COMFORT IN SCRIPTURE

January 16, 2017

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

Either you believe Scripture or you don’t. I do. Prophecy is a big part of Scripture, and should be diligently studied. Things that are making headlines today cause me much concern, and I do get scared. The violence and hatred that our news media thrives on reporting is out of control. The hatred towards our President, Mr. Trump, is lunacy. The evil that permeates the Middle East and comes against Israel and Christians, is satanic. Oddly, the liberal left sees this evil as good. “Woe to them who call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20. Fortunately, God has given us Scripture to comfort us and prophecy to let us know where we are on the prophetic timeline. Evil will not win. If you’re a Christian and feeling the stress of this day and age, then you aren’t studying Scripture. Psalm 46 is very applicable for today.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.” Psalm 46:1-7. This describes the situation today. There is nothing new in the troubling events we see happening all around us. The evil we see is the same evil that beguiled Eve, and has tried to destroy God’s creation ever since. God’s hand has guided all who love Him throughout the years. Psalm 46 doesn’t stop with the troubles, but gives us hope.

Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.” Psalm 46:8-11. There you have it. Troubling times will come, but God will overcome all evil. Be still in these troubling times and know that God can be trusted no matter what the future holds. Through Him there is victory.

A mistake that many Christians make is not studying prophecy. Most of it is given in the Old Testament and too many pastors will only teach from the New Testament. It’s been said the “The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed. The Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed.” Think about that. The Old Testament is full of prophecy about Jesus, about sin and death, about the end times. The New Testament reveals that Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection fulfilled hundreds of prophecies. There’s more yet to be fulfilled when He comes again. The Old Testament tells us where sin and death began. God placed Adam and Eve in a perfect place, but told them the consequences of eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. They ate and thus began sin and death, misery and woe. Prophecy reveals that God’s plan to save His creation was to enter it as a man and shed His own blood for our salvation. He did this and now faith in Him brings everlasting life. Old Testament prophecy gives a good look at the events of today tells us there will be an end to all of this one day. It’s comforting to know that God, who isn’t constrained by the limits of time, has seen the future and told us what will transpire. It isn’t that He is making people hate each other, but He looked forward and saw that the hatred would intensify. He saw that Israel would be dispersed, then regathered. He saw the events of the Great Tribulation, which will cause the nation of Israel to turn back to Him in faith and finally come to recognize Jesus Christ as their Messiah.

Looking at news headlines today through the lens of prophecy can be comforting. The study of prophecy won’t change what will happen, but it just might give you two advantages. First, knowing that life will become increasingly troublesome as we draw closer to the last days, you can prepare for the worst. Wars and violence will increase, so you need to protect yourself as best you can. Jesus talked about earthquakes in various places. They have always happened, but they will grow stronger and happen where they aren’t expected. If roads are damaged, no food can reach the stores. You would be wise to have plenty of canned goods on hand. The Old Testament tells about Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers. By chance, (or was it by God’s hand over him?), Joseph ended up in Egypt in Pharaoh’s household. Joseph loved God and had the gift of interpreting dreams. Pharaoh had two dreams which were very troubling to him. One was of 7 fat cows and 7 scrawny cows, and the other was about 7 good grains and 7 bad grains. In both dreams the weaker overpowered the stronger. Joseph was asked to interpret them. “And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the ream is one. And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.” Genesis 41:25-27. Preparations were made and food was stored. Because of that, Israel was saved. Jacob (who was re-named Israel by God) led his family to Egypt where they survived the famine and were reunited with Joseph. Today we need to heed the signs and prepare. There will be a final 7-year time that will be the worst trouble that has ever been, and there’s no way to store enough food to survive what is to come. The only preparation you can do is to turn to Jesus now. Give your life to Him and when all Christians are taken Home in the Rapture, you will escape the horrors that prophecy says will come in the final 7 years.

The other thing that studying prophecy can do is give us a witnessing tool to bring someone we know to salvation through Jesus. News headlines are disturbing, but prophecy has revealed what’s ahead. Much prophecy has been fulfilled, and because it was accurate, we can know that the prophecy yet to be fulfilled will occur exactly as God said. Peter saw many wonders as he travelled with Jesus and learned from Him. Jesus had said He would be arrested and crucified because Scripture had to be fulfilled, and Peter heard His words and saw it fulfilled. Jesus also said that Peter would deny Him. If Peter had paid attention, he may have changed a few things he did that night. Jesus knew what would happen and loved Peter anyway. Peter was repentant and was forgiven. His life is a testimony to what God can do. Peter saw miracles, but he wrote that there is even more sure evidence that Scripture is true. “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but by holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:19-21. A man held the pen, but the Holy Spirit gave the words. Prophecy tells what will happen and it will happen just as God says. If we believe what is written we will find comfort and hope.

Many prophecies are about the end times. Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Daniel are just three of the men who the Holy Spirit inspired. The disciples asked Jesus about the end of the age and He told them what signs to look for. If you study Scripture, you’ll see that the Old Testament signs and the ones Jesus described are happening quickly. We live in the times of the signs, and can either be upset by what’s happening, or we can find comfort in Scripture. Christians will live through very troubling times, but we won’t face the final seven years of Tribulation. That time period is directly associated with bringing the nation of Israel back to obedience to God. Daniel was Jewish and much beloved by God. He was given prophecy regarding 70 weeks. In this context, each week represents seven years. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” Daniel 9:24. We know that “thy people” are Jewish because Daniel was Jewish and “thy holy city” is Jerusalem. Study the full prophecy, and you’ll understand that 69 weeks have been fulfilled, but there is one final 7-year period left. Today we’re living in the age of Grace. The door of salvation is open to anybody who admits they are a sinner and askes Jesus to forgive them. The door will soon be closed and God’s wrath will be poured out. If you want to get an idea of the horrors, read Revelation beginning in chapter 6. That describes events in Daniel’s 70th week. In the end, Israel will acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Messiah.

When reading the Book of Revelation, you need to be aware that chapters 1-5 isn’t about Israel, but about Christians. “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” Revelation 4:1. Then a description of Christians in Heaven is given. Oh, how I yearn to be there. Chapter 6 and the following chapters aren’t about Christians but about Israel and God’s wrath. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10. There are many, many Scriptures that support the pre-Tribulation Rapture. Christians will not face God’s wrath during Daniel’s 70th week. Sadly, God’s wrath is about to be poured out upon the unbelieving people who rejected Christ. Christians need to get busy and preach the Gospel to the lost.

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11. There’s hope in Scripture. There’s comfort in Scripture. You won’t find that comfort by letting your Bible gather dust on a shelf.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

www.straitandnarrowministry.com

ron@straitandnarrowministry.com

All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.

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