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Misreading the Signs of the Times

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          It appears that most people today in America are misreading the times and as those in the day of Christ and don’t know the time we are in. Jesus said they could discern the weather by looking at the sky but they couldn’t see the signs of the times and know the time they were in and therefore they suffered greatly. It is sad but for the most part, the ministers in the pulpit are the problem because they are not willing to stand up for the truth and speak the Word of God fearlessly without compromise. They are all concerned only with numbers and money and growth of their organization and being accepted and popular and they don’t want to offend anyone or speak that which would cause some to leave and they are nothing more than people pleasers and back patters having forgotten the exhortation of Scripture.

          Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Jeremiah 23:28 “…he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.”

          Ministers are afraid to speak the truth and use words like sinner and tell people that they have sinned and need to repent and be saved because the word sinner might affect peoples self esteem and make them feel bad about themselves and they want everyone to feel good and be happy. They have forgotten the admonition of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 6:14But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” But they no longer preach the blood of Jesus and the cross of Christ because it offends people, especially when you say that without faith in Christ you will spend eternity in a literal devil’s hell. Galatians 5:11And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.” 1 Corinthians 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;” 1 Peter 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”

          If we don’t deal with the truth about life, and tell people the sinfulness of fallen man and the good news of the gospel and salvation through repentance, then we are in the wrong business and don’t belong in a pulpit or leading a church. If the church is not a hospital for sinners and a place for men to learn how to get right with God and how to make it to heaven, then it is useless and might as well close its doors, as many are in Europe and England. The aren’t doing people any good but neither are those in America that preach a false gospel of prosperity and all positive good news and blessing without a need for repentance and a change in life. The difference is the same in reality only that those in Europe are closing because the people know there is nothing in them but spiritual death and boredom whereas in America we have deceived the people with music they want to hear, entertainment, a show and production and making them feel good about themselves, no matter how they live.

They don’t consider God’s warnings as in Jeremiah 23:17-20 They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.” Yet we are seeing these things happen and no one is considering what they are seeing.

          When terrible tragedies happen as the tsunami last year (2004) or the hurricanes here in America this year (2005), people often skirt around the real issue which is that God is trying to get the attention of the nation. So let us look at how Israel misread their times and missed out and look at where we are and how we will suffer if we continue to do the same thing.

          Matthew 23:37-39O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” This warning is repeated in Luke 13:34-35.

The time of visitation is an important thing. God was giving them a chance to repent and if they didn’t, then of the coming judgment and destruction. Notice the end result of their not realizing the time they were in and of misreading the signs of the times. They misread the warnings God gave them and didn’t think anything would happen. This was true before the Babylonian captivity and destruction of the temple then and before the Romans came into Jerusalem and burnt the temple to the ground and took all the treasures out of the temple in 70 AD. The people were saying, “God isn’t going to let anything happen to this city, this is His holy city, He has His name here.”  And the prophets were saying, “Stop you’re sinning, the judgment of God is coming.” When Jeremiah predicted the coming judgment, the people wanted him dead. That is the way many are today in America about the preaching of truth and the coming judgment.

          Jeremiah 26:7-8So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD. Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die.” Even the priests wanted to kill him for preaching the truth that God had given him. It didn’t seem to make any sense to them. The city was in great prosperity before the Babylonians came in 606 BC and it was in great prosperity before the Romans came in 70 AD. The people and the religious leaders of both times were saying that the predictions of the prophets of God didn’t add up to the prosperity and blessing they were seeing in the city and among the people. Everything seems to be going so well, so why should they listen to a doom and gloom preacher of judgment?

          Matthew 24:37But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” In the story of Noah, God said in Genesis 6:3And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh:…” God always visits in mercy before he visits in wrath. God always gives a season to repent before He cuts off that season. God always sends a chastisement before He sends a judgment. And God prepares His people with a plan of escape if His people will head His warnings.

          Let us compare 70 AD and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple and our day and time. Matthew 24:1-2And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” In these two simple verses of prophecy Jesus gave 3 things that can better be seen by reading the entire chapter 24 of Matthew and Luke chapter 21 and put the two together.

          First Jesus gave them a warning and said destruction was coming to the city and the temple. Matthew 23:37-38O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” Also Matthew 24:1-2 already quoted above.

          Then He gave them the timing of what was about to happen in Luke 21:20And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” Now they had a sign that judgment was about to happen.

          Then He gave them an action plan and told them to flee to the mountains in Luke 21:21Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.”

          So in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 Jesus did three things. He gave them the warning of what would happen, He gave them the timing, when they saw the Roman armies surrounding the city, then a plan of action, to flee the city to the mountains for destruction was about to take place.

          Matthew 24:16-19Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!” This is the destruction of the temple that took place by the Roman legion in 70 AD.

          What a parallel between that and what happened in New Orleans and parts of Mississippi and Alabama. First Jesus told them to get out of the city and head for the mountains. That is saying, get out of the city, out of the low lands and head to higher ground. That is a picture of what people should have done and should do anytime there is a serious hurricane and that is leave the low ground and head for higher ground. But many did not head the warnings and stayed anyway.

          Second, he told them that if they were on the rooftops not to come down to try and remove anything out of the house. People that were on the rooftop during the flooding of New Orleans could be seen and the rescuers knew they were there and were rescued, but if they were inside the house, they couldn’t be seen and rescuers couldn’t tell if anyone was in the house or not. Note the parallel.

          Third Jesus told them don’t go back in the house for clothes or food or anything. The reason Jesus told them that was because the Roman soldiers were coming and they were going to besiege the city and kill most the people. So if you’re on the housetop don’t come down. In those days their houses were very close together and a person could go from one rooftop to the next and escape down a stairs somewhere at the end of the line of houses or neighbor. They are going to burn the houses down and so don’t go back inside and get caught and killed. Some got caught inside their houses in New Orleans and died there.

In Matthew 24:19 he said woe unto the mothers that are breast feeding in those days. “And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!” The reason is that the mother would have to flee with their children quickly and they had to flee on foot, not having the buses, cars and planes we have today. So then, it was a great difficulty to flee with a suckling child and they would have no food and may go days without food to make milk for their babies. During the aftermath of the hurricane (Katrina) many infants that needed some kind of formula and baby food had none for days.

This is much like what Josephus wrote about the siege of the city of Jerusalem in which the Romans cut off everything on the outside and didn’t let any food or water into the city and that went on for months and the people starved to death. But Jesus had warned His people that if they would flee the city when they saw the sign He had given them, they would not have to go through that te rrible devastation.

We are dealing with how they misread the times and didn’t listen to the warnings of God and Americans are also good at not paying any attention to warnings and won’t do anything until the disaster strikes. We are good at ignoring warnings and not taking them seriously. We are good at not taking warnings until it is too late and the disaster takes place. We think all will continue, we will we okay and get by. It is an arrogance and stubbornness that cost many their lives in the hurricanes, just as many in Jerusalem in 70 AD.

A good example is that we have been repeatedly warned that terrorists will strike again in a big way, maybe with a dirty bomb or some other way that will affect many people but no one pays any attention. Then when it happens everyone panics and then want to blame someone else for what they are experiencing and suffering.

Before the destruction of Jerusalem there were both supernatural warnings given and verbal warnings given. All this is found in Josephus, Antiquities, War of the Jews, book VI, chapter V. He listed a series of supernatural signs that preceded the destruction of the Temple from 2 to 4 years before it happened.  Most of these signs were as much as four years before.

First there was a star resembling a sword that stood over the city. That happened in 1998 and appeared in Italy being caused by a meteorite shower. It was a striking and clear sword. The sign in the sky was actually very beautiful and clearly visible. Second a comet was seen in the sky for an entire year. A comet in Jewish teaching is an omen of war coming to the world, depending on where you see the comet; it tells where war is coming. Because there was a comet seen over Jerusalem the wise men said it was a terrible sign of devastation for them. In 1998 we had the hale-bop comet much brighter than that of Haley’s comet and it was last seen in the time of Noah when he was building the ark. Another parallel: Third, on the Feast of Unleavened Bread at the ninth hour of the night, there was a great light that shown in the temple. “This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskillful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes, as to portend those events that followed immediately upon it.” War of the Jews by Josephus, Book VI chapter V.

He was saying that the unskilled thought it was a good sign, but those who knew, realized that it was not. Then at the same festival, a red heifer gave birth to a lamb, a very bizarre sign that is naturally impossible. Then the inner gate of the inner court opened and closed by itself and that normally took 20 men to do. “This also appeared to the vulgar to be a very happy prodigy, as if God did thereby open then the gate of happiness. But the men of learning understood it, that the security of their holy house was dissolved of its own accord, and that the gate was opened for the advantage of their enemies.” War of the Jews by Josephus, Book VI chapter V.

Again, the carnal people thought it was great, a sign that all was okay but the wise said, “No, it is a sign that God has prepared their enemies to take the holy city and the temple”. At the Feast of Pentecost there was a shaking and voice that said, “let us depart hence.” These are the supernatural signs that happened before the destruction of Jerusalem. Notice how it was taken two ways, one group saying that it was good and prosperity was coming and the other saying no, trouble is coming. And guess who was right in the end? The foretellers of judgment!

Now the verbal warnings that were given to the people according to Josephus. A man names Jesus of Ananus, a husbandman (that’s a man with a vineyard). Four years before the destruction when it was a time of peace and prosperity, he went through the city warning them. “A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides , and a voice against this whole people!” War of the Jews by Josephus, Book VI chapter V.

 This man went day and night into the lanes of the city crying this out and giving this warning. The wealthy and prominent of the city started beating him to silence him. When this didn’t work, the Roman leaders had him beaten to the bone and he only screamed the louder, “woe, woe to the city of Jerusalem.”  For seven years and five months at every Jewish festival this man yelled and never grew horse. Finally at the destruction of the temple in the year 70 AD this man mentioned in Josephus, who lived and was an eye witness to these things, yelled on the walls, “woe, woe” and then said “woe unto myself” and at that moment a large stone from a Roman catapult hit him upon the head and killed him and the city fell right after that. The Romans came in and slaughtered the people and burnt the temple down.

So here some were saying that destruction was coming upon the city because of its sins and others had this oracle of some kind of prophet that said God would spare the city and this split set of prophecies were going on in the year 70 AD before the destruction came. One was prophesying blessing and prosperity and the other the judgment to come.

Watch the parallels. The people were confined inside the walls of the city and they could not get out. They had no food and no water and a famine resulted. The Romans robbed, looted and plundered the people throughout the city and the city was covered with dead bodies and burning building and a severe famine. New Orleans was without drinkable water and food, there were armed looters all over the city, even some policemen who left their posts were looting and there were dead bodies in building and floating in the water and even some gra ves floated.

The conclusion of Josephus about the destruction of Jerusalem: “But these men interpreted some of these signals according to their own pleasure, and some of them they utterly despised, until their madness was demonstrated, both by the taking of their city and their own destruction.” of the Jews by Josephus, Book VI chapter V.

There were a group of false prophets in the time of the destruction of the city saying, don’t worry, God is going to intervene and nothing bad is going to happen. Then there was a group of people that spoke God’s Word and told them, “No, everything is not going to be alright”.

Right before the destruction of Jerusalem there was a small group of Christians that had a window to flee the city. They went into the country and mountains of Jordan and built a Christian community and had asylum there. Those Christians had to leave their home, leave their clothes and everything they had and knew and be displaced, evacuated to another part of the country and while the city burnt and was destroyed they were spared because they listened to the warnings of God and got out of the city. Those who left New Orleans survived what happened there, though they had to leave with little other than their clothes and cars while others who remained through the storm suffered greatly.

The reason that Jesus told them destruction is coming was because they were guilty of shedding innocent blood, and for that same reason it will come upon us. Matthew 23:34-38. “Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” Today if the liberals could get by with it, they would kill, jail or run all true Christians out of the country. The liberals of congress don’t want anyone who goes to church to be put on the Supreme Court; Evangelical Christians are hated with a passion because we don’t accept their golden cow (idol) of abortion. That is the most important issue for a nominee to the Supreme Court for liberal politicians. That shows how wicked our leaders are in America and how they will bring God’s judgment for murdering the innocent. To them that is the sacred golden cow that cannot be touched under any circumstance. Murderous abortion must go on unhindered, unrestrained, even at public expense. Yet the taxpayers were never asked.

Judgment is coming because they were not Repenting. Matthew 11:20-24. “Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.”

And judgment is coming because of rejecting the Messiah. John 1:11He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” Isaiah 53:3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Mark 8:31And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”

Although this is not clearly recorded in scripture except the reference when Jesus cleansed the temple, Jewish history bears out that the priesthood had been corrupted and had become a money making machine and they used men to pad their pockets. Matthew 21:12-13 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” They were stealing from the people under the guise of religious duty.

Those were the four reasons that Jerusalem was destroyed and the temple destroyed. America is just as guilty of all four of these reasons that God judged Israel. Will He not also judge us for these same things?

Now compare these to America today. First is the shedding of innocent blood in America. The pro-abortionists hate it when someone says so and most in the church pay no attention and don’t care but we have murdered some 50 million babies in America since Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion and their blood is crying out to God as Abel’s blood cried out to God and Cain was marked because of it. Genesis 4:8-15And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.” It happened in Jerusalem and it is happening in America. The blood of the innocent is crying out to God.

Second, we are not Repenting. On 9/11 no one repented, only a few Christians prayed for the country. We got patriotic but we didn’t repent. Now there is a lot of humanitarian aid pouring into New Orleans and to the south, but who is calling them to repentance! Who is saying that our sins can and may have caused this and let us humble ourselves before God so that His blessing will be upon us. The homosexuals there who were planning their Southern Decadence gay part beginning on August 31st, the day after the hurricane, then had parties in absentee in other cities and are already planning next years party in New Orleans. Just look at their site at www.southerndecadence.com and www.southerndecadence.net. Our liberals in Congress are the best example besides the homosexuals and abortionists that we are thumbing our noses at God. We are not repenting and parallel things are happening.

We are Rejecting Christ as a nation. Today outside America in many countries many are coming to Christ but not in America. All we are doing is transferring people from one church to another. There is only a few churches that are having any results of reaching sinners and bringing them to repentance. Barnam surveys have proven that. The church in America is not growing with new converts; the new converts are going to Islam, Mormonism and other cults.

Then the corruption in the ministry. Ministers in America are manipulators, they fleece the sheep and they need to repent before all your people leave. They sell and merchandise the gifts and Word of God to get rich. They ask the poor to give them their money under the guise of receiving back a blessing and prosperity, while they live in decadence and wealth, like kings and queens. It is time the ministers straighten up and repent and start speaking the truth and living right before God judges more of our cities. All these moral problems and issues in America are the fault of the church more than anything else because we have not stood up and been counted and proclaimed the truth and lived it publicly for the past 40 plus years and now we are paying the price as we are about to become outlawed and loose all freedom of speech, religion and all we hold dear. Preaching the gospel is being outlawed and the Bible is being called hate speech and the Ten Commandments are being sand blasted out of granite and marble from our court houses. Wake up America; it is later than you think. We are headed for dictatorship and persecution of Christians. It has already begun, and God has begun to judge His house like He said He would. 1 Peter 4:17-18 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

Do you think for a moment that San Francisco, Miami, Las Vegas and other cities are not just as sinful and wicked before God as New Orleans that they will escape judgment? And ultimately, our economy is being gradually bankrupt, at the national, state and local levels not to mention all the individual and businesses going bankrupt. Look at our large corporations, airlines and is General Motors and Ford next when their bonds are already considered junk and their debt growing daily. We are headed for a serious depression, worse than that of the “Great Depression” and it is near at hand.

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