Prophets of the Bible – A New Ending
As some will know, my major project for 2020 was to write a book titled “Prophets of the Bible” (see here). I decided to go to a second edition early 2021 and thought that was it but have recently added the following final chapter. This second edition with be available via Ingram / Amazon January 2022. Please note: this is longer than my standard blogs but does encapsulate many of my recent thoughts …
Final thoughts on modern day prophecy
“Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all” Henry Wadsworth Longellow (1807-1882).
I wrote Chapter 21 by way of a reflective diary that ended in February 2021, with the intention of relating Bible prophecy, modern prophecy and today’s events. It is now mid-April and, while I had hoped something dramatic would have happened by now with regard to the concerns and hopes I raised and, pertinent to the book, it would confirm (or even refute, if false) the credibility of some whom I chose to label as modern-day political prophets, I am still waiting, yet there is enough going on, largely unreported, to give me hope. Sometimes it feels like I am watching a pantomime, barely aware of the twists and turns ahead, but hoping the villains get their comeuppance and the good guys win. I sense too God is testing and refining His people for great things to come and that He is looking to make Christ’s bride a pure and radiant one, as opposed to impure and defeated. I know too there is a spiritual war being fought in the heavenlies, and one where the repercussions are being felt down here on Earth, and yet one which the armies of God along with the Church will win. While the thoughts of Longfellow are not the Word of God, he made the important point that any sincere followers of the Lord should note. He does things His way, and in His time that is always on time.
It seems to me there are broadly three categories of Christians when it comes to formulating a response to what is happening in the world right now and, such is the “divide and rule” paradigm we are now living in, we often find members of each group antipathetic to the views of those who are not in their group. Firstly, there are those who seek to rise above and often ignore what is going on, emphasising rather the importance of preaching the gospel and being faithful. Secondly, there are those who seek to respond to world events but are content to be guided by what political and societal leaders and mainstream media say. Thirdly, there are those who also seek to respond but, since disregarding such leaders and media (to use the picture painted in the Book of Proverbs) as fools (mix of liars, villains and those who simply, naïvely have got it wrong), some of them are more likely to be informed by “conspiracy theorists” and/or political prophets. In my lifetime, I have belonged to all three groups and, while I would rather be part of the first one, I am finding myself increasingly drawn to the third, while at the same time seeking out truth and maintaining balance. There is also a danger of Christians losing hope and abandoning sound doctrine, and the ever-present danger of the Laodicean spirit of lukewarmness taking hold.
While what the future holds, once we come (supposedly) out of the Covid-19 crisis, may by uppermost in people’s minds, I am inclined to the view that what we are faced with is a future dominated by either what has come to be labelled as the “Great Reset” or the alternative “Great Awakening” and, for those in the don’t know camp, it is the question of which one is going to prevail that should be concerning us. In a strange way, the Corona virus is part of the big picture and it is a matter of connecting the dots. One is dominated by the “black hats” that wish to control (and coerce) the masses. The other is dominated by the “white hats”, who among other things are pulling the lid off international child trafficking, the evils of the world financial systems, election fraud and attempts to enslave the masses by deception and even get them to acquiesce to their enslavement. The difficulty for many often is working out who is good and who is bad. The reality is if God is at the centre of it all, what we may see is merely a shade of grey.
In eschatological terms, I cannot discount that as well as the fact the Lord is coming back to planet earth soon, before then there will be a time of major disruption and wickedness as part of a three-and-a-half-year period referred to as the Great Tribulation, overseen by the Antichrist and, while I would love to be wrong, that is where the world seems to be heading at this time. Yet, many political prophets are prophesying a time of imminent great revival along with, at least for a season, the white hats orchestrating many world events, and that includes Donald J. Trump serving a second term as US President to help in, among other things, more draining of the swamp. Other “Christian” views range from a new Enlightenment to a great falling away, and not forgetting those who see the rising tide of evil but before the Great Tribulation the Church will be raptured.
As for me, I will endeavour, with God’s help, to do what I wrote on my Facebook page: “I am a gospel preaching, community activist, watchman on the wall”. The more I watch, the more convinced I am that: not only God will win in the end (and therefore, dear reader, I invite you to join God’s winning side), but evil will be exposed to an extent unprecedented since the Great Flood, with God acting both in mercy and in judgment. “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness” 1 John 5:19. We need to be like faithful Daniel, who humbly and prayerfully intreated God concerning perplexing events that were happening around him and the future, barely aware of the battle raging in the spiritual realm (Daniel 9,10). But we know: “for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds” 2 Corinthians 10:4.
I expect, when most people get to read this, the world will appear to be a quite different place to when this was written, much of which, as far as this author is concerned, will come in the unforeseen and unexpected categories. Just as I don’t claim to be a prophet, neither am I a political pundit (my track record confirms); nor am I (and this is definitely a no-go area) a soothsayer or crystal ball gazer. I am not going to go down conspiracy theory rabbit holes, besides which, there are others who do so better than me; all I can say is – do your own research and don’t trust the media. I am me, a “nobody”; church layman, a sinner saved by grace, a brand plucked from the fire, who wants to make a difference. I love the Lord and want to share what I know; to wake people up and to encourage others. And what better way than give the last word of this section to a prophet of the Bible: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8.
Eight months on …
“Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it. Then Job answered the Lord, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further” Job 40:1-5.
All of the above, barring some minor tinkering for this final chapter, was written more than eight months ago and formed the second edition of this book. During that time, I have reflected on where the world is from a prophetic perspective and do see how little I know on what is going on etc., feeling perhaps a bit like dear Job when God finally caught up with him and put him in his place. While I have made my book freely available on my website as an electronic download and did get some hard copies printed to give out to folk who were interested, or to pass on as a gift to friends etc., I did not particularly promote what I wrote. For one reason, I lacked the confidence to do so and wanted to find the most opportune moment. Significantly, I did not make the book available to the wider world through Ingram, Amazon etc. and thus have no compunction to add these extra thoughts along with tinkers and claim this as the second edition – so please bear with me. After this, no more changes (this edition at least); it is “publish and be damned”.
I have resisted the temptation revise earlier content for, if I did, I might, for example, bring up to date the section titled “On making many books”. As I write this, the number of jrbpublications.com blog entries stand at 1930 and I fully expect it to be over 2000 in the next few months. Some of the new entries are on subjects relating to the content of this book. As for writing projects, I am now resigned not to update “Outside the Camp”, which tells my story. While to “go forth to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach” etc., Hebrews 13:13, still defines my own approach as a gospel preaching, community activist, watchman on the wall, I feel I need to focus my energies elsewhere, as my time is short and, besides, I want my future writing efforts to be more about Him and less about me.
While I don’t regret doing what I did, as it was well intentioned and often made a real difference, I do regret some of my naïvety in wanting to get along with and having my priorities defined by those who do not love God, a tendency I see all too often in the next generation of Christian community activists. Regarding my forthcoming book: “Kings and Priests of the Bible”, it is as I had expected a big undertaking and is still work in progress, to be made available in 2022. But I did complete “Song of Songs, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes” (a set of daily meditations) since writing that section and, while not to do with prophets, the main themes of that book: “Love is Strong as Death” – Song of Songs, “The Way of Wisdom” – Proverbs and “Life under the Sun” – Ecclesiastes, all have prophetic implications.
I had a strong sense when I came to this final chapter of this book, which was meant to take a final hard, long, last look at the state of the world that is unravelling before our very eyes as opposed to in the shadows, and do so from a prophetic perspective by relating this to what the Bible prophets had to say and what our own response should be, noting that the world is changing rapidly and, by the time people would come to read my book, there would have been a lot more change to reflect upon. Paradoxically, while in eight months I have been made even more aware of nefarious goings on and the resistance to them, resulting in huge changes that when we look back at them in years to come will see as of major significance, yet the words of Longfellow have been proven true. My hope for justice in the light of the November 3rd 2020 US Election steal though has still not happened and neither has there been an appropriate resolution to the Covid-19 pan(scam)demic. Perhaps, one thing we can take comfort in, along with Longfellow’s inspirational words, is we can have confidence in the Lord and His righteous plans for humanity: “For I am the Lord, I change not” Malachi 3:6.
The nice thing about getting extra bites of the proverbial cherry is the author is given the opportunity to add further profound thoughts that have arose since last writing. The first thing to say is I hope I have not been an unnecessary stumbling block to any. While I regret not always being gracious, I do not apologise for upsetting some folk, including respected Christian leaders, when I know they should be taken to task for not acting as shepherds ought with their flock, and from own experience gentle rebukes are how God frequently deals with us, and at the same time I don’t wish to lead people astray at a time when many Christian brothers and sisters, as well as the world at large, are being led astray by the Evil One. Except for Chapter 21: 2020, 2021 and the prophetic, and mindful some good Christian folk do not go along with all my views on eschatology, literal, pre-millennial etc., I make no apologies for my Conservative Evangelical, non-replacement of Israel views. I have tried in the previous chapters to be meticulous in keeping to what the Bible says, recognising there are depths not yet fully delved into, because I feel I don’t know the Bible or the God of the Bible well enough.
As for Chapter 21, while I do not claim to be a prophet, I have no doubt, besides teaching the Bible, I am called to be a watchman on the wall, whose job was to warn the people of imminent threats etc. Chapter 21 and this final chapter is offered by way of sharing with readers what I am seeing, as it matters, along with the caveat, when checking out what I write, you “test and weigh” and hear from the Lord alone. In the eight months since I wrote what I did, I have noted with alarm the squashing of the prophetic voice, with real prophets under attack and those who are acclaimed as prophets more likely to be in the false prophet category, discussed in Chapter 6. Often those in church leadership are more likely to be providing support to the false narratives, e.g. over Covid-19 as pushed by government. What is needed is the authentic prophetic voice as prophesied in Joel 2 and Acts 2. If there is to be a Great Awakening of the spiritual sort, I hope and pray it includes true prophets of the Lord and the gift of prophecy in the Church.
At the beginning of this chapter, as well as in Chapter 21, I laid out two alternative views on how the world will turn out in the next few months and years. I felt it can either be the Great Reset led by the “black hats” or the Great Awakening led by the “white hats”. A third view, of course, is it will be neither or a mix and a fourth one, perhaps, is it is not for us to know – it is in the Lord’s hands. I write now with a certain trepidation, not wanting to mislead anyone. People get quite hung up over definitions and the best thing I can do for those wanting to know my own understanding is to suggest they read what I have written so far in this book or my recent blogs. As to which it is going to be, in the natural, I fear the former (because that is the way it is looking) but I hope for the latter, both from the point of view of more evidence since I wrote eight months ago of people waking up to assorted wicked, satanic inspired goings on and resisting the evil cabal (and if “Q” is for real, and it is not some New Age fantasy to wrongly raise hopes and we can “trust the plan” (whatever that is), as unlikely as it seems, the good guys may indeed be control). Then there are longed for spiritual revivals, some already happening, which in the past were often referred to as great awakenings. Not to forget, Satan is ever at work trying to deceive us all and oppose all that is of God.
While some of the modern “political” prophets seem sometimes to agree with the New Age, syncretic, Gnostic leaning conspiracy theorists types when it comes to a soon Great Awakening that includes overturning of the Babylon system spoken of in Revelation 17 and 18 and by some of the Hebrew prophets, they often appear to overlook the view my former spiritual mentors came to when considering end time prophecy – the world is getting steadily worse and, given the AntiChrist (Revelation 13) has not yet been revealed and neither has the Great Tribulation begun that goes with it, we have no basis to expect the evil cabal to receive their comeuppance before Christ returns to planet earth to, amongst other things, judge evil and usher in His righteous kingdom (Revelation 19). I could go on and elaborate but, as far as this book is concerned, I have said enough, other than make the point – Trust His plan, for it is the only one we can be entirely confident in!
Many years ago, as a youngish preacher, about to set out on a preaching tour in what was to become the country of my second home – India, I was offered two bits of sage advice, by wiser, older mentors, that I would like to pass on to those reading this book, especially if like me the reader is intent on preaching the gospel. Firstly, we must put aside personal hang ups about this or that issue or pet subject, but rather focus on encouraging listeners, something this book seeks to do for its readers. Secondly, we must not ignore the subject of suffering, even though all too often there is no pat answer for those who have suffered or are experiencing suffering. After all, the last book of the Bible, which is almost entirely all prophecy, Revelation, was written to prepare its readers for suffering. I would like to begin these final thoughts by considering something that goes hand in hand with encouragement – that of warning, specifically given our proneness to deception, reflect further on the subject of suffering, something no true follower of Jesus can avoid (see also Chapter 18) and consider the writing on the wall.
Before elaborating on these two bits of advice that I can now see are needed more than ever for such a time as this and coming up with a suitable new conclusion, let me reiterate that I fully stand by what I wrote, now over a year ago, that went out as the First Edition. I was, after all, trying to do what I have long tried to do – faithfully expound the scriptures as best I can, adopting certain principles that many great Bible scholars of the past have adhered to, even though maybe taking different views and, understandably, emphasising different things. Where I get more controversial is concerning how to apply prophecy to the current situation and what to make out of modern-day prophecy, given my own church background were not much into such things and many who are do not go along with my views, yet noting that even in the course of one year my views have developed, if not changed, and will do so again. It is unlikely, however, any one understands it all.
While “test and weigh” is something I urge people do whenever they receive new information, insights etc., I particularly urge they do so regarding what is going on right now, my take on events, the future etc., and especially when it comes to modern day “prophets”, some of whom have sadly been found wanting. I continue to take as my role model the children of Issachar, of whom it is written “were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” 1 Chronicles 12:32. Along with modern day Elishas, who knew what was spoken in the king’s bedroom, we could do with the modern equivalent of Children of Issachar. As I turn my attention to the kings and priests of the Bible, it seems to me we have more than enough of their modern-day equivalents, although often not of the desired calibre, but when it comes to genuine prophets, there is a dearth, especially given the need and for balance sake the prophetic voice is desperately needed.
“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” Revelation 12:9.
When it comes to issues and concerns for fellow Christians, there may be many, not least that we all are found united (reference Jesus’ High Priestly prayer of John 17) and living holy lives experiencing the power and blessing of the living God. More down to earth, perhaps, is the matter of deception.
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” Jude 3.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” John 3:16.
We all have a tendency to align with those who echo and support our opinions, often based on our own life experiences and axioms we live by. Perhaps, one sign of maturity is to live serenely with difference, accept that sometimes we are wrong, realise there is much we don’t know and prioritise what matters (“get wisdom, get understanding” and “wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom” Proverbs 4:5,7). Often it is safer to align with groups as it suits us etc., for the result of not doing so is like what may happen walking in the middle of the road, with the danger of being knocked down by traffic coming in either direction. We may want to join with a particular theological stable, especially if we are looking to associate with sound doctrine, as long as we realise none are 100% correct. The trick is to avoid bigotry and to discern – knowing / doing what is right and humility, adopting the maxim we can trace back to St. Augustine: “in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity” and the prayer of Reinhold Niebuhr: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference”.
As I wrote earlier, my own stable for a lot of my life has been the Plymouth Brethren, which some see as a cult and others as those who more than any follow the text in Jude 3 and believe the text in John 3. One good lesson I did learn from the PBs is in their eagerness to be right and custodians of the truth, they could be unnecessarily dismissive of some of those who saw things differently yet truly, and not always gracious. More than twenty years back, I wrote a paper titled: “Who Are The Brethren” (available on my website) and my concluding paragraph reads: “At the risk of being dismissed as a spiritual schizophrenic by my readers or a heretic by my (Plymouth) brothers, I am inclined toward a vision of the church that is Catholic in spirituality, Liberal in social activism, Reformed in doctrine, Charismatic in experience, Evangelical in zeal, Puritan in living, Methodist in organisation and Brethren in ecclesiology, but above all passionate for Jesus. Finally, although an enthusiastic researcher of Brethren history who is keen to “get it right”, I am much more concerned that men and women, and boys and girls, walk the way, trust the truth and live the life of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14v6); and may He be exalted, by whatever instrument He chooses, Brethren or otherwise. And may all God’s people receive a touch from heaven so that they may touch earth in His glorious cause. O Lord grant us grace to lose what is dear, so we may gain Him who is dearest, and may Thy Kingdom come”. I should add, I still cannot find a perfect role model when it comes to eschatology.
If you were to ask well known atheist, Richard Dawkins, the question we want to attempt to answer (i.e. are most Christians deceived?) he would probably say any who believe in the equivalent to fairies at the bottom of your garden are likely to be deceived. As for me, when I was aged 15, I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, recognising He died on the cross to redeem me and save me from Hell and, while there have been many hiccups in the 55 years up to now, I have followed and still follow Him and seek after truth. I have a love for His Church and, in writing as I do, I try to warn and encourage the Church (i.e. believers in Him) as well as those who are not the Church, mindful of His High Priestly prayer of John 17, praying disciples in the future, including today, be One, as He is with His Father. It appears to be a long way from being answered in its entirety. My writings and blogs are evidence of my own concerns and perspectives even though it has come at a cost of upsetting several Christian ministers, including those from my own theological stable, and going through refining fire.
But what I want to get to is the subject of deception and all of us have it in us to be deceived, just as Jesus pointed out in His Mount Olivet discourse (Matthew 24) e.g. “for there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (24:24), and particularly as we come to “End Times”. When it comes to the End, the culmination of the sequence of events to be expected is the return of Jesus, described in Revelation 19. The Apostle Paul elaborates on the theme of deception in the light of this, in 2 Thessalonians 2. I wish to focus on one example of deception as my ear has been bent in recent days by Christians of good standing e.g. quoting the Jude 3 text that is pivotal, citing concerns like “New Age”, “Gnostic”, “Syncretic”, “Theosophy” and the occult, who have spoken particularly against those involved in a “Reawaken America” tour (meant to do just that) that is taking place in the USA as I write (www. timetofreeamerica.com), although to wake people up and enthuse them is one thing, leading them to a true knowledge of God, which faithful gospel preachers should be doing, is another.
Others have expressed concern I am going down these rabbit holes as many of those who do so often push New Age notions not in accordance with the teachings of the Bible, although (rightly) pointing out that the world right now is anything but what it ought to be, and all this can only be a distraction and not good for one’s mental well-being. But we can’t ignore what is going on in increasing plain sight and should ask what if anything we should be doing about it. If I can cite one Bible teacher, J.D.Farag, who is no friend from what I can make out of modern day political prophets yet who, other than some of his end time views, is deemed as sound by most, he gives reasons why he believes a lot of the end of the world stuff, talked about in the Book of Revelation, is coming to pass right now e.g. his belief that the bad guys are looking to control humanity because they have access to peoples’ DNA is especially alarming, and anyone who has seen the latest James Bond movie, “No Time to Die”, will know just what I mean.
Before I examine further the New Age deception, I would like to refer to another deception that is just as insidious and perhaps even more widespread. Since Satan, the father of lies, is the instigator of all deceptions there is some commonality. He is, after all, the quintessential past master, having tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. When I began my Christian journey 55 years ago, I was made aware of broadly three groups of Christians: Evangelicals, Liberals and Catholics, who joined forces when it suited them and kept their distance and outrightly opposed each other when it didn’t. As for the cults, and non-Christian religions, they could be safely ignored as too far away from the truth to count.
My Plymouth Brethren mentors, while decidedly Evangelical in their beliefs, often distanced themselves from other Evangelicals, such as the Pentecostals, because of their views on the Holy Spirit, and many mainline denominations because of their ecclesiology and eschatology beliefs. The “Christian” landscape has changed much in the period following and my own journey has brought me in contact with many, who if they were around, my PB mentors would likely disapprove of. While I now value alternative perspectives on Christian living in accordance with Bible principles and have learned a lot from such folk, my gospel related beliefs, broadly outlined above, have firmly remained.
Few would disagree we live in interesting times and some will come up with more apt adjectives. Of course, at the same time, we know there is nothing new under the sun; Christians ever since New Testament days have been in contention with other Christians on what Christians should believe etc. But Solomon did not have to contend with issues like the US Presidential Election fraud and the Corona pandemic and would not have had to come to a view on climate change, LBGTQ inclusion and Critical Race Theory. What I have noted, sadly, is many ministers have fallen in line with the ideas of globalists calling for the Great Reset (it used to be referred to as the New World Order) and have allowed social justice issues to take priority over preaching the gospel and either dismiss or ignore evils such as child sex trafficking, mega financial theft, agendas to depopulate and enslave humanity and the attack on God taking place in our institutions and culture as well as evils such as abortion, these often go unchallenged. It seems to me that many ministers have lost their nerve when it comes to putting into action gospel certainties, preferring to be contemporary and relevant instead, and in doing so have become more awoke than awake. While there is a need for wisdom, as for the prophetic voice, as far as church is concerned, it appears to be dismissed.
Besides those falling for these deceptions, what also bothers me is those opposing some purporting to be Christian, claiming these endorse New Age etc. teaching, yet at the same time ignore the important matters they raise. Then there are those who seek to rise above what is going on and choose not to get involved. Cowardice is no excuse and, subtly, is yet another form of deception. When we consider Christians who are taken in by the false narrative promoted by government and endorsed by the media and the elite, when it comes to Covid-19 and how to approach the pan (scam) demic, together with those not taken in, yet are beholden to conspiracy theories, expecting a Great Awakening, along with all other groups discussed so far, the question is begged: who is not deceived? And that includes those Christians who can truly say they have not been taken in by any of the above deceptions yet have indulged in some sin or other, without having truly repented.
When I once wrote about “New Age”, I considered both the accusation and what some accused of New Ageism were saying. After all, New Age when applied to spirituality etc. outside the God of the Bible, is a deception and, as we have discussed, all deception has at its root Satan. On reflection, I don’t wish to go off on tangents by discussing the views of others that all too often get misrepresented by those who take issue, nor will I take sides without knowing the facts. I am in no doubt good people on any side can hold erroneous views and it is important to stand firm on the truth (I give my understanding of what that is, when it comes to the Gospel, in Chapter 17). What is particularly sad from where I stand is seeing people getting up on their spiritual high horses and seeing Satan’s divide and rule strategy working. While valuing a lot of my early PB upbringing, I regret that all too often a lot more importance was attached to light at the expense of life.
While my own Bible understanding is things will get worse, I would love to see a temporary respite from the evil that I see in the world and deception that has befallen greater humanity, and I even expect a Great Awakening, at least of the spiritual kind (albeit with more deception, just as Jesus said would be the case) – but then I can only be fully assured of what is taught in the Bible. While the scene is being set for the coming of the AntiChrist and the Great Tribulation, he has not been revealed and it has not happened yet. As for timings, the Lord alone knows, and we need to be patient. My sadness is not so much such folk are deceived but that those who know the truth have set such a bad example. Therein lies a great opportunity for the people of God and to get their act together, beginning with taking seriously the John 17 prayer, and bringing people back to the true God.
The Lord ever works in mysterious ways, but always there is Satan to oppose and do all he can to prevent the glorious church Jesus prayed for, that is so authentic that people believe the truth. In the meantime, all Hell is let loose to prevent this. It seems to me there are all sorts of deceptions, some not mentioned here, for example Christians thinking too highly of themselves or not high enough – the result is the same, Satan gains a foothold, including hidden sin, which needs to be resisted and can if we put on the armour of God. For Christians awake to Satan’s devices, these do well to meekly warn and encourage those who do succumb.
But this is what I believe does matter… We should not be putting our hope in man or what we think ought to be happening and neither should we be fearing what man says and does – the only one we should fear is the Lord God Almighty. We must be mindful of the human tendency to gravitate to what it wants to hear and finding ways to reinforce one’s prejudices and resisting that which doesn’t, and be careful that reflecting on what is going on around us, especially what we don’t know for sure, does not replace things like prayer, Bible study and fellowship and hearing what God is saying. We should be alert to deception (for us and others). In her book “War on the Saints” (published 1915), Jessie Penn Lewis provides many examples of deception and traps even the sincerest Christians have fallen into, that applied then and apply today. We should humbly accept not only there is much we don’t know but it is unlikely we will know this side of eternity.
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.
Tho’ none go with me, I still will follow,
Tho’ none go with me, I still will follow,
Tho’ none go with me, I still will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.
My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus,
My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
No turning back, No turning back.
The world behind me, the cross before me,
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.
We should trust the Lord and search the scriptures. We are called to serve Him (check out the section on the Unprofitable Servant). There is much we don’t know and much we cannot change, including egregious examples of evil that have been pointed out by some of those folk whose deception we take issue with (it seems to me Christians often outdo one another in calling out those they disagree with), but even if we are powerless, God is able to do more than we can ask or think. He has given each one of us unique opportunities (often making it clear if we have eyes to see etc.) to make a difference and play our part in His great purposes for human kind, and this should be our focus. Included in this is the need to take seriously the Great Commission. There is more that can be said and more to be checked out. I reaffirm the truth: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” Romans 1:16. I preceded this paragraph with a song that influenced me as a young Christian and I end with another song that was also popular in my youth and pray that these sentiments may bless you too.
O soul are you weary and troubled
No light in the darkness you see
There’s light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace
His word shall not fail you he promised
Believe him and all will be well
Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect salvation to tell
“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” 2 Timothy 2:12.
I had an interesting recent experience visiting a soup kitchen I am involved with, which provides meals for the homeless and other disadvantaged persons. I got into a conversation with a couple, who had been homeless, who asked me how I spent my retirement. When I told them I write books, such as this one, we got into a discussion about faith in God and some of the things that stopped people having faith, such as the fact that innocent people suffer. I pointed out that God was not indifferent to human suffering. An example of this is Jesus (who is both God and man (the only man completely innocent)) who suffered, bled and died on a cross to save us from our sins. I hope it at least got my homeless friends thinking.
It also got me thinking again about a subject that has exercised humanity from time immemorial and has stumbled many – why do the innocent suffer? I could give examples of all sorts of suffering that has been experienced by human kind, several of which most readers will be aware of and none of us are immune from suffering, which seems a lottery, but I won’t as that is not the point of my writing on the subject. Neither will I rate different types of suffering in order of severity – it is neither my field of expertise nor my right to do so. The wisest original thing I can say is the things people suffer, as much as anything, affect what they think, say, do etc. and it is well to make allowances when formulating a response. Even wiser, is to turn our attentions to the Bible, which includes many texts pointing out that suffering is something we should come to expect and, positively, it produces character in us and makes us more empathetic toward others suffering.
Before considering the Book of Job, let us recap on some home truths. Suffering is something all of us experience to a greater or lesser extent and it is not for any of us to pontificate on who has suffered more or many of the whys or wherefores or to offer pious platitudes to the sufferer. The best that can be said, and why what happened in Job’s case, even though he did not realise it at the time, is so pertinent – is God is in control and has all the answers. The salutary observation is people respond to suffering in different ways. While anger or grief may be a laudable and understandable response, at least initially, when one becomes twisted or bitter it is counterproductive and it is easy to point to individuals so scarred by suffering. The best longer-term responses, in my judgment, are when people develop good character as a result of their painful experiences and even use these positively, such as in their empathetic dealings with others suffering in similar ways.
It is also worth bringing the Devil into the discussion (after all he paid a key role in Job’s story). There is, for example, suffering brought on by trials and temptations, which may or may not be instigated by the Devil and where we are not, partly or wholly to blame in some way. It is why suffering ties in with the other main topic of this section, deception. We should see suffering for what it is and take a godly view rather than a know it all human one! Also, given our central theme is prophets of the Bible, having gone through almost all of them, we might make another salutary observation. They suffered in many different ways and such was their solemn mission and opposition by the ungodly, it was often more than most, but God is not mocked, He saw them through it all and because of it what they said and did blessed people then and continue to bless us now.
The obvious book of the Bible to turn to when considering the subject of suffering is that of Job, which provides a human angle that we can identify with today, even though it is reckoned Job was around at the time of Abraham (i.e. 2000 BC). More pertinently, it gives a perspective of what is going on, often missed when people discuss why suffering exists – that of God. We read how Job started off doing well by both human and divine standards and then his own world came crashing down before him, leaving him barely alive, with everything gone (including his ten children), a barely sympathetic wife and “friends” whose attempts to comfort him, were anything but, before God intervenes at the end, restoring two-fold what Job had lost. While Job’s “happily ever after” ending is not one many sufferers can claim for themselves, there are still many lessons we can draw from his story.
According to Wikipedia: “The Book of Job addresses the problem of theodicy, meaning why God permits evil in the world … Job is a wealthy and God-fearing man with a comfortable life and a large family; God, having asked Satan for his opinion of Job’s piety, decides to take away Job’s wealth, family and material comforts, following Satan’s accusation that if Job were rendered penniless and without his family, he would turn away from God.” The bulk of the book of Job is taken up with Job and his three “comforters”, and a fourth “friend” who comes in later on speaking his two penny-worth, pontificating over the problem of suffering (especially for people like Job that purport to be righteous), before God comes in at the end (chapter 38 onwards) and without necessarily giving them too many of the answers to their concerns, after putting Job and his friends straight, including telling all parties, including righteous Job, that they did not know what they were talking about (how could they – after all they did not witness what was going on behind the scenes between God and Satan) it merely reminds us we need to be in awe of Him, who in the end brings it all to a satisfactory conclusion. A further exposition of Job is outside the scope of this book but in ending we will cite two items of Job wisdom and follow this up from the Book of Revelation, which shows why the subject of suffering matters from a prophetic perspective, because that is what we should expect and prepare for, especially in these Last Days.
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him” Job 13:15.
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” Job 18:25-26
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” Revelation 7:9-17.
The Writing on the Wall
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” Revelation 18:4.
Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin (ˈmiˈni miˈni tɛkəl juˈfɑrsɪn ) was the writing on the wall that followed Belshazzar’s Feast, interpreted by Daniel, the Hebrew prophet, to mean that God had weighed Belshazzar and his kingdom, had found them wanting, and was about to swiftly destroy them, and it was done so by stealth, as the Persian army diverted a river to enable them to enter and conquer what was considered at the time the impregnable city of Babylon, and on that very night (read all about it in Daniel 5). This was also to mark a major turning point in Israel’s history as their 70 years in exile was about to come to an end and they would be free to return home under the decree issued by the Persian King, Cyrus.
Like many, I tend to use the term “writing on the wall” pretty loosely, as I look at what is happening around me and try to figure out the significance of various signs that might suggest what is going to happen next, albeit with less confidence than what happened with Daniel, who rightly interpreted the writing that appeared on the wall out of nowhere, as King Belshazzar and his entourage were indulging at their feast in defiance of the God of Israel. Seeing the mysterious hand writing on the wall would have been terrifying to all who witnessed it. Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin literally means “numbered, numbered, weighed, divided”, and that is what God decreed and what happened to Belshazzar and his kingdom.
As I write, looking at the latest developments in the Corona saga, I take the writing on the wall to mean further draconian measures in the offing for the people of the UK as a result, as is already happening in different places in the world, especially to those who go against the official line, and who can say what is going to happen next, and especially significant if as seems likely it is for the worse? No doubt, if I were to write this in a month’s time, say, I could come up with a new example of what I think constitutes writing on the wall – an end to the US Election Steal saga maybe. Unlike Daniel, I am not a prophet and, while there are signs if we take the time and effort to check these out, these are nothing so dramatic as what took place with the writing on Belshazzar’s wall on that fateful day.
Who can say for sure which direction the world is soon to take other than what the Bible teaches, noting plausible diverse views “out there”? When we think of the wickedness of government and institutions, for example, we are reminded of the words “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision” Psalm 2:4. His calling is that people “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling” Psalm 2:11. In another Psalm we are told: “The Lord bringeth the counsel of the nations to nought; He maketh the thoughts of the peoples to be of no effect” 33:10. As far as the writing on the wall goes for our times, we do well to remember that all actions have consequences and wrongdoers will one day be required to give an account of these to God, the righteous judge.
Two quite different directions the world may be about to take have already been discussed: “The Great Reset” and “The Great Awakening”. It has given rise to heated debate and fall outs, including among those broadly in my own theological camp, who reject both notions. Few would have predicted the events seen since the “Great US Election Steal”: further cover ups, more Covid-19 relating shenanigans (including jab related and coercion of citizens to comply to government overreach), miscellaneous world events of a disturbing nature that has exposed more of the evil and evil doers in the world and, importantly, as far as this book is concerned, all sorts of responses from among Christian folk, which from where I am watching and, as I have argued, are often not the right ones.
Will it lead to the Great Reset, talked about by many elements of an unholy trinity of politicians, media and societal leaders, and with it the eventual emergence of the Antichrist, discussed in Revelation 13, or will it lead to the Great Awakening that is predicted or at least hoped for by elements of yet another trinity, here comprising New Age conspiracy theorists, modern day political prophets and certain Christians, who I label as “the church of the deplorables” (the Remnant), which comprise one or both of a great spiritual revival and the fall of the Cabal, like that prophesied concerning the modern day Babylon equivalent, in Revelation 17 and 18? As for the notion of an evil cabal running the world and controlling its institutions etc., this is being increasingly realized by people waking up to the reality of this. Whether what is being proposed as an alternative, such as a “good” alternative to the New World Order, is questionable. But, as far as spiritual Babylon is concerned, the word to God’s people remains: “come out of her”. Moreover, we are called to be faithful to our God, love our neighbour, especially our Christian brethren, announce His Kingdom to all and preach His Gospel.
It is worth pondering a little more on the “Mystery of Babylon”, elaborating on thoughts I penned on the subject some eighteen months ago when I wrote Chapter 15 to address twenty of the more challenging and controversial unfulfilled or partially fulfilled prophecies of the Bible. As I re-read what I wrote then on this topic, while I still hold with what I wrote, I feel I did not do full justice to a subject that is so pertinent to these times, not least due to the Babylonian system we now see. It is quite evident, on this subject, there is a wide range of views and it is not my intention to try to articulate the right one. My spiritual forefathers often had a simpler view of the Great Whore seated on the Beast, of whom it is written “upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth” Revelation 17:5, this representing the Roman Catholic Church in cahoots with the AntiChrist led global social, economic, political system he oversees, at the height of her power during the time of the Great Tribulation. They did make one point worth reminding ourselves of – despite our knowing more, it will not stop what the Bible says will happen. Factors they would not have seen include new major centres of global power, e.g. China, the rise of Islam, notably under Saudi Arabia, increasing exposure of an evil cabal, involving elements of the Illuminati, certain “bloodline families”, the Deep State, the World Economic Forum, the United Nations, to enslave the masses, the push for globalism, including global corporations etc., usurping the middle classes, the Corona “pandemic” and the power wielded by Big Pharma.
Deeper discussion on the subject of Babylon the Great is outside the scope of this last chapter but it is worth pointing out Revelation 17 and 18, coupled with Jeremiah 50 and 51 and other Bible texts, is a major and significant chunk of prophecy and one that is particularly pertinent to these modern times. It relates to earlier discussions in this chapter on the Great Reset and the Great Awakening, where some of those hoping for and expecting the latter should consider that while it may be desirable to see an end of the Babylonian system, the Bible suggests it will be around until the time just prior to Christ’s return in Revelation 19 and any advocacy of an Age of Aquarius is inviting the very deception the Antichrist will exploit. But we can look forward to “And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth” Revelation 18:23,24. The definition given in Strong’s Concordance for the Greek word the KJV translates as sorcery, pharmakeia, is sorcery or witchcraft in the use or the administering of drugs and also sorcery and magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by it, along with the deceptions and seductions of such idolatry.
Much as I shudder when, for example, I listen again to Prince Charles’ speech at the recent COP26 conference, where among other things he alludes to someone about to sort out the world’s problems (the Antichrist maybe), I see that is where we may be heading right now. While some mainly sound Christians dismiss notions of a Great Awakening, I can understand their rationale, especially since many pushing this promote error. Even so, an awakening to the truth was my hope ever since the US Election was stolen on November 3rd 2020 and long before that even, ever since I became a Christian in fact. While Conspiracy Theorists have often been proven right over time, many subscribe to New Age, syncretic, Gnostic notions, which are erroneous. As for the modern-day prophets, while there are many instances of prophecy fulfilled, some have been found wanting.
As for the deplorables, which to qualify means being sold out for God and His Word, and unconcerned if it means going against the flow (church and state), some of whom have the temerity to say things like Corona is a ginormous hoax orchestrated by the Black Hats who are using this with the intention of enslaving the masses to bring about their twisted notions of a New World Order and some take issue with Great Awakening ideas because of links to the occult. Those who recoil at the thought of a Great Reset often have the tendency of clutching at straws, looking for respite by way of the NWO plans being somehow nullified, despite evidence pointing to the Antichrist led, Great Tribulation looming large. As I discussed earlier, there is a real danger of replacing one form of deception with another. As for true Christian believers, the ideology we should subscribe to and promote is the Gospel of Salvation (as set out in Romans 1:16).
The more I watch and pray, the less certain which, if any, of Great Reset or Great Awakening it will be (or whether there will be a mixture since the world knows not yet Christ), although having no doubt there will be a righteous kingdom and God wins in the end. Even though a Great Awakening sounds attractive, anything not of God is of the Devil, and needs to be rejected. The Lord has everything figured out and is in complete control and is testing and refining His people, calling them to simply trust and obey. We are being tested, with more to come (to remind ourselves: one of the main reasons why the Book of Revelation was written was to prepare us for suffering but with a glorious hope that is to follow). One thing I do believe is many good Christians are about to find out they have been conned and need a comforting arm and many who we least expect are about to come into God’s Kingdom and we need to be there to encourage them. And for the sake of balance, I share yet another Psalm to help guide out thoughts and give us peace, so come what may we should be still and know that He is God.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” Psalm 46.
“And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” Daniel 12:9,10.
If you have read all the way from the beginning, then congratulations although, seriously, I hope despite being told hard truths and feeling the alarm that Daniel felt when he was told, you are encouraged and will consider and act on what you find in God’s word (just as I speak this to myself). I pray we both “along with the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” Daniel 11:32.
We live in crazy days and while “unprecedented” seems a bit strong if a student of history, as there is nothing new under the sun, but that is how it looks to me. We have no right to criticise the students of prophecy from previous generations who did not get it spot on in their interpreting and attempts to understand the times they lived in. The same might be said by future generations about us, should the Lord tarry with His return, as they will see things we could never have seen or predicted, our being not party to knowledge that has been hidden from us.
While there is a lot we do know, should we be prepared to check things out (and it is why I write as I do), there is a lot we don’t know, even if we spend all our time doing research, and moreover the Lord has chosen not to reveal all to us. The events we are witnessing right now are often disturbing and may be tempted to despair. But as for what He does require, along with what Micah tells us (6:8), is we be faithful, holy, kind, peaceful, patient and wise etc., until when He comes in the clouds and we meet Him or we die before and He takes us to be with Him.
I am sure, many authors, like me, offer up what they write, mindful there is more they could say and when they reflect may be conscious some things might have been better left unsaid. I am luckier than many because of the way I operate of having more than one bite of the cherry but knowing it is time to move on – kings and priests beckon. I close, wanting to give encouragement, by way of more related Bible texts which, better than what my words can achieve, encapsulate many of the themes covered in this section in particular and the book in general.
It has ever been my desire to help people to know the scriptures. This is one of the most worthwhile activities one can be engaged in, providing we are doers of the Word. I have deliberately alternated between OT and NT as the two testaments perfectly complement one another. We follow the risen Christ and while trials and tribulations, and we do not know what is round the corner, the end is a glorious one and we need to take to heart words of the Prophets of the Bible, especially the greatest prophet of them all, who is more than a prophet – the Lord Jesus Christ.
Before we turn to our twenty Bible texts that have blessed me (and I hope will bless you too), to do with the message of this book, given we are trying here to encourage one another “in the Lord”, we might do well to recap certain home truths. The first one goes back to the very first chapter of the Bible – God created man, i.e. including me and you, in His own image, and that makes us special and unique. The second is that God has given us the freedom to choose between good and evil, truth and error, right and wrong etc., but in choosing Him and His ways (even though we may have been party to that all too human trait of “blowing it”) we can live out His perfect plan for our lives (He is ever so patient), however dire or unfavourable our personal circumstances, disposition etc., appear to be.
As for the times we live in, it is not for me to say they are better or worse than what our forefathers experienced, especially if subject to plague, war, oppression, famine etc., which is just as well for know so little. What we can say, the world is not at peace and at the precipice of events taking place, taking us into unknown and quite likely less than comfortable territory (which is one reason why I release this new edition of my book at this time). Not only are things not what they ought to be, they are more often than not what they seem to be. Many are beginning to wake up to this reality and in doing so turn to the spiritual that is not necessarily the Holy Spirit. Our job is clear: to point people to the God that the true Prophets of the Bible served and to be part of that faithful remnant through which He acts. Finally, I want to thank Una Campbell for proof reading these latest changes.
Fear God and obey Him
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” Ecclesiastes 12:13,14.
Submission to authorities placed in context
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” Romans 13:10-14.
My baptismal text; encouraging strength and courage
“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” Joshua 1:7-9.
Our commission; His promise
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” Matthew 28:18-20.
More on how we should conduct ourselves
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you” Hosea 10:12.
Keep looking to the Lord, who has gone before us
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” Hebrews 12:1-3.
It may look bad now but we can still rejoice
“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments” Habakkuk 3:17-18.
The law and the prophets placed in a nutshell
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” Matthew 22:37-40
We can always hope in the Lord and that hope is never misplaced
“And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity. And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the Lord: Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” Lamentations 3:17-27.
Jesus prays for us that we may be one and the world may know
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” John 17:20-26.
Conspiracy theories and the fear of the Lord
“For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread” Isaiah 8:11-13 (ESV).
Life in the Spirit and with it a glorious expectation
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:26-39.
Seek the Lord who wants to be found
“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:19.
From the lowest to the highest place; an example to follow
“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” Philippians 2:4-11.
Thank God for the Psalms – our confidence is in God
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” Psalm 27:1-14.
Putting on all of God’s armour
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” Ephesians 6:10-18.
What a great God we serve
“Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of hosts, is his name, Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” Jeremiah 32:17-19.
The cost and reward of discipleship
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16: 24-26.
Let us keep encouraging one another
“Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not” Malachi 3:16-18.
Our hope for where it could well end
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” 2 Timothy 4:6-8.