“be zealous and repent”

Friday, October 6, 2017

This past Monday morning the world awoke to the Fox News headline, “MASSACRE ON THE STRIP: At least 58 killed, more than 515 hurt in Vegas attack; gunman ID’d” the worst massacre in U.S. history. Dear saints, violence, murder and death are escalating. Death and destruction is increasing throughout the earth, but of course, God forewarned us that these days would come.

The unrestrained escalation of death to humanity is end-time based, because God said, “When He [Christ] opened the second seal…Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another, and there was given to him a great sword” (Rev. 6:3–4). But is the church discerning it? Nearly not.

And is the beast-image healer emerging? Note this 9/28/2017 article at The Guardian: “Deus ex machina: former Google engineer is developing an AI god”. “Anthony Levandowski who is at the center of a legal battle between Uber and Google’s Waymo, has established a nonprofit religious corporation called Way of the Future, according to state filings first uncovered by Wired’s Backchannel. Way of the Future’s startling mission: “To develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead contribute to the betterment of society.”” Is the church discerning of this?

And as for high profile theologians and self-appointed TV prophets who teach that America’s best days are yet ahead, please don’t listen to them. Believe and prepare in the Words of Jesus who said, “See, I have told you beforehand” (Matt. 24:25). Most cannot discern that our generation is the last by Jesus’ parable of the fig tree, Israel, (Matt. 24:32–35) which was reborn June 14, 1948.

The spirit of Antichrist is raging as God withdraws His restraint of evil. Fellow Christian, it’s time to repent from sin and unbelief, and to believe the only wise God who can save, redeem, cleanse, purify and prepare His Bride in garments of pure white, washed in the blood of the Lamb. That begins with humility, a broken and contrite spirit, and unyielding faith.

God said, “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place – unless you repent” (Rev. 2:2–5).

Many Western Christians are spiritually lukewarm, and pampered with believing as “they” will; that they have authority to tell God what will be rather than God telling them. But such pride will not change the course of God’s end-time Word. And for those who continue assigning Christ’s Olivet Discourse to national Israel, but exclude themselves, their snare of offense has been laid.

And God said, “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you. You have a few…who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (Rev. 3:2–5).

Many Christians assume identity in Israel Houghton’s lyrics saying, “I am a friend of God” without discerning the cost and conditional requirements of actually being a friend of God.

Houghton sings, “Who am I that you are mindful of me – That you hear me when I call, Is it true that you are thinking of me – How you love me, it’s amazing (Who am I Lord)

I am a friend of God – I am a friend of God

I am a friend of God – I am a friend of God

God Almighty – Lord of Glory – You have called me friend”

But as is very prevalent today, Houghton deceptively doesn’t tell us that friendship with God is conditional. Jesus said “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14). I trust you understand the difference between Houghton’s self-assured assumptions of being a friend of God, from God’s criteria of the same. Spiritually, what’s NOT said is critical.

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked – I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (Rev. 3:15–19).

God also said at Pentecost, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19). From the start of the gospel being preached to The Revelation of Jesus Christ, repentance is central. But that’s highly unpopular in the culture-accommodating church today because true repentance kills the very nature and self-will of the fallen human spirit.

“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). If we will be saved and endure the end-time apocalyptic storms of violence, natural disasters, deceptions and more, we must believe Christ and act upon His Word. That begins by the confession and repentance of sins and unbelief. If we submit to Christ, He will lead us in that process.

In the NKJV of the New Testament the Words “repentance” and “repent” occur 50 times, and “humility” and “humble” occur 13 times, both of which are inescapable requirements of being born again unto eternal life. Salvation is not based on one’s wishful declarations, but on God’s command to believe Christ, confess sins, repent and obey the gospel of God.

Today, many are in love with the idea that God loves them, while true repentance and humility eludes them. Many in the church say they love Jesus but produce fruit contrary to His teachings. Is this the result of true repentance and humility not being taught to the people as each are left to believe what “they” will? Have proud assumptions largely replaced the Word of God? I think so.

God assures that “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psa. 34:18); and that, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise” (Psa. 51:17); and “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). These are essential truths of salvation unto eternal life.

Exchange Israel Houghton’s proud assuming lyrics for those of Elisha Hoffman (1839–1929) who wrote the soul-searching and challenging lyrics to, “Are You Washed In The Blood?”

“Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin, And be washed in the blood of the Lamb;

There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean, O be washed in the blood of the Lamb”.

Marlin J. Yoder

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“I will pour out My Spirit”

Friday, September 29, 2017

God’s purposes in the gospel are critically important to the true conversion of the fallen heart. The main thing must always be the main thing, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20). This requires true leadership in spiritual matters for personal, familial and occupational pursuits as God’s own presentation of the gospel proves.

If God didn’t have an intentional plan for the creation of earth and mankind, chaos would have reigned. If Noah hadn’t embraced God’s vision of the Ark, it would not have saved his family. If Joseph in ancient Egypt didn’t have a Spirit-led dream of the 7-year famine, provisions for it would not have borne fruit to the saving of many lives, including the children of Israel.

Likewise, God gave us His priority for the preaching and teaching of His Word which was clearly revealed at the first preaching of the gospel in Acts 2 and 3, which serves to teach us God’s intended priority, commission and assignment for teaching His Word. But the devil has largely derailed the priority of, repentance, being Spirit-filled, and disclosure of the end-times.

The priority of the gospel from its inception, is the crucified and resurrected Christ, with consequential sights set on enduring the end-times. But today the latter is largely lost as the church has exchanged the priority of conversion, the resurrection, and end-time gospel, in order to sustain its traditions of men. This is why confusion reigns about the end-times having birthed the pre-trib, mid-trib, pre-wrath, post-trib and post-millennial gathering of elect saints.

Just as there’s no multiple choice to eternal life, neither is there a multiple choice of when Jesus Christ gathers His saints. There is only one Truth: Jesus Christ. And all Scriptures relevant to the resurrection of Christ and His saints support His testimony. There is no contradiction of Truth, but man has made it so. Consequently, to keep the peace, (but is not peace) the church largely ignores the end-time subject that the apostle Peter so powerfully preached by the Holy Spirit.

Note the Holy Spirit’s immediate end-time focus and response to those who witnessed the manifestation of the Spirit’s gift of tongues, saying: “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved’” (Acts 2:16–21).

The Spirit then continues the prioritized theme of the end-times, saying, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19–21). [emphasis added]

But so often Acts 2 and 3 is taught without expository teaching because it exposes the pre-tribulation rapture lie and confirms that Christ gathers His elect saints “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31), at “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–6), “at the last day” (John 6:40, 44, 54), “at the last trumpet” (1 Cor. 15:51–52), because Christ “must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything” (Acts 3:21 NIV) which is at the last day.

Yet, many evangelicals “speak in tongues” but disconnect from the Spirit’s consequential focus of the end-times. How can that be; that is, claiming to be Spirit-filled and speak in tongues but ignore the critical truths Christ taught for the gathering of His elect? “Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh” (James 3:11–12).

God said “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Rom. 8:16–17). But the pre-trib rapture lie of Satan rejects the reality of suffering the tribulation. But God’s Spirit does not bear witness to anyone of anything that disagrees with “the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9).

So, the question and self-judgment must be asked: what spirit, then, dwells within the one who believes the devil’s pre-trib rapture lie, for Christ and His Spirit taught truth. But deception and half-truths reside comfortably in many today, not only concerning the rapture, but on numerous other critical points of living a Spirit-led life versus one led by deceiving spirits.

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you” (Rom. 8:11) how can a qualified minister or other Christian contradict the order and priority of the gospel message revealed at Acts 2 and 3? The point is, the qualified minister and Christian will not, but will disclose the whole truth, while those with their own agenda or something to hide will not.

A minister / teacher called by God must not teach repentance and then ignore that God’s Spirit immediately joined that repentance and conversion to the end-times. Repentance, conversion, and the Holy Spirit’s gift, together with the end-times of Acts 2 and 3 are indivisible. That’s God’s own presentation of the gospel and He expects us to follow His leading in this.

A minister / teacher called by God must not ignore what God’s Spirit immediately revealed at Pentecost concerning repentance “that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). Yet, the widespread ignorance of this critical truth in the church is the work of deceiving spirits.

“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). [emphasis added] Has God poured out His Spirit in your life to believe the end-time testimony of Christ, or has a deceiving spirit sent forth to corrupt the authoritative Word of the Lord caused you to assign His Olivet Discourse for the end-times to others? This is spiritually very serious and time is running out.

Marlin J. Yoder

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“making war against the saints”

Friday, September 22, 2017

God’s Spirit said by John, “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God…Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Rev. 19:11–16).

The Rev. 19:11–16 passage concludes this present age as Christ descends from heaven. But until “the last day” (John 6:40), at “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–6), at “the times of restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21) “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19).

The final seven years of this age are ruled by Satan’s Antichrist. Most Christians disbelieve Christ that they will be on earth for the tribulation, but a few of us actually believe Him and prepare accordingly for that difficult time. Today, six categories describe most Christians.

  1. Those who are clueless and without discernment that the end-times are even near.
  2. Those who know the world is much worse now, but don’t know why, or what to do.
  3. Those who know the world is much worse, but think President Trump will restore it.
  4. Those who know what’s wrong, but do nothing while awaiting their pre-trib rapture.
  5. Those who know the NWO is near and buy guns and ammunition to war against it.
  6. Those who know the NWO is near and arm themselves in God’s enduring truths.

Thefridayletter.com is written that those of all six categories might learn God’s truths and be equipped in that truth, knowledge and discernment that they would faithfully endure until the great Day of the Lord. Without faith in the enduring Words of Jesus Christ one is hopeless.

Today we consider number 5 above. But first, let me clarify: there’s a big difference in using guns and ammunition to protect your home and family from tribulation “beasts of the earth” (Rev. 6:8) and thugs hell-bent on violence and theft, from using those same weapons against agents of the NWO, otherwise known as the UN’s “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, whose not-so-distant goal is the confiscation of civilian weapons on the guise of world peace.

Jesus said, “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace” (Luke 11:21). God also said, “if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). However, civil weapons for protecting your family and home is an entirely separate issue from waging war against the New World Order led by Antichrist’s One World Government. Be discerning of it.

God has firmly decreed that those who would wage war against the NWO and its Antichrist beast-system will utterly lose. But do you believe God, and will you prepare accordingly?

Preparing to endure end-time catastrophic destruction, storms, civil unrest, droughts and famines, is biblically expected of Christians. Noah prepared because he believed God. Joseph, in ancient Egypt prepared because he also believed God. Joshua prepared because he believed God and was repeatedly victorious. Many biblical examples show the salvation of God-believing preparation.

But today many believe it’s a sign of faithlessness to prepare for the end-times, but those who do so show their ignorance about faith, for God said “But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20). “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26). Therefore, “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18).

In other words, faith acts. Faith in Christ will produce actions corresponding to one’s professed faith. Faith that is inactive, however, is merely a said faith with corresponding inaction proving one’s said faith. And God said that “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Heb. 11:6).

Again, don’t confuse preparations for the first half of the tribulation with the second half when Antichrist crushes the world with his mark of the beast in order for people to buy or sell. At the time of the latter, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36). Some will find God’s safety and provision for 1,260 days, (Rev. 12:6), but many Christians will not.

During the first half of the tribulation one should protect his family and home against thugs bent on plunder and shear violence. But during the second half of the tribulation, for those not finding the safety and provision of God according to Rev. 12:6, 14, do not think for one second you can fight against the NWO and win, because God promised that those who would wage war will lose.

God said by Daniel, “I was watching; and the same horn [Antichrist] was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them” (Dan. 7:21). The Spirit also said by John, “It was granted to him [Antichrist] to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation” (Rev. 13:7). The saints’ calling is different: to testify.

“And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. But before all these things, they will lay hands on you and persecute you…You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist” (Luke 21:11–15). [emphasis added]

God warned every believer, “by the meekness and gentleness of Christ…I beg you that when I am present with you I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us [saints] as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Cor. 10:1–6). [emphasis added]  Do you believe God?

Marlin J. Yoder   

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“if we would judge ourselves”

Friday, September 15, 2017

Jesus Christ is returning to earth for a Bride who has “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14), a Bride who “overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Rev. 12:11). Jesus is returning for a Bride who lives by His Word, not against it. But many, deceived, live according to the word and will of man.

God said, “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3–4). Therefore, we must judge ourselves, lest we become part of those who “will not endure sound doctrine”.

Only God knows the point at which the god of self-will encounters His judgment. Or shall we think that God doesn’t visit judgment on those having His Word but reject it? Shall we say, our mission is to teach people to believe in Jesus, and that’s all that matters? No, that’s not all that matters, because “Even the demons believe – and tremble!” (James 2:19). God is not one-sided. He commissioned believers to teach “all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20).

God’s grace and patience is not unlimited toward those who contradict His Word. There comes a point when enough is enough. Be encouraged to read the many biblical examples and take heed because “all these things happened to them [ancient Israel] as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10:11).

Deceivers gain the praise of many by teaching grace and love while ignoring God’s judgments and discipline for sin, rebellion and unbelief. They capitalize on people not being discerning or skilled in the Word. Thus, many professing Christians do not know the God of the Bible, but a one-sided god of their own creation. Yet, when Jesus taught the cost of being His true follower, “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66).

Whole truth does not benefit the deceiver in popularity or wealth, thus, many teach half-truths coupled with human reasoning, which grossly misrepresents God, but gains man notoriety and praise. But God said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh” (Gen. 6:3). Remember this: a half-truth is deception, and equals a whole lie. Be discerning of it.

As Christians we should know that, “he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one” (1 Cor. 2:15). But for many years now the church has increasingly taught the opposite, and agreed with the world that we may judge nothing. The prohibition to judging, then, naturally extends to the refusal of even judging oneself for sin and unbelief.

God calls our attention to being deceived, saying, “if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world” (1 Cor. 11:31–32). But because many are unable to discern even the communion table of the Lord, God said, “For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep” (1 Cor. 11:30) meaning that many have fallen and even died under God’s judgment.

Such judgment is not new with God, but is His holiness. For example: “Jeroboam did not recover strength again in the days of Abijah; and the Lord struck him and he died” (2 Chron. 13:20); and of Jehoram King of Judah, “After all this the Lord struck him in his intestines with an incurable disease. Then it happened in the course of time, after the end of two years, that his intestines came out because of his sickness; so he died in severe pain” (2 Chron. 21:18–19). And of King Herod, “Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died” (Acts 12:23). And God struck both Ananias and his wife Sapphira dead who lied to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament church, (Acts 5:1–11).

Remember that God said, “I am the Lord, I do not change” (Mal. 3:6), and “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Therefore, we know that God yet judges men and women today with illnesses, diseases, and even death, for bearing false witness of His Word, and leading others to disobedience with them. But only God knows when such judgment occurs.

Yet, there’s much rebellion in the church today, but few care. For example: though God said “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Tim. 2:12–14), many women serve in pastoral and deacon’s offices of teaching authority specifically reserved for men. God will not ignore such disobedience indefinitely. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7).

Though God said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies…that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:43–45), and “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh” (2 Cor. 10:3), many pastors praise Christians who covenant with the world and wage war against our enemies. But God promised, “all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matt. 26:52).

And though God said He gathers His elect “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31), most pastors protecting their tradition teach that God will gather His elect before the tribulation, a direct contradiction to Jesus’ teachings, and imagine, the large majority of people in the church believe them! These false teachers have created what will become an offense of unimaginable proportion that will suddenly lead “the falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3), and they will be culpable.

God, “is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God, who desires repentance, said, “Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; nor is there any who can deliver from My hand” (Deut. 32:39). Again, God said, “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things” (Isa. 45:7).

Most pastors deliberately avoid passages such as Duet. 32:39 and Isa. 45:7 because it doesn’t benefit their popularity and cultural-accommodation to teach that the God of the Bible enacts judgments on people based upon His holiness and justice. Consequently, many think God is a sugar-daddy, blessing and promoting them to do according to their self-will.

The above three examples are just a snapshot of many where self-will and tradition govern the church. I’ve prayed for years that Christians would wake up and embrace the truth of God’s Word, and make self-will the subject of confession and repentance that God’s Kingdom, and not man’s ear-tickling traditions, be praised and exalted, which requires honoring Christ above man.

Many in the church know exactly what God’s Word says but in self-will ignore Scriptures that are counter-culture because they fear man more than God. That kind of ministry creates a false god in many hearts and minds. People must be taught to love and honor the Word of God, not ignore it. If leaders and their people cannot endure God’s Word in good times now, how will they possibly endure the 7-year tribulation when times are deceptively hard and difficult?

Millions of people suffer tragically in the Caribbean, the Keys, in Florida and Texas due to hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Many had made no preparations to endure such calamity. Soon, Antichrist, “shall confirm a covenant with many for one week” (Dan. 9:27), meaning seven years. And that covenant will set in motion greater disasters in the final 7 years of this age.

The devastation wrought by hurricanes Harvey and Irma are nothing compared to what’s coming to this world during Antichrist’s 7-year reign. Many scoff at making preparation for such times, but the day will come when they will wish they had believed God and prepared as did the five wise virgins of Matt. 25:1–13. I encourage you to prepare, for God has given us ample warning.

God is love, but He is also a God of divine judgment. Be encouraged to judge yourself, awaking your spirit to whole truth, not according to traditions of men, but by the truth of God’s Word. Be filled with God’s knowledge, discernment and whole truth. Endure “sound doctrine” and refuse self-willed false teachers who turn many ears away from the truth. You will be eternally grateful when you “appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10).

Marlin J. Yoder

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Providing For Your Household

Friday, September 8, 2017

God said, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). The context is provision for the physical but it necessarily includes the spiritual, without which, one’s charge is left to wander in the ways of the world, deception and traditions of men which make God’s Word of no effect.

God is concerned about our physical and spiritual needs. He looks closely at how fathers provide for their children and families in both realms. In fact, Jesus taught, that, “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matt. 18:6). And not teaching the whole truth of God’s Word, or simply ignoring it, is in fact teaching, and a cause to sin.

If we provide physically but not spiritually we ignore God who “is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Leadership for that rests on fathers who in faith are led by the Holy Spirit, who, convicted “the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). The wife is not the spiritual leader or head of the home, nor of the church, but many having rejected God’s authority have made it so.

God said, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). That’s a great two-part promise, the first of which requires diligent and faithful work, not just when they’re toddlers but especially from the age of five to when they leave home. The latter part God will accomplish if we faithfully obey His Word. That’s not to say that God cannot save children who have been spiritually neglected, because He surely can.

God said, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 5:4). Herein, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:5–7). This is how God commands fathers to train up their children in truth.

But there’s a great dichotomy today. The father who teaches the unedited truth of God’s Word will find himself at irreconcilable odds with most of today’s organized church which adheres to traditions of men. This dichotomy causes division as many trust the organized church with its traditions more than God’s inerrant Word, which caused the 15th century Reformation.

A similar, but likely too late, reformation from the divided denominations will occur again upon the offending revelation of the tribulation. This will occur when the pre-trib rapture lie is proven false, at which time, “many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another” (Matt. 24:10). But you can avoid that if you believe the testimony of Jesus for the end-times.

God clearly said that before He gathers His elect “the falling away comes first, and the man of sin [Antichrist] is revealed” (2 Thess. 2:3); and that He gathers His elect “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31); “at the last trumpet” (1 Cor. 15:51–52); “at the last day” (John 6:40, 44, 54); at “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–6); “when the Lord Himself will descend from heaven” (1 Thess. 4:16); because Christ “must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything” (Acts 3:21 NIV). These imperative truths require much preparation.

Traditions of men are deceptive as they benefit to the praise and wealth of those who create and sustain them. The evangelical church needs an immediate reformation to expose the heinous end-time lies to which it holds. Without such a reformation advancing Christ’s end-time truths, many will be offended and eternally lost because they believed a false tradition that tickled their ears.

Fathers, I exhort you in the love of Christ to teach your family the truth of what’s just ahead. Be discerning by the Word of Truth, and His Holy Spirit and the signs of the times. Jesus said, that, “because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matt. 24:12). We see this daily as the threat of global war escalates, and the mark of the beast technology is marketed as the solution to failing national monetary systems, cash and credit card fraud.

Love is not silent in the face of impending danger, but teaches the truths of Christ that prepares saints to endure the 7-year tribulation. Love does not hide behind tradition, but unbelief does, even to “the falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3). Therefore, “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Eph. 5:11).

President Trump’s administration and civil authorities are increasingly opposed with vitriolic speech and violence. Ungodly rhetoric by both Democrats and Republicans is intolerable. The nationalists gnash their teeth at globalists and vice versa. And influential sports figures instigate nationalist hatred at sporting events. Many secular, and even so-called Christian educational institutions, increasingly embrace radical and ungodly left-wing liberal thought and agenda.

Hatred, specifically against Christians, will ultimately spiral downward until, “It was granted to him [Antichrist] to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation” (Rev. 13:7). This is the mid-tribulation event when God has a place of safety and provision for those who actually believe His Word and have actually prepared to endure to the end as did the five wise virgins of Matthew 25:1–13.

Storms and natural disasters are increasingly destructive. Hurricane Harvey was the worst natural disaster Houston, Texas has ever seen, and is followed by Hurricane Irma that destroyed much in the Caribbean islands and now threatens Florida, Georgia and the Carolina’s. Storms are normal, but not their increasingly destructive ferocity. And worse is coming, though our land being filled with false prophets, prophesy prosperity, American greatness, and spiritual revival in Congress.

In this age, revival of national leaders unto loving Christ will not occur, for they never have and never will have in mind the things of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). They oppress. They instigate wars. They are a god unto themselves. Therefore God said, “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us” (Psa. 2:1–3).

Last night southern Mexico was struck by a killer magnitude 8.0 earthquake with a mounting death toll. My heart breaks for people in the church who should be being led in end-time truths, but are deceived by false teachers / prophets, having little to no discernment according to “the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9). Many people in the church prefer the smooth, articulate, well-crafted words of false prophets teaching things that sound good to people’s itching ears.

False prophets often led ancient Israel astray with lies and deception, for which God said, “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests [pastors] rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end” (Jer. 5:30–31). Truly, what will the people of this final generation do in the end?

Fathers, it’s our obligation in love for Christ to teach and equip our families in the end-time “testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9) for the tribulation because the organized church will not do it. Many prefer false traditions of men and will consequently suffer offense and the falling away the Spirit taught. But Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (John 8:31), and again, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14).

Marlin J. Yoder

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Pray For People of Houston

Friday, September 1, 2017

Be informed by the Word and grace of God for our days. Discern the signs of the times; that Jesus said, “See, I have told you beforehand” (Matt. 24:25) Join me in prayer for the folks in Houston, Texas and surrounding areas who now suffer the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

It’s not a coincidence that this destruction came so soon after the solar eclipse that struck a diagonal 70-mile wide path of thick darkness across the continental United States which was a warning from God. I am moved with compassion for Christians who are ignorant of things to come, nor are able to discern end-time signs from God and do nothing to prepare.

I am also moved by pastors who do not warn their flocks. My prayer for you is to be biblically and spiritually alert, to know the end-time testimony of Christ and His Spirit, that your faith be moved to an actionable preparation of things even worse to come. Ancient Israel’s Joseph in Egypt prepared for a catastrophic 7-year famine and saved his own family and many others.

“By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Heb. 11:7). Are you “moved with godly fear” and have you been “divinely warned of things not yet seen”, or do you still believe in the hopeless and unbiblical pre-tribulation rapture?

And finally, God said “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished” (Prov. 22:3). Do not be like the foolish virgins of Matthew 25:1–13 who did not prepare to endure the long dark night of the tribulation as they awaited the Bridegroom, but be wise in Christ and be prepared to endure to the end just as Jesus taught at Matthew 24:13.

Marlin J. Yoder

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“of no private interpretation”

Friday, August 25, 2017

Since the mid-19th century the church has gone to great lengths to protect its deceitful pre-tribulation rapture tradition, resulting in much of the prophetic Word being made of no effect; Word that would otherwise equip saints in love, truth and knowledge to endure the end-times.

Avoiding end-time truths is not love, but evil. And Jesus taught that, “he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (Matt. 13:20–21).

The true church indeed suffered persecution under Roman Catholic popes, which spurred fears of the end-times, for the papacy was rightly cast as the seat of the Antichrist. It appears that, Satan, seizing upon that fear gave John Darby (1800–1882) a vision that avoided the end-times witness of Christ, to allege that the church would be secretly raptured before the tribulation, a terrible lie.

It denies the Truth to suggest that anything is secret about Christ’s redemptive work: from His prophesied O.T. coming, to His finished work at Calvary, to His return for His elect saints. For, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20–21). A right start in faith, eroded by falsehood, can end in eternal death.

What the church faced during the Reformation was clearly ungodly tribulation at the hands of the popes of Rome. But because Satan’s time is short, iniquities today are more covert and deceptive than during the Reformation. Rather than physical brutalities by papal agents of Satan, today it’s the gradual degradation, the all-inclusive, and non-threatening erosion of Biblical truths.

And without the truth of God’s Word hidden in our hearts empowered by the Holy Spirit, we will not be wise to the deceptive, kindly-smiling, inclusive, non-threatening erosion’s of God’s Word so very prevalent in the organized church today. This is why ungodliness, lies, immorality, false doctrines, false teachers, and the blatant departure from God’s Word flood the church today.

Pope Francis has already inclusively united the religious world. And any who think the Roman Catholic papal throne has grown any kinder, gentler toward other religious entities are highly mistaken, for the same spirit of Antichrist yet seethes beneath the Vatican facade of false unity and will for the last 3 1/2 years rule this world by economic mandate and mark of the beast.

Today, in these end-times, Satan is using a temporary reverse spiritual psychology to gradually sensor and unite world religions into one global religious cult led by his Antichrist. And unless you know God’s whole truth with Holy Spirit discernment you will not be wise to this, which describes many today who are led by a spirit of culturally progressive One World values.

Please be a watchman who sounds the trumpet of warning. Today, many so-called “authority” figures in the church say the Bible should not be taken literally; that Jesus is not the only way to God; that there’s no hell; that the church must be inclusive of LGBTQ lifestyles as Christian; and preferring the world, progressives call true Christians “haters” if we don’t agree with them.

God said, “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand” (Ezek. 33:6). Some of us are true watchman to the church, others are just pretenders who don’t truly care for the flock.

God is love, but He is also a God of divine judgment for unbelief. To hold the former but ignore the latter will reap disaster; ancient Israel is our example, 1 Cor. 10:1–13. To believe God’s love but hold unbelief of that which prophetically must come, is spiritually reckless and proud. And today, believers’ unbelief of needing to endure the 7-year tribulation is over 95 percent!

Sir, father, husband, you are the watchman of your home, not your wife or your pastor. It’s your priestly duty in Christ to discern the truth from lies and false tradition and to lead your family in truth empowered by the Holy Spirit. Rid yourself of progressive values. Believe Christ. We are waging a war with many “spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).

The violence we’ve seen recently in Charlottesville, VA is a forerunner of far worse to come. And largely, the church doesn’t know how to respond to it because it’s dropped the proverbial spiritual ball and finds itself mired in acquiescing to the world. The so-called Christian’s now defending various forms of violence and immorality truly betray the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Christians are increasingly marginalized; we’re now being called “haters”. Good is now evil, and evil is now good. Educational institutions are destroying Christian values. History is being totally rewritten. Christians in government are targeted for defamation and job loss. And the forerunner of the mark of the beast, the RFID chipping of employees, is sweeping the world at an alarming rate. Are you prepared for the “Christian” isolation that’s fomenting?

Truly, “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20). Yet, pre-trib rapture deceivers garnering wealth and praise of men continue to build a false hope in millions that God will gather His elect saints in a private and secret rapture, sparing Christians from the coming tribulation and wrath of Antichrist. They bear witness to their own remarkable unbelief.

Children are naturally offended at parents who lie when it’s discovered. A spouse is offended when it’s learned the other has lied. Businesses fire employees who lie, because they are not trustworthy. And soon, many Christians will fire their pastors and other Christians when the tribulation is revealed, when they learn they’ve been lied to about a pre-trib rapture, and then “the falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3) will be sudden and very grievous.

God’s Word did not come with multiple choice of three or four options from which to choose regarding His redemption and gathering of saints. Just as surely as Jesus Christ is the One and only way to God the Father, so too, Christ taught only one truth for the gathering of His elect, “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31) which is a “thus saith the Lord” of no “private interpretation”. Believe the Lord Jesus Christ and reap the rewards of eternal life!

Marlin J. Yoder

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“signs in the sun, moon and stars”

Friday, August 18, 2017

Last week I emphasized the need for Christians to know “All Scripture”, including the tough end-time prophetic testimony of Jesus Christ. We must not ignore knowledge and holiness that empower endurance until the resurrection rapture “at the last day” (John 6:40, 44, 54). We must believe the whole “testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9) in love with power to endure to the end.

Consider: would one fill a car’s gas tank only two-thirds and still expect to go the distance of a full tank? Or, would one bake a wedding cake with only two-thirds of the ingredients and expect a good cake? Certainly not. Yet, many pastors exemplify cherry-picking only two-thirds of “the testimony of Jesus Christ”. But a cherry-picked gospel will never produce an equipped Christian.

Now is the time for repentance and humility before Christ to whom we must give account; now is the time to call upon the Lord Jesus for mercy, grace and forgiveness for unbelief; now is the time for spiritual awakening to endure until the end of this age. But now is NOT the time to take comfort in traditions of men that lead one away from “the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9).

For, “there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Luke 21:25–26). Time is now urgent to personalize the testimony of Jesus Christ.

In just three days a powerful sign appears in the sun and moon – a rare solar eclipse August 21, 2017 will strike a path of total darkness 70 miles wide across the heart of the United States from the west coast of Washington to the east coast of South Carolina. Judgment is imminent. Reborn Israel is now 70 years old, and the world will soon be in the winepress of the 7-year tribulation.

“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (Heb. 3:14–15). Please, today, in sincerity, confess your sins and unbelief to Christ and be saved.

The ensuing 40 days could bring fiscal chaos; World War 3; civil war; a return of hybrid giants led by “a foreign [alien] god” (Dan. 11:39); earthquakes; volcanoes; “hail and fire…thrown to the earth” (Rev. 8:7); global pestilences and famines; or a measure of all the above. But more importantly, will this sign cause the church to repent of its mediocrity and unbelief? I pray so.

The 40 days following the eclipse will likely produce the “covenant with many for one week” (Dan. 9:27), which would signal the beginning of the final 7 years of this present age, otherwise known as the 7 years of tribulation. But as much of the church acquiesces to the world, are you equipped with knowledge of truth to discern the tribulation start should that event in fact occur?

In Noah’s day: “they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, [which is equal to the day “worthy” (Luke 21:36) saints enter God’s safety and provision for 1,260 days (Rev. 12:6)] and [unbelievers] did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:38–39).

In Lot’s day: “they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom [equal to the day discerning “worthy” saints enter God’s safety and provision for 3.5 years (Rev. 12:14)] it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:28–29).

For this reason Christ said “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36). Jesus said this in regard to the great tribulation, the last 3 1/2 years of this present age when saints that are “counted worthy” find their land of Goshen during “Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7).

If you’re a Christian, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not part of “Jacob’s trouble”, because, in Christ, we are “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). Jacob was the grandson of Abraham which makes the true Christian, a true Jew (Rom. 2:28 – 29), a part of “Jacob’s trouble”.

It’s the wise virgins, the “freewoman” of Galatians 4:21–31 who find the safety and provision of God and “fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days” (Rev. 12:6) during the great tribulation, the last 3 1/2 years of this age. Then, “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31) occurs the resurrection rapture “at the last day” (John 6:40, 44, 54). But are you part of that “freewoman”?

If you’re not certain, you can be, for God promised “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:9–10). But God also said, “he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36b).

It’s not those who just intellectually believe Jesus died and rose again who are the “freewoman”, but those, who, with their heart believe and confess, and then actually believe “the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9) and live a life committed to the truths of Jesus Christ. It’s the latter who are part of the “freewoman” (Gal. 4:21–31). Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Have you truly been born again?

Marlin J. Yoder

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“the spirit of prophecy”

Friday, August 11, 2017

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17). [emphasis added] Every Christian needs “All Scripture”. Yet, today, “prophecy”, nearly a third of God’s Word, is being harmfully ignored.

What pastor or teacher would ignore voluminous prophetic truths of Christ that would otherwise equip the saints to faithfully endure to the end unless they don’t actually believe Him? What true shepherd of God’s people would ignore “the testimony of Jesus Christ” for the times of the end?

Would a construction team use only architectural details and gracious floor plans, but ignore the tough structural disciplines critical to a building’s endurance? No, the project will fail. Would a finance manager use only assets, but ignore liabilities? No, such incompetence will fail. Will a garden produce good fruit without weeding? No, the weeds will choke the good plants.

The same is true with Scripture: ignore any part of it and you sow the seeds of spiritual disaster. If we ignore God’s design intent of end-time prophesy we have the certainty of spiritual failure, with the result being that “many will be offended, and will betray one another, and will hate one another” (Matt. 24:10). That’s a promise from the Almighty, but do you actually believe Him?

To love God in Christ is to love His Word; to love His Word is to teach His truths; to teach His truths prepares one to endure to the end as Jesus said “he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13). But to teach truths of the end and be equipped in them requires knowledge of and faith in God’s “prophecy”, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10).

Yet, because leadership largely avoids prophecy, it creates an approved dissonance of what God said about the times of the end, and many like it that way. So, how can the church be equipped to endure the tough times of the end in light of such ignorance? Well, the truth is, that, like ancient Israel, the majority is not equipped because it doesn’t believe Christ’s prophetic end-time Word.

This raises a far more sinister issue: if one’s heart has truly been born again, that person will discern the times and will study to show himself approved whether or not his pastor or teacher does so. But if neither the pastor nor teacher upholds the testimony of Jesus for the times of the end that saints be warned and prepared, how is that love for Christ and fellowman? It’s not.

Jesus said, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit” (Matt. 12:33). A good tree has roots that go deep into the tough ground where it finds resource to endurance. Is your faith in Christ just architecturally pleasing, or is it structurally sound, and rooted deep in the tough prophetic Word of God?

Great trouble is near, not just for America, but the world. This isn’t end-time hype, but truth founded in the deep prophetic Word of God and Christians need to start paying attention if they care about enduring the times ahead. The worst part of this: the church has largely stripped away the need for Christians to know the prophetic Word by its teaching of the pre-trib rapture, and as a result we will see the sudden “falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3) as the offense will be unparalleled.

Jesus taught the end-times, the tribulation, the mid-point, and the final 3 1/2 years of great tribulation when Antichrist’s mark of the beast is forced upon all in order to buy and sell. God tells us what is to come and as regards the great tribulation, how we can be “counted worthy to escape all these things” (Luke 21:36). After Jesus’ ministry, death, resurrection and ascension, His disciples and apostles through the Holy Spirit affirmed the same things Jesus taught.

Note what will occur in this final generation: “The earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut; its transgression shall be heavy upon it, and it will fall, and not rise again” (Isa. 24:19–20). Unless you die first, you will see the fulfillment of this prophetic Word regardless of how many lying pre-trib-rapture-promising theologians and pastors tell you otherwise.

Here is the result of those lies. Jesus said, “then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another” (Matt. 24:10). Jesus taught specifically about offenses saying, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!” (Luke 17:1). Pastors and teachers should note well, that, silence, teaches, and will result in offense.

What’s the relationship between you and Christ? Is your trust and faith in traditions of men or in Jesus’ prophetic truths? Are you even aware of the differences? Conditional salvation faith is like Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (John 8:31). Do you desire to see Christ face to face? Yes? Then prepare to endure the tribulation, because what you do in the tribulation will reveal the true condition of your faith. Believe Jesus, “the spirit of prophecy”.

Marlin J. Yoder

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“be strong and very courageous”

Friday, August 4, 2017

The time is near. “The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up” (Rev. 8:7). This is neither metaphorical nor allegorical, but literal. Do you believe?

The first trumpet judgment is imminent. Israel is reborn 70 years. Destruction is coming from the heavens. God will get the attention of this world and the lukewarm church. End-time signs on earth abound. Signs in the heavens herald judgment. The blood moons are past. The church is asleep. Sin is exalted. And a path of darkness in broad daylight will be visited upon the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina in just 17 days. God’s judgment is not sleeping, are you?

The age of reborn Israel is important to discerning the time of the end because Jesus promised the generation that sees Israel reborn and flourish, which began May 14, 1948, “this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place” (Matt. 24:34).

Jesus warned the end-times would be marked by apostasy and a lukewarm church, and both are increasing. That condition worsens as many pastors and teachers minimize the truth of new birth conversion faith as an intellectually simple and generally easy process. But it’s not, for Jesus said one must count the cost, for the gate of faith is narrow and its road difficult, read Matt. 7:13–14.

Salvation is not found in membership of any church. Nor is it found in Mary the mother of Jesus, or any deceased saint or apostle, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Salvation is a personal relationship between you and Christ, not between you and any organized church.

Though circumcised, the generation of ancient Israel that came out of Egypt all perished in the wilderness, except two men, Joshua and Caleb. These survived and entered the Promised Land because they were circumcised and they believed God and prepared accordingly. They did not believe the “bad report” (Num. 14:36) of the majority, but faithfully believed and trusted God.

Before ancient Israel under Joshua’s leadership fought the many tribes of giants that lived in Canaan (their tribulation) Joshua was commanded by God to circumcise the second generation who succeeded the first generation who disobeyed and disbelieved God, the ones who gave the “bad report” and therefore perished in the wilderness, read Numbers 13 and 14 and Joshua 5.

A pre-requisite to ancient Israel inheriting their Promised Land was physical circumcision and obedience to God, the two were inseparable. The post-Calvary pre-requisite of inheriting heaven is also spiritual circumcision and obedience to God in Christ, those two are again inseparable.

Spiritual circumcision is required to inherit eternal life. Similar to the circumcision Joshua performed on that second generation of Israel on their way to possess their inheritance, New Covenant circumcision of heart requires repentance; submission; humility; it’s painful to the flesh; spiritually, it kills the flesh; its identity is in the death and resurrection of Christ.

You may ask: “Who is the true Jew God accepts?” God answers, saying, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God” (Rom. 2:28–29).

But we live in an apostate day when many pastors and teachers teach new birth conversion faith lightly, even entertainingly, on the guise of “no need for change”, “be who you want to be”, “live life your way”, “God made you that way”, “you’re fine just like you are”, “God loves you”.

But the Holy Spirit said to Mary the mother of Jesus about her own salvation and that of many others, “(yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:35). Just as the circumcision of ancient Israel cut away the flesh, so too, the sword of the Spirit cuts away the proud flesh of the heart that Christ be highly exalted.

New birth conversion faith is a deeply humbling event of submission to God, accepting personal guilt for sin with confession and repentance, trusting in the blood of Jesus to forgive you, then living a Christ-honoring life, desiring to know Him through His Word, knowing His prophetic truths, His coming judgments, and His coming redemption at the resurrection rapture.

God’s prophesied tribulation trumpet judgments will soon begin, but like ancient Israel, the majority view Jesus’ teaching that He gathers the elect “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31) as “a bad report” (Num. 14:36), twisting and disinheriting this critical part of God’s Word. But the minority who actually believe Christ take to heart what God said to Joshua: “Only be strong and very courageous” (Joshua 1:7). Only new birth faith in Christ empowers that.

Marlin J. Yoder

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