The Tragic Results of Divorcing the Rapture from the Gospel – Jonathan Brentner - https://www.jonathanbrentner.com/https/jonathan-brentner-g8fgsquarespacecom/config/2023/2/24/xvhfieqbpgngix783l4obirp1jy9q0
Somewhere in the past, a tragic divorce occurred; theologians decided we must separate the return of Jesus for His church from the proclamation of the Gospel. The results of this untimely divorce have led to a dearth of understanding among believers regarding Jesus’ appearing and the joyful anticipation that comes with such awareness.
Confused believers hear that they will surely die rather than meet Jesus in the air, which directly contradicts the New Testament in passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:51 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17. The Apostle Paul believed there would be many saints alive at the time of the Rapture, but many preachers today disagree with him on this matter.
Many New Testament texts connect Jesus’ imminent appearing for His church with the Gospel hope of believers (Titus 2:11-14; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Cor. 1:7; 1 Thess. 1:8-10; 1 Cor. 15:51-55; Rom. 8:23-25). Jesus' imminent appearing and our receipt of immortal, imperishable bodies were essential elements of the Gospel preached to the early saints. Why has this changed so drastically in our day?
The consequences of such negligence have been tragic. It has resulted in:
1. A NEAR BLACKOUT OF TEACHING ABOUT OUR “BLESSED HOPE”
The divorce of the Rapture from the Gospel has resulted in a near blackout of teaching about our “blessed hope” in churches today. This negatively impacts new believers as well as seasoned saints as it leaves them ill-prepared to live in a fear-ridden society because such teaching provides no prophetic context into which they can place the violence and lawlessness of our day or the push for a New World Order.
The book of 1 Thessalonians reveals that the hope of Jesus’ soon appearing was an essential facet of the Gospel message Paul preached during his short stay in Thessalonica. Notice what the apostle wrote about its reception among the new converts:
For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you 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, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:8-10)
Upon turning to Jesus, the new converts immediately began waiting for His appearing, aka the Rapture. Paul included the return of Jesus for His church in his preaching from the very beginning. Why else would they have responded to his message with an eager expectation of it?
The new converts in Thessalonica were so fixated on their soon departure from the earth that when some in their midst died, they grieved unnecessarily thinking they would miss out on the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:13-19). In response, Paul emphasized the primary place of the “dead in Christ” during the rapture telling his converts that Jesus would resurrect them first at his appearing (4:16).
If the issue had been a failure to believe in a future resurrection, Paul’s response would’ve been similar to what he wrote in 1 Corinthians 15. Instead, he emphasized the role of the “dead in Christ” in the Rapture because that was the cause of their lingering sorrow.
In Romans 8:23, the apostle identifies a key aspect of Jesus’ appearing, “the redemption of our bodies,” and in verse 24 says, “For in this hope we were saved.” Paul regarded the event we call the “Rapture” as a key aspect of his preaching because it signified the “hope” contained in the saving message of the Gospel.
Jesus promises eternal life to all who believe in Him. Our experience of it begins with His return for us, the Rapture, when He gives us immortal bodies (1 Cor. 15:51-55) and takes us to the place He has prepared for us (John 14:2-3).
The Rapture is the joyous future tense of Gospel and a message that people desperately need to hear.
2. A DIVERSION OF THE BELIEVERS’ FOCUS TO EARTHLY ASPIRATIONS
Another sorrowful result of this divorce is this: It takes the eyes of believers away from their ultimate hope at a time when they need such a focus. Instead, their eyes remained focused on earthly aspirations.
Very few pastors talk about what happens at the moment Jesus returns for His church (1 Cor. 15:51-55; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Thess. 4:16-17). Even those that believe these things never ever mention the believers’ hope of immortal bodies for fear that talking about the Rapture might hurt attendance.
If there was ever a time the saints need to hear about their “blessed hope,” it’s now. Multitudes of young people are dying suddenly across the world. Natural and manmade disasters are claiming many lives and raising levels of fear. Threats of nuclear war abound; America and Russia are already at war with each other in the proxy conflict in Ukraine. The globalists warn of new pandemics and future crises, which frighten many because of their track record in correctly predicting such things.
I couldn’t begin to cope with all that comes across my news feeds apart from a prophetic perspective that assures me God is sovereignly in control of all things and that Jesus is coming for me before the Day of the Lord just as He promised in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11. Apart from this joyous expectation, I would have to ignore all the threats prevalent in our world and somehow pretend they don’t exist.
Biblical prophecy puts current events in perspective and offers joyous hope for both those in Christ and outside of saving faith. Sermons that emphasize this life at the expense of the future tense of the Gospel perform a great disservice to the lives of many in the body of Christ.
3. AN OPEN DOOR TO WOKEISM IN THE CHURCH AND THE ERODING OF GOSPEL PURITY
The defense of premillennialism, which includes a belief in the Rapture, a literal seven-year tribulation, and Jesus’ thousand-year reign, is a long-term defense of the purity of the Gospel and a safeguard against Wokeism in the church.
During the fifth century AD, the majority of those in the church switched from premillennialism to the amillennialism advocated by Augustine, which he based on the allegorization of many prophetic texts in God’s Word as well as Platonism. Later, the church applied Augustine’s methodology of interpreting prophetic texts to Scripture passages related to the Gospel and the purity of its message disappeared from the organized church during what we know as the “dark ages.”
The abandonment of justification by faith in the church began centuries earlier with the allegorization of biblical texts related to the millennial promises God made to Israel.
Once a pastor, church, or denomination, relegates a prophetic passage to allegory, others apply this same methodology to other biblical passages and false teaching ensues. It may not happen right away, but eventually Scripture passages related to marriage begin to fall by the wayside as evidenced the Andy Stanley, a longtime advocate of interpreting God’s promises to Israel as symbolism fulfilled now in the church.
Such altering of the intent of prophetic passages in the Bible opens the door to compromise with the “woke” culture. Maybe not for years down the road, but it will happen.
Whether for the sake of those coming to faith in Jesus or for those already in the faith, we must reunite the message of the Gospel with our “blessed hope.” The divorce of the two has done much damage to the purity of the Gospel throughout the history of the church.
My primary purpose for writing The Triumph of the Redeemed was to provide believers with a solid biblical foundation for placing their hope in Jesus’ imminent appearing, which most churches fail to provide to the saints.
4. SILENCE REGARDING OUR JOYOUS “BLESSED HOPE”
The message of the Gospel is this: Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried, rose again on the third day, ascended to heaven, and is coming again to give us imperishable, immortal bodies and take us to the place He has prepared for us.
Jesus’ resurrection means that we, too, will live forever with bodies that will never grow old, get sick, or die. The church is far too silent on this all-important matter.
Titus 2:11-14 places our “blessed hope,” aka the Rapture, as a result of responding to the Gospel message:
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
The aversion to mentioning the “Rapture” has led to silence in many churches regarding the true meaning of our “blessed hope.” It’s not the Second Coming, but rather all the saints of the church age meeting Jesus in the air before the Tribulation period (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17).
If you have not yet put your trust in Jesus, please see my post, Jesus Is the Only Path to Eternal Life. In it, I explain how you can know for sure that Jesus has forgiven all your sins and that you possess eternal life. Christ alone can give you bright hope for tomorrow regardless of the threats that come our way from a fallen world.
In conclusion: The divorce of our “blessed hope” from the Gospel has tragically led to a focus on temporal outcomes within the church today, the loss of an excited anticipation of Jesus’ return for us, and the loss of preserving the purity of the Gospel that sadly impacts future generations who apply the same methodology used to deny premillennialism to other clear passages of God’s Word.
My book, The Triumph of the Redeemed-An eternal Perspective that Calms Our Fears in Perilous Times, is available on Amazon. In it, I provide further reasons for rejecting Replacement Theology and putting our hope in Jesus’ imminent appearing to take us home to glory.
Note: Please consider signing up for my newsletter on the home page of my website at https://www.jonathanbrentner.com/ . Thanks!
The insane new religion that has taken over America - By David Kupelian - https://www.wnd.com/2023/02/insane-new-religion-taken-america/
Although one would never guess it based on the increasingly vicious and open attacks on Christians by this nation’s ruling elites, America was for many generations the most Christian nation on earth – the true secret of its greatness.
In fact, Christianity has unquestionably been the most powerful, consequential, and benevolent force in all of world history. Nothing else even comes close.
Yet today, in the United States of America, a new religion has somehow become the country’s de facto official church.
Mind you, this new faith is not like a religion; it’s not cult-like. It’s a complete and total life religion, influencing every aspect of the true believer’s existence. And right now, it is being forcibly imposed on the entire American populace by virtually every major societal institution, from government, media and big tech; to academia (preschool through grad school); to entertainment and sports; and perhaps most surprisingly of all, by most of this nation’s biggest and wealthiest businesses.
This new state religion overtaking the United States of America – and increasingly, much of the Western (and formerly Christian) world – is Wokeism.
To most outsiders, the expression “being woke,” or “going woke,” conjures up notions of a person or entity claiming to be acutely sensitive (“awake”) to “systemic social and political injustice” in every form. The “injustice” being condemned by Wokeism is not simply alleged widespread bigotry against black people, but also – as noted in Joe Biden’s Jan. 20, 2021 White House Executive Order – “Latino and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.” Of course, the “persons who live in rural areas” bit was thrown in as a cynical pretense of caring about blue-collar, working-class, mostly Trump-supporting Americans, when the elites couldn’t care less about them, as their deplorable non-response to the toxic disaster in rural East Palestine, Ohio, demonstrates.) On the other hand, rest assured that the expansive “LGBTQ+” population includes every child-grooming “trans” school teacher, purple-haired, heavily pierced, “nonbinary” TikTok recruiter and mentally ill cross-dresser seducing your toddler in “drag queen story hour” events.
Bear in mind that all of these people, deemed victims of societal bigotry, are therefore regarded as intrinsically more virtuous and moral than the shameful oppressor class – primarily heterosexual white Christian males.
This new “woke” consciousness is manifesting in dramatic ways – from the nationwide Antifa and Black Lives Matter race riots that decimated countless major U.S. cities during the summer of 2020, to the desecration of long-cherished historic monuments. From insisting on multi-million-dollar reparation payments for every black person in America, to appointing men who claim they’re women as top officials in the Biden administration. From Disney producers gleefully boasting on camera how they’re secretly “injecting queerness” into children’s programming, to the U.S. military imposing mandatory “diversity training” and transgender pronoun use on all personnel, causing recruitment to disastrously plummet. From top college and professional athletic organizations permitting and encouraging biological men to compete in women’s athletics – essentially destroying women’s sports – to incarcerating convicted men who suddenly claim they’re women in women’s prisons, resulting unsurprisingly in a rape epidemic in those correctional facilities.
Most ubiquitously of all, there is the rampant racial discrimination in employment, college admissions and every other area of life, as seen in today’s mass corporate embrace of DEI, or “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” which, stripped of its sanctimony and guilt, amounts to hiring people based on their skin color rather than their qualifications. Not only is such racial discrimination both immoral and flagrantly illegal – remember the 1964 Civil Rights Act? – but it’s also killing people. That’s what happens when, for example, you hire airline pilots and surgeons based on their skin color, rather than their abilities. And it’s happening everywhere.
The power of Wokeism
Unlike in the biblical account, wherein Original Sin consisted of the first man and woman’s disobedience to God in the Garden of Eden, according to Wokeist theology Original Sin consisted of predatory straight white Christians abusing and exploiting “people of color.” Today, this ongoing sinfulness comprises not just actual racism – as manifested in slavery and later segregation, which America long ago repented of and definitively outlawed – but also mysterious and elusive modern-day phenomena like “systemic” or “institutional” racism, as well as “white privilege,” a spiritual condition that renders people who aren’t even the slightest bit racist as still guilty of racism, just for being white.
That is the universal and transcendent power of the religion of Wokeism. And yet, all this is merely the outer face of America’s new state religion.
To understand what’s really at the heart of the new faith rapidly transforming the nation, and to grasp how and why it exerts such a strong hold on so many people – despite being obviously immoral, destructive and deranged – it’s necessary to consider what constitutes true God-ordained religion. Specifically, the Christian faith, since the religion of Wokeism so closely mimics Christianity in many ways. If Wokeism is a counterfeit, let’s take a brief look at the real thing.
First, recognize that pretty much all religions (with the obvious exception of Satanism) hold that human beings come into this world in an incomplete or “fallen” condition, in some way separated from God, and in need of redemption, completion or union with Him, and an embrace of a moral and righteous personal life. And indeed, all people, as they grow up, have to contend with an inherited sinful nature, within both themselves and others, and the consequent strong tendency to transgress God’s moral laws. In fact, unredeemed human beings – if one looks past whatever veneer of competence, happiness, attractiveness or achievement they labor to project outward in life – are usually conflicted, guilt-ridden and insecure deep down.
Why would that be?
According to the biblical narrative, it goes back to that very first (“original”) sin, committed by the first man and woman.
As the Apostle Paul explains with remarkable clarity and simplicity in Romans 5, sin and death came upon the entire human race because of the sin of one man, Adam. However, another man, Jesus Christ, the long-promised Messiah, came to earth on a rescue mission as a “second Adam,” so to speak, to reverse the original curse that followed the Fall of mankind. The Son of God accomplished this by taking upon Himself the burden of the sins of all humanity and, by willingly suffering the horrors of crucifixion and death on a Roman cross, paid to a righteous and just God the legal penalty – in full – for the sins of the entire human race.
Seeing as “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned,” reasons Paul, “… how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” (Romans 5:12, 15)
Paul’s explanation is so elegantly logical that he restates the principle one more time, just to drive the message all the way home: “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.” (Romans 5:18)
This, of course, is the beating heart of the Christian Gospel, that a just yet merciful God has provided a way for wayward mankind to become fully righteous in His eyes – to be redeemed, renewed and restored – to be brought, justified and free, into close and eternal fellowship with God and His family.
Let's pause for a moment just to acknowledge that the Christian Gospel constitutes the most magnificent, cosmic love story of all time. To undo the consequences of The Fall, it took great love. As Christ Himself said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) That’s exactly what Jesus did. As a result, He made a way, through this sacrificial act of great love on His part – and through faith, obedience and sincere commitment on our part – for us to be transformed and renewed, literally reborn spiritually with a new nature and a new and wonderful eternal destiny.
‘Woke’ is the new ‘saved’
However, believe it or not, in the bizarre and deranged world of Wokeism, America’s new official national religion promises much the same thing as Christianity.
Wokeism promises to make sinful human beings (especially heterosexual white men) justified and free, not only from their own sins, but from the curse of the sins of their forefathers, a sinfulness that clings to white Americans like the stain of Adam and Eve’s Original Sin, no matter how many generations pass since the end of slavery and Jim Crow. It’s systemic, you see; we’re born with it.
This leads us to Wokeism’s formula for “salvation” and “forgiveness of sins,” whereby the guilt, the burden, the stain of all of our sins and those of our ancestors are lifted and washed clean, replaced by freedom, innocence and righteousness.
So be of good cheer, there is good news afoot. Christian author John Zmirak, senior editor of The Stream, paints a vivid and relieving picture of just how salvation and progressive sanctification typically occur in the religion of Wokeism. In “‘Woke’ is the New ‘Saved,” Zmirak explains:
“By listening to professors, or following peer pressure, a student discovers that the world is deeply wrong. Permeated by evil. Its evil is inequality. And that evil has an author: straight white males.
“Realizing the depth and extent of this all-pervading evil comes as a kind of conversion. One wakes up. Then one is ‘woke.’ That’s SJW-speak for ‘saved.’” Hence the first moment of faith. ‘I once was lost but now am found. Was blind but now I see.’”
In hopes of “joining the righteous,” reveals Zmirak, students learn to cherish victimhood as the highest virtue in all of life:
“If a student belongs to any other group but straight white males, then she is in luck: She’s certified as a victim,” he writes. “She deserves special treatment from everyone from college deans to government bureaucrats. Even better, she should feel virtuous for wallowing in anger and resentment. No matter if she’s Malia Obama. She can righteously seethe with rage at jobless white coal miners, or homeless white veterans. Her sense of victimhood gives her the ‘blessed assurance’ that she is part of the Elect.
“This creed offers salvation even to the worst of sinners, straight white males. The price is steep: a life of self-denial and penance. But for those who walk this path, rewards await. You can attain justification. Not by your own efforts – but by the righteousness that suffering, innocent victims (non-straights, non-whites, non-males) can impute to you. As an ‘ally’ of the less privileged, you earn the same right to despise the mass of oppressors. And feminists will date you, for whatever that’s worth.”
The more deeply new converts venture into the religion of Wokeism, Zmirak cautions, the more rigorous the disciplines become:
Now white women must admit their role in oppressing women of color. This requires some of the groveling that white males must endure. But it offers the same benefit: a sense of forgiveness, and spiritual progress. Likewise black males must atone to women of color. All straights must bow down to gays. Even gays must make amends for their insensitivity to “trans” people. …
Observing that the Woke “religious movement apes the structure of a Christian conversion, and of subsequent life in the Spirit,” Zmirak translates: “It replaces worship with protest. Spirituality with unhinged histrionics. Examination of conscience with the scapegoating of others conveniently dead or out of power.”
Let’s sum up: Just as the Apostle Paul crystalizes the Christian Gospel when he describes, in Romans 8, how “through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death,” today the apostles of America’s new state religion might say, “The law of wokeness set me free from the law of bigotry and cancellation.”
How extraordinary that the Creator of the Universe demonstrated the greatest love imaginable, sending His own Son to suffer and die to save a broken and sinful human race – or as Paul expressed it, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). And yet, multitudes today are turning away from that shining path to true freedom, only to jump into the astonishingly destructive, unjust and – in some ways, worst of all – unbelievably stupid religion of Wokeism.
Surprise. It’s all an act.
Oh, one more thing: Our dive into the official state religion of Wokeism wouldn’t be complete without pointing out that, though there are multitudes of true believers, and though tens of millions of lives are currently being disrupted, sabotaged and in many cases destroyed by Wokeism, in truth America’s top-tier political leaders – and I’m talking now about those wielding the real power over Americans – don’t believe in any of this. It’s all just a big act for them.
They pretend to care about inner-city black families, equal rights for Pacific Islanders, and “trans” men who brag about having periods and getting pregnant, but they do not care. Not a bit. They just play-act, while exploiting the ever-expanding wokeness craze for their personal benefit, so they can build and consolidate their own power, wealth, privilege and glory.
This is how tyranny takes hold in a once-free country. The Frankfurt School-era communist theorist Antonio Gramsci famously advocated for the incremental Marxist takeover of America via what he called a “long march through the institutions,” as opposed to the traditional method of having a violent revolution as in Russia and elsewhere. Wokeism is just the latest phase in the far-left, progressive, globalist, collectivist, Marxist, communist (please chose your favorite word, it doesn’t matter, since in the end they all converge into totalitarian global government) revolution’s slow-motion “fundamental transformation” of America.
Keep in mind, the revolutionary left always disguises its depredations by blaming the innocent for what they themselves are actually doing – it’s classic projection. It is the leftwing Democratic Party whose history and current agenda are notoriously racist. Meanwhile, most members of the center-right, great American middle class long ago embraced the liberating message of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech and haven’t a racist bone in their body. America is, more than any other nation in the world and in all of history, a diverse, free, uniquely successful “live-and-let-live” multi-ethnic national success story. No wonder would-be totalitarians hate it and seek to destroy it.
So, even though the crazy Marxist college professors and their sadly indoctrinated students might believe in the religion of Wokeism, the powerful politicians, the elite class, the deep-staters, the super-rich CEOs and the globalist schemers do not. They just pretend, and play along, because it confers a veneer of morality and righteousness onto very immoral, unrighteous and utterly self-serving sociopaths. It disguises their real agendas. And it serves to keep “the rabble” off balance, confused, divided, fearful, intimidated, reacting to one another, afraid of being “cancelled” and losing their friends, livelihood, everything – the perfect cover for the left’s “long march.”
Most of all, it is a potent tool for amassing ever more POWER and GLORY to themselves – which, of course, is their real religion.
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Bringing Back Dave Breese – Part I – Terry James - https://terryjamesprophecyline.com/2023/02/27/bringing-back-dave-breese-part-i/
One of my most cherished aspects of the Lord’s bringing me into prophetic ministry is the tremendous teachers, broadcasters, preachers, and Bible scholars I’ve been blessed to know over these many years. None is more beloved, profoundly memorable, or respected in every way than the late Dr. David Breese.
Dave was one of the most brilliant thinkers, writers, and speakers, with that golden voice possessed by only a few of God’s men. He was as intellectually gifted as any—secular or Christian—yet possessed humor and warmth that made him instantly someone you knew was genuine and transparent in relationship.
In thinking on Dave, the thought of Samuel the prophet came to mind. Samuel was brought back from his eternal rest to deliver a message of condemnation to King Saul. In my prompt from, I believe, the Holy Spirit, Dr. Dave Breese needed to be brought back in the spiritual memory sense in order to deliver a message of edification to those of us who long for Jesus to call us in the Rapture.
Dave presented a series of thoughts on the Rapture in a book of mine many years ago, for which he wrote a powerful chapter. The following are those questions and answers presented in that chapter. They are as solid and encouraging as when I first received them from my great friend.
Questions and Answers
There are hundreds of prophetic questions that live in the minds of people. Many of them are asked openly at prophetic conferences, on radio programs, and certainly in private conversations. We do well to deal with some of the frequently asked questions, believing that the answers will be helpful to us all.
What qualifies a person to be caught up in the rapture of the Church? The Word of God teaches that Christ will return again for the delivering of His Church. Everyone who is among those called “brethren” (1 Thess. 5:10) is a member of the body of Christ and will be the object of the deliverance that will come at the Rapture. The single qualification, therefore, is that an individual be a Christian. A Christian is one who has believed the gospel of Jesus Christ and knows God’s Son as his personal Saviour.
What prophetic events must be fulfilled before the Rapture? There are no prophetic events that must precede the Rapture. The predicted events of prophecy have to do with the period of time following the Rapture leading up to the glorious return of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the Rapture could take place at any given moment. It is well for the believer to regularly tell himself, “Perhaps today!”
How shall I prepare for the Rapture? Surely the greatest experience in life will be to be brought into the presence of God as a good soldier, a faithful servant. The essential preparation for the Rapture is that I be a Christian. Then, the fact that I could be taken to heaven at any given moment should motivate me to exemplary Christian service. Earnest prayer, faithful witnessing, godly living – all of these will be a part of the approval that can come in heaven. We all must so live so as to hear Jesus say in that day, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
When the Rapture comes, what will happen to the children of Christians? All children who have not yet reached the age of accountability are counted as “believers” under the doctrine of prevenient grace. We, therefore, conclude that the children of unbelievers will also be included with the children of believers and taken home to be with the Lord. As one person said, “‘All the children of the world will be taken to heaven and all the unborn children of the world as well.”
What impression will the Rapture make on the world? The answer, of course, depends upon the preoccupations and involvements in which the world finds itself at the time of the Rapture. Still, we must conclude that the disappearance of the Christians of the world and the children of the world will leave a stunning impression upon the minds of people. The Antichrist will be hard-put to come up with an explanation. In lieu of this, the dismay at the teaching of Scripture now being so well proved by the Rapture may well cause minions to come to faith in Christ during the Tribulation. They, as Tribulation saints, will face a time of fearful persecution.
Can we take anyone with us at the Rapture? Certainly not by holding on to them, as much as we might desire this. But, we can take all of our loved ones and friends with us to heaven if we will have led them to Christ so that they themselves have become Christians before the time of the taking away of the Church. When the Rapture comes, it will be too late to do any additional things in this world for Christ. The record of each person’s life will stand as indelible forever after that instant of translation.
How can heaven receive and process so many millions of individuals all arriving at the same time? This is no problem to God. The arrival of the Church, the body of Christ, at heaven will be a time of great reunion and rejoicing. A home in heaven will have long since been prepared for every individual by Christ himself (John 14:3). A place at the feast of welcome, of betrothal, called “the marriage supper of the Lamb,” will have been set for each one. No one will arrive at heaven as a stranger; rather, as a brother beloved.
Isn’t it cowardly to wish for the Rapture to deliver us from the problems of life? Anyone who does not particularly wish to be beheaded during the days of the Tribulation can certainly be expected to anticipate with a welcoming sentiment the rapture of the Church and the deliverance from the wrath to come. To want to go into the Tribulation is not courage; it is mere foolish bravado. The doctrine of the Rapture is true, unrelated to human attitudes. Especially remember that we are to love His appearing (2 Tim. 4:8).
Didn’t the doctrine of the Rapture come from a strange source? The doctrine of the Rapture comes from the Word of God. It is the apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who presents this marvelous truth. It is best to avoid silly stories, from whatever source, related by people who would draw our attention away from any doctrine of the Word of God.
What is the difference between the Rapture and the second coming of Christ? The Rapture is a very special mission by the Lord to deliver the Church from the awful scenes of the Tribulation. The Rapture, therefore, comes before the Tribulation and takes Christians out of this world before that seven-year period of the wrath of God. Notice that, in the Rapture, Christ does not come all of the way to this world. Rather, Christians are caught up to meet Him in the air (1 Thess. 4:17).
At the second coming of Christ, His glorious return, He comes with His saints. In fact, He returns with an army from heaven for the conquest of the world (Rev. 19:11-16). Remember, since this is an army of His saints (Jude 14), you and I will be a part of that glorious conquest that centers on the return of Christ in power.
You see from the above that Dave was a powerful messenger for the Lord’s service. His voice lives on in the marvelous teaching and biblical exposition he left with us. I’m looking forward to seeing Dave again in glory.
Next week we continue with God’s answers to prophetic questions through Dave’s recorded words that bless us all still today.
Revelation 8: Silence in Heaven? - By Mark Creech - https://www.christianpost.com/voices/revelation-8-silence-in-heaven.html
Revelation chapters 6-19 describe the Tribulation period during the End Times. After the Church is taken out of the world in what might be called the first phase of Christ’s return, the Rapture, the time of God’s wrath, emerges in three waves of seven: seven seals, seven trumpets and seven bowls.
There are many titles in Scripture for this period, such as the “Day of the Lord” (Obadiah 15; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14; Amos 5:18, 20; Isaiah 2:12; 13:6, 9; Zephaniah 1:7, 14; Ezekiel 13:5; 30:3; Zechariah 14:1), the “Great and Terrible Day of the Lord,” (Malachi 4:5), the “Day of Wrath” (Zephaniah 1:15), the “Day of Jacob’s Trouble,” (Jeremiah 30:7), “The Day” (I Thessalonians 5:4), “Those Days” (Matthew 24:22; Mark 13:20), “The Tribulation,” (Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24), “The Great Tribulation,” (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 2:22; 7:14).
Starting in Revelation 6-7, and the start of chapter 8, the Lamb of God, Christ, opens the seven seals of the scroll given to him, which is the title deed to the earth. These seven seals and their judgments represent the first half of seven years of what the book of Daniel calls the 70th week (Daniel 9:25-27). It is the darkest moment in human history — a time of spiritual apostasy and the rise of a mighty world figure who deceives the masses — a time of war — a time of famine — a time of death — a time of Christian martyrdom — a time of terror when the universe itself is shaken.
In Revelation 8, Christ breaks the seventh seal, and this is what happens:
“When the Lamb broke the seventh seal on the scroll, there was silence throughout heaven for about half an hour. I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and they were given seven trumpets” (Revelation 8: 1-2).
Silence in Heaven for about a half hour? What is this momentary pause that creates a solemn interval where everyone and everything within the heavenly realm is hushed?
Several speculations have been advanced. Some speculate it’s like the calm before the storm. Others contend it’s like that moment of great solemnity when everyone waits silently with bated breath for the Judge to reveal his verdict. Still, others argue it’s a deafening silence generated by the shock of what God is about to do to the prideful rebels who repudiated his grace and mercies. It’s a half-hour of tense expectation, they say.
A Frankfurt prayer from the 16th century says:
“Lord, the Bible says: ‘There is a time for silence and a time for speech.’ Savior, teach me the silence of humility, the silence of wisdom, the silence of love, the silence of perfection, the silence that speaks without words, the silence of faith.
“Lord, teach me to silence my own heart so I may listen to the gentle movement of the Holy Spirit within me and sense the depths of God.”
Surely all these virtues are rolled into that half hour of silence in Heaven. But a better interpretation of the text connects this silence with the following verses:
Then another angel with a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. And a great amount of incense was given to him to mix with the prayers of God’s people as an offering on the gold altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out. Then the angel filled the incense burner with fire from the altar and threw it down upon the earth; and thunder crashed, lightning flashed, and there was a terrible earthquake (Revelation 8:3-5).
In The Revelation of Jesus Christ, John Metcalfe offers the best explanation for the silence. He writes:
“Silence pertains to the ear. It is what is required if something is to be heard by those who listen. They are not making the noise. They are not making a sound. The noise comes from elsewhere. And all Heaven is still during this sufficient interval to catch the sound. What sound?
“Since the following verses show that the prayers of all saints are ascending into the silence of Heaven, for long enough an interval for Heaven to catch all that is breathed; to every sigh; and to listen to each one of the groanings; indeed, to detect even the near silent drop of every tear; the whisper of every lip: then the reason for the silence is confirmed.
“That is why there is silence in Heaven, because by this, in a figure, God is assuring his elect that all Heaven — in a moment, in one brief, but very distinct interval — inclines to hear the very words and sighs breathed from the saints below…
“Revelation 5:8 manifests the things in Heaven and speak of the golden vials full of odors ‘which are the prayers of the saints.’ The opening of the fifth seal revealed the souls of them, which are under the altar, slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held. This was their prayer: ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?’ (Rev. 6:10).
“With this prayer. Revelation 8:3 agrees. If these are the prayers of the suffering saints on earth, and if the prayers of all saints are preceded by the symbol of silence in heaven and followed by the figure of prayer ascending up as incense, the cause of silence in heaven is no longer a matter of conjecture.
“Here is metaphorical language. Truth is conveyed by figures: by pictorial imagery. Silence, therefore, answers to the quiet command in heaven to give ear to the prayers of all saints. It is all saints to whom the God of Heaven is listening. In connection with those prayers, the seal had been broken, and the seven angels with the seven trumpets appear.”
What a word from God! What comfort for all who suffer for their faith in Christ! What hope that their pleas, holy complaints, and anguish are always heard and answered. These prayers are of the utmost importance to God. They take priority. Just as the four angels were instructed to hold back the winds of God’s judgment upon the earth until the Lord’s 144,000 Jewish evangelists were sealed, God’s dreadful judgments in the seven angels who will blow their trumpets are delayed until the prayers of God’s Tribulation saints are gathered in a golden incense burner as a sacrificial offering on the altar. This golden censer filled with the prayers of God’s servants is mixed with incense, poured out on the altar, and ascends to God’s throne. This golden censer is then taken and filled with fire from the altar and thrown down on the earth. Consequently, there comes a loud rumble of thunder and lightning flashes and a terrible earthquake. In so many words, these prayers have set in motion the coming judgments in the second half of the Tribulation.
The late T.F. Torrance, a Scottish theologian and professor of Christian dogmatics at New College in the University of Edinburgh, wrote:
“What are the real master powers behind the world, and what are the deeper secrets of our destiny? Here is the astonishing answer: the prayer of the saints and the fire of God. That means that more potent, more powerful than all the dark and mighty powers let loose in the world, more powerful than anything else, is the power of prayer set ablaze by the fire of God and cast upon the earth.”
No doubt, many of these prayers offered were imprecatory. Imprecatory prayers ask God to bring judgment to those who despise his ways and his people. These are not petitions for personal vengeance.
The Psalmist David prayed imprecatory prayers. He prayed, “O God, declare them guilty. Let them be caught in their own traps. Drive them away because of their many sins, for they have rebelled against you (Psalm 5:10). He also asked God, “Don’t let them get away with their wickedness; in your anger, O God, bring them down” (Psalm 56:7). David even prayed prayers asking God to deal in judgment with those who had treated him unjustly when he had done what was godly.
Some would say these prayers are beneath the Christian today and no longer proper for a New Testament believer. Nevertheless, making ethical distinctions between Old and New Testament believers is flawed.
David Chilton, in his book, Days of Vengeance, admonishes:
“If our churches were more acquainted with the foundational hymnbook of the Church, the Psalms, instead of the sugary, syrupy, sweetness-and-light choruses that characterize modern evangelical hymnals, we would understand this much easier. But we have fallen under a pagan delusion that it is somehow ‘unchristian’ to pray for God’s wrath to be poured out upon the enemies and persecutors of the Church. Yet that is what we see God’s people doing, with God’s approval, in both Testaments of the Holy Scriptures…Much of the impotence of the churches today is directly attributable to the fact that they have become emasculated and effeminate.”
Certainly, we should lovingly and earnestly pray for the repentance of the unsaved and the enemies of God’s people. Nevertheless, it is not improper to also earnestly pray that if particular individuals or groups callously persist in their sinful ways, if they are hell-bent on spreading their evil to the harm of many others, shamelessly rejecting and ridiculing righteousness — it is righteous to call for God’s judgment on them. It is right to call on God to stop them in their tracks. Out of love and passion for God’s holy purposes, it is appropriate to petition heaven to deal with people who are hardened and arrogant against God — people who persist in defying his objectives in the world. Of course, no one should engage in imprecatory praying before also pouring out one’s heart for the salvation of the wayward.
In the end, the prayers of God’s people under severe duress are of the utmost importance to him. All of Heaven bends the ear in silence to hear them. God will respond aggressively to take vengeance on all who despise him and his saints.
Daily Jot: Banning gas stoves and your freedom - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
In September, California’s clean air agency approved a proposal to ban new natural gas-fueled furnaces and water heaters in homes by 2030. Now, the Biden Administration is getting into the act. On February 1, the Department of Energy, under the auspices of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, sought comments on a proposal to ban “gas cooking tops” that have a constant burning pilot light and require that gas stoves and require stoves that have an “active mode, standby mode, and off mode energy use.” This is on the heals of The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) opening up a comment period to set new emission standards which would lead to banning natural gas stoves.
The Department of Energy (DOE) says it will cost the gas stove industry only $183.4 million for the conversion to non-pilot stoves. DOE says “the proposed energy conservation standards for consumer conventional cooking products would save a significant amount of energy.” Overall, DOE estimates that over 30 years, the energy saved would be about 3.4 percent. That doesn’t seem really significant. Some of the math in the DOE proposal seems suspect, such as a $1.71 billion savings to a value of operating cost savings verse increased product and installation costs for consumers over a 30 year period. DOE, however, says the climate, health, and social costs benefits are estimated at $2.8 billion, but admits there is no single central point estimate or ability to “monetize” estimates for such effects. In other words, DOE is guessing.
The standards DOE is proposing would eliminate about half of the gas stoves in America. DOE “estimates that nearly half of the total gas cooking top market currently achieves EL 2 and therefore would not be impacted by the proposed standard, if finalized. “According to the DOE’s math, eliminating half of the gas stoves in America for a 3.4 percent energy savings over 30 years is worth making citizens buy new stoves—costing at the current rate about $1,000 each. But not to worry. Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act includes $4.5 billion of your taxpayer money in rebates of up to $840 for an electric stove or other electric appliances, and up to $500 to help cover the costs of converting to electric from gas. That’s how serious this Administration is about banning gas stoves.
This is an example of how non-elected bureaucratic agencies limit, frustrate, and molest your freedoms. They do it every day in most every agency. It wasn’t long ago that the government was saying that natural gas/propane was the environmentally acceptable alternative to oil. Now it’s all about electric and green energy—or more honestly wealth redistribution at the expense of freedom. Gas stoves, a small thing with big implications. This ban is sort of like the mustard seed in Christ’s parable in Matthew 13:32, “which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” Instead of faith, however, this seed is one of tyranny the birds nesting in it are vultures of liberty.
Daily Devotion: Go Back to the Beginning - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. —Revelation 3:3
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/go-back-to-the-beginning/ - Listen
Was there a time in your life when you were stronger spiritually than you are now? If there was, then you can return to that place again.
Think for a moment about what you did when you were a younger Christian. You probably read your Bible every day and had a prayer life. It’s likely that you were a regular at church and that you shared your faith. Do you still do those things?
Sometimes we have a breakdown in the basics of the Christian life, and we wonder what’s going wrong. It isn’t a mystery. We need to get back to doing those things again.
In the Book of Revelation, we find Jesus’ words to the church in Sardis: “I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again” (3:1–3 NLT).
This is a picture of a church that needed to come back to life—to awaken and get back to its roots. And this is what we all want to do. But it starts individually.
If you want to see a revival, then you need to do revival-like things. It doesn’t matter whether you feel it; just do it. Emotions will catch up. Don’t wait for a big encounter with God or some emotional experience. That may happen, or it may not. To have a personal revival, you need to go back to the basics in your walk with Christ.
We can talk all day long about a spiritual awakening in America. We can talk all day long about revival. But it starts with each one of us.
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