ISLAM AND THE PERILOUS TIMES - Four-Part study

12/12/2012 12:33

ISLAM AND THE

‘PERILOUS TIMES’

Part one

By John Aldworth

Published 13 December 2012

2 Tim. 3:1:    This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. … Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.

1 Tim. 4:1:    Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron.

When will the Dispensation of Grace and the Mystery end”, a friend asked recently? “And just when will the Day of Christ dawn?” she persisted? Her urgency was prompted by awareness that what I call World War III, the Muslim battle for world dominance, is now clearly upon us.

Now the short answer to her question is that the “appearing (in heaven) of our great God and Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:13) will end the grace dispensation. His appearing in glory will also inaugurate his Day, the Day of Christ. “But”, my friend interrupted, “when, just when, will it happen?” “Very soon I believe,” was my response. “However, as to the exact timing I simply don’t know.”

Later, however, I got to thinking and to re-reading the four important, end time prophecies of Paul in his pastoral epistles: 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1-9; 2 Tim. 4:1 and 2 Tim. 4:3-4. Do they offer a clue as to what will trigger the end? Is there any where a scriptural link that can be found to the now burgeoning menace of Islam?

Paul’s four great predictions clearly picture a great end time apostasy or falling away. It begins, the Spirit warns, as it began in Paul’s time, with “some” departing from the faith and “giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils”. Thus in 1 Tim. 1:6 he laments that “…some having swerved, have turned aside unto vain jangling”.

This they did, and do, by giving heed to “fables”, or myths. So what are myths? Essentially they are lies, untrue explanations of the way the world is, what is really happening, how the universe came into being, what is wrong with man and how things can be explained without belief in God. Of course, myths also abound in popular Christianity. Literal bible study is a foreign language to the super churches of today. Instead they hook thousands on rock music and emotional high by releasing the “happy waves” of oxytocin. They still believe the lie that God (and not the devil) is still doing public signs and wonders and distributing spiritual gifts.

Worse still, in most of Christendom biblical dispensational truth is rejected as heresy from the devil, when disbelief of it is actually his goal. The myth of evolution and false cosmogony (the earth going round the sun, when in fact the sun goes round the earth) has supplanted creation truth in many churches. For many psychology and “positive thinking” has replaced salvation, redemption and the truth of being complete in Christ. As to government, truth in any form, let alone biblical truth, has been largely outlawed from halls of power throughout the world.

In 2 Tim. 1:15 Paul describes the effect of the similar widespread devilish deception that occurred in his life time. “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me, of whom are Phygellus and Hermogones”.

In our time, as Paul warned it would, satanic seduction has become a holocaust that has fatally weakened and devoured the professing church. It has permeated world thinking with its myths, false teaching, and acceptance of totally unproven theories from “science falsely so called” (1. Tim. 6:20). Among the fables are that things evolved, the earth goes round the sun, the universe is billions of light years wide and old and that Islam is a “peaceful” religion and that Muslims will respect and tolerate other religions in “a free and open society”.

Today the devil’s “orchestrated litany” of religious, political, economic and social lies, is bearing bitter fruit; around the globe there is hapless acceptance of unbridled evil. For example, in every Moslem country, and in some that are not, Moslems are on the rampage slaughtering and killing Christians. And, as 2 Tim. 3:3-7 predicted they would, men everywhere are becoming much more evil. From being a people which once accepted Bible truth, at least to some extent, western society is now “ever learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth”. Indeed, having abandoned Bible believing faith westerners are now largely “devil’s disciples”, well on their way to becoming “serpent’s seed” (see Gen. 3:15). Consequently they can only yield to, rather than withstand, the fully fledged “serpent’s seed” of militant Islam.

The satanic force working in Muslims is determined to wipe Christians of any sort from the face of the earth. Clearly, therefore, to preserve any semblance of free society our governments should prescribe Islam as an utterly evil religion and banish those who practise it. They won’t, of course, for fear of reprisal; any more than they will take bold action against any of the many other evils, from drugs to child abuse and family breakdown to political and economic corruption, now crippling western society. And, if you don’t think it’s that bad, just ask yourself, for example why Coalition forces didn’t wipe out the heroin supplying poppy fields in Afghanistan when they had the chance?

Few serious Bible students doubt that stage is now set for an evil climax in our time. In Paul’s day that climax was postponed in grace by the Lord for his own long term purpose – that of calling out a special people to join Him in the heavenlies. But it won’t be postponed in ours, I believe.

This is why we are told in 2 Tim. 4:1 that the Lord Jesus Christ willjudge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom”. It is also why some 1900 plus years ago the Spirit warned in 2 Tim. 3:1 “that in the last days perilous times shall come”. Thankfully before these “perilous timesoverwhelm us all, the Lord will step in to proclaim and inaugurate his “heavenly kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:1 and 18).

Much more could be said but, before we look deeper to see if there is biblical evidence to identify Islam as the real “peril” of the “perilous times” that will cause the Lord to revealed Himself in glory and judge the world, let us consider Paul’s last prophecy in 2 Tim. 4:3-4. For it is this prophecy that explains the tipping mechanism that I believe will end the current dispensation and usher in the new Day of Judgement.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their itching ears will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”.

God has long endured mankind’s turning away of ears. Eve was the first human to turn her ears away from God and heed the serpent instead and her descendants have been doing it ever since. Down the pages of history God has only found only an odd man here or there who would really listen to what He had to say. If you doubt that, tell me, pray, where was the church that believed with Abraham, Isaac or Jacob? What congregation prayed and studied scripture with Daniel? Where was the fellowship that stood with Paul the “prisoner of the Lord” when he was on trial before Nero on trial for the truth of the Mystery revelation? Answer: Nobody but the Lord. Itching and turned away ears mean that true believers often witness largely to the deaf.

God “long suffers” this, but there comes a time when the called so strongly reject his truth that He has to set them aside. By this stage they have not only turned their ears away, but also stopped them (Acts 7:57). Scripture’s verdict is: “…their ears are dull of hearing and their eyes have they closed, lest they should see and hear … and understand with their heart and be converted” (Acts 28:27).

The above passage marks the third time this prophecy, first found in Isaiah 6:10 and quoted by Jesus in Matt. 13:14-15 and John 12:40, is uttered again. For unbelieving Israel the words it was a case of three strikes and you’re out. Thus God set them aside in Acts 28:28 by sending salvation to the Gentiles. And as a consequence not long after Paul’s death in 70AD the Roman prince Titus besieged Jerusalem. The temple, city and nation were destroyed, bar a remnant saved by grace.

For nearly 2,000 years now God has been showing unlimited grace to Gentiles, indeed to all mankind who will receive the glad message of Paul, “the prisoner of the Lord”. But the Lord’s long suffering has an end and this is how it will happen:

Paul’s first end time prophecy (1 Tim. 4:1) warned against “giving heed to seducing spirits and the doctrines of devils”.

His second (2 Tim. 4:3-4) warned of itching ears turned away to fables.

His third (2 Tim. 3:1) speaks of that becoming an accomplished fact in the “perilous times”. Those who were seduced when they were “Christian” fellow travellers have now become fully hatched “serpent’s seed”

They are like those who rejected Israel’s Messiah, whom Jesus described as “a generation of vipers”, or “serpent’s seed”. That generation was severely judged. God not only took salvation from them and gave it to the Gentiles; He also destroyed them and burned up their city as He prophesied He would (Matt. 20:4).

In a similar way the Lord will judge those who have rejected his all sufficient grace in the current day of salvation. As He rules from heaven “…every knee will bow … and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father “ (Phil. 2:10-11

Islam and the Perilous Times - Part Two

By John Aldworth

Published December 19, 2012

2 Tim. 3:1: This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. … Having a form of godliness but lacking the power thereof.

1 Tim. 4:1:    Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron.

Eph. 4:14      That we be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness where they lie in wait to deceive.

The future, as God would have us know it, it is intimated to Grace Dispensation believers by Paul’s great end time prophecies, 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1-9; 2 Tim. 4:1 and 2 Tim. 4:3-4. The first of these, (1 Tim. 4:1) warned against “giving heed to seducing spirits and the doctrines of devils”. The second (2 Tim. 3:1-9) warned of the “perilous times” to come and the evil character of the men who would live in them. The third (2 Tim. 4:3-4) warned of itching ears turned away to fables. The fourth (2 Tim. 3:1) speaks of fables posing as truth and acceptance of lies becoming an accomplished fact in the “perilous times”. Those who were seduced when they were “Christian” fellow travellers have now become fully hatched “serpent’s seed”

As it was then, so it is now. God’s response to apostasy by his called out people is to send in a cruel, dark and evil invader. For Israel in the post-Acts period that was the Romans under Titus. For us in our time it is the Moslems. Now then, if this last statement is true, then we should find clear identification of the Moslem menace in Paul’s four end time prophecies. And the fact is that if we will dig deep enough, we do. For example, take the words “perilous times” in 2 Tim. 3:1. “Perilous” translates the Greek word chalepos which means hard, difficult and grievous. “Times” really means “seasons”. Importantly, chalepos is used elsewhere only in Matt. 8:28, where Jesus is confronted by the dark, spiritual forces of the Gergesene (or more probably the Girgashite) country in Judea.

This land was a part of erez Israel (the territory God gave to his chosen people) but nearly 1500 years after Israel’s invasion and occupation of the land Jesus found it still occupied by descendants of the original Canaanites that God had sent Israel to kill and replace in the first place. As such, of course, they would be “serpent’s seed” twice over. First they would be physical descendants of the post-flood “giants” and “mighty men of renown” (Gen. 6), the progeny of angels come in unto the daughters of men, “also after that”. Hundreds of years later when Abram arrived scripture states that “the Canaanite was then in the land” (Gen. 12:7). And in Gen. 15:21 the Girgashites are mentioned as one of their number. Second, they would be spiritually allied with the “Ishmaelites”, ancestors of the present Arab peoples.

Remember it was to the “Ishmaelites” that Joseph was sold as a slave by his brethren. Gideon fought against them as Midianites (Judges 8:24). Ps. 83:5-12 records the later confederate conspiracy mounted against Israel in the time of the kings. These dark allies included both the physical “serpent’s seed” descendants, Amalek for example, and the spiritual “serpent’s seed”, i.e. those Satan had seduced from among the children of the righteous. Thus we read that Edom (Esau’s descendants), Moab (Lot’s descendants), Ishmaelites, (Ishmael’s descendants) all conspire with Israel’s ancient enemies against God. Their purpose: “Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession” (Ps. 83:12).

Just as it was then, so is it now. Ishmael’s descendants, the Arabs, are joined with all Moslem peoples in their avowed aim of wiping Jews and Christians off the face of the earth and taking their land. Their “allies” include the godless governments of the west, who will not lift a finger to support Bible truth and those that believe it. Worse still in league with them are elements of the liberal professing church who believe that all religions are the same and all paths lead to God.

Back in Matt. 8:28 the Messiah is inspecting part of the land He will one day rule as Israel’s king. And He finds it a firmly established outpost of Satan:

And when He was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes (or Gigashites), there met Him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.”

Fierce” here is a translation of chalepos, the Greek word translated “perilous” in 2 Tim. 3:1. Thus here in Matt.8: 28-34 scripture pens a picture of the “fierce” evil spirits possessing those who would destroy us and take our land in these the “last days” of the Dispensation of Grace and of the Mystery. They too are the “serpent’s seed” and the character description set out in 2 Tim. 3:2-9 fits them, and the cowards who bow to them, exactly. (Read these verses carefully for yourself).

Not only are they fierce, which is the code word the Holy Spirit of truth uses to draw our attention to the earlier confrontation with the Lord in Matt. 8:28; they are also lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, despisers of those that are good and traitors.

While some of these descriptions particularly fit Moslems - truce breakers and false accusers, for example – the description as a whole increasingly describes exactly what we find in all men today.

Note that in Matt. 8 these devil-driven men who dare to oppose Jesus come “out of the tombs”, just as the jihad Islamists taking over territory in France, Britain Germany, yes, and even Australia and New Zealand have also come out of the death and war ravaged “tombs” of countries where Islam holds sway. You see, there’s no such thing as a peace loving, peace experiencing Moslem country. Muslims routinely and inevitably fight and kill each other.

Then note that they “met” Jesus. Most devils Messiah cast out in his ministry lay low, hiding in those they possessed until Jesus exposed them and “cast them out”. Not so these devils. They boldly confronted Him, saying:

What have we to do with thee Jesus, thou Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?”

What impudence! Are devils to tell their Creator what time it is? Are they to tell God they want nothing to do with Him? Yet most of mankind tells God exactly the same today. “We don’t want your Jesus”, they loudly say. “Don’t come here to torment us with your truth”.

Now notice a comparison. When Jesus cleansed the Jewish temple in fulfilment of Malachi 3:1-2, he drove out the money changers and they that sold animals for sacrifice, saying, “Make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise”  (John2:16).

And here in Matt. 8 He starts to drive out those who pollute “his land”. The devils are cast out and go into a herd of pigs which are destroyed, thus removing the livelihood of the “serpent’s seed” Girgashites who had been brazenly farming swine in “Immanuel’s land”. Steeped in the spirit that possessed the two tomb dwelling men, “...the whole city (of the Girgashites) came out to meet (and fiercely confront) Jesus, and when they saw Him, they besought Him to depart out of their coasts” (Matt. 8:34). Just as society around the world today is urging the Lord and those that are his to “depart out of their coasts”.

It is important to note that for all their determined opposition, these fierce spirits had to obey the Lord. In Matt. 8:31 they say: “If thou cast us out suffer us to go away in the herd of swine. And He said unto them, Go.” And they went, destroying the livelihood of the people who worshipped them, just as the spirit of Islam destroys its followers today.

Question: Just how far will evil spirits go in resisting the truth? In Matt. 8:24-27, with corresponding accounts in Mark and Luke, we see the devil directly assault the life of Jesus and his disciples. “And behold there arose a great tempest… insomuch the ship was covered with the waves”.

The word translated “tempest” means earthquake, so actually the boat carrying Jesus and his disciples was swamped by a tsunami sent by the devil, as one of his ongoing attempts to kill the “seed of the woman” (Gen. 3:15). That is, he was attempting to destroy the Son of God to prevent Him taking his place as the rightful ruler of earth, a position Satan usurped in Eden.

Similarly today the devil is trying hard to prevent the Lord succeeding in his prime purpose, that of calling out a special company to rule and reign with Him in the heavens in the “Day of Christ” (Phil. 1:6, 10; 2:16).

In Galilee the devil and his henchmen were “withstanding” Christ, just as in the perilous timesthe “fierce”: men of 2 Tim. 3:3 and 8 also “resist the Truth”. (Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life, remember?) The picture of Muslims in Asia, Africa and elsewhere killing Christians, raping women and children and burning down churches springs to mind.

Thus we see that that the “false accusers” of our day (2 Tim. 3:3) are men “of corrupt minds” (2 Tim. 3:8), just as in Gen 6:6 we found that man What’s more they are “reprobate” (2 Tim. 3:8). That is, just as they have rejected God, God has rejected them. They are written out of “the Book of Life”; i.e. they are designated by God to die and never rise again. In having corrupt minds and being “reprobate concerning the faith”’ they are likened by Paul to Jannes and Jambres the magicians at Pharoah’s court (see Ex. 7:11 and following).

Just as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so the “fierce” adversaries of our day attempt to replace the true saving, redeeming power of God by myths, lies and counterfeit spiritual experiences. And right now they seem to be winning hands down. Notice the strategy of these reprobates. Just as in Exodus the magicians Jannes and Jambres reproduced the miracles God wrought through Aaron and Moses, so in our time everything done by Christians through faith in God to teach, help the poor, comfort the afflicted and save the soul has been aped by secular disciplines. A sometime believer who suffered an emotional breakdown was told at the mental hospital: “Give Christianity a miss. Belief in Jesus or any sort of faith just makes matters worse for you”.

Pharoah’s magicians could turn rods into serpents (no surprise, since they were serpent’s seed) but Aaron’s rod swallowed up theirs. They could also turn water into blood, thus poisoning the new wells the Egyptians had sunk after God through Aaron had turned all the waters of Egypt to blood. Like Aaron they also brought up frogs on the land thus adding to God’s ruin of Egypt. But when it came to turning dust into lice, the magicians were stumped. They couldn’t do it and had to say to Pharoah, “This is the finger of God.”

Now before we go further, let’s ask what religion is it that today routinely and without exception brings fear, death and destruction on its own people. Without question the answer is Islam. And why is it so many Muslims want to leave the lands they were born in? If Islam is so good why don’t they choose to stay there, rather than bring their misery to other countries?

Now the spiritual “serpent’s seed” – that is, the company of those seduced and suborned by the devil out of the ranks of the faithful – undoubtedly was alive and well in Jesus’ day. Both John the Baptist and the Lord described the Pharisees and Sadducees, then leaders of then Jewish people, as a “generation of vipers” (Matt. 3:7, 12:34). Their religion was one of hypocrisy, exploitation of the poor and hatred of both scripture and of the living Word of God when He walked amongst them.

Just like the Girgashites rejecting Jesus and the Egyptian magicians confronting Moses, the Pharisees and Sadducees boldly tackled Jesus head on, accusing Him of casting out devils by the prince of devils, Beelzebub (Mk. 3:22). Not surprisingly, His answer in Luke 11:19-20 was the same as God’s answer to Jannes and Jambres 2000 years before:

Ïf I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.”

It is with the “finger of God” that Christ Jesus, at his appearing in glory at the inauguration of his kingdom will “judge the quick and the dead” (2 Tim. 4:1). Just as devils possessing his people, occupying his land, brazenly withstanding Jesus, were “cast out” by the finger of God then, so the Lord will deal with those slaughtering his people in our time. .And not only devils but also “evil men and seducers (who) shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13) will be “cast out”

In our time a huge nest of Islamic vipers is fast uncoiling in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere in the world. In Egypt there is a replay of the serpent story of Moses’ time, violent revolution, aided and abetted by the west, has unseated a comparatively moderate and religiously tolerant dictator, Mubarak, only to “democratically” replace him with a worse Islamist despot, President Morsi. Egypt’s magicians are raising frogs again.

Just as ancient Egypt worshipped a panoply of pagan gods and had its own “science falsely called” ( 1 Tim. 6:20), so does the world today. And just as God brought plagues on the land to execute judgement “against all the gods of Egypt” so Jesus Christ will do in the day of his appearing and kingdom (2 Tim. 4:1). The world as we know it will be wrecked in the process

For now, however, Satan’s end time plot is unfolding throughout the world, removing political and religious freedom, causing all to bow to Islam and ensuring bankers and governments combine to wreck the economy through debt and interest charges. And once again, as in ancient Egypt, in Rome under Nero, and now throughout the world, Christians are being blamed for whatever goes wrong.

Thankfully the tide of hatred, war and persecution in these “perilous times” (2. Tim. 3:1) can only rise so far. 2 Tim. 3:9-10, Paul’s last prophecy, shows how the “finger of God” will intervene to halt the outrage in its tracks. As Paul writes:

“But they shall proceed no further, for their folly shall be manifest to all men, as theirs (that of Jannes and Jambres) was also.”

What is the key to being sure the Lord Jesus Christ will step in and stop the madness by bringing judgement on earth through his kingdom and by his appearing in glory? It is found right there in verse 10:

 “But thou (Timothy) hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience.”

Only those willing to study, to rightly divide the word of truth, will fully learn the doctrine and faith, purpose and patience to be found in the prison epistle writings of the Apostle Paul. In them is found “that blessed hope” and “the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). And the truth is that He “…will judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:1). It is that appearing and judgement that Paul alludes to in 2 Tim. 3:9, “but they shall proceed no further”.

But is there real proof that the menace of Islam is being talked about in these scriptures? I believe there is. You see Islam is the ultimate expression of apostasy. In fact God only allowed the religion to arise in the sixth century because of the utter departure from the truth demonstrated by the professing church of the time. Headed by the emerging Roman Catholic Church, this caricature of real Christianity had lost true faith in Jesus Christ and forgotten there even was an apostle Paul. Certainly not a single teaching of the matchless grace found in his prison epistles can be found in its writings. But God in his wisdom anticipated this sad turn of events. In Eph. 4:14 the Apostle Paul is inspired to look forward down the long centuries following his death and describe the chaos that ensued. His plea to believers in the Mystery calling is:

“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive. But speaking the truth in love grow up into Him in all things, which (or who) is the Head, even Christ.”

Today many believers are in kindergarten. They believe the lies of false science, they refuse to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15), they ignore or reject the “high calling of God”; they cling to the miracles, laws and ordinances of the earlier Pentecostal Dispensation of the Book of Acts and so miss out on the spiritual power of Christ's resurrection in this life. Because of this they are in danger of also missing out on the out-resurrection (Gk: exanastasis, Phil. 3:11).

And, as a result of their refusal to lay hold on present truth, Satan daily tightens his grip on the world through Islam and all his other lies. And this is all because these retarded believers prefer being tossed and blown about by the wind and waves of the “evil teaching of the prince of the power of the air”, rather growing up into the Head, which is Christ.

Now look closely at the words “sleight of men” prominently mentioned in Eph. 4:14. Since the word sleight itself means “cunning craftiness” its use here would appear to be repetitious. But dig into the Greek and a deeper meaning appears. You see, the Greek word for sleight is kubeia, from which we get our English word “cube”. In Arabic the word is ca’b , which is used to describe the Moslem shrine at Mecca.

Now the cube, as a shape, comes from the die, or dice, an ancient pagan practice which was employed (and still is) to supposedly determine what the gods are about to do. As a means of divination known as “lots” it is roundly condemned in scripture (see Num, 23:23, Deut. 18:10, 2 Ki. 17:17). Yet divination is what ancient Babylon used (with God’s permission) to attack and slaughter Jerusalem (Ezek. 21:21-23). And Julius Caesar in attacking Rome, said, “The die is cast” and crossed the Rubicon. At the cross Roman soldiers “parted his garments casting lots”. And today by praying toward Mecca Muslims in effect cast lots to determine which individuals they will rob, which country they will seize, which peoples they will attack.

THE HISTORY OF DICE

In ancient India red and black dice were played by the gods on boards called ashtapadas. The world was divided into ashtapadas and with each flick of the wrist the die was cast. Empires were built through this practice. The gods themselves were shown playing dice and in Indian religious tradition Krishna, in revealing his “universal form” to Arjuna tells him that “of those things which deceive I am the dice”. Plato said the dice and gaming originated with Thoth in Egypt. In Phaedrus he credits Thoth with the invention of number and calculation, geometry, astronomy, draughts and dice. Thoth is related to Hermes who “weaves the dual power of life and death between heaven and earth”. Men in their vanity sought to glimpse the decisions of demi gods by through divination and the roll of the dice.

Now, granted, the overall meaning of Eph. 4:14 is that if you don’t study to ensure yourself “approved unto God” and “stablished in the present truth” you are already blown off course by wind and wave. In fact by heeding anything other than the “present truth” of God’s words you are gambling with your eternal future. But let’s go deeper. In Arabic the word we know as cube is Kaába, a word borrowed by the Greeks as kubeia. The Kaába is that black-draped, cube-shaped stone edifice in Mecca held by Moslems to be their holiest shrine. Every day Muslims pray toward it, using “divination” to progress their goal of world conquest. As the biggest spiritually evil lot or die in the world it is proving powerfully effective. Islam has cast the die for hatred, bloodshed and global conquest. And only the Lord Jesus Christ can stop it.

In Eph. 4:14 then is God warning that refusal by Christendom to heed the “sound words” of the prison epistle ministry of Paul results in unleashing the menace of Islam on an apostate “Christian” world? Yes, indeed, I believe He is. Thank God that He has also written through Paul’s pen that “they shall proceed no further” (2 Ti. 3:9). Thank God He has promised that He will judge, that He will appear and that He will bring in his kingdom.

And right now He is urging us to be “…looking for that blessed hope (our resurrection to be with Him in the heavenlies) and the glorious appearing of the great God and Saviour Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:13-14).

Because the Lord’s appearing in glory will bring to a sudden end the dice the devil has rolled out through Islam.

ISLAM AND THE PERILOUS TIMES part three

By John Aldworth

Published 08-01-2013

2 Tim. 3:8-9: Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest to all men, as theirs was also.

2 Tim. 3:13: But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and, deceiving and being deceived.

A key assertion in this study series is that Islam, its militant proponents and the traitorous western politicians that accommodate them, are foremost among the “evil men” operating in the “perilous times” of 2 Tim. 3:1. And, sadly, the prevailing mind set of mankind in general is fast becoming like them.

In part two we noted how the word “fierce” can be traced back to the Girgashites and the evil spirits dominating both of whom “fiercely” opposed Messiah Jesus in the gospels.

Now we look at the word “folly” in the verses above. Collins English Dictionary defines it as “want of sense, foolishness of mind, a foolish action, needless extravagance” but anoia, the Greek word so translated, is of much darker meaning. According to Strong it means madness and rage.

This dark spirit operating in the flesh is depicted for us in Luke 6:11 (the only other place in the New Testament where anoia is used):

And they were filled with madness (anoia): and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus”.

What an apt summary of what the world is today: Month by month Islam is literally killing thousands of those who bear the name of Christ. Meanwhile apostate orthodox Christianity, Roman Catholicism, humanism, Pentecostalism, the New World Order and its banking and political cronies along with the “oppositions of science falsely so-called” (1 Tim. 6:20) conspire to destroy the truth of Jesus and his grace. They spiritually resist Him in person by rejecting and opposing the “present truth” found in the “form of sound words” in Paul’s later epistles.

It is of course the presence of “seducing spirits” busy teaching “doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. 4:1) that causes the world at large, and many so-called Christians in particular, to determinedly “resist the truth” (2 Tim. 3:8). And these spirits are fierce, implacable and tenacious. Years ago I was in hospital recovering after surgery for a foot injury and saw a patient opposite protesting vehemently. The doctors were discharging him, saying they could do nothing for him. “I’ll die if you don’t help,” he said. “Why don’t you pray to Jesus, accept Him as your Saviour,” I suggested. “I can’t do that,” he replied. “I’m a high degree Freemason and after cursing, blaspheming and opposing Him all these years I can’t call Him on now.” “Yes, you can. He knows, and you know, you’re a sinner. He died for your sins,” I replied. “No I can’t, he responded. “What I swore means I never could.”

Today hatred of and contempt for Jesus is commonplace. Recently a British television comedian put a dog in the manger of a crib and cuddled and prayed to it as a Christmas joke. Mention almost any biblical truth – the “glorious gospel of the blessed God” (1 Tim. 1:11), which is our hope of being resurrected to be with Christ in glory, for example, or that the earth does not move but that the sun goes round it (Ps. 93:1 and Ps 19:4-6) - and people either laugh with scorn or get angry.

These are “perilous times” indeed for believers who seek to be taught only by the word of truth rightly divided (2 Tim. 2:15) and by grace (Titus 2:11-12). Let us be clear; Satan is the god of this world and every department of it – education, science, society, culture, orthodox Christianity, paganism, business, the economy, politics  -is vehemently opposed to recognising the “truth as it is in Jesus” (Eph. 4:21).

Note that it is the “truth as it is in Jesus” that sparks outrage, not the truth “as it was” in Jesus. You can preach the message of the past with comparative impunity. Tell people to fast, repent, get water baptised, attend mass, get right with God by good behaviour; it’s all acceptable. But battle is joined whenever “present truth” is proclaimed. Why? Because only the truth God is speaking today, and not yesterday, is the truth that saves and offers hope of heaven. Only the message God is speaking now proclaims the Saviour as He truly is today – Christ sent to indwell Gentiles as their hope of glory (Col. 1:27).

When the sparks fly the real issue is always a dispensational one, just as it was back in Luke 6: 1-11, for example. There we find the Son of Man asserting in gospel times that He is “Lord of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:5). Naturally the scribes and Pharisees, the orthodox religious establishment of the day, take umbrage at this assault on their position. After all who is Jesus to heal folk and let his disciples rub wheat for lunch on their sacred day? Filled with hatred they lie in wait to find reason to accuse the Lord of “breaking the law”.

And the Saviour takes up the challenge, calling out from the synagogue congregation a man with a withered hand and asking his enemies if it is lawful to do good or evil on this the sabbath day. At Jesus’ command the man stretches forth his hand and is made whole. Immediately his enemies are filled with madness (anoia). It is the same madness that today possesses those who oppose the truth and the Lord’s people who believe it in our time. Heady, unholy “despisers of those that are good” (2 Tim. 3:1-5) abound today because these are indeed “perilous times”.

Today Jesus is not publicly healing withered arms but He is meeting every need of true believers through the riches of his grace in glory. Grace is the great power God is manifesting today; indeed it is all that God is doing right now but as the Pharisees denied Jesus in their day, so today the religious establishment of today is “having a form of godliness (i.e. grace) but denying the power thereof”.

IT’S A SPIRITUAL BATTLE

Perilous times” means the evil spirit (or spirits) of this season as expressed through men have become implacable. They are “fierce, heady, high minded, traitors, blasphemous with natural affection”. The combination of these character defects set out in 2 Tim. 3 is the spirit of the age and to combat it believers must hold to the Spirit’s promise in 2 Tim. 1:7:

For God has not given to us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind”.

If this Spirit empowers us we will not be “ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me (Paul) his prisoner.” And we will be willing to be “partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Tim. 1:8). “Ashamed of Jesus, no, not I” is a hymn Strict Baptists would sing at water baptism ceremonies. But scripture here does not tell us to not be ashamed of water baptism, but to not be ashamed of the “testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner”, an entirely different thing.

Paul urges Timothy to not be ashamed of the especial revelation of pure grace and the Mystery given by the Lord during his prison ministry. Why? Because when First Timothy was penned Timothy was “abiding still” in Ephesus, “that thou mightest charge some that they preach no other doctrine”- no other doctrine, that is, than the latest word from God now revealed in the apostle’s letters from prison. Evidently the Ephesian believers still clung to the truths of the Acts period Pentecostal dispensation. Like many today they were not willing to move on to accept the new and wonderful truths of grace and the Mystery revealed to Paul.

That is why Paul wrote the epistle to the Ephesians to them with its ringing challenge, as relevant today as it was then: “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you ward” (Eph. 3:2).

It is also why Paul now writes a second epistle to Timothy urging him not to be ashamed of the new and latest word from God and to:

Hold fast the form of sound words which thou hast heard of me in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:13).

The Apostle Paul had no illusions about the popularity of the message he commits unto Timothy. He charges his disciple “...before God and the Lord Jesus Christ who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and kingdom”:

Preach the word, be instant in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:1-2).

As Paul predicted, the time has come when “they will not endure sound doctrine” (vs 3). We live in the “last days” and millions of self professed Christians have itching ears. They have heaped unto themselves teachers who tell them want they want to hear.

They have turned their ears from the truth and turned to fables, (Gk. Muthos), meaning the myths that now abound in both the world and the professing church. Among them is the claim that Christianity can peacefully co-exist with Islam in western countries despite the wholesale slaughter of Christians by Islamists in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.   

Today as millions of Christians are marginalised, opposed, oppressed, driven out and, yes, murdered in the name of Islam, democracy and freedom of religion, it is vital to realise that only in Paul’s prison epistles can real protection be found.

Thus those who believe the “present truth” of Col. 1:13 that God “…hath delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” know his protection in reality.

Down the ages since Paul apostasy, like the pagan idol Janus, has had two faces. One is Roman Catholicism and the other Islam. First one, and then the other, has torn, conquered and subdued believers from Paul’s day to ours. Now apostasy is the process by which one-time believers abandon and betray their faith. They may be unsaved “fellow travellers”, or the “called” but at some point they refuse to grow any further in grace and truth. They fall prey to seducing spirits and substitute the doctrines of devils for the truth as it is in Jesus.

In 2 Tim. 2:25-26 Paul advises Timothy and other servants of the Lord not to strive but to be gentle unto all, apt to teach, patient,

“In meekness to instructing those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of Satan who are taken captive by him at his will.”

The sad fact is that more than 99 per cent of professing Christianity fell into Satan’s trap in Paul’s time by rejecting the good news from God found in the apostle’s prison epistles. Taken captive at his will they were suckered into the pagan Roman Catholic Church. A few centuries later no trace of Pauline or gospel truth remained and God judged the widespread apostasy by allowing Satan to raise up Islam. Within two centuries Mohammed’s followers had wiped the Middle East, much of Asia, North Africa and even parts of Europe clean of all apostate “Christian” influence.

The Dark Ages ensued, only to be broken by the new light shed by the Reformation in the 13th to 16th centuries. Then apostasy set in again as the Roman Catholic Church mounted its counter-reformation, the devil weighed in with false science and paganism and the professing church along with the world was caught in the pincer movement between the two.

To punish the resultant apostasy God has again unleashed Satan through the dark forces of Islam to wipe western countries and, progressively, the rest of the world, clean of a so-called church which will not believe his latest report.

ISLAM AND THE PERILOUS TIMES part four

When the Lord takes Satan’s place

as ruler of this world

By John Aldworth

Published 13-01-2013

Isaiah 27:1: In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and He shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.

Isaiah 25:7: And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people and the vail that is spread over all nations.

1 John 3: 8: For this purpose was the Son of God manifest that He might destroy the works of the devil.

1 Cor. 15:25: For He must reign until He have put all enemies under his feet.

Ps. 110:1: The Lord said unto my Lord: sit Thou at my right hand until I make thy enemies thy footstool.

Matt. 19:28: …in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye shall also sit upon 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel.

1 Tim. 6:14-15: That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which in his (own) times (season) He shall show (that He is) the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

We live in the last days, in “perilous times”. We desperately need to see the Lord reign and topple Satan from his throne. Today the truth of grace and the mystery is being fiercely withstood by evil forces. The Satanic hatred expressed through Islam is in the forefront of the battle but evil men generally are “waxing worse and worse”. The governments of this “present evil world” world, its economy and war machines all dance to the devil’s tune.  Yet in 2 Tim. 3:9 we are told such resisters of the truth “shall proceed no further” and that their folly shall be made “manifest”.

The question is how? In an earlier study, Islam and the Perilous Times part two we noted that in verse 8 these “reprobates concerning the truth” were likened to “Jannes and Jambres” who withstood Moses. In Ex. 7:11 we found that these magicians at Pharoah’s court had “a form of godliness” – that is, they could turn rods into snakes, water into blood and bring up frogs, just as Aaron did at the Lord’s command. But they were denying the source of “the power thereof” (2 Tim. 3:5), that is that the power was from God Himself, not Satan. Thus when it came to turning dust into lice the magicians were stumped. They couldn’t do it and had to confess to Pharoah, “This is the finger of God” (Ex. 4:19).

And in Luke 11:10 Messiah Jesus told his enemies, the Pharisees, “If I with the finger of God cast out devils, then the kingdom of God is come upon you.”

I believe that at his “appearing and kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:1) the exalted Lord will Himself cast out the devil by the “finger of God”. He will cast him out of his position and take his place as God of this world. He will also break the covering of darkness and unbelief over the nations and “judge the quick and the dead” (2 Tim. 4:1). In the process He will “take away the rebuke of his people…from off all the earth” (Isaiah 25:8). What is the rebuke of his people? Surely it is that their witness to the God and his word, to Jesus the Saviour and to the current Grace and Mystery Dispensation is repeatedly, constantly, almost universally rejected.

The casting out process begins with the Lord’s appearance in kingdom glory, taking his seat upon his own throne. This crucial event is set out in Paul’s later epistles as being quite separate from the Lord’s present session in which He is “sat at the right hand of the Father” or “sat down in his Father’s throne”.

Several scriptures confirm that the Lord’s present position is “at the right hand of God”. Acts 2:30 recounts God’s oath to David that He would raise up Christ to sit on His (that is, God’s) throne. Heb. 1:3 and 10:12, state that He is “sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high”. Col. 3:1 confirms this, saying “… seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God”. Even in Rev.5:7, picturing the future Day of the Lord we find the Lamb “taking the book out of the hand of Him that sat upon the throne”, not sitting on a throne of his own.

Psalm 110:1, quoted by Jesus Himself in Matt. 22:41-46, states: “The Lord (that is, Jehovah, God in covenant relationship with his creation) said unto my Lord (Adonai, the Creator and Messiah), “sit Thou at my right hand until I make thy enemies thy footstool.” Heb. 10:12-says that Christ having offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, is “…sat down on the right hand of God, from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.”

But the Lord will have his own throne in the Day of Christ when the He will “judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:1). This is the imminent next great event on God’s calendar, and right now the Lord is sat at God’s right hand in expectation of it.

Yes, Christ’s rule on a throne of his own in the heavens is clearly foretold in scripture. In Matt. 19:28 Lord tells his apostles that “…in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Clearly the Lord is not speaking here of his Father’s throne but of his own.

Nor is He doing so in Rev. 3:21 when He says: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne”. That promise will be fulfilled in the future millennial reign of the Lord.

It should be realised there are three aspects to this personal kingship of Christ Jesus: first his ruling and reigning in heaven over the heavenly hosts; second his ruling from heaven over the earth and third, his personal presence in ruling earth from Jerusalem which occurs later in the Millennium.

Importantly, the first two aspects – ruling over the heavenly hosts and over earth from heaven - both take place in the soon coming Day of Christ. Thus for believers pressing upward for the prize of the “high calling” (Phil. 3:14) the removal of Satan as the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4) and punishment of principality and power becomes our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13).where it is linked to Christ’s rule from heaven over earth beginning at his “appearing” (Titus 2:13).

That Christ will have his own throne and reign in his own right is further detailed in 1 Tim. 6:14-16:

“That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which in his (own) times (season) He shall shew who (i.e. that He is) the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords.”

Yes, very soon the Lord will make Himself known as the only king and ruler over both heaven and earth. Already we are told “The Lord is at hand” (Phil. 4:5). And in Titus 2:13 we are urged to be constantly “…looking for the blessed hope and the appearing (Gk. epiphaneia) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”. It is hugely significant that the word “potentate” is used only once in the Bible, right here in 1 Tim.6:15. It means the mighty prevailing ruler, the one and only true King.

This writer’s book, The Gentile Jesus (chapters 30 and 31), makes the important point that in shewing Himself as the “one and only potentate” the Lord is not merely asserting Himself as the God He is and has always been. Rather He is shewing Himself as man become God. It is as “the man Christ Jesus” that He will appear in his glory (Col. 3:3-4) to show Himself to every creature in heaven and on earth as man become “the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

In doing so, He will change time itself. 2 Tim. 6:15 says his appearing will take place in “his (own) times”, or season. In the Day of Christ our Lord is going to change the times and seasons. Nothing will be the same again. You see for six days now (6,000 years) it has been man’s day. Under Satan man has defied God and deified Satan and himself. But at our Lord’s appearing man’s day will cease, being replaced by “the Day of Christ” (Phil. 1: 6, 1:10 and 2:16), the day the Lord Himself said is “my day” (John 8:56). And scripture teaches that “one day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet. 3:8).

His appearing (Gk. epiphaneia) will make known once and for all to all that it is the man Christ Jesus who is now Jehovah Sabaioth (the Lord of Hosts). The latter title, which appears 288 times in the Bible, refers to Jehovah as God in relation to his creation. As the Lord of hosts He is the rightful ruler of every created being in heaven and on earth. And in the Day of Christ every knee will bow and every tongue confess it.

He is the Lord of time, the king of the ages and, in his “day”, everybody will be made to know it as his glory shines from heaven and fills all the earth (Num. 14:21). He will shew this glory with great power as He ousts Satan and his principalities and powers from rulership in heaven and their stooges, the kings and leaders of this world, from their positions of power down here below.

For believers this will be the happiest of all occasions. Not only will the Lord shine forth as the “only potentate” in earth and heaven; He will also be the “blessed potentate” (1 Tim. 6:15). The Greek word here is makarios, which means happy. Our Lord Jesus Christ will Himself take joy in his creation and bring happiness to all who trust in Him.

On earth He will bring in true happiness, lasting peace and full blessing of righteousness and complete provision to all who will bow the knee and confess his name. Those who won’t will receive short shrift, being banished from his kingdom. Shortly we will examine just how that process of blessing and judgement occurs as it is previewed in Old Testament prophecy.

Meantime let’s consider in 1 Tim. 1:16-17 another aspect of his “appearing and kingdom”:

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever.”

Here we learn that our Lord will appear in glory as the King of Ages, the Lord of time, the creator of each epoch, the Saviour in each generation. In successive ages this has always been apparent to the called who trust Him.

Thus in our time, in the dispensation of the grace of God and the Mystery, those of us called as members of “the church which is his body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all”, already know that “God has put all things under his feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the church…” (Eph. 1:21-23).

We experience the spiritual reality of having been “…delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13). It’s all part of our “on-the-job training” to rule and reign with Christ in the heavenlies.

But as our verse explains, this great King, who is “the only wise God”, is eternal. However, while living eternally He has long been invisible to earthly man. Since Noah’s flood his glory has been veiled but it won’t be at his appearing. Then it will shine forth and every eye will see Him appear in glory; every tongue will confess and every knee will bow. Those that won’t will be destroyed.

The message then is that, yes, Islam is a major player in the cosmic conflict of the “perilous times” and that present personal deliverance from this “power of darkness” can only come to those who trust the Lord and his grace. We should remember that the hope of a better world is held out only to those who are “looking for his appearing” (Titus 2:13).

The end.