Signs of the times

Christadelphians are interested in the signs of the times and events in the Middle East that herald the return of Jesus Christ to the earth.

Jesus promised to return to earth, to restore on earth the kingdom to Israel. That kingdom will involve replacing human rule by divine rule, so that the world fulfils the promise inherent within it ever since Creation. Men and women who are living at Christ’s return will be given wonderful opportunities to learn God’s ways and appreciate His government. The true Gospel is good news about hope for a hopeless world. The Bible provides convincing reasons for people today to forsake lives directed only towards passing pleasures, and provides us with the means of recognising the Lord when he returns, and thus a tangible hope of accepting him at his coming.

The establishment of the Kingdom of God is not a distant hope but is now a very present prospect.

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Tusk: Special place in hell for Brexiteers without a plan

European Council President Donald Tusk has spoken of a "special place in hell" for "those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan of how to carry it out safely". He was speaking after talks with Irish leader Leo Varadkar in Brussels. Later, Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator, also waded in and tweeted: "Well, I doubt Lucifer would welcome them, as after what they did to Britain, they would even manage to divide hell."Brexit

Mr.Tusk's comments brought an angry reaction from Brexit-backing MPs who accused Mr. Tusk of "arrogance". The UK Prime minister's official spokesman said: " In what was the largest democratic exercise in our history, people voted to leave the EU." And added that everyone should now focus on delivering that.

As time runs out the acrimony between the UK and the EU is getting stronger, perhaps because it threatens the European dream of becoming one great Superpower. Which is what the Bible says Europe will become when in Revelation 17 we are told that a group of nations in Europe will give up their power and become "one nation"...

Rev 17:12-14 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them:

This is the resurrected Holy Roman Empire which will stand against the Lord Jesus Christ at his return, and both events are evidently – coming soon!

Brexit and Bible prophecy

Many Bible students believe that the Tarshish power mentioned in the Bible correlates to the power of Britain. (Ezekiel 38) Shortly before the Return of Christ, the powers of Russia, North Africa, Iran, Turkey and Europe are prophesied to combine into one super power, whilst Tarshish and a small number of other nations will oppose this; hence the UK will no longer be confederate with Europe at that time. This super power headed by Russia (Gog) invades Israel which will trigger the return of Jesus Christ to the earth to defeat the invading army, save the Jews and establish his Kingdom on the earth. Thus heralding the dawn of a new age of peace and righteousness when God's glory will "fill the earth as the waters cover the sea". (Habakkuk 2:14)

From studying Bible prophecy, it seems clear that Britain's destiny lies outside the EU; Brexit must come, if not now then at some future date.

A few words about hell

Whether or not Mr Tusk and Mr Verhofstadt actually believe in 'Hell' or whether they were merely using a figure of speech -, its worthwhile considering the concept of "hell" in the Bible. Nowhere in the Bible is it taught that Hell is a fiery place of torment into which your immortal soul goes if you are found unworthy of a place in heaven.

donald tusk

No immortal soul

Firstly, the Bible does not teach that you have an immortal soul. It is very clear in the Bible that a soul simply means a living creature. Not something that leaves the body upon death. A soul can die and is therefore not immortal as can be seen by the following verses:

"the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Ezek 18:4

"save a soul from death" James 5:20

"he spared not their soul from death" Psalm 78:50

"my soul chooseth death rather than my life." Job 7:15

"Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." Psalm 146:3-4

"the dead know not any thing" Ecclesiastes 9:5-6

"none can keep alive his own soul." Psalm 22:29

Secondly the idea of hell being a fiery place of torment for bad souls to go to is also not Biblical.

When we come across 'hell' in our Bibles we are reading a Hebrew word which has not been fully translated . This Hebrew word is 'sheol' which just means 'a covered place' and the word 'Hell' is just the Anglicized version of it. This 'covered place', or 'hell', is the grave into which dead bodies are placed as we can see in the following verses, where sheol is sometimes put as 'hell' and sometimes more correctly translated as 'the grave':

"Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave (sheol)." Psalm 31:17

"For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (sheol); neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." Psalm 16:10

"Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell (sheol) cried I, and thou heardest my voice." Jonah 2:1-2

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave (sheol) whither thou goest." Ecc 9:10

In the New Testament where the original language was Greek, we find the word 'Hades', being used, which has the same meaning as the Hebrew word 'Sheol'.

There is also another word in the Greek translated 'hell' - "Gehenna". Gehenna was an actual place in Jerusalem where rubbish was burned at the time of Christ.

So, in the Old Testament – hell just means the grave and in the New Testament it's the grave or a rubbish tip which was always smouldering. It is from the descriptions of this rubbish tip that some of the ideas of eternal hell fire have come. But, as there is no 'immortal soul' taught in the Bible, and the dead have no consciousness, Hell certainly is not a place where the souls of unrepentant sinners are tortured for eternity.

Therefore the idea of a special place being reserved for Brexiteers is also unbiblical. The Bible teaches that, because of Adam's sin, all of his posterity are rightly destined to end in hell, or the grave, where they will remain unless raised to Judgement at the Return of Christ.

The resurrection

As Christadelphian's we look forward to the resurrection of the sleeping, unconscious dead - of those who have known the gospel and who are therefore responsible to it. A judgment will take place and those who have been found acceptable will, in God's love and mercy, be granted a place with the Lord Jesus Christ. They will have their bodies changed to be made immortal and will help him set up and run the Kingdom of God on earth. The doctrine of the resurrection is throughout all the Scriptures (see Psalm 17:15, Daniel 12:2, Isaiah 26:19, Luke 14:14, John 5:28-29, 6:40, 11:24) and negates the idea that man has an immortal soul. Why would someone need to be raised from the dead if they are already experiencing eternal bliss? It makes no sense!

This language of "hell" is steeped in ancient Church dogma which corrupted the truth of the Bible and fused it with the ideas of paganism. Evidently these ideas are still prevalent as can be seen by the word hell being used by the politicians of today. We look forward to a time when the truth of these things will be known throughout the earth.

As we watch the signs of the times, we see the time fast approaching when the Lord Jesus Christ will return and the resurrection will be a reality: "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 away together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 These 4:16 and 17. And we repeat the words of the Apostle Peter at Pentecost 'save yourselves from this corrupt generation' (Acts 2:40-NIV)

For a more full exposition of this topic go to www.BIBLEinthenews.com

Getting Ready for Armageddon

Trump announces huge expansion of US missile defence system... Headline in the Guardian 17 Jan 2019

Arms control experts fear system review, could fuel arms race with Russia and China

In view of the increasingly advanced missile threats from Russia and China and other nations, President Trump has ordered the Pentagon to rapidly expand current missile defenses and build new interceptors, space sensors, and advanced technology to neutralize foreign missiles. President Trump stated that both China and Russia, are fielding more missiles, including hypersonic missiles which are so fast that they cannot be brought down by existing missile defenses. "Our goal is simple:" he said, "To be sure we can detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States, anywhere, any time, and any place,"

The world is getting itself ready for ARMAGEDDON. Not Hollywood's concept of a rogue asteroid or a mutant plague. The Armageddon which the Bible refers to is a real conflict that comes at the time of the end – centred on Israel and Jerusalem. It is a war that will form part of the time of trouble such as never was, which Jesus warned would be at his Return (Matt 24:29-31). It will be a conflagration so great that if God did not intervene by sending his Son back to the earth – no flesh would survive. Everything would be destroyed. All the evidence from a prophecy point of view says that this conflict could begin literally at any time. The World is preparing for war...

Armageddon is a place

And Armageddon is an actual place- the place where the armies of the world will arrive to oppose the Lord Jesus Christ and his Saints as is foretold in the Book of Revelation. Rev 16:16 & 18 NIV

Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.,,, Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake.

Verse 14 of this chapter tells of ' the kings of the earth and of the whole world,' in other words , all nations, who have been persuaded to "gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty". Apparently at that time, such animosity will be aroused against the nation of Israel that they will band together to invade, and will be prepared to do battle at a place called Armageddon. It is then that God intervenes by sending The Lord Jesus Christ and his Saints.

The prophets Ezekiel and Zechariah describe the tumultuous battle which follows. In Ezekiel chapter 38 v 9 we read of an invasion of Israel headed by Gog "Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee" (38:9). In response Ez 38:18 tells us 'And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face.

Ez 38:20-23 all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. .. And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: ...

And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.... Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.

With the result that Gog and his army of Nations is destroyed Ez 39:4 Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee.

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The Prophecy of Zechariah

Consistent with Revelation 16, Zechariah 14 presents God as gathering the nations to battle. And Jerusalem is captured. Initially the picture is one of complete defeat for the Israeli forces. The force that invades the Land at the time of the end will be a massive force with highly aggressive intentions. Israel's army, skilful as it is, will be no match for this mighty force and will be overwhelmed.

And it is then, when Israel is utterly unable to deliver itself, that God will intervene

Zechariah 14:1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 14:2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken. 14:3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 14:4 And his (Jesus') feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 14:9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.

Signs that Armageddon is close

So, is this an event which will happen in the far future or is the Battle of Armageddon very close? The Prophet Joel gives us a clue to the timing Joel 3:1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, ( we have experienced Israel restored as a Nation and Jerusalem again proclaimed as its Capital)

3:2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. ( the Valley of Jehoshaphat is another name for Armageddon)

3:10-11 Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD.

We are seeing the Mighty Ones of China and Russia awakening from their relative peace which followed the Cold War and little weak Nations like N.Korea flexing their muscles too and saying 'we are strong!'. Surely we are very close to the Battle of Armageddon.

A place of Judgement

Armageddon is a Hebrew word, which is taken to mean Mount Megiddo. In the Old Testament Megiddo was a place of numerous decisive battles because of the broad plain that stood before it. Deborah and Barak defeated Sisera and his Canaanite army there (Judges 4-5), Gideon drove off the Midianites and Amalekites ( Judges 6 ).

It is therefore a fittingly symbolic name for the place of judgement on Israel's enemies when Christ returns to establish God's throne. As it happened to Deborah and Gideon, the invader will cover the land; appear triumphant, but will meet his end through Divine intervention. In that day of the battle of God Almighty the people will be delivered by God as they were through Gideon or Deborah and Barak.

The signs of the times

The signs of the times give us every reason to expect that this day is near, and this should be a powerful stimulus to us to prepare for that great and terrible day before it is too late. Let us, then, watch events as they unfold, encouraged that God is in control and that He will bring them to a climax soon when He intervenes to establish His Kingdom.

Bearing in mind the judgements about to be unleashed on the world it would be wise to take heed to the words which Paul gave to the people gathered around him at the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38-40) 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gif t of the Holy Spirit.

2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

zech 2

 

jerusalemJerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world; it has been fought over many times and destroyed twice.

Even today, its ownership is still being fought over. In 1980 the Knesset (Israel's Parliament) declared Jerusalem as Israel's "eternal and indivisible" capital but the United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 declared that the Knesset's "Jerusalem Law" was "null and void and must be rescinded forthwith". And the struggle goes on, recently, with Australia joining the USA in declaring that Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel.

So, it seems that Jerusalem is a 'Hot Potato' which burns the fingers of all who try to impose their influence on Jerusalem and ought Bible students be surprise, then, at this constant squabbling over Jerusalem?

Not really, because the both Jesus and the Prophets of the Old Testament inform us that Jerusalem will be the focus of all the world just before Christ returns , for example Zechariah states that Jerusalem will be besieged by armies just before the return of Christ ¶

Zech 12v2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.

3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

In the last few decades Jerusalem has indeed proved to be a 'burdensome stone' to all Nations who have involved themselves with it, but this prophecy says more, it tells us that all the nations will gather themselves together to attack Jerusalem ( this is also prophecied in Joel 3:2)

However, the Prophet Zechariah also states that on this occasion Jerusalem will not fall to the invading armies but will be defended by the LORD in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom the Jews will finally recognise as their Messiah.

Zech 12:8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem;

9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

This can only mean the return of Christ and the Jews finally understanding that he is their Messiah. And current events tell us that this may happen soon. The attitude of the whole world is subtly changing towards Israel. Should the UN decide at some time to legalise the Palestinian State there could arise a situation where the Nations of the world try to wrest the land from Israel by force. Even if this does not occur immediately, Israel seems to have few friends left and the USA once a strong and staunch ally no longer has the power, nor possibly, the will to stand by her whatever the consequences. And it is when Israel is alone and powerless that the Lord Jesus will return to save his people.

Surely, the return of Christ is near when he will make Jerusalem his Capital from which he will rule the world and it will no longer be a 'burdensome stone' but the joy of the whole world for the prophet Isaiah states

Isa 56:7 mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

Ps 48:2 Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.

When Jesus returns to claim his Kingdom and rule from Jerusalem, that city will no longer be a burden it will be a place of praise to God and Isaiah counsels the faithful to pray earnestly for that day Isa 62:7 And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

Lets us therefore watch Israel, pray for the peace of Jerusalem and wait expectantly for the return of Christ.


Trump orders immediate and full withdrawal of US troops from Syria

 

 

Donald Trump crossed an new threshold towards the return of Christ when on Wednesday 19/12/18 he declared that the Islamic State (Isil) had been "defeated" and ordered a complete withdrawal of US forces from Syria. Yet even his own Republican allies declared that it was a "huge" mistake to consider that victory over Isil had been achieved. They warned that the withdrawal would harm the fight against Isil, and undermine US hopes of countering Iran's influence in Syria..

The US Defence Secretary a trusted military leader resigned on the day that president Trump announced that US troops would be pulling out from Syria, while the Russian President Putin was delighted and its evident that Russia and Iran are the clear winners in this move which must strengthen the king of the north's hand in Syria. However the Scriptures tell us that great trouble is still to come in Syria. With no America deterrent things may well destabilise quickly. ... Here is what Jeremiah prophesied (Jeremiah 49:24-26) Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail. How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy! Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD of hosts.

The American decision to withdraw from Syria has left Israel standing alone and feeling very vulnerable. "This leaves us alone in the arena with the Russians," said Michael Herzog, an Israel-based fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a former Israeli defense official. "We are alone in the battle against Iran in Syria."

There can be no doubt that Russia's influence over Syria can only grow more dominant as the United States exits. And Turkey, Iran and the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad also stand to reap enormous immediate benefits. Israel, however, which hoped the American presence in Syria would block Iran from completing its corridor to the sea, now has to reckon with a new reality.

Iran will undoubtedly step up its efforts to expand in Syria as soon as the US troops have gone, yet Israel of course will not allow Iran to expand in Syria and we can expect to see more military action by Israel against Iran in Syria. Also the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has said that Turkey will launch a military operation against the Kurds in northern Syria.

Ezekiel 38 says that Russia, Iran and Turkey will be allies against Israel at the time of the end. And yet there is no mention of Syria – that is because Isaiah 17:1 tells us that the destruction of Syria has already happened. Isa 17:1 The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.

Russia, Iran and Turkey will be allied against Israel at the time of the end

Ezekiel 38:1-6 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands

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