Categories
Biblical Prophecies

Prophetic Evangelism

Perhaps one of the most overlooked opportunities for Christian evangelism is in the realm of prophetic fulfillments. While many folks enjoy debating or even demeaning the truth of prophetic warnings regarding the return of Christ, the end of time, and earth’s ultimate destruction and re-creation (whether in biblical Scripture or elsewhere), once we begin demonstrating the indisputable fulfillment of biblical prophecies compared with non-biblical sources, people will be required to decide whether to explore them further and eventually believe or to continue with their proverbial head buried in the sand and argue against them. It truly is that “cut and dried.”

Just as the Apostle Peter prophesied centuries ago (2 Peter 3:1-4), the scoffers are everywhere, including among supposed Christians. Nevertheless, the truth is the truth and cannot be disproved, though it may be ignored, maligned, or even denied.

One such analogy of denying obvious truth may be found in the example of denying the reality of gravity and its profound effect upon everything and everyone on and around the earth. An individual may argue that he doesn’t believe in gravity and that it therefore doesn’t exist (presumably, simply because he refuses to believe in it), but that doesn’t alter the very real fact that gravity does indeed exist, and all one has to do to prove it is to try to escape the earth by jumping into the air. Gravity insists that he return to the earth, no matter how hard he jumps to try to escape the earth. He may succeed in jumping a few feet in any direction, but he cannot escape the earth without a significantly stronger propulsion, such as with a rocket. Now, considering that he can, in fact, escape the earth on a rocket, does that then prove that gravity does not exist? Of course not, but this is the same sort of lame refutation that atheists and other enemies of the One True God propose regarding the very real existence of God and the veracity of His Word, the Bible.

Let’s examine for a few minutes now some of the “end times” prophecies that are so often denied and/or maligned and relate them to a few other usually overlooked prophecies that are included with them. Jesus’ forewarnings about wars, rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes in various places, and roaring winds and seas are the most frequently disputed among scoffers as events that have always occurred throughout history (Matthew 24:4-8; Mark 13:5-8; Luke 21:8-11 & 25). While it is true that these events have occurred throughout history, the main fact that these scoffers keep overlooking is that Jesus forewarned these events would occur in concert with each other with ever-increasing intensity just before His return. He calls these events “the beginning of birth pangs” (Matthew 24:8 & Mark 13:8 NASB). In other words, this is likened unto the onset of labor for a pregnant woman culminating with the birth of her child.

Since these events have been occurring in greater frequency and intensity over the past 30-50 years than at any time in recorded history, we must be nearing the “big push” when that “baby” (the return of Christ) will finally arrive. The increased frequency of earthquakes alone is proof enough for the validity of this prophecy. You can review the statistics for yourself at the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) Web site (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/year/eqstats.php), if you’re interested. While the USGS disputes this increase with the clever claim that they’re better able to detect earthquakes than in years past (read their explanation here: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/topics/increase_in_earthquakes.php), that seems to me like a rather fanciful mind trick which works only with the naïve and the willfully ignorant.

Two more, often overlooked, forewarnings that Jesus gives with these other warnings is to be on guard against widespread deception and numerous false Christ’s. In each of the passages referenced above, Jesus begins with a dire warning not to let anyone deceive us, because “many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He’” (Luke 21:8 NASB). While I haven’t heard of every false Christ, maybe you’ve heard of the same couple of more famous ones as I have: Sun Myung Moon and David Koresh. Just recently, however, while researching for this article, I came across a new one I haven’t heard of before: Maitreya Miranda, a “Feminine Christ,” as she calls herself. You can read her extensive blog at http://mirandalindaweisz.authorsxpress.com/category/jesuschrist/ for more details, if you care to. Someone who is this deluded is most likely possessed by an evil spirit who may have entered during a supposedly harmless yoga session. Shockingly, many Christians are embracing this Far Eastern religious practice in the name of “spiritual exercise.” If they only knew that they are opening themselves up for demonic attack (or even to demonic possession if they don’t already have a genuine relationship with the REAL Jesus Christ), they would not dare do this. Unfortunately, they have been deceived, even though Jesus has clearly warned to be on guard against this sort of thing.

How could we help someone from a distance (i.e., via digital evangelism) who is this engrossed in evil? Well, it might not be possible, unless the individual is truly seeking for a better way than the one he or she has been following. So long as a person is content to continue on the way he or she is going, there’s nothing we can do but pray for God to reach out to them. Even then, if they reject God’s overtures, God Himself can’t help them, since He has purposefully limited His divine will in people’s lives in order to grant us all free will. Nevertheless, if we were able to engage such a person who is truly seeking salvation using digital evangelism tools such as IRC chat or an online forum or even email, we could invite them to pray for deliverance, such as, “Lord Jesus, please free me from Satan’s control, forgive me of my sins, and save my soul.” As long as they’re sincere and repentant, this is all anyone has to pray, and God will most certainly honor it. After all, the thief on the cross beside Jesus asked only to be remembered, and Jesus promised that he would be remembered that very day.

There are still two more prophetic fulfillments to consider before we close which are indicators that we are truly living in the last days. In 70 A.D. the Roman Army completely destroyed the city of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. They plowed the entire city like a field, and gave the whole region a new name: Palestine, which is the English translation of the Latin word Palestina, a variant of Philistia (see Smith’s Bible Dictionary for more about each of these three words). A few centuries before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., however, the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel prophesied that this dispersion would happen and that God would gather them back together in the last days. For nearly 19 centuries the nation of Judaea (the only remaining remnant of the nation of Israel) was scattered with the rest of the nation of Israel to the four corners of the earth, continually driven from one country to another under unrelenting persecution. The original Promised Land itself became a barren wasteland. Against all odds, though, God restored Israel to a fraction of their original Promised Land in a single day just as He said He would (compare Isaiah 66:8). Based on the authority of a United Nations charter, David Ben Gurion (the first Prime Minister of the new State of Israel) announced in their new capital city of Tel Aviv at 4 p.m. local time on May 14, 1948, that Israel was a newly-established and independent nation. I believe this major prophetic fulfillment began the countdown to the end.

Then just 19 years later, the second major prophetic fulfillment was brought to fruition with the end of the Six Day War (June 5-10, 1967) when the nation of Israel regained national control of their historic capital city, Jerusalem. Despite regaining control of Jerusalem, however, they fearfully placed their Islamic enemies in political control of the Temple Mount in the misplaced hope of maintaining peace. Much to their despair, they are not even permitted to pray on their own Temple Mount now, and even Christians are arrested for even appearing to be in prayer there.

Whether a generation is determined to be 70, 80, or even 100 years in duration, we are definitely within sight of the end based on Jesus’ promise that “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matthew 24:34; Mark 13:30; & Luke 21:32 NASB). Compare this with Psalm 90:10, but read the entire psalm, and notice it was written by Moses, who lived to be 120 years old. Gauging by the looks of world events, I’m more inclined to guess at 70 or 80 years than 100, and even 80 seems a bit of a stretch at this point. However, since Israel turned 65 on May 14, 2013, even if the Seven Year Tribulation began this year, it would go beyond the 70 year mark since Israel’s modern-day founding.

Although Jesus plainly said we can’t know the day or hour of His return (Matthew 24:36), He did command us to keep watch and pay attention to these signs as an indication of when the time of His return was drawing near (Matthew 24:42; 25:13; Mark 13:33; Luke 21:28 & 34-36). If we do our research and present the facts about these prophetic fulfillments in a clear and understandable manner, askers will receive, seekers will find, and door-knockers will gain entry (Matthew 7:7-8), while the willful opponents will have to make a deliberate choice to reject the obvious truth and continue on the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). The true difficulty lies not so much in being able to face up to the belligerent rejecters as it does in being able to find some willing truth-tellers (Matthew 9:37-38 & Luke 10:2). Let’s be among the few willing truth-tellers and join the Lord in bringing in His harvest!

 

Categories
Alerts and Warnings

QR Code Scam Warning!

If you’re in the habit of using your smart phone or other hand-held digital device for scanning QR (quick response) Codes on signs, etc., you’ll want to read this latest scam alert from the good folks at Scambusters.org. Here’s the direct link to the page on their site where they give all the details of what to watch out for and how to avoid and/or recover from any of these scams:

http://www.scambusters.org/qrcode.html

I recommend signing up for their e-newsletter to stay informed on the trending scams in the world, too. Stay safe out there!

Categories
For Writers

Are Books Really Dead?

Authors and publishers, take note. We all know that some have been pronouncing the death of reading books for quite some time now, but how true is that? Writers keep writing, publishers keep publishing, and retailers keep selling printed (and now digital) literature of all kinds. So, what’s the truth?

According to The Barna Group’s latest survey about what Americans are reading, the answer to this question of “Is reading books dead?” is, “No.” However, I would like to qualify that “No” with a statement of my own: “Book reading is not dead, but the number of readers is definitely small compared to the general population.” Perhaps Mark Twain’s infamous comment about a rumor of his own death is apropos here (with a slight twist for application to the subject of reading books): “Rumors of the demise of reading are greatly exaggerated.”

As a Christian researcher for decades, The Barna Group has analyzed just about everything from frequency of church attendance (or maybe infrequency would be a better description) to the moral decline of American culture and much more. Their latest research on Americans’ reading habits is interesting, but perhaps the one fact that caught my attention as a Christian minister is that a sizable number of non-Christians are reading the Bible, maybe even more so than nominal Christians. By “nominal” I mean the less committed ones. Furthermore, since this latest survey was conducted with a random selection of participants (with a few questions directed at ferreting out Christians within the selection), it seems to me it is skewed more toward non-Christians’ reading habits. Nevertheless, the results of the survey are certainly noteworthy, especially for an author-turned-independent-Christian-publisher like myself.

If you’re an author, publisher, or retailer of printed and/or digital content (whether Christian or not), this research ought to give you some new ideas on how to make your profession more profitable. If you’d like to read Barna’s review of the results of their survey, just click on the following link: The Books Americans Are Reading–And What That Reveals About Us.

Perhaps you might consider checking out some of my writings and publications (both for myself and for others) as well. You’ll find a list of my personally authored and published books at my author’s Website (be sure to scroll down to the “Works in Progress” heading for details about my current and upcoming writing projects, too). For a list of the books I’ve published for others (in addition to my own) check out The Parson Place Press Bookstore. Of course, all of these books — both mine and those I’ve published for other authors — may be purchased from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, etc.