Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Jesus Came to Seek and to Save - BY Pastor Mike Taylor -
44 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it." (Matthew 13:44-46.)
Many within God's church read the parables spoken by Jesus in this chapter, which are parables pertaining to the Kingdom of God. In this chapter of Matthew, Jesus gives several examples pertaining to this coming Kingdom. The two parables speak about a man who finds treasure in a field hidden or a pearl of great price:
The traditional view of most believing Christians is that Jesus is speaking of the newly converted Christian, that when he believes in Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, that he gives up all that he has to obtain salvation from the Lord Jesus....Understandably, we who are chosen by God, give up much of the life we were living to become new creatures in Christ Jesus and are commanded to turn away from the evil of this world and follow Jesus Christ, taking up our cross daily and following Him. But is that what Jesus was talking about when He was talking about the treasure in the field, or the pearl of great price? Let's see.
8 " For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians2:8-9)
We know that it is not anything that we have done, or could have done that deserves forgiveness of sin. No amount of tithing, church attendance, charity to the poor, or any other good works we can think of can rid us of the stain of human sin. Only Jesus can do that.
3:4 " But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit;3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:4-7)
Jesus taught in parables and to a lot of folks they are hard to understand. Parables are an analogy. They are in story form, and they illustrate a truth drawn from the natural, material world to testify of a spiritual and eternal truth. It can teach eternal truth only because a unity exists between the material and spiritual. If the material had no similarities with the spiritual, it could not convey truth about the spiritual realities. Remember, "parable" suggests a side-by-side comparison. An earthly truth is the similitude of a heavenly one. Biblical parables thus show that the external, visible material world is a mirror through which we may understand the eternal, invisible spiritual realm.
Many times, the disciples came to Jesus to ask for the interpretation of the meaning of the parables He had just spoken to the people:
"And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand."(Matthew 13:10-13)
But do we, as Christians understand what Jesus was talking about? Only the Holy Spirit can reveal truths to you, not the traditions of men, as traditions can, even in good intentions, lead a person to believe in something that is not true. Like good works can save the sinner...not so, my reader. Remember what Jesus told the Pharisees.
9 "And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.
12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye." (Mark 7:9-13)
We as Christians must look to the deeper meaning of Jesus was talking about in the parables He spoke of....This is an example of the traditions of men concerning the hidden treasure in the field and the Pearl of Great Price and not discerning what the Lord was driving at.
6 "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities."(Isaiah 64:6-7)
The idea of our righteousness being as a filthy rag is interpreted to mean a woman's discard menstrual cloth, a very unclean item in God's eyes and hardly what can be used to buy something so precious.
10 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17 And the way of peace have they not known:
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes."(Romans 3:10-18)
Paul speaks that we are at enmity with God.
" Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."(Romans 8:7-8)
We do not search for God, He searches for us....not the other way around.
So how can we buy this hidden treasure in a field, or this "Pearl of Great Price" if we have nothing to purchase it with? Did you purchase your salvation through your many good deeds and charitable giving? Of course, we did not!! We have nothing to offer our God that would allow Him to pardon us for sins committed against His Holy name.
Then who does the merchant represent? Obviously, it can't be us, as we naturally do not seek God or His kingdom, so how can we purchase something so valuable?
Jesus said in Luke "Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."(Luke 19:9-10)
And again in:
"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. " (John 6:44-45)
Have you figured it out yet? Who is this merchant who gave up everything to buy this "hidden field" or the "pearl of great price'?
This merchant is seriously and deliberately searching this world to secure the best and costliest gems and treasures. It is his livelihood, and he is diligent to travel extensively because he knows his efforts will be rewarded when he finds the best and purchases them. Since Christ is the One who seeks the sinner, noted in Luke 19, and John 6 above, the merchant cannot represent the sinner giving up all he has to follow Jesus Christ. The Shepherd seeks the sheep, not vice versa.
4 "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."(Isaiah 53:4-6)
JESUS IS THE MERCHANT WHO SEEKS US
The use of the word "seeking" we quoted in Matthew 13, v. 45, helps identify the merchant as Christ, as it means "to depart from one place and arrive at another." Jesus did this Himself to pay the hidden field cost and the price for the pearl. He departed from heaven and arrived on earth to complete His mission
"Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross". (Philippians 2:6-8)
And again in 2nd Corinthians, Paul speaks what Jesus did for us:
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich". (2nd Corinthians 8:9)
Jesus our Lord, gave up everything-He sold all-to possess us! He emptied Himself of the glory of heaven, His position beside God the Father, and took on the form of a servant, a man like you and I. He was born to die.................for you and for me!
"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)
Can you understand the depths of God the Father's love that He would give up the most important thing in all of eternity, His only Son for something so unworthy, so unrighteous, an unclean thing in His sight? How can this be?
6 " For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."(Romans 5:6-8)
It comes down to one complete description of God's Love.......AMAZING GRACE!
When John Newton wrote that beloved hymn, he summed it up when God called each of us because of His mercy and grace..
"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but NOW I'm found, was blind, but now I see."
My reader, Jesus paid it all....gave up all...came from glory in heaven to pay the price for your redemption. Jesus came to pay the ultimate price for our salvation by giving His life on the cross and His ultimate resurrection to life three days later and sits at God's right Hand making intercession for each of us that call upon His Name...He loves each of us that much.
6 "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."(Romans 5:6-10)
You and I and all who believe are the treasure in a hidden field and the Pearl of Great Price. He lived, He died and rose again, that you might have eternal life. Not for anything you did, but for His unfathomable love and AMAZING GRACE. Won't you accept His free gift...? It's already bought and paid for. All you have to do is say "Yes, Lord, I believe". Then internalize this great gift from God, by becoming a new creature. Not anything we can do, but what He can do in us. Although we are a lost and dying creation, God loved us, even when we were His enemies.
Jesus has for nigh 2000 years through God's Holy Spirit has been searching for those lost sheep and that sheep could be you, as it was I in times past:
4 "What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance."(Luke 15:4-7)
Jesus seeks that one lost sheep although He has many brethren. His mercy is boundless. You see, we didn't deserve so great a mercy, that God would give up everything He possessed (even His life), to redeem each of us that were so unworthy.
4" What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!" (Psalms 8:4-9)
He came to save all who would follow Him by faith, love, and obedience to become His treasure and His Pearl of Great Price. It was solely for our redemption and according to His unfathomable, matchless love. That love is for you, and for me.
8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."(Romans 10:8-13)
"For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2nd Corinthians 6:2)
My reader, Jesus is seeking the lost sheep of this world and He came for that one purpose, to save the lost soul from their sins and eternal death and separation from Almighty God. Won't you heed His voice and accept what has already been sought after and paid for with His very life? If you have not done so, may the Holy Spirit call you now.
This is pastor Mike Taylor praying for each of you that will hear the voice of God and make that decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. If there is anything that I can help you with, pray with you, or just to listen, drop me a line to email@example.com . Or visit me online for more biblical messages from the Word of Go at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , . God bless you all, Till we meet at Jesus feet.
Living The Impossible - By Hal Lindsey -
Someone recently reminded me of something I said in a sermon many years ago. "The Christian life is not a difficult life to live. The Christian life is an impossible life to live."
At first, those words are disturbing. We're like the disciples. After the rich, young ruler turned away from Christ, the Lord said something that disturbed and astonished them. "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:23-24 NASB)
Through the centuries people have tried to explain this verse away. A popular theory says that the "eye of the needle" was a place in the wall of Jerusalem that a camel could enter only by kneeling. That explanation didn't start until the fifteenth century, and there is no evidence for such a hole in the wall.
Jesus meant what he said. He was talking about a real camel going through the tiny eye of a real needle. What a stunning thing to say! The Bible says, "And when the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, 'Then who can be saved?'" (Matthew 19:25)
This saying of Jesus astonishes people still. Some use it to condemn the rich. But that's a problem. If you're reading this on your phone or your computer, you're probably rich by the standards of this world. Do you have a car? Most of the world doesn't. Do you live in an air-conditioned home? Most of earth's population doesn't.
Do you need to get rid of all comforts and give away your money in order to go to heaven? Is that what Jesus is teaching? No. That misses His point entirely. He's not saying that to get to heaven you need to be poor. He's saying that to get to heaven, you need a miracle!
When the disciples asked, "Who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)
Human beings cannot save themselves! You can psych yourself up and determine to give it the old college try. But you will fail. You can weep and say you're sorry, but you will fail again. With men it is impossible. BUT WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!
You can't do it yourself. You need a miracle. Romans 3:23 doesn't just say, "For all have sinned." It goes on to say, "...and fall short of the glory of God."
God's standard of righteousness is Himself. Do you fall short of His glory? We all do. Who is as righteous as God? Only God. And Jesus is God the Son. In His life here, He lived out the perfect righteousness of God. Then, He took our sins on Himself, died for those sins, then rose again to defeat death. But He didn't just remove our sins and take them on Himself. That's only half the picture. He also gave us His righteousness. The righteousness of God is available right now to whoever will accept it.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
And that's why we call the Gospel, "Good News!"
Have a wonderful holy week and a glorious Resurrection Sunday!
Resurrection, Rapture, Reassurance - By Terry James -
To preface this article is all-important. This is because I'm fully aware that many who read it will be skeptical of the validity of things herein represented.
I, myself, have been among the most skeptical when entertaining such reports as I am revisiting in thinking on the eighth anniversary of this profoundly strange event - an event that is constantly in the forefront of my mind.
The matter I am about to address is intensely personal, and I have striven over many years to keep the personal pronoun - "I" - out of my commentaries as much as possible. It is an especially difficult struggle to keep from insinuating one's-self as a commercially published writer, because the writing process itself is such an intensively personal endeavor. But, in the case of the eighth anniversary of my visit to somewhere on the periphery of Heaven, it isn't possible to avoid use of the "I" word.
So, off-putting as it might be, let me proceed with the most prayerful hope that the reader will consider things expressed here in the first person as not self-aggrandizing, rather as intended to give Glory and Honor to the only Person deserving of such adulation - that is, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dreams, visions and delusions
While not a secessionist in the purest sense, I have always viewed dreams and visions that are extra-Biblical (not in Scripture itself) with a very critical eye. That is, I have been most often prone to think of those reports as ingesting too much pizza before dropping off to sleep, overactive imagination, or deliberately manufactured stories to get attention for one reason or another. In the case of near-death experiences, I have most often thought of these as brain glitches caused by the dying process, not as true spiritual encounters.
So, it is with realization as I address this personal anniversary that you, the reader, might think of this in a way mentioned just above. Having been Prompted, I believe, by the Holy Spirit to write this, however, I do so without hesitation or apprehension that my motive will be construed as in any way impure.
Resurrection Day drama!
The approach of Easter this year is at the heart of the Prompt for revisiting my Heavenly visitation's eighth anniversary. In addition to Easter as central to my writing are the consistent emails and other messages we receive that rail against the PreTribulation Rapture view we hold.
Recently, those rants have been mostly of the pre-wrath view. This is the belief that the Rapture will occur basically at the halfway mark of Daniel's seventieth week. That is, God's wrath will begin three and one-half years into that seven-year period that we term Tribulation. We, of course, believe and teach that the Rapture of the Church (all born-again believers of the Church Age) will take place before the seven-year Tribulation period begins. This is because God's Wrath and Judgment begins when the Antichrist (prince that shall come) confirms the covenant of Daniel 9:26-27. This action sets in motion the entirety of Daniel's seventieth week which then runs to the end of the seven-year Tribulation era that concludes at Armageddon.
God's Word promises that He will keep Church-Age believers out of the time of His Wrath (Revelation 3:10).
Easter (Resurrection Day) 2019 falls one day short of 8 full years since Easter 2011. This was the time that I believe God Intervened in my life in a way so profoundly that I suspect even some of my closest colleagues and friends will have difficulty embracing the things I'm here writing regarding what I believe God Performed that Good Friday, leading up to Easter 2011. While I sense this will be the case, I nonetheless must relay the Message I believe is what the Lord wants told.
One of the key criticisms I have heard most frequently from those who attempt to debunk the preTrib view of eschatology is that we who know the preTrib to be the Biblical view are too clinical. That is, we interpret scripture too literally in believing that the Rapture will occur before the opening of the first seal of Revelation chapter 6. We are also accused of twisting that scripture to fit our preTrib needs.
Some of these pre-Wrath proponents in particular tell that they have had dreams and visions that the pre-Wrath view is correct - while we of the preTrib view believe all such extra-Scriptural enlightenment has ceased. Thus, they have been supernaturally given the Heavenly heads-up that their view is the right view. They accuse those who teach the preTrib view of being false teachers, who are causing Christians whom they say will go through the first half of the seventieth week of Daniel to be misled into possibly accepting the 666 mark of Revelation 13:16-18. These Christians, therefore, will lose their chance for ever going to Heaven according to Revelation chapter 14.
I.e., the pre-Wrath position, by its very nature, denies the Eternal Security of the believer in Jesus Christ. Christians, they say, must face either accepting or rejecting Antichrist's marks and numbering system. They must reject it during Daniel's seventieth week - prior to the time of God's Wrath at the midway point of that 7-year period.
We of the preTrib Bible Truth believe that the Christian of the Church Age (Age of Grace) will be kept out of that 7-year period (Revelation 3:10.)
Again, the pre-Wrath teachers as of late have made the comment that their group's personal experience in having dreams and visions advocating for the pre-Wrath position and condemning the preTrib view confirm for them that theirs is Truth and ours is falsehood. Their views, using their carefully chosen scriptures, confirmed by their dreams and visions, should supersede any scriptural gymnastics we of the preTrib ilk might employ to confute their position.
It is with this as preface that I will forego the use of scriptural proof of the preTrib view to some extent. I, personally, and those who know the preTrib view to be the Truth Given in God's Word, have gone over these scriptural proofs many hundreds of times. All one must do is go to our website, raptureready.com, to find precisely - through careful, scriptural presentation - why we know the preTrib view to be the Biblical View of eschatology.
Instead, I want in this article to meet the pre-Wrath and other anti-preTrib view antagonists on their own dreams and visions level.
Let me make it clear that the following exposition in no way supersedes scriptural proof. My words are simply to explain that I am absolutely certain the preTrib view of the Rapture of the Church was, for me, Validated on Good Friday in 2011.
Like indicated earlier, I am aware that even colleagues will likely glance with a wary eye at this experience. I can say this because some who are close friends have chosen to make no reference to what I've written about my trip to somewhere on the periphery of Heaven on that strange day. These ministry friends are understandably reluctant to acknowledge in any way my telling of what happened, despite that they, I believe, trust me implicitly as one who has a solid understanding of Biblical issues we mutually teach and preach.
I am not miffed or disturbed by their remaining silence in their ministry commentary in this regard. I would have, before having actually experienced what I experienced, likely have remained silent, too, upon hearing such a thing from one of them.
All of this does not negate the fact that what happened to me, in fact happened. I awake most every morning with the experience as fresh in my thoughts as the time right after it happened those 8 years ago.
While I can't present visible, tangible evidence that my Heavenly experience actually happened, the medical evidence that something strange happened is plentiful. I will explain in the following account - as I have written about in depth in my book HeavenVision: Glimpses Into Glory and in numerous commentaries over the intervening years.
I want to make clear to the utmost degree that my visit to the Heavenly Realm on that Good Friday is not explained here in order to prove that the preTrib View of the Rapture is absolute Truth from God's Word. What I present in this article is intended only to say that the visit to that place on Good Friday 2019 validates in the deepest reaches of my own spirit what scripture has to say about the preTrib Rapture. It is Scripture from the Bible that contains absolute Truth, and I am Assured by that scripture that the preTrib view of the Rapture is God's View. The Lord Validated that Truth when I visited that Heavenly Realm on 3 separate occasions - each time my heart stopped and the heart monitor showed the flatline.
As a caveat, I note here that I realize many who read this believe that the crucifixion did not take place on a Friday. Nonetheless, this happened to me on what is traditionally called Good Friday.
I have absolutely no doubt that the Lord was, on those 3 glimpses into Glory on that Good Friday of 2011, Validating that the preTrib view of eschatology we teach and preach is Truth Presented in His Holy Word.
The moment my heart stopped that Good Friday, I was in a Spiritual Dimension. The Apostle's words are absolutely true in every sense.
"Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him" (2 Corinthians 5:5-10).
The very instant my heart stopped - and I know, upon reflection, exactly when that happened - I was in front of a cheering group of young, beautiful, Heavenly beings. Vibrant young men and women, looking to be in the prime of life, bid me to join them. Their jubilance was infectious. I never wanted more to be a part of something than at that moment.
But as I began to move toward them, things faded to black, and I was again on the heart cath lab table. Someone said, "I had to hit him with the paddles."
My heart stopped 2 more times during a 45-minute period, I was told, and each time I was again in front of that same, wonderful group of cheering young people.
The third time I was among them, we were running. They were looking over at me and laughing with great joy. They had their hands raised at full-arm's length in a signal of victory. It was like running a victory lap, I thought at that moment.
The Holy Spirit has shown me that it was Hebrews 12:1-3. We were running toward the Throne. Great Rewards Awaited.
Because I have written in depth before a number of times about this Good Friday Heavenly experience, I will repeat here some of the previous report I believe the Lord Gave me to present. Much of it is excerpted from portions of my book HeavenVision: Glimpses Into Glory.
There are no coincidences in God's Dealings with His children. And, the only children He has, in terms of human family, are those who are born again, as Jesus explained. Jesus said: "Ye must be born again." (Read John 3:1-21 for the full explanation of what it means to be born into God's Family.)
As mentioned previously in this book, God's Word says further in regard to God's dealing with His Family:
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God" (1 Cor 2:9-10).
So it was that God, my Heavenly Father, has Dealt with me through the clinical death I experienced Good Friday, April 22, 2011. I went through that ordeal, and I am here, now, writing about it for Purposes He has Determined. It is not a coincidence that brings me to this point of writing what I am about to write and your being here at this point, reading what I have written. God has shown me, without the slightest doubt in my spirit and mind about these matters, exactly what the near-death experiences when my heart stopped three times mean. Therefore, without any reservation whatsoever, I am putting down for the record the message I know my Father in Heaven wants me to deliver at this time - in this book.
I write these things with a profound sense of humility, however. I am nobody special, other than a child of God through the shed blood of my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
On second thought, I guess that does make me someone special -in God's Holy Eyes. But only because of what Christ did for me on that old rugged cross. Like the apostle Paul framed his own relationship with God, the same applies to my case. Terry James would be the chief among sinners if not for the Righteousness God the Father Sees when looking at His Son, Jesus the Christ, in evaluating my life now that I am His child.
Believe it or not
There is a scripture that many who major in teaching and preaching miracles and wonders today use to launch into stories of great ecstatic pronouncements:
"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions" (Joel 2:28).
The time spoken of by Joel the prophet, as recorded in this passage, has not yet been reached. The word for when this era will be reached is in the Hebrew achar, afterward in English. This prophecy of miraculous visitations, when old men will dream dreams and young men and women will see visions, is scheduled for after Israel, God's chosen nation, will as a people recognize that God is their strength and their Provider. The people of Israel today do not look to the God of Heaven. They haven't received Reconciliation through Repentance as yet. This prophecy is for when King Jesus Rules and Reigns upon the throne of David atop Mount Zion during the Millennium. (The Millennium - 1,000-year Reign of Christ - is in view in Rev 20:1-5.)
The world certainly hasn't reached the time of the Millennium. Jesus is still at the Father's Right Hand upon the Throne. So, I did not have a dream or vision because we have not reached that spectacular future time prophesied for the Millennial Reign of Christ. However, the Lord can and does reach into any and all time-frames (dispensations) He desires to reach into; and God, the Holy Spirit, it is Affirmed in my spirit, did so on April 22, 2011.
I could, in order to sound self-deprecating, tell you that the Lord just on the spot decided to use my widow-maker heart attack - when it happened in the course of unfolding time in my life - to say, through the experience I had, what He wants to say. But, I can't tell you that was what really happened. It was much more specific and pre-ordained than that description.
God reached down and took my spirit into...where...I'm not certain...but for sure from this earthly dimension, and stood me in front of those young, beautiful, wildly cheering, jubilant young beings. It was no coincidence of timing. It was done for an absolute Divine Purpose. God chose the likes of me -a blind, aging sinner Saved by His Grace- to go through this extremely brief, but spectacular visit to the fringes of Heaven.
Some of what this all means came to me almost immediately upon being hooked to wires leading to monitors and tubes of intravenous apparatuses while in the cardiac intensive care unit. Other aspects of what the heart stopping those 3 times and being instantly in the presence of those Heavenly beings is all about were, in some cases, revealed much later while thinking in directions totally unrelated to the experience. It has been confirmed in my spiritual heart that it was the Voice of the Holy Spirit I heard, almost audibly, on each and every occasion.
Believe me, I am among the most reluctant of people to embrace in any sense metaphysical, experiential expressions of the Christian Faith. By that, I mean stories of supernatural intervention by God into the lives of believers today through such things as dreams, visions and miraculous healings - like missing limbs being replaced, or...well... people brought back to life after being dead and embalmed.
Do I believe God performs miracles today? Absolutely. He performs them every hour of every day. But, they are very rare in the truly spectacular sense of performing miracles. For example, I have never read or heard of a single case in modern history - a documented case - where someone whose arm was totally withered -atrophied to the point that it was a useless blob of flesh - was restored to full size and usage like the person's other arm, simply by a faith healer or other person touching it and praying over it. I've never seen documentation verifying that one born without a leg, foot or eyes suddenly have those miraculously added to his body through a faith-healer's touch.
I've heard a lot of stories about this happening, told by those who teach and preach miracles as the centerpiece theology of their belief systems. But, not one case has been recorded by medical documentation or through scientific empiricism. I'm a Believer, and Trust my Lord implicitly. But, I'm also a rational being who finds it prudent to, when it comes to dealing with human beings, do what President Ronald Reagan said about dealing with the Soviets: "Trust, but verify."
So, with spectacular Miracles from on High being rare to the point of being almost undocumentable in these days, why should you - or anyone - believe me and my recounting the wonderous visit to that Heavenly Dimension on Good Friday of 2011? All I can say is that I know it happened, because I was there among that Throng of Heavenly beings each time I heard the computer-like blip and my heart stopped. The Lord has told me in the deepest reaches of my spirit to report to you that visit. He has also given me what it means - and in remarkable detail, considering the brevity of the trip to and from that Realm.
Believe it or not. Do with it what you will. The following is my faithful execution of the commission I've been given - that of reporting what my HeavenVision means to this generation.
HeavenVision - the interpretation
Near the end of the year 2010, two projects came into my thought processes. The first was for our raptureready.com website - a series of articles I soon gave the title "Scanning a fearful future." The second project that came into my mind was, as stated earlier in this book, a book on Heaven my mother and her sister wanted me to write.
I began writing the series for our Nearing Midnight column - 10 articles in all - the last one which I completed and we posted January 24, 2011. Sometime in Late December of 2010 or early January 2011, I decided to soon start the book project. My subsequent notes indicate I actually named the book HeavenVision: Glimpses of Glory. The date in my notes for beginning the book project was February 4, 2011.
I also made the note to consider building the HeavenVision book around near-death or clinical- death experiences of individuals -if we could find some that rang true, according to what the Bible has to say about life, death, and Heaven.
One of the primary reasons I wanted to write the "Scanning a fearful future" series was to try to help provide answers from the prophetic Word because so many who visit our raptureready.com website were concerned about where the national and worldwide economic upheaval was leading.
Also, we were getting an increasing number of emails accusing us of being heretics who were leading people to hell with our preTrib teaching. Christians should be prepared to face the coming Tribulation and Antichrist, we were told in the scathing diatribes. By not preparing Christians to face the beast of Revelation 13, they would not know to reject Antichrist's mark and number. We were leading people to Hell with our false teaching of the preTrib Rapture.
As a matter of fact, we were already in the Tribulation, many of the quite excoriating emails were telling us.
Along with the two projects going through my mind were the thoughts, which became persistently prayed requests: Lord, I know what your Word says. The PreTribulation view of the Rapture is the correct one, I believe. But, nonetheless, please give me absolute confirmation of this Truth. We don't want to lead people astray.
The second thought was: I have written the "Scanning a fearful future" series. I would also like to have affirmation in my spirit that what I believe You gave me to write, I have faithfully written.
These were matters I took before the Throne constantly. One other was in my thoughts, if not my prayers. I've mentioned it before in this book. It went something like: "Wouldn't it be interesting to have a near-death or clinical-death experience, myself? Just die briefly, then be brought back to tell the story of a spectacular experience the Lord allowed. That would really give the book credibility!
The Lord has a Sense of Humor - I now have no doubt. The old adage "Be careful about what you wish for..." definitely applies.
The fact that I clinically died, not once, but three times - on Good Friday, no less, was in that other place with the cheering young people, then was Resurrected in a manner of speaking, was the Lord making a Statement, I've been shown.
The first thought to penetrate my realization while lying in the hospital bed was that the throng of beautiful, joyful, cheering young people that greeted me each time my heart stopped was -and is - the cloud of witnesses of Hebrews 12:1-3.
The second thing that pierced my spiritual understanding, several days later, was that the cheering that greeted me in that Heavenly setting was Approval of my writing and teaching Bible prophecy in these end of days. But, it was burned deeply into my understanding that all of this cheering was Affirmation from the Heavenly Father, not just for me, but for all of His children who believe and disseminate Bible prophecy in these last of the last days before His Son's calling His Church to Himself (Rev. 4:1; as He Promised as recorded in John 14:1-3).
My commission, it was seared into my realization, is to pass along that God, through the cloud of witnesses I saw, was Giving His Nod of Approval to His people for getting out His prophetic Truth whenever and in whatever way opportunity is presented to us.
Later, over the weeks and months of recuperation, I've been given deeper understanding of those Good Friday Glimpses of Glory.
My series of articles, "Scanning a fearful future," - concluded with the January 24, 2011 article - is key to the HeavenVision, the Lord continues to Impress upon my spiritual understanding. The articles were begun to, I prayerfully hoped, help allay the fears that were coming to my email inbox fast and furiously around the time when America's and the world's economic collapse looked to be imminent.
The question that was in every email on the topic of the "coming economic collapse" was based upon a well-known TV pundit's declaration that Americans could awaken on any morning and find that the world had changed completely. The U.S. dollar would be no longer of any value. Worldwide depression would quickly bring changes that would in its course bring Martial Law and imprisonment for all who didn't toe the mark of what Big Brother demanded.
I was prompted, I'm convinced, by the Holy Spirit, to write the series, examining carefully what the Bible prophecies for the end of the age have to say.
Most all emails at the time expressed fear that Christians in America would be put in FEMA interment camps-which were said to be proliferating around the country, according to many blogs and conspiracy-laden websites.
Would Christians in America face martyrdom - maybe even have to face the Antichrist regime? Maybe the preTrib Rapture view wasn't prophetic Truth after all. Maybe we were already in the Tribulation!
The series covered 10 weeks, so there isn't room in this section of the book to put all that was presented over the course of those articles. However, the bottom line in answer to the fear-filled emails was and is the following - the conclusion to which the series came.
Jesus Provides Answer
The series of articles, "Scanning a fearful future," in examining Truth about where the apparent building economic cataclysm will lead, and what will cause the world-shattering bubble to burst, brought me, in the final analysis, to the Words of the greatest of all prophets - the Lord Jesus Christ:
"And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed" (Luke 17:26-30).
Another Gospel account expounds further upon Jesus' Prophecy about conditions that will be prevalent at the moment He next Intervenes into human history:
"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Matthew 24:36-42).
The conclusion reached in the "Scanning a fearful future" series - based upon the above prophecy by Jesus - was that there will be no catastrophic man-made or natural event that will throw the nation and world suddenly into the time of apocalyptic chaos. It will be Christ's sudden Call to His Church-His Bride-that will bring on God's Judgment.
It will be business as usual according to Jesus' Words in this prophecy, with people buying, selling, building, marrying, etc., right up until the moment when born-again believers instantaneously go to be with their Lord, when He calls them in the Rapture.
Jesus could not have been prophesying about the time of His Second Advent (Rev 19:11). At the time He returns, as Armageddon is raging in the valley of Megiddo, it will not be business as usual, as is indicated by Jesus' Foretelling in Luke 17:26-30 and Matt 24:36-42. At the time of Armageddon, as many as two-thirds of humanity will have been killed by the events of the Tribulation era (the last 7 years of human history before Christ's Second Coming).
I have had confirmed in my spirit through the cheering of the cloud of witnesses that what I wrote in "Scanning a fearful future" is the way things will unfold. The Lord of Heaven, Himself, is preventing the total collapse of the world economic system, as He is keeping all-out war from breaking out in the Middle East.
When Christ steps out on the clouds of Glory and shouts: "Come up here!" (Rev 4: 1), Judgment will begin to fall upon America and the world that very day.
Not long after Angie and I began the writing of this book, I was totally engrossed in listening to a television program. I don't remember what the program was about, probably a ballgame of some sort. Out of seemingly nowhere, the inner Voice Spoke almost audibly:
"Terry, you remember praying all of those months, before the Good Friday experience, asking to have confirmed in your spirit that the preTrib view of the Rapture is the absolute Truth from my Word? Well...what do you think that cheering group of youngsters was all about?"
It was all I could do to keep myself from leaping through the ceiling from my sitting position, even without any assistance from the Rapture experience! The epiphany was stunning! I could almost hear the smile of Holy Amusement in that revelation.
The next moment brought the humbling realization that the Lord of all creation would be so Loving as to spend such an intimate moment with someone like me.
I was being cheered for teaching, specifically, the preTrib Rapture view. The PreTribulation Rapture, I was thus Assured, is the True meaning of the apostle Paul's prophetic writing to the Corinthians in 1 Cor 15:51-55 and to the Thessalonians in 1 Thes 4:13-18.
Again came the prompting in my spirit that the cheering wasn't for me alone, but for all who hold to and teach and preach the preTrib Rapture in these final hours of the age.
Sometime before that, another Holy Spirit Epiphany had illuminated my spiritual understanding of my Good Friday visit to what I believe must have been somewhere near the portals of Heaven.
While standing before that throng of vibrant, cheering young people each time my heart stopped beating, one face stood out from among them. Her smile was wide, her face beaming with joy, while she was thrusting her arms upward as if celebrating victory at a sports event. On the third and last visit to that other-worldly place of stunning beauty, and absolute peace, the young woman looked over at me while we were all running as if in a race, her hands raised in victory. She was laughing, her beautiful facial expression bursting with unbridled exultation.
That face was constantly with me for more than a month following the trip to that Realm. The image never left my conscious thoughts. The identity of the young woman emerged suddenly into my mind at a rare moment when I wasn't thinking about my near-death event.
While the last vestiges of my eyesight were in process of fading to darkness, I had begun my first book of Bible prophecy. I called it Storming toward Armageddon." During that time, I became friends with an elderly woman who could no longer attend our church because she had reached the advanced stages of Osteoporosis.
She was a great Christian lady who loved Bible prophecy, and also was a very good poet. Many of her poems involved prophecy from God's Word, as a matter of fact.
Additionally, she taught several classes of young women each week in her home. They would sit on the floor surrounding her while she taught the Bible studies.
We talked on a regular basis by phone, and I visited her at her home from time to time. She was excited about the fact that I was about to become an author of a prophecy book. I asked her if we could use one of her brief poems in that book. She readily agreed, and we put the poem at the beginning of Storming toward Armageddon. We also put her poems in my next two books, and she lived to see them in print.
My friend began to lose her ability to see, so we could commiserate over our mutual eye problems. Her health declined quickly, and she died before she lost her eyesight totally.
The Lord has confirmed in the deepest reaches of my spirit that the dynamic, joyfully cheering young woman of my visit to the outskirts of Glory, whose beautiful face continues to be etched in my mind's eye, is Arbra Carman - my wonderful friend and Christian Sister.
So, it is at this time of Resurrection Day 2019 that I reflect on the fact that the blessed hope of Titus 2:13 is on His way to fix this broken world. it will happen in less than a heartbeat!
What's So Good about Good Friday? - Justin Holcomb -
What is Good Friday and why do we call Good Friday "good," when it is such a dark and bleak event commemorating a day of suffering and death for Jesus?
For Christians, Good Friday is a crucial day of the year because it celebrates what we believe to be the most momentous weekend in the history of the world. Ever since Jesus died and was raised, Christians have proclaimed the cross and resurrection of Jesus to be the decisive turning point for all creation. Paul considered it to be "of first importance" that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and was raised to life on the third day, all in accordance with what God had promised all along in the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3).
On Good Friday we remember the day Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins (1 John 1:10). It is followed by Easter, the glorious celebration of the day Jesus was raised from the dead, heralding his victory over sin and death and pointing ahead to a future resurrection for all who are united to him by faith (Romans 6:5).
Still, why call the day of Jesus' death "Good Friday" instead of "Bad Friday" or something similar? Some Christian traditions do take this approach: in German, for example, the day is called Karfreitag, or "Sorrowful Friday." In English, in fact, the origin of the term "Good" is debated: some believe it developed from an older name, "God's Friday." Regardless of the origin, the name Good Friday is entirely appropriate because the suffering and death of Jesus, as terrible as it was, marked the dramatic culmination of God's plan to save his people from their sins.
In order for the good news of the gospel to have meaning for us, we first have to understand the bad news of our condition as sinful people under condemnation. The good news of deliverance only makes sense once we see how we are enslaved. Another way of saying this is that it is important to understand and distinguish between law and gospel in Scripture. We need the law first to show us how hopeless our condition is; then the gospel of Jesus' grace comes and brings us relief and salvation.
In the same way, Good Friday is "good" because as terrible as that day was, it had to happen for us to receive the joy of Easter. The wrath of God against sin had to be poured out on Jesus, the perfect sacrificial substitute, in order for forgiveness and salvation to be poured out to the nations. Without that awful day of suffering, sorrow, and shed blood at the cross, God could not be both "just and the justifier" of those who trust in Jesus (Romans 3:26). Paradoxically, the day that seemed to be the greatest triumph of evil was actually the deathblow in God's gloriously good plan to redeem the world from bondage.
The cross is where we see the convergence of great suffering and God's forgiveness. Psalms 85:10 sings of a day when "righteousness and peace" will "kiss each other." The cross of Jesus is where that occurred, where God's demands, his righteousness, coincided with his mercy. We receive divine forgiveness, mercy, and peace because Jesus willingly took our divine punishment, the result of God's righteousness against sin. "For the joy set before him" (Hebrews 12:2) Jesus endured the cross on Good Friday, knowing it led to his resurrection, our salvation, and the beginning of God's reign of righteousness and peace.
Good Friday marks the day when wrath and mercy met at the cross. That's why Good Friday is so dark and so Good.
When Is Good Friday This Year?
Good Friday is on Friday, April 19, 2019. Good Friday is always the Friday before Easter.
Good Friday Bible Verses
Romans 5:6-10 - "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!"
1 Peter 2:24 - "He himself bore our sins" in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; "by his wounds you have been healed."
Isaiah 53:3-5 - "He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."
Matthew 27 - The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus Christ
Daily Jot: The Passover and the Resurrection - Bill Wilson -
The Passover coincides with the final days of Christ, his crucifixion, and resurrection. It is the picture of Christ being the true Passover Lamb, the sacrifice that liberates mankind from sin, as did God free the Israelites from the bondage in Egypt. The crucifixion of Christ took place as the Passover lambs were being sacrificed in the temple in Jerusalem. The Hebrew calendar starts its days from sundown to sundown, making its timing far different than the Gregorian calendar that we follow. The Pesach sacrifice (sacrifice of the Passover lambs) needed to be completed before sundown on Nisan 14 (which is Friday on the Hebrew calendar this year). The Messiah was nailed to the cross, suffered, and died before sundown on Nisan 14.
Christ entered Jerusalem on the 10thof Nisan, which is the day that the devoted Jews were choosing their Passover lambs. This is referenced in Matthew 21 where the great multitude spread their garments and branches on the way saying in verse 9, "Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest." Jesus went to the temple and overturned the money changers, his authority was questioned by the religious leaders, and he gave the great commandments, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind...and the second one is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." He also sat with his disciples and taught the chronology of what would happen in the end of days. This is called the Olivet Discourse.
Christ stated to his disciples in Matthew 26:2, "Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified." He then held an early Seder in which he spoke of the wine as his blood and the bread as his body. The events of the evening (sundown marking the beginning of Friday on the Hebrew Calendar) followed where Christ was taken in the garden, brought before the priests who sought a false witness to put him to death, but as Matthew 26:60 says, "But found none." He was taken before Pilate who also could find no fault in him, but allowed the people to decide if he should be crucified. These events follow the examination of the Passover Lamb who had no blemish.
As the Passover lambs were being sacrificed, Christ was crucified. He was buried on Nissan 14 (still Thursday on the Hebrew Calendar this year) before the beginning of Shabbat (Friday on the Hebrew Calendar this year) and the Passover Feast. He remained in the grave until sometime after sundown (end of Nissan 16, Saturday on the Hebrew Calendar this year), the beginning of Nissan 17 and the dawn of the first day of the week (Sunday on the Hebrew Calendar this year). Matthew 28:1 "In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher. Christ is the true Passover Lamb as stated in 1 Corinthians 5:7, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us," and John 1:29, "Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world."
Daily Devotion: Finished! - by Greg Laurie -
When Jesus had tasted it, he said, "It is finished!" Then he bowed his head and released his spirit. - John 19:30
The cross was the goal of Jesus from the very beginning. His birth was so there would be His death. The incarnation was for our atonement. He was born to die so that we might live. And when He had accomplished the purpose He had come to fulfill, He summed it up with a single word: "finished."
In the original Greek, it was a common word. Jesus probably used it after He finished a project that He and Joseph might have been working on together in the carpentry shop. Jesus might have turned to Joseph and said, "Finished. Now let's go have lunch." It is finished. Mission accomplished. It is done. It is made an end of.
So what was finished? Finished and completed were the horrendous sufferings of Christ. Never again would He experience pain at the hand of wicked men. Never again would He have to bear the sins of the world. Never again would He, even for a moment, be forsaken of God. That was completed. That was taken care of.
Also finished was Satan's stronghold on humanity. Jesus came to deal a decisive blow against the devil and his demons at the cross of Calvary. Hebrews 2:14 says, "Only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death." This means that you no longer have to be under the power of sin. Because of Jesus' accomplishment at the cross, finished was the stronghold of Satan on humanity.
And lastly, finished was our salvation. It is completed. It is done. All of our sins were transferred to Jesus when He hung on the cross. His righteousness was transferred to our account.
So Jesus cried out the words, "It is finished!" It was God's deliberate and well-thought-out plan. It is finished-so rejoice!
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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