Monday, January 26, 2009

Watch, Be Aware of the Times, and Pray that You May Escape

Recently, my very large financial institution issued a new debit card to me – without explanation and without my request! Because my new debit card got mailed to my branch bank and my branch bank did not contact me, I was totally unaware that I had a new debit card and that my existing debit card now had been set to automatically deactivate 30 days after the mailing of my new debit card. It was only when I got online to pay bills one morning that I discovered my existing debit card had been deactivated. When I called my bank via the toll free number, they told me that a new debit card had been issued and I should have followed instructions to activate the new card. After looking into the matter and finding that my new card had been mailed to my branch bank, not my home, they instructed me to pick up my new debit card as soon as possible.

So I headed off to my branch bank. Since my new debit card had a new number, I was infuriated because I now had to take the time to contact the companies that automatically debit my account and update them with my new card number. I asked my "banker" to reorder a debit card and give me back my old number so I would not be inconvenienced. They proceeded to tell me that my old card and number had to be deactivated because it lacked the new "security chip." There was nothing they could do or wanted to do to rectify the situation for a longtime customer, who had just politely threatened to take her banking business elsewhere. All this happened in October… so as I researched other banks, I found that many were unstable and becoming insolvent. My financial institution remained relatively sound by comparison; I opted to stay with one of the few "financially sound" institutions.

For me, however, the REALization that access to my money could be 'turned off' at the whim of my financial institution was truly a "wake-up call!" And, oddly enough, I am one of the few people on earth who need to be reminded of the pending Mark of the Beast. Regardless of my hopes for an early rapture, a rapture occurring sooner than later, I am resolved in being vigilant in my watchfulness of the signs that proceed His coming – the famines, earthquakes, wars, pestilences, deceptions, false teachers and prophets, persecution and hatred toward the Saints – as my LORD and Messiah forewarned me to do. They fact that the LORD told us that some would finally give up on His coming and begin to partake in drunkenness and begin to beat others (physically, emotionally, spiritually?), tells me that the rapture may not occur as soon as we think it should… as we will witness, and have witnessed, the beginning of sorrows: The homes of believers blown or washed away by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike. The homes of believers burned up in the large and multiple wild fires in California. The homes of believers steeped in 3 – 6 feet of water then mud in the mid-west last summer. Thousands of believers losing their jobs in the U.S. and all over the world. The empty bellies of believers in Africa and Asia for the lack of rice and other grains. The believers in 3rd world countries who are sick and dying from the precipitous rise of diseases born from unsanitary conditions. The physical torture and killing of believers in Africa and Asia by corrupt, ungodly governments or Muslim guerillas who commit them to genocide, ethnic and religious cleansing, because they bear the name of our LORD.

Remember, the LORD told us to store our treasuries in heaven, where moth and rust cannot destroy. Remember, this life is but a vapor, whether we live 10 years or whether we live 95 years, this life is a vapor compared to the timeline of eternity. Our home, our ultimate reality, is in heaven… with our LORD Yeshua and heavenly Abba. We need not sell our inheritance for a bowl of porridge as did Esau; in other words, we need not sell our eternal hope and inheritance to gain a temporal reprieve in this world. Now, more than ever, we need to encourage one another in the LORD, in the reality of our inheritance, in the hope of soon seeing our Messiah and heavenly Abba. Mind-over-matter techniques will not deliver anyone from the reality of these birth pains… all of creation is in travail. We need to be so prepared, so ready in our minds and spirits, that we react as Stephen reacted when he was being stoned to death… we need to be able to look beyond the circumstances that may strip us of our worldly goods and beyond our persecutors who can kill the body… and see Yeshua, see the reality of our inheritance with Yeshua:

"To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." – Revelation 2:7

"He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death." – Revelation 2:11

"To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it." – Revelation 2:17

"…He who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—
' He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessel'—
as I also have received from My Father..." – Revelation 2:26-27

"He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels." – Revelation 3:5

"He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name." – Revelation 3:12

"To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." – Revelation 3:21

We need not tell each other that there will be peace when there is no peace. We need not encourage each other to turn a deaf ear toward brethren who are finding themselves caught in the rain that comes upon the just and the unjust. We need not get caught up in false doctrines that lie in telling people of worldly wealth that God desires to bestow upon His children. You see, in God's economy, we should careless for this world and the things of this world… we are to conduct ourselves as heirs of His kingdom, which is not of this world. In so doing, we introduce and bring others into His glorious kingdom through our testimony.

Above all, we are to retain our love for one another – love is the tell-tale sign of a true believer. Lawlessness is going to abound during this 'beginning of sorrows' coming upon the world, resulting in the love of many waxing cold. Many will be offended… they will betray and hate one another. Be aware of your love or waning love, dear ones… do all you can do to remain in love. As times become more difficult for all upon the earth, as our rights as are increasingly trampled because we bear the name of YHVH and our Messiah Yeshua and as our senses are offended for the lack of justice, we must fight the urge to feel contempt toward others. Should any of us recognize contempt and hatred is trying to set up within our hearts, we must immediately cry out to the LORD and ask Him to create in us a right spirit and a clean heart, full of love and compassion! If we say we love God but hate our brother, we would be lying. God is love.

Now, some who we believe to be our brethren will choose the world and will revel with the world as did happen in the days of Noah… either out of ignorance, because they will not be watching as we've been told to watch, out of rebellion, or out of idolatry. What has light to do with darkness? As we are told, we are to have nothing to do with such people. However, I caution you: although these so-called brethren may betray us, let us not be found to be the betrayers. Should you be offended by these so-called brethren or by professing unbelievers, remember, "Vengeance is Mine!" saith the LORD. If you believe that they are truly believers, and you do not rebuke them gently, then their blood will be required at your hand. But if you rebuke them gently… tell them of their waywardness with a most humble approach... and they listen, you will save yourself and the righteous man or woman from sinning. If they refuse to listen, you will have saved yourself and need to remember that their end will be determined by God. (Ezekiel 3:18-21) Quietly remove yourself from their presence and be on your way, walking in the path of righteousness for His Name's sake.

Brothers and Sisters, I don't care what stance you take on the timing of the rapture, the fact is that the Mark of the Beast can be implemented, or be very, very near implementation, before the rapture… so you need to be watchful, be aware, and be ready to stand firm for the LORD. I bring it to your attention for this passage:

4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Messiah for a thousand years. – Revelation 20:4

RFID chips are already being placed in passports - this we know as a fact! The U.S. government is very close to issuing a national ID card with an RFID chip containing all personal information known to them among the various government agencies. The implementation of the national ID card was supposed to have begun in August 2008. Should we be told this year, in 2009, or next year that we must have this ID card to access our money and to buy goods and services, will you accept?

I suppose I could have reverted to writing checks versus using my debit card. Perhaps I will. I think I will throw away my debit card with the new "security chip." But the mere thought of having to write and mail checks to pay my bills aggravates me further. You see, I am already very spoiled by the convenience of being able to pay my bills online, within 5 to 10 minutes, without having to go to the post office. I suppose I need to open a savings account at another bank instead of depositing all my money in savings and checking accounts in the same financial institution; but it is so easy to transfer money from my checking to my savings. Agh… although the inconvenience pains me, I will do so this week.

All this being said to lead up to these questions: What if I, and a couple of other believers, had been some of a few thousand selected and forced to accept debit cards with this new security chip or there would be NO way to access our paychecks that had just been automatically deposited? No checks, no cash withdraws, no account-to-account transfers, no wires transfers. What if I called you and told you that I only had $30 cash and I'd soon be out gas? Okay, so we get me and two other believers through the next two weeks. But then, when we try to switch the direct deposit of the next paycheck to other banks, we are told that all new bank accounts require the use of these debit cards with these new security chips. I mean what if the banks and the government agencies are basically telling us, "You cannot buy, sell, or trade unless you accept this new card." Would you encourage us to accept the card because it's not a "mark?" Would you encourage us to accept the card, because despite the varied doctrines surrounding the timing of the rapture, you're quite sure that believers will be out'a here before governments and financial institutions cut us off from our money… our ability to buy, sell, or trade?

Now, fortunately, access to my money was temporarily cut off until I accepted the new card with the new security chip, and the situation not as dire as I describe above since I could have opted to access my money with checks and cash withdraws – I think. (Actually, I did have to do a cash withdrawal the other day and I WAS asked for my debit card by the teller… so maybe I wouldn't have been able to make a cash withdrawal had I not activated the new debit card. I'm sure I could have written a check… yes?) Quite honestly, the minute the government or financial institutions tell me that I cannot access my money by any means unless I accept a new "card"… that basically I cannot "buy, sell, or trade" without the card, I'm folding my hands and with every ounce of God-given strength in me and will politely tell them, "In God I trust. Keep my money, for God will keep me."

Shalom aleichem!

* * * *

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Messiah,' and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved." – Yeshua, Matthew 24:4-13

36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." – Yeshua, Matthew 24:36-44

34 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to ESCAPE all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." – Yeshua, Luke 21:34-36


Bar Kochba said...

Yehudi said...

What a well written post! I'm not sure what I think regarding the content. I know that I don't really subscribe to a 'rapture.' There's nothing really to support that in the Torah, nor in the B'rit Chadashah. I guess you could point to Elijah, but I don't think an entire doctrine can be made from one verse.

I can certainly empathize with you over your struggle. I had 2 bank cards, different accounts eaten by ATM's this week! Ugh! If you walk away from the ATM without retrieving your card, it will automatically shred it after about 30 sec. What a pain. G-d bless you, and I hope you're pulling for the Steelers with me. I'd like to see Jason in a dress this year! :)

Deborah said...

Hi Yehudi,

This post is a letter that I wrote to my friends, who are either Hebrew Believers (Jewish and Gentile Believers who, by-and-large, understand the context of their relationship with YHVH via the Torah and the Jewish Messiah) or Evangelical Christians (Gentile Believers whose doctrines are fairly clouded by Hellenistic overtones – Greek thought and philosophies – that are applied to YHVH and the Jewish Messiah). I don’t believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, but of course, this belief defies many of my brethren in the Evangelical Christian house who hold to a doctrine of dispensationalism. For many of those beholden to the pre-tribulation doctrine, my belief is heretical. Hence, you see the discreetness in my letter.

Having experienced being cut-off from fellowship for my belief regarding the end of days, I now choose to be discreet with my understanding and belief. Experience has taught me that the minute they understand that I do not hold to the “pre-tribulation rapture” doctrine, their ears and hearts are closed to me. Even though there's a good chance that they will cut me off if they find out, I remain friends with them despite their erroneous belief. I have remained open to them despite their understanding and belief of a pre-tribulation rapture that I consider incorrect, but not heretical. (I think heresy is a belief or beliefs that distort or disbelieve Elohim’s echad, holiness, truth, or essence, and may mitigate or negate one’s redemption or the presence of one’s name in the Book of Life. Therefore, those who hold to a pre-tribulation rapture have an incorrect belief in my estimation, but not a heretical one… not a belief deserving of one’s name being blotted out of the Book of Life.)

Hence, I ride the fence in trying to balance between (1) being totally honest about what I believe regarding the end of days but being cut-off from those whom I love, or (2) being discreet with my understanding and belief so that I may continue to enjoy their fellowship although I believe their doctrines are flawed. I allow them to believe what they want to believe without forcefully confronting them with my understanding of the end of days. However, I believe I need to work-in what truth I can, as I did in this letter, in an effort to prepare their hearts and minds in a matter for which they themselves are not preparing.

I have many friends, however, who do not subscribe to the pre-tribulation rapture or even a mid-tribulation rapture but believe in a post-tribulation rapture or only a final gathering together of the elect unto Messiah Yeshua at His second appearance in this world when He descends in the clouds to then step upon the Mount of Olives. These friends comprise of Hebrew Believers – I fall into this camp – not the Hellenized “church.” In this camp, we have a saying, “We hope for the best, but prepare for the worst,” which is to say, “Let’s pray they are correct about the pre-tribulation rapture. How nice it would be to escape the coming time of trouble as never seen before on the face of the earth by being raptured before the trouble begins. But let’s not count on that being the case; instead, let’s ready our hearts and minds in prayer and by G-d’s Word, and be aware of the times in which we are living, just as we would watch for the budding of leaves on a fig tree… so as to know when our redemption is drawing close and our King Messiah will be appearing to gather together the elect of YHVH and to execute judgment upon the nations (Matthew 24: 29-32, Mark 13:23- 29, Luke 21:25-36, Ezekiel 39 and Revelation 19).

As my mom used to teach me, beware of those who think that they will completely escape the earth during the time of judgment upon the Goyim. Noah did not escape the earth, but was carried safely in an ark during the judgment of his time. The house of Israel did not escape the 10 plagues in Egypt but were safe-guarded and passed over during the judgment upon Egypt and the house of Pharaoh.

You are right, Daniel, there is no picture in the Torah, or the Psalms and Prophets, that prophetically indicate a “rapture” from the judgment during the end of days. Nor will you find a “rapture” in the Brit Chadashah when well-balanced with the Torah, Psalms, and Prophets. I find it ironic that western (American and European) Believers subscribe to the “pre-tribulation rapture” while Believers in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia do not. It appears that western Believers are spoiled-rotten children who think they rate above Israel whose presence was required during the tribulation that came upon Egypt. Western Believers have departed from the Torah and the teachings of Messiah Yeshua, His talidim, and Rav Sha’ul – they refuse to look at and understand the foreshadowing pictures of YHVH’s pattern for deliverance that I just described (Noah and Israel during the leadership of Moses).

We can bet that the deliverance and redemption of Israel during the end of days with Moshiach in the lead will be VERY similar to their deliverance from Egypt when Moses was in the lead. There will be a period of great distress in the nations, as never seen before on the earth. And just as those who left Egypt with Moses were comprised of the house of Yakov and Egyptians who circumcised themselves to worship and follow YHVH, so too will it be for those who are delivered in the end of days: those who will be safe-guarded and delivered will comprise of ALL who are circumcised in accordance with the new and everlasting covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-33, Isaiah 52:13-15, 53:11, 56:1-8, 65:1, Ezekiel 16:59-62, 36:24-33, 37:21-28).

Oddly, it is those of us who understand that we will have to ride out the tremendously distressful time that is to come upon the earth preceding the appearance of Moshiach that are more long-suffering and conciliatory toward those who hold to the pre-tribulation rapture doctine – a corruption of the truth via the Hellenized church and it’s Greek/pagan interpretations of G-d’s Word.

Daniel, I believe those who hold to the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine and who do not adjust their belief soon will be found among those whom Yeshua spoke of in His parable of the 10 bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-13). Those who think they will somehow escape via a “rapture” will not have their hearts and minds steeped in the Ruach HaKodesh via prayer and the reading of God’s Word. They will be void of the fullness of the Rauch HaKodesh as demonstrated by the fullness or freshness of the “oil,” which is symbolic of the Ruach HaKodesh.

“As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out.” – Adonai, Ezekiel 20: 33-34

"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Yeshua Messiah;" – Rav Sha’ul, Titus 2:13

"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Yeshua Messiah, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom." – Rav Sha’ul, 2 Timothy 4:1

"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Yeshua Messiah." – Kefa, 1 Peter (Kefa) 1:7

"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." – Rav Sha’ul, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Yeshua Messiah, and by our gathering together unto him." – Rav Sha’ul, 2 Thessalonians 2:1

"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." – Rav Yochanan, Revelation 1:7

“I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.” – Daniel 7:13

6 “In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place—Jerusalem. 7 The LORD will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah. 8 In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them. 9 It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. 11 In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.” – Adonai, Zechariah 12:6-11

Daniel, if you are still in disagreement with me, it is okay. I hope you will suffer me as I suffer others because of their erroneous beliefs about the end of days. But I will not cut you off from being a friend and am quite willing to discuss further with you. (Unfortunately, my friends who believe in pre-trib rapture have never been willing to discuss… to come together and reason. I think they will not discuss the topic for the fragility of their doctrine and the fear having to exist alongside Egypt (the world) during its judgment, which is the fear that feeds their doctrine. Their faith (emunah) is not prevalent or strong enough to allow the reassurances from G-d to provide comfort.)

I tell you all this now, because the chance that my friends will revisit this post is slim. But should they revisit and read my explanation to you, they will be forced to reassess their doctrine and the friendship. I suppose it is in moments such as this that we take our stand.

Shalom aleichem!

Deborah said...

Oh, yes... GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!! Go, go, go Steelers... may it be Jason's humiliation this year!

G-d bless!

Deborah said...

Woo hoo!!!!!! 43 seconds to go in the 4th... and its a..... Touchdown!!!!!!!!!!! Way to go, Steelers!

Yehudi said...

Deborah, I agree with you. Far be from me to say that G-d can't or won't do anything. He may certainly do whatever He deems fit. However, based on scriptural evidence from both the Tanakh and the B'rith Chadashah, I don't find any supporting passages that suggest that we'll be 'taken away' and not experience the difficulties that are certain to come. I appreciate your writing and how you support everything with lots of scripture. :)

Yahoo for the Steelers! You will be able to see our dear friend in a dress at his blog and mine. :)

Yehudi said...

Shalom, Devorah! I'd like to invite you over to my blog to take part in a fun little exersize. (You have insider information, so just play along.) ;0)