At the Doors

Hello, Everyone!  Welcome to another broadcast of the Resounding Shophar Blast!  In case you haven’t been watching, there is a lot going on right now regarding the fulfillment of Biblical end-time events, so much so that some people are scrambling just to keep up with everything that is going on.

As I observe all that is going on right now, I am reminded of something that took place back in December of 1989.  The event was a meeting between then President George W. Bush, Sr. and the Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev on the island of Malta.  I don’t remember much about that event, but what I do remember was something said by a well-known news anchor who was on a boat in the middle of the Mediterranean, and during a storm.  This news anchor, and I don’t remember which one it was, while he’s on the deck of the boat braving the storm, told the audience that things were happening so fast that they were having trouble keeping up and reporting all the news taking place.  When I heard him say that, immediately God quickened to me that when the time comes for Jesus to return for His Bride and for the start of the Tribulation period, things will be happening so fast that people’s heads will be spinning, and what the world was experiencing at the time this reporter made these statements was only a glimpse, a taste, of what will happen when God says it’s time.  People are now actually beginning to comment about how so much is happening right now in the area of Biblical end-time prophecy fulfillment, they are having trouble keeping up with it all.

In Matthew 24:32-35, as well as in Mark 13:28-31, Jesus gives us the parable of the fig tree.  In the Bible, the fig tree is symbolic of the Nation of Israel.  When Jesus gave this parable, Israel was not a nation, but He was looking at a future time when Israel would become one.  In this parable, Jesus makes it known that the generation that sees Israel become a nation will not pass away until all the things He previously mentioned takes place.  Well, Israel became a nation May 14, 1948, and ever since then the fulfillment of Biblical end-time prophecies has kicked into high gear along with the highly anticipated return of Jesus for His Church.  Some people want to say that it will be several years yet before Jesus returns, and some say even at least 100 or more years yet, but there is one very big problem with this rationale.  The generation that saw Israel become a nation is about to pass away, which means that there isn’t the 10’s or 100’s of years some would like to believe there is before Christ returns.  There has been much debate over the years as to how long a generation is Biblically speaking, ranging anywhere between 40 to 120 years, but the consensus seems to point to 70-80 years as mentioned in Psalms 90:10.  The current life expectancy statistics show just under 80 years, which seems to correlate very well with what we are currently seeing in the fulfillment of Biblical end-time prophecies.

In the parable of the fig tree, Jesus tells us that when we see all the signs He had mentioned taking place that we are to know that the end is near, at the doors!  Talking about end-time events and when Jesus will return for the Church, many people will comment about how the signs Jesus mentioned, as well as what has been mentioned in other passages, have been seen for years.  This only feeds into the fulfillment of one of the prophecies we’ve been given regarding the end-times, and that is found in 2 Peter 3:1-7 when the Apostle Peter tells us in the last days many will mock and question the promise of Christ’s return.  While it is true that many of the signs Jesus mentioned have been seen for years, the difference to the times we are now living in is that all the signs seem to be converging together at the same time.  This is different from the past in that not all the signs were present at the same time, but at different times and in different places.  As we watch the fulfillment of Biblical end-time prophecies all around us, as well as all the signs prophesied converging together at the same time, it is evident that the final fulfillment of the signs Jesus gave is near, even at the doors!

When we talk about the final fulfillment of the signs Jesus gave us being near, it is important for us to remember a couple things.  To begin with, some of the signs Jesus gave are directly connected to the Tribulation period we know will be coming, but we also know that if what He gave us relates to the Tribulation period, then that means the Rapture is that much closer.  Therefore, Christians who are watching for the return of Jesus for His followers in the Rapture are excited about what they are seeing, knowing that this only means that the Blessed Hope mentioned in Titus 2:13 is about to happen.  I’ve heard it said in the past, and I’ve since mentioned it myself at times, that when you begin to see the signs pointing to the fact that Christmas is near, that only means Thanksgiving is that much closer.  What we are seeing take place right now point to the reality that the Tribulation period is about to start very, very soon, and that only means that the pre-Tribulation Rapture is that much closer.

Notice that in Matthew 24:32-35, Jesus is talking about Israel.  He’s not talking about America, which didn’t come into existence until over 1700 years later, or any other country or people group.  He’s talking about Israel and the Jewish people.  What should that tell us?  That should tell us that Israel is God’s prophetic timepiece, not America, or any other country or people group.  In fact, when we look at Bible end-time prophecies, both in the Old and New Testaments, it’s all pretty much centered around Israel and the Jewish people.  Those who want to say that God is done with Israel, and that He replaced them with the Church, a teaching that is spreading more and more within Church circles, they haven’t really read their Bible as that is most definitely not the truth.  In fact, the Tribulation period the Bible talks about was prophesied for the Jewish people way back in Daniel 9, the purpose of which is to judge and discipline Israel and bring them to a place where they will acknowledge Jesus as the messiah they have been promised from the beginning, the same Jesus they rejected almost 2000 years ago.  So, not only does this mean that God is not done with the Nation of Israel and the Jewish people, but it also means that Israel is the prophetic timepiece God is using.

In Matthew 24:3-4, Jesus is asked by the disciples as to when He would be coming and when would the end of the age be, and Jesus’ initial response to them was to not be deceived.  As we see more and more of the signs of the end-times being fulfilled, it becomes even more necessary for us to be guarded against being deceived.  In 1 Timothy 4:1-3 and 2 Timothy 4:1-5, we are told by the Apostle Paul that deception will be strong in the last days as Christians will fall away from the faith to embrace false doctrines inspired and promoted by demons, false doctrines that tickle peoples ears who reject the truth to embrace that which feels and sounds good.

Deception is not limited to just false doctrines and teachings, but also to that which distracts us away from the truth and what we are called to be as ambassadors of Christ.  One form of deception that is often overlooked is that of misdirection, the practice of getting peoples attention away from where it needs to be and onto something else.  This is something that is often seen in the area of magic tricks and those who practice the art of illusions, making something appear to be something other than what it really is, but it is employed in a variety of ways that include directing the focus of Christians away from Biblical truth and onto something else that feels and sounds good.  We see this happening in various forms within the Church. 

Jesus mentioned that when we see all the signs He told us about being fulfilled, then we are to know that they are indicating to us that the Tribulation period and His subsequent return to establish His kingdom here on earth is very near, even at the door.  So, what are those signs that Jesus mentioned?  One of the signs He gave us, going along with that of deception, was of false prophets in verses 4-5.  While we are seeing some who claim to be Jesus, this will only increase especially leading up to the Tribulation period.  These will join the crowd of false teachers who teach and promote false doctrine that does not line up with Scripture, something that is becoming more and more prevalent in the days we are currently living in.

Another of the signs He mentioned is found in verses 6-7, and that is of wars and rumors of wars.  There is currently no shortage of wars going on, and rumors of wars about to break out around the world is great, and it seems to only be increasing.  These include the Biblically prophesied wars found in Psalms 83, Isaiah 17, and Ezekiel 38-39, wars that appear to be right around the corner, some of which could happen any day now.

Another sign that Jesus gave in verse 7 was that of famines, pestilence, and earthquakes.  Famines are only increasing as regions are either experiencing severe drought, severe flooding or other natural catastrophes that devastate crop productions and other food sources, and which greatly impact availability and access to food and pure water.  Pestilence is also increasing around the world with disease epidemics growing and expanding all over the place, as well as the re-emergence of some diseases long thought to be no longer in existence.  As for earthquakes, they are increasing both in number and intensity as never before, and even in places once thought to be free of earthquakes.  Might I also add the increase in volcanic activity all around the world, activity that can in themselves sometimes create earthquakes?

In verse 9 we see that the Jewish people will be hated by all nations, also known as anti-Semitism, something that is present even now and speedily growing all over the world.  Even in America this is becoming more of a reality as never before in this country.  And in verse 12 we read that lawlessness will abound, and that the love of many will grow cold.  We are seeing both as never before, and as fast and powerfully that it’s growing there are no signs of it diminishing one bit anytime in the foreseeable future.  Lawlessness is becoming a global problem infecting all walks of life and positions of leadership.

Again, while each of these signs have been present at different times and in different places in world history, the main difference from the past and the present is that they are all happening simultaneously as if they are all converging to a point of time in the near future.  In other words, the end of life as we know it is at the doors.  Are you ready for it?

When Noah built the ark, he had 120 years to preach about the judgment coming to all the world, but only eight entered the ark.  The people mocked him until the judgment came, and by then it was too late for them.  When Lot was saved, he was warned by angels that God was going to pour out judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah, but only he and his wife with two of their daughters left.  Sadly, however, Lot’s wife didn’t get very far before she looked back at Sodom and was turned into a pillar of salt instead of getting to safety.

In like manner, God has warned us for thousands of years of the judgment coming to the world both in the Bible and in the fulfillment of Bible end-time prophesies.  Yet, people are not believing it even though the signs are screaming the truth and reality of this.  People are caught up with life in general, enjoying all that they can oblivious to what is going on in the world, and for some of them believing that we still have time because of one thing or another.  Some are even embracing prophesies of good things from people who believe false doctrine, discounting the fulfillment of the signs all around them which validate what God tells us in the Bible.  We can even see this as a fulfillment of the prophecy mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, where it talks of those who will not endure sound doctrine and truth but will instead embrace those who tickle their itchy ears with good fables.

Again, the Tribulation period and the subsequent return of Christ back to earth to establish His kingdom here is at the doors, and you don’t have to be here for that.  You can miss all of that, but it’s entirely up to you.  Those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus, those who have shown themselves faithful in living for Him in every area of their life, they will escape all that is coming in what I call the great evacuation, the Rapture.  This is one appointment you don’t want to miss!

Do you realize that Jesus’ return for His followers is very close and could happen at any moment?  Do you even care?  Jesus isn’t going to rescue you from the judgment that is coming to the world if you really aren’t concerned about it.  He’s looking for people who are eagerly waiting for Him to return for them, the Blessed Hope we read about in Titus 2:13.

Perhaps you are a Christian, but you haven’t been living as you know you ought to, allowing sin and idolatry to reign in your life.  If that is you, then I strongly encourage you to repent of such, to make things right with Jesus, asking Him for forgiveness and turning away from the sin.  Don’t play what I call Russian Roulette with your eternity because you want to hang onto that which is sin and dishonoring to God.  Do it today!  Don’t delay!

Maybe you have never given your life over to Jesus.  Maybe you have been living life as you wanted, and on your terms, but in listening to me today you realize there needs to be a change in your life.  You are seeing the signs I mentioned earlier only increasing, and you can tell things are not going to get any better but instead much worse, and you want to avoid as much of it as possible and realize the only real way of doing so is by surrendering your life to Jesus.  Well, you can make that change right now wherever you are.  It’s simple, as simple as “A, B, C”.  Let me tell you how.

For you to be considering making such a change in your life, this only shows that God is speaking to you.  He wants to have that saving relationship with you far more than you could ever want it yourself.  To enter that relationship with Him, the first thing you need to do is acknowledge that you are a sinner.  To acknowledge, or to admit, that you are a sinner is the “A” in the “A, B, C’s”.  This may be difficult for some to do, but it’s vitally important.  We are told in Romans 3:10 that no one is righteous or good, no, not one.  The reason for that is found in Romans 3:23 where we’re told that all, everyone, has sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  This means that nobody is good enough, no matter how good we may be, because we all have sin in our lives.  Continuing in Romans, we are told in Romans 6:23 that the wages of our sin is death, or in other words the penalty of the sin in our life is eternal death.  So, where does that leave us?  We are told in Ephesians 2:8-9 that the salvation God offers us is a gift of God, something we receive by grace and through faith.  No one deserves salvation, and no one certainly can earn it through works of any kind, but rather it is a gift from God.  To receive this gift from God, the first thing a person must do is “A”, acknowledge or admit that they are a sinner.

The second thing a person must do, and this is “B” in the “ABC’s”, is to “BELIEVE” in their heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.  Romans 10:9-10 tells us that if we confess with our mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved.  It’s not just a mental believing as some would like it to be, but rather a believing that dictates the way one lives their life.  It’s a way of life that reflects and supports what they say they believe.  In James 2:19 were told that even the demons believe, and they tremble, but salvation is not available to them.  Just having a head knowledge is not enough.

The third thing a person must do, and this is “C” in the “ABC’s”, is to “CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD.”  You need to call Jesus Lord, and to do so means one must surrender their life to Him.  There is coming a time when every knee will bow before Him, and every tongue will confess to God that He is Lord.  Now is the time for salvation, and now is the time to voluntarily surrender your life to Him.  The eternal rewards for surrendering your life to Jesus is far greater than anything this world could ever hope to give you.

Is a relationship with Jesus like I’ve described important and worth it?  It is most definitely worth it, and then some.  I won’t say that life will be easier or with less problems, but it will be more fulfilling, and with that there is a Blessed Hope for all Christians to embrace and pursue.  More and more people are beginning to feel hopeless with life, especially when they see everything that is happening around them and around the world, but as Christians we have a hope that is solid and independent of anything this world could ever hope to offer us.  The signs we are seeing across the news headlines now days only energizes the hope we have of Jesus’ ever imminent return for us.  It is that same hope, that Blessed Hope, that encourages Christians to keep the faith and to continue living for Him and Him alone.  Are you one of those who place their trust and hope in Jesus?

If you do not have a saving relationship with Jesus, and you would like to, I encourage you to talk to God right now.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or eloquent, just a sharing of your heart to Him.  If that is you, and you’re ready to give your life to Jesus, then say this prayer from your heart and to Him.  Again, it’s not a formula, just a sharing of your heart to Him.

“O God, I am a sinner.  I’m sorry for my sin.  I want to turn from my sin.  I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son; I believe that He died on the cross for my sin, that He was buried, that You raised Him to life, and that He’s coming to take me back to His house in heaven very soon.  I have decided to place my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, trusting only in His shed blood as more than sufficient to save my soul and to take me to heaven.  Thank You, Lord Jesus, for saving me.  Amen.”

Now that you have entered into this relationship with Jesus, I strongly encourage you to find a Bible and start reading it, and to find and get plugged into a solid Bible-believing church that teaches and preaches the full Gospel of Jesus, which includes Bible prophecy and the need to be living righteously and holy before the Lord in all your ways. 

In closing, know that Jesus is coming soon, very soon, for His followers, and it is vitally important for each of us to be found both watching and ready for Him when He does.  Don’t get lulled into the deceptive thinking that His return is not near for one reason or another, especially when the fulfillment of the signs given in the Bible tell us that it’s at the door.  It’s our responsibility to be watching the signs for Him, and to be ready, free of any spots, blemishes, or wrinkles brought on through sin in our lives.

Remember these two things:

  1. The King is Coming!
  2. Be ready for Him when He does!

John Johansson

Recess Is Over

As a kid growing up, I remember looking forward to the recess period at school. It was a break away from “school” stuff, an opportunity to get out and have fun with others doing whatever we wanted, within reason of course. The last thing we wanted to hear was the bell or the whistle signaling that it was time to get in line before heading back to class. Do you remember those times?

For the past several years, and probably for decades, a lot of Christians and churches have been out on the school yard having recess. To better explain what I mean by that, let’s look back at those times when we would have recess at school. Maybe you can relate? The first thing that I remember about recess was the strong desire to go to recess. Sometimes this was because I just wanted to hang out with some friends and have some fun, especially if I had friends in another class. Other times it was simply because I was bored with what we were doing in class, and I had energy I wanted to use up playing King of the Hill, 9-square, flag football, or whatever was the big thing to do at that time. Oh, how I wish I now had just a portion of the energy I had back then. Sometimes what we were doing in class was so challenging, intense, or monotonous and repetitious, I would feel like my brain was fried and needed a reprieve of some sort, and recess provided that reprieve for me.

For one reason or another, many Christians have gone to the play ground for recess. Maybe it’s because the social scene, online or in real life, is more important to you than living the Christian life in pursuit of Jesus, feeling the urge to get with friends and have fun? Perhaps living the Christian life just isn’t fun for you, possibly lacking the adrenalin rush and excitement that you craved, and so you decided to take a more casual approach to Christianity, choosing instead to pursue and indulge in whatever excited you or gave you some sense of satisfaction. Oh, you didn’t leave Jesus or the Christian life completely, but you “chilled” enough to follow the desires and cravings you had for as long as you could, all with the thinking that you might return to class and start taking your studies and relationship with Christ seriously again. Christianity in its purest sense just isn’t what you thought it should be, that it’s lacking somewhat, and so you’re taking a spiritual recess of sorts. Or, could it be that you felt that the Christian life is just too draining and burdensome, maybe too complicated at times, and you just felt like you needed a breather of sorts, a reprieve.

So, now you’ve made it to the playground. Now what? When we had recess, we didn’t go somewhere else. The playground was right there at the school. In the same way, many Christians are playing and having recess right there at church. They didn’t leave the church. They just left the classroom for the playground. I mentioned earlier that I remembered spending recess doing things like playing 9-square, flag football, King of the Hill, and tether-ball, whatever was the big thing at the time, but what could it look like on the spiritual playground within church circles? To understand what it may look like to be on the playground, we need to first identify what it looks like in the classroom.

In the spiritual classroom within the Church, or in other words the spiritual classroom of life, we’re taught what it means to be a disciple and a follower of Christ. We learn the heart of Jesus and what is called the Great Commission and how to live that in our own life. We learn not only that we are ambassadors of Christ, but also what that means and how we can represent Him to a lost and dying world. And with all of that, we also learn both the how and the importance of right living in the sight of Jesus, and that Jesus is coming back for His Bride at any moment, a watching Bride that has kept her garments clean, spotless and without wrinkles or blemishes. These are just some of the things we learn in the classroom, and it’s not always fun or exciting. In fact, sometimes it gets rough and tough, intense at times, but like any professional athlete or soldier would tell you as they strive to be the best that they can be in that, it’s going through those times that help make you into the person God has intended for you to be.

It’s on the playground that Christians play “church”. Just as there were different games and activities we might get involved in during recess, and how that would change from time to time, there are different games and activities that Christians on the playground will get involved in. On the playground, Christians will pursue that which “tickles” their itchy ears, that which feels good and doesn’t expect much of them in return, something that doesn’t challenge or infringe on their comforts, or something that isn’t inconvenient and demanding. No matter what it is, in varying degrees they will stray from sound doctrine and Biblical teaching to follow and embrace that which takes Scripture out of context or twists it to match and support their beliefs and agendas. Jesus warned us that in the last days deception would be great, and that we as Christians need to be aware that we do not get deceived.

What are some of the games and activities we can find on the spiritual playground within the church? Maybe you’ve heard of some of these. There’s the hyper-grace game, the Social Gospel game, the Emergent Church and Seeker Sensitive games, the Kingdom Now, Church Growth and community games and activities. Each of these games and activities no doubt has within themselves an element of truth that they gleaned from the classroom, truths that need not be forsaken, but games that divert our attention away from where it needs to be. I recently learned of a form of deception that is very deceptive, and that is misdirection. This kind of deception diverts our attention away from where it needs to be and onto things that are less important or draws our focus away from where it’s supposed to be. Regarding Christianity, our focus needs to be on what I mentioned is found in the classroom, and not what is found on the playground, and many of these games and activities on the playground deceive us into diverting our attention away from where it needs to be.

Well, the bell and the whistle are sounding indicating that it’s time to get in line to reenter the classroom. As we watch the fulfillment of Biblical end-time prophesy cross the headlines of the various news sources, we realize that Jesus is returning very, very soon. We are literally on the precipice of the Gog-Magog war mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39, a war that most scholars believe takes place shortly after the Rapture of the Church. A lot of Christians are looking at how things are transpiring here within America, ignoring what is happening in the Middle East and especially with Israel, almost as if they think America is God’s prophetic time piece for the last days. We are seeing a great apostasy, as Scripture tells us would take place leading up to His return, where more and more Christians are for one reason or another are giving little heed to answering the Great Commission, forsaking the sound Biblical teaching of the Rapture, especially the pre-tribulation rapture, as well as sound doctrine of what it means to be a follower of Christ and Jesus’ command for His followers to be watching for His return. We are so close people, and now is the time to exit the playground if that’s where you’ve been and return to the classroom to learn and seriously pursue your relationship with Jesus.

Recess Is Over!!!!


John Johansson


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The Time Is Near

It has been preached for nearly 2000 years that Jesus would be returning soon.  The nature of that teaching, and what that exactly entails, has been intensely debated in church history.  As a kid growing up in church, I remember there being a lot of talk about Jesus’ return and end-time Bible prophecy.  Sadly, that is no longer the case as the focus of most churches, at least here in America, has been around building God’s kingdom here on earth, or trying to reach people with a “gospel” built on love and acceptance without offending anyone in the areas of sin, holiness, and judgment.  With such a watered-down and sugar-coated “gospel” that is promoted and taught in most churches, it is no wonder that there is little to no talk of Jesus’ return or end-time events.


I recently read that the Barna Group found that 51% of church goers have no clue as to the what the Great Commission is, and of the remaining 49% only about 17% know what it is and where in Scripture it comes from (Matthew 28:9-20 and Mark 16:15-18).  This could explain why most churches are not even actively engaging in and being obedient to it, but instead are looking to either build God’s kingdom here on earth or to see how many people they can gain in their congregations without offending people through a watered-down sugar-coated “gospel”.  Could this also explain why there is so little preached or taught in churches about Jesus’ return and Biblically prophesied end-time events.  A gospel preached absent of the future return of Jesus and prophesied end-time events, as well as the necessity to be living right and free of sin in the sight of God, is not the complete or balanced gospel found within Scripture.


For the first time in Israel’s existence since it was formed 70 years ago, an Arab leader has acknowledged Israel and their right to their own land.  That same leader has also been in private conversations with Jewish leaders, working with President Trump to push a peace treaty between Israel and their neighbors.  I will add that it was reported several years ago that Saudi Arabia had plans for a 7-year peace treaty with Israel, one that had been on the “back-burner” waiting for the right time to promote.  Could this be the 7-year peace treaty the Bible talks about, the one that starts the Great Tribulation period found in Daniel 9:27?  Only time will tell, but I wonder how many people in churches across this nation know of the Bible prophesies regarding a 7-year peace treaty, or are even watching the signs pointing to its fulfillment?  There are several things that have transpired within this past week or so, things that are pointing to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy as it relates to the last days and the Great Tribulation period.  Things like the forming of alliances between specific countries in the Middle East, the growing intensity in and around the city of Damascus, just to name a couple.  Oh, and let us not forget that Israel turns 70 next month, a very significant event to be mindful of as we continue into the days ahead of us.


So, how many Christians are paying attention to the signs, knowing that their fulfillment point even stronger to the return of Jesus for His Bride in an event known as the Rapture?  Again, sadly, not too many.  In the midst of watching Bible end-time prophesies being fulfilled before our eyes, and the apparent ignorance of church goers of what is going on and what it means to them as Christians, there is a growing concern among some who study Bible prophecy regarding pastors being held accountable for not teaching and preparing their congregations about these things and the times we’re in.  I believe their concern is a valid one, knowing that if people in their congregations are not aware of the signs or ready when Jesus returns, they can find themselves left behind and having to face a period that will be the worst ever experienced in world history.  I pray that these pastors, these shepherds, will wake up and start making their congregations, their flocks, aware of the times we’re living in, as well as the need to be ready when He returns and what that means.


I was listening to someone the other day, someone that doesn’t understand what the Bible calls the “good news”, and some of what he was prophesying regarding future events for America.  Among the many things that concerned me with what he was saying, he made it clear that any Christian that doesn’t embrace what he’s prophesying is a weak and immature Christian who doesn’t know the voice of God.  He further indicated that Christians who speak of things in the world getting worse, along with a hope of escaping them (probably referring to the Rapture), that they are defeatist, gloom and doom Christians who are not hearing the voice of God.  When he mentioned that, I immediately thought that those who don’t subscribe to his vision of what is ahead probably know the Bible and Bible prophesy better than he does.  A lot of people are really embracing the things he’s saying, excited to hear from him more of what God is telling him.  In 2 Timothy 4:2-4, the Apostle Paul tells us that in the last days Christians will turn away from sound doctrine because they have itching ears for teaching that supports their desires.  Paul also tells us in 1 Timothy 4:1-2 that many will depart from the Christian faith to follow deceiving spirits and doctrines inspired and promoted by demons.  Is this just one example of what the Bible warns us will be taking place in these last days?


As I thought about this person and the confidence he has in hearing the voice of God, and how that what he’s telling people is contradictory to what Scripture has to say, ignoring or discounting the fact that Bible prophecy is being fulfilled right before our eyes, I was reminded of an account recorded in 2 Chronicles 18:1-34; 19:1-2.  In a summary of what transpires in this portion of Scripture, two kings are looking to enter a war with another king and are inquiring if the Lord will go before them into battle.  Four hundred prophets’ prophecy that they are to go to war, and that they will be victorious because God will give them the victory, but one of the kings wants to hear from a prophet of the Lord.  A prophet of God is summoned, one that the king of Israel doesn’t like because he never tells him anything of prosperity or good things.  The prophet of God arrives on the scene, and when asked by the kings what God would say to them regarding this battle, the prophet says something very interesting.  This prophet, Micaiah, tells them that God wanted them to go into battle where the king of Israel would be killed, and God inquired of those surrounding His throne as to who could persuade the king to go into battle.  Micaiah recounts that one of those around the throne said he would persuade the king to go forward in this battle, and when God asked him how he would do it the answer was that he would cause the prophets to believe a lie and tell the king to do so.  God approved of this, and that is why all four hundred prophets were prophesying that he should go to war.  The king didn’t like what he said and chose to follow with the answer he got from the four hundred prophets, and despite his attempt to disguise himself got shot by an errant arrow that caused him to die later that day.


Is it possible that the same thing is happening now, where people are claiming to hear one thing from God as to what is ahead for America, bringing America into judgment and exposing where the hearts of many Christians really is?  The Holy Spirit will never contradict Scripture, but so many Christians choose to embrace what people say they are hearing from God instead of searching the Scriptures, and not just the ones they are using, to verify if what is being said truly is from God.  Is our focus more on the future of America, or on eternity in Heaven with Jesus and reaching the lost with the good news of the gospel?  I fear for the pastors that choose to not preach and teach about Jesus’ return and the future of the world through the eyes of Bible prophecy, knowing that they will be held accountable for those under their leadership that find themselves eternally lost because they were not told the complete and balanced Word of God which includes Jesus’ return and end-time events.  Many pastors try to avoid preaching about anything that might offend someone and keep them away, things like sin, holiness, and a coming judgment, and God will hold them accountable for that.  Sometimes what is edifying to the body of Christ is not always pleasant or good to hear, or feel, but the edification comes when the person accepts it and makes the necessary changes to grow in their faith and live as God would have them to.  On the flip side, not everything that is good is from or of God, and anything that is good from God can become something that is not good if it gets in the way of what God has for that person in their relationship with Him.


The time is near, near for the return of Jesus for His bride, and near for the start of Jacob’s trouble when God pours out His wrath and judgments upon the earth.  Pay attention to the signs and take the necessary steps to be ready when Jesus does return, which is very soon.  The time is near.


John Johansson


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A 2018 Challenge

As we face the arrival of a new year, it is becoming increasingly more apparent that the return of Jesus for His bride is ever nearer and more imminent than ever before.  I find that many are so focused on what is happening here in America, that they are somewhat oblivious to the increasing fulfillment of Biblical signs outside of America, as well as the final stages being set for the coming Tribulation period as outlined in Scripture.  There are many reasons for this, but I think the greatest reason for this is found in Matthew 24:4.  In this passage Jesus is responding to questions asked of Him by His disciples regarding His coming and the end of the age.  The very first thing He says is a word of caution that no one deceives them.  The closer we get to the Rapture of the Church to Christ, and the start of the Tribulation period, the greater the deceptions will be, and we must be careful not to get caught up in any of them.


Even as I write this, deception is rampant both in the world and in church circles.  While there are many different forms of deception, all deception we find in John 8:44 comes from Satan, himself.  Satan desires to keep people from salvation and a relationship with Christ.  He desires to distract us from Christ and the will and plan Jesus has for our lives.  He seeks to destroy us, as well as to corrupt any good thing we have and receive from Jesus.  He schemes to divert our focus off Jesus and the life we are to live as His ambassadors, guiding us into a self-centered mindset seeking after comfort, convenience, and the many different types of blessings that grab our hearts and attention.  Satan even offers up the various “flavors” of Christianity he’s come up with that have just enough truth in them to subtly draw people from sound doctrine and right relationship with Christ.  Can you expect anything less from the father of all lies who seeks to steal, kill and destroy?  After all, he’s been doing this for thousands of years.


Only God knows what exactly the year 2018 has in store for us, but one thing for sure is that we need to make sure we are ready for that pre-Tribulation trumpet blast, the one that summons all those in Christ, dead and alive, to meet Jesus in the air on the way to His Father’s house.  For 2018, let’s strive to make sure we’re not falling victim to the deceptions seen all around us.


Deception begins when we don’t judge what we see, hear and read with all of Scripture.  There are a lot of teachings out there that sound good, they feel good, and they “make sense”, but when they are held up to the Bible in its entirety they fall short of Biblical truth.  We can’t pick and choose which portions of Scripture are relevant to us, or to base a doctrine or theology from, especially when the Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that all Scripture are inspired of God and relevant to us for doctrine.  I grew up under pastors who encouraged us to check if what they were preaching and teaching lined up with Scripture, and if there was a question about something they said, they encouraged and welcomed us to ask them about it.  They were not afraid or threatened by this.  They knew that they did not have all the answers, and they were opened to learn something new.  Your pastor should welcome you searching for yourself as to whether they are scripturally sound with what they are teaching and preaching or not.  I know of one pastor who isn’t truly open to this.  He’ll tell you one thing when talking to him, but later he’ll make comments in a group setting that clearly indicates he was not appreciative of someone questioning something he said or did.  I quickly learned to keep my mouth shut about such things with him.  Is your pastor one that encourages you to not take his word as to what Scripture does or does not say, and welcomes your questions about things he or she is preaching or teaching?  I hope so.


There are many deceptive teachings within church circles in the days we live in.  Teachings that sound good and appeal to our self-centered, materialistic beliefs, including just enough scripture to appear legitimate while discounting passages that would contradict the teachings they embrace.  Some appeal to our desire of living without accountability for things we may say or do.  Others appeal to our desire for a higher standard of living with nothing but blessings and promises of God to pursue.  Others look for a better world because of the Church taking over, through their influence, government and the “seven-mountains of influence”.  And yet others seem to change the great commission into something that looks more like a social club, or even a charitable group like the Shriners, etc.  Some of these are good things, in part, and can be supported with some scripture, but when these things become their banner cry, so to speak, more than preaching unapologetically the message of the cross, everyone’s need for a savior, forgiveness through repentance and turning away from sin, and a life surrendered to Christ, then there is a problem.  Be careful not to fall for teachings that either twists Scripture, takes Scripture out of context, or discounts or rationalizes why certain passages are not relevant to us today, all in the attempt to support or justify what is being taught.


So, in 2018, let’s try to avoid becoming a victim of deception, deceptions that could potentially derail our trek to eternity with Christ.  It’s not like there will be “do overs” if we mess up due to neglect on our part to know what Scripture has to say to us.  Jesus is coming at any time for a bride without spot, wrinkle, or any blemishes.  Let’s do our part to keep our garments of righteousness ready and prepared for His imminent return for us.


John Johansson

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About a month ago, the division I work for was involved in helping a neighboring County in the evacuation of its resident’s due to a wildfire.  Our role in this evacuation was very limited, but it reminded me of another wildfire that occurred a few years earlier.  In 2013, I was personally affected by the Rim Fire, the third largest wildfire in California’s recorded history.  Because of that fire, we had family evacuated from the area, friends from church were ordered to evacuate and stayed a while with us, and we were put on alert that an evacuation order might be given to us as well at any moment.  On a professional level, my division was directly involved in evacuating residents who were unable to get out of areas that were greatly threatened by the fire.


As I thought about these evacuations, I was reminded of a massive evacuation that is set to take place in the very near future.  We’ve been told that there will be an evacuation coming, the reason for it, and that we are to be alert and prepared for when it happens.  With the Rim Fire, there were some who chose to ignore or discount the need or urgency to evacuate, and people are choosing to do the same thing regarding this upcoming evacuation order.


What is the purpose of an evacuation?  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to evacuate means:  to remove especially from a military zone or dangerous area; to withdraw from a place in an organized way especially for protection.  In other words, to evacuate means to escape a place of danger to go to a place of safety.  In Luke 21:36, following what He shared regarding end-time events, Jesus tells us to, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to ESCAPE (caps added) all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  It could be said that Jesus is commanding us to take specific steps in preparation of a great evacuation that is yet to come.  Some in church circles belittle those looking to the rapture as an escape from what is coming, arguing that Christians shouldn’t be looking to escape the coming Tribulation period, but in doing so they are discounting the very words of Jesus, leading others to disobey the commands of Jesus.


Others make light of, and in some cases even mock, Jesus’ command to watch and pray, something He mentions multiple times in the Gospels.  Jesus isn’t telling us to spend our life sitting on a patio lounger, staring off into the eastern sky, watching for Him to return.  What He is telling us is simple.  We are to be watching the signs of His return, not sticking our heads in the sand because we don’t like or want to see what is happening around us, and to pray always that the life we’re living is one that He will count as worthy to be evacuated to safety in advance of the coming tribulation and judgments.  Jesus tells us that when He returns for the Church, His bride, people will be living and enjoying life, oblivious to what is quickly coming upon them.  There is also absolutely no indication, from Jesus or any of the Apostles, that His return for His bride will come in the middle of, or immediately following, a great revival as some would like to believe.  Why would there be the danger of judgments from God when He’s in the middle of changing the hearts and minds of man back to Him?  Yes, I do believe there is a great revival coming to the earth, but I strongly believe it will not take place until after the rapture of the Church, the evacuation of the bride of Christ to safety.  In Isaiah 26:20-21, we see a passage that seems to point to the rapture of the Church, and the fact that God will call His people up to safety before He punishes the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.

Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you, hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past.

For behold, the Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain. – Isaiah 26:20-21 (NKJV)


There is a great evacuation set to take place in the very near future.  This will be an evacuation for followers of Christ who are actively watching for His return, and who are always praying that their life will be counted worthy to escape that which is coming.  Are you taking His return seriously, as well as His commands for us to follow in preparation for that time?  The risk for neglecting His commands regarding His return for us is extreme, and something to not take lightly.  If you haven’t been taking the words of Jesus seriously, now is the time to start.  Don’t be like those who choose to ignore or discount the need to prepare for an evacuation due to wildfires or some other dangerous situations.  Unlike evacuations ordered for wildfires and such, your response to the evacuation orders Jesus commanded us to prepare for will have eternal implications for you, good or bad.


John Johansson (Pastor John)

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In just a few days we will be entering into the year 2016. Did you ever think that you would see 2016?  I remember growing up wondering if we would even see the year 2000, but obviously we did and now we find ourselves staring at the start of 2016.


For some the year 2015 was nothing less than a terrible year for a variety of reasons. Some faced economic collapse, others have had to deal with serious or catastrophic medical issues, and for others either broken relationships or the loss of loved ones.  For others 2015 was a great year.  Maybe they experienced significant career advancements, new additions to their family, or any one of many other exciting things one can imagine.  In either case, the year 2015 is coming to a close, and with that the hope of a better year in 2016 awaits them.


Was 2015 a rough year for you, or was it one of much excitement and joy? No matter what, there is a hope in the hearts and minds of many that 2016 will be better than the previous.  Whenever we approach a new year people envision themselves in one way or another turning over a new leaf.  We hear it in those infamous “New Year’s Resolutions” that seem to return each year because they were forgotten shortly after the start of the previous year.  Are you looking forward to any New Year’s Resolutions going into 2016?  Are any of them repeats from previous years, or are they new ones originating from the experiences of 2015?


In either case, the year 2016 will be a year to be watched. Outside of the usual excitement and expectations of a new year, 2016 has the potential of being one of the best and worst years on record for mankind.  Whether it is the best or worst for you will depend on your perspective and where you place your hope.  In recent years we have seen the fulfillment of Bible end-time prophesy monopolize the news almost everywhere we look.  As we look forward we can even see things coming our way in the very near future which the Bible tells us will take place in the tribulation period.  If your perspective and hope is centered on Christ, then 2016 has the potential of being the most exciting year ever for you knowing that this could be the year Jesus returns for His bride, the church.  If your perspective and hope is centered on anything or anyone else, then 2016 could potentially be the worst year ever for you if Jesus returns and you are left behind to deal with what will come in the tribulation period.


If your life is focused and centered around Jesus, then the excitement comes from the fact you would be caught up to be with Him forever in Heaven. If your life is not focused and centered around Jesus, then what awaits you is a time of extreme trials and tribulations, a time that will be very difficult to live through to say the least.


If 2016 is the year that Jesus returns, you do not want to be left behind because things will get far worse than you can ever imagine. If you haven’t given your life to Jesus, to live and die for Him alone, then this is the time to change that.  Jesus needs to be your all-in-all, and not just an acquaintance that you turn to when things get tough.  Jesus needs to be more important to you than anything or anyone else in your life, including yourself.  After all, you mean enough to Him that He would give His all for you on a cross so you could spend eternity with Him in Heaven, a place far more grand and spectacular than anything else you could ever imagine in a million years.  If you haven’t given your life to Jesus, then I strongly encourage you to do so ASAP.  A life lived for Jesus is a life far better than anything else this world can give.  It’s all an issue of where your perspective and hope rests upon that will determine what 2016 will hold for you.


John Johansson

Wake Up Call

Well, here I am.  Between getting my latest book finished and released and a very crazy schedule the past several weeks, I am now able to do some blog writing tonight.  Yea!


Have you been watching the news lately?  Have you noticed that things seem to be racing towards a period of time long ago prophesied of events we can now see on the horizon, and in some cases are here even as I write this?  That period of time I am referring to is the seven-year tribulation period prophesied in the Bible.  We are seeing some of the events prophesied thousands of years ago coming into fulfillment within the next year or so.  For example, we are told that during the tribulation period everyone will have to have a mark of identification by which they will buy and sell, what is often times referred to as the “mark of the beast” as mentioned in the book of Revelation, and unbeknown to many there is currently a push to have everyone worldwide, not just in the USA, implanted with an electronic chip for identification and financial transactions by the end of 2017.  We are also seeing a push by many religious leaders to merge all the religions of the world, including Christianity, into one religion, or at least create a platform that allows all the religions to work together and to acknowledge many ways to the same god.  In recent months we have seen a major shift in the world financial markets as a growing number of countries are shifting the strength of their currencies from the dollar to the Chinese currency.  And, in order for there to be a one-world government the United States has to be brought down enough so that not only will its influence be greatly reduced, but the United States would have to give up its sovereignty as a nation to facilitate a one-world government, and we’re seeing the United States literally imploding upon itself in a large number of ways putting it into such a position when looking at things globally.  We’re seeing increasing turmoil within the Middle East politically, as well as increasing tensions and conflicts militarily, and a greater push to isolate and divide Israel.  Oh, and let us not just think of the civil wars that are taking place there, and Iran’s race to a nuclear bomb with the promise of using it against Israel and the USA, but also the increasing threat and influence of ISIS and their inhumane brutality beyond the Middle East.


What I just mentioned doesn’t even take into account the role nature has in this.  We’re seeing very erratic and unpredictable weather all over that is out of sync with the recognized seasonal and regional norms, the increase in famines and pestilence, and the growing threat of disease and plagues.  Yes, there have been numerous concerns regarding “global warming” and “climate change”, and more specifically blaming humanity for it, but it has been found to be a fraud of sorts used as a tool to help facilitate a one-world government.  While it has been seen in recorded history that nature generally shifts back and forth in cycles resembling what we’re experiencing now, nature is also in a form of labor pains getting ready to wreck havoc with humanity in a variety of ways.  There has been, in addition to what has already been mentioned, a dramatic increase in volcanic and strong earthquake activity even in places where it generally hasn’t been an issue.


What is all of this telling us?  Even the world knows that life as we know it is quickly racing toward a climatic time when life as we know it will no longer be, yet they will be quick to deny the prospect that all of this is a fulfillment of Bible end-time prophesy.  If that is not bad enough, what is worse is the deception many within the church have embraced who should know better but choose to deny that reality.  When we talk of the deception within the church, we need to first realize that was the first thing Jesus warned us about in Luke 21.  The Apostle Paul goes even further and talks of a great falling away of Christians in the last days, and how that many will follow teachers with itchy ears to hear what they want to hear and what sounds good.  What are some of the deceptions found in the church today?


When we talk of the deceptions within the church, one of the most prominent ones is the idea that things are only going to get better, or at least for the Christian it will be even though the rest of the world will go upside down figuratively speaking.  Very little is said or taught of end-time events and how we need to be mindful of them, something that Jesus commanded us to do, but instead much is said about how we are to be blessed and prosper, to grow in our faith to have less issues to deal with in our lives, and to focus almost exclusively on God’s grace, love and mercy.  While it is true that God desires to bless and prosper us, for us to grow in our faith and to rest in His grace, love and mercy, to avoid or not take into account what the Bible tells us regarding the days we have entered into will only lead to disaster for many in the church.  For those given the role of shepherding or teaching the body of Christ who only speak of the good things and avoid anything about these last days, they are in essence presenting a very incomplete gospel.  Many think that God’s plan for the redemption of mankind was concluded when Jesus arose from the dead, but in actuality God’s plan for the redemption of mankind will not be concluded until the end of the 1000-year reign of Christ here on earth.  The seven feasts that God instituted in Leviticus, not for Israel but for Himself, outline God’s plan of redemption for mankind,  and of those seven only four have been fulfilled to date.  So, one of the deceptions is the ignorance of Bible prophesied end-time events while focusing on that which tickles the ears of the hearer.


Another deception is found in the rejection of the rapture of the church.  Even though the word ‘rapture’ is not found in the English Bible, the teaching and picture of the rapture for the church can be seen throughout the Bible.  The rapture is our blessed hope, something that is also seen in the feasts.  Many people argue against teaching or promoting the belief of a rapture referring to it as a doctrine of escapism, and while I agree some have taken this view of escapism to an extreme that they’re not occupying their time here properly, Jesus promoted the idea of escapism when He told us to “watch and pray that we are counted worthy to escape all things that will come to pass” (Luke 21:36).  In that one verse Jesus tells us to watch for the signs of the times and that which is coming, and also to pray that we are counted worthy to escape those things that are coming.  We can’t really do that if either through ignorance or ones decision to reject such teaching we focus on the positive’s we addressed in the previous paragraph.  Hey, if Jesus commands us to “watch” and to “pray we are counted worthy to escape”, then it’s something we should really look at and take heed of.  If we won’t tell others about the times we are in and what is on the horizon, along with the hope we have in being raptured up before these things come to pass, then we are not being His ambassadors as we should be and are setting up others for failure with an incomplete and sometimes warped gospel.


There is another deception regarding the rapture many are buying into “hook, line, and sinker”, and that is the idea that all who call themselves Christians will be raptured up, but Jesus strongly countered that way of thinking in Matthew 7:21-23.  The rapture is only for those who have been watching and preparing as a bride for His return.  Some have argued that the Church is not the Bride of Christ, but since the Bible is strongly and concisely clear that the Church is the Bride betrothed to Christ then I can’t help but ask what Bible they are reading from since it’s not the Christian Bible.  If one doesn’t believe that the Church is the Bride of Christ, then what guarantee do they have that they will be raptured up when the rapture is strictly for the Bride who has prepared herself for Him?  It doesn’t matter the voice or who appears to us, even if they are an angel of light, if what is said is in conflict with the written Word then it is not of God.  In other words, God will never contradict His own Word to us, no matter how nice and good it sounds, and if it does conflict with scripture then it needs to be rejected as coming from someone other than God, Himself.


Anyways, we need to wake up and take a look around us of what is going on, and to be aware of some of the deceptions infiltrating the church in these last days.  This is not the time to be ignorant of the times we are in and the explosively fast fulfillment of end-time prophesies, or to fall victim to doctrines and beliefs that keep us from clearly seeing things as they are so we can prepare for the return of our Savior and groom, Jesus Christ.  There is enough in scripture to get a pretty accurate picture of the times we’re in and what is coming down the pipe, so to speak, and we shouldn’t be afraid of to teach and share this with others as it could make the difference as to how ready they are for His return.


John Johansson

Why The Silence

I remember, more than 25 years ago, sitting in my high school Sunday School Class when the subject of the rapture was brought up. It wasn’t the first time I had heard of it or had even talked with others about it, but this time it was different.  I had already heard of the three main views of the rapture; 1) pre-tribulation, 2) mid-tribulation, and 3) post-tribulation, but what I was about to hear was something new to me.  Our Sunday school teacher was asked what his personal view was in regards to the rapture, and after reminding us of the Assemblies of God’s position of a pre-tribulation rapture he then told us he was a “pan-tribulation” person.  For those of you that don’t know, the “pan-tribulation” view simply states that as long as you’re ready it will all “pan” out in the end.


I realize that my Sunday school teacher probably had a good reason for saying what he did, either because he was unsure of what position he personally agreed with, or because he was trying to avoid getting into a discussion on the different viewpoints relating to the subject. It’s also possible that he held a position that differed from the denominational position of the church and didn’t want to be seen as divisive on the subject, so it’s really hard to say why it was that he decided not to share what his stand on the subject was.


Since that time I’ve talked with many that take the same approach as my Sunday school teacher, and I’ve found with many of them it was because they didn’t want to think about it. The position they were taking was that as long as they are ready when it happens then that is all that is needed, but I think they are missing an important part of what it means to be ready for the rapture, something that I will get into shortly.


Over the years I’ve also talked with some who, when the subject of the rapture comes up, become silent and at times will even attempt to change the subject as though I wouldn’t notice, which often times has perplexed me especially when they are a minister. Why the silence, especially from those who are ministers of the Gospel and should be teaching and preaching on the subject?  Is it because they don’t know what they believe and therefore want to avoid any discussions on the subject?  Is it because the view they have is contrary to the position their church or denomination takes?  Is it because they take the same approach as my Sunday school teacher and embrace the “pan-tribulation” view?  While I think it is important to ask these questions, I can’t help but wonder if the reason for the silence is far deeper and more personal than these questions touch on.


When people appear to be silent on the issue of the rapture, I can’t help but think it is for reasons beyond what view they have or because they are trying to avoid getting into a debate on the it. Several years ago I came to the conclusion that Christians in America are enjoying life too much or are too comfortable with life here in America to truly desire Jesus to come back any time soon.  You’ve heard of the “bucket list”, a list of things that people want to do or experience before they die?  Well, I want to coin a new term, the “bucket plus list”, a list of things that people want to do or experience before the rapture takes place.


People with a “bucket plus list” believe that Jesus is coming back, and some of them even know that it will be possibly very soon, but they are hoping deep down that He doesn’t return until they’ve completed their “bucket plus list”. There are things that they value more than the return of Christ because they desire those things more than they do His return.  Jesus said that those who desire the things of this world more than Him are not worthy of Him, and the Apostle John tells us that we can’t love Him if we love the world, so what does that say of those who have a “bucket plus list”?  And, if people have a “bucket plus list” would they be considered “ready” when Jesus does return for His bride?


In the ancient Jewish marriage customs, the bride didn’t know when the groom would return but it was her responsibility to be ready when he did. If the groom returned and saw she wasn’t ready, namely that she hadn’t adequately prepared herself for him or was even eagerly watching for him having her affections elsewhere, then he could turn around and leave her where she was and give her a letter of divorcement.  Understanding that our relationship with Jesus and His return parallels that of the ancient Jewish marriage customs in so many different ways, we can safely assume that His return for us, His bride, would resemble the same marriage customs ancient Jews modeled.  There were many times that Jesus either told us He would return as a thief in the night, or He would tell us to “watch and pray” regarding His return.  Seeing that Jesus would come as a thief in the night and how much he stressed and even commanded us to watch and pray, it only stands to reason that to be watching for and eagerly anticipating His return is one of the core elements that makes one ready for Him when He returns.  If we have a “bucket plus list” that keeps us from eagerly watching and looking for His return, then we risk not being considered “ready” and worthy in His sight to go with Him when He returns.


No matter what your view of when the rapture of the church will take place, the fact remains that His return is very, very near. The fulfillment of Biblical end-time prophecy before our very eyes points to the very near start of the tribulation period, which in turn tells us that the rapture could happen at any moment for those of us who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture.  So, this is not the time to have a “bucket plus list”, but instead it is the time to get rid of them and start watching and looking for His return with anticipation.  Don’t be like the foolish virgins who were not ready and prepared for His return because of the things you want to see happen before He comes for His bride.  After all, what is more important; the things you have on your “bucket plus list”, or the return of Christ for you His bride?  What is most important to you reveals where your heart is, or more importantly where your heart is not.  Are you ready for Him to return, even if it is this very day or night?


Watch and pray, and eagerly desire to see Him when He returns more than anything or anyone else, otherwise He may not consider you ready when He does return.


John Johansson

The Midnight Cry

There is a well-known parable found in Matthew 25. It is the parable of the ten virgins, five who were wise and five who were foolish.  This parable has been one I’ve thought about frequently.  Have you?  As the time of our messiah’s return draws closer for that event we commonly refer to as the rapture, this is one of those parables that has captured my attention.  While my understanding of it has increased significantly over the past few years, there has been one thing that I’ve wondered about in the parable.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I understand this is a parable, a word-picture of sorts to help us understand various truths that God wants to relate to us, but I can’t help but think that Jesus was trying to tell us something in the seemingly insignificant parts of this parable.  Jesus isn’t one to say things He doesn’t mean, or to say things simply to say things, or to say things that have no purpose or significance for us.


In this parable we understand that the ten virgins represent those who have entered into a saving relationship with Christ. We also understand that their waiting for the bridegroom to return relates to Christians waiting for Christ’s return to take them back to His eternal home in Heaven.  We know that five of them were wise while five of them were foolish as brides in not adequately preparing themselves for the bridegrooms return.  When the cry was made all ten of the virgins woke up and began to trim their lamps, and it was at this time that the foolish ones were discovered in that they didn’t have enough oil for their lamps.  Prior to this point in the parable none of them seemed to know who was foolish and who was wise, but once this became apparent the wise instructed the foolish to go to those who buy and sell.  While the foolish are looking to get more oil before the bridegroom’s return, the bridegroom returns and takes with him the five wise virgins leaving the five foolish ones behind.  When the five foolish ones return they find that the door is shut and they are denied entry to be with the others.  I’ve touched on the above points at different times in previous blogs, but now I want to focus on one particular point in the parable.


In Matthew 25:6, Jesus starts off by saying, “And at midnight a cry was heard: …” This statement for whatever reason has stuck with me for quite some time.  To begin with I noticed it does not say at the ‘midnight hour’, but instead ‘at midnight’.  This might seem trivial to some but I think there is a lot of significance behind it.  After all, the foolish virgins did not have enough time to go get more ‘oil’ before the bridegroom returned.  This one point seems to not only expose who were foolish in their preparations for his return, but also shows the consequences of such foolishness by not giving them a lot of notice between the cry of his return and his return.  It’s almost as if the bridegroom didn’t want to reward their foolishness by giving them time after the cry is made to get prepared if they were not already prepared.  When I think about it, what better reward would one have for their wisdom and efforts to be prepared at any time than to be numbered among the selected few who are ‘taken’ back to the bridegrooms home?  So, the nugget we could pull from this is that there is very little time between the cry at midnight and the return of the bridegroom.  Are you ready and prepared?  We see that all ten virgins wanted to go with the bridegroom and were looking forward to his return, so this isn’t the issue.  The issue is more how wise or foolish they were in preparing for it.


Another thing about this statement of Jesus in the parable is the ‘cry’. I have to admit that for the longest time I was stuck on the fact that Jesus said ‘at midnight’ and not ‘at the midnight hour’, and because of that I didn’t give much thought to the ‘cry’ and what it is.  I think for the most part I thought it would be anointed and Spirit lead teaching and preaching alerting people to Christ’s soon return, until recently that is.  A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend about end time events and this very parable.  In our conversation he asked if it was safe to say that the ‘cry’ mentioned in the parable was anointed teaching and preaching on the soon return of Christ.  At first I said it could be but the more I thought about it I realized that could not be the case.  I know that many think that there will be a great revival that comes before the rapture of the church, and I would join in the hope and excitement of such, but I find myself leaning more to a great revival happening after the rapture instead of before it.  There are numerous passages that indicate not everyone that calls themselves a Christian will be chosen, especially from statements that Jesus, Himself, made.  I also find myself thinking that anointed teaching and preaching could not be the ‘cry’ since we’ve been hearing that literally for decades.  So, what could the ‘cry’ be that we should be ‘listening’ for?  Hmmm.


Is there anything in Biblical prophecy that might indicate what that ‘cry’ might be? Can we even say that the ‘cry’ is mentioned and identified in prophecy?  I believe there has to be something that we can point to as the ‘cry’ so that we know what to be listening for, or are we supposed to be in the ‘dark’ until it sounds hoping we will know what it is when we hear it?  In the ancient Jewish marriage customs, the very customs that we find parallel with our relationship with Christ in so, so, so many ways, the virgins waiting for their bridegrooms return had some idea of what that ‘cry’ would sound like and what it would involve, so how is it that we could think that Jesus would not make us aware of what that ‘cry’ would sound like or what it would involve?  Well, I believe He has in fact given us some clues as to what that ‘cry’ would be and what it would involve.  Are you ready for it?  It’s probably not what you’re thinking.


When asked by His disciples Jesus gave a list of things to look for as a way of knowing when He was going about to return. Many of these things have been around for a long time, so to look at the individual items may not be a good pointer of the ‘cry’, but we know when all the things He mentions begin to happen at the same time with increased frequency and intensity then we can know that His return is very near.  Did you catch it?  I know you did but let me tell you anyways.  I believe the ‘cry’ mentioned in the parable of the ten virgins refers to the increasing fulfillment of Biblical end-time prophecies before our very eyes.  Think about it.  It isn’t something that mankind can dictate, manipulate or control, so when it happens we know it is God and not us.  We cannot control, though we may try at times and in different ways, when and how Biblical end-time prophecies are fulfilled, but Jesus said that when we see these things begin to happen we know that His return is very near.


Unlike any other time in history we are literally seeing, for those who are watching, the fulfillment of end-times Bible prophecy before our very eyes at a rate of speed that could make one’s head spin. It seems that key pieces, both small and great, are coming together like never before and in ways never before imagined or believed, taking final steps in preparation of the tribulation period.  And, if the rapture happens before the tribulation as I and others believe it would, then what we are seeing must be the ‘cry’ of His soon and perhaps imminent return.  So, if the ‘cry’ is the fulfillment of end-time Bible prophecy as I said, then it behooves us to make sure we respond to that ‘cry’, trim our lamps, and prepare for His very soon return.


John Johansson


I remember a time more than 15 years ago when there was a tremendous amount of anxiety within the Church in America. At the time “special interest” groups were attempting to push their agenda against churches and Christianity through political processes.  I remember sitting in a church service where many were voicing their concerns and fears regarding what was happening and one could feel the heaviness in the atmosphere.  It was as if God wasn’t around and the issue was too great even for God to deal with.


As I sat there I remembered something a friend of mine once told me and I asked the Pastor if I could share something to the congregation, to which he allowed me to do. I began to share with the congregation how that God is greater than the issues we were facing, and that this was merely a distraction.  I told them that no matter what God was still in control and that He has us covered.  I reminded them that our primary concern was to live for God, and to let the light of Jesus shine through us to those around.  As I began to share these things to the congregation I could see the countenance of the people dramatically change.  Where they at first we’re caught up with fear of what could happen they began to relax and be at peace.


Zipping through time to the present we can see many things that have become a distraction, pulling our focus and energies away from where they should be. It’s not that any of these aren’t good, because many of them are good, but they are a distraction.  For many, these distractions become a ‘cause’ that they embrace and fight for, all the while they lose sight of our primary calling to be Ambassadors of Christ with the ministry of reconciliation, reconciling man back to God.  Often times, these distractions do very little, if anything at all, about promoting or building the Kingdom of God, and in some cases even hurt or destroy the influence of the Church to a lost and dying world.


I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be willing to take a stand for morality, plead the case on behalf of others, or even be influential in the world and culture around us. What I am saying is if these distractions are distracting from or undermining our influence to build the Kingdom of God then we need to take another look at our focus and priorities.  Sometimes we tend to jump to fight or defend something that God hasn’t called us to do, and when we do we bring about more damage to the Kingdom than if we hadn’t.  And, just because God calls someone else to embrace a distraction doesn’t mean He’s calling you to it.


When we let go of the distractions in our lives and realign our focus to what God has called us to, then we don’t have to worry about what is happening in the world around us or what is on the horizon. We can have a peace that God is in control and that He will take care of us.  It’s when we lose sight of our calling or even of Jesus, Himself, that we become apprehensive and struggle with anxiety and fear, fear of either being taken advantage of or suffering in ways we may not like.  We become fearful that God has forsaken us or can’t protect us from those who threaten us or our way of living.  We become fearful that the God we said “yes” to will not be there for us when we need Him.  All of this leads to a pride that says we can do it better ourselves.


If you find that you’ve been caught up with distractions, or even suspect that you may have been, I encourage you to take some time aside and ask God about them. Get alone with God and share your heart with Him, and then ask Him to share His heart for you.  Be open to hear what He may have to say to you and don’t be so quick to shoot Him down or say what you’re hearing isn’t from Him.  And before you end that time with Him make sure what you’ve heard is in unity with and supported by scripture.  If what God has shared with you requires a change on your part, then make the necessary changes including in the area of priorities.  What’s more important, embracing and fighting for a distraction that keeps you from what God has for you, or pursuing God and what He has for you which brings true peace and contentment to your soul.

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