The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Monday, April 14, 2014

What if it Were Today?

“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” – 2 Corinthians 6:2

What if life as we know it were to end today, tonight? Are you ready for that to happen? Almost all religions speak of an end of the world. We recently saw the sun rise and set on the Mayan Calendar predictions. There are some very interesting things happening in our day. When we look at Jesus’ Olivet Discourse and His teaching on what to expect in the End Times we see a great deal of the unprecedented activity He warned about (cf. Matthew 24-25). What if the days He spoke of were about to occur? What would you do? Would you have any regrets if you had to stand before your Maker today, tonight?

In Genesis 1:14 God through Moses said that the lights in the heavens such as the sun, moon and stars serve as “signs” or a flag, a signal, a warning of things to come. The LORD through Joel said that, “Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD” there would be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and evidence in the sky of that day of the LORD. The signs Joel mentions are, “Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood” (cf. Joel 2:28-32). Interesting.

It’s interesting because in 2014 and 2015 there are some very rare and possibly very signal celestial events. There is a tetrad or four “blood moons” that are occurring; two in 2014 and two in 2015. This is a pretty rare event. What makes it all the more interesting is that these blood moons occur on Jewish Holy Days; one on Passover, April 15th, 2014; one on the Feast of Tabernacles, October 8th, 2014; another on Passover, April 4th, 2015; and another on the Feast of Tabernacles, September 27th, 2015. So what? Well, besides God saying He uses the sun and moon to signal prophetic events in history, we can actually scientifically look at history to see if this is so. NASA provides us the capacity to look historically at the occurrence of blood moons. We can then compare to see if there are any historical events that happen in close proximity to these “signs.”

An examination of the relative recent history of Israel with the occurrence of blood moons shows a possible connection of these blood moons with the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1493, the reestablishment of Israel as a nation in 1948, and the Six Day war of 1967. There are critics who deny any significance of the occurrence of blood moons, tetrad or not. But it does seem interesting given the global conditions we are living in. When we look at the state of the world today, it certainly could be close to the end. Could we be on the precipice of global catastrophic events that would affect every living man, woman and child?

Personally, I look at the world, the mass of humanity and its downward spiral into deeper and darker sin and it brings to mind Jesus’ statement that the End Times would be debauched like the Days of Noah (Mat. 24:37). Jesus spoke of unprecedented “great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Mat. 24:21). There are more ways to exterminate the world today than ever before. The militaries of the world are proliferating. Humanities alterations of nature are unleashing a host of mutations that we can’t even fathom the full effects of. I’m not a tree hugger but humanity has abused nature and we see the consequences in the extremity of weather patterns. We see earthquakes in every part of the world often accompanied by the compounding problem of tsunamis. Global greed and oppression is rampant. We are a world militantly divided religiously, economically, and culturally. Perversion in its various pornographic forms is one of the most profitable multi-billion dollar businesses in our day. Violence against the image of God in humanity is viciously seen in abortion and a growing inclination to rationalize the euthanizing of the weak and infirm. We see decapitations, genocide, and a myriad of other consequences of departing from and rebelling against the God of creation.  Even an atheist has to question and be concerned about the state of the world today. Can things get much worse? Are all of these death producing variables aligning to a critical mass of cataclysmic proportions?

Regardless of how you view prophecy and in particular the “blood moons” and other “signs” that will eventually come, you still must consider my initial question, “What if it were today?” And you know what? “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). NOW, no matter what time it is on the prophetic calendar or your personal life calendar, it’s time to consider salvation. God tells us to consider the brevity of our days (Psalm 39:4-5). God says in His word that our days go up like smoke; they’re like a shadow in the night (Psalm 102:3). God holds our days in His hand (Psalm 102:23-24). And He says “today,” right now is the time to consider the salvation He so graciously offers to us. He guarantees us no more than “now” to get right with Him.

Why the hurry? The Bible speaks of a day of God’s judgment on sinful humanity. “For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth” (Psalm 96:13). You can’t plead ignorance anymore. “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). Those words were inspired and penned over two thousand years ago. We’re closer today than ever before (cf. Rom. 13:11-14). Today is the day of salvation for you! Don’t let it pass.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ was God’s imprimatur on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The resurrection proves Jesus conquered death and the death penalty for sin. The resurrected Jesus leads the way to forgiveness and eternal life. God did all of that to save you from your sin (cf. Romans 8:31-32). “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation”? (Hebrews 2:3). You won’t escape if you neglect to decide to accept Jesus as Savior. Indecision is decision. You must decide. If we miss our “day,” we will spend eternity in torment and regret for our sinful stupidity. The choice is yours (cf. Matthew 25:46). Today is the day of salvation for you! Don’t let it pass.

What if the world as we know it was to end today or tonight and we were brought to stand before God to give an accounting? Are you ready for that? Maybe you don’t believe in any of this? Okay, but whether or not we believe in something does not affect the truth of something. You can jump off a bridge in defiance of gravity. But you will plummet and crash into the truth of that law of God’s nature. The same is true of God’s Law. If you break one Law, you break them all. That is God’s holy standard of righteousness. It’s the only standard that matters (cf. Galatians 3:10-13; James 2:10). God states each person will die one day and stand before Him to give an account (Heb. 9:27). There are a myriad of personal end times before the final global End Time. What if you are near your personal end time? Today is the day of salvation for you! Don’t let it pass.

Aren’t you a bit concerned? A little interested? A bit worried at your delinquency toward God? There’s an end of the world spirit in the world today. People are curious about what is happening around them. They are wondering whether or not what is happening today has a more vertical transcendent meaning. There are problems in the world today that seem unsolvable. That’s exactly what Jesus said there would be in the Latter Days. “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring” (Luke 21:25). “Perplexity” means a state of confusion over an unsolvable problem. It expresses the idea of anxiety over the unknown, a fearful apprehension over a dark cloud of doom approaching. People in the world today can’t figure life out. The unknown is frightening. But more frightening is knowing doom is approaching with no way of escape.  Today is the day of salvation for you! Don’t let it pass.

How can we get ready for the approaching storm? Jesus said, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36). The escape Jesus spoke about is the Rapture. Jesus will remove true believers from this world before the worst befalls it (1 Thess. 4:13-18; 5:1-9). Jesus exhorted His disciples to pay attention; to watch the signs; to be ready. Christian, if you are playing around with sin, STOP! Repent and get right with God. “Beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation . . .” (2 Peter 3:14-15).

If you have no personal saving relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, get one. I’m not talking about being religious. Jesus spoke of a righteousness that exceeds mere religiosity (cf. Matthew 5:20). Jesus said there would be people who speak of Him and even do things in His name but who were not known by Him; they had no relationship with Him (Mat. 7:21-23). You must be “born again.” Jesus said you must be born again, spiritually regenerated if you want to enter His kingdom. Today is the day of salvation for you! Don’t let it pass.

How can a person be born again? Admit you are a sinner; a rebel against God; and that your sin has separated you from life with God (cf. Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:1-2; Habakkuk 1:13; Romans 3).  Then turn from your sin and ask God to forgive you of your sin. Don’t ask Him to forgive you because of any work or effort of your own. Your sole means of salvation, the only way God can and will forgive your sin, is by accepting Jesus as Your Savior by faith. Receive Jesus by faith (John 1:12). Jesus paid your death penalty for sin justly on the cross (2 Cor. 5:21). Believe in Him and God will have the just and righteous basis to forgive you. When you trust in Jesus as your Savior God will forgive you and He will give you spiritual life, a second birth, a spiritual birth, you will be born again to eternal life in Christ by the Holy Spirit who will indwell you. When the Holy Spirit comes within you, you will be transformed from darkness to light, from death to life, from a life of sin to a holy life; an abundant eternal life. You’ll never be the same. You’ll never look back; you won’t want to. That’s what Jesus requires of those who would live in His kingdom (cf. John 3). Today is the day of salvation for you! Don’t let it pass.

There’s a lot more that could be said on the topic of the End Times and Bible prophecy. Is this the end? It might be. It might not be. But what if it were? Are you ready? Is your house in order? These really are unprecedented times. Four blood moons; what might they be a sign of? Time will tell. Some will say it’s just a coincidence. Others will say it’s a warning sign from God. No matter what you think it’s worth your time to consider what you would do if it was the end. What if your personal end is near, today, in a moment? What if the end of the world is near? “What if it were today?” Today is the day of salvation for you! Don’t let it pass.


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