Light for the Last Days

Signs of the Times – January 2020

Moral issues and Britain’s election.

Most of the debate in Britain’s election surrounded Brexit, economics, the NHS and welfare issues.  Christian Concern for our Nation proposed that moral issues relating to Christianity should also be raised.  These are the questions they said we should ask the candidates:

  • Are you aware that Christians have lost their jobs for expressing their faith in the workplace? What steps would you take in response? 
  • How would you protect the freedom of Christian parents to raise their children in line with their faith? 
  • How should government promote lifelong marriage of a man and a woman as the normal basis for family? 
  • Should people be forced to recognise others’ self-defined gender identity in all circumstances? 
  • How do you support the rights of unborn children to live rather than be destroyed through abortion, embryology or IVF? 
  • What role does Christianity have to play in today’s society? 

To back this up they put out a kind of Christian manifesto saying

  • Christians are eager to be good citizens and to be active in serving society. But that means being faithful to Jesus Christ not just in private but in public, including our workplaces and in our community service. We want to be free to live according to biblical belief and behaviour both so that we can honour Jesus and share the good news about Him with others. 
  • God created the family as the bedrock of society and for the good of all. It is a vital context for imparting values and learning relational behaviour.   Family flows from marriage – the life- long, exclusive union of one man and one woman. A society rejects these vital building blocks at its peril.
  • Every human person is created by God and loved by Him. The gift of life is our most precious ‘possession’ and protecting it is a primary role of government.  Therefore we need to protect the rights of the unborn from abortion.
  • Jesus Christ has had a greater and more positive effect on our society than any other person.  Our laws, language and culture, our art and science and the rise of social institutions including welfare, healthcare, education and government, all owe much to the influence of the Christian gospel.

Against this the homosexual pressure group Stonewall also produced its ‘manifesto’ for the election.  Amongst its demands are a requirement for the new parliament to pass a gender identity law, which would remove the requirement for medical tests on those who wish to transition from one sex to another.  In other words, a man or woman would merely have to state that they were changing sex and make a legal statement to this effect, after which others would be required to accept a person born as a man as a woman and a woman as a man.  This would also apply to children who wish to change sex. It means there must be no barrier to a transgender man competing in women’s sports events, using women’s toilets, changing rooms, dormitories, even going to women’s prisons. Accepting this means we must affirm a lie, which goes against the different roles of men and women given by God at creation:

‘So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.’

Genesis 1.27.  

Stonewall also demands the extension of LGBT teaching in schools which should require every school to deliver ‘LGBT-inclusive Relationships and Sex Education and engage with parents.”  

Here are examples of how this is already happening. Elly Barnes runs an organisation called ‘Educate and Celebrate’, which aims to transform schools into ‘LGBTQ-friendly places’. The goal is to make sure LGBTQ ideology is an “every-day occurrence within the school. In which teachers “completely smash heteronormativity.”  This means teaching children against the biblical view of sex and sexuality and giving them the idea that homosexual attraction and relationships are just as normal as natural sexual attraction. Sarah Hopson, a primary school teacher from Warrington, said on a BBC interview in September 2018 that she conditions school children as young as six to accept LGBTQ ideology while they’re young and impressionable, so they will be more likely to put it into practice when they reach sexual maturity and will reject the Christian view of sexuality later on in life. One method Hopson employs is requiring her young pupils to write a gay love letter from one male character to another male character.

Stonewall also wants government to “Take measures to ban the harmful practice of conversion therapy.”  What they call ‘conversion therapy’ can include any kind of counselling or spiritual help to people who wish to be free from same sex attraction and leave the homosexual life style, in other words helping gays to be ex gay. Such counselling is likely to be given by Christians wishing to help people to be free of unwanted same sex attraction and live a life in line with God’s commandments.  

Stonewall lobbied for all candidates to sign a petition to support and extend LGBT rights, in other words, to support its demands and to prevent them from expressing contrary views.  In fact very few political candidates nowadays will campaign positively for the biblical view of marriage or against LGBT indoctrination in schools. All political parties have accepted much of the LGBT agenda, with Labour and Liberal Democrats wanting to go further than the Conservatives in pushing it. 

Labour and the Lib Dems both proposed removing criminal laws relating to abortion, in effect allowing abortion to take place up to birth, as a result of a ‘woman’s right to choose’.  From the biblical point of view life begins at conception and therefore abortion is killing a person, not removing an unwanted foetus. The Bible shows that a baby in the womb is already a person in the sight of God.  In Psalm 139.13 we read:

‘For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.’

Psalm 139.13

 Jeremiah is called as a prophet from the womb (Jeremiah 1.5).  John the Baptist is ‘filled with the Spirit even from his mother’s womb’ (Luke 1.15). As a baby in Elisabeth’s womb he recognised the presence of the Lord Jesus in Mary’s womb:

‘And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.’ 

Luke 1.41. 

Another related issue which is of concern to Christians is the extension of hate crime legislation.  Labour and the Lib Dems want to increase action on this issue. Labour wants to bring the law on LGBT hate crimes into line with hate crimes based on race and faith, by making them aggravated offences”.  Lib Dems want to extend hate crime laws to cover “all forms of hate activity”, including an ‘incitement to hatred’ offence covering transgenderism. Diane Abbot proposed hiring 10,000 extra police to tackle this issue. 

Christians are not in the business of wanting to hate anyone, as we believe the command to love God and ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ (Matthew 22.37-40).  At the same time the Bible clearly teaches that certain life styles, behaviours and belief systems are wrong in the sight of God. We now find that saying that these life styles are wrong can be classed as a hate crime, which has already caused a problem for Christian preachers.  Extending hate crime laws can end up creating a kind of thought police controlling what people are allowed to think and say and taking away our freedom to say that certain behaviours are wrong in the sight of God and to challenge wrong ideas about God and how to relate to Him.

In Finland a Christian MP Paivi Rasanen is under investigation because she criticised the Finnish state church for endorsing a Gay Pride march.  She was accused of hate crime because she quoted Romans 1.24-27, which describes homosexual acts as sinful.  If quoting the Bible becomes a hate crime in the western world we are on the way to persecution of the church and suppression of the truth.  In Britain we have had cases of street preachers cautioned or arrested by the police for making public statements that homosexual practice is sinful in the sight of God.

None of these issues featured in the election campaign, however there was one related issue which did hit the headlines: Anti-Semitism and the Labour Party. Since the takeover of Labour by its Marxist wing under Jeremy Corbyn and Momentum it has become anti-Zionist and tarnished with accusations of anti-Semitism.  Jeremy Corbyn said that one of the first acts of Labour in government would be to recognise the (as yet non-existent) Palestinian state. Labour flew the Palestinian flag at its conference and spent most of one day passing anti-Israel resolutions. Many of its activists call for a Palestinian state in place of Israel, not a Palestinian state alongside Israel, as they chant their slogan ‘from the river (Jordan) to the (Mediterranean) sea Palestine will be free.’  Jewish MPs and supporters of Israel have found themselves on the receiving end of hateful words from far left activists. This situation became so bad that many Jewish people considered leaving the country if Labour won the election. Christians who have a love for Israel and the Jewish people, also find themselves on the hate list of these far-left anti-Zionists.  

Apart from the anti-Semitism question, these moral issues played almost no part in the election campaign.  The victory of the Conservatives with a large majority was greeted with relief and thanksgiving by Brexiteers (and despair by Labour supporters and Remainers).  The Conservative majority makes it certain that the bill to withdraw from the EU will be passed by parliament by January 31st.  The election was also a defeat for the Marxist programme adopted by Labour, which would have bankrupted the country.  Labour would have set us on an anti-Israel path that would have been extremely harmful. Boris Johnson has expressed support for Israel, describing himself as a ‘passionate Zionist’ and Israel as a ‘country I love.’  For an analysis of his position on Israel and the Middle East go to http://www.bicom.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Boris-paper.pdf 

On the moral issues the outlook is not so good.  Boris Johnson is a social liberal, whose family life is marred by immorality and infidelity. He favoured the LGBT agenda during his time as Mayor of London.  A number of the new intake of Conservative MPs are on the side of Stonewall not Christian Concern in the issues raised in this article. The most harmful legislation on moral issues has come in under the Conservatives: homosexual marriage under David Cameron, the extension of the transgender agenda under Theresa May, and the imposition of amoral sex education in schools.  

Many people who voted Conservative are against all of this as are Bible believing Christians and people of other faiths.  We should now ask the new government to reverse the trend of previous governments that have meekly submitted to the LGBT agenda from Stonewall.  In particular we should demand that sex education in schools must not be used to teach children to be homosexual or to want to change the gender God has assigned to them at birth.

Floods and fires around the world.

There has been an increase in extreme weather events around the world.  Floods have followed abnormally heavy rains in England, France, Spain, Italy and Greece. Mega high tides have swamped the historic heart of Venice, submerging almost 85% of the land. Millions have been displaced from their homes and agricultural land flooded in severe flooding in north east Nigeria, Central African Republic and East Africa, where rainfall has been 300% above average. Cyclones have devastated the Philippines, Vietnam and Bangladesh, forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate their homes and affecting millions of acres of crops.  Enormous wildfires have ravaged large portions of northern California, New South Wales and Queensland. Much of Australia is tinder dry after months without any rain. Rivers are drying up and animals and crops are dying.

India’s capital Delhi was blanketed under a hazardous shroud of air pollution as people have struggled to breathe in the toxic smog.  A quarter of the world’s pigs have died in a swine fever epidemic sweeping the world, around 200 million in China alone.  There is a worldwide increase in seismic activity – earthquakes and volcanoes. Americans are fearful that a huge increase in minor earthquakes will set off a major event devastating its west coast.

Many of these phenomena are being linked to climate, change / global warming. Newspapers carried articles referring to a warning from more than 11,000 scientists claiming ‘The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society. We declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.  To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live. There is no time to lose. The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.”

Some dispute this climate alarmism, with one commentator reviewing the claim of 11,000 climate scientists and finding that many of the people named were not experts in this field. Natural News.com claims that there are natural reasons for the extreme weather and that ‘man-made global warming’ is a complete hoax and science lie.’ An article called ‘The Depopulation Agenda’ on Prophecy News Watch site claims globalists are using this issue to create global panic out of fears of coming environmental collapse which will call for global governance in order to protect the earth from a coming environmental apocalypse. 

The Bible does indicate disturbances in the environment at the end of days, including results which line up with some of these events – increase of storms, trees burning, fish dying in the seas, waters polluted and rivers drying up, people dying as a result of extreme heat, plagues and earthquakes in various places.  See Isaiah 24, Matthew 24, Luke 21.25-28, Romans 8.18-22, Revelation 8.7-12, Revelation 16. It also predicts the rise of the antichrist / beast with global government in Revelation 13. All these things coming together mean we are living in the last days before Jesus returns. He will judge the world in righteousness and take up the reins of power over the earth, as He rules for 1000 years, putting right the mess humans have made of the planet He gave us to look after.  See Isaiah 2.1-4, 11-12, 35, Zechariah 14, Revelation 20.

Iran continues to threaten Israel.

Abbas Nilforoushan, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander said “Iran has encircled Israel from all four sides. Nothing will be left of Israel. If Israel makes a strategic mistake, it has to collect bits and pieces of Tel Aviv from the lower depths of the Mediterranean Sea.” Iran has supplied thousands of missiles aimed at Israel to its proxies, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and Shiite militias in Iraq.  It is also continuing to work on its nuclear programme and is believed to have missiles capable of carrying and delivering a nuclear weapon. A NATO report has said that Iran has 110 missile bases and launching sites capable of launching 20,000 missiles per day and targeted at US bases in the Middle East and Israel.

In November Iran’s proxy army in Gaza, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) fired 450  rockets into Israel, after Israel assassinated its commander, Baha Abu al-Ata. Trouble in the south then switched to the north after rockets were launched from an Iranian base near Damascus to northern Israel. Israel countered with its largest ever attack on Iranian positions in Syria, hitting around 20 targets including advanced air defence systems and surface-to-air missiles around Damascus. Israel warned Iran it would attack any of its proxies that launched missiles against them and threatened to retaliate with direct attacks on Iranian territory.  

Russia was drawn into the conflict as it condemned Israel for the attacks, saying it had increased tensions and potential of further conflict around Syria.  An unnamed senior officer from the Israeli Air Force said Israel faced a severe threat to its homeland. He warned that a war against Iran and Hezbollah would see Israel ‘pounded by over a thousand rockets per day, with images that have never been seen in the past’. The Jerusalem Post (December 2nd).

Meanwhile events on the ground are not going well for Iran.  There have been protests in Iraq and Lebanon, both against the governments there and Iran’s involvement. Protesters in both countries called on Iran to get out of their countries and stop intervening in their internal affairs. Iranian forces have helped the government in Iraq to put down the protests with great brutality and loss of life.

Now unrest has broken out in Iran itself after the government decided to raise petrol prices on the very day Ayatollah Khameini called for the destruction of the State of Israel.  There are reports of thousands of people in more than 65 cities confronting the authorities. There have been many deaths as the regime rushed in to suppress the riots. It shut down the nation’s Internet access in order to prevent the protesters from organising and sending reports of what is happening to the rest of the world. 

Iran’s leaders are coming under pressure at home for their disastrous handling of the economy, as the currency, the rial, continues to lose value.  One complaint of the demonstrators is the way the regime is using Iran’s money in order to spread its Islamic Revolution into Arab countries. Here are some of the slogans being used: ‘Not to South Lebanon, not to Gaza, not to Syria, but to Iran.’  There have been calls of ‘Death to the dictator’ as pictures of Ayatollah Khameini, the Supreme leader are being burned every day.

God promised Abraham and his descendants, ‘I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you’, (Genesis 12.3) so the Iranian Islamic regime is storing up an awful lot of curses for itself.  It should consider its history and the two famous people in the Bible who came out of Persia / Iran: Cyrus, who blessed the Jewish people, gave the edict for their restoration to Jerusalem and is remembered as Persia’s greatest king and a wise and humane ruler; and Haman, the Agagite, the alien influence into Persia who sought to kill all the Jews in the Persian Empire and ended up himself being hanged on the gallows he had erected for Mordechai the Jew.  The current Iranian regime is in full Haman mode and is bringing calamity upon itself and the Iranian people, who for the most part reject the regime and its extreme Islamic ideology. The best hope for the Iranian people and the Middle East region is the collapse of the regime and its replacement with a government that will put the needs of its own people first and abandon its hate filled campaign to destroy Israel.

Biblical prophecy indicates that Iran will take part in the War of Gog and Magog of Ezekiel 38. This army is led by a great power to the uttermost north (Russia) and joined up with other countries including Persia (Iran) and Togarmah (Turkey), countries now operating in Syria to the north of Israel.  According to Ezekiel these armies will meet their doom ‘on the mountains of Israel’ in the ‘latter days’, after the restoration of Israel from worldwide dispersion (Ezekiel 38-9). The prophecy says God will intervene to destroy this army:

“Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand.  You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you.” 

Ezekiel 38-9

The arrows could be a reference to the missiles aimed at Israel which God will knock out.  

Rabbi Winston, an Orthodox Jewish commentator on these events has warned ‘It’s not going to end easily, because it will be the End Times war of Gog and Magog, prophesied in the Bible.’  He says that out of this Moshiach (Messiah) will come.

Rabbis like Rabbi Winston are looking for the one known as Messiah ben David (son of David) to come out of this war and bring peace to the world as prophesied in Isaiah 2.1-4.  At present such rabbis do not recognise the connection between the coming Messiah and Yeshua, Jesus, who has come once as the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, Daniel 9.26, Zechariah 12.10 and other passages.  Jesus is coming again as the Reigning King Messiah of Isaiah 2 and 11 and these events are heralding His soon return. He will keep Israel until His coming and His present purpose is to reveal Himself as the Messiah to the Jewish people. He is also even now revealing Himself to people in Iran who are turning from Islam to Jesus in numbers unlike any other country in the Muslim world, another cause of defeat for the mullahs of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Conclusion

All the things that we write of in this magazine are pointers to the fulfilment of Bible prophecies of the last days in our day and the soon coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The most important thing we can do, in the light of this, is to call on the name of the Lord for salvation, so we are ready to meet Him at His coming.

Dear Heavenly Father, I admit that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus the Messiah died in my place, shedding His blood to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead to give me eternal life. I am willing right now to turn from my sin and accept Jesus the Messiah as my personal Saviour and Lord. I commit my life to you and ask you to send the Holy Spirit into my life, to fill me and to take control and to help me become the kind of person you want me to be. Thank you Father for loving me.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tony Pearce

Tony Pearce

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