Tuesday, November 21, 2017

TRIBULATION CHRONICLES, PART 5: A BRIEF PAUSE

 By Alice Childs -
 
If you are still here and have so far managed to survive to continue reading these letters, then you will know that in the loose chronology of coming events that I've been relating, where I left off was giving to you a very broad, generalized overview of events that are recorded in Revelation chapter 6 through the opening of the 5th "seal judgment" thus far.
 
As I've already told you, there will be emerging onto the global scene (perhaps remaining behind the scenes for a while) a man who will "confirm a covenant" between Israel and "many" others. Remember, I told you that this man will come onto the world scene using "peace" as his platform. As a result, he will be able to do that which hasn't been done as yet - that is to bring about a "peace" which will allow for the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple.
 
I've told you that this final 7 years will be divided into two halves of 3 1/2 years, and that the first half will:
 
(1) bring the rise of this global leader to power. This man will be THE Antichrist.
 
(2) thrust the tiny nation of Israel into the very center stage of end-time events.
 
(3) see the world, on a global scale, suffer catastrophic upheaval from the aftermath of the "great vanishing," which is the rapture of the Church.
 
(4) eventually bring about a global war that will cause widespread destruction, from which will ensue famine on a global scale, after which will follow:
 
(5) pandemic diseases and widespread death from an exponential increase in violence, rape, murder and animal attacks.
 
(6) see the arising from Jerusalem of two men who will be special emissaries sent directly by God (the Bible calls them God's "two witnesses"). They are also metaphorically called the two "olive trees" of God. These "two witnesses," as the Bible calls them, will bear powerful testimony to the Jews of the Most High God, and His Son, Jesus Christ, who is and always has been Israel's Messiah. These men will be given supernatural powers from God as well as protection for a period of time. Their ministry will last for exactly 3 1/2 years, or the first half of the 7-year Tribulation period. Their preaching and proclamation of Jesus Christ as Israel's true Messiah will bring MANY Jews to belief in Jesus Christ as their Savior and long-awaited Messiah.
 
The testimony and impact of these two supernaturally anointed men will have global repercussions. It will result in the reaching of and bringing to salvation millions upon millions of people from every kindred, nation, tribe and tongue. The 144,000 Jewish virgins, who will be saved and sealed, will be the "first fruits" of the two "witnesses," and from there the number of converts will multiply into all the world.
 
Remember too, I told you that, at the very midpoint of the last 7 years, God will allow the AC (Antichrist) to kill these two men; their dead bodies will lie unburied in the streets of Jerusalem, where the entire world of unbelievers will see and celebrate their deaths via satellite TV and social media. Then, 3 1/2 days later, God will resurrect these two men. He will, in full view of the entire world, "catch them away" back up into Heaven.
 
All of this takes place during the first half of the last seven years of human history under a fallen creation.
 
What I want to do now is to give a recap of those who will be the major players during these last 7 years. As you study the book of Revelation, and as you live through it (for as long as the Lord allows you to live), you will meet these men in the pages of Revelation. As time goes on, you will recognize them in the reality in which you now live. The impact they will have will be enormous. Some will become great servants of God working on behalf of the coming Kingdom of God. Others will be unholy and will bring chaos, death, destruction and the wrath of God down upon all of the "Earth dwellers," as the Bible calls those who continue to willfully reject God - those who willfully choose to follow and to worship these enemies of Almighty God.
 
So, who belongs to this end-times cast of characters? We meet the first group of them in Revelation chapter 7. In verse 4 you will be introduced to a group of men whose impact for God within these last 7 years will be incalculable. They are men and they are all Jews. These men come to salvation in Christ most probably as a result of the powerful witness of God's two emissaries. The distinguishing characteristics of this group are their number and their ethnicity. The Word of God is very precise, exact, and specific in identifying this group and their calling. Here is the listing of end-times groups and people of whom you need to be aware and prepared:
 
#1 - The Two Witnesses: possibly the Old Testament prophets of Moses and Elijah (although they are never named in Revelation, so we can only speculate on their identities). You will, however, easily recognize them by their singular appearances and supernatural abilities when they appear in Jerusalem, Israel after the rapture of the Church. (Read about these two extraordinary men in Revelation chapter 11).
 
#2 - The 144,000: These are all men - all Jews - all virgins, and there are 144,000 of them in number. God has (will have) sealed these men for His service, 12,000 from each of the 12 ancient tribes of Israel, as listed in Revelation 7. God will seal in their foreheads some type of mark that will identify each one of these 144,000 Jewish, male virgins as belonging to Him.
 
God will use this group of Jews to do that for which He had set the nation of Israel aside to do from the beginning. These men will finally fulfill the mission that Israel herself failed in doing. They will go out into the entire world as God's missionary emissaries. It is by their testimonies and preaching that the greatest evangelical effort of all times will result in the greatest number of converts to salvation in Jesus Christ that has ever been. Perhaps you yourself will be won to Christ as a direct or indirect result of the testimony of these 144,000 Jewish, end-days evangelists.
 
These men will be supernaturally protected by God from the horrors of the judgments that He will be bringing upon the earth, for they will be His missionaries who will proclaim the way of salvation to those left behind after the Church has been removed.
 
Be very careful how you treat these men. Jesus, in speaking about this 7-year time period (in Matthew 24-25), calls these men "MY brethren." To those who look after, harbor, give refuge and aid to these Jews, Jesus will liken your treatment of them as if you were doing the same to Him. In other words, Jesus identifies with these men; and whoever helps or mistreats them, it will be for them as if it were Jesus Himself in their place.
 
#3 - The Antichrist: You have already been introduced to the man who is the Antichrist. As you remember, I told you, according to the scriptures, that it will be he who "confirms a covenant" between Israel and "many" other countries. That "confirmation of a covenant" is what lets you know this man's true identity and purpose. I will tell you more about this man, Lord willing, in coming chronicles.
 
#4 - The False Prophet: There is yet one more person of whom you need to be made aware. This man is (will be) a renowned religious leader who will bring together, under his leadership, a merging of all the world's religions - an "ecumenical uniting of all "religions."
 
This man will be satanically inspired and controlled, but he, like the AC in the beginning, will give the appearance of being a humble "man of peace" as well. He will appear as a great uniter of "faiths." He will come across as having the meekness of a lamb, but will in truth have the heart and ruthlessness of a "dragon." He will be utterly consumed by and be a worshiper of Satan himself.
 
This "religious leader" will be allowed by God to be granted from Satan great power, along with abilities to perform dark, supernatural acts. This religious leader will align himself with the Antichrist; it will be he (this global, religious leader) who will put into place a global religion that will mesh with a global government, all controlled and enforced by a global, military power. The Bible calls this man the FALSE PROPHET. You can read about this imposter in Revelation chapter 13. Watch out for him.
 
He may appear to be humble, wise, and benign in the beginning; however, he is anything but benign. He is wicked and deceptive to the core, and his outreach and influence will be vast.
 
As I write this letter pre-rapture, I have my suspicion as to the identity of this man, but I cannot know for sure, and even though I feel fairly confident in what I think, I will not speculate. You will know for certain whom he will be. This is because, in the following letter, I will tell you more about these two evil men (the Antichrist and the False Prophet) who will both do something that will finally and fully identify them with absolute certainty. The acts that they will do will bring horrendous cataclysm upon mankind and direct judgment from Almighty God upon all who are left alive on Earth.
 
From this point forward, you will have moved into the 2nd half of this last 7 years. From this midpoint, you will now be entering the time period Jesus Himself called "great tribulation" - a time that is unprecedented in all of history - a time that will be unlike anything ever seen upon the earth in all of Earth's history, including the time of the global Flood of Noah's day.
 
So to recap, the prominent end-times cast of characters are these:
 
The RIGHTEOUS ONES
 
(1) God's Two Witnesses (possibly Moses and Elijah).
(2) The 144,000 young, Jewish, male virgins sealed by God as His worldwide missionaries.
(3) God's Holy Angels, including Michael the powerful Archangel, who fights for and stands in defense of God's people Israel.
 
The UNHOLY ONES
 
(1) Satan: the fallen cherubim identified in the Bible as "The Dragon," along with all of his demonic hordes and fallen angels.
(2) Gog: the "Chief Prince" (leader) of Magog, which is in fact modern-day Russia (Vladimir Putin almost certainly).
(3) The Antichrist
(4) The False Prophet
 
Hold on Tribulation Saints, for though the worst is yet to come on Earth, there is great hope and glory beyond your imagining for all of you who become believers in Christ and who remain "faithful unto death!"
 
Read on...  (Part 6 to come).

Monday, November 20, 2017

THE RAPTURE AND THE COVENANT

By Pete Garcia -

 
I am not a scholar, nor the son of a scholar, but I do believe I am being faithful to the calling the Lord has set me upon. In that calling, I've come to understand some basic truths about the nature of God through study, mentorship, and leading by the Holy Spirit. One of those truths is that God never changes.
 
However, how He has dealt with mankind over the past six thousand years, has changed. This is primarily because the information available to mankind has changed. God did not reveal everything to Adam, nor to Noah, or Abraham, etc. Information about God, His nature, and His agenda would be revealed incrementally. This progressive revelation came in the form of administrations, or dispensations. Changing from one to the next, meant changes in what man was accountable for knowing or doing.
 
I liken these administrative changes, to how a parent raises a child. It would be unjust and irresponsible for a parent to have the same rules for a 2-year-old that they do for a 12-year-old, or vice-versa. Even though the rules and responsibilities may change, a good parent never stops loving or caring for their children regardless the age.
 
So we come to one of those topics today that I inject my understanding of Scripture for the things I know. I'll also inject some speculation on things I am unsure of, simply because there is not enough information about it in Scripture to make firm declarations. And since I am also not a prophet (or son of one), I can only work with the tools I have available at my disposal. One of those topics I believe is what salvation looks like after the Church is caught up in the Rapture. I believe the keys to understanding this are:
 
Old Testament
 
Old Testament (OT) salvation (and I use that term liberally) is not the same thing as our salvation now in this dispensation. Romans 4:3 states that Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. But what did Abraham believe? Did he believe in the Gospel of Christ crucified? Well, no, because the Incarnation had not yet happened and thus how God would redeem mankind remained a mystery (1 Cor. 2:7). In fact, in Matthew 16, when Jesus asked His disciples who men said that He was, He praised Peter's answer of "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God" by saying Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
 
But Abraham was asked to do to Isaac (his only son) the very thing that Christ would one day have to do...become the sacrifice. I believe that Abraham's faith in God was that He would resurrect his son and ultimately himself. He may not have understood it then as we do today, but He had faith in God. This is why there is an entire chapter on the faith of the Old Testament saints (Hebrews 11). In the OT, salvation is more akin to redemption, which is still a result of God's grace through our faith, but the object of said faith was not yet fully understood.
 
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. Hebrews 11:1-2
 
This good testimony is what redeemed them to a place we know as Paradise or Abraham's Bosom. At certain times and usually for specific reasons, the Holy Spirit would indwell individuals to carry out God's specific task for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it was national deliverance (Samson), sometimes it was national leadership (Saul, David). But what it wasn't, was universal. Not everyone who had this good testimony was indwelt by the Holy Spirit (or at least Scripture does not tell us this).
 
But the Holy Spirit could also depart from men when they strayed from God's plan (Samson, Saul). When these OT persons died, they either went to a place known as Paradise (or Abraham's Bosom), or to Torments, which comprised the other half of Sheol (or Hades). (See Luke 16:19-31, 23:43)
 
While redemption was not exclusive to Israel (see Job 19:25-27), they were however set aside as a people who were meant to be light to a world shrouded in demonic darkness (Exodus 19:6). Instead, we read about a people who struggled nationally with holiness and the demands of the Law. The Law as it was given to Moses, was designed to point them to their need for the coming Redeemer. Instead, they made a religion out of the Law and began adding to it making it even more cumbersome (Acts 15:10-11). Instead of pointing to the Christ (Messiah), it became a shallow, works-based version of what it was meant to represent. This is why when Jesus pointed out the intent of the Law, the Jewish clerical leadership (Pharisee, Sadducees, and Scribes) plotted to kill Him (Mark 3:6, 14:1).
 
Key takeaway: OT salvation meant justification and/or redemption by faith in God and what He would do (future tense). The Holy Spirit could come upon a person, but could also depart from said person. The Holy Spirit would come and go from man as necessary to accomplish God's plan. The deceased either went to Paradise or Torments. The OT ends with Christ's death on the cross (Matt. 27:51).
 
Dispensation of Grace
 
Salvation as we know it today is a Church-age phenomenon that makes salvation open to all mankind by believing in the finished work of Christ on the Cross. When Jesus said, it is finished (John 19:30), He meant that there was nothing further He could do to satisfy God's demands in the Law for sacrifice. He offered Himself as the perfect, blemish-less lamb that takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). His burial and subsequent resurrection on the third day, were simply the fulfillment of the prophetic texts (Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, etc.), patterns (feasts) and sign (sign of Jonah) that had to be fulfilled. Furthermore, anyone in this dispensation who believes on Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins is immediately filled and sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (Eph. 1:11-14, 4:30). None of the OT saints ever had that guarantee bestowed upon them.
 
Believers in this age are sealed by the Holy Spirit by a one-time profession of faith. Not because of works, or how dutiful we are in our "Christianity" (John 3:16, 36; Romans 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-9). The reason it's called the Age of Grace by dispensationalists is not because its grace (grace has always been a factor through every dispensation), but probably because we are the least deserving of it. We have history, archeology, prophecy, technology, and a complete set of Scriptures for our benefit, and still, many reject God, pervert His words, and/or live unchanged lives after we are redeemed (See Luke 12:48).
 
But one day, this special dispensation (age/era) will come to an end when those who are sealed by the Holy Spirit, will be caught up (both the living and the dead) to be glorified in their eternal bodies and be with our Lord forever (Jn. 14:1-3, 1 Thess. 4:13-18, 1 Cor. 15:51-55). We have to be changed (from mortal to immortal) because where we are going (third heaven), the human body (flesh and blood) cannot survive. This is why the Holy Spirit is withdrawn (2 Thess 2:7) [I believe the ESV has the best translation of this particular chapter], because He currently indwells all believers as a guarantee. But does this mean that no one else can be saved after the Rapture?
 
Key Takeaway: The key distinctive of this age, and the ones before and after, is the role of the Holy Spirit. Redemption and/or justification by grace through faith remains as it always has, but now, God sent the Holy Spirit to permanently seal those who professed true faith in Christ death, burial, and resurrection for the forgiveness of their sins (1 Cor. 15:1-5, Gal. 1:9). Once this dispensation ends, the world goes back to the way it was before Acts 2 Pentecost.
 
The Seventieth Week
 
The Seventieth Week of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27) chronicles the last seven years of human-led history. This week of years is devoted to two things: destroying all the Christ-rejecting nations, and disciplining, but preserving a remnant of the Jewish nation Israel (hence why it's called 'the time of Jacob's Trouble') (Jeremiah 30:7-11).
 
Just like the world before the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4 when the Holy Spirit was given), the world will one day return to an age and reality where the Holy Spirit does not, in fact, seal everyone who places their faith in Jesus Christ. If Acts 2 had any significance at all, then it was the physical, visible given of the Holy Spirit to mankind to demonstrate the significance of the Church Age (or Age of Grace).
 
But we also know that the Holy Spirit existed on the earth before Acts 2. Genesis 1:2 and numerous subsequent OT passages indicate that the Holy Spirit is omnipresent and was busy on earth long before that Pentecost. So the idea that the HS is no longer on the earth at all is simply a misreading of the passage (2 Thess. 2:7). The Holy Spirit is in fact, the Restrainer, who is acting to restrain evil by always keeping a remnant of believers alive.
 
The Church (i.e....the salt and light and body of Christ) preserves God's judgment from being exacted upon a lost world whose current administrator is Satan (Luke 4:5-6) until the day of redemption (the Rapture). We do not see the Holy Spirit active on the earth during the last seven years except to seal the 144K Jewish male virgins as found in Revelation 7.
 
But we know that God is merciful and long-suffering (Jonah 4:2, 2 Peter 3:9). It could be that the martyrs we see in Revelation 6:9-11 (the fifth seal) are a result of believers who come to faith in Christ during the gap of time between the Rapture and the beginning of the official 70th Week. Seeing as the Rapture does not start the 70th Week, but must wait for a peace accord or a kind of covenant (Dan. 9:27), it makes sense that they come to faith early on because of the Rapture. It could be that the Holy Spirit makes one last past through (a gleaning if you will) before the strong delusion is placed upon the earth (2 Thess. 2:11).
 
We also see that believers come from all the tribes of the earth (primarily Gentiles then) up until the Seventh Seal. There is no mention of anyone being redeemed beyond that point except for those Jews who are saved. But we know that there will be Gentile believers at the end because of Matthew 25:31-46 and Isaiah 2:1-4. Those martyrs who are already physically dead by the Fifth Seal are positioned below the altar of God asking how much longer it would be (Rev. 6:10-11). We know that these martyrs aren't part of the Church because the Church isn't hanging out below the altar waiting for God to exact justice on our fellow brethren and servants.
 
Key Takeaway: Although many will come to faith in the time immediately following the Rapture (and because of it), but before the start of the official 70th Week, it is unclear that many will become believers once the "Tribulation" officially starts apart from Israel. Since it is extremely likely the Rapture causes many to come to faith finally realizing that it was real after all, then it is also equally likely that those believers are also killed fairly early on leaving primarily Israel and an unrepentant world (whose given over to a strong delusion) as the sole inhabitants of the earth.
 
Conclusion
 
We have seen the Church go through seven stages (mirroring the Seven Letters in Revelation) for the past two millennia. As important as the Reformation was, it did not go far enough primarily because it adopted the same Eschatology as the church it sought to reform from the Roman Catholic Church.
 
It was both the Great Awakening and subsequent Dispensational movement of the 18th and 19th centuries that saw the Church reach its peak in terms of biblical "authority" and knowledge. It was here that the great missionary movements were sent out to every nation, as well as men coming to about the best knowledge they could arrive at (this side of the Rapture). But during the 20th century, both began to wane as a lukewarmness swept across western Christendom.
 
Here is where I am inserting my own speculation. Some wonder why we spend so much time going on about the Rapture as we do. Aside from our curiosity and excitement about this coming event for our generation, it will also serve as evidence for those who are left behind. One second after the Rapture, the world will be cast into turmoil and chaos. It will remain in chaos until a system (the beast) rises up to take the reins of a global system (possibly ran by some form of Artificial Intelligence). It is in this system that a man (the little horn, the rider on the white horse, the man of sin) rises up to take control of the beast. He confirms some kind of covenant between Israel and the many (many gentile nations) that officially starts the beginning of the seven-year countdown.
 
How long that gap is between the Rapture and the covenant is anyone's guess. I believe it is anywhere from a few months, to a few years. But however long it is, it seems long enough for people to realize that this Rapture thing we crazy "Pre-Tribber's" have been going on and on about was real. Because of the Rapture then, many come to faith in Christ, yet, they will not be sealed by the Holy Spirit in the same manner we are.
 
The reason they aren't is because Satan also has a seal (the Mark of the Beast-Rev. 13:16-18) and both systems cannot exist at the same time, because one preserves eternally, while the other damns eternally. If even one born-again Christian who was sealed by the Holy Spirit were somehow to take the Mark of the Beast, then "theoretically", Scripture could be broken. We know the 144K Jewish male virgins are marked by a seal on their foreheads, but what exactly that entails we do not know (Ezekiel 9:4; Rev. 7:3). If we assume they aren't sealed by the Holy Spirit, that doesn't mean God can't preserve them in some other way.  We've seen all throughout the OT (Noah's Ark, Lot's early exit, parting the Red Sea, etc.) how God miraculously delivers His own. But overwhelmingly, these Tribulation martyrs are given over for slaughter by the Antichrist and his beast system (Revelation 13:7).
 
Lastly, while some may take issue with me placing believers in different categories, they shouldn't.  There are different categories of animals, plants, heavenly bodies, angels, humans, etc. why shouldn't there be different categories of believers? Our diversity and differences will all be used by God to bring Himself glory, and that should be a great comfort to us.
 
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:25-27

Sunday, November 19, 2017

THE MARRIAGE OF CHRIST TO HIS TRUE CHURCH

 By Gary Boyd


It seems many do not understand nor want to get the idea of Jesus coming in the Rapture for His true Church. Meaning the Church born at Pentecost, gestated for 2000 years and is about to be called home in the ensuing Rapture has always been what the true Church has indeed craved. The living in Christ will be called up to heaven at the last trump as the Rapture is coming very soon-as the world sinks into depravity, chaos, and confusion.
In many New Testament passages the relation between Christ and his true Church is revealed by the use of the figures of the Bridegroom (Jesus) and the Bride (Church). Revelation 19:7-8 states, "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints."
At the translation of the Church, meaning when we are changed into the eternal state, Christ is appearing as a Bridegroom to take his Bride unto Himself, so that the relationship that was pledged might be consummated so that the two might become one.
The time of the marriage is revealed in Scripture as falling between the translation (eternal state) of the Church and the Second Coming. Prior to the Rapture the Church is still anticipating this union. According to Revelation 19:7 this marriage has taken place at the time of the Second Coming, the end of the Tribulation seven years later. The declaration is: "the marriage of the lamb has come."
This marriage is seen to follow the events of  the Bema Seat of Christ, inasmuch as when the wife appears (Church) she appears in the "righteousness of the saints" (Revelation 19:8), which can only refer to those things that have been accepted at the judgment seat of Christ. Thus the marriage itself must be placed between the judgment seat and the Second Coming.
The place of the marriage can only be in heaven. Inasmuch as this follows the judgment seat of Christ, which has shown to be in the heavenlies and it is in the air when the Church comes when the Lord returns Revelation 19:14, " And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses." The marriage  must then take place in heaven. No other place would fit a heavenly people. "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3:20).
The participants in the marriage are Christ (Lamb) and the true Church (Those who are alive at the Rapture). Read Daniel 12:1-3, a prophecy of the end-times:
"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.  And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And]they that are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."
So the resurrection of Israel and the Old Testament saints will not take place until the Second Coming of Christ. Revelation 20:4-6 makes it perfectly clear that Tribulation saints will not be resurrected until that time also.
The Saints Reign with Christ 1,000 Years
"And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years" (Rev. 20:4-6).
While it would be impossible to eliminate these groups from the place of observers, they can not be in the position of participants in the event itself.
The Difference Between the Marriage of Christ and the Marriage Supper:
In this connection it seems necessary to distinguish between the marriage of the Lamb and the marriage supper. The Marriage of the lamb takes place in heaven while the marriage supper involves Israel and takes place on earth.
The Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22:1-14)
"And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,  and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.'
But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them.  But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.'  So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.'"
Parabolic Picture
The wedding supper, then is, a parabolic picture of the entire millennial age, to which Israel will be invited in the Tribulation period. That invitation many will reject and so they will be cast out. Many will accept and be received in. Because of the rejection the invitation will likewise go to the Gentiles so than many of them will be included. Israel, at the Second Coming, will be waiting for Christ to come from the wedding ceremony and invite them to the wedding supper, at which time the bridegroom will introduce his bride to his friends. Read Matthew 25:1-13:
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,  but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!'  Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'
But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.'  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!'  But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming."
In review, the marriage of the Lamb is that event in the heavenlies in which the Church is eternally united to Christ. The marriage feast is the Millennium to which Jews and Gentiles will be invited that takes place on the earth during which time the Bridegroom is honored through the display of the Bride to all his friends who are assembled there.
Conclusion
The Church, which was God's plan for the current age, is now seen to have been translated to the eternal state, resurrected, presented to the Son by the Father, and had become the object through which the eternal glory of God is manifested forever. The present age will thus witness the inception, development, and completion, of God's purpose in "taking out" a people for his name. Read Acts 15:14,  "Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name."
May God bless you for reading this to the end.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

SEARCH GOD'S WORD



-by  Nathele Graham -


We live in a time that's exciting, but also can be frightening. Moral issues are at the forefront of much controversy, we continually hear of wars being fought or threatened, and people seem to snap and become violent for no reason. What's going on? You won't find the answers on the nightly news or in self-help books. The answers are found in God's word. Scripture is a collection of history, prophecy, moral guidance...and evidence of God's love for us. History begins at the beginning. God was there and spoke everything into existence, yet very few people believe Him. He told Adam not to eat the forbidden fruit, but Adam and Eve both ate it.

They didn't believe God when He said they would die but chose to believe Satanic lies and learned the hard way that God was telling the truth. If people today would believe God and follow His ways we would live in a better world. Satan's lies and deceit have caused all of the pain, suffering, and death that we face each day. When things go wrong in your life, blame Satan not God. Every word of Scripture was inspired by the Holy Spirit and if we don't study it we miss out on a treasure trove of knowledge, wisdom, and guidance.

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."2 Timothy 2:15.

God wants us to know Him. When you set yourself on a deep study of God's word you're taking on a challenge that's both exciting and rewarding. Begin your study with prayer and let the Holy Spirit guide you so that you'll grow in your faith in God and knowledge of His word. Search the Scriptures each day.

Throughout the ages people haven't always found it easy to study Scripture. The early Scriptures were written on large scrolls that were kept in synagogues. These weren't New Testament Scripture, but were the Old Testament. Before the New Testament was compiled people found that by studying the Old Testament scrolls they were able to easily understand that Jesus Christ was pictured and prophesied throughout Scripture. The Apostle Paul was very knowledgeable of the Hebrew Scriptures and encouraged others to use them to prove what was being taught regarding Jesus. When Paul went on mission journeys he would go to the synagogue and reason with the Jews using the Old Testament. One such place was in Thessalonica.

"And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ." Acts 17:2-3.

Can you do that? You could start in Genesis chapter 3 where God covered Adam and Eve in coats of skin (this would require a blood sacrifice) to cover their sin or in chapter 22 where there's an account of Abraham's willingness to offer his son Isaac and Isaac's willingness to become the sacrifice. God didn't allow Abraham to sacrifice his son, but it's a picture of the very real sacrifice of God's only Son on the cross at Calvary. There are many more such examples and you should take time to search for them. Some of the people in Thessalonica found the truth, but others became angry and ran Paul out of town. He traveled to Berea where he once again went to the synagogue. This time instead of getting angry they studied Scripture.  He commended the Bereans for being willing to listen to what he said, but filtered what they were being told through Scripture.

"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Acts 17:11.

The Scriptures they searched were the Old Testament. It's easy to be deceived if we don't know Scripture and it's easy to miss finding the truth if we don't search diligently.

Scripture has been given to us from God. The words contained in the Bible are all inspired by the Holy Spirit and need to be taken seriously.

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, ,for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

When Scripture is taken seriously the confusing and contradicting doctrines of men are cleared up. Doctrine should never be built around one or two Scriptures nor should it be taken out of context. Erroneous doctrine such as the "name it and claim it" deception is built around one or two Scriptures rather than the whole of God's word. That's why it's important to study all of Scripture. God doesn't want anyone to be deceived. When Scripture differs from denominational teaching, always put God's truth above men's ideas. Whether something is taught by a Catholic priest, a Baptist preacher, or a man on television, search Scripture to be sure it's correct. That's what "reproof and correction" means. When we study Scripture and find differences between what we've been taught and what God's word says, we need to correct our doctrine. If the denomination you attend professes a doctrine that doesn't align with God's word, then they are in error.

Our righteousness only comes through Jesus Christ and our study of His word should help us to grow more like Him. Through study of both the Old and New Testaments we grow closer to Jesus and become more like Him. God wants us to know Him, and doesn't want us to stumble in our Christian walk from lack of knowledge. A good study tool is a concordance. Scripture is God breathed, but the truth is clear in the original languages. There can be some translation problems in going from Hebrew to English, for instance. A concordance will help you to a deeper understanding of His truth.

"NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105.

Here's a challenge, do you know what "nun" means and why it's at the beginning of this verse? God's word can't light our path unless we study it and understand it. In times past it wasn't so easy to study Scripture. The Catholic Church opposed anyone who tried to translate Scripture so it could be understood by regular people. Many false teachings were the result and the clergy gained too much control over the uneducated. This control happens today, but that's mostly because the "sheep" don't do their own study. Not only are many people willfully ignorant of Scripture but many countries make it illegal to own or read a Bible. If you're blessed to live where Scripture isn't illegal then search the Scriptures diligently and learn what God says.

Study prophecy too. Most preachers ignore prophecy and omit an important part of God's word.

"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Peter 1:19-21.

The prophets of old told of the coming Messiah and those prophesies were fulfilled by Jesus. Scripture also gives signs of the end times. Study prophecy to understand the times in which we live. Are we living in a time similar to that which the prophet Amos spoke about?

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it." Amos 8:11-10.

Both the Jewish Northern and Southern Kingdoms would eventually be taken captive because they didn't heed God's warnings. They disobeyed God's laws and they ignored prophecy. Could this be a lesson for us today? God's word is translated into virtually every language on earth yet many people refuse to listen or read it. The internet is full of Christian information, but search engines and sites like YouTube are hindering people from getting accurate information. By the way, search Scripture to be sure what you read on the internet is accurate. Jesus said

"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." Matthew 5:6. Dust off your Bible and begin to read it. Search for truth that can only be found in God's word.

It's easy to slip into sin if we don't study Scripture. "BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." Psalm 119:9-11.

Moral decay is constantly making news headlines. Parents don't teach  their children Scripture and public schools promote satanic lies. How can a young man or a young woman live godly lives if they aren't taught God's truth? Parents, take time to read Scripture with your children. Don't just send them to Sunday school but take them. Answer their questions and always hold Scripture as authority. Teach your children to pray and to love the Lord. If you don't teach them, who will?

We're living in the last days. Very soon this world will be plunged into a seven year period of judgment. According to Jesus this will be a time such as never seen before.


"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." Matthew 24:21.

By searching Scripture you'll understand just how close we are to the end of time which has been prophesied. You'll also understand how important it is for you to draw near to Jesus. Prior to the final seven years of judgment, Christians will be Raptured.

"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." 1 Corinthians 15:50-52.

Everyone will leave this life one day, either by dying or by the Rapture. Either way, the only difference between eternal life and eternal torment is your choice to accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour. God doesn't condemn anyone to eternal death. Each person makes their own choice by either accepting Christ's shed blood for salvation or rejecting Him. Search the Scriptures to be sure you understand the choice you make.
                                                                                                                                            
God bless you all,