Thursday, July 16, 2020

Cities of Confusion

What other IMPORTANT event is being triggered by the outbreak of COVID-19 to an already weakened and sick collection of democracies – including, of course, the United States of America and Great Britain?

It’s the economy.

Time and time again God WARNED the nation of Israel not to go after the other nations.

“’ So it shall be, when the LORD your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, … 14) You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you 15) (for the LORD your God is a jealous God among you), lest the anger of the LORD your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth’” – Deuteronomy 6:10, 14-15; NKJV throughout unless otherwise noted.

“’ When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, … 3) Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. 4) For they will turn your sons away from following Me, …’” – Deuteronomy 7:1, 3, 4a.

“Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove [Shittim], and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab [going after strange gods]. 2) They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3) So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor [a local god worshiped by the Moabites. The word peor simply means “opening” and is the name of the place (a mountain or a spot on a mountain) from which Balaak and Balaam observed the camp of Israel], and the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel” – Numbers 25:1-3.

Let us be reminded of what is happening TODAY in America and Britain: According to the Pew Research Center, up to 25% of Muslims in the United States are converts. The United Kingdom 2011 Census gives the UK Muslim population in 2011 as 2,516,000, 4.4% of the total population.

The trade negotiations which the United States has made with some of these other nations in our modern history – let us make that comparison.

Now, Jesus Christ said in Matthew the 24th chapter‘See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.’

’ For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom [a reference to Daniel 11:40]. And there will be famines, …’” – Matthew 24:6-7.

Now, think of a time when our economic system in our countries (the US and Great Britain) is at the very bottom – has tanked. When you have famine, people have no products, no money. Our Lord Jesus Christ is talking about here with famine a time when our economy is going to be at its worst!

Recall this that the prophet Isaiah spoke of:

“Behold, the LORD makes the earth empty and makes it waste, Distorts its surface And scatters abroad its inhabitants. 2) And it shall be: As with the people, so with the priest; As with the servant, so with his master; As with the maid, so with her mistress; As with the buyer, so with the seller; As with the lender, so with the borrower; As with the creditor, so with the debtor. 3) The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered, For the LORD has spoken this word” – Isaiah 24:1-3.

What would bring about this prophesied end-time ‘great tribulation’!? Why is an end-time ‘great tribulation’ going to come upon mankind!?

Verse 4 – “The earth mourns and fades away, The world languishes and fades away; The haughty people of the earth languish. 5) The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, Because they have transgressed the laws, Changed the ordinance, Broken the everlasting covenant. 6) Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, And those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, And few men are left” – Isaiah 24:4-6.

Because of the collapse of the economy.

We believe wholeheartedly that we – as a people – will NOT just be going along and enjoying a beautiful economy – maybe upwards of 30% growth in every facet of our businesses – and everything is going along fine, and then God all of a sudden intervenes and causes us to collapse into oblivion, and the end-time ‘great tribulation’ begins because God has caused it. No, the Bible doesn’t talk about God bringing about this end-time ‘great tribulation.’ It talks about what we – as a people – are going to do to bring about this end-time ‘great tribulation’ upon ourselves. And, that God is going to be the One that rescues us from killing and annihilating ourselves from the face of the earth.

Jesus said in Matthew the 24th chapter, ’ And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved [alive; as the Moffatt translation renders it]; but for the elect’s sake [speaking of the physical people – those few who are left – of Israel] those days will be shortened’” – Matthew 24:22.

God says that this end-time ‘great tribulation’ is going to come upon mankind, but that He’s going to be the One to save us out of it. God is the answer!

Verse 10 – “The city of confusion is broken down; Every house is shut up, so that none may go in” – Isaiah 24:10.

Now, doesn’t this sound like our news headlines TODAY!? It’s remarkable!

Now, do we believe that this COVID-19 is the beginning of the prophesied end-time ‘great tribulation’!? No.

Verse 19 – “The earth is violently broken, The earth is split open, The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, And shall totter like a hut; Its transgression shall be heavy upon it, And it will fall, and not rise again. 21) It shall come to pass IN THAT DAY [speaking of the Day of the LORD] That the LORD will punish on high the host of exalted ones, And on the earth the kings of the earth. 22) They will be gathered together, As prisoners are gathered in the pit, And will be shut up in the prison; After many days they will be punished” – Isaiah 24:19-22.

Here, talking about events just prior to the heavenly signs which involve this end-time ‘great tribulation.’

Verse 23 – “Then the moon will be disgraced And the sun ashamed; For the LORD of hosts will reign On Mount Zion and in Jerusalem [in New Jerusalem] And before His elders gloriously” – Isaiah 24:23.

The prophet Isaiah here WARNED of the judgments of God to the sinful nation of Israel – how He would remove His protection and that these terrible things would happen as a result – basically – from our own behavior.

The prophet Ezekiel, too, talks of a time of economic collapse:

“Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2) ‘And you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD to the land of Israel: [to the land of Israel - basically, the people of the modern Western world. The United States of America, Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa – the places where those people eventually settled] ‘An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land. 3) Now the end has come upon you, And I will send My anger against you; I will judge you according to your ways, And I will repay you for all your abominations. 4) My eye will not spare you, Nor will I have pity; But I will repay your ways, And your abominations will be in your midst; Then you shall know that I AM the LORD!’” – Ezekiel 7:1-4.

Verse 12 – “The time has come, The day [the Day of the LORD] draws near. ‘Let not the buyer rejoice, Nor the seller mourn, For wrath is on their whole multitude’” – Ezekiel 7:12.

Here, God is talking about the economy.

There is no more money.

Verse 13 – “’ For the seller shall not return to what has been sold, Though he may still be alive; For the vision concerns the whole multitude, And it shall not turn back; No one will strengthen himself Who lives in iniquity.

14) They have blown the trumpet and made everyone ready, But no one goes to battle; …’” – Ezekiel 7:13-14.

Now, here a nation has a WARNING MESSAGE – a trumpet blast goes out – and this message says, ‘get ready for war, because the enemy is coming!’ And no one goes out!

What does this say to you about this nation!?

  1. Unable because of the economics of this nation.
  2. Unwilling to go out to war.
This nation is destined for utter destruction.

“ … ‘For My wrath is on all their multitude. 15) The sword is outside, And the pestilence and famine within. Whoever is in the field Will die by the sword; And whoever is in the city, Famine and pestilence will devour him. 16) Those who survive will escape and be on the mountains Like doves [referring to Israel; cf. Hosea 7:11] of the valleys, All of them mourning, Each for his iniquity’” – Ezekiel 7:14-16.

Now, the apostle John recorded for us in the Book of Revelation how this great Being who is qualified – who has the right to take the scroll out of Father’s hand – and begin to break its seals. And, when He breaks the third seal one of the angels says, ‘Come and see. A quart of wheat for a denarius [a penny], and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine’ – Revelation 6:5, 6.

This is speaking about – and if you look back in Matthew the 24th chapter and compare these seals to the Being who brought us the understanding of what those seals mean, Jesus Christ, explaining those things which will happen prior to the end-time ‘great tribulation’ one of them is – ‘famines and pestilences.’ Now, this seal here, talking about ‘A quart of wheat for a denarius’ and ‘three quarts of barley for a denarius’ is measuring out small sums of wheat and barley. Like a small teacup full in exchange for a few coins. You can’t go down and buy a hundred-pound bag of food anymore. You only have enough money for a small amount. And, forget the oil and the wine – you probably won’t have the money to buy those items. Those items will be very scarce.

We believe that this is speaking of a time when the economy will be in terrible duress.

And, in Revelation the 13th chapter it talks about this great end-time ‘beast’ power which will arise:

“He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and [bond], to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17) and that no one may BUY OR SELL except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” – Revelation 13:16-17. 

So here, again, we see in the Book of Revelation - the economy. The ability to buy and sell.

Now, some of these nations in recent years – such as Greece – had absolutely closed the banks down! And you couldn’t even use your debit card or even go into your safe deposit box and get the cash that you might have had available. This is something that all people should truly think about! Instead of living as though our economy is going to go on forever.

The economy will play – we believe – a tremendous role to the events leading up to the end-time ‘great tribulation’ and to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! And we believe that the Bible makes that crystal clear.

Just like the Great Depression of October 1929 – Black Tuesday as it was called - the longest, deepest, and most widespread of the 20th century – so will the widespread of the 21st-century fall upon the whole earth! We’re talking about depression, however, that will make the one in 1929 look like a sick day. We are talking about a worldwide collapse of the economy that will drive nations far to the Right – and will very possibly bring about the rise of dictators in the European nations – just as it did before World War II – when Germany was absolutely at the bottom of their economic ability. They were broke, they were destitute after World War I. And here came Adolf Hitler promising to repudiate the Versailles Treaty, to strengthen the economy, and provide jobs, bringing back the old glory of the nation of Germany. And, of course, the people bought into that. Now, when did he begin preaching this doctrine!? Back in 1923, Hitler enlisted the help of World War I veteran Erich Ludendorff with an attempted coup known as the ‘Beer Hall Putsch’. In January 1933 he was named Chancellor of Germany! And he brought about the beginnings of World War II.

And it reminds me of the Scripture there in Daniel chapter 11 in which it talks about an end-time ‘man of sin’ which will come in at a time of peace and gain great power by flattery. It was because of an absolute destitute economy that Germany was under – that brought about the rise of this man who was willing to say what the people wanted to hear.

That is the kind of world that is described here at this 11:59 hour – the time of the end.

“’ But he shall be saved out of it.’”

Over in Jeremiah the 30th chapter.

Now, the prophet Jeremiah lived during a time of the fall of the nation of Judah in the south. Israel – the northern 10 tribes – had already gone into captivity. And, 120-years earlier they (the nation of Israel) had been absorbed into other nations and on into history. Jeremiah lived in the nation of Judah in the capital city – Jerusalem. And he saw the downfall of that society. He WARNED them – just like back in the Book of Deuteronomy – just like in Ezra in which he prayed, ‘we didn’t listen to what our prophets had told our fathers!’ Nor is the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa listening to what the prophets from God’s living Word is trying to convey to them!

Notice – “’ Thus speaks the LORD God of ISRAEL, …’” verse 2 – He’s not speaking to Judah.

“’ For behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ …’” – He makes a distinction between the two.

“’ And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it’” – verse 3.

Verse 4 – “Now these are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah. 5) For thus says the LORD: ‘We have heard a voice of trembling, Of fear, and NOT OF PEACE.’”

And that is what we see happening to people in the world today! People – because they don’t have any hope, because they don’t have their sights set on the kingdom of God, and don’t have the truth of God in their minds and in their hearts – they are scared to death! They are running around like a bunch of wet rats trying to figure out what to do next! They are completely lost!

But the Church of God is not lost! We understand that these events are going to come about. But we also understand that we have the greatest hope – we have the greatest faith. We have direct communication to the God of our fathers and to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! And so we don’t have fear. We’re not afraid of what this COVID-19 is going to bring about! Indeed, we are saddened by those who have died from it – yes. But we know it’s not the end – don’t we!?

For thus says the LORD: “’ Ask now, and see, Whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins Like a woman in labor, And all faces turned pale?’” – verse 6.

It’s like a man who is pregnant – like a man having contractions! The people are bent over in travail! God says, ‘I can’t believe with My eyes what I’m seeing!’

“’ Alas! For that day [the Day of the LORD] is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, …’”

And, we could go on here, talking about just who ‘Jacob’ is and the identity of the nation of Israel in the 21st-century.

“’ But he shall be saved out of it.’” – verse 7.

And this is the part that I wanted to get to.

God is going to save us from ourselves – and from ‘the sin which so easily ensnares us’ as the apostle Paul writes. We have been treated to open displays of immorality, of vanity, greed, arrogance, pride, open homosexuality, crime, blood, and violence on a scale that even surpasses ancient Rome! And, we have been described here in the United States of America as the modern Romans – because of our decadent society.

“ … ‘Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, Yet I will not make a complete end of you, … 14) … For the multitude of your iniquities, Because your sins have increased. 15) Why do you cry about your affliction? Your sorrow is incurable. Because of the multitude of your iniquities, Because your sins have increased, I have done these things to you.’’ – Verses 11, 14-15.

And, of course, God goes on to talk about in those next chapters about the restoration of the nation of Israel.

In Daniel, the 12th chapter, he talks about a time of trouble:

“’ At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, …’” – Daniel 12:1.

And I really want to emphasize this!

“ … ‘ your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the Book.’”

And, of course, he goes on to say down in verse 6 –

“And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, ‘How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?’ 7) Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished” – Daniel 12:6-7.

Describing the 3½ year period of the end-time ‘great tribulation’ which Jesus Himself described, and other writers, including in the Book of Revelation.

Matthew the 24th chapter, Jesus said, ’ For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be’” – Matthew 24:21.

From the time of creation it tells us in the Book of Mark until that time this will be the worst time out of all of them! The WORST TIME OF TROUBLE!

Isaiah 58.

“’ Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins’” – Isaiah 58:1.

Friends – this warning goes out again TODAY!

The warning has gone out from the prophets which we have read – all of them TODAY!

We read these ancient prophets just like the prophet Ezra described.

No, we don’t believe that the Coronavirus is the beginning of the end-time ‘great tribulation’. But the Coronavirus may be one of the ingredients to further weaken an already sick and dying economy. It may be one of the many afflictions already facing a sin-sick nation such as the United States of America. It may very well be the straw that breaks the economic back of the United States!

The Coronavirus is not the reason for the beginning of the end-time ‘great tribulation,’ but the result of millions of sins committed by mankind and one of the opportunities man has had to turn to Almighty God – to obey His commandments and keep His laws – and to walk in the path of righteousness, and to live by faith on Jesus Christ and to humble ourselves before our great Creator God in the upper heavenly realms and to surrender to His will.

Instead – as it says in Isaiah the 59th chapter – ‘We all growl like bears’ in our evil pride, but then, ‘we moan sadly like doves’ when things go bad. ‘We look for justice, but there is none’ For salvation, but it is far from us.’

And, in Ezekiel the 33rd chapter – “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked TURN from his way and live. TURN, TURN from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’” – Isaiah 33:11.

Again, the Coronavirus is not the beginning of the end-time ‘great tribulation,’ but it is another opportunity for our nation to take a long serious look at itself and hopefully see the hideous monster we have become. Maybe, just maybe, we will repent and turn to Almighty God. □

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