, might it be necessary to realize that to truly know God we must seek Him until we pass through the outer, informational realm about God, and personally enjoy the living presence of the Lord? Believe it or not, there is an exhilarating freedom in not reading the Book of Revelation to win an argument!
Does "Non-Literal" Mean "Make Believe"?
When we say that something is not literal, that does not mean the event to which it refers is not real. If we say, "the animal devoured its prey," that is a literal statement. If we say, "the flames devoured the old building," that is a figurative statement. The figurative is certainly based on the literal, but the action being described is in a different realm. When an animal chews its prey, the animal chews and swallows it. Flames have no teeth or digestive processes. Nevertheless flames do consume anything combustible. Something is consumed. One is not imaginary and the other real. Both are real, but described in a different way.
We shouldn't be afraid of figurative language. Even in the non-prophetic portions of Scripture there are statements that cannot be taken literally. In Colossians 1:6 the Apostle Paul writes of the gospel "which is come unto you as it is in all the world." We of course know that Paul means "in all the Roman world." Similarly in Luke 2:1 we read that "all the world should be taxed." Again, it means "all the Roman world should be taxed." Though some would claim that they take the whole Bible literally, no one really can and make sense out of it.
This is especially true in some of the apocalyptic passages of Revelation. Chapter 12 presents a woman clothed with the sun. The moon is under her feet. Then comes a great red dragon whose tail casts a third of the stars of heaven to the earth. This "woman" then flees into the wilderness. If she is clothed with the sun and the moon is under her feet, this wilderness must be very broad to accommodate such an immense individual!
Sometimes the same figure is described in ways that are mutually exclusive. In Revelation 17:9 we see a woman who sits on seven hills, but in verses 1 and 15 she is said to sit on many "waters."
The reference to "the seven hills" is like a prophetic magnet. Prophecy experts focus on hills and, in their desire to find a present-day reference, come up with Rome. In A Woman Rides the Beast, Dave Hunt writes: "The colors of purple and scarlet once again identify the women with both pagan and Christian Rome. … The woman’s colors are still literally the colors of the Catholic clergy!" (p. 74).
But what about "the seven hills"? Isn't that proof positive that Rome, and the Roman Catholic Church is Mystery Babylon of the future?
The New Testament Greek word translated "hills" is horos. Of the sixty-five occurrences of this word, only three are rendered "hill" in the KJV. The remaining sixty occurrences are rendered as "mountain."
In Scripture "mountains" can refer to "kingdoms" (Ps. 68:15; Dan. 2:35). This gives a whole new cast to the passage. It could be teaching that the harlot has authority over seven kingdoms, or regions that have succumbed to her harlotry. Or, since seven is the number of completion and fullness, it could mean that the harlot has authority over the entire planet!
And here's another issue, actually a problem for the Roman view: the headquarters for the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican, does not sit on seven hills; only on one hill, and it is not even one of the seven. It's across the Tiber from the seven.
None of this should be taken to indicate that I am becoming a Roman Catholic. I am not. However, just because we don't agree with someone's theology doesn't mean that we are to slam them with a passage that might not mean what we would like it to mean. That's akin to looking for a Bible passage that condemns people of another skin color because we don't like people of that skin color.
So, what points am I trying to make?
- As the Word of God, the Book of Revelation can be used for our encouragement and edification, even though there is a lot of it that we don't understand.
- Don't use a particular doctrinal slant on Revelation applied to a text in the Book to make that text a proof-text.
- Remember that there is enough that is clear in the Book of Revelation to preach for salvation and edification.
- Attend debates in which credentialed researchers hash out the issues. Then you can come to your own conclusion.
God is honored, and the church strengthened, when Christians resist shallow thinking and train their minds to take the big view.