A Voice in the
Oooh, so many thoughts! Where do we begin? On so many levels the world is at a crossroads. In a commentary next week we will be reminded of some things for Christians regarding Christ's return. But where is the -World- at this moment in time?
CHRISTMAS: We are just exiting a time commonly called "Christmas". After years of trying to put Christ "back into" the season, I now call it "x-mass" like the "pagans" did years ago, realizing that Christ doesn't belong in it. Never did.
But what -is- "christmas"? "Christmas is faaaam'ly", is what I used to hear. This year they were proclaiming it a "time for miracles", a time to "believe in yourself." During this past season Oprah was hosting gurus who proclaimed how we "need to find the best part of yourselves", because as Roma Downey proclaimed, "we're all equal with God".
As the world "plots together against the LORD and against His Anointed.." (Ps2:2) they systematically remove God from everything. The presentation from the Washington National Cathedral, as they sang "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" they totally replaced the words "offspring of a virgin's womb" with other words. They've been denying Jesus' -virgin- birth for years. (Is7:14) And then Denyee Graves walks up to the idol and sings "Ave Maria". The Vatican prayed for "communion with Mary" as they distort Scripture. At the midnight mass, one of the few things read in English from Titus 2:11-14 they replaced "live..righteously and godly.." with "live religiously". We'll come back to the Vatican later, here.
CHRISTIAN: What about that which Evangelicals call "Christian"? Christmas morning, Ralph Carmichael and a "Big Band Christmas". Sponsored by guess who...? The Southern Baptist Convention. Since I don't have a background (memories) of sensuality and immorality of the 'dance floor'; as a former musician, on a purely musical, intellectual, visceral level I happen to like Big Band sound. But it does NOT 'belong' in worship. It is of the flesh.
One of the TV specials (60 Minutes or 20/20?) spoke of "end of the world" cults. They featured Hal Lindsey and a group he was leading on tour in Israel. The sad thing... when the camera was trained on one of his followers and the person was asked about "pre-trib" doctrines...he was sputtering to remember the 'party line' to respond on camera. It obviously wasn't something in his heart. Lindsey had an "assembly line" baptism going on in the Jordan River. (Or was it Sea of Galilee?) People wanting to be baptized "in the Jordan River". Couples being baptized "together". What is the benefit of such a baptism? The people at Ephesus had only known of "John's baptism" and were then baptized in the "name of the Lord Jesus." (Acts19) These people are baptized "IN THE JORDAN RIVER". That is their only benefit! They spent a lot of money on airplane tickets and hotels, and got 'wet'. I don't know Hal Lindsey's heart, but you see; proclaiming a "pre-trib" rapture, in and of itself, does not save. And whatever that group believed didn't make enough of an impression on the news crew for them to conclude anything significant about the Rapture. The world, really, will not know what happened when the Believers are lifted out of the world! They have 'no clue' as to what is about to happen. And sadly, many who proclaim "pre-trib" will also be dumb-founded when they find -they- didn't go!
CATHOLIC: And then, the BIG EVENT! With TV coverage to provide visibility to 2 billion people, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, they figured that 500 million people were probably actually watching. In essentially 'all' countries around the world.
Christmas-eve Midnight Mass at St.Peter's. Celebration of the Global Religion's "Great Jubilee - Holy Year 2000" The primary feature of 2 1/2 hours' festivities prior to the actual 'mass' was the "Holy Door". The pope opening this door signified an invitation for Christ to come. Many Scriptures out of context about Jesus being "the gate". That anyone who would cross -this- "Holy Door" would obtain salvation. It is the "Door of the Lord" and the "just will enter through it." This opening signifies the beginning of a "Year of Reconciliation." They are "waiting the manifestation of the grace of God." If they hadn't misquoted that passage from Titus, they would realize that God's "grace..that brings salvation" -HAS APPEARED-, past tense, already. (Tit2:11) Just like Israel, to whom Jesus came, but they didn't receive Him (Jn1:11), the world religion, led by Rome, rejects Jesus Christ.
The problem is, in their "reconciliation" they are not being "reconciled TO GOD" (Rom5:10, 2Cor5:20) Their reconciliation sounds, for everything, just like what PK was proclaiming: ethnic unity, jubilee forgiving of debts, religious tolerance. Even the enemy of the Jews who has not been all that secretive of his desire to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, Yasser Arafat, was part of the 'congregation' via satellite link in Bethlehem for this mass. And so, while they were decorating this "Holy Door" with wreaths, garlands, flowers, incense, etc., they were accompanied by Japanese koto playing "Sakura" (Cherry Blossom song). And representatives of all ethnicities brought their decorative offerings.
So much -symbolism-. All the religions and peoples of the world... united... via -this- "Holy Door" of the "Mother" Roman Catholic Church. Even the liturgy this time included both Latin and Greek, uniting East and West.
Notice that the "beast" will have an "image" that will "speak" (Rev13:15) and the whole world will be required to worship this speaking image, on the pain of death. Could this image be that which has been seen already, and there are prophecies for even more apparitions in the coming year? The pope prayed to "Mary" as the "dawn of the new time", and beseeched 'her' to "be with us." And spoke of "communion with Mary". Could this be it?
The commentator was telling how the basilica had undergone a thorough cleaning and renovation, with new lighting; and expressed that this treatment of the -building- indicated a "truly new beginning". Again, symbolism. But dead. "..you have a name that you live, and are dead." (Rev3:1) And this was driven home with the blowing of the "shofar". Only thing; instead of the horns being of "rams" (Ex19,Lev25:9,etc), they were of elephant tusks. Rather than a "bright" sound like rams horns, these had a "dark" sound. While they may have new lights in the basilica, this 'dark' sound signified to me that, while they are full of symbolism, there is no -reality-, because they are rejecting Jesus Christ, the true Light of the World.
WORLD AT LARGE: So... where is the non-religious world at this time? Both the mass media and the more private information sources that I'm privy to seem to be saying the same thing. These, of course, are from an American perspective.
Russia is in trouble on many fronts, and is working at rebuilding and consolidating its military might and former empire. Russia and China will likely form some significant bonds. (See: Ezek 38-39 & Rev16:12)
America is experiencing a time of unprecedented prosperity. And in spite of financial cutbacks, it is viewed that America's military might is presently unchallenged in any significant way around the world, in spite of the fact that cutbacks put it in a position where it cannot sustain any major engagement on two fronts. America's navy "rules the oceans".
The stock market has been soaring through the roof. There are 'tons' of 30-year old millionaires. And it is viewed that this situation has "no end in sight" for at least the next 5-7 years. Where the economy should have dipped, it hasn't. Because of 'computers'. Technology, travel and information. The Internet, the "information superhighway". Air traffic and highway gridlock. Road rage. "..even to the TIME OF THE END...many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." (Dan12:4) "The chariots run madly in the streets; they shall rush to and fro in the plazas. Their appearance is like torches; they dart about like the lightnings." (Nah2:4)
"But as the days of Noah, so also will be the coming of the Son of man. For as they were in the days before the flood: eating, and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah went into the ark. And they did not know until the flood came and took all away. So also will be the coming of the Son of man." (Mt24:37-39) In -this- context Jesus describes the Rapture; one taken, the other left. (vs40-41) And then the sense of "imminency" that we don't know "what hour" He will come. (vs42)
The world is uniting at Rome, as they did at Babel. It has begun... it is underway... and this next year will unfold with the UN and the United World Religions working in harmony more and more. The world's "most powerful nation" is at ease and prosperity, with no cares or worries. Even in the middle-east, there is a -pretend- peace. Israel's enemy, Arafat, a Moslem, joining in with Rome. Signing 'peace' agreements with Syria and PLO, Israel is giving away what God gave back to them, which He commanded them, "And the land shall not be sold in perpetuity; for the land is Mine.." (Lev25:23) It was a land which God had "given" to Abraham and his descendents...forever. (Gen13:15) The Arabs are destroying, by the truckloads, any remnants of previous Jewish temples; while Arafat worships with Rome; and Israel signs 'papers' of "peace". "For when they shall say, Peace and safety! Then sudden destruction comes on them, as travail upon a woman with child. And they shall not escape." (1Th5:3)
TO THE BELIEVERS: "But you, brothers, are not in darkness, that the Day should overtake you like a thief..let us not sleep..but let us watch and be calm..having put on the breastplate of faith and love and the hope of salvation..for God has not appointed us to wrath but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." (~1Th5:4-9) As we saw the media coverage, that the world doesn't understand about the Lord's return, "..and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand." (Dan12:10b)
Here's the passage the Vatican perverted in order to conform it to their agenda; as it should read. It was not written for them; it is written to Believers: "For the saving grace of God has appeared to all men, instructing us that having denied ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live discreetly and righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself on our behalf, that He might redeem us from all lawlessness and purify a people for Himself, zealous of good works." (Tit2:11-14)