Sunday, September 9, 2012

Signs of the Times

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A couple of times, by their gracious permission, we have featured art from John the Baptist Artworks and invited you to support that ministry.  They have just come out with a new collection entitled Signs of the Times and I wanted to invite you to visit their website and review the inspired artwork on it.

There is much edification on their site if you have the time to peruse it, but one part of this latest series I particularly recommend is Don't Get Distracted.  Please Brothers and Sisters, at the very least read this one if you cannot read anymore right now.  It never ceases to amaze me how God speaks to and through His people and such is even more important now given the times in which we live.

I have also pasted below the introduction to this new series of work below.  Although Sis. Rebecca does not profess herself to be a teacher, she indeed has that gift.  I have no doubt that God has given her words for His people in this hour and I pray that we all have an ear to hear.


Signs of the Times Series

A Warn­ing

From the early days of the min­istry of John the Bap­tist Art­works, I knew that one of its major pur­poses was to warn peo­ple about the near­ness of the End Times and of the Sec­ond Com­ing of Jesus Christ. While Jesus said that no one knows the exact day or hour of his return (Matthew 24:36), he did warn us that we would be able to rec­og­nize its sea­son (Matthew 24:32–35). The signs indi­cat­ing that sea­son are the ful­fill­ment of Bib­li­cal prophecy (and the near­ing of their fulfillment).

When we con­sider that Jesus ful­filled every one of the 300+ Bib­li­cal prophe­cies about the Mes­siah (Christ) at his first com­ing, we would be wise to pay close atten­tion to the even greater num­ber of Bib­li­cal prophe­cies sur­round­ing his Sec­ond Com­ing. (See “Signs of The Times Series: Can You See Jesus Ful­filled Bib­li­cal Prophe­cies?”). Jesus warned that for those who are not watch­ing, wait­ing and prepar­ing for his Sec­ond Com­ing, that that day will close in unex­pect­edly upon them like a trap (Luke 21:34–35). That Day and even the days imme­di­ately prior to it will be one of unprece­dented tur­moil, dev­as­ta­tion and destruc­tion upon the earth. It will be a time of judg­ment and wrath for the unbe­liever and a time of mercy and redemp­tion for believ­ers in Jesus.

It is my prayer, there­fore, that God will use this Signs of The Times series of art­work to help all of us pre­pare for that Day so that it will not catch us like a thief in the night (2 Peter 3:10) and so that we may be spared from all that God is about to bring upon this earth on account of sin (Luke 21:36). 

We must also under­stand the cur­rent sea­son in which we are liv­ing, for it is a time where God is freely offer­ing us his mercy and sal­va­tion. “The Lord is not slow in keep­ing his promise [Christ’s return], as some under­stand slow­ness. He is patient with you, not want­ing any­one to per­ish, but every­one to come to repen­tance” (2 Peter 3:9–10). “For I take no plea­sure in the death of any­one, declares the Sov­er­eign LORD. Repent and live! (Ezekiel 18:32). 

Today God is grant­ing all of us the oppor­tu­nity to be rec­on­ciled to him through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ. Those of us who for­sake our sin and believe in Jesus Christ, the aton­ing sac­ri­fice for our sin, will be spared from the wrath of God both in this life (when it is poured out dur­ing the End Times) as well as in the life to come. (See “Mes­sage”).

The Inspi­ra­tion Behind the “Signs of the Times” Series of Artwork

The Lord first began giv­ing me dreams about the End Times shortly after 2000. Although I had a sense that these dreams were sig­nif­i­cant some­how, I did not under­stand them at first, nei­ther did I write them down. Like Samuel (Samuel 3), I was still very young in the faith and had not yet become acquainted with the Lord’s voice. Over the years, how­ever, I have become a lot more acutely aware of when God is speak­ing to me through a prophetic dream. In addi­tion to other ways, most notably the Scrip­tures, dreams have become a nor­mal way which God has cho­sen to speak to me.

The Lord gives me dreams (Acts 2:16–17) for var­ied pur­poses: Per­son­ally warn­ing me (Matthew 2:12) or encour­ag­ing me (Jere­miah 30:3–31:26), guid­ing me (Matthew 2:13), reveal­ing my sin (Job 33:14–18) or to give me spir­i­tual rev­e­la­tion or under­stand­ing in an area (Matthew 1:20–21). A cer­tain num­ber of these dreams have also revealed future events (almost all events per­tain­ing to my own life or those close to me) (Daniel 4), many of which I have already seen ful­filled. The two most com­mon rea­sons why God gives me dreams is to reveal my sin and to guide me.

Although my dreams are usu­ally appar­ent in their mes­sage, the Lord has helped me under­stand many of the areas where there is sym­bol­ism (Gen­e­sis 41). The sym­bol­ism in my dreams from God (End Times and non-End Times) is usu­ally pretty con­sis­tent with other dreams he has given me. In many cases the sym­bol­ism can be directly inter­preted through the Scrip­tures. All that said, some­times there are cer­tain aspects of my dreams that remain a mys­tery to me. How­ever, I have often found that as I grow in my under­stand­ing of God and espe­cially as I see these prophetic events in my dreams unfold in real life, many of these mys­ter­ies are revealed at a later time.

As these End Times dreams began to increase in fre­quency, clar­ity, inten­sity and urgency, I began to record them. I believe God gave them to me for the pur­pose of per­son­ally warn­ing and prepar­ing me for the End Times and for Jesus’ return. They have rad­i­cally impacted me and changed the way I live. God has used them to help me “…make every effort to be found spot­less, blame­less and at peace with him” (2 Peter 3:14) when he returns. To this day God con­tin­ues to use them to save me from many regrets in how I live my life here on earth “…so that when he appears we [I] may be con­fi­dent and unashamed before him at his com­ing” (1 John 2:28).

In the course of time I felt the Lord urg­ing me to do a series of art­work that is largely based on these End Times dreams and how they have affected my life. I began this body of work in the mid-2000’s, and more pieces may be added in the future. I have named the series, Signs of The Times, allud­ing to Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:2–3, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morn­ing, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and over­cast.’ You know how to inter­pret the appear­ance of the sky, but you can­not inter­pret the signs of the times”

Jesus said this to those who failed to rec­og­nize and who refused to believe in the many signs which proved that he was the proph­e­sied Mes­siah (Christ) at his first com­ing. I have applied these words to his Sec­ond Com­ing, as there will once again be many signs sur­round­ing his return demon­strat­ing that Jesus Christ is God’s one, true, proph­e­sied Mes­siah, the One whom God sent to save us from our sins.

Lastly, I have never been a part of the “end of the world” band-wagon nor have I ever been involved in any kind of End Times hype (Y2K, 2012, Harold Camp­ing, movies, books, world events, pre­dic­tions, cults, etc.) My per­sonal sense of urgency about the near­ness of the End Times comes directly from the Lord as he has spo­ken to my heart through the Scrip­tures and through the End Times dreams he has given me.

In Con­clu­sion

Those who view this art­work and read what I have writ­ten about it should be mind­ful to keep these dreams within their proper, orig­i­nal con­text: They were given to me per­son­ally for the pur­pose of prepar­ing me for the End Times and Jesus’ return. Oth­ers may glean off the mes­sages of these dreams and the lessons con­tained within them, but they should NOT be taken as spe­cific prophetic words addressed to the pub­lic or to the Chris­t­ian community.

Fur­ther­more, there are a num­ber of dif­fer­ent escha­to­log­i­cal (the­ol­ogy of the End Times) views con­cern­ing the inter­pre­ta­tion of the Scrip­tures and the tim­ing of var­i­ous End Times events. God has not called me to be a Bible teacher but an artist and a her­ald of his gospel. There­fore, in my writ­ings about my art­work, my aim is not to teach spe­cific doc­trines nor to enter into debates but rather to faith­fully present the main mes­sages of the art­work and dreams. The Scrip­tures and doc­trines I men­tion are those which directly per­tain to my dreams, art­work, the inspi­ra­tion behind them or the impact they have made in my life. Lastly, I would never claim to have per­fect under­stand­ing sur­round­ing every aspect of the Scrip­tures or the End Times. In my writ­ings, I am pre­sent­ing my opin­ions, which are based on the best of my cur­rent under­stand­ing of these matters.

And in the end.…..we may pos­sess tremen­dous Bib­li­cal knowl­edge, but if our hearts are not pre­pared to meet Jesus at his Sec­ond Com­ing, then what good is it?

My prayer is that God will use this body of art­work to pre­pare our hearts.

In clos­ing, the viewer should be mind­ful not to miss the whole pur­pose of this art­work by get­ting tan­gled up in doc­tri­nal the­o­ries and over-analyzation of the dreams. Like Jesus’ para­bles, the mes­sages of these dreams are simple…for those whose hearts are ready to receive them. It is good, there­fore, to approach the art­work with an open heart and with open ears to hear the core mes­sages in these dreams and paint­ings, which can be summed up in the sim­ple state­ment of John the Bap­tist: “Repent, for the king­dom of heaven is near…Prepare the way for the Lord” (Matthew 3:2–3).

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