Category: Eschatology

What Happens at the Second Coming of Christ

What Happens at the Second Coming of Christ

The next big event in God’s program for all believers is the coming of Christ to take them to be with Himself. Most theologians call this event the Rapture of the Church. But does the Bible give us any details on what will happen at the second coming of Christ? Yes, it does.

The apostle Paul describes this event in two passages: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-52 while John refers to it in John 14:1-3 and 1 John 3:2-3.

Who are the Believers?

Before getting into what God has in store in the future for the believers in Jesus Christ, we need to set things straight right from the get-go and define our terms properly. So as mentioned earlier, the return of Christ is something that believers are looking forward to. But who are the believers or Christians?

Admittedly, the term “Christian” is often used in the broadest sense. Most, if not all people automatically assume that if you’re not a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew, etc. then you are a Christian. But is this assumption correct? Not really!

What Happens at the Second Coming of Christ

The believers are those who acknowledged that they are lost and in need of a Savior from sin and as a result have made the decision to repent and completely trust in the Lord Jesus to be Lord of their lives (John 1:12; John 3:16). In other words, they are those who have been redeemed from the power of sin and death through the suffering, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you are a believer in Jesus and a redeemed Christian, there is a glorious future waiting for you.

What will Happen when Christ Comes?

There are 3 major events that will take place at the second coming of Christ: 1) concerning the Lord Jesus, 2) concerning the believers who had died and, 3) concerning the believers who are alive at the time of the return of Christ.

The Lord Jesus

The first event to transpire when Christ comes to take believers will be that Jesus Himself will descend from heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:16a).

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.”

Looking at this verse more closely, three truths become apparent:

A. It will be Jesus and no one else who will come.

Jesus will come personally for the believers as He promised in John 14:1-3. After Jesus announced His soon-to-be departure and Peter’s upcoming betrayal, the apostles were troubled. But Jesus promised to them that this won’t be their last time together because as soon as everything is ready He will return for His people so that they will always be with Him wherever He is.

B. Another truth that is expressed in the above-mentioned verse is that Jesus will be coming from heaven into which He was seen last going.

In Acts 1:9-11, we read how Jesus was taken up into a cloud in full view of the people watching. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven, two men in white apparel said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

C. Jesus’ coming will be accompanied by an appropriate signal.

Paul describes the signal that will accompany Christ’s return as being “with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God.”

Wait a minute; will there be three different signals? No! Understand that Paul is referencing the signal as a triad in which the last two things describe the first. Paul is saying that Christ’s return will be accompanied by a shout and that shout will be like the voice of an archangel and like the trumpet of God.

So the only sound that will be heard will be the shout and when it is heard some will think that an archangel has spoken or sounded God’s trumpet.

This “shout” is a military term that is used for the signal that was sounded to gather troops together. If we look at other translations such as the New International Version, the verse says, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God.”

The “shout” that will be heard will be like a loud command by the captain of a troop to gather them. That’s exactly what Jesus will do when He comes – He will gather all believers of this age whether living or dead together to take them to heaven.

The Dead Believers

The second event to transpire at the second coming of Christ will be the resurrection of the bodies of the believing dead to be reunited with their spirits.

Paul says that “the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16b). Take note of the word “first” which is the most important word in the statement. With this, we know that living believers will not meet the Lord ahead of the believers who have died.

In fact, if we go back to verse 15, Paul points out that believers who have died will not miss out on Christ’s coming. What is the authority of Paul’s instruction? It’s “the word of the Lord,” which lets us know that what he is saying is important and not to be treated lightly because this revelation was one that has been given directly to Paul by God.

We find no explicit statement in the Gospels that spells out in detail the return of Christ for the church. That’s why in 1 Corinthians 15:51, Paul says, Behold, I tell you a mystery.” Now let us avoid making the assumption that a mystery is something mysterious.

In the New Testament, a mystery is the revelation of some truth that had been previously given. It is something that has been there from the beginning. But prior to the revelation of a mystery, no one could have had any knowledge or understanding concerning it.

Note: Some theologians believe that the apostle Paul received this revelation at Sinai in Arabia, the same exact place where Moses received “The Law” (The Ten Commandments). After his encounter with the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul did not go immediately to Jerusalem to meet with the apostles. Instead, he went to Arabia and afterwards returned to Damascus (Galatians 1:10-18).

So again, as Paul said, when Christ returns the dead in Christ shall rise first according to the revelation that he received from God.

Paul Educates the Believers in Thessalonica

In order for us to better understand and properly interpret the letter of Paul to the Thessalonians, we need to know his intent.

It is generally believed that Paul stayed in Thessalonica for about three to four weeks. After pioneering a church there, he had to leave the city along with Silas and Timothy into Athens. Although they intended to return, they were hindered (1 Thessalonians 2:17-18).

Paul then sent Timothy from Athens to Thessalonica to see how the church was doing. Upon his return, Timothy reported to Paul that the believers were doing well; except for one problem that concerned some questions and a certain amount of anxiety that some of them were having regarding their loved ones who had died.

The believers in Thessalonica rightly understood that Christ was going to return, as Paul taught them. However, it never crossed their minds that some of their loved ones would die before the event took place. And so all sorts of questions were going through their minds: “Will their dead loved one miss out on Christ’s coming? What will happen to them when Christ returns for the church? Will they have any advantage over the living believers?”

So Paul educates them and assures them that all those who died in Christ prior to the second coming will not miss out on anything; in fact they will already have entered the presence of Christ. He goes on to tell them not to grieve like those who have no hope because when Christ returns God will bring with Him the spirits of the dead believers to be reunited with their glorified bodies (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14).

What will Happen during the Rapture

The Living Believers

The third event deals with the living believers. Clearly, believers will be living when Christ comes to take them to be with Himself. But what will happen to living believers at the second coming of Christ?

Paul does not answer this question in 1 Thessalonians 4 because his emphasis there is to point out what will happen to those “in Christ” who died physically prior to Christ’s return, since that was the specific concern of the Thessalonians believers.

So we go to 1 Corinthians 15:50-52 where Paul tells us the details of what awaits the living believers at the second coming of Christ.

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

From this passage, we see four things that will happen to the raptured believers:

1. First, they will be immediately glorified.

Believers need to be glorified because unglorified humanity cannot go into God’s presence. A change must take place before mortal physical beings can be equipped for the eternal state. That change is “glorification” which is the final phase of salvation.

All believers will be transformed; everything that makes them mortal is removed and replaced with immortality. This fact is proclaimed in the words, “but we shall all be changed.” This verse summarizes the process that will equip the living saints for an eternal existence. Their bodies will be changed so that they will not wear out or decay. They will truly “inherit the kingdom of God.”

This process of glorification is described in three dimensions:

(1) As it relates to time, it will be “in a moment.” It describes the smallest indivisible unit of time. That is how long it will take for God to effect the change in the body of every living believer when Christ returns.

(2) As it relates to sight, it will be “in the twinkling of an eye.” Paul’s expression is used to describe any rapid movement such as the flapping of wings or the twinkling of lights. The emphasis here is upon speed. The bodies of living believers will be glorified in the same amount of time it takes the eye to twinkle when it is struck by light.

(3) As it relates to sound, “at the last trumpet.” This “last trumpet” is the same trumpet mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. It is the same time at which God will raise the bodies of all the believing dead.

With these three figures, Paul is showing that a lot will happen in a very short period of time. At the same time that the bodies of the believing dead are raised, the bodies of living believers will be changed. 

These two separate programs that God will run when Christ returns will take place successively, but together they will be accomplished so quickly that it will appear as if they happened simultaneously. In the smallest possible moment of time, every body of every believer who has believed in Christ from the day of Pentecost until the day that Christ returns will be raised from the graves in which they have been resting.

Both of these programs of God will be completed in less time than it takes for an eye to twinkle when struck by light. What a glorious future that lies ahead for those who have believed in Jesus!

Note: What is the “mystery” that has been revealed by God directly to Paul? That some believers will not die physically.

Even if Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for man to die once and after that faces judgment,” there are believers who will not experience death in their lifetime as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:51.

What will happen at the Second Coming of Christ

Paul used the word “sleep” to describe the physical death of believers both in 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4. The figure is a beautiful one because when one sleeps he does so to take a rest in the full expectancy of being awakened to continue meaningful activity.

It is important to note that it is not the soul that sleeps but the body. When a believer dies, his body is asleep. That’s why it has to be buried in a cemetery. The English word cemetery comes from two Greek words, koime (sleep) and tere (a keeping place).

Thus, a cemetery is a place where the sleeping bodies of believers are kept until the time that Christ returns to awaken those sleeping bodies, glorify them, and reunite them with their souls that upon death went immediately into God’s presence.

The important thing that Paul is revealing to the Corinthians is that at the time of Christ’s return there will be some believers living but who will undergo a change in order to be able to enter God’s presence.

Clearly, Paul believed that he and his Thessalonian readers might well be alive when the Lord returned. He believed that Christ’s coming was imminent, that it could take place at any moment. Many times he used statements such as “the time is short” (1 Corinthians 7:29) and “the Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5).

2. They will be reunited with the resurrected believers.

After living believers receive their glorified bodies, they will be reunited with the resurrected believers who have preceded them in being glorified . They will be “caught up” together with the resurrected believers (1 Thessalonians 4:17a).

The words “caught up” is harpazo in Greek, which means to seize or snatch away suddenly. In Latin, the word is rapio which is where we get the word “rapture.” In this event, believers will be removed from this earth and reunited with the resurrected believers.

This will be the second meeting of the universal body of believers known as the church, the body of Christ. The first meeting took place on the Day of Pentecost when the church was born. Since that time, the universal church has not met.

3. They will meet Jesus personally in the air.

The third experience that living believers will undergo when Christ returns for them is that they will meet Jesus personally in the air. Paul tells us that this meeting will take place “in the clouds,” which is his way of describing our atmospheric heavens (the second heaven). 

Paul uses a picturesque to describe this meeting. It is a word used of greeting a newly arrived magistrate. Such meetings usually took place outside of the city walls and then they all returned to the regular abode to continue the formalities. This, then, is a picture of how we will meet the Lord and then later will return to reign with Him when He comes to set up His Kingdom.

4. They will be with Jesus forever.

After meeting with the Lord in the air, all believers will be with the Lord forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17c).  

With this statement Paul lets us know that this meeting with the Lord will never end. It will be a personal association with resurrected believers and with Christ. This will be the final fulfillment of our Lord’s promise in John 14:3, “I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you maybe also.”

Comfort for the Believers Today

Knowing that Christ would one day return to take us to be with Him for all eternity should comfort our hearts (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

“Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

Whenever there is a loss of a loved one, we are to comfort one another. It is true that the death of a loved one brings sadness to us, but we should “not grieve as do the others who have no hope,” for we have comfort. We find comfort in knowing that our loved ones who died will not miss out on Christ’s coming.

In fact, they will have precedence and prominence in it. That is, if they have repented of their sins and accepted God’s gift of salvation prior to their passing.

We also find comfort in knowing that if we would be alive when Christ returns, we will not experience death. But we will be immediately glorified, caught up into the atmospheric heavens to be reunited with our loved ones who died to meet the Lord in the air and be forever with Him.

Believers Must Purify Themselves

Knowing that Christ could return at any moment also causes us to purify our lives (1 John 3:2-3).

“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

We should purify our lives because of our present position. We are “children of God,” and we should bear the image of our heavenly Father, which is absolute holiness and purity .

Conclusion

From these passages, we had a glimpse of what the future holds for us as believers in the Lord Jesus. We know that God is faithful and will fulfill His promise to take us from this chaotic world to be forever with Him. This should give us hope, despite the trials and suffering that we might be facing.

Whatever situation we are in right now, no matter how difficult the circumstances we are facing, they are nothing compared to the wonderful and glorious future that awaits us.

 Scriptures on the Return of Jesus Christ

The Second Coming Christ for the Church or the Rapture is the “blessed hope” of the believers; it is our blessed hope. But while we wait, let us reject ungodliness and worldly passions, and let us live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age Titus 2:11-14).


*Recommended Resource: Preparing for Jesus’ Return: Daily Live the Blessed Hope
By A.W. Tozer

This never-before-published book is Tozer’s incomparable teaching on the book of Revelation. Discover his fresh and timely perspective on the purpose of prophecy, which he believed is to lift our gaze from the immediate to the eternal.

Preparing for Jesus’s Return offers a panoramic view of what is to come and examines what it means for you, your church and the world. No one knows when the Lord will return, but the assurance of His coming is our Blessed Hope!

The “I Will” Promises of God

The “I Will” Promises of God

We find so many “I will” promises of God in the Bible; promises to the nation of Israel and promises to the Church. These promises assure us that in the face of trials and difficulties, God has something wonderful in store for us. Even at times when we turn our backs on Him, God remains faithful and will always be looking out for us.

This is exactly what God did when the nation of Israel committed the sin of idolatry (spiritual adultery), ingratitude and hypocrisy against Him. Despite their unfaithfulness and rebellion, God, through the prophet Hosea, gave the Jewish people assurance that He has a wonderful future planned for them.

Let us note the six promises of God in Hosea 2:14-23 and see how they can be applied to the church and to the individual Christian.

“I will win her back once again.”

Hosea 2:14

The word used here is “allure.” It means that God is not going to force the nation of Israel (His people) to love Him back. Instead, He woos her or speaks tenderly to her, as a lover woos his beloved, seeking her hand in marriage.

God will win Israel back to Himself
Photo Credits: Brain Trust Hub

God did not say He would “drive her,” or “drag her;” not even “draw her.” While the devil tempts and ruins us with sweet words and baits of pleasure, God in His mercy seeks to outbid the devil and win us to Himself with His unconditional love which shall be much stronger than any force of resistance we may offer.

Throughout the Old Testament, we read how the Lord had spoken tenderly to His people through His Word and through the manifold blessings He bestowed on them in their land.

In spite of their rebellion and unfaithfulness, God was always there for them whenever they called upon Him.

Just as He had led the nation of Israel out of Egyptian bondage into the wilderness through the Red Sea and made a covenant with them at Sinai, so God would meet them again in the wilderness in the last days and lead them into their land and His glorious kingdom.

“I will return her vineyards.”

Hosea 2:15

God promises to bring His people back into their land and will make them prosperous again.

We find numerous passages in the Bible where God says He will scatter the nation of Israel among all the nations as a result of their rebellion. (See Deuteronomy 4:27; 28:64; Leviticus 26:33; Jeremiah 9:16; Ezekiel 12:15; 20:23; 22:15; Jeremiah 13:24; 18:17 and Zechariah 10:9 just to name a few.)

And true to His word, God scattered the Jewish people to all corners of the earth at the destruction of the second Temple by the Romans in 70 AD during the siege of Jerusalem. For many years, the Jews wandered in all corners of the earth and had no place to call home.

After nearly 19 hundred years of Jewish dispersion outside their land, the British government granted a national home for them in Palestine through the Balfour Declaration in 1917. On May 14, 1948, the state of Israel became a sovereign nation and Jews from all around the world started to return to their land.

The I Will Promises of God to the Jewish People

Despite being attacked many times by their neighboring countries, the Jewish people are now residing in their own land and have become prosperous over the years. This is in fulfillment of God’s promise to bring them back into their own land and for the desert land of Israel to prosper and bloom again (Isaiah 43:5-6; Jeremiah 6:14-15; Ezekiel 37:11-13; 36:33-36).

The Bible says, “There is no one is righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). We were all born sinners and were alienated from God as a result of Adam’s sin. But God in His grace and mercy desires for us to be reconciled back to Him through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-21); He wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him as it was in the beginning before sin entered into the Garden of Eden.

“I will wipe the many names of Baal from your lips.”

Hosea 2:16-17

In Hebrew, Baal means “master” and Ishi means “husband.” Both terms were used by Jewish wives to address their husbands. In this verse, God declares an end to idolatry among His people. They would have a new vocabulary and the “baals” would never be named again.

God Promised to Remove Baal Worship Among the Jews

God looks forward to the day when His relationship with His people, an intimate love relationship where they will think of Him as a husband, will be genuinely restored. At that time Israel would no longer prostitute herself before idols and would love and serve the true living God.

The Lord desires the same relationship with the Church, His Bride. He wants us to love Him above all else and to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30).

“I will make a covenant.”

Hosea 2:18-20

God’s wooing of Israel would result in her yielding to Him and entering into a covenant relationship that would never end. It will be a restored relationship founded on God’s righteousness, justice, loving-kindness, faithfulness, mercy, and compassion, resulting in a much deeper, intimate relationship. Basically, everything that Israel had lacked during her years of separation from her husband (Jehovah God), she will enjoy.

This new covenant would also include a restored creation: a transformed earth (Genesis 9:1-10; Romans 8:18-22) and peace among the nations.

The I Will Promises of God

The Church is included in the new covenant that God made with His people. The Bible tells us that because the Jews rejected God’s offer of salvation, it was brought to the Gentiles, which they gladly received. The Gentiles are spoken of as the wild olive tree branches that are grafted and have become partakers of the root and fatness of the olive tree (Romans 11:11-24).

At the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, the Church (Bride of Christ) will receive her rewards from her groom, Jesus Christ, and will spend 7 years in heaven while the Tribulation is happening on earth.

“I will answer.”

Hosea 2:21-22

The I Will Promises of GodIn a tremendous cosmic conversation, God would speak to the heavens and the earth, and they would respond and bring blessings to God’s people.

The heavens would send the rain, the earth would bring forth the produce, and the Lord would send His rich blessings. This pictures a restored universe where sin and death no longer reign (Romans 5:12-21).

What a great blessing as a result of having a real, vibrant relationship with our God. Our thoughts and desires will become aligned with God’s and so when we ask Him to do things, we are actually asking Him to do what He wants to do.

This is the same exact principle we find in John 15:7. If we abide in Him, He will abide in us and we can ask anything we desire and it shall be done for us.

“I will plant.”

Hosea 2:23

The word Jezreel means “God sows,” and God would sow His people in their land the way a farmer sows seed. The Lord would say to them, “You are My people.” And they would respond, “You are our God.” This relates back to the names of the children that God in His grace had changed.

Before coming into a redemptive covenant with God through faith in the Lord Jesus, we belonged to the devil (John 8:44). Praise God for His amazing grace; He loves us so much that He didn’t want us to spend eternity in hell along with the devil and his demons.

The I Will Promises of God
Photo Credits: Now The End Begins

So He sent His only begotten Son to suffer and die at Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life (John 3:16). God also gave those who believed in the name of Jesus and received Him as Lord and Savior the right to become His children (John 1:12).

The moment we placed our faith in the Lord Jesus, we have become God’s children; we’ve become His peculiar people and He has become our God. We have been granted direct access to God and we can call Him “Abba Father” (Romans 8:15).

Closing Words

What wonderful promises God has given to His people, the nation of Israel. Although a large population of the Jews still does not believe Jesus to be the Messiah, there are already quite a number of Jews who have come into the saving knowledge of God through Christ.

And God is faithful; He will surely keep His promise to save the nation of Israel (Romans 11:25-27).

In the same way, God will surely keep His promise to never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6), to be with us to the ends of the earth as we fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), and to keep us from the hour of trial that will come upon the whole world (Revelation 3:10).

These are just some of the “I will” promises of God to us that He revealed in His written word. What do we do about them? We have to claim them and believe with all our heart that we already received them.


*Recommended Resource: Unshakable Hope: Building Our Lives on the Promises of God
By Max Lucado

Nothing lifts us out of fear and weariness like hope. An anchor through life’s storms, hope buoys our spirits and seeks to make a way when we face tough times.

After 40 years of ministry and speaking to hurt hearts, Max Lucado has learned that the promises of God will give you the strength you need. Each chapter in Unshakable Hope explores one Biblical promise that will help equip you to face every day with courage.

Includes reflection questions for individual or group study.

Best Life Forever in Christ

Best Life Forever in Christ

If I were to ask you what kind of life you’re living right now, can you honestly say that you are living your best life? If you are a believer in Christ, your answer has to be a definitive “YES.” That’s because the best life, that is, a meaningful, fulfilled and abundant life, is found only in the Lord Jesus Christ.

However, if your definition of the best life is having everything you want without having to lift a finger, a life free from all worries and troubles, or success in everything you venture in, then you may not agree with me that the best life is not found in anything else on earth but in Christ alone.

Heaven on Earth

Do you ever ask why God doesn’t just bless all of us, believer or not, with all the material and spiritual blessings while we are still here on this earth? Imagine not having to work at all for our food and for our comfort. We will all have good health, all our needs and wants are provided, there’s no evil and no wickedness.

That way, we will all be happy and say, “Wow, this is heaven on earth!” Isn’t this what we all want? Who does not want a comfortable life wherein everything we want and desire can be ours in just a snap of a finger? You know what; this was God’s original design.

Going back to the day of creation, God prepared everything in the Garden of Eden before putting the man He had formed there. In other words, Adam did not have to worry about anything. The only task given to him by God was to tend and keep it (Genesis 2:8-9, 15).

Living Your Best Life - Heaven on Earth

Later on, when God created every beast of the field and every bird of the air, He brought them to Adam and told him to name them and he did. So whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name (Genesis 2:19-20).

So you see, Adam and Eve were enjoying heaven on earth in the Garden of Eden and were enjoying daily fellowship with God. The Bible says God would come down every day to meet with them in the Garden. Clearly, God and man used to have a very close, intimate relationship.

That relationship was immediately cut off the moment they deliberately chose to disobey God’s command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as a result of the devil’s cunning schemes. (Read Genesis 3:1-24.)

Satan’s Rebellion Against God

We cannot totally blame the devil for deceiving Adam and Eve into disobeying God and we are not to come up with any excuses for them. God gave them the command and they sure were given the freedom to obey or disobey. Unfortunately, they chose the latter.

But that was only the beginning of the devil’s deceptive tactics in order to drive man away from God and will continue to do so. While we are on this earth, we will never be free from the evil schemes and temptations of Satan. Seeing people come to Christ in repentance and trying their hard to live their best life here on earth by walking according to God’s decrees and precepts makes the devil unhappy.

Best Life is in Christ Alone

Satan rebelled against God and his rebellion continues today. He is not happy to see God’s creation praising and worshiping God. Satan desires the worship of God’s creation; he wants to overthrow God and become God (Isaiah 14:12-17).

The Devil Promises the Best Life

The devil envies God so he does everything he can in order to hinder God’s plan for His creations, by inflicting pain, sickness, trouble and anything else possible in his power so that people will complain and rebel against God the same way he did.

That’s the devil’s desires. He does these so man will turn away from God and start to look for other gods that can promise them a better life. And then the devil will draw near to those people who start to question God.

The devil then will start to make some offer – a better life here on earth. The devil will then say, “You can do all you want to be happy, it’s your life anyway. You’re the boss of yourself; life is short, so live it to the fullest.” In essence, the devil is saying, “It’s your life; only you can decide how you want to live it.”

1 Peter 1:16

This goes against the Word of God. Man was created in the image and likeness of God. God is holy and He hates sin so God’s people must also live a holy life (1 Peter 1:16) and stop living in sin. To be holy means to be separated from the world. Believers in Jesus are not to conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by allowing God’s Word to renew their minds (Romans 12:1-2).

It’s easier said than done. While we are here on this earth, the devil will thwart God’s plan and destroy His creation because by doing so, the people will not be happy and might start to question God instead of praising Him. This is why the Bible reminds us to “thank God always,” because by doing so we are praising God (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Freedom and Free Will

God created us out of love; He created us with the free will to choose what kind of life we want to live and also the freedom to act according to our choices. Contrary to what some atheists claim that God is a control freak, He isn’t.

But this is one of the devil’s favorite “deception line.” He wants us to think and believe that we are FREE to do all we want and we should not allow anyone to hinder us, especially not God. After all, life here on earth is the end.

When we die, it’s all over, no heaven no hell, we cease to exist, the end! So, do your best to live life to the fullest, drink and eat, follow after all the lust of the flesh, get all that you want, and be greedy for more. All of that is okay, we are humans, we have to be happy and we need to survive.

Our Best Life In Christ

The devil will continue to persuade men, putting all of these ideas into their hearts and minds, and the people just might agree with the devil. This is the most dangerous part, the cleverest way for Satan to deceive man. The devil will then say, “There is no such thing as evil and there is no God either. So go on and do all you want, be happy and survive!”

That’s where the devil is wrong! God has put a limit to the devil and his tactics. In fact, the devil cannot do anything without God’s permission. It’s the same thing with us, we must know where and when to draw the line. We are to set a limit as to what we should and should not do. Just because we were given free will and freedom that we will do whatever we want.

This is the work of the Holy Spirit who comes to dwell within us the moment we receive the Lord Jesus as our Savior. It is He who convicts us of sin and wrongdoings (John 16:8).

Best Life Forever In Christ

The devil may be crafty and will pull all the stunts in order to draw us away from God. But God has placed a fence around us and a hedge of protection over us to keep us from going astray and be vulnerable to our own destruction.

God has set some rules of do’s and don’ts to guide us for His best plan for the new heaven and the new earth. Someday, everyone who submits to God’s will and plan will obtain the best life forever.

It is God’s will that everyone will come to repentance, believes in the Lord Jesus Christ and spends eternity with Him in heaven. This is the true definition of the best life – a life forever with God.

In 1 John 2:15-17 it says “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

Our Best Life Forever in Christ

Why does God allow the devil to destroy peoples’ lives and inflict suffering upon them? It’s because God does not want us to love this world. This world will soon be destroyed completely and all who believe in Jesus Christ will be ushered into a new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:10-13).

It will be in this new heaven and new earth that we will have our best life forever. Our best life is in Jesus Christ and it is through Him that all the heavenly inheritance and rewards will be given to us at the rewarding ceremony in heaven.

God’s plan for the believer shall surely stand; the devil will finally be put into prison, so that he can’t deceive anyone, anymore, and will forever be punished together with those who did not accept God’s gift of eternal life.

Concluding Words

I’m not saying that Christians will never have a fulfilling and abundant life while still on this earth. When Christ won the victory at the cross through His suffering, death, and resurrection, anyone who places their faith in Him is set free from the bondage of sin and death.

But being in the flesh, believers in Jesus are not totally free from the temptation to sin and the deception of the enemy. The good news is, God promises grace and self-control to resist them. In the event that we find ourselves in a position to commit sin and violate God’s will, He will make a way of escape that we may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Our Best Life Forever in Christ

Christians can live their best lives while here on earth. After all, Jesus has already defeated the enemy. He uses the power of suggestion to make God’s people commit sin but he cannot really force them to do what he wants. As I said, we have been given free will to obey or disobey God.

We live the best life in Christ here on earth by submitting to God and His will; fulfill God’s mandate to love Him above anything and anybody else and love others the same way we love ourselves. In other words, it’s all about living a life that is pleasing to God.

The Christian Response to Crisis

The Christian Response to Crisis

Have you ever been confronted with a crisis that threatened to destroy you, your family, your business, or your future? And in that hour, how did your friends react? Did they tell you to just quit, give up and run away because this is a battle you can’t win?

How did you deal with any crisis that God might have used to test and eventually strengthen you? How should Christians respond to crisis?

Chapter 11 of the book of Psalms describes King David facing such a crisis. What did his friends and counselors advise him to do? How did David deal with the situation?

After killing Goliath, he was hailed a hero by the nation of Israel. They even cheered for him more than they did for King Saul (1 Samuel 18:6-7). Had a survey been conducted, David would have been chosen as “Man of the Year.”

King Saul’s Jealousy of David

When David returned home from slaughtering Goliath the Philistine, the women in all of the cities of Israel came out singing and dancing with musical instruments saying, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (1 Samuel 18:6-7).

Upon hearing this, Saul became jealous and his pride turned to rage and jealousy for he realized that all Israel and Judah loved David. So one evening he tried to murder David by throwing a spear at him but David escaped his presence twice (1 Samuel 18:11).

David and Goliath

However, that did not stop King Saul from going after David. First, Saul sent him away and made him captain over only a thousand men. Yet David continued to succeed in everything he did for the Lord was with him (1 Samuel 18:13-14).

Yet, that did not stop Saul in his pursuit of David. He wanted to get rid of him so badly that He pulled out all the stops to accomplish his goal.

Face the Crisis Head On

When the crisis arose, David’s counselors immediately told him to run and flee as a bird to the mountains. They didn’t seem to have faith that the Lord could see him through.

But David responded with “In the Lord I put my trust” (Psalm 11:1). He knew that no matter how great his problems were, God was greater. No matter how angry Saul was and no matter what danger he would face, he trusted God to protect him.

Beware of listening to unwise counsel especially in the face of a great crisis. It’s very easy to get dismayed and give up when everybody else around you is telling you that you’re in an impossible situation and it would be best to just quit.

The Christian Response to Crisis

Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37); there is nothing too hard for Him (Jeremiah 32:27). You just need to put your faith in the Lord, and He will protect you and direct you in all you do. 

As Bob Yandian said, “God has given us power for the worst crisis we could ever possibly face in our lives. No matter how difficult the problem, God has given us the power that is greater than any crisis.”

Trust in the Lord

David stood up to the problems of his life by placing all his trust in the Lord. The Word of God says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Psalm 11:2 suggests that David’s counselors (or friends) are walking by sight and evaluating the situation from the human perspective. While it is good to know the facts, it’s so much better to look at those facts in the light of the presence and promises of God.

No matter how well-intentioned David’s friends are, telling him that he should run because the wicked are getting ready to fire at him, is like giving him the advice of fear.

In today’s language, David’s friends are saying, “Look! There is a loaded gun to your head, and you have to run” (David Guzik). 

Proverbs 3:5

When you look around, you see the problem, but when you look up to the Lord by faith, you see the answer to the problems. When the outlook is grim, try the up-look! David chose to trust in the Lord for he knew that God was on the throne in His holy Temple in heaven (Isaiah 6:1; Habakkuk 2:20) and that He saw everything the enemy was doing.

Stand up to life by placing your trust in Jesus. This includes responsibility for your life. There is a choice each of us needs to make every day. And choices have consequences. We become an addict by choice, an alcoholic by choice, or an adulterer by choice.

We must quit playing the blame game and realize that we are today what we decided to be yesterday. Many people are running from life; let us not be one of them. Choose to trust in the Lord not only in times of crisis but in every situation, either good or bad.

Embrace the Truth

In the face of crisis, choose to embrace the truth. Where did we ever get the idea that life was made to run smoothly? Guess what? This idea is from Hollywood, not the Bible. Hollywood makes its money off movies with happy endings. Well, who doesn’t like happy endings?

But if you’ve read the New Testament, it talks about hardships to be endured, the fiery trials of our faith, crosses to be carried, evils to be conquered, and tribulations designed by God to produce triumph. Often times, God uses failures to teach and train us in order to prepare us for ministry.

In the Face of Crisis

In his sermon, “Interpreting Failures, Conserving Victories,” Ravi Zacharias said God often allows us to go through the wilderness (crisis) in order for us to know what is in our hearts. Who are we really on the inside? How do we react to the most difficult situations?

God takes us through wilderness so we could see in the humility of our own hearts what we really are like. He intends you and me to have a humble heart and a humble spirit. 

In times of crisis, we are to stand up to life through training. David was trained by God to be king of Israel, and God wants to train you and me. God demands discipline, duty, and determination. As David played his harp and Saul threw the javelin, running was not an option for David.

We must embrace the truth of who we are and whose are we. We’re the children of the Most High God (John 1:12).

Never Ever Quit

The saying, “Quitters never win and winners never quit” is also true in the Christian walk. Christians are said to be in a race and if we quit before getting to the finish line, we lose.

The Bible says we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and God does not quit, He never does.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing the agony before Him, Jesus said, “not what I will, but what You will” (Mark 14:36). He went to the cross, suffered shame, died with thieves, and was buried in a borrowed grave.

The Christian Response to Crisis

But He did not quit. If He did, salvation would not have been made available for everyone who believes. He arose from the grave and now sits at the right hand of God (Hebrews 12:2). We shall never quit regardless of any crisis we may have to face, and soon we will be with Him too.

Final Words

During the crisis described in Psalm 11, David did not flee his post but remained on duty, trusting the Lord to protect him, and He did.

Whatever the crisis, the psalm teaches us that we must choose either fear (walking by sight) or trust (walking by faith), listening to human counsel or obeying the wisdom that comes from the Lord (James 1:5).

When we choose to trust the Lord in every situation, God counts it as righteousness on our part. And God who is righteous loves righteousness (Psalm 11:7) so He will never turn His face away to reject us. Instead, He will look upon us with delight and is going to bless us.

The choice is yours.


*Are you looking for Bibles, reference materials, Bible study guides, devotionals, Christian music and movies for personal use or as gifts to friends and family? Look no further because Christianbook.Com has everything you need at the most reasonable prices.

ChristianBook.Com Bestsellers

True Prophecy vs. False Prophecy

True Prophecy vs. False Prophecy

Obviously, not every prophecy is from God. That is why we are warned by John “to not believe every spirit but to test the spirits whether they are of God …” (1 John 4:1). We are never to assume that every prophetic utterance, spiritual experience or demonstration of spiritual power is from God.

Testing the spirits working in the body of Christ is the responsibility of every Christian, but especially of the church leaders and pastors. This is done using the gifts of discernment given by God to Christians in general, especially the leadership of a congregation.

9 Principles for Judging Prophecy in Scripture

How do we determine between true prophecy and false prophecy? John Hagee, general editor of the NKJV Prophecy Study Bible gives us nine principles to apply in determining if a prophetic word is true.

1) Prophecy agrees with the Word of God.

All prophecy is to be judged by Scriptural standards. Since all true prophecy comes from the Holy Spirit, who is the author of the Word of God, all prophecy will have to agree in fact and in spirit with the Word of God.

Prophecies are never to be received just because they are dramatic or given by certain individuals. In 1 Corinthians 14:29, the apostle Paul tells the church “to let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge” (or evaluate). Why was there a need to evaluate what was said? This is to determine whether the speaker had truly communicated the Word of God through the Holy Spirit.

God will never contradict His Word

Every prophetic utterance comes either from God, the flesh or from the devil through an evil spirit. We need to test every spirit and evaluate every prophetic word because it is possible for a speaker, under the control of his own emotions, to imagine that God was speaking to him and through him. It is even possible for Satan to counterfeit a prophetic message (2 Corinthians 11:13-14).

God will never contradict Himself, and we can distinguish between true and false prophecies by confirming them with what God has already said in His word.

2) Prophecy will edify, exhort and comfort.

1 Corinthians 14:3 says “he who prophesies speaks edification, exhortation, and comfort to men.” The word edify means to build up or strengthen. Paul’s choice of this word was a wise one because the huge mistake the Corinthian believers were making was to emphasize their own personal strength to the neglect of the church.

Paul detected that the believers were neglecting prophecy (that edifies the church) and giving a wrong emphasis to tongues (that edifies only the speaker). They wanted to build themselves up, but they did not want to build up their fellow believers.

The word exhort means to encourage. It could be the speech of a basketball team coach inside the locker room just before a championship game, rallying the team to go out there and give everything they’ve got to bring home the crown.

And the word comfort means exactly that. It has the idea of not only consoling but also strengthening. In other words, to comfort someone is not just to cry with them when they’re hurting; it’s putting your arms around them and strengthen them to carry the load.

A true prophetic word will build someone up, not tear them down; it will encourage someone, not discourage them; and will strengthen, not weaken someone. So when anyone speaks a message into your life under the auspices of prophecy that leaves you filled with condemnation or fear, that message is not from God.

3) Any prophecy containing predictions that do not come true is false prophecy.

How will we know whether or not a prophecy is from the Lord? Deuteronomy 18:22 says, “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously.”

God’s true prophets are always 100 percent accurate. Modern day “prophets” boast of being 75 percent accurate, or maybe 80 percent, but that admission only brands them as false prophets. A prophet sent by God is never wrong; what he predicts will come to pass.

Several Christian cult leaders have predicted the return of Christ and the “supposed” end of the world and repeatedly failed. Believers today must exercise spiritual discernment because many “false prophets have gone out into the world and (1 John 4:1).

4) Prophecy must bear fruit and agree with the Holy Spirit in conduct and character.

Paul wrote, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

Any form of joy and peace that bypasses righteousness is a demonic spirit of religiosity. A man who prophesies and does not care and provide for his family is a false prophet. A man who prophesies and lives in sexual immorality or financial irresponsibility is in deep deception and is a false prophet.

Prophecy must agree with the fruit of the Holy Spirit as stated in Galatians 5:22-23, namely: love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. If the prophecy is without love, joy, or peace, it is not from God.

Galatians 5:22-23 NKJVOne thing we need to remember is that false prophets do not go around screaming obscene slogans. Instead, they come as wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15-16). They look fine. They talk fine. They even act like sheep, but their purpose is to devour and deceive the body of Christ.

The first thing a false prophet or any person in deception will tell you is, “Don’t judge me.” But you are not actually judging; you are simply inspecting his fruit.

5) True prophecy produces liberty, not bondage.

Romans 8:15 says believers did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the Spirit of adoption by whom they cry out, “Abba, Father.” Also in 2 Corinthians 3:17, it says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

In the new covenant ministry, there is freedom in the Spirit. God’s people no longer have to live by rules and regulations. God wants His children to obey Him not because of an external code (the Law), but because of internal character. God’s word is written on the hearts of His children and they obey Him because of the new life He has given them.

True prophecy will bring liberty to the individual and not bondage. Any form of control over another person by intimidation, manipulation, or domination is witchcraft. False prophecy will always lead to witchcraft and so Christians are warned to not get hooked on anyone but Jesus.

6) A prophecy that comes true but promotes disobedience against God or Scripture is not a true prophecy.

In Deuteronomy 13:1-3, Moses describes a prophet or a dreamer of dreams who predicted an event and it occurred, which was the test of a true prophet (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). But then the prophet invited the people to join him in worshiping other gods.

Why would a prophet deliver a true message followed by an invitation to worship false gods? For the same reasons formerly orthodox religious leaders in the church will abandon their calling and get involved in cults or even organize their own cults in order to have a following, exercise their own authority and make money.

Moses clearly states that just because the prophecy comes true does not mean the person who gave the prophecy is from God. Any prophecy that causes a believer to look to another source for spiritual guidance such as horoscopes, psychic, hot lines, and palm readers is not from God.

7) True prophecy injects fresh fire into the meeting of believers.

The Bible says that “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). Paul here isn’t suggesting that the law was a mistake for he knew that the lost sinner must be slain by the law and left helplessly condemned before he can be saved by God’s grace.

But a legalistic prophetic word brings death. A prophecy that condemns and puts the congregation under a dark cloud of guilt, thereby killing their joy, power, and effectiveness in witnessing for Christ is not from God.

True prophecy inspired of the Holy Spirit brings spiritual life to a meeting of believers. If a prophecy comes that destroys the worship service, that prophecy is not from God.

8) True prophecy given by the Holy Spirit will bear witness with your spirit.

The Word of God says, “It is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth” (1 John 5:6b). The Spirit was given to bear witness to Christ (John 15:26; 16:14) and we can trust the Spirit’s witness because “He is truth.” We may not be present at the baptism of Christ or at His death, but the Holy Spirit was present.

Today, the Holy Spirit is the only person active on earth who was present when Christ was ministering here. The witness of the Father is past history, but the witness of the Spirit is a present experience. And it is the Holy Spirit indwelling every believer that bears witness with their spirit.

Among the 9 principles used to judge prophecy, this is the only one that’s subjective. But when a given prophecy bears witness with your spirit, you’ll know that it is from God.

9) Any prophecy that comes true but does not give glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ is the spirit of divination.

This principle is much the same as principle number 6. The fact that a prophecy comes true is not proof it came from God. Again as John says, we need to test every spirit and every prophetic word that’s spoken.

Jesus Christ, the God-man

A prophecy uttered that comes to pass and yet denies the deity of Christ is false prophecy. Some groups today deny that Jesus is God (such as the Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and Muslims). Back in John’s day, people did not have a hard time believing that Jesus was God. But they had a hard time believing He was a real man.

Conclusion

False prophets and false prophecy abound in the world today. False prophecy leads to deception and makes the believer the object of manipulation or domination by false prophets who have ungodly motives and hidden agenda.

Are We Living in the End of Times?

Are We Living in the End of Times?

The answers to the question of when will the world end and how is definitely something that everyone would like to know. Are we living in the end times? Are we the terminal generation? Does the Bible have some answers for us?

Yes, it does. The Scriptures are not silent; God tells us when, how, and where the world as we know it will end.

The Bible gives us at least 7 prophetic signs that we are the generation that will see the coming of the Lord Jesus in the clouds of glory.

1. The Rebirth of the Nation of Israel.

Every major prophet in the Old Testament testified that God would bring the Jews out of their Gentile graves (Gentile nations) and bring them back to Israel before the coming of the Lord. This was fulfilled on May 14, 1948.

7 Prophetic signs that confirm we are living in the last hour

Israel literally became a nation again in one day (Isaiah 66:8) when the British Government decided to endorse the establishment of a Jewish home in Palestine after discussions within the cabinet and consultations with Jewish leaders. This is known as the Balfour Declaration.

The rebirth of the nation of Israel in one day is not a historical accident. It is the hand of God controlling the affairs of men just as the prophets of Israel said He would.

2. Jerusalem Will Once Again be the Capital of the Nation of Israel.

The Jews did not control the Holy City from 70 AD when the Romans under Emperor Titus attacked the city and destroyed the temple (as Jesus predicted in Matthew 24:1-2) until the Six-Day War of 1967.

After winning the Six-Day War against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, Israel took control of Jerusalem once again. As a result, they were able to capture the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the West Bank (formerly known as Judea & Samaria).

7 Prophetic signs that confirm we are living in the last hour
Photo Credits: theocracywatch.org

For the first time, Jerusalem is under the control of the Jewish people in two thousand years. God has promised to save His people from all corners of the earth and He specifically told them that they will again dwell in Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:7-8).

*Related Article: Jerusalem is the Eternal Capital of Israel

Jesus is not coming to London, New York, Rome or Palestine. Zechariah 14:4 & Acts 1:9-12 tell us clearly that Jesus will return to Jerusalem in glory. Also, the final battle will center on Jerusalem and Jesus will reign from Jerusalem during the millennial kingdom.

3. The Jews Will be Back in Their Land.

The Jews had been scattered over the earth and lived in various parts of the world, mostly in Europe, since their dispersion in 70 AD. And for almost 20 centuries the children of Israel have not lived in their homeland simply because one did not exist.

But after a time of living in all the countries in the world, the Jews would begin to return to their land in fulfillment of the promise of God to bring them back. Isaiah Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesied that God will bring the Jews from all corners of the earth back to their land (Isaiah 43:5-6; Jeremiah 16:14-15, 23:7-8 & Ezekiel 37: 11-13).

Are we really Living in the End Times
Photo Credits: c4israel.org

After thousands of years, the Jews were re-gathered into their homeland. The Jews from the north country (Russia) have returned to Israel by the tens of thousands as have Jewish people from around the globe. We have seen them on television newscasts disembarking from planes in Tel Aviv.

We have read it in every form of print media. But we read it first in the Bible. It is another sign that we are living in the last days.

Another miracle was the restoring of a pure language when in the 19th century, a Zionist movement brought about the revival of Hebrew as a spoken language. In 1948, Hebrew became the official tongue of the state of Israel

4. Knowledge Shall Increase.

An important sign confirming that we are the terminal generation is recorded in Daniel 12:4, “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

The literal translation of this Scripture indicates that the terminal generation will experience a knowledge explosion. We are definitely that generation.

From the Garden of Eden until A.D. 1900 men walked or rode horses just as King David and Julius Caesar. In the span of a few years, mankind invented the automobile, the jet plane, and the space shuttle.

Knowledge shall increase in the last days

Medically we have experienced such a knowledge explosion that medical science has had to redefine death. Men can be kept alive indefinitely by machines and miracle drugs.

Increase in knowledge is also evidenced by the information superhighway. You can sit in the quiet of your own home and drown yourself in information and knowledge from the internet.

5. Days of Deception.

Jesus warned that the number 1 problem on the earth in the last days would be deception.

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” – Matthew 24:4-5, 24

Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, founder of the cult called The Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name Above Every Name based in Davao City, Philippines, is known for his claim of being the Appointed Son of God as well as being the owner of the universe.

7 Prophetic signs that confirm we are living in the last hour

Secular humanism is deception. New Age theories and philosophies are deceptions. Environmental gurus who teach that the earth is but the breast of “mother goddess” are doling out deception.

Satanism and the occult are deceptions. The apostate church, which has a form of godliness, but denies the power of God, is practicing deception (2 Timothy 3:5). The fact that deceptions abound tells us that we are in living in the end of times.

6. There will be Famines, Pestilences, and Earthquakes.

The United States of America has the ability to feed the world. Yet, they pay their farmers not to grow certain crops lest they glut the market and drive prices down.

And every night on television, we see starving children with bloated bellies, bulging eyes, and bare ribs. Why? Jesus said that in the last days, there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places, which are the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:7-8).

God uses earthquakes to communicate with the spiritually deaf. The Bible records at least thirty-three instances where God used an earthquake to get man’s attention.

Are We Living in the End of Times

The earth quaked at Mount Sinai when Moses received the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19:18). God used an earthquake in Jerusalem at the Crucifixion to split the veil of the temple from the top to the bottom (Matthew 27:51). God used an earthquake at the resurrection to roll the stone from the borrowed tomb – not to let Jesus out but to let us in (Matthew 28:2).

Just last month (June 2019) about 20 earthquakes have been reported in different parts of the world such as the Philippines, India, Japan, Chile, New Zealand, Alaska, Taiwan, and Indonesia.

The constant trembling of the earth is God’s voice speaking through nature reminding us that we are the terminal generation.

7. As in the Days of Noah.

Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:36-37).

What characteristics marked the days of Noah? Genesis 6:5 tells us that man’s wickedness on the earth was very great and that “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

If you open your morning papers or watch the news on TV and the internet, you’ll lose your appetite because of the murders, rapes, kidnapping, assaults, child abuse, spouse abuse, government corruption, pornography, adultery, homosexuality, fornication and drug addiction that are happening.

This generation is as Noah’s generation with the thoughts of its heart continuously evil. This is how we know we are living in the end of times.

Closing Thoughts

These 7 prophetic signs that have already taken place and we see happening right before our very eyes are all leading up to the soon return of Christ. What are we supposed to do? “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28)

We must also be more watchful and prayerful (Luke 21:36). Are we watching and praying as we are told? More importantly, are we in Christ?

Watch and Pray

This is the question that we must answer individually. Am I really a part of the body of Christ which makes me a candidate to escape all these things that are about to take place? Do I have a redemptive covenant with God through His Son Jesus Christ?

Do not be deceived! It’s not just merely saying a simple prayer and coming to Church on Sundays or when it’s convenient for you. Because if you do not love to fellowship with God now, you’re not going to want to spend eternity with Him.

If you do not enjoy worshiping Jesus for an hour, you’re not going to enjoy worshiping Him for eternity.


*Reference: NKJV Prophecy Study Bible (Top 20 Questions)

*Recommended Resource: The Book of Signs: 31 Undeniable Prophecies of the Apocalypse
By Dr. David Jeremiah

“The end times.” “The apocalypse.” “The day of judgment.” Terms such as these are both fascinating and frightening for any student of God’s Word. They point to key questions people have wrestled with for centuries, including:

  • What does the Bible tell us about the future?
  • How much can we understand about biblical prophecy and its application in our lives?
  • What signs and signals will precede the end of everything as we know it?
  • Which of those signs and signals have already come to pass, which are we experiencing now, and which are still to come?

In this landmark collection, bestselling author Dr. David Jeremiah offers answers to these questions and much more. Drawing from decades of experience as one of the world’s most-respected Bible teachers, Dr. Jeremiah has updated content from previously published works in additional to writing new material on a wide variety of subjects.

The result is a truly epic and authoritative guide to biblical prophecy-a must-have resource for Christians seeking to navigate the uncertainties of the present and embrace God’s promises for the future.

NKJV Prophecy Study Bible Review

NKJV Prophecy Study Bible Review

Do you know that many people are willing to spend money on psychics and will do almost anything in their quest to know the future? Only to end up disappointed because these fortune-tellers are not able to give accurate predictions.

If you want to have a glimpse into your tomorrows, there is only one place to look – the Bible. Unlike horoscopes, astrological predictions and New Age books, God through His written Word, foretells the future with inerrant accuracy.

The God who created the heavens and the earth knows the end from the beginning and has given us a snapshot of things to come. But you may ask, “How am I supposed to understand a book that has been written several hundred years ago in a culture that’s very different from ours?” This is where a good prophecy study Bible comes in.

In this review of the New King James Prophecy Study Bible, I’ll be giving you a glimpse into what’s in it, its amazing facts and features, and my recommendations.

Product Name: NKJV Prophecy Study Bible (Understanding God’s Message in the Last Days)

General Editor: John Hagee

Publisher: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Edition (Year Published): 2015

The Best Place to buy: Christianbook.com

Verdict: Highly Recommended

Features of the NKJV Prophecy Study Bible

A. The Bible Text

In order to give the reader a detailed imagery of what the Bible is talking about and to assist them in personal study, special features such as italics, paragraph breaks, quotation marks, etc., have been incorporated both in the text of the Bible and in special study aids on each page.

NKJV Prophecy Study Bible Review

B. Introduction to Prophecy and Events of the End Times

Since approximately twenty-seven percent of the Bible was prophetic at the time of its writing, having some guidelines to follow for their proper interpretation is of utmost importance.

This section discusses both prophets and prophecy:

  • Who is a Prophet?
  • What are the Two Purposes of Prophecy?
  • How to Interpret prophecy

It also gives us a short introduction to:

  • The Last Days
  • The Rapture
  • The Tribulation
  • The Second Coming
  • The Millennium

C. Master Index to Bible Prophecy

This is divided into five sections:

  1. Prophecies Fulfilled from the beginning to the Exile of Judah
  2. Prophecies Fulfilled from the Exile of Judah to the First Coming of Christ
  3. Prophecies Fulfilled at the First Coming of Christ
  4. Prophecies Fulfilled during the Church Age
  5. Prophecies Fulfilled after the Rapture of the Church

And within each of these sections are the prophecies listed in biblical order along with their reference texts, a short description of the prophecy and a notation regarding its fulfillment.

D. Monies, Weights, and Measures

Although we cannot make exact equivalents and determine the actual monetary values of the currencies used more than two- or three-thousand years ago, relating them to current values in terms of how much a common laborer gets paid on a daily basis is helpful.

E. Top 20 Questions about Bible Prophecy

This is one of my favorite features of the NKJV Prophecy Study Bible. These articles answer the questions most frequently asked about prophecy and end time events. Questions such as: What is God’s view of the Tribulation? What is Armageddon? Who is the coming Antichrist? How can I know Bible Prophecy is accurate?

NKJV Prophecy Study Bible Review

F. Diamonds for Daily Living

Who doesn’t enjoy reading the Psalms? Diamonds for daily living is a series of forty devotions drawn from the Book of Psalms.

While Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life guides you into a 40-day journey to discovering God’s purpose for your life, the NKJV Prophecy Study Bible gives you 40 Diamonds for Daily Living to encourage you, especially during difficult times.

H. God’s Great Salvation

Undoubtedly, the theme of salvation runs through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. God has laid out His plan of salvation for man from the time that Adam and Eve declared their independence and rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden.

Explore God’s Great Salvation with these 20 articles starting with the “Forbidden Fruit and Lost Innocence” on page 11.

I. God’s Great Promises

This series of seventeen articles explores the covenant promises found in God’s written Word, the Bible. We know from reading the Bible that God has made several covenants not only with the nation of Israel but with the Church as well.

But which ones are for Israel only and which ones are for His Church? Does God plan to fulfill them? How confident are we that He will? The covenants God made with Israel are so significant that they say a lot about His covenant with the Church.

Start your study of God’s Great Promises with “The idea of Covenant in the Bible” on page 26.

What is in the NKJV Prophecy Study Bible

J. Evidences

The Christian definition of faith is NOT belief without evidence. As Oxford professor John Lennox said, “Faith is not a leap into the unknown, but an evidence-based commitment.”

This series of 47 articles offers a positive apologetic for the Christian faith that includes among others:

  1. The Uncaused Cause of Everything Else
  2. What Happened to Jesus’ Body?
  3. The Trinity
  4. Was Jesus the Predicted Messiah
  5. The Search for the Historical Jesus

K. Spokesman for God

The prophets of the Bible spoke God’s word. Read about the main prophets and their messages in this series of articles.

L. Bible Insights

This collection of over fifty short articles provides additional information about the Bible, its people, its times and its prophetic message.

M. Bible Prophecy Charts

In this feature of the NKJV Prophecy Study Bible, there are sixteen charts given on the key aspects of Bible prophecy, including the prophecies of Daniel, the Tribulation, times of the Gentiles, the Rapture and the Millennium.

NKJV Prophecy Study Bible Review

What Others are Saying about the NKJV Prophecy Study Bible

“The Bible helps alone are priceless. There are charts and outlines for every book that list the prophecies with references and give the fulfillment references. I really like the NKJV Prophecy Study Bible and I am excited to have this tool at my disposal. I’d say this is a must for equipping believers to be prepared with truth and ready to give answers to those who question the reason for their faith” – Nellie Dee

“The NKJV Prophecy Study Bible is packed with amazing features that will help beginners and serious students of Bible prophecy. It is filled with special features that offer details designed to bring a clearer understanding of prophetic themes.” – Kara

“The NKJV Prophecy Study Bible is an excellent tool for understanding Bible prophecy and so much more. I wasn’t actually planning on buying it, but couldn’t leave it in the store after looking inside.” – Tommy King

“Pastor John Hagee has done a truly magnificent job with the NKJV Prophecy Study Bible. Each book provides us with information on the author, the time it was written and of “The Christ” of that book. Christ’s words are also in red letters plus there are references that point the reader to parallel verses in order to help them understand better what they’re currently reading. This would make a wonderful gift for our friends and family.” – VicsMediaRoom

Conclusion

The NKJV Prophecy Study Bible is a great material for anyone who is serious about understanding God’s message in the last days. As I said in my article Reasons to Study Bible Prophecy, approximately 1/3 or 27% of the Bible was prophetic at the time of its writing and if we claim to love studying the Bible, we must also love to study Bible prophecy.

What better way to do this than having your own copy of the NKJV Prophecy Study Bible.

Get you copy here: NKJV Prophecy Study Bible, 2015 Edition

Real Joy of the Heart

Real Joy of the Heart

The issue I have seen in the lives of many believers is that they don’t live like they have real joy in their hearts. They have Christ in their lives but they do not seem to be experiencing real joy that is found in Christ alone.

Bible Verse: John 16:22 (NKJV)

“Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”

Reflection and Challenge

In context, this verse is a part of a conversation between Jesus and His twelve disciples. Jesus was trying to prepare them for His crucifixion, but they were not getting it. They wanted more clarity and Jesus understood this very well.

But Jesus also knew that they needed more than just information; they needed their hearts and mind to be prepared to endure the crisis that was coming. They would be very sorrowful but only to have a sudden change of heart. Because God, by His grace and power, will turn their sorrow into joy.

While the crucifixion and all that went with it seemed like a bump in the road or some kind of obstacle to overcome on the way to fulfilling God’s plan, it was exactly how the plan would be fulfilled.

God Transforms our Sorrows into Joy

There’s a principle laid out in John 16:16-22 and that is this: God brings joy to our lives, not by substitution, but by transformation. Jesus’ illustration of the woman giving birth makes this pretty clear. The same baby that caused the pain also caused the joy.

In birth, God does not substitute something else to relieve the mother’s pain. Instead, He uses what is there already but transforms it. And so it is in the Christian life: God takes seemingly impossible situations, adds the miracle of His grace, and transforms trials into triumphs and sorrows into joy.

God transforms our sorrows into joy

As Spurgeon put it, “It is most remarkable and instructive that in their sermons or epistles the apostles do not appear to have spoken of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ with any kind of regret. Although the Gospels mention their distress during the actual occurrence of the crucifixion, we hear of no such grief after the resurrection, and especially after Pentecost.”

Their extreme sorrow of heart was changed to joy of heart after they realized Jesus rose from the grave. When a person gets saved, he receives a completely changed heart and he can actually experience real joy.

Unlike just happiness, joy is a heart attitude. It cannot be artificially manufactured by great circumstances. Read the middle phrase again. “Your heart will rejoice.” Do you see the root word joy in rejoice?

When Christians Lose Their Joy

The last phrase of John 16:22 says, “True born again Christians cannot lose their joy” (paraphrase). But why are there so many Christians who are like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh? No enthusiasm, gloomy, depressed, or just going through the motions.

I realized that I am talking about people’s heart since I can’t see their hearts. Actually, it’s possible. We can tell what’s in peoples’ hearts by the way they live their lives. Because what’s in their hearts is how they live.

Throughout the Bible, it says that what you actually believe in your heart will show. So if we don’t act like we have found real joy in Christ, perhaps God hasn’t changed our hearts in salvation yet.

Going Through the Motions

Don’t just go through the motions because your denomination says to do so. I have been called “happy go lucky” and “carefree,” because I have a joyous song in my heart.

Unbelievers can’t understand because they don’t have that joy. If you have joy in your heart, it will show in worship, praise, lifestyle, attitudes … EVERYTHING.

Please inspect yourself and find out if real joy is in your heart. If it is, praise God. If not, find out why. You won’t regret it.

Waiting for the Coming of Our Lord

The world today does not want Jesus Christ or His church. The world is rejoicing while we are suffering, longing for our Lord to return. In fact, all of creation is suffering “the pains of childbirth” because of sin, awaiting His return (Romans 8:22)

While the immediate application may have been to the sorrowing hearts of the disciples, the ultimate application is to all of God’s people as they await the second coming of Jesus Christ.

To us, it seems like a long wait, but God does not measure time as we do (2 Peter 3:8). And while we are waiting, we must deal with our trials and hurts on the basis of transformation and not substitution, if we expect to mature as Christians.

What is Palm Sunday About?

What is Palm Sunday About?

Palm Sunday, which is the Sunday before Resurrection, is one of the few incidents in the life of Jesus that is present in all of the Gospels (Mark 11:1-11; Matthew 21:1-17; Luke 19:29-40 and John 12:12-19). But what is Palm Sunday all about? Why is it significant?

Palm Sunday commemorates the event known as the “Triumphal Entry.” This was about Jesus entering into Jerusalem riding on a colt. Since this event was mentioned by all Gospel authors, we can conclude that it was significant not only to the people of Jesus’ day but to all Christians throughout history.

Fulfillment of Prophecies & Demonstration of Jesus’ Authority

Before entering Jerusalem, Jesus sends two of His disciples ahead of Him to Bethphage to get the donkey and its colt that He needed for the event (Matthew 21:1-6; Mark 1:1-6; Luke 19:29-34). They were told that if anyone asked what they were doing, they were to say that the Lord needs them and then they would be sent right away.

Note: While most people today think of a donkey as nothing but a humble beast of burden, in that day, it was looked on as an animal fit for a king to use (1 Kings 1:33).

This preparation before the triumphal entry was designed by Jesus to demonstrate His authority. He knew that the animals would be there and He also knew that they would be given to His disciples if they said the Lord needed them.

Zechariah 9:9

At that time, the disciples did not understand the significance of what was happening but after the resurrection, they could look back and realize how Jesus had demonstrated in this and the other events His authority, that He was in control of all events and not losing control to evil times or wicked men (John 12:16) .

Riding on the back of a borrowed donkey’s colt that no one has ever ridden, a crowd comes to greet Jesus, laying before Him their cloaks and waving leafy branches on the road they cut from the trees. Jesus was in the center of the procession and the people all around Him were shouting expressions of praise and celebration, hailing Him as the “King of Israel.”

Little did the people know that they were fulfilling an ancient prophecy:

“Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity. 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.” – Psalm 118:25-26

What is the Significance of Palm Sunday?

Jesus’ riding into Jerusalem accomplished two purposes: 1) In the first part, He is revealed as the sovereign King, the one with authority but who comes in peace; and 2) as He entered Jerusalem Jesus was recognized as the coming Messiah who brings salvation.

The Gospels tell us that multitudes of people came with Jesus in the procession. The news of His arrival in Bethany had spread so there was time for the crowds to gather, especially those from Galilee and all those who were looking for the Messiah.

Needless to say, Messianic expectations were very high at this time so the people naturally thronged to see Him when the word of His arrival in the area spread. After all, His teachings and miracles had drawn crowds everywhere He went.

The Triumphal Entry
Photo Credits: Free Bible Images (Pinterest)

As Jesus rides into Jerusalem as a conquering King He is hailed by the people as such, in the manner of the day. He ascends into the royal city, His palace, like a king and receives the praise and worship of the people that only He so deserves.

Interestingly, no longer does Jesus tell His disciples to be quiet about Him but to shout His praises. That day, Jesus openly declared to the people that He was their King and the Messiah they had been waiting for.

Unfortunately, the people did not welcome Jesus and lavished Him with their praises because they recognized Him as their Savior from sin. They received Him out of their desire for a messianic deliverer who would lead them to revolt against Rome.

Roman Triumphal Entry vs. Christ’s Triumphal Entry

At Passover season, the city of Jerusalem was the delight of the Jews and the despair of the Romans. Thousands of devout Jews from all around the world would arrive in the Holy City with their hearts full of excitement and nationalistic fervor.

During the festival, the population of Jerusalem more than tripled making it necessary for the Roman military units to be on special alert. They lived with the possibility that some enthusiastic Jewish Zealot might try to incite a riot or kill a Roman official. There was also the potential for disputes among various Jewish religious groups.

What is Palm Sunday all about?

Jesus’ triumphal entry was nothing like that of a Roman triumphal entry but it was a triumph just the same because as God’s anointed King and Savior, His conquest would not be military but spiritual.

In order to merit a triumph, a Roman general would have to kill at least five thousand enemy soldiers. But the Gospel would “conquer” some five thousand Jews and transform their lives in a few weeks (Acts 4:4). Christ’s “triumph” would be the victory of love over hatred, truth over error, and life over death.

Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

When the people saw Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey, they hoped that perhaps He would be to them a great temporal deliverer. They hailed Him as King with their praises, recognizing Him as the Son of David who came in the name of the Lord.

Jesus had been widely recognized by his followers as “the Coming One.” So when the people repeated their “Hosanna” to God in the highest, they were praising God for sending them the Messiah, the Savior of Israel.

Note: The word “hosanna” is the Greek writing of the Hebrew verb “save;” it is a request for salvation or deliverance, as in Psalm 118:25. It was part of the Hallel, consisting of Psalm 113 – 118, which was sung at the Passover season.

What is the significance of Palm Sunday

They recognized that Jesus was a prophet and so it was fairly easy for them to get caught up in the Messianic fervor in light of His miracles and teachings. They hailed Him as their King without grasping the truth about His inevitable suffering as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

In fact, even the people closest to Jesus did not understand that His triumphal entry into Jerusalem as the promised Messiah was not to take up His throne but to die on the cross.

And when Jesus failed the expectations of the crowd and refused to lead them in a massive revolt against the Romans, they quickly turned on Him and within just a few days, their shouts of “Hosanna” would change to cries of “Crucify Him!” (Luke 23:21).

Note: The Jewish leaders had decided not to arrest Jesus during the feast, but God had determined otherwise. The Lamb of God must die at Passover.

Significance of Palm Sunday to Believers Today

Palm Sunday is something that Christians continue to celebrate and commemorate today. It was an important event that served as a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies (Zechariah 9:9; Psalm 118:25-26), Jesus’ recognition as sovereign King and Messiah and it prepared the way for the events that led to His death and resurrection.

The Jews desired deliverance from the Roman occupiers, but Jesus came to deliver us on a much deeper level – from the power of sin and death.

As our Savior, deliverer and King Jesus truly deserve all our praises and adoration. Hallelujah! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

Conclusion

Palm Sunday is the story of Jesus the King who came not in His majestic glory and splendor; He did not come as a conquering king with His kingdom of armies. Instead, Jesus came on a lowly donkey, on the clothes of the poor and humble, in lowliness and servanthood.

When Jesus came for the first time, He came in love, grace, and mercy and sacrificed His own life for the redemption of mankind. But when Jesus comes again, He will come in power and glory to conquer, rule and reign.

Are you awaiting His return?

The 3 Levels of Tribulations

The 3 Levels of Tribulations

The term “Tribulation” generally refers to a state of great suffering or trouble. In Christian eschatology, the Tribulation will be the final 7-year period of Daniel’s 70 Weeks when Jesus will judge the wicked world and restores Israel. It will be a time of great distress that occurs prior to the return of Christ to rule and reign here on earth for a thousand years.

However, tribulation could not only refer to a future event. Even now, God’s people and the world are going through two of the 3 levels of tribulation.

Level 1 Tribulation

This is the tribulation of all the unbelievers in the world which started when man disobeyed God’s command and was driven out of the Garden of Eden, a paradise of full joy and contentment, and God cursed the earth (Genesis 3:17-19).

So from that time that man became sinful until now, the people of the world work and work so hard in order to eat, while at the same time suffering all kinds of illnesses, accidents, and all kinds of misfortunes under the bondage of the devil who has become the ruler of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Level 2 Tribulation

This is the tribulation for the believers after Jesus came to earth to be the second Adam and Son of God. This is classified further into 2 sub-levels:

A. The tribulation of compromised or unfaithful believers in Christ.

Apparently, there are Christians who compromise to the world and do not fully obey the commands of God. Their tribulation is just like that of the unbelievers in the world. They are suffering the curse of God on earth from the time of Adam and Eve.

So just like the people of the world today, the unfaithful Christians work and work with no contentment and are suffering all kinds of illnesses, accidents, and misfortunes in life. They sincerely believe they are saved and have full salvation.

The 3 Levels of Tribulation

However, that salvation is only partial because they have no salvation from sickness and accidents and they do not enjoy the open floodgates of heaven to supply all their needs according to God’s riches in glory (Philippians 4:19).

They may only have salvation of their souls so they may be saved in the end and not go to hell if they remain faithful and hold on to their faith in Jesus Christ.

B. The tribulation for the faithful and carefully obedient believers in Christ.

These are the people of God that the Bible says God will protect just like Noah when God spared him and his family during the Great Flood (Genesis 6-9), and Lot when God rescued him during the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19).

Remaining faithful and obedient to God does not mean being free from difficult times trials and suffering. The faithful righteous believers will suffer persecutions because it is part of the “cross” that Jesus said in Matthew 16:24. But the Lord will “make their yoke easy and their burdens light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

*Read here: What is the Christians Response to Trials

When they cry out to God, He will deliver them from all troubles (Psalm 34:17-20) because the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the Day of Judgment (2 Peter 2:9).

And their light persecutions will accompany their hundredfold blessing in this present age and in the age to come. When the Great Tribulation will start, these faithful carefully obedient believers will just fly to the Wedding Banquet in heaven without experiencing death (Matthew 16:28).

Level 3 Tribulation

This is the final Great Tribulation spoken of by Jesus immediately following the rapture of the faithful believers. There will be great tribulation that is unequaled from the beginning of the world and never to be equaled again. And unless those days will be shortened, no flesh would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, those days will be shortened (Matthew 24:21-22).

The elect are the Jews, the chosen people of God, and they will suffer greatly. As Jesus said, “They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led away captive into all nations. Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:23-24).

Jesus also said, “Jerusalem will be surrounded by enemies” which is how they “will know that its desolation is near” (Luke 21:20. What is the status of Jerusalem now? It is surrounded by Arab nations who want nothing more than its destruction.

The 3 :Levels of Tribulation

The great destruction of Jerusalem is just about to happen but the faithful believers who are now going through the narrow gate will take their “flight” while the vast majority of compromised believers who go through the broad way will go into destruction where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 7:13-14).

These are the “believers” to whom Jesus will say, “I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23).

Concluding Thoughts

Each one of us will encounter trials and tribulations that will place some pressure on us in possibly every area of our life. Trials are part of life and we cannot always expect life to be trouble-free and smooth-sailing.

Even we as Christians should not expect to navigate through life without encountering challenges, obstacles, and difficulties. Question is: are we suffering tribulation as a result of compromise and disobedience to God? Or are we suffering persecution for being faithful followers of Christ?

To go through trials and tribulations now is one thing; to go through the horrors of the Tribulation in the future is another thing.

God is loving, merciful and gracious; He wants everyone to accept His offer of salvation and be caught up to heaven before the terrible Day of the Lord.

Have you accepted Jesus’ invitation to be part of His heavenly kingdom by acknowledging that you a sinner in need of a Savior? 


Guest Author: Bishop Moses R. Chungalao

Recommended Resource: Lord Why?: Trials & Tribulations are all in His Plan
By Reno Johnson

If you find yourself facing adversity and discouragement, take hope and strength knowing that God is with you in your trials. In Lord Why?, Pastor Reno Johnson will help you learn to see difficulties as opportunities, not obstacles. He provides practical, biblical wisdom for overcoming whatever types of opposition you face.