Tag Archives: end times

The Tribulation and Intercessory Prayer

The Tribulation and Intercessory Prayer

The coronavirus has raised questions as to whether this is the beginning of the tribulation, the last seven years before the return of Messiah. I have been asking the Lord what and how to pray about this scenario—seeking His face and the guidance of His Spirit. I felt He told me to look at the book of Revelation as a model for intercession.

As with the prophecies of the old testament prophets, it seems to me it is not the sin of the lost that precipitates God’s judgment, but rather it is the sin of God’s chosen, we believers, that will precipitate His judgment.

Could it be the book of Revelation in its recording of the conditions existing in the seven churches provides a checklist of the spiritual condition of God’s children, we believers, which in the aggregate, if not repented of, will produce the tribulation described in such detail in the succeeding chapters of the book?

Again, as with the prophets, God sets forth the sin of His children, which if not repented of and turned from will produce the litany of judgments which will befall the world in the seven years of tribulation. We are told judgment begins first with the household of God. (1 Peter 4:17). This household I believe is at the crossroad of God’s Kingdom plan. His Kingdom is coming on earth, one way or another. The Gates of Eden will be reopened.

It seems to me the thinking has been that the tribulation comes because of the sin of the unregenerate and that all the believers are generally spared. If that were so, history seems to record much worse times of evil among the unregenerate in the world than at present and tribulation was not triggered. The question is, has the sin of God’s children reached the tipping point? And that possibility, I believe, should be the heartbeat of intercession today.

Let’s then look at the sin which God has seen as being so sufficiently rampant in His believers that He is ready to pull the plug on His efforts to see His creation, His chosen, bring forth His Kingdom on earth, hence the tribulation.

Let me say at this point, I think the use of the term “church” in the translations of the New Testament is unfortunate. The Greek word generally translated as church is “ecclesia” which refers to a collection of individuals. We confuse the definition today with the structure, organization and hierarchy of “church.” To get the full impact of Messiah’s response to each church—He is really speaking to each believer, individually, and collectively in that particular assembly (ecclesia) of believers.

You can read what is written to each “church” on your own, I have generally used the New King James Version as my text.

To Ephesus. The first believers to receive the call to repentance were doing Kingdom work in their soulish strength, but had let idols into their spiritual life which vied for place with their relationship with God. Revelation 2:4-5: “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” God wants relationship. Works apart from relationship are wood, hay, stubble. If my works, even for Kingdom purposes, come out of my strength, my financial ability, my self-reliance—I have raised up idols.

The lampstand is not the building, it is God’s light around which the Ephesians have gathered in community. The angel who has been assigned to this community is, in my opinion, not the pastor. The pastor quite likely is complicit in the sin of this assembly. The angel is a heavenly messenger who has not been heard by those he is shepherding. If the assembly loses its lampstand, its light, the angel quite likely leaves. If the angel leaves, the assembly has lost the covering of God’s appointed spiritual connection to His Spirit. The assembly, at the least, goes deaf in one ear.

History does not clearly reveal what false doctrine the Nicolaitans at Ephesus had embraced (verse 6). I would not be surprised if this isn’t intentional. This would let Nicolaitans be a metaphor for whatever heresy is at any time not being exposed in the assembly, but is being tolerated and harbored.

A caveat here: the correction of the heresy must be directed by the Lord. He is long suffering and warns against harshly judging and calling one “raca.” It is amazing to me that many believers will stoutly proclaim the law no longer applies, yet are often quick and ruthless in arbitrarily applying it against a fellow believer. Unless we connect with our personal, human spirit to God’s Spirit for guidance and direction we will act amiss.

Since the Ephesus assembly is mentioned first, it seems likely this is the most common and most dangerous condition God finds among His people.

To Smyrna. This is a hard set of facts to read and then try to apply a standard of acceptable faith. The description of the conditions at Smyrna reminds me of today’s persecuted church in Asia and Africa, and manifesting in Europe and here in the United States. Though the believers in Smyrna were a minority and in economic poverty, and persecuted by the majority of unbelievers around them, the Smyrna believers are told to keep faithful, to not despair for they have a hope and a promise—they are rich in faith. Smyrna is the polar opposite of Ephesus in the conditions they find themselves, yet their conditions do not excuse them from God’s standard of conduct, even in the face of an unjust death. How did the devil gain the right to use the unbelieving majority to persecute these believers? Were their eyes closed by their circumstances so that they did not see their sin? Was part of their sin a failure to respond to the early signs of persecution? Where has this sin resulted in the conditions in the political climate of today’s ecclesia?

If you agree with me that Messiah used the cumulative spiritual condition of the seven churches to form the agenda in His call for the repentance by His chosen, what then? Then, if faithfully responded to, the seven years of tribulation could, I believe, be forestalled. There will be tribulation in the process, but not the seven years of tribulation of Revelation. The suffering saints at Smyrna must examine their hearts and souls. This thought all the more challenges me to soberly open up to Holy Spirit inspection and helps define an intercessory agenda.

In the end, Smyrna receives a comforting, encouraging word from Messiah as to the final reward for faithfulness when all of the odds of this world seem against you: “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” I believe that faithfulness calls for self examination and repentance. This too, must be Spirit led. Our hearts are deceitfully wicked (Jer 17:9) and trusting in the arm of the flesh is not easy to discern—those works look really good.

Turning to the Pergamos ecclesia, Messiah says it has shown exemplary faithfulness, but they were now harboring those preaching an ungodly, perverted doctrine which would eventually affect the entire body. Think of the sexual deviation so prevalent today. To what extent does that unscriptural condition receive harbor by believers? How is it we have let political decisions be made so that portions of God’s word have become “hate speech?”

To further support my premise of the convicting message of the prophecy of Revelation, I quote chapter 2:16–”Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.”

To Thyatira. Another body of believers who are doing many good works. But, as with Ephesus and Pergamos, are charged with harboring, giving cover to and failing to correct, either an actual woman or more probably a satanic spirit that is loose among the believers. Messiah even promises tribulation as the consequence of unrepented, sinful behavior. Yeshua tells us that it is He who searches the minds (thoughts) and hearts (spirit self)—we cannot hide behind our words.

Harboring, I suspect, is the deceptive sin of the ecclesia that must be discerned, repented of and turned from. Those in sin are called out of their sin. Those not in sin, but failing to deal with the sin in their midst are told to overcome, to get the victory, take some action. If they do, they are qualifying themselves for greater rule in the millennium. As well as pulling their brothers and sisters back into a saving relationship with Messiah.

To Sardis. The NKJV headnotes say, “The dead church.” I would say potentially dead. It seems the ecclesia in Sardis have become preoccupied with things other than God’s Kingdom. There are two words, one in verse two, the other in verse three which let me draw this conclusion: perfect and watch. “Perfect” in the Greek is not perfect, as without fault, but more falling below potential, below the potential of the gifting of the believers. “Watch” in verse three better translates to the idea of being vigilant, keeping awake.

The Sardinians then, were, in my opinion, like much of today’s ecclesia—too involved in the secular and falling far below their spiritually equipped potential in the things of God. They are failing in their vigilance to protect the religious heritage which the founders of the United States sought so diligently to establish—maybe, today’s ecclesia is not dead, but certainly dying.

To Philadelphia. Works open doors. But works are not of our decision, of our design as apparently were those of the Sardinians. Our works must be His, Spirit directed through our individual spirit, as apparently were the works of the Philadelphia ecclesia.

We are told we are not in a works relationship with Yeshua and our salvation, yet to this ecclesia Messiah recognizes their spirit-led works and rewards them with an open door to intimacy with Himself, plus an exemption from “the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”

The intimacy with Messiah involves His personal involvement in our eternal life—favor in the Kingdom, a name change as Abraham and Jacob received, emphasized identification with Father in the heavenly Jerusalem.

The reward for faithful, Spirit-led work in bringing forth the Kingdom should consume each believer in the time allotted in this earthly life.

To Laodicea. Shock and awe: “I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
Complacency and self satisfaction reign in this ecclesia—self is the idol which so repulses Messiah. Is this not the ultimate deception of harboring? I’m sure the Laodiceans in their works were scrupulous to keep the law—with great self righteousness, probably tithing mint and cumin as well. (Matt 23:23)

Messiah really seems to have a heart and a hope for this ecclesia. He is calling on them to repent and upon their repentance He offers the promise of the intimacy of dining together. He even offers to invite them to share His throne next to Father’s throne. But He is not forcing them—He stands at the door ready to enter when they repent—opening the door.

It is the idolatry of their possessions, their self sufficiency that Yeshua is trying to shake loose—be zealous and repent. Don’t think only of yourself, the goal is bringing forth the Kingdom. Zealous has the idea of becoming enthusiastic, getting excited, grabbing the opportunity—Messiah wants them to break out of their complacency. It seems to me it is the same today, especially in the United States,
I believe the word to the seven ecclesia and to every believer today is summed up by Messiah seven times—“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” The promise for those who hear and do is summed up in Rev 2:11–”He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” (Rev 20:14)

That the seven ecclesia did in fact hear, repent and turn from their sin is demonstrated by history—the foretold tribulation did not occur. We can safely assume there has been a hearing and obeying over the intervening nearly two millennia that has been sufficient to forestall tribulation. The question is will the hearing and obeying prevail today? Hence, the work and goal of today’s intercessor.

A study of the seven ecclesia and a resulting Spirit-led self examination and repentance will equip us for the intercessory role required to turn back the seemingly overwhelming tide of the enemy. We must each become God’s gap filler. (Ez 22:30)

If the tribulation comes, we, as believers, have failed God in the bringing forth of His Kingdom. We are not called to prepare for tribulation, but to be holy as He is holy and actively engage in the role He has given each of us in the bringing forth of His Kingdom on earth. Ironically, this is the best way to prepare, personally, for tribulation. Repentance and intercession are integral parts of our role and identity as believers. Should this pandemic be the beginning of sorrows, there is no better preparation than self-examination, repentance and intercession.
KB 4/28/20

Celebrating the Future–Yom Teruah–Feast of Trumpets

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Celebrating the Future
Yom Teruah—the Feast of Trumpets

Today, September 20, 2017, at sundown, begins the lunar month of Tishri. Scripture, in Leviticus 23:23 and in Numbers 29 commands a day of rest, a Sabbath. This pause in our otherwise daily routine is for Yahweh’s children to remember and consider the momentous sounding of the shofar (trumpet) at Mt Sinai. It occurred during the early months after Israel’s departure from slavery’s bondage in Egypt. It was this intense sounding (teruah) of the shofar that announced God’s appearance before the gathered Israelites (native born and stranger). A blast of preparation for the unparalleled giving of the Ten Commandments and the Law (Torah). An event signaling the creation of a nation—a nation which was to be a light to the world. 

With the coming of Messiah, the Living Word, the Light of the World, the observance of Yom Teruah now celebrates our anticipation of Messiah’s return.  The sound of the trumpet (shofar) announces the descending of Messiah and the ascending of the saints, living and dead, to meet Him in the clouds and to usher Him into the coming of His Kingdom on earth. At this time Yeshua will bring forth the Torah from Zion. The nations of the earth will, for a thousand years, acknowledge the government of God. The saints will rule and reign in glorified bodies. 

Join me in joyous celebration, rest and prayerful anticipation of the coming trumpet call. Sound the shofar with enthusiasm—listening for that glorious response from heaven. 

A Psalm from a Chosen One

A Psalm from a Chosen One
Prompted by Exodus 12, Deuteronomy 7:6 and Jeremiah 3:18

Of the second exodus many have spoken
The last travail of those You have chosen.
A repeat, it has been said,
Of the flight begun with unleavened bread.

Forever marked by annual remembrance
Of blood placed on the door’s circumference.
Not just any blood would do
It must be that of a lamb most true.

Your tenth, sovereign move, dear Father
Was a foretelling of Messiah’s ardor.
Yourself come in mortal flesh
Gave me life renewed, made fresh.

And so, I joined those blood bought ranks
Chosen forever−my eternal thanks.
But that journey of which first I spoke
Experiencing prophesied scenes of fire and smoke.

If I should be among the chosen train
To walk the path to millennial reign−
Then let me not into unbelief tumble;
Let me not along the way stumble.

Those bones of Your chosen, Egypt fleeing
Lie short of the Promised Land seeing.
Yahweh, please let me the lesson learn−
Your commandments and Torah to never spurn.

Kennedy Brown
Sabbath, January 16, 2016

Certainly parshat Bo (Ex 10:1-13:6) was the foundation for much of this psalm. However, the whole of Yahweh’s plan, from Creation to Completion, had to be touched upon to express my prayer and praise. I continue to be cautioned by the fact the generation leaving Egypt did not enter the prom-ised land. Then there is the question of the second or greater exodus which I am less able to scripturally confirm. To remain faithful to the entire word of Yahweh, I’m convinced, will equip me to face the twists and turns of the journey, whether I correctly discern them now or not. This, of course, is possible only because of my Blood bought relationship with Father pur-chased for me by Yeshua.

An Interesting Look Back

An Interesting Look Back

A quote from my blog post of 10/22/15:
“A mitigating factor in the seeming inevitability of the Islamic threat is embedded within Islam itself: the Suni-Shite conflict. This is an older hatred by far in the world of Islam than that toward the US. I think they will have to duke it out before there can be a unified Islamic effort against the US. Not to say there won’t be random terrorist attacks, but to sustain an attack and occupy the US would take tens of thousands of organized, disciplined troops.”

Today, January 3, 2016, I read a CNN headline:
“Saudi Arabia severs ties with Iran as Mideast protests rage”
The Suni-Shite conflict may totally change the dynamic of the Islamic threat. Saudi Arabia’s execution of 47 Shite, including a prominent cleric, certainly sent a challenge to ISIS and the Shite majority countries.

I am also reminded of Joel Richardson’s book “Mideast Beast” and his understanding of the anti-Christ and the nations which would arise against Israel.

My blog post in entitled “Obama is a Muslim.” That’s not my conclusion, but a discussion of the current hate speak which alarms me:

Obama is a Muslim

Obama is a Muslim

Obama is a Muslim
I read a blog post recently stating all the “facts” that point to President Obama being a Muslim; his “Islamification” of his staff and the belief in Islam of others in sensitive positions in the government. I don’t know what shocks me more–the post and its allegations, if true, or all of the radical, hate-filled responses against Obama and all who would proclaim Islam! The question may well be which radicals are the biggest threat to the spiritual security of the US.

The US may be in danger from the manifestation of the Islamic rhetoric, but the crucible of such action is centered in Israel and its surrounding Islamic neighbors. True, the US is called by Muslims the “big Satan” but Israel, “little Satan,” is the first focus of Muslim wrath. The US may be in line for Islamic venting, but the parade starts with Israel.

A possible scenario, however, could involve the US as an initial, diversionary target. We would be so distracted by such an assault, there would be a leadership paralysis in making a response to a contemporaneous, unified Islamic action against Israel.

A mitigating factor in the seeming inevitability of the Islamic threat is embedded within Islam itself: the Suni-Shite conflict. This is an older hatred by far in the world of Islam than that toward the US. I think they will have to duke it out before there can be a unified Islamic effort against the US. Not to say there won’t be random terrorist attacks, but to sustain an attack and occupy the US would take tens of thousands of organized, disciplined troops.

But all that is to say the original concern I expressed was about the radical, hate-filled responses to the post. These diatribes were against the president and any who professed Islam. Regardless of the threat scenarios, will hate save our nation? I do not think so. In all the history of the world hate has never won. What would the opposite of hate be? Is it possible there is a constructive love approach,? What would it look like?

I am not suggesting the idolatrous, perfidy of Islam be disregarded. Yeshua did not excuse the Babylonian and Greek pagans whose philosophies had pushed God’s people and especially their leaders from the perfect path of Torah. Neither did Yeshua demonstrate outrage at the Roman occupiers of Israel with their false religion and the associated deities. No, he did not rail against them, but he earnestly and ardently sought out those of the household of God to change; that they not be occupied with the cares of this world, its blasphemies and idolatries. He sought to define a love that exceeded personal wellbeing—a sacrificial love.

Yeshua, the Living Word, taught Torah, convicting all who would listen on how far short they had fallen. For the moment forget about some of the seeming minutiae of Torah and concentrate on just two of the directions (commands) Yeshua taught were of utmost importance: love the Lord with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. If you love God with all your heart how can you hate the individual He loves? Does the Word not say He would that ALL might be saved? And, that He so LOVED the world that He gave…?

This is where I am right now–but open to amendment. For what course of action does a love agenda call? First, the preparatory call would seem to be for one of personal sanctification. How can I love if I have hatred within me? How narrowly is hatred defined? Is it not even the closing of my heart to a person? For if I close my heart to someone, I am closing it to God. Then (and this introspection is not a one time event) I can offer intercessory prayer for fellow believers (where the Word tells us judgment will begin) and finally intercession for the nations—the people and their leaders (regardless of their pagan identification). There is a power in love I can’t even imagine. Has the world even seen a release of that power? The fuse was lit by Yeshua and His ultimate identification on the cross with love, but the explosion has not yet occurred—must we wait for the millennium?

Is Obama a Muslim? Was Nebuchadnezzar a Babylonian? The heart of the king is in the Lord’s hands, so our basic trust must be in God, not in “kings.” God works in mysterious ways, but His ways work. And His way is love.