The Crash of 2008 part three

I have described in the two earlier posts on this topic that we are living in historic time as we undergo what could be one of the most dramatic crashes of history. Crashes aren’t new, but that doesn’t make them easy to endure.

I have also pointed out that human greed, Mammon worship, sin and the actions of high power players will bring problems to our lives and nations. God has His way, despite the activities of men. And that is what brings us to this posting. Here I want to discuss what God is doing.

What is God Doing?

Since God has claim upon our lives and the right to direct and interfere with the affairs of human existence it is to be expected that He will step in and deal with nations as He has done in the past.

The global flood of Noah’s day and the destruction of the lush and sought after region of Sodom and Gomorrah are two of the more striking examples of God dealing with mankind on a large scale. Add to that the total destruction of various nations, such as Moab or prosperous cities, such a Nineveh and Babylon, and you get the idea that God has a track record of dealing with mankind.

Prophetic Messages

There have been prophetic messages which have been passed around. Some well known and many unknown people have sensed that God is at work and has a plan in all that is going on.

Various prophecies indicate that God knew all about this financial upheaval before it happened and that He is willing to care for and protect His people in through it.

Sharon Stone Prophecy of Mid 2008

I cannot vouch for the quality of some information passed to me. I pass on the prophecy from Sharon Stone because it seems to come with solid endorsement.

Dr. Sharon Stone gave a prophecy in Glasgow, Scotland in the summer of 2008. In it she said, “September is a turning point and a sign of the times. A USA world bank’s shares are in trouble.” Note that Lehman Brothers filed bankruptcy, September 15, 2008. “I see government in the USA bailing out mortgage giants.” There was a Federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, September 7, 2008.

“I see a European airline failing with no notice.” British owned XL Airlines filed bankruptcy, September 12, 2008.

“I see the eyes of the world looking to see, ‘Who is this coming out of Alaska?’” Sarah Palin was announced as McCain’s running mate, August 29, 2008, and she had centre stage during September 2008.

“And I see smoke coming from the Chunnel.” (the tunnel under the English Channel) Fire in a freight train started on September 11, 2008.

So far so good. After an impressive start like that one tends to pay attention. She goes on, “As I see these things, I hear the encouragement of God to His Isaacs in the earth who sow in the times of famine and reap 100 fold in the year. September will convince you that you must connect to His economic system.”

“Your storehouse is not an earthly bank. Hold on and I will bail you out of your mortgage issues. Am I not better to you than any government? I will not leave you stranded on foreign soil, and I will carry you above the circumstances better than any plane or jet. And your hope is not an Alaskan saviour, but Me.”

Cindy Jacobs

Cindy Jacobs is relied upon as someone who hears from God. She had her own sense of financial issues needing to be dealt with. She explains, “During a January (2008) worship service, the Lord spoke to me, ‘Cindy, the strongman over America doesn’t live in Washington D.C.—the strongman lives in New York City! Call together my people to pray for the economy.’

This emphasis on New York points to Wall Street as having more authority in the nation than the elected governments.

Australian Perspective

I have spoken to several people who have received dreams or impressions about what is happening. Two different people have now told me of seeing dreams of a terrible storm or whirlwind devastating Australia while they were perfectly safe in the eye of the storm.

Back in August 2007 I was told of a prophetic word that “A Storm is Coming”. Since then I have heard of multiple extensions on that theme.

What is important in the things being heard by Australians is the emphasis being put on God’s jealousy for the nation and His wish that Australia would acknowledge Him. It seems that God is allowing devastation to humble the Australians who are living as if they can make their own rules.

The warnings go to the effect that if the leaders and people of Australia try to find a solution that ignores God then God will hit them with yet another wave, overturning the plans. If they continue to resist Him then He will continue to humble the nation until there is nothing left.

What to Do

I have some suggestions about what people can do to brace themselves for what might be a protracted and difficult season. There is plenty of hope for God’s people, so I am not recommending dire steps. In the next and probably final post on this topic I’ll pass on my recommendations to you.

Politics in the Bible

Expanding a point made in a recent post about God’s Supremacy [The Supreme God] I want to celebrate with you the place of God in politics, by showing you politics in the Bible.

God as the Ultimate Political Figure

Reading through Isaiah recently I was struck by the familiar words of Isaiah 66:1.

“Thus says the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that you build to me? And where is the place of my rest?”

I was reminded of Isaiah’s vision, described in Isaiah 6:1.

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting on a throne high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple.”

There is no more powerful political symbol than the throne. While some modern monarchs are reduced to a mere formal role in their society, the throne still bears the age-old significance of ultimate authority.

Of Thrones

The fact that God is seated on a throne immediately speaks of his political authority. Thrones are the places from which the rulers speak. It is their place of power over all in their dominion.

Yet thrones do not always prevail. That is to say that one kingdom will be overthrown by another and the old throne of authority will be displaced. This has been the process of history. Kingdoms come and go and kings reign for a season before being replaced by an alternative kingdom.

God’s Enduring Throne

The Bible tells us that God is on a throne. That throne is special in several ways. It is ‘supreme’ in several ways.

Firstly God’s throne is in heaven. His is not an earthly throne that draws its scope from earthly territory. God’s throne is in heaven, so its scope spreads from there. Earthly geography is just a small portion of the realm over which His throne presides.

Secondly, God’s throne is an eternal throne. It is not vulnerable nor will it ever be replaced by some competitor, or superior force from another land.

“Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of your kingdom is a right sceptre.” Psalm 45:6

Historical Evidence

God’s primacy as the supreme political force in human history should be evident in human history. If it cannot be seen in practice then its reality becomes irrelevant.

Do we see God interfering with human political process? Do we see God exercising His personal political authority over the political affairs of men?

The short answer is ‘Yes’. So let me summarise some of the historical evidences.

Confrontation of Rulers

We see that God’s people were able to confront kings and act completely independently of the prevailing political landscape. God’s people were able to defy kings and rulers, without resorting to violence and without recourse from those they confronted.

Consider the examples of Moses challenging Egypt’s Pharaoh and of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego defying Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar.

Pre-emptive Prophetic Announcement

To prove God’s hand in the political affairs of men we have several examples of God pre-emptively announcing what would happen politically in the future.

God told Abraham about the defeat of Egypt half a millennium before it happened. Daniel prophesied of Alexander the Great and his achievements before they occurred.

God gave Nebuchadnezzar a summary of world kingdoms and their relative significance spanning many centuries into the future.

The prophets warned Israel and Judah of their captivities long before the various invasions and conquests took place.

Present Day Evidences

Current evidence of God being still on the throne and supreme over the events of human politics includes the existence of the nation of Israel. Prophecies of this restoration, against all the odds of human history, were made in Bible times, dating back almost 2,000 years.

The existence of the political entity of Israel is clear evidence that God’s place over the affairs of nations persists to this day.

Another evidence is the persistent ability of righteousness to prevail. If God was not involved in the political affairs of present-day human experience then the opportunity for evil to prevail would be enormous. Yet we see that righteousness still prevails. Evil processes, regimes and purposes, while able to emerge for a season, are brought down and replaced by that which is more reasonable and blessed.

Good Men of Good Intent Still Prevail

Despite the enormous economic and political influence of those who wish to exploit, control and abuse others, men and women of good intent continue to prevail. People with nothing on their side but principle, faith and character have been able to topple regimes, change laws, liberate people and change culture.

This is evidence of God’s sovereignty. God promises His people that if they will do such inane acts (in apparent practical terms) as repent and pray, they will have power and influence over the affairs of life. These otherwise insignificant men and women can achieve much, and they still do today.

God is Still on the Throne

God is the Lord of all the earth. His throne is in heaven and His eyes are on the earth. Any one individual who will be God’s agent in any situation or culture can prevail against all the forces known to man.

No political power, economic contract or military infrastructure can overthrow God, nor can it frustrate the man or woman who is acting in God’s supreme authority in the affairs of mankind on the earth.

Giralamo Savonarola Impacts Florence and is Martyred

This is the day that … Giralamo Savonarola was born to a noble family in Florence, Italy, in 1452.

At the age of 21, he left home secretly to join a Dominican monastery.

He was thirty when he preached his first sermons in St Marcos, Florence, resulting in ridicule and shame. “The disappointed thousands went away murmuring at the incompetence” of the preacher (Savonarola, by Rev. W. Rule, 1855, page 22).

For the next six years he retreated from the pulpit to master the art of preaching … and to study the Scriptures. His zeal was noted and he was recalled to Florence.

When he stood again in St Marcos, it was like a newborn John the Baptist, thundering out the Word of the Lord and calling sinners to repentance. “Tears ran profusely, mourners beat upon their breasts, crying to God for mercy; the church echoed and re-echoed with their sobs” (Prophets in Evangelism¸ by F. Barlow, page 159).

And among those whose sins he lashed was the infamous Medici – Lorenzo the Magnificent, Prince of Florence! Humanist notions had been promoted under Lorenzo. And even the Pope “who, though claiming to be head of the Church, was living openly in sin” came in for a powerful rebuke from this Italian ‘prophet’ (Yarns on Christian Pioneers, by E. Hayes, page 15).

Pope Alexander VI – one of the Borgia family – was denounced as “a heretic and an infidel”. Bear in mind that Savonarola was himself a Roman Catholic. But corruption and sin were rampant … and Savonarola attacked both clergy and civic leaders.

In 1493 Savonarola was given charge, as the first vicar-general, to reform the Dominican order in Tuscany, which he had proposed.

His great bonfire in the city plaza – 7 February, 1497 – saw the destruction of “lewd books, obscene pictures, carnival costumes, playing cards, dice, false hair, books on astrology and witchcraft – indeed anything that reeked of sinful living”.

The Venetian Ambassador offered him 20,000 gold ducats for his pile of ‘vanities’ heaped so high in a tiered pyramid. But Savonarola burned the lot!

The death of Lorenzo, and the invasion of France (destruction of the city averted by Savonarola’s face-to-face encounter with the French king), led to this remarkable preacher being the uncrowned ruler of Florence.

The republic of Florence was to be a Christian commonwealth, of which God was the sole sovereign, and His Gospel the law: the most stringent enactments were made for the repression of vice and frivolity. Gambling was prohibited and the vanities of dress were restrained by sumptuary laws.

It became a stronghold of puritanism … though not in doctrine!

By 1490 the tide of popular opinion was turning against him. Pope Alexander VI ex-communicated him (13 May, 1497). He was accused of heresy. He ignored the orders and continued in public office, but the next year the Medici were returned to power and Savonarola was ordered to stop preaching.

He was brought to trial for falsely claiming to have seen visions, and uttered prophecies, for religious error, and for sedition. Under torture he made avowals which he afterwards withdrew. He was declared guilty and the sentence was confirmed by Rome. On May 23, 1498, this extraordinary man and two Dominican disciples were hanged and burned.

A biographer records an interesting incident as Savonarola was led through the crowd to the place of his martyrdom. Some “broke through the police lines and slashed at his bare legs and feet with their knives and daggers …” But a poor old woman offered him a crust of bread. “Take and eat, Blessed Father Girolamo,” she said. He smiled, “Thank you, my daughter, but I need no food now. I have so little way to go. In a moment I will be in the mansions on high having sup with my Lord and Saviour” (A Crown of Fire, by P. van Paassen, page 313).

So it was, on 23 May, 1498, at the age of 46, he was hung and burned in the Plaza. During these final hours, the Catholic Bishop had said: “I declare thee separated from the church militant and triumphant.” To which Savonarola replied: “From the church militant, yes; but from the church triumphant, no; that is not yours to do!”

Luther spoke of Savonarola as “a pioneer of the Reformation” and another writer adds that this Dominican priest “seems to have believed in justification by faith” (Who’s Who in Christian History, page 608).

This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.

Catching the Slow Train

Do you complain about the journey at times? Do things take too long or trap you in the slow lane? Does it seem much harder to make the progress you are hoping for? Then consider this prophetically inspired fictional allegory….

You are waiting on the platform for an express train to get you quickly to your destination. Then an announcement informs that the express train has been cancelled and alternative arrangements need to be made. To your disappointment there are no good connections and so you set off on the slow train to get as far as you can.

Changing Course

To get you through the long hours of grinding progress you read a magazine someone has left behind. An article piques your interest and you devour it with delight.

Since the slow train only goes so far, you find yourself waiting on a lonely platform for the mail train. You buy a coffee and find an old man to chat with. He fills you in on some of the local history, which doesn’t interest you. He extols the virtue of the local produce which is made into a special dish at a fancy restaurant in the big city. Once he has spelled the exotic name it sticks in your head, despite your attempts to think of something else. Thankfully the mail train finally arrives and you chug off into the darkness.

You wake from a doze to hear a mother arguing with her child. She appeals to you for assistance and you get drawn into her unhappy encounter. When you do help her quiet her child she thanks you by giving you a ticket to a theatre show where her brother has a lead role, in the city you are heading to.

Then, in the early morning you have to change trains yet again.

Strange People

While waiting for the next connection you are approached by a talkative salesman whose voice keeps you awake with its grating tone. He extols the wonders of various products he has sold over the years and outlines the various failings each one has. You manage to get away from him by going to the bathroom.

The annoying fellow has found someone else to talk with and you end up in a quiet chat with a young lady who tells you about the university course she is about to start. You nod off for a few minutes and are relieved to hear your train approaching.

Last Leg

You try to catch some sleep on the last connection, while you fight off feelings of resentment toward the rail system. Your express train would have deposited you quickly and effortlessly to your destination. You have now had to endure an ordeal that takes you back to your days as a poor student. That memory prompts you to look out for the young lady who is going off to university. You find her and pass her a small amount of money, which you are sure she could do with.

As you approach the final station a chap informs you of the big fire incident overnight, filling you in with details which he claims are true, since his brother knows a security guard at the premises.

At the Destination

Your trip has been a disaster. You missed the good night’s rest you needed and all your plans were taken out of your hands, which makes you feel uncomfortable. You would have arranged a much more satisfying set of circumstances.

When you arrive for the scheduled business meeting several things come together, much to your surprise. You are asked to give a short presentation, and you use the insights you gained from the magazine article. Someone laments that there are so few sales opportunities for his particular product range and you suggest that he target people who are using a particular installation which you know to be faulty, thanks to the talkative salesman. You also suggest that he follow up with the management of the building which burned overnight, since their installation was destroyed in the fire and they have to be fully operational asap, no matter the cost. You even suggest a name that he should contact.

Your contributions attract the interest of businessman from out of town who suggests he would like to talk over some things in a social setting. You suggest the peculiar name of a unique dish that he could sample with you and offer to take him to a show where he can go backstage to meet one of the lead actors.

As you and several others step out of the building, several hours later, the young university student sees you and hurries over to thank you for your kind generosity. This leaves a powerful impression with the others, that you are a person of good character and compassion.

Moral of the Story

We choose the path of least resistance and most comfort for ourselves. We like convenience and speedy progress. Yet God sees the big picture and He may well derail our plans, sending off on what seem like useless detours. Yet God is actually taking us on a course of His making, where we can harvest many rich blessings we would otherwise never know.

It might be a good idea to trust Him and commit your way to Him, rather than force your own plans.

Inspiration

I crafted this story from an idea passed to me by my son in Germany…. “There was a prophecy in church last Sunday that was a picture of someone taking a train from A to B. They were expecting an express train that would take them directly and comfortably to their destination, but instead they found themselves changing from one slow train to another, often with long stops at out-of-the-way railway stations. The prophecy went on to say that the person often felt frustrated and wondered why he had to waste so much time. Along the way, at the various stops and on the various trains, he met different people and encountered situations that would not have come up on the express train. When he finally did reach his destination, all of the events and meetings from the trip proved to have been necessary, and he was only able to fulfil his purpose at the destination because of the encounters during the trip. The conclusion was that we may sometimes wonder about the detour and loss of time, but the truth is that God is taking us by the fastest and most direct route that fulfils all of his requirements. It is not a detour at all, and no time is being wasted.”

Islam’s Lost Foundations

I believe Islam is close to its end as a world religion. I once heard from a man who had been told such a thing in a prophecy and I am personally inclined to believe it. So let me share some thoughts about some things which will contribute to Islam’s demise.

Islam has lost its foundations. Modern Islam attempts to be a complete religion, while ignoring its foundational components. As such this religion will crack and crumble. It is incomplete and unstable unless it rediscovers its foundations.

What are the lost foundations? I’m glad you asked.

Some years ago I developed a character training program for use in schools. The pilot program was quite effective and several schools asked me to implement it for them. One school had a large Moslem contingent in the student body, so I decided to incorporate some Koranic material into the otherwise Christian sources.

I contacted a local Islamic society and explained that what I sought were Koranic quotes which involved the teaching of godly character, so I could use those quotes to support my promotion of good character qualities. After a week or so I was advised that the Koran (Qu’ran) did not teach character.

There was a simple explanation for the absence of character training in the Koran. Since Islam is built on the work of Musa (Moses) and Isa al Masih (Jesus the Messiah), and they both give clear instruction in character and lifestyle, there is no need for Mohammed to repeat the work of those earlier prophets.

I was further told that the Koran is a book of prophecies, not a book of character training, since those things were done already by Musa and Isa.

The three great prophets of Islam are: Musa; Isa; and Mohammed. The three great prophetic writings, therefore, are the Old Testament (Musa’s prophetic work), the Gospels and New Testament (focussed on Isa al Masih) and the Qu’ran (the prophetic works of Mohammed).

Today, however, the most prominent activists for Islam seem to have abandoned the foundations laid by Musa and Isa. They do not promote the holy law and Ten Commandments of Moses. They do not teach the golden rule or love for others which are central to the lifestyle Jesus taught.

Consequently we have a modern Islam that has lost its foundations and is trying to apply the prophecies of Mohammed without the foundations laid by Moses and Jesus. Many Moslems, it seems, only give lip-service to the place of Musa and Isa. If this is so, then they are denying their own religion. When the followers of a religion deny in practice what they preach in theory, then the religion is dead. It is a vain show of a religion, not a living and dynamic force that can bring good into the world, or even to its followers.

When a religion cannot enrich its own followers it ceases to be a religion, and becomes a political system or some other social entity. I believe that such has already happened in many reaches of the Islamic world. Islam is crumbling from its own failure to embrace Musa and Isa. Islam has lost its foundations.

It is now simply a matter of time, and I predict a short time only. The Islamic nations will become embroiled in increased fanaticism, as people try to live out prophetic teaching without the character, faith and love taught by Moses and Christ. Islam’s greatest enemies are its own fanatical followers who will promote nothing more than obsession and political force. Islam will again try to force conversion at the end of the sword, only it will be holding the sword to the throat of its own people.

Yet Isa al Masih is the Messiah for all people, including the Moslems. He is ready to pour out wonderful grace on the followers of Islam. Moslems will make the most devoted and effective followers of Jesus Christ and they will be mightily used to prepare the world for the return of our saviour.

Millions of Moslems will come to know and love Almighty God with such depth of relationship that they will shame western believers. Millions of fellow Moslems will become the world’s most effective evangelists, even winning the Jews to faith in Christ in amazing numbers. And Millions of fellow Moslems will be so powerfully filled with the Holy Spirit that they will bring to life again things not seen since the life of Christ and the book of Acts.

Islam is about to crumble, yet Moslems are about to enjoy the most wonderful days they could ever imagine. Join me in prayer to hasten this great grace upon the followers of Mohammed.