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    B369 - Study the scripture to know the end-times

    John 20:9; 1 Thes 5:4

    John 20:9 says,

    ‘As yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead’

    and then 1 Thes 5:4 reads,

    ‘But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day (the Day of the Lord) to surprise you like a thief.’

    Many believers use 1 Thes 5:2 and explain that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. And therefore, we will never know when that will be.

    The answer is of course found a little bit beyond in 1 Thes 5:4Believers who study God’s word and allow the illumination of the Holy Spirit will know when that season will be.

    Of course, none of us will know the precise date because even our Lord Jesus does not know (Mark 13:32) but believers who are diligent will know the seasons because, like Mark 13:33, we will be ‘on our guard and alert.’

    If we really want to know the seasons, then study the Scripture or get involved with a group to research it together. Pray and ask God to illuminate his words to us.

    See also D60, Jesus – No surprises.

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    B370 - Be faithful and ready for the end-times

    Matt 25:13; 1 Thes 5:4

    In Matt 25:13, it says,

    ‘Watch therefore for you know neither the day nor the hour’

    and in 1 Thes 5:4, it reads,

    ‘But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day (the Day of the Lord) to surprise you like a thief.’   

    Believers are to be faithful and ready for the Day of the Lord. Jesus expected us to be prepared. Otherwise, he would not have had asked us to ‘watch’ because it implied that we need to stay focused and pay attention.

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    B371 - Keep an eye out for false teachers (heresies)

    Matt 7:15-16; 2 Peter 2:1-17; Rev 2:2;

    In Matt 7:15-16, it says,

    ‘Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits.

    The Apostle Peter warned about the same thing in 2 Peter 2:1 when he said,

    ‘False prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you who will secretly bring in destructive heresies.’

    In Rev 2:2, it even mentioned people who called themselves ‘apostles’ and are not; in other words, ‘false apostles’.

    What do we learn from these verses?

    That there will be false prophets, teachers, and even apostles and that these people will give themselves titles to elevate their own status.

    But Jesus told us to ‘recognize them by their fruits.’ We are to observe their lives to see whether they are who they say they are.

    In order to know about what is ‘false teachings’, believers must know the word of God well. Failure to do that will mean that we are ‘tossed about by the waves and carried around by every wind of teaching and by the clever cunning of men in their deceitful scheming’ (Eph 4:14). It is up to believers to discern because there will be evil people operating even WITHIN the church.

    Keep an eye out for false teachers, prophets, and apostles.

    Observe their fruits (their life and their lifestyle).

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    B372 - Beware of people who doubt the Lord's return (heresies)

    2 Peter 3:3-4

    In 2 Peter 3:3-4, the Apostle Peter mentioned about scoffers and how they will question believers regarding whether the Lord will ever return again.

    Jesus will return to the earth and it is in the Bible.

    In fact, the number of prophecies that are being fulfilled is astronomical, none more so then Rev 13:16-17 which says ( NLT),

    ‘He requires everyone – small and great, rich and poor, free and slave – to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name.’

    This is a precursor to Jesus’ return. For more information, click HERE.

    We can see these two verses happening before our very eyes, even though they were written by the Apostle John almost two thousand years ago; John was either an amazing futurist or a true prophet of the living God.

    Now, here is wisdom,

    ‘Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666’ –

    Rev 13:18. Click HERE for a view on some insight.

    Be on guard with regards to people who question the return of our Lord. He will surely return.

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    B373 - Test every spirit (heresies)

    1 John 4:1; Rev 2:2-3

    1 John 4:1 warns us that we must

    ‘not believe every spirit but instead to test the spirits to see whether they are from God.’

    Of course, it starts from every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and confess that he is God.

    The onus is on us to ‘test these spirits’ and to do that, we really need to be strong in the word of God. In addition, look out for their fruit (their lifestyle).

    In a charismatic spirit-filled and spirit-led environment, it is even more important. False prophets have moved into churches and many are offering glorious encouraging words of directions to individuals seeking for answers to their future. And they might even begin with words like ‘Thus saith the Lord.’

    In fact, true prophets tend to give more negative than positive words. If we observe the words given by Jesus to his disciples, e.g. Simon Peter and his denial of Christ, the seating position requested by the Sons of Zebedee, or if we turn to the words given by the Apostle Peter to Ananias and Sapphire, they were often punitive and considered discouraging.

    Do not get us wrong; we are not anti-Charismatic. We are just mindful of dangers relating to people masking as true prophets of God when they are actually speaking their minds.

    Also, take a look at B371 – Keep an eye out for false teachers (heresies)

    For further information, you might like to pick up a copy of John Bevere’s excellent book, Thus Saith the Lord?, found here.

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    B374 - Don't despise but test all prophecies

    1 John 4:1; 1 Thes 5:20-21

    1 John 4:1 explains that

    ‘many false prophets have gone out into the world.’

    In 1 Thes 5:20-21, it says,

    ‘Do not scoff at prophecies but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.’

    As believers, we have to listen to personal prophecies with a tinge of salt; we should not scoff at them but wait for them to be fulfilled. In other words, believers should not discard their brains when listening to prophecies on their lives.

    In the Old Testament, if a prophet’s message does not come to pass or come true, that prophet is disregarded (Deut 19:22). In fact, in Deut 18:20, it says that a false prophet ‘shall die’ (put to death). It is a very serious thing.

    The essence of any prophecy is its fulfillment.

    In the New Testament, while we should not despise prophecies, we should also test them. And if a prophet is not accurate, believers should not fear the person.

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    B375 - Bless and pray for those who persecute us

    Rom 12:14; Matt 5:39; Luke 6:28

    Rom 12:14 says,

    ‘Blessed those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.’

    Jesus said the same in Luke 6:28,

    ‘Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.’

    And then, in the Beatitudes, Jesus said, ‘Do not resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.’

    Effectively, we bless our persecutor.

    In Rom 12:14, the Apostle Paul reminded us not once but twice and we are told not to curse them. How easy it is to curse those who persecute us. Jesus added two more things – Pray and do not resist them.

    The Greek word for ‘Persecute’ (Rom 12:14) is dioko or put to flight/ pursue while the word for ‘curse’ (Luke 6:28) is kataraomai or curse. Obviously, the latter is a really strong word because they want the worst for us.

    What do we do when we are persecuted or being cursed at?

    Here is a summary:

    • Bless our persecutors,
    • Pray for them,
    • Do not resist them (In fact, try doing the opposite), and most importantly,
    • Do not curse them.

    This is very tough for many of us but it is Scripture. The starting point for us is never to curse them. The other thing that we learn is that when we start praying for our persecutors, it actually helps us to love them more.

    Christianity is defined by our love for our neighbors, even for the most difficult people.

    Agape love can help us to overcome a lot more things (See also B22 – Love one another fervently, and B281 – Pursue love).

    Who are our ‘persecutors’?

    In our modern time, we have heard believers moan about their employers or immediate managers. Or it could be governments especially those that persecute Christians or even people of a different religious orientation or political beliefs from ours. Whoever our persecutors are, we can all learn from Scripture.

    Think of some practical things that we can do to love our neighbors, even those who persecute us, without compromising our own faith.

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    B376 - Pray for our persecuted fellow believers who are suffering

    Acts 12:5

    Pray for the persecuted church. There are many places in the world where Christians are suffering. These are especially so in countries where the Islamic population is overwhelming as well as in communist regimes.

    Persecution of Christians, although still mild in the free Western world, is growing ever so slowly. Christians, especially those who consider themselves as fundamental evangelicals, are increasingly being ostracized and belittled by the media and the entertainment industry for adhering to our dogma.

    Immediately after King Herod killed James, the brother of John with the sword, he threw the Apostle Peter into prison and, Acts 12:5 says, ‘earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.’   

    What can we pray for? How can we relate to our suffering brothers and sisters in the wider context of the church of Christ so that we can pray meaningfully for them?

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    B377 - Suffer and be persecuted for doing good

    Matt 5:10; Phil 1:29; 1 Peter 3:17, 4:16;

    Paul chose to travel to Jerusalem on his missionary journey. Towards the end, Paul knew that he would face the prospect of ‘imprisonment and afflictions’ (Acts 20:23).

    What was his crime?

    For preaching the gospel and the good news that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead (2 Tim 2:8-9). It was not for crime of murder or thief (1 Peter 4:15) which would have been unacceptable.

    Unlike our modern-day environment, in most parts of the world then, suffering and imprisonment were normal activities of the early-day disciples. 

    It is in the Book of Acts; remember, Acts 12 began with the killing of James, the brother of John, by King Herod and the imprisonment of the Apostle Peter.

    It is in the Book of Thessalonians when Paul said in 2 Thes 1:4,

    ‘Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions, and in the afflictions that you are enduring.’

    Jesus himself had promised his disciples that persecution would be normal for his disciples in John 15:18 when he said,

    ‘If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.’ 

    (See also D151 – Persecution-Normal and D92, Satan – Prince of the world).

    And what were these disciples punished for? Again, it was for doing good and for being a disciple of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:20, Peter said,

    ‘When you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.’

    If we are punished, let us be caught doing good. Christians must be prepared to be misunderstood and persecuted.

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    B378 - Be prepared to be misunderstood and persecuted

    Acts 20:22-23; 2 Tim 2:9-10;

    In Acts 20:22-23, Paul was on the way to Jerusalem knowing that ‘imprisonment and afflictions’ await him. He was prepared.

    Jesus knew that he was going to the cross. In John 3:14-15, Jesus said,

    ‘As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up’

    (See also D60, Jesus did not want his disciples to be surprised).

    What is the purpose of suffering?

    1 Peter 1:7 says,

    ‘So that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.’ This is consistent with Job who said, ‘He knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.’

    Accordingly, persecution is a form of quality control to discover what we are made of (See also D151-161 Persecution).

    In this time and age, are Christians prepared for persecution if it does come? As believers, we are to be prepared for persecution and for being misunderstood.

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    B379 - Persevere through persecution (Endure to the end)

    Matt 10:22; Matt 24:13; Mark 4:17; Mark 13:13; Heb 12:4; Rev 2:10; Rev 3:10; Rev 6:11;

    The Book of Revelation is filled with Christians undergoing suffering and there were only TWO churches that were not told to repent (they were excellent churches): Philadelphia and Smyrna.

    In Rev 3:10, the Lord told the Church of Philadelphia, although being reassured that they will be kept ‘from the hour of testing’, to keep ‘my word about patient endurance’; note the word, ‘endurance’.

    As for the Church of Smyrna, they were informed forthrightly to ‘Be faithful until death.’ (Rev 2:10).

    Both were tested and both had to endure although their outcomes were different.

    Matt 10:22 says,

    ‘You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endure to the end will be saved.’

    The Greek word for ‘hated’ is miseo and it means being hated, detest, or love less.

    To be hated just for associating with Jesus, is that too extreme? Well, not if we look at the current situation even in the ‘free’ world where freedom of beliefs is enshrined into the various Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

    Various Western governments are now considering the enactment of hate speech laws preventing their citizens for saying things that might be deemed hateful to others in the community.

    When the Bible is so dogmatic about what sins are, ‘progressive’ Christians have been asked to disregard or redefine these ‘conservative’ values to ones that are more ‘acceptable and trendy’ in our current age, especially aspects relating to gender identity and sexual orientation.

    Uncompromising Christians are, therefore, singled out for hatred under the climate of a ‘progressive’ new world; to be ‘hated by all for my name’s sake’ will grow as a global phenomenon. Hence, Jesus asked his followers to be prepared for the upcoming event and to ‘endure to the end’ (Mark 13:13).

    Heb 12:4 reminded us with this challenge – Have we ‘resisted to the point of shedding your blood’? Why? Because Jesus did as in Luke 22:44, ‘He prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’

    It is easy to be a Christian when times are good but it is when the reverse starts, then we can separate the ‘wheat from the chaff’ and it is at such times of suffering that Christians must persevere and endure.

    See also B377 – Suffer and be persecuted for doing good.

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    B380 - Run and hide if persecution comes

    Matt 2:13; Matt 10:23; Matt 12:15; Matt 24:16; Mark 13:14-16; Luke 21:21; John 11:54; Acts 11:19; Acts 14:6

    In Matt 2:13, Jesus’ parents were warned by an angel of the Lord to escape to Egypt as ‘Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ 

    In Matt 10, Jesus explained about the persecution that was to come. And Jesus prepared them with a simple strategy,

    ‘When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes’ (Matt 10:23).

    That was exactly what Paul and Barnabas did in Acts 14:6. They left Iconium but had to hastily flee to Lystra and Derbe when they heard that people were looking at stoning them.

    The region of Cappadocia was a refuge during the early days of Christianity when Christians were fleeing from Rome’s persecution. It was said that even Paul came to Cappadocia to hide for a brief period.

    Cappadocia had many underground large caves deep inside the rocks where underground settlements could be developed; the Derinkuyu Underground City, for example, extends to a depth of approximately 85m (250 feet) deep and is suspected to house as many as 20,000 people together with their livestock and food stores.

    Christians are not to be fatalistic. If persecution comes, we must take the initiative to run. If we can run, we must run (especially so if it is the Great Tribulation). Please see more information under D151-161 Man/ Persecution.

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    B381 - Pray that we can escape the worst of times

    Luke 21:36

    In Luke 21:36, Jesus said,

    ‘Stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.’

    This verse talks about the situation of the earth prior to Jesus’ return. Jesus’ counsel to believers was to ‘stay awake’. We can try to escape (or run).

    In the Book of Revelation Chapters 2 and 3, only two out of the seven churches were praised candidly. These two churches had quite diverse instructions.

    The Church of Philadelphia was told that they will be kept ‘from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth’ while the Church of Smyrna was pre-warned that ‘some of you (will be thrown) into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days (generally used to symbolize ‘completeness and perfection’) you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life.’

    Two churches, two different approaches – one was told that it would be kept from the hour of trial. The other? Be prepared to die.

    If you are in the end-times, pray that you can escape the worst of times.

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    B382 - Let the Holy Spirit directs us if we are captured

    Matt 10:19-20; Mark 13:11; Luke 21:14-15;

    What if we are arrested for being Christians?

    It had happened in the New Testament to Stephen who was stoned to death (Acts 7:59). We are seeing it now. in Isis videos. What did these Christians do?

    Jesus said,

    ‘When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. It is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you’ (Matt 10:19-20).

    Jesus reassured us that if such an event was to take place, we are to let the Holy Spirit direct our speeches.

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    B383 - Fear not our persecutors

    Matt 10:28; 2 Tim 1:7

    If we are subject to a trial for being a Christian, we are not to fear our prosecutor. Matt 10:28,

    ‘Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.’

    In 2 Tim 1:7, the Apostle Paul reminded us that

    ‘God (has given us) a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.’

    Remember what happened to Jesus and how he dealt with his accusers (Matt 27:11-14).

    Do not fear your prosecutor but rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

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    B384 - Consider it a privilege to suffer for his sake

    Phil 1:29; 2:17; 1 Peter 4:13

    The apostles knew the pain of suffering.

    Tradition says that all of Jesus’ disciples died as martyrs except John who did not manage to be killed despite being placed in boiling oil.

    We know from Scripture that James, the brother of John, was martyred by King Herod (Acts 12:2). Paul, who was an apostle but not one of the twelve, also died for being a Christian.

    But yet in Phil 1:29, Paul wrote that he considered it a privilege to ‘suffer for his (Jesus) sake’ – He had no fear. In 2 Tim 4:6, towards the end of his life, Paul said that he was ready to be ‘poured out as a drink offering.’

    Early church historians, Tertullian and Eusebius, wrote that Paul was probably beheaded at the order of the Roman emperor Nero or one of his subordinates.

    The Apostle Peter had no fear; he was not the coward who disowned Jesus thrice at Jesus’ trial. In 1 Peter 4:16, he wanted to encourage us to suffer for righteousness’ sake.

    In John 21:18-19, Jesus explained that the Apostle Peter would be crucified just like Jesus. Nevertheless, tradition had it that Peter asked his accusers to crucify him upside down.

    If we have to suffer for our Lord, let us consider it a privilege to suffer for Jesus’ sake. The disciples were great role models. 

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    B385 - Be prepared to pay with our lives (martyrdom)

    Matt 10:28

    In Matt 10:28, Jesus reminded us

    ‘Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.’ 

    If we are captured, martyrdom is always a possibility and it is not the first time that this has happened to good Christians. Throughout the history of the world, many had died for the gospel. Among them are names like Jim Elliot and Graham Staines.

    Plus the many nameless heroes videoed on the Isis’ beheading sites.

    In the ages that had gone by, we have the following examples:

    • William Tyndale who gave the world the Tyndale Bible – He was burned at the stake on account that he mistranslated certain biblical verses to support a heretical view. What did Tyndale do? He translated the Scripture from Greek into English,
    • John Knox whom the church claimed to be a heretic and was also burned at the stake,
    • Polycarp who refused to burn incense to the Roman Emperor and was sentenced to be burn at the stake,
    • John Huss who was burnt at the stake for heresy against the doctrines of the Catholic Church.

    And who could forget John the Baptist, Jesus’ disciples, and early Christians like Stephen.

    We live in privileged times.

    Here is a reminder to all believers:

    Fear him who can destroy both our bodies and souls.

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    B420 - Do not be alarmed

    Matt 24:6; Mark 13:7; John 14:1

    When Jesus described the end-times as in Matt 24 and Mark 13, he reassured his disciples with these words –

    ‘Do not be alarmed’.

    In Matt 24:6, he said, ‘You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed ….’ It is the same in Mark 13:7 (practically word for word) .

    In both incidents, the Greek word is throeo or disturbed/ agitated/ ‘I am troubled’/ alarmed.

    Many believers struggle through studies on the end-times because it might involved much suffering for believers.

    There are churches that believe the church will be raptured (taken away to safety) when the Great Tribulation of the end-times arrives. But what if the church is not raptured and has to go through the suffering?

    Jesus told his disciples that just before the start of the Great Tribulation there would be lots of wars and even earthquakes with famines. Christians are not to be throeo or troubled.

    The peace that we have as Christians are internal. Please see B9, Obtain inner peace by staying in Christ.

    While we are not to be troubled, believers are to ‘be on (your) guard’ (Mark 13:9). In other words, be prepared to endure (Matt 24:13, Mark 13:13).

    The end of times will not be comfortable but we are not to be alarmed because we have an inner peace. At the same time, we must get ourselves ready to endure.



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