I have purposely enjoyed studying end-times Bible prophecy for more than a decade now. There is just something about the subject that freshly draws me in on a daily basis, sometimes several times a day. I would, for a few moments, request your indulgence and offer a prayerful request that the words of a favorite hymn of mine would provide peace and comfort in these perilous times. For in the stanzas I am able to find joy in my heart over coming face to face with my Savior … “It Is Well with My Soul” …
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
For a short time I attended a church where the pastor did not espouse belief in a Pre-Trib Rapture. I almost have to laugh but also praise the LORD because a cloud hung over my time there—similar to the veil that hung at the entrance to the Holy of Holies, that was “rent asunder” top to bottom at the moment of Christ’s death on the Cross. (Showing we now had direct access to God, through Christ’s shed blood on Calvary.)
That cloud has departed and my eschatological fervor has reemerged invigorated and excited. That same pastor’s misinterpretation of Scripture is more obvious now that I am on the outside looking in. I sang the above hymn quite often there, BUT the fourth and fifth stanzas were never sung and I had no idea they even existed. If I had a chance to ask my former pastor why not, this same pastor would probably say it was “shortened” for the sake of time (which while true would probably be a half truth.) Amazing how deceptive the devil is.
But for today I want to focus on the deception of the devil, the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit and this “blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.” You might be asking, “How could the removal of two stanzas magnify a positional difference with regard to the timing of the Rapture? My simple answer, stanzas 4 and 5 speak to the Rapture passage in 1 Thessalonians 4: 14-18 and Titus 2:13a; stanza 6 speaks to the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the Tribulation (see Luke 21:27).
The weariness of my heart and soul are magnified in many ways today. Just when we thought it can’t get any worse, (with the elections of almost two years ago), guess what? It has in many ways, and yes I will address the most recent US election in a minute. Daily we are confronted with news reports about senseless acts engaged in by those who don’t claim the name of Jesus Christ, and feed their desire to explore freedom to the “nth” degree. Barbarians who force their will and way of life upon others by means of beheading. The depravity of society is manifest in the reaction of others…
For over forty years, babies have been killed in their mother’s wombs via legalized murder through abortion in the US. Most of us will remember Bill Clinton’s veto in 1996 of the bill that would have banned partial birth abortions. More than half a decade passed after that veto before the ban was signed into law by George Bush in 2003. America has declined much more so of late, especially with this current administration.
Now with that said, I will admit, I have been able to take a breath lately and, yes, thankfully, Christian America woke-up with the elections a couple of weeks ago. I agree that many finally said “enough is enough” to the “gay” lobby, and yes this was largely the reason our values voting platform caused the Republicans to gain control of the Senate and pad their majority in the House. But obvious to not so many: POTUS does not care and will continue to move forward with his abuse of the Executive Order privilege. Sadly, Mr. Obama has perfected the perceived child-like simplicity behind the concept and parental warning of, “Give them an inch, they will take a yard.”
Having digressed slightly, I will continue with this point; the United States of America had already begun its moral decline before 1973 but I utilize the abortion example to convey a point. America has rightly so reacted to atrocities the likes of Sandy Hook and even now to ISIS on our doorstep. The extreme loss of life is nothing short of barbaric and while murderers sit in our jails, ultimately we know that they will be judged by Jesus Christ. With the coast to coast panic that is being felt in America over ISIS and the “fear” that their sympathizers have blended into our society ready to strike at a moment’s notice, and what this could mean for each of us—has caused many to come face to face with the fact that death can happen to anyone at any time.
BUT (this is a big BUT): What about the killing of the most innocent of innocents? I chose to mention the now banned partial birth method for a reason: Because IMHO Partial Birth abortion was just another type of beheading, the only thing that has changed is the who and their “weapon” of choice. There is nothing short of public outrage and cry for this president to do something about ISIS to protect the masses (so to speak), and yet ABORTION (although NOT the partial birth type), is still being practiced and legal in the eyes of the law. Why is that?
Continuing on with “restraints” or perhaps the “Restrainer” being lifted, there is of course, the visual assault of the masses in the entertainment world—whether it is the so called “celebrities” physically baring themselves for the cameras at some movie festival or awards night. Or the commercials highlighting some new TV program and showing a clip of its main character entering an elevator and screaming extreme profanities (of course it is beeped out but it is obvious what the words are) in reaction to a supposed wrong she had just experienced.
Praise the LORD for putting a desire in my heart for the study of eschatology because amidst this depravity, and with the help of the many in the Bible prophecy community, I can focus on the fact that we have our Blessed Hope. While the world is given over to the evil desires of their hearts, we can rest in the knowledge that amidst this vulgar display of evil and fornication, we know how it all ends. Jesus will reign victorious for 1000 years on this earth and then we will live for eternity with Him forever and ever.
Oft-times Romans 1:26-28 is utilized in referring to why sodomy is a sin but often I have used a greater portion of the passage (Romans 1:16-32) to show the progression of sin in each of us, but to also show the power that the gospel has over a redeemed sinner who has trusted in Jesus Christ.
Whether a Hollywood actor, a Broadway star or just an individual Plain Jane or Charlie Brown, whosoever it is considering their eternal destination, it comes down to their heart condition. When considered literally (as we should, when the plain sense makes sense seek no other sense) I believe a real insight can be seen in terms of God’s mercy and how someone gets so far from his Creator. Pay close attention to verse 21 …
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
We know that the Bible tells us that God is no respecter of persons (see Acts 10:34-36) and He is also NOT willing that any should perish BUT that all come to repentance (see 2 Peter 3:9). But we also know that God will not always strive with man (see Genesis 6:3 and 32: 24-25) and herein lies the key in terms of restraint and He who does the Restraining.
As we see so-called Hollywood entertainment crossing the line in the sand and exhibiting no restraint, or people “raging” over the actions of another on the road while driving, and yet others killing the most innocent—then these same people somehow blame God for the death of the innocent. Or for the moral decline of Man and his decision making process (when all along it has been their choice to remove all indications of God’s Word from public display and sanction all mention of the One True God and His Son Jesus Christ.)
God the Father through God the Son is finished striving with the United States of America. This is indicative of the fact that He has allowed a man to be elected to the highest office of the land that has no regard for God.