Eusebius, an early Church historian, stated that Matthew wrote his Gospel in 41 A.D. If this is true, then maybe the Apostle Paul had already read Matthew’s book when Paul wrote his second letter to the church in Thessalonica in 52 A. D.
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day ofthe Lord had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 NKJ)
Paul gave two specific events that had to occur before the day of the Lord occurred: (1) the falling away of professed Christians from their faith and (2) the Antichrist is openly revealed for all to see.
Now, where did Paul get this information? Did he receive it solely through the Holy Spirit or was he also inspired by Matthew’s Gospel?
It’s just an interesting possibility that we’ll probably not know until we arrive in heaven. But look what Jesus said in Mathew’s Gospel:
And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another.
Therefore, when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place—let the reader understand (Matthew 24:10, 15 NASB)
Even though Jesus and Paul warned us about the great falling away, what is the American church doing to prepare their congregations ahead of time?
90 – 95% of America’s Evangelical churches are not teaching on the end times or the Book of Revelation. This becomes even sadder when one considers that Jesus admonished us to understand the end times in Matthew 24:15.
In the weeks ahead, let’s take a look at what we can do to prepare ourselves for the end times so we do not end up being casualties in the “great falling away.”
The female pastor walked to the pulpit and began her eulogy for my friend Brad. I have no idea what she said because the Lord chose that moment to speak to me.
I felt Him whisper to my heart:
“My church is a bunch of nice losers. They lay their hands on the sick and pray for them, but when they die, they aren’t mad at all. They don’t check themselves out to see what happened or what they may have done wrong with their prayers and actions. They accept defeats and don’t think any more about them.
“Now, Major League baseball teams are all filled with good players. Each player has to be one of the best in the world to make it to the Major Leagues. Losing teams have good players on their rosters, too. But after a while, losing teams’ players don’t mind losing because after all, they still receive their Major League paychecks and bonuses.
“But winning Major League baseball teams are different. They hate losing and will do anything and whatever it takes to win. They hate losing.
“I want My church to hate losing!”
This time the grief, which hit me, measured a ten on the Richter Scale. (Excerpt from my memoir, The Hunt for Larry Who)
These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.” (Mark 16:17-18)
I have prayed for numerous sick people in the last few years. What have been the results? Many have died and others have continued on in their ailments. I’m not exactly a ringing endorsement for the truths of Mark 16:18.
Finally, I am fed up and angry about my efforts!
You see, I mirrored what the Church as a whole has been doing. Like them, I’ve gone through all of the traditional motions. Anointing the sick with oil. Laying hands on them. And tossing prayers out there for their healing. Maybe even fasting a little. But I failed to ask myself some tough questions: why are the sick still dying after my prayers? Why are they still ailing and crippled? What am I doing wrong?
I have become like the losing Major League baseball teams. I didn’t hate losing…until now.
Recently, I sought the Lord on what I was doing wrong.
Yes, I have seen healing miracles through these gifts over the years, but to be honest, these gifts have not been consistently working through me in the last few years. And from my observations, these gifts haven’t been working that well in the Church as a whole.
You see, the Church and I have been guilty of trying to walk in the gifts used by Kathryn Kuhlman, Oral Roberts, William Branham, Jack Coe, Paul Cain, A. A. Allen and others during the healing revival of the 1940s and 1950s. But the problem is that healing revival is over and the next healing revival has not arrived here as yet. We are living in the in-between time period.
So, what changes am I planning on doing in the future?
But Jesus turned around and when He saw her, He said, “Be of good cheer, your faith has made you well…(Matthew 9:22)
Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way, your faith has made you well… (Mark 10:52)
And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:19)
This man was listening to Paul as he spoke. Paul looked at him intently and saw that he had faith to be made well (Acts 14:9 NASB)
I plan on giving a short teaching to each person that I pray for. Something like this:
“Listen, I am going to anoint you with oil and lay my hands on you according to James 5:14- 15 which states that my prayer of faith will heal you. Do you believe that? If you are instantly healed, we will both rejoice.
“But if you aren’t instantly healed, do not despair because instant healing is not always the Lord’s way. Instead, it will probably be through your faith. My anointing you with oil and praying a prayer of faith will be your point of contact to activate your faith in the Lord for your healing. Our belief is that the Lord will eventually say to you, ‘Your faith has made you well.’
“Do you believe that?”
Healing by faith works. We need to learn how to walk in it and also teach people how to receive their healing through faith.
“You have six months to a year to live. Not much can be done for you. Sorry!” proclaimed a surgeon to his cancer patient.
None of us ever want to hear these words, but Glen, a close friend of mine did hear those words just a few days ago.
What Glen did after hearing the surgeon’s message was a game changer for him and can be a valuable lesson for all of us.
In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came to him and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Set your house in order, for you are going to die and not live.’” (2 Kings 20:1 NASB)
Isaiah was one of the most accurate prophets in all of the Bible. So, his message was a death sentence to Hezekiah. It would have been understandable for Hezekiah to give up, lie down and await his impending death.
But Hezekiah did not do that!
Then he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, “Please, Lord, just remember…and Hezekiah wept profusely. (2 Kings 20:2-3 NASB)
King Hezekiah humbled himself and asked the Lord to remember his journey with Him.
His prayer was answered almost immediately.
“Return and say to Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David says: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I am going to heal you…And I will add fifteen years to your life… (2 Kings 20:5-6 NASB)
By putting the Lord in remembrance, King Hezekiah added fifteen years to his life. Not bad, right?
What did Glen do?
Glen’s first words were: “That’s the doctor’s report, not God’s report!”
Then, Glen reminded the Lord of his near-death experience with COVID in January of this year. Glen was in the hospital for over a week, hovering close to death, but it was at this time that the Lord spoke to him, giving him insights and promises for his life. Glen wrote pages of stuff about his experience.
“God is not going to allow me to die after speaking to me in January,” Glen proclaimed.
What Hezekiah did and what Glen did and is doing, we can do the same!
If you are like me, we have promises from the Lord that are not fulfilled as yet. So, we can remind the Lord of His promises for our lives. It’s up to Him to make His promises come to pass, not us.
And trust me on this: God will bankrupt heaven – if He needs to do so – to fulfill His promises for our lives. COVID, other diseases and pestilences, famines, earthquakes and whatever are nothing compared to His faithfulness.
And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon…and it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus…then he took Him in his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Now, Lord, You are letting Your bond-servant depart in peace, according to Your word…” (Luke 2:25-29 NASB)
God will make our crooked ways straight for our lives if we walk with Him and remind Him of His words, just as He did for King Hezekiah and Simeon and Glen.
A few weeks ago, I had a vivid dream in which I saw Americans struggling with today’s COVID issues. Masks. Six-foot distancing. Vaccines. Possible vaccine passports. All of us felt so frustrated with the foolishness and hype attached to these issues. We just wanted to return to normal.
But next in the dream, I saw new strains of COVID hitting our nation. The foolishness and hype ramped itself up again with new government mandates as politicians hoped to remain in control of each outbreak. Everything happened quickly but the politicians always seemed to answer all questions with: “Let’s follow the science.”
Then, in the dream, new plagues and pestilences hit America.
No longer were a mere 1 – 2% of the people dying from the diseases, but now, 10 – 20% were dying. Pharmaceutical companies, scientists, the media and politicians threw their hands in the air. They no longer had answers. Chaos and hysteric pandemonium reigned throughout America!
I felt so overwhelmed in the dream. There seemed to be no hope.
The dream finally ended.
Maybe your first thoughts upon reading about my dream is: “God wouldn’t allow that to happen! He’s a God of love. This guy must have had a bad pizza experience.”
And the Lord God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people…. (2 Chronicles 36:15 NKJ)
Like many of you, I am frustrated with the administration, our governments and the media. I feel – with rare exceptions – these institutions have mishandled COVID 19 and its various strains.
But at the same time, I also realize the Lord God Almighty has allowed the administration, various governments and the media to be set in place for this time period. This is the hand we are dealt with by the Lord and how we play it out may well determine the life and death outcomes for many people. Maybe even our children and grandchildren!
So, at the very least, pray about my dream and ask the Lord for discernment.
If you feel the Lord has told you to ignore the warning, God bless you.
If you believe my dream is a warning from the Lord, then you have two options:
I had a vision in the first month of 2021 in which I saw a train speeding across the plain states. Somehow, I knew the train represented America.
My perspective changed in the vision and I saw hundreds of miles ahead of the train. There I saw a deep gorge, but the bridge over the deep chasm was out. The train was heading toward disaster!
My perspective changed again in the vision and I was inside the train. There I watched Christians preoccupy themselves with attempting to change the train’s engineer and crew to their viewpoints or if that didn’t work, to set in place a new engineer and crew. It was loud and competitive! A few people had divine insights about the disaster lying ahead of the train and attempted to warn the Body of Christ, but their seemingly mere whispers were drowned out by the louder voices concerned with the engineer and train crew.
I then felt the Holy Spirit ask me: “Do you want to board the train and attempt to warn people? Or do you want to spend your time preparing for the upcoming disaster?
I chose the latter.
The vision ended.
“Politics is one of the Church’s worst problems. It is her constant temptation. The occasion for some of her worst disasters. It is a trap set for her by the prince of this world.” (Jacque Ellul)
Yes, we should vote for good, moral men/women to represent us. This is our civic duty and I believe the Lord endorses our efforts in carrying out these obligations.
I believe the Church needs to wash its hands of ever endorsing a political party or any candidates. Let each believer make up his or her mind without any judgmental attitudes from churches or its leaders. Period.
The author of this allegory was Bill Britton (1918 – 1985). He adapted it from a vision he received during the 1950’s:
I SAW THE KING’S CARRIAGE
On a dirt road in the middle of a wide field stood a beautiful carriage, something on the order of a stagecoach but all edged in gold and with beautiful carvings. It was pulled by six large chestnut horses: two in the lead, two in the middle and two in the rear. But they were not moving, they were not pulling the carriage, and I wondered why.
Then I saw the driver underneath the carriage on the ground on his back just behind the last two horses’ heels working on something between the front wheels on the carriage. I thought, “My, he is in a dangerous place; for if one of those horses kicked or stepped back, they could kill him, or if they decided to go forward, or got frightened somehow, they would pull the carriage right over him.” But he didn’t seem afraid for he knew that those horses were disciplined and would not move till he told them to move. The horses were not stamping their feet nor acting restless, and though there were bells on their feet, the bells were not tinkling. There were pom-poms on their harness over their heads but the pom-poms were not moving. They were simply standing still and quiet waiting for the voice of the Master.
THERE WERE TWO YOUNG COLTS IN THE FIELD
As I watched the harnessed horses I noticed two young colts coming out of the open field and they approached the carriage and seemed to say to the horses: “Come and play with us, we have many fine games, we will race with you, come catch us.” And with that the colts kicked up their heels flicked their tails and raced across the open field. But when they looked back and saw the horses were not following they were puzzled. They knew nothing of the harnesses and could not understand why the horses did not want to play. So they called to them: “Why do you not race with us? Are you tired? Are you too weak? Do you not have strength to run? You are much too solemn, you need more joy in life.” But the horses answered not a word nor did they stamp their feet or toss their heads. But they stood, quiet and still, waiting for the voice of the Master.
Again the colts called to them: “Why do you stand so in the hot sun? Come over here in the shade of this nice tree. See how green the grass is? You must be hungry, come and feed with us, it is so green and so good. You look thirsty, come drink of one of our many streams of cool clear water.” But the horses answered them not so much as a glance but stood still waiting for the command to go forward with the King.
COLTS IN THE MASTER’S CORRAL
And then the scene changed and I saw lariat nooses fall around the necks of the two colts and they were led off to the Master’s corral for training and discipline. How sad they were as the lovely green fields disappeared and they were put into the confinement of the corral with its brown dirt and high fence. The colts ran from fence to fence seeking freedom but found that they were confined to this place of training. And then the Trainer began to work on them with His whip and His bridle. What a death for those who had been all their lives accustomed to such a freedom! They could not understand the reason for this torture, this terrible discipline. What crime had they done to deserve this? Little did they know of the responsibility that was to be theirs when they had submitted to the discipline, learned to perfectly obey the Master and finished their training. All they knew was that this processing was the most horrible thing they had ever known.
SUBMISSION AND REBELLION
One of the colts rebelled under the training and said, “This is not for me. I like my freedom, my green hills, my flowing streams of fresh water. I will not take any more of this confinement, this terrible training.” So he found a way out, jumped the fence, and ran happily back to the meadows of grass. I was astonished that the Master let him go and went not after him. But He devoted His attention to the remaining colt. This colt though he had the same opportunity to escape decided to submit his own will and learn the ways of the Master. The training got harder than ever but he was rapidly learning more and more how to obey the slightest wish of the Master and to respond to even the quietness of His voice.
And I saw that had there been no training, no testing, there would have been neither submission nor rebellion from either of the colts. For in the field they did not have the choice to rebel or submit, they were sinless in their innocence. But when brought to the place of testing and training and discipline, then was made manifest the obedience of one and the rebellion of the other. And though it seemed safer not to come to the place of discipline because of the risk of being found rebellious, yet I saw that without this there could be no sharing of His glory, no Sonship.
INTO THE HARNESS
Finally this period of training was over. Was he now rewarded with his freedom and sent back to the fields? Oh no. But a greater confinement than ever now took place as a harness dropped about his shoulders. Now he found there was not even the freedom to run about the small corral, for in the harness he could only move where and when his Master spoke. And unless the Master spoke, he stood still.
The scene changed and I saw the other colt standing on the side of a hill nibbling at some grass. Then across the fields, down the road came the King’s carriage drawn by six horses. With amazement he saw that in the lead, on the right side, was his brother colt now made strong and mature on the good corn in the Master’s stable. He saw the lovely pom-poms shaking in the wind, noticed the glittering gold bordered harness about his brother, heard the beautiful tinkling of the bells on his feet — and envy came into his heart.
Thus he complained to himself: “Why has my brother been so honored, and I am neglected? They have not put bells on MY feet nor pom-poms on MY head. The Master has not given ME the wonderful responsibility of pulling His carriage, has not put about ME the gold harness. Why have they chosen my brother instead of me?” And by the Spirit the answer came back to me as I watched: “Because one submitted to the will and discipline of the Master and one rebelled, thus has one been chosen and the other set aside.”
A FAMINE IN THE LAND
Then I saw a great drought sweep across the countryside and the green grass became dead, dry, brown and brittle. The little streams of water dried up, stopped flowing, and there was only a small muddy puddle here and there. I saw the little colt (I was amazed that it never seemed to grow or mature) as he ran here and there across the fields looking for fresh streams and green pastures finding none. Still he ran, seemingly in circles, always looking for something to feed his famished spirit. But there was a famine in the land and the rich green pastures and flowing streams of yesterday were not to be had. And one day the colt stood on the hillside on weak and wobbly legs wondering where to go next to find food and how to get strength to go. It seemed like there was no use, for good food and flowing streams were a thing of the past and all the efforts to find more only taxed his waning strength.
Suddenly he saw the King’s carriage coming down the road pulled by six great horses. And he saw his brother, fat and strong, muscles rippling, sleek and beautiful with much grooming. His heart was amazed and perplexed, and he cried out: “My brother where do you find the food to keep you strong and fat in these days of famine? I have run everywhere in my freedom, searching for food, and I find none. Where do you, in your awful confinement, find food in this time of drought? Tell me, please, for I must know!” And then the answer came back from a voice filled with victory and praise: “In my Master’s House there is a secret place in the confining limitations of His stables where He feeds me by His own hand and His granaries never run empty and His well never runs dry.”
And with this the Lord made me to know that in the day when people are weak and famished in their spirits in the time of spiritual famine that those who have lost their own wills and have come into the secret place of the most High into the utter confinement of His perfect will shall have plenty of the corn of Heaven and a never ending flow of fresh streams of revelation by His Spirit. Thus the vision ended.
Yes, it’s been quite a while since I’ve written a new article. But it’s not like I haven’t had some ideas, it’s just that I ended up deleting all of them before finishing a first paragraph.
Did I suffer from “writers’ block?” No! I suffered from “Holy Spirit block?”
Holy Spirit block?
I use this term to explain how my inner man feels when the Holy Spirit does not show up while I’m writing. It’s taken years to develop this inner sense so that it now feels like a gigantic STOP sign, halting my progress. So far, this block has kept me out of major writing problems.
As some of you may remember from an article I wrote in January 2020 (Ride #955), I drive for a ride share company. Every problem I mentioned in that article is still a thorn in my flesh today, but now, I’m 75 years old and still dying daily as the Apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthian Church.
My block ended with Ride #5795. (That’s not a typo. I now have over 5,800 rides!)
I picked up a tall, well-built, good looking young man named Jason in Scottsdale, Arizona. My app showed his destination as being the Cubs Baseball Park on Rio Salado Parkway in Mesa.
That address was too much for me to contain my curiosity. “Are you a baseball player?” I asked.
“Yes,” he answered.
“Major league or minor league?”
“I’ve been up and down over the years.”
“Infielder, outfielder or pitcher?”
“Pitcher. I’m on rehab assignment right now and hoping to get another chance in the major leagues later this year.”
“Even though I’ve suffered through arm problems in the past, this time I injured my ankle.”
“Yes, they traded him to the Chicago White Sox, which I think is the perfect trade for a player.”
“Then, your wife and children don’t have to pack up and move to another city.”
This one answer touched my heart. You see, Jason has his priorities in the right place. Family first. Career second.
It wasn’t until later when I checked Jason out on the internet that I learned he was a devoted Christ follower. You can check him out on Twitter here, or read about his accident here.
Okay, so what’s the big deal about Jason Adam, the baseball player?
I really believe the Lord has His hand on Jason’s life. I really believe the struggles Jason has suffered through for almost ten years has been allowed by the Lord so He can mold this almost thirty-year old man into a Major League Baseball star. Why? So, Jason can be a witness to God’s faithfulness and an example of what God can do for those who persevere.
My prayer for Jason:
Lord, do the same for Jason as You did for Lazarus when you called him out of the grave by saying, “Jason, come forth.”
In 1985, my life smashed into a brick wall. I needed thousands of dollars to start a publishing company and bail my family out of debt. My sources were all maxed out and the hope level in my reservoir was hovering at empty. I was finished.
The only untouched asset I had was a $125,000 life insurance policy. So, my solution seemed obvious: suicide.
As for taking my life, I had no problems with it because I was an agnostic. No God equals no problems with eternal judgment, right? It wasn’t personal, just a business solution for my family and me.
My plan was uncomplicated. I figured on enjoying one last weekend with my family and then committing suicide on that Monday evening.
Thus, on May 20, 1985, I spent the day finishing up loose ends. Then, for some reason, I stopped at an insurance agent’s office. Although we knew each other, Bill and I were not intimate friends and had never really talked to each other before that day.
Bill invited me into his office. We discussed baseball. Then in the middle of our conversation, he stared at me and said, “You’re thinking about committing suicide, aren’t you?”
His words hit me like a sledgehammer. How did he know? I told no one. It was my secret $125,000 payday. I was speechless. As I sat there, a vision played across my mind about my car ramming into a viaduct and killing me.
I wept and although I tried to regain my composure, I could not. “How did you know?” I asked.
“Oh,” said Bill, “the Lord told me while we were talking to each other.”
His words shattered my unbelief. God was alive and He cared about me. We continued talking and he finally gave me a book to read: Power in Praise by Merlin Carothers.
When I arrived home, I began reading the book. After a few pages, I walked into the bathroom, closed the door and knelt in front of the sink. Looking into the mirror, I prayed, “Jesus, I’ve tried everything else and nothing has worked. I guess I’ll give You a try.”
Instantly, I was changed. Fear and shame were no longer a part of me, but instead, joy and hope filled my heart. Bowing and worshipping my new King, I promised to never let go of His hand.
If my story were a fictional Hollywood movie, perhaps it would resemble It’s A Wonderful Life. Jimmy Stewart would play me and Donna Reed my wife. The angel would get his wings and everyone would live happily ever after. The end.
But sadly, my life has not been a work of fiction. It has been a day to day journey, filled with a few good experiences, but also many mistakes, false starts and failures. Divorce. Loss of friends. Numerous firings from sales positions. Low-paying jobs. Poverty. Rejection. Loneliness. Not exactly, a picture perfect Christian life.
And yet, it has been in the deepest valleys where the Lord has truly revealed Himself to me. It was there He became my loving Father and I learned His grace was sufficient for me.
Through Satan’s coup d’état and by default, Adam and all future subjects on earth, were placed under the reign and authority of Satan and his angelic government.
Spiritual warfare has been fought between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness since the Garden of Eden. The King desires to reclaim His subjects under His righteous reign while Satan hopes to continue his government of enslavement, depravity, and sin. The battles still rages today.
For us believers, we are dual subjects while we live on earth, in that, we are royal sons of the King, but still live in a world ruled by Satan. Our dual citizenship poses daily problems for us.
Another example, Jesus answered the disciples’ questions about when things would happen by prophesying in Matthew 24: 4-31. The disciples would have thought Jesus was referring to the destruction of the Temple. Yet, when Roman soldiers destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D., not all of the scriptures were fulfilled. The complete fulfillment will occur during the tribulation.
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So, the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelations 12:7-9)
If you read Revelations Chapter 11 and all of Chapter 12, the only conclusion you can reach is that this will happen during the tribulation. But I believe an early fulfillment of this prophecy happened when Satan and a third of God’s angels rebelled against God and were cast out of God’s third heaven. I believe these angels then became Satan’s demonic hierarchy in his kingdom of darkness.