the gathering storm
"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."
[Matt. 16:2-3]   Christ's Rebuke comes to the Pharisees and Sadducees for their
ability to examine the meteorological evidence and predict the weather, while failing to read the evident signs of
the hour and comprehend the unfolding of God's plan and program.
[BSB] The nightly cable "News", weather
forecasts and talking-heads, along with the daily print-media, are no more insightful today than secular pundits
believed themselves to be in the first century.
The Lord's earlier (O.T.) rebuke to Israel regarding her continuing lack of discernment: was in contrast to the
birds, which follow their instincts in order to survive, she (Israel) behaves unnaturally toward her Creator.
... "Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the
time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD."
[Jer. 8:7]
Today, many are seeking 'discernment' of the 'times' outside the wisdom of the Church proper, yet they only find secular
salve for their inquisitive ears.  The Apostle Paul's counsel to Timothy could not be more relevant today ... "
For the time
will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers,
having itching ears."  "And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
[2 Tim. 4:3-4]
Twenty-first century humanity has entered into the prophesized season of an ever-increasing denial of God, Jehovah
Yahweh. This gainsaying is leading directly to the embracing of counterfeit religious persuasions, aberrant new-age type
movements, as well as the spawning of dark-side 'religious' enclaves preaching a psychosocial gospel.   This is to say
nothing of the proliferating and expanding non-Christian religions around the world.
Denominational churches in America are experiencing a significant decline in new conversions and membership.   
Darwinism (vs. Creationism), atheism/agnosticism, hedonism/paganism are invading all areas of American life and our
societal/cultural norms   Countries like England are now only thirty-nine percent Christian, along side a rapid rise in
secularism and Islamic immigration.  The EU is now predominately secular.   Islam is considered (2008) to be the world's
single largest religious denomination, surpassing Roman Catholicism.  It should not take a
rocket-surgeon to have the
presence of mind to ask the question, "why is all of this happening now?"
Recognizing the gathering storms from natural phenomenon, manmade calamities (e.g., 9-11), creeping amoralism and the
beginning apostasy when juxtaposed to the biblical
endtime judgments of God, is like fitting together jigsaw puzzle pieces
into a recognizable whole.
The pre-millennial faithful and loyal body-of-Christ is looking for the prophesied gathering together of Saints, just prior to
the beginning of the Tribulation Period.
"Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the
man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition."
NKVJ [2 Thes. 2:3]
The phrase "the falling away" (he apostasia, Gk.) may be translated "the apostasy."   This is a combination of a preposition
meaning "from" or "away from" and the verb "to stand."  The composite word means literally a "standing away from."  
The implication is that before "the day of the Lord [Christ]" there will occur a marked falling away of professed believers.
The use of the article indicates that Paul has in mind a specific apostasy. The severe difficulties experienced by professing
believers during the days of the Tribulation may cause the repudiation of Christianity by those who are not true believers.
Most deplorably, there are those today professing to operate in the prophetic who are teaching the apostasy (falling away)
is in effect the
rapture of the Saints.  The narcissistic need to distinguish one's self by offering a convoluted spin on
prophetic scripture e.g., the falling away from adherence to Christian doctrine vs. the
rapture of the body-of-Christ as
being the same event is
apostasia within itself.  These teachers are part of the endtime deception set out in 2 Pet. 2:1 ...
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who secretly shall
bring in damnable heresies
.."   The false prophets and teachers are no longer 'secretly' bringing forth their heresies, but
unabashedly offering them over the open airways and teaching them in nationwide 'religious-type' seminars.
The apostasy (revolt against God) will prepare the way for the appearance of the man of sin, the man of lawlessness.  When
the Antichrist signs the
false covenant (Peace Accord) with Israel at the beginning of the Tribulation (Dan. 9:27), he will be
identified by some for who he is.
[RYR]  Presently, there are those stepping onto the world political stage, as well as several
international leaders already in place, who will be easily co-opted into the far reaching geopolitical government-nebulous to be
created by the coming Antichrist.   Most regrettably, America will not be exempt from the coming government
unification/consolidations, sovereignty relinquishments, and counterfeit religious
ecumenism.   The coming religious ecumenical
hegemony is already being orchestrated by the World Council of Churches, National Council of Churches, the religious arm of
the UN, as well as several dominate denominational sects in Christendom, viz.. The Vatican.
Historically, societies/cultures that degenerate into a state of escalating moral laxity, almost without exception, disintegrate
into secular hedonism. The 2008-9 presidential electioneering clearly evidenced deep divisions in America along party lines,
domestic priorities, religious beliefs, international alliances, as well as seminal government issues facing this nation now
and in the near future.   America has become a nation with a 51% vs. 49% division on many national priorities.  We read in
Matt. 12:25, a nation, kingdom, city, people cannot stand divided indefinitely and will ultimately be brought to ruin.   Yet,
America continues to separate itself from the foundation of its origin,
In God We Trust and motor cavalierly down the
broad highway of pandemic secularism.   God will not be mocked, nor
contend/strive with man's waywardness forever.
"When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to
do wrong".
[Eccl. 8-11 (KJV)]
From a 'spiritual' perspective, we are well into the season of the suddenlies where events and happenings come upon a
people and/or nations without sufficient notice to prepare.  The culmination of the
suddenlies will be the coming of the
Day of The Lord, for the wicked which remain! [See one Thes. 5:2-3]
The simile of the  "shadow", which vanishes with the sun and leaves no trace, emphasizes the fleeting and
transitory nature of the life of the wicked.
Wickedness has been endemic in humanity since the exit from The Garden.   Manifest evil is now running rampant across
the horizons of the earth with the real potential to annihilate all humanity (nuclear).  Scripture reveals that unless Christ
comes to intervene in the affairs of mankind, there will be no flesh left alive!   The endtime storms are
ah-gathering, both
in the natural and in the realm of God's coming judgments.
Once national leaders allow themselves to be co-opted into the endtime deceptions, there will be few ways or means out of
the overreaching monetary controls superimposed by international banking.   A worldwide system of virtual, biometric,
international ID registration must begin with centralized controls on the monetary exchange systems and sanctions on the
accumulation of personal wealth.   Scripture refers to this phenomenon as the right to
buy & sell during the Tribulation
Period.  Ultra-bandwidth technology is already in field test for massive interactive multiple-class packet transmission,
Internet-2 is in its 3rd-generation refinement, and innovative software developers are experimenting with tether-free global
transmission identification modules.  Geo. Orwell's 1984 is coming again.
Concern over Force 3-5 hurricanes, EF1-5 tornados, and possible geologic upheavals envisioned by the National Weather
Service in America during 2008-09, are on the minds of many who live in regions having experienced past climatic
calamities. Yet, we seem almost oblivious to the potential collapse of the tittering US economy, a continued proliferation of
amoral-type legislation, forfeiture of longstanding Christian observances and the near-coming judgments of Gods, as He
brings forth the outworking of His endtime Plan. The
storms are ah-gathering in the natural, the spirit realm and
among/between desperate men and their political/religious strongholds.  Going 'Green' is not an elixir for these type
dangers literally lurking at our national doorstep.
America seems to wait on the unexpected external event to change/impact the internal malaise.  It took Pearl Harbor ('41)
to create America's "war machine", it took 9-11 to bring about a Homeland Security Agency and what will it take to turn
America around and headed back to its Christian roots and
trust in God's ways and absolutes?  The existential poet,Andrew
Marvell wrote, "
But at my back I always hear Time's winged chariot hurrying near."  Presidential contenders, international
political movers-'n-shakers, and even military leadership are asking for
more time to accomplish and/or complete their
planed objectives.  We are moving into a
time compression of unfolding events, accentuated by coming suddenlies, with so
much held in denial, by so many.  "More time" is not the answer as such, but it is how we submit and call upon The
Creator of
time ... "all things were made by Him, and for His good pleasure".  Can we interpret the signs of the times?
The eye of the storm is a meteorological term for a hurricane/cyclone characterized by a low-pressure system center (eye)
with force winds rotating around the center point .  The eye-area is defined as a space of relative calm with force-danger
turbulence swirling in 360° circumference.  America, and other Christian-centric nations, are literally in the eye of the
storm of endtime prophetic events.  Israel/Zion is clearly moving into the 'thick of the storm', as prophecies in Ezk. 38 &
39 approach their manifest.  The deceptiveness of the 'perceived' calm is a misnomer and lessens the sense/awareness of
impending danger(s).  A container-nuke, GSP detonated in NY Harbor, would probably get our attention tout de suite.
Such an event would tank our economy, force a recall of military assets abroad, and force America into a posture of
National Protectionism.
Can we see the coming prophetic storms just topping the horizon, now the size of a man's hand?  Where is the clarion call
from the pulpits in America, "repent, for your redemption draweth nigh"?   We have natural eyesight, insight, foresight, yet
seemingly sparse spiritual sagacity (prophetic sightedness).  A watchman on the wall has the demanding obligation to
proclaim that which he sees coming. The watchman blows the shofar, proclaims his message and his work is complete
for that time.  Those which choose not to listen, signature their own fate.
A psychosocial/sinless gospel, ethnocentric spew, prosperity talismans, and entertainment-type Christianity are in
increasing evidence within many an America church house.  A measurable amount of 'Christian' television has become
entertainment orientated, gold-digging and celebrating more the messenger than the redemptive message of Christ's gospel.
Without a
Sin sermon, there is no need for redemption.  Without the need for redemption, Christ's completed work at the
Cross was for naught!   When a 'representative' sample of church attendees was surveyed as to "when was the last time
you heard a
Blood Sermon from your local pulpit or on that weekly 'Christian' television broadcast?", the large majority
were not able to remember one, or believed there had not been one outside of the Passover week's messages.  We are
surely at the very beginning of falling away period (apostasy), and it is NOT the rapture event! As said earlier, America
seems to wait upon that external challenge (disaster) before it is jostled loose from its "all is well" dream-like slumber.
Severe natural climatic changes occur with some seasonal regularity, and have scientifically understandable causes.  The
eschatological storms of the endtime season will not be altogether as easily understood e.g., 9-11 was a one-time
event, at least up to the present.  The coming endtime storms are in all likelihood unavoidable, irrespective of the
"Dominion Now" religious ideologies (man can purpose to order the world and directly influence its endtime fate).  Either
God has set
Providence in motion and orchestrated its pathway to fulfillment, or á la Darwin and mankind have claim to
such authority.
When the coming calamities commence, those praying to Gaia, the Queen of Heaven, Darwin etc. will only have the empty
echo of their own prayers to be comforted by and rely upon.  The endtime storms to be released from the bowls of the
earth are set out in the Book of Revelation. Â The only storm insurance (fig.) we can have complete trust in, is framed in
Christ's promises, His fulfilled and completed work at the Cross, His resurrection and His second coming. The title of your
Policy is,
Salvation by Grace and His Grace Alone. The Policy provisions are Eternal and irrevocable. If you have not
done so already, vow not to become a casualty or victim of the coming storms, nor a spoil to the enemy.  For "your
adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
[1Pet. 5:8] The "enemy knows he has but
a short time", and his attacks will only increase in their intensity, frequency and ferocity.   Do a spiritual self-inventory
today, and make certain you are ready for what is to come, anticipated or unexpected!
The plea of this commentary is, do not be lulled by the seeming outward un-eventfulness of this season ... those who will
persevere to His appearing, are preparing to be in readiness, now.
Jon D. Hannum, Ph.D.
Amen Ministries of Austin