Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Pre-Tribulation or Post-Tribulation - by Pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2019/05/pre-tribulation-or-post-tribulation.html
" These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."( Revelation 17:14)
There are many diverse religious convictions about how the times we live in, called by Christians, the End of Days will be fulfilled. Concerning the doctrine of the second coming of Jesus Christ, you have many denominations who feel they have figured out the time sequence of Biblical eschatology and staunchly defend their concept and their interpretation of what scripture says concerning the greatest event, apart from the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the whole history of mankind. Fact is that the major religions of the Western world believe in a "catching away of the saints" referred to as the Rapture. They just differ on it's timing.
The purpose of this sermon is to take a brief look at two theories and decide which follows the context of the whole of scripture and doesn't allow proof texting or pulling certain scripture text to fulfill a preconceived notion of a denomination's stance on this coming, most certain event or the second coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
There are two different beliefs with different subsets in one belief. These two beliefs are the Second Coming of Jesus Christ VS. the Rapture of the Church. Is there a difference between the two? Let's see what each belief embraces and how they line up with the bible. Within the Return of Jesus Christ view, it encompasses post tribulation, Pre Wrath, and Preterits' view of the End Time return of Jesus Christ. But for this sermon we will deal mostly with Post vs. Pre-Tribulation "catching away of the church".
POST TRIBULATION VIEW vs. PRE-TRIBULATION VIEW
According to the proponents of a post tribulation view of the subset belief of the second coming of Jesus, we must all go through the horrors of the coming Tribulation. What scriptures do they point to?
"I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed- 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."(1st. Corinthians 15:51-52))
They take this verse and couple it with the 7th angel who blows the last trumpet for the beginning of the final stages of God's wrath upon this earth: Revelation chapter 11:
"And the seventh angel sounded (blows his trumpet); and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever."(Revelation 11:15)
Since this is near the end of the tribulation, they surmise that this trumpet in 1st Corinthians and Revelation 11, are the same trumpet. As I have mentioned in past sermons, Paul was speaking of the ceremony known to Jewish people of the Feast of Trumpets and the blowing of the Last Trumpet as a signal to move out, as used in the wilderness during the Exodus and the fight for the Land of Canaan. It was also used as a sign of the "Return of the King" and was not referring to the trumpet blown in Revelation, as Paul wrote his epistle before John the Beloved wrote Revelation under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and they have no connection. But beyond that error what is the difference between Post Tribulation view and the Pre-Tribulation view?
The most debated issue is the view of "meeting Him in the air", vs. "Returning with Him". In the first view most post tribulation religions that I have studied believe that we will be changed and are lifted to meet the Lord in the air and make a U-turn and come down with Him to Jerusalem, to witness His defeat of the armies at Armegeddon. This will happen at the end of the Tribulation.
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."( 1st Thessalonians 4:16-17)
Obviously, this verse does not say what happens after we meet Him in the air, but the view interjects their own interpretation that we will immediately come down riding on white horses? I had to ask one adherent to this view, if we are meeting Him in the air are we going to Him just to saddle up? He had no answer, as it doesn't make sense, now does it? It appears he is missing something.
I feel he and they are missing what is right in front of their face, The Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Revelation 19:
19:7 "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God."(Revelation 19:7-9)
And in the very same chapter we see the Church coming back with the Lord in the battle of Armageddon, Revelation
19:11 " And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean."(Revelation 19:11-14)
John just got through writing that the sign of the saints are fine linen, clean and white. How did we get to this point? Where have we been and what transpired during this interval between verses 7 and 14? The answer is the marriage supper of the lamb and being joined to our Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ..
Understand one thing, my brethren, to interpret scripture is to take pieces of a large puzzle and put the pieces into their proper place and perspective. You will never find the strict description of a pre- tribulation removal of the church, but must take a little from here, and a little from there to make the puzzle come into view.
Let's look at another piece of the puzzle. The removal of the church before the tribulation vs. after the tribulation:
BEFORE TRIBULATION VS. AFTER TRIBULATION
5:9 "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him."(1st Thessalonians 5:9)
Again in Revelation chapter 3:3:10 "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."(Revelation 3:10-11)
Post tribulation view starts at chapter 6 and after the beginning of the wrath of God and fails to notice the scriptures I just presented, then they end beginning with these verses:
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.11:16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,11:17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth."(Revelation 11:15-18)
DELIVERANCE VS. JUDGMENT
Another piece of this grand puzzle is the concept of deliverance verses judgment. I believe in a deliverance of the church from wrath as plainly said in Revelation 3:10, but the alternate view believes in judgment.
"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."(1st Thessalonians 4:15-17)
Paul speaks in the following verses, of our deliverance from wrath, which again supports a removal of the church. Expanding the verse:
5:9 "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."(1st Thessalonians 5:9-11
What would be the point of comfort, if we knew that God would subject us to His righteous wrath and we would endure the great tribulation when 2/3 of the population will be wiped out by divine judgment? The concept smacks of Catholic purgatory, where I have explained that the tribulation is designed for two things, to put down all rebellion and to bring Israel to the knowledge of their Messiah at long last. We are in no need of justification or purification, as that was accomplished at the cross.
JUDGMENT: or the 4 horses of the Apocalypse,
"And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.6:4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.6:5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.6:6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.6:7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.6:8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."(Revelation 6:2-8) and skipping down:
6:15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:"(Revelation 6:15-16)
When does God's wrath begin? From the very first seal that Jesus opens divine judgment begins and that is the beginning of chapter 6 not the middle of the book, but at near the beginning. Some will say this is the wrath of Satan, but note that it is Jesus who opens the sealed book, not Satan to begin the Tribulation.
HIDDEN VS. SEEN BY ALL
Some come to me and ask why there is so little mention of the concept of rapture of the church found in the bible. It is true that the concept is sprinkled in the New Testament, even the Old Testament, and was not spoken of much until Paul addressed as the "Secret Wisdom of God." =
7 "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 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." (1st Corinthians 2:7-9)
The word for the modern interpretation of "rapture" is the Greek word "harpazo" which literally means to be snatched away or removed by force from one place to another. From this we get the Latin form of rapturo, which evolved into the English word rapture.
The word translated is only mentioned here in scripture that I mentioned above in 1st Thessalonians 4:17, but is sprinkled around the Old as well as the New Testament with the same meaning, "to be removed by force", but I cover that in another sermon.
4:17 "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together (harpazo, rapturo, rapture), with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."1st Thessalonians 4:17)
SEEN BY ALL, AND A THIEF IN THE NIGHT?
Then how do we reconcile the seemed difference in scriptures that some say, point to "seen by all" second coming of our Lord and nothing hidden?
"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."(Revelation 1:7)
And again in Mark, Jesus said:
13:27 "And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven."(Mark 13:27)
In my humble opinion, if we believe the first part, then the second part is easily understood. When Jesus comes back with His church, as quoted in Revelation 19, all of the earth will see Him. All who have accepted Jesus Christ during the tribulation will be gathered from the four winds. These are the elect during this time period. Those alive will repopulate the earth into the Millennium, and those raised to life, will be changed, as we were 7 years prior. Some will argue the point, and that's OK...God will gather all of His elect, alive and dead from the 4 winds. You have to decide from scripture, who are the saints at this point in time does Jesus speaks of? From scripture, it is my belief that Jesus is speaking of all who accepted Him in times of great peril and tribulation through martyrdom and environmental dangers.
AT ANY MOMENT, VS. ONLY AFTER CERTAIN EVENTS
Post tribulation believers point to Revelation chapters 6-18 that all must be completed before Jesus comes to take unto Himself his church. They look to 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2:4,
"He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. "
Or this passage, Jesus said in Matthew 24:15 "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,'[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel-let the reader understand-
16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house.
18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak.
19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!
20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.
21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now-and never to be equaled again.
22 "If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.
23 At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Messiah!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it.
24For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
26 So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the wilderness,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it.
27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 "Immediately after the distress of those days"'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
30 "Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory."(Matthew 24:15-30)
In this passage, it is clear that Jesus is speaking to the Jewish people who live in Judea and Samaria or the center of Biblical Israel. He was not speaking of the Gentile Church, or as He described us, a people who were not His people, as the Church had not been formed yet.
Jesus explained what would be the events that lead to His appearing as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but it will be for all who have endured the time of His wrath, with rebellion against God will be extinguished by the Word of His mouth, as a sharp, two edged sword.
But on the flip side, the imminent return of our Lord is explained by Paul in 1st Thessalonians as upon one that is unprepared for an invasion by a thief:
5:1 " But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.5:7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,"(1st Thessalonians 5:1-9)
Obviously, our Lord is not a thief, but the symbolism is that of someone who breaks into the history of mankind unannounced, without warning, and those that are unprepared will not escape His wrath.
The Jewish Wedding Feast
Another overlooked concept that my brethren in the faith fail to understand or accept is the analogy of the Jewish wedding feast. Though they hate to admit it, my Lord was born a Jew, from the tribe of Judah. He is the Lion of Judah when He returns and our betrothal to Him as the Bride of Christ will be completed as any Jew would take his own bride in Jesus day. Let us look at this wonderful promise.
Jesus came to establish a blood covenant and His blood was the ring, (so to speak) of our being joined to Him in marriage. He leaves, but promises to return for her.
" Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.
21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)
Luke 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."
1:13 " In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."(Ephesians 1:13-14)
The Bridegroom leaves His Father's house and goes to the house of the prospective bride:
So Jesus left His Father's house in glory and became a human being and traveled to the earth; the home of His prospective bride.
6:32 "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Jesus came to earth to obtain the church (bride) through the establishment of a covenant."( John 6:32-33)
On the same night Jesus made His promise in John 14, He instituted communion. In this communion, he passed the cup of wine to the disciples saying: "After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me." (1 st Corinthians 11:25)
THE PAYMENT FOR THE BRIDE
The bridegroom negotiates with the father of the bride at her home, (earth) to establish the cost (mohar) which was the sacrifice of Himself in blood.
Acts 20:28: "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."
1st Corinthians 6:19 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
THE PAYMENT COMPLETED, THE BRIDE JUSTIFIED
The bride is set apart: From that moment on, the bride and bridegroom is considered as One. The bride is set apart and sanctified for the return of the bridegroom.
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;5:26 "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."(Ephesians 5:25-27)
As a symbol of the covenant, the bride and groom would partake in a cup of wine together:
The cup of communion serves as the symbol of the covenant through which Christ has obtained the church (bride). Taken every time we remember His death at the Lord's supper. (1 Corinthians11:25)
After the marriage covenant had been established, the groom would leave the brides house and return to His Father's house waiting to return for her as He prepares her place with Him. As Jesus returned after His resurrection to His Father's house, the church is in the period of waiting for His return. John 20:
"Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."
THE CHURCH AGE
During this time, the bride would be preparing her trousseau and the groom would be preparing a place for His bride to live with Him in His Father's house. John 14:
"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
Note in that previous set of verses that Jesus is bringing us to Him, not comin to us. So that where He is, we may be also...Where is Jesus? In heaven with the Father, and He is coming for us.
THE GATHERING OF HIS BRIDE
At the proper time, usually at night, the groom and His best male escorts would take a lighted torch and make their way to the house of the bride. So Jesus along with His angels will come for His bride. Although the bride expects Him anxiously, she does not know the exact time of His arrival.
4:16 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."(1st Thessalonians 4:16-17)
INTO THE MARRIAGE SECRET CHAMBERS
Shortly after arrival, with guest at the wedding feast, the bride and bridegroom enter the marriage chamber, as in a Jewish wedding, the consummation of the marriage covenant is completed. Jesus and the church will spiritually join in unison to complete the marriage covenant and become one with one another.
MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB
The groom would announce the consummation of the marriage and the wedding feast would commence, but the bride would be hidden away for 7 days sometimes called the 7 days of huppah. The bride would remain hidden in the house of the bridegroom's Father, until He presents her to the world, with veil removed to show who His bride is. So the church comes with the King of Kings on horses dressed in linen white and clean.
Colossians 3:4, "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." And again in Revelation ,
19:14 "And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean."
Heralded in unison in the Old Testament describes the coming of our Lord for His church to be shielded away from the wrath to come and I feel they are sister verses of John 14:2 and Isaiah chapter 26:20 describing the same event:
19 "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
20,Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. For behold, the Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain." (Isaiah 26:19-20)
I cannot express strongly enough the imminent return of our Lord and Savior, but as studied in the past, I believe it will be on a Feast Day appointed by God in a future year, namely the Feast of Trumpets. He will arrive and all who are prepared by accepting Him, Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will be gathered in the twinkling of an eye.
One final thought and question that only makes sense, after these verses, if we believe that Jesus will forcefully remove His bride according to Paul in 1st Thessalonians:
4:16 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." THEN.....
THE CHALLENGING QUESTION OVER OPPOSING VIEWS
If we believe in any other teachings beside the pre trib removal of the church through rapture, then let me drop something on you to think about. If during the Great Tribulation all will be required to take the mark of the beast and all who do will be damned according to scripture. If you refuse the mark, you will be killed either by ruling beast power, or the followers of this power. If the post tribulation view is correct, with all the environmental upheaval, the divine judgments, the loss of life of upward of 3/4+ of the entire planet destroyed leaving either the damned or the saved, then when Jesus Christ breaks through the clouds and the saved are transformed into spirit beings and the ones with the mark of the beast are destroyed, my question is: Who will enter the Millennium in their mortal flesh?
You see the problem? There will be no one left alive, or in mortal flesh that has not been changed to spirit to even populate the Kingdom of God and produce human beings of flesh as expressed in your bible. The only teaching that makes sense, is the coming of the Lord for His church, the Tribulation, then the Second Advent of Jesus Christ to set up His Kingdom for a thousand years in that order. God through the Holy Spirit has called a remnant that will believe unto salvation in this age of the Dispensation of the Church. When Jesus comes back He will come for one final battle of swift judgment and this verse caught my eye and further proves that when He comes back and it opened this sermon:
Revelation 17:14 "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."
These are the saints who will be kings and priest and will reign with Jesus Christ in the family of God for a 1000 years leading into eternity. My reader, do not think that you have time to make the decision to be on the Lord's side when the days get really rough and think you have time. Remember Jesus said He would come as a thief in the night and when He does, for you if you have not made that decision for Jesus Christ, time will have run out. Make that decision today for your eternal destination to be in glory with Jesus and the Father in Heaven. To be otherwise will be literally "hell on earth" and a coming spiritual death.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."(John 3:16-18)
Then confess Jesus as your Savior to others:
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)
2" (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.) (1st Corinthians 6:2)
Don't waste another day without Jesus in your life, as Jesus could come at any moment, even though I look for Him someday in the future in the fall...God is sovereign and He knows the day or the hour, not me...so don't be left behind.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor wishing the salvation of Jesus Christ in each of your lives. If there is anything I can help you with, pray with you about, or just listen, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , for more lessons from the Word of God in these the last of the last days...,
God bless you all,
until we meet at Jesus feet.
Once It Was Right or Wrong, but Now... - By Gene Lawley -
In the political arena, the scrambling among Democrat candidates for the presidency smacks with determination to be the farthest one to the left of the now twenty-two contestants. The wisdom of Solomon comes front and center in this frantic exercise to be the one who can do away with Trump once for all: "A wise man's heart is at his right hand, but a fool's heart at his left" (Ecclesiastes 10:2).
In Solomon's thinking, it is most likely he was pointing to terms of morality, for being "right" must have a reference to truth. The opposite, then, is to the left. Once it seems being "leftist" was something to be hidden, but now the "progressive left" is the place to be.
It is a strange world. Socialism is the "in" thing, no matter what it looks like in its raw form of communism, dictatorships, and destructive economies. Apparently, American Socialists think they can make it work, but those folks just don't have the brains to do it. Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, China, Russia, even Sweden-they have no enduring qualities of life that the Constitutional Republic of the United States has delivered, amidst constant dedicated opposition, for most of its two hundred plus years.
Let's look at where all that baggage of the left is leading them:
A "New World Order" is touted as the ultimate for man's existence, but that turns out to be only for those who are "more equal" than all the others. Their god is the state, and the subjects are taught to worship that entity, for it gives them everything they need. As the "falling away" from lawfulness and godliness becomes more intensive, those followers will, indeed, worship that which feeds them.
The Beast of Revelation is identified as a beast with seven heads, a composite of seven kingdoms that have, for six of them, ruled the world successively over the centuries. Rome was the sixth one, and the seventh is mentioned by John in Revelation 17:8 and 10 as not yet formed and in place. Here are those two verses as John wrote them:
"The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
"There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time."
Note in Revelation 13:1-4 that the Beast has been energized from the first "by the dragon," who was identified in chapter 12 as the devil. It says "they" worshipped the dragon. Who are "they"? It is those who are left behind when Jesus comes in the Rapture to claim His church of born-again believers. There is that word again, "left." The left behind who were not wise to recognize the promise of redemption in Jesus Christ.
You will also note in verse 3 that one of the heads of the Beast suffers a mortal wound then returns again. Don't be deceived that the Antichrist is to be killed, then resurrected as a proof that he is the Messiah. After all, who would resurrect him from the dead? No, it is the sixth head, the one ruling regime when John wrote this prophecy. As Revelation 17:8 tells us, the first five have long since disappeared into human history. Prophecy teachers have recognized that the Antichrist will appear from a restored Holy Roman Empire in the last days. That is the seventh head that John says "was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition." That head is the one-world government now promoted by the New World Order pushers.
According to 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, those who will be left behind because they "did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved, for this reason, God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." Remember that none of those left behind will be believers.
Was Solomon correct? The personification of "wrong" by those on the left, unashamedly, can be seen in the daily headlines of the various social media. One "self-appointed-to-be" leader tries to out-do the other in his or her authority on what is the proper righteousness that is acceptable. As the Scriptures indicate, the whole basket of them is headed for the bottomless pit, and to that perdition they will go.
Yet, we must not just assume that those on the conservative right are all well-settled in the blessing of God. There are tares among the wheat, and Jesus said we are not to try to pick them out lest we take some wheat with them, that is, offend one of His. However, it seems that in the political arena one may switch sides according to how the wind blows.
The late senator from Pennsylvania was first a Democrat, then a Republican, then again a Democrat but was not re-elected after that last switch. It was he who devised the "crooked bullet track" theory to support the lone gunman conclusion wanted by the Warren Commission investigating the Kennedy assassination. That, and changes in the markings on the official autopsy report, was enough for the whole Commission to capitulate. (One may be brought to wonder what Jack Ruby was paid to eliminate the cries of innocence and demands for justice from the "one gunman." A viable "patsy" must be in place for such a plan to work.)
Thus, the flow of sludge in the swamp could continue without interruption. The one who headed that committee, Chief Justice Earl Warren, was in place for the 1973 decision on Roe v Wade.
Then, along came a Ronald Reagan whose elimination was apparently in place even before his oath of office. Within about two months, that move was made but proved unsuccessful. A limited presidency then followed, no doubt. Now, a Donald Trump comes on the scene with no political attachments or ambitions except to restore America's faltering sovereignty which was the target of that same opposition that effectively controlled the swamp for those many years.
The relentless left really does not know what drives them. They have no knowledge of truth, and the fear of God is not in them. Again, the wisdom of Solomon says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9:10), thus that dragon who has control of them has free reign to direct them according to his purposes. Jesus also said, "The road to righteousness is narrow, and few there be who find it, but the road to oblivion is broad, and many are on it" (See Matthew 7:13-14).
Just now, mid-May, 2019, the Democratic-controlled House, in its sub-committees, is re-wording the oath taken by witnesses, and others who are sworn into public office, to exclude any reference to God, as in "so help me, God." Do you recall who the Scripture says is the driving force behind this anti-God push in America: "The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority" (Revelation 13:2b).
There are nice people on both sides whose works are admirable and commendable. Good works do not produce faith; faith in God produces good works, and those are acceptable to God. It is not works that wins salvation, however, for no person will be allowed in heaven as a child of Adam. That person must be born again, and the world must know that truth as quickly as possible. God's long-suffering tells us that He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all must come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). That is the way to be born again.
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Love, Marriage, and Babies - Nathele Graham -
Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black, and white. They are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world. These words were written by C. Herbert Woolston and they have been sung for many decades. The words hold a truth that we often overlook. Jesus loves children and they are precious to Him. One of sweetest events described in the Bible was when children were brought to Jesus. He just had a discussion with the Pharisees about marriage and divorce. They wanted to trap Jesus but that just wasn't going to happen. "And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Matthew 19:4-6. Marriage is important to God and needs to be treated as the holy union that it is. A Christian shouldn't be yoked in marriage to a non-Christian because there's no moral guide for the non-Christian and the children in that marriage are hindered in believing in Jesus. "Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence." Matthew 19:13-15. Jesus loved the children and rebuked the disciples for shooing them away. It's interesting that two important issues of today were addressed by Jesus in just a few verses: one man/one woman marriage and children.
Babies and children haven't been around since the creation of the world, but they have been around since just after the Fall of Man. Adam's sin caused him and Eve to be expelled from the Garden of Eden. Scripture records that after they were expelled the first human baby was created within a God-ordained marriage. "And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD." Genesis 4:1. Can you imagine? They had the burden of guilt for eating the forbidden fruit, they paid the price for that sin by being evicted from the Garden, and now they were living in a world separated from God. Still God blessed them. Eve gave birth to a son and Eve recognized that baby was a gift from God. It's not easy being a first time parent, but Adam and Eve had no examples to follow. They were the very first parents. The joy of parenting didn't stop with Cain. "And she again bare his brother Abel..." Genesis 4:2a. Together Adam and Eve had many sons and daughters. God's design for a family was established: A man, his wife, and children.
Children are a blessing and from the moment of conception they are human...valuable humans with feelings and needs. They need to be loved and protected. When does God become aware of a child? Scripture reveals that before we were even conceived He knew us. "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." Jeremiah 1:5. God knew Jeremiah would grow into a man who would be a great prophet. Every baby has the potential to become a person who honors God or one who rebels. Abel honored God. He gave a proper offering and respected God. On the other hand Cain gave less than his best to God but still expected God to be pleased with him. When God rejected his offering, Cain plotted to kill Abel. Every child learns to make choices, and loving parents need to guide that child to properly serve the Lord. God does know what path each person will take, but He gives the same opportunity to make Godly choices to everyone.
Godly parents are sorely missing from our world today. When God established the family unit, it was to be sure that people were provided for. A strong protective husband and father will be sure his family is provided for and that no harm comes to them; he will lead his family in ways to honor God. A wife and mother will nurture and care for the family as well as enforce a Godly way of life. Today the family unit is under satanic attack. Sexual relations are perverted and corrupted into sinful activity that mocks marriage and God. "Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves." Romans 1:24. When a society begins the descent into sin and depravity, it starts with a few small steps down the path of destruction. I remember when women were ashamed to be pregnant outside of wedlock, but wouldn't murder the baby and the man would take responsibility for his actions. Today women say "It's my body and my choice". The choice comes before the baby is created. Instead of campaigning to keep abortion legal we need to campaign for abstinence. "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet." Romans 1:26-27. What is it that they receive in themselves because of their un-natural acts? Syphilis, gonorrhea, AIDS, and other sexually transmitted disease. The slippery slope of sin is not a pleasant slide.
Just as Scripture prophesied of the last days, the love of many has grown cold. Women are viciously fighting for government laws giving them the right to murder their children. Instead of teaching abstinence to both sons and daughters, the solution to a woman's pregnancy is abortion. This is nothing less than a satanic blood-letting ritual. In ancient times children were sacrificed to demonic gods and even the Jewish people participated. God saw it as an abomination. "And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin." Jeremiah 32:35. Abortion is no less of an abomination. Children are being sacrificed today and the government has sanctioned it, just as it has sanctioned perverting marriage. Christians know better. Well, Christians should know better but many ignore Scripture. Scripture is our guide to how we are to live. We cannot support any activity that is un-Scriptural. That means that even if we determine not to have an abortion or participate in sexual activity outside of a one man/one woman marriage, we aren't to turn a blind eye to such things. "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but have pleasure in them that do them." Romans 1:32. Christians are not to condone sin, even if the government sanctions it.
Remember Cain? He had the same up-bringing as Abel, yet he chose to dishonor God by doing things his own way. The sacrifice he made wasn't one that was acceptable to God, but easy for him. "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell." Genesis 4:3-5. Abel brought an animal blood sacrifice, but Cain gave lip service. A blood sacrifice is atonement for sin, but God never, and I mean never, requires a person to give a human blood sacrifice. God Himself gave the ultimate sacrifice for our sin. "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" 1 Peter 1:18-19. "Vain conversation" is better translated "empty way of life"...one of sin and rebellion to God. The precious blood of Jesus Christ, God incarnate, will take away sin. Whatever you have done in the past is forgiven when you truly accept the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for your redemption. Christ's sacrifice has to be accepted by each person individually because the faith of a parent or grandparent won't save you from your sin.
If you have sinned, and every person has, then you need to come to a true understanding of your sin and turn to Jesus for forgiveness. A changed life is evidence of a changed heart. Turn from your sin. If you, like Cain, have only given a half-hearted sacrifice on your own terms then there's a real question as to whether or not you've truly accept Christ's ultimate sacrifice. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1. This means we stop embracing sin and begin to live for Christ. If you have ever had an abortion, performed an abortion, chose a homosexual relationship, or any other sin for that matter, there is forgiveness through the blood of Jesus. Turn away from your sin. While we live on this side of heaven we will face temptations and will continue to sin, but if we sacrifice our own will to God then we will not continue to embrace sin. With His help we'll overcome the sin we struggle with.
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." Romans 1:16. Christ's forgiveness knows no ethnic limitations. Red or yellow, black or white we are all precious in His sight. His love and forgiveness is there for everyone. If you have accepted Him then don't be ashamed of Him. In the name of Jesus, don't be ashamed to stand up for love, marriage, and babies.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
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What about people who have never heard about Jesus or the gospel-how will God deal with them? - Lee Strobel -
This is one of the most commonly asked questions about Christianity-and frankly, it's challenging because we don't have the complete answer. God hasn't explicitly told us how he is going to deal with these situations. But we do know a few things about the matter.
First, we know from the Bible that everyone has a moral standard written on their hearts by God, and that everybody is guilty of violating that standard. That's why our conscience bothers us when we do something wrong.
Second, we know that everyone has enough information from observing the created world to know that God exists, but people have suppressed it and rejected God anyway-for which they rightfully deserve punishment (Rom. 1:18-20).
Third, we know from both the Old and New Testaments that those who seek God will find him. Jesus said, for example, in Matthew 7:7, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." The Bible also indicates that the Holy Spirit is seek¬ing us first, making it possible for us to in turn seek him (John 16:7-11). This suggests to me that people who respond to the understanding that they have and who earnestly seek after the one true God will find an opportunity, in some way, to receive the eternal life that he has graciously provided through Jesus Christ.
Fourth, we see repeatedly in Scripture that God is scrupulously fair. Genesis 18:25 asks, "Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Said author Ronald Nash: "When God is finished dealing with all of us, none will be able to complain that they were treated unfairly."
Finally, we know that apart from the payment Christ made on the cross, nobody has a chance to getting off of death row. But exactly how much knowledge a person must have about Jesus or precisely where the lines of faith are drawn, only God knows. He and he alone can expose the motives of a person's heart.
Let me add that, without exception, every time I've heard this question it has been from someone who has heard about Jesus. As impor¬tant as this theoretical discussion is regarding the fate of those who have never heard, I need to remind those people that they have heard the good news and that they are responsible for what they do with it. In fact, Jesus said in Luke 12:48, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."
My strong encouragement to you, or to the friend who asked you this question, is to respond to God's gracious offer of salvation through Christ and then join those of us who are doing all we can to spread his love and truth to everyone we can possibly reach-especially those who have never heard the good news.
"For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." - Jesus, in Matthew 7:8
Daily Devotion: The Secret to Spiritual Success - by Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. - James 1:22
Have you ever had one of those days when it seemed as though everyone was smiling, maybe even laughing, at you? Then you saw yourself in the mirror and discovered why. You had something stuck in your teeth. No wonder they were smiling.
The mirror just told you the truth about yourself, and you saw what everyone else was seeing. Then you had a choice: ignore the problem and leave it there, or clean yourself up.
The Bible is a lot like a mirror; it tells us the truth about ourselves. James wrote, "But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like" (James 1:22-24 NLT).
It is not simply a matter of hearing God's Word; it is doing what it says. The Bible must be our model for how we think and live. Problems will happen, family conflicts will happen, temptations will happen, sickness will happen, or something else may come our way. We can't control that. But if we are in God's Word and walking closely with Him and in fellowship with His people, then we will have the resources we need to face those challenges as they come. And challenges will come our way.
Dedicate yourself to worshipping God, confessing your sins, and hearing the Word of God. God's Word has something to say to you. Spend time in it in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening. Continue in the Word of God. That is the secret to spiritual success. Just do your part, and then watch how the Lord will bless you.
FROM THE HEART
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