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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Luke 21:12-19 End Times

Luke 21:12-19 (BSB) 12 But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. On account of My name they will deliver you to the synagogues and prisons, and they will bring you before kings and governors. 13 This will be your opportunity to serve as witnesses. 14 So make up your mind not to worry beforehand how to defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you speech and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.
16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you will be put to death. 17 And you will be hated by everyone because of My name. 18 Yet not even a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your patient endurance you will gain your souls.

Luke 21:12-19 (NLT) 12 But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. 13 But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. 14 So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, 15 for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! 16 Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you. 17 And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish! 19 By standing firm, you will win your souls.

Cross References
Matthew 24:8-14 (NLT) 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 Then they will deliver you over to be persecuted and killed, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 At that time many will fall away and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will arise and mislead many.
12 Because of the multiplication of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. 13 But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Mark 14:8b-13 (NLT) ...These are the beginning of birth pains.
9 So be on your guard. You will be delivered over to the councils and beaten in the synagogues. On My account you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10 And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand what to say. Instead, speak whatever you are given at that time, for it will not be you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
12 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. 13 You will be hated by everyone because of My name, but the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.

The Twelve Disciples and where they ministered:
  1. Thomas (aka Didymus) labored in Parthia, Persia, and India
  2. Simon the Zealot unknown ministry
  3. Philip preached in Phrygia and died a martyr at Hierapolis
  4. Simon Peter did evangelistic and missionary work among the Jews, going as far as Babylon and dying in Rome
  5. Andrew, Peter's brother, is claimed by three countries as their Patron Saint-Russia, Scotland and Greece. Many scholars say that he preached in Scythia, Greece and Asia Minor.
  6. Matthew (aka Levi, son of Alpheus) preached the Gospel to the Jewish community in Judea, before going to other countries
  7. Jude Thaddeus (son of Alpheus, aka Judas the Zealot) preached in Edessa near the Euphrates River, Assyria and Persia
  8. James Son of Alpheus (aka James the Lesser or James the Younger, was the brother of Jude Thaddeus) preached in Palestine and Egypt
  9. John Boanerges Son of Zebedee preached among the churches of Asia Minor
  10. James Boanerges Son of Zebedee preached in Jerusalem and Judea
  11. Nathanael Bartholomew preached with Philip in Phrygia and Hierapolis; also in Armenia
  12. Matthias replaced Judas Iscariot in Acts 1:15-26, Besides the book of Acts, Matthias isn’t mentioned anywhere else in the Bible. According to historical sources Matthias lived until 80 A.D. and spread the gospel on the shores of the Caspian and Cappadocia.
The Disciples became Apostles and they started their ministries after the Holy Spirit descended on them in Acts 2. They began preaching, teaching and starting churches. The persecution actually spread the Gospel because people had to leave to escape and they took the Gospel wherever they went. Just as Jesus commissioned them with His last words:  Matthew 28:19-20 (Jesus speaking)  "19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

At the beginning of the Great Tribulation time, it is my belief that all Christians will be raptured (this is a disputed claim as some believe we will be raptured in the middle of the Great Tribulation and others believe we won't be raptured during the Great Tribulation, but at the end). Those of us who are true believers now, have nothing to fear as far as the Great Tribulation. We are gone! I, personally believe, we are being prepped even now for when the Rapture occurs and Christians disappear. People would rather believe it was a mass alien abduction rather than the Rapture where Jesus Christ comes for His people. We have alien TV shows on one station or another round the clock now. It's satan's campaign to give another explanation for when the Rapture occurs.

But, even though Christians are raptured at the beginning of the Tribulation, there will be people who become believers in Jesus Christ during the Great Tribulation. They will be the ones who are persecuted by the anti-Christ. Many will be martyred. But the Gospel message and the warnings will still go forth:

Revelation 14:6-10a  6 And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. 7 “Fear God,” he shouted. “Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.”
8 Then another angel followed him through the sky, shouting, “Babylon is fallen—that great city is fallen—because she made all the nations of the world drink the wine of her passionate immorality.”
9 Then a third angel followed them, shouting, “Anyone who worships the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark on the forehead or on the hand 10 must drink the wine of God’s anger.

In our verses in Luke today, Jesus is speaking to His Twelve Disciples. He warns them after His Death and Resurrection, the birth pangs begin and build up in intensity. As you can see from the list above, the Twelve Disciples saw the fulfillment of Jesus' words in their lifetime. They did spread the gospel. They were reviled and persecuted because of Jesus. In most cases, they died martyr deaths because of their faith in Jesus as the Son of God and Messiah.

How the Disciples died:
  1. Thomas (aka Didymus) was killed with a spear as a martyr
  2. Simon the Zealot was crucified
  3. Philip died by hanging at Hierapolis
  4. Simon Peter was crucified, head downward, in Rome
  5. Andrew, Peter's brother, was crucified on an X-shaped cross
  6. Matthew (aka Levi, son of Alpheus) died a martyr in Ethiopia
  7. Jude Thaddeus (son of Alpheus, aka Judas the Zealot) was killed with arrows at Ararat
  8. James Son of Alpheus (aka James the Lesser or James the Younger, was the brother of Jude Thaddeus) was crucified in Egypt and his body sawn into pieces
  9. John Boanerges Son of Zebedee was banished to the Isle of Patmos, he was later freed and died a natural death
  10. James Son of Zebedee was beheaded by Herod, AD 44
  11. Nathanael Bartholomew was flayed alive with knives in India
  12. Judas Iscariot committed suicide by hanging himself
  13. Matthias replaced Judas, death unknown
In the Book of Acts, there were many times when the followers of Jesus were persecuted, arrested, interrogated, tortured, and driven out.

The First Church era
Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire occurred intermittently over a period of over two centuries between the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD under Nero and the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, in which the Roman Emperors Constantine the Great and Licinius legalised the Christian religion.
The persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire was carried out by the state and also by local authorities on a sporadic, ad hoc basis, often at the whims of local communities. The first persecution of Christians organised by the Roman government took place under the emperor Nero in 64 AD after the Great Fire of Rome. Starting in 250 AD, empire-wide persecution took place as an indirect consequence of an edict by the emperor Decius. This edict was in force for eighteen months, during which time some Christians were killed while others apostatised to escape execution. In the 300 years from the crucifixion of Christ to the conversion of Emperor Constantine, polytheistic Roman emperors initiated no more than four general persecutions of Christians. (Source: Wikipedia)

We also know, throughout history, that Christians have been persecuted to the same extremes. Because we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and as the Son of God, we are targets for those who hate the true God.

Persecution of Christians in 2020
North Korea  “If North Korean Christians are discovered, they are deported to labor camps as political criminals or even killed on the spot. Driven by the state, Christian persecution in North Korea is extreme.”
Afghanistan because of Islamic militants
Somalia because of Islamic militants
Pakistan because of Islamic militants
Eritrea because of Islamic militant groups
Sudan because of Islamic militant groups
Yemen because of Islamic militant groups
Iran because of Islamic militant groups
India by Hindu Nationalists
Syria because of Islamic militant groups
Nigeria because of Islamic militant groups
Maldives because of Islamic militant groups
Usbekistan anti-any god
Vietnam, Turkmenistan, China, Mauritania, Central African Republic, Morocco, Qatar, Burkina Faso, Mali, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Nepal, Jordan, Tunisia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Brunei, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Colombia, Oman, Kuwait, Kenya, Bhutan, Russian Federation, United Arab Emirates, Cameroon, Indonesia, and Niger

Intolerant interpretations of Islam are the greatest structural enemy of religious liberty. Second-greatest is authoritarianism in regimes that are determined to suppress freedom of conscience, thought, speech, and worship. A variety of other factors follow, such as Buddhist, Hindu, and Orthodox nationalism. - National Review

Open Doors USA calls persecution of Christians “one of the biggest human rights issues of this era,” citing instances of violence, imprisonment and murder in countries around the world. According to Open Doors, in 2018 over 245 million Christians were living in places where they experienced high levels of persecution.

According to a U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) commissioner, "Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world," and that persecution is only intensifying.

What about America?

2 Peter 3:3 Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires.

What shaped America in its earliest days is the fact that we were a predominantly Christian nation, but never an exclusively Christian nation. The common Christian moral and cultural heritage contributed to our original institutions. The ability to communicate with each other in the common language of shared Christian morals allowed movements like abolitionism and the civil rights movement to draw upon the authority of Christian scripture and teachings and to recognize a higher moral standard than “what the law currently allows.” Irreligious progressives are refusing religious tolerance and are openly hostile to Christianity. They champion diversity while excluding Christians. More and more Christians are becoming marginalized. American citizens are guaranteed religious freedom through the First Amendment but this freedom is slipping away as Christian persecution and anti-Semitism swells. "Free exercise" of religion, in the U.S. Constitution, has become freedom from religion. As the government continues to make arbitrary rulings, a clear message of intolerance is sent to Americans and to the world. The government itself is cultivating hatred toward those practicing religion. As the culture has changed and become more hostile to Christianity, more people are leaving the church. Pew Research reports the percentage of Americans who describe themselves as religiously affiliated (from 83% to 77%) has shrunk while the percentage describing themselves as unaffiliated has grown from 2007 to 2014. The exodus from the churches and the failure of young people to join churches is alarming. But we must realize that those who leave and choose to no longer affiliate themselves with Christianity, were never true converts to start with. John wrote, "When they left it proved they did not belong with us" and "they never really belonged with us". They were in church for reasons other than a true salvation experience and a relationship with God. They may have called themselves Christian because it was an acceptable label. It was a cultural christianity versus a born again conversion. They were never truly Christians to start with. So they easily turn from the truth. If history shows anything, it shows that this kind of persecution will only grow and intensify. It's been cyclical. It builds up, it spews forth, it backs away. But each time, it's worse and that is the meaning of the analogy of "birth pangs". A woman knows that the pain of birth pangs builds, peaks, ebbs only to build even stronger the next time the pain comes.

Apostasy (people who turn from the truth, they were never really saved anyway)
1 John 2:15-23  15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
18 Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come. 19 These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.
20 But you are not like that, for the Holy One has given you his Spirit, and all of you know the truth. 21 So I am writing to you not because you don’t know the truth but because you know the difference between truth and lies. 22 And who is a liar? Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ. Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist. 23 Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father, either. But anyone who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

2 Timothy 3  1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
6 They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. 7 (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.) 8 These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. 9 But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres.
10 But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. 12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.
14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

The birth pangs started and have increased and intensified over the last 2,000 years. But the ultimate fulfillment will come in the End Days. During the Last Days it will be unprecedented persecution.

Matthew 5:10-12  10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you.

Revelation 7:9-17  9 After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. 10 And they were shouting with a great roar,
“Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne
and from the Lamb!”
11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell before the throne with their faces to the ground and worshiped God. 12 They sang,
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and strength belong to our God
forever and ever! Amen.”
13 Then one of the twenty-four elders asked me, “Who are these who are clothed in white? Where did they come from?”
14 And I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.”
Then he said to me, “These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white.
15 “That is why they stand in front of God’s throne
and serve him day and night in his Temple.
And he who sits on the throne
will give them shelter.
16 They will never again be hungry or thirsty;
they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun.
17 For the Lamb on the throne
will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 13:7-12,16-18  7 And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. 8 And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made.
9 Anyone with ears to hear
should listen and understand.
10 Anyone who is destined for prison
will be taken to prison.
Anyone destined to die by the sword
will die by the sword.
This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful.
11 Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of a dragon. 12 He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and its people to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed...
16 He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. 17 And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. 18 Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Proverbs 7:21-27

Proverbs 7:21-27 (BSB) 21 With her great persuasion she entices him;
with her flattering lips she lures him.
22 He follows her on impulse,
like an ox going to the slaughter,
like a deer bounding into a trap,
23 until an arrow pierces his liver,
like a bird darting into a snare—
not knowing it will cost him his life.
24 Now, my sons, listen to me,
and attend to the words of my mouth.
25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways;
do not stray into her paths.
26 For she has brought many down to death;
her slain are many in number.
27 Her house is the road to Sheol,
descending to the chambers of death.

Proverbs 7:21-27 (NLT) 21 So she seduced him with her pretty speech
and enticed him with her flattery.
22 He followed her at once,
like an ox going to the slaughter.
He was like a stag caught in a trap,
23 awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart.
He was like a bird flying into a snare,
little knowing it would cost him his life.
24 So listen to me, my sons,
and pay attention to my words.
25 Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her.
Don’t wander down her wayward path.
26 For she has been the ruin of many;
many men have been her victims.
27 Her house is the road to the grave.
Her bedroom is the den of death.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
persuasion - לִקְחָ֑הּ (leqach, liq·ḥāh) - Noun - masculine singular construct | third person feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3948: Something received, instruction, inveiglement

she entices him - הִ֭טַּתּוּ (natah, hiṭ·ṭat·tū) - Verb - Hifil - Perfect - third person feminine singular | third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5186: To stretch out, spread out, extend, incline, bend

she lures him - תַּדִּיחֶֽנּוּ׃ (nadach, tad·dî·ḥen·nū) - Verb - Hifil - Imperfect - third person feminine singular | third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5080: To impel, thrust, banish
Brown-Driver-Briggs English Hebrew Lexicon adds compel, force

with her flattering - בְּחֵ֥לֶק (cheleq, bə·ḥê·leq) - Preposition-b | Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 2506: Portion, tract, territory
Brown-Driver-Briggs English Hebrew Lexicon adds chosen smoothness, seductiveness of speech

lips - שְׂ֝פָתֶ֗יהָ (saphah, p̄ā·ṯe·hā) - Noun - fdc | third person feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 8193: The lip, language, a margin

Despite her dress, her kiss, her hug, her wanton invitation and her assurance that her husband was gone there evidently was still some hesitation on his part. So she continues to persuade with her speech. She kept going until she found an open door. She would try this argument, then this encouragement and then more seductive flattery to turn his head. She was out to get him but, unfortunately for him, he was out to get caught. Her wheedling, cajoling, flattering, persuasive words found an ear that was ready to listen and be persuaded. Like an irrational animal, he walks right into the trap. She leads him inside her house like an ox to the slaughter. The animal has no idea where it's being led and doesn't fight it, he just follows. And the leader takes him right to his own demise. So this woman leads this foolish young man right to his own destruction. He doesn't fight it, he just follows along.

"...the infatuated youth does not consider that his life is at stake, that he is bringing upon himself, by his vicious rashness, temporal and spiritual ruin" - Pulpit Commentary

"For she hath cast down many wounded,.... Wounded in their name, character, and reputation; in their bodies by diseases; and in their souls by guilt, shame, and horror, through a compliance with her sinful lusts: these she "cast down" from the honours they were possessed of, from the health they enjoyed, and from the peace and tranquillity of mind they formerly felt within them." - Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Let's look back at the verses from Chapter 7 and see how the seduction worked:
  • The young man was senseless, simple, naive, mindless.
  • The young man was out at night, walking near her house, possibly looking for her or waiting for her.
  • The woman came out dressed like a prostitute. She got his attention visually first.
  • She had a cunning, sly heart with intent to do mischief.
  • She was loud, verbally defiant, mouthy, using vulgar language to see if that worked.
  • She doesn't stay at home, she's always on the move, lurking and looking for a party.
  • She grabbed him and kissed him.
  • She tried the "innocent" ploy by pretended to be godly. She began by saying she had made her peace offerings and had meat left over that had to be eaten. Wouldn't he come in and share the meat with her in a party?
  • She flattered him by saying she had been looking just for him.
  • She indicates it was fate that she looked for him and there he was.
  • "Come up to my room" because my bed is decked with fine Egyptian linen and perfumed.
  • She propositions him to have sex.
  • She assures him her husband is gone and will be gone for days so there won't be any consequences to their sin.
  • She continued to seduce him with persuasive words, flattering lips, and smooth talk. Enticing, inveigling and cajoling.

And the stupid young man fell for it. Before we leave this, let me add again that this goes for women who are enticed by men. Men will try tricks to get women to sleep with them too. So it goes both ways. Girls, don't be fooled by the guys who try all these same tricks.

How could the stupid young man avoid this trap?
  • He should have made his mind up to follow godly advice to start with. You have your mind made up that you won't fall for it. Set your mind on doing what is right.
  • He had no business being out and about at night. There is no real excuse for walking and loitering (or cruising in a car), at night, in places where you have no reason to be.
  • He had no business being in her neighborhood looking for her or waiting for her.
  • If it had been a truly accidental meeting, then he should have turned around and walked off.
  • He should have thrust her away from him when she grabbed him and tried to kiss him.
  • He should have said, "NO! And NO means NO!" and walked away.
  • He should have closed his ears to her entreaties and arguments; turned off his cell phone, blocked her on Facebook, don't accept her Friend request, block her texts, completely ignore her.
  • He should have gone straight home where he was safe.
  • He should have given her no room in his mind to continue her wheedling. I.e. don't even think about what she had to say or what she threatened. Turn her off in your mind and put your mind on other things. Guys and girls will try to get in your head and you can still hear them as they try to persuade you and even threaten you. You know what is right so don't let them in your head and don't listen. That is satan talking. They may call you names. They may threaten to make a laughingstock of you to your friends. They may mock you. They may use all kinds of arguments and persuasions. But you are in control of what you listen to in your own head. You don't have to listen to satan's arguments. If you did the right thing, God will take care of you no matter what they threaten to do or what they actually do. It will turn back on them and they will see their own destruction rather than your destruction.

What are the consequences?
  • Trapped
  • Walking like an idiot to your own destruction.
  • The pangs of a guilty conscience: "He was like a stag caught in a trap, awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart".
  • As a Christian, sin (by your own choice) causes a degree of separation between you and God. It can be forgiven through Jesus Christ and you can have your relationship back with God. But with that degree of separation comes a degree of hardness of heart and deafness to the calls of God. Repentance becomes repugnant to us. The harder our heart, the more deaf we are to the call of God to repent and be cleansed and in right relationship with Him.
  • Ruin
  • Death

David was chosen by God as a young man, to be the next King of Israel. He was a shepherd boy tending his father's flock when he was selected by God. The Prophet Samuel came to his home upon God's prompting. Samuel met each of David's older brothers (he was the youngest) but God didn't choose any of them. So Samuel sent for the baby brother and when he came, Samuel knew God had chosen David. David was a poet who wrote many of the Psalms. He was the one who God used to killed the giant, Goliath. He spent time with King Saul at his palace and became best friends with Saul's son, Jonathon. But then King Saul went mad and, in jealousy, went after David to kill him. David was a mighty warrior and eventually he did become king after Saul. God said David was "a man after My own Heart". But David fell into grievous sin on account of Bathsheba. Sex tempted this man of God and he fell for the trap. He was first caught visually when he saw Bathsheba bathing naked on her rooftop close to the palace where David could see her. I don't know if this was deliberate on her part or if she was innocently taking a bath. Once the king called for you to be brought to him, you didn't refuse on pain of death. Anyway, he called for her and she came and they had an adulteress relationship in which she got pregnant. Her husband was away fighting for King David. David had to have him killed, adding murder to his sin of adultery. In the end, David had deceived, committed adultery, and murdered Bathsheba's faithful husband. David's heart had become so hardened by his sin and separation from his God, that he didn't hear God's attempts to call him to repentance. Finally God used the Prophet Nathan to speak directly to David about his sin and David finally gave in and fell on his face in repentance. All his hardness crumbled and he begged God's forgiveness. God did forgive him and re-established relationship with David but the consequences were still felt because the baby died. David had to submit to God's discipline. His relationship with God was restored but David had to deal with a lot of family problems for the rest of his life.

How can God use the death of David's innocent baby for good? First, don't forget that God creates all life. He created that child and He breathed in it His life. God knew perfectly well what He was doing in allowing that baby to be conceived. God knows perfectly well how to best take care of that baby too. There is no innocent life that God loses. David and Bathsheba's baby went straight to Paradise and they would see their child again. So you don't have to feel sorry for the innocent child. He, or she, is safe in God's arms for eternity. That child never had to walk this earth and deal with all that we have to deal with. It never experienced heartache, sorrow, sin, devastation, war, death, sickness, loss. Second, God obviously was wise enough to know what it would take to get David back on the right path. He had to experience some pretty devastating stuff because of his sin. But God was right, it brought David back into right relationship. God is the Master Potter. He knows just what kind of pressure each of us needs, just the right touch, just the right hardness or softness to bring about the good in the clay pot He is working with. So we can trust God knows what He's doing and knows how to use everything we encounter to our good if we let Him.

For another example, read about the ruin of Samson because of Delilah in Judges 13-16.

To finish this chapter, let me remind you that these verses are not only about sexual sin but the adulterous woman is like satan with any sin. Satan hopes to keep you from ever finding Jesus as your Savior, being forgiven and born again. He will use all the seducing tricks to tempt you to sin and keep you away from your only Savior, Jesus Christ. He knows your weaknesses and he will push and push if you let him. His aim is to ruin and destroy you. Even if you are a Christian, he will try to entice you into sin bondage (you are free through Jesus Christ but many times we choose to sin and we get into bondage to it). He hopes you never repent, never seek God and never realize you can be free. He wants to ruin you and destroy your relationship with God. But Jesus is always standing there waiting for you to reach towards Him. He will wash you, cleanse you, set you free again and again and again. Don't let satan keep you in bondage and destruction. You don't have to be. You may have consequences, but you don't have to be enslaved. And God can turn those consequences into good for you. You don't have to live separated from your God. He loves you, He wants you, He has provided the way for you, just reach out and accept it.

  • Go back and read through the verses and list, in your own words, the ways she seduced him. What were her tricks?
  • Her tricks would have been ineffective if he had: ____________________________________________________________.
  • Be sure to read about King David and Bathsheba (1 Samuel 16-2 Samuel) and Samson and Delilah (Judges 13-16). They are worth studying.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:18 "Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body". Expound on this with your own thoughts.
  • What are some ways that satan tempts you? What button is he pushing to get you to fall into sin? What weakness is he exploiting in you? What tricks and words is he using to get to you?
  • Have you fallen into sin because satan used someone to push all your buttons? Maybe it was someone's words that pushed you over the edge. Maybe it was visual temptations (pictures, videos, girls walking by in short skirts or guys flexing their muscles at the gym, etc) that pushed you over the edge. Maybe it was threats and fears that finally got you. How did satan appeal to your inner lusts and desires? Why did you fall for it?
  • You cannot save yourself. You cannot clean up your act and behave better and it be acceptable to God. That would be just trying to save yourself, be your own savior. There is nothing we can do to cleanse our own sins. We are lost in them. God knew that and it's why He sent His Son to save us. Jesus Christ can cleanse us from sin. Jesus Christ can rescue us from our sins. But we have to repent and ask Him to do it. Have you done that?
  • Repentance means to change our minds about sin. To see it for what it really is and how lost we are to it. It's to turn to Jesus knowing that He is the only way to salvation and forgiveness. If we realize how lost we are and reach out to Him, He is faithful to rescue us.
  • Meditate on this scripture: 1 John 1:8-9 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  • Maybe you have some consequences from sins you chose to chase. If you are forgiven and in right relationship now with God (see above), can you now trust God to use all things to your good? Even the hard things?
  • Meditate on this scripture: Romans 8:28 And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Luke 21:11 End Times

Luke 21:11 There will be great earthquakes, famines, and pestilences in various places, along with fearful sights and great signs from heaven.

Parallel References

Matthew 24:7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

Mark 13:8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, as well as famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance

great - μεγάλοι (megaloi) - Adjective - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 3173: Large, great, in the widest sense.

earthquakes - σεισμοί (seismoi) - Noun - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 4578: A shaking (as an earthquake); a storm. From seio; a commotion, i.e. a gale, an earthquake.

famines - λιμοὶ (limoi) - Noun - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 3042: A famine, hunger. Probably from leipo; a scarcity of food.

pestilences - λοιμοὶ (loimoi) - Noun - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 3061: (a) a pestilence, (b) a pestilent fellow. Of uncertain affinity; a plague.

fearful sights - φόβητρά (phobētra) - Noun - Nominative Neuter Plural
Strong's Greek 5400: Neuter of a derivative of phobeo; a frightening thing, i.e. Terrific portent.

great - μεγάλα (megala) - Adjective - Nominative Neuter Plural
Strong's Greek 3173: Large, great, in the widest sense.

signs  σημεῖα (sēmeia) - Noun - Nominative Neuter Plural
Strong's Greek 4592: Neuter of a presumed derivative of the base of semaino; an indication, especially ceremonially or supernaturally.

heaven - οὐρανοῦ (ouranou) - Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 3772: Perhaps from the same as oros; the sky; by extension, heaven; by implication, happiness, power, eternity; specially, the Gospel.

Supporting Scripture

Deuteronomy 28 gives the blessings of a relationship with God and obeying His commands. It also gives the curses of rejecting God and disobeying His commands.

Deuteronomy 28:1-2  1 “Now if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God and are careful to follow all His commandments I am giving you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you, if you will obey the voice of the LORD your God:...

Deuteronomy 28:15 If, however, you do not obey the LORD your God by carefully following all His commandments and statutes I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:...

Let's look at the curses in light of the verse we are studying today, Luke 21:11.

Deuteronomy 28:25-26,47-57,63-68  25 The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will march out against them in one direction but flee from them in seven. You will be an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 26 Your corpses will be food for all the birds of the air and beasts of the earth, with no one to scare them away... 45 All these curses will come upon you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, since you did not obey the LORD your God and keep the commandments and statutes He gave you. 46 These curses will be a sign and a wonder upon you and your descendants forever.
47 Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart in all your abundance, 48 you will serve your enemies the LORD will send against you in famine, thirst, nakedness, and destitution. He will place an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you. 49 The LORD will bring a nation from afar, from the ends of the earth, to swoop down upon you like an eagle—a nation whose language you will not understand, 50 a ruthless nation with no respect for the old and no pity for the young. 51 They will eat the offspring of your livestock and the produce of your land until you are destroyed. They will leave you no grain or new wine or oil, no calves of your herds or lambs of your flocks, until they have caused you to perish. 52 They will besiege all the cities throughout your land, until the high and fortified walls in which you trust have fallen. They will besiege all your cities throughout the land that the LORD your God has given you.
53 Then you will eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters whom the LORD your God has given you, in the siege and distress that your enemy will inflict on you.
54 The most gentle and refined man among you will begrudge his brother, the wife he embraces, and the rest of his children who have survived, 55 refusing to share with any of them the flesh of his children he will eat because he has nothing left in the siege and distress that your enemy will inflict in you within all your gates.
56 The most gentle and refined woman among you, so gentle and refined she would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground, will begrudge the husband she embraces and her son and daughter 57 the afterbirth that comes from between her legs and the children she bears, because she will secretly eat them for lack of anything else in the siege and distress that your enemy will inflict on you within your gates... 63 Just as it pleased the LORD to make you prosper and multiply, so also it will please Him to annihilate you and destroy you. And you will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess.
64 Then the LORD will scatter you among all the nations, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you will worship other gods, gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. 65 Among those nations you will find no repose, not even a resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and a despairing soul.
66 So your life will hang in doubt before you, and you will be afraid night and day, never certain of survival. 67 In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and in the evening you will say, ‘If only it were morning!’—because of the dread in your hearts of the terrifying sights you will see.
68 The LORD will return you to Egypt in ships by a route that I said you should never see again. There you will sell yourselves to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.”

Famine, Drought, Blight
Deuteronomy 28:15-19,22-24,38-42 22  15 If, however, you do not obey the LORD your God by carefully following all His commandments and statutes I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:
16 You will be cursed in the city
and cursed in the country.
17 Your basket and kneading bowl will be cursed.
18 The fruit of your womb will be cursed,
as well as the produce of your land,
the calves of your herds,
and the lambs of your flocks.
19 You will be cursed when you come in
and cursed when you go out...
22 The LORD will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, and with blight and mildew; these will pursue you until you perish. 23 The sky over your head will be bronze, and the earth beneath you iron.
24 The LORD will turn the rain of your land into dust and powder; it will descend on you from the sky until you are destroyed... 38 You will sow much seed in the field but harvest little, because the locusts will consume it. 39 You will plant and cultivate vineyards, but will neither drink the wine nor gather the grapes, because worms will eat them. 40 You will have olive trees throughout your territory but will never anoint yourself with oil, because the olives will drop off. 41 You will father sons and daughters, but they will not remain yours, because they will go into captivity. 42 Swarms of locusts will consume all your trees and the produce of your land.

Pestilence and plague
Deuteronomy 28:15,21-23,27-29,35,58-60  15 If, however, you do not obey the LORD your God by carefully following all His commandments and statutes I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you...21 The LORD will make the plague cling to you until He has exterminated you from the land that you are entering to possess. 22 The LORD will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, and with blight and mildew; these will pursue you until you perish. 23 The sky over your head will be bronze, and the earth beneath you iron... 27 The LORD will afflict you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors and scabs and itch from which you cannot be cured. 28 The LORD will afflict you with madness, blindness, and confusion of mind, 29 and at noon you will grope about like a blind man in the darkness... 35 The LORD will afflict you with painful, incurable boils on your knees and thighs, from the soles of your feet to the top of your head... 58 If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name—the LORD your God— 59 He will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary disasters, severe and lasting plagues, and terrible and chronic sicknesses. 60 He will afflict you again with all the diseases you dreaded in Egypt, and they will cling to you.

Horne 1841, 119 - a miracle of knowledge, a declaration, or description, or representation of something future, beyond the power of human sagacity to discern or to calculate, and it is the highest evidence that can be given of supernatural communion with Deity, and of the truth of a revelation from God

Predictive prophecy was to establish the credibility of God and, ultimately, the authenticity of his sacred Word. It must be in the future, be beyond human calculation or reasonable guess, have specific details that cannot be denied and have exact fulfillment.

In studying prophecies in the Bible, especially on my study of Revelation, I have learned that there are sometimes 3 levels, or layers, of fulfillment. The Holy Spirit may give a prophecy multiple applications. The closest and most immediate fulfillment might happen in their lifetime, to them personally, or to their generation. At least within a time period so that the prophecy is remembered and known to have been fulfilled. The second would be fulfillment in history and can be multiple fulfillments. The third would be the ultimate fulfillment in the End Times, the Last Days.

Some prophecies had no immediate relevance to their generation such as Isaiah predicting the virgin birth of the Messiah (Isaiah 7:14 which was prophesied 700 years before Christ). Those ancients would not fully understand the predictions—except through the eye of faith. We, however, have God's Word and some history behind us and can see the fulfillment.

Sometimes prophecy is used typologically. For instance a pictorial prophecy like Jonah in the belly of the whale for 3 days was a pictorial prediction of Christ’s three-day entombment. Jonah was a "type" of Christ. There was immediate application in the form of Jonah and his very real story about Nineveh. But there was a future fulfillment in Jesus Christ who would be raised from the tomb on the 3rd day. The sign of Jonah was not just for the Jews but also for the “evil and adulterous generation” that lives in the last days. In this regard, the prophet Jonah is an object lesson for the Remnant. When God releases the winds of judgment, the people of this world will feel so threatened that they will want to cast God's people out of the ship by killing them off just as the crew did to Jonah. In the Book of Revelation, there are two witnesses (two prophets) who are seen in a vision by John of Patmos, who appear during the Second woe recorded in Revelation 11:1-14. John the Revelator is told that the court of God's temple would be trampled on by the nations for 42 months. During that period of 3½ years, two witnesses would be granted authority to prophesy. They are described as two olive trees and two lampstands who stand before the Lord of the earth. Both are able to devour their enemies with fire that flows out of their mouths. Also, they have power over the sky and waters and are able to strike the earth with plague. After their testimony, the Beast overcomes the two witnesses and kills them. For three and a half days, the people of the earth celebrate the two witnesses' death (who have tormented them for three and a half years) and will not permit the witnesses a proper burial. After this time, God resurrects the two witnesses; their resurrection strikes fear on everyone, and the two witnesses ascend to heaven. In the next hour, a great earthquake occurs and kills 7000 men, destroying a tenth of the city. Total chaos and calamity is described in horrific detail in Revelation 6, 8-9, and 15-18.

Let's look at the history that occurred within one generation after Christ's death and resurrection.


"In some sense, there were wars preceding the destruction of Jerusalem (in 70AD), because the Romans were frequently at war with the Jews, the Samaritans, the Syrians, and others during this period. In the broader Roman Empire there were notable earthquakes before Jerusalem was destroyed. There were famines, such as the one mentioned in Acts 11:28. In the greater Roman Empire there were fearful sights such as the destruction of Pompeii, only seven years before Jerusalem was destroyed. There were signs in the heaven" - EnduringWord commentary

Titus Flavius Josephus was born Yosef ben Matityahu and was a first-century Romano-Jewish historian who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Roman Judea—to a father of priestly descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry.
He initially fought against the Romans during the First Jewish–Roman War as head of Jewish forces in Galilee, until surrendering in 67 CE to Roman forces led by Vespasian after the six-week siege of Jotapata...
Flavius Josephus fully defected to the Roman side and was granted Roman citizenship. He became an advisor and friend of Vespasian's son Titus, serving as his translator when Titus led the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Since the siege proved ineffective at stopping the Jewish revolt, the city's destruction and the looting and destruction of Herod's Temple (Second Temple) soon followed.
Josephus recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the first century CE and the First Jewish–Roman War (66–70 CE), including the Siege of Masada. His most important works were The Jewish War (c. 75) and Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94)... Josephus' works are the chief source next to the Bible for the history and antiquity of ancient Palestine. - Wikipedia

"Of these, Josephus has given us a particular account, Bell., Luke 7:12. 'There was a comet in the form of a fiery sword, which for a year together did hang over the city. Before the first revolt and war, the people being gathered together to the feast of unleavened bread, on the 8th of April, at the 9th hour of the night, there was as much light about the altar and temple as if it had been bright day. This remained half an hour. At the same festival, the inner gate of the temple on the east side, being of massy brass, which required at least twenty men to shut it, was seen at midnight to open of its own accord. Not long after the feast-days, on the 21st of May, before the sun set, were seen in the air chariots and armies in battle array, passing along in the clouds and investing the city. And upon the feast of pentecost, at night, the priests, going into the inner temple to attend their wonted service, said, they first felt the place to move and tremble: after that they heard a voice which said, Let us depart hence. But that which was most wonderful of all, one Jesus, the son of Ananus, of the common people, four years before the war began, when the city flourished in peace and riches, coming to the celebration of the feast of tabernacles at Jerusalem, suddenly began to cry out thus: 'A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the temple, a voice against men and women newly married, a voice against all this people'. And thus crying, day and night, he went about all the streets of the city.” Josephus adds, “that he was scourged by some of the nobility, but, without speaking a word for himself, he persevered crying as before; that he was carried before Albinus, the Roman general, who caused him to be beaten till his bones appeared. But that he neither entreated nor wept, but, as well as he could, framing a weeping voice, he cried at every stroke, 'Wo, wo to Jerusalem':” that he went on thus crying, chiefly upon holy days, for the space of seven years and five months, till in the time of the siege, beholding what he had foretold, he ceased. And that then, once again going about the city, on the wall, “he cried with a loud voice, 'Wo, wo to the city, temple, and people'; and lastly he said, 'Wo also to myself'. Which words were no sooner uttered, than a stone thrown out of an engine smote him, and so he yielded up the ghost, lamenting them all.'” - Quoted in Benson Commentary

Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus (c. AD 56 – c. 120) is considered to be one of the greatest Roman historians... The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero, and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors (69 AD). These two works span the history of the Roman Empire from the death of Augustus, in 14 AD, to the years of the First Jewish–Roman War, in 70 AD. - Wikipedia

"Between the prophecy and the destruction of Jerusalem (a.d. 70) occurred: A great earthquake in Crete, a.d. 46 or 47: at Rome, on the day on which Nero entered his majority, a.d. 51: at Apameia, in Phrygia, a.d. 53; "on account of which," says Tacitus, "they were exempted from tribute for five years:" at Laodicea, in Phrygia, a.d. 60: in Campania, a.d. 63, by which, according to Tacitus, the city of Pompeii was largely destroyed.
"During the reign of Claudius, a.d. 41-54:, four famines are recorded: One at Rome, a.d. 41, 42; one in Judaea, a.d. 44; one in Greece, a.d. 50; and again at Rome, a.d. 52, when the people rose in rebellion and threatened the life of the emperor. Tacitus says that it was accompanied by frequent earthquakes, which levelled houses. The famine in Judaea was probably the one prophesied by Agabus, Acts 11:28. Of the year 65 a.d., Tacitus says: "This year, disgraced by so many deeds of horror, was further distinguished by the gods with storms and sicknesses. Campania was devastated by a hurricane which overthrew buildings, trees, and the fruits of the soil in every direction, even to the gates of the city, within which a pestilence thinned all ranks of the population, with no atmospheric disturbance that the eye could trace. The houses were choked with dead, the roads with funerals: neither sex nor age escaped. Slaves and freemen perished equally amid the wailings of their wives and children, who were often hurried to the pyre by which they had sat in tears, and consumed together with them. The deaths of knights and senators, promiscuous as they were, deserved the less to be lamented, inasmuch as, falling by the common lot of mortality, they seemed to anticipate the prince's cruelty" ("Annals," xvi., 10-13)." - Vincent Word Studies on Mark 13:7


Matthew 27:50-54  50 When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He yielded up His spirit. 51 At that moment the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs broke open, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53 After Jesus’ resurrection, when they had come out of the tombs, they entered the holy city and appeared to many people.
54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified and said, “Truly this was the Son of God.”

Matthew 27:59-65  59 So Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut into the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and Pharisees assembled before Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while He was alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order that the tomb be secured until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come and steal Him away and tell the people He has risen from the dead. And this last deception would be worse than the first.”
65 “You have a guard,” Pilate said. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66So they went and secured the tomb by sealing the stone and posting the guard.
Matthew 28:1-2  1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.
2 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, rolled away the stone, and sat on it.

Acts 16:16-40 16 One day as we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl with a spirit of divination, who earned a large income for her masters by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.”
18 She continued this for many days. Eventually Paul grew so aggravated that he turned and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” And the spirit left her at that very moment.
19 When the girl’s owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities in the marketplace. 20 They brought them to the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews and are throwing our city into turmoil 21 by promoting customs that are unlawful for us Romans to adopt or practice.”
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered that they be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 And after striking them with many blows, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to guard them securely. 24 On receiving this order, he placed them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly a strong earthquake shook the foundations of the prison. At once all the doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
27 When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, presuming that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul called out in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself! We are all here!”
29 Calling for lights, the jailer rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then Paul and Silas spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house. 33 At that hour of the night, the jailer took them and washed their wounds. And without delay, he and all his household were baptized. 34 Then he brought them into his home and set a meal before them. So he and all his household rejoiced that they had come to believe in God.
35 When daylight came, the magistrates sent their officers with the order: “Release those men.”
36 The jailer informed Paul: “The magistrates have sent orders to release you. Now you may go on your way in peace.”
37 But Paul said to the officers, “They beat us publicly without a trial and threw us into prison, even though we are Roman citizens. And now do they want to send us away secretly? Absolutely not! Let them come themselves and escort us out!”
38 So the officers relayed this message to the magistrates, who were alarmed to hear that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. 39 They came to appease them and led them out, requesting that they leave the city. 40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house to see the brothers and encourage them. Then they left the city.

End Times


Hebrews 12:18-29  18 You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. 19 For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. 20 They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” 21 Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”
22 No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. 23 You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. 24 You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.
25 Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! 26 When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” 27 This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.
28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. 29 For our God is a devouring fire.

Revelation 6:12-14 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

Revelation 11:13 And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

Revelation 16:18 And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake.

Revelation 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and the One seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from His presence, and no place was found for them.
Revelation 21:1-2  1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

According to Hebrews, there was still a yet greater earthquake and finally the New Heaven and New Earth which is unshakeable!


In the commentaries above we saw there were famines and droughts that occurred in the years after Christ's death and resurrection. We have seen more famine and droughts, blight and agricultural losses due to fire or flood to a greater or lesser degree throughout history. But there will come a time in the end that is worse than it has ever been in human history.

John saw a vision of four horsemen that would usher in the end of the age (Revelation 6). A white horse pictures false religion. A red horse pictures war and violence that will spread around the earth. A black horse, with a rider holding a pair of scales, pictures a time of scarcity, soaring food prices and famine. A pale horse portrays death by, hunger, disease and natural disasters that will affect one quarter of the earth!

Revelation 18:8 (speaking of Babylon) So shall her plagues (afflictions, calamities) come thick upon her in a single day, pestilence and anguish and sorrow and famine; and she shall be utterly consumed (burned up with fire), for mighty is the Lord God Who judges her.

Pestilence and Plague

The Antonine Plague (165–180 AD, possibly up to 190) was of unknown cause but possibly smallpox in which 5-10 million people died.

Thought to have killed perhaps half the population of Europe, the Plague of Justinian was an outbreak of the bubonic plague that afflicted the Byzantine Empire and Mediterranean port cities, killing up to 25 million people in its year long reign of terror from 541-542.

The Black Death had a death toll of 75 – 200 million. The cause was the Bubonic Plague. From 1346 to 1353 an outbreak of the Plague ravaged Europe, Africa, and Asia, with an estimated death toll between 75 and 200 million people. Thought to have originated in Asia, the Plague most likely jumped continents via the fleas living on the rats that so frequently lived aboard merchant ships.

Between 1918 and 1920 a deadly outbreak called the Spanish Flu, an influenza that tore across the globe, infecting over a third of the world’s population and ending the lives of 20 – 50 million people. Of the 500 million people infected in the 1918 pandemic, the mortality rate was estimated at 10% to 20%, with up to 25 million deaths in the first 25 weeks alone.

This is just the tip of the iceberg! There have been multiple flu pandemics and bubonic plague epidemics. There have been cholera, measles, smallpox, typhoid fever, yellow fever, dengue fever, malaria, polio, ebola, HIV/AIDS, coronavirus, H1N1 virus, etc. But these are nothing like it will be in the End Days.

Revelation 6:7-8  7 And when the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!”
8 Then I looked and saw a pale horse. Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed close behind. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill by sword, by famine, by plague, and by the beasts of the earth

As the 4th horseman completes his ride, 1/4 of earth’s inhabitants will have died from plague and disease. If the current world population is 7.5 billion then 1/4 of that would be 1,875,000,000 people (1.875 billion).

Jesus is our only rescue. Put your faith in Him!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Proverbs 7:13-20

Proverbs 7:13-20  13 She seizes him and kisses him;
she brazenly says to him:
14 “I have made my peace offerings;
today I have paid my vows.
15 So I came out to meet you;
I sought you, and I have found you.
16 I have decked my bed with coverings,
with colored linen from Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh,
with aloes, and with cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love till morning.
Let us delight in loving caresses!
19 For my husband is not at home;
he has gone on a long journey.
20 He took with him a bag of money
and will not return till the moon is full.”

Proverbs 7:13-20 (NLT)  13 She threw her arms around him and kissed him,
and with a brazen look she said,
14 “I’ve just made my peace offerings
and fulfilled my vows.
15 You’re the one I was looking for!
I came out to find you, and here you are!
16 My bed is spread with beautiful blankets,
with colored sheets of Egyptian linen.
17 I’ve perfumed my bed
with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning.
Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses,
19 for my husband is not home.
He’s away on a long trip.
20 He has taken a wallet full of money with him
and won’t return until later this month."

Why is this adulteress talking about a "peace offering"? Let's read about the Peace Offering in Leviticus 11:

Leviticus 7:11-18 (NLT)  11 “These are the instructions regarding the different kinds of peace offerings that may be presented to the LORD. 12 If you present your peace offering as an expression of thanksgiving, the usual animal sacrifice must be accompanied by various kinds of bread made without yeast—thin cakes mixed with olive oil, wafers spread with oil, and cakes made of choice flour mixed with olive oil. 13 This peace offering of thanksgiving must also be accompanied by loaves of bread made with yeast. 14 One of each kind of bread must be presented as a gift to the LORD. It will then belong to the priest who splatters the blood of the peace offering against the altar. 15 The meat of the peace offering of thanksgiving must be eaten on the same day it is offered. None of it may be saved for the next morning.
16 “If you bring an offering to fulfill a vow or as a voluntary offering, the meat must be eaten on the same day the sacrifice is offered, but whatever is left over may be eaten on the second day. 17 Any meat left over until the third day must be completely burned up. 18 If any of the meat from the peace offering is eaten on the third day, the person who presented it will not be accepted by the LORD. You will receive no credit for offering it. By then the meat will be contaminated; if you eat it, you will be punished for your sin."

She had made a perfunctory but voluntary peace offering and had to eat the meat before the third day or burn it because it is considered contaminated on the third day and "you will receive no credit for offering it". The reason being, in the heat of the Middle East, meat would putrefy and begin to rot. Anyone eating this would be eating something unclean and therefore an abomination.

"Shelamim, 'peace or thank offerings,' were divided between Jehovah, the priests, and the offerer. Part of the appointed victim was consumed by fire; the breast and right shoulder were allotted to the priests; and the rest of the animal belonged to the person who made the offering, who was to eat it with his household on the same day as a solemn ceremonial feast (Leviticus 3; Leviticus 7). The adulteress says that certain offerings were due from her, and she had duly made them. This day have I payed my vows. And now (the day being reckoned from one night to the next) the feast was ready, and she invites her paramour to share it. The religious nature of the feast is utterly ignored or forgotten. The shameless woman uses the opportunity simply as a convenience for her sin." - Pulpit Commentary

This woman had meat on hand from her peace offering and wanted to have a feast to finish off the meat before it went bad. She is inviting this young man, a stranger, into her home under the pretext of helping her eat the meat. She covered her lewdness with the mask of piety and devotion. So this sacred ordinance was being used as an excuse for feasting, drinking, self indulgence, carousing and debauchery. She must have had sufficient money to do a peace offering and have plenty on hand to have a party. She has a home and the luxury of perfumed Egyptian linens on her bed. The man of the house, presumably her husband, is away on business taking sufficient money for his expenses and whatever he may have been going to purchase. He won't be home until the full moon. Since the night is dark, she has plenty of days to party without interruption until he gets home.

This young man was hanging out waiting for her to come out. He may be immature, naive, stupid, but he was NOT deceived. He knew what he was doing. He had no business being around her house, at night, and he made the choice of going with her even though he knew she was married. She used the pretext of a sacred feast, but she was dressed like a prostitute, she grabbed him, kissed him, told him she was married but her husband was gone. She told him a party was waiting and her bed was ready and they could make love for days. He was not deceived, he made the wrong choice. He was tempted because he was already weak in that area of his heart and he kept drawing closer and closer to the flame.

Let's look at this from a logical point of view: He didn't have to do this. He didn't have to sin. He didn't have to suffer temptation. If he felt the sexual desire or the pull of this woman, he could have made the right decision by not going around her house. At night. When her husband wasn't at home. But he knowingly put himself near the flame. She came out and fanned it. Even then, he could have thrust her from him, turned on his heel, gone home, taken a cold shower and picked up a good book. But he kept pushing to see how far it would go. He let her kiss him. He let her talk to him. He let her persuade and cajole him. He let her fill his mind with lustful thoughts. Finally he snapped and fell right into the trap. You see, both of them were playing with fire and they got burned. You can't play with it. You have to extinguish it, walk away. If you keep toying with it, playing around, flirting... you are asking for trouble.

Sometimes it means:
Verbally telling them "NO!"
Blocking cell phone calls
Blocking their posts on Facebook
Blocking their emails
Avoiding them at work, school or wherever you see them
Refusing to talk to them at all
Walking away when they walk up
Don't ride with them even if it's a group
Don't hang out with them even if it's in a group
If you see them at a restaurant, turn around and go to another restaurant
Throw away and destroy anything they've given you
Refusing to talk about them with your friends (no gossip, no slander, no sexual innuendos, no boy talk or girl talk about them)
Do not be alone with them
Even if it means getting another job, it's better to do that than to stay and get burned

Remember Joseph refused his master's wife over and over again. He was a slave and had no choice in staying. But when she grabbed him, he literally slipped out of his coat and ran away from her.

Now let's look a little deeper. This has all been very practical. But let's remember who the real villain is. Satan will do anything to tempt you into sin. You are especially vulnerable if you have a weakness in an area. Maybe you are weak in the area of gossip, or lying, or stealing, or sexual perversion, or drugs, or alcohol, or jealousy, or rage... satan will pull out all the stops to attack you in your weak areas. He will dress it up to look good and tempting. He will hang around your neck and try to whisper in your ears. He will pull on you. He will make it look godly (remember, this woman used a religious celebration). He will make it look easy, beautiful, sexy, fun. He will make it look like there will be no consequences (this woman's husband was gone for days). But once he has you hook, line and sinker, you will suffer the consequences of sin and it isn't pretty!

You really don't want to go where he will take you. So don't let him near you with temptations. If you feel tempted, find a way to run from it! Remember, God loves you and He wants you to withstand and remain free of sin. He gave you His Word and the Holy Spirit to enable you to flee from sin and remain pure. He sent His Son, Jesus, to die to pay for your sins so you wouldn't have to be bound to sin any more.

And, praise God!, if we fall into sin, Jesus is always there to forgive us and cleanse us. He will set us back on the right path. All we have to do is go to Him and repent. He is faithful to forgive us of our sins and we can start again with a clean slate.

  • Have you ever used a religious holiday for sin? Maybe it's getting drunk at an office Christmas party. Why are they having a party? Because it's Jesus' birthday, but they are using it as an excuse for self indulgence and debauchery. What about Sundays, the Sabbath? What about Mardi Gras? There are a lot of "religious" festivals and holy days but they are used as an excuse to carouse. Does this give you any new thoughts about it?
  • Learning about the peace offering and feast, did it give you new insight into this passage in Proverbs?
  • When you first read about a prostitute you might think about poor young women on the streets trying to get enough money for a fix or some food. But the woman in this passage was married, had a home and was affluent enough to do the peace offering and have some luxuries. Why would a woman who seemed to have it all, go looking for trouble? Why would she pick just any stranger on the street to carouse with?
  • Have you ever compared the adulterous woman with satan trying to tempt you into sin? Can you see the similarities?
  • Are you aware of danger triggers in your life? Be honest with God and lay it out to Him. Tell him about these triggers and weaknesses and then ask Him to help you avoid the temptations and to empower you to be victorious over them. This is a daily struggle. We all have struggles with our pet sins. You are not alone. But accepting that doesn't mean we accept sin and wallow in it as a "lifestyle choice". God tells us what sin is. We don't have to guess. It's right there in His Word. We just need the clear eyes to see it and He sent the Holy Spirit to give us that clarity and remove all confusion on the issue. So pray and ask God to give you that clarity, remove all confusion, let you see it for what it is and then to empower you to live free. If you have indulged in sin, it is essential to repent and ask Jesus for forgiveness. He loves you and you aren't hiding anything from Him behind a measly fig leaf of excuses, lies, or justifications. He knows. So drop the fig leaves and get on your knees before Him and ask forgiveness.

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Luke 21:9-10 End Times

Luke 21:9-10 (NIV)  9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”
10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
wars - πολέμους (polemous) - Noun - Accusative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 4171: A war, battle, strife. From pelomai; warfare.

rebellions - ἀκαταστασίας (akatastasias) - Noun - Accusative Feminine Plural
Strong's Greek 181: From akatastatos; instability, i.e. Disorder.
Thayer's Greek Lexicon adds: instability, a state of disorder, disturbance, confusion, dissensions, seditions, tumults or commotions of war

be alarmed - πτοηθῆτε (ptoēthēte) - Verb - Aorist Subjunctive Passive - 2nd Person Plural
Strong's Greek 4422: To terrify, scare, strike with panic. Probably akin to the alternate of pipto or to petomai; to scare.

Cross References
Matthew 24:6-7 (NIV) 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. These things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

Mark 13:7-8 (NIV)  7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. These things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, as well as famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

Josephus the Jewish, and Tacitus the Roman, historian - the former in his 'Jewish Wars,' and the latter in his 'Annals' - describe the period which immediately followed the Crucifixion as full of wars, crimes, violences, earthquakes. - Pulpit Commentary

After Jesus was crucified, resurrected and ascended into Heaven, we know of a war that happened during the days of the first churches. 66 AD-73 AD First Jewish–Roman War between the Roman Empire and the Judean rebels: Sadducees and Volunteers from Adiabene. And, throughout the world, wars and battles, uprisings and rebellions have occurred on a horrible scale. Just a few terrible wars were the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the American War of Northern Aggression (Civil War), Napoleonic Wars, etc. The largest wars, of course, were World War I and World War II, in which the entire world was involved. Millions upon millions of people have died in wars. The more modern the war, the more people have died because of modern technology. But brutality and horror have accompanied all wars. Sin has entered the hearts of men and the evil that is conceived is truly terrifying. 

In the New Testament ‘the last days’ were introduced by the coming of Christ, and His death and resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:16-21). Thus all that it really prophesies is war, war, war, which, with lulls, will rise and fall in intensity until the consummation. - Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Luke 21:5-6  5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, 6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

The Jewish historian Josephus says that the Temple (in Jerusalem) was covered on the outside with gold plates, that were so brilliant that when the sun shone on them, it was blinding to look at. Where there was no gold, there were blocks of marble of such a pure white that strangers, from a distance, thought there was snow on the temple.
Some 40 years after Jesus said this, there was a widespread Jewish revolution against the Romans in Palestine, and they enjoyed many early successes. But ultimately, Rome crushed the rebels; Jerusalem was leveled, including the temple-just as Jesus said.
It is said that at the fall of Jerusalem, the last surviving Jews of the city fled to the temple, because it was the strongest, most secure building in the city. Roman soldiers surrounded it, and one drunken soldier started a fire that soon engulfed the whole building. Ornate gold detail work in the roof melted down in the cracks between the stone walls of the temple, and to retrieve the gold, the Roman commander ordered that the temple be dismantled stone by stone. The destruction was so complete that today, they have true difficulty learning exactly where the temple was. - David Guzik, Study Guide of Luke 21, BlueletterBible.org, (italics mine)

We have discussed that prophetic words usually have 3 levels of fulfillment: soon thereafter, within their lifetime; throughout history are other fulfillments; end time fulfillment.

We have seen that these verses have been fulfilled within the lifetimes of the Disciples/Apostles. They have been fulfilled throughout history with war after war. Leading up to the last 110 years. We had World War I, the Russian Revolution, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the wars in the Middle East.

But there will be an End Time fulfillment. The rise of the anti-Christ in Revelation 13 will begin a time of war like never before. His aim is to take over the world and establish a one-world government that he controls with an iron fist. Anyone who resists him or doesn't follow his party line will be a target to overcome. After the world suffers from many "natural" disasters and plagues in Revelation, it will be ripe for a world leader who will promise them prosperity, protection and peace. But the violence will be unprecedented.

The main thing is not to be afraid! Our redemption draweth nigh through Jesus Christ! We may have to experience terrible things but we don't have to be swallowed up by it. He has not left us alone. He has given us the Holy Spirit to enable and empower us even during bad times. Jesus says, "do not be frightened" because we are protected from these things. These things happen so that God's purpose shall be fulfilled. It is good for these things to happen as it means the end is drawing close and all will be revealed, redeemed and recreated. For Christians, it should be a time of wonder at seeing God's prophecies being fulfilled and knowing He is in control and will bring about the ultimate perfection and good. As the evil increases, the closer the end when He comes back and takes control and sets everything right!

It naturally distresses us to see such evil and horror increase. It naturally scares us. But God tells us, throughout the scripture, that we do not need to be afraid. Our end is assured and it will be wonderful! Let's look at scriptures to encourage us.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Philppians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

John 14:27 Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Isaiah 43:1 But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Isaiah 35:4 Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue

Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

Isaiah 41:13-14 For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,' declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

Psalm 118:6-7 The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper.

Deuteronomy 3:22 Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.

Romans 8:38-39 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

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