Laying Down The Groundwork For The “Messiah”
Last week it was announced that Catholic and Jewish leaders had made a significant breakthrough in resolving the long-running dispute over the “Messiah.” I have the word messiah in quotes because the compromise involved blurring the identity of this future world savior.
One difference that separates Jews and Catholics is whether the Messiah is coming for the first or second time. Christians believe the Messiah — a Jew from Nazareth called Jesus — came 2,000 years ago, and after dying and being resurrected, will someday return to redeem the world.
It was agreed that this dispute would be tabled until the Messiah arrives. When the Messiah comes, Jews and Christians “can ask him if this is his first coming or his second,” finally putting the issue to rest.
The Vatican’s top biblical scholars recently issued a report that for the first time in nearly 2,000 years apparently validating as legitimate the Jewish wait for the Messiah.
Reform Rabbi Fisher, who said he saw an English draft of the text last year, expounded on its importance. He noted that the theologically conservative Cardinal Ratzinger — the second most powerful person in the Vatican after the Pope — signed off on it.
Asked if Jews must, or should, acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, Cardinal Ratzinger told an interviewer, “We believe that. The fact remains, however, that our Christian conviction is that Christ is also the Messiah of Israel.”
But Fisher contends it’s a major positive development. “If you put off the moment that Jews will come to recognize Jesus as the Messiah until the end of time, then we don’t need to work or pray for the conversion of Jews to Christianity,” he said. “God already has the salvation of Jews figured out, and they accepted it on Sinai, so they are OK.”
“Jews are already with the Father,” he continued. “We do not have a mission to the Jews, but only a mission with the Jews to the world. The Catholic Church will never again sanction an organization devoted to the conversion of the Jews. That is over, on doctrinal, biblical and pastoral grounds.”
Rabbi Signer, also a Reform rabbi said, “What’s really new is the validation of the Jewish position as truth, that the Jewish waiting for the Messiah is a correct theological viewpoint. If the document says what we think, it is another very important theological step in the respect for Judaism as a living tradition.”
Father Pawlikowski stressed that the new document also appears to affirm the importance of the “Jewish Bible,” a new term for the Vatican that he said would be highly significant if it replaces the traditional “Old Testament,” which has a negative implication as being replaced by the “New Testament.”
“The document seems to say that Christians should never see the Jewish Bible as inferior, which coming from major Vatican biblical scholars could have profound implications for Catholic religious and educational material,” Father Pawlikowski said.
This lovefest between Catholics and Jewish leaders is the perfect setup for the rise of the Antichrist. It’s already bad enough that this agreement leaves the Jewish people in a state lacking Christ. What makes it worse is how it clears the way for the Beast to claim to be the Messiah.
Tribulation.ws is Going Dedicated
By the end of this week the domain name Tribulation.ws will become Rapture Ready’s largest source of bandwidth. My goal is to someday reach the point where an unlimited number of people can access the site.
We currently live in a world where your average $9.99 internet account can only handle the traffic generated by fewer than 100,000 individuals. To reach into the millions a site needs to utilize a dedicated server plan.
It’s very obvious the pre-trib rapture will generate a tidal wave of traffic that will inundate all sites that relate to the rapture. The only two ways to service this great hunger for information is money and time. With the right amount of money you can build a bandwidth network as large as you desire.
Time is the more reliable cure. Over the years the growth in all technologies relating to the internet has been unbelievable. In just the past few days, several companies have released news that indicates the boom shows no sign of slowing.
The hard drive maker Western Digital recently released a hard drive with 200 gigabytes of data storage. This amount is up to 80 GB beyond what is currently available on 120 GB hard drives.
Intel Corp is moving up the introduction of its Pentium 4 processor running at 3.0 gigahertz in time for the year-end holiday season. By the end of 2003 the Pentium processor will likely be nearing the 5-gigahertz mark.
Computer maker Hewlett-Packard will begin offering a super-thin "blade" server that will greatly reduce the size and cost of servers. Twenty HP e-Class blades can fit in an enclosure 5.25 inches tall, meaning that a six-foot rack can hold as many as 280 individual servers.
In 1995, I moved Rapture Ready to a web host that had a limit of 500 megabytes of data for a colocated plan. The average account now offers about 30,000 megabytes for colocated and 400,000 Megabytes for dedicated accounts. Within a few short years the capacity for web traffic will probably become so vast, bandwidth limits will be an item of history.
I truly do wish the Lord Jesus would delay His return by a couple of years, but I know perfectly well that an “unknown hour” means just that—unknown. All I can do now is make the best effort at preparation.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’m always looking for ways to improve the RR. One area of the site I noticed that needs some improvement is the Frequently Asked Question page. There is just one person on my end, and there are hundreds of people each week that send me questions. Because I’m unable to address each individual question, the best plan would be to create a large FAQ page.
To help speed the process along I would like to ask you folks to submit, via email, questions you think should be included on the page. Once I receive an ample quantity, I’ll select the ones that best relate to the most common questions that come to RR.
I’ll try to answer many of questions myself, but I plan to turn most of them over to folks that share my views on most issues. If any of you folks would like to try your hand at answering some obvious questions, I’d be very open to including ones that are based on sound scriptural doctrine. You can never go wrong by heavily relying on the Good Book.
The Rapture Log
Because so many people are unfamiliar with Bible prophecy, I thought it would be wise to piece together everything we know about the rapture into a presentation. The following is a chronological listing of the events that will likely occur when God calls the Church home.
Only God knows the year, month, and date of the rapture. Because the earth is a spherical body with 24 time zones, we can say with 100% certainty it will take place at every hour of the day. It will occur in the morning, at noon, in the evening, and in the dead of the night.
Someday all born-again believers are going to suddenly find themselves caught-up into the heavenly realm to meet the Lord. The only remedy for this shocking event is to be on constant vigilance.
There has been much speculation over whether or not clothing and various other personal items, like hearing aids and pacemakers, will be left behind. After the rapture, I tend to doubt there will be piles of clothing lying on the ground. When Enoch and Elijah were translated up to heaven, the Bible fails to indicate they left their clothing behind.
Only God knows how many people are actually ready for the rapture, but a good estimate would have about 10% of the U.S. population turning up missing as a result of the “blessed” event. The numbers will likely be lower in Europe and Asia, however, many African nations will probably see a much higher percentage.
The rapture will obviously come as an immense surprise to everyone remaining behind on earth. The first indication that the rapture has taken place will be people witnessing the disappearance of believers.
One of the most attention getting consequence of the rapture will be the huge number of automobile accidents that result from the rapture. Because cars are total dependent on human interaction for navigation, the removal of millions of drivers would create chaos on the roads. There is a popular bumper sticker that reads, "In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned." The sticker is humorous but it also carries a very profound truth.
Whenever a disaster takes place, most people turn to radio, television, and internet news outlets for the latest information. The three most shocking news stories of my lifetime would have to be the attempted assassination of President Reagan, the NASA Challenger explosion, and the 9-11 terrorist attack. During the unfolding of each of these calamities, everyone I’ve heard reflect on these events said they were glued to live news reports.
The rapture will prove to be very challenging for the liberal dominated press to cover. Over the years I’ve been interview by several media folks, and I’ve always been astonished by how little they know about Bible prophecy. They will have an extremely limited understanding of how this supernatural event relates to the end times.
It will probably only take the media a few minutes to become fully aware that something very strange has happened. All news organizations closely monitor emergency radio channels. The reports will quickly mushroom into a confusing chorus of distress calls. The press will instantly have a news event that will be a local, national, and international crisis.
A lot of prophecy writers seem to think the rapture will be a big mystery to everyone left behind. They speculate that people will think alien abduction is to blame for the disappearances. Polls show that over half of the population has a reasonable understanding of the tribulation. After the rapture takes place, it will not take very long for a sizable portion of the population to realize they've been left behind.
A large number of people will probably become hysterical with fear. Many of them will falsely think the world is going to shortly end. In reality, the earth will not see any major judgments until the midpoint of the tribulation.
A spirit of revival will probably sweep over the land as people find themselves force to appraise their spiritual condition. For an outside observer, it might seem strange that the earth is having a huge revival just ahead of what is predicted to be its greatest period of deception. The revival will be broad, but it will be very shallow. When God fails to immediately pour out his wrath, people will be open to anyone that can explain what is actually going on.
Because the U.S. and Canada have one of the highest percentage of born-again believers for any industrialized nation, the North American economy will suffer a huge body blow. During the darkest days of the Great Depression, the Gross Domestic Product of the U.S. only experienced a 10% decline.
After the rapture, there are several negative economic factors that will come into play:
A rapture triggered implosion could be the reason why Uncle Sam is not mentioned as a key player in prophecy. The rapture could be where the EU steps in to fill the void.
- The rapture alone will automatically imply a 10 percent plunge in economic activity.
- The loss of the “salt of the earth” will paralyze a number of businesses.
- The nonproductive people that have always been a drag on the economy will now make up a larger percentage of the general population.
- The psychological shock will severely disrupt the spending habits of folks that find themselves left behind.
- The insurance industry will certainly be wiped out.
- Banks will have difficulty resolving outstanding debts.
- There will be a sudden over abundance of houses and cars, causing prices for these two key commodities to decline.
Many people will choose to become Christians as a response to the rapture. The availability of material on the subject of the end times will be an important factor aiding people into making a decision for Christ. All prophecy books will instantly disappear from bookstores. The demand for prophecy books will be in the tens of millions, but the supply will only be in the thousands.
The internet will be a huge benefit to people seeking information. Because there will be an avalanche of data requests following the rapture, Rapture Ready is maintained on five servers. The main site, RaptureReady.com, could be rendered lifeless in a few hours or days, but by then, the key articles will hopefully be reproduced on a number of mirror sites.
The Bible tells us strong delusion will eventually follow the rapture. One of the leading sources of deception could be the so-called Christian leaders that are left behind. They will be doing their very best to contradict biblical truth. It’s pointless to try to guess what they will say to rationalize the rapture, but I’m sure they will have a number of explanations that will all seem logical and soothing to people’s troubled minds.
It is OK to speculate about events that will follow the rapture. What is not good is to experience those dark days first hand. The Bible tells us few people will be wise enough to the escape tribulation hour. Most People will someday learn, all too late, that salvation should have been their highest priorities. My advice is to repent now and avoid the panic and heartache later.
My many years of operating Rapture Ready have provided me with a wonderful opportunity to study the behavioral patterns of my fellow human beings. Many of my findings have found their way into some of the site’s articles.
The most striking observation that I’ve made is people’s lack of drive concerning the gospel. Everyone believes in something strongly, but few people ever act to support those beliefs. We Christians are generally in one accord about the world’s need for repentance, but when it comes to doing the work of evangelism, there is a disappointing lack of action.
There is no shortage of volunteerism. You can get any number of people to volunteer for a project. When it comes to performing the actual task, this is where the difficulty manifests itself.
After Time Magazine featured Rapture Ready, I was flooded with offers from people that wanted to help out in a number of areas. There were so many offers, I couldn’t respond to them all.
In just the area of web design, I received emails from about a dozen individuals offering their assistance. There was no need to have that many people working on the same project so I only replied to about half of them. I expected most of these people to forget their promise, but I didn’t think all of them would do so.
Because I get so much email, there are people that have volunteered to help, and I failed to get back with them. I have thought about putting together a task page for small projects so everyone can see what the site’s needs are.
When people don’t follow through on their commitment, I never feel personally let down. This happens so often, I don’t consider any offer of help valid until it’s acted on. There is a large number of people that have helped with the site over the years, and these people are more precious than gold to me.
The only thing I ever regret is the time I waste corresponding on tasks that never get accomplished. On my hard drive there are dozens of public domain files that I hope to eventually format and add to the site.
In the future, I plan to utilize the services of firms that specialize in web design, graphics, and editing. This is the main reason why I’ve add the Donation Depot link to the home page. The ongoing goal is to keep expanding the site until it becomes a massive resource for all people seeking spiritual guidance.
Tu habla espanol? - Do You Speak Spanish?
I feel the Lord is leading me to get several of the key pages on Rapture Ready translated into Spanish, French, and German. There are six billion people living on this planet and sadly some of them don’t speak the one true language--English.
I had a number of people from Spanish speaking countries ask me if I have any material translated into their native language. Unfortunately, for now the answer is no, but hopefully that will soon change.
I know there is translation software that claims to be able convert text from one language to another. I know for fact they don’t work. Here’s the handwork of one online translator, “It was not until the internet came that dawned in me why small truck of cat.” “If the stops of Mister Jesús, all we will age and we will die, but the ground will continue for always.”
There are very few Christian ministries that translate their publications into other languages. Money is the first and second reason why there is little interest in reaching out beyond the language barrier. It cost big bucks to do the translating and there is little financial gain to be realized from the target audience.
When Jesus gave the Great Commission, He didn’t qualify His mandate by saying; only go to those areas that promise profitable returns.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mat 28:19, 20 RSV).
Hitting Rock Bottom
When Jesus was on earth, He provided man with several warning signs that would herald His return. The Lord intentionally declined to say what exactly would trigger the rapture of the Church and the start of the tribulation.
According to the Word of God the timing of the rapture is just as much an unknown in heaven as it is on earth. Mat 24:36 states this clearly, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”
I highly doubt there is a tote board in heaven counting down the days to the rapture. If the devil were to know the timing of Christ’s return for the Church, he would certainly initiate a frenzy of demonic activity just ahead of the event.
There is no prophecy in the Bible that gives us an exact date, but there are many passages that offer us a general warning of the end times. The decline in morality has always been a favorite of prophecy writers. They cite example after example of decadence as solid proof we are getting close to the tribulation hour.
As our society grows increasingly wicked, it becomes more likely that God will reach a point where He decides to pour out his wrath. How God reacted to the decadent cities of Sodom and Gomorrah provides us with strong evidence that He is very sensitive to the levels of immorality. Using examples of depravity as a guide to where we are on the prophetic timeline is not as easy as most people might think. Everyone knows there has always been iniquity in the world. The debate is mostly over which way sin is trending.
The biggest obstacle to measuring changes in morality is the process of people becoming desensitized to sin. There is abundant data proving that divorce, homosexuality, and corporate greed have all increased over the years. Because we quickly become adjusted to social changes, the magnitude of the moral decline has largely escaped our attention.
I’ve come up with what I think is a very straightforward way to evaluate immorality as it relates to the end times. The key factor is just a matter of asking the question, can we go any lower from here? It’s not a matter of figuring out if the ship is sinking. The boat is already lying on its side at the bottom of the ocean. All we need to do is determine if the moral limit has been reached.
I don’t think the moral content of today’s controversial plays can sink any lower. When New York theaters have already featured trashy productions like “Puppetry of the Penis,” “The Vagina Monologues,” and “Corpus Christi”—a play featuring a homosexual Christ-like figure—it’s hard to improve on total depravity.
The Internet is saturated with pornographic sites. Web pages that contain sexual imagery draw huge numbers of people. Whenever a major publication features RR and the traffic soars, I tell my admin folks, “We’re in sex site status.”
In the early 80s, there were a number of Christian commentators that traveled from church to church speaking out against the evils of rock music. Most of their complaints were with the outrageous lifestyle of the musicians. Back then the worst example of immorality in music could be quoted from the pulpit. Today there is so much filthy language in popular songs; it would be unthinkable to directly quote this so-called music in a church setting.
The three examples I just cited could stand as proof-positive that we’ve hit rock bottom, but there is one more factor to consider. Despite the abundance of sin, few people are lamenting the problem. The lack of anger or even annoyance is a strong indication that we’ve actually hit rock bottom.
When it was revealed that The Rev. Jesse Jackson had committed one of the greatest acts of hypocrisy for someone claiming to be a minister, apathy was the public’s only reaction. In 1998, at the height of the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal, Jackson journeyed to the White House to provide “spiritual counsel” to President Clinton. Two years later, it was revealed that during that meeting Jackson was brazen enough to bring along an assistant that was highly pregnant with his love child. The National Enquirer made the news of Jackson’s affair known on a Monday, and by Friday of that same week the matter was declared closed by the liberal media.
The signs of total collapse in morality are not exclusive to the U.S. In England, Dr. Harold Shipman was found to have killed over 200 people, who were placed in his care, by injecting them with lethal doses of heroin. Most crimes of this nature involve financial gain or sexual depravity. Shipman’s motives seem to be largely a mystery. His ability to kill and then calmly face the relatives has left investigators baffled.
When God judged nations in the Bible, the determining factor was always the lack of repentance. After September 11th, there was a brief argument over whether or not the terrorist attack was a judgment from God. If the attack was the Lord trying to get our attention, the message was clearly ignored. I have a feeling He will soon try again.
The Bubble Revisited
In 1999 I began warning about the dangers of over inflated stock valuations, and the insane math that investors were using to justify historic price to earnings multiples. I wrote an article entitled “Bubble Trouble.” It detailed my suspicions that the stock market was experiencing a financial bubble.
I wrote the page when the stock market was at its peak, and I remember receiving a chorus of scorn from folks who claimed the Dow was going to 20,000. I was so convinced the market would eventually go into a sharp correction, I promised to discontinue my site if I was proven to be wrong.
History has proven that financial stress is very friendly to prophetic progression. The great depression of the 1930s touched off a series of events that resulted in the Atomic Age and the rebirth of Israel and the Roman Empire.
It’s anyone’s guess what will result from the current downturn. Because it would seem we’re already very close to the end, a further drop could easily be the catalyst that ushers in the final countdown.
So far around $8 trillion has been knocked off U.S. market capitalization since the March 2000 high. It is sad when you realize that $300 million could fund the annual budget of every existing missionary outreach in the world.
Locust, Hail, Fire, and Flood
This past week the news reports from around the world read like passages from the book of Revelation. Fire falling from the sky was the only phenomena missing. Here’s a condensed run down:
Their numbers swelled by the drought, grasshoppers and Mormon crickets are ravaging crops and pastures across the West in what could be the biggest such infestation since World War II.
A mild winter and hot, dry weather since the spring have sped up the maturation of some grasshopper species and allowed more of the insects and their eggs to survive the cold. The drought has also cut into the population of birds and rodents that prey on grasshoppers, and reduced the fungal diseases that normally keep the insects' numbers down.
Farmers in parts of Nebraska have counted 50 to 100 grasshoppers per square yard in their fields, compared with three or four during a typical year. Even worse, near Steamboat Springs, Colo., about 200 grasshoppers per square yard invaded rangeland in June, reaching about 1 million grasshoppers per acre.
In central China, a downpour of giant hailstones, some the size of eggs, killed 15 people and left hospitals overflowing with head-wound. The hailstorm struck northern parts of Henan uprooting trees, smashing car windscreens, cutting off electricity and destroying buildings.
Locals described it as the worst hailstorm in at least half a century, state radio said. Television news showed pictures of a gutted petrol station, uprooted trees and victims being loaded into ambulances. The violent hailstorm only lasted for half an hour but by the time it had finished, all the ambulances in the cities of Zhengzhou and Luoyang had been called out and emergency rooms were soon crammed full of people with head gashes.
After a spring and early summer of record forest fires, several blazes continue to consume thousands of acres. In Nevada, a 10,000-acre fire raged unchecked on the Nevada-Utah line 50 miles southeast of Ely, but no injuries or structural damage were reported.
In Utah, crews were battling 10 wildfires, including a 4,500-acre blaze in the Manti-La Sal National Forest in the center of the state that was drawing close to 30 homes.
In Wyoming, 14 fires burning in Yellowstone National Park was 10 percent contained. In Oregon A wildfire that threatened about 60 homes grew to 92,000 acres as firefighters braced for lightning storms.
In the southern parts of China, more than 800 people have died in floods and torrential rains across China this year and officials are now bracing for flooding worse than that of 1998, when the Yangtze River overflowed and deluges killed more than 4,000 nationwide.
Sun Myung Moon Wins in a Landslide
I’ve always regarded Rev. Sun Myung Moon to be on the flaky side with his mass weddings and claims of being the promised messiah. However, it looks like the cult leader from Korea has managed to top himself.
According to a full-page ad placed in the Salt Lake Tribune, Martin Luther, Karl Marx, Confucius, Jesus and, well, God, got together last Christmas and unanimously decided that Sun Myung Moon was their guy. They voted him the "Savior, Messiah and King of Kings of all humanity," This bizarre announcement ran in dozens of other U.S. newspapers.
The 7,000 word ad, entitled "The Cloud of Witnesses: The Saints' Testimonies to the True Parents," claimed that representatives of Communism and the five "great religions of the world" met in a "spirit world seminar" and gave Moon their blessing. The ad did not mention the closeness of the vote.
The nuttiness of the ad goes on reading like the minutes of some heavenly city council meeting. It explains who was there (representatives of Christianity, Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism), where they sat (the front seats reserved for leading figures), and what they did (adopted a resolution, recited the Family Pledge). Jesus gave the closing prayer, followed by three cheers of victory led by Muhammad.
Even the Communists purportedly joined the Moon bandwagon. "Our beliefs are wrong," says Josef Stalin. "The worst of it is that we deny and ignore God, who is the origin of the cosmos." The ad says Stalin was speaking from hell. Local members of Moon’s cult were taken aback by the news. The Rev. Sun Jo Hwang, pastor to Utah's only Unification congregation, said he was "shocked" to see the report in the newspaper but acknowledged that messages from "the other side" have been widely discussed among the faithful.
"I never expected that it would be published," he said, quickly adding, "Something important must be happening in the spiritual world now." Sun Myung Moon claims that Jesus proclaimed him as Messiah in 1935. Unable to complete His mission before His crucifixion, Jesus asked Moon to carry on.
Moon has been claiming to be the new Jesus for so long, I doubt he could get himself into any deeper trouble with his latest stunt. The Bible is clear no dreamed up election by some crackpot is going to deny Jesus the role of King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, ‘I am Christ;’ and shall deceive many.” (Mat 24: 4-5)
Heading Back Home To Israel
The greatest sign of the end times is the State of Israel. Without the existence of the Jewish state there would be no reason for me to maintain my end time vigil.
Most prophetic authors will tell you the countdown to the rapture and the tribulation started in 1948 with Israel rejoining the roster of nations. I’m one of those folks that believes the generation that witnessed the rebirth of Israel will be the one that will see the second coming of Christ.
“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Mat 24:34-35).
A further indication that Bible prophecy is advancing is the number of Jews that are returning to Israel. This past week the largest number of American Jewish immigrants in years stepped off the El Al charter flight at Ben Gurion International Airport. The 400 newcomers’ resettlement was bankrolled by grants from evangelical Christian groups.
Many evangelicals view actively supporting Jewish immigration as a rare opportunity to help fulfill prophecy. "What I'm seeing is the Scriptures being fulfilled right before our very eyes," said Bishop Huey Harris, whose First Pentecostal Tabernacle Church in Elkton, Md., raised $2,500 from its congregation to help finance the American Jews' journey.
I nearly fell out of my chair when I read Harris making this comment, "What's next? I'm looking for the church to be raptured, Jesus returning for the church . . . and the Jews would receive him as their Messiah."
You would think with all the suicide bombings in Israel, few people would want to relocate there. That danger was far from the mind of Noa Hirsch, a 22-year-old law student from Pittsburgh. Hirsch said she had come to Israel "to join my people in my land," and she refused to be deterred by the fact that Jerusalem, her new home, has been a frequent target of Palestinian bombers.
"Maybe I'm being foolish, but I don't think so," she said. "Terror is everywhere. I'm not going to let someone tell me how to live my life."
There is a prophecy in Jeremiah that perfectly describes recent trends in Jewish immigration.
"Therefore behold, the days are coming says the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt, but The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them. For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers." (Jeremiah 16:14-15).
I’ve decided to have Rapture Ready join hands with those Christian groups that are supporting Jewish immigration. A donation of $400 was given to a foundation that helps Russian Jews settle in Israel.
The Judgment Of Insane Greed
It’s getting very difficult to draw people’s attention to moral sin. We’ve become so desensitized to immorality; it’s hard to express to people how vile our society has become.
One area everyone can still relate to is money. Because people never lose their appreciation for wealth, greed remains a good measure of our nation’s moral health.
When God is about to judge a nation, He often allows immorality to run rampant. Many times the unchecked growth of sin is what destroys a nation. In the 1980s financial greed swept over Japan, as wild speculation drove Japanese stocks to new heights. There was much anxiety that the booming economies of the Far East would soon overtake the U.S. economy. When Japan and several of her neighbors imploded, the fears turned out to be false.
There is now concern that it might be America’s turn. Along with a stock market bubble, we’ve witnessed historic levels of fraud. After spending several years hiding huge losses, several companies are now being forced to reveal their deception.
The term “corporate greed” has been given a new meaning by recent events. It’s not the billions in accounting irregularities that win the prize; it’s the gaudy excesses of top executives that take home the blue ribbon.
Former WorldCom Chairman Bernard Ebbers gave himself a $400 million loan. I can’t imagine that this was a home Improvement loan. What ever happened to going to a bank?
Telecom giant Adelphia Communications Corp. was set on the path to bankruptcy after it disclosed it had guaranteed $2.3 billion in loans to partnerships controlled by its founders, the Rigas family.
It was learned the chief operating officer of one company owns nine private jets. I can’t understand why he would need nine jets. Maybe he aspires to conduct his own air shows.
Money can bring temporary happiness, but it can’t fill the spiritual emptiness that exists in people’s hearts. If Martha Stewart’s situation were true, it would be a perfect example of how people unwisely lust after wealth. She stands accused of using insider information to save money on a $200,000 trade. The scandal has caused her company’s stock to lose $500 million in market value.
Entertainer Michael Jackson is on the edge of being financially tapped out. He sold millions of records in his glory days, but he spends money like there is no tomorrow.
Jackson's personal costs are also exorbitant—even by celebrity standards. He keeps a personal staff of 120 people, including those who run and maintain the Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, Ca. The zoo that's kept on the ranch, which includes many animals not usually seen as house pets, costs a fortune to maintain. He has loans against nearly all of his musical assets.
I don’t worry about the CEOs that pocket hundreds of millions of dollars and are able to buy their way of jail. If we’re nearing the end, they’ve gained nothing.
"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mat 16:26).
When is Jesus Coming Back For The Church?
The most asked question I receive from people is “When will the rapture take place?” You folks who have been with me for awhile will know the answer is “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 25:13).
My efforts at being a rapture watchdog would be pointless if it wasn’t for Paul coming to my rescue in Thessalonians: “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief” (1 Thes 5:4). The only logical conclusion we can make from these two seemingly conflicting passages is that we won’t know the exact time of the rapture, but we’ll know when it’s getting very close.
I tell people getting ready for the pre-trib rapture is far more important than knowing the timing of the event. Because the rapture will totally transform our lives, we need to set our priorities well ahead of its occurrence.
The most important decision a person can make in their life is what to do about Jesus Christ’s free gift of salvation. Judging by the direction our society is headed, it’s quite obvious most people are squandering their opportunity to escape God’s wrath. I’m always amazed when I see Christians wasting all their time and resources on trivial earthly pursuits.
Whenever I mention how the Bible repeatedly says we need to strive for heavenly rewards, I run into a wall of silence. I get the feeling Christians are far more interested in the occurrence of the rapture than they are getting ready for it.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Mat 6:19-21,)
If you’re eagerly waiting for the Lord’s return, but you’re not laboring to advance the Kingdom of God, you’re interest in prophecy is in vain.
If someone is overly desirous to experience the rapture, the best way to make time move faster is to be actively involved in evangelism. Rapture Ready has given me a profound understanding of how fast time is actually moving. It has taken me several years of hard work to get to where I am right now. When the blessed hope takes place, I expect to leave behind plenty of unfinished business.
All That Email
Every few months I like to remind the regular visitors that I read all the email that gets sent my way. For several years now I’ve said if the quantity of mail becomes too great, I’ll let you folks know.
I’m happy to say I’m still able to read each email. Of course, I would have never guessed how severely this commitment would be tested the past two weeks. From June 23 to 28 over 3,000 email messages found their way to my inbox. Monday the 24th of June was the most active day. Every time I turned around there would be 40 to 50 new emails on my computer.
I greatly appreciate all the ideas you folks have sent me for improving the site. The most common type of suggestions sent to me have been requests to clarify some of the pages for those people unfamiliar with Bible prophecy.
I wasn’t bothered at all by the email that mocked the site. The messages I disliked the most were the ones from people asking silly questions that I’ve already answered on the site. The king of these questions would have to be: “Do you have any articles that define the pre-trib rapture?”
100 Year Floods Every Four Years
Once again Texas has suffered flooding on a massive scale. More than 30 inches of rain fell in parts of south-central Texas, causing tens of millions of dollars in property damage. Around a dozen people have died.
Preliminary damage assessments show at least 48,000 houses have been affected statewide — double the number of cases reported after Tropical Storm Allison last year, according to the American Red Cross. In some places, rivers have crested as high as 28 feet above flood stage.
It’s been estimated that the type of flooding Texas experienced last week should only come once every 100 years. Unfortunately, it was just 4 years ago that the last 100 year flood took place. Residents in the effected region are in shock that their 1998 nightmare has returned.
There has also been flooding of unusual magnitude here in Nebraska. Ten inches of rain fell Saturday, washing out roads and causing one fatal traffic accident. In the community of Ogallala Up to four feet of water flooded at least 65 mobile homes evacuated in a flash flood.
The flooding in Nebraska is made bizarre by the fact most of the state remains under severe drought conditions. Normally, when a rain event produces record flooding, you would expect drought conditions to ease, however, in this case, the rains have been highly localized. When I see crops wilting in one county and bridges washed out in the next one over, it makes me wonder if God is trying to get people’s attention.
A Simply Lack Of Dedication
When I received my first contact from Time Magazine, I learned that they were interested in Rapture Ready primarily because of the large amount of information located on the site. Now here I thought I was going to have to wait until I got to heaven in order to prove the virtues of disseminating biblical truth to the masses for free. I get emails all the time from people who tell they read or heard about the site from some media outlet.
I can’t believe that so many periodicals have to come to my site to find end-time related information. I do not consider myself to be an official prophecy commentator. I have a full-time job with the US Air force that only leaves me my off hours to work on RR. The folks who teach prophecy for a living have a clear advantage in time, money, and human resources.
When the browser based internet started in 1995 with the wide scale release of Netscape, most Christian ministries made a mad rush to setup shop in Cyberspace. Once everyone realized short-term financial gains were simply not to be found, interest in online evangelism quickly faded. For every hallindseyoracle.com, bible-prophecy.com, and upway.com that have stayed the course, a hundred other prophecy sites have come and gone.
The financial gains for an online ministry may be limited, but there are certainly no boundaries for opportunity in global evangelism. Every prophecy author I’ve met the past few years has heard me strongly advise them to get more of their material online for people to access it.
In my mind’s eye I can still see the wide-eyed look I got from one leading author. Like usual I said he should add more articles to his personal web site, and you would think I just asked him to step out behind the building and smoke some crack with me.
The average book on prophecy will sell around 2,000 to 5,000 copies. A best-seller is considered to be one that sells around 10,000 units. Just last week, 40 articles on the site were each read by over 10,000 people. Many of the older writings have a total readership that now numbers beyond the quarter million mark. Having a hundred times more people reading your material by posting it online seems, in my mind, the smarter decision to make.
There doesn’t need to be a dilemma between the Great Commission and great book commissions. Any productive author should have writings that are not marketable as a book, but they would make for a wonderful internet resource. Prophetic newsletters have always been profitable venture. They typically provide readers with free news items, while at the same time they motivated people to buy more in-depth books advertised in the pages of the newsletter.
Support Your Favorite Prophecy Web Site
I give intercessory prayer the most credit for the site being so blessed. I firmly believe the prayers of fellow saints are what has allowed RR to grow into a dominate web presence. I would rather receive an email that says “I’m praying for you” than one that says, “The checks in the mail.”
I do have to admit the five main accounts that make up Rapture Ready have not been cheap to operate. For the third time within a few months I’ve had to upgrade the bandwidth of raptureready.com.
Because of the site’s popularity and frequent use by local churches as a reference, the decision was made last week by yours truly to spend around $1,200 to have all the main articles given a professional spelling and grammar check. It burns me up when I get emails from scholarly Christians who tell me about errors they located, but they never bother to point them out.
The Time Magazine article provided for an excellent opportunity to test the data flow limits of the site. During the last week of June, RR used 65 gigabytes of bandwidth. I don’t foresee any problems developing the next time a major publication features the site, but it’s clear RR won’t be able to handle the super event-the rapture.
When the Big “R” takes place, the lack of bandwidth is going to kill prophecy sites left and right. Forget about the Antichrist ordering them to be shutdown. When the accounts surpass their monthly gigabyte quotas, their web host will automatically disable them.
I have no idea where a person could go to arrange for bandwidth that would be in thousands of gigabytes. I think you would have to directly employ the services of IBM or some other large technology firm to reach those numbers.
If the key domains could just survive a few hours of attack by information disparate people, I can easily see a hundred Rapture Ready mirrors sites popping up all over the cyber landscape (raptureready1.com, raptureready2.com, raptureready3.com…). The only way to allow for the mass reproduction to take place would be to have raptureready.com and Raptureme.com on dedicated servers. This is something I’ve been constantly praying over.
I have a multitude of ideas for reaching out to people with the end-time message of Jesus’ soon return, but my resources are extremely limited. I normally spend thousand of dollar each year out my own pocket on the site. I’ve often said, “The money it takes to run Rapture Ready is probably equal to what your average Christian ministry spends on bubble wrap.”
I fully realize Rapture Ready’s success is based almost entirely on the fact most Christians are lacking in their commitment to advance the Kingdom of God. On a monthly basis the number of people that support the site financial is less than one in 10,000. This low ratio is the same for nearly all works of God.
If you’re interested in helping please send your donations to: Rapture Ready; 1011 W 31 Ave; Bellevue, NE 68005. We now have a PayPal account at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Palestinian’s Demonic Cult of Death
The Israeli army has released a photograph of a toddler dressed as a suicide bomber that it says was discovered in a Palestinian militant's house in the West Bank city of Hebron.
The army said troops found the photograph in a family album while searching the house of a wanted Palestinian militant. It shows a boy who appears to be younger than two years old standing up in a baby suit and wearing a small explosives belt with red wires attached. He also wears a red headband similar to those worn by Palestinian militants. The army did not release the name of the family or say whether it thought the bomb-belt was real.
The photo’s publication in Israeli newspapers triggered a war of words between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. At first the Palestinian leadership tried to claim that Israel had faked the image.
"What is obvious is that Palestinians are feeding the hatred of Jews and Israelis to their children at the earliest possible age," said David Baker, an official in the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Palestinian officials dismissed it as a propaganda trick.
"This is cheap Israeli propaganda. They are using this photo to justify Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people and to go on with their occupation of the Palestinian territories," Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said. "These photos can easily be forged and distributed, and this has been done by the Israeli media several times before."
Because their have been plenty of other example of Palestinians Children dressing as suicide bombers at school ceremonies and rallies, there was no getting around the photograph’s authenticity. After that denial strategy failed, the Palestinians then began to say the photo was simply a joke.
The western liberal media, like usual, played hard-to-convince. They wanted the army to take a group of reporters to the house to verify the photograph. This was not possible because Hebron was a "closed military zone" from which journalists were barred.
There really shouldn’t be any great mystery surrounding this grotesque photo. Comprehending the sick nature of the imagery should be as simply as identifying pornography-you know it when you see it. If the stress of war has caused the Palestinians to start dressing their children up as suicide bombs, I think it’s time they concede defeat.
Making The Pages Of Time Magazine Is Small Potatoes
Whenever Rapture Ready is linked or referenced by some large media publication, I normally don't make any mention of the event in my commentary. It’s not my thing to dwell on issues of recognition. Because there are some points I’d like to make about the media’s coverage of the end times, I’ve decided to bring up this week’s Time Magazine article.
There are plenty of people that would gladly break the 6th, 7th, and 9th commandments to get featured by a magazine like Time. I for one have lost track of all the publications that have mentioned the RR site.
The main reason why I’m not planning to order the gold embossed edition of this week’s issue of Time is that my focus is on an even bigger media storm that will make the 9/11 terrorist attack seem like ancient history.
When the big event takes place, it won’t be just one source that will be reporting on the subject. After the pre-trib rapture occurs, every radio; TV; newspaper; and magazine around the world will have continuous coverage of the post-rapture turmoil. Even seemingly unrelated magazines like Auto World and Dog Fancy will have special articles about the rapture. “What To Do Insurance Wise if An Unmanned Car Run Into You” and “Adopting A Rapture Orphaned Pet”
When the “blessed hope” takes place, everyone left behind will become participants in one of history’s greatest news event. Most of them will have a very limited understanding of what has transpired.
I firmly believe, the only real source of information will be the internet. I’ve said this before, when there are generally less than 5,000 copies of any one prophetic book available for sale, they’re all going to instantly disappear from bookshelves.
I’ve been in phone contact with several of my friends about this story in Time magazine. Several of them have wondered if God is using the Left Behind books and the unusual coverage by liberal media outlets, like T-I-M-E, to sound a final warning cry before the rapture and the tribulation begins.
Time Magazine has a circulation of 23 million subscribers, and according to their online search archive, this is the first time this magazine has done a major article on the Left Behind book series. It could very well be that these writers of the article are unknowingly helping to realize the Great Commission – a key end time component.
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Mat 24:14 KJV)
The EU And The Number 10
Bible prophecy is something that is always in the evolving stage. Because world events can take many years to develop, a prophetic watcher is never at a loss to find some bit of news that relates to eschatology.
Like all news, prophecy has various levels of importance. You have some events that only generally apply to the end times, and you have other events that have a direct relationship to the last days.
Last week there was a surge of end time related events, and one news item out of Europe really caught my attention. Romano Prodi, the European Commission president, announced a shock plan to shake-up his team, creating a new inner cabinet to push through reforms.
He wants to form an inner core of 10 vice-presidents, concentrating on what he calls a limited number of essential tasks. That would leave many of the existing 20 commissioners relegated to an outer team, which would meet only once or twice a month to set political strategy.
The European Union is in the process of adding ten new members to the club house. All ten are due to join the EU by 2004, with talks over details due to be concluded by the end of this year.
It’s very obvious you can’t have 25 or more political leaders running a single organization. There needs to be a head honcho to make the final decision on divisive issues. You also can not have an endless bureaucracy, and that’s where Prodi’s plan for a 10 member inner cabinet comes in. This is also where Rev 17:12-13 seems to pick up the storyline.
“And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.”
If we were to see an inner core of 10 leader arise in Europe, I say it’s time to pull the kids out of summer school, and climb the nearest hill with suitcase in hand. I’m kidding you folks, but only slightly.
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