Carrying Your Cross

The Cross of the Disciple

Luke 14:25-26 – Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

What is the meaning of this passage? Are we to hate everybody in our life, not care about them or take care of them and follow God and anything else we hate?

When we compare this to other scriptures we can safely say that this passage is a slight exaggeration. We are not to literally hate everyone, or that would be considered murder.

This passage means that to be a disciple we MUST put Jesus first in our life, to the point where we would sacrifice anything for Him. It is as if nothing else mattered except for Jesus. This is how it should be, He IS the creator of the world and the almighty God, for that reason alone we should always respect Him to the point where nothing else matters. God deserves our respect and worship, He deserves our very lives as a living sacrifice for Him.

We can still have a relationship with others, and as we follow Jesus those relationships will become stronger and we will know more how God wants us to treat those relationships, but before everything else, Jesus must come first in our life!

Luke 14:27 – “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”

When Jesus carried His cross, it was a death sentence waiting to be filled. Walking down the road to the place where He would be executed, there was no turning back, no laying down to take a nap. It was a brutal walk, the last walk that He would make before being executed.

As we go through this life being torn down by sin and being attacked on every side by the pressures and distractions of this world, we know that this is our last walk. We should have the same focus that Jesus did. No matter what it cost or how hard it would be, the will of the Father MUST be filled.

Through our life we need to be focused on His will. What does God have in store for you, what is your mission and where does He want you? A lot of people get lazy and just don’t care. Their idea of carrying a cross is to pray before dinner and go to church most Sundays. That type of cross is the cross that you wear around your neck. Very little pressure, or benefit, just the look that says “Look at me, I’m trying to be good”. Is this the type of cross that Jesus had in mind when He said to carry your cross daily?

I think Jesus had something more in mind. The cross that He carried was capable of killing Him, a giant beam across His back with tremendous weight behind it. It is something that we would never be capable of doing alone. That is why Jesus said that His burden is light. But just because it’s light doesn’t mean that Jesus takes the cross from us. I think it means that He works with us to make us strong enough to bear the weight easily.

We are to carry our cross daily, this means that we focus on Jesus and not on the things of this world. While we follow and serve Him He will make it easier for us and give us the strength to handle the fight that the world will give us because of Him.

Luke 14:28-30 – “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?

Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him,
saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.'”

In order to follow Jesus we must analyze what it will cost us. We must prepare the resources for it and prepare our minds to deal with the problems that will come as a result. Following Jesus, being His disciple and carrying our cross is not an easy thing. Our bodies are tied to this world and attracted to the lusts of the flesh. In order for you to be best prepared, you must look ahead at what being His disciple may cost you, and be willing to pay the price.

This goes back to the beginning of the passage, are you willing to give up your family and others that you love in order to be His disciple? Can you give up the comforts of this world if He calls you?

Luke 14:31-32 – “Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand?

Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.”

The war that we have to fight is a spiritual war, we may not see it but it is very real. Again, we must be prepared for it. We fight the war with or without Jesus on our side, that is just one more thing that we must be prepared for. Imagine the cost. The cost of following Him and the cost of not following Him.

Luke 14:33-35 – “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?

It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Are you willing to give up EVERYTHING that you have to serve Jesus? Everything we have belongs to Him. It is not by our will that we are alive or acquire stuff. If it wasn’t for His goodness we would have nothing. Would you still follow Jesus if what happened to Job happened to you? He lost everything, wife, kids, riches, house, even his health, but STILL he followed God.

Are you willing to follow God when the only thing that you have is an old wooden splintery cross on your back and a long rocky road in front of you? Are you willing to give up everything you own to be called a disciple of Jesus?

Dealing With Amalek in Our Lives

-Deuteronomy is Moses’ last instructions to the Israelite people. So he begins, “Remember!” What was it they were to commit to memory?

Deuteronomy 25:17-18 “Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, 18 how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God.

-Amalek was a nationless conglomeration of nomads who lived in a loose-knit society in the Sinai peninsula. And they were a parasite! Theirs was a culture of laziness that shunned honest work in favor of raiding and plundering.

-They lived off the fruit of other people’s labor, stealing from those who’d managed by much sweat to seek a living out of the hard earth. They were robbers and brigands who raided the numerous caravans that traveled the roads from Asia to Egypt and attacked the border towns of the nations around them, then ran away before any real opposition could be raised against them.

-The closest thing we have today to the Amalekites that we can relate to is to think of them as a urban gang.

-They lived in the Sinai peninsula, or what is known as the Negev. This was the area Israel had to pass through in their journey from Egypt to Mt. Sinai.

-The Amalekites saw this as an unbelievable opportunity! A bunch of slaves who have no idea how to defend themselves, they’re loaded down with the wealth of Egypt; remember that the Egyptians had heaped silver and gold on them on Passover night.

-So the Amalekites began to attack Israel; not in a frontal assault; they attacked the stragglers and weary who’d fallen behind when the people were moving.

-The battle was fierce, but Israel eventually won, her victory secured by the prayers of Moses who was assisted by Aaron and Hur. But Amalek was not destroyed. They simply retreated to their hiding places in the wilderness where they nursed their wounds and renewed their numbers – waiting for another opportunity to once again harass Israel.

– Moses knew the Amalekites would be a perennial thorn in Israel’s side and that if something was not done to end it, she could well prove to be Israel’s undoing.

-So he said to them . . .

Deuteronomy 25:19 Therefore it shall be, when the Lord our God has given you rest from your enemies all around, in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance, that you will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. You shall not forget.

-The nation has an assignment. Once they’ve settled in the Promised Land, enjoying the Lord’s blessing, they were to finish what they’d begun at Rephidim; they were to stage a campaign of erasing the outlaw Amalekites.

-This was necessary because it was Amalek’s unalterable nature to harass Israel. As long as even one Amalekite lived, Israel’s entire safety would be in jeopardy.

-I realize that sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s literally true. In the book of Esther we read of a man named Haman who persuaded the King of Persia to pass an edict allowing for the people of the empire to attack and kill any and all Jews.

-Haman, it turns out, was an Amalekite! One man came that close to being the cause of the death of every Jew in the Persian Empire.

-Moses understood the danger the Amalekites posed and urged Israel to not forget their need to move against them in a determined action to end their threat.

-So, what happened?

-During the time of the Judges, Amalek recovered enough strength to once again begin nibbling at the edges of Israel. They became bolder and bolder until Samuel, the last Judge, handed the first king of Israel, Saul, the task of carrying out Moses’ assignment to wipe out Amalek.

-But Saul didn’t follow orders. Samuel had made it clear they were to destroy everything even down to the last toothpick; but Saul decided to allow his army to keep what spoils they wanted and as a trophy of his victory, he kept Agag, the King of the Amalekites alive.

-Samuel was furious at Saul’s blatant disobedience, Israel was still in danger and only time would tell how the Amalekites would once again return to imperil the nation.

– Saul learned the hard way how far-reaching the consequences of his disobedience would reach; because of his rebellion against God in this thing with the Amalekites, God rejected him as king and gave the throne to David.

– Saul, now bereft of the anointing and protection of God suffered a humiliating defeat in battle with the Philistines.

-In his last minutes on Mt. Gilboa, wounded by arrows, his beloved son Jonathan lying dead at his feet, Saul wanted to commit suicide lest he fall into the enemy’s hands and suffer the humiliation of capture. He figured it would be better to die in battle than be taken prisoner.

-When his armor bearer wouldn’t oblige, he found another willing hand . . .

In 2 Samuel 1 we read,

2 . . . it happened that a man came from Saul’s camp with his clothes torn and dust on his head. So it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the ground and prostrated himself. 3 And David said to him, “Where have you come from?” So he said to him, “I have escaped from the camp of Israel.” 4 Then David said to him, “How did the matter go? Please tell me.” And he answered, “The people have fled from the battle, many of the people are fallen and dead, and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also.” 5 So David said to the young man who told him, “How do you know that Saul and Jonathan his son are dead?” 6 Then the young man who told him said, “As I happened by chance to be on Mount Gilboa, there was Saul, leaning on his spear; and indeed the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. 7 Now when he looked behind him, he saw me and called to me. And I answered, ‘Here I am.’ 8 And he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ So I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ 9 He said to me again, ‘Please stand over me and kill me, for anguish has come upon me, but my life still remains in me.’ 10 So I stood over him and killed him,

-Because Saul did not make an end of the Amalekites, an Amalekite made an end of Saul.

-Because Israel did not obey God and make an end of Amalek, in Esther’s day, Amalek came a hair’s breadth from being the end of Israel.

-These stories are not only recountings of actual historical events, they’re also clear examples for us of our spiritual walk. As 1 Corinthians 10 makes clear, the experiences of Israel from the Exodus to the Promised Land paint a picture of our spiritual journey.

-So what does Amalek represent? What parallel is there between the Amalekites and our experience?

-Amalek speaks of those little sins that nibble round the edge of our lives. They aren’t the big sins that we gain quick victory over when we first come to Christ, they’re the lesser things, the smaller temptations that don’t seem all that bad in comparison to the major sins God delivers us from.

-For the guy who’s been delivered from drugs and alcohol, lust doesn’t seem like such a big deal; after all, he rationalizes, he’s a guy, and guys are wired that way, everybody does it. Maybe one day, he’ll take more concerted action against lust, but for now, it seems like no big deal.

-For the woman who’s been delivered from immorality, envy seems so petty; and besides, it’s so easily hidden. She thinks, “So I find myself envying others ever now and then. So what? At least I’m not promiscuous anymore. I’m not perfect and no one can expect me to be. I know I shouldn’t be jealous but I’ll worry about dealing with that later.”

-These temptations are like a persistent gnat that buzzes round your head and won’t leave you alone. At first you hardly pay it any mind. Then you half-heartedly bat at it. Eventually, it pesters you enough that you stop & make a determined effort to swat it and you think, “Good, Got it! Gone.”

-That’s what Joshua and Israel thought they’d done to Amalek at Rephidim in the Exodus; but Amalek wasn’t destroyed, just defeated.

-Listen to me, there’s something you need to know about your spiritual adversary, satan: He doesn’t give up! Just because he’s experienced a defeat, he doesn’t throw in the towel.

-No, he’s clever; subtle. He retreats just as Amalek did, because Amalek is a picture of this strategy of the devil – that’s the whole point here folks.

-Amalek retreated, forfeiting the battle at Rephidim, but not yielding the war with Israel. Israel made the mistake of thinking one battle was the war, and confident in their victory, they weren’t prepared when Amalek regrouped and renewed their assault.

-In the same way, the enemy of your soul will back off for a time, using peace as a tool to seduce you to inattention; and when you’re unprepared, he’ll renew his assault.

-Suddenly you’ll find that gnat back again, only this time it’s bigger and more persistent.

-What a potent picture of our adversary and this strategy he uses, not to assault us with a full-frontal spiritual attack, but with seemingly little temptations that just nibble round the edges of our moral lives.

-We don’t really pay them all that much attention because to be frank, they don’t seem that, well, big of a deal. So what if we shade the truth every once in a while; everyone does it. So what if we cheat here and there, who doesn’t?

-Sure pride, envy, lust, coveting, being critical or fearful, aren’t right; but at least they’re not hurting anyone, right?

-Christians, we need to realize if we don’t move with direct intent to end these things, these little things, they will end up being the very things that destroy us. They are spiritual mosquitoes that carry death.

-Eventually the Holy Spirit convicts us about our need to deal with these little sins and we repent and take action to end them. But the appeal comes to compromise, to end the obvious ways the sin manifests itself, but to allow it to live on in one corner of our inner life; drawing occasional comfort from it.

-The woman whose sin of envy manifested itself in gossip stops spreading stories about others, but she carries on an inner conversation of character assassination within her own heart.

-The man whose lust was manifested in using pornography stops his use of such material but retreats to an inner fantasy that continues to pollute his mind.

-All who do such need to learn the lesson Saul teaches – be sure your sin will find you out. The sin you think is so well hidden and that you can coddle and draw comfort from, even now the devil is working to expose in a very public way.

-Like Saul wanted to use the Amalekite king as a trophy of his victory, Satan wants to turn you into a trophy of his!

-Do what Samuel did with Agag that day – end it, here, now! Put the Sword of the Spirit to that thing that’s been nibbling at the edge of your soul, that thing that’s been plundering your joy and peace in the Lord.

-Moses gave Israel a simple & clear assignment. Wipe out Amalek. Israel faltered in carrying to completion what Moses said, and as a result, because Israel didn’t end the Amalekites, the Amalekites nearly ended Israel.

-Saul, who compromised with the Amalekites and let some escape paid the ultimate price and died at the hands of one.

-It’s the nature of sin to grow and gain power, Amalek teaches us that truth.

-That sin that seems like little more than a tiny pest today, if not ended now will turn into a full-grown warrior with a sword in hand and a point in your very soul.

The People of the Tribulation

The People of the Tribulation
By Matt

The time of Tribulation that is to befall the earth for seven years following the Rapture will change our world drastically. This will include the world’s demographics– the groups of people in the world. Currently, peoples are grouped according to government, station in life, and other factors. Spiritually, people are grouped into believers and nonbelievers. But these classifications will spread out in the Tribulation. Let’s dive into God’s Word and find out just what specific people, as well as type of people, will face the Tribulation.

Important Figures
Jesus Christ
Prior to the Tribulation, Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, will shout from heaven to rapture His Church. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says that “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” When he was instructed to write Revelation, the apostle John saw a vision of the risen Lord. He records, in Revelation 1:12-20:

Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.”

At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus will return in glory with the armies of heaven and will establish His kingdom for 1,000 years on earth. This will be a reign of righteousness and peace. John describes the return of Christ this way: “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11-16)

The Antichrist
Called the “man of sin” and “son of perdition” in the Bible (2 Thessalonians 2:3), this man will arise to power following the Rapture and will ascend to the throne of earthly rulership over the world. At one point in the Tribulation, the Antichrist will appear to die and appear to be resurrected (Revelation 13:3). This will result in the entire world following after him and worshiping him. The Bible indicates in the next verse that the world will worship Satan (the dragon) as well as the Antichrist himself. However, at the end of the Tribulation, judgment will come upon the Antichrist. When our Lord appears in glory, He will cast the beast into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20).

The False Prophet
The False Prophet will exercise all the authority of the beast (Revelation 13:12) and will lead the world in worshiping the beast. He will perform great signs, deceive the world, and order the creation of an image of the beast to be worshiped (Revelation 13:12-14). He will also institute the mark of the beast, which will be ordered to be given to everyone on their forehead or right hand. Nobody will be able to buy or sell without the mark. (Revelation 13:16-17).

The Two Witnesses
These two will appear in Jerusalem in the Tribulation and will have authority go prophesy 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth (Revelation 11:3). They will preach the Gospel message and will be supernaturally protected during their ministry. Revelation 11:5-6 elaborates:

And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.

When their ministry is finished, the Two Witnesses will be killed by the beast and will lie in the street for three and a half days. The world will rejoice over their deaths, and celebrate the end of the torment that these Witnesses brought. After three-and-a-half days, the Witnesses will be resurrected and ascend to heaven in a cloud (Revelation 11:7-12).

Groups of People
The 144,000
These will be 144,000 chosen people from Israel, composed of 12,000 each from the twelve tribes: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. They will be sealed by God on their foreheads and supernaturally protected (Revelation 7:3-8).

The Tribulation Saints
John writes this about the Tribulation saints in Revelation 7:9-10:

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

These are those left behind in the Rapture who will receive the Lord Jesus Christ during the Tribulation. Like the Church, they will be those individuals who recognize that Christ died on the cross for their sins and will accept His offer of grace and mercy. They will oppose the Antichrist and his government, and many of them will be martyred. However, martyrdom will be a release from such a period of terror; Revelation 7:17 says that God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

The implementation of the mark of the beast will present challenges for believers, since they will refuse it. Those who openly refuse to worship the beast will be executed by the government (Revelation 13:15). Without the mark, believers will not be permitted to buy or sell on the world market. This could make survival more difficult, since the ability to obtain food, medicine, and supplies will be hindered. Some have speculated that believers may form some sort of black market to survive.

Worshipers of the Beast
A second group of people who will live in the Tribulation. These people are those who do not receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. They will be deceived by the Antichrist and will eventually take the mark of the beast when it is implemented. This mark, which may be in the form of a tatoo, a brand, or other visible mark, will be required of people to buy or sell in the world market. Those who take the mark of the beast will worship his image, and will be cast into the lake of fire in the end.

Outline of End-time events

I. Events Before, During, and After the Seven-Year End-Time Period (this seven-year period is the 70th “seven” of Daniel, Daniel 9:27)

A. Events immediately before the seven year period

1. Church raptured (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; Revelation 3:10)

2. Restrainer removed (2 Thessalonians 2:7)

3. Judgment seat of Christ (in heaven, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10)

B. Events at the beginning of the seven-year period

1. Antichrist (the coming “ruler”) makes a covenant with Isreal (Daniel 9:26-27)

2. Two witnesses begin their ministry (Revelation 11:3) note: some bible scholars say the work of the two witnesses will be in the second half of the tribulation)

C. Events in the first half of the seven-year period

1. Antichrist arises to power over the Roman confederacy (Daniel 7:20; Daniel 7:24) note: some identify Antichrist’s initial rise to power with the first seal judgment (Revelation 6:1-2)

2. Israel living in peace in the land (Ezekiel 38:8)

3. Temple sacrifices instituted (Revelation 11:1-2)

4. World church dominates religion and the Antichrist (Revelation 17)

D. Events perhaps just before the middle of the seven year period

1. Gog and his allies invade Palestine from the north (Ezekiel 38:2; Ezekiel 38:5-6; Ezekiel 38:22)

2. Gog and his allies destroyed by God (Ezekiel 38:17-23)

E. Events at the middle of the seven year period

1. Satan cast down from heaven and energizes the Antichrist (Revelation 12:12-17)

2. Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel, causing her sacrifices to cease (Daniel 9:27)

3. The 10 kings under the Antichrist destroy the world church (Revelation 17:16-18)

4. The 144,000 Israelites saved and sealed (Revelation 7:1-8)

F. Events of the second half of the seven year period. These three and one half years are called “the Great Tribulation” (Revelation 7:14; cf. “great distress,” Matthew 24:21; “time of distress,” Daniel 12:1; and “a time of trouble for Jacob,” Jeremiah 30:7)

1. Rebellion (apostasy) against the truth in the professing church (Matthew 24:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:3)

2. Antichrist becomes a world ruler (1st seal, Revelation 6:1-2) with support of the Western confederacy (Revelation 13:5; Revelation 13:7; Revelation 17:12-13)

3. Antichrist revealed as “the man of lawlessness,” “the lawless one” (2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9)

4. War, famine, and death (2nd, 3rd, and 4th seals, Revelation 6:3-8)

5. Converted multitudes from every nation martyred (5th seal, Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 7:9-14; Matthew 24:9)

6. Natural disturbances and worldwide fear of divine wrath (6th seal, Revelation 6:12-17)

7. Antichrist’s image (an “abomination”) set up for worship (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:14-15)

8. The false prophet promotes the Antichrist, who is worshiped by nations and unbelieving Israel (Matthew 24:11-12; 2 Thessalonians 2:11; Revelation 13:4; Revelation 13:11-15)

9. Mark of the beast used to promote worship of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:16-18)

10. Two witnesses slain by the Antichrist (Revelation 11:7)

11. Two witnesses resurrected (Revelation 11:11-12)

12. Israel scattered because of the anger of Satan (Revelation 12:6, Revelation 12:13-17) and because of the “abomination” (Antichrist’s image) in the temple (Matthew 24:15-26)

13. Jerusalem overrun by Gentiles (Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:2)

14. Antichrist and false prophets deceive many people (Matthew 24:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11)

15. The gospel of the kingdom proclaimed (Matthew 24:14)

16. Israel persecuted by the Antichrist (Jeremiah 30:5-7; Daniel 12:1; Zechariah 13:8; Matthew 24:21-22)

17. Trumpet judgments (Revelation 8; Revelation 9) and bowl judgments (Revelation 16) poured out by God on Antichrist’s empire

18. Blasphemy increases as the judgments intensify (Revelation 16:8-11)

G. Events concluding the seven-year period

1. The king of the South (Egypt) and the king of the North fight against the Antichrist (Daniel 11:40)

2. Antichrist enters Palestine and defeats Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia (Daniel 11:40-43)

3. Armies from the East and the North move toward Palestine (Daniel 11:44; Revelation 16:12)

4. Jerusalem is ravaged (Zechariah 14:1-4)

5. Commercial Babylon is destroyed (Revelation 16:19; Revelation 18:1-3; Revelation 18:21-24)

6. Signs appear in the earth and sky (Isaiah 13:10; Joel 2:10; Joel 2:30-31; Joel 3:15; Matthew 24:29)

7. Christ returns with the armies of heaven (Matthew 24:27-31; Revelation 19:11-16)

8. Jews flee Jerusalem facilitated by topographical changes (Zechariah 14:5)

9. Armies unite at Armageddon against Christ and the armies of heaven (Joel 3:9-11; Revelation 16:16; Revelation 19:17-19)

10. Armies are destroyed by Christ (Revelation 19:19; Revelation 19:21)

11. The beast (Antichrist) and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20)

H. Events Following the seven year period

1. Final regathering of Israel (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 30:3; Ezekiel 36:24; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Amos 9:14-15; Micah 4:6-7; Matthew 24:31)

2. A remnant of Israelites turn to the Lord and are forgiven and cleansed (Hosea 14:1-5; Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 13:1)

3. National deliverance of Israel from the Antichrist (Daniel 12:1; Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 13:1; Romans 11:26-27)

4. Judgment of living Israel (Ezekiel 20:33-38; Matthew 25:1-30)

5. Judgment of living Gentiles (Matthew 25:31-46)

6. Satan cast into the abyss (Revelation 20:1-3)

7. Old Testament saints resurrected (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:1-3)

8. Tribulation saints resurrected (Revelation 20:4-6)

9. Daniel 9:24 fulfilled

10. Marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9)

11. Christ begins His reign on earth (Psalm 72:8; Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 2:14-35; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:13-14; Zechariah 9:10; Revelation 20:4)

Are Men Fools? (death of masculinity by feminist ideology)

Interesting information from a Focus on the Family newsletter I received in the mail months ago but decided to not throw away because i believe the things said are just so relevant for today. It’s gonna be long…but bear with me…and also please read it through….it’s gonna take long enough to type this all out by hand.

It is impossible to understand what is happening to our kids today, both male and female, without considering the influence of feminist ideology. Swirling out of it was an attack on the very essence of masculinity. Everything that had been associated with maleness was subjected to scorn. Men who clung to traditional roles and conservative attitudes were said to be too “macho.” If they foolishly tried to open doors for ladies or gave them their seats on subways, as their fathers had done, they wre called “male chauvinist pigs.” Women presented themselves as victims who were “not gonna take it anymore,” and men were said to be heartless oppressors who had abused and exploited womankind for centuries. Divorce skyrocketed as a surprising number of women simply packed up and left their husbands and children.

Although these early feminists called attention to some valid concerns that needed to be addressed, such as equal pay for work and discrimination in the workplace, they went far beyond legitimate grievances and began to rip and tear at the fabric of the family. By the time the storm had blown itself out, the institution of marriage had been shaken to its foundation, and masculinity itself was thrown back on its heels. It has never fully recovered.

Feminist Karla Mantilla summarized the philosophy behind it in an article entitled Kids Need ‘Fathers Like Fish Need Bicycles.” She wrote, “I submit that men tend to emphasize values such as discipline, power, control, stoicism, and independence. Sure there can be some good from these things, but they are mostly damaging to kids (and other living things). They certainly made my son suffer an isolated and tortured existence until he began to see that there was a way out of the trap of masculinity.”

The trap of masculinity? That is the way many feminists view maleness. A centerpiece of this hostility is seen in an ongoing effort to convince us that “Men are fools.” It claims that the majority of males are immature, impulsive, selfish, weak, and not very bright. It is interesting to note, for example, how disrespect for men pervades the entertainment industry, including many television commercials. The formula involves a beautiful woman (or a bevy of them) who is intelligent, sexy, admirable, and self assured. She encounters a slob of a man, usually in a bar, who is ignorant, balding, and overweight. The stupid guy quickly disgraces himself on screen, at which point the woman sneers and walks away.

So what is going on here? Is it possible that men, especially male beer drinkers and sports-car enthusiasts, actually like being depicted as dumb, horny, fat, nerdy, and ugly? Apparently they do. We also have to assume that guys are not offended when they are made the butt of a thousand jokes. But why? Women would not tolerate that kind of derision. Not in a million years would you see a corpulent, unattractive woman lusting after a good-looking man who shows disdain for her as she does something ridiculous.

Television sitcoms also blast away at traditional masculinity. There is not a single example of a healthy family depicted on network programming that includes a masculine guy who loves his kids and is respected by his wife. NONE!

Invariably, sitcoms today feature at least one gay or lesbian character, who is cast in a sympathetic role. One overriding goal of homosexual activists is to influence the next generation and to recruit children to their movement. How can impressionable boys and young men possibly discern what it means to be a heterosexual male, let alone a dedicate and disciplined husband and father, when this tripe is fed to them every night and when their own dads are nowhere to be found?

Roger Scruton, author of “Modern Manhood,” explained what is happening to perceptions of masculinity. “Feminists have snuffed out male pride wherever it has grown and ruthlessly uprooted it. Under their pressure, modern culture has downgraded or rejected such masculine virtues as courage, tenacity, and military prowess in favor of more gentle, more ‘socially inclusive’ habits.”

The bottom line is that many men have lost their compass. Not only do they not know who they are, they’re not sure what the culture expects them to be…It is time that men acted like men–being respectful, thoughtful and gentlemanly to women, but reacting with confidence, strength and certainty in manner. Some have wimped out, acting like whipped puppies. Others have boldly spoken out against feminist influence, refusing to be intimidated by the advocates of political correctness. Some have lashed out, reacting in anger and frustration. Some have flamed out, resorting to alcohol, drugs, illicit sex and other avenues of escape. Some have copped out, descending into mindless TV, professional sports and obsessive recreational activities. Some have sold out, becoming advocates of the new identity. Some have simply walked out, leaving their families in a lurch. Many, however, seem placidly unaware that they have lost their places in the culture. The result is a changing view of manhood with far-reaching implications for the future of the family.

Nations that are populated largely by immature, immoral, weak-willed, cowardly and self-indulgent men cannot and will not long endure. The presence of a father–or at least another responsible male role-model, is a critical component in the life of a boy. Without such influence, disastrous consequences–such as homosexuality–may follow.

The wrong-headed notion that children can thrive in a same-sex family (ie. an environment in which they are robbed of either a mother or a father) is just one more way that our culture is diminishing the natural, innate differences between the sexes and leaving boys confused about their masculinity. In light of this ongoing assault on men, we are left to ask, “What DOES true masculinity look like?”

Suffice it to say that the physiological and emotional characteristics of a typical male are dramatically and intrinsically different than those of the typical female. Males tend to be more aggressive, more assertive and more inclined to lead. When the male psyche functions as intended, it is sensitive to the needs of women and loving to children. The masculine temperament lends itself to two major responsibilities: to protect and to provide for the man’s family.

Despite the fact that men were designed by their Creator to fulfill these critical and unique roles, our culture remains resolute in its determination to strip away the very essence of what it means to be a man. If we leave it up to schools and media to teach young boys what it means to be real men, we will be subjecting them to potentially irreparable harm.

Who is Satan? (Part 1)

Who And What Satan Was

Satan (aka. The devil, Lucifer, the Enemy) was a sort of archangel created by God to be a protector of God’s throne. The most revealing verse in the Bible dealing with Satan’s beginning (and end) is Ezekiel 28:11-19 (NKJV)

“11Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 12 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, “Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. 14You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. 16By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. 17Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you. 18You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your trading; therefore I brought fire from your midst; it devoured you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you. 19All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; you have become a horror, and shall be no more forever.””

In this passage, Satan is given the title “King of Tyre.”  Like the Psalms–where the psalmist is seemingly referring to himself, but the statements made and the conditions described could only be connected to the Messiah, Jesus Christ- so here that which is addressed to the “king of Tyre” is seen to be a direct reference to the person of Satan (since the descriptions cannot be related to any human who has ever lived). In verse 15 it is stated that Satan was created perfect, and in verse 13 that perfection is presented in detail by the use of the precious gems. He among all created beings was also “full of wisdom” and “perfect in beauty,” adding to the image of a perfect created being. In verse 14 he is called the “anointed cherub who covers”  making reference to the fact that Satan was created as a guard or protector to the throne of the Most High; he was the highest of all cherubs ever created (since cherubs are given the duty of servicing the throne). It is also stated in verse 14 that Satan was located upon the Holy Mountain of God, the mountain of God being a symbol of the center of God’s power, government, and eternal throne (see also Psalms 48:1 and Isaiah 2:2 for references to the Holy Mountain of God).

In verse 14, Satan is said to have been in “Eden, the garden of God,” which is evidently another Eden than that in which Satan appeared as a serpent. The Eden of Genesis was one of great greenery from vegetation and exceedingly beautiful, whereas the Eden stated in verse 14 has “stones of fire.”  This is probably referencing a place in heaven located near the throne.

The whole passage suggests a position of great authority for which Satan was created and anointed, and from which he fell, drawing with him a host of other angelic beings over whom he had governing power and influence. Again, in verse 15, it is stated that Satan was perfect in all his ways from the day he was created. It is important to note both that Satan was created, and that he was created perfect. Since he was created, he is not self-existent, and never can be free from his dependence upon the Creator. Satan was created a free moral agent, capable of choosing evil but not intended to do so. That he chose to do evil must always be to his own blame, since the Creator surrounded him with sufficient motives for doing good. Christ said of Satan in John 8:44, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth.”  The conclusion, then, is that Satan was created in perfection, truth, and goodness, but afterward turned to a state in which Christ went on to say of him, “There is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of [lies].”  Thus, an important teaching of the passage in Ezekiel is of Satan’s first position and power- a power and wisdom sufficient to guard the throne of God from every possible enemy, and a glory and beauty that would make him become the highest officer in the court of heaven.

Another revelation about the crime of Satan is set forth in Isaiah 14:12-20. Before I quote the passage, it should be noted that the prophet Isaiah’s vision of Satan is from the time of his final judgment and working backward from that point over Satan’s entire existence. Thus, much that is still future is referred to as though it were in the past.

The passage is as follows:

“12How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! 13For you have said in your heart: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be LIKE the Most High.’ 15Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. 16Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: “Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, 17Who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?’ 18All the kings of the nations, all of them, sleep in glory, everyone in his own house; 19But you are cast out of your grave like an abominable branch, like the garment of those who are slain, thrust through with a sword, who go down to the stones of the pit, like a corpse trodden underfoot. 20You will not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land and slain your people. The brood of evildoers shall never be named.” (emphasis mine)

Notice Satan says he wants to be like the Most High.” He does not want to BE God”¦he wants to be like Him in power and authority. The title used in verse 12, “Lucifer, son of the morning,”  speaks of his first place in the celestial sphere, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy (see Job 38:7). This is referencing Satan’s once exalted position in heaven, obviously he was extremely bright like a star, when all those heavenly beings created by God shouted for joy at the wonder of God’s creative works.