Saturday, May 19, 2018


 - Jack Kinsella -

''The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come..'' - (Joel 2:31)
The Old Testament prophets speak of the "latter times" and "That Day" - the Prophet Joel calls it the "Day of the Lord." But the Bible also speaks of the "Day of the Lord," the "Day of Christ" etc.
The Scriptures speak of four distinct "Days" - all of which apply to the overall "latter times." Let's get the "latter times" out of the way, first.
The "latter times" and "last days" don't refer to the Tribulation Period. The terms refer to the times of the New Testament - the entire Dispensation of Grace from Pentecost until now.
What we would think of as the last days is actually what Daniel terms the "time of the end." What I want you to see is that without an understanding of exactly what each term means, it is impossible to rightly divide the Word.
The Scriptures speak of four "Days" relevant to understanding unfolding Bible prophecy.
1. The "Last Days" means the entire span of this present Dispensation. (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17)   It is separated from the "former things of old" (Isaiah 46:9) separating the former things "come to pass" from "the new things" to be declared.
"Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them." (Isaiah 42:9)
The "former things" refers to the Dispensation of the Law, which concluded with the start of the Dispensation of Grace. Just before His ascension into heaven, the Apostles asked Jesus if this was when He would restore the kingdom to Israel.
Jesus told them instead to get to work on building His Church. He said they would "receive power after the Holy Ghost has come upon" them, instructing them to bear witness to the "uttermost part of the earth."
"And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." (Acts 1:9-11)
2. The Day of Christ is the day that the two angels were talking about when they said that Jesus would return in the same manner in which He went up into heaven.
There are two "brackets" that are on either end of the Church Age.
It begins with Jesus quietly ascending into heaven witnessed only by His Apostles and the angelic witnesses. This brackets off the Dispensation of Grace from the Dispensation of the Law.
The Lord's final words were not addressed to the world, but only to those charged with bearing witness to his Gospel, the "Apostles whom He had chosen."
The two angelic witnesses provide a clue to the other 'bracket' telling the Apostles that it will end the same way - with the Lord descending from heaven for His Church at the Rapture. (Philippians 1:10, Philippians 2:16, 2 Thessalonians 2:2)
3. The Day of the Lord refers to the Day of the Vengeance of Our Lord. It refers to the Tribulation Period which begins at some point after the Day of Christ.   The Tribulation Period, the Apostle Paul writes to the Church at Thessonika;
". . . is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:" (2 Thessalonians 1:8)
The Prophet Daniel's vision of the 70 Weeks is similarly divided. After sixty-nine weeks, the Messiah was "cut-off" stopping the clock and leaving an unfulfilled 'week' of years.
That final 'week' begins with the covenant between the antichrist and Israel referenced in Daniel 9:27 when God turns His focus to effecting the national redemption of Israel. Jeremiah calls it the 'time of Jacob's Trouble.'
Revelation separates the purpose and destinies of all three spiritual creations of God. To the new creature, (the Christian) Jesus promises,
"Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." (Revelation 3:10)
Note that Jesus said that it would come upon ALL 'that dwell upon the earth'. Beginning with John's translation from earth to heaven in Revelation 4:1, the only ones pictured as dwelling upon the earth are Israel and the Gentiles.
That is consistent with the time of Jacob's Trouble and the Day of the Lord's Vengeance. What would be inconsistent would be the inclusion of those already purchased by the shed Blood of Christ.
The Day of the Lord and the Dispensation of Judgment begins with the breaking of the first seal of judgment as recorded by Revelation 6:2:
"And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer."
The Rider on the White Horse is the antichrist and his ride does not begin until after the brackets are closed on the Age of Grace. Grace and Judgment are mutually exclusive.
This is further confirmed by the sealing of the 144,000 servants of God in Revelation 7. They are the only ones in the Tribulation that are specifically sealed (not necessarily indwelt) by the Holy Spirit.
They are not the Church or leftovers from the Church Age, since the sing a new song that ONLY those 144,000 who ALSO have the special status of being "redeemed from the earth".   (The Church was redeemed from sin.)
If there are any living saints depicted on the earth after Revelation 4:1 apart from the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and the saints overcome by the antichrist in Revelation 13, I have been unable to locate them.
Note also that the Gospel is carried, not by the Church, but by an angel.
4. The Day of God: The "Day of God" begins with the conclusion of the Dispensation of Judgment with the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:4).
The Day of God continues through the Millennial Kingdom Period and through to the destruction of this present creation and its replacement with the new heaven and the new earth. (2 Peter 3:12)
One of the most important doctrines concerning the last days is the doctrine of immanency.   The doctrine of immanency says that the Lord's return is a signless event that cannot be calculated.
Jesus explained it using the example of a thief coming to burglarize a house.
"And this know, that if the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through." (Luke 12:39)
The lesson is clear. If it were possible to calculate when the Lord was to return at the Rapture, then there would be no reason to watch.   Therefore, there are no signs that precede the Rapture.
The Rapture could have occurred in the 1st century like the Church at Thessonika feared had happened.
If the Rapture were dependent upon definite signs, then no generation in history would have been looking for it except the generation that saw the signs.
So instead, the Scriptures give signs pointing to the Tribulation.   While every generation could be the generation of a signless Rapture, only one would be the generation that would see all the signposts of the approaching Tribulation.
So the Bible extended the Blessed Hope to every generation, but to the generation that sees the signs of the Tribulation there is an added sense of urgency.
The Dispensation of Grace began with the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven after having given His Own the Great Commission to occupy until He comes.
The Dispensation of Grace concludes, according to the bystanding angels, in 'like manner' as He left. He ascended in a cloud, seen only by His own and the angels.
He returns with a shout and the voice of the archangels for His own, -- the dead in Christ first, then we which are alive and remain.   (2 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
But the Dispensation of Judgment - the Tribulation Period - begins with the breaking of the 1st Seal Judgment in Revelation 6:2.
The Day of Christ does not take place during the Day of the Lord. They describe distinct and separate events. The Day of Christ makes way for the onset of the Day of the Lord.
The Rapture cannot take place, as Pre Wrath postulates, with the breaking of the seventh seal judgment --without making Jesus a liar.
"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." Matthew 24:44
According to the Pre Wrath Theory, that verse cannot be true. Instead, the Rapture is triggered by the breaking of the seventh seal. That isn't such a time as I think not, but a very definite time, indeed.
It is no longer a signless event, but is preceded by six very definite signs, including the Revelation of antichrist and the deaths of a quarter of the population from famine, pestilence, war, persecution and death.
Do you see the problem?
In this view, the Rapture will coincide with the opening of the Sixth Seal, the great earthquake, the sun becoming black as sackcloth and the moon as blood.   It certainly must take place afterthe first five seal judgments.
It could NOT have taken place at any time in history past -- and it cannot take place tomorrow. Or even the next day. There is no need to look up and lift up our heads, for our redemption is NOT nigh -- it is still an antichrist and five more judgments way.
There is a reason why understanding the divisions between the Dispensations is so essential. Without Dispensational truth, there is no explanation for why we are no longer under the Law.
The rules under which the Dispensation of the Law worked are different than those of the Dispensation of Grace, which are different than the operational rules of the Dispensation of Judgment, which are AGAIN different than those in operation during the Millennial Kingdom.
Is it an eye for an eye? Or is it turn the other cheek? Stone blasphemers and adulterers to death? Or love the sinner and hate the sin? Do lions eat lambs? Or lie down beside them and smell flowers?
Without a clear division between the Dispensations it is not possible to reconcile these different and seemingly contradictory spiritual economies.
The Rapture belongs to the Dispensation of Grace - it signals its conclusion. It occurs at such a time as ye think not - that disqualifies the breaking of the 7th Seal since that event is preceded by the Blood Moon.
In the Pre Wrath view, the Rapture CANNOT happen until after the Sixth Seal.
But the Rapture is not triggered by a judgment for sin - the Rapture concludes the Dispensation of Grace.
Judgment for sin cannot begin until Grace is withdrawn.
Grace has no place in the Dispensation of Judgment.   The Dispensation of Grace ends with the Rapture.
The Dispensation of Judgment begins with the breaking of the first seal judgment.
"Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:14-15)
It is often pointed out that the rain falls on the evil and the just alike. But judgment is more like lightning. It hits what God aims it at.

Thursday, May 17, 2018


 -by Nathele Graham - 
Doesn't a crown of glory sound desirable? Scripture tells of many crowns that can be won by Christians and tells us how to earn each one, and the crown of glory is no different. There's a lot of responsibility that goes into earning this crown and most Christians won't earn it. "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."1 Peter 5:2-4. Jesus is the chief Shepherd and He will reward our work on earth with Heavenly crowns. The context of Peter's passage speaks to the elders of a congregation. Elders are men who have the responsibility of leading the congregation properly and keeping the flock well fed. It's a huge responsibility for a man to assume leadership of a congregation. Elders need to lead in the ways of God and teach the congregation, but not be dictators. They need to have the right motivation for taking on that responsibility, which means it's done for God's glory. These men need to know Scripture and follow it in their daily life. If a man desires to be an elder it should be because he wants to serve Jesus and not in order to make business connections or to line his own pockets with money. If the motive is wrong then there will be no crown given.
It was Jesus who instructed Peter to feed the flock of God. After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples on a few occasions, including a meeting on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was there that Jesus restored Peter and gave him his life's assignment. "...Feed my lambs." John 21:15b. Peter was to feed the lambs, the new believers who needed to be nurtured in order to grow into mature Christians. "...Feed my sheep." John 21:16b & 17b. The sheep (mature Christians) need different food than the lambs because they should have grown far beyond the need for milk or baby food. Mature Christians need the meat of Scripture in order to stay strong. It's the responsibility of an elder to feed the new believers so they grow and then wean these lambs so they are established in God's word. The elders must encourage the congregation to grow and mature. Peter knew from experience what it means to fail and then to be forgiven and restored. He was no better than any other elder but had matured in his faith and knowledge of God's truth. "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder..." 1 Peter 5:1a. Peter spoke with authority to the elders who shepherd their flocks and encouraged them to grow strong and in faith and Christian living.
If an elder does his job well and has the right motivations, Jesus has a crown waiting. Is the desire for that crown why you do your job faithfully? It shouldn't be. Shepherding the flock is an act of love. When Christians grow in their knowledge and understanding of God's word the congregation is equipped to reach out to the lost people outside of the congregation. A responsible pastor will stand firmly on God's word and teach the truth, even if that truth isn't politically acceptable. Peter and John had been arrested for preaching in Jesus' name and were commanded not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus anymore. "But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." Acts 4:19-20. These are the words of a proper elder. The US Government, as well as other governments of the world, has been able to silence much of God's truth by threatening to take tax exemptions away if a preacher tells the truth about homosexuality and other sins that are sanctioned by government. A responsible shepherd who feeds his flock properly will be more concerned with God's truth than with tax breaks. As an elder, if you're tempted to compromise God's truth maybe you're not the man to be teaching. "My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment." James 3:1 (NKJV). Don't compromise God's word, but don't forget that your teaching needs to be with Godly love.
We can learn so much about ministry from the life of Paul. He truly loved Jesus and loved serving Him. When Paul knew that he was making a last visit to the men whom he had left in charge of the congregation in Ephesus, he had words of advice that need to be applied today. "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." Acts 20:28. Pay attention. The blood of Jesus is precious and the flock which you shepherd was purchased at a great price. Paul's warning to the shepherds is as necessary today as it was all those years ago. If the elders are weak and compromising, wolves will enter among the flock, divide congregations, and speak lies. There are many wolves entering into our congregations and our lives today. Television is full of men who deliver a message that sounds smooth and inspiring, but is filled with erroneous teaching. Books are sold that are filled with New Age ideas and Christians who aren't taught truth will be taken in. Sheep who aren't fed properly will fall prey to such lies. Without strong elders the wolves will win.
When Paul traveled on his missionary journeys, his mission was to establish congregations that were solid on a Godly foundation. He would leave men who were schooled in Christian truth to keep the congregation healthy and growing. One such leader was Titus and Paul wrote to him and helped him understand how to choose men for leadership in his congregation. The same guidelines apply today. "If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." Titus1:6-9. The man who shepherds his flock well has a great responsibility and he can't be a "babe in Christ", but he must be a man who has learned over the years to follow the Lord closely. Experience will have taught this man to trust Jesus and to guide others to also trust Him. This man is to feed the flock, but if he can't feed himself he won't be able to feed others, so he must allow the Holy Spirit to increase his knowledge of Scripture.
What about people who aren't the leaders of a congregation? There are many ways to use your skills to minister to others. Older women are to teach younger women "The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." Titus 2:3-5. As I read that passage some wonderful, godly women come to mind and I am blessed to know these ladies. Paul had fond memories of Timothy's grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice and their genuine faith which they passed on to Timothy. Planting a child's feet solidly upon God's word is a special ministry. Every Christian has a ministry. There are men and women who minister through music, others reach out into their communities and share the Gospel. It is a ministry to open your home for a Bible study and invite people who may not feel comfortable "going to church" and there are much needed prison ministries. In this day and age where there are so many single parent homes and lies being taught in public school, children need to learn what a family consists of in God's plan: A man is married to a woman, and then they have children. Teaching that truth to young people and encouraging them to know Jesus is an important way to serve our Lord. If you love the Lord you'll find it a joy to do all you can for Him. Will you win a crown? Not if you do your service for that purpose. Do all you can for Jesus for the pure joy of serving Him by ministering to others. Too often people have an attitude of "What's in it for me" and that's the wrong way to think about serving our Lord. What's the right way to think? "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:23-24. We all have tasks set before us and if we faithfully perform those tasks our reward will be great. Do all for Jesus.
At the end of his life Paul could look back on his service to the Lord and feel good about what he had done. "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24. Every Christian has the same testify the gospel of the Grace of God. Man or woman, it makes no difference. Share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the lost people in this world. Share because you love Jesus.
Would you continue to do what you're doing for Jesus if you didn't think you might win a crown? Are you doing ministry for your own gain or Christ's glory? The crown of glory rightfully belongs to Jesus and you will cast it at His feet. What a joy that will be.
God bless you all,


 - Jack Kinsella -

By every measurable historical standard, the city of Jerusalem should have fallen into oblivion centuries ago. The city was destroyed in AD 70 by the Romans and its founders and traditional inhabitants were killed or fled into exile in foreign lands.
It has no natural wealth. It has no coastline. It sits inconveniently upon a mountain. It overlooks nothing of strategic military value.
It is on no ancient trade route. The King's Highway of David's time ran north and south through modern Jordan. Jerusalem was well off the beaten path -- folks didn't pass through Jerusalem on their way to somewhere else -- Jerusalem was the end of the line.
Like other historical 'end of the line' cities, once its reason to exist was extinguished by the destruction of its native population, so should its history.
The once-great city of Babylon is a perfect example. Once capital of the world's greatest empire, it is today little more than a living museum, devoid of influence or even much interest outside scholarly circles.
Over the centuries, it has been fought over by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids, Romans, Byzantines, Persians, Arabs, Seljuks, Crusaders, Mongols, Mamelukes, by the Turks, the British, Jordan and most recently, by those Jordanians who became 'Palestinians' after Jordan's defeat in the 1967 War.
Jerusalem remains one of the most contested cities on earth to this day. That list doesn't include the approximately two hundred million Islamic fundamentalists or Islamic states like Iran or Saudi Arabia who have conducted a decades-long shadow war to 'liberate' the city from Jewish control.
Despite two thousand years of war aimed at destroying the Jews and seizing their city, in this generation, the Jews again inhabit an undivided Jerusalem.
"And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24)
Jesus' sweeping prophecy concerning the future of the city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants was fulfilled to the letter throughout history, including its restoration to Jewish hands.
Note that its restoration signals the fulfillment of the 'times of the Gentiles'.
The Apostle Paul called himself the 'apostle of the Gentiles' (Romans 11:13) but Paul had formerly been known as Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee (lawyer) and Jewish religious leader. Paul explains that the Church is a 'graft' from the original tree (Judaism), saying,
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." Romans 11:25)
Here we find the same phraseology that was employed by Jesus concerning the 'times of the Gentiles'. Jesus referred to the times of the Gentiles as being 'fulfilled'. Paul speaks of the 'fulness of the Gentiles'.
Paul says that, following the 'fulness of the Gentiles',
"And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." (Romans 11:27)
Paul notes that, during the Church Age,
"As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes," but Paul cautions; "but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes."
Then Paul wraps it all together by saying,
"For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." (Romans 11:29)
This is one of the great mysteries of Scripture. The Jews are enemies of the Gospel for 'our sakes'. What does that mean?
Jesus taught that His mission was to come first to the Jews. When approached by the Samaritan woman begging Him to help her daughter, Jesus told her, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 15:24)
To the Jews He prophesied,
"I am come in My Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." (John 5:43)
If the Jews had accepted their Messiah at His First Advent, there would have been no Church Age and the Lord would have set up the Millennial Kingdom right then and there. Salvation was only opened to the Gentiles after the Gospel was rejected by the Jews.
Jesus prophesied that because of their rejection of Him, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."
This prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem. And thus begins the 'Times of the Gentiles.'
The usurper, who comes in his own name and is received by the Jews as their Messiah, is not revealed until after the 'fulness of the Gentiles' is come in.
Jeremiah calls it the 'Time of Jacob's Trouble' (Jeremiah 30:7). Jesus calls it the 'Tribulation' (Matthew 24:29). The prophet Daniel outlines the Tribulation's six-fold purpose, from the perspective of Israel;
"(1) to finish the transgression, and (2) to make an end of sins, and (3) to make reconciliation for iniquity, and (4) to bring in everlasting righteousness, and (5) to seal up the vision and prophecy, and (6) to anoint the most Holy." (Daniel 9:24)
Let's connect the dots and see how the Big Picture develops here. Jesus said that the restoration of Jerusalem to Jewish control would signal that the 'fulness of the Gentiles be come in'.
Jesus said of the generation on earth at that time,
"This generation shall not pass away, till ALL be fulfilled." (Luke 21:32)
Paul says that the Jews, as an institution, rejected Jesus so that the Gentiles would have a chance at salvation. He said that God would not return His attention to Israel until 'the fulness of the Gentiles be come in'.
The 'fulness of the Gentiles' indicates a finite number -- a 'quota', so to speak -- of Gentiles who will come to know Christ during the Church Age.
Once that quota -- the Church Age 'elect' have been gathered, God returns His attention to the Jews, "And so all Israel shall be saved" -- because "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance."
That Jesus offered salvation first to Israel is confirmed by His own Words as recorded by John.
The 'Time of Jacob's Trouble' is so-called because of its purpose as outlined by Daniel -- the six-fold purpose that culminates with the 'anointment of the most Holy' as Messiah and the beginning of the Millennial Reign from Jerusalem.
Note how clearly the two Dispensations are divided. Until the Crucifixion, God's attention was focused on Israel. Until the 'fulness of the Gentiles be come in' God's attention is focused on the Church.
The Church, as the 'Bride of Christ' serves no role in Daniel's six-point outline for the Tribulation Period. Take another look at Daniel 9:24 before we go on.
The transgression was finished at the Cross. The Blood of Christ takes away all sin. (1st John 1:7) His death and resurrection reconciled the Church to God.
"And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." (2nd Corinthians 5:18-19)
To the saved believer reconciled to God by the Blood of Christ, 'everlasting righteousness' is a gift of grace through faith, 'sealing' the vision and prophecy of the Old Covenant and introducing the New Covenant with the Church.
The believer knows that Jesus is ALREADY anointed King of King and Lord of Lords and is awaiting His return at the end of the Church Age.
There is no role for the Church Age during the Time of Jacob's Trouble -- it doesn't begin until after the 'fulness of the Gentiles' is come in. And this is the generation in which Jerusalem was recovered from Gentile control, signaling the approach of the fullness of the Gentiles'.
The Tribulation serves two main purposes; the first is the judgment of God on a Christ-rejecting world. The second is the national redemption of Israel. By definition, Church-Age believers have NOT rejected Christ, and need no further redemption.
The Bible says that, before the unfolding of the Time of Jacob's Trouble, there will come an ingathering of Church Age believers:
"Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." (Revelation 3:10)
Jerusalem is the signal that this is the generation that will see the 'fullness of the Gentiles be come in'. It was to that generation that Paul promised:
"For this we say unto you BY THE WORD OF THE LORD, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord 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." (1st Thessalonians 4:15,17b)
The time is short. Don't let anybody steal your victory. Jesus is coming soon for His Church:
"And THEN shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming." (2nd Thessalonians 2:8)
Get excited! The time is short, the fulness of the Gentiles is at hand; the Lord IS coming soon!
"Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (2nd Thessalonians 4:18)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


 - Steve Schmutzer -
I was dismayed to see a reader's feedback to one of my articles, but it was not because he disagreed with my position or disliked the things I had to say. In fact, he was complimentary about how I'd arrived at my conclusions and how I'd expressed my views. What troubled me were his comments on the study of Biblical prophecy itself.
He stated that he "....also used to be passionate about prophetic issues," but he has since "wised up and realized the distraction it had become" to him. His conclusion was "....we need to focus on the issues of greater importance like reaching the unsaved, and teaching them the essential doctrines that are most vital to their faith." He had a couple of creative ways to tell me I was majoring on the minors - and for good measure he tossed in his academic credentials to assure me he knew what he was talking about.
It's not the first time I've received this sort of feedback. Usually, the rebukes are more direct and coarse. While it's probably not a viable statistical assessment, I've noted that many of those who discount the importance of Biblical prophecy also discount the importance of tact in explaining their views.
But - maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm the one who's misled here!
Maybe I have come down with a case of the "prophecy bug" and I'm just resisting proper treatment. Maybe the apocalyptic themes of Biblical prophecy have so captured my affection for superficiality that they are keeping me from the issues I really should be emphasizing. Maybe my keen interest in the future is keeping me from being effective in the present.
Maybe if I matured more in my faith I'd see that God is focused on the church and any support I have for Israel is misguided. Maybe every part of God's Word really is "all about the Gospel." Maybe - just maybe, I should focus on Jesus' first coming and forget about His second coming. Maybe I'm exactly where Satan wants to keep me.
Or maybe not.
I've heard all this and much more like this many times. There is a constant stream of self-appointed advisors and experts who are happy to wax unendingly about all the things I'm doing incorrectly.
While I'm no authority on Biblical prophecy - I regularly follow those who deserve to be called that - I do confess to doing my part to evaluate prophetic issues constantly and carefully. I take seriously the command to "Study to show (myself) approved unto God...." (2 Tim. 2:15). As I do that, I share what I'm learning to the best of my abilities, and I leave the results of that to God.
I don't seek detours around the truth that "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16). As I responsibly place the prophetic Scriptures on an equal plane with other parts of God's Word, I see the mockers and doubters of Biblical prophecy for being the last days' indicators that the Bible declares them to be (2 Peter 3:4).
But let's get back to the primary issue here and ask ourselves, "Does the Bible have anything to say about the benefit of studying prophecy?" You bet it does! Let's go through some of those things:
It's popular in many western churches to sing deliriously about near revivals. A sizeable portion of the modern church believes its calling is to usher in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by continually growing its ministry. They see things getting better and better on their watch.
The assumptions behind such positions are often incompatible with Biblical truth. The prophetic Scriptures teach that societies and cultures will deteriorate as the end times get closer, and Jesus Himself said it would become more and more " the days of Noah" (Matt. 24:37-39). According to Jesus, "....the love of many will grow cold" leading up to the time of His return (Matt. 24:12), and He even wondered if He would "....find faith on the earth" (Luke 18:8). Call it what you will, but none of that is a positive trend, and it seems to me much of the church is out of touch with the truth.
That's why the study of prophecy urges us to Godly living. It helps us to see the present and pending times accurately, and it exhorts us to see ourselves as "aliens and strangers" (1 Peter 2:11) to this world and its ideas. As we eagerly look for the Lord's return, and as we see the moral decay around us, we should be motivated to walk faithfully with our Lord and Savior (1 Peter 4:7; Romans 13:12-14).
In the movie "The Shawshank Redemption," Morgan Freeman's character, Red, says, "Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane." It made for a great movie line at a pregnant moment of the script, but Red is wrong.
Make no mistake - this world is a very sick place. I've felt physically ill by some elements of the news and the expressions of sin. The spiritual darkness in America alone is palpable, and merchants of depravity are "locked and loaded." They want a great deal more evil to be unleashed.
Hope, therefore, is a good thing - and the hope of leaving this planet and being with Jesus Christ keeps me going as it does for many people like me. For many of us, that real hope is centered on a wonderful theme of the prophetic Scriptures: our imminent rapture (Titus 2:13). Until such time, there is also real hope in properly understanding our true status in this life and the one to come (Philippians 1:21).
Revelation 1:3 is straightforward: "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near."
This is the first of the "seven blessings of Revelation," but the emphasis here is on the proper study and application of the prophetic Word of God. You cannot get much clearer than this. God places a direct link between a right response to Biblical prophecy and receiving a spiritual blessing.
God grants a special favor on those who hear and also "take to heart" what is read. You can read the prophetic Scriptures to your cat, but your cat cannot take those things "to heart." But we can! And if we do, and if we properly value them and revere them and permit them to have their divine effect in our life, then we will be recipients of God's blessing.
We are instructed to be Christians which are not "tossed to and fro" by false teachers and deceptive schemes (Eph. 4:14). While this is an important instruction concerning the entirety of God's Word, it seems especially applicable to prophetic themes.
One can take nearly any issue pertaining to the end times and find all sorts of interpretations and wild imaginations about it online. I've come to the conclusion that many people would rather embrace fiction than fact. I think it appeases something within them that the accountability of truth does not.
It is terribly important to acquire the stability that comes from a responsible and reverent study of Bible prophecy. When loons proclaim the next date and time of the rapture, it is the sound study of God's Word that tells us we cannot know this information. When blustery preachers pound the pulpit and proclaim that God has no more plan for the Jews, it is the calm assurance of God's covenant relationship with His chosen people that keeps our hearts firm in the faith.
Many examples of what it means to have stability in the midst of "the cunning of men" could be stated, but one point rises as self-evident here. The disciplined study of God's prophetic Scriptures provides a sure foundation to withstand the floods of deception that run rampant within the church today.
In the next installment of this article, I will explain some more benefits to the study of Biblical prophecy. Till then, keep your attitude humble, your eyes lifted up, and your mind and heart secure in Christ.


by Pastor Mike Taylor

“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” through (Romans 8:29-30)

How I love the book of Romans, especially the 8th chapter. Here the Apostle Paul chronicles the blessings and promises of God. Many will look at their Christian walk and ponder why things don't seem to work out as they envisioned. They grow discouraged and become listless in their daily walk with God. They wonder if God is really on their side. They fail to take hold of the promises of God, grasping it with both hands and endure what they must suffer in this life. Let us examine some of these promises and why you should be joyful and singing the praises of Almighty God for His wondrous mercy.

Look at the opening verses to this message and ponder for a moment the ramifications of what Paul is attempting to preach to them, and to us. This is not a confirmation of predestination, but God in His infinite knowledge, knew that you would accept payment for your sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. God who knows the beginning from the end, and saw you make that heart felt decision to accept the gift provided by His Son, long before you even knew it yourself. In no way does this foreknowledge affect your own self will to make that decision on your own. It's just that God saw you do it.

God has a purpose for all this and it was for your salvation before time began. Some will say, “Then why does God allow suffering in this world, if He called me out of it before time began.?” Why does God allow Christians to go through trials and tribulations of this world? God has a specific plan in place for refining each of us into the image of His Son through sanctification. It's not random occurrences that we have no control over .

But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)
God is the Potter, we are the clay. He is the One doing the shaping, the molding, the creating. "It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves."
I am a firm believer that God does not allow one thing to happen to a born again Christian unless He allows it. Why would God do that?


Understand that man is a mortal being that has a sin nature that wars with the spiritual man daily. He will never totally escape it, until Jesus comes and perfects him by changing him from a mortal being into immortality and remove our sin nature for eternity.
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (1st John 3:1-3)

That will come when Jesus breaks through the clouds and calls His church to join Him at the changing of us, “in the twinkling of an eye” we know as the Rapture. But, Paul lamented over his sin nature in the previous chapter of Romans :

15 “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”(Romans 7:15-20)

Paul was distraught that he could not, nor could any other man escape his sin nature. But what does Paul say in the final verses?

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”

Many don't know that Paul was making reference to a Roman practice for those condemned to be chained to a corpse and the soldiers betting on how long it would take for the condemned to resort to cannibalism to prevent their own death. It was an analogy that many during Paul's day would have recognized and being chained to a sinful nature of death. Who frees them from that body of death? Jesus Christ is Who frees us.

If God allows us to be tested, to be refined, and to experience difficulties in this life, then what is the purpose for God allowing this to happen?

The Bible says that even a sparrow in the sky is so important to God that not one of them shall fall to the ground without His knowledge and permission.

29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31)

What is the purpose here? Does God have a purpose? Concerning the analogy of a sparrow, it is more than mere rhetoric. If God cares about a sparrow and not one falls from the sky without it being part of His plan, then how likely is it that He allows you to undergo trials and tribulations for no purpose?

 God foreknew us and determined to call us before He ever made His summons known to us. By doing so, He was making a prognosis. We are in this elite group, (the called), only because the great God of heaven and earth specifically and personally summoned us by forcibly bringing the good news to our attention so we would be motivated to choose to respond freely to it.  But that is only the beginning. We are then in the school of God's Holy Spirit that will refine us, smooth off the rough edges and make us into the image of God's only Son. It is a lifelong process of being molded, or sanctified.


Remember the story of Job? Here was a righteous man who endured unspeakable trials in his life. This was allowed to test Job and to refine him even through boils that raised up on his body, the loss of his family and all of his wealth. Now granted, this is an extreme case of God allowing adversity to come into a man's life, but can we draw a lesson from the book of Job? In the final analogy, Job learned that you must have total faith and reliance on your Heavenly Father. For He cares for us with a Divine love that was shown by the death of His only Son. It comes down to value.

If God values even a little sparrow and we are worth more than many sparrows, and worth more than the life of His only Son, then what was God's purpose? It was that God saw you as valuable. 
Your value, in God's eyes, is such that Jesus Christ died in your place so that you might have everlasting life.  Your purpose is also clearly outlined in Scripture.  When you were lost, your purpose was to be saved. God had a desire for a “family” and made man in His image. God was ultimately “reproducing Himself” when He made man. God was not content to just throw man away, when he fell at the temptation brought forth by Satan and man sinned against God. It is why God sent His only Son, to be the propitiation (substitute) sacrifice for our sins, so that we may be justified because of HIM. Jesus redeemed what had been lost, as our “Kinsman Redeemer”.

It really isn’t that difficult a concept, if we are willing to accept God as He describes Himself and accept the Bible as a true record.

You were to be conformed to His Son through being justified then for the rest of your life, sanctified as the opening verse testifies. “Conformed” is the English rendering of the Greek word, “
summorphos” meaning, “jointly formed, fashioned like unto.”   Note that you didn’t conform yourself to the image of His Son, it was done for you. You were foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, sanctified and destined for glory– all in the past tense indicating that it is already accomplished.

It doesn’t say you 
will be justified, sanctified or glorified when you get to heaven.  It says it was already accomplished in heaven before the world began. I have often mentioned that there is only one reason that you and I were born into this world, ultimately. That is, what will you do with the man, Jesus Christ? See, God knows everything...because He is God. He knows if you will accept, but He also knows you who will reject the call of the Holy Spirit.  God will not override a man's freewill to choose.

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, 
not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” (Titus 1:2)
God cannot lie.  Eternal life was promised, not according to our works, before the world began.  You were foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, sanctified and glorified to the Glory of God the Father and His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

It isn’t a linguistic trick.  It isn’t a mistranslation or a misunderstanding of either the original Greek or in our English translation.

every thing there is a purpose, the Bible says, and for every purpose God has appointed a time.

“ No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44)

God works even to make sure that His people have the faith they need! God supplies everything except one's decision—and even in the decision a person makes, He keeps poking us in the ribs, shoving us in the back, to move us in the right direction. He does not give up easily once He sets his mind to do something. We must come to God by faith, but even that faith to believe on the FULL payment for our sins, by Jesus Christ was given by the Father God in heaven.


If we are being refined now, sanctified into the image of His Son after conversion and being baptized, then what is the point of the Church going through the Tribulation that is coming at us like a locomotive? What is the purpose of the Tribulation? In my discernment of what the Bible teaches, the only answer is two objectives by God.

To bring Israel to the knowledge and recognition of her Messiah that they had crucified 2000 years ago and to cry out in agony, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
To completely destroy all rebellion of a Christ rejecting world and purify the world of those who take the mark of the beast, as prophesied in Revelation. God will wipe this planet clean of rebellion.
It is called the Tribulation Period. (Greek: thlipsis: “affliction, anguish,

burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble”). And, it is called, “The time of J
acobs trouble" for an obvious reason. It is the time when God will return His full focus on saving Israel as He promised.

The affliction, anguish, burden, persecution, tribulation and trouble of this time is to be inflicted upon all those that dwell upon the earth.  The Bible tells us that it will be meted out in the form of 21 judgments. God will purge Israel, not leaving them unpunished, but will save a remnant through this awful time.
25 “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes.
29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:25-29)

Those that hold to a literal “refining” of the church during the Tribulation in addition to the defined two reasons noted above, negate the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ. To embrace a mid-tribulation, Pre-wrath, or a post-tribulation model is to diminish the work of the cross. Was Jesus sacrifice not good enough? Was it lacking in its freeing the Christian from the penalty of enduring God's wrath that shall cover the whole earth?  Is this not the same as the false doctrine of Catholic purgatory, which we know is a lie?

When are we forgiven our sins? Is it not when we accept Jesus by faith and the Holy Spirit dwells within our spirit? Then why must we be refined? So if there are extra requirements that must be brought to the table, they are extra requirements imposed by you, not by God.  God say
s, “whosoever will.”

At the moment of salvation, the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us and bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. “ (Romans 8:16-17)

That leads to another problem with the concept of error that the church of Jesus Christ must endure the Tribulation. Jesus promised us that He would send us the “Comforter” the Holy Spirit and He would never leave us or forsake us.

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

17, Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

18, I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18)

Jesus said He would never leave us alone, but the Bible says that the Holy Spirit is taken out of the world to allow the indwelling of the spirit of Satan in the Anti-Christ and he will overcome the “saints”

4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1st John 5:4-5)

But Paul reveals that the Holy Spirit will be taken out of this world!!

6, “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

7, For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

8, And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: “ (II Thessalonians 2:6-8)
 But the Anti-Christ overcomes the Tribulation saints........

“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Revelation 13:7)

 So which is it? God dwells with us forever, but leaves us defenseless and powerless to the conquest of the Anti-Christ? Since God cannot lie, it is obvious that if the Holy Spirit is removed to make way for the spirit of Anti-Christ that shall overcome the saints, then since the Holy Spirit was removed, then so is the Church.  Each Child of God has an earnest deposit of God's Holy Spirit which is our guarantee of future glorification at the return of Christ. So if the Holy Spirit is withdrawn, as Paul reveals through Divine inspiration, then so are the vessels He dwells within.


Christians undergo trials and tribulations in this life according to His purposes.  What is the purpose behind Blood-bought, eternally-saved, indwelt Christians being separated from the indwelling Holy Spirit so that they can undergo 
half  or all of the judgment period set aside for those that rejected Christ?

Why would the Lord subject His own Bride to judgment for sin after He had already redeemed that Bride from judgment for sin at the Cross? It is a conflict that those who don't discern the purpose of God make the error that the Church must be refined, right along with the rest of a God rejecting world.

We endure the consequences of sin all the time because the world is created in sin, but consequences aren’t the same as judgment.


“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

3, For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:1-3)

The church has a glorious future that no one can begin to imagine. As it is written “eye hath not seen, or ear heard, or entered into the heart of man, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1
st Corinthians 2:9)

And the Bible states further......

14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

15, For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

16, The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17, And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

18, For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:14-18)


One fly in the ointment so to speak, those who are being made into the image of God are those who have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and God knows in advance who that person is, each of us. Those who read this message, or have not taken the free gift of eternal life with a repentant heart (meaning change your mind about sin and about God) cannot embrace the glory that awaits those that have. God will not beat you into submission, but will continue to convict you of your condition, until you are beyond hope of recovery. God knows when that time is, that you are “irredeemable”. So you ask me, what must I do to have this type of eternal existence and a glorious future?

Realize you are a sinner. “ For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
Realize that God made a way for those sins to be forgiven and live with God forever.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Confession before God in a broken and contrite heart calling out to God,

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.” (Romans 10:9)

You say, that “sounds simple”...yes, it is simple that a child can understand it...I did when I was 10 years old. But you must believe in your heart, not just in your head with “childlike” faith. It must enter into a humbled and contrite heart that knows that without God you are doomed for a devil's hell, or to experience that hell on earth, called the Tribulation and possibly even the Lake of Fire if those years of the Tribulation don't call you to repentance before God. The horrors of the period are too gruesome to even ponder, as hardly any flesh will be saved and many will be martyred by beheading. Sounds awful and it's all right there in your Bible in the last book of Revelation. You don't want to find out I'm right by first hand experience.

The saints of the church are being sanctified, conformed and transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, one lesson at a time. I know that I will never be perfect in this life, but I will be perfect in the next life when Jesus comes for me and all who believe by faith in His death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Father in Heaven. But it's not about works, but His mercy and grace....and the best part...IT”S FREE FOR THE ASKING....We await the coming of our Lord with a trumpet blast, that could sound very soon...very soon. Because all the signs point to this great event on the near horizon. I've written extensively in detail of that coming period on my blog. If you have time, check them out.

Don't wait too long, as you are not promised even tomorrow. To stand before a Holy God and not have Jesus as your substitute payment for your sins, is a vision I wish for no one, no matter what you have done. Jesus awaits your on Him justified today by the sacrifice of our Lord, then submit to Godly instruction on how to be sanctified and being made into the image of His Son, as humanly possible this side of the coming of our Lord for His Church.

This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying your acceptance of our Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Should you need counseling, prayer, or just a listening ear, email me at, or visit me online for more biblical teachings from the Word of God, at, . God bless you all........