Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
THE WORD BECAME FLESH - By Pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-word-became-flesh.html
1 " God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
6 And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail."(Hebrews 1:1-12)
Hebrews, considered to be a work of Paul the Apostle addresses the question, "Is Jesus really God?". For two millennium, the devil has attempted to make Jesus out to be somebody He is not. Through the workings of this master deceiver, there have been many sects of heretical teachings that blaspheme who Jesus actually was and is....God Almighty!
DECEPTION IN THE EARLY CHURCH
Right after the church was born and was thriving in Jerusalem and spreading far and wide to the Gentile nations, men became deceived in their hearts and attempted to change what was known and written down in Holy Scripture of the Old Testament, as that is all they had for them at the time, until the New Testament writings were compiled in one place. And who was that Old and New Testament written for? Yes, it was for us, the end time church on earth. But men tried to interpret what the apostles taught based on their first hand experience of walking, talking, and eating with our Lord. These men were first person eye witnesses to the sinless life, death and resurrection of the Creator of all living things. This message was passed down by voice and letters written to these churches of their experiences living with the Master.
They saw His miracles. They saw His transfiguration on a mountain speaking with Elijah and Moses. They saw Him heal, and saw Him reach out to the lost and dying world with Good News of the coming Kingdom of God. They saw Him beaten, scorned and yes, die a cruel death. But the wonderful news is, they saw Him alive 3 days after He was laid in a tomb. They came to understand that Jesus was indeed, God in the flesh. These men were eye witnesses to His ascension into the clouds with a command to spread the Gospel to the four corners of the earth. Each of these men died, save one in martyrdom for their witness of being with God in the flesh. But some would not believe their eye witness accounts.
Heresies Enter the Fledgling Church
During the first century, you had the Gnostics, heretics who believed that Jesus was entered by God when He was baptized by John and the Holy Spirit landed on Him, as a dove, then left Him before He died. Gnosticism is defined as the Hellenization of Christianity. Wikipedia defines Gnosticism thusly:
Gnosticism is a modern scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices found among some early Christian and non-Christian groups called "gnostic" ("learned") by Irenaeus and other early Christian leaders. In the past many scholars believed that gnosticism pre-dated Christianity, but now it is generally accepted that gnosticism developed into a coherent movement only in the second century CE."
These deceivers of the truth, believed that Jesus came to earth to deliver gnosis, or secret knowledge. This flies in the face of the biblical truth that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves, no secret knowledge, no work of charity, being a member of a Christian church, or anything else will grant us eternal life. Nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ can save men. Peter stood up and spoke these words after the day of Pentecost had come to the people who heard them speak in other tongues by God's Holy Spirit.
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."(Acts 4:12)
Another group around the same time were the Docetist who believed that Jesus was a phantom. He was not real, not flesh and blood, and only seemed to be human, but had no reality, but mere semblance.
When the Word became a man, He entered into a new state of being. He was a fleshly person with two natures. The word likeness in the Greek text found in Philippians:
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 2:7-8)
"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."(Romans 8:3-4)
Both refer to "that which is made like something else." His humanity was a real likeness. He was not a phantom, as some of the Docetists believed, but His human likeness did not and could not express the whole of His being. Jesus was also God, but His human form could never express the fullness of God, even though He was God.
The denial "that Jesus is the Christ" does not imply that the Docetists thought Jesus was not the Messiah. Rather, the Docetists claimed that Jesus-the Man whom John had heard, seen and touched-was not truly God in the flesh and that the true Christ was an ethereal being in heaven. John argues that such a teaching denies the family relationship of the Father and the Son, obscuring the true nature of God.
Furthermore, in 1st John, John writes, anyone who denies that Jesus was God in the flesh, subject to temptation just like all human beings, "does not have the Father either." Such a person simply does not understand the Gospel message. 1st John,
22 "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also."(1st John 2:22-23)
He re-emphasizes this very fact in the fifth chapter of the same book:
20 "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life."(1st John 5:20)
When Paul speaks of who Jesus was on earth, living as a mortal man, he compares Jesus being God made flesh and taking on the likeness of His fellow brethren in Hebrews,
6 "But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him?
7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (speaking of mankind)9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,"(Hebrews 2:6-11)
Unfortunately, there is still false beliefs of who Jesus was, and is...He is God. It survives even today and even more so to try and diminish the Divinity of our Savior and Lord. I had a chance to look on another Christian website who is somebody I respect as a sound biblical teacher, and read some comments at the end of His sermon online. One ladies stance on who our Savior was on earth gave me pause and filled me with sadness...As she went on about what God had revealed to her, one statement jumped out at me that made me have to reply to her and correct her in love from the bible, that she said does not contradict itself. That remark was "Jesus is not God". Say what? Did I read that right? Yep, I read it right and I had to respond. First her errors are so anti-Biblical and blatant blasphemy I didn't know where to begin. So let's explore what the bible says who this man, Jesus Christ was. Let's start in the Old Testament and compare it to the New.
In the Beginning...Genesis
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."(Genesis 1:1-2)
Jesus is the God of the Old Testament. Before Jesus became man, the Bible called Him the Word. Many places confirm that the God of the Old Testament revealed Himself to men before He became flesh and blood and lived on this earth. John confirmed this when he wrote the first verses of his Gospel....
1" In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."(John 1:1-3)
The Great I AM,..... I AM that I AM
When God came to Moses in the form of the burning bush, that burned and was not consumed, Moses knelt down and removed His shoes from his feet. Then God identified Himself when Moses asked who shall I say has sent me? What did God say? Exodus,
13 "And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."(Exodus 3:13-14)
And what did that God do? With power and mighty wonders for all to see, He brought Israel out of bondage and decimated the Egyptian economy because of their sins and refusal to let His people go.
When we look to Jesus, as He was speaking to the people, He proclaimed who He was, and the people understood and tried to stone Him, because of their unbelief. John,
56 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.".(John 8:56-58)
Jesus was telling them that He was the God of the Old Testament. He was Jehovah, God of their fathers, and the Great I AM that I AM.
ABRAHAM AND ISAAC ON MOUNT MORIAH
In this passage, God stops Abraham from sacrificing his only son, a foreshadow of what our Lord and Savior would do for us. Genesis,
11 "And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son."(Genesis 22:11-13)
In this passage, the word is "angel" but is better interpreted and read as "messenger". This was a messenger of the Lord God. He said, "for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing you hast not witheld thy only son". The God of the Old Testament stopped Abraham and played a drama out to Abraham of the coming Redeemer who would shed His blood for all mankind. The Messenger, was Jehovah, pre-incarnate Jesus Christ.
IN the New Testament Matthew replays this drama and Jesus lives what Isaac was spared. Matthew reports Jesus' words,
2 "Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified."(Matthew 26:2)
Just before He died, Jesus cried out:
45 "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."(Matthew 27:45-53)
It was the only time in the short life of our Lord and Savior, that Jesus experienced what He feared most...it was not the pain, the suffering, or even dying. It was the separation from the Father He had known for all eternity. He knew at the very moment, just before He gave up His Spirit, what we feel. Before this, He had not experienced it. But now, He knows what it felt like and He feared it more than anything else. The day became black as night. The clouds covered the face of the earth, and God turned His face away from His Son, because He could not bear to look upon what He had received, the sins of the whole world on His person. For that He died under it's burden. As He did, we should fear separation from God Almighty for all eternity, instead of just three days and three nights as He was.
JESUS IS THE ROCK!
God was with the Israelites in the wilderness and identified Himself as the Rock...
(Exodus 17:6) "Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
IN 1st Corinthians 10, Paul identifies who this Rock was,
10:4 "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."
THE HIGH PRIEST TO GOD, KING OF SALEM, MELCHIZEDEK
It's one of the great mysteries of the Old Testament. Who was this priest, the King of Salem? You know the story. Abraham rescued his nephew Lot from being captured in a war between Canaanite cities. On his way back from taking spoils from routing these captors who had taken his nephew as prisoner, Abraham was visited by the King of Salem. Genesis chapter 14,
18 "And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all."(Genesis 14:18-20)
You give tithes to God, as Abraham did. Abraham realized he was being paid a visit by God Himself. Abraham had many meetings with God, and was called a friend of God.
Notice that Melchizedek was king of Salem. That is the city of Jerusalem. "Salem" comes from the Hebrew word meaning "peace" That would make Melchizedek the "King of Peace". The Hebrew name Melchizedek itself means "King of Righteousness"
Paul emphasizes this in Hebrews,
1 "For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually."(Hebrews 7:1-3)
Paul clears this up for us. Melchizedek was the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
The same individual is mentioned in Psalm 110, Speaking prophetically of Christ, David stated: "The Eternal hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek."
Notice again: Melchizedek, this scripture reveals, abides that is, remains permanently, continually, a priest. God the Father is not the Priest of God, but Christ the Son of God is. Yet, in the days when the Apostle Paul lived and wrote, shortly after Jesus ascended to heaven as High Priest, the scripture states that even then Melchizedek "abideth "-which means does now abide-"a priest continually." The Moffatt translation states it: "continues to be priest permanently" even while Jesus Christ is High Priest!
Also, note that if Melchizedek is a high priest forever, but Jesus Christ is also called our High Priest before God the Father, can there be two high priest before God? No, because Melchizedek and Jesus Christ are one and the same.
THE FATHER AND JESUS ARE ONE!!
Scripture professes that Jesus is indeed, GOD in the flesh. Jesus is a direct manifestation of the Creator in human form. Jesus said in John 10:30 "I and my Father are one." And again when asked by Phillip to show them the Father, Jesus cleared it up for all of us, in John
9 "Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."(John 14:9-10)
How much clearer can our Lord and Savior be??
To deny that Jesus is God come in the flesh is the spirit of anti-Christ. We are to test the spirits and all who deny this one thing are of the devil,
1 "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."(1st John 4:1-3)
THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST
Jesus revealed Himself to the apostle John while he was on the isle of Patmos. Revelation, starting verse 1:
1 "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw"......dropping down,
1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
7 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.
8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."(Revelation 1:1-2.5-8)
John was in the spirit on that day and seeing a vision that God was providing him as a witness of things to come and that witness was delivered by none other, than the Creator God, the Son of God in all His glory:
1:12 " And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:"(Revelation 1:12-17)
From the beginning of Genesis v. 1, to the ending chapter in Revelation, the bible has only one focus, Jesus Christ and His coming into the world. God in His wisdom knew that men could not save themselves, and He would redeem His creation from Satan the devil. To do so required that He come Himself, as a man clothed in mortal flesh to be made like His brethren, to share in their mortality and to feel their need for a Savior, up close and personal. He was tempted in all things like we are, but without sin.
Jesus was the sinless substitution to satisfy payment for the remission of sins. 1st John,
2 " And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments."(1st John 2:2-3)
I could go on and on, but the evidence found in your bible, plus the eye witness accounts, and historical evidence proves that Jesus was a real being, with real feelings, and was God in the flesh. To say otherwise, is to be deceived, or possess the spirit of anti-christ. So yes, my friend, Jesus is really God. Do you know my Jesus personally? Each of us were born with one purpose and that was what will each of us do with the God/man, Christ Jesus?...will you believe who He said He was, or reject Him and believe the lies of the adversary, Satan, the Devil?
How do you come to know Him, as He really is? He came to save lost souls which we all are. He shed His own blood, as the substitute payment for the salvation and cleansing us of those sins. He did what God the Father required to allow mortal man into His presence. How do you and I approach God the Father? By confessing our sins, repenting of the way we have lived up this point, realizing that Jesus is God and that He died on a cross and by shedding His blood, made a way to be forgiven of those sins. Then accept by faith the blood sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and realize and confess with your mouth, that Jesus died, but more importantly rose to life three days later and lives eternally, as God Almighty (and sits at the right hand of God our Father on high, waiting to return to reclaim His creation, meaning the earth, and you, and me) then and only then can we know Him and claim His salvation by faith, given in mercy and grace as a free gift by God the Father to the world. Call upon my Jesus, your Jesus. If you cry in true repentance and ask Him to come into your heart and life, as Lord and Savior, He will do as you ask...He is only a prayer away for the truly repentant sinner. Look in the mirror, you'll see who I'm talking about. This life is all about what we will do with Jesus, and the Bible was written as a love letter to the world, to you, to me and all who believe. Jesus paid it all, became like us, to redeem what was lost in the Garden of Eden. There is nothing we can do, but accept the free gift of salvation by faith...reach out today and take the gift that God is offering each of us....
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.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:16-19)
Brethren, and all who read this, walk toward the Light, which is Jesus Christ and accept what has already been paid for in His own blood for the salvation of the world...know this also....
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)
This is pastor Mike Taylor praying God's salvation comes into your life through His Son, Jesus Christ. If you need any help, counseling, or just a friendly ear to listen to you, drop me a line via email to firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit me online for more biblical lessons found in the Word of God at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , God bless you all, till we meet at Jesus feet.
Christmas Really is a Time of Hope - By Matt Ward -
"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20).
One of the most important messages ever given by Jesus before he ascended into heaven has brightened Christmas every year for centuries. It has given hope for two millennia. That message, sometimes lost today, is that Jesus is alive and He is coming again soon!
As the disciples stood gazing into the clouds after the resurrected Lord had ascended from the surface of the earth, rising higher and higher into the sky, two angels, like lightening, suddenly appeared with a vitally important message:
"Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).
There is a hope embedded into this message that one day Jesus will return for his own. Just a short time earlier, while Jesus was celebrating Passover with His disciples, he revealed to them,
"Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward" (John 13:36).
The disciples must have felt crushed. This was the Man most of them believed would usher in a new Messianic age, and here He is telling them that He is departing and leaving them in their greatest hour of need. The disciples must have been distraught, feeling as though the very ground they stood upon had been pulled out from underneath them.
But then Jesus reassured them:
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:1-3).
Jesus was departing from them with a specific purpose in mind, and he had a definite plan to return. He wasn't intending to just leave them, but described a very real scenario through which they would once again be united to him and with him.
Jesus referred to a Jewish wedding to help His disciples understand. Using this imagery, Jesus attempted to convey not only the absolute certainty of his return, but the inexpressible joy that would accompany it.
In Jewish weddings after paying tribute to the bride's father and establishing the marriage covenant with his father-in-law, the Jewish bridegroom would return home to his own father for a time to prepare a dwelling place in his own father's house that was fit for his bride. This is where the Jewish bride and bridegroom would eventually live, in the father's house.
After completing the dwelling place to his father's satisfaction, and allowing for his fiancé to adjust to and prepare for married life, the father of the groom would indicate that it was time for the bridegroom to return for his beautiful bride. With a shout, the bridegroom would announce his arrival; and along with his trusted companions and friends, would take her away to her new home. The bride would leave her old home on hearing the voice of her new husband and immediately leave for her new home with her new husband.
This is the imagery that Jesus used to convey the meaning of His absence. This imagery perfectly fits the concept of the Rapture of the church when Jesus Christ, after leaving to prepare a place for his Bride would once again return so "...that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:3).
Later, Paul also describes how Christ "loved the church and gave Himself for her... that He might present her to Himself a glorious church" (Ephesians 5:25, 27).
The apostle John, in his Apocalypse, glimpsed this glorious future when he saw the Marriage Supper of the Lamb: "The Lamb [Christ] has come, and His wife has made herself ready... arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright" (Rev. 19:7-8). If you are a believer in Jesus Christ-this is your destiny.
From the first members of the bride of Christ, huddled together in the upper room during the final Passover celebration, to each member of the Church today, each one of us has now become members of a royal priesthood through Jesus Christ:
"You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:10).
We have become unique, a peculiar people:
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light" (1 Peter 2:9).
This picture is foreshadowed in the Old Testament. As John Walvoord states:
"Some expositors have found, for instance, in the marriages of Isaac and Rebekah, Joseph and Asenath, Moses and Zipporah, and Boaz and Ruth a typical representation of the plan of God to present Christ with a bride, the church, composed largely of Gentiles. In each of these illustrations, the bride is non-Jewish, that is, not a descendant of Jacob."
God is forming his Church from all the nations of the world. This has always been his plan.
"I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd" (John 10:16).
When Jesus departed, he emphasized that his purpose was to prepare a place for his Bride and that he would shortly return for them. The phrase...and if I go and prepare a place for you...conditionally links His departure with His return: "I will come again" (John 14:3).
In the Greek, the word translated "will come" is actually in the present tense. Jesus is literally saying, "I am coming," which carries a future force...to emphasize the certainty of Jesus' return for his disciples.
The analogy of the ancient Jewish wedding ceremony that Jesus uses guarantees Jesus' return for his Church. Therefore, "Be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand" (James 5:8).
We are entering a time in history that the Bible speaks much about. Indeed, the Bible talks more about the events of this generation and Jesus' Second Coming than it does His first appearance on this earth. We stand on the cusp of world-changing and momentous events.
In view of the change occurring daily, and the sheer pace of that change, no doubt the world will be a dramatically different place just twelve months from now. For some of us this may mean persecution is ahead - each and every passing day does seem to make this reality more of a certainty in my own mind, especially if the Lord tarries.
But we have a living, dynamic and real hope. We have Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Lord and Savior. Never will he leave us; never will he forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
Whatever the future may bring, we are servants of the King; and that fact alongside the very real promise Jesus made that He will come back at some point soon and take us to be with Him, that we may be where He is, should fill us with hope and give us peace.
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).
So keep looking up! Merry Christmas!
"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matt 28:20).
Nearing Midnight: Christmas and Advents - Terry James - https://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
Christmas 2018 is upon a world filled with anticipation, expectation, trepidation, and abomination. This year isn't overly different from any other Christmastime in many ways.
Some anticipate a celebration of the first Advent when the Christ child came amidst tidings of great joy through angelic exultation. Some are filled with expectation that the time of Christmas celebration will bring at least some moments of peace to otherwise tumultuous, daily routines of life.
Annual family get-togethers, church Christmas presentations, and exchanges of gifts still reside at the heart of the Christmas season in America. But, there can be no denying that there is an overt design and dark, visceral movement to change America in ways meant to divide and conquer Christendom. For, if the evil that constitutes the nucleus of this movement has their way, Christ will be forever relegated to non-entity status as the way is prepared for the advent of their own version of Messiah.
Thus, for many believers, where there should be even greater anticipation and expectation of joy at Christmastime, there is increasing trepidation.
We sense that the spirit of abomination is a growing infection, a metastasizing evil intent upon invading and trans-morphing every vestige of cellular, founding principle built into the U.S. Constitution.
Politically, we watch daily the incessant assault on all that is rational. The growing numbers in the U.S. who fall under the spell of the insanity that rules the ideological left is frightening. They cannot see that we are losing the country that has provided the liberties we-and they-enjoy...freedom like no other nation in history has been permitted.
These see the turmoil and chaos in Europe, where the populace has to riot en masse to survive the impossibly heavy taxes their socialist leaders have imposed. Yet they, for some unfathomable reason, desire to embrace that system. The protesters have to die in some cases to make those leftist leaders understand that the people want no part of the climate-change rules, regulations, and taxation the globalists demand. Yet the so called "progressives"-the political left in America-cannot make the connection. The way things are going on in France is exactly the way this nation is headed, if they have their way.
Instead of learning and teaching a different ideology than socialistic insanity, America's so-called higher education professors continue to preach from their academic pulpits the religion of ecological Mother Earth worship under the socialistic, ideological framework.
Religiously, the world-including much of America's political establishment-embrace that socialistic, Utopian quest. At the same time they hold Catholic Pope Francis up as the kind of religionist the young should follow, if any religionist at all.
That Pontiff has said that all will eventually go to Heaven, that there is no Hell, and that there are many ways to God, not simply through the ways presented by the Christian faith-the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, whether wittingly or unwittingly, this pope, the ideological left and the globalist elite all look forward to an advent entirely the opposite of the First Advent, when Christ came to earth to seek and save those who are lost.
These who form the dark movement to bring America into compliance with the new world order, who are determined to destroy America as founded, look for the one God's Word calls "the abomination that makes desolate" (see Daniel 9). They are looking for the great political leadership that will correct the horrendous mess they, themselves, have made of things. They are looking for the advent of Antichrist.
But, we who name the Name of Christ Jesus can take assurance as we observe Christmas 2018. We look back to that First Advent and that baby in the manger as proof that God the Father is still in complete control. All the evil we see tracking across the geopolitical and religious landscape is right on target to fulfill that great promise that the Second Advent-the Second Coming of Christ-is on the immediate horizon.
The first phase of that Second Advent will be the Rapture of the Church of Jesus Christ. Convergence of events prove beyond any doubt to the discerning believer that great event is about to happen.
"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28).
Now that promise straight from the heart of God is certainly reason to have a very Merry Christmas!
Christmas Lost and Found - By Hal Lindsey - https://www.hallindsey.com/12-22-2018/
In the early 1990s, country music artist Clint Black wrote and recorded the hauntingly beautiful song, "Looking for Christmas." He wrote, "I'm looking for Christmas; in time for this Christmas." That's a good description of something millions feel this time of year. Something precious has been lost, and they have until December 25th to find it again.
Almost everyone occasionally feels a kind of emptiness during the holiday season. Part of the problem is that our expectations for Christmas are so high. We are flooded with a tsunami of advertising where people find perfect joy and fulfillment because of the gifts they buy or receive. Gift giving is a great part of Christmas - especially if it reminds us of the ultimate Gift. But ever newer and better products will not satisfy the yearning for a real Christmas.
Also, the present-day must compete with ghosts of Christmases past. Our earliest Christmas memories include a child's delight in the presents, trees, tinsel, lights, tastes, and smells of Christmas. And those childhood memories include the presence of loved ones now gone. At Christmas, perhaps more than any other time, we miss people so much that the ache becomes almost physical.
People across America and around the world show a deep longing for something genuine and meaningful in an increasingly superficial world. The trees of Christmas, the lights on Main Street, the food, the whimsy, even the fake snow are all fine in their place. But they will not satisfy our yearning for the true and meaningful. The reality of Christmas rises to an entirely different level.
Almost every American has seen Charles Schulz's "A Charlie Brown Christmas." In it, Charlie Brown has become the director of the Christmas pageant. But his attempts to make it meaningful fall short. Finally, he comes to a point of despair, and says, "I guess I really don't know what Christmas is all about." Then he shouts in desperation, "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?"
His friend Linus says that he can answer the question. He steps to center stage, asks for lights, and sweetly quotes Luke 2:8-14. "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
When Linus finishes, he picks up his blanket, walks back to Charlie Brown, and says, "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."
The simplicity of the animation and the blatantly Christian message of the show scared CBS officials when they first saw it. But it was a massive ratings hit from the first time it aired in 1965. And it has been airing ever since. It has become a beloved part of Christmas for millions. Why the success? Using the voices of real children, Charlie Brown and company expressed the despair of modern man. Then Linus showed us all where to find the season's true meaning.
I pray that you enjoy every part of the Christmas celebration this year. But amid the various ornaments we place on the holiday, don't forget the Christ of Christmas. Remember to remember Jesus.
Daily Jot: The memories we make this time of year - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Growing up on the farm on the fringe of the snow belt in Northeastern Ohio left many memories of snowy Christmas seasons. Christmas time was always special at our house because Christmas Eve also was my father's birthday. He often said that when he was young, it didn't seem fair that he only got a present one time a year. Back in the early 1900s, they didn't go all out for Christmas like they do now-he would get an orange in a stocking hung by the fireplace, maybe some extra candy or a fruitcake if it was a good year. Things were different then. They were even different from today when I was little. We lived out in the country on a working farm that had been in the family nearly 200 years. It was real different.
Usually, on Christmas Eve we would get the livestock in early. We wintered about seven brood cows and up to 16 horses. Feeding time was done quickly because of the wind and cold lake effect coming off Lake Erie about 50 miles away. We would start by going up in the hay mow and throwing down some bales. Putting the hay in the mangers and the feed in the feedboxes. Then we would let out a yodel and the animals would start coming. Cows in their stanchions, each horse knew their own stall. The barn would start to warm up and we would begin putting water in the buckets for the horses. If the pump was froze up, I would take a bucket and an axe out to the pond some 75 yards away and carry water a bucket at a time.
One particular snowy Christmas Eve, Dad quit working earlier than normal. There was about eight inches of snow on the ground and it was pretty cold. We put the livestock in early and Dad asked if I wanted to play in the snow a bit. He had an idea in mind. I was game for anything he wanted to do. He saddled up Hollywood, his champion palomino quarter horse stallion, got a long rope, tied it to the handle of a scoop shovel. The idea was that he would ride Hollywood along the field at a gallop pulling the shovel. I would sit on the shovel, holding onto the handle as we glided through the snow. Great idea. Sounds like fun. But in practice it was more difficult than imagined. After a few disastrous bumps and flies, probably caused by the corn stalk stubs, I got the hang of it and it was-how did we say it back then-"swell!"
There was always a party after Christmas Eve services at our house. People would come from all around with birthday wishes for Dad. One such couple, Betty and Gene Flynn, often arrived a little later than others because they lived farther away. And every time Betty walked in the door on Christmas Eve, a fuse would blow. This happened for about five years straight (until we replaced the fuse box with breakers). Dad would get a flashlight and precariously make his way down the crude steps to the back of the cellar and replace the fuse while the guest waited for the lights to come on. Psalm 104:17 says, "But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children." These memories, to the Lord's mercy, are everlasting. I'm thankful for them. Make some this year.
Daily Devotion: You Have a Savior - By Greg Laurie -
Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people." -Luke 2:10
When the angel delivered his heavenly announcement to the shepherds, he started with, "Do not be afraid." But the shepherds, along with all of Israel, lived in frightening times. They were under the reign of King Herod, who was a tyrant. Their land was under Roman occupation. There was fear about the future. Would Rome ever leave? Would they ever be free? Would the Messiah ever come?
Then suddenly there were angels announcing to the shepherds that the Messiah had come: "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people" (Luke 2:10). Having angels appear was frightening in itself. Angels were awe-inspiring beings. That is why, when we read of angelic appearances in the Bible, we often see them starting with, "Fear not."
The message of Christmas is fear not. Have joy. As commentator Ray Stedman said, "The chief mark of the Christian ought to be the absence of fear and the presence of joy."
Yet it can be difficult for us to have joy because we are surrounded by sadness. With all the tragedies in the world, all the acts of terrorism, and all the problems we have, how can we have good tidings of great joy? The answer is this: "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11 NKJV).
No matter what happens in life, remember this: You have a Savior. As a Christian, you have been saved from death. You have been saved from eternal punishment and Hell. You have the hope that when you die, you will go straight to Heaven. That is the most important thing about the Christian life. There is a Heaven waiting for you. You have a Savior.
FROM THE HEART
IF YOU HAVE BEEN BLESSED THROUGH THIS MINISTRY, THEN WE ASK THAT YOU WOULD PLEASE REMEMBER PROPHECY UPDATE IN YOUR GIVING - WE ARE TRULY, TRULY, THANKFUL FOR YOUR SUPPORT
Prophecy Update has no corporate sponsors. This ministry is paid for and prayed for by readers and supporters. Without your support, there would be no Prophecy Update, Please pray about becoming a monthly supporter - thanks!
If ever there was a time to invest in God's Kingdom, it's now!
What on earth are you doing for Heaven's Sake?
"Share in the Blessings and Rewards that will last Forever!"
"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
1) We need your prayers!- We proclaim the Truth of the Word of God and we are under constant spiritual and sometimes even physical attack.
2) We need your encouragement!- We need to hear from you, let us know how the Lord is blessing you through this ministry so that we can share it with others.
3) We need your input! - If you have a prophetic article or story or if there is a news related item we missed, let us know.
4) We need your financial support!- To put it quite simply, without your support, there would be no Prophecy Update.
I ask that you would prayerfully consider partnering with us to get the Word out and keep the world informed. Remember, your gift, no matter how small, does make a difference! You will be helping to touch lives, around the world, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, thanks to the internet your generosity carries a global impact! - Thanks!
Our Prayer for You- "Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else." 2 Corinthians 9:10-13
Prophecy Update is a 501 (c) (3) tax exempt - non-profit organization, and all your donations are tax deductible.
If you have been blessed by Prophecy Update and would like to help support this ministry financially. You can make a secure donation online by going to:
Or Visit our website:
Or write us at:
P.O. Box 40516
Bakersfield, CA 93384-0516