The Rapture is Imminent
The Rapture is Imminent - by pastor Mike Taylor - https://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2022/12/the-rapture-is-imminent.html
47 “The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.
48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1st Corinthians 15:47-54)
The above opening verses describe a reality that many of us will experience, I believe soon in this time of the end of this age. It describes the 'Harpazo” or the forceful removal of the church from this earth in a instant, or the twinkling of an eye. Some people just cannot wrap their minds around such a concept. Many don't believe what the Bible shows us to be truth.
Paul was the first to make this known to the world, as it had never been taught before Paul called it a “mystery” or something not revealed in the past. The prophet Isaiah approached the doctrine in chapter 26, when he described the coming of the Lord to those in his time period.
19 “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
21 For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” (Isaiah 26:19-21)
I've noticed that as you read Isaiah, much of the words the prophet writes lines up with the prophecy that John wrote in the final book of your Bible or Revelation of Jesus Christ. But until Paul fleshed out the concept and actually addressed the coming of the Lord for His church, then many people who read the Old Testament couldn't see what Isaiah was saying.
A FIRST CENTURY BELIEF
I've spoken of the doctrine that was believed in the 1st Century church but was squashed in the Middle Ages by the ruling theocracy of a “church” whose main goal was power and authority over other men. The doctrine was revived in the 19th century, as the Reformation gave men the ability to discern through God's Holy Spirit what the Words of God written actually meant. This doctrine was written for our time, not when it was written, as we are the last generation before Jesus comes again.
I've always believed that the Bible clearly teaches a Pre-Trib (HARPAZO) rapture of the church, not because I look for a so called “great escape” as some scoff, but because I embrace the belief that it is “Victory in Jesus” and that the church is not appointed to wrath that falls on this earth starting in Revelation chapter 6 all the way through chapter 19 of the destruction in Divine retribution of those who are in rebellion against Almighty God and God judges them as His patience has come to an end.
The Bible clearly teaches a Pre-Tribulation rapture that puts the last days and the Tribulation into context that is consistent with the overall flow of Bible prophecy.
That is the only reason I teach and believe in the removal of God's church prior to the Tribulation as it makes no difference to me if someone else does not believe in the doctrine and embraces another point of view, as the timing of the rapture plays no role in our salvation. Of all the doctrines of the Bible, this one is hotly contested among “brethren” who do not believe what they read, or fail to discern the meaning of the Words.
We are saved by faith through grace and the person believes that He is coming again, as promised, and will keep all of the many other promises that are spelled out in your Bible, including being an Advocate before the Righteous Judge of all the earth.
The believers faith is in the scripture that I so love to quote and believed as a small boy that God the Father sent His Son into the world to save all who come to Him.
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
But,( there's that word) the timing of the rapture of the Church is central to the understanding of the overall BIG picture of the last days.
We are in the last days and it is a different era than the coming Tribulation period. The “last days” are used throughout the whole of the Bible in the context of the “Church Age” that we are now coming to the end of the period known also as the “Age of Grace”.
It all began at Pentecost when the newly indwelt by the Holy Spirit apostles rushed from the upper room to the street proclaiming the salvation of God and the population thought they were drunk.
"Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But THIS IS THAT WHICH was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass IN THE LAST DAYS saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:" (Acts 2:13-17)
The last days that we speak of is the Age of the Church that we are living in and near at its end, whereas the 70th week of Daniel prophecy is called the “Time of Jacob's Trouble also known as the Tribulation. These are two different “dispensations” of God and it is central to the understanding of the times that we now live in.
The apostle Paul referred to this age, as the “dispensation of the grace of God”.
2 “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)” (Ephesians 3:2-4)
Paul called the conclusion of this present time the “Dispensation of the fullness of times”.
9 “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:9-12)
DISPENSATIONS OF THE BIBLE
During our current dispensation, believers are indwelt by God's Holy Spirit as the Apostle John reminds us:
2 “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1st John 4:2-4)
Note the context of what John speaks of? The spirit of anti-Christ is already in the world, even in John's day, but this spirit cannot overcome the Church saints, because He Who dwells in us (The Holy Spirit) is greater than the spirit of anti-Christ.
But this same prophet, writing of the same Anti-Christ who will come in the flesh during the Tribulation will over come the saints says:
"And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to OVERCOME them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." (Revelation 13:7)
Since the Apostle John wrote both passages, and they cannot be simultaneously true, the flow of the Bible is interrupted if the Church Age is concurrent with the Tribulation.
I've spoken of this in past messages, that if the 'Anti-Christ' is given power to overcome the saints, will he also be given power to overcome the Holy Spirit? Since John tells us that He (Jesus) had overcome the world, the Anti-Christ cannot overcome those who have God's Holy Spirit, but John tells us that he will overcome the saints. So the only explanation is that those who are saints in the Tribulation are not sealed with God's Holy Spirit and are not the church, but Tribulation saints. The Holy Spirit will still be moving, but each saint must guard their salvation to the very end as they will not be sealed with a guarantee of their salvation.
This is showing that God is not given the Anti-Christ power over Himself, the Holy Spirit of God. That leaves two possibilities apart from the Pre-Tribulation rapture in an analysis of the passage.
The first is that Jesus lied to us, that He would come to us and never leave us and we would always have the Comforter, that is until the tribulation comes and the Comforter would be withdrawn from the Church or the vessels He indwells and leaves them on their own to battle the Anti-Christ. Now we know that Jesus is God and does not lie, and He said He would NEVER leave us or forsake us. So strike that possibility.
The apostle Paul makes that clear that the Holy Spirit will be withdrawn back to Pre-Pentecostal manifestations on the earth, before the “WICKED' is revealed:
6 “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:66-10)
The Holy Spirit is the power of God holding back complete evil overtaking this world, and He indwells each believer who has come to Christ Jesus and proclaimed by faith, their Savior. For when the Holy Spirit indwelled believers are removed, then Satan will be allowed to attempt to destroy all mankind and receive worship for himself.
For a pre-Trib Rapture to be a false doctrine means our generation was chosen out of all others in Church history to face the greatest spiritual trial the world has ever known -- without the Comforter that Jesus promised would indwell us until He comes. That is a biblical contradiction.
The second possibility is that John was either lying or mistaken when he said the spirit of antichrist cannot overcome indwelt believers.
In either case, the promises of Scripture are broken. Since we know that Scripture cannot be broken, and that Jesus never lied, as He was sinless, then the only possible explanation is that the Pre-Tribulation rapture is the Truth of God's Word.
THOSE WHO DON'T BELIEVE.
In all my years in the ministry, I have heard every explanation of why the belief in a pre-Trib rapture of the church is nothing but a “great escape” and scoff that it is a false doctrine. Those who misunderstand the clear meaning of God's Word have not had their eyes opened to the words of Paul as I have spoken of this great Mystery, that only Paul reveals the truths of “Grace through Faith” and the “Harpazo or rapture of the church” which until the Apostle Paul had never been spoken of in the Words of your Bible. That is why in each case, Paul calls it a “mystery” or something that had been hidden. I believe the One who opened the “mystery” to Paul was none other than our Lord Jesus when Paul was in the wilderness for 3 years being taught before he even showed himself to the other apostles in Jerusalem.
But, its opponents will spare no effort to 'prove' that it is a false doctrine, as if the timing of the Rapture were somehow of eternal significance. It is not.
The eternal significance of the Rapture is this:
14 “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 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 them which are asleep.
16 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:
17 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.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:14-18)
POINT AND COUNTER-POINT
Now with these two opposite opinions clearly in view, let us try and pull this all together by starting with the Words of Jesus in Matthew:
3 “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” (Matthew 24:3-6)
Jesus warned that there will be one who comes in his own name and will deceive many, as most of Israel will be fooled:
"I am come in My Father's name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." (John 5:43)
Even today, Israel has been looking for a “political messiah” much as they did in the time of J
They have never believed up to this point that they needed a “spiritual Messiah” to save them from their sins, as they had the Law of Moses, even though we know the law kills and no one is able to keep the law perfectly. Jesus was the only “Man/God” on earth who ever did. It is why the Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah, as they were looking for a warrior King, much like King David to destroy the Romans. Jesus just didn't fit their pre-conceived notions of who their “Messiah” would be, as they needed a warrior, not a suffering servant who came to die for the sins of the world.
So if one looks at the coming Anti-Christ, should you be so unfortunate to actually see him in the flesh, then if he is standing on the ground, instead of meeting you in the air, then you will know that he is an imposter, no matter what magic trick he performs to attempt to deceive you.
In summary, the Pre-Tribulation rapture is NOT a “great escape” for the church, is is a necessary evacuation of the Holy Spirit's restraining influence and allowing Satan to have full sway of men and women upon the earth to deceive and destroy them. So since the Holy Spirit resides in each of the Church members, or the body of Christ as a deposit of future glorification, then with the Holy Spirit being withdrawn, so will every believer that has His Spirit residing within our spirit.
If you remove the doctrine and the removal of God's people from this earth in the coming rapture of the church, then the chronology of Bible prophecy is thrown into chaos.
Although the doctrine of the rapture of the church has no “salvation value” as we are saved by “Grace through Faith” not of works, lest any man should boast, it has no eternal consequences to anyone that they must believe in the Pre-Tribulation rapture. They can believe or choose not to believe in this doctrine, as it has no salvation attached to it. I find no particular need to convert a believer to my own understanding of the last days. BUT, I stress the doctrines, as those who have not come to faith in Jesus Christ will be faced with the coming horror known as the Tribulation and the even more destructive Great Tribulation that will destroy nigh 80-90% of all mankind. Prophecy is a great witnessing tool to those who are lost.
I believe those who are found in Christ, when the trumpet sounds and they realize that they are being taken to meet Jesus Christ in the air will be as I am, raising my hands and praising God, knowing that they have been wrong to reject the doctrine. I have people in my own family who fear the coming tribulation and what will happen to their children and other loved ones. Sadly, they have no blessed Hope of being removed from this planet before the wrath of God falls upon all who are left.
10 “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Revelation 3:10-11)
Our Risen Lord proclaims to the Apostle John when speaking of the coming Tribulation that He will remove each of us from this planet, not through the Tribulation as some believe, but completely away from the time and space of this coming event. I have proclaimed in the past of the Greek Word that tells us this in the phrase “will keep thee” which states to be forcefully removed from point A to point B away from the time period or place.
But those who fear the coming Tribulation who do not have the assurance that “we are not appointed to wrath”.
8 “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” (1st Thessalonians 5:8-11)
Yes, my reader, Jesus is coming soon and will catch many believers asleep, and the whole world will wonder where millions of people have gone to. The left behind leadership will attempt plausible excuses and explanations of what has happened, but they speak falsely and attempt to blind the masses to the “snatching away” of the Church of the Living God who has been their blessed Hope.
11 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:11-14)
To re-emphasize I must restate that salvation is given by God as a gift of His grace. It is through faith in the finished work of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, when He shed His blood on a Roman instrument of death, the cross. His shed blood if full payment for our sins, and His resurrection is our guarantee of our future glorification to be just like Him.
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (1st John 3:1-3)
SO WHY TEACH THE RAPTURE?
But I have said all this to answer the question, “Why teach a pre-tribulation rapture of the church?” Because without this doctrine that draws the Bible's prophecy into a coherent chronology of events, then Bible prophecy has no context, as without it, it makes no sense. I believe God has been most clear in the concept of the removal of the Church and I warn those who are playing church, warming a pew, or use the church as nothing but a social event, have missed the message of salvation and are doomed to endure, or most likely die in the coming Tribulation.
Those whose eyes are opened by God's Holy Spirit feel the dread of being cast into the tribulation without God. And those who do eventually find God in the coming period of “Jacob's trouble” will most likely die a martyrs death. I warn those who are lost in their sins and have not made Jesus Christ, Lord of their life, changed their mind about God, repented of their sins, and asked Jesus into their heart and lives that there is coming a time that I would not want my worst enemy to endure. Not them and not you. The obligation to preach the Word of God in prophecy looking forward to the coming of our Lord for His Church and the beginning of the Tribulation is what I have been called to do. As a minister of Christ I can do no other.
Search your Bible, and be a good Berean and find out if what I have said is true. Ask God to lead you into all Truth...as Jesus said “Thy Word is Truth”.
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2nd Timothy 2:15)
We are to study diligently, as it is our insurance of not being fooled by false teachers or false prophets and succumb to end time deception that Jesus said would be a sign of our times. As a Watchman on the Wall, I plead with you to look to Jesus now, the Author and Finisher of our faith. The Harpazo of the Church, (rapture) is close, even at the door, as Jesus will someday soon burst through the clouds and cry with a loud voice “Come up hither”.....WILL YOU BE READY?
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying you find Jesus before the Trumpet calls. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at email@example.com, of visit me online for more biblical messages from the Word of God. God bless you all.
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEETesus that would rid them of the Roman occupation and today, to give them “peace and security” in their own land from their enemies that surround them. There will come a man, possibly soon, who will give them what they have been longing for, at least temporarily, and will receive him as their “messiah”.
Here Are Some Long-Term Trends That Are Slowly Killing America… - by Michael Snyder - http://endoftheamericandream.com/here-are-some-long-term-trends-that-are-slowly-killing-america/
Just about everyone realizes that this country is way off track at this point. Our society is very rapidly deteriorating all around us, economic conditions just keep getting worse, and our politicians in Washington appear to be more corrupt than ever. But even though so much is going wrong, there is very little agreement about what is needed to set things right. In fact, this nation is now more divided than I have ever seen in my entire lifetime. So even though Americans are feeling increasingly negative about themselves, the country and everything around them, there is absolutely no consensus about where to go from here.
When I checked the Drudge Report earlier today, the very first headline at the top of the page was about a Gallup survey that discovered some very alarming things about the state of our mental health…
Americans’ positive self-assessments of their mental health are the lowest in more than two decades of Gallup polling. In all, 31% of U.S. adults describe their mental health or emotional wellbeing as “excellent,” the worst rating by three percentage points.
Another 44% of Americans rate their mental health as “good,” and the 75% combined excellent and good rating is the lowest on record and 10 points shy of the average since 2001. In addition, 17% of U.S. adults describe their mental health as “only fair” and 7% as “poor.” The latter figure is the highest in Gallup’s trend.
Of course those numbers are just part of the story.
A previous survey that was conducted by CNN found that approximately 90 percent of all adults believe that there is a “mental health crisis” in the United States today…
An overwhelming majority of people in the United States think the country is experiencing a mental health crisis, according to a new survey from CNN in partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Nine out of 10 adults said they believed that there’s a mental health crisis in the US today. Asked to rate the severity of six specific mental health concerns, Americans put the opioid epidemic near the top, with more than two-thirds of people identifying it as a crisis rather than merely a problem. More than half identified mental health issues among children and teenagers as a crisis, as well as severe mental illness in adults.
It is almost impossible to get 90 percent of Americans to agree on anything, but in this case CNN discovered something that almost all of us can agree on.
Our mental health is in really bad shape, and it appears that this is particularly true among our young people…
In June 2020, the CDC released data that suggests one in four adults ages 18 to 24 have considered suicide. And according to the recently released Harvard Youth Poll of 2,513 Americans ages 18 to 29, 51% of young Americans said that at least several days in the previous two weeks they had felt down, depressed or hopeless.
So what happens when we are feeling down, defeated and depressed?
We go to the doctor and get some pills.
In 2020, it was being estimated that 45 million Americans were currently on antidepressants, but that number is undoubtedly even higher by now.
But even though tens of millions of us are on “happy pills”, society as a whole just keeps getting less happy.
Could it be possible that other long-term trends that we have been witnessing are directly related to this crisis?
In recent years, church attendance and church membership have both been absolutely plummeting in the United States…
In-person church attendance plummeted by 45 percent in the pandemic, according to an ABC News analysis. Most churches have reopened, but not all congregants have returned.
“People are not getting together much, generally speaking. Not just in church, but in the village,” said Thomas Groome, a professor in theology and religious education at Boston College. “People are staying home. They’re on their cellphones. They’re on the Internet.”
The share of Americans who belong to churches dipped below half in 2020, a historic low, according to Gallup polling.
Church membership held steady at around 70 percent of the U.S. population from the 1940s through the 1990s. Membership plummeted in the new millennium.
And according to a recent Gallup survey, the percentage of Americans that “believe in God” has dropped to an all-time low.
In early America, just about everyone believed in God, and just about everyone belonged to a local group of believers.
As a result, the United States was happy and prosperous.
But now Americans are turning their backs on God at a staggering rate, and attacks on Christian churches “have nearly tripled in the last four years”…
Attacks on Christian churches have nearly tripled in the last four years, according to a 84-page report released by Family Research Council (FRC) in December.
Between January 2018 and September 2022, FRC found 420 documented acts of hostility against 397 separate churches in the United States.
Once upon a time we were a Christian nation, but now much of our society is openly hostile to the Christian faith.
At this point, faith has been basically eradicated from our public schools, and as a result we are now raising a generation without any moral foundations whatsoever.
We are rapidly becoming a “Mad Max society” where anything goes.
Crime is out of control all over the country, and open air drug markets operate freely in many of our major cities.
The federal government is still trying to limit the flow of drugs, but at this point the amount coming over our borders is absolutely overwhelming.
This year, the DEA seized enough fentanyl “to kill every single American”…
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration is out with an astounding statistic: federal drug agents have seized enough doses of fentanyl this year to kill every single American.
The United States population right now is about 332 million. In 2022, U.S. fentanyl seizures by federal drug agents have been 379 million doses.
That is more than enough to kill every American, according to Drug Enforcement Administration officials who are pointing to that astonishing stat as they try to put a stop to an overdose problem in this country that the I-Team has been focusing on for years.
Of course the DEA is only able to intercept a very small fraction of the fentanyl that actually comes across our borders.
Right now we are dealing with the worst drug crisis in the entire history of our nation, and it is getting worse with each passing year.
In this article, I have only touched on a few of the long-term trends that are slowly killing America.
Everywhere you look, things are not going well, and one recent survey found that 65 percent of all Americans currently believe that our country is on the wrong track…
By 65%-26%, Americans say the country has gotten off on the wrong track, not headed in the right direction. At the end of last year, those surveyed said by 57%-30% the country was on the wrong track – not exactly a measure of national exuberance but a less dire assessment of the future as a new year approached.
I truly wish that I could tell you that things will get better in 2023.
But that wouldn’t be the truth.
In fact, things will soon get much, much worse.
For individuals, bad decisions lead to bad consequences.
Needless to say, the same thing is true for entire nations.
The United States as a whole has been making tragically bad decisions for decades, and now we have entered a time when we are starting to reap what we have sown.
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Manger, Cross, Grave, Throne - By Grant Phillips - https://www.raptureready.com/2022/12/21/manger-cross-grave-throne-by-grant-phillips/
Christmas is only eight days away as I type these words. Most at this time of year are thinking of Christmas trees, decorations, lights, family gatherings, dinners, cookies … and, oh yes, presents! Many children are getting excited and can hardly wait. Christians enjoy these things too, but we are also enjoying special events at our local churches and thinking how blessed we all are that God sent His Son to us.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
All of us are sinners and need a Savior. Have you ever wondered why Jesus started out on His rescue mission in a manger as a helpless baby? We all inherited a sin nature from our original parents, Adam and Eve, and when that happened, all of us also inherited a debt we cannot pay. That sin debt could only be paid by the blood sacrifice of another like us that is without sin … but there’s a problem. Everyone born from Adam and Eve is corrupted with sin, so no one could ever be qualified.
Only God is without sin, but God, as God, couldn’t be that sacrifice. Remember, the sacrifice must be of like kind, a human being, and they must be totally pure, without sin. This is why God said I will be that sacrifice by taking on human flesh and pay that debt for anyone who will accept it.
“who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:6-11).
So, at this time of the year, we celebrate God temporally laying aside His glory and becoming man, born of a virgin, and they called His name Jesus. Throughout Jesus’ earthly life, He was tempted as we are and experienced the ups and downs of being human. Yet throughout it all, He never once defiled Himself with sin. He remained pure and undefiled all the way to the cross. Even Pilate said, “I find no fault in Him” (John 19:4).
Jesus is God and is called the Son of God, but He also apparently liked to be called the Son of Man. He loved identifying with us. If anyone could have had a snooty nature, it would have to be Jesus, but He wasn’t that way at all. I don’t think we’ll ever understand His pure love until we see Him face to face. No, there was no snobbery in Jesus. Read the Gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) about Him and see for yourself.
Sad to say, I have met some folks who have their nose so uplifted, they would drown if it rained. They even call themselves Christians. A better name would be Pharisees. Whether they are or not a Christian is for God to decide, but concerning Jesus, His arms are always open to accept anyone who will come to Him. I will not rehash the horrible physical suffering Jesus endured for us, but I personally believe that when the Father had to turn away from Him at the cross, He experienced a suffering that you and I cannot comprehend.
The Holy Spirit tells us through the apostle Paul, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Jesus’ love for us took Him to the cross and kept Him on the cross until His work was done. His grace is what saves us, but if it hadn’t been for His love for us, we would not be celebrating His birth in that lowly manger.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
In 1874, Robert Lowry wrote a hymn called “Christ Arose.” Below are the lyrics.
1. Low in the grave He lay,
Jesus, my Savior,
Waiting the coming day,
Jesus, my Lord!
Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes;
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!
2. Vainly they watch His bed,
Jesus, my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead,
Jesus, my Lord!
3. Death cannot keep his Prey,
Jesus, my Savior;
He tore the bars away,
Jesus, my Lord!
We should never speak of the cross and omit the grave that now stands empty. Jesus is not in the grave. Mohammad is. Confucius is. Any man-made god you want to mention is in the grave, but not the Son of God. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is alive and well in Heaven and will be returning.
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).
“Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald” (Revelation 4:2-3).
Also, please read Revelation 1:1-20. Jesus came to a manger for us. He walked to a Roman cross for us. He walked out of the grave for us. He sits now on His throne in Heaven, waiting for the Father to say something like, “Go get your bride.” His last words in the book of Revelation are, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: https://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html
Sing Praises to Our King – Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
When I was young, Christmas was about Christ. I sang in a church choir and we began practicing our Christmas songs long before December. When I was in the eighth grade, my teacher made arrangements for the class to be dismissed from school to walk around the small town in which I lived and sing Christmas songs, including “Silent Night” and other Christian carols. We sang about a little town called Bethlehem, and about shepherds who were the first ones to find Jesus lying in a manger. We sang about angels who proclaimed “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men”. Luke 2:14. Today, public schools seem to be more interested in teaching everything that’s contrary to God, and our children are the ones who are the losers. If Christians continue to keep silent, Satan will win the Spiritual battle that’s being fought all around us. Sadly, our children are the target of many lies.
In today’s world, it’s not politically correct to mention Jesus, let alone publicly sing about Him. When I was a child, I remember thinking about the words to the carols and trying to feel what the people in the songs felt. Away in a manger, no crib for His bed. The little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head….” How did Mary feel when she gave birth to God’s son in a manger? “While shepherds watched their flocks by night, all seated on the ground. The angel of the Lord came down and glory shown around….” How did the shepherds feel when the angels appeared to them. “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.,.” Luke 2:9. I’m sure they were terrified. Anyone would be very afraid to see an angel appear. The angel had a message that the whole world needs to here “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Luke 2:10. Shepherds had a very important job, but weren’t well respected by mankind. Still, it was the shepherds to whom God chose to send angels to announce the birth of the Messiah. I always thought it was odd that the angels didn’t go to the religious leaders to announce the birth of Christ. As I got older, I understood that the Pharisees wouldn’t have accepted their Messiah, but the shepherds weren’t blinded by religious rituals and greed. The Scribes and Pharisees should have been aware that the time was right for the birth of their Messiah. Unfortunately, they weren’t even looking for Him. “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14. I often wonder if they knew about prophecy but couldn’t imagine it being fulfilled in their lifetime, or if they just didn’t care at all. Maybe they read God’s words but twisted them to make prophecy more “reasonable”. After all, how could a virgin give birth? God couldn’t have really meant a virgin; He must have meant a young woman. That’s more reasonable. The fact is, many, many young women gave birth, so how could that be a sign of anything? Mary was a virgin, at least until she gave birth to Jesus. After His birth, she and Joseph had a normal marriage which produced sons and daughters. Twisting Scripture didn’t stop with the Pharisees. Today, many preachers care more about tickling ears than teaching God’s truth. Study Scripture so you won’t be duped.
Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of the Son of God, but as we go shopping for those special gifts for friends and family, the stores play music about a reindeer with a red nose, and a snowman that comes to life, and a mythical being called Santa Claus. Schools promote many lies that undermine God’s truth (evolution, transgender, transspecies etc.) and parents have allowed this stupidity. That’s a very sad comment about parents today. I don’t understand how a Christian who is a school teacher can teach the lies to children. It's the parent’s responsibility to teach truth to their children, but God isn’t honored in most homes. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. Today public schools have “winter break” (when I was in school it was called “Christmas vacation”) so teachers can have two weeks off. It’s important to the secular world that truth is suppressed. Satan is passing his lies off as “politically correct” and Christians feel guilty about being true to God. Christians are willingly being silenced by the darkness of Satan. Instead of wishing people a Merry Christmas, we follow the world in saying “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays”. Why do we do that? So that we don’t offend others? Remember that if we don’t speak up, we make it possible for friends and family to never hear the truth that they are in need of salvation through Jesus Christ. Christmas is a time when we have many opportunities to witness to others about Jesus. We seem to be more concerned about not offending someone with God’s truth than with their salvation. We forget that everyone, even our children, need to know and share the Gospel. We have allowed the secular world to silence us.
There’s no need to be obnoxious in our words and actions, but we need to overcome our fear and allow the Holy Spirit to work through us and speak up for Christ. We have allowed the darkness of the world, led by Satan, to dim the Light of God in us. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16. As you stand in a line to check out at a grocery store, quietly hum “Away in a Manger”, or “Joy to the World”. If you own a business, play Christian Christmas carols in the office. Greet customers with a heartfelt “Merry Christmas”, and a warm smile.
There are many ways to make Christ known to others during the Christmas season. Don’t be afraid proclaim His birth! The Holy Spirit will give you strength and courage to make God’s love known to others. Make it your goal this year to be sure your children understand what Christmas is really about. Sing praises to our King!
God bless you all,
Recommended prophecy sites:
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
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Daily Jot: Ominous Omnibus - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
Congress will be handing Americans a virtual lump of debt-ridden black hole spending coal for Christmas. The Omnibus spending bill consists of 4,155 pages of pork costing taxpayers a whopping $1.7 TRILLION dollars. This bill is so massive that no one has the time to even read it before its passage. Opponents of the bill say it is jam-packed with wokism and Democratic pet pork projects. Many may remember when the public was outraged during the Jimmy Carter years that the Pentagon was paying $60,000 for a hammer and $30,000 for a toilet seat. You ain’t seen nothing yet. Today’s Congress and Administration is spending that and more on programs like promoting transgenderism in other countries. It’s true.
The New York Times, while pointing out what it considers the good pork, wrote: “Opponents of earmarks consider the practice corrupt because it essentially allows lawmakers to use taxpayer money to fund pet projects without public debate or discussion. Others regard it as a necessary tool in a partisan Congress, one that gives lawmakers across the political spectrum the ability to cut deals to fund the government and avoid painful shutdowns that hurt federal workers and the U.S. economy.” To illustrate the example, the Times quoted Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), who “fought” for over $280 million in pork for her state, saying, “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for members to give back to their states.” Give back?
And this is how they do it: The Democrats, because they are the party in control, load up these bills with all their pet projects and agendas so they can go back home and tell all the voters the wonderful money they “fought” to get in the budget. And because the Republicans either don’t have the nerve or the votes to stop it, they say “what the heck?” and they start making deals to get their pet projects funded in the bill. By the time all is said and done, the bill has grown from maybe a 100 pages to over 4,000 and it funds everything from aid to Ukraine to millions for an LGBTQ museum in New York City. And don’t worry about how they are going to pay for this, 87,000 new IRS agents will be hired to collect.
This is pure socialism. It is the ingredients of government as god. The entity that gives and takes and uses its power to force its subjects to comply. It is the very ominous conduct that the founding fathers of this country warned against. As Thomas Jefferson said in his first inaugural address on March 4, 1801, “A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” By these terms, America is practicing bad government. Yet Americans keep electing these deceivers. The first commandment, as found in Exodus 20:3, says “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” That most assuredly includes government.
Daily Devotion: When Nonessentials Displace Essentials - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends. —Luke 2:43–44
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/when-nonessentials-displace-essentials/ - Listen
We know little about the childhood of Jesus. What we do know is that He was raised in Nazareth. We know that Joseph was a carpenter, so he most likely also trained Jesus to be a carpenter.
But Jesus was also schooled in the Scriptures, and He observed the Law. In fact, Luke’s gospel tells us that every year, Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. But one year, when Jesus was twelve, Mary and Joseph somehow lost track of His whereabouts.
If you’ve ever lost sight of a child somewhere, then you know that feeling of terror that grips you when you realize you’ve lost sight of the child. Now, we might think that Jesus would have been quite easy to find because whenever we see Him depicted in religious art, He has a halo.
But Jesus didn’t have a halo. He looked like everyone else. The Bible says of Him, “He has no form or comeliness” (Isaiah 53:2 NKJV). In other words, he was an ordinary-looking kind of guy. He didn’t stand out from the crowd in terms of His physical looks.
After a frantic search, Mary and Joseph finally found Jesus in the Temple, where He was reasoning with the leaders.
Mary and Joseph had traveled an entire day before they missed Him. They had breakfast, lunch, and dinner and never once saw His face through all those. They hadn’t lost their love for Him. Nor had they lost their faith. But they lost Him. Literally.
The same thing can happen to us. We can go through a morning, afternoon, and evening without a single thought about God, without a single moment given to prayer or reading the Bible. It just isn’t part of our day-to-day routine. And very easily, God’s only begotten Son can become God’s only forgotten Son. We lose Jesus when nonessentials displace essentials in our lives.
FROM THE HEART
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Count for ALL of Eternity!
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