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Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Last Days

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.
  (1 John 2: 18)
INTRODUCTION:
            According to the Apostle John it is "the last hour". The Apostle Peter also declares in the first Chapter of his first epistle written to the early Christian that they had not been redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, "but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot". ( vs. 18-19) Peter then declares "he indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who by him do believe in God, that raised him from the dead and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God." (1 Peter 1:20 – 21) The Holy Spirit of God directing the writer of the letter to the Hebrews also declares that these are the last days. He puts it this way, "God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Hebrews 1:1-3)

According to the Holy Scriptures it appears as if we are actually living in the last days. Not only are we living in the last days but it appears that we are living at a time in the last days in which the return of Christ is indeed drawing near. It appears before the eyes of a watching world that evil and evil doers are running rampant and increasing on a seemingly daily or weekly basis. Those who profess to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ have declined in America and in other parts of the world. Those who proclaim themselves atheist are increasing rapidly and putting advertisements and billboards up in various places around the world, including the United States of America. A brief glance at some of the verses appearing in the first Chapter of Romans (verses 18-32) tells us that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” and gives us examples of what God has declared to be both ungodly and unrighteous.
First, we see those who do not believe God; second, we see those whom God has given up to uncleanness in the lust of their hearts; third we see they have exchanged the Truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever; fourth, we see the declaration of ungodliness and unrighteousness in the rise of homosexuality; fifth, we see those who did not like to retain God in their knowledge, wherefore God gave them over to a debased or reprobate mind to do those things which are not fitting; sixth, we see they commit unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; they are full of envy; they commit murder and cause strife; they are haters of God, violent, and among other things disobedient to parents. The description in the first Chapter of Paul's letter to the Church of Rome includes the fact that these know the righteous judgment of God and that those who practice such things are deserving of death, nevertheless not only do they do them but also approve of those who practice them.
Since 1973, when Roe v. Wade was approved by the United States Supreme Court, it is estimated that somewhere between 55 million and 60 million of our most innocent, unborn children, have been killed by their mothers and by doctors who have violated their Hippocratic Oath. It seems that "truth has fallen in the streets", even as the prophet Isaiah said that it would. In the eleventh Psalm, King David states "if the foundations are destroyed what can the righteous do?" There is an attack on God's Holy Word and on God's people around the world unlike anything in the history of the world since Noah's day.
            When the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy in his second letter he said this: "but know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power."(2 Timothy 3:1-5)  Notice the similarity between what the Apostle Paul writes to Timothy and what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Rome. Nevertheless, Paul calls on Timothy to hold fast that which he has learned, stating "but you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."(II Timothy 3:14-15)
I.          DESTRUCTIVE DOCTRINES AND DECEIVERS:
            One of the major characteristics regarding the end times, or, the last days, is the fact that there shall be false teachers, or false prophets and deceivers among the people. The Apostle Peter in his second letter states that "but there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. The same admonition is given by Jude, the "brother of James" and half-brother of Christ who states in the third and fourth verse of his short letter the following "beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the Saints. For certain men have crept in unawares, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turned the grace of our God into lewdness and denied the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ."
            Jesus himself warns that in the last times we must take heed that nobody deceives us. In Matthew 24, Jesus foretold that in the last times "many will come in my name, saying, I am the Christ, and will deceive many."(Matthew 24:4) In Matthew 24, beginning with verse 11 Jesus tells the disciples "then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold." Therefore, we see that false prophets, or false teachers, also can be called deceivers, will arise in the last times. As the return of Christ draws near, they will proliferate. Jesus described those days as being "as the days of Noah were". In Genesis 6 it is written concerning the days of Noah that "then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."(Genesis 6:5)
            It appears in our days that perilous times have come and that there are many deceivers and false teachers and false prophets teaching false doctrine, and, as we see in the first Chapter of Romans, in the third Chapter of second Timothy, as well as in other passages of scripture, the prophecy of Christ in Matthew 24 regarding “as the days of Noah were so shall it be at the time of the return of Christ”, is being fulfilled before the eyes of the watching world. Surely, those things as described are indicative of the fact that "every intent of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually" and the wickedness of man is great in the Earth!
II.         PRAYER:
            After Solomon had completed the building of the Lord's Temple as recorded in 2nd Chronicles Chapter 7, the Lord appeared to Solomon and told him, in effect, when there is no rain, when there is pestilence, and when the locusts devour the land, "if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chronicle 7:14) The hour is late. America has become or is in the process of becoming a pagan nation. Never before in the history of America has American foreign policy been so hostile to Israel. God's people need to pray in faith doubting not.
            In 539 BC, the Persians had taken over Babylon and in the first year Daniel, who was studying the Word of the Lord given through Jeremiah the prophet, set his face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. You can read Daniel's entire prayer in the 9th Chapter of Daniel in verse one through nineteen. You will note that Daniel "made confession" to the Lord God for the sin of the people and included himself in that sin. Daniel stated "we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from your precepts and your judgments. Neither have we heeded your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our Kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land." When you read in Jeremiah you learn that among other things the people had failed to observe the Sabbath days and years, and God sent them into exile in Babylon.
            Daniel goes on to say in verse 13 and following "as it is written in the law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand your truth." He goes on to say "and now, oh Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made yourself a name, as it is to this day – we have sinned, we have done wickedly!" Daniel petitions the Lord in the 9th Chapter of Daniel by requesting "oh Lord, according to all your righteousness, I pray, let your anger and your fury be turned away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain; because of our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people are a reproach to all those around us. Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord's sake cause your face to shine on your sanctuary, which is desolate, oh my God, incline your ear and hear; open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by your name; for we do not present our supplications before you because of our righteous deeds, but because of your great mercies. Oh Lord hear! Oh Lord forgive! Oh Lord listen and act! Do not delay for your own sake, my God, for your city and your people are called by your name." "The foundation of God stands sure,... the Lord knows those that are his, and let all those who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity".(II Timothy 3:19) Let his people who are called by his name humble ourselves and pray and seek his face and turn from our wicked ways, that he will hear our prayer and forgive our sin and heal our land.
III.        A MODERN DAY EXAMPLE:
            On April 29, 2015, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, who is now a Christian, was invited to speak on Capitol Hill to members of the Congress of the United States and their families. I heard a recording of that address and the following is based on my notes of that recording of Rabbi Jonathan Cahn's address:(to various members of Congress and their families on April 29, 2015, on Capitol Hill.)
            Today is April 29, 2015. Two hundred twenty-six years ago this date George Washington readied himself for the first ever presidential inauguration which was set to take place the following day, the day that America as we know it came into existence. With the President's hand resting on the Word of God, that day would conclude with America's first government bowing in prayer and dedicating the nation's future to God. A century and a half earlier another seminal event took place on the same day on April 29, 1607. The voyageurs of the Susan Constant, the Discovery and the Godspeed gathered together in prayer at Cape Henry to set a wooden cross in the sands of Virginia Beach to dedicate a new civilization to the will and purpose of God. America's biblical foundation would be affirmed and reaffirmed over and over again by its forefathers, from the pilgrims of the Mayflower, to the Puritans who landed at Massachusetts Bay, to the leaders of the first American colonies who declared publicly and in writing that the new Commonwealth had come into existence solely for the glory and purpose of God.
            No historian can re-write that, no judgment can expunge that, and if 1000 Angels swore on 1000 Bibles that this was not the case it would in no way alter the fact that this American civilization was conceived, established, dedicated, and founded on a biblical cornerstone. America was born into existence for the will and purpose of God. On this night over 200 years ago George Washington held in his hand the first ever presidential address. In that address was a prophetic warning. It was this: " the propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself hath ordained”. In other words, if America should ever turn away from God and his ways and should ever disregard the eternal rules of order and right, then his blessings and smiles from heaven would be removed from the land. With an ancient warning that had been given in Hebrew words by the prophets of the Kingdom of Israel, the people turned away from God and disregarded his eternal rules of order and right. They drove God out of the government, out of the public squares, out of their culture, out of their lives of their children. They worshiped idols and served other gods. They celebrated immorality and they persecuted righteousness. They lifted up their children on the alters of foreign gods and the blessings of God were removed from the land and replaced with judgment. It's now more than 2000 years later and America has made the same mistake. We too have turned away from God, we too have driven him out of our government, out of our public square, out of our culture, out of the lives of our children. We too have profaned the sacred and sanctified the profane and we too have killed our most innocent, over 55 million of our unborn children, and our collective hands are covered with blood. What we were warned never to do we now have done. 
            Now we gather in the city named after the one who gave us the prophetic warning and yesterday in this city in the building that sits across from this hill, the justices of the Supreme Court took up their places on the bench to decide whether America should strike down the biblical and historic definition of marriage. The very fact that that event has taken place is as such a sign in itself. This is the America of Washington's warning! It is here! This day of which he warned is now! We have become a civilization in spiritual schizophrenia. A nation at war against its own foundation.
            The Supreme Court opens its session with the words" God save the United States and this Honorable Court”, but if this Honorable Court should overrule the word of God and strike down the internal rules of order and right that heaven itself has ordained how then will God save it? Supreme Court justices can you judge the ways of God? Can you with man-made verdict overrule the eternal laws of God? There is another court and there is another judge and before him all men and all judges will give account. If a nation's high court should pass judgment on the Almighty should you then be surprised if the Almighty should pass judgment on the court and on that nation? In the book of Jeremiah it is written "Has a nation ever exchanged its God yet my people have exchanged their glory for that which cannot help them." Let us not pretend we are doing that which Israel did on the alters of BAAL. We are exchanging our God for our idols, our light for darkness, and our glory for that which cannot save us. Are we ready to risk that which comes on the other side of that exchange? The day when the blessings of heaven are removed from the land!
            We began with a word from the first President of our nation on the day that he began as president announcing the word of warning. Now we turn to the President of the nation in our most recent days. Each time I have spoken here I have asked the question, I will now answer it. Mr. President with all respect that is due, what happens if one assumes the presidency by placing his left hand on the word of God and then with his right hand enacts laws that war against the very same word of God on which he raises his hand? That invokes the judgment of the Almighty! To swear an oath on the word of God in which it is written, defend the weak and do not murder, and then to not defend the weak and not protect the unborn, but instead to advance their murder is to invoke the judgment of the Almighty! To swear an oath on the word of God in which it is written, do not cause your brother to stumble and then to seek to force those who uphold the word of God to transgress the word of God by partaking in the killing of the unborn and the celebration thereof, is to invoke the judgment of the Almighty. And to swear an oath on the word of God in which it is written that righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people and then to take part in the leading of the nation away from the eternal rules of order and right that heaven itself has ordained and against the very word of God on which you raised your hand is to invoke the judgment of the Almighty!
            When the leaders of ancient Israel turned away from God, when they abolished his precepts and broke his covenant they did so in the shadow of Moses whose voice cried out to them in warning. Mr. President when you address the nation from this house, look up above the Senators and Representatives above the Supreme Court justices and above the invited guests and you will see a face, the only full visage in that wall, looking back, and you see it is the face of Moses and if that face could speak it would say this, no man can overrule the laws of God, no order can annul the order of God, and no judgment can stand against the judgment of God. Invoke not his judgment but choose life! Lead in the way of repentance. Invoke the grace of God that he might have mercy on this land. We've come to a most critical moment. As Elijah stood on top of Mount Carmel and cried out to Israel in between two alters and two gods, his voice now cries out to America and says choose you this day whom you will serve. Seventy years ago the chaplain of the United States Senate cried out with the same voice and said to this nation, if the Lord be God then follow him, but if BAAL then follow him and go to hell!
            Tonight America stands at the crossroads and if Elijah came to the summit of Mount Carmel to make a declaration, we come this night to Capitol Hill to declare that our God is not BAAL, our God is not Moloch, our God is not government, our God is not money, our God is not power, not pleasure, our God is not political correctness or any other man-made thing! We come to this hill to declare that there is only one God and he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God of Israel and of all nations.  He alone is the rock upon which this nation has come into existence and from this high place we make this declaration, we will not bow down our knees to BAAL, we will not bow down our knees to political correctness, we will not bow down our knees to a morality that is as shifting as sand in the wind. We will not bow down our knees to the law and precepts of rebellion or the sacred cows of moral apostasy, we will not bow down our knees to the idols of man, we will not bow down to BAAL.
            We will bow down our knees only to the Lord our God come what may and we will have no other gods before him, for some trust in chariots and some trust in Presidents, some trust in Supreme Courts, some trust in white houses, some trust in governments, some trust in Wall Street, some trust in powers and some trust in idols, but we will trust in the name of the Lord our God, the name above all names, above all kings, above all powers. We will trust in the only name given among men by which we must be saved. We will trust in the name Yeshua Hamashia , Jesus the Messiah, the king of all kings, the Lord of all lords the judge of all judges the light of the world the Glory of Israel the foundation stone upon which this nation came into existence and the only answer the only chance and the only hope that America has that it might once again shine with the light of the fire of the presence of the glory of the living God and not go to hell so help us God, thank you!
CONCLUSION:       
            If you are a Christian, one of God's children, I hope that this will motivate you to pray as it has motivated me. If one is reading this and is not a Christian, or does not know for certain, I urge you to surrender your will to the will of the Lord God in true repentance and place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for your salvation. It is a late hour in our nation's history. Only the Lord knows what is going to happen to this nation. We can, however, ask that the Lord would manifest his name throughout this nation and call many to preach and proclaim the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can also ask that the Lord would hear our prayer and forgive our sin not because of our righteousness, but because of his holiness, his compassions which fail not, his great mercies, which are new every morning. Great is his faithfulness, and his great love wherewith he has loved his people. We can pray that the Lord our God would hear and forgive our land; listen and act for the sake of the name of Yeshua Hamashia, the only name given among men by which we must be saved, Jesus the Son of God.
            Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ that great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the everlasting covenant make you perfect in every way to do his will working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Your Brother in Christ,
Bill Gray
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