The Christian world will be refined as gold is refined, that is, through fire. Many forget this. And when the European Union founding father, Jean Monnet said “Crises are the great unifier” his statement came to be true. Today, we see Europeans under the pressures of homegrown terrorism. We see a massive migrant crisis not seen in Europe since World War II. We see crippling sovereign debt. We see assertive Russia redrawing borders while focusing on the showdown with Turkey. In the U.S., we see a rising voice to elect a righteous leader who will restore America. The Muslim flood into Europe causing a likely referendum this year in Britain on whether to remain part of the EU might see one of the bloc’s richest and most powerful members depart an exit. That would leave the faltering union even further dominated by Berlin and Paris in a bilateral partnership itself under strain and unpopular with smaller European countries.
All these issues should raise an alarm bell to revisit some old claims. Today, the very idea of the European Union seems to be falling apart and some are already writing its obituary. Despite this reality some of the old views are still persisting claiming that: “The Bible predicts that someday a world leader will emerge from a revived Roman Empire. The European Union is clearly the fulfillment of this prophetic event.”
While it is true that Europe has fallen away from the faith, the other side pointing fingers calling the E.U “Antichrist” is no better, where the biblical prophecies are reduced to absurdities:
“Every day Todd Strandberg wakes up and scans the news for omens of the apocalypse. First, he checks the stock market and the price of oil for unusual activity. Then he checks news sites for … UFO sightings, exorcisms, false prophets and signs of the Antichrist. Based on these stories, he puts together a statistical chart, known as The Rapture Index … And he’s been doing this, daily, for the last 28 years.”
Strandberg began compiling The Rapture Index influenced by Carl C. Carlson and Hal Lindsey’s book “The Late, Great Planet Earth”. Strandberg has no job, no significant other, and no hobbies and spends his life looking at the Rapture Index to announce the four horseman saddling up. He even has a message to warn others after his disappearance by the coming pre-tribulation rapture to tell them that the European Union is coming to get you because you were “left behind”.
But is this the proper attitude of a Christian? Is this really what God wants us to do in running this marathon? And why are biblical prophecies reduced to this type of hype?
Never mind that the saints are gathered at the last trump (I Cor. 15:51-53), which can never happen until the end. They will spin a spiders web to prove that “last” (in “the last trump”) doesn’t really mean “last”!
The problem with such crowds (as it is with all schismatics) is that they take half the truth and concoct a schism where we now have pre-tribulationsit rapture, mid-tribulationist rapture, post-tribulationist rapture, and even a newer one, which split from all these, they call pre-wrath rapture. Put all these folks together and it is an assured brick fight where the Bible is used to clobber non-conformists.
Never mind that in Acts 2:34-35 and Acts 3:21, God declares that Christ must remain in heaven until He comes down to earth to destroy the wicked and make His enemies His “footstool”. The only way to counter this prophetic fact would mean that Christ has three comings. The added additional coming then becomes exclusively for the rapture mania crowd of the Left Behind. These few verses in the Book of Acts crush the millions of copies sold to the naive who spend their monies on books that belong in the garbage bin of history.
The other half of the truth they miss is that this snatching away includes what they never include in their half-baked analysis. The Bible speaks of the wedding marriage supper of the Lamb, which also includes a massive battle involving the saints from Mount Zion in heaven (the Church Triumphant) meeting and uniting with the saints on earth (the Church Militant) coming together over Jerusalem in “the clouds” as it was taught from time immemorial.
This gathering of the saints is not just in the few verses these rapture-reddyness crowd quote. Psalm 50, Isaiah 13, Daniel 7, Zechariah 14, Matthew 24:31 and Joel 2 are the correct pieces that speak of the same story of the gathering of saints, yet it is for a battle. In Psalm 50: “ Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him … Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
The language in Psalm 50:4 is the same as in Matthew 24:31: “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” There is no difference in the context. Even Matthew 24 includes the battle:
“For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”
These “eagles” say it all, they too are invited for this great supper in Ezekiel “Call out to every kind of bird and all the wild animals: ‘Assemble and come together from all around to the sacrifice I am preparing for you, the great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel. There you will eat flesh and drink blood. You will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth…” (Ezekiel 39:17-20). “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men …” (Revelation 19:17). ”
So just as we see the “lightning” in heaven coming from the east, which also signify the armies coming from the east and also the west to battle the Antichrist, so will His second coming be, which includes gathering the saints. Christ even made it crystal clear in the very Matthew 24 they so much love to quote, this happens at the tail end:
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24: 29-31)
They ignore this. They ignore that before this happens: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you” (v.9) adding that “he who endures to the end shall be saved”.
We must endure to the end.
And even when we endure, Christ even adds a crucial sign: “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”
In every discussion I had with schismatics they are easily offended. I wonder at times if these would not mind it, when Muslims prohibit alcohol, where apostolic-succession churches under the yoke of Islam are forced not to observe proper communion with real wine, since alcohol is prohibited in Islam, and instead are made to conform and partake of the Blood of Christ in the form of grape-juice?
And such a scenario is not far-fetched. It is no wonder that the very text in Matthew 24 that speaks of this gathering insists: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet …” This is the stopping of the “grain sacrifice”: “but in the middle of the week he will stop the sacrifice and grain offering …” (Daniel 9:27)
And if the “grain sacrifice” is prohibited, what makes us think that the wine is also not prohibited?
Messiah’s return speaks of “seven shepherds and eight princely men. They shall waste with the sword the land of Assyria” (Micah 5). Assyria is not in Europe. Daniel 7:10 speaks of the “thousand thousands” of saints with Him issuing forth fire: “A fiery stream issued and came before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him.” (Daniel 7:10) He even tells us where this fire is to be delivered:
“God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth. His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden. Before him went the pestilence, And fiery bolts went forth at his feet.” (Habakkuk 3:3-5).
And even in Deuteronomy:
“The Lord came from Sina and dawned from Seir upon us; he shone forth from Mount Paran;
he came from the ten thousands of holy ones, with flaming fire at his right hand. (Deuteronomy 33:2)
“Paran” and “Teman” are “Sinai” and “Arabia”, not Europe.
It is the redemption of the Jews and their conversion to Christ uniting them to the Zion in Heaven: “Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!” (Isaiah 12:6). God calls the fighters “mighty ones” and are called for “His anger” and to fight with Him in battle: “The Lord of hosts musters the army for battle.” (Isaiah 13:4)
Never mind that the whole context of these verses concerning this “rapture” are unanimously regarding the saints fighting in the Battle of Armageddon. Such saints have a covenant “by sacrifice”:
“Gather My saints together to Me, Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice” (Psalm 50:4).
He gathers His elect to also go down to Jerusalem for a fight “the Lord will go forth and fight.” (Zechariah 14:3) “The Lord will be zealous for His land, and pity His people.” (Joel 2:17-19) Christ even gives a speech, a beatitude if you will: “The Lord gives voice before His army” ( Joel 2:11).
It is the battle to confirm the Trinity, and not some pre-Tribulation Messianic Hebrew Roots Movement, that deny the Trinity or a Muslim ideology that abhors the Trinity:
“Come near to Me, hear this; I have not spoken in secret, from the beginning; From the time that it was, I was there, And now the Lord God and His Spirit Have sent Me.” (Isaiah 48:16)
Amazingly, in one Old Testament verse we see it: “From the time that it was (from the beginning was The Word), I was there, and now the Lord God (The Father) and His Spirit (The Holy Spirit) have sent Me (The Son).
It is a war between Christianity and Islam which says: “They blaspheme who say that Allah is the third of three.” (Qur’an 5:73)
It is the response for the suffering of the Christians: “In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me. Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue. What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper. Woe is me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar! My soul hath long dwelt with him that hate peace. I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.” This is speaking of persecution by Arabs (Kedar) and Turks (Meshech), not Europeans.
but this time it will be “Thus the LORD my God will come, and all the saints [believers] with You” (Zechariah 14:5).
God will come in Zechariah 14 with “all the saints are with Him”? This reconciles Psalm 50, Isaiah 13, and Zechariah 14 with Joel 2. They all fit together perfectly with the Christians converging on Jerusalem.
It was the schismatic Irvingites (from the famed London preacher Edward Irving, 1829-1832) who started the idea that “the church Philadelphia” (the worthy Christians) while “the church of Laodicea” (the Jews and the Catholics) would be left behind. (1)
And just to get a flavor of where came the phenomenon of what we see from neo-charismatics to the false prophets Christ warned us of, one must examine the Irvingites who also labeled themselves as The Catholic Apostolic Church, which originated in England to later spread to Germany and the United States. (2) They even had their own apostolic order and even had their own private prophecy, speaking in tongues and miraculous healing which later spread to Scotland and England to later on infect the United States.
Yet nowhere in Scripture does it teach what the Irvingites of yesteryears taught, or the current rapturists taught; that only they rapture while the Catholics and Jews are “left behind”.
This battle as scripture declared is the passion for defending and saving the Jews. Who today from the historians can deny that Catholics died for the sake of the Jew in Hitler’s crematoria more than any other faith, yet these have no holocaust museum!
And despite the condemnation of Pope Pius XII, who saved more Jews than any man in history, the final battle will be as when Protestants and Catholics did during Lord General Edmond Allenby, when they united in one voice, both Catholic and Protestants, in victory at Jerusalem. There, they did not defeat Europeans, they defeated Ottoman Turks. These were not the Christian type that prophesied or spoke in utterances or called Rome “Harlot”. What Allenby did granting his Deputy Adjutant General, who was a Catholic, granted him the full Catholic gamut. History tells us that:
“from the gate into the Valley of Hinnom, and thence up the Mount of Evil Counsel on the other side, on the road to Bethlehem, as far as the eye could see, stretched the long ranks of soldier pilgrims … military chaplains were interspaced down the column and led the troops in reciting the Rosary. The first destination was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where the Franciscan guardians, wishing to honour the occasion, had exposed the Column of Flagellation. None present could fail to assimilate the historic significance and grandeur of the occasion … The general [Weston] and the officers had seats in the nave, but the choir, sanctuary, nave, aisles, were thronged with men, some sitting on the ground, others standing pressed together so closely that the priests had the greatest difficulty in getting to the altar. I shall never forget facing that great throng of bronzed men who had been through so many dangers, endured so many hardships in order to deliver Jerusalem … ‘It was wonderful to hear them sing the familiar hymns during the Mass that followed. I have never heard anything like that Faith of Our Fathers shouted from fifteen hundred lusty throats, and it was even more wonderful to kneel in the hush and the stillness that fell on that great crowd … I don’t wonder that the celebrant burst into tears and could hardly go on with the Mass. He told us afterwards that he had never been so moved in his life, and he wrote a detailed account of the pilgrimage to Rome, which (as I found later on) had delighted the Holy Father.’
Was this the Rapture mania? Never mind that in one of these themes, in Isaiah 13, the text never mentions a European state and is clearly describing the destruction of Islam’s headquarters (just as Lord Allenby did), it was not the destruction of Rome or even Geneva:
“No Arab will pitch his tent there, no shepherd will rest his flocks there” (Isaiah 13:20).
And in Joel 2, “Let the bridegroom (Messiah) go out from His chamber. And the bride (the saints) from her dressing room” (Joel 2:16) which has always been regarding this “catching away” of what they call “Rapture” which is the same “gathering together unto Him” (II Thessalonians 2:1) are exclusively His saints that have a covenant with Him by “sacrifice”. And while they bicker over this “sacrifice” saying it’s exclusively the ones who testify Jesus as “Lord” they forget a crucial verse:
“Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?” (Joel 2:17)
Never mind that it says “priests” and even includes the communion “altar” which only exists in apostolic-succession type churches. It was the apostolic-succesion churches that inherited Israel with sacrificial observations of Altar and Incense.
Never mind that Christians have been prophetically preparing for this Tribulation from time immemorial in Lent and Ash-Wednsday. Joel 2:17 is the prayer of the Catholic Church, the anthem during the communion at Lent:
In ieiunio et fletu Thomas Tallis, sung in the Latin Mass on Lent, Ash-Wednesday [where Christians take the Mark of God with ash in the form of the cross etched on their foreheads] and with fasting and weeping, the priests pray: “Spare, O Lord, your people, spare them and do not consign your children to destruction.” Between the porch and altar the priests wept saying: “Spare your people.” —Joel 2:17.
“The fast that the Prophet Joel ordered is a clear example: He said: Gird yourselves and lament, you priests; Come, lie all night in sackcloth, You who minister to my God; Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly. (Joel l:13,14) Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly. Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, And do not give Your heritage to reproach, That the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, `Where is their God?’ (Joel 2:12-17).
This is a crucial tradition for it is in Egypt that the Copts cry to the Lord to send them a savior and a Mighty One (see Isaiah 19).
Many argue that such tradition, as Ash-Wednesday, of marking the foreheads with the sign of the cross, is not crucial for the salvation of souls!
To these I ask: alright then, let us not observe ash-wednesday, since ash-wednesday does not save. And let us not observe incense since incense do not save. Then let us not sing hymnals, since hymnals do not save. And then let us not go to church altogether, since it is not one’s church affiliation that saves. And then let us divorce and re-marry, since keeping the marriage sacrament does not save. And then let us not even do the Lord’s Prayer, since our sins, past, present and future, have already been forgiven.
And I ask: what is left? Such a person who thinks he is “saved” is like the chewing locust who just entered the Kingdom of Hell.
So many act as if they were the repentant thief on the cross, while forgetting they have no nails restraining them on a rugged cross.
Ash Wednesday is observed primarily by Catholic and Eastern Orthodox and minimally by some Anglican, Calvinist, Lutheran, Methodist, yet such tradition, sadly, is dissipating in much of the non-apostolic movements today. Today churches are clearing off crosses and prophecy has become a Rapture timing gauge machine.
But there is a glimmer of hope where today we see the tide turning, not the way the Rapture crowd are predicting with an Antichrist led by the European Union, or with America being ‘no more’.
In the U.S., it was easy for us to predict the Trump phenomenon while he was only 4% in the polls stating: “Trump will run, win and rid us from one wicked wretch: Hillary Clinton”. Trump lost in Iowa because of the Evangelicals, where they usually have always chose the loser. This is not such bad news.
But lets take a look at Catholic Italy where a whopping two million people attended the anti-gay protest. Where is this in Evangelical America? Russia is the same as in Italy. Catholic-majority countries, such as Ireland and Spain, the home of the Vatican remains the last country in western Europe not to offer rights to gay couples. Where is this in Germany and England, the headquarters of Protestantism? Is it a sin to provoke my Protestant brethren to jealousy?
The Muslim immigration caused by protestant Germany played the major factor. It threatened the prized Schengen system of visa-free travel within much of Europe, throwing up fences as EU plans fail to curb the flood issued forth from the mouth of the Turkish dragon (Revelation 12) which is the inflow of Muslim migrants and refugees. It was only last week that the European Union leaders edged closer to accepting that the Schengen open-borders area may be suspended for up to two years.
The Muslim was the curse and the blessing that simply shattered the liberal love of multiculturalism. Hungary’s controversial leader Viktor Orban has been the most outspoken, maintaining that Mideast and African migrants threaten his country’s Christian identity.
The breakup of the European Union has long been predicted, especially by those opposed to the entire European unification enterprise in the first place. But panicky forecasts are now mounting from Euro-enthusiasts.
And to top it all, in Europe, there is an entire new generation of nationalist leaders arising in defiance of Brussels. These are the Visegrad group of countries (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic), the strongest critics of EU migrant policies where they only took 272 refugees in 2015 out of 160,000.
All this will end up destroying the European Union where the calculating German government also seek to get rid of the union to isolate itself to become a superpower and get back to its old glory working with the Ottoman Muslims.
In Poland, the nationalist conservative Law and Justice party which won parliamentary elections sacked the heads of the security and intelligence services, restricting the powers of the country’s constitutional tribunal, which decides on the legality of legislation, and packing it with adherents.
In Hungary, the state-owned media was brought to its heels, installing loyalists to oversee public broadcasters, turning them into government mouthpieces.
Today we see Mahdism and a desire for a Caliphate to lead “a worldwide Revolution.” It is for this reason that the Bible in Micah 5 calls the Antichrist “Nimrod”—he is the rebellious one who will “cause all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves” to receive a mark on their right arms and foreheads. (Revelation 13:16).
Consider now the case of the coming of the Messiah as found in Micah 5. Western Christians refer to this chapter simply as the Christmas story and a prophecy of the place of Jesus’ birth. Yet a careful study of this chapter in conjunction with Joel 2 reveals that at the time of the second coming: “And this man [the Messiah] shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, we will raise against him seven shepherds, even eight principled men.”
These seven shepherds and eight principled men are rarely if ever discussed. I suspect they come from Russia and the West, even France. The Bible describes in many cases that He will raise nations from the ends of the earth, far from the Middle East, to destroy the arising Antichrist in Turkey. This is why its crucial we do not rush prophecy, much has to happen in the next few years.
Do Not Forget to get the Mark of God on your foreheads on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, Wednesday, February 10th, 2016. Do not forget your children too, get them marked for Christ.
Psalm 51 – Spare your people, Lord:
(1) “The Morning Watch”: “Philadelphia” is described as worthy Christians who will be raptured before “the great tribulation” (TMW, Sep. 1830, p. 510) “…the great tribulation from which those dead in Christ, and those who shall then be alive and looking for him, shall be exempted, by being caught up to meet the Lord in the air….” (TMW, June 1831, p. 284) “During this most horrible time of the reign of the last Antichrist, the risen and translated saints shall be with Christ….” (TMW, Mar. 1832, pp. 12-14) “some of these elect ones shall…be left in the great tribulation…after the translation of the saints….” He added that there is “nothing further to expect before the actual coming….” (TMW, Sep. 1832, pp. 11-12) See more here.
(2) See The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2007.