Commentary on world events that relate to Bible prophecy and on Rapture Ready issues world events.

Oct 25, 2010

While There Is Still Time

One of the greatest misconceptions in life is the belief that time comes in great abundance. When we are teenagers, we can't wait to get older. The passage of time allows us to get a driver's license, graduate from school, and earn money from a career. When we're in our twenties, we may begin to run into the problems of life, but there is always plenty of time to start over.

When we reach our thirties and forties, we start to get the hint that there are limits to the number of days we'll have on planet earth. We suddenly realize we are too old to do certain things. We can’t achieve some of our goals because of mistakes or choices we have made.

We still lie to ourselves about our own mortality. People who look younger than their age are held up as models. You may have heard the slogan, “Sixty is the new fifty.” I think that, at best, it’s possible to say, “Sixty is the new fifty-seven.” We’ve done wonders to extend the length of life, but we fail continuously at improving the quality of that life.

What makes me so certain about this is my experience with the people around me. Every single one of my friends has some type of health condition. Some of these afflictions are back pain, asthma, kidney stones, and high blood pressure. We spend billions of dollars each year on drugs, yet all we can do is treat the symptoms of most of our ailments.

I'm now forty-five, and I have a growing list of minor problems myself. I have a constant numbness in my left hand, sometimes I have trouble swallowing food, I've developed a hives-like condition, and my vision has degraded to the point that I need to take off my glasses to read small print. I also get pains in parts of my body that I didn't think could ever hurt.

In the field of prophecy, I'm still a spring chicken. I would say the average age of a prophecy teacher is the upper seventies. Having come to know many of them, I now realize that our productive years have a limit. Once someone reaches his senior years, the creative juices seem to rapidly run out. I know of several prophecy leaders whose minds and bodies have faded to the point that they have no active role in their ministries. All the work is done by younger folks.

This past week, I saw a news article about the death of Penthouse founder Bob Guccione. As I read his life story, I found him to be a perfect example of someone who lived as if time had no end. In 1982, Guccione was listed in the "Forbes 400" ranking of the wealthiest people, with a net worth of $1.2 billion in today's money. He once owned the largest mansion in New York City. At the time of his death, his empire had almost completely evaporated. Despite the fact that his health and resources were running out, there was no indication that he realized his days were in equal short supply.

Christians can be just as bad when it comes to wasting time. The Crystal Cathedral, the birthplace of the megachurch movement, recently filed for bankruptcy in California with debts that exceed $43 million. Its worship hall opened in 1970 and remains an architectural wonder and tourist destination. For years, Robert Schuller attracted congregants with feel-good sermons on the power of positive thinking. Even though the church has a weekly telecast called the "Hour of Power," there is very little spiritual power behind the venture.

I started Rapture Ready twenty-three years ago with the assumption that the blessed hope would be the reason my work on this site would come to an end. The realization that I only have a quarter-century of productive years ahead really brings home the importance of staying productive.

It is so important to be good stewards of our time, talents, and treasures. I truly believe that the most lasting reflection of our time here on earth will be what we could have done for the kingdom of God.

"Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:15-16).

-- Todd

Strange Prophetic Silence: Part 2

So, again, we come to the seeming disconnect–the tremendous number of biblically prophetic indicators from a strange prophetic silence that surrounds these signals.

Todd and I analyze these matters without ceasing. The signs are everywhere that we are at the end times as given by Jesus when He foretold, for example, that it will be like the days of Noah’s pre-Flood time and Lot’s days in Sodom at the moment He will break in like a thief in the night on an unsuspecting world. And, yet, we are both amazed that the “prophetic progression” seems strangely slow–even to the point of causing us to constantly ask why things seem at a standstill.

How can we ask that question when every one of the apostle Paul’s 2 Timothy 3 perilous-times characteristics of end-times man is observably on the front burner of society today? People are lovers of themselves, boasters, proud. Children are disobedient to parents, with the assisted rebellion built in to the public school systems of America. We are a people–worldwide—who are unthankful and, certainly, unholy. The government-backed--even church-organization-backed--homosexual agenda, with hate crimes being legislated and implemented to punish those who dare to say God’s Word teaches homosexuality is a sin, shows the perilous-times characteristic “without natural affection” is in our face today.

Abortion takes the lives of more than four thousand babies per day in America. This, too, speaks to the characteristic Paul prophesied would mark the end-times generation, “without natural affection.” We only have to look at the divorce rate today to see that the characteristics Paul gave in prophecy are exhibited within marriage. Infidelity is rampant. People are traitorous to their marriage partners, they are false accusers and truce-breakers. We are an incontinent or addictive generation, whether thinking on illicit or prescription drugs, or on pornography that sears the minds of those who spend hours before computer screens. Also, we are addicted to spending money to satisfy ever-increasing and insatiable material desires.

People love pleasures more than they love God. Mankind is fierce, while at the same time many have a form of godliness, but deny Jesus Christ–who is the power of godliness. The holy name of Jesus is used far more as invective than as a term of reverence and praise in this end-of-the-age hour. That name that God says is above every other isn’t even allowed in many of America’s workplaces, public schools, or government facilities–another panoply of reasons the nation’s judgment is certain.

Why do Todd and I see this as a time of slow prophetic progression, considering this avalanche of prophetic markers? How can we say this when Israel is in position precisely as biblical prophets foretold that nation would be as history draws to a close and Armageddon nears?

Isaiah and Daniel the prophets foretold that Israel would be involved in a peace process at the very end of things to come. Zechariah, many other prophets, and the Lord Jesus himself prophesied that Israel would be surrounded by and hated by all nations of earth at the time of the end. All of those developing prophecies regarding God’s chosen people are front and center right now!

There is a prophetic silence at present. But it is a perceived rather than an actual silence, I think. It is part of the strange cognitive malady with which we all suffer, perhaps.

Overload of day-to-day human activity causes desensitization to even the most traumatic of injuries. “Time heals all wounds” is one common explanation of this cognitive condition. We lose a loved one, and while we will often recall memories of him or her and suffer anew, the overloads of life continue to cause the scar to thicken. The pain fades, to some extent.

So it is in the matter of being watchful in the sense of Mark 13:37. We are so saturated with issues and events of our time that look like prophecy in stage-setting for fulfillment that we develop a malaise. We become desensitized to the phenomenal crush of end-times exigencies.

This is so disconcerting to those who work within prophecy ministries such as Rapture Ready, I think, because it is a solitary feeling at times that comes from such lack of interest among true believers. One finds oneself almost hoping something dramatic will happen to shake those believers into understanding exactly how late is the prophetic hour.

Come to think of it…Jesus foretold a strange prophetic silence. He said it would be just at such an hour that He would break in upon a world in darkness. Because our time is so saturated with indicators of Christ’s Second Coming, the apathy-ending event isn’t in the offing. Or maybe it will be the most lethargy-ending event possible that will do the shaking up. Maybe the next prophetic indicator that will end this strange prophetic silence will be the Rapture itself.

“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 24: 42-44).