Sunday, August 10, 2014

Setting the Table

And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, “and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. “Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” ’ “But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. “And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. “But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.                                 Matthew 22:1-7  NKJV

Most of us at one time or another have had the opportunity to prepare a meal for a large gathering of friends or relatives.  Personally, thanks to having daughters, I have had the pleasure (?) of preparing a reception and dinner for a very large number of people, and I can tell you the effort required to do that is daunting.  Suffice it to say that it is impossible to accomplish without planning and starting the preparation weeks or months in advance in order to have everything in place by the appointed time.  I believe this is a principle shown to us in the passage from Matthew, which we as believers should pay very close attention to when we consider the question of what we should be watching for in order to know how close we are to meeting our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the air.

The principle is simply that the preparations are made before the event, and not after it begins.  When teaching on eschatology and the end times, the point I always try to make is that when we watch, what we are watching for are signs that this world is being prepared for the events which will take place after the rapture of the Church.  The bible goes to great lengths to tell us in detail all that will occur during the seven years of judgment which is coming to this world, and it is the preparation for those events which I believe we should be watching for.  I want to share with you today just a few of the things I have seen in just this past week which I believe are truly signs that the preparation for this time of judgment is under way.

An enforced peace.

Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;      Daniel 9:27a  NKJV

I have shared before the meaning of the word for “confirm” used in this passage from Daniel.  It literally means that the future peace between Israel and its enemies is not necessarily a mutually agreed covenant, but rather one that is imposed upon them.  That said, imagine how interesting it was for me this week to read this article from the Jerusalem Post in which the foreign minister of France declared that peace between Israel and Hamas should be imposed!

Rebuild temple.

but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering, and on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”          Daniel  9:27b  NKJV

In order for the antichrist to end the sacrifice at the midpoint of the seven years, there must be a rebuilt temple for that sacrifice and offering to be observed in.  There has been a movement in Israel for many years to rebuild their temple, but it is only lately that the outcry to do so has become loud enough to be heard in not only the mainstream media, but in the government of Israel as well.  Consider this article from the Israeli newspaper Arutz Sheva.

Pestilence and death.

So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.      Revelation 6:8  NKJV

The book of Revelation makes it clear that millions of people will die during the time of judgment, and many of those will die of illness.  The ebola plague in Africa has shown just how possible this might be with many predicting that the current outbreak might well be uncontrollable.  The following is an excerpt from a commentary on this passage from the book of Revelation found at

Pale is χλωρός [chlōros] from which we derive chlorophyll, which denotes the green pigments found in plants. It may denote a mottled appearance, like the sorrel or dappled horses in Zechariah’s vision. See Zechariah’s Horses. Here it denotes “the color of a person in sickness as contrasted with the appearance of health,”1 for the name of the rider of the pale horse is death (θάνατος [thanatos] ).
Properly, “greenish-yellow,” like young grass or unripe wheat. Homer applies it to honey, and Sophocles to the sand. Generally, “pale, pallid.” Used of a mist, of sea-water, of a pale or bilious complexion. Thucydides uses it of the appearance of persons stricken with the plague (ii., 49). In Homer, it is used of the paleness of the face from fear, and so as directly descriptive of fear (“Iliad,” x., 376; xv., 4). Of olive wood (“Odyssey,” ix., 320, 379) of which the bark is gray.2
The word to describe the fourth horse’s color, chlōros (“pale green”), is the color of grass and other vegetation in Mark 6:39 and Rev. 8:7+; 9:4+, but in the present connection, designates the yellowish green of decay, the pallor of death. It is a pale ashen color that images a face bleached because of terror. It recalls a corpse in the advanced state of corruption (Ford).3

Many articles I have read state that there are numerous places in Africa where the corpses of the dead are simply left in the streets.  The following is an article about the severity of the current outbreak and the possible future if not brought under control.

Sun turns dark and the moon turns red.

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.    Acts 2:20  NKJV

The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.     Revelation 8:7  NKJV

And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit.     Revelation 9:2  NKJV

There are wildfires burning seemingly everywhere in the western Unites States right now, with a very large one located practically in my backyard.  I can go out at night and watch the flames burning on the hills and see the smoke billow thousands of feet in the air.  Watching the sun and moon both rise in this smoke gives both a very unusual deep red color, and in fact, at times, the smoke is so thick you can hardly see them.  I can’t help but wonder after reading these verses just what the sun and moon will look like during this time when a third of all trees, and all green grass will be burned.

Are we seeing the table being set for the judgment to come?  Are these events a harbinger of the tribulation to come?  I personally believe so, and if we watch with an eye to the specific events we are told will occur during those seven years, I believe we can see the preparations being made all around us.

Keep watching.

PS. Monday, 8/11...

The sea becomes as blood.

 Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died.  Revelation 16:3  NKJV