The Signs Of The Times
One of the most perplexing aspects of prophecy is in the area of timing. Readers familiar with the Christian Media ministry know that we have aggressively sought to decipher the current events with specificity, and to place them in a linear predictive context. To put it another way, I believe I know and understand significant aspects of the times and the seasons in which we live.
I further believe that I am called to publicly witness of the immanency of the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. In this regard, I have repeatedly prophesied concerning the timing of the initialization of various cycles of prophetic activity - including the start of the Tribulation period, the inauguration of the Antichrist, and much much more.
In recent years, one of the staples of my prophetic platform is the belief that the government of the Antichrist would rise to a new plateau of power in the near term. These public pronouncements have brought enormous opposition to this ministry because of the vested evil that has so firmly entrenched itself in America's religious institutions.
Thus, while blind critics continue to attack and criticize my prophetic mission using unscriptural traditions to support their own lack of prophetic discernment, I press forward with the knowledge I firmly believe that God has given me.
In the realm of prophetic fulfillment, scriptural precedent makes clear that prophecy is frequently fulfilled without a broad consensus recognizing the truth as it occurs. The primary example, of course, is the person and ministry of JESUS CHRIST. For instance, although Jerusalem likely had a population in the hundreds of thousands two millennia ago, after 3 � years of teaching amidst miraculous signs and wonders, Jesus only had about a hundred and twenty disciples! (See Acts 1:15)
In the Gospels, Christ upbraided the pastors of His day (the Pharisees) when He said
"When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" (Matthew 16:3)
The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus has recorded that Jerusalem was regularly inhabited by approximately half a million people just a few decades after the time of Christ. Yet, at the miraculous episode that occurred during the feast of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Christians and "the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language" (Acts 2:6), only three thousand came to Christ. Although several thousand people sounds like a sizeable number, when viewed in simple percentages, the overwhelming majority of the Jews of this time chose not to join themselves to the Apostle's Christian sect.
The simple fact is, although Jesus and the twelve disciples brought about many great signs and wonders, most of the people and the leadership in that "evil and adulterous generation" failed to recognize what had occurred in their very midst. Even Christ marveled at this incredible blindness as He interacted with Nicodemus when He said "Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?" (John 3:10)
Furthermore, the religious leaders were learned in the scriptures - yet they still did not understand the times and the seasons that had overtaken them. Another excellent example of this is found when the Pharisees rebuked certain officers of the temple because they were wavering in their opposition to Jesus. Defending their rejection of Jesus, the priests said
"Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet." (John 7:42, 52)
This is a very instructive interaction, because it shows intelligent people that were knowledgeable in the ways of LORD, rejected JESUS CHRIST because they could not find a verse that specifically told them the prophet they were expecting would come from Galilee! Perhaps they should have been reading the book of Job, where the famous figure told how the LORD "disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. He taketh the wise in their craftiness..." (Job 5:12, 13).
Although the leadership of the Christian church is loathe to recognize the parallels between themselves and the Pharisees of Biblical times, this inability to discern the signs of the times is not limited to Jews. As a case in point, even though the Christian disciples "were eyewitnesses of his majesty" (II Peter 1:16), after Christ's arrest and crucifixion, they were clearly in a state of disbelief. On the road to a village called Emmaus, they lamented how their hope that Jesus was the Messiah had been dashed by His death.
They related how "we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel..." (Luke 24:21). It's clear from the tense of the sentence that at the time, they no longer "trusted" that Jesus was the one prophesied to come. In fact, much earlier another group of "Christians" had fallen away from following Christ because He told them "He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him" (John 6:56).
Obviously, there is no explicit verse in the scriptures stating that God will require us to 'eat his flesh and drink his blood,' but the lack of such an overt statement in the Word of God will not help those that have rejected Christ in "the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds" (Romans 15,6). In this instance, we see that those that place their complete trust in the letter of the law without the benefit of the Spirit of God, can still be thoroughly deceived.
Additionally, in a rather stunning spiritual signature, we find the result of this lack of discernment in John 6:66: "From that time, many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."
Lest there be any doubt concerning the dire consequences of failing to recognize the times and the seasons that are appointed to each generation, we turn to the ominous prophecy issued by JESUS CHRIST to Jerusalem:
"If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side. And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." (Luke 19:42-44)
Although many contemporary Christians would like this mysterious spiritual blindness to be seen as an exclusively Jewish failing, the historic clash between the Apostle Paul and the Christian leadership in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:11-13) plainly demonstrates how Christians themselves can be deceived through the agency of scripture - if they refuse to allow "the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name" to teach us all things (John 14:26).
The reader will recall that the Apostolic Church was split over what responsibility, if any, the believers had to remain in obedience to the laws of the Old Testament. In this area, Paul split sharply with Peter, James (the brother of Jesus and the leading elder of the Church in Jerusalem), and even his old friend Barnabas.
In Galatians, Paul asserted that "they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel" (Galatians 2:14) when he encountered what he considered to be hypocrisy in his Apostolic associates. Both factions were reading the scriptures, yet they had come to differing conclusions resulting in a conflict. Subsequently, the Jerusalem contingent, led by James, came to the point where their doctrine was harmonized with Paul's. Contrary to a stilted legalism that had previously come forth from the Judaeo-Christians that had sought to impose Jewish customs on the Gentile believers, James wrote "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10).
While James moved to embrace the Biblically sound doctrine of grace, Peter and Paul met him in the center of the truth issuing a threat to those that were using their "liberty for a cloke of maliciousness" (I Peter 2:16) and warned them that even under the grace of Christ, "the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9).
What changed? The Holy Spirit moved these holy men to the common ground of truth.
Ultimately, James still emphasized adherence to fundamentals within the law when he wrote that "even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone...Ye see than how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (James 2:17, 24). For his part, perhaps it was this understanding of the role of the Spirit of God that led Paul to articulate the truth that "the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life" (II Corinthians 3:6).
In the end times, we find huge numbers of Christians that have read the scriptures, and have come away completely convinced that their prophetic understanding is the right one. For example, there are many, many Christians that believe the much prophesied Great Tribulation has already gone by. Some even teach the "rapture" occurred two thousand years ago. This position, known as Preterism, erroneously teaches that the Antichrist was Caesar Nero and the Tribulation was the lengthy Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD - and thus they fail to perceive the signs of the times in which we now live.
Because there are verses that plainly show the early church stating that they were living in "these last times" (e.g. I Peter 1:20, 1 John 2:18, etc.), these Preterists are convinced that such verses prove the Apostles believed they were the last generation - and that we are now living in the Millennial reign of JESUS CHRIST. As I've said many times before, if this is the Millennium, I want a refund!
If the Pharisees were lost because they could not "discern the signs of the times" (Matthew 16:3), how then can the Preterists be saved - when they have plainly committed the same infraction? While more liberal mainstream Christians would state that Preterists are saved because they profess to know Jesus and their eschatology has nothing to do with their salvation, the Bible and the Holy Spirit don't support that perspective.
Like their spiritual brethren in the Rapture Cult that refuse to allow the Holy Ghost to show them that the organized church is scheduled to prophetically parallel old Israel's apostasy, these have refused to recognize the sign of the times. While it's relatively easy for more intense Christians in evangelical fellowships to see the obvious liberalism that has swept through denominational Christianity through occult practices, tolerance of homosexuality, and a departure from the exclusive faith in Christ, the two polarities of Preterism and Pre-Tribulationism are fraternal twins of the same harlot mother.
The sad truth is that organized Christianity has been grafted on to the historic tree of Mystery Babylon - (read Roman Catholicism and her whorish daughters) - and although the Rapturists and the Preterists both loudly protest such a statement amidst assertions of their Protestantism, their protestations ring hollow. The Scripture and the Spirit both testify that the corporate Church is practicing the Dialectic - and their two streams of thought will merge in the middle of the flood pouring out of the mouth of the dragon that is the Spirit of the Antichrist.
I say to the so-called "church" that you have had true Prophecy preached to you, and you have refused to hear the truth - and this is but one of the signs of the times. "We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented" (Matthew 11:17).
The former prophet's declaration concerning the great falling away from the truth is not something that will occur somewhere down the road - it has been occurring for more than a generation. The grotesque truth is that the Spirit of the Antichrist is already "sitting" in the temple of God and the "church" doesn't even know what the temple is - let alone who they are.
Like unrepentant Israel before them, the "church" has become the body of Antichrist - and the arrival of the head of that spiritual body is imminent. Like the Pharisees of old, the Pastors of the "church" have come to abide in the Beast - and their spirits cannot receive the truth of the times and the seasons in which we live because "the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in" have choked the word and they have become "unfruitful" (Mark 4:19).
JESUS CHRIST says to those in the corporate churches that claim Him as their Saviour, and outwardly appear to be righteous, that "within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity" (Matthew 23:28). The organized churches of our corrupt nation believe they can willingly acquiesce to the Satanic demands of the government and still be in the fold. Just like the Pharisees before them, the Pastors teach the people to obey the Beast because 'God has put the Devil in charge, and it is His will that you obey the evil.'
The American evangelical Christians, pointing the way for the rest of the world, have largely adopted the motto 'What Would Jesus Do?' - even as they support the violent military murders and economic strangulation of thousands of women and children in third world nations. The "Christian" justification for supporting war is their fervent belief that they are acting upon scriptural imperatives they foolishly perceive requires them to "bless" those they consider to be the "chosen people." Incredibly, our people believe we "bless" the chosen people by killing their enemies.
The truth is, the so-called "Christians" don't even know who the chosen people are, and their lack of discernment has placed them in the ludicrous position of implying that Jesus would launch a pre-emptive strike with a stealth bomber and shed innocent blood if it would aid the political aspirations of "His people."
Thus, our generation has the dubious distinction of being the modern prophetic parallel to the "evil and adulterous generation" (Matthew 12:39) that saw the first incarnation of JESUS CHRIST - the generation that did not recognize the time of their visitation. Our generation will see the second coming of Christ; and in yet another prophetic parallel of the old covenant people of the LORD, the new covenant people of the LORD have become those that "draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear towards me is taught by the precept of men" (Isaiah 29:13).
It is our generation that looks upright on the outside, "but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness" (Matthew 23:27). It is our "evil and adulterous generation" that God will judge because our people have turned to their churches, but not to their God - and it is clear that in the process, we can no longer "discern the signs of the times" (Matthew 16:3).
July 14, 2003 - James Lloyd
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