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Joshua 1:6 - "Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them."
SINCE I AM COMMITTED TO PRAYER AND HAVE COURAGE TO STAND ON GOD'S WORD --I AM CONFIDENT THAT GOD WILL ANSWER FROM HEAVEN.
I REFUSE TO GIVE UP IN THE MIDDLE OF BATTLE AND AM DETERMINED TO RECEIVE MY REWARD.
Hebrews 10:35 - "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward."
Luke 5:4 - "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets".
I quit fishing in the same waters I've bee fishing in for so long. I go to new territories and get ready to catch more fish than I ever dreamed possible!
Luke 5:10 - "Don't be afraid! From now on you'll be fishing for the souls of men!"
Proverbs 24:16 - "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief."
If we lose sight of OUR PURPOSE that God has for us being here we will drift aimlessly into things that are not fulfilling, but leave us empty and confused as to why we are here. Like Caleb, we need a "different spirit" that is exemplary in faith. For he who is born of God "overcomes" the world, possessing and inheriting the promises. (1 John 5:4)
ALBERT FINCH MINISTRY
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Christ and the 7 Churches.
The Apostle John was overcome by this wondrous vision of the Lord Jesus and collapsed at His feet as dead. The blinding sight of Christ`s glory, His concentrated gaze and the terrible sword protruding from the mouth all made John`s heart tremble & become terror stricken. But the Lord lays His hand upon him and reassures him that He has all things under His command.
As the `First,` Christ is the creator of all things visible & invisible, and as the `Last,` He finishes all things in heaven and on the earth. He has conquered death & hell and is alive for evermore.
The Lord Jesus then explains to John what the lampstands and stars represented. As the priest in the earthly temple would move amongst the lampstands and watch to keep their lights burning so it is that Christ, the Head of the Body, who moves amongst the churches makes sure that their lights, their witness of Him is true and clear.
And just as the seven stars, the Pleiades (Job 38: 31) control our planetary system from billions of miles away, so it is that Christ has administrative authority over the churches, His Body, supervising them over the centuries and throughout the world.
“The mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand,
& the seven golden lampstands:
the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches,
and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.”
(Rev. 1: 20)
The Lord Jesus Christ, the founder and perfector of the Church is now shown as its competent Administrator. He is shown walking amongst the seven golden lampstands. Each lampstand fitted on to a common base representing the complete Church, the Body of Christ. The number seven in Hebrew means complete.
Thus looking back through history we can see that these seven churches are an overview, showing the entire history of its development and conflict against the enemy, while displaying Christ`s competence to meet all challenges, finally culminating in the completing of the mature Body of Christ, His glorious Church.
Thus the Lord Jesus Christ directs John to write to these seven churches in Asia who are representative of all the local churches, the believers who are the Body of Christ.
Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.
The Lord addresses each group particularly, giving words of commendation and encouragement or chastisement and warnings. Christ then counsels each group presenting Himself in clarity and truth. The response is but to repent & obey His Holy Spirit.
Each church, each group of believers would be encouraged, comforted or challenged by the Lord`s discernment of them. Then down through the centuries as other believers read, they also could receive what Christ is saying by His Holy Spirit.
Now finally today there are believers who have left their first love, as did Ephesus, servants being martyred, as in Symrna, others engrossed and overcome with worldly indulgences, and so on. But each phase has had a period when the outstanding characteristic that is stressed here has been the dominant aspect portrayed in church life.
Thus we see that the church of Laodicea, the final group of believers having to face `every wind of doctrine, ` being `tossed to and fro.` Yet the encouragement is to press on to maturity in Christ and to reach the unity of the faith (what we believe) and the knowledge of the Son of God. (Eph. 4: 13 – 16)
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Dr. Charles Stanley
October 18, 2016
Should we accept only good things from the
hand of God and never bad?
When you are faced with a a big disappointment, do you get angry
and blame God for letting your down?
When Job went through his intense time of suffering, Satan
used Job's wife to stir up his despair and bitterness. But the godly
man would not listen. Job's response to her-and toward the
extreme heartache he was experiencing-was amazing trust in
the Lord. And because of his humble and submissive attitude, God
honored Job greatly (Job 42:10-17).
Likewise, the way you respond to disappointment is extremely
important. Do not listen when the enemy tells you you're not worth
anything or that God doesn't love you anymore. Your merciful heavenly
Father may actually be saving you from ruining your life. It may
well be that the Lord, in His loving plan, has stopped a particular
situation to keep you from destruction-and what seems a setback
is actually His rescue.
So when trials occur, react like Job. Honor God, and ask Him
to make clear whatever He is teaching you.
Father, what do I need to learn from this?
Give me peace, in spite of my pain, amen
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In Part 5, we witnessed the trumpets begin to blast one by one, sending a fresh series of disasters upon planet earth and its inhabitants. We pick up at the fifth trumpet, which is one of the three "woes” that the eagle flying in the heavens has warned the people of Earth about:
The Fifth Trumpet sounds:
"Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him. He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit. Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man. And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death flees from them.” (Revelation 9:1-6, NASB)
The "star" in this verse is not a celestial body, but rather, a person. We get this from the language used: stars normally are not living entities, and cannot be 'given" anything. These are qualities reserved for a person, and this person is a "he." Mentioned in the verse is that the "star" had fallen from the sky to earth. From the language used in this verse, we might conclude that this is probably a fallen angel, as celestial beings are often called "stars" We just need to be careful that we don't assume ALL references to stars are considered angels; we need to consider context.
What we also discover in this section of scripture is that the shaft of a place called the "Abyss" is located on earth, and is locked. This angel has they key and releases a swarm of locusts. Note that the shy, already darkened by the previous judgments, is darkened even more. The "marching orders' for this swarm are not to touch anyone but those who don't have God's seal on their heads. They are not to touch the grass, vegetation, or anything else but their specified target. They aren't allowed to kill, only to torture for a period of 5 months; not even half a year. But during that period, men will suffer the pain from the "sting" of this swarm, as if it were a scorpion sting. Middle eastern varieties of scorpions, such as the Death Stalker Scorpion and the Yellow Fantail Scorpion, have particularly nasty stings, as their venom can kill a full-grown adult. John probably knew full well of these types of scorpions , and used this simile as he wrote.
A side note I need to make mention of: during this period, scripture tells us that people will seek to die, but that death will flee from them. It doesn't just limit it to a specific area or group, but it seems to reference THE WHOLE PLANET. Imagine a world in the conditions of the tribulation: darkness, disasters, famines and wars have devastated the planet, freak weather, poisoned water, and earthquakes. People trying to do away with themselves, but they are unable to die. The horror is unimaginable: wounds, broken bones, burns, poisoned water and diseases would not kill, but leave masses of people in need of care. What was left of hospitals and healthcare systems would be quickly overrun and collapse due to lack of supplies, or be rationed out very harshly. Disease would run rampant, and people would be literal skeletons warmed with flesh. People dying from hunger, yet still alive because they cannot die would wander aimlessly. Those who tried to kill themselves probably now have severe wounds, yet are unable to end their lives. Add all this on top of all the plagues and the fact that we would have trouble finding a place to place all those people. The elderly would be long gone by now, and children would be scare, if any at this point....
I think we get the point by now.
The "Locusts" are described in detail:
" The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle. They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months. They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon. ” (Revelation 9:7-11, NASB)
The description of them in Greek uses the word stephanoi, which denote wreaths given to the victors in a competition. Meantime, they appear to have human faces, hair like a woman's, and the appearance of horses as well as tails like scorpions. The descriptions given have been speculated by some to be akin to an attack helicopter, but I'm choosing to stick to scripture here and not try to read human connotations too readily into this. When it happens, that mystery will be put to rest.
A final note before we move of: the names Abaddon and Apollyon both mean the same thing: "Destroyer". This gives us another clue that this is a fallen angel. The Lord generally doesn't give His angels names like “Destroyer”, so it would appear this is a name the angel took for himself.
The Sixth Angel sounds:
" The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming after these things. Then the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind." (Revelation 9:12-15, NASB)
From God's altar, we hear a command issue to the sixth angel, who has just sounded. He is commanded to unbind four angels whose purpose is to slay a third of mankind. By this, I'm reasoning that it is 1/3 of REMAINING people on the earth after the previous judgments. We are not told from scripture whether these are fallen angels or not; only that that they are angels. I have heard others argue they are demons because they slay, but one must remember in Isaiah that an angel of the Lord slew over 100,000 Assyrian soldiers in a night.
" The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads, and with them they do harm.” (Revelation 9:16-19, NASB)
This passage has troubled many people who have studied this portion of scripture. A lot of folks believe that this will be an army from China: they connect this army with Revelation 16:12, which mentions the armies of the kings of the east, and that the Euphrates river is dried so that they can come to the battle of Armageddon. Others insist that this is a demonic army, led by the angel of the pit, Apollyon. Their reasoning is that China does not have 200 million horses for that many people, even though they could conceivably field an army that big. And to feed them as they move would be a massive undertaking. The only problem is that scripture does NOT clearly connect this army with Apollyon, or as a force of demons. The horses described as having weird attributes, but the riders are not spoken of, save for their breastplates. It is conceivable that the army could be demonically possessed, but once again, that is not mentioned in scripture either. We know from this is that plagues come from the 'horses" mouths, and that they are fire, smoke and sulfur. While it sounds a lot like the results of tank artillery (propellant uses sulfur, and gives off smoke and fire.), which would mean that the "horses' might be mechanized infantry, it cannot be solidly supported biblically and is mere conjecture. Like the locusts, we will finally have the answer when it happens.
" The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts." (Revelation 9:20-21, NASB)
Here, we find a report that confirms a sad truth: despite ALL of the plagues, wars, disasters and whatnot, these people are ADAMANT in their persistence to sin! You would think by this point, these folks would get the idea that someone up above was NOT happy with them. But they are so deluded and stone-hearted, they have but one path: straight to hell.
Now, the following is my opinion only and is from continued prayer and reading of Scripture: I ask all who read this to consider this, but please make up your own minds on this issue.
The Church, on the other hand, has ALREADY surrendered to God, and are therefore saved and indwelt with the Holy Spirit. While we indeed do suffer in our walk with the Lord on this planet, we are being shaped for Eternity; any “purification” was done at the Cross. If it were it necessary for us to enter the Tribulation and suffer to be “perfected” then what of those who died in Christ already?
On that point: while it is also true that God has not “rescued” anyone from suffering on this planet in the past, we need to keep in mind that there is a major difference between the strife we encounter in this life, and the Great Tribulation. Jesus made it clear (as did Paul and the other NT writers) that we would encounter difficulty and opposition from human and demonic sources alike, as well as the general sin condition of the planet. God is not going to rescue us from daily life and grief here; and while periods of history were indeed terrible and many died from war, torture, famine, disease, plague and other atrocities, those were due to the sin condition brought about by man’s original sin at the Garden of Eden.
But, time of the Tribulation is God’s judgment on the Earth for it’s for REBELLION; it is when God, finally done with holding back judgment for eons, gives mankind on Earth the judgment it richly deserves. The entire Tribulation (as pointed out previously in this study) is God’s wrath, and we are promised in Revelation 3 not to be in the way of it.
In Part 7, we will pick up with John's vision of the Angel with the scroll, and the Seventh Trumpet.
I bid you all peace.
Another blog entry that was lost and is now resurrected.
1 Timothy 4:7 But refuse profane and old-womanish tales, and exercise yourself to godliness.
I saw an inspirational story posted on a Christian forum that talked about a soldier hiding from the enemy in World War II. This soldier took refuge in a cave. He prayed to God and was hidden by a spider web.
This seems like a nice story, but it turns out to be a story from another religion, from their religious texts. That troubled me. To see a mythological event from a false religion find its way into the culture of English speaking Christians. Can a Christian find morality within a false religion? I don’t think one can. All other religions, if they have morals, are a pale shadow of Christ’s way, and those other religions lead to eternal death. Why bother getting moral stories from false religions when we have the perfect and true religion of following Jesus?
As the bible tells us, 1 Timothy 1:4 nor to give heed to fables and endless genealogies (which provide doubts rather than the nurture of God in faith). We should instead keep our eye on the Lord. To do as it says in Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, my brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things. Do those things which you have also learned and received and heard and seen in me. And the God of peace shall be with you.
The King is coming,are you ready?
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. 36No one knowsabout that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man.…Matt.24:36
“For now we see through a glass, darkly…”
It is my belief that we gain insights not only from a structured classroom but also from the vast wonderful creation that the Lord places before us. We simply have to ask, “Father, open my eyes that I might see.”
A few years back I happened to look out my kitchen window and there sat a small, scraggly puppy. He was a cute little thing, but, could we take on another dog? We already had two large Rhodesian Ridgebacks. This little guy looked like a small border collie. It’s not all that uncommon for a stray to show up out here in the country, but seldom do we see young puppies. Normally it’s the older guys that have started to chew on furniture or dig holes in the yard. People just don’t consider all the factors involved when becoming dog owners. Cute little puppies grow up to be dogs. Like children, without the correct training and discipline, they can grow up to have serious problems.
- Pr 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Anyway – here was this pup and I had to check him out. Before I even got close to him I could tell that he was in trouble. He was too weak to run from me. I knelt down and slowly reached for him, thinking he would sniff my hand. He didn’t. Instead he laid his head in my hand and closed his eyes. I caressed him for a short while and then fetched him food and water. I doubted that he had the strength to eat. I went back into the house to give him privacy, and when I went outside a short while later, he had disappeared. I searched but couldn’t find him anywhere. I thought he went off somewhere to die.
The next morning he was back by the front porch. I got more food and water and again went back into the house. Again, he disappeared. This pattern continued for a few days until I discovered that he was hiding underneath the bushes that lined the house. The next time I fed him I sat on the porch steps, but didn’t reach out to him when he came out to eat. The days passed and with patience and kindness I slowly gained his trust, me sitting on my porch steps and he watching me with one eye while he ate. He didn’t allow me to handle him until the trust was firmly established. Once he submitted to me, I discovered that he had been severely mistreated. I later thought of how I was before finding my Savior. The world is a hard place in which to live, especially for a non-believer. It can beat us down, strip us of a desire to live –leave us in a condition just like this little broken pup.
- 1Pe 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
I named him Cabo and he lived in the front yard for a few weeks while gaining in strength and health. The two big dogs lived in the backyard, separated from the world by an electric fence that was never “hot.” Eventually, Cabo became healthy and self assured and one day boldly ducked under the wire and braved the back yard. The female Ridgeback immediately claimed the pup as her own.
One day, after being a part of the family for a couple of months, hubby and I took some treats out to the dogs. Pigs ears, I think they’re called, and our dogs loved them. The two big brown dogs would gobble them up in minutes. This particular day we handed them out, first to the Ridgebacks, who were aggressive to have them, and then to the little guy. He smelled it, but wasn’t sure what to do with it. He was more interested in getting a pet than he was a treat. I kept holding it out for him and he finally took it, realizing that it was all for him.
What happened next was a sheer pleasure for me to watch. Cabo wasn’t sure what to do with the treat, so he played with it. And, as he did, his whole demeanor turned to joy. He would toss the treat and then fetch it. He rolled, ran, jumped. He enjoyed this treat to the fullest. It was the funniest thing to watch. I believe, if given the vocal ability, he would have declared this “the best day ever.”
- Ne 8:10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
Eventually, the big dogs noticed that the pup still hadn’t eaten his treat. I watched them approach Cabo, slowly and deliberately. Their purpose was clear. The little guy, however, didn’t’ even notice them. He was too busy embracing this newfound joy. The big dogs found a spot to lie down, never taking their eyes off the pig ear. After stern words to the Ridgebacks, I went back inside the house but continued to watch from the windows.
For the better part of the day Cabo played with his treat. The big dogs stalked him, drooling as they lusted after the pig ear. Of course, they had their own earlier but consumed it so fast they didn’t even enjoy it. Now they wanted his.
As Christians, do we ever do this? Do we carelessly consume the blessings the Lord gives to each of us, only to envy those of another? How many times do we desire what our brother has, thinking it’s a better treat?
Unfortunately all puppies grow out of that cute, playful stage. Cabo did as well. His back right leg never fully recovered from the injuries he received before finding his way to our house, but that didn’t slow him down any. Utilizing three legs he could still outrun the other dogs. Had he been placed in a pound I doubt he would have been adopted. The world had left its scars on him and would have rejected him because of it. I found great value, however, in this little dog, simply because he loved me. He never went to his food dish before first coming to me for affection. When I went into the back yard he was always the first to greet me and stayed the longest. If I stayed outside all day, he would have been by my side the entire time. He lived to please me.
- Ps 40:7-8 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me. I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
Cabo learned discipline well and loved the words of approval afterwards. As he aged he matured into a calmer dog and one that still looked to his master for attention. The more diligently I worked with him, the deeper the understanding became between us and the stronger the bond. He left behind the playful antics of a pup, but if anything, the joy that he had as a puppy only deepened as he learned that to obey meant more time spent with me.
- Joh 15:10-11 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
Cabo became a seasoned backyard warrior. He patrolled the perimeters of his half acre yard, knowing that it was but a small portion of a much larger kingdom. He valiantly ran off the evil truck that regularly attempted to steal his masters’ trash. Every week he fiercely fought to make the steel demon set the dumpster back down, and leave in defeat. There was an alfalfa farm north of a tree line through which he could not see, but he was aware that his master worked there often and that made it important. He didn’t understand about the house either, but he knew it was the dwelling place of the master. Even though he couldn’t see it all, or understand most of it, he knew that he belonged there and that he had ownership.
My broken puppy lived a good long life. He crawled up to my porch, looking for a place to die, and ended up inheriting a place to live. Certainly the teaching process didn’t always come easy for either of us, but the sacrifice given from both sides enabled a relationship that was enriched far beyond simply “owning a dog.”
There were times when I felt like Cabo. Broken, lost, nowhere to really belong and call home. But Just like Cabo I found a wealth of joy when I realized that I too was found by my Master. I clearly recall the joy that flooded my heart in my early days with the gifts of mercy and grace that He freely gave. Now, after many years of knowing the greatest gift is Himself, I’ve learned to listen for His voice so I too can walk with Him and have a fullness of joy that is only found in Him and not merely His gifts. Now, like Cabo looking towards the alfalfa field, I too look for the return of my Master, when I will finally see Him face to face.
- 1Cr 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
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The Post-trib position in a nutshell compared with the Bible
A short Bible study on a topic that some want to make way too complicated - Omegaman
Post-Trib Belief What the Bible (NASB) Says
The software here makes formatting difficult. There is an easier to read version if you prefer
July 28th, 2014 - Omegaman 3.0
There will be a time of trouble Jesus called birth pangs
You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.7“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8“But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Followed by persecution, even to death, a time of tribulation 9“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. There will be a sign 15“Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.
Then the tribulation will be great, but it will be limited
21“For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 22“Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. After the tribulation, Jesus will come visibly in the sky 29“But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30“And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. He then will send angels to gather His elect 31“And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. In Jesus time, only the Father knew the exact time of Jesus visible return 36“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. But it will be like the days of Noah, when calamity overtook the surprised unbelievers 37“For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38“For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Believers should also be ready for His return, though they do not know the exact time. 42“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 44“For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.
The Bible, to prevent deception. tells us the order of the events:
3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you."
Every verse listed so far, was from the 24th Chapter of the book of Matthew. You have just read them yourself, exactly as they are in the bible, and in the same order, so you can see for yourself, what Jesus said about these things.As you can see, He did not use figurative or symbolic language, he was very clear, and used lots of words which indicat time sequences, words like "then" and "at that time". There is no need to spin Jesus' words or make unwarranted assumptions, as many are tempted to do.
Let's look at some more info from the apostles Paul and from John
There will be a time when Jesus catches up (raptures) His church.
From 1 Thess chapter 4
Notice again the sequence: The Lord descends from Heaven, a shout, and angel, a trumpet, and those who have died in Christ rise, Then the living Christian join them in the air.
13But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
Like Jesus before him, Paul also said there was a sign to look for, a sigh that would appear before our gathering to Him in the rapture. Beleivers are to look for this man, and by that will now that the 2nd coming of Jesus, is then imminent.
2 Thess 2
1Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
Jesus will come like a thief on unbelievers, but watchful Christians will know that He is about to come.
1 Thess 5
1Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.4But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
Since we know that the dead in Christ rise first, followed by the rapture (vs 16 & 17 of 1 Thess 4) of the living believers, if we only knew if that resurrection was before or after the tribulation, we could understand if the rapture was before or after the tribulation. Believers who die in the tribulation, for their testimony of Jesus, come to life in the first resurrection, to be followed by the rapture (1 Thess 4:17) rapture.
4Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed.) This is the first resurrection.
This has been a summary of the Post Tribulation Rapture viewpoint, also known as Historic Premillenialism, along with some scripture passages which can be said to support this understanding. There were assertions, and there were supporting verses and passages, without inserting things like an invisible, secret coming (is there even one verse that says that? If so, I have never seen it), and idea that has become popular in modern times.
I tried to keep this faithful to scripture, I tried to make it simple and clear. Jesus and Paul warned about deceptions to come, I take those warning seriously. Paul had this to say as well:
3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Tim 4
I will end with this thought from the book of Acts:
19“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.
Some versions render that as "He must remain in heaven until the time"
Personally, I find all these verses harmonize perfectly well with each other, and I beleive the Post-Trib rapture position, is consistant with them as well. I hope you found this helpful and informative
(Reply to a question - question asker asked for question to be deleted - but ok to leave answer if name not mentioned)
Recently, Ive been reading a lot of western novels (I know, me, read westerns) And I got to thinking, you know, there are a lot of different "characters" or types of people, in these novels, that all go together, to make the story real, and then I thought, I wondered what would happen, if I made a comparison of these different types of people, to people in the church today, and if it would be relevant. And keep in mind, many of these types, intermix, and share characteristics, and many people change from one to another. They all have strengths, and weaknesses, and when combined can make for a well oiled church. I am going to start a series, discussing these different types of people, their strengths, their weaknesses, and how they can help others, and how to help them.
The one I'm going to discuss today is "the loner". The loner, is someone who tends to avoid other people, to avoid hurt. In the novels, hes often a hermit, or someone who sticks to himself, often because of some past hurt, loss of a loved one, a fortune, or just burned by to many people. The person is often quiet, stays out of the way and no one thinks twice about them, but usually ends up playing some vital part in the story. Often, this person comes to the realization that they cant hide from all their problems, and there are more important things and people need help, and they come out and save the day.
The modern day loner, like the ones in the books, tend to carry around a lot of pain, and a lot of baggage, and like the ones in the books, their answer to dealing with it, is basically to retreat inside themselves. They may attend church for awhile, but usually, end up forsaking the church. The pain comes from many sources, personal life, loss of a loved one, sometimes mental issues, and often, even from the church, and their answer is to retreat within themselves. If they are in church they are hiding alone in a back pew, or at home listening to a TV preacher. They have a hard time seeing past the pain and the hurt, and they have grown to not see any good in others.
Now, they also, usually have big hearts and can be very caring people, they have often been through tough things, and can relate to others, and really be a great person to have in the church family, just for that very reason, but reaching them can be tough. They need to know that they are not alone, and that they are loved, and encouraged to reach out for help, that even though the church isnt perfect it is there for them. It often takes a lot of patience, and prayer, to reach this kind of person, but once you get them on your side, just like in the novels, they can play a instrumental role in your church, and can literally, move mountains. They often work behind the scenes, helping others that feel alone. Their experience with pain, can be both their greatest weakness-but also their greatest strength.
Each "loner" is different, about the best advice that can be applied all around, is to pray for them, and love on them, and listen to them, and be very encouraging. Beyond that, each ones different, but will take patience, and a lot of love to earn their trust. Once you do, you will not regret it. And if you are a loner reading this, please, remember, that God does love you, and promises to be there for you-if you let him. And please, I realize the church maybe hurtful, but it does need you, and the talents you alone can provide. Its tough, but try to look for the good in people, remember, God loves you!
Here are some comforting verses, that may come as comfort to "the loner" in your life. All verses are taken out of the KJV
6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
17 Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.
18 When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.
43 But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
3 For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.
4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.
5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you
1 Timothy 4:16-17
16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of
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Posted by Omegaman 2.0 on the September 4th, 2007
Why are there so many denominations? Why is the church divided?
I see these questions occasionally in chat. They are good questions. It is a question Christians have, especially new believers trying to choose their first church. It is a question non-believers have too. For them, it is evidence that Christians cannot even agree on what the Bible says. Truthfully, they are right. In the chatroom, we see this frequently. We have debates over doctrines and understandings, thankfully most of it is good natured, though often passionate. It is also stimulating intellectually, it drives people to the pages of scripture to see what the bible does indeed say about things, so, these differences can have a positive effect. Imagine if we all agreed! Would that necessarily guarantee we were correct, or could we all agree on the same misunderstandings?
Jude 17-1917 But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 that they were saying to you, “In the last time there shall be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.
Notice that in the passage above, divisions are not a good thing. Notice though, that Jude says that these people who cause divisions, are mockers who follow their unGodly lusts, and do not have the Spirit. These people, if we were to follow after them, would lead us away from the things of God. If you separate from your brethren to hang instead with your buddies at a bar, that is real division, not to be compared with denominations at all.
1 Cor 11:18-20
18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part, I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you.
In the above passage, Paul speaks of another kind of division. This one is also not a denominational division, he is addressing division among those gathered together at one place. The passage has a negative feel to it, as though Paul is disapproving of it. You see that in his statement “and in part, I believe it”. Then he goes on to say that these factions have to exist! The reason: So you can distinguish between those who are sound in the faith, and those who do not have approval. Again, in this case, division is a good thing, not a bad thing.
So, what is a denomination anyway?
Look at the following definitions from Mirriam-Webster Dictionary:
4. A religious organization whose congregations are united in their adherence to its beliefs and practices.
Didn’t see that one coming did you? Notice that a denomination is a uniting factor, not a dividing factor! There is a running joke between on of the other chat administrators and I, about Calvary Chapels. Calvary Chapels are a group of churches, who are self described as non-denominational. In the definitions above, denomination has to do with the name of something. Calvary Chapels have the name Calvary Chapel - obviously. As far as I know, they are united in their beliefs and practices. Do some CCs sprinkle while others dunk? No. Are there any CCs that teach the Jesus will not return for His church until after the great tribulation? I haven’t heard of one. Are their CC’s that do not believe in the perpetuity of the gifts of the Holy Spirit? I don’t think so. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, chances are it is a duck.
So what is going one here? Why would a group of churches, who are united in belief, practice, and name, claim to be non-denominational? I have a theory. I believe that it is about marketing. Denominationalism, has a bad reputation. It smacks of stodgy old ways, inflexibility, to some, it is judgmental, rigid, organized religion. To be non-denominational, is hip. It sounds like you stand apart. It is similar to what we have in the states politically, when you register as a non partisan. It sounds like you are independent - have your own thoughts and views. It makes you different. Of course, in the real world, you are unique, just like everybody else.
We have a church near were I live. It used to be called the First Baptist Church, or something like that (I always wondered where the second Baptist church is, but that is another story). Lately, they took done the familiar name plaque, and put up a very colorful one, now it is called Sonlight Christian Center, or some such thing. Marketing again, I suspect, who wants to hang out with Baptists? Of course, they still are Baptists, but they ‘needed’ a hipper name.
So, am I against denominations? Am I against independent churches? Am I against churches that say they are but are not? I am not against any of those things. Let’s look at another passage:
1 Cor 1:10-1310 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
That is a type of denominationalism that is not good. We do what these people are doing when we start gathering around a personality, like an author of a series of books, a famous preacher, or even the teachings of a great theologian from church history. Paul is pointing out, that there is only one church. All those who have been forgiven their sins through Jesus’ sacrifice, are the one church. It matter not what you call the church, who pastors it, who founded it, where it is, what language they speak, which bible version they prefer, what worship style they employ, or whether they meet in a beautiful building with hardwoods and stained glass, or an old factory, storefront, or even a home. If Christ is preached and they believe the bible, I am united with them, not divided from them. How can there not be denominations? When their are different countries and languages, customs and tastes, there will be denominations. When everybody belongs to one denomination, all agreeing, you can be sure that something evil or something wonderful has happened. If Jesus has returned for us, then it is something wonderful, until that day, their will be divisions based on preferences, understandings, languages customs, and sadly, even skin color.
When you are a mature Christian, you will recognize the oneness of the church and stop focusing on petty differences. Do you give offerings only at your church? If so, why? Are there not other churches that have needs greater than yours? When Paul traveled in the first century, the offering he gathered where for other churches, those who were able, helped those who were needy. That is unity. Giving of your substance to other brothers and sisters, because you recognize that they are family.
I am honored to be a part of Worthychat. Here, we come together from around the world. We are of different denominations, yet here, we are united. Do we squabble? Of course we do, what family doesn’t? Most husbands and wives squabble at times, yet, they remain one flesh, a unity. Differences do not mean you are divided, they just mean there are differences. We are human, God made us as individuals, not clones, celebrate the differences.
1 Cor 12:12-2712 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body, which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our unseemly members come to have more abundant seemliness, 24 whereas our seemly members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.
I would like to end with one final thought (I could go on and on, but I am feeling merciful tonight). People like to gather with others who are like them, the feel comfortable and part of something. Try to be accommodating in that way toward others, make them feel welcomed. But when you go out to look for a church to be part of, you will be tempted to find one, that suits your tastes and your beliefs. I am all for that, but I would like to caution you to keep things in perspective. Sound doctrine is more important that the style of worship or how nice the facilities are. If you try a new church, give it a chance, attend it three times at least, unless in is plainly scripturally unsound. If you have a personal belief about something, and you want to be around others who share that belief, don’t make it the central thing if it is a peripheral issue or not even a scriptural one, find a church that teaches the Bible, as it is, not with massaged meanings to make it fit what you wish it said. It is O.K. to be uncomfortable too, it can stretch and grow you. O.K., so that was two final thoughts, sue me.
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy life to read this, now go into the chatroom and join the one body, your brothers and sisters in Christ. Omegaman