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.

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!

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