Saturday, April 21, 2018
Have you ever had a strong desire for something? Maybe you're a young man who is in love with a young woman. She fills your thoughts and you yearn for the time you can spend with her. When you're together you try to please her and are thrilled just to be with her. That's how we should feel about Jesus. We're never separated from Him but we should always think about pleasing Him and we need to introduce Him to family and friends. Not only should we desire to please Him now but we should desire for Him to appear and take us Home. The Apostle Paul had dedicated his life to missionary work in the purest sense of the word: he spread the Gospel without. Because of his persistence in talking about Jesus he had been arrested and sent to Rome where he would be executed because of his faith. He was torn between his desire to continue spreading the Gospel and his desire to be with the Lord, but he knew that he could be content either way. Paul could look back on his life and know that he had done everything he could for Jesus, and he also yearned for the time that he would see Him. "Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:8. Do you love the thought of His appearing? Various Bible translations say "look eagerly forward to his appearing" and "set their affection on his appearing". No matter how it's phrased, the meaning is the same. Like the Apostle Paul, we should yearn for His appearing. Paul says there's a crown of righteousness waiting for you if you do. Not only is there a crown waiting, but the Lord Himself will give it to you.
Too often Christians get caught up in the pressures of life. Paying bills, being with family and friends, hobbies, etc. can easily come between us and Jesus. It doesn't have to be an "either/or" situation, but when the bills pile up or friends pressure us to compromise our beliefs, it's not the secular pursuits that take a back seat. We hold jobs in order to pay bills, but when the desires of our flesh become more important than the desire to serve Jesus, out come the credit cards and the bills pile up. New cars and designer jeans are expensive and cause the monthly bills to run high. This can move our focus from yearning for Jesus to yearning to get out of debt. The dissatisfaction of too many bills can cause us to buy more things in an attempt to ease that bad feeling inside. The cycle keeps turning. We buy more things in an attempt to "feel better" but secular "things" can never spiritually satisfy. Only Jesus can fill our lives with peace and contentment, but we need to seek Him above all the riches and comforts of this temporary world. Jesus talked about putting our needs in the proper order. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33. What things will be added to us when we seek after the kingdom of God rather than greedily seek worldly possessions? The previous verses tell us that God knows our needs, such as food and clothing. Seek God, yearn for the appearing of Jesus Christ, and your needs will be met. If you're unemployed God will lead you to a job so you can buy necessities or He will guide you to plant a garden to provide food. First and foremost, seek after the things of God and yearn for His appearing. Recently I've been inundated by medical bills. I can honestly say that I worry about paying them and that worry can interfere with my concentration on writing these commentaries. That's when I pray and ask for God's peace and assurance. He always provides, and I know He always will. He has provided food, shelter, and clothing and I'm very thankful. Above all, I do yearn for His appearing.
When we yearn for the appearing of Jesus we will see Him everywhere. When we meet someone in need, instead of seeing a person who has made bad choices and "deserves what they get", we will see a human being who has been placed in our path so we can help. If that person doesn't know Jesus, share the Gospel. If you're led to help that person with food or whatever the need is, be sure that they know it isn't you helping them but that Jesus saw their need and is using you to fill it. Jesus never failed to help those in need. He healed lepers, cast out demons, and fed thousands of people. His message was the Good News that the Messiah had appeared and walked among them. Missionary work is to spread the Gospel, and your neighborhood is the mission field. Do others see His appearance in your life? "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20. Jesus gave His life for you, for me, and for the sin of the whole world. If we yearn for His appearing then we need to share His Gospel with those who have never met Him.
Surprisingly there are some Christians who don't yearn for His appearing. They cling to this world as if it can satisfy their needs. There are some nice things in this life, but they are just a shadow of what lies ahead for Christians. A hot fudge sundae might be tasty and give temporary satisfaction to our sweet tooth, but it will pale and be forgotten when we behold the Bread from Heaven, the manna, which is Jesus. "This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever." John 6:58. Eternal life can only be found through faith in the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made, and only He can satisfy every yearning. The temporary things found in this life can bring no eternal reward or pleasure. Everything that you yearn for in this life is temporary. Fame and fortune will serve no purpose when you die. Yes, one day you will die, unless He appears to call us Home in the Rapture first. Either way the things that got in the way of your love for our Lord won't matter at all. "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:20-21. When you yearn for and seek after a treasure, be sure it's of eternal value. Yearn for Jesus Christ.
One day very soon a trumpet will sound and in the twinkling of an eye Christians will be changed from this life to life eternal with Jesus. If that doesn't give you goose bumps of anticipation then I don't know what will. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. When the Lord descends with a shout, if you're still alive you'll be caught up (harpazō/Rapture). Any Christian who has already died will rise first. Do you take comfort in that truth? I do. Every worldly desire that you have today won't matter one iota on that day unless you yearn for the appearing of our Lord, Jesus the Christ. At that time your works will be judged and the selfish things you've done in this life will have no value and be burned. Only the things you've done for Jesus will stand the test of that fire. Then you'll be given rewards for the works you've done in Jesus name. "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:8. You may not think the rewards in Heaven will be any big deal, but you're wrong. They'll be very important to you when you're standing before Jesus and have full understanding of the price He paid for your salvation. Only through His righteousness are you standing there. You will want a crown...not for your own self, but you'll want to cast that crown before Him in gratitude and love. Oh, my Lord, I want a crown. I want to lay it at Your feet.
Salvation is through faith alone, but it isn't too late to earn that crown of righteousness, or any of the other crowns that your works can earn. Get busy.
God bless you all,
- Jack Kinsella -
Sometimes, it must appear as if the Omega Letter is really the Israeli Letter, given our focus on the Middle East, in particular, Israel.
Such is not our intent. But Israel is the linchpin in studying Bible prophecy. Jesus' description of the signs of His Return [Matt 24:3] are given from the perspective of someone standing on the Mount of Olives.
Without Israel, Bible prophecy doesn't make sense.
That is one reason that Christians who believe Israel was replaced by the Church have no use for prophecy. See "What is Preterism"?
Center of Global Attention
In addition, Israel is at the top of the world's agenda, and the mission of the Omega Letter Digest is to document the world's slide toward the Tribulation using secular resources to demonstrate the accuracy of Bible prophecy.
Since Bible prophecy for the last days and through the Tribulation is centered around Israel [see Daniel's 70th Week]. Israel serves as a mile marker. The closer it appears to come to extinction, the closer the Return of Christ, Who, according to Scripture, prevents that from happening.
The Eternal Generation
In a very real sense, what we are witnessing is not the actual fulfillment of prophecy for the last days. The next prophetic event to be fulfilled in the Church Age is the Rapture. Then the events of the Tribulation follow. Both remain future -- near future, we would argue.
So instead, we are eyewitnesses to the staging process. The Bible says that there are a number of seemingly unrelated events that take place all in a single generation, somewhere in time.
Bible Prophecy Demands A Jewish State
Bible prophecy makes numerous references to the existence of a Jewish state called Israel in the last days [Ezekiel 37]. It also demands that Israel be in disputed possession of the city of Jerusalem [Zechariah 12].
It demands a conflict between Israel and her neighbors [Daniel 9]. The conflict is so intractable it will require supernatural intervention to resolve it [Dan 9:27, Zech 12:2-3].
Israel's rebirth even took the Jews by surprise. Abba Eban, one of Israel's Founding Fathers, wrote in his book, Personal Witness, that on the day David Ben Gurion composed the telegram asking Harry Truman to recognize the Jewish state, it was still unnamed.
The name 'Israel' wasn't selected until the following day.
"Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children." (Isaiah 66:8).
Bible Prophecy Demands A Global Government
Throughout history, men have sought to rule the world. And throughout history, other men have resisted the attempt. In the last two global wars, the effort began with the conquest of Europe.
Following the last attempt, the Benelux Treaty brought together the first six European states, forming the nucleus of the modern European Union. Wars couldn't unite them. Peace did [Daniel 8:25].
The same global war was responsible for the creation of the United Nations. The UN created the template for a global government. But the UN is an organism with 191 heads and no brain. It doesn't take a political scientist to see it is a failed experiment.
How Europe will eventually replace the UN is unclear, but it is the most likely candidate -- the world would never accept the US or Russia. Europe would be far more acceptable. The Bible says it will happen [Daniel 9, Rev 13].
Bible Prophecy Demands a Global Economy
The global economy is a reality. The prophecy of the Mark of the Beast [Rev 13:17] demands a system whereby the buying and selling of individuals will be tracked and monitored. Those outside the economic system of antichrist will be 'unable to buy or sell'.
Entry into the system requires some kind of mark of allegiance to the antichrist. Tracking sales is a reality. Nobody can function in today's economy unless they are in the 'system'. If you doubt it, get a bank account without a Social Security number or try and buy a new car using cash.
Bible Prophecy Demands a Global Religion
The Mark of the Beast is an economic system, but also a system of worship. The false prophet [Rev 13:11] has two horns like a lamb [symbolic of Christianity - the Lamb of God] but speaks as a dragon [Satan]. A counterfeit Christianity preaching another Jesus and a different gospel [2 Cor 11:4]. That is already well entrenched in mainstream Christian denominations that teach salvation by works, church membership or ritual.
The war on terror has also created a global suspicion of fundamental anything.
What is a Fundamentalist?
To a Christian, a fundamentalist is one who practices the fundamentals of Christian faith, eschewing traditions of men and preferring the Word of God.
The world has a different perspective.
Fundamentalists, Jewish, Christian, Muslim -- they're all bombers. Christian fundamentalists blow up abortion clinics, Jewish fundamentalists blow up Arabs and Muslim fundamentalists blow up anybody. That is the prevailing propaganda, is it not?
It isn't a stretch to expect that the sudden legitimization of 'faith' [whether in Jehovah, Jesus or Allah] will eventually blend together into a kind of global ecumenical belief in one 'god' for all. Those who hold to the 'old ways' would be, well, fundamentalists.
We get lots of email asking where we are in Bible prophecy right now. Israel was reborn in 1948. The Benelux Treaty was signed in 1948. The World Council of Churches was created in Amsterdam in 1948. The transistor -- the invention credited as giving birth to the Computer Age [making possible a global economy] was invented in 1948.
The General Agreement on Tarrifs and Trades [forerunner to the World Trade Organization] was signed in 1948. Where are we in Bible prophecy right now? Jesus said 'when these things begin to come to pass, look up' [Luke 21:28] because 'this generation shall not pass, til all be fulfilled' [Matthew 24:34].
Although no man knows the day or hour, [Matt 24:33] 'when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors' [Mark 13:29].
Where are we in Bible prophecy right now?
Near. Even at the doors.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.” (1st Corinthians 3:11-13)
How is Christianity different from all other man-made religions? Being a Christian is the only hope for the believer that after we die, we gain what we can only imagine in this life. It's not like the Muslim who fears a non-existent god whose only call is for them to die a martyr for “allah”. Or the Buddhist who believes in a long dead philosopher that is only good for this life and attempt to live morally.
For the Christian, to die is to gain....everything.
9 “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1st Corinthians 2:9)
As one who has put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, by grace through faith, I have sat and meditated on what it will be like when Jesus comes for His church and we are forever with the Lord. You know what? I can't even imagine what it will be like. I can only feel in my spirit that it will be thousands of times greater than whatever we can achieve in this life. This life is but a warm up for the next one (the one that counts).
Everyone of us want to go to heaven, as this earth is nothing but sin and misery. Oh, God gives us the things that are necessary to endure the years we have on this earth, so we can work for Him, and He knows what we need to endure this life. But we are but pilgrims in a land that is not our home. We search for a home not built with hands, but is waiting for us, as Jesus will bring us to His Father's House and where our mansions are being made right now.
But the rub of the point is we will cling to this life with both hands until the very last second, as we pray for long life even if we acknowledge the joy that we want to go home. It is bred into our DNA that is called the sympathetic nervous system, or “fight or flight” to preserve life. Even though we know the next life is by far better than the one we now live, we fight to live a long life. God gave us a commandment that our days would be long on this earth:
"Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." (Ephesians 6:2-3)
"I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)
But being dead is far different that getting dead. The fear anyone has is getting there, than it is of BEING there.
"For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey." (Matthew 25:15-16)
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)
Each of us are given a portion of God's Word to share with the world. The parable of the nobleman, which is synonymous with God our Father, “gives each of us” talents of His Word that He gives us to understand, discern and expects each of us to share it with the lost of this world. Those abilities to witness, to preach, to minister, and to tend to the widow and the orphans of this world are given as God sees fit to allow service within this earth and bring us to the Kingdom of God as Kings and Priest to God. That is not only for your local pastor, but for each individual that looks to Jesus for Salvation.
"Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two." (Matthew 25:17)
Note that the servant that was given the most produced the most. But then we turn our attention to the end of the parable where the unprofitable servant hid His Master's talents in the ground.
"But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money." (Matthew 25:18)
The parable shows that two of the Lord's servants invested their Lord's money (His talent, His Word) so that when the Lord returns He receives what is His with interest. What interest? The sharing of the Word of God to bring lost souls to repentance. We may only be planting seeds, and another waters, but the Holy Spirit gives the increase. Note the first two servants are rewarded handsomely and were commended on their service:
20 “And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”( Matthew 25:21-23)
24 “Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”(Matthew 25:24-30)
The Lord orders that the unprofitable servant be stripped of what what he has and give it to the servant who produced the most, and to be cast into outer darkness, “ where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” (Matthew 25:32-34)
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1st Corinthians 3:10-11)
Each of us will be given rewards for what is built upon this foundation, which is Christ the Lord. We are free to build whatever on this foundation with building materials of our own choosing, or eternal security is based upon this foundation, not our subsequent construction efforts.
12 “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.” (1st Corinthians 3:12-13)
Each work we perform that is built upon the Foundation of Jesus Christ will be tested to see what sort of work it is....those that have used silver, gold or precious stones will receive a reward, as they will last. But not those of wood, hay, or stubble as each will be tested with the Fire of God.
This is the believer's judgment and you can loose rewards for lazy service much like the unprofitable servant, but you cannot loose you salvation, or that has been guaranteed from the foundation of the world as an earnest deposit of our future glorification.
When the apostle Paul wrote this epistle, the judge of the Olympic games would sit at the finish line and his job was to determine the position of each runner when they finished the race. He would decide who was first, second, third and so on, for the purpose of rewarding medals according to placement, just as we do in our modern Olympics.
"Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is."
You can't get to the Bema Seat of Christ on intellectual “head knowledge” of Jesus, as even Satan and the demons believe and they are not saints. Believing is not enough.
19” Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
Head knowledge must become heart knowledge, that those who by faith have repented of their sinful condition, changed their mind about God, and do a total 180 degree turn around and follow Jesus Christ in His footsteps and have accepted the Free Pardon secured for them at the Cross at Calvary.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” (Revelation 20:11-13)
6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.” (Isaiah 64:5-7)
Those that God saved were clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ, but here those that stand here are clothed in their own righteousness, as the interpretation of ours being as filthy rags, is equated to a woman's used menstrual cloth.
God will not allow sin to be in His presence and the only way to stand before God Almighty is through the sacrifice of His Son. No one standing here will be able to make an excuse, given a second chance, or be allowed into Heaven's glory, but will receive the ultimate punishment for their rejection of the only payment for their sins, Jesus Christ, Him crucified and resurrected who is now YOUR Judge.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:13-15)
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
Then because of God's grace and love reach out to others and witness to them of the love you have found in God building rewards that will given to those who bring the love of God to others. The Bema Judgment Seat will be coming for those who have found the truth of the above verses and proclaim that Truth to all who enter your life.
8 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
The alternative is beyond anyone's comprehension of what will come to those who reject God's Love and are not found with their name written in the Lamb's Book of Life. No one would want to endure what those who are thrown away from God's presence in outer darkness where the fire is not quenched, the worm dieth not, and there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Choose you this day where your eternal destiny lies. A hope of life of glory, or a life in eternity filled with torment and suffering.
23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude 1:21-25)