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Subtitle: "...Can Ye Not Discern The Signs Of The Times?" (Matthew 16:3b)
In the Old Testament God had many harsh things to say to Israel's spiritual leadership, because the priesthood degenerated into mere liturgical form and contained precious little of substance. Most of the prophets were not sent from God and what they had to say was that which the people wanted to hear. The very men whose responsibility was to represent Israel before God and speak "thus sayeth the Lord" to Israel failed to recognize their primary duty was to shepherd the sheep--not immerse themselves in ritual and seek personal gain. And although these men spent their entire lives governed by God's Law, very few actually understood His Word and obeyed it from the heart.
"The priests said not, Where is the Lord? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit" Jeremiah 2:8 (KJV).
"For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the Lord: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered" Jeremiah 10:21 (KJV).
"Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness" Jeremiah 12:10 (KJV)
"Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.  Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord" Jeremiah 23:1-2 (KJV).
Of course the words "shepherd" and "pastor" are interchangeable and refer to those whom God places in positions of spiritual leadership. And in one of the most glaring examples of spiritual blindness ever recorded in the annals of history, these men--as a group--totally failed to recognize the coming of their long-awaited Messiah. How could they have been so blind? God had already provided them with a timetable for the Messiah's arrival through the prophet Daniel, so they were without excuse!
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.  Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.  And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.  And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate" Daniel 9:24-27 (KJV, emphasis mine).
Modern scholars have determined that the command by King Artaxerxes to restore and build Jerusalem occurred in 445 B.C. So 69 "weeks of years" or 483 years later, the Messiah of Israel would be on the scene! The British scholar and Bible student, Sir Robert Anderson, calculated that from March 14, 445 B.C. until April 6, A.D. 32 was exactly 483 years of 360 days each (a lunar, or prophetic year) and precisely the date upon which Jesus Christ presented Himself to Israel as their Messiah. He did this by riding a donkey in His triumphal entry into Jerusalem--something the prophet Zechariah said the Messiah would do (Zech.9:9).
So by using just a little common sense and logic, the learned leaders of Israel should have been able to predict the general time frame of Messiah's arrival. But they had became so preoccupied with politics and self-promotion that when the Savior did arrive, only some lowly shepherds (in the literal sense of the term) and a group of pagan star-gazers (the "wise men" or Magi of Babylon) were the only humans aware of it. Almighty God became a man with the intent to redeem His fallen creatures and yet His own received Him not! (John 1:11). The most stupendous event in all of human history took place in a lowly stable in Bethlehem of Judea and all those who should have been eagerly anticipating it were home asleep--blissfully ignorant.
And, unfortunately, we find ourselves in a similar predicament today. The "can't see the forest for the trees" mentality among many pastors continues unabated from the days of the Lord's first advent, when He made the following comments:
"The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.  He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.  And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" Matthew 16:1-3 (KJV, emphasis mine).
Jesus Christ was systematically and miraculously fulfilling the requirements of Messianic prophecy before their very eyes, but they refused to acknowledge the truth! His credentials were impeccable and every aspect of His life and ministry beyond reproach, yet for all that they would not accept Him. Why? Was the rejection due solely to ignorance on their part? Surely not, because many of the illiterate common folk recognized their Messiah, so it just makes sense that their rulers did as well! Those men were not dumb--they were the intellectual elite of their society and knew the Scriptures forwards, backwards, and sideways. Most of them were able to quote great portions of it from memory, so ignorance of factual information was not the problem. The hardness of their hearts and spiritual blindness--the inability to comprehend and apply Scriptural facts to a spiritual walk with God--led them to make the calculated choice of personal prestige and wealth over what they obviously perceived to be a "lost cause." We find that sentiment expressed in the following verse:
"If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. John 11:48 (KJV, emphasis mine).
Yes, those rotten scoundrels recognized the Messiah, but felt He and His followers could not overthrow the Roman rule. So they opted to retain the status quo in which they were the big fish. They willfully and knowingly betrayed Jesus Christ--their Messiah--in order to stay on top and quite literally "broke every law in the book" doing it. And through that dispicable act, the Pastors of Israel ultimately sacrificed their flock by failing to comprehend the full spiritual significance of the Messiah--that He was in fact, "Immanuel"--God with us!
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" Isaiah 7:14 (KJV).
And moving on from that thought, we return to the present. History repeats itself and once again many of God's scattered sheep are being led by "blind guides" (Matt.23:24)--Pastors who refuse to recognize the signs of the times and continue pulling down barns in order to build bigger ones (Luke 12:18). Church growth and the prestige among peers that is perceived to accompany such is pandemic among evangelicals today. Emphasis upon plans and programs specifically designed to spur growth occupy their minds and little else seems to matter. Filling the pews by resorting to tactics that are little more than entertainment and soliticing large offerings to fund multi-million dollar houses of worship/"Family Life Centers" keep not just one, but in most cases a whole staff of pastors as busy as a nest of ants. But obsessive pragmatism masks an ugly fact that the majority of their "converts" may, in fact, be unconverted. Somewhere along the line the horse wound up pushing the cart rather than pulling it and Satan has been only too happy to cooperate by placing hordes of his tares among a few stalks of wheat. And I am convinced many pastors understand this to be true of their own ministry. But like the pastors of Israel, they are very content to retain the status quo. They recognize that to rock the boat would mean the loss of their power, prestige, and pension--so business as usual must continue!
To these men it apparently matters little that the signs of the times are once again proclaiming a momentous event is imminent--"even at the doors" (Matt.24:33). Oh, they occasionally mention Jesus Christ is coming for His Church and recommend the "Left Behind" series of books, etc., but they have instilled in the minds of their congregations a concept that is, in all probability, not true--the premise that the Lord's coming will be timed to spare all believers from suffering intense persecution and even death. The assumption being that all of it will be inflicted during the Tribulation Period, but not before.However, the Church was persecuted from its very inception and is becoming increasingly apparent that it will likely exit this earth in the same manner. God's children around the world are facing increased animosity from a hostile public and this will only worsen as evil continues to gain ground.
And of particular concern to those of us at Cutting Edge is the profound disinterest most pastors exhibit today when confronted with information of an occult nature. With precious few exceptions, their understanding is minimal and they would just as soon keep it that way! Their attitude is that of the old maxim, "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil." In other words, "don't trouble trouble and trouble wont trouble you!" Telling them a Satanic conspiracy is behind current events is to invite thinly-veiled ridicule. Yet the Bible is very clear that this will be the case during the last days. So why are they so reluctant to admit the obvious?
The conclusion is unavoidable--many
of them are rank apostates and merely playing their part in lulling as many
unsuspecting believers as they possibly can into complacency and eventual disaster.
Some of the others are genuine, but pay attention to the academic credentials
and "successful ministry tactics" of the apostates--and wind up adhering to
cleverly designed principles and percepts calculated to deceive. Satan just
loves plans and programs and all kinds of activities that keep people feeling
"good about themselves" and busy. "Religion" is his stock and trade and the
more fleshly emotion he can stir up in the process, the better he likes it.
So believers, you had best be on guard!
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order—Kingdom of Antichrist—in their daily news.
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