The Great Tribulation or Persecution

The big question among Bible believing Christians is whether or not the Church will go through the Great Tribulation. In this study we look at what the Bible says about the issue. This video goes along with the seventh written study in the middle column. You can freely download the notes in Word or PDF format. There are some practical things as to what to do towards the end of the study. The early part of the study is about the persecution that the Jewish people have suffered through, and what I believe is still ahead for them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XmGIl-MeIw

What are the Signs of His Coming?

The disciples asked Jesus as to signs of His return to the earth,“when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). For the rest of that chapter, Jesus spoke about specific things that His followers would know to be signs of His soon-coming and of the end of the age. Jesus did not leave it at just those words. In the Book of Revelation He spoke of Seven Seals that, at their opening, would bring specific effects on the earth that would again be signs of His coming. In the video below I teach on how these two passages of scripture relate to one another, after all, the same Person spoke the same words. The video is long but it is well worth the viewing. If you can help me produce more teaching video’s like this, please click on the DONATE button to the right on the home page. May God richly bless you!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH0OwdVq1w4

Christ: The Light of the World

4f6894a25bfd9eb488118bdfc1488c1812When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:23). 

Jesus was speaking on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This passage does not tell us the timing but from the preceding passages it seems as if it is during the Feast of Tabernacles. There were two great ceremonies at this particular feast. The first one was the pouring out of the water on the Altar of Burnt Offering. At that time, just after the crowd had shouted to the priest to lift the chalice containing the water higher, before he poured it upon the altar, Jesus had shouted out for all to hear, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:37-38). The second ceremony was called the Illumination of the Temple. In the Court of the Women were four large candelabra’s or candlesticks. The Mishnah (Sukkah 5:2-3) tells us that each candlestick had four great golden bowls with a ladder at each, enabling the younger priests to climb up and fill the bowls with oil and set them alight when it got dark.

Because the Temple Mount was the highest point in the city, it is said that the blaze of the candlesticks lit up most of Jerusalem. During the Feast of Tabernacles they were commanded by God to celebrate for seven days (Numbers 29:12), so all night long there were dancing and rejoicing before the Lord. It could very well be that at twilight, as the young priests were lighting the lamps, Jesus said the words, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Notice that He didn’t say, I am a light or even one of the lights, but the statement is exclusive, “I am the Light of the world.” The Pharisee’s were listening in, which again says a lot about the character of Jesus—He didn’t say these things just to His disciples. He spoke to all people as to who He was, whether they were for Him or against Him. These things were not spoken in a corner, but Christ courageously spoke the truth and let the chips fall where they may. He was not fearful of speaking the truth in the slightest. The Pharisee’s immediately challenged Him because they understood that it was a claim to divinity. The Lord had spoken to them a number of times that He was their light, “The Lord is my light” (Psalm 27:1). “The Lord will be your everlasting light” (Isaiah 60:19). “By His light I walked through darkness” (Job 29:3).

When God dealt with the Egyptian nation because of their enslavement of the Israelites, He darkened all of Egypt, but where the Israelites lived, they had light (Exodus 10:21-23). After their deliverance from Egypt, when Pharaoh and his soldiers chased them to wipe out Israel at the Red Sea, God brought darkness to the Egyptians but to the Israelite side, there was light (Exodus 14:19-20). Christ Himself was the Angel of the Lord, a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, who watched over Israel providing them bread from heaven, water from the Rock and light in the darkness while they crossed the Red Sea:

1For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3They all ate the same spiritual food 4and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:1-4).

No matter what darkness you have to walk through, Christ will be your light. Hopefully you have come to a point in your life where you have asked the big questions of yourself, “Who am I? What am I here for? What reason do I have for living? Where am I going?” These kinds of questions can be depressing if you do not know the Light of the World, Jesus the Christ. When a person is in darkness, he cannot see the next step before him. One blunders around trying to find out where to go. In the same way, a person who comes to Christ begins to understand who he is, what he is living for and where he is going. Light is a picture of knowledge, whereas darkness speaks of ignorance and the things of this world. The more light or knowledge a person acquires, the less stumbling through life he experiences.

There are times in our lives, when we go through great difficulties, when everything seems dark. When we lose a loved one, it seems as if the darkness is crowding in. When we are sick, and want to just lie in bed, or even hope to die, it is often because we have no hope and no light—no reason to live. These are the times when God wants to reveal Himself to you in a special way, if you will seek Him and ask Him. He will not come where He is not invited. He has given each of us the will to choose to walk towards the light or to stay in darkness. Coming to Him and learning of Him will bring us much light to walk through difficult times—seek to know Him intimately. It is written of Jesus, “by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities (Isaiah 53:11).

Many people experience darkness in their lives by not following Christ. Jesus said, “whoever follows me will never walk in darkness” (verse 12). We must follow hard after Him, for His light is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). Often times, we would like to see far down the road of life, but God has only promised light for the next step, not the next mile or the next year, just the next step. Why is that, you may ask? The reason is that He wants us to trust Him in the difficult times of darkness. Whatever darkness you may be in, it’s time to have the darkness of your life lit by the presence of the Lord within you. Call upon Him in the day of darkness and let Him shine on you.

Keith Thomas

Where Have You Left Him?

3If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! (Job 23:3).

I have only just come back from leading a tour of 26 people to Israel for 10 days. I had the great privilege of taking my son, Simeon, aged 21 with me. While in Jerusalem we were just preparing to go along the tunnels all along the western side of the Temple Mount itself. While we were getting the tickets for the 26 of us, without my knowledge, my son had quickly departed to put a written prayer into the cracks of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, a place sacred to Jewish people for they believe that the divine presence of God resides at the Wall. He forgot to tell people that he was just dashing down to the Wall. Consequently, only 25 of us went into the tunnels to explore the buildings that go back to the time of King Herod and Jesus. It was single file all the way as we walked the narrow tunnel along the wall. When we got to the North West corner of the Temple Mount, the wall opens up into a bigger area where we looked at an ancient cistern. It was then that the person at the end of the line came in and I discovered that my son was missing. Is there anything more terrifying for a father? To lose my son in a foreign city with a different language and culture made my heart fearful. I told the others that I knew where they were going (I have a close friend that is a registered tour guide that was leading us), and that I would meet them at the next place. I dashed back through the network of tunnels in search of my son. Ten minutes later I found him waiting at the entrance to the tunnel network—he was really upset at his foolish choice to wander away from his father. It was a precious time as we hugged and thanked God that we had found one another.

Many of you that find your way to this website are looking for your Father. Somehow you know in your heart that you were created for more than what you are currently experiencing. There is a God shaped piece in the core of your being that you have tried to fill with religion, sex, food, cars, electronic gadgets—you name it! Satan, your invisible enemy has many toys that he will tempt you with, like a lure designed to attract a fish. God allows trials in our lives because He knows that only through the emptiness, difficulties and trials will you begin to seek after Him with all your soul and leave the toys behind. What do you really want at the end of your life? Will lots of toys satisfy you? I was blessed to have much of this world’s goods by the time I was twenty-one, but it just gave me an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. What I really wanted was to search for my Father. And guess what? He was searching for me! He was never far away; He was waiting for me to find the bottom so that I could finally look up to Him. I searched five continents of planet Earth and 30 different countries searching for the truth. When I was ready and open to receive the truth—there was the Lord Jesus filling me with joy, life and peace. When I gave my life wholeheartedly to Christ, it was the greatest, most peaceful experience I have ever had. What joy floods the soul when a man gives up his life to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and find His forgiveness for sin.

Isn’t it time for you to find your Father? Maybe today is your day to call upon Him.  Jesus said:

37All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:37-40).

Keith Thomas

The War Between Jews and Arabs.

There is a great love by the Most High Creator God for Jews and Arabic peoples. The Lord tells of a time that is still future when there will be a highway all the way from Syria across Israel to Egypt. It will be a time when Arabs and Jews will worship the Lord together. Even though we cannot see it right now, God will bring it about. Egyptians, Syrians and Israeli’s will have a true peace and experience the blessing of the Messiah. This is what the Lord says:

23In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. 24In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. 25The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance” (Isaiah 19:23-25).

We cannot see it now because of a great war that is going on over the Middle East. This war is being fought on a spiritual plane, but has consequences on Earth. Paul the Apostle wrote, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). What was Paul saying? He was saying that behind the things that are going on in the political world are invisible spiritual forces of evil that are vying for control over people’s minds and hearts. These invisible spiritual forces of evil plant thoughts and influence the minds of political leaders for a worldwide agenda to be brought about—a One World Government under a dictator, that God—who sees the end from the beginning—calls the Antichrist. The hatred that has been fostered between Jews and Arabs is of unseen demonic origin. It is just being used as a ploy for gaining control of Jerusalem, and at a time in the future, a world leader, the Antichrist, will sit in a newly rebuilt temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and proclaim himself as God, seeking for all the world to worship him. The prophet Zechariah spoke 2500 years ago of a time that we are in right now:

2“I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. 3On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves (Zechariah 12:2-3).

It is important to understand that the name “Jerusalem” never appears in the Koran. The claim to Jerusalem came years after Mohammad’s death. Writer Hal Lindsey, in his book The Everlasting Hatred, The Roots of Jihad, says, “The justification for this comes from a verse which says Mohammad travelled to the “uttermost mosque,” (which is the meaning of Al Quds in Arabic) shortly before his death.” There is no evidence that this was Jerusalem—the legend of a visit to Jerusalem first appeared in the days of Khaliph Omar, the Muslim who originally conquered Jerusalem in April of AD 637, more than 560 years after the Jews were banished from Jerusalem by the Romans. There will come a time when the Arabic people will see that they have been manipulated by dark invisible forces and turn to the Lord. They will see that He has a great love for them just as He has for the Jewish people.  He will have mercy on all who call on Him—for He will forgive them of their sins when they cry out to Him. What a difference on Earth that will make!

Keith Thomas