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The Grapes of Wrath
Prophecy - Signs
Monday, August 21, 2017
Pete Garcia

“The non-intervention of God bears very heavy interest, and He is greatly to be feared when He does nothing. He moves in long orbits, out of sight and sound. But He always arrives. Nothing can arrest the judgment of the Cross; nothing shake the judgment-seat of Christ” (PT Forsyth in The Justification of God)

Convergence has been a popular buzz-word within prophecy circles over the past few years and rightly so. With so many prophetically-charged events now running simultaneously, it has become increasingly difficult to keep track of them all. You’d think with so many signs ongoing, Christendom would be pulsing with the anticipation at the soon coming of our Lord. But it’s not. In fact, the chorus of legitimate watchmen on the wall is diminishing by the day. It is becoming exactly as Jesus contemplated regarding this moment in time when He asked…nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?

But I wonder if commenting on convergence is more akin to looking at the symptoms rather than the cause of the issue, which is the compounding nature of sin. We note that in the 70th Week of Daniel (what many commonly refer to as the seven year Tribulation), the 21 judgments that are doled out by God onto the earth and the earth-dwellers, are exacting punishments for sin built up over millennia. The Seal judgments (Rev. 6) usher in a government without God. The Trumpet judgments usher in increasingly painful punishments for things like idolatry and blasphemy. The Bowl judgments are even more increasingly severe than the Trumpet judgments. Each of these judgments has a very Old Testament, Exodus-era feel to them if we look back to the plagues exacted upon Egypt during the Israelites liberation from Egyptian bondage.

Man’s path toward self-enlightenment has become a steadily darkening journey into the abyss. If the entire race of mankind were a single body, consider sin’s initial at the Garden of Eden as that of a mosquito bite. Yet, that painless mosquito bite delivered a pathogen which has been steadily working its way throughout the body infecting limb and torso alike. Over time, that body starts to breakdown as the tale-tell symptoms of malaria or yellow fever causes one to begin to suffer from fever, vomiting, and headaches. And if left untreated, seizures, coma, or death will follow.

Yet, it all started from a single, painless, bite.

God’s remedy for man’s fatal illness was Jesus Christ. Because God’s perfect justice demands innocent blood to be shed to atone for man’s failures, a system was set in place to temporarily sustain the nation of Israel until their Messiah could come and permanently provide the cure to man’s mortality and corruption. God knew they (Israel) would reject their Messiah and so Jesus was betrayed and crucified in keeping with the prophecies already outlined in the Old Testament scripture.

There was also a four hundred year buffer (the silent years) in which the nation of Israel could contemplate and await their coming Redeemer. In fact, there was an approximate timeline as given to the prophet Daniel, but this too was ignored. Instead of contemplation and anticipation, what came to be was disillusionment and apathy. This was because the religious leadership of their day (first century Pharisees and Sadducees) became grossly engaged in promoting the religion over the One in whom that religion pointed towards…Jesus of Nazareth. The sad truth is that they knew better, but they promoted a lie to keep themselves in power. Hence the reason for the severity and fierceness of Jesus’s rebukes whom He reserved exclusively for the Jewish clergy.

Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed. Matthew 16:1-4

Assessment

Imagine all the lies ever told and believed. Even a small lie will grow over time and spread like a cancer through a person’s body. Before long, that cancer spreads to the brain and begins impacting critical thought and motor-skills alike. We know that the first lie ever told was by Satan, and it had to do with man becoming like God (Genesis 3:1-5). Since then, this lie has been repackaged over and over so many times that it has infected almost every facet of our world. Just think of every single philosophy, institution, or concept ever put forth that either remove Jesus Christ from the solution or substitutes someone (or something) else in His place. The world has become grossly anti-Christ, and in keeping with this, the Bible states that in the last days, men and women would lose their ability to reason primarily because of the compounding nature of sin.

…And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (See Romans 1:18-32)

So we have now arrived at this generation who has been so thoroughly corrupted on a global scale, that this antichrist spirit has so saturated every facet of our generation. Education, religion, philosophy, science, government, politics, military, and economics have all become corrupted. Mankind is again reaching that point where they are so mentally, morally, and spiritually bankrupt that they are unable to reason any longer. This breakdown can be clearly evidenced just by turning on the news or reading the day’s headlines. But there is still a remnant of society who are the blood-bought redeemed and cannot be tainted, this being the Church.

Abraham once pleaded with God on Lot’s behalf that He should spare Sodom from destruction on account of the righteous that still lived there (Gen. 18:16-33). In Gen. 18:23, Abraham puts forth a biblically foundational question by asking God…Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

After much bargaining, God finally settles on a number with Abraham in which if they found ten righteous persons residing in those cities, God would withhold judgment. They parted ways and a period of time passed in which God’s judgment was withheld. But when judgment did come, God honored His commitment to Abraham by removing Lot and his family before enacting His wrath upon Sodom and Gomorrah.

…then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment2 Peter 2:4-11

Conclusion

There is an interesting correlation between man’s progressive sin nature and God’s progressive judgment in dealing with that nature. It is almost like the law of diminishing returns, in which there is less and less good that comes from man’s extended stay on this planet. Within 1,650 years of Adam and Eve’s fall, man had become so sinful, wicked, and genetically corrupt that God had to destroy the world with a flood sparing only eight persons. In Lot’s day (around 2,000 years from Adam’s fall), the cities of the plains surrounding Sodom and Gomorrah were consumed with fire sparing only Lot and his two daughters (not counting the salted wife). From then until Christ (2,000 years later), numerous nations and empires rose and fell allowing for the conditions to be exactly perfect (fullness of time) for the arrival of the first coming of the Messiah (Gal. 4:4-5).

As previously mentioned, the number of those who are still waiting for the Lord to return is diminishing number. Out of the seven and a half billion people alive on the planet today, only two billion claims some form of the Christian faith (about half Protestant, half Catholic). Out of the two billion ‘Christians,’ only around one billion believe that Jesus will ever physically return to the earth. Out of the one billion, perhaps only 10% of that believe Christ will come back in their lifetime. Of that number (100,000,000), perhaps 15% (15,000,000) believe that Christ’s return is imminent. So 15M out of 7.5B is about .2% of the total global population believe Christ’s return is imminent. Not a lot of people when you look at it from that perspective.

According to a 2010 Pew Research poll, only 41% of Americans believe that Jesus will return within the next forty years. Another 41% say He will not return until after 2050. Of US Christians, only 47% believe Christ will come back at all. Not encouraging numbers at all and probably less so today. But remember the Bible only mentions a couple of people actively anticipating Christ’s first coming (Simeon, Anna, and Gentile wise men) as well as the shepherds who were in the fields that night who were prompted to witness the arrival of their Messiah by the angelic host. There was no great anticipation or expectation then that the Messiah would ever come. Were it so; we would know the exact date of Christ’s birth because that day would be celebrated as a holiday, rather than the day we’ve historically settled on (Christmas).

The same will be true about Christ’s return for His Church at the harpazo (the Rapture) in which the world will be going about its day to day activities desensitized to the prophetic markers heralding Christ’s soon return.

And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all…Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. Luke 17:26-30

Just as the Jews awaited the arrival of their Messiah in the 400 silent years, we (the Church) have been waiting for 2,000 silent years awaiting His return. Not that it means anything concretely, but 400 goes into 2,000 five times. The number five in scripture symbolizes God’s grace and goodness towards man. 400 years was also the number of years that God prophesied over Abraham in His covenant (Genesis 15:16-21) in which Abrahams descendants would be in bondage and wait until the iniquity of the Amorites was complete. Then God would use the Israelites as the mechanism of His judgment against the Amorites for their compounded sinfulness.

Since God is longsuffering (2 Peter 3:9), He has allowed this extended period of time for the Gentiles to receive this grace upon grace (John 1:16) which has now come to be 2,000 years. But this grace period will NOT continue indefinitely. There will come again a fullness of time in which the conditions are perfect for the Son to return to receive back His bride the Church (John 14:1-3). But after the Rapture, God’s common grace towards mankind will come to an end as they are given over to a strong delusion (2 Thessalonians 2: 9-12). God’s eternal gaze returns solely to disciplining His covenant nation of Israel and making a full end to all the nations she had been scattered to (Jer. 30:7-11).

While we do not see instant justice exacted for all the wrong doings in this world, our hope and trust lies in God who has and will not let one single error slip through the cracks. All of the blood ever spilled on the earth will be judged. All the evil things done in the thick of darkness will be brought to light. All of the injustices ever wrought by man upon man will be accounted for. The grapes of God’s wrath will be pressed and the winepress found overflowing. So while we see a world today that is currently upside down and reeling to and fro like a drunkard drunk on sin, Jesus Himself will put an end to man and Satan’s wickedness once and for all as He establishes His never ending kingdom on the earth and throughout eternity. But first, in keeping with Abraham’s question, God will remove His own before He unleashes His wrath upon a world ripe for judgment.

For thus says the Lord God of Israel to me:
“Take this wine cup of fury from My hand,
and cause all the nations, to whom I send you,
to drink it. And they will drink and stagger
and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them…”

…The Lord will roar from on high,
And utter His voice from His holy habitation;
He will roar mightily against His fold.
He will give a shout, as those who tread the grapes,
Against all the inhabitants of the earth.

A noise will come to the ends of the earth—
For the Lord has a controversy with the nations;
He will plead His case with all flesh.
He will give those who are wicked to the sword,’ says the Lord.” Jeremiah 25:15-16, 30-31

About Pete Garcia

Last week: North Korea and Bible Prophecy



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