Feb 15, 2010
Another Watchman Falls Off the Wall
Some funny business is going on at Focus on the Family. James Dobson is stepping down,
handing over his microphone to new leadership. Mr. Dobson, a 73-year-old child psychologist, announced that he is going to launch a new radio show with his son in March. He said, "I cannot watch the world continue in a moral decline without offering guidance."
Founded in 1977 by Dobson, Focus on the Family has built an audience estimated at 1.5 million daily listeners in the U.S. and more than 200 million worldwide. Its mission is "nurturing and defending the God-ordained institution of the family and promoting biblical truths worldwide."
Jim Daly will be the guy taking the reins of the ministry.
He is said to have a markedly different style and set of priorities. "I don't
see evil behind everything," Mr. Daly said. He prefers to build bridges with
others. While Mr. Dobson condemned President Barack Obama for "fruitcake" ideas,
Daly praised the president for his devotion to family, and last year he attended
a White House pow wow celebrating the ever controversial topic of fatherhood.
Focus leaders say they intend to join a growing movement in the evangelical community to broaden their agenda beyond abortion and gay marriage. Daly wants to adopt the bridge-building style of such evangelical leaders as pastors Rick Warren and Joel Hunter.
It's quite obvious to me that Dobson was forced out of his own ministry. He has been tight-lipped about his departure from Focus on the Family.
I see a repeat of the fiasco that NBC created when it replaced Jay Leno with Conan O'Brien. Only in this case, there isn't a multi-billion dollar parent company to cushion the financial blow. Focus on the Family's donor support has already been falling. Its budget for the current fiscal year is about $132 million, down from $151 million in the 2008 fiscal year. Now that Dobson is starting a new venture, he will likely drain away a large chunk of the ministry’s supporter base.
Several years ago, I wrote an article that pointed out that apologetics is dead. "In order to defend true Christianity against the encroachment of error, people must be active in finding the wolves who dwell amongst the flock," I said. "Sadly, ‘apologetics’ has become a dirty word. Few Christian leaders want to be the bad guys. They would rather make friends with the enemies so they won't lose out on financial opportunities that come with these alliances" ("Nearing Midnight," 9/27/04).
We are now at the point where it is time to declare that our nation has no moral watchmen. We still have some, but they are so small in number that they don't matter to the general population. Rapture Ready is proclaiming the true gospel message, but our effort only reaches the hundreds of thousands.
Most of the moral leaders of my youth are now dead or are too old to be of any service. We're left with preachers who write books that appeal to people’s carnal nature.
I can't think of a better example than Joel Osteen. He has the largest church in North America, he is the top-rated pastor on TV, and was named "Most Influential Christian in America" in 2006 by The Church Report. The Houston-based pastor refuses to mention the word "sin," and every one of his books has the word "you" or "your" in the title. A couple of years ago, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace brought up criticism of Osteen's lack of Scripture reference in his sermons, as well as his hesitancy to discuss sin as a common part of life. Osteen responded: "And I am ultimately trying to do that, but I'm trying to teach people how to live their everyday lives, and so do I focus on it? Probably not as much as some people would like."
It doesn't surprise me that Houston elected a gay mayor and Joel Osteen was the one giving the inauguration ceremony prayer. What shocked me is the silence in the church. I almost wish Osteen had said, "I'm here because God approves of homosexuality." Maybe that would have triggered a reaction that would let us know we haven't hit rock bottom yet.
One of the reasons I believe the tribulation hour is very near is that most people think there is room for a final warning. The lack of a moral watchman has given the false impression that everything is fine.
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some (not all) shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron" (1 Tim. 4:1-2).
EU: Partly Strong, Partly Weak
It seems observably true--to me, at least--that this generation stands on God's prophetic timeline very near the time Daniel the Old Testament prophet described, as recorded in the following:
And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. (Daniel 2:40-43)
Daniel was given by God both the dream-vision that Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar had one troubling nightand its interpretation. The dream was of a huge, metallic, man image. The image, Daniel interpreted, was of four world powers, and a final, fifth world power, which would come on the scene at the very end of human history just before God judged earth's rebellious governments.Then, the prophecy indicates, a new regime--headed by God himself--will rule and reign:
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (Daniel 2:44)
Daniel prophesied that the fifth world power will come out of the fourth. We know the order of world empires from history. The first Daniel interpreted, at the time he was giving the interpretation, was Babylon. The second would be the Medo-Persian. The third would be the Greek Empire, and the fourth would be the Roman Empire, represented in Nebuchadnezzar's night-vision by the legs of iron. The fifth empire--the final empire, and the only one that is yet to come into being as fulfilled prophecy--is represented by the feet and toes of that metallic monstrosity.
To my understanding, at least, the five world empires given to Daniel in metallic representations--i.e., gold for the head, silver for the breast and arms, brass or bronze for the belly and thighs, and iron for the legs, feet and toes--is indicative of money and the power to rule over the inhabitants of planet earth. Metals have most always been at the center of any economy throughout history. And when the metals represented the power to mold and construct weaponry--e.g., spears, bullets, bombs, warcraft like tanks, planes, ships, etc.--the power of the metal and the economies of the world powers become understandable. Money is power, and power is control. These are inextricably linked.
The fifth world power will come from the Roman Empire, which disintegrated but is reforming, we who observe prophecy from the pretrib view believe. We believe that the European Union is almost certainly the nucleus out of which this last Gentile power is emerging. This is the area of central Europe in particular. Rome is the very heart of that nucleus.
Daniel also prophesied about the last world empire's leader who would leap to center stage at just the right moment in Satan's plans to bring him to power:
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:26-27)
Antichrist, "the beast," as this vicious future tyrant is termed, will come to power and rule ruthlessly. His power will emanate from economics--the ability to call all to worship him through a mark and numbering system that will control buying and selling. (Read Revelation 13:16-18 to understand this 666 system of absolute control.)
We are witnessing economic rearrangements at present like no other generation has seen. Even the United States--as anyone with any sense of what's been going on in the news will attest--is being forced into a mold of one-world economic order. It is all leading toward the mark and numbering system that will give Antichrist his power. (Read Revelation 17:12-13 to learn of the ten economic power blocs that will develop, then give power and authority to the beast--Antichrist, the ruler of the fifth and final world empire.)
Europe today is in dynamic upheaval, struggling to stand on the feet and toes that will give the eventual Antichrist system its balance, its equilibrium. But just as Daniel the prophet foretold, the feet and toes are not made of purely a metal of strength. The EU is made partly of the governmental strength that was the ancient Roman Empire, but also is constructed of weakness intrinsic within the governments of contemporary times. This makes the whole structure that is the final form of all worldly economic-governmental power subject to crashing to final collapse. This is exactly what Daniel foresaw as given above in Daniel 2:44.
A story this past week gives, I believe, an excellent example of the struggle the reviving Roman Empire is unwittingly engaged in to construct that final world rule Satan seeks.
STRASBOURG, France—With the European Union's single currency in the grip of the worst crisis in its history, the bloc’s new president is expected to use the growing alarm over debt levels to argue for a new form of "economic government" in Europe.
The leaders [meet] on Thursday at a summit meeting in Brussels, now certain to be dominated by worries about deficit and debt levels in Greece. [EU Commission president Herman] Van Rompuy’s proposal could take main responsibility for stewardship of economic coordination out of the hands of the 27 nations’ finance ministers, elevating it to the level of heads of government. The plan could also reduce the role of the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm.
According to a draft of one of two documents circulated before the meeting, Mr. Van Rompuy (pronounced rom-PWEE) will argue that "recent developments in the euro area highlight the urgent need to strengthen our economic governance...Whether it is called coordination of policies or economic government," it adds, "only the European Council is capable of delivering and sustaining a common European strategy for more growth and more jobs...Recommendations for the euro area as a whole and its member states should be strengthened, with a stronger focus on competitiveness and macroeconomic imbalances," the draft says. "This would be in line with the importance of economic spillover effects in the monetary union and the challenges the euro area is facing." (Stephen Castle, "European Debt Issues Top Agenda for Meeting," NYTimes.com, 2/9/10).
Paul the apostle wrote of the economic reality that drives the world toward God's judgment and wrath: "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Timothy 6:9-10a).
Certainly, the truth of God's Word frames what is happening at this time in history, and where it all is heading as the rulers of this fallen sphere grasp for the wealth of this world and strive to cast off the bonds of governance God wisely placed upon the would-be masters of planet earth.
Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. (James 5:1-6)
We are in the end of the age era of the toes of Nebuchadnezzar's night-vision.
Add A Little Flair to Your Website
Over the past several years, Todd Doty of Flair For Design has done the vast majority of the graphic
headers for Rapture Ready. If you have a website that needs some graphic work to make it stand out, we highly
recommend what is certainly one of the top Christian design firms on the net.
You can reach Todd at: