Whose Side Are You On?

BattleYou are in the midst of a battle that rages all around us. This battle is being fought on two planes of existence, the visible realm and the invisible realm. On earth there are many kingdoms that are at war with one another, each of them trying to gain some kind of upper hand against the other, think China vs. Taiwan, India vs. Pakistan, Arab against Jew, but in reality these struggles on earth are part of a bigger cosmic battle for dominion over the souls of men and women, whether you are Arab or Jew, or what nationality you are. In the spiritual unseen realm there are only two kingdoms that are at war with one another. You are in one of these kingdoms—either the kingdom of God or the kingdom of Satan. The kingdom of Satan is using a great deal of deception and ignorance to blind men to the truth. He has been doing this for several thousand years and has become quite expert at it. This division and struggle among nations and people groups is Satan’s plan to deceive you into being distracted from the true spiritual battle as to who will rule you. Whose side are you on? Jesus put it this way:

30“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters (Matthew 12:30).

Are you with Jesus Christ? How do you know that you have crossed over to the Kingdom of God’s side of this battle? How can you be sure that when you die you will go to be with Him?

13For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves (Colossians 1:13).

You might be living under communist rule or under Islamic Sharia Law, but who owns your soul? Have you made a divine transaction with the Living God and crossed over from the dominion of darkness to trusting Christ with your soul? What do I mean by a divine transaction? Jesus said that unless a man is “born again” (John 3:3), he cannot see the kingdom of God. Satan has so deceived the world that until you give your life to Christ and receive the gift of eternal life, you cannot see the things of Christ and live in the power of the Spirit of God. Being born again is receiving the gift of life from the Lord Jesus. It is a gift. Jesus came to give us life:

27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand (John 10:27-29).

This gift of eternal life cannot be earned. You don’t have to work for it. It is a gift that you are given when you repent of sin (turn the direction of your life over to God) and believe or trust in Christ to live for Him. The apostle Paul in the Book of Ephesians also speaks about this gift of life:

8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

In the West, we celebrate Christmas. It is a time when we remember the coming of Christ to give us the gift of eternal life. We celebrate by giving one another gifts. Even if our children do something really bad the day before Christmas, we still give them a gift on Christmas Day—why? Because a gift is not dependent on what a person does, it is dependent on the love and grace of the giver. A gift is not earned; otherwise it is not a gift. God is the giver of this gift and no matter what you have done, how severe your sin is—you can receive this gift from God. Go to Him and with your whole heart, abandon your old life and receive the gift of eternal life from the Lord Jesus—the giver of every good gift!

Keith Thomas

What is the Great Tribulation?

15“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again (Matthew 24:15-21).

Many of you have heard of the prophecy of the Lord Jesus (written above), that there will be a time called the “great tribulation”(KJV), translated as “great distress” in the New International Version of the Bible. Jesus in the passage above warned us about this time. He said that an event He called the “Abomination of Desolation” would precipitate this time of great tribulation or distress in Israel, and the rest of the world too. So the first big question for us to consider is, what is meant by the term great distress or great tribulation? The time that Jesus spoke about, I believe, is just around the corner from us. What will happen at that time? The Greek word that the term is translated from is Thlipsis. I have a Key Word Study Bible, which enables me to search what this Greek word means and how it was used in other passages. The word literally means, “to crush, press, compress, squeeze, tribulation, trouble and affliction. This Greek word “conveys the picture of something being crushed, pressed or squeezed as from a great weight. It is used to denote grievous physical affliction or mental or spiritual distress.”

How this word was used in context in other passages of the Bible will shed some light on what the church (called out believers in Christ) should expect to happen during that time. In Acts 8:1, the word thlipsis is translated as great persecution after the martyrdom of Stephen:

 1And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1).

In Acts 11:19, the same Greek word, thlipsis, is translated again as persecution:

 19Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews (Acts 11:19).

And lastly, Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church using the same Greek work, thlipsis, to describe the persecution they had been going through:

4Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring (2 Thessalonians 1:4. The word trials is our Greek word thlipsis).

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, what am I saying? I’m saying that we need to be focusing and preparing ourselves spiritually to live in close relationship to the Lord. The tribulation, when it comes, is a time of worldwide persecution of those that serve the God of Israel, true Christians and Jews. I believe the persecution is aimed at all those who will not take the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-17) or worship his image. We should not think that the Lord will rapture us out of here before the tribulation, but we should prepare to endure. The tribulation is never called the wrath of God. The wrath of God is only poured out after the church is taken (raptured) at some point (no man knows the day nor the hour) during the great tribulation that breaks out after the Abomination of Desolation, which happens at the mid-point of the seven-year period (Daniel 9:27). Jesus was very clear in telling us that the rapture, or gathering together of His people in the air, would not happen until some point after the tribulation or distress had started:

29Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’

30Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other (Matthew 24:29-31 Emphasis mine).

It’s time to prepare our souls for His coming. Let’s grow in our dependence and trust in Him.

Keith Thomas

What Happened the Day Noah Entered the Ark?

26“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the Hawaii 111days of the Son of Man. 27People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. 28“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30“It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17:26-30).

I lead and teach six groups and one in-depth Bible training/equipping class. The groups are designed to be more relational—I teach and intersperse the talk with questions designed to help people to process the various scriptures that we look at. The questions are designed to make one think about what is the clear Biblical thought that is being expressed in the passage. One of my favorites to ask is, “if you had your 10 ten year old son or daughter ask you what this passage means, what would you tell him/her?” So let me ask you, dear reader, what is Jesus clearly communicating in the passage above? Sometimes we can put a lens of some pastor’s teaching over our eyes and read into a passage what that person has taught. But that is not how we are to read scripture. We must ask ourselves what are we to understand from what Jesus is saying? Let me tell you what I see:

Jesus shares two examples from history. Two times when there was unrestrained evil, one in a local area, and one that was worldwide. At both times in our examples, life was going on seemingly as normal, people were eating and drinking, there was long term planning, as in planting for a harvest, building homes, marriages being planned, etc. But all of a sudden there was a day when Lot and his family disappeared with a couple of angels, and Noah and his family got into his boat and the door was locked. Guess what happened next?Just as soon as the righteous was safe, at the same instance, the same day for each of them in our two examples, the judgment of God fell on those that did not get their lives right before the Lord—those that had not turned around from their deeds that were displeasing to the Lord.

Notice that there was no seven years in between, no seven days, and no second chance where the Lord tells those left behind to come back later and they would get in. No, sorry, my dear friends, there is no Biblical truth in the Left Behind series of books it is completely fiction and a deception, I believe. Jesus is saying in this passage above that it is a back-to-back event. We are never told in scripture that the tribulation is the wrath of God. How can Antichrist be setting up an image of himself at the midpoint of the seven-year period if we believe that the seven-year period is the wrath of God? Do you really think that Antichrist is going to be able to make war against the saints (Rev 13:7) if that period of time is when the wrath of God is being poured out? When the wrath of God comes on this earth, Antichrist will be under some rock hiding from the face of the Lamb! The wrath of God is only poured out after the church has gone through the time Jesus warned the church about, the time he called the Great Tribulation, where the church is raptured at some point during that time, no man knows the day nor the hour (Matthew 24:30-31), but at some point during the second half of the seven year period. The tribulation is a time of persecution on those who will not go along with Antichrist’s one world economic system of taking a mark on our wrist or forehead (Revelation 13:16). We must prepare ourselves to stay pure in a time of unrestrained evil that is being poured out on our planet. We are not to compromise with evil, even when everybody seems to be doing it:

27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:27).

There will come a day when our God will intervene and what an awesome day that will be for every one of us who has chosen to walk with Christ and to not compromise our faith in Him. Hold on to Him and keep yourself from being polluted by the world’s evil.

Keith Thomas

Whose Side Are You On?

You are in the midst of a battle that rages all around us. This battle is being fought on two planes of existence, the visible realm and the invisible realm.  On earth there are many kingdoms that are at war with one another, each of them trying to gain some kind of upper hand against the other, think China vs. Taiwan, India vs. Pakistan, Arab against Jew, but in reality these struggles on earth are part of a bigger cosmic battle for dominion over the souls of men and women, whether you are Arab or Jew, or what nationality you are. In the spiritual unseen realm there are only two kingdoms that are at war with one another. You are in one of these kingdoms—either the kingdom of God or the kingdom of Satan. The kingdom of Satan is using a great deal of deception and ignorance to blind men to the truth. He has been doing this for several thousand years and has become quite adept (expert) at it. This division and struggle amongst nations and people groups is Satan’s plan to deceive you into being focused from the true spiritual battle as to who will rule you—whose side are you on? Jesus put it this way:

30“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters (Matthew 12:30).

Are you with Jesus Christ? How do you know that you have crossed over to the Kingdom of God’s side of this battle? How can you be sure that when you die you will go to be with Him? Continue reading

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