War is Coming to the Middle East: Isaiah 17, 19, 21 and 23 (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)

four_horsemen

This morning (July 20th), as I was praying, I was impressed to read Isaiah 17, 19, 21 and 23. I didn’t remember at that moment exactly what those chapters were about until I read them once again this morning. As I was reading and praying through this, I believe the Lord was saying that we are entering a time of the greatest fulfillment of these four passages.

What are these four chapters about and have they already been fulfilled? Isaiah 17 and 19 have yet to be completely fulfilled, while Isaiah 21 and 23 have seen fulfillment, but I believe will see greater fulfillment in the near future. These chapters are primarily regarding Damascus, Egypt, Babylon (Iraq) and Tyre (Sur/Sour), Lebanon, respectively.

I will very briefly summarize the good, the bad and the ugly implications of these four chapters. I would encourage you to read and pray through these chapters as well.

 

Damascus, Syria – Isaiah 17

As you probably know, Damascus has been at a center of a war. Damascus is in the southern portion of Syria, near the northern border of Israel. I believe we will soon see an escalation of this conflict, resulting in the complete destruction of Damascus.

“Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city

And will become a fallen ruin.” ~Isaiah 17:1 (NASB)

Damascus has seen conflict before, but has yet to cease from being a city. This prophecy is yet to be fulfilled. This time will be a tumultuous time of upheaval , war and conflict. However, there are good things that will come out of this time.

“And the remnant of Aram;

They will be like the glory of the sons of Israel,”

Declares the Lord of hosts. ~Isaiah 17:3 (NASB)

The remnant may seem small as these conflicts move forward, yet they will still remain.

“Yet gleanings will be left in it like the shaking of an olive tree,

Two or three olives on the topmost bough,

Four or five on the branches of a fruitful tree,”

Declares the Lord, the God of Israel. ~Isaiah 17:6 (NASB)

As these times continue into deeper times of distress, many will begin to look to the Lord their Maker.

“In that day man will have regard for his Maker

And his eyes will look to the Holy One of Israel.”

~Isaiah 17:7 (NASB)

We must remember that our Lord God will have the final say in this matter and will tear down earthly kingdoms and set up His Kingdom here on this earth.

“Alas, the uproar of many peoples

Who roar like the roaring of the seas,

And the rumbling of nations

Who rush on like the rumbling of mighty waters!

 “The nations rumble on like the rumbling of many waters,

But He will rebuke them and they will flee far away,

And be chased like chaff in the mountains before the wind,

Or like whirling dust before a gale.

 “At evening time, behold, there is terror!

Before morning they are no more.

Such will be the portion of those who plunder us

And the lot of those who pillage us.”

~Isaiah 17:12-14 (NASB)

 

Egypt – Isaiah 19

Egypt has recently been through difficult times. They have been through upheaval in their government. President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in 2011 during the Arab Spring uprising. The Muslim Brotherhood representative Mohamed Morsi was elected in 2012. President Morsi was then overthrown by the Egyptian military in 2013. President Adbel Fattah el-Sisi, the former military general who led the coup, was elected President in 2014. Egypt has since been fighting against both ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Where is Egypt headed? Even though Egypt has been fighting against ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, they are still in a period of relative calm and stability. However, the scriptures tell us that there will be an increase in conflict in Egypt. Nonetheless, there will be a remnant of believers that will survive in Egypt…and Egypt will end up being a blessing to the Lord!

“So I will incite Egyptians against Egyptians;

And they will each fight against his brother and each against his neighbor,

City against city and kingdom against kingdom.

“Then the spirit of the Egyptians will be demoralized within them;

And I will confound their strategy,

So that they will resort to idols and ghosts of the dead

And to mediums and spiritists.

“Moreover, I will deliver the Egyptians into the hand of a cruel master,

And a mighty king will rule over them,” declares the Lord God of hosts.

The waters from the sea will dry up,

And the river will be parched and dry.

~Isaiah 19:2-5 (NASB)

In the midst of very difficult and trying times, the Lord with visit Egypt and draw out of her His beloved inheritance.

In that day the Egyptians will become like women, and they will tremble and be in dread because of the waving of the hand of the Lord of hosts, which He is going to wave over them. The land of Judah will become a terror to Egypt; everyone to whom it is mentioned will be in dread of it, because of the purpose of the Lord of hosts which He is purposing against them.

In that day five cities in the land of Egypt will be speaking the language of Canaan and swearing allegiance to the Lord of hosts; one will be called the City of Destruction.

In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord near its border. It will become a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the Lord because of oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Champion, and He will deliver them. Thus the Lord will make Himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day. They will even worship with sacrifice and offering, and will make a vow to the Lord and perform it. The Lord will strike Egypt, striking but healing; so they will return to the Lord, and He will respond to them and will heal them.

In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrians will come into Egypt and the Egyptians into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.

In that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.”

~Isaiah 19:16-24 (NASB)

 

Babylon (Iraq) and Persia (Iran) – Isaiah 21

Recently, Iraq (ancient Babylon) has been abandoned by the US, giving way to the influence of Iran (ancient Persia) in the government, and ISIS across its country. In 539 BC, Persia, under Cyrus the Great, and Media, under Darius the Mede, conquered Babylon. They subsequently released the Jewish people from captivity, allowing them to return to Jerusalem and reconstruct the Second Temple. In current times, we have seen Persia (Iran) regaining control of Babylon (Iraq). There will be further conflict in this region. We do know that once again Babylon will fall, as will ultimately the global Babylonian anti-Christ governmental, economic, religious ruling system. Jesus will return and rule on the earth!

Then the lookout called,

“O Lord, I stand continually by day on the watchtower,

And I am stationed every night at my guard post.

“Now behold, here comes a troop of riders, horsemen in pairs.”

And one said, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon;

And all the images of her gods are shattered on the ground.”

O my threshed people, and my afflicted of the threshing floor!

What I have heard from the Lord of hosts,

The God of Israel, I make known to you.

~Isaiah 21:8-10 (NASB)

 

Tyre (Sur/Sour), Lebanon – Isaiah 23

Modern day Sur (or Sour, which is the ancient city of Tyre), located in southern Lebanon near the northern Israeli border, has seen many conflicts. It was overthrown by Nebuchadnezzar in c. 600 BC and by Alexander the Great in 330 BC. It has seen conflict between Israel and Lebanon in the ‘70’s as well as in ’82, ’83 and ‘06. I believe we will see the even greater conflict in this city in the days and years to come.

“It will come about at the end of seventy years that the Lord will visit Tyre. Then she will go back to her harlot’s wages and will play the harlot with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. Her gain and her harlot’s wages will be set apart to the Lord; it will not be stored up or hoarded, but her gain will become sufficient food and choice attire for those who dwell in the presence of the Lord.” ~Isaiah 23:17-18 (NASB)

When Cyrus defeated Tyre, the plunder provided for the rebuilding of the Temple of the Lord. We see this pattern when the Israelites left Egyptian captivity (the plunder was used to build the First Temple) and when they left Babylonian captivity (the plunder was used the build the Second Temple). I believe we will yet see the greatest transfer of wealth for the purposes of the Kingdom of God ever, as we are being “released” from the clutches of this world’s ungodly system.

“But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!’ For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts. ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts.” ~Haggai 2:4-9 (NASB)

Lord Jesus, we give our lives totally to You and for Your purposes. Please continue to reveal Your precious plans to us as time moves forward and help us to be led completely by Your Holy Spirit, Amen!!

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The Valley of Decision and God’s Training Ground

valley of decision

The Valley of Decision

We can either be possessed by the Holy Spirit or possessed by demons. We get to choose.

Life on earth is a valley of decision. We may be tempted to think that we can just be possessed with ourselves and not choose God or Satan. I would respond to that thought with a phrase from the Rush song “Freewill” which says, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” Rush may have gotten many things very wrong, but they sure got that one line right! At the end of the day, there is no middle ground. It is the battle of the kingdoms and we will choose sides…and Satan owns the fence.

“So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” ~Revelation 3:16 (NIV)

Ultimately, we will be possessed by what, or by who, possesses us. Then, we get to spend eternity with the gods—or with The God—that we worshipped and invested our lives in. Wouldn’t you rather be possessed by a God who is pure, righteous love?

 

God’s Training Ground

Life on earth is also a training ground. If we choose to give our whole life to God, He will begin to teach us how to love. We must receive His love and then give it back to Him and to others (See Luke 10:25-37). We don’t have love in ourselves, unless we first receive it from above.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” ~James 1:17 (NV)

We must learn to give love freely in the face of evil and hatred. God has allowed enough devil opposition here on earth enable us to learn to be overcomers. We must learn to overcome evil with good. We will then receive the rewards of the overcomer (see Revelation 2, 3 & 22).

Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

So, I hope that you are encouraged today. You are here for a reason. I pray that you are strengthened in the Lord. I pray that you are filled completely with the Holy Spirit and receive the great love that He has for you. I pray that you waste no time to move forward in His great purposes and calling for your life. Amen!

Running to Disaster

Run to disaster

Well, you might think I’m talking about people who are on a highway to hell. Not today. My topic today is a new generation of young people that are emerging on the earth that run to disaster–not to their own disaster–but to disasters affecting others. They are running to the disaster in order “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Isaiah 61).

What do we do with the increase in disasters on the earth? Does Jesus intend for us to hide in fear? I think Jesus would say “No!”…just as He expressed in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25). But instead, Jesus spoke of greater works that we would do–even greater than He did on the earth! Wouldn’t it make sense that the greatest works are reserved for the time of greatest need? Imagine a context of increase of natural disasters and war on the earth–a time near the end. Now, in that context, let’s read Matthew 10:7-8,

“As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”

Makes sense, doesn’t it?! Now let’s look at the overall themes of Joel 2:28-32,

“I will pour out my Spirit on all people…I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

What are the themes of this passage? 1) The Spirit is being poured out, 2) it’s a time of great distress, 3) people getting saved.

Beloved, everything that can be shaken–everything that is not built on the Rock–will be shaken. Why? So that we can run to those that are shaken and help them to place their feet upon the Rock–Jesus Christ! Yes, it’s harvest time!!

The Increase in the Harvest

wheat-field

In November of 2013, I wrote a blog about the harvest called, “It’s Harvest Time!” Beloved, it truly is harvest time! How long this harvest will go, we do not yet know. Jesus spoke of a great harvest at the end of the age. I believe that we have entered that time. I’ve personally seen it increasing all around…as have family members, friends and fellow believers! But, here are a few pieces of evidence, in case you have any doubt:

– I have been reading “A wind in the house of Islam” by David Garrison, published this year. His team conducted a very large study, travelling across the 9 “rooms” of Islam in dozens of countries. He discovered 82 voluntary moves to Christianity across 29 countries in these areas (a “move” was defined as being comprised of at least 1,000 baptisms or 100 church plants). Two of these moves happened in the 19th century. Eleven of them happened in the 20th century. Amazingly, 69 of them happened just within the 21st century!

– Every Home for Christ has brought the gospel in written form to over 1.6 Billion homes around the world in the last 60 years and has seen well over 100 million decisions for Christ. They have seen many more decisions for Christ in the last 10 years as they’ve seen happen in all of the previous 55 years combined! Also, their conversion rate right now is approximately double what they’ve seen over the course of their history.

– In talking this morning with a friend who is in ministry in the US. He mentioned that he just recently performed the first baptisms in a certain people group he has had an outreach to for 15 years!

– All of this is driven by Spirit-led prayer. We have recently seen a great global increase in Houses of Prayer, many which have worship and intercession going for many hours each week (some even 24/7) and that have been praying in an increasing way for the lost and unreached tribes. The number of these types of Houses of Prayer suddenly increased in the 21st century…from just a handful to ~20,000-25,000 Houses of Prayer worldwide!

In 1975, the prophet Bob Jones passed away and stood before the Lord. One the things the Lord said he would do is to go back and touch some leaders that would have a big impact in bringing in a harvest of over 1 billion (mainly young people) into the Kingdom! He was told he would see the beginning of it before he died. Bob began to announce that the harvest had begun in earnest in 2012 and 2013. Bob passed away on Valentine’s Day of 2014.

It is time to seek the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. To drink in His extravagant love deeply and give it back to Him and to others.

“Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest.” ~Matthew 9:37-38 (AMP)

Boaz is seen as a type of Christ in the Bible. Let us watch closely what is happening as we see Boaz returning to the “field” (which represents the “world” in Matthew 13).

Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” So she [Ruth] went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek. Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!” “The Lord bless you!” they answered. ~Ruth2:2-4 (NIV)

What did Boaz find His people doing when he returned? They were busy bringing in the harvest! They were joyfully doing as they were expected… just as they had been earlier instructed.

When Jesus was in Jerusalem, He said, ”For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” ~Matthew 23:39 (NIV)

God does not change His mind. When He says something, He means it! There is no crooked word that comes out of His mouth. So, what are our instructions? What should He find us doing when He returns? I think it is clear that in addition to watching and praying…we should be bringing His Kingdom of Love to earth! We should be actively demonstrating and sharing His love with others and bringing in His harvest, reaping for Him the rewards of His suffering!

”Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’.” ~Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

“As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” ~Matthew 10:7-8 (NIV)

It takes a fearless warrior, operating in the love of Christ, to bring in an abundant harvest. Evil must be overcome with good. When our enemy is overcome, then we can release the prisoners and set them free!

“’If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” ~Romans 12:20-21 (NIV)

“In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house.” ~Mark 3:27 (NIV)

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” ~Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

As followers of Jesus Christ, what will we do? Will we respond to His commands? Or will we sit around in ignorance, apathy and cowardice, waiting for Him to return? Consider the parable of the talents. How did the Master respond to the one who hid in a hole and waited for the Master’s return, instead of laboring in his Master’s harvest? Consider the actions of the wicked servant in the Parable of the Talents.


“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” ~Matthew 25:24-30 (NIV)

Notice how the wicked servant says, “I was afraid and went out and hid your gold…” How similar that is to Adam, after he had sinned and turned over his authority to Satan. “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” (See Genesis 3:10)

Christ has already won the victory and holds all authority. So, let us never go down that road of holding back or hiding again! Instead, let us faithfully and courageously lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters around us and around the world just as Christ did for us! Let it then be said to us on that day, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” ~Matthew 25:21 (NIV)

“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” ~Daniel 12:3 (NIV)

Beloved, it is time to throw everything into His harvest…while there is still time! The very least we can do is pray! (For various examples of ways to help, click: Here)

Preparing for the Coming Tribulation

Corrie Ten Boom

I was in a prayer meeting several days ago, and I asked the Holy Spirit if He had anything specific to tell me. I felt Him giving me the reference Hebrews 11:37. So, I looked it up. It is not seemingly the most encouraging verse. It says, “They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated…” (Hebrews 11:37, NIV). I then felt directed and moved to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ being persecuted around the world. For we are commanded to, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

An estimated forty million martyrs have already given their lives since Jesus walked the earth. And persecution and martyrdom is dramatically increasing. But what about those of us living in relative comfort and ease? Are we prepared for the coming tribulation?

In 1974, Corrie Ten Boom made this statement, “I feel I have a divine mandate to go and tell the people of this world that it is possible to be strong in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are in training for the tribulation, but more than sixty percent of the Body of Christ across the world has already entered into the tribulation. There is no way to escape it. We are next.”

Today, forty year later, I read a recent statement made by Brother Andrew (God’s Smuggler) of Open Doors. He said, “seventy–five percent of the world’s population live in areas of severe persecution and restriction.” The Voice of the Martyrs stated that martyrdom doubled from 2012 to 2013. They also said that it increased tremendously from 2013 to 2014…and in 2015 it is off the charts!

Will persecution eventually reach one hundred percent of the followers of Jesus Christ around the world? The Bible virtually guarantees that it will. Jesus said, “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:20, NIV). He also said, “You will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me” (Matthew 24:9). The Apostle Paul made this statement, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted“ (2 Timothy 3:12).

But someone may ask, “Isn’t this time of great trouble just happening in Israel, or only in Jerusalem?” Jesus provides the answer. He said, “For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth” (see Luke 21:35). We also see further clarification in the book of Revelation. It appears that whole Bride of Christ—followers of Christ from every tribe, tongue and nation—will experience the great tribulation.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands…

…Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’”
(Revelation 7:9,13-17).

The Word of God couldn’t be more plain about this subject. Yet, why are so many of us asleep, ignoring what is happening? The Day of the Lord is at hand. Yet, we are lulled into thinking that things will go on as they always have. Yet, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who will be found watching…” (Luke 12:37).

I pray that you prepare your hearts. I pray that the Lord Jesus would grant you great peace, grace and endurance. I pray that He would prepare you with the oil of joy necessary for what is coming, for what is about to happen in the years ahead.

“How do we prepare?” you may ask. I could not think of a better way to start than to read from a letter from someone who went through great persecution herself, a survivor of the Great Holocaust—Corrie Ten Boom.

I pray that you are encouraged and enlightened and filled with joy of the Lord as you read the following excerpt from one of her letters. And let us always remember,

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
(Psalm 23:4-6, NASB)

And,

“…lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20, NASB)


“PREPARED FOR THE COMING TRIBULATION”

(Excerpt from a letter written by Corrie Ten Boom in 1974)

“The world is deathly ill. It is dying. The Great Physician has already signed the death certificate. Yet there is still a great work for Christians to do. They are to be streams of living water, channels of mercy to those who are still in the world. It is possible for them to do this because they are overcomers.

Christians are ambassadors for Christ. They are representatives from Heaven to this dying world. And because of our presence here, things will change.

My sister, Betsy, and I were in the Nazi concentration camp at Ravensbruck because we committed the crime of loving Jews. Seven hundred of us from Holland, France, Russia, Poland and Belgium were herded into a room built for two hundred. As far as I knew, Betsy and I were the only two representatives of Heaven in that room.

We may have been the Lord’s only representatives in that place of hatred, yet because of our presence there, things changed. Jesus said, “In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” We too, are to be overcomers – bringing the light of Jesus into a world filled with darkness and hate.

Sometimes I get frightened as I read the Bible, and as I look in this world and see all of the tribulation and persecution promised by the Bible coming true. Now I can tell you, though, if you too are afraid, that I have just read the last pages. I can now come to shouting “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” for I have found where it is written that Jesus said,

“He that overcometh shall inherit all things: and I will be His God, and he shall be My son.”

This is the future and hope of this world. Not that the world will survive – but that we shall be overcomers in the midst of a dying world.

Betsy and I, in the concentration camp, prayed that God would heal Betsy who was so weak and sick.

“Yes, the Lord will heal me,” Betsy said with confidence.

She died the next day and I could not understand it. They laid her thin body on the concrete floor along with all the other corpses of the women who died that day.

It was hard for me to understand, to believe that God had a purpose for all that. Yet because of Betsy’s death, today I am traveling all over the world telling people about Jesus.

There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days. Most of them have little knowledge of what is already going on across the world. I have been in countries where the saints are already suffering terrible persecution.

In China, the Christians were told, “Don’t worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured.” Then came a terrible persecution. Millions of Christians were tortured to death. Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly,

“We have failed. We should have made the people strong for persecution, rather than telling them Jesus would come first. Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when the tribulation comes, – to stand and not faint.”

I feel I have a divine mandate to go and tell the people of this world that it is possible to be strong in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are in training for the tribulation, but more than sixty percent of the Body of Christ across the world has already entered into the tribulation. There is no way to escape it. We are next.

Since I have already gone through prison for Jesus’ sake, and since I met the Bishop in China, now every time I read a good Bible text I think, “Hey, I can use that in the time of tribulation.” Then I write it down and learn it by heart.

When I was in the concentration camp, a camp where only twenty percent of the women came out alive, we tried to cheer each other up by saying, “Nothing could be any worse than today.” But we would find the next day was even worse. During this time a Bible verse that I had committed to memory gave me great hope and joy.

“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you; on their part evil is spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.” (I Peter 3:14)

I found myself saying, “Hallelujah! Because I am suffering, Jesus is glorified!”

In America, the churches sing, “Let the congregation escape tribulation”, but in China and Africa the tribulation has already arrived. This last year alone more than two hundred thousand Christians were martyred in Africa. Now things like that never get into the newspapers because they cause bad political relations. But I know. I have been there. We need to think about that when we sit down in our nice houses with our nice clothes to eat our steak dinners. Many, many members of the Body of Christ are being tortured to death at this very moment, yet we continue right on as though we are all going to escape the tribulation.

Several years ago I was in Africa in a nation where a new government had come into power. The first night I was there some of the Christians were commanded to come to the police station to register. When they arrived they were arrested and that same night they were executed. The next day the same thing happened with other Christians. The third day it was the same. All the Christians in the district were being systematically murdered. The fourth day I was to speak in a little church. The people came, but they were filled with fear and tension. All during the service they were looking at each other, their eyes asking,

“Will this one I am sitting beside be the next one killed? Will I be the next one?”

The room was hot and stuffy with insects that came through the screenless windows and swirled around the naked bulbs over the bare wooden benches. I told them a story out of my childhood.

“When I was a little girl,” I said, “I went to my father and said, “Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ.”

“Tell me,” said Father,”When you take a train trip to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?”

“No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train.”

“That is right,” my father said, “and so it is with God’s strength. Our Father in Heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ. He will supply all you need – just in time…”

My African friends were nodding and smiling. Suddenly a spirit of joy descended upon that church and the people began singing,

“In the sweet, by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.”

Later that week, half the congregation of that church was executed.

I heard later that the other half was killed some months ago.

But I must tell you something. I was so happy that the Lord used me to encourage these people, for unlike many of their leaders, I had the word of God. I had been to the Bible and discovered that Jesus said He had not only overcome the world, but to all those who remained faithful to the end, He would give a crown of life.

How can we get ready for the persecution?

First we need to feed on the Word of God, digest it, make it a part of our being. This will mean disciplined Bible study each day as we not only memorize long passages of scripture, but put the principles to work in our lives.

Next we need to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not just the Jesus of yesterday, the Jesus of History, but the life-changing Jesus of today who is still alive and sitting at the right hand of God.

We must be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is no optional command of the Bible, it is absolutely necessary. Those earthly disciples could never have stood up under the persecution of the Jews and Romans had they not waited for Pentecost. Each of us needs our own personal Pentecost, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We will never be able to stand in the tribulation without it.

In the coming persecution we must be ready to help each other and encourage each other.

But we must not wait until the tribulation comes before starting.

The fruit of the Spirit should be the dominant force of every Christian’s life.

Many are fearful of the coming tribulation, they want to run. I, too, am a little bit afraid when I think that after all my eighty years, including the horrible Nazi concentration camp, that I might have to go through the tribulation also.

But then I read the Bible and I am glad.

When I am weak, then I shall be strong, the Bible says. Betsy and I were prisoners for the Lord, we were so weak, but we got power because the Holy Spirit was on us. That mighty inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit helped us through. No, you will not be strong in yourself when the tribulation comes. Rather, you will be strong in the power of Him who will not forsake you. For seventy-six years I have known the Lord Jesus and not once has He ever left me, or let me down.

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”, (Job 13:15) for I know that to all who overcome, He shall give the crown of life.

Hallelujah!”

– Corrie Ten Boom – 1974

The Rock Eternal (Isaiah 26)

the rock eternal

A few days ago I was led by the Lord to read Isaiah 26. I believe it was partly in preparation for the difficult times that are coming on the earth. It is a reminder for us to keep our minds and hearts on the Lord. It is also an explanation of some of the reasons why these things are coming.

Today, I will cover some of the highlights of Isaiah 26 in Q & A format. I would also highly recommend that you read the whole chapter, asking the Holy Spirit for revelation as you read it.

Q: “I am tempted to fear by all of the things that are happening across the earth. Sometimes I want to just run and hide. What should I do? Where can I run?”

A: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal. He humbles those who dwell on high, he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground and casts it down to the dust. Feet trample it down – the feet of the oppressed, the footsteps of the poor. The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth. Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your renown are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you.” (Isaiah 26:3-9, NIV)

Q: “Why would a merciful God bring judgments upon the earth?”

A: “When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. Though grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and regard not the majesty of the Lord.“ (Isaiah 26:9-10, NIV. See also Daniel 2:44-45)

Q: “Will justice ever happen and will evil ever be thwarted? Will the Lord ever return?”

A: “See, the Lord is coming out of His dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer.” (Isaiah 26:21, NIV) “But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.” (Isaiah 26:19, NIV)

Be encouraged! Despite what you may see happening all around you, don’t give up…don’t lose faith! “We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith.” (Isaiah 26:1-2, NIV)

The Lord’s Fast

homeless

What if we allowed the Spirit of the Lord to help teach us to treat everyone we run into with a shower of love, dignity, honor and royalty? What if we treated them like kings and queens, princes and princesses (like we’d like to be treated) – especially the most unlovely, forlorn, mean, irritating, irrational, incoherent and oppressed? What if we perhaps even treated them to a gift, a good meal or warm shelter? What if our ability to “arise and shine” (Isaiah 60) is interconnected to how we treat the poor and needy (Isaiah 58)?

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” ~Isaiah 58:6-10 (NIV)