The Rapture in Two-Part Harmony - Jack Kinsella - https://www.rev310.net/post/the-rapture-in-two-part-harmony
In the days of the Apostle Paul, the city of Thessalonica was the largest city in Macedonia, boasting a population of nearly 200,000 people –a megapolis of the ancient world.
The majority of its inhabitants were Greek, although there was a mixture of ethnic groups, including Jews.
Paul’s letters to the Church at Thessalonica are accepted as authentic by virtually all New Testament scholars. The book was quoted by name by early Church Fathers including Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Polycarp.
The first epistle is divided into three parts or themes. In the first part, Paul reiterates his relationship with the Thessalonians, gives thanks to God for them, and outlines the evidence that the Thessalonians were truly saved, in contrast to what the Judaizers were saying about them.
“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10)
In the second part, Paul defends his credentials as an Apostle and the legitimacy of the Thessalonians’ conversion, and his urgent desire to see them again.
“For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.” (1 Thessalonians 2:1-2)
“But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:17-18)
The third major theme of the epistle is the imminent return of the Lord for His church at the Rapture. It is a source of endless fascination to me to read the various polemics arguing against the Rapture on the grounds that it was a nineteenth-century invention of J.N. Darby or Margaret MacDonald or C.I. Schofield.
Other scholars, such as my friend Grant Jeffrey, have long since proved that the Rapture doctrine was taught by the early Church as far back as 373 AD when he discovered an ancient text authored by Ephraem the Syrian, a prominent Byzantine theologian.
In On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World, Ephraem wrote:
“For all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins.”
The most fascinating aspect of Grant’s discovery is the effort to discredit it by opponents of a pre-Trib Rapture by denying Ephraem’s authenticity, called the discovery “pseudo-Ephraem.”
This argument says that Ephraem didn’t write it, somebody else did. Is that even a relevant argument?
I was at Grant’s house visiting shortly after he made his discovery in 1995 and Grant showed me a book in his collection published in the 1600s in which Ephraem’s teaching on the Rapture was quoted by a French theologian.
So denying Ephraem’s authorship is meaningless to the issue at hand, (which was whether the Rapture had been taught prior to the 1800’s.)
Personally, I’ve never understood how there could be a controversy. Whether pseudo-Ephraem or just plain Ephraem — or Darby, Schofield, MacDonald — they are largely irrelevant — since the Apostle Paul taught of an imminent Rapture in his FIRST epistle to the Thessalonians.
The controversy is about whether or not some subsequent interpreter confirmed what God told Paul, and it extends until what Paul actually wrote doesn’t seem to matter.
But Paul not only outlined the Rapture in detail, he fully expected to witness it himself.
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (or precede) them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)
But the verses about the Rapture don’t actually complete the third theme of Paul’s first epistle to Thessalonica.
Paul addresses questions concerning his credentials as an Apostle, confirms that the Thessalonians are truly saved, and reveals the details of the Rapture.
The Thessalonians, like many in the Church today, missed the point of Paul’s first Epistle. The point was that the Lord’s return should be a source of great comfort, not a source of contention.
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11)
The message is as clear as it can possibly be. As clear as this message is, some have trouble understanding it, even today. Paul says that Lord will appear in the air, the dead in Christ will rise, those still living will rise right after, and we will then spend eternity with the Lord.
Paul says the purpose of this revelation was to comfort believers facing hard times. What completes the theme is Paul’s exhortation at the end.
“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians had but one primary purpose, as specifically outlined in Chapter Two. It was to correct the doctrinal errors that an apparently forged letter from Paul had created about the Day of the Lord.
The Thessalonians feared that the Day of the Lord had come and gone and they had been left behind.
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2)
The phrase, “our gathering together” is translated from the Greek, episunagoge, which means “a complete collection; especially a Christian meeting: assembling, gathering together.” It is used but one other time, in Hebrews 10:25 exhorting believers to meet for worship.
As we go on, let’s ask and answer some questions from the text of Scripture.
First question: “What is Paul beseeching the Thessalonians about?”
Answer: “That they not be shaken by a letter that said they had been left behind.”
The primary theme of 2nd Thessalonians is therefore, the coming of our Lord and our gathering together, or collecting, unto Him. Paul begins by offering two reasons why the Thessalonians should not be afraid that they had been left behind.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (2Thessalonians 2:3)
So, what is the first reason why the Thessalonians should know that they had not missed the event Paul had described in his last letter? Because the day would not come until there came “a falling away first.”
The translation “a falling away” should actually be rendered, “THE falling away” namely, the specific falling away of which Paul warned them of “when I was yet with you.” (2 Thessalonians 2:5)
The “falling away” is the great apostasia, meaning, “a defection from the truth.”
The second reason why the Thessalonians should not be afraid that they had been left behind was because the man of sin, or the son of perdition, had not yet been revealed. The man of sin is, of course, the antichrist.
The man of sin can’t be revealed until after the great apostasia because it is through the apostasia that the man of sin is revealed. Without the apostasia, the antichrist couldn’t get a foothold because the population would not be prepared to buy what he will be selling.
But what else does this passage teach us? The Rapture couldn’t have happened because the antichrist had not been revealed. What does that mean? It HAS to mean that the Rapture comes first and then later, the antichrist is revealed.
I have heard all kinds of clever and imaginative explanations for why these verses don’t mean what they say they mean, but none of them ever actually take on the verses themselves.
They just go out and find others from elsewhere that seem contradictory but I’ve never heard anyone adequately dispute these two simple points – which is probably the reason Paul raised them.
One can come up with verses that seemingly put the Church in the Tribulation or verses that seemingly dispute the meaning of “the wrath of God” and verses that question who the Restrainer is, or dispute the meaning of the Day of Christ, and so on.
But Paul says that there are two things that must come after “our gathering together unto Him” – the great apostasia, and the revelation of the son of perdition. So if the Thessalonians don’t perceive a great apostasy, followed by the revealing of the antichrist, then it means they didn’t miss the Rapture.
Let’s reverse this equation and take another look at what Paul is saying from that angle.
Paul is saying that if the Thessalonians DO perceive a great falling away and they DO recognize “the man of sin, the son of perdition,” then YES, they missed the Rapture.
Turned back around, he’s saying that because the man of sin hasn’t been revealed, the Rapture has not happened. Why? Because the Rapture comes first. Not because Darby, MacDonald, Schofield, or even Ephraem the Syrian invented the doctrine after the fact.
But because the doctrine was already well-established in the first century by the Apostle Paul!
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
The first reference to a pre-Trib Rapture comes from the Bible. It is not a cunningly devised fable, but is a doctrine made known to us by eyewitnesses of His Majesty (2 Peter 1:16).
It wasn’t turned into a cunningly devised fable until after the great apostasia first kicked off at the end of the nineteenth century with the “Age of Enlightenment.”
The Great Apostasia is Part One and it is pretty much fully developed. As for Part Two, the revelation of the antichrist, well, THAT looks like its fulfillment is just around the corner. And according to the
Apostle Paul, we won’t be here for Part Two.
“Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
Witness To the Greatest Sign Of Our Messiah’s Return – By Amir Tsarfati - https://harbingersdaily.com/worldview-with-amir-tsarfati-witness-to-the-greatest-sign-of-our-messiahs-return/
Shalom from a 75-year-old State of Israel! That’s right! Three-quarters of a century ago, God fulfilled biblical prophecy by restoring the land, breathing life into the dead bones of its people, and creating a nation in a day. “Who has heard such a thing?” the Lord asked in Isaiah 66:8. The answer is “no one”. That is, until He did it!
The Lord is true to His promises, and He is always faithful to His children. No matter what you may be going through, whatever it is that has you discouraged or heartbroken, all you need to do is to look at the existence of Israel to be reminded that when God says He is with you and will carry you through, you can take that promise to the bank.
So, when my family and I celebrated Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, yesterday, we were not just celebrating our country. We were praising the God who brought about its rebirth. We were rejoicing that we were blessed to be of the generation that has witnessed this greatest of signs that the countdown clock to our Messiah’s return to take His church has begun. We were lifting the name of our faithful Father, our almighty God.
Psalm 36:5-7 KJV – “Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; And thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; Thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.”
IDF Attacks Hezbollah Observation Post
The Israeli Defense Forces carried out an artillery strike on a Hezbollah observation site just across the Syrian border from the Golan Heights. The IDF followed up by showering the area with pamphlets warning Syrian soldiers to cease their cooperation with the Iran-backed militia. There were no reports of injuries.
Terror Attack in Jerusalem
An Arab father of five intentionally drove his vehicle into a crowded market area in Jerusalem on Monday. Five Israelis were injured, one seriously. An armed civilian killed the terrorist on the scene. This man who abandoned his family to carry out this heinous act is a perfect example of former Prime Minister Golda Meir’s words, “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”
Jordanian Parliament Member Attempts to Smuggle Guns to West Bank
A member of Jordan’s parliament, Imad Adwan, was taken into custody at the Allenby Bridge border crossing on Saturday. In Adwan’s car were found a dozen assault rifles, more than 200 handguns, and gold intended for anti-Jewish parties in the West Bank. Israeli authorities were quick to absolve the Jordanian government of any wrongdoing in the act. Accusations did fly, however, but in an unexpected form. Former Jordanian MP Tarek Khoury directed his vitriol at Israel, saying they had made up the part about the gold being in the car. Why did this make him so upset? Because the inclusion of gold would “turn the heroic act into a smuggling issue.” It’s hard to fight against that kind of mindset.
American Drone Shot Down by Pro-Iranian Militia
An American MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone was shot down near Kirkuk, Iraq, this past week. Pro-Iranian Shiite militias used an anti-aircraft missile to bring it to the ground. US forces, which were in the area, destroyed what was left of the UAV to keep it from falling into enemy hands.
High-Ranking Cleric Assassinated in Northern Iran
As Ayatollah Abbas Ali Soleimani sat inside a bank Wednesday, one of the security guards walked up behind him and opened fire. Soleimani, who was a member of the powerful Assembly of Experts for Leadership of Iran and a former personal representative of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, died soon after in the hospital. The assailant was taken into custody. The cleric’s death marks the highest ranking official to have been killed in recent years.
Nations Scramble as Sudan Heats Up
As the violence intensifies in Sudan, world governments are hurrying to evacuate their citizens. To aid in the process, the US and Saudi Arabia mediated a 72-hour ceasefire between the two sides. So far, at least 427 people have been killed in the fighting, and the gun battles are reaching into residential areas and neighborhoods. On Tuesday, the World Health Organization put out a warning after rebels took control of the National Public Health Laboratory in the capital city of Khartoum. The lab holds samples of various diseases, including polio and measles, causing the WHO to warn of a “huge biological risk”. Sudan needs our prayers!
Erdogan’s On-Air Health Event Causes Concerns Ahead of Elections
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan canceled his election rallies Wednesday under the advice of his doctors. He walked off a live television interview saying he had stomach issues. Immediately, the rumor mill took off with some saying that he had suffered a myocardial infarction. The election, which is set for May 14, is hotly contested with many saying it is possible that Erdogan can lose after 20 years of serving as Prime Minister, then President.
Russian Defense Minister Hosts Intelligence Chiefs
Moscow hosted quite a guest list Tuesday when the defense ministers and intelligence chiefs of Turkey, Iran, and Syria joined the Russian Defense Minister. The goal, according to Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, was to “bring peace and tranquility to the region as soon as possible.” Upon reading this guest list, everyone who has ever read the prophecies of Ezekiel sat up and said, “Yep.”
Ukrainian UAV Attempts Attack on Russian Ships in Crimea
A Ukrainian drone was shot down near Sevastopol, Crimea, and a second exploded causing minor damage, according to Russian authorities. The apparent target was the Russian Black Sea Fleet that is stationed there. Ukraine has remained mum on the attack. While this attempt may not have achieved its desired results, it does show Kyiv’s ability to penetrate deep into Russian-held territory.
US to Send Nuclear Submarine to South Korean Waters
Not since the 1980s Cold War has the US docked a nuclear submarine in South Korea. But after an agreement yesterday between US President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol that is about to change. Meant to be a strong message to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, the US will moor an Ohio-class nuclear submarine in the port of its southern ally. Keep your eyes on this situation. The Supreme Leader in the north is not known for letting slights go unanswered.
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A Shocking UN Document Reveals The Sick Sexual Agenda That The Globalists Plan To Push On The Whole World - by Michael Snyder - http://endoftheamericandream.com/a-shocking-un-document-reveals-the-sick-sexual-agenda-that-the-globalists-plan-to-push-on-the-whole-world/
They aren’t going to stop until they impose their twisted values on the entire planet. If you have not heard of “The 8 March Principles” yet, you can find the entire document right here. It is essentially a blueprint for synchronizing all global laws regarding sexuality, gender and reproductive rights. UNAIDS is one of the organizations that was involved in drafting this document, and on their official website they claim that many global laws that prohibit certain types of sexual behavior “not only violate human rights, but the fundamental principles of criminal law themselves”. Alarmingly, among the laws that are being targeted by the globalists are laws that ban adults from having sex with children.
It turns out that they have been working on “The 8 March Principles” for quite a long time.
In fact, UNAIDS says that it took “over five years” to finalize this new document…
The principles are the outcome of a 2018 workshop organized by UNAIDS and OHCHR along with the ICJ to discuss the role of jurists in addressing the harmful human rights impact of criminal laws. The meeting resulted in a call for a set of jurists’ principles to assist the courts, legislatures, advocates and prosecutors to address the detrimental human rights impact of such laws.
The principles, developed over five years, are based on feedback and reviews from a range of experts and stakeholders. They were finalized in 2022. Initially, the principles focused on the impact of criminal laws proscribing sexual and reproductive health and rights, consensual sexual activity, gender identity, gender expression, HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission, drug use and the possession of drugs for personal use. Later, based on the inputs of civil society and other stakeholders, criminalization linked to homelessness and poverty were also included.
Most of the material in “The 8 March Principles” is not a surprise. Everyone knows that the UN wants to promote abortion, the gay agenda and the transgender agenda.
But what floored me is that they are also seeking to weaken laws that prohibit adults from having sex with children. The following is an excerpt that comes directly out of “The 8 March Principles”…
With respect to the enforcement of criminal law, any prescribed minimum age of consent to sex must be applied in a non-discriminatory manner. Enforcement may not be linked to the sex/gender of participants or age of consent to marriage.
Moreover, sexual conduct involving persons below the domestically prescribed minimum age of consent to sex may be consensual in fact, if not in law. In this context, the enforcement of criminal law should reflect the rights and capacity of persons under 18 years of age to make decisions about engaging in consensual sexual conduct and their right to be heard in matters concerning them. Pursuant to their evolving capacities and progressive autonomy, persons under 18 years of age should participate in decisions affecting them, with due regard to their age, maturity and best interests, and with specific attention to non-discrimination guarantees.
If they believe that children under the age of 18 can meaningfully consent to sex, where do they think the cutoff should be?
Is it 16?
Is it 14?
Is it 12?
According to a globalist organization that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gives millions of dollars to each year, children “are born sexual and should learn about ‘commercial sex work’ under 10 years of age”…
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donates millions annually to a nongovernmental organization which claims that children are born sexual and should learn about “commercial sex work” under 10 years of age.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) – a separate entity from the U.S. nonprofit – wields significant influence on global sex education. The NGO comprises 120 independent organizations in over 146 countries and has received – including its European network – over $80M from Gates. Other significant donors included the World Health Organization.
Go back and read that last paragraph again.
This extremely powerful organization is operating in at least 146 different countries.
And according to Fox News, it teaches children that “commercial sex work” is a completely legitimate occupation…
“Sexual activity may be part of different types of relationships, including dating, marriage or commercial sex work, among others,” IPPF said about children under 10 should be taught, which was first flagged by Nicole Solas of the Independent Women’s Forum.
And the IPPF also trains kids to believe that sexuality “is a part of you from the moment you are born”…
Children under 10 should be taught that “Sexuality is a part of you from the moment you are born. Your sexuality develops and changes throughout your life.”
These people are sick.
And it shouldn’t shock any of us that many of the individuals that work for such organizations end up being predators themselves.
For example, a former Planned Parenthood executive in Connecticut just killed himself after police raided his home “as part of a child pornography investigation”…
The former marketing director of a Planned Parenthood in Connecticut committed suicide days after police raided his New Haven apartment on April 6 as part of a child pornography investigation, The Middletown Press reported.
Tim Yergeau, 35, who previously worked as director of strategic communications for the Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, died by suicide last Tuesday, according to officials. Both Yergeau’s neighbor and the state Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner confirmed his death, the report states.
Of course it isn’t just people on the left that are into such things.
Recently, “conservative” author Dennis Prager defended the use of pornography by saying that “men want variety”…
Dennis Prager, a conservative author and talk radio host, is trending on social media for sharing what many see as an overly simplistic and undeniably problematic view of pornography.
“Men want variety,” Prager said during a recent round-table discussion hosted by The Daily Wire’s Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist and author. Pornography, he went on to say, is “not awful,” so long as it’s used as a “substitute for adultery.”
This is how far we have fallen.
Now even leaders that are considered to be “ultra-conservative” are openly promoting pornography.
A civilized society would be seeking to protect women and children, but in our society there is a voracious appetite for exploiting and abusing them.
This has got to stop. If we continue going down this road, there is no future for our country.
Throughout history, every society that has embraced extremely loose sexual behavior has eventually fallen.
Now the globalists are determined to push their extremely twisted sexual agenda on the whole world, and that will inevitably have very serious consequences.
The Bubble of Normalcy – Jonathan Brentner - https://www.jonathanbrentner.com/https/jonathan-brentner-g8fgsquarespacecom/config/2023/4/25/the-bubble-of-normalcy
In 1920, Warren G. Harding ran for president with the campaign slogan of “The return to normalcy.” Despite harsh criticism for his use of such an obscure word at the time, the idea of returning to “normalcy” swept him into the Oval Office.
His motto had great appeal to Americans in 1920 as they longed for normal lives after the turmoil of World War I and the deadly Spanish Flu pandemic. Sound familiar?
In the financial world, a bubble refers to something that acquires an unrealistic and highly inflated value. When it bursts, it causes economic havoc.
Typically, a bubble is created by a surge in asset prices that is driven by exuberant market behavior. During a bubble, assets typically trade at a price, or within a price range, that greatly exceeds the asset's intrinsic value (the price does not align with the fundamentals of the asset).
Many today live in a “bubble of normalcy” where they feel secure because of exaggerated and unrealistic hopes of either a return to normalcy or of it continuing indefinitely into the future. Even a great number of believers reside in a world of highly inflated expectations regarding what lies ahead for them.
Many in the world are waking up and rallying against the threats posed by globalists, but sadly, this has yet it to stir many people in the U.S. Why is that?
THE NORMALCY BIAS
Because of America’s long history of peace and security, its citizens live with what’s called a “normalcy bias.” As a result, critics label those of us who warn of the dangers inherent in a world speeding toward the Tribulation period as “conspiracy theorists.” “No one can really be that wicked or deceitful so as to cause such widespread suffering and death,” they tell us. Such is the outlook inside the bubble.
Terry James and Pete Garcia, in their book New World Order, describe the “normalcy bias” in the following way:
Another aspect of this illusion of modernity is the “normalcy bias” that creates an artificial barrier between people and the unrelenting nature of this fallen planet. . . . . Our natural state of mind is on normalcy bias cruise control until some event momentarily shakes us from our slumber. Even then, most believe the latest advancements can save us from whatever calamity nature throws at us…until it can’t. These brief lapses into reality brought on by sudden catastrophes fade in memory just as quickly, and we go back to normal state of mind by forgetting the past.
Unfortunately, this “normalcy bias” also characterizes many in Bible-believing churches. Many saints see the dangers, but fail to recognize that they signal the end of human history as we know it. In order to cope with the threats, they often lapse back into the rhythm of life as though the perils don’t really exist or will somehow go away. Because they have no prophetic context into which they can place the chaos of our day, they hope that normalcy will somehow prevail.
In their effort to make this life work, they miss all the “pins” that threaten to burst the bubble of normalcy in which they seek refuge.
THE PINS THAT THREATEN THE NORMALCY BUBBLE
For those outside of Christ, the pin that will forever burst the bubble of normalcy will be the Rapture. It’s the wildcard; it could happen today, next week, this year, or even later.
We just don’t know how much more of the world’s ills will touch us before Jesus’ appearing. Many saints around the world already suffer intense persecution or the scars of war.
Another pin that’s sure to burst the bubble of normalcy is that of God’s judgment on America. It’s already started, but will grow to catastrophic proportions shortly after Jesus takes His church out of this world.
When one considers the previously unimaginable vileness that’s rampant in America and the looting of stores that’s driving a considerable number of them out of business, it’s difficult to conceive of any sense of normalcy returning to my country. The growing lawlessness, wickedness, and deception that’s rampant in the U.S. will negatively impact an increasing number of believers between now and the Rapture.
As the draconian policies of the globalists impact more people, it’s sure to explode many normalcy bubbles in the U.S.
WHY IT’S VITAL THAT WE UNDERSTAND BIBLE PROPHECY
I realize that the majority of my readers recognize the signs of the times and live well outside the normalcy bubble that affects those both inside and outside the faith.
Even so, it’s vital that we don’t lose our focus on future things and resist the lure of the normalcy bias that continually competes for our allegiance.
First if all, a great number of our fellow believers are hurting today because of cancer, the loss of loved ones, financial woes, and a host of other afflictions. They, like us, need frequent reminders that this world is not their home as they traverse through this vale of tears we call life.
As I wrote in The Importance of Our Heavenly Citizenship, there’s unspeakable joy and comfort inherent in the implications of our heavenly citizenship. Since it’s a message that so few hear in churches today, we need to be ready to comfort fellow saints with the specifics of our glorious hope.
Secondly, a firm grasp of biblical prophecy enables us to look realistically at the chaotic and lawless world around us and share the “blessed hope” of Titus 2:11-14 with those outside of Christ. Such a two-world perspective provides us with a solid foundation from which to give others a “reason for the hope” that we possess (1 Peter 3:15). We not only recognize what’s happening around us, but we also know why.
Third, the practice of eagerly watching for Jesus’ appearing has a purifying effect on us. That’s the message of 1 John 3:2-3:
Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
This upward focus motivates us to live in a way that’s pleasing to Him. The realization that today could be the day we stand in the presence of our Savior impacts the decisions we make.
Fourth, most of the unsaved men with whom I have had conversations during the past few years recognized the dangers inherent in our world. My wife and I had the opportunity to talk with one of them about Jesus’ return and he was pleased to hear about it, but he didn’t respond to the Gospel as we had hoped. We still pray for him.
Contrary to what many believe, churches that boldly proclaim the truths of the Rapture and apply biblical prophecy to the perils of our day experience significant growth in terms of people coming to faith in Jesus. Many of those outside of Christ recognize that the world is rapidly heading toward the seven-year Tribulation, but they lack the scriptural context into which they can put the dangers, lawlessness, and rampant deception of our day.
Fifth, remaining grounded in biblical prophecy matters because it shields believers from false teachings. The most popular view of the end times in Christendom today asserts that because the church is God’s kingdom on the earth, it will prevail over all the evils and reign over the nations before Jesus returns. (That’s totally a “bubble of normalcy” mindset and far away from the Bible teaches.)
Kari Jobe’s song, “Simple Gospel,” exemplifies this errant teaching as it proclaims that the church will rise victoriously in the future. Sadly, it gives a false sense of security to believers locking them into a bogus expectation of what lies ahead. The song communicates that we must trust the church rather than Jesus for our deliverance.
Why would we want unbelievers to hear such a message?
And as we watch the storm clouds of the coming Tribulation period gather on the horizon, is it not far better for our soul to be able to put them in the context of Bible prophecy? Does it not bring a sense of relief to know that yes, the threats to our livelihood and even our lives are indeed real, but we can walk in hope of Jesus’ appearing and our homegoing to the place He’s preparing for us?
We have the most wonderful and exciting news imaginable to not only share with the unbelieving world, but also to the saints dozing in the bubble of normalcy.
Please know that my purposes in writing The Triumph of the Redeemed-An eternal Perspective that Calms Our Fears in Perilous Times were first to glorify Jesus, encourage fellow saints, and enable them to comfort others with hope of Jesus’ appearing. My heart grieves for my fellow saints who never hear the glorious specifics of our “blessed hope.”
Daily Jot: The American Chronicles: Glen the Camp Host - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
We loaded up the van with an extra set of camp chairs, some food and headed to Thurmont, Md., to pick up our friends Chris and Ed for a day-trip adventure to Owens Creek Campground in Sabillasville, MD. We drove about 9 miles into the Catoctin State Park and found a small sign pointing to the campground. Another sign about prohibiting alcoholic beverages, which we remembered later as part of adventure. We were site 12, reserved the day before for $30. Little did we know that we could have parked in one of the picnic areas for free. The weather was a little overcast, threatening rain, and we had already beat the odds because it was supposed to start raining at 2:00 pm. It was already almost 3:00.
We wound through the woods on the narrow camp road past a small Chevy RV van under one of those portable carports and found our campsite beneath a canopy of trees. We began setting up our own little camp. I pushed the button to extended the awning, but so far no rain. We had a great time just conversing about the current political situation, God, old stories that each of us have probably heard many times before on some of our beach vacations, but love the retelling. Seems like they get better each time. And it finally started raining, but the tree cover was so massive that hardly any of the misty rain fell through to our canopy. Charlie was laying at Chris’ feet. And the day was actually playing out like a Norman Rockwell painting. Then I noticed Ed looking past me and I soon found out why.
From the mist in the direction of that Chevy van came a man into our camp. He was about 5’9” tall, maybe 250 pounds, 50 something years old, wearing a yellow T shirt stretching over his huge belly, barely touching the top of his wrinkled cargo shorts. A cigarette in his right hand and in his left hand a large imitation of a YETI tumbler that was partially clear. I could see he had beer in it. He introduced himself as “Glen the Camp Host” and he just wanted to drop by and say “hi.” He started telling us his “story” about how he saves $30,000 a year as a Camp Host camping and working out of his Chevy van year-round at various parks, and how Chevy vans were the best on the market. He asked if he could pet Charlie and used it as an opportunity to peek into our van and check it out—which I have since learned is a “no-no” in camp etiquette.
I asked him what he was drinking, and he proudly said it was an IPA, “never that Bud Light stuff.” I guess the Camp Host doesn’t have to abide by the state park rules. He said he was a writer and after spending about half an hour telling a few more details of his camp life, he said he didn’t want to interrupt our camping experience. He eventually excused himself and disappeared into the mist. Glen had given up the corporate life to do what made him happy, even though he seemed a little lonely. Proverbs 22:21 says, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.” Glen was a a little strange. But what would any campground be without the Official Camp Host? Especially, Glen the Camp Host, a nice enough guy with a good name pursuing his independence rather than silver or gold.
Daily Devotion: One of the Hardest Things to Do - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. —Ephesians 4:32
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/one-of-the-hardest-things-to-do/ - Listen
One day when Jesus was talking about forgiveness, Peter thought he would impress Him. So, he asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” (Matthew 18:21 NLT).
Maybe Peter expected Jesus to say, “Peter, that is pretty good. Let’s give Peter a round of applause.”
Instead, Jesus told him, “No, not seven times . . . but seventy times seven!” (verse 22 NLT). In other words Jesus was saying, “You should forgive endlessly. There should be no limits to your forgiveness.”
Then Jesus went on to tell a story about a servant who owed millions of dollars to a king. The king gave the order for the servant, his wife, their children, and their possessions to be sold for compensation. But the servant pleaded with the king for another chance to repay the debt. The king, touched by the servant’s attitude, decided to completely forgive what he owed.
But it wasn’t long before the man found a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars, and he demanded that he pay it back immediately. And when the servant asked for more time to repay his debt, the man had him arrested and thrown into prison.
Someone saw what happened and told the king about it. The king called for the man and said, “You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?” (verses 32–33 NLT). Then the king sent him to prison.
If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, then He has forgiven your sins. The Bible tells us, “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 NLT).
We must forgive because we have been forgiven. And God will bless us for obeying Him.
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