Cure for The Fear Pandemic

By Heather Walton

About 20 years ago, shortly after I became a Christian, I was participating in some job training. One day we took a lunch break at a local outdoor food court. As we ate, a bee took an interest in my food and wouldn’t leave me alone. I was terrified of insects, especially the stinging type, so I began panicking like a 3-year-old. One of my fellow trainees, a middle-aged Jewish woman, looked at me pointedly and said, “You know, I’m really surprised that someone with your great faith would be so scared of a little bee.”

At that moment, I was stung with such conviction that I determined that I would no longer fear insects, and to this day, I have succeeded. My fear had ruined my ability to enjoy lunch, but more than that, it had marred my testimony to an unbelieving friend.

A pastor told a story of a family taking a car trip in which a bee decided to ride along. One of the children was shrieking in terror, when his father decided to intervene. The father caught the bee in his hand, took the sting, and then let the bee continue to fly around the car. He assured his child that there was nothing more to fear, since he had already taken the stinger. The pastor likened this father to our Lord, who took the sting of death for those who trust in Him, that we might not fear the sting of death.

How many of us are doing just that, though? We are living in fear of so many things today:

  • a microscopic virus that could make us sick and has less than 1% chance of killing us
  • violent crime
  • losing our livelihood
  • losing our savings
  • being shamed for wearing/not wearing a mask
  • losing our civil liberties
  • who will win the election
  • being forced to take a vaccine
  • what the next big development of 2020 will be

Add to the list any personal fears we each carry, and it can be really overwhelming.

I’ve been considering a few questions lately:

What’s more important — surviving or living?

First, what’s more important — surviving or living? If I have to live in a bubble in order to stay alive, is that really living? If I have to fear every little thing when I walk out of my house and every little thing that comes into my house, is that really living? If I am missing out on relationships, is that really living? Would I rather live long or would I rather live well?

I’ve also pondered why this particular illness is the ONE that has us all paralyzed and isolated. We’ve never done anything like this before, as far as shutting down so systematically and for so long. Other illnesses and activities have killed far more people, but went virtually unnoticed. What’s the difference?

Part of the problem today, I think, is that we are so entitled as Americans. We believe that we simply should live to be very old and that we should have our needs provided for us. We expect life to be safe and sterile, and current events don’t fit our expectations.

I look at America today and, technological advances aside, I doubt our ancestors would recognize us. Think about it: People boarded ships, risking illness, starvation, and death, to come to America. Pioneers trekked across the country on foot and in wagons, risking life and limb, to make a better life for themselves and their posterity. America has been known for its independent spirit. Americans have historically been leaders who took risks to advance and rise above circumstances. Yet, here we are, allowing our country to be brought to a screeching halt by a microscopic organism that is not nearly as likely to affect us as the dangers our patriot predecessors faced.

At the turn of the 20th century, the average life expectancy was mid-forties, meaning I personally probably would have gone onto glory by my age if I had lived during that time. Today, we expect — even demand — to live twice that long. The average coronavirus death happens to those over the average life expectancy, and though every death is sad, it seems presumptuous for us to expect to cheat death. With the exception of two people in history (Enoch and Elijah), every single person has died or will die, barring the rapture. God has determined every one of our days before even one of them came to be, so for us to think we can come up with a humanistic solution to the problem of death is utterly prideful and foolish.

We are creating a generation of germaphobes and hypochondriacs. We need to remember that we shouldn’t fear death so much as we should fear and revere the One who determines how we spend eternity.

Another area of fear relates to our liberty. There are people threatening America’s freedoms, people who violate the Constitution in the name of peace and safety and people who push a Marxist agenda. Many of us know we need to stand against this, yet we are afraid to do so. We fear legal penalties, social stigma, family safety, and more. We would do well to look at the example of our nation’s founders. They put it all on the line for their families and their descendants. They risked all of this for us, people who were not yet born, but would benefit from their willingness to sacrifice. How would they feel, knowing we have taken this freedom so for granted that we don’t mind giving it up?

Let’s take it a step further: How must God feel toward us, knowing that He created our bodies to be resilient and our brains to be wise, yet we are so fearful? How must He feel, knowing that He sent His precious Son to die for us, that we may have the abundant, eternal life, yet we are so caught up in the physical existence? How must he feel, knowing that He died to set us free, never again to be enslaved, yet we willingly submit ourselves to multiple yokes of slavery? How must He feel, seeing us shaking our fists, kicking our legs, writhing in anger and fear, and demanding long life, prosperity, and security, when He has all of those things laid up for us, just not in the form we demand?

There are at least 100 verses that tell us not to fear. Why?

  1. God is on His throne.
  2. He is never taken by surprise.
  3. He has promised never to leave or forsake us.
  4. He has our best interest in mind.
  5. He takes care of the lilies and the birds, and will certainly take care of us.
  6. He loves us.
  7. He is our father and we are His children.
  8. He determined our times and places, and knew all of our days before even one came to be.
  9. He gave us a spirit of power and a sound mind.
  10. He has promised us the abundant life.
  11. Our eternal life is secure if we trust in Him.
  12. He delights to take care of us.
  13. He will provide for us in the midst of our enemies.
  14. He will not allow evil to triumph.
  15. Nothing can separate us from His love.
  16. He is the One with the power over life and death.
  17. Greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world.
  18. He will uphold us with His righteous right hand.
  19. He has already told us how it ends. Spoiler: He wins and we get the spoils.
  20. He has prepared a place for us.
  21. We are already seated with Him in heaven.
  22. He has freed us from slavery.
  23. He has taken away the sting of death.
  24. He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear.
  25. He is in control!

I could go on forever …

If you’re a Christ follower and you’re fearful or anxious, this is understandable, especially given the uncertainty we currently face, yet the Lord has given us the remedy:

… do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

This is the believer’s prescription for peace. It’s not necessarily easy, but it is attainable.

If you don’t yet know the Lord, then no wonder you are anxious or concerned; not only is this life precarious, but your eternity is unsettled. I have good news: That can change today!

Simply acknowledge that you are a sinner, meaning you agree with God that you’ve done bad things, and that you have offended Him with those actions. Because of this, you don’t deserve to spend eternity in His presence. However, God sent His Son, Jesus, to live as a man, to identify with our weaknesses, to live a perfect life, and to die an atoning death, not for His own sins, because He was sinless, but for our sins. Accept that payment for your sins and transfer your allegiance from this world and your flesh to Him. Commit to allowing Him to be in charge of your life from here on out. Confess Him as your Lord, knowing that He died for your sins and rose from the dead, confirming that He is God and that He has authority to forgive sins and power to give you eternal life. When you do, He will save you and begin the process of sanctifying you, which means making you a more Christlike person. Your eternity will be secure, and you will be reconciled to Him. This will give you peace, joy, and comfort, no matter what circumstances come your way. Out of response for what He has done, get plugged into a local congregation, get baptized, read the Bible, pray, and serve others, all in order to know Him better and to glorify God to others, all because you’re grateful for His free gift. We can’t earn any of this; we simply accept it and it’s ours.

A right relationship with God, one in which we believe His promises are true and that He has our best interest in mind, is the cure for the fear pandemic.

July 4, 2020 … The Last Birthday?

My basic training picture from the summer of 1989. I was 17 years old.

I was an oddly patriotic kid. Growing up in the 1970s and 80s, under the continual threat of the Soviet Union launching a nuclear attack or invading our land. Movies like Red Dawn and The Day After made a strong impression on me, and I wondered if someday we would face an attempted totalitarian takeover or a nuclear holocaust.

During my senior year of high school, my oddly patriotic spirit was intrigued by the opportunity to serve my country. While I was still in high school, I raised my right hand and vowed to defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I began going to weekend drills in January 1989, and left for basic training at Fort Dix, NJ, in June. The following February, I graduated from Defense Information School as a photojournalist. I returned to my reserve unit, the 100th Division, in Louisville, KY, and started college, only to be activated for Operation Desert Storm a few weeks into the semester. When my service was up in 1995, I didn’t leave my patriotism behind.

Though I grew up during the Cold War and served my country during an era governed by a different threat, I never actually feared that America would cease to be a nation. In the past few years, though, I started to wonder if the sun was getting ready to set on the American era. It seemed plausible, given that we have, in so many ways, descended headlong into depravity.

Yet there was always hope. I was never truly concerned that I’d live to see the end of the United States of America …

until now.

Tomorrow we “celebrate” our 244th birthday as a nation, and I wonder if it will be our last. We are fighting an unseen microscopic organism, with threats of other micro-enemies almost surely promised. We are witnessing our leaders trampling the Constitution, that same almost sacred document I swore to protect from all enemies, foreign and domestic. And, I believe worst of all, we are living through an undeclared civil war. We are literally destroying ourselves from within.

How do you celebrate a birthday under these conditions?

There’s a part of me that wants to petition the Lord of the universe to spare our nation, but I’m going to be honest: I don’t think He will. I think we’re getting what we deserve, as we have spent our entire history stained with the blood of innocent lives, whether through slavery, prejudice, senseless violence, or abortion. Whenever people decide that some human lives are worth less than others, God is not pleased.

I also believe the world is gearing up for the Great Tribulation, and that our days are numbered.

Recently I read Daniel 5. King Belshazzar received a supernatural message, directly from the hand of God:

MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN

Daniel 5:25

What did this mean? Perhaps America is being given the same message now:

MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

Daniel 5:26-28 NKJV

God has numbered the days of every kingdom and every person in that kingdom. Though we began, in many ways, as a God-honoring nation, we had some fatal foundational flaws. For the past 150 years, we have been on a downward moral slide in many other areas, and that has accelerated exponentially since the Bible and prayer were removed from schools and public life. Our days may be drawing to a close.

Is the handwriting on America’s proverbial wall?

We have been weighed in the balance. We have not practiced justice. We have not acted rightly. We deserve to be judged.

And we have been divided across most any imaginable or man-made division. We now have no idea who we are, or who the real enemy is.

Those of us who follow Christ know that Satan came to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He is a deceiver, a murderer, and a liar (Genesis 3:4-5; John 8:44; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Timothy 2:26; 1 Peter 5:8). Right now he is getting us to destroy ourselves from within.

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

Mark 3:24-25 ESV

We are likely more divided than ever, because we are divided over every conceivable issue. We are not divided on geographical lines and in danger of splitting the country in two parts; instead, we are divided in every state, in every city, and perhaps in every church and every family, and therefore in danger of destroying ourselves in our quest for justice and peace.

If we do celebrate another Independence Day, the likelihood that we will celebrate the birth of the country that our founding fathers fought for, that our grandparents fought for, or even that my generation fought for, is very unlikely. As an oddly patriotic American, I mourn that.

Yet there is cause to celebrate, though in a bittersweet way. As a Christian, I have put my trust in Christ alone, not in this country or this world. All of this will pass away, and maybe it will be sooner than any of us can imagine. Perhaps, for those of us who follow Christ, we will soon celebrate a true Independence Day in heaven, where we will be free from sin and death, where our mourning will be turned to dancing, where there is no more fear, no more deception, and no more unrest. The more I see what’s going on today, the more I long for my heavenly home, because my true citizenship is in heaven.

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Phillippians 3:17-21 ESV

If you don’t yet know Christ, I urge you to repent, to put your trust in Christ alone, that you may have assurance of salvation through a relationship with the Living God. If you have never accepted Jesus as Lord, you can do that right now. This takes an honest and genuine acknowledgement that you are a sinner, that you can’t do enough good deeds to be right with God because He is holy and we are unholy, that you need Him to save you, and that you are willing to follow Him and allow Him to govern your life. Baptism is the outward expression of this inward decision and should be done publicly and by immersion, in an act of obedience, submission, and testimonial to others. You also should read the Bible, pray, gather with other believers, and obey God’s commands, not to be saved, but out of gratitude for salvation, a desire to grow in your relationship with God, and in hopes of winning others to the Lord. Taking this step will provide a freedom that cannot ever be taken from you, no matter how bad things get in this world.

A Message to the Church in America

The Biblical book of Judges has much to speak into our culture today. Here are some thoughts the Lord impressed upon me as I studied this book.

Is the U.S. in End Times Prophecy? (Part 1)

By Heather Walton

I’ve heard many Biblical scholars say that the United States isn’t in End Times prophecy, but I’ve always questioned it. Recently I began to study Revelation more closely, and I believe it’s possible that they’re overlooking something significant. What I’m about to share, I hadn’t previously considered, but it seems to fit well, so please consider this perspective with an open mind, keeping in mind that this prophecy could have many interpretations. Regardless whether the U.S. fulfills this prophecy literally, the parallels are strong enough to motivate us to consider where to place our trust and how to respond to the present situation.

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.

Revelation 17:1-5 ESV

Here we are introduced to a beast and its rider, a great prostitute, who is wearing purple and scarlet, wearing gold and precious stones, seated on many waters, and full of immorality. This immoral woman has influenced the kings of the world and has become drunk with the blood of Christians.

When people think of America, what symbols come to mind: undoubtedly two of the top contenders are the Statue of Liberty and the American Flag. Lady Liberty sits on a major seaport, and New York itself is home to many waterways and American itself is surrounded by many waters, including the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Arctic Ocean.

The Statue of Liberty is The New Colossus, and Emma Lazarus wrote the poem by that name that adorns the statue’s pedestal. The last line is, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” This country is supposed to be a land of golden opportunity, and there even was a good deal of gold discovered here. As a result, many came seeking their fortunes.

America is among the richest nations in the world, its decadence is apparent, and its immoral influence is global. Consider that the U.S. supplies the majority of movies, and a supermajority of online pornography content to the world. There is a good deal of evidence that many of our national leaders have been involved in deep corruption, and that these leaders have shared that corruption with the most influential people in the world.

This part about being drunk with the blood of the saints might throw those off who see America as a Christian nation. Many argue that Christians aren’t persecuted in America. However, I wonder how many Christians have been oppressed, brutalized, and killed in America. Just think of the multitudes of slaves, civil rights activists, and black Americans who have been killed due to racism. Many of those people were Christians. Additionally, America sends aid to scores of countries that persecute Christians.

It’s interesting that this harlot depicted in Revelation is clothed in purple and scarlet. We know scarlet means red, but typically I think of purple as a pretty straightforward color. There are shades, of course, but purple is purple. However, a look at the Greek (“porphyry” — Strongs 4209) shows that this color can actually be translated “deep violet, deep scarlet, or deep blue.” Consequently, this immoral lady could be clothed in red and blue, which, of course, are two of our national colors.

When I saw her, I marveled greatly. But the angel said to me, “Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction.

Revelation 17:6-11 ESV

I believe this beast represents a kingdom that has been, ceased to be, and is revived in the last days, such as the Roman Empire or Babylon, but a newer version, because it is one of the seven, but also an eighth. Unbelievers will be enamored with the beast.

And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

Revelation 17:12-14 ESV

I believe these ten kings could be national leaders or organizational leaders of world organizations, as I stated in my article Are We in the End Times? (Part 2). These leaders will give their authority to the beast, this revived kingdom, and form one world government. Ultimately Jesus will prevail over this beast system.

And the angel said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.  And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.”

Revelation 17:15-18 ESV

Mystery Babylon, the prostitute, sits where there are many nations, ethnicities, and languages. America has long been called a “melting pot,” because of all of the ethnic backgrounds coming together on our soil. Not only that, but the Statue of Liberty sits in New York, where there are people of many backgrounds; furthermore, there the United Nations is headquartered there.

America has long been known for independence, nationalism, and self-sufficiency. Though these characteristics are declining, especially among the younger generation and liberals, there are many who still hold these ideals. I’ve heard quite a few people say that Americans will never allow anarchy, socialism, or an overthrow of our general liberties. But look at how many liberties have been given over in the past three months. Many churches remain closed, even though there is rioting in the streets and a lawless zone in Seattle. We are seeing the Marxist agenda unfold before our eyes, as division is incited by unseen powers who are under Satan’s control.

In order for one world government to emerge, American ideals, and America itself, must be destroyed. Right now we are seeing the beginnings of this unfold, as Americans are divided in multiple spheres: liberals vs. conservatives, Democrats vs. Republicans, pro-life vs. pro-abortion, black vs. white, mask wearer vs. non-mask wearer, Trump-groupie vs. Trump-hater, and yes, even Christian vs. Christian. These demonic forces are using Satan’s followers to incite discord, in order to bring about the demise of America, with the ultimate goal of one world government, which will be led by the antichrist. This Babylonian harlot, which could possibly be the United States, actually brings about her own demise by feeding immorality to the world, and experiencing the wrath of the world as a result.

How should we then live? Shouldn’t we be wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16)? We don’t know how many opportunities are left. For those of us who already have placed our trust in Jesus Christ as Lord, current events should motivate us more than ever to fulfill the Great Commission, inviting as many as possible to spend eternity in heaven. Realizing that, whether or not the U.S. is in end times prophesy, whether or not America is “Mystery Babylon,” our hope is not in this nation, or in this world, but in Christ alone, we need to do whatever it takes to rescue the perishing, to shed light on the darkness, to expose evil, and to glorify God.

For those who don’t yet know Christ, I urge you to repent, to put your trust in Christ alone, that you may have assurance of salvation through a relationship with the Living God. If you have never accepted Jesus as Lord, you can do that right now. This takes an honest and genuine acknowledgement that you are a sinner, that you can’t do enough good deeds to be right with God because He is holy and we are unholy, that you need Him to save you, and that you are willing to follow Him and allow Him to govern your life. Baptism is the outward expression of this inward decision and should be done publicly and by immersion, in an act of obedience, submission, and testimonial to others. You also should read the Bible, pray, gather with other believers, and obey God’s commands, not to be saved, but out of gratitude for salvation, a desire to grow in your relationship with God, and in hopes of winning others to the Lord.

Whatever decision God would have you make, whether it’s to enter a relationship with Him, to go deeper, or to evangelize and disciple others, please don’t put it off. It’s time to take our faith seriously. And if you happen to be reading this after the rapture of the church, know that, if you haven’t taken the Mark of the Beast, it’s not too late for you. You may be going through exceptionally hard times, but God is still on His throne, and He can sustain you. Simply trust Him. He alone is worthy of our trust!

Are We in the End Times? (Part 2)

By Heather Walton

This is the second article in a series about the End Times. I highly recommend reading this article first.

I enjoy studying prophesy because I love to see God’s plan unfold, and it’s exciting to think that Jesus Christ could come for the church in my lifetime, that I may not actually have to die in order to go to heaven. To think the God may have chosen me to live in this particular time in history is thrilling. In Acts 17:26, we learn that God determines when and where each of us fits into His eternal tapestry. I trust that He has placed me exactly in this time and place for a purpose, and I’ll consider it a bonus if I get to be one of the ones who gets to be taken to heaven while still alive.

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ESV

I have long wondered if I might be part of the generation that gets to be on the earth when the Rapture takes place, but recent world events have brought me to a greater degree of anticipation. Signs of the times have been appearing a long time, and we have been in the “last days,” since Jesus ascended into heaven. But I’m specifically referring to the very last days, the end times.

In Matthew 24, we are told that many people will be taken by surprise, simply living life, marrying, eating, drinking, working, going on with business as usual. And suddenly two people will be working together or lying down together and one will suddenly be gone. Jesus says that the hour he comes will be unexpected, but, like in the Jewish wedding custom, we should be able to tell when the time is getting close for the groom, Jesus, to come get His bride, the church.

Many people are looking hard for certain signs that will only be fully revealed after the rapture takes place, such as the identity of the antichrist or the mark of the beast. While there are some people and things that strongly appear to have the potential to fulfill these prophesies, I don’t believe we will be able to know for sure before the one who holds the man of lawlessness back, the Holy Spirit, is taken out of the world via the church’s disappearance from the earth in the rapture (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7).

The spirit of the antichrist has been at work since the Garden of Eden, when Satan said to Eve, “Did God really say that you can’t eat from any tree in the garden” (Genesis 3:1)? There are some noteworthy elements of this question. First, he got her to question God. Second, he subtly twisted God’s words, so that there was an element of truth, yet it was mixed with a lie. A truth mixed with a lie is a lie, because partial truth is no truth at all. Third, he took his question to Eve, rather than Adam, probably in part because she hadn’t heard directly from God; this was a way to get her to question God, as well as her husband. Fourth, this question was designed to get Eve to doubt God’s goodness, and to make her feel oppressed.

Satan followed up with, “He knows if you eat of it, you won’t surely die, but you will become like Him, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4). In other words, Eve, honey, He’s holding out on you. He’s oppressing you. In fact, he’s lying to you. He wants to keep all the power for Himself. But you deserve better, don’t you? You know, I have a solution: if you eat this fruit, you won’t die; on the contrary, you’ll be like God, and you can get out from under His oppressive yoke and get what’s due you. Doesn’t that sound good? Come on, darling, just one bite and you can be your own god.

He appealed to her emotions, he lied to her, and he created discontent in her, in order to compel her to action. He created a false gospel that we see alive and well today; he tempted her to believe that she could solve her own problems, in her own power, that she didn’t need God, and that she would not only escape the consequences God had laid out, but would instead be rewarded for going against God’s design. Not all who buy into these humanistic lies are atheists, but they operate in various degrees of functional atheism, depending on human solutions and achievements to solve the world’s problems. This, I believe, is the spirit of the antichrist that is in the world.

The mark of the beast is symbolized by the number 666 (Revelation 13:18). Since perfection in Scripture is symbolized by the number seven, six falls just short of that. Notice that Satan’s lies in the garden were close to the truth, but had a subtle difference, one you would have to be very attentive to notice. The devil is clever, “masquerading as an angel of light” (2 Thessalonians 11:14), and his tactics have an appearance of godliness, yet deny its power (2 Timothy 3:5). The doctrine of humanism fits this description well.

While humanism fits the principles of the spirit of the antichrist and the mark of the beast, I also believe there will be a literal man who culminates history by embodying the spirit of the antichrist, being possessed by Satan himself (Daniel 7:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; 1 John 2:18). I also believe that there will be a literal mark of the beast, which people will be required to have in order to buy and sell (Revelation 13:16-18; Revelation 19:20). I believe the antichrist is alive today and ready to step onto the world stage, and the technology to implement the mark of the beast is in development. I don’t know exactly who the antichrist is, or what the mark will be, but I can see several players emerging and multiple technological possibilities.

The books of Daniel and Revelation (Daniel 7:24; Revelation 13:1-18) tell us of 10 kingdoms, with 3 dominant kingdoms, and 1 leader emerging. People have long thought these 10 kingdoms are 10 countries, but I would like to propose a different possibility. I believe these 10 kingdoms may be 10 global organizations, committed to bringing about a unified governing body that will solve the world’s problems. There are multiple global organizations working toward a common goal of ushering in world peace, ending hunger and poverty, bringing about health reforms, lowering the population, creating imposed equality, reversing climate change, and creating a united human community. While these may sound like excellent goals, they propose humanistic means to meet humanistic ends.

The United Nations’ 2030 sustainable development goals, the pope’s Human Fraternity initiative, the World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset,” the World Health Organization’s Constitution, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s core beliefs, Babylon Health’s “accessible and affordable health care,” the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, the World Bank, the Open Society Foundation and the World Trade Organization are among the global players with a humanistic agenda. Many, if not all, see needs for global unity and collaboration in order to usher in an era of peace, equity, and health for all people.

The current worldwide health crisis provides an opportunity to advance the agenda of these and other likeminded organizations. The World Economic Forum published an article this week that detailed how the COVID-19 crisis can facilitate a “global reset.”

“We set up a new world order after World War II. We’re now in a different world than we were then. We need to ask, what can we be doing differently? The World Economic Forum has a big responsibility in that as well – to be pushing the reset button and looking at how to create well-being for people and for the Earth.”

Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/covid19-great-reset-gita-gopinath-jennifer-morgan-sharan-burrow-climate/

The global health situation has not actually changed the world, but has revealed what was already going on behind the scenes. Many refuse to see what’s taking place, or they see these initiatives as good. Again, there is an appearance of godliness. The problem is that humanistic solutions provide a false gospel, one that says we can save ourselves. They don’t require that we denounce faith in the god of our choice, even the true God, as long as that faith leaves room for us to also bow down to the gods of human achievement, personal entitlement, and political correctness, to name a few. The problem is that God refuses to share His glory with another. He is a jealous God, requiring our complete allegiance. Just as a loving parent doesn’t consider partial obedience to be true obedience, neither does our Creator consider partial allegiance to be acceptable worship.

Jesus said we are either for Him or against Him (Matthew 12:30). Those who are with Him, who truly follow Him, will spend eternity with Him, but those who deny Him or are lukewarm in their devotion will spend eternity separated from Him (Matthew 7:21; Matthew 10:33; John 3:16-18; Revelation 3:14-22). In light of this, we should examine ourselves. The time is short. Even if the rapture doesn’t take place anytime soon, though I believe it will, any of us could die at any time. That’s why those of us who know the Lord need to be intentional and passionate about sharing the Gospel and discipling others (Matthew 28:16-20; Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5) and who those who don’t yet know Him need to confess their sin, turn from their wicked ways (even though they may seem like “good” people), confess Jesus as Lord, and allow Him to guide their thoughts and decisions from now on (Acts 2:38; Acts 4:12; John 14:6; Acts 16:31; Titus 3:5; Romans 3:23; Romans 10:9-10).

Whether you’re reading this before or after the rapture of the church, it’s important to recognize that humanism doesn’t solve our problems because we don’t have the control we think we do. If there’s anything these times should teach us, it’s that we are not as powerful as we think we are. The only wise way to deal with this truth is to humbly accept it, and then to accept the grace God freely gives, to worship Him, and to serve others for their good and His glory.

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

Revelation 22:17 ESV

Are We in the End Times? (Part 1)

By Heather Walton

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you.  For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 ESV)

For many years, even centuries, people have been hypothesizing about the Lord’s return and other end times events. Some people living in the decades following Christ’s ascension had to be admonished to work and live their lives, rather than sitting on their roof tops, searching the skies for Jesus. But with recent world events, it’s natural to wonder if we truly are living in the last days.

No matter whether Christ returns in five minutes or 5 millennia, we should live as if his return is imminent, trying to win the lost and engaging in conduct worthy of the Gospel (Matthew 28:16-20; Philippians 1:27). In some ways, though, we should live as if he will not return in our lifetime: We need to contribute meaningfully to our families, communities, and society in whatever way he has gifted us (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; Hebrews 6:11-12; 1 Peter 4:10-11). We need to expend all our energies for God’s glory and purpose with all the zeal and talent we possess, being alert for every opportunity to better the world, to win the lost, and disciple those in our sphere of influence, while also being cognizant that this world is not our home, and eager for our Lord to return and take us to our eternal residence (Colossians 4:2-6; Ephesians 5:15-17).

In 1 Thessalonians 5, we are told both that the Lord will return like a thief in the night, and that believers are not in darkness, and therefore that day should not overtake us like a thief. While we won’t know the day and the hour of Christ’s return, we should recognize the season (Matthew 24; 1 Thessalonians 5:4). Therefore, it is important to know what the Bible says about the end times. Scholars have debated various eschatological positions for centuries, and most of them were much smarter than me; however, I believe God has made Scripture understandable to the simple. Each Christian has the Holy Spirit living within, and therefore is fully equipped to understand God’s Word (John 14:26; John 16:7-11; 1 Corinthians 2:7-13).

I interpret Scripture literally, unless it is obviously figurative. For example, when Jesus said, “This is my body (Matthew 26:26; Luke 22:19),” or “I am the door (John 10:9),” I believe that to be figurative. When he said, “Nobody comes to the Father, except through me (John 14:6),” I believe that’s literal. So, while some Christians disagree, I believe in a premillennial interpretation of end-times events. My approach to answering the question, “Are we in the End Times?” is to examine current events in light of Biblical prophecy. I realize that we have the propensity to fit things in to fit our own preconceptions, so it is important both to recognize that and to seek out primary sources as often as possible.

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV)

Without hesitation or qualification, I can say all of these things are true of our present culture. It is important to understand this idea of having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. I believe this is evidenced myriad ways in the world today, but likely the prominent manifestation is secular humanism, which has evolved from centuries past.

Humanism — an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.

Oxford Dictionaries

Humanism, which the signers of the Humanist Manifesto I referred to as “religious humanism,” has some fine-sounding ideals and lofty goals, but denies the existence of God, and therefore has the appearance of godliness, while denying its power. Humanism puts us in God’s position, giving us the responsibility for our destiny and the glory for our accomplishments. Humanism has infiltrated every corner of our culture, including the church. We are so indoctrinated in it that we would be hard-pressed to recognize its pervasive influence on our minds.

There are various manifestations of humanism throughout the globe, including the agendas of a number of worldwide organizations, such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Economic Forum, ID2020, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, Gavi (The Vaccine Alliance), UNICEF, the World Bank, and more. Each of these organizations has visions and missions that sound reasonable and desirable, yet they create and try to accomplish those goals without considering God. They have a form of godliness but deny its power.

There are more religious forms of humanism in the world today, such as Pope Francis’ interpretation of Catholic theology, which some Catholics fear is leading away from traditional Catholicism and toward one world religion. The pope seems to support much of the U.N.’s ideology, while being silent on theological issues long settled in the Catholic Church, such as abortion and contraception. The pope is a proponent of the Human Fraternity, a document “for world peace and living together,” which he co-signed with Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb. Part of this collaboration includes the Abrahamic Family House, “a beacon of mutual understanding, harmonious coexistence and peace among people of faith and goodwill,” consisting of a mosque, synagogue, church, and an educational building.

Pope Francis signs Human Fraternity Document

Organizations such as the Human Fraternity, the U.N., and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have an objective of world peace. While that is a noble-sounding goal, it’s important to define what they mean. The various organizations mentioned in this article have themes, including population control, climate control, vaccination, digital identification, elimination of poverty, equity, and unity. Again, these have the appearance of morality, and some of them are valid goals. However, the general perspective of the leaders of these organizations is humanistic, meaning they do not acknowledge God, but see humans as bearing total responsibility and possessing full power to carry out their self-made agendas.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:3, the Apostle Paul told us that when people say, “There is peace and security, then sudden destruction will come upon them … ” It is interesting to look at the objectives of these organizations in their own words. For example, the Document on Human Fraternity For World Peace and Living Together, penned by Pope Francis in February 2019, states the following:

We, who believe in God and in the final meeting with Him and His judgment, on the basis of our religious and moral responsibility, and through this Document, call upon ourselves, upon the leaders of the world as well as the architects of international policy and world economy, to work strenuously to spread the culture of tolerance and of living together in peace; to intervene at the earliest opportunity to stop the shedding of innocent blood and bring an end to wars, conflicts, environmental decay and the moral and cultural decline that the world is presently experiencing.

Pope Francis (Italics mine)

The United Nations has a similar mission:

The United Nations came into being in 1945, following the devastation of the Second World War, with one central mission: the maintenance of international peace and security

United Nations — What WE Do (Italics Mine)

In 2015, the U.N. launched an initiative called Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development . This reads like a blueprint for the New World Order, a utopian society where there is no more poverty or inequality, where everyone’s needs are met, where there are no more wars, where the planet’s resources are perfectly used and cared for, and where the nations are interconnected. Of course this sounds wonderful, and who could argue against these goals? However, the Lord told us:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so are my ways higher than your ways

    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)

The problem with the U.N.’s plans and the Pope’s plans is that they intend to reach these goals by humanistic means, rather than through an acknowledgement of God’s will and His power. They are trying to bring about things that God told us would not exist this side of heaven. Jesus told us that we would always have the poor with us (Matthew 26:11); therefore, though we should definitely work to alleviate poverty wherever we can, we know we cannot eradicate it. God told us that we would have wars and rumors of wars up until the end times, and that when we hear “peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come. Jesus told us that He is the only way to heaven (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5-6) and that we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14-16), so joining together with them in an attempt to bring about world peace will not work.

People have been speculating for two millennia that Christ would be back soon, but now everything is in place for that to be fulfilled, and I believe we are in the very last days. I don’t presume to know the day or the hour, but we are told, as believers, we should recognize the season, that we should not be caught unaware. the Bible tells us of a day when two people will be together and one will suddenly be gone. This is often referred to as the Rapture of the Church, which many people believe precedes the Great Tribulation (Daniel 9; Daniel 12; Matthew 24; Revelation 13). Some interpret the Rapture as happening in the middle of the Great Tribulation. Either way, there appears to be no prophesy that remains to be fulfilled before the Rapture and the Tribulation take place, and the global powers seem to be working toward a manmade world peace as we speak. They have either manufactured or taken advantage of world events to bring about the perception of a need for us to unite against a common enemy. If that doesn’t work, they may have a backup plan of causing such strife that they need to institute martial law, and there may be other factors at play in the very near future.

There is much evil going on behind the scenes. We are told to expose the deeds of darkness (Ephesians 5:11). I have done a good deal of research about the world situation, and I intend to continue writing about it on this blog.

If you’re a believer, I encourage you not to be afraid. The Lord has wonderful things in store for His children.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—

1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV

God challenges us to share the Gospel, in season and out, as we see the day approaching, and we are to sober minded, fulfilling the ministry God has given us (2 Timothy 4:2-5). We are to serve God with everything in us, presenting our lives as an offering, and we will be rewarded when we enter His presence (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

If you’re not yet a believer, I urge you to repent, to put your trust in Christ alone, that you may have assurance of salvation through a relationship with the Living God. If you have never accepted Jesus as Lord, you can do that right now. This takes an honest and genuine acknowledgement that you are a sinner, that you can’t do enough good deeds to be right with God because He is holy and we are unholy, that you need Him to save you, and that you are willing to follow Him and allow Him to govern your life. Baptism is the outward expression of this inward decision and should be done publicly and by immersion, in an act of obedience, submission, and testimonial to others. You also should read the Bible, pray, gather with other believers, and obey God’s commands, not to be saved, but out of gratitude for salvation, a desire to grow in your relationship with God, and in hopes of winning others to the Lord.

Awakened from Slumber: Thoughts from a Privileged American

By Heather Walton

I grew up in a home that was as colorblind as realistically can be. I didn’t have much interaction with people of different backgrounds; however, I knew that racism and prejudice were unacceptable. I realize that we naturally have biases, and we need to acknowledge that, and at times even to fight against those preconceptions. I owe my mother a debt for her teaching and example. My children do as well, because I’ve been able to model this for them and I am thankful that her views have blessed two generations so far.

While this is a tremendous foundation, I have long tried to understand what I should be doing, beyond seeing everyone in the human race as equal and deserving of respect, as well as teaching my children to do the same. I try to write things that bring injustice to people’s attention. I pray about it (albeit not enough). I try to learn from those who experience injustice and marginalization, but they don’t always want to talk. Maybe they feel it’s futile because there’s no way they can make me understand their experience.

Even so, I know I haven’t done enough. What little I have done hasn’t been sufficient. Most of this is due to ignorance, but I can’t let myself off the hook, because it’s on me to learn. I’ve also been silent at times when I needed to speak up. Frankly, it’s easy to put something out of mind that is out of sight. For these things, I apologize.

Frankly, it’s easy to put something out of mind that is out of sight.

It’s hard to know what to do, because I know that whatever I do to try to do may offend someone. I might do it wrong. I might inadvertently be insensitive. I might have the opposite effect than I intend. I realize that’s a possibility even in writing this article, but I am risking it, in the hopes that it will make a difference for good. That’s why, if you’re a person of color, I need you to educate me.

Last night, I accompanied my daughter to the protest in our city. That may seem crazy, given that the night before there were shots fired. But in hopes that the protests would be peaceful, and because, even though she’s an adult, I’m still a momma bear, and because I really do want to show solidarity, I rode along. However, we didn’t make it to the protest because as we were walking toward it, teargas was deployed. Don’t get me wrong: teargas doesn’t scare me; I was in the army and have been gassed. I’m not eager to experience that again, but I would do it to defend injustice. I knew it was in response to violence, though, and I do not want to be a part of that if at all possible.

My daughter tried to explain to me why violence may be necessary, and I’m trying to understand. I think I get it to some extent: People say they’ve tried to get our attention — those of us who are privileged — by peaceful means, but we didn’t listen. Sometimes when people aren’t heard when they ask quietly or respectfully, they feel the need to talk more boldly or loudly. I can understand that, but at the same time I can’t.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that, and “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate… Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

“Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?”. Book by Martin Luther King Jr., 1967.

Jesus said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand” (Mark 3:25). Many who have been discriminated against or otherwise been the recipients of injustice may not feel like we live in the same house. But I have to ask, what happens if we destroy ourselves from within? And what can we do to prevent this? These are genuine questions. What ways can a privileged American make this situation better? For those of us who want to know, we value the input of those who have experienced racial injustice. And the only way for us to truly know is for you to tell us.

I welcome your comments.

A Conflict of Liberty?

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

There is a divide in the church today. Unfortunately, this statement could likely be made at any time in history past, present, or future, until the Lord returns.

I just read an article about a local megachurch, in which they had taken a survey of their members. According to the pastor, there was about an equal split between members who believe they should meet in person immediately, those who think they should wait the situation out a little longer, and those who believe they should wait till there’s a cure or vaccine for COVID-19. Right after reading that, I read a post from a Christian leader who believes it’s cowardly for pastors not to immediately open, especially given that the President said he supports churches opening right away, even though some governors have kept them closed or placed lots of restrictions on them; she was discouraged that many pastors elected to remain closed.

Our small church did open today, allowing for following CDC recommendations, while not demanding churchgoers follow these protocols. We had some folks in attendance, as well as some watching online.

Christian seems to rise against Christian, some claiming we need to stand up for our rights, while others say that doing so violates Biblical principles. While I agree that the Bible trumps the Constitution, I also would posit that the Constitutional framers did so with Biblical principles in mind. Initially I asserted the view that we should lay down our First Amendment rights for the greater good of protecting our brother from harm; however, I’ve appreciated some contrary perspectives, and, while I don’t claim to have a perfect answer, I want to propose consideration of these thoughts:

  1. If someone slaps me on the right cheek, I can offer him the left; however, if someone slaps all of us on the right cheek, or if slapping me on the right cheek could lead to abuse of others, I should strongly consider standing up for our collective rights.
  2. I should examine my motives; if I’m driven by fear, greed, unrighteous anger, or any other sinful attitude, I should reconsider my position. Once my motives are pure, then I need to establish the best plan of action and follow it.
  3. What precedents are we setting by allowing our Constitutional rights to be infringed upon? How will our response impact future generations? We need to be wary of giving up rights that our God-fearing forefathers and generations of military members secured for us, many of them giving their lives, and all of them being willing to do so. More importantly, we need to prayerfully consider what is worth giving up the freedoms for which Christ set us free. We have been commanded not to be subject again to a yoke of slavery. The enemy of our souls can make a very convincing argument, and we need to be vigilant and discerning, lest we be led astray.
  4. What effect do our actions and inactions have on those who witness them? What will most glorify God to the watching world? There is a prevailing thought that Christians need to be compliant, docile, and unassuming at all times. Jesus called us to be peacemakers, not peacekeepers. Some people believe that, since Jesus was described as meek, we are not to assert ourselves. However, meekness isn’t weakness. Meekness is power under control, not a lack of power. Jesus stood up against oppression and injustice. He spoke out against the Pharisees, who placed unbearable yokes on others, and against the moneychangers, who took advantage of others. He did not gloss over sin, but lovingly confronted transgressors. Should we not follow in His steps?
  5. How has our culture shaped our view of what it means to be loving? Is being nice the same thing as being kind? In this era of political correctness, we have been brainwashed into trying to please everyone and to avoiding actions that may offend others. To love another means to want his or her best. I would never condone shaming someone who doesn’t feel comfortable returning to church, to work, or to society because they are in a high-risk group; we are called to prudence. However, if we give the impression that the only way to be loving is to watch church at home, to keep our businesses closed, to wear a mask everywhere, and to support the governing authorities’ every decision, we may not be giving the full picture. Isn’t it also loving to visit the sick (provided we are healthy and not caregivers for others in a high-risk group), to contribute to our neighbors’ livelihoods by utilizing their businesses, to contribute to society with meaningful work, to uphold truth, to confront error, and to preserve our countrymen’s God-given rights?
  6. Do our actions show favoritism to any person or group? It seems that we are listening to the counsel of some medical professionals but not others. There are plenty of solid medical personnel, some of whom use conventional medicine and others who use alternative methods, who say that the recommended measures are inaccurate and even counterproductive. Even though many are using recent data or reliable research to verify their stance, not only are they being discounted, many are effectively being silenced, because their recommendations don’t fit the prevailing narrative put forth by many in government and the mainstream media. We also seem to be showing favoritism to those vulnerable from a health standpoint, to the exclusion of those vulnerable from an economic or spiritual standpoint.
  7. What is the highest authority in our country or state? It is not the president or governor, and it definitely isn’t any worldwide organization or philanthropist. The Constitution guides our government, and the government is “by the people, of the people, and for the people.” Who are the people? The citizens of this country. When governors, presidents, legislators, or judges violate the Constitution, we need to question whether obedience is necessary. If we follow the Constitution, we are not breaking the law, even if we are told that we are.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, a masterpiece of logic, morality, and theological exposition, as applied to the issue of segregation is the source of the famous words, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Do you know the audience of this letter? Dr. King addressed this apologetic for “civil disobedience” to white pastors who thought he had gone too far by encouraging his followers to break the law. He echoed Augustine, saying that an “unjust law is no law at all.” He said that a just law is in harmony with moral law, that any law that degrades human personality is unjust. We must ask ourselves if quarantining the healthy is in harmony with moral law. We must consider whether destroying people’s livelihoods, keeping them from attending church, and imposing social isolation, especially in the midst of compelling evidence that this virus isn’t a serious threat to otherwise healthy people, is the correct coarse of action.

Pastors and other Christian leaders are called to be countercultural. We are to obey the authority placed over us, but in this country our highest authority is the Constitution, which was primarily written from a Biblical worldview. The Apostle Paul appealed to Caesar in the face of injustice; in America, the equivalent would be to appeal to the Constitution. Our Constitution says that nobody should prohibit the free exercise of religion, of speech, the press, or the right to peaceably assemble (Amendment I). Furthermore, “no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (Amendment XIV).

Some of you live in open states, and may wonder what all the fuss is about. Churches in Washington State and Minnesota have unjustly been kept from operating, and many still fear government reprisal. This morning, the Chicago mayor was reported to have sent police to shut down a church gathering in her city. Churches, daycares, and small businesses in Kentucky have far too many restrictions to practically operate. Everywhere the mainstream media mafia perpetuates fear and censors informed citizens in an attempt to control the narrative.

Christians, we must not be silent. Pastors, part of your calling is to admonish the flock according to Scripture and to equip us for participation in all spheres of life, including the media and the government. Please challenge us to speak into the culture, rather than to assimilate. Please give us permission not to be nice, but rather to be holy and effective at fulfilling the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. Please activate us in the spiritual war that has the whole world in its grip. Please don’t sit down and shut your doors. Please don’t bow to those who rule unjustly, no matter how “well-intentioned” they may seem. Please bow only to God, and refuse to allow His commands to be twisted into irrelevance.

In the words of Dr. King, “it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends … it is just as wrong, or even more, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends.” Let us be neither complacent, nor arrogant. Let us not use our liberty as an excuse for sin, but also let us not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. We were bought with a price. It was for freedom that Christ set us free. Let us walk in that freedom, for the good of our country and our fellow countryman.

It’s all about control

Rosie the RiviterBy Heather Walton

We need to protect the most vulnerable.

We must protect our Constitutional rights.

Where is my unemployment?

I will not wear a mask!

It’s my body, and my choice.

Everyone needs to take the vaccine before we can get back to normal.

I will not take a vaccine.

Answer the phone when the health department calls, and cooperate with the contact tracers.

I will not answer the phone. In fact, I’m not doing any updates on my phone and I’ll leave it at home when I go out. 

You don’t value my life!

You don’t value my livelihood!

Since the beginning of the human race, it’s been about control. Did God really say you should not eat of any tree in the garden? … He knows that when you eat of it, you’ll be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3). In other words, He is in control, but if you eat this fruit, you can be in control.

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but the enemy of old, Satan, sure wants us to think it is (Ephesians 6:12). We get angry because we want to be in control. We fear because we want to be in control.

Guess what: we are NOT in control! We never have been. It’s an illusion. God is in control, but He has temporarily allowed Satan to be in control of certain aspects of the world (Matthew 4:8-9; Luke 4:5-6; John 14:30; John 12:31-33; Ephesians 2:1-3). I believe that the “spirit of the antichrist” which has been in the world since the beginning, is largely a spirit of control (1 John 2:18; 1 John 4:3). Satan himself, as Lucifer, fell from heaven because he wanted to be in control, rather than trusting God to be in control (Isaiah 14:12-15; Luke 10:18).

When we allow God to be in control of our lives (Romans 10:9-11) by accepting Jesus as Lord (master, one in charge), we gain a peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). The very things we desire to have control for — peace, provision, victory over death — we gain by giving up control. It seems like a paradox, doesn’t it? However, it is true.

The spirit of the antichrist may soon be revealed as world leaders navigate this global crisis (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 1 John 2:18). They have a global answer: They believe we need to seek world peace through a concept called globalism. They believe all people need to unite to end world hunger, poverty, inequality, illiteracy, “overpopulation,” and so on; however, God called us to scatter, to fill the earth and subdue it. Granted, our greed has tempted us to become bad stewards of the earth and to oppress people. That doesn’t change the fact that God wills us to populate, to work, and to be diverse. At the tower of Babel, the people wanted to stick together. They defied God by building a tower, not so they could reach heaven, but so they could keep from wandering too far. God had told them to scatter, but they reasoned that if they could build a tall enough tower, they could make sure that they could all see it, and that way they wouldn’t go too far. They would stay one global community, in defiance of God’s clear command to spread out. He confounded their language so that they would not remain together (Genesis 11).

Today, some of the world’s most powerful people want to control the world once again by uniting us all in a global community. This global crisis calls for a global solution, they say. They want control, pure and simple. Their motives may look noble and pure, but in reality, they don’t trust God. Did God really say? Is there really even a God? Don’t you know that we can do anything we set our minds to? 

Many people believe would agree with Bill Gates:

“I’ve been very lucky, and therefore I owe it to try and reduce the inequity in the world. And that’s kind of a religious belief. I mean, it’s at least a moral belief,” said Gates. “I agree with people like Richard Dawkins that mankind felt the need for creation myths. Before we really began to understand disease and the weather and things like that, we sought false explanations for them. Now science has filled in some of the realm – not all – that religion used to fill.” (Rolling Stone, March 13, 2014)

You see, if science is the answer, we can control that. We can’t control God, but we can, at least in some ways, control science. We can control what we understand, but we cannot understand God because His ways are so far above our ways that they are beyond comprehension (Isaiah 55:8-9). We don’t like that. We want to understand. We want to know. We want to control.

We cannot control, but we can put our lives in the hands of the One who is in control, the One who can give us the abundant life now and eternal life when we die (Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 24:15; John 3:16-17; John 10:9-10).

It seems to me that so many of us are addressing the things we can’t control and are angry at those who seem to hinder our control. In the end, though, we are all going to die and our fortunes will be given to another (Psalm 39:6; Psalm 49:10; Proverbs 27:1; Luke 12). We aren’t guaranteed our next breath or our next paycheck, no matter how hard we try. We should take good care of our bodies, we should work hard to earn a living, and we should try to keep our country free from tyranny. However, we also must recognize that our days are numbered and the world can change in a moment’s notice. We could literally be ushered into the presence of our Creator at any moment. We need to be ready.

The one thing we can do to control our future is to put our lives and our eternity into the hands of the One who possesses ultimate control.

If you have never accepted Jesus as Lord, you can do that right now. This takes an honest and genuine acknowledgement that you are a sinner, that you can’t do enough good deeds to be right with God because He is holy and we are unholy, that you need Him to save you, and that you are willing to follow Him and allow Him to govern your life. Baptism is the outward expression of this inward decision and should be done publicly and by immersion, in an act of obedience, submission, and testimonial to others. You also should read the Bible, pray, gather with other believers, and obey God’s commands, not to be saved, but out of gratitude for salvation, a desire to grow in your relationship with God, and in hopes of winning others to the Lord. If you have any questions about that, reach out to a believer you know, begin fellowship with a local church, and/or reach out by filling out the contact form below.  

Conspiracy … or Prophecy?

dscf2042By Heather Walton

I’m not afraid to admit that I sound like a conspiracy theorist. Isn’t a conspiracy simply a secret plan by a group of people to do something harmful or to cover something up, or both? There seems to be a decent basis for this kind of thing going on right now.

Today there are many people inside and outside the church arguing about things like government overreach, vaccines, civil disobedience, masks, social distancing, governors, and the list goes on. But soon arguments will likely cease. The government is making arrangements to ensure that a vaccine is fast tracked and that everybody gets it. I’m not just talking about the U.S. government. There are many global players with common connections who are working on this effort. The United Nations is working on an initiative to bring about world peace by the year 2030. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has a small army of organizations working on vaccines that will ironically help the world to be less populated. (Does it seem counterintuitive that those who want to bring the population down are both asking us to stay at home to protect each other AND working on a vaccine to keep us from getting something that actually could take the world population down?) We are told that such a vaccine may be available by the end of 2020 and that the military is going to help get it out. Not only that, but in the meantime, we have contact tracers to help identify those with the virus and everybody they’ve been in contact with, so that all of those people who’ve potentially been infected can be tracked down, quarantined, and tested. And those who resist may be required by additional means. Those who can’t stay at home may even be separated from their families, even though they’ve already been around their families, who also will have to quarantine until they can be proven to not be infectious. There’s a lot about this pandemic that doesn’t make sense.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t be considerate of others, not by any means. I’m not saying that, if you feel you need to stay home, wear a mask, or take other precautions, that you’re living in fear and that you’re doing something wrong. If you’re in a risk group or otherwise feel you need to do this, then that is your right, and I don’t fault you for it. But I believe, if you’re in a high-risk group, you probably already were used to taking some of these kinds of precautions. And if you’re in a high-risk group and you don’t want to take those precautions, for whatever reason, I also respect your rights. I don’t say any of this to downplay how difficult this is on high-risk groups.

But given the fact that the mortality numbers do not appear to be substantially higher than other, similar infections, and that the overall death rate does not seem to have skyrocketed, and that the vast majority of COVID-19 deaths have been in people with comorbidities that would likely have been fatal when combined with other common infections, and that the majority of the population does not have significant risk of mortality or severe infection, the government’s response does not add up.

Unless, of course, it does.

If you’re trying to get a group of people to combine efforts, one of the best tactics is to identify a common enemy. If you’re trying to get all people everywhere to combine efforts, the enemy can’t be human. What better way to unite people than with a global health emergency?

How many of us have heard something along the lines of, “We’re all in this together,” or “We’re going to get through this together?” Everyday our governor says, and asks everyone (at home) to say this with him: “We’re going to get through this, and we’re going to get through this together.” I thought it was his thing, until I realized that it’s all over the place. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, “We are in this together – and we will get through this, together.” Not a bad sentiment,  but we really aren’t all in this together; instead we are social distancing, sequesters in our homes and getting most of our information from media, many of whom are literally reading from the same script.

But, I’m starting to believe the powers of this world mean it when they say “we’re all in this together,” as in “let’s all collaborate internationally on a solution to this pandemic, and while we’re at it, let’s just make some kind of massive worldwide collaborative organization to ensure we are prepared for whatever situation comes up next … Oh yeah, and we might as well make sure Bill Gates has a lot to say about whatever we come up with. After all, he’s obviously a medical expert.”

Why is this a problem? In Revelation, we are told that the end times will include one world government. God repeatedly told people to scatter and fill the earth. When they tried to remain united at Babel, He confused their language so that they would have to disburse. Now, because of their pride and atheism, they conspire to unite in defiance of God and what He stands for. Instead of seeking God in prayer and asking Him to deliver us from this worldwide emergency, they believe they have it under control and that they know better than God, that indeed they are god.

So now we Americans have had a compelling reason to give up the majority of our rights, our previously booming economy has been functionally destroyed, churches have been moved online, and we are preparing to start giving names of those we’ve been around in the past two weeks if we’ve tested positive. There are even apps for identifying contacts now.

On March 14, 2020, did any of us question the fact that the world seemed to change overnight? Yes, some did, but I think most of us didn’t. We believed the measures taken were necessary and would be short-term. Who among us really thought we would be looking forward to a promised “new normal” months or years from now? Who among us thought we would be wearing masks, social distancing, turning in names of our neighbors for “infractions,” doing school at home, and looking at the possibility of people being removed from their homes until there’s a vaccine and everybody gets it? Who among us expected the military to be involved in distributing this vaccine? Who among us expected churches to be blamed for spreading the virus?

Who among us thought we would ever hear a judge say, “During public health crises, new considerations come to bear, and government officials must ask whether even fundamental rights must give way to the deeper need to control the spread of infectious disease and protect the lives of society’s most vulnerable” (Judge John Mendez of California). My understanding is that fundamental rights are fundamental, and therefore non-negotiable. But it doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

The world is just unpredictable enough these days that if a bunch of people were suddenly to disappear, and the government told you it was an alien abduction, you might just be tempted to believe it. Maybe it’s not aliens, but there would be some kind of semi-plausible explanation that most people wouldn’t have believed a couple months ago. If in the next few months or years a lot of people are suddenly gone, and you notice that all those people had the common denominator of an unusual degree of allegiance to Jesus Christ, please consider that perhaps the answer is in prophecy, rather than conspiracy.

The Bible tells of an event most Christians refer to as “the rapture.” Luke 17 tells of a day when two people will be together and suddenly one will be gone. We are told that the man of lawlessness will be revealed after the one who holds him back is taken out of the way (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). The one who holds him back is presumed to be the Holy Spirit, which inhabits every true follower of Christ. In order for the Holy Spirit to be withdrawn, it stands to reason that believers will be gone. The Bible tells of a time when people will have to get a certain mark in order to buy or sell. Clearly, our world is set up for such a possibility in the near future. Believers are not to take this mark, and people who take it are showing their allegiance to the antichrist, and will not be able to change their minds.

Believers are commanded to stand firm, to be steadfast, during this time, to spread the Gospel, and to disciple others (2 Thessalonians 2:13-17; Matthew 28:16-20: Romans 10:9-13). Unbelievers need to repent, choose to trust Jesus as Lord, and spread the Gospel.

It’s not too late. Someday it will be, and that day will come upon us quickly, whether by natural death, rapture, or Jesus’ second coming. We don’t know the day or the hour for end times prophecy to be fulfilled, but we are told we should know the season (Matthew 24). It’s the season — be ready.

If you have never accepted Jesus as Lord, you can do that right now. This takes an honest and genuine acknowledgement that you are a sinner, that you can’t do enough good deeds to be right with God because He is holy and we are unholy, that you need Him to save you, and that you are willing to follow Him and allow Him to govern your life. Baptism is the outward expression of this inward decision and should be done publicly and by immersion, in an act of obedience, submission, and testimonial to others. You also should read the Bible, pray, gather with other believers, and obey God’s commands, not to be saved, but out of gratitude for salvation, a desire to grow in your relationship with God, and in hopes of winning others to the Lord. If you have any questions about that, reach out to a believer you know, begin fellowship with a local church, and/or reach out by filling out the contact form below. 

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