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Jesus commands Christians to preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations. Along with those overarching commands, the Lord calls individuals to do specific things. In my life, He called me to be a pastor and subsequently a missionary. In the last few years, He has added to those callings. I am to warn of the judgment to come.

I thought about His return this last week, and I realized that many events that proceed Jesus’ return are not good. His coming and all that accompany that are, obviously, good. However, tough times precede that event. Paul laid it out clearly in Second Thessalonians.

“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:3–8).1

So, let’s list out what must occur before Jesus comes back.

First, “the rebellion” must come. The Greek word for “rebellion” is apostasía,” which is where our English word apostasy comes from. The semantic domain of that word includes “defiance of established system or authority, rebellion, abandonment, breach of faith,”2 and a Greek lexicon supplies this: “to rise up in open defiance of authority, with the presumed intention to overthrow it or to act in complete opposition to its demands—‘to rebel against, to revolt, to engage in insurrection, rebellion.’”3 This rebellion will be a falling away from the knowledge of and obedience to our Creator and Savior, even in the Church. I don’t know about you, but it seems obvious to me that in most of the world, this is happening right now.

Second, the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction, also known as the anti-Christ, is revealed. This makes sense to me. Most of the world is denying their Creator and Savior. That makes us ripe for the revealing of a man who is lawless like we are. He proclaims himself to be God. In the Book of Revelation, he is called “the beast,” and the world will worship him.

“And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain” (Revelation 13:5–8).

Please note here that the man of lawlessness will make war on the saints and conquer them. This is sobering truth for Christians.

Third, the one who restrains “the mystery of lawlessness” will be taken out of the way. It is my personal opinion that is happening now in the nations that have rejected the Lord. It’s as if the Lord is saying, “You have rejected your Savior. Your hope. The truth. Here is the result of that. You have been given over to sin and lawlessness.”

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:28). 

Because the times ahead will be difficult for Christians, I am warning us, as well. How does one prepare for this judgment?

Hold fast.

“Only hold fast what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father” (Revelation 2:25–27).

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

2Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). In Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 495). United Bible Societies.

3Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). In A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 120). University of Chicago Press.

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Laurie and I were watching a trial recently in which a man named Matt Moore was accused of strangling his wife and then staging a scene to make it look like she had hung herself. She was found three months after her disappearance, hanging from a tree branch with a USB cord around her neck. Without going into details, we were convinced Mr. Moore was guilty. He lied many times to the police. His behavior was suspicious. The prosecution’s problem was that there was no way to connect Moore to his wife’s death. No weapon. No DNA or blood. No witness to the crime. That must have been the reason the jury ruled Mr. Moore innocent.

Well, perhaps we just made a wrong call. It’s happened before.

Regardless of our opinion, Mr. Moore is, as they say, free as a bird. The murderer is still out there. We don’t believe justice was done in this case. But it will be done someday, however. We will just have to wait for it. Ultimate, eternal justice will be meted out to murderers and sinners of all kinds. They will not be able to tell lies when that final judgment arrives. No one will have a secret.

“For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).1

Unbelievers on that day will discover that the Lord God Almighty knows the truth of all things. They will be found guilty, and they will know they are guilty. This will transpire in the presence of God who will reveal all things.

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done” (Revelation 20:11–12).

This will be what happens to all sinners who are outside the life of Jesus.

“This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14b–15).

It won’t be pretty. It wouldn’t have been pretty for me, either, but Jesus saved me. Christians, although sinners, have been washed in the blood of Jesus and have no fear of eternal judgment. I hope Matt Moore will come to know Him and escape this terrible fate. I will pray to that end.

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24–25).

This final, eternal judgment should give hope to those who have experienced injustice in their lives or the lives of friends or loved ones. And, although many tears may have been shed over inequities in life, whether in courtrooms or elsewhere, the Lord will offer comfort unlike any we are able to obtain in our lives on this earth.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

While we await that day, Christians are to do these things:

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

There is no grief like that which loved ones experience over the death of loved one. It’s a wound that will no longer dominate their thoughts over time, but they will always bear a scar.

“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).

Comfort one another. Amen. Lord, help us comfort victims of injustice. And please comfort us when we are in need.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

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It happened about six years ago. But the event that preceded it has a much longer history. Around fifty years.

The account of these happenings may seem strange to you. Whether it does or doesn’t, it happened nevertheless.

The first occurrence was around 1971. I was a pagan. A former drug user. I use the word “former,” because I no longer hung with that Friday night, drug-using crowd. They were back in the Midwest. My friend and I were visiting San Francisco at that time, The Mecca for hippies. Before we drove down there from Washington State, the Lord had sovereignly made Himself known to me in two separate incidents. However, I was very ignorant. Light had come into my life, but I was still wandering around in the dark. So, despite those two incidents, I bought a few foolish, evil books at a physic bookstore when we were there. While I was sitting in the shotgun seat of my friend’s old pickup truck, a wind stirred up in an old, dried-up bush next to house at which we had been staying. The Lord made Himself known to me in that event. He spoke just one word to my heart:

Trouble.

In my ignorance about almost all things Christian, I knew that the Lord spoke to Lot out of a whirlwind. I had heard it in a rock song performed by the group, Sea Train, entitled Job’s Song. The lyric was, “And from the whirling wind, God Himself spoke.”

The Lord knew that I knew that.

He spoke that word “trouble” to me, but I didn’t know what He meant. It didn’t seem that He was saying that I was in trouble. I was, but that would soon change, and He knew it.

Eventually, thankfully, I became a Christian after two more sovereign acts. These wonderful things were necessary because my heart was hard and dark. I was a lost, sinful man.

However, after those early days, sometimes when the wind would blow, I would get a sense of trouble that gave me a fuller understanding of what He had said that day in San Francisco. That understanding was that judgment was coming. These experiences led up to the event six years ago, the incident I mentioned earlier in this article.

Laurie and I were helping her dad’s widow, Esther, sell or give away the contents of her house, years of accumulation. She was moving to a small, retirement apartment. A Craig’s List connection had just left with his treasure, and I was standing on the small concrete porch outside the front door of Esther’s home. Across the street was a house that was nicely landscaped, and in the front yard was a large deciduous tree. As I was standing daydreaming, a wind blew up in the tree. The sense of coming judgment in that event was so strong that I broke down and wept. I went back inside the house, and the tears were unrelenting. It was a good cry. A holy cry. However, I cannot express specifically why I was crying. I saw no vision. I experienced no horror or terror, just that judgment was coming. It was true and a reality that was inevitably to come.

So, I am telling you what was made known to me. I am compelled to do so.

When Isaiah wrote about the time to come when “the lion will lay down with the lamb,” he wrote,

“He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked” (Isaiah 11:3b–4).1

This is reinforced by the Apostle John:

“From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty” (Revelation 19:15).

Judgment is coming. That is the real, hard truth, as true and durable as God Himself and His eternal word. I firmly believe that the Lord is withdrawing His hand of restraint in preparation for the return of Jesus. The world, morally, is getting darker, and it seems there is no turning back—unless there is massive repentance. And that is what we should pray for.

Father, please be merciful to us and forgive us. Please give this nation the gift of repentance. We have sinned against You. Please help us. We are blind and in darkness.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

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There is no doubt that the Day of Judgment is a coming reality for everyone. Jesus Himself warned us.

“Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28–29). 1

Jesus was reiterating what was prophesied in the Old Testament, spoken to Daniel, the prophet.

“And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:1b–2).

However, the Lord has rendered judgment for millennia upon those nations and people whom He deems it just and necessary. In the Old Testament, He brought judgment upon enemies to His people, Israel. In the New Testament, He judged people while they were still living, taking their lives (Acts 5:1-10, 12:21-23). Thus, His judgment occurs in the present hour and as it will before His throne in the heavenly kingdom

I am convinced that this present-hour judgment is now in process in the United States. The primary reason I state this is because of an experience I had with Him about five years ago. The sense of His impending judgment was so strong that it swept over me and caused me to weep. There were no details. No visions. No words from Him. Just an overwhelming spiritual knowledge of a just catastrophe that was at the door. However, my position is not based simply on feelings or a spiritual experience a person may or not give credence to. I understand that. I’ve had my fill of false prophets.

When I refer to God’s judgment upon the United States at this time, I am not necessarily talking about earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, and floods. Those may indeed be a function of His judgment, but they happen everywhere, all the time. Jesus made it clear that such things happen to everyone.

No, I’m talking about the Lord withdrawing His hand of restraint before Jesus comes and that Day of Judgment.

“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:7).

The United States is on a fast downhill slide to become a nation in which lawless people—those that ignore God’s moral laws—are now a majority. This became evident in 1973 when our Supreme Court ruled in the Roe v. Wade decision that it was no longer illegal to kill helpless babies. We have voted to elect candidates who support this murderous law. Then, in 2015, the Supreme Court legalized homosexual marriages in the Obergefell v. Hodges decision. Both are declared sinful in God’s moral law (1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Romans 1:26-27; Leviticus 18:22).

Concerning the last Scripture reference in that list, Leviticus 18:22, it is enlightening to read the verses that follow concerning the sexual sins: “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants” (Leviticus 18:24–25).

The Lord punished the nations that He drove out before Israel as they entered the Promised Land because they were “unclean” and iniquitous. The land was made so sick by these sins that it “vomited out its inhabitants.”

I believe the Lord is saying to the people of the United States, “You once believed in Me. I blessed you and raised you up. But now you have rejected Me. This is what you have chosen. Here. You will now see the results of that rejection.”

Please pray for this nation. It is a startling and sad truth that it may take tribulation to bring the United States to a place of repentance. After all this sin, we still think highly of ourselves. We instead should be pitied. It may very well take some hard rain to cause us to change our minds that we are in desperate need of the Lord, our Savior and Creator.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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In last week’s blog, we re-visited the warning that judgment is coming. In that article, we looked at God’s judgment upon people who did not glorify Him nor give thanks and therefore became “futile in their speculations,” “their foolish heart was darkened,” and “they became fools,” although they thought they were wise (Romans 1:21-23).1 Thus, they engage in a long list of debased, sinful activities. This is where we find ourselves today in the United States.

In this article, I would like to return to the subject of His coming judgment. However, this time, I want to look at a Scripture which says when a nation does things that are abhorrent, the Lord punishes it, and the land itself vomits out the inhabitants.

“You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion. Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants” (Leviticus 18:21–25).

Molech. The Lord commanded Israel not to offer their children to this god, who was not a god at all. It was and is a demon. As Paul wrote, “What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons” (1 Corinthians 10:19–20).

Why did people make offerings to gods in those ancient days? The offerers desired something, and those desires were quite understandable. Better crops. Rain. Fertility for people and animals, with successful births. Military victory. Protection from attacks from other countries. The problem is not these desires; the problem is in whom they trusted to fulfill them.

Nations around the world, including the United States, are, as I write this, also making offerings to this “god.” They are sacrificing their children to Molech. I have no reason to think that this ancient demon that desires the deaths of children is no longer operative. Why do people offer their babies to a demon today? The reasons are different, but the motivation remains the same. Both then and now, the offerers want something for themselves. Today, they are matters of much less consequence: Potential poverty. A woman without a husband cannot afford to raise a child and work at the same time. Inconvenience. The “parents,” probably unmarried, do not want to be saddled with the results of a one-night stand and the resulting paternity issues. The “father” will have to pay child support. One or both may have been drunk and not thinking clearly. The protection failed. It was a mistake. Kill the kid. Obviously, trust in God, the provider to all, even the unjust (Matthew 5:45), is not even considered. No, the answer is to trust in something else; something evil. As Michael Card sang in Spirit of the Age:

(A voice is heard) of weeping and of wailing.

History speaks of it on every page

Of innocent and helpless little babies,

Offerings to the spirit of the age.

While you have read this, more than one baby has been murdered. In the United States, sixty-one million innocent babies’ lives have been sacrificed since Roe vs. Wade. The Lord is not ignorant of this slaughter. The land has become unclean. He will vomit out the inhabitants.

However, we must not ignore the other reason the Lord gave for uncleanness in the land in Leviticus 18:21–25. Men lying with men as with a woman. With animals. He called it a perversion.

How is this vomiting accomplished? I do not know. I can only speculate. I wonder about horrific hurricanes, storms, floods, and earthquakes. Crazy, murderous violence. However, I do not know. What I do know is that this promise is not directed to Israel or Judah only. It is directed to all nations.

But let us remember Nineveh. The Lord is merciful. Please pray for your country and mine that our respective peoples will repent of these horrors and come to the Lord.

 

1All Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Gif courtesy giphy.com

 

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If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you may know that back in April 2018, the Lord spoke to me very strongly that judgment was coming. No details were given about when, or where, or how. The manifestation of that word and warning was so powerful that I wept. I feel compelled to share that warning with as many people as possible, although my voice is very small. These verses give me pause:

“But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand” (Ezekiel 33:6).1

Now, I do not believe that the Lord will require my blood, but I take His admonition seriously to heart.

It is obvious, I think, that the United States is a post-Christian nation. I do not know how long that has been true. I have known for over forty years that the Christian culture was still relatively strong, but cultural traditions have only limited strength. We have seen the unraveling of those traditions in those forty or so years, and, because they were only traditions, that disintegration should not surprise. Some of my Charismatic friends tell me that the words they have heard in various meetings have been of revival. I can only hope those words are true prophecy; but both the coming judgment on this country accompanied by revival could certainly be true.

In the meantime, we must deal with the reality that the United States is currently under God’s judgment. I know this because of what Paul wrote in the book of Romans: People, although knowing God exists, do not glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. Thus, they became “futile in their speculations,” “their foolish heart was darkened,” and “they became fools,” although they professed they were wise (Romans 1:21–23).

Does this sound like the honored and wise people in the United States today? Oh, yes. The cultural meme is that science overrules all, especially ancient superstitions. Christians have become anti-science because they believe God created all things as opposed to chance and random mutations over eons. We are authoritarian fascists because we don’t believe that a woman’s right to her body trumps murdering helpless babies. We are bigots because we don’t believe that people’s rights to identify as any gender, non-gender, whatever gender, must hold true. They have a right to identify as anything they choose, regardless of obvious biological facts. Thus, human rights trump God’s obvious truth in both Scripture and reality.

Talk about foolish, darkened thinking.

Three things happen to such people, Paul wrote in Romans. God gave them over:

“…in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them” (Romans 1:24).

“…to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error” (Romans 1:26–27).

“…to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:28–32).

Since the United States has rejected God, His “giving-them-over” judgments are happening right now. Since people’s minds have become debased, they do the things Paul listed in verses 28–32. The first two results are clearly immoral sexual behavior and homosexuality. Such people not only do such things but give “approval to those who practice them.” People joke about sexual flings. “She took lovers wherever she found them,” one interviewer chuckled along with the audience, while talking about a prominent, deceased, foreign correspondent. In film, people sleeping with those they have just met is common. Virginity is rare; even ridiculed. We are now required to give approval to sinful and aberrant behavior. We are not only to accept it but to join in and celebrate it; otherwise, we are non-inclusive, cis-gendered, hostile-to-diversity, un-woke, puritanical bigots. Nevertheless, God’s word holds true:

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20–21).

Judgment is coming.

It is already here.

 

1All Scripture quotations are from New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Gif courtesy giphy.com

 

 

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The word “repent.” Who likes it? I know I don’t.

Why not? Well, I’ve been successfully inoculated by my culture in a negative way to avoid using this word. Cartoons and images of Bible-thumbing, weirdos on sidewalks. Some long-haired, wild-haired prophet carrying a sign that reads, “Repent. The end is near.” I have been mocked into compliance. So, I repent. I must do better. I ask the reader to forgive me and pray for me.

People, believers and unbelievers alike, have a difficult time repenting. Take a look at these verses in which the Lord tells us that, even though people are dying from different diseases, they won’t repent:

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts (Revelation 9:20–21).1

Diseased, dying bodies everywhere and no one turning to God.

And this:

They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory (Revelation 16:9).

Interesting. Those who don’t believe God exists will hate and curse Him.

I believe we are being prepared for this day. I think the world will say that this terrible heat and these pandemics are caused by global climate change. God is not sovereign, they think—climate is.

What will it take for people to recognize their Creator and their Savior? Well, Romans tells us that they already know God exists, even though they deny it. “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them” (Romans 1:19). They actively suppress that truth. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18). Their hearts are darkened. “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21).

Sometimes I see people on television, in a store, on the sidewalk and think, “That person is talking, but someday they could very possibly be in hell.” Hell-bound person talking. As you would, I often pray for that individual when such a thought rampages through my brain. Hell is, to state the obvious, a horrible fate. Let me re-state that. It’s a horrible eternal fate.

The only quote I know from Dante’s Inferno is, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.” It’s a sign that hangs over the gates of hell.

Let’s think about that for a moment.

In our lives, most of us live with some semblance of hope. Life is hard on everyone, but most of us have at least a little optimism that things will eventually get better. But what if no hope existed in any way whatsoever? I’m not only talking about a lingering illness, constant destitution, and an absence of friends and family. I’m talking about no light, the gloom of utter darkness, as Peter and Jude refer to it (2 Peter 2:17; Jude 12-13). No water. Unbearably hot all the time (Luke 16:19-31). You can’t turn on a fan or the air conditioning. No hope of anything ever, ever getting better.

Ever.

Just constant scorching heat and darkness.

Hell is such a place.

In Mark 9:47-48, Jesus describes hell as a place where “their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.” Their worm. I don’t know for sure, but I wonder if that means the desires of human beings just go on and on and never end, with never any hope of having them met.

Ever.

No hope.

Such a reality makes me shudder.

It’s true that hell is not often written of in the New Testament, but it’s there, clear enough. Our first reason for talking to people and encouraging them to repent should not be the threat of hell but God’s love and provision for forgiveness. Yet, hell is a possible dwelling place for the unbeliever with whom you are speaking. We should keep this certain future, certain reality in mind.

 

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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I don’t have a lot of strong encounters with the Lord. I don’t keep track, but they are relatively rare. In the Spring of this year, 2018, I experienced one. I’ve written about it in a March blog, Will the Lord Ask Christians, “What Did You Do When You Knew Judgment Was Coming?” The message given: Judgment is coming. It was so strong, I wept. The problem is, even though the word was given to me, I tend to forget it. I need to be reminded. It is probably safe to assume the same holds true for the reader. I believe I have an obligation to proclaim it as many times as are necessary.

Judgement coming means that justice is coming, too. The justice to come will be the ultimate judicial event in the history of the cosmos. Everyone who ever lived—including you—will be judged and receive justice.

If you are a believer in Jesus, your justice will come at the hands of Jesus Himself.

“So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:9–10)1

This has become the prime motivator of my Christian life. I want to love Him with all my heart, soul, and strength and thus to please Him in what I do. I will give an account of my life to Him—not for sins, but for what I’ve done in Him, with Him, and for Him, to glorify Him. Let me be quick to add that I am amazingly inept at living the life I just wrote about.

But I keep trying, as I must, in His mercy and love.

Nevertheless, this is a passage you and I should think deeply about:

“Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:12–15).

These are the words I want to hear:

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master’” (Matthew 25:21).

For those who do not believe in Jesus, however, there is another, never-to-be-wished-for fate:

“And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).

Justice.

John the Baptist said of Jesus: “His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Luke 3:17).

Justice.

“The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:39b–43).

Justice.

The world mocks this idea of justice and the resulting eternal punishment. Many in the Church now deny it. But it will come, even if the whole world denies it.

We all want justice. Equal justice for everyone. People cry out against injustice, and I cry out with them. Evildoers should face a day of reckoning. Those who treat others unjustly because of their race or gender or status or wealth should face justice. Murderers, rapists, thieves, child molesters—justice cries out.

But we are all evildoers, just like the murderers and racists and rapists and thieves. Everyone is. Every. One. We are all guilty of denying, disobeying, and blaspheming the God who created us. We deserve punishment—not time in jail—eternal punishment—for shaking our fists in the face of the only one, true God who loves us.

Except there is Jesus. And this is where all can find forgiveness and relief. He, the Innocent One, was punished in your place—put to death, as you should be—except, after taking that punishment, He lived again, to be your lawyer, your advocate. Are you guilty? Yes. But no. No, because the Guiltless One took your guilt. You can be free. You can be not only forgiven, but one of His children, with an inheritance.

Come to Jesus. Come home to where love is.

Judgment is coming.

Justice is coming.

It is coming for you, and you cannot hide.

 

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy giphy.com

 

200w

What will we Christians say, as we stand before Jesus for the judgment of our works, when the Lord asks us, “What did you do when you knew that My judgment was indisputable and imminent?”

I want to have a good and ready answer for that question.

My wife, Laurie, has been helping her father’s widow pare down her possessions for the last couple of months, and last Saturday I accompanied her to assist in selling some furniture. I was standing on the little front porch of the house. It was chilly and blustery, and it had snowed/rained that morning. I don’t remember why I was standing there, but it was likely because I had helped in some way with people moving furniture to their vehicles. In the yard across the street stands a magnificent, large deciduous tree. No leaves yet, but it’s not difficult to imagine the grandeur of it in full leaf. It possesses thick limbs and a hefty trunk. The wind blew up in that tree and tossed those sturdy limbs around. Then the Lord spoke.

A little background. In my early experiences with the Lord, He was, as He was with you, surely, very gracious, merciful, and compassionate. He made Himself known to me in you’d-have-to-be-stupid-not-to-figure-this-out spiritual events, but I was stupid. Ignorant. Foolish. The Lord had already done two wondrous acts in my life, but I was clueless. The third event occurred when my friend and I were in San Francisco. While there, I bought some occult books. As I was sitting in the shotgun seat of the truck parked in the driveway of the house where we had stayed, a wind blew up in this dried-up, perhaps dead, bush by the side of the house. In that wind, the Lord spoke to me. He said, “Trouble.” This was not aimed at me, and I had no idea what it meant at the time. So, I began to ask the Lord—after the cluelessness departed in large part—what He meant by that word “trouble” that day. I was answered in the course of time when I was out walking, when the wind shook the trees. The message was “Judgment is coming.” It was a clear but not overwhelming sense of judgment; however, it was sobering, nonetheless. Ominous. Occasionally, that sense returns, in different strengths, when the wind blows in trees.

As the wind blasted through the tree on Saturday, however, the sense of judgment was strong; so strong that when I stepped back inside, it was difficult not to break down in tears. Thus, I am compelled to write to you the message I received: Judgment is coming. It is coming as surely as the day breaks into dawn.

When Paul preached to the Gentiles at Athens, he didn’t mention Jesus by name but said, “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:30–31).1

John wrote, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:18–19).

Finally, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And ‘If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’” (1 Peter 4:17–18).

Please pray with me for those who do not know Jesus. Do what you can to glorify Him, to make Him known. Please pray with me for the Church, not just in your country but in all countries. Please pray for the Church in the United States, where I reside. We have a very large influence on churches abroad, and I am saddened to tell you that not all that influence has been helpful. Too much of it has been unscriptural and damaging.

May the Lord be merciful. It should concern us that Jesus said, “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:7–8).

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Gif courtesy of giphy.com

blindfolded

It was a bit of a soul-shaking experience, when, last week as I put the blog article together, I was struck cold-dead center with God’s truth. I am not happy with myself. I was guilty—again—of reading over a text without thinking; without applying it to me. I should title this article Reading Over Scriptures and Assuming They Apply to Everyone Else but Me.

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