"knock and the door will be opened to you." Imagine this unprecedented event. Christians, from all over the world, united physically in congregations, united virtually through technology, united spiritually in the Holy Ghost, praying together with a clear, unified intention: shortening, hastening the Return of the Lord (Peter 3:12, Revelation 22:20, Matthew 6:5-13, Luke 18:1-8) Wouldn’t the Lord be quick, in fulfilling their holy prayer? “[…] And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” This is not happening yet, but we can make it happen. SUMMARY (You can freely download the pdf) 1 - Brief history of the Church 2 – God wants men to cooperate his plans 3 – The importance of prayer and the Lord’s prayer 4 – The Last Day 5 – While in the world 6 – Warnings 7 – Avoid misconceptions 8 – An unprecedented event 9 – SOURCES 1 - Brief history of the Church Along the history, many spiritual leaders did not listen to (Matthew 23:9-10) “And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah.” Therefore, it comes as no surprise that many false teachings did spread for centuries. Nor it is a surprise that true Christians come to a better understanding of some concepts through centuries, because luckily some of them are able to get rid of the false teachings they have received. Indeed, luckily some listened to Matthew 23:9-10. Moreover, Jesus said (John 16:12): ”I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” Thus, an increasing understanding, founded on the Gospels and never contradicting them, is to be expected through history. 2 – God wants men to cooperate his plans Even though God could do everything alone, by not waiting his followers to align their will to His will, still he wants men to decide to cooperate with Him, to proceed in His salvation Plan. For those who knows the Scriptures, it’s not needed to quote the countless times in which God waited for men to turn to Him, and adhere His plan, before making things happen. Because being a loving Father, he doesn’t force His will upon men. 3 – The importance of prayer and the Lord’s prayer Point 2 on cooperation between God and men, is one of the reasons why Jesus stressed so much the importance of prayer. To be short, we only quote some passages, but there are countless ones in the Gospels alone: (Matthew 7:7) “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (John 16:24) “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” Of course, we need to make prayers aligned with God’s will. But even if something is already in God’s will, it’s really important for us to pray for it, because the Lord don’t want to force his gifts upon us, but want us to desire Him. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any need for any prayer whatsoever. Now, what’s the only prayer that the Lord directly taught us? The Lord’s prayer. Let’s examine some passages: “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” […] “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Now, let’s think about it, by knowing the Scriptures. When and how can the Lord completely fulfill these requests? Could they be fulfilled while we are still on earth? 4 – The Last Day It doesn’t take a leap of imagination, to realize that the Lord’s prayer promises will be fully fulfilled only with the Rapture and His Second Coming. [Even the only apparently not messianic request about the “bread”, is translated somewhere as “the bread of tomorrow”, thus indicating the bread of the Kingdom.] Now, it’s not a purpose of this work to choose which interpretation of the Second Coming is more Scriptural. Whatever it is, pre/post/multi/anti/tribulation,this is not the point here. The point is that only in the Last Day, the Lord will fully fulfill the Lord’s prayer requests. Now, are we aware of this? Are we, most Christians, praying that prayer with full intention and awareness, with the awareness that we are asking the Lord, according to His will, to shorten the days of His coming? It doesn’t seem like this awareness has been fully reached so far, but now the times may be arrived. Now this intention can be shared to Christians all over the earth. And it’s nothing new, it’s something fully Scriptural (Peter 3:12, Revelation 22:20, Matthew 6:13), it’s just a better understanding of the power of our prayer in the name of Jesus. We are not predicting the day or the hour, and we’ll never try to do it. There is no needing of knowing the day nor the our, to ask the Lord to come quick, according to His will. How powerful would be this prayer, shouted by all His elects? What if some wise pastors could be able to share this intention to Christians all over the world, and all together we could pray “Come”, and “Deliver us from evil”, with the full understanding that we are asking for the Rapture, instead of passively waiting for it? This would be an unprecedented event in History, since so far most Christians have passively waited for it 5 – While in the world Asking for the rapture, doesn’t cut off any obligation for a true Christian life. Before Jesus returns, we’ll still have the obligation to love everyone, serve other people, improve the society, improve ourself, spread the Gospel. All of these commandments are in the Gospel and are immutable. At the same time, with this prayer, we clarify our intention to God, we tell Him that we are ready, and it is now time for our plans to align with His plans, and that we fully want and responsibly request His return for the elects. 6 – Warnings Unfortunately, there will always be some Christians who don’t really want the Lord to come soon. They are not excited at all about Heaven. Exactly like in these Parables: (Luke 14:15-20) “When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ (Luke 19:14) "But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, 'We don't want this man to be our king.' (John 12:43) “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” But other Christians who aspire to Heaven, would have no reason to not pray this prayer. In the worst case, it will have no effect. In the best case, how glad we will be, to see the Lord coming quickly for us. 7 – Avoid misconceptions Q: “Does praying the Lord to come quickly mean that we don’t trust His promise that He will come?” A: “Absolutely not. The Lord knew the future. He knew about the prayers from His elects, and that he wouldn’t wait to fulfill them. Exactly as in countless other situations, in which the Lord has waited for men to ask Him for what is good. (Matthew 15:21-28). We are sure that His promise will be fulfilled, but we want to be among the ones that have aligned with His will and asked Him to fulfill it quickly.” Q: “Are we forcing the Lord to do something not in His will? Doesn’t He know the Right Time?” A: “He knows the Right Time, and we don’t know according to which criteria He has decided it. But according to the prayer He taught, when He decided it, part of the weight for the decision, came from considering the prayers of His elects (Peter 3:12, Revelation 22:20, Matthew 6:13, Luke 18:1-8). Exactly as in other situations, He gave importance and weight to the will of his disciples and prophets, when aligned to His will” Q: “Are Christians praying this prayer exempt to contribute to society, and to spend their lives serving others until the Lord come?” A: “Absolutely not. A real Christian will follow all Jesus words,not only ones about prayer,respect the laws of his country, and will spend His life helping other people, so that when the Lord will come, he will find him ready.” (Matthew 24:45-51) “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Q: “Will shortening the return of the Lord prevent some people from salvation?” A: “First off, remember that there will never be a moment on earth in which everyone will be Christian, before the rapture. It is not written anywhere. On the contrary, it is written about an increasingly diminishing of faith. Moreover, people who haven’t met Christ but are seeking for the Truth in their hearts, and are loving their brothers, will be likely raptured too. Exactly as some other righteous people like Socrates, will be raised in the last day, while evil people who are not seeking for repentance because they don’t have the seed of repentance in their hearts, will be left. Therefore, there is no such risk in shortening the day. Otherwise, the Lord wouldn’t have taught us this prayer.” Q:”What about theological and philosophical implications of this event Why someone is taken and someone else left?” A: “These are not treated here. They will be treated in other works, and some wise pastors will be able to answer this, by following the Scriptures” 8 – An unprecedented event If most Christian living today will share this intention, and pray together for it, this will be an unprecedented even in the history of the world. If the rapture happened centuries ago, it would have likely remained unexplained and not testified everywhere. But nowadays, thanks to technologies and to the Gospel spread everywhere, it will be testified to people of all nations, and everyone will know what happened. Now, our hope is that some wise Christian, who spent their lifes in the hope of Jesus’ Return, will actively spread this prayer and this intention among other pastors and Christians, so that all of us may be reunited under the Lord’s prayer, and pray together, with full intention and understanding and without the usual countless distractions and desires: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day the bread of the Day that is coming. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Maranatha. Our Lord, come!
9 - SOURCES:
By Brother Duke
Here is a study I have been working on.
Woe, Woe, woe.
Revelation uses woes as markers or time stamps. The trumpets, seals and bowls are grouped within the 3 woes. The word Alas is translated from the same word in the Greek that is Woe. I have also noticed the great earthquake is always around the resurrection. There was a great earthquake when Christ was resurrected and there was an earthquake when the two witness were brought back to life.
Revelation 8:13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
1st woe devil is cast out and tribulation starts.
Revelation 9:1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
Revelation 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Matthew 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
2nd woe resurrection/rapture. Babylon is judged.
Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Revelation 9:12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
Revelation 11:14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
Revelation 11:13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
Revelation 16:18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
Revelation 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
Revelation 9:13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
Revelation 11:11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
Revelation 18:10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
Revelation 18:16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
Revelation 18:19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
Revelation 14:8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Revelation 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held
3rd woe God's wrath
Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
Revelation 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
Revelation 6::17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
I primarily use the NASB, but occasionally I find it deficient; I will insert other translations if they can clarify the context. Those translations will be duly noted.
Chapter one was an appropriate greeting, but chapter two stands alone and begins to immediately address fears that have come as the result of some false teaching.
This theme was not a new to Paul as he had written to the Christ-followers in Thessalonica on a previous occasion.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 NASB 13) But 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. 14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15) For 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. 16) For 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. 17) Then 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.
Considering the years between these two letters, the new members that had been added to the church body, and the addition of some false teachings, the fear has had a chance to creep in. I see the effects of false teachings frequently in the church bodies I have had dealings with, as people espouse things they know so little about; all the while continuing to cloud the issue.
So let's dissect the passages and see if we can understand all that Paul is trying to say.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 NASB 1) Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2) that 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.
“with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,”
Coming – is the Greek word parousia; a being near, that is, advent (often, return; specifically of Christ to punish Jerusalem, or finally the wicked.) Strong's concordance.
In the explanation above I see two distinctly different things.
One being Jehovah's return in the clouds to catch His church away. This catching away is called the harpazo, but it is also known as the advent or return.
The second possible understanding is this idea of the punishment of Jerusalem or the wicked. This concept pertains to the wrath of God being poured out. One of the keys to understanding the difference between Jesus return for His church and His coming as the conquering Messiah hangs on this phrase - " the day of the Lord.” Using the NASB concordance, the expression shows up in 22 verses. 18 of those references are found in the Old Testament. Since the Tenach is designed for a Jewish audience then the language and references are expressly Jewish; that means that the phrase – the day of the Lord, is almost exclusively about the return of the Messiah.
Of the four verses left and found in the New Testament, three of them are exclusively about the catching away of the church. This catching away is that time when Jesus comes back in the clouds for His church, and they will be caught up to meet Him in the air. 2Peter 3:10 leans more toward the time of the end, as it tells us that, “the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” While all of these things are a part of the seven-year period the implications are that this will happen almost all at once when Jesus returns to the earth for the final time. You see, this is one of those areas that are not that black and white.
So, let's see if the context of the passage answers the question about when this event will happen.
While I understand that Paul was addressing the body of believers in Thessalonica (a primarily Jewish audience,) these words also apply to us. I do not hear this complaint or question anymore, but I am aware that many do believe that Christ has already returned. If that is the case, what are we doing and why are we wasting our time?
But Christ has not already returned. How do I know that? Well there are markers, or some might think of them as guideposts along the way, and Paul spells them out.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NASB 3) Let 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, 4) who 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.
“The apostasy comes first.”
Since apostasy means a falling away, I ask you, has that happened? Absolutely, and at an exponential rate.
“and the man of lawlessness is revealed,”
I want to show you some alternate readings.
This second selection is from the Complete Jewish Bible, and it translates this passage entirely different from anyone else. Why is this significant? Because even the Muslims have prophecies, and one of them describes such a man;
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Darby Let not any one deceive you in any manner, because it will not be unless the apostasy have first come, and the man of sin have been revealed, the son of perdition;
2 Thessalonians 2:3 CJB Don't let anyone deceive you in any way. For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed, the one destined for doom.
A man who is a descendant of Aaron –
The priests were to come from the lineage of Aaron. Since we know that the temple will be rebuilt, then practically every preparation would have to be made at this point, for a high priest to be installed. He then would be the one to enter the Holy of Holies and sprinkle the blood of the lamb.
The Muslim prophecies tell us that this Jew will reject the Torah, pay homage to the Mahdi, and follow him.
Do you grasp the depth of this action? Many who have esteemed this Jew enough to appoint him as the high priest over the new temple will be deceived, turn from the true God, and follow his actions as they too will bow to the Mahdi in worship. This Mahdi appears to be the Islamic religious leader that will soon be saying peace peace. Most of this takes place 1260 days into the time of wrath upon the earth.
I am always concerned that people will see my words as unbelievable.
If, you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then, you are under a mandate to study to show not only, yourself, to be approved by God, but to judge the words being said to you, as to whether they are true or not. You are not doing this type of study to bash people, although I sometimes think that many should shut their mouths, but you are studying these things so that you can know what is right.
Let me show you an example: I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture, regardless of the poor choice of words we traditionally use. Although there is a voluminous amount of those in opposition to this understanding, I did my homework and became even more thoroughly convinced that Jesus is coming back for His church that is waiting for Him, and, He is going to do so before God's wrath is poured out upon the earth.
Specific reasons why I believe in a pre-wrath rapture.
Matthew 3:7 NASB But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
The obvious thing I see here is that Jesus just acknowledged that it is purposeful to flee from the wrath, and, that there is wrath coming.
Luke 21:23 NASB ... for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people;
Here we can see that the intended target is the land and these people. Now the statement, "o this people" is relatively generic and needs some clarity. Luke 21:24 NASB tells us that “they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations;”
It is easy enough to see that a part of this fulfillment comes upon Israel and it's people, the Jews. However, pay attention, and you can see one other group, the Gentiles. The Gentiles and the nations are the same. If you are not a Jew, and you are a follower of Christ, then you have been engrafted into the vine and no longer fall under the category of being a Gentile in God's eyes.
Those with a veil over their eyes will not get this concept. Since we are “in Christ” then we are part of the church and not subject to this wrath.
Romans 1:18 NASB For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
What is evident to me is the terminology, the wrath of God. Pay attention to the words being used and upon whom they are directed. Romans 1:18 can be taken as a somewhat broad spectrum statement.
An example of this broad spectrum idea – I know a man who came to church for a time and did all the appropriate things. He came down front, cried his eyes out, made sorrowful and repentant statements. Why he even got baptized in a swimming pool as a symbol of this new and changed life he wanted to live. That didn't last long. Does he belong to God and is therefore not going to be subject to this wrath because he is part of the church. I do not know, because any fruit he produces is rotten and stinks before it falls off the tree. This pattern has been going on for years.
Ephesians 2:3 NASB Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
The Apostle Paul taught that we were formerly children of wrath, and no longer subject to the “wrath of God.”
1 Thessalonians 1:10 NASB 10) and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 is one of the most specific examples that Paul gave us. Since we are in Christ, Jesus has rescued us from the wrath that is to come.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 NASB 9) For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Many think that we deserve punishment. Well, that might have been true, but as followers of Christ, we are of those who have agreed to and accepted His salvation. You see, you need to have a firm grasp on what Jesus did. I am continually trying to remind people that all sins were forgiven – past, present, and future. Then what are people being punished for? Look at what Colossians 3:5-6 tells us,
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6) For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, NASB
Simply put, you either follow Jesus, or you follow the god of this world, Satan. He will go to an eternal punishment, as will all those who choose to follow him. This punishment, as many want to believe, is not the end-all statement, as God is a merciful God beyond everything else; ask Jonah. And that is why we have the sheep and goats of Matthew 25. Take the time to study that.
Revelation 6:14-17 NASB 14) The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15) Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16) and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17) for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"
There are three things I want you to see here. Verse 15 gives us a description of some of the people affected by what is happening: kings of the earth; great men; commanders; the rich and strong, and every slave and free man. No one upon the earth is left unscathed by what is coming.
In verse 16 we see them crying out to be hid from the presence of “Him who sits on the throne, AND from the wrath of the Lamb. This lamb is Jesus Christ. Since I used an example from the Revelation, let me point something out to you. This entire book is a Revelation of Jesus Christ. Even the rich, in this scenario, understood that God played a hand in this, and at the same time, they are acknowledging Jesus. It's all about Jesus.
And the last thing, although I have already intimated it, is that this wrath is coming from God/Jesus.
Since we are going to be like Bereans, a people who had enough sense to verify that what Paul was teaching was right, what then do we use as a basis for what is true? Keep in mind, that the Bereans did not have Bibles, they had some scrolls. Those scrolls were so valued that only a limited number of priests could handle them, and so the Torah and Tanakh were read aloud. This idea of scrolls changes the whole idea of Bible study. The Bereans had no New Testament, it was being spoken in their ears by Paul and lived out right in front of them. I, on the other hand, have over thirty translations of the Bible on my computer, and over forty commentaries that I can glean from. I have no excuses.
The answer to the question is The Word of God. Now, since we know that there are errors across translations, is it wise to merely open the NIV for example, read it, and then say, “this is how that is supposed to be understood!” NO, because, as I said, there are errors. (Do not for a moment think that these errors are on God's part, as God's wisdom has been substantiated by His ability to get His message across plainly to those who choose to pursue this wisdom.)
So, what am I saying to you? Be open but alert; trust the Holy Spirit to guide you; judge everything against the word of God, and, remove yourself, if you can, from false teachers. They will corrupt you with the simplest of things, such as David conquering Goliath when David was only four foot tall. That is not even close to the terminology used in the descriptions of David. King Saul, who knew David well for David was his ARMOR bearer, called him a youth. But what does that mean? Are these things critical to the story? NO, but if you are willing to build false images about the nature and character of David, what else will a false teacher do with God and His word.
I can tell you what some will do, for I have experienced this first hand. These false teachers send everyone that comes to the Great White throne judgment to hell. There is nothing about that scenario that definitively points to that happening; these same teachers refuse to see that Matthew 25 and the story of the sheep and the goats, is just another picture of the Great White Throne. In other words, they will twist the gospel so tightly that in time, you will not be able to understand what is true.
This is a post I made to my blog site in 2015. It is still important and valid.
This phrase “shall wear out the saints,” came up in conversation recently. It begs explanation and answers; at least in my opinion.
Depending on what version of the Bible you are using, wear out is also translated as: exhaust, crush, hurt, and consume. It is the Chaldean word belâ, meaning: to afflict, and it is only used once in the Bible. The terms wear out and to afflict, say two entirely different things to me. One makes me think of the damage I used to do to my jeans during the summers as a child. We climbed and slid across everything we could. Mental pressure could certainly do that. To afflict on the other hand has a broad range of violence attached to it. I can remember the knuckle to the head in grade school, but it can also mean beheadings. Needs some clarity, doesn’t it?
I asked, when does this take place, and is it possible that we are in it now? Does it imply a continuous action, or it could be at a given moment? Is it suggesting common issues of life or a constant threat of death?
Allow me to apologize up front. This piece, as with most of my writings is long. There is a reason for that, and it comes out of conversations and sadly, disputes. The confrontations, when you follow the broken logic, could never end as every illogical argument seems to be thrown at you. Most of these arguments are easily resolved if the person speaking would merely read their bible, but they do not. They only read and hear what they want. That is why these become more of a visual conversation. One in which I could actually pull up concise information, such as quotes from Josephus, that clearly show why the answer is not always so black and white, or narrow-minded. On that note: there is only one way, and his name is Jesus.
The confrontations are not so much on my part, mainly because my memory is shot and I am not retaining scriptural references as I once could. I think that this is the Holy Spirit keeping me in check, because I know me, and I would shred these false teachers if given a chance. Since I cannot, I often defer and withdraw. I hate that, but if I look at this in terms of a warrior who has taken a hit to a dominant arm or hand. They might be rendered ineffective, but you will not remove the warrior mentality from them. That warrior mentality can become a burden at times, primarily because there is no need for a full-on clash. Sometimes all you need to do is reason with people.
I suppose I should tell you that I am still affected by learning disabilities and often find my mind disconnecting from the topic. This is particularly noticeable to me when I am under pressure. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit, and it stuns me the way he kicks in and gives me the words to say. I wish that happened every time.
One other thing; I have also come to realize that I do not have to be heard all the time. This takes a tremendous amount of pressure off me, as I have come to realize that God is in control, not me.
While we understand that Satan is the perpetual enemy of the believer, scripture tells us that there is a particular time range. Unfortunately, this wearing out of the Saints falls during is during a vast, nondescript period, the time of the fourth beast. The particular reference is found in Daniel’s book of prophecies.
“Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them, and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.” (Daniel 7:23-26 KJV)
I felt safe in calling the time of the fourth beast, vast and nondescript because we have a sharp clarity on the identity of the former three kingdoms. The last of the three was the Grecian Empire starting with Alexander and continuing through the Seleucid and Ptolemaic Empires. Although, we like to speculate that the fourth empire was the Roman Empire, which is not spelled out as the others were. The typical approach most use in determining what to call this empire, and therefore decide where the “beast” will come from is published in the book of Daniel, specifically:
Daniel 9:26 KJV And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
If you have followed me, long enough you understand that this has two fulfillments. One came under the rule of the Roman general Titus and the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. However, there is another fulfillment coming in the last days.
Titus, the Roman general, is considered by many to be “the prince that shall come.” However, if you do your research, you find that the evidence leans toward a Middle Eastern people, not Roman.
Here is what the historian Josephus tells us in - The Wars of the Jews - Book 5 Chapter 13
“.yet did another plague seize upon those that were thus preserved; for there was found among the Syrian deserters a certain person who was caught gathering pieces of gold out of the excrements of the Jews' bellies; for the deserters used to swallow such pieces of gold, as we told you before, when they came out, and for these did the seditious search them all; for there was a great quantity of gold in the city, insomuch that as much was now sold [in the Roman camp] for twelve Attic [drams], as was sold before for twenty-five. But when this contrivance was discovered in one instance, the fame of it filled their several camps that the deserters came to them full of gold. So the multitude of the Arabians, with the Syrians, cut up those that came as supplicants, and searched their bellies. Nor does it seem to me that any misery befell the Jews that was more terrible than this, since in one night's time about two thousand of these deserters were thus dissected."
"Moreover, do the Arabians and Syrians now, first of all, begin to govern themselves as they please, and to indulge their appetites in a foreign war, and then, out of their barbarity in murdering men, and out of their hatred to the Jews, get it ascribed to the Romans?"
In The Wars of the Jews book 6, chapter 4, Josephus tells us that many considered the temple a citadel for the Jews and an inspiration to continue rebelling against the Roman occupation. The fire had already been ordered against the gates of the temple, but Titus argued and verbally prevailed in regards to saving the temple.
"But Titus said, that "although the Jews should get upon that holy house, and fight us thence, yet ought we not to revenge ourselves on things that are inanimate, instead of the men themselves;" and that he was not in any case for burning down so vast a work as that was, because this would be a mischief to the Romans themselves, as it would be an ornament to their government while it continued. So Fronto, and Alexander, and Cerealis grew bold upon that declaration, and agreed to the opinion of Titus. Then was this assembly dissolved, when Titus had given orders to the commanders that the rest of their forces should lie still; but that they should make use of such as were most courageous in this attack. So he commanded that the chosen men that were taken out of the cohorts should make their way through the ruins, and quench the fire."
"Titus's retiring, the seditious lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again, when those that guarded the holy house fought with those that quenched the fire that was burning the inner [court of the] temple; but these Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the holy house itself. At which time one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house, on the north side of it. As the flames went upward, the Jews made a great clamor, such as so mighty an affliction required, and ran together to prevent it; and now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered anything to restrain their force, since that holy house was perishing, for whose sake it was that they kept such a guard about it."
Notice the reaction of Titus and ask yourself, does this look like someone bent on a complete destruction of the temple?
"And now a certain person came running to Titus, and told him of this fire, as he was resting himself in his tent after the last battle; whereupon he rose up in great haste, and, as he was, ran to the holy house, in order to have a stop put to the fire; after him followed all his commanders, and after them followed the several legions, in great astonishment; so there was a great clamor and tumult raised, as was natural upon the disorderly motion of so great an army. Then did Caesar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice, and by giving a signal to them with his right hand, order them to quench the fire. But they did not hear what he said, though he spake so loud, having their ears already dimmed by a greater noise another way; nor did they attend to the signal he made with his hand neither, as still some of them were distracted with fighting, and others with passion. But as for the legions that came running thither, neither any persuasions nor any threatening could restrain their violence, but each one's own passion was his commander at this time;” I perceive this statement to be the most telling of them all, and it was said by Titus, the Roman general:
“Moreover, do the Arabians and Syrians now, first of all, begin to govern themselves as they please, and to indulge their appetites in a foreign war, and then, out of their barbarity in murdering men, and out of their hatred to the Jews, get it ascribed to the Romans?"
Titus’ fear was that the barbarity of these men would be ascribed to the Romans, and that is exactly what we do when we declare the fourth empire to be a revived Roman Empire. Do you not see that ascribing Rome to the fourth empire also takes our eyes off what could be the true evil of the last days, Islam?
In recent years, I held the position that “the saints” were only those that were martyred during the seven-year period of God’s wrath, that we so foolishly call the tribulation. I did the very thing I despise, spewing out concepts as fact without checking my Bible adequately. Paul used the term saints throughout his writings, and that tends to dispel the idea that the saints are exclusive to the years of wrath. Several examples are Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Ephesians 6:8, and numerable others.
The terminology saint immediately takes me to Revelation where we see things like the woman, drunken with the blood of the saints (Revelation 17:6). It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the largest implication here is the martyred saints.
However, there is something notable about John’s writings. He never used the term saints in speaking about the church outside of the Revelation; the majority of the time he calls them –little children and brethren. The feel is one of association and an understanding of the heart and character of God. Considering John’s beginnings in comparison to the end, it only makes sense that he would have God’s heart as he unfolds the Revelation, a time of nightmarish destruction and judgment. This time is not directed at “my little children.”
I realize that I initiated this conversation with a portion of Daniel, not John, yet they talk about the same thing. This demonstrates the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit. We cannot discount that John’s recollection of Daniel’s prophecies may have played a role in John’s terminology.
When you look at end times prophecy, there are only three people groups to consider: the Jews, the nations, and the church. While there can and will be some crossing over between the Jews and the church; at that point followers of Christ are considered a part of the church.
Some will say that God gave up on the Jews. I do not think so. He has engraved their names and faces on the palms of his hands. You do not give up something that precious, especially after showing that level of commitment. God has a plan to drive the heart of the Jew, his chosen, back to himself. Unfortunately, there is much pain and suffering involved with that journey.
In general, the Jews have rejected Jesus, the Messiah, and therefore subject themselves to the wrath that is coming.
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou had known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knew not the time of thy visitation. (Luke 19:41-44 KJV)
The rejection of God by Israel is a common theme. An example of this is seen in the selection of Saul as king.
And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. (1 Samuel 8:7 KJV)
The nations could also be referred to as the Gentiles. Daniel referred to them as the people of the prince that shall come. Jesus, talking about the days of vengeance said,
“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 KJV)
The church is the entire collection of believers comprising the body of Christ.
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:22-23 KJV)
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:15-18 KJV)
In general, the church is excluded from the wrath, or vengeance, that is coming upon the earth.
But God proves his love for us by this (James Moffatt), in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Romans 5:8-9 KJV)
“. you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and a real God and to wait for the coming of his Son from heaven — the Son whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who rescues us from the Wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 Moffatt NT)
The church likes to hold itself in exclusivity, thinking that we are protected from tribulation. Look, Jesus guaranteed us three things:
In this world, you will have tribulation. You will be hated by all men for my names’ sake. I will come again for you. Tribulation and Wrath/vengeance is two different things. Tribulation is non-stop and comes in many forms. It has nothing to do with your inability to buy a new propeller for the family ski boat. Get real, people in parts of the world where there is a heavy Muslim influence are being killed daily.
If you lived under a constant threat of death, do you think you would feel as though you are being worn down, absolutely?
Perhaps the Bible in Basic English translates it more appropriately. Daniel 7:25 (a) BBE “And he will say words against the Most High, attempting to put an end to the saints of the Most High;” It is clear that the intent is to kill the saints.
And he shall speak words against the Most High, and he shall wear out the saints of the Most High. And he intends to change times and law. And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and one-half time. (Daniel 7:25 LITV)
Daniel 7:23 Declares what was to come, the fourth beast. If the fourth beast is Islam, then that was initiated over 600 years after Christ's death by Muhammad.
Born approximately in 570 CE in the Arabian city of Mecca, Muhammad was orphaned at an early age; he was raised under the care of his paternal uncle Abu Talib. After his childhood, Muhammad primarily worked as a merchant. Occasionally he would retreat to a cave in the mountains for several nights of seclusion and prayer; later, at age 40, he reported at this spot, that he was visited by Gabriel and received his first revelation from God. Three years after this event Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that "God is One", that complete "surrender" (lit. islām) to Him is the only way (dīn)[n 3] acceptable to God, and that he was a prophet and messenger of God, similar to other Islamic prophets. (From Wikipedia.)
Islam has operated under various caliphates since the death of Muhammad in 632 AD (BCE). While all of them caused the Middle Eastern world grief, the largest most powerful were the Ottoman Caliphate.
Ottoman Caliphate (1453/1517–1924)
At the end of October 1922, the Allies invited the nationalist and Ottoman governments to a conference at Lausanne, Switzerland, but Atatürk was determined that the nationalist government should be Turkey's sole representative. In November 1922, the Grand National Assembly separated the offices of sultan and caliph and abolished the former. The assembly further stated that the Ottoman regime had ceased to be the government of Turkey when the Allies seized the capital in 1920, in effect abolishing the Ottoman Empire. Excerpt from, the Ottomans.org
Is it possible that believers have been under attack for eighteen hundred years, without a doubt!
Pay attention to another aspect of Islam.
“The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Ismailia, Egypt by Hassan al-Banna in March 1928 as an Islamist religious, political, and social movement. The group spread to other Muslim countries but has its largest, or one of its largest, organizations in Egypt, where for many years it has been the largest, best-organized, and most disciplined political opposition force, despite a succession of government crackdowns in 1948, 1954, 1965 after plots, or alleged plots, of assassination and overthrow were uncovered. Following the 2011 Revolution the group was legalized, and in April 2011 it launched a civic political party called the Freedom and Justice Party (Egypt) to contest elections.” (Wikipedia)
Notice that this is two years after the Caliphate was disbanded.
“Links to the Nazis began during the 1930s and were close during the Second World War, involving agitation against the British, espionage and sabotage, as well as support for terrorist activities orchestrated by Haj Amin el-Hussaini in British Mandate Palestine, as a wide range of declassified documents from the British, American and Nazi German governmental archives, as well as from personal accounts and memoirs from that period, confirm. Reflecting this connection the Muslim Brotherhood also disseminated Hitler's Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion widely in Arab translations, helping to deepen and extend already existing hostile views about Jews and Western societies generally.” (Wikipedia)
The point to this is that Islam has been a destructive thorn in the flesh of those who do not comply for over 1800 years. Have they been a global threat throughout their history, no, but it took a global response to subdue them in 1922. I think we can agree that they are global now, and a greater threat than ever before. Aside from that, their prime directive is to kill the people of the book, which would be the Jew and the Christian. Have you noticed that they are making a serious dent in their goals?
If you have watched the news the last couple of years, then you are aware of Christians that are being slaughtered in the mid-East and African nations. Perhaps you have also noticed that attacks against any group outside of Islam are fair game to them. Buddhists, Catholics, you name it. They even fight each other as though there is a competition to see who can follow the Qur’an most precisely. Unfortunately, for the outsider, while the Qur’an does have passages devoted to peace, they are superseded by newer passages that demand a strict and violent compliance.
I think it is evident that there is affliction directed at Christians in certain parts of the world. Not to be left out of this violence against Christians is China and North Korea. I suppose the question is, how long until this level of violence comes to the Americas and afflicts us as well?
Do not think that your non-belief will protect you. In general, Islam feels that any American is a Christ follower and worthy of death. Scripture tells me that you may have a chance to reject God and accept Allah as your God of choice, bowing before him in worship. Perhaps that will save your neck for the moment. I am aware that they cut a man’s head off anyway, possibly because they felt he was a coward with no backbone. I suspect it will not be as easy as that, and they may not have the time to await your decision. Of course, giving into this cuts you off from any hope of a relationship with God. In other words, there is no turning back from this decision.
If you do not know this Jesus Christ, you can. Ask him into your life, and turn yourself over to him and accept his forgiveness. Allow him to run it. You do not have to work for your salvation, as it is free and paid for, you merely have to receive this life and salvation. You will experience a peace that you have never known before and a promise that he will come for you so that you can live with him in glory.