Nothing but Leaves

by Mike Ratliff

12 On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. 13 Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening.Mark 11:12-14 (NASB) 

in yesterday’s post Signs we are close to the time of the end  we looked at some details about the 3rd Temple, the coming of the AntiChrist, and the Great Apostasy along with many other topics dealing with all that. In this post we will look at why the Jews missed their Messiah when he came and, therefore, will be duped into following the counterfeit messiah, the AntiChrist, when he comes on the scene when the Lamb opens the 1st Seal.

Let’s start with a sermon my John MacArthur about the passage I placed at the top of this post. Here is the link to it. I hope you listen to that sermon or read it. In it we see why or Lord cleansed the Temple just a few days before He was crucified. Why did he do that? The Temple worship system was corrupt. The leaders were corrupt and hypocrites. They preyed on the people, actually stole money from them through schemes.

Who were those who opposed our Lord in His ministry the most? It was the Jewish religious leaders. Temple worship was not glorifying God because it was corrupt. These leaders also kept other Jews from recognizing Jesus as the Messiah. Now, here we are in 2022 and the Jews are still looking for their Messiah. As Christians, we know who He is and because of our faith in Him be have been Justified. This is a something the Jews are blind to. I watched a documentary last night after I posted my article on the end times. The documentary was about the process the Temple organization is going through to determine where to build the new Temple and when. Once again, the leadership were adamant that they will probably have to wait for the Messiah to come and he will build it. I was stunned by this. Jesus is the Messiah. He has already come. So, who is going to come and claim he is the Messiah and do this? Scripture is clear that it is the AntiChrist. in Daniel the Beast makes that covenant with Israeli for 7 years and right in the middle of it he stops worship in the temple and goes in an presents himself as God in the Holy of Holies. By-the-way, they have determined that the Dome of the Rock Mosque or Shrine on the Temple Mount covers the site of the Temple’s Holy of Holies. So, in order to replace that structure with the Temple, it will take some pretty fantastic political maneuvering by someone with a lot of power. Not long ago we looked at another John MacArthur’s sermon in which he showed that the AntiChrist was actually the Muslim Mahdi and the false prophet is the Muslim “Jesus”.  Here the link to that post.

Soli Deo Gloria!



Signs we are close to the time of the end

by Mike Ratliff

3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4 And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 6 You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Matthew 24:3-8 (NASB)

I have been wanting to write about this for several weeks, but have not had the opportunity. If you have been keeping up with what has been coming from the White House, the United Nations and the World Economic Forum it is as if the elites have taken George Orwell’s book 1984 and are attempting to use it as a blueprint for what they have in store for us. Private ownership of property including your personal vehicle will be prohibited. Ownership of land will be prohibited. Single family homes will be excluded. Everyone will be forced to relocate to large multi-family complexes in large cities. Ownership of any property of any kind will be a thing of the past. Cash money will be replaced with a digital currency system fully controlled by the elites. I have heard predictions from several very well placed experts over the last few weeks who are predicting the collapse of economic supply line structures that our food systems rely on right now. If that happens we will be in famine situation that is caused on purpose by very evil people who’s goal is to depopulate then gain full control or enslavement of those who remain. When I first heard this I could only think of what Jesus said in that passage I placed at the top of this post and what John wrote in Revelation 6 as the first 5 seals are broken on the scroll held by the Lamb of God. Here is that passage.

1 Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.” 2 I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
The Second Seal—War
3 When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” 4 And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.
The Third Seal—Famine
5 When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”
The Fourth Seal—Death
7 When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” 8 I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.
The Fifth Seal—Martyrs
9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.
The Sixth Seal—Terror
12 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16 and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” Revelation 6 (NASB)

The man on the white horse in the first seal who goes out conquering and to conquer is the Beast or Antichrist. How do you think he comes to power? The world will be in horrible shape in economic collapse. People will be starving. A Messianic figure will come on the scene and be given all kinds of power as he works to solve these problems. However, he is a liar. His intent is to supplant Christ and God. I watched a documentary a few days ago about the Third Temple in Jerusalem. The Jews there are all ready to build it, but they can’t because the Temple Mount has two Muslim Mosques right where the Temple should go. When asked by the one doing the documentary why they persisted in doing what they were doing their reply was, “We are waiting for the man who is to come.” Wow! Who could that be? The man on the White Horse will cut a covenant with the Jews for 7 years. This is found in Daniel 9:27.  I suggest you read the whole chapter. Here it is.

1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans— 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. 3 So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, 5 we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances. 6 Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land.
7 “Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against You. 8 Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. 9 To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him; 10 nor have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets. 11 Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him. 12 Thus He has confirmed His words which He had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great calamity; for under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what was done to Jerusalem. 13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth. 14 Therefore the LORD has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the LORD our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.
15 “And now, O Lord our God, who have brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and have made a name for Yourself, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have been wicked. 16 O Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous acts, let now Your anger and Your wrath turn away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people have become a reproach to all those around us. 17 So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplications, and for Your sake, O Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary. 18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion. 19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”
Gabriel Brings an Answer
20 Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God in behalf of the holy mountain of my God, 21 while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering. 22 He gave me instruction and talked with me and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.
Seventy Weeks and the Messiah
24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. 25 So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. 26 Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” Daniel 9 (NASB) 

In this passage we see the covenant this man cuts with the Jews then he breaks it by committing the Abomination of Desolation, which our Lord spoke of in Matthew 24:15, which immediately precedes our Lord’s second coming, the first resurrection and the rapture of the Church as per Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2. Please notice that our Lord’s account of this and Paul’s both talks about the Great Apostasy or falling away. This has always puzzled me. What would cause that? I am convinced now that I have studied this more and I see evidence of the evil going on in the world right now that the AntiChrist will be able to seduce many professing Christians away to follow him instead of Jesus. Part of this will be the Second Beast of course who professes to be Jesus and kills everyone who won’t worship the Beast by taking his mark.

I have always thought all this would be far in the future and me and my family would be long gone before all this took place, but here we are. Jesus Himself said we are going to be persecuted by the AntiChrist and I believe Him. I grew up in Church and have heard countless times that the Church would be raptured before all this happened, but if you believe that and then here comes all this persecution if you don’t worship the Beast if you want to buy food then you have a problem. Help us Lord Jesus!

Soli Deo Gloria!

See to it that no one misleads you

by Mike Ratliff

1 Καὶ ἐξελθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ τοῦ ἱεροῦ ἐπορεύετο, καὶ προσῆλθον οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἐπιδεῖξαι αὐτῷ τὰς οἰκοδομὰς τοῦ ἱεροῦ. 2 ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· οὐ βλέπετε ταῦτα πάντα; ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ ὧδε λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον ὃς οὐ καταλυθήσεται.
3 Καθημένου δὲ αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τοῦ ὄρους τῶν ἐλαιῶν προσῆλθον αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ κατʼ ἰδίαν λέγοντες· εἰπὲ ἡμῖν, πότε ταῦτα ἔσται καὶ τί τὸ σημεῖον τῆς σῆς παρουσίας καὶ συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος;
4 Καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς πλανήσῃ· Matthew 24:1-4 (NA28)

1 Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. 2 And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”
3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4 And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. Matthew 24:1-4 (NASB) 

My brethren, stop, take a deep breath and take an honest look at what is going on all around us and what has been going on for last couple of years. My dear brethren, in 2019 I was in fantastic physical condition. I and a friend were all prepared to spend two weeks hiking and climbing mountains in Colorado that June. I spent over a year conditioning myself to be physically ready for it. I had all my gear ready. I made the trip and actually had a great time, but we could not do any climbing because the snowpack on the higher peaks just would not thaw. I came home and processed a lot of great shots and posted them everywhere. Some of them I printed an they are on my walls here in my office. however, just a few months after that the company I worked for wanted me to go to Seattle for week for a Microsoft conference. I went. I had some very strange encounters on the streets while walking around with my camera. Guys would come up to me, total strangers, and start shouting at me like they had seen me there before and they resented me being back and this time I had that camera. I just could not understand it. I asked a few people around me what was going on and the only feedback I got was these must be homeless people. I was very glad to board that plane after the conference and get out of there. It was just a few weeks later that the BLM riots took place there with the rioters taking over the very parts of downtown Seattle where I had been walking through. I still can’t put all that together. Right after I got home my wife and I flew to D.C. to be with our son on Thanksgiving then we flew home that Sunday and I repacked my bags and Monday morning I went back to the airport to fly to Denver for a week of meetings there. When if flew home at the end of that week I was beat. I was sick and tired of traveling. I was more than tired of airports and hotels. When I got on the shuttle that took me to where my pickup was parked I told one of the other  passengers that this was my last trip of the year and I was already celebrating. I month later I tested positive for Covid-19.  It was no big deal. It was like a bad cold.  I tested positive again a few months after that, same thing. I am pretty sure the first infection was probably due to my trip to Seattle. We had a luncheon the last day. At our table were 15 people or more from all over the world. it was very tight and crowded.

That was what was going on late 2019 and early 2020. Early this year I tested positive for Covid-19 again. That was in January. It was just like before. I really didn’t get that sick. However, in early April of this year I had a stroke.I am still dealing with the affects of that. I have also retired so I no longer have health insurance at work. No, I have Medicare and V.A. healthcare. However, the reason I am writing this post is not about any of my health issues except to say that despite what God has assigned for me to go through, my faith is still intact. I heard a sermon by John MacArthur that he preached in 2012 about the AntiChrist. I decided to listen to again a few nights ago and that is the primary reason for this post. Here is a link to the sermon. Now as you can tell, JMac is a PreTribber. I am not. I am  a PreWrather. That means that I believe that Jesus taught in Mathew 24:10 that the Church would be persecuted by the AntiChrist and his people and that is what is called the Great Tribulation. However, that persecution will not start until the AntiChrist is revealed at the Abomination of Desolation. The persecution will be because true believers will not take the Mark of the Beast by worshipping the Dragon or the AntiChrist. The False Prophet will kill those who refuse to do so. The PreWrath position holds that the Church will be taken home before God pours out His wrath on this world.

So why am I writing this? I watched Tucker Carlson last night. He was showing how the Biden Administration is giving military aid to Ukraine thereby drawing the U.S. into a possible war with Russia. Then I remembered Matthew 24:6,

6 You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Matthew 24:6-8 (NASB) 

So, we are in the Birth Pangs stage? So the man of lawlessness has not been revealed yet. When that happens watch out! Our Economy has been so mismanaged it would not take much to bring it crashing down and that would the perfect catalyst for someone to come on the scene projecting himself as a savior who is nothing more than Satan’s puppet.

Be not deceived my brethren!

Soli Deo Gloria!

The Time of the End

by Mike Ratliff

20 Come, my people, enter into your rooms
And close your doors behind you;
Hide for a little while
Until indignation runs its course.
21 For behold, the LORD is about to come out from His place
To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity;
And the earth will reveal her bloodshed
And will no longer cover her slain. Isaiah 26:20-21 (NASB)

God is Sovereign! He has always been and always will be Sovereign. I use Gmail as my main email. Unfortunately Google embeds ads in the interface just above the control buttons. Sometimes I will see something interesting there and click it. Usually I regret it. I once saw one that advertised a study that was supposed to show the real definition of Hyper-Calvinism. I am Reformed in my Theology, but I abhor Hyper-Calvinism. I know that many confuse the two so I hit the link to see what was what. The formula this writer of the document used to determine if a person was Hyper-Calvinistic was if all they talked about was God’s Sovereignty and glory instead of insisting on man’s responsibility. While I can see what the writer was trying to say I also saw that even though he agreed that God was Sovereign, he still was not sovereign over Man’s will. I read about half the document then gave up because the further I read the less Sovereignty God had and the more Man had. I had to go get a cold drink of water after that because it left a very bad taste in my mouth. Isn’t this the very essence of Man’s rebellion against God? Continue reading

Be Separate From Them

by Mike Ratliff

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
17 Therefore
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 “I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the LORD Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (NKJV)

As I have stated several times, I have been doing hours and hours of research on the various Eschatological views that we have all had to deal with. It is utterly amazing how confusing this gets if you dig down past the veneer of each one to look at each one’s foundation and then see the inconsistencies, the outright attempts to say something is Biblical when it is found nowhere in Scripture, the overwhelming use of Biblical Eisegesis and cherry picking of scripture rather than relying solely on solid Biblical Exegesis and context. I have followed claims by so many “prophecy experts” who claim they have disproven this or that view of Eschatology only to find out that they are simply giving their opinion based on more Biblical Eisegesis and cherry picking of scripture. I have had this headache that has gotten worse and worse over the last few weeks that I simply cannot get rid of unless I relax, get away from my books and computer, drink some hot tea, and ask God to help me sort things out. I mean, after all, there is no way all these people could be right. Continue reading

What is the Great Delusion?

by Mike Ratliff

8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 (NASB) 

As I stated in yesterday’s post, I have been doing a great of research on the “order of things” Paul was referring to in 2 Thessalonians 2. I have been lining up those things with our Lord’s Olivet Discourse and, of course, the Apostle John’s account in Revelation. Why? I said yesterday that I simply cannot get past this and when this happens I know God is working. Also, our enemy knows this and I have been hammered from every direction with “doubts” about doing this and thoughts like, “if you continue to pursue this you will lose all your friends or may even have to change to another church!” Now, would God put those sorts of thoughts in my mind? Of course not! That is not how God works. I have been sifting through all sorts of articles, sermons, videos, and scripture pertaining to this topic along with the “Mark of the Beast,” “who is the Beast,” “who is the False Prophet,” and I assure you this data gets mucky in a hurry. Then I listened to a sermon where the preacher was addressing whether the Covid-19 vaccinations were the Mark of the Beast and whether a believer could take the Mark unintentionally. While I didn’t listen to the whole sermon I did agree with what he said right up front. He stated that genuine believers are saved by Grace through Faith and are sealed by the Holy Spirit at that point with the Mark of God and so could never receive the Mark of the beast. I rejoiced when I heard that, but why? Continue reading

The Rebellion before the Man of Lawlessness is Revealed

by Mike Ratliff

1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (NASB) 

1 Ἐρωτῶμεν δὲ ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, ὑπὲρ τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ἡμῶν ἐπισυναγωγῆς ἐπʼ αὐτὸν 2 εἰς τὸ μὴ ταχέως σαλευθῆναι ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ νοὸς μηδὲ θροεῖσθαι, μήτε διὰ πνεύματος μήτε διὰ λόγου μήτε διʼ ἐπιστολῆς ὡς διʼ ἡμῶν, ὡς ὅτι ἐνέστηκεν ἡ ἡμέρα τοῦ κυρίου·
3 Μή τις ὑμᾶς ἐξαπατήσῃ κατὰ μηδένα τρόπον. ὅτι ἐὰν μὴ ἔλθῃ ἡ ἀποστασία πρῶτον καὶ ἀποκαλυφθῇ ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας, 4 ὁ ἀντικείμενος καὶ ὑπεραιρόμενος ἐπὶ πάντα λεγόμενον θεὸν ἢ σέβασμα, ὥστε αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν ναὸν τοῦ θεοῦ καθίσαι ἀποδεικνύντα ἑαυτὸν ὅτι ἐστὶν θεός. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (NA28)

1 Now we ask you, brothers, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 for you to not be quickly shaken from your mind nor to be alarmed, neither by a spirit, nor by a word nor by a letter as if it has come by us that the Day of the Lord has come.
3 Let not anyone deceive you any way because it will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the Man of Lawlessness be revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or an object of veneration so that he takes his seat in the Temple of God presenting himself that he is God. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

As you can probably tell, I have been doing a great deal of research into these very important eschatological elements. It is as if I cannot get past this study. When that happens I pay attention. God is working. What is Paul talking about in these verses? The Thessalonians had contacted him and were very upset because someone had told them, pretending to be him in some way, that the persecution they were experiencing was part of the Day of the Lord. That meant they had missed being gathered together with the rest of the saints. That meant they were experiencing the Wrath of God and that is something all believers should know that we will never experience. Yes, we will experience tribulation θλίψις (thlipsis) because the world hates the truth and if we are walking in the truth and are obedient to the Word of God then the world will hate us as well. So, Paul was telling the Thessalonians that they were experiencing thlipsis, but the events that must happen that precedes the coming of our Lord to gather the saints have not happened yet. Let’s look at those events. Continue reading

The Kings of the South and the North

by Mike Ratliff

20 Then he said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. 21 However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince. Daniel 10:20-21 (NASB) 

As we saw in the last post, there are evil powers behind the “kingdoms” of the world. Satan is the lord of this present age. In this post we will attempt to exposit Daniel 11. This is a very interesting chapter in that it covers the history of spiritual conflict in Israel (11:2-35) to the tribulation (11:36-42) where Michael comes to the aide of the Jews to assist in fully delivering them (12:1). The history section of this prophecy (vv2-35) is so accurate that skeptics have railed against the veracity of this prophecy. They cannot understand how someone could write with such accuracy several hundred years earlier than the events. However, as believers, we should look at this part of Daniel and rejoice in the fact that when God says something will happen, it will happen. However, this prophecy, which extends into chapter 12, looks into the future from Daniel’s time into what is future for us as well. We will see a preview of the Antichrist given to Daniel by God over 2 millennia ago. Continue reading

Daniel’s Vision of the Four Beasts

by Mike Ratliff

1 And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore.
Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. 2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. 3 I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; 4 they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” Revelation 13:1-4 (NASB) 

It is time to prayerfully step into the prophetic section of Daniel. I have had quite a bit of anxiety about tackling these books that are deeply eschatological. Why? My method of Bible teaching is to simply expound scripture. I try to limit input into my analysis of passages to Biblical references for the most part. I do not believe I am wise enough or schooled enough in eschatology to do justice to this study. However, God is able to open up His word to our hearts. As we look at these sections in Daniel let us carefully let scripture speak. God will give us the truth as He sees fit. Perhaps God will give us insight into His Word that we have lacked until now. If so, then it is God doing this, not me. Continue reading

This Age and the Age to Come

by Mike Ratliff

15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:15-23 (NASB) 

Many years ago, when was in my twenties, eschatology books were being pumped out by every “evangelist” under heaven. They were dazzling with their complicated charts with arrows for Christ’s multiple returns to get His church then later to bring His kingdom into fulfillment. It was so complex that it was impossible to follow without those pull out charts. I had friends who became experts on this. They could quote chapter and verse on every point in the end times as revealed in these books. However, as I have matured (hopefully) and learned to trust what the scriptures say more than what men say I have come to believe that eschatology shouldn’t be that complicated. When Jesus talked about the sin of Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit he said something very interesting. Continue reading

What is the Day of the Lord?

by Mike Ratliff

1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (NKJV) 

I am not an eschatology “expert” or “specialist.” I believe eschatology is important and we should learn as much as we can from God’s Word about it because it is the fulfillment of God’s plan for His creation and His people. All I know to do is to look at what God’s Word says, keep it in context and make room for the Holy Spirit to write those truths on our hearts. Therefore, let us look at the Biblical term “Day the Lord.” Continue reading

The Great Delusion

by Mike Ratliff

8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.  (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 NASB)

When I was a young Christian I was a Dispensationalist because that was what the churches I belonged to taught.  I remember listening to Hal Lindsey or some of the teachers at the church I was going to at that time teach on these things, but I never quite sunk my teeth into it. I remember never being fully convinced about that eschatology or that the Church would be secretly Raptured away and miss the Tribulation or that the “Tribulation,” as it was being presented by those Dispensationlists, was Biblical.  Why did I have these issues? At that time I did not really have any knowledge of other views of eschatology so I was more than a little concerned about these things.  These eschatological teachings with which I had issues are structured to be popular and they are presented in a way that tickles the itching ears of the many rather than on what is Biblical. Continue reading

Millennial Positions

After posting the piece on the Binding of Satan it became painfully obvious that many people who objected to it had never even conceived of any other position on Eschatology or a Biblical view other than Dispensationalism. I was brought up as a Dispensationalist. I was a Pre-Trib, Pri-Mil dispy for decades. However, I knew that something just wasn’t right. There were way too many leaps of faith that had to be made and way too many gaps and holes and unexplained things, from Revelation especially, that do not fit or appear to be just plainly illogical. Then God awakened me to Reformed Theology. It was incredible. It was as if I could see scripture in layers and levels that were hidden to me before. Then I started exploring Eschatology. The first thing I rejected was Dispensational/Premillennialism. I was actually very surprised at the different views. It was as if I had never even seen them before. Here is a list of the four major millennial positions. Continue reading