Deliver Me from Evil: A Human Trafficking Story

Excerpt from Deliver Me From Evil by Kathi Macias

Mara fought to breathe against the thick darkness that pressed her down. The closet was so small…so dark and cramped. Impossible to stretch out, whether lying down or standing up. How long had it been now? Hours? Days? The blackness was too complete, the confines too cramped even to venture a guess.

She’d been in what they all termed “the hole” before, but not for a while now. In the beginning, before she’d learned to obey the rules without question or hesitation, she had often found herself confined in what felt like a tomb, wondering how long it would take before she crossed so far into insanity that there was no way back. And though the times in the hole were the worst, life outside the silent box wasn’t much better. To survive, Mara had quickly learned to remove herself from the horrifying reality that had become her life, to travel far away in her mind where the torture was only a distant terror, one she could endure if she disciplined herself to think of something else. Eventually she had become one of the most compliant of the twenty or more wretched creatures that dwelled in this nameless location, which she had come to understand was somewhere in the San Diego area of Southern California, not far from the Mexican border. As a result, her trips to the hole became only a vague yet obedience-motivating memory.

But this time she had dared to break a rule, not openly but secretly, praying to a god she didn’t really believe in to protect her. Unfortunately, the nonexistent god had apparently chosen not to answer her prayer, and she had been caught and severely punished—beaten mercilessly and thrown into the hole without food or water—because she had allowed the face of a young child to entice her to venture beyond the tentative bounds of safety.

And for what? Not only had she failed to help the girl escape, but she had probably caused her to be thrown into the hole as well, for there were several such confines within the compound. Nearly as bad as being in the claustrophobic enclosure herself was knowing that a captive no older than six or seven was being held in a similar prison nearby, terrified beyond imagining.

When would Mara learn? She herself hadn’t been much older than the tiny child when she was spirited away from her previous life, never again to see her home or family or anything else familiar. Thrust into a world of violence and perversion, Mara had learned to endure the most nightmarish and degrading of conditions. Though at first she had cried and begged to go home to her parents, even though they too had beaten and abused her, she finally came to understand that it was her father who had sold her into this new life from which there was no escape—and her very own uncle, her “tio” who had arranged the sale and was now her owner. And that was the worst part of it all—realizing that no one would ever come to rescue her, for those who should care enough to try were the ones who put her there—all for the price of a few weeks worth of drugs or alcohol, possibly even some food.

With that realization, Mara had chosen to harden her heart and do whatever she must to get through, one day at a time—sometimes one moment at a time. That was how she had gained the tiniest amount of freedom and privileges, being fed more regularly and even allowed to walk relatively unhindered around the small compound that had become her world—so long as she continued to obey her tio and his two henchmen without question.

But then the little girl with the terrified eyes had arrived, bound and gagged, bloody and bruised…and everything had changed.

Chapter 1

Jonathan had just turned eighteen and was less than a couple of weeks away from his high school graduation, but his lifelong dream of becoming a major league pitcher was no closer to materializing now than when he first entertained the thought while he was still in grammar school. He’d worked hard to try to achieve his goal, but it seemed that good just wasn’t good enough—not for turning pro, anyway. The best he could hope for was to enjoy the game as a leisurely pursuit and maybe coach his own children’s teams one day.

Meanwhile, he had to get serious about what seemed his only viable alternative—heading off to Bible college in the fall, just as his parents had always prayed he would. It wasn’t that Jonathan didn’t believe in Jesus or want to serve Him, but he really had no clue what that looked like in reality. His parents had been missionaries for several years, and his dad now served as an associate pastor at a healthy, growing church, so Jonathan and his younger sister and only sibling, Leah, had plenty of experience as missionary and pastor’s kids. But did Jonathan want to be a missionary or a pastor himself? Not really. He just wanted to throw a baseball faster and harder than anyone else in the history of the world.

Jonathan sighed. Just proved how totally unspiritual he really was. If he were a real on-fire Christian like his parents or even sixteen-year-old Leah, he’d be up already—even if it was Saturday—praying and reading his Bible. Instead, all he could think about was getting enough of the guys together to play a few innings before he had to head off to work this afternoon at his part-time pizza-delivery job.

He inhaled deeply and dragged himself from bed, standing to his full six-foot two-inch height. He might as well jump in the shower before Leah locked herself in the bathroom for the morning or he’d never make it to the field on time.

He smiled in spite of himself. Leah. He’d spent the better part of his life complaining about his “pain in the rear” little sister tagging along behind him and doing her best to ruin his life in every possible way imaginable, but he couldn’t fathom not having her around. Sure, he’d miss his parents when he went off to school in a few months, but it was Leah he would miss the most—though he’d rather have his tongue cut out than admit it.

Wait a minute. The door to the hallway bathroom that he shared with his sister was closed. Surely she wasn’t up already! He tried the handle. Locked. Jonathan shook his head. Maybe life without her would have its advantages after all.

***

Leah swallowed a giggle. She’d heard Jonathan jiggle the bathroom doorknob, but when he called to her and asked how long she’d be, she’d turned on the shower and pretended not to hear. On weekdays she always let him have first crack at the bathroom, while she snuggled under the covers for a few extra minutes. It was only fair. Jonathan could shower and be dressed and out the door in less time than it took her to figure out what to do with her thick, curly mane of long red hair. And since her parents had allowed her to start wearing a touch of makeup, her morning beauty regimen took even longer, driving her brother crazy if he was pacing outside the door. So she allowed him first dibs on school days or when he had to get to work early. But Saturdays? Nah. He’d just have to wait his turn. Besides, if he’d really wanted in there first, he could have gotten up earlier.

When you snooze, you lose, she thought, grinning as she climbed into the shower and adjusted the water, all the time considering how irritated Jonathan got when she threw that phrase at him.

“Will you quit saying that?” he’d demand. “I’m not the one who lies around in bed until the last minute and then hogs the bathroom!”

She’d shrug and raise her eyebrows nonchalantly. “I’m just saying…” Her voice would trail off then, and she’d scoot past him before he grabbed her and they ended up in a wrestling match. True, he always cooled down and let her win, but her mother had made quite a big deal lately about their being too old to roll around on the floor and holler at one another.

“You’re going to break something one of these days,” she’d warn. “Either one of my lamps or one of your bones. So could you please settle down and try acting your age for a change? Honestly!”

By that time the siblings would become conspirators, grinning at one another behind their mother’s back. The thought that Jonathan would soon be gone away to college came like a streak of hot lightning to her heart, and her playful mood evaporated. She was glad her brother was going to attend Bible college, though she doubted it was for the right reasons, but she was going to miss him nonetheless. He’d been her protector and confidante her entire life, and things just wouldn’t be the same without him. On the positive side, she could only hope and pray that Jonathan’s stint at college would be the catalyst for launching him into the ministry she was sure God had for him. Selfishly, she hoped that ministry wouldn’t take him far from their San Diego home, as she really couldn’t imagine her life without Jonathan in it.

***

Mara’s feet still felt numb, as if she couldn’t get enough blood flowing through them to make them work right. And so she hobbled as best she could—and as quickly as possible—to do the bidding of her uncle or any of the others who claimed ownership over her. The time in the hole, which had so restricted her movement that her limbs no longer seemed to work right, had reminded her that even the confines of the compound and the humiliation that went with her position as slave were preferable to what could happen to her if she disobeyed again.

As she busied herself preparing a simple meal for her tio and the two other men who currently oversaw the twenty-plus young slaves in the compound, she wondered at the fate of the little girl who had precipitated her most recent punishment. Mara hadn’t seen her since being released from the hole the previous day. She didn’t even know the child’s name—and little else about the others in the compound, for that matter—as the captives were forbidden from discussing personal information. The names assigned the overseers were quite obviously made up, since Mara’s uncle’s real name was Tomas but they were all instructed to call him “Jefe” or “Chief.” The other two that assisted Jefe were known as “Destroyer” and “Enforcer,” no doubt for intimidation purposes, Mara presumed. And the customers who “dated” the girls—or even one of the two young boys also being held there—seldom divulged their real names.

Don’t ask names; don’t look at faces. Mara had learned that rule long ago. Her own name had eventually been changed from Maria to Mara because her uncle-turned-owner said that Mara meant “bitter” and it fit her personality since coming to live at the compound. Looking back, it was probably one of the few true statements she could remember Jefe ever making.

Bitter. What else could she be, growing up in a place like this? She might as well have a name that fit her.

Don’t ask names; don’t look at faces. The warning still echoed in her mind. If only she’d remembered that when the little girl came in a few days earlier, maybe they both could have been spared some time in the hole.

So where is she now? Mara wondered again, using a large spoon to scoop the steaming canned stew into three bowls. Though it was her job to feed her captors, she had to wait to eat anything until they gave her permission. She hoped it wouldn’t be too long, as she’d had very little since emerging from her punishment the previous evening.

The kid probably hasn’t had anything at all yet, she thought, remembering how it was when she first arrived. Part of the painful process of breaking her down had been keeping her hungry, so much so that her stomach growled and burned almost constantly, and she was soon willing to do anything for a piece of stale bread. No doubt the new girl was receiving the same treatment.

It doesn’t matter, she told herself, steeling her heart. She’s not my problem. If either one of us is going to survive, I’ve got to remember that. And if she doesn’t survive…that’s not my problem either. The only problem I’ve got right now is getting these men fed before they get mad and throw me back in the hole.

Walking gingerly on feet that still felt like partially thawed blocks of ice, she concentrated on balancing the tray with the three bowls of food. More than once she’d paid the price for spilling even a drop, and she was not about to let that happen again. The memory of the beatings, plus two or three days with no food at all, were more than she could bear on top of what she’d already endured.

As she stood in her uncle’s office in front of the three men, her eyes downcast and her back straight, hoping her arms wouldn’t start shaking from the weight of the tray, she waited for them to acknowledge her, even as she sneaked peeks at them from under her lashes.

“How many healthy ones have we got right now?” Enforcer asked, his shaved head gleaming in the overhead light.

“Counting this one,” Jefe answered, jerking his head in Mara’s direction, “twelve or thirteen. But we’ll need to clean them up first. Tonight’s customers are particular. They want us to bring them clean and healthy.” He smirked. “And young, of course. A few more years and this one won’t be acceptable to them anymore.”

Mara’s heart constricted with fear. As much as she hated what she knew would be required of her this night, she had grown used to it. She knew how to escape in her mind and not even feel what was being done to her. She also knew the night’s activities, as distasteful as they were, meant she would get a bath and clean clothes, as well as something to eat, before going to meet the man or men—or occasionally a woman—who would be her companion through the long, dark hours. But when she got to the point that she was considered too old—as had happened with several others since Mara joined the group nearly ten years earlier—her life would hold no more value. She would become a liability to the men, and she would quickly disappear, like the others, sold to anyone who would take her or turned out on the street to fend for herself, sleeping behind deserted buildings and scavenging for food. As bad as it was to be used by the highest bidder for whatever his pleasure might be, it was better than the alternative.

Or so she tried to convince herself. There were also times when the bidder’s pleasure was such horrible torture for her that she wondered if death wouldn’t be the best option after all.

“Don’t just stand there,” her uncle barked, nearly causing Mara to drop the tray in front of her. Only years of disciplined practice kept it steady in her hands. “Give us our food and get out of here. We’ll get you ready for your night out later.”

Doing her best to control her breathing, Mara placed the bowls on the round glass table in front of the men and then, still gazing at her feet, turned to leave.

“It’s too bad about the new one,” she heard Destroyer say. “She was young and small—and you could smell the fear on her. She would have brought a lot of money.”

“Would have,” Jefe growled, the familiar lust in his voice evident. “Too late now, though. Who would have thought two days in the hole would kill her? I just wanted to teach her who was boss, that’s all.” He laughed, and the sound of it sent a chill snaking up Mara’s spine. If her stomach hadn’t been so empty, she might have vomited. “I wanted her myself,” her uncle continued. “Wanted to train her right before I turned her over to the customers.” He laughed again, and Mara could picture his lecherous grin. “Guess we’ll have to make a point of finding a nice young replacement for her real soon, now, won’t we?”

The overweight middle-aged man and his two slightly younger companions laughed heartily, continuing with their lewd conversation about what they would like to have done to the little girl whose fear they could smell. Mara hurried as quickly as she was able into the cramped room that served as home to her and several others. Hot tears stung her eyes, and she rebelled at the emotions she had thought were dead, now rising up within her once again.

So, the little girl with the terrified eyes had escaped after all. Perhaps there really was no other way out of this horrible place.

Watch the human trafficking movie Run on Inspiration TV, Saturday, October 19 at 9 p.m. (EST) and Sunday, October 20 at 5 p.m. (EST)

If you need help, call the Human Trafficking Hotline (toll-free): 1-888-373-7888

For more information go to Humantraffickinghotline.org

You can also find resources and help at TraffickFree.com.

Order your copy of Deliver Me From Evil by Kathi Macias

Kathi Macias is an award-winning author of more than fifty books. A popular speaker for women’s retreats, conferences, churches, TV and radio, Kathi also does outreach to prison and homeless ministries. Learn more at kathimacias.com


They Don’t Know My Name: A Trafficking Story

Excerpt from The Slave Across the Street by Theresa Flores and PeggySue Wells

To the men who used me night after night, I was not a human being. As they performed the most intimate act a man and a woman engage in, I was only a dollar value. A commodity.

To know this in my formative teenage years, during that period when a woman defines her worth and identity, proved devastating. How does a child begin to process this?

To feel, to hear, that so many, many men did not care about me at all, in fact they celebrated my humiliation, degradation, and pain, was a critical wound to my soul. It was a bitter view of inhumanity to an idealistic teenager.

This awareness leads a victim of human trafficking to lose all love, even for themselves. When others don’t value or love you, it becomes difficult to love yourself. There is no healthy example. Shame, embarrassment, and guilt fill the vacuum where love should thrive.

Often the heart and the brain give conflicting messages. My heart was wounded from so many men treating me without care or value. Certain locations, smells, words, or songs can trigger memories. One day a friend and I watched a movie on trafficking called Call and Response. As I sat in my theatre seat, trying to be strong and not remember, the passionate words of a song penetrated my carefully constructed shell.

“They don’t know my name…”

The memory rushed forward like a wave crashing upon a rocky beach. On that night the room smelled of sex, smoke, and musky incense when an older, attractive, olive skinned man entered. He looked upon me, splayed naked on the bed, my hair rumpled, my young body wet and exhausted from being mounted by so many men. Rarely did anyone look me in the eyes but this man did, and I saw admiration and sadness reflected there.

“What is your name?” he asked in a rough accent.

Knowing I would be punished, I didn’t dare say a word.

The kind-eyed man seemed out of place among these other brutes. He turned to Vince. “What is her name?”

Vince looked at him with disgust. “What does it matter? She has no name.”

His words struck my heart. I turned my head to the side as tears rolled down my cheek.

“Never mind,” I heard the man say. “I have changed my mind. The deal is off.”

I turned to watch the dignified man walk regally out of the room.

I felt Vince’s anger and his repulsion of the man who refused his prize. “Get up and get dressed,” he spat. “You’re no good to me anymore tonight. Get out of here. I will tell David to take you home now. And this better not ever happen again! You are costing me money!”

While I was grateful that I didn’t have to endure any more that night, all I could think of was that this kind man hadn’t helped me escape.

I was worth nothing.

I didn’t matter.

I had no name.

Watch the human trafficking movie Run on Inspiration TV, Saturday, October 19 at 9 p.m. (EST) and Sunday, October 20 at 5 p.m. (EST)

If you need help, call the Human Trafficking Hotline (toll-free): 1-888-373-7888

For more information go to Humantraffickinghotline.org

You can also find resources and help at Theresa’s website, TraffickFree.com.

Order your copy of The Slave Across the Street

Theresa Flores is a bestselling author with an MA in counseling and more than twenty years of experience as a licensed social worker. She is a highly sought-after speaker, having been a victim of trafficking during her teenage years. Learn more at her website, TraffickFree.com.

Peggysue Wells is the author of more than two dozen books and has collaborated with Theresa Flores on the bestselling book The Slave Across the Street and also Slavery in the Land of the Free: A Student’s Guide to Modern Day Slavery. A frequent radio guest, she writes for magazines, instructs at writers conferences, and serves as a writing coach and conference speaker. Learn more at PeggysueWells.com.


Behind the Scenes of Heaven Bound with Torry Martin

Known for his comedic charm and passionate love for Christ, Torry inspires many through stand-up comedy and numerous Christian films. His genuine love of laughter invites you into his joy.

Torry Martin

The self-proclaimed “hippie for the Holy One” recently sat down with Inspiration TV for an exclusive look at the makings of “Heaven Bound.” From the creation of his role as “Moochie” to his extensive collection of Doc Marten shoes, Torry carries us through the bloopers and blessings of Heaven Bound. You don’t want to miss this or the movie!

Don’t forget, “Heaven Bound” airs on Inspiration TV this Saturday September 7th at 9pm US Eastern, 21:00 UK and Sunday at 5:30pm US Eastern, 17:30 UK. Watch the trailer here!


The Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ

In a world that is desperate for peace, the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ will be a welcomed time of Peace for all of mankind. The Millennial Reign will be a period of time in which Jesus Christ will reign on earth for 1,000 years as the sovereign ruler, in fulfillment of many Old and New Testament prophecies. During His reign, Satan will be bound and sealed in the bottomless pit so that he will have no influence in the earth to deceive mankind. Jesus’ rule will span the entire world. He will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords of the whole world. He will also sit on the throne of His father, David, ruling over Israel.

Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost, in his book Things to Come states: “The millennium will be the period of the full manifestation of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. There will be the manifestation of glory associated with the humanity of Christ. There will be the glory of a glorious dominion, in which Christ, by virtue of his obedience unto death, is given universal dominion to replace that dominion which Adam lost. There will be the glory of a glorious government, in which Christ, as David’s son is given absolute power to govern. There will be the glory of a glorious inheritance, in which the land and the seed promised to Abraham are realized through Christ…”

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John F. Walvoord, in his book The Revelation of Jesus Christ states: “Advocates of this view hold that the millennium is a period in which Christ will literally reign on earth as its supreme political leader and that the many promises of the Old Testament relating to a kingdom on earth in which Israel will be prominent and Gentiles will be blessed will have complete and literal fulfillment.”

What does the term Millennial Reign mean? The word "millennium" is from the Latin words mille and annum. Mille means one thousand (1000). Annum means years. When both words are combined they mean one thousand years. The word "reign" means the time during which someone such as a sovereign reigns. Royal authority is the period of time during which a king, queen, emperor, is ruler of a country.

The words "one thousand years" are mentioned six times in the Book of Revelation chapter 20 verses 1-7. I believe the Lord wanted to make it clear that during Jesus Christ time of rule He will reign for a literal one thousand years. Some have tried to make this reference a figurative or spiritual one. The Scriptures confirm that this kingdom would be literal. Jesus will be the sovereign King with all authority reigning physically in His earthly kingdom.

The Prophets Declare His Millennial Reign

The prophet Zechariah prophesied the coming of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem with detailed accuracy. He described Jesus being presented to the nation of Israel, first as a lowly king riding on a donkey. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion’ shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Zechariah 9:9.

How humble of King Jesus was, to be presented to the nation of Israel riding on such a lowly beast as a donkey. This prophecy indicated how God would use His Son to redeem the earth. Zechariah also predicted His second coming and reign on earth. He stated that Jesus would one day return and set His feet on the Mount of Olives before Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:4), and that He would return to earth to be King and one Lord over all the earth.

“And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.” (Zechariah 14:9)

The prophet Isaiah also wrote of the coming kingdom of Jesus Christ. He stated that the governments would be on His shoulders, signifying that He would have full responsibility for ruling all the world. He declared that Jesus would be called Wonderful, Counselor, and The Mighty God. This shows the deity of Christ, meaning Jesus is God. He called Him the Everlasting Father, affirming His eternal existence. Isaiah refers to Him as the Prince of Peace, declaring Him as the true peacemaker; the one coming to bring peace to the entire world. And finally, Jesus will sit on the throne of David, ordering and establishing it with judgment and justice. This one accession, irrefutably, places Him within the rich lineage and heritage of King David, who is a descendant of Abraham.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

In the New Testament book of Revelation, the apostle John predicted that the length of His reign will be one thousand years. This may seem to limit the time of Christ’ reign, but it actually begins His everlasting dominion that will continue from the Millennium kingdom into the Eternal State in the New Heavens and New Earth (Revelation 20:4, 6).

Different Views on the Millennial Reign

The Millennial Reign has become one of the most misunderstood teachings in the Word of God. Numerous views have been taught on the subject, which adds to the misunderstanding and confusion. There are three major views taught that we will examine. The first is called the A-Millennial View, the second is the Post-Millennial view, and the third is the Pre-Millennial view.

1) The A-Millennial View: The a-millennial interpretation is a denial that there will be a one thousand year reign of Christ after His return to earth. It is a-millennial or non-millennial, because it denies the literal reign of Christ on earth. This view was developed in 400 A.D. by St. Augustine. It was adopted by the Roman Catholic Church in 431 A.D. at the Council of Ephesus.

2) The Post-Millennial View: This view basically believes that the world will get better and better until the whole world is Christianized and then Christ will return to a kingdom of peace. This view was originated by Daniel Whitby (1638-1726), a Unitarian in England. Although he was censored for some of his heretical views, many conservative theologians rapidly embraced and propagated his viewpoint on the millennium.

3) The Pre-Millennial View: This view teaches that Jesus Christ will return to earth, literally and bodily, before the millennial age begins. It says that by His presence, a kingdom will be instituted over which He will reign, and that all of Israel’s covenants will be literally fulfilled. It will continue for a thousand years, after which the kingdom will be given by the Son to the Father when it will merge with His eternal kingdom.

Generally speaking, one’s view of interpreting the Scriptures determines whether or not he or she is a pre-millennialist. For the most part, all who believe the Bible to be literal are pre-millennialists.

I believe the Pre-Millennial view stands the test of Scripture and gives a clear and balanced perspective on God’s end-time program. This view stands on the literal interpretation of the reign of Jesus Christ sitting on a real throne in the future. A colleague once said, “When the plain sense make sense there is no other sense, unless you end up with non-sense.” Just as Jesus’ first coming was literal, so will this one thousand years of Christ ruling on earth be literal. It’s unreasonable to think that only part of the prophecies on His life will be fulfilled literally and the balance not be completed the same way.

What is God’s Purpose for the Millennial Reign?

The purpose of the Millennium will be to establish the physical rule of Jesus Christ in the Earth. Christ will fulfill all of the Old and New Testament prophecies regarding His life. To best understand the physical prophecies regarding Christ Jesus, we need to remember the words of our Lord in Matthew 5:18: “...till Heaven and Earth pass, one jot and tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

In essence, the Lord was stating that all of the Word of God will be fulfilled before Heaven and Earth will pass away. Many of these future physical prophecies cannot yet be fulfilled because they are linked to Christs physical return. At His first coming, Jesus fulfilled 300 physical prophecies. Discovering the prophecies of Christ’s future physical reign will further help in understanding the overall purpose of the Millennial Reign.

In Matthew 2:6, it states that out of Judah, a Governor shall come and rule God’s people Israel. Luke 1:32-33 conveys that God shall give Him the throne of his father David and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever. The prophet Daniel said in his book that dominion, glory, and a kingdom will be given to Jesus, and all people, nations, and languages, will serve Him (Daniel 7:14). Micah 4:7 lets us know that Jesus will reign over Mount Zion. Isaiah speaks quite vividly of a glorious kingdom given to Jesus from God. He will be firmly established and will rule in a royal manner. It will be delivered with much fanfare and brilliant splendor. He will also give Him the key of the house of David which signifies authority. And He should be for a glorious throne to his father’s house, (Isaiah 22:21-23).

Clearly, these prophecies show that Jesus will sovereignly reign over His own kingdom, which He did not fulfill at His first coming. The Millennial kingdom is the time when all of these prophecies will be fulfilled.

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Related Articles:

End Times Bible Study - David Cerullo

The Two Witnesses of Revelation - Dr. Ron Rhodes

Who is the Antichrist? - Dr. Ron Rhodes

Can People Get Saved After the Rapture? - Dr. David Reagan

The Case for a Pre-Trib Rapture - Theresa Garcia

 

Evangelist Donald Perkins is the Founder and President of According To Prophecy Ministries. He has devoted much of his life to the study of biblical end-time prophecy. He is also a member of the Pre-trib Research Study Group, founded by Dr. Tim LaHaye. More from Don Perkins at according2prophecy.org


The Two Witnesses of Revelation

During the tribulation period, two mighty witnesses will rise who will testify to the true God with astounding power. In fact, the power of these witnesses brings to mind Elijah (1 Kings 17; Malachi 4:5) and Moses (Exodus 7—11). It is significant that in the Old Testament two witnesses were required to confirm testimony (see Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15; Matthew 18:16; John 8:17; Hebrews 10:28).

In Revelation 11:3-6 we read God’s prophetic promise:

I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.

These witnesses will wear clothing made of goat or camel hair, garments that symbolically express mourning—more specifically, mourning over the wretched condition and lack of repentance in the world. The reference to olive trees and lampstands is intended to symbolize the light of spiritual revival. Those who stand against these two witnesses will encounter a fiery response!

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Moses and Elijah?

Many expositors believe the two witnesses will actually be Moses and Elijah. Among their reasons:

1) The tribulation is a period in which God deals with the Jews— just like He did in the first 69 weeks of Daniel. Moses and Elijah are unquestionably the two most influential figures in Jewish history. It would thus make good sense that they be on the scene during the tribulation period.

2) Moses and Elijah appeared on the mount of transfiguration with Jesus. This shows their centrality. Hence, it would be appropriate for them to be on the scene during the future tribulation.

3) The miracles portrayed in Revelation 11 are very similar to those previously performed by Moses and Elijah in Old Testament times.

While these reasons are valid, one cannot be dogmatic, and it is entirely possible that the two witnesses will be two entirely new prophets of God.

The time frame of these two witness—1260 days—measures out to precisely three-and-one-half years. It is not clear from Revelation 11 whether this is the first three-and-one-half years of the tribulation, or the last three-and-one-half years.

It may be best to conclude that the two witnesses do their miraculous work during the first three-and-one-half years, for the Antichrist’s execution of them seems to fit best with other events that will transpire in the middle of the tribulation (such as the Antichrist’s exaltation of himself to godhood). Moreover, the resurrection of the two witnesses—after being dead for three days—would make a bigger impact on the world in the middle of the tribulation than at the end, just prior to the second coming of Christ.

The martyrdom of the two witnesses is described in detail in Revelation 11:8-12:

When they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them.

This resurrection will serve as a mighty testimony to the power of God during the tribulation. How awesome a day this will be.

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Related Articles:

End Times Bible Study - David Cerullo

Who is the Antichrist? - Dr. Ron Rhodes

Can People Get Saved After the Rapture? - Dr. David Reagan

The Millennial Reign of Christ - Don Perkins

 

Dr. Ron Rhodes is President of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries. He is the author of over 70 books, including 3 Silver Medallion winners. He is a keynote speaker at conferences across the United States. He teaches cult apologetics at Dallas Theological Seminary and Veritas Evangelical Seminary in Murrieta, CA. More at ronrhodes.org.


Can People Get Saved After the Rapture?

There is no doubt that there will be a great harvest of souls after the Rapture (Revelation 7:9-14). Some will be convicted by the Rapture itself. Others will be converted by the preaching of either the two witnesses in Jerusalem (Revelation 11) or the 144,000 Jewish disciples who will serve as servants of God (Revelation 7). Some will repent in response to the judgments of God (Isaiah 26:9). Others will respond to an angel of God who will preach the “eternal gospel” to all the world at the end of the Tribulation, right before the final pouring out of God’s wrath (Revelation 14:6).

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Rejection to Salvation?

The controversial issue is whether or not those who have heard the Gospel before the Rapture and have rejected it will be allowed to respond and be saved after the Rapture. The “Left Behind” series takes the position that such people will be able to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior after the Rapture.

Once again, I hope Tim LaHaye is right about this. But not all prophecy teachers would agree. The reason for the controversy is a passage in 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 which seems to indicate that such people will continue to reject the Gospel after the Rapture. Here’s the passage. Read it for yourself and draw your own conclusion:

And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

This passage seems to teach that people who have rejected the truth before the Rapture will continue to do so. Because of this passage, I cannot say with absolute confidence that those who have rejected the Gospel before the Rapture will have the possibility of accepting it afterwards. I hope Tim La Haye is right, but I would not want to give such people any false hope.

Watch 'Apokalypsis'
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Related Articles:

End Times Bible Study - David Cerullo

Who is the Antichrist? - Dr. Ron Rhodes

The Two Witnesses of Revelation - Dr. Ron Rhodes

The Case for a Pre-Trib Rapture - Theresa Garcia

The Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ - Don Perkins

 

Dr. David Reagan serves as the Senior Evangelist for Lamb & Lion Ministries, an inter-denominational, evangelical ministry that is devoted to the proclamation of the soon return of Jesus. Dr. Reagan founded the ministry in 1980. More from Dr. Reagan at christinprophecy.org


Learn More About 'Apokalypsis: The Final Warning'

 

This four-part docuseries features Bible experts exploring coming events of the Last Days and unlock mysteries every believer should know and understand:

  • What are the signs that we are living in the Last Days?
  • Will there be a “rapture” when born-again Christians are suddenly taken to Heaven?
  • Why is Israel so pivotal to End-Time events and God’s prophetic timetable?
  • What roles do America, Europe, and Russia play in the End Times?
  • What is the Mark of the Beast, and what will happen to those who receive it?
  • What is Armageddon? What will bring it about?

Discover God’s stunning prophetic promises for you and your loved ones!

Order your copy of the "Apokalypsis: The Final Warning" DVD

“The shaking taking place in the world today is going to intensify. But if you grasp the powerful truths shared in this series, you’ll find great hope, and your life will NEVER be the same again.”


The Case for a Pre-Trib Rapture

Since I began teaching eschatology on television about ten years ago, I have always taught and believed in a pre-Tribulation rapture. Today, we will look at five cogent reasons for that belief. How can there be more than one theory on the rapture? As one professor said: “You can make the Bible say anything you want, if you torture it enough.” In the case of the rapture it is also true that men and women of good will and earnest faith see it differently. Herewith is the way I see it, from five separate scriptural references.

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REASON #1: Not Appointed to Wrath

The primary proof of a pre-Tribulation rapture, given by the “experts,” is this: we are raptured before the Tribulation begins because the Church is not appointed to wrath. Coincidentally, that truth is revealed in Chapter 5 verse 9 of TWO separate books of the Bible: Romans 5:9 and 1 Thess. 5:9. Please look these verses up for yourself, to lock them into your thinking.

REASON #2: Kept From the Hour of Trial

Jesus Himself told the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos that we (the Philadelphia/faithful Church) will be kept from the hour of trial. “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Rev. 3:10). Notice also that the world is being tested. Furthermore, throughout the Book of Revelation the term “earth dwellers” always refers to unsaved people.

REASON #3: God and the Jews

The seven year Tribulation is specifically a time for God to work with the Jews. Both the Angel Gabriel and the Apostle Paul make that point. Let’s listen first to Gabriel, who is God’s chief messenger angel and speaks for God Himself (remember as we read that the Tribulation is called “Daniel’s seventieth week”). “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city…” (Daniel 9:24)

The Church was NOT present during the first 69 weeks of Gabriel’s prophecy, and it will not be here during Daniel’s 70th week either. Gabriel specifically said it was a time frame for God to work with Daniel’s people (the Jews) and his holy city (Jerusalem).

Next, let’s listen to the great Apostle Paul. Remember, we are making the point that scripture teaches the 70th week is a time for God to deal with the Jews. “…blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved…” (Romans 11:25)

Here we see God’s plan. The final gentile is won to the Lord after we are caught away. After we disappear the blinders come off of eyes of the Jewish people.

I personally believe we are in the time of Israel’s “jealousy” right now. The Christians love the Jews, support them, and defend them, even though the Jews have no deep love for us. But their “jealousy” turns to “anger” when we are caught away. They will be angry that we have left them without friends on the earth. This is explained in Deuteronomy and Romans. Let’s read it in Romans 10:19: “I will provoke you [the Jews] to jealousy by those who are not a nation [the Church]. I will move you to anger by a foolish nation" [the Church].

The inevitable result is God’s chosen people will be forced to turn back to Him, as they will have no friends left after we are gone. We see that in the Book of Hosea. The last line in Hosea 5 says: “In their affliction [Tribulation, indignation] they will earnestly seek Me.”

It is unfortunate that it takes a series of catastrophic events to bring them to the Lord as a nation. Mike Bickle explains the situation like this: “God loves the Jews, but the Jews don’t love Him.”

REASON #4: Escape Doctrine

The rapture is our “escape doctrine.” Some scoffers have used that term derisively. Never do that. This escape doctrine is not to be ridiculed, since it was coined by the Lord Himself -- words in red, in Luke 21:36: “ Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man..”

REASON #5: We Receive Our Reward

Revelation 11 makes it quite clear that we receive our reward while the earth is being judged. They are simultaneous events. Revelation 11:18 declares:

The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come,
And the time of the dead [saints], that they should be judged,
And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints [that’s us],
And those who fear Your name, small and great,
And should destroy [concurrently] those who destroy the earth.

After we receive our rewards, we return to the earth with the Lord. It is literally a new day. The 7th one thousand year day we call the Millennium. The Jews call it the long awaited “Kingdom Age.”

Watch 'Apokalypsis'
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Related Articles:

End Times Bible Study - David Cerullo

The Two Witnesses of Revelation - Dr. Ron Rhodes

Who is The Antichrist? - Dr. Ron Rhodes

Can People Get Saved After the Rapture? - Dr. David Reagan

The Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ - Don Perkins

 

Theresa Garcia is dedicated to preparing the Jews, the nations, and the Church for the return of the Lord.  Learn more at TheresaGarciaMinistry.com


Return to the Hiding Place: A Story of Courage and Love

Amid the atrocities of Nazi Germany – when Jews were killed in gas chambers and slaughtered in violent executions – God raised up valiant men and women to be His light bearers in a time of darkness. Just as the tragedy of war touched the conscience of an entire generation, the love and courage of one Christian man and his friends live on as a monument of hope.

From the makers of The Hiding Place comes a powerful film set in the Netherlands during the tumultuous time of World War II. Return to the Hiding Place recounts the story of Hans Poley, a member of a student resistance army and one of the first fugitives in the home of Corrie ten Boom, a champion of Jewish refugees hiding from German officials.

The story is set in Nazi-controlled Holland, where a student army bands together to hide Jews from the grasp of the German invaders. Made up of Hans, Piet, and other brave friends, these resistance fighters embark on a nonstop, action-packed quest to rescue the Jewish people, all while navigating a deadly labyrinth of personal danger to save innocent lives from the murderous Nazi regime.

An inspiring story of courage and strength, this film depicts a realistic and stunning portrayal of self-sacrifice and love. Even amid the chaos of war, student fighters are able to find love in the bleakest of circumstances. Some find faith and purpose – while others come to the realization that even those who are supposed to be their closest friends can betray them in a time of crisis.

Hans himself discovers this fact when he asks church leaders for help in hiding a refugee from Nazis officials. But instead of taking the refugee in and saving his life, they condemn him for his immoral past, despite the evidence of a repentant heart.

Like many stories about this era, the characters nearly lose hope because of the overwhelming death and destruction that surround each of their lives. Even the bravest souls in the resistance army become discouraged and wonder if their purpose is doomed to defeat.

And yet, despite it all, Hans and his friends are driven to do what’s right in the face of extreme risk and personal danger. They lay down their lives, not as glorified heroes, but servants of God, defying the Nazi peril with the greatest weapon of all – God’s amazing love.

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Movie Review: Miles Between Us

Family dynamics – they are an integral part of our lives. When family ties get frayed, or even broken, how do we move on?

In the family drama, Miles Between Us, an estranged father and daughter are forced by circumstances to share a car ride across the United States. During the trip, they have to decide if they will mend their strained relationship, or break ties forever.

After twelve years of no relationship, this father, Luke (Dariush Moslemi) and daughter, Gabby (Anna Stranz), find themselves on an awkward road trip when her mother breaks her ankle and is not able to drive her from California to Charleston, South Carolina.

On the first day of the road trip the father learns that his daughter is going to a small Christian college to become a marriage counselor. “When did this whole Christian thing start?”

“After you left us,” his daughter answers.

“Well, technically, your Mom left me.”

“Why was that?” she responds.

He has nothing to say. They continue for a couple days not talking to each other.

When Luke finally tries to lure Gabby into a conversation, she asks, “Why start now.”

“Gabby, I’m trying here,” he responds in frustration.

“Would you be trying if Mom hadn’t forced us into a car together?” she responds. “No, you wouldn’t, because you just don’t care.”

After a few more miles Gabby, who is a believer, sees three crosses on the side of the highway and realizes that she needs to forgive. It is a slow process, but soon both father and daughter open up to ask the questions they both have needed to talk about.

In the midst of an intense conversation about why Luke had not been a part of Gabby’s life he says sadly, “I wish things were different.”

She answers, “You don’t wish things to be different, you make them different. … You divorced Mom, not me.”

Talking to her Mother, Gabby confesses, “I thought I’d forgiven him, but I keep being ugly to him.”

“We should both forgive him,” her mother answers, “once and for all.”

Just as Gabby makes a move to extend this forgiveness a crisis occurs that could ruin both of their lives. Father and daughter come together to fight this common foe - and in the process, they find the grace to restore their relationship.

Miles Between Us is a moving story of a family working through its dynamics with God’s help. In the end, love wins out.

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Dr. Craig von Buseck is Digital Editor of Inspiration.org.