Hashkama: 14th June 2017 - Preparing for Persecution

Israel takes Pride

“…and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19)

It wasn’t long ago that Israel celebrated its annual festival of Passover.  Last Friday, they held a celebration in Tel Aviv of a different nature.  Israel wanted a king like the other nations, and they got Saul.  It appears that Israel still wants to be like the other nations.  On Friday, there was a record crowd for LGBT Pride Parade in Israel.  It was a party for all nations as they gathered together in the Holy Land.  200,000 people from Israel and the nations celebrated.  The theme of this year’s parade was “Bisexuality Visibility.”  Tel Aviv has emerged as one of the world’s most gay-friendly travel destinations.  Is this what God intended when He brought the Jews out of the nations, back to Israel?

“These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Matthew 15:8).

Israel is far from God.  Thankfully, and mercifully for Israel, God has not forgotten Israel.  Though the wicked perish (Psalm 37:20; 37:38), God will keep a remnant for Himself, until “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26).

Shall we sin that grace may abound? (Romans 6:1).  I can quite imagine that one of these days, there will be LGBT “Christians” in the West that will gather to celebrate their homosexuality, perhaps even celebrating their sexuality in the nations cathedrals.  They deny it is sin, even as they deny the revelation of God.  Even Theresa May answered “No”, when she was asked if she thought gay sex was a sin.

Persecution comes as an agent to turn the hearts of God’s people back to God.  Persecution will come upon God’s people in the last days, because of the rebellion of the peoples of the earth against God.  Christians will be hated by all nations because they first hate God.  This persecution will not be because the Church is wayward.  You will be hated without reason (John 15:18-25).  We are getting a whiff of the vitriol that could encourage, and eventually develop into this kind of persecution, in the Margaret Court situation.  Margaret, as mentioned in my last article, has made a biblical stand against LGBT.  In an attack against her, John McEnroe posted a pro-LGBT video in which he called on Elton John to help organise the largest LGBT ‘wedding’ ceremony ever in the Margaret Court Arena, to take place as soon as the Australian government approve same-sex marriage.[i]  Why is Margaret Court such a lone voice in the Christian world?  The Scottish Episcopal Church has dropped the biblical definition of marriage, and backs gay marriage.  It is a denomination of abomination to the Lord!  Why is the Church silent as the Son of God is trampled underfoot? (Hebrews 10:29).

People will attend conferences for all sorts of teaching, but how many would turn up for a conference with the title “Preparing for Persecution”?  Yet this is what God’s people need to hear and be taught.  How many Christian leaders would hold such a conference, or even see the need to prepare for persecution, I wonder.  In some churches, sermons on God’s love are taught week in and week out, while forgetting that if God loves us, He will chastise us (Hebrews 12:6; Revelation 3:19).  Persecution is something that happens in other countries, in previous centuries; but not in Britain, and not in the 21st century.  Persecution may not be the most popular of topics to teach on, but persecution will occupy much of our time during the last days, and we should be mindful of what is to come.

In an address about Kristallnacht, the speaker perceptively said “…that the response of the Church had been – a deafening silence.  The next time it [persecution] comes, the Christians will be included.”

Jesus was not being very PC when He taught His disciples about the Last Days.  He told them (Matthew 24:9), “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me.”  Until recently, nations in the West such as America and Britain would speak out in defence of Christians that were being persecuted.  These days there is hardly a murmur to be heard.  Jesus warned His disciples that the time was coming when they would be hated by all nations.  There would be no voice to speak out in defence of them; “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed” (Revelation 13:10).  Matthew 24:21-22 says, – “For there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equalled again.  If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”  Who are the elect?  Will they go through this time of great distress?  The writer of 2 Timothy states, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1).  The Greek word is chalepos, and means fierce.  “Fierce times shall come”.  There will be no mercy.

In previous articles, I have upset people and received complaints because I said the rapture will not occur until after the great tribulation.  To quote someone else that put it very well: “Much of the Church believes in escapology rather than eschatology!” – (David Pawson).  Last week I was questioned because I did not mention the rapture.  The article was already quite long, and I said what I thought I should say.  Jesus didn’t tell us when He is coming back.  Many have prophesied dates when Jesus would return, but those dates have gone, and so have the people that prophesied them.  My concern is to at least attempt to warn people to prepare for persecution.  I don’t have an ‘end-times’ system.  Some people do. They display elaborate charts, planning out the course of the last days, including the rapture and the millennium reign of Jesus etc.  There is the Amillenialism, Premillenialsim, Postmillenialism and so on, and people can get really upset if you have a different opinion of events to theirs.  Perhaps it’s because I am not smart enough to work it out, but I don’t have a system, and am only able to see, not much more than one little bit at a time.  On the other hand, if it is all so clear, why are there so many different views and systems?  Is the Holy Spirit confused; or is it that He hasn’t actually revealed exactly how it will all work out?  That way we need to remain dependent upon Him, carefully listening for His voice.  It seems to me that in this matter, and the ‘need to know’, we have developed a sort of replacement theology, where we have replaced God’s mind with man’s systems.  There is a danger that we will go to the system that we like the most, rather than seek the Lord’s mind—Premillenialism, and the pre-tribulation rapture is very popular.  So we have pre-tribulation rapture, and post-tribulation rapture among the various options offered up.  Rather than say, we don’t know all the answers, and looking to Jesus to reveal it to us when He is ready, and when we are ready to receive that word, there is the danger of developing our own understanding.  Perhaps some readers would have liked me to say that persecution is coming, but the Church will be raptured before that.  I had covered various topics briefly, and finished the article with what was important in the context.   Quite simply, my point was persecution is coming, ‘The Bible tells me so’, to quote the old hymn.  That is what the emphasis was on, not the rapture (you can’t please everyone!).   I ended with the verse – “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation’” (Revelation 5:9).  I quoted that verse in contrast to Satan’s activities, because I had been speaking about Satan being manifestly present in the last days, and quoted Revelation 13:7-8.  The rapture or Christ’s return wasn’t mentioned because I was speaking about persecution.  If the reader’s belief is that the rapture and the Second Coming are two separate events, I leave that interpretation to those that can confess it was the Holy Spirit that revealed it to them.  If preachers claim they teach by revelation of the Holy Spirit, that the rapture will come before the great tribulation, and that it is a separate event to the Second Coming, each individual should still test that teaching against Scripture, following the example of the Bereans. (Acts 17:10-13).  All the people I know that teach or hold to these various systems, have been taught them by someone else.  There are a plethora of resources teaching the pre-tribulation rapture.  I will probably get into trouble for saying this, but sometimes it feels rather like as in Isaiah 30:10 – “They say to the seers, ‘See no more visions!’ and to the prophets, ‘Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.’”  A married couple was speaking to me a few years ago.  They hadn’t been Christians for very long, but they had already learned the system.  They told me that persecution was coming, but they were not worried because they wouldn’t be here.  They would be raptured.  The thought of the rapture before the great tribulation is a very pleasant one, but is it truth?

I have run through this briefly in case there are others that had similar queries in mind. 

We read in Revelation 7:14:17 – “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.  ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.  The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat.  For the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘He will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes…’”  And Revelation 22:14 – “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.”  We could also add at this point another verse from Revelation: “And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God.  They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands.  They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).

I don’t know when, or how exactly it will come about, but Christians will be hated by all nations.  It does appear to be the direction the world is heading in today, and all nations will gather against Israel.  There is a religion of death that is taking hold in many nations of the world, and Western nations are displaying a mind-set of confusion and instability in politics and faith.  Is Islam the last days religion?  About twenty-two years ago, during lunch, a group of us discussed the fall of Islam.  It appeared to be a certainty, but I can’t remember what was said.  It might have been that Islam is a religion of hate, and would self-destruct, or something like that.  The last days world religion will be a religion of hatred against God and all that opposes the antichrist.  Someone among the prophetic realm recently predicted that Islam is being shaken, and will collapse, leading to millions of Muslims coming to the Lord.  That would be wonderful, but I don’t know if it is true, or if it’s wishful thinking.  In his book, ‘Islam’s Challenge to Christians’, David Pawson recounted, “I was suddenly overwhelmed with what could be described as a premonition that Islam will take over this country.”  If both are right, I would deduce that, that means Islam will take over Britain before Islam collapses.  I do think the present situation is a sign for us to prepare for persecution.  A Muslim mantra is, “First the Saturday people” (the Jews), “then the Sunday people” (the Christians).  They appear to be killing both whenever they have the opportunity, and anyone else that gets in the way of their killing sprees…even fellow Muslims!  On the boats escaping the Syrian disaster, Muslim immigrants have been known to throw Christians overboard to drown in the sea.  While Europe opens its borders to give immigrants a chance, the Muslims immigrants often give Christians no chance at all.

The concept of facing persecution is difficult to grasp for Western Christians, and for those that believe they will be raptured before persecution comes.  Why should they try to understand it if they are going to be in heaven anyway?  This is what is so dangerous about this system of teaching.  Some preachers that have a Pre-Tribulation rapture view now suggest that there will be persecution before the rapture, but the Church will not go through the great tribulation.  This covers the bases, but is it of the Holy Spirit?

The world is preparing for its total rejection of the revelation of God, as Creator, Lord and Saviour.  America, Britain and Europe have received millions of immigrants of various religions, but few Christians.  My suggestion is that the Church prepares for the ensuing persecution.  The way to prepare is in the first instance to turn to God and His Word, in prayer and humility, submitting to the Holy Spirit.  “Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6-7).  The Church must repent of sin and Godlessness, before Christians can preach a clear message to the nation.

Islam’s Replacement Theology

I said in last week’s article that Islam is a political as well as a religious entity; and it seeks to dispossess a nation of its religious and political structures and government, and to replace them with Islamic rule, of law and religion.  Muslim’s are taking control in local government, in NHS structures, and they are in Parliament.  There is what I describe as the soft Jihad, that is going on almost unnoticed.  The Muslim terrorism grabs the headlines, and spreads fear, but the soft jihadi grabs positions of power and authority.  They are seeking to conquer by killing, and by subversion.

The government’s response to terrorism is to put more money and resources into the security services and police, rather than investigate the true nature of Islam.  My father had a medical problem which caused him severe discomfort and pain.  His GP said he had a hernia, and steadfastly refused to carry out any tests or to refer my father to a specialist for a second opinion.  As time went by, that GP moved to another town; and my father, too late to save his life, was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  There was a time when people believed that the earth is flat, and that malaria is caused by “bad air”.  Until the problem has been diagnosed correctly and in time, it will only get worse, and could become terminal.  Until the Government is brave enough to investigate the true nature of Islam, they will not be able to deal with terrorism effectively and eradicate it.  As time goes by, through violence and guile, Islam’s grip on Britain will be complete, and Britain will capitulate to the religion and politics of death.

Martel Towers over Islam

Charles Martel, who became known as The Hammer, was a Frankish leader.  When the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate was pushing relentlessly into Europe, a century after the death of Mohammed, it was Martel that forced the Muslim armies back.  His victory at the Battle of Tours in 732 prevented the speedy advance of Islam throughout Europe.  Had Martel’s armies failed to defeat the Muslim armies, there was no other power in Europe that could have stopped the Muslim forces from conquering the continent.  As it was, Islam’s only gain was a foothold in southern Spain.  A thousand years later, Edward Gibbon wrote about the victory of the man who became known as ‘The Hammer’: ‘Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mohammed.’  Gibbon continued with, ‘From such calamities was Christendom delivered by the genius and fortune of one man.’  Alas, Islam has no such adversary today.  Indeed, if you were to visit some towns and districts in France, Europe and Britain today, you would think it was Islam that was the victor.

Enough is Enough!

Britain, Europe and much of the world has become soft on sin, and hard against righteousness.  Britain lost its way years ago; and now, in our weakened condition, we have a hug parliament.  Abortion – the murder of the unborn child is of apocalyptic proportions already, and it will probably increase in what has become a murderous world.  Has one culprit been called to give account?  When I was a young person we had the death penalty in this nation.  Anyone that stood before the judge that was proclaimed guilty of the charge of murder, heard a chilling pronouncement.  The judge would say, “you will be hanged by the neck until you are dead.”  Is Britain’s hung-parliament the death knell for the UK, for our Godless and murderous lives?  Has God said, ‘Enough is enough!’?  I have not seen even a shadow of turning to the Lord.  The nation and many in the Church are steadfast in their support and spread of homosexual marriage and LGBT.  Apparently, Theresa May, who confesses to being a Christian, was an advocate of gay marriage legislation.  During Revelation TV’s “Election Special” (Thursday 8th June 207), one of Howard Conder’s guests, speaking about how May does things behind the scenes, said that gay marriage was one thing that May did in hiding.  He said, behind the scenes she was pushing it – “For about five months before Cameron announced it, she was pushing it.”  When she became Prime Minister, she praised Cameron’s legacy on issues including same-sex marriage.  Cameron said that same-sex marriage was one of his proudest legacies.  Then we have the capitulation to Islam that is taking place.  We spurn the Living God, and fall on our faces as prey to a false god.  If God has pronounced His verdict over Britain, can we appeal?  Can we call on His Name for mercy?  And if we can, do we want to?  There are no mitigating circumstances that we can put to Him; we can only confess that we have sinned and rebelled against Him and His Word of life.

If it is God’s intention to punish the wicked in our land, is the Church thankful, even though it will be an uncomfortable time for everyone, or do we want God to please wait until He has time to rapture us first?  “…the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous until the day of judgment—especially those who indulge their flesh in depraved lust, and who despise authority” (2 Peter 2:9-10).  The nations are rebelling against authority, especially the authority of God.

In times past, even though not everyone became a Christian, the UK acknowledged God, and His law become foundational in the structure called Great Britain.  That has changed.  “If indeed they have escaped the corruption of the world through their knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, only to be entangled and overcome by it again, their final condition is worse than it was at first.  It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and turned away from the holy commandment passed on to them.  Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud” (2 Peter 2:20-22).  Britain’s condition is very serious, if not terminal.  False prophets and leaders have come into the Church, leading the people astray; and false leaders have risen in the nation, bringing in ungodly laws and unrighteousness, leading the nation astray.

Remainers Revenge

Sixty per cent of London’s electorate backed Remain.  In the General Election, Remainers in the Capital were drawn by Jeremy Corbyn's promise of a softer Brexit.  It was, for them, a better option when compared with the Conservatives’ tough stance.  He also pledged an immediate guarantee of full rights to all EU citizens here, while refusing to set any target for mass immigration.  All very appealing in a city where a third of the population is foreign-born and which last year elected Britain's first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan.  London's results were also part of a wider pattern in which constituencies with the highest Remain vote saw a seven per-cent swing to Labour.  The young people that came out in numbers to support and vote for Corbyn, didn’t understand that as a young MP he was a troublemaker, and chose to attend events where the murderers of British citizens were honoured; or that he can always be counted on to side with Britain’s enemies.  It is ironic that following in the shadow of three murderous rampages against citizens in Britain, that Corbyn gained such support.  It is almost like putting a noose around our own necks.

It is interesting that Theresa May, reportedly having been a prime mover of same-sex marriage legislation, is in the position of having to negotiate with a party that opposes Gay marriage.  A meeting has been set up for 13th June.  The DUP also oppose abortion, and climate change; and they are supportive of Israel; all very illiberal and un-PC!  For that reason, they are described as a party of crack-pots and bigots.   The Independent reported on 10th June, that an online petition demanding that the Conservatives scrap plans to form a government with DUP support.  The petition gained nearly 300,000 signatures in just 12 hours.  PinkNews reported, “Jeremy Corbyn has warned Theresa May that she must not abandon LGBT rights in favour of “clinging to power” by aligning with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).  And the Independent, 13th June, reported: “Labour and Conservative MPs have reportedly met for secret talks amid growing pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May to take a cross-party approach to Brexit in light of the hung Parliament following the general election.”  Trade unionist Fawzi Ibrahim points out that huge swathes of Leave voters only felt able to vote Labour once the party had followed the Government in embracing leaving the single market, and ending freedom of movement. As a Labour supporter himself, he also points out that much of the agenda that Jeremy Corbyn is pursuing is reliant on being free from the shackles of the EU

The party was founded by the Protestant fundamentalist leader Ian Paisley in 1971.  The DUP evolved from the Protestant Unionist Party and has historically strong links to the Protestant Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, the church Paisley founded.  The DUP is Eurosceptic and backs the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.  Following the 2017 general election, they have been described by the Wall Street Journal as “play[ing] kingmaker” as they agreed to support a Conservative minority government on a case-by-case basis on matters of mutual concern; its known as “confidence and supply.”  The DUP holds ten seats at Westminster and twenty-eight seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly.  It has one seat in the European Parliament, where its MEP, Diane Dodds, sits as a Non-Inscrit.  Is this (DUP coalition) a sign of God’s mercy in judgement, bringing light in a dark place?  He used Gideon’s small army to defeat the Midianite enemy (Judges Ch.7).  Should Christians be praying, and urging their MPs to support this coalition to make sure it is accepted?  I think they should.  It would go against the grain of PC.  There is large support for LGBT, and abortion, in Parliament.  In another development, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has since sought assurances from Theresa May that any deal with the DUP will not affect LGBT rights across the UK.  A source close to Ms Davidson, who is gay, told the BBC: “The PM needs to remember there are more Scottish Conservatives than DUP MPs.”  Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where same-sex marriage is not legal.  With opposition in England and Scotland against the coalition, and the instability in Irish politics, it will take God to bring this liaison to fruition. Perhaps this move will bring some spiritual and moral influence on members of parliament.  It would be an answer to intercessors if eventually social issues became bible based.  Most of the UK is dangerously out-of-step with the precepts of God.

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

[God willing, I will be taking a break from Hashkama, until July.  I have a mountain of emails to catch up with, and other projects and jobs to complete]

Blessings and shalom

Malcolm [13th June 2017]

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