The Signs Of The Times"...ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?"(Matthew 16:3)

   
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

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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

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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?'

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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

Copyright © 2003 Christian Media Network

See Also

Strongholds And Stumblingblocks

Itching Ears: The Death Of Sound Doctrine

Chuck Smith And Calvary Chapel: Sound Doctrine Or Strong Delusion?

Article Source: 
CMC
Article Number: 
71