Posts Tagged ‘Babylon’

There is  a storm coming. And not many are prepared. Not a physical storm like what we’ve seen lately with rain and hail and tornados and floods; but a spiritual storm. One that will be more devastating than any tornado or flood.

The people of Judah had rebelled against the principles upon which their nation had been founded on. Judah had turned its back upon God and rejected any attempt by those sent to call her back. As promised, God withdrew His protection from her. He had warned that if His people became faithless that He would employ a pagan power to conquer them and lead them back into captivity. He had led them from Egyptian bondage 800 years before, and now, because of their infidelity, He would allow them to return to bondage—this time in Babylon.

They had refused to believe it could ever happen to them. They found their own false prophets to tell them that everything was fine. They ridiculed Jeremiah and others who warned of the devastation to come. The Lord spoke through Jeremiah and put it this way; “Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north…and I will send Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon…against this land and against its inhabitants…and this whole land shall be a desolation and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jeremiah 25:9-11)

But the false prophets told them that God would never allow this to happen because they were God’s chosen people. They were insisting that God loved them and that He only wanted to bless them. But it wasn’t true!

Today we have the modern counterparts of these false prophets. Some promise that God will bless you if you send them money. Some say that God will not bring judgment against Christians because they are God’s chosen people. They say that God loves them and that He only wants to bless them. They claim that the world’s problems are a direct result of sinfulness in the “world”—But if we elect someone with “Christian values”,  America will be great again.

They have forgotten that God is the one who exalts leaders into office: (Psalm 75:7; Daniel 2:21) So what if, because we have turned our back on God and instead placed our trust in man and rejected any attempt by those He sent to call us back, God also removes His protection from us?

There are many today who cry out, “God bless America!” But how can God bless America when we allow children to be beaten, raped and killed? How can God bless America when we refuse to allow our children to pray and criminalize those who do? How can God bless America when we ignore the suffering of the poor and destitute while we indulge ourselves on the luxuries we have accumulated for ourselves.

William Booth embarked upon his ministerial career in 1852, desiring to win the lost multitudes of England to Christ. He walked the streets of London to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute. Booth abandoned the conventional concept of a church and a pulpit, instead taking his message to the people.

He once related a vision he had concerning the lost. He saw a dark and stormy ocean. In that ocean he saw myriads of poor human beings plunging and floating, shouting and shrieking, cursing and struggling and drowning. But what puzzled him most was the fact that although all of them had been rescued at one time or another from the ocean, nearly everyone no longer seemed troubled by those who were downing—nor did they even seem to care about the poor perishing ones who were struggling and drowning right before their very eyes—many of whom were their own husbands and wives, brothers and sisters and even their own children!

The primary aim of the Salvation Army was not to provide charity, but to win souls from the devil. Booth stated that “what was important was not whether a man died in the poorhouse but if his soul was saved.” (‘The Salvationist in a Secular Society’— p29)

And yet today the Salvation Army is a human organization more interested in the needs of the flesh, rather than the needs of the soul. Is it possible that God had given William Booth a vision of the “future” Salvation Army and Christianity as a whole?

The Church today reminds me of a poem I read years ago written by Howard Clinebell:

The Little Lifesaving Station

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occurred, there was once a crude lifesaving station. The building wasn’t much more than a small hut, and there was only one boat. But the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought of themselves, went out night and day tirelessly searching for the lost.

Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station. So much so that it became famous for its rescue efforts. Some of those who were saved and various others in the surrounding area wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money for the support of its work. New boats were purchased and donated to the station and crews were trained to improve the rescue operations of the station.

As the little lifesaving station grew some of the members were unhappy that the building itself was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided for those who were rescued from the sea. So the members raised funds for the station and replaced the emergency cots with beds and placed better furniture in an enlarged building.

Soon the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members. They decorated it beautifully and furnished it so exquisitely that it became sort of a club. The lifesaving station’s logo still prevailed on the wall above the fireplace and its name was still used to raise funds,  but  fewer members were now interested in going out to sea on lifesaving missions. They even hired lifeboat crews to do the work that they used to do themselves.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, and half drowned people. These people were dirty and sick. And some of them were foreigners who couldn’t speak English. The beautiful club was thrown into chaos. The property committee immediately had a shower built outside the club building with an attached closet filled with clean clothes so that the victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up and dressed properly before coming inside.

At the next club meeting there was a split in the membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities because it was unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social structure of the club. Some members insisted that the lifesaving operations were the primary reason for them being there and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station. The latter were finally voted down and were told that if they wanted to save the lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters they could start their own lifesaving station further down the coast. That’s exactly what they did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old one. It evolved into a club and later another lifesaving station was founded.

History continues to repeat itself and if you visit that seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along its shores.  Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but sadly, most of the people there drown.

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth…But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:1-7, 14-15)

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Many have been commenting on how ugly the 2016 presidential race has become. Many more have become confused over how the most vulgar and the most insincere candidates seem to be leading in the polls.

Everyone seems to be casting the blame for our country’s woes from former President Bush to President Obama. But the real blame belongs to all of us! You see, our leaders are merely mirrors of those they lead. That was how it was for ancient Israel when they cried out for a king in 1 Samuel 8, and how it has been ever since then.

When the Israelites wanted a king like other nations had, they were rejecting their unique, set-apart position as God’s people. The nation whose God was to be the Lord alone was envious of the nations who followed false gods. It is no surprise, I suppose, that the powers of government have always been expanded under this same faulty way of thinking.

God warned Israel that a king would be costly both in goods and in freedom. He told them that they would have to give up their freedom to make your own choices, their land and resources. God also pointed out that there is a point of no return on having a king. There will come a time, God says in vs. 18, when you will “cry out for relief from the king.” But then it will be too late.

Throughout history, the more people moved away from God and his laws, the worse off the people became. It was the same during Israel’s captivity in Babylon. God allowed Israel to be captured and ruled by an evil king because Israel had turned away from God and followed false prophets and evil kings.

It is no different now. And unless we repent of our wickedness and turn back to God and serve him, we too, will find ourselves taken captive by an ungodly government.

We need to pray for America the way the prophet Daniel prayed for captive Israel. A prayer something like this: (Taken from Daniel 9:1-19) “O Lord, our great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments. We have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name.
To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men and women of America, and to whole world—those who are near and those who are far away. To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our leaders to our fathers and to our father’s fathers, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, but we have rebelled against you and have not obeyed your Word which you set before us by your servants the prophets. We have all has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice.

And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against you. We have confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against us. As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. Therefore, this calamity and has been brought it upon us.

Lord God, you are righteous in all the works that you have done, but we have not obeyed your voice.  O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your people because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, because we have become a byword among all who are watching us.

Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake O Lord, make your face to shine upon our country, which is desolate. O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive! O Lord, pay attention and act! Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your people who are called by your name. Amen”

A deeper understanding of Daniel’s prayer:

 

“And God has appointed these in the Church: First apostles, second prophets, third teachers, and after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.” (1Corinthians 12:7-11, 28-31)

Note that the above Scripture specifies that such Spiritual gifts, if genuine, are appointed by God. In spite of the growing number of false teachers and false prophets in the church today, doesn’t this scripture passage imply that these spiritual gifts are real? Let’s look at what scripture teaches about true and false prophets:

“But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’  When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” (Matthew 7:15-18)

In 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Paul says we should test all things. So we can discern the difference between true and false prophets by testing what they say with scripture.

So are there true prophets of God today? In Acts 2:17-18, the Apostle Peter quoting Joel 2:28-29 states, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.”

Now there is a big difference between someone who prophecies and a true prophet of God. It’s been my experience that 99% of all so called ‘prophetic ministries’ are in fact, managed and controlled by false prophets. These ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing that the Lord warned us about are the ones who have made it difficult for God’s true prophets. Prophetic words are to be judged and should never be used to rule your life. We are held responsible to test all things. I have seen numerous people led astray by so called prophetic ministries. Many people have followed them from meeting to meeting much like worldly people follow fortune tellers.

I believe that true prophets of God exist today.

Leonard Ravenhill, Keith Green, and David Wilkerson are men that I would consider to be true prophets of God. Leonard Ravenhill was labeled a radical and considered to be legalistic by some. Keith Green was criticized by some in the Christian Music Industry for his stand on not selling his music for the sake of the gospel. David Wilkerson was mocked by the media and scorned by some Christian circles. It was only after their deaths that some began to acknowledge their godly work.

But how many of us listened to their messages? How many today would pat them on the back and tell them how much they were admired but would think to themselves, “Just don’t expect me to do what you ask!”

Leonard Ravenhill was a British Christian evangelist and author who focused on the subjects of prayer and revival. He is best known for challenging the modern church through his books and sermons. His most notable book is ‘Why Revival Tarries’ which has sold over a million copies worldwide. In the 1980s, Ravenhill moved from England to a home near Lindale, Texas, a short distance from Last Days Ministries Ranch. He regularly taught classes at LDM and was a mentor to Keith Green. David Wilkerson, Ray Comfort, Tommy Tenney, Charles Stanley, Paul Washer and many others were also influenced by him.

Leonard Ravenhill was a man sent from God and like Elijah, was sent to battle the priests of Baal on their own mountain top and to shame the careless priests at the altar! He fearlessly stood against sin in the church and pastors who watered down the gospel of Christ. And he warned people who were being led astray by them. He was not an easy companion to the complacent. He insisted on being a Christian all the time and everywhere he went. He was sick inside when he saw the children of God acting like the sons of the devil. That marked him as being hard headed and at times, legalistic. Where have men of such fiery zeal as Ravenhill gone? Click here: Leonard Ravenhill

Keith Green was also recognized as a prophetic voice, crying out to us like John the Baptist, and cutting like a two-edged sword. On one hand, his words offered hope and joy — the Lord is coming! On the other hand, they required us to change our lives. Because of his love for Jesus and for the Word of God, Keith’s zeal drew thousands to his message during his few short years of public ministry before his untimely death. His sole desire was to see men, women and young people become free from spiritual darkness, confusion, and lukewarm Christianity. Keith’s boldness unsettled the more complacent Christians, as he pressed into the life of a true disciple, sometimes risking a successful career, his reputation, and personal finances — all to discover how to overcome worldliness and sin, and the surest road to God’s heart. Because Keith spoke for God and Him alone, his was one of the clearest, truest voices of our time. Click here: Keith Green Story

David Wilkerson was probably one of our greatest prophets of the 20th century. He served as a pastor in small churches in Pennsylvania, until he saw a photograph in Life Magazine in 1958 of seven New York City teenagers charged with murder. He later wrote that as he felt the Holy Spirit move him with compassion, he was drawn to go to New York in February 1958. It was then that he began a street ministry to young drug addicts and gang members, which he continued into the 1960s. He also founded Teen Challenge, an evangelical Christian addiction recovery program, with a network of Christian social and evangelizing work centers.

He gained national recognition after he co-authored the book ‘The Cross and the Switchblade’ in 1963 with John and Elizabeth Sherrill about his street ministry. In the book, he tells of the conversion of gang member Nicky Cruz, who later became an evangelist himself and wrote the autobiographical ‘Run Baby Run’. In 1967, David Wilkerson began Youth Crusades, an evangelistic ministry aimed at middle-class youth who were restless and bored. His goal was to prevent them from becoming heavily involved with drugs, alcohol, or violence.

In 1986, while walking down 42nd Street in New York City at midnight, David Wilkerson felt God calling him to start a ministry in Times Square. There he founded and became the pastor of Times Square Church, which opened its doors in October 1987. The church first occupied rented auditoriums in Times Square and later moved to the historic Mark Hellinger Theatre, which the ministry purchased in 1989 and in which it has operated ever since.

On April 27, 2011, while driving east on US Route 175 in Texas, David collided head-on with a tractor trailer and was pronounced dead on the scene. His last blog post stated, “To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, I am with you. I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will all make sense. You will see it was all part of my plan. It was no accident.”  Click here: A Call to Anguish – David Wilkerson

Ezekiel was one of God’s greatest prophets recorded in the Old Testament. He brought God’s message of impending judgment to the Israelite people held captive in Babylon. God told Ezekiel that the people would not listen to him because of their unrepentant hearts. The message of the Old Testament prophets is the same message as the prophets today. The message of repentance!

That is what Israel failed to recognize about their God. They could not bring themselves to recognize their own sin. In failing to recognize their sin, they failed to recognize the holy God that they were called to serve. And as they continued to sin, they assumed that God’s blessings would always be upon them no matter what they did because they were God’s people and  they were in the covenant of promise. Because God had blessed them in the past, they felt that they were secure, that they couldn’t be moved from the firm foundation of Zion. That false assurance was further cemented in their mind by the false prophets who came along and preached: ‘Peace, peace’, when there was no peace. And when they could no longer ignore God’s prophet they humiliated and ridiculed him. This true prophet of God called them to repent but they refused to listen and ended up paying the price.

It is no different today. For decades God has been sending his prophets to warn us of His impending judgment, but we refuse to listen to them and continue to sin and instead listen to the false prophets who preach, “Peace, peace!” when there is no peace.

In 1973 David Wilkerson received a vision regarding the future of the United States and subsequently published a book called ‘The Vision’.  Below are some excerpts from this book. Keep in mind that he received this vision in 1973!

Economic Crash Coming

“There is worldwide economic confusion just ahead. In my vision this is the clearest thing I have seen… Not only is the American dollar headed for deep trouble, but so are all other world currencies. I see total economic confusion striking Europe first and then affecting Japan, the United States, Canada and all other nations shortly thereafter.” (P13:p1-2)

Everyone Will Be Affected

“…A recession of such magnitude that it will affect the lifestyle of nearly every wage earner in America and around the world. Countries that now control huge amounts of Western currency are going to be in very deep trouble also. Arab countries will be especially hurt.” (P13: p3)

Economists Confused

“The world’s greatest economists will be at a loss to explain the confusion and an international crisis of fear will develop. *(The economics profession has been unprepared and helpless to deal with the calamity has recently come upon the world.)

False Boom

“A false economic boom will precede the recession – but it will be short lived.” (P13-14: p4)

Uncontrolled Credit Debt

“Credit debt will become nearly uncontrollable. I see, very clearly, just a few years of tremendous affluence and continued economic prosperity. Inflation, costs and wages will spiral higher and higher. ” (P14: p1-3)

Bankruptcies of Major Corporations

“I believe we are going to witness the bankruptcies of some of this nation’s major and most popular corporations. I see tremendous difficulty arising for credit corporations. There are going to be many people unable to pay off their heavy obligations to major credit card companies, causing near chaos. Thousands of small businesses will also be forced into bankruptcies.”

Government Panic

“The United States government is going to “overreact” to the confused economic developments…. I see a flurry of near-panic decisions being made by various government agencies – but these hasty efforts to shore up the economy will backfire.

Building Industry Setbacks

“The building industry is going to face many setbacks. Housing starts will level off. There is a terrible squeeze coming to the building industry.”

Social Aid Programs Will Be Cut

“Social aid programs are going to be cut back and curtailed and minority groups are going to be affected the most. These cutbacks, along with the curtailment of many government projects, will cause widespread unemployment among these groups.”

DRASTIC WEATHER & EARTHQUAKES

“The world is about to witness the beginnings of great sorrows brought about by history’s most drastic weather changes, earthquakes, floods terrible calamities – far surpassing anything ever yet witnessed.”

Outbreaks of Epidemics

“In the aftermath of famine, floods and earthquakes, mankind faces the threat of new epidemics. There will a major cholera epidemic sweeping through various underdeveloped countries. “

FLOOD OF FILTH: MORAL DECLINE

“Be warned – in the not too distant future X-rated porno movies will be show on select cable networks after midnight…  Also available will be the same triple x rated video tapes for private home use. These videotapes can be played on any TV set with an electronic attachment.”  *(Remember; this was written in 1973. This was before cable TV and VCRs became popular!)

Teenage alcoholism

“Teenage alcoholism will increase. We are going to face a critical drinking problem with teenagers between thirteen and sixteen years of age.”

For decades God has sent his prophets to warn us to repent! But we refuse. Even when we have proof that a prophet was among us, we still refuse to repent. But desiring to have our ears tickled we follow the false prophets who preach, ‘Peace, peace’ when there is no peace.  To those of you who do not believe that God brings judgment but only wants to bless, remember what Isaiah 45:7 says: “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity. I am the Lord who does all these things.”

The hour is late! And God’s judgment on an unrepentant church is eminent! “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Pet. 4:17 NIV) It is time for the church to repent of its worldliness and wickedness; fall on our face before God in tears and anguish, and allow Him to fill us with His fire so that we can become a light in a darkened world.

Click here: Keith Green – Asleep In The Light (live)