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August 27, 1998

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          Fig Leaves               (8/25/98)
          Q/A -Fig Leaves          (8/26/98)
          Q/A -How to witness?     (8/27/98)
          Q/A -Pre Trib/Wrath?     (8/27/98)
          Q/A -America misses out? (8/28/98)
          Q/A -Cease and Desist!   (8/28/98)

Fig Leaves: (8/25/98)

Hello Everyone...

Just a few impromptu thoughts here, based on this evening's news, and happenings over the past week, or so.

Did anybody happen to notice that the very same day our president appeared before the grand jury, and then admitted on national TV to his scandal; that the Russian president cut his vacation short in order to "come home" and devalue the ruble 30%. Considering that the scandals of this presidency seem to be designed to cover up what's "really going on" ...these two events somehow almost seem "deliberately planned." ???

Now, it appears that our "valiant" Commander-in-Chief may have bombed some innocent targets, to the great "anger" of the Russian leadership.

Tonight's news...the ruble has devalued another 10% And commentators on CBS were calling the Russian dilemma a "pre-revolutionary situation." And another said something about communism falling "peacefully" but that the seemingly imminent economic collapse would be "explosive."

I was never very studious in history classes in school. But I do seem to recall that when Russia has upheavals, the whole world trembles.

Now, take a reading of Ezekiel 38-39. We are all, I'm sure, familiar with Gog (and friends) devising "evil plans" (38:10) to attempt to anihilate Israel. Anybody know what the "reason" is?

"..in order to take a spoil, and to steal a prize.." (38:12)

Desperate people do desperate things! War has always been known to bolster economies. Add to this, the list of Gog's "friends" (38:2,3,5) ...that's the bunch that's been itching for an excuse and timing to push Israel into the Mediterranean. Get the "big bear" with related goals to help out...and, there you have it. After all, they've got Russia's old nukes, military gear and advisors anyway.

Oh, and...by the way...notice that our mighty "warrior" (no cynicism here!! well...not too much!) is scheduled to visit Russia soon. 'Wonder what they're planning!! Notice vs.13 doesn't say that Sheba, Dedan, Tarshish and Lions fight them, but they question them. The British prime minister was shown to be in favor of the recent missile attacks. So, get a few more terrorist bombings, and a few more cruise missiles from "commanders" gone awry (on all sides) and one of those missiles finds the "fuse" that explodes the region... and we've got Ezekiel 38-39 being fulfilled "real soon" folks.

"Therefore you also be ready..." (Mt24:44)

Are YOU ready?


Q/A -Fig Leaves: (8/26/98)

Boy, are YOU paranoid! Do you read tea leaves too? How about not taking Scripture out of context? Or would you rather use it to feed and sustain your own personal fear of the "end" times?! Instead of focusing on the end, how about focusing on the here-and-now? Read Mark 12:26-34. Put THAT into practice. The future can take care of itself.

Jesus is the One Who gave the example of the fig tree. (Mt24:32-33) A person knows summer is near by the progress of the tree leaves' growth. In the same way, when we see things in prophecy coming around, we know that "it is near, at the doors." (vs33)

The "blessed hope" for the Believer is of the "glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Tit2:13) which is something we are "looking [forward] for." As He promised to come and "receive" us to Himself. (Jn14:3) Jesus speaks of the "steward of the house" (Mt24:43) watching for the thief. Jesus speaks of His sudden, non-preannounced coming "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed [is] the [one] who watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." (Rev16:15)

Any one who's been with the VW mailing list for a while should know by now that our primary thrust is to know God and His Word, so that we might, as your suggested Mark passage says, "love the Lord you God with all your heart.." (Mk12:30)

The fact that we serve this "God of the living" (Mk12:27) does not predispose us to hiding our heads in the sand, pretending the world is not on a "count-down" to judgment before God. Jesus said to "therefore watch" (Mt24:42) Paul writes "You yourselves know accurately that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night..but you, brothers, are not in darkness, that the Day should overtake you like a thief..let us watch and be calm." (1Th5:2,4,6) We who know the Lord are not characterized by "fear" because "we love Him" because of His love for us, which send Jesus Christ to the cross. (1Jn4:18-19,Jn3:16)

Jesus said, "Therefore you also be ready, for in that hour you think not, the Son of man comes." (Mt24:44)

We make sure we are ready for "that Day" by what we do "here-and-now" (as you suggest). "Behold..[now] is the day of salvation." (2Cor6:2b) If we wait for "that day" to "take care of itself," it will be too late. (Rev 22:10-12) As God said to the man, "..Fool! This night your soul shall be required of you.." (Lk12:20)

Dear reader: Again I'll ask... "Are YOU ready?"


How to witness? (8/27/98)

I am always amazed at the Christians who are not looking at the events of today with excitement and expectation. One thing that I find difficult: how do you tell unbelievers that we are in the last days and they really need to come to Christ when fellow Christians look at you like you are a nut case for seeing Revelation at the door?

First of all, are these "fellow Christians" REALLY True blood-washed Believers in Jesus Christ? Or...perhaps they're only "pretending" ...?

But, yea...that's all part of the package of the deception, isn't it. All we can do is proclaim "thus says the Lord" and not try to do the Holy Spirit's work. (Jn16:8) If we proclaim God's Word, we have the assurance of Isa 55:11. And the Lord knew those who [will be] His. (2Tm2:19,Rom8:29) And so He calls and draws (Jn6:44) and justifies them (Rom8:30) according to His will. This is why it is so important to resist the world's "cleverness" (1Tm6:20) and stick to God's Word. (2Tm4:2)

We must understand that "most" will [NOT] receive Christ. (Mt7:13) We, just, must be "faithful." (1Cor4:2)


Pre Trib/Wrath? (8/27/98)

From what i have read in your news letters...you are pre-trib? I don't argue we are in the last days....but to believe we are going to be raptured before our country experiences big problems is setting up alot of bretheren for BIG disappointment! Christians all over the world are suffering for their faith or their country is doing lousy, ecomony wise...ie..Russia. So American christians are going to be raptured before horrible things happen to our country!!? NOT!!!!!!

This country is in for some mean times ahead. It would be wise to get practical and seek the Lord on how we should prepare ourselves for the coming turmoil..or should i say judgements?

Something that so many people confuse, is the "tribulation" Jesus promised "for the Christians" (Jn16:33) which comes from satan (Mt16:18) and the world (Jn15:18~) ..vs.. the Wrath of God and the Lamb which is poured out "on the world" (Rev6:16-17) ..also labelled "great tribulation" (Mt24:21,Rev2:22,7:14) (..but a lot of people forget the "great" and lump all Scriptural mentions of "tribulation" together as being the same..)

For "that Day" the CHURCH does "NOT BELONG" here. (Rev3:10,1Th5:9)

If you want an immediate explanation of this, and don't want to wait for it in the "Covenant/s" series by e-mail, check out "Wrath" in the series at the website "Library."


America misses out?

Just a quick comment on your reply....
I only want to point out that Americans have this attitude that they will not suffer...that somehow we are immune. Christians all over the world are being martyred for their faith. Do American christians get to be raptured before the holocaust hits the shores here.

You are missing the point. Totally. Please read my other note...again. There is a difference between "tribulation" upon the Christians (from satan and the world) and God's "wrath" upon the WORLD (from God "poured out" on the world). What Christians around the world have (and are) experienced is the former. What is about to come upon the world is the latter.

The difference you speak of, between the "rest of" the world and America can be found in Revelation 2-3. Many in "other parts of" the world are like Smyrna, experiencing "physical" tribulation. For many years America was like Philadelphia with the "open door" ...and was the source of many missionaries. Now, sadly, it has become like Sardis and Laodicea..."dead" and "lukewarm". And Christians in "third world" nations speak of sending missionaries to America..!!

The ones at Sardis are warned that Jesus will come "like a thief" (3:3); which is the same expression used about His coming. (1Th5:2,4) This is what we see today. Those calling themselves "Christian" are not anticipating Christ to come to "receive" them to Himself (Jn14:3) as He promised as He "appears" gloriously. (Tit2:13) And like the ones at Laodicea who say "I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, and do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked." (3:17) That "[IS]" America...to a tee!!! When the "church" in America is "dead" like this...WHAT IS THERE TO PERSECUTE?? Think about it!!

The persecution that does happen, happens from the "church" leaders...against the few True Believers who dare to stand up to them and call their apostasy for what it is. (Jn16:2-3) And also...we have a "Bill of Rights" which gives us certain "physical" protections. So, the persecution is emotional, political and social. But it "is" persecution, nonetheless...and it has been going on for many years. Notice Jesus said, "Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for My sake. (Mt5:11) Persecution of "words."

However, how does one evaluate YEARS of "emotional stress" compared to severed limbs, imprisonment, beatings, execution..?!

The one thing which I've heard soooo often recently in discussing end times/rapture with folks is how the "persecuted" Church in other countries has it so rough and that Americans have NO RIGHT to think God will allow them to escape the tribulation. "It's just wouldn't be fair!" is what's generally inferred. Anyone with children can tell you the answer to that: "Life's not fair, so deal with it..." I've read more than once that if there were to be a rapture then God would have a lot of explaining to do because He had allowed much persecution for some but not for others.... Who says God has to "explain" anything??? (Rom 9:20) (ed. see also Job40:2,8) God is purely just, but He never said the earthly things He asks of each of His disciples would be "fair".

I think it's no accident that the persecuted Church suddenly became "marketable" in this country by people like Dobson and Robertson. "Let's be good christians and help them out..." "Look how terribly they suffer for the name of Christ..." "We christians in America should be more like them..." And then, of course comes: "Look at all these books, tapes, magazines, newsletters, t-shirts, hats, toys... you can buy to show your support for the persecuted Church...." And the more sensationalistic the story of persecution, the more you'll want to buy all the stuff they want to sell about it.

Doesn't anyone realize anymore they're being MANIPULATED by "christian" commercialism????? Why does this not make sense to people? This idea of the rapture not being "fair" because of our poor, dear brothers and sisters overseas is unbiblical rubbish, and it's fed heartily by a marketing scheme.

The persecuted Church is real... Smyrna exists, and we should support our brothers and sisters in Christ (the REAL ones) as God leads and makes a way (which won't be by purchasing a $25 t-shirt!). But that doesn't mean He expects all of His own to be "Smyrnians". He expects us to be obedient and do what He has given us to do. It was given to Peter to die upside down on a cross. It was given to John, the beloved (the one "whom Jesus loved"... the one who didn't deny Him... the one who stood with Him in trial and before the cross... the one who outran Peter to the empty tomb... the one who first recognized Jesus on the beach.... the one who was given the Revelation of the future...) to endure exile, but not physical persecution. (ed. it is said that when he was dropped into boiling oil, the Lord performed a miracle on his behalf, and he "popped back out" unharmed) Who are we to question God's judgment between the two? Indeed, Christ basically told Peter it wasn't any of his business what He required of the beloved disciple (Jn21:22).

True Smyrnians won't question what God has for the Philadelphians. They will understand their richness in the Lord and be faithful in their sufferings, perservering 'til Christ comes. We Philadelphians may not understand "why" the open door has been set before us...but we do understand that keeping God's Word is better than sacrifice in the Lord's eyes (1Sam 15:22) and that in knowing the Master's will we must obey or receive the consequences (Lk 12:47).

Life's not fair. It never has been. But our Lord says, "... what [is that] to you? You follow Me."


Cease and desist!

But beyond all this....could you cease from refering to fellow bretheren that have a different view point from you as "false prophets".

If they are "false prophets" ...they are NOT "fellow brethren." Yea, I just bet you'd like me to stifle! But God gave me a job to do. As VW was beginning, God's call to me was...

"I am sending you to...rebelling ones who have rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have sinned against Me, to this day. And the sons are stiff of face, and hard of heart. I am sending you to them; and you shall say to them, "So says the Lord Jehovah". And they, whether they will hear or whether they will forbear, for they are a rebellious house...and you...do not be afraid of them, and of their words, though briers and thorns are with you, and you dwell among scorpions. Do not be afraid of their words, nor frightened by their faces, though they are a rebellious house. And you shall speak My words to them, whether they will hear or whether they will forbear, for they are rebellious." (Ez 2:3-7)

If I were to "cease" as you request, I would be guilty of being "rebellious like that rebellious house." (2:8)

By Jehovah's grace... IT WON'T HAPPEN!!!



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