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

Dec 26, 2011

The Year That Was 2011

At the end of each year, Terry or I will write a review of what has occurred over the last twelve months, and how these events have impacted Bible prophecy. We do this to refresh everyone on how end-time events are progressing.

It amazes me how natural disasters are always able to top the previous year. At the end of last year, I wrote in one of my articles, “The year 2010 was the deadliest in more than a generation. Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super typhoons, blizzards, landslides, and droughts killed more than 260,000 people. Last year only saw 15,000 deaths from natural disasters.”

We had the same list of natural disasters for this year. In March, Japan was hit by a massive earthquake, measuring 9.0 in magnitude. It was the most powerful earthquake in the nation's recorded history. The earthquake is currently ranked as the fifth most powerful seismic event to hit the world in the past century. The World Bank puts the economic cost of the quake at $235 billion, making it the most expensive natural disaster in world history.

The United States has more tornadoes than any other place on planet earth. From April to June,we had an endless series of tornadic outbreaks. I've studied weather all my life, and am stunned to see the 1974 record fall by such a huge gap. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there were 312 tornadoes during the Super Outbreak from the 27th and 28th of April. The previous record occurred from April 3-4, 1974, with 148 tornadoes.

We had historic floods on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The Missouri flooded from South Dakota to Kansas City. I lived in Omaha for 20 years, so I’m familiar with the area. I don’t ever recall the interstate being closed by a flood. The flooding on the Mississippi River broke several records set by the great 1937 Mississippi River flood. As the flood reached Louisiana, it created the most memorable sight. Farms in that state had already been suffering from a severe drought; some of them had crops that were bone dry right next to fields that were under water.

This year continued the trend of government intrusion into our lives. The flying public has ceased all opposition to the Transportation Safety Administration’s sexual patdowns and naked image body scans at our nation’s airports. The feds now have the power to arrest anyone they so desire under the name of terrorism. In just the past few days, Congress has given the green light to funding for a massive expansion of TSA checkpoints. It’s disturbing enough that America is starting to look like the world imagined by George Orwell, but what troubles me the most is that few people care about what is happening.

The global financial system managed to survive another year, but I don’t give it much hope for a turnaround in 2012. The European banking system is so insolvent that the only solution people have been able to come up with is new ways to hide the problem. Morgan Stanley's Mike Wilson has issued a sober warning against optimism for the next year: "Think of 2012 as the 'payback' year….when many of the extraordinary things that happened over the past three years go in reverse.”

On a positive note, 2011 was a bad year for tyrants and God haters. In May, Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy Seals. In October, Muammar Gaddafi was shot dead by rebel forces. This month, Kim Jong-Il dropped dead of a heart attack. During this same month, Christopher Hitchens, the well-known atheist who penned the book God Is Not Great, died of cancer.

I think the most important take away from 2011 is a realization that world events are following the birth-pang guidelines that Jesus gave us as a warning of His return. Because the past two years have shown a dramatic acceleration of the unfolding of Bible prophecy, I’m looking forward to what 2012 has to offer. If we continue on this exponential curve, it would seem obvious to me that the Rapture is very near.

"Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book" (Revelation 22:7).

-- Todd

On Being Rapture Ready Part II

There is no specific signal that presages the Rapture of believers in the Scriptures. That calling by Christ to those who know Him as Savior will be unannounced and instantaneous. Paul the apostle’s words inform us of that stunning event: “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

Paul says further: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

The website Todd Strandberg began in 1987, before the internet was making an impact to any extent on life in America and throughout the world, encompasses what Christ expects every born- again believer to become. Todd gave it the name raptureready.com, a nomenclature defining a spiritual condition eternally crucial to each and every living individual.

All who have died during this Church Age (Age of Grace) are now beyond getting "Rapture ready." They are either "Rapture ready" or not. People alive at the present time, if they don’t know Christ as Savior, still have opportunity to get Rapture ready. All who are saved (know Jesus as their Savior) are Rapture ready in one sense, but might not be Rapture ready in another. We will try to clarify these matters. It is most important that we do so.

I testified in my Nearing Midnight commentary last week of instantaneously standing before a throng of heavenly witnesses (Hebrews 12:1-3) the moment my heart stopped beating. This happened three separate times. Each time my heart ceased to beat, I was somewhere in eternity. God the Holy Spirit’s assurance of where I was and who the beautiful, cheering young people were becomes more strongly burned into my own spirit by the day.

The only action I have taken in my life to warrant being instantly transported to that heavenly realm was to accept Christ as my Savior. There is no other action I could take while in this physical life to assure my instant transport into those stunning surroundings. While my near-death experience wasn’t the Rapture, of course, I believe with all that is within my spiritual understanding that it was a type of what awaits the generation of Christians alive at the time of that great event, as described by the apostle Paul’s prophetic words as given above. At that future moment of Rapture, all who have died during the Church Age, or who are living at the time, will stand not before a throng of witnesses as I did, but before the Lord Jesus, Himself! “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

All who are living today who do not know Jesus Christ as Savior stand in mortal danger. When their hearts beat the final time, they will find themselves in the same, unimaginably horrid place as the rich man described by Jesus in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (read Luke 16:19-31). Likewise, the moment Christ says at the Rapture: “Come up hither” (Revelation 4:1), the person who hasn’t accepted Christ will be left behind on earth to face a time in human history of which the Lord Jesus Himself said: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved" (Matthew 24:21-22a).

Being Rapture Ready

So, it is imperative to make clear what it means to be Rapture ready. Our eternal souls hang in the balance of God’s impending judgment. The Lord of Heaven must judge sin, because He cannot abide sin in His holy presence. No sin can enter the gates of Heaven. And this is where God’s magnificent love comes to the forefront of His dealing with each of us who are sinners.

He loves you and me so much that He sent His Son–God in the flesh, Jesus Christ—to come to earth to be the perfect sin-sacrifice, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, whose blood takes away the sin of the world. To be Rapture ready, you and I must be “saved” from our sins and made pure in the righteousness found only in Christ. When we believe God and accept Christ as Savior, we become Rapture ready in the eternal sense. We will go to Heaven upon our death, or will be raptured when Jesus steps out on the clouds of glory and shouts: “Come up hither!”

But, there is another meaning of being Rapture ready. Each Christian is responsible for being Rapture ready in this sense. To be Rapture ready as a child of God means we are to be living our lives in a way pleasing to God. We are to lift the name of Jesus so that men, women, and children will be drawn to Him for salvation. We are to be watching for His any-moment return in the Rapture.

Let me make it clear. I believe the Word of God tells us that every person who is saved through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ will go to be with Him at the moment of Rapture, no matter the state of his or her fellowship with the Lord. We will ALL stand before Him, Paul tells us.

However, to be truly Rapture ready as a Christian means that we are living life in such a biblically prescribed way that when Jesus calls us we will not be ashamed to look Him in His omniscient eyes. We should desire above all else to hear Him say “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:23b).

End- times world conditions today are unmistakable. That face-to-face meeting could take place at any moment!