What the Bible says about light and seed

The True Light "In him, (the Lord Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world,…the world didn’t recognize him." John 1:4,9.

The Good Seed and the Weeds “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Matthew 13:24,25.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Don’t Believe Anything I Tell You

Don’t Believe Anything I Tell You This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley
http://gracethrufaith.com/

The Fall Feasts are over for another year, Harold Camping’s latest date has passed, and the Comet Elenin has come and gone with no discernible effect. Hours of YouTube presentations, some very skilfully done, have been proven wrong and still no rapture.
When the rapture didn’t happen on Rosh Hashanah I got eMails from people expressing everything from disappointment to anger to a loss of hope altogether. One message summed up the feeling of most by saying, “I guess I’ll just go into hibernation until next year.”
These people all had their hearts set on the rapture coming on a particular date and when it didn’t they lost hope, at least for another year. By pinning their expectations on that one day they eliminated all other days and came away discouraged.


The only Scripture I’ve seen used to justify the Rosh Hashanah rapture is the phrase “no one knows the day or hour” from Matt. 24-25. Rosh Hashanah comes on a new moon, when it’s barely visible even on a clear night, so in Biblical times its actual arrival was very difficult to predict in advance. Over time it apparently became known as the feast where no one knows the day or hour.
Some folks equate this phrase with the rapture, but as we’ll see it’s only used four times in the Bible, and all of them are in reference to the 2nd Coming, not the rapture. It turns out that almost everyone who advocated a Rosh Hashanah rapture did so because they heard about it from someone else, not because of any legitimate scholarship on their part.


I’d like to suggest a different approach and that is to follow the directions Paul gave us in Acts 17:11. Complimenting the Bereans, he said they received his message with all readiness of heart but searched the scriptures daily to see if the things he said were true.
The Bereans neither accepted nor rejected Paul’s message out of hand but listened with an open mind and then studied the Scripture to see if God’s word confirmed what Paul was saying before making up their minds.
This means two things. First, any Bible teacher’s message must conform to Scripture, and second, it’s up to us to make sure it does before accepting it. We shouldn’t reject any reasonable teaching out of hand, but neither should we accept any teaching until we’ve personally confirmed that it’s consistent with God’s Word. And that doesn’t just mean we see if they’re really quoting the Bible. We also have to make sure the verses they’re using actually apply in the way they’re suggesting.
The point of this is to remind us that whenever we hear a Bible teaching we’re to keep an open mind about it, but search the Scriptures ourselves to see if it’s consistent with God’s word before deciding whether to accept or reject it. It’s a great way to learn what the Bible really says.


For Example …
I’ve received a number of questions lately about another Rapture teaching, one I posted a couple of years ago. Since about mid year people have been asking if I still believe it’s likely that the rapture will take place in 2011.
In responding, I’ve resisted every effort to pin me down to a specific date for the rapture or other related end times events. I’ve also refused to confirm the methods other people have used to arrive at a specific date based on my opinion. I’ve always maintained that it isn’t possible for anyone on Earth to know the specific date of the rapture in advance. God’s word only says that it will precede the time of His Wrath (1 Thes. 1:10) and that it shouldn’t take us by surprise when it happens (1 Thes. 5:4).
And let me repeat that I’m convinced God knows the exact date of the rapture, just as He knows the number of believers the Church will contain. But He hasn’t chosen to reveal either to us.


But still the questions come, and it finally dawned on me that many of the people who write in aren’t doing their own research but are relying on mine. They’re checking to see if I still believe it so they’ll know whether or not they should, too.
Obviously I wouldn’t have posted my opinion if I didn’t think it had merit, and if I had subsequently found an obvious flaw in it I would have said so by now. But that’s not the point. The point is that for the most part people aren’t obeying Acts 17:11. Instead they believe what other people tell them to believe. Of course, this is nothing new. In the days of Christopher Columbus most people believed the Earth was flat. Not because they’d done any research to support their conclusion, but because they heard someone say it was.


So instead of that, I want to lay out the case I made for the likelihood of a 2011 rapture again and encourage you to do your own homework and come to your own conclusion. Then whatever you believe will be based on your own study, not someone else’s. Remember, in Acts 17:11 Paul said not to believe anything I tell you until you’ve checked it out for yourself. Are we ready?


Signs Of The Times
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.” (Matt. 24:15, 21) Some of the disciples had asked the Lord, “What will be the sign of your coming and of the End of the Age?” (Matt. 24:3). After giving them a general overview of the end times (Matt. 24:4-14) His first specific answer is in Matt. 24:15,21. He said that a time known as the Great Tribulation would begin when the people in Israel see the abomination that causes desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel. It’s a reference to Daniel 9:27 which says the abomination would take place in the middle of a seven year period scholars call Daniel’s 70th Week. It’s the last 7 years before the end of the age. Paul described this abomination as a man we call the anti-Christ standing in the Temple claiming to be God (2 Thes. 2:4)


From Daniel 12:7, Rev. 11:2, Rev. 12:6 and others we can tell that the Great Tribulation will be 3 ½ years long, confirming that it’s the last half of Daniel’s 70th Week. The Lord said His 2nd Coming would take place after the end of the Great Tribulation but that no one would know the day or hour of His coming in advance. Let me explain.
In effect, Daniel 12:11-12 says there will be two short periods of time between the end of the Great Tribulation and the beginning of the Millennium. One will be 30 days long and the other 45 days for a total of 75 days. The Lord will come back to judge the tribulation survivors and establish the Kingdom during that time. But in Matt. 24:36, Matt. 24:42-44, Matt. 24:50, and Matt 25:13 he made it clear that the people on Earth would not know the day or hour of His return in advance.


From sign of the Abomination we can back into some earlier signs that the Lord only inferred. You see, the Abomination of Desolation couldn’t happen today for several reasons. First, because it has to take place in a Temple in Israel and there hasn’t been one there since 70AD. Therefore the construction of a Temple in Israel would be a preceding sign.
But Israel will have no use for a Temple until they return to their old covenant relationship with God. Paul said they can’t return to God until the Church is gone (Romans 11:25). The departure of the Church will be another specific sign for them. Israel’s subsequent return to God will be the sign that Daniel’s 70th Week has begun.
But even before that, Israel had to exist again as a nation. Ezekiel 37:1-14 is the prophecy of Israel’s modern day rebirth. It was dramatically fulfilled as Jews who resembled walking skeletons came out of the concentration camps of Eastern Europe to resettle their ancient homeland in Israel. Ezekiel’s prophecy says the Lord would first bring them back and then put His Spirit in them. This means their official return to their relationship with Him would happen sometime after their return to the land. Just like Ezekiel said it would happen, Israel has been reborn, but they are not yet in covenant with God, and that’s why so many students of prophecy believe that the rebirth of Israel in 1948 was the first major sign that the end times had begun. None of the other end times prophecies that pertain to Israel could happen before then.


The Terminal Generation
I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. (Matt. 24:34)
The Greek word translated generation in this verse has been interpreted three ways. The first is that it referred to the people alive in Israel when Jesus was there. The problem is that the events He prophesied, culminating in His 2nd Coming, didn’t happen during their lifetimes so that interpretation can’t be right.
Another possibility is that the word for generation should have been translated race, which is an accepted alternate meaning. Then the verse would read, I tell you the truth, this race will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.


But remember the context of the passage is signs of the end. What kind of a sign would it be for the Lord to say the end would come sometime before the Jewish race became extinct? It would be reassuring in the general sense but of no value in the context of the signs they were asking for.
The third possibility is that the Lord was referring to the people who would be alive when the signs of the End of the Age began to appear. I think this is the correct interpretation. That makes Matt. 24:34 read, I tell you the truth, this generation (the generation being born when the first signs appear) will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.


Notice it doesn’t say all the end times prophecies will be fulfilled in the span of one generation, which is defined as the time between the birth of a man and the birth of his first child. It says they’ll be fulfilled within the lifetimes of those being born at the time of the first sign.
The length of our days is seventy years— or eighty, if we have the strength; (Psalm 90:10)
I interpret this verse to mean the average life span for man is 70 years with 80 being the exception. This is confirmed in Isaiah 23:15. At that time Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the span of a king’s life.
Data collected by the United Nations in 194 countries and territories between 2005-2010 shows that current average life expectancies range from about 40 years in some African countries to over 80 years in Japan, but the world wide average is 67.2 years. Israel ranks #8 at 80.7 and the US is 36th at 78.3 years. (Source: Wikipedia)


And In Conclusion …
When I put this all together, here’s what I came up with. The end times could not begin until Israel was reborn because the Lord’s specific signs required it. If Israel’s rebirth in 1948 was the first end times sign and if all end times prophecies will be fulfilled within the lifetime of those being born at that time, that would place the 2nd Coming about 70 years after 1948, or 2018. If the last 7 years can’t begin until the church is gone then the likelihood of the rapture occurring in 2011 is very high indeed.


I’ll remind you again as I have before that this is just my opinion. I don’t claim to have any supernatural understanding of this or any other topic. There are some places where I have had to infer things from the context that are not clearly explained, and that’s always risky. I also insist on using average lifespans because that what these passages imply. Never in history has an entire generation of people died at exactly 70 years of age. Therefore Psalm 90:10 has to be giving average and not specific information.
In addition, I haven’t made any allowance for the differences between our calendar and God’s. It was never my intention to pin down a date anyway, but only to suggest a general time. And I did that because the Bible says end times events shouldn’t take us by surprise. Therefore if we find ourselves still here when 2011 comes to an end we’ll be able to take comfort in knowing the rapture is even more an any moment event than ever.


I’ll close by reminding you once again of Paul’s warning not to believe anything I tell you, but to search the scriptures and come to your own conclusion. You’d better hurry though, because if you listen carefully you can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 10-29-11

Friday, October 28, 2011

YOU RAISE ME UP TO MORE THAN I CAN BE

TAKE HEART MY FRIEND

To my friend Anne-Marie.


Take Heart, My Friend

Take heart, my friend, we'll go together
This uncertain road that lies ahead
Our faithful God has always gone before
And He will lead the way once again

Take heart, my friend, we can walk together
And if our burdens become too great
We can hold up and help one another
In God's love, in God's grace



Take heart my friend, the Lord is with us
As He has been all the days of our lives
Our assurance every morning
Our defender in the night


If we should falter when trouble surrounds us
When the wind and the waves are wild and high
We will look away to Him who rules the waters;
Who speaks His peace into the angry tide

He is our comfort, our sustainer
He is our help in time of need
When we wander, He is our Shepherd
He who watches over us never sleeps


Take heart my friend, the Lord is with us
As He has been all the days of our lives
Our assurance every morning
Our defender every night


Take heart my friend, the Lord is with us
As He has been all the days of our lives
Our assurance every morning
Our defender in the night.

Monday, October 24, 2011

MOUNT HERMON - ROSWELL CONNECTION

Mount Hermon - Roswell Connection from Gary Stearman on Vimeo.

Gary and Rob Skiba discuss the correlations between two well known, but seemingly unconnected geographic locations. The 1947 Roswell UFO crash has an astonishing link to Mt. Hermon, which according to the ancient Book of Enoch, served as the gateway of the fallen angels. He will convince you that we are now revisiting “the days of Noah.”

The Collapsing Global Economy


The Collapsing Global Economy: 10/21/11 from Gary Stearman on Vimeo.
Gary reviews the current global economy landscape. Most nations are facing crippling debt with no sign of it getting better.

A NEW COMMANDMENT I GIVE YOU

A New Commandment I Give You

This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley
http://gracethrufaith.com/


Whenever I write about forgiveness, I try to emphasize the idea that forgiveness is not something we extend because the other person has earned it or deserves it, but because the Lord has commanded it. He commanded it for three reasons. First because the failure to forgive is a sin that interrupts our relationship with Him, second because it’s an opportunity for us to show our gratitude for having been forgiven, and third because by doing so we keep His commandments.
In His parable of The Unmerciful Servant, the Lord made it clear that having forgiven us for everything, He expects us to forgive each other for the little things that get between us (Matt. 18:21-35). This is critical to maintaining our fellowship with Him (Matt. 6:14-15).


Jesus didn’t die so that bad people could become good. He died so that dead people could live. In the parable of the prodigal son, the older son criticized his father for restoring the younger rebellious son to his former position. The father, a type of our Father, didn’t justify his actions by saying, “your brother who was bad has become good” but “your brother who was dead is alive (Luke 15:32).” The father forgave his younger son and clearly desired for the older one to do so as well.

Obeying the Law or Keeping the Commandments?
The Lord’s major problem with the religious leaders of the day wasn’t that they were failing in their effort to live by the law. It was that they considered themselves successful when in fact they were leaving out the most important part.
When they asked Him the first and greatest commandment He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And then He said, “And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as your self (Matt 22:36-39).” Their pride in keeping the law had produced in them a love for themselves greater than either their love for Him or their neighbors and put them in violation of both of these commandments. For this they received no credit for their obedience to the law, but rather condemnation for failure to keep the commandments (Matt 23:13-33).

The same point is made in the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:10-14). The two men were praying in the Temple at the same time. The Pharisee bragged about himself to God, thanking Him that he was not like other men. The tax collector humbly said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Jesus said the tax collector was the only one of the two who went home justified before God. The Greek word translated justified means to be rendered righteous.


If you think you’re a better Christian than someone else because you haven’t sinned like they have, you’re in danger of becoming one of the modern Pharisees. If you’ve failed to forgive a brother because you think he hasn’t earned it or doesn’t deserve it, you’re almost there. Keep going and you’ll earn the Lord’s condemnation just like they did (Luke 6:37). Confess and you’ll be forgiven, just as they were (Acts 2:41).

Romans 2:24 proclaims, “It’s God’s kindness that leads you to repentance.” Lamentations 3:22-23 agrees. “His mercies are new every morning.” No one comes to Jesus out of a desire to obey the law, but out of a realization that we can’t. It’s His mercy we seek, not His justice. Perhaps this is why the Lord gave us a “new” commandment in John 13:34. “Love one another. As I have loved you, you must love one another.” It’s so important He repeated it in John 15:12. His kindness to us is to be expressed in our kindness to one another. Out of His love He forgave us, although He didn’t need to and we didn’t deserve it, and out of that same love we are to forgive each other.

The Greatest Gift
Of all the gifts we received from Him, the greatest is love (1 Cor 13:13). It’s the distinguishing factor by which the world will know we are His (John 13:35). Concerning this love, we are to be a channel, not a reservoir, allowing it to flow through us into each other, instead of hoarding it for ourselves. “As I have loved you, you must love one another.”
“If you love me, obey what I command,” the Lord told us (John 14:15). In so doing He reminded us of the greatest commandments. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as your self “ as well as His “new” commandment, “As I have loved you, you must love one another.”


When other believers sin against us they are breaking all these commandments, failing to act out of love for the Lord and a neighbor, and failing to express the Lord’s love for us. When they admit they’ve sinned and confess the Lord forgives them. When we fail to forgive them we are breaking His commandments as well, failing to act out of love for the Lord and our neighbors, and failing to express the Lord’s love for them. When we admit we’ve sinned and confess the Lord forgives us.

For I Desire Mercy, Not Sacrifice
Some Pharisees had just accused the Lord’s disciples of breaking the Law by picking same heads of grain and eating them on the Sabbath. The Lord responded, “If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.” It’s in Matt. 12:1-8 but it’s a quote from Hosea 6:6. He was saying that God views the way we treat others as evidence of our feelings toward Him. Obedience is acceptable only if it’s undertaken in response to God’s love for us. Since no one succeeds, everyone requires God’s mercy. The fact that He grants it is evidence of His love for us. Our mercy toward one another is evidence of our love for God. It goes against human nature because it comes from the divine nature, but it’s what God desires of us. He says, “Shouldn’t you have mercy on your brother just as I had mercy on you?” He’s got a point. Selah 10-22-11.

Related Posts:
◦The Greatest Commandments
◦Forgiving Each Other
◦If You Do Not Forgive Men Their Trespasses …
◦Asking God To Forgive Others
◦Forgiven Or Not

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Grace Alone Or Grace Plus Works?

Grace Alone Or Grace Plus Works?
By Jack Kelley
http://gracethrufaith.com/

Q. What if you believe that salvation is by grace through faith alone in Christ alone but something or someone like satan keeps putting the thought in your mind that you need to do more? In other words you know what you believe but you wrestle with grace plus works. How does someone that was raised believing you had to be good and added grace to it change their heart to believe that its grace alone? I know what I believe now but its still hard because I still struggle.


A. The main difference between Grace alone and Grace plus works is the motive behind our behavior. Grace alone believers are motivated by the Holy Spirit to do good things as He directs and empowers us as a way of demonstrating our gratitude for what we’ve been given.


John wrote that it’s our compassion for those who are suffering that shows the love of God in us, and urged us to love with action and in truth not just with spoken or written word. He said that’s what sets our heart at rest whenever our heart condemns us (1 John 3:17-20). This is an example of the Holy Spirit prompting us to express our gratitude through good deeds.


Grace plus works believers are motivated to do good things by the internal desire to complete or maintain the salvation process for fear of losing what we’ve been given. Ultimately salvation becomes more dependent on the believer’s works than the Lord’s grace because Satan uses fear and uncertainty to persuade us that we’re not doing enough.


Both are givers, but only one is relying solely on the Lord’s completed work as the assurance of salvation. You can tell which of these motivators is active in your case by determining if it’s your compassion toward others or your fear for yourself that prompts your behavior. If it’s compassion, follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit and you’ll feel at peace. If it’s fear, James 4:7 tells us to resist the devil and he will flee from us. Reminding yourself of all the grace alone verses will help you resist.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thoughts on Righteousness and Character

Thoughts on Righteousness and Character
By Cameron Whitaker
Living In His Name Ministries (Facebook) 

If it is true, and i fully believe it is, that God gives us leaders after our own heart, then the gov't we complain about is acting like us. If we will take up and resolve our poor character issues with God, i would bet anything that the impact of personal righteousness and holiness (character) would change the heart of the way things are done. Wisdom comes before character, and character comes be...fore authority, and authority comes before ministry. Wisdom and character are the righteous container for authority. Ambition to be honest and truthful is character. Leading a moral life is character. Opting to do righteousness when no one can see is character. Richard Wurmbrand spoke at our church once and when asked what the greatest weapon against darkness was, he said "Personal holiness". Character. Coming into the likeness of the Son is our greatest weapon against darkness. Character.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Is There A Second Chance?

Is There A Second Chance?

This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley
http://gracethrufaith.com/

 
If you believe as I do that the Bible teaches a rapture of the Church to occur before Daniel’s 70th Week begins then you’ve no doubt wondered what will happen to those among your friends and family who will miss it. Will they get another chance to be saved?
Those Who Are Perishing


For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness (2 Thes. 2:7-12).


Here Paul makes the case that the Church has to be gone before the anti-Christ is officially revealed. Those who are perishing will believe the lie that He’s the one God has sent to rule the world. Paul taught that God will actually help them come to this false conclusion because they will have refused to believe the truth and be saved. That’s why they’re perishing.
At first glance this passage appears to say there will be no second chance, that the time for believing the truth that saves us will have ended with the rapture. The Greek word translated refused literally means they did not accept the truth. It implies that the truth was presented to them and they rejected it.
But this doesn’t really put the question to rest. Do they have to hear the Gospel and consciously reject it to be counted among those who are perishing, or does the failure to give an affirmative response result in rejection by default? Will everyone left after the rapture be numbered among the perishing, or will there be some who are not?


Without getting into the nuances of the Greek language, let’s see if there are any other places in Scripture that can help us find more of the answer. The most logical thing to do is see if we can find any convincing evidence that Gentiles can be saved after the rapture. (I assume you know that many Jews will be saved in the 70th Week because that’s one of the main reasons for it.)


It’s true that when Daniel’s 70th Week begins God will once again be focused on Israel. From Daniel 9:24-27 it’s easy to see He has unfinished business with them. Some of the things He promised to accomplish through them in verse 24 simply have not been accomplished yet. There hasn’t been an end to Israel’s rebellion against God, everlasting righteousness hasn’t come in, there are 500 prophecies that remain unfulfilled, and the Holy Place has not been anointed. None of these things involve the world at large. They all concern Daniel’s people, the Jews, and Daniel’s Holy City, Jerusalem.


What About The Gentiles?


But in our study of Acts 15 we saw that one of the things God is going to do while restoring Israel after the rapture is to provide a way for the remnant of men, including Gentiles, to seek Him (Acts. 15:17).
Evidence that this is true can be found in Rev. 7:9 which describes a multitude of post rapture believers that no one could count, coming from every nation, tribe, people and language and arriving in Heaven. This tells us that many of these believers will be gentiles, saved out of Daniel’s 70th Week before the Great Tribulation begins.
Some say this group is the church and place the rapture here, between the 6th and 7th seal judgments, but they can’t be right. In the first place John, the disciple most closely associated with the Church, doesn’t recognize them. But more to the point, their destiny is not the same as the Church’s. They are before the Throne of God, but are not seated there with Jesus like the Church will be (Ephesians 2:6) They will serve Him day and night in His Temple, but they will not reign with him and are never called either kings or priests.
I believe this great multitude of believers will have come to faith primarily because of the rapture. They will have heard the gospel but, neither accepting or rejecting it, will have put off making a decision until it’s too late. The rapture will remove the final obstacle to their conversion, providing confirmation that you and I were right in what we tried to tell them.


This is evidence of Gentiles being saved after the Rapture. But before you get too comfortable with this, remember that in order to arrive in heaven they will have had to die on Earth. They’ll be some of the first martyrs of the 70th Week. Waiting until after the rapture to be saved will not be like waiting for the next streetcar. They’ll have to endure a lot more to receive a lot less.


People have wondered how so great a multitude could die so early in the 70th Week, before the anti-Christ gets his world wide government fully stabilized and before he becomes indwelt by Satan. The Bible doesn’t say, but I think it could be the result of a back lash against believers following the rapture.


Pagan prophecies all pointing to the same general time tell us the world intuitively knows about the coming judgments. The rapture will be incontrovertible evidence that God is about ready to come down hard on them. Retaliation against God’s people because they’re mad at Him for actually doing what He said He’ll do could be one of the motivational forces behind the mass killings.
Another one could be the anger many will feel when just as they think they’re rid of all the meddling Christians, clearing the way for the utopian life they’ve dreamed about, a whole new flock will show up to ruin things. Remember, with the Holy Spirit gone, the restraining influence that’s kept evil in check all these years will be gone. “Kill the infidels” could become the rallying cry of the unsaved world.
(Some New Age teachers say the world is headed for it’s final leap of evolution. It’s a spiritual one that will usher in worldwide peace and harmony. They say born again Christians and Orthodox Jews are holding this up by clinging to the outmoded notion of a single Creator God who rules over all and they will have to taken out of its way. They liken the rapture to the surgical removal of a life threatening cancer from an otherwise healthy body.)
This slaughter of believers will soon be seen as an act of God’s mercy because certainly not all the post rapture believers will immediately be put to death. Others will have years of suffering ahead of them beginning with horrific natural and supernatural events that poison the air and water and including such an agonizing attack of demonic locusts that men will long for death to release them (Rev. 9:1-6). A third of mankind will die from these judgments (Rev. 9:18).


Remember, the Great Tribulation will not have begun yet. Neither will this be the last post rapture chance for Gentiles to be saved. Rev. 14:6-7 speaks of another world wide altar call just after the Great Tribulation begins,
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
This one will come right after the mark of the beast is introduced, and will be followed by a warning that taking the mark will result in permanent seperation from God and a guaranteed eternity of suffering (Rev. 14:9-11). The judgments of the Great Tribulation will be so severe that if left to run their course no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, the Lord will put an end to them after 3 ½ years.


I’m Glad That’s Over


Only about half of the post rapture world’s population will survive until the end. During the face-to-face judgments that follow the 2 nd Coming the Lord will find believers among the survivors, both Jews and Gentiles. In spite of complete exclusion from even basic levels of society and a never ending fear of capture and death, they will live to stand before Him and receive their reward.
The parables of Matt. 25 describe this and the Sheep and Goats judgment is exclusively about surviving Gentiles (Matt. 25:31-32). The ones who have demonstrated their faith by their actions will be welcomed live into the Kingdom. They’ll help repopulate the nations of Earth. Egypt and Assyria are specifically mentioned in Isaiah 19:25, but I believe there will be other Millennial nations too.


Maybe some of your currently unbelieving friends and family will find themselves among one or another of these post rapture groups. If so those who won’t be martyred early on will have endured a time you wouldn’t want your worst enemy to experience. Jesus said it will be the the most terrible time ever to befall mankind. Please don’t adopt a fatalistic attitude about them, and don’t settle for post rapture salvation on their behalf.
But if you’re beating them over the head with the Gospel, don’t do that any more either. It won’t work. Your most effective strategy will be a two-fold one. Pray for their salvation with the same intensity you would pray for their recovery from a life threatening disease. And show them the benefits of being a believer by letting your unshakeable faith be a beacon of light and a source of hope in this dark and dying world. Nothing else will be as effective. We don’t have very much time left so if you haven’t begun yet now’s the time. You can almost hear the Footsteps of the Messiah. 10-15-11

Tags: Daniel's 70th Week, Great Tribulation, Rapture, Salvation, Second Coming.

Related Posts:
◦Will They Get Another Chance?
◦What Is The Lie And Who Will Believe It?
◦Are God’s Wrath And The Great Tribulation The Same?
◦Who Preaches The Gospel In Every Kingdom?
◦Times Of The Gentiles Vs. The Church Age

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Pre-Trib Rapture In Acts 15:13-18

The Pre-Trib Rapture In Acts 15:13-18
This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley

http://gracethrufaith.com/


A number of people have wondered about using Acts 15:13-18 to support my position that the rapture of the church has to precede the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week. Most of their comments have contained a request for a clearer understanding of why I do this, so here it is.
It was almost 20 years after the cross when the Council of Jerusalem took place. James, Peter, Paul, Barnabas, some believers from the Pharisees, and others had gathered to settle the issue of whether Gentiles had to convert to Judaism before they could become Christians. But another question, unspoken, was also on their minds and as Jews it was even more important to them. “If not, what’s to become of Israel?”
The Pharisees argued that the path to Christianity for Jews and Gentiles alike was through Judaism. To them this meant keeping the Law, being circumcised and following the traditions in addition to recognizing Jesus as the Messiah. Then Peter, Barnabas, and Paul presented a different opinion, based on seeing firsthand the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles. They said because of that, Gentiles should be allowed to come directly into the Church. Now let’s turn to Acts 15:13 for the outcome of the meeting.
When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. Simon (Peter) has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. (Acts 15:13-14)
The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:
‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ that have been known for ages. (Acts 15:15-18)

What Does That Mean?In simple language James, the brother of Jesus and Head of the Church in Jerusalem, said Israel was being set aside while the Lord took a people from among the Gentiles for Himself (or for His name’s sake.) Remember, 69 weeks of Daniel’s 70 Week prophecy had transpired. It was becoming obvious that with the Lord’s crucifixion the clock had stopped short of the promised 70 weeks. Although Jerusalem and the Temple had not yet been destroyed the Lord’s prophecy that they soon would be was a matter of public record.

Already there were signs that all was not well where the Temple was concerned. The Jewish Talmud records four ominous indications that trouble was coming. (Talmud Mas. Yoma 39b)

1. In the Yom Kippur service two goats were brought to the High Priest, one was to be “for the Lord” (the peace offering) and the other was “for Azazel”, also known as the scape goat. They were chosen by lot and the lot for the Lord’s goat had always come up in the High priest’s right hand. After the cross it never did again.

2. A scarlet cord tied the scape goat to the door of the temple during the service. After the High priest symbolically placed the sins of Israel on the head of the scape goat, he cut the cord leaving some on the goat’s horn and the rest on the Temple door. Then it was led to its death in the wilderness. Previously, the portion on the Temple door had always turned white when the scape goat died. This was seen as a fulfillment of Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins are like scarlet they shall be white as snow” indicating Israel’s sins had been forgiven. After the cross the cord never turned white again.

3. The westernmost light on the seven branched Menorah would no longer stay lit. The number seven signifies divine completion, while man’s number is 6. The seven lights meant that together with God, Israel was complete and brought light to the world. But now, with only 6 lights that would burn, it was obvious God had left them.

4. The main Temple doors began opening by themselves. The priests saw this as a warning that Zechariah 11:1 would soon be fufilled. “Open your doors, O Lebanon, so that fires may devour your cedars.”

During the conquest of Jerusalem the Romans set fire to the Temple. It’s roof was made of cedar from Lebanon covered in thin sheets of gold. The intense heat from the fire melted the gold and it ran down the walls into the cracks between the stones. After the fire had burned out, the Roman soldiers dismantled the Temple stone by stone to get the gold. When they were finished the Lord’s Palm Sunday prophecy had been dramatically fulfilled. “They will not leave one stone on another because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (Luke 19:44) .

When James referred to Peter speaking of the Lord taking from the Gentiles a people for Himself in Acts 15:13-14 the Greek words he used for “taking from” were lambano ek. Together they mean to take (something) with the hand in order to carry (it) away from a certain time and place. In this case the something is the Church (the people for Himself), and the certain time and place would be carried away from is the restoration of Israel on Earth for the final seven years of their covenant with God. We know this because the first two words of Acts 15:15, which talks about rebuilding the Temple, are “after this”, after the Church is gone. Whether he knew it or not, James was saying the rapture of the Church would precede the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week.

Then What Happens?
In Acts 15:15-18 James quoted from Amos 9:11-12 to confirm his understanding that after the Lord has taken the Church He’ll cause the Temple to be rebuilt. Like we saw above they knew it would soon be destroyed, but James used a prophecy from Amos that was already 800 years old to show the Temple will be rebuilt when the Lord has finished with the Church. After that the gentiles who will have missed the rapture will have one final chance to be saved as well. This settled the issue of Israel’s future.

From Daniel 9:24-27 we know that rebuilding their Temple will be a sign that Israel has returned to its covenant relationship with God and the remaining 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy is under way. The only reason for a Temple to exist is to allow Israel to conduct Old Covenant rituals and sacrifices. Daniel 9:27 says the anti-Christ will put an end to sacrifice and offering in the middle of the 70th week. This tells us a Temple will have been erected and sacrifices offered again beginning sometime earlier.

So here’s the scope of the passage. Following the cross, Israel was temporarily set aside while God began His redemptive work among the Gentiles. His first work was to build His Church, against which the gates of Hell will not prevail (Matt.18:18).

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25)

Romans 11:25 tells us that Israel was to be hardened in part during this time. Paul was talking about Israel’s heart which would be hardened against understanding. Remember in Luke 19:41-45 Jesus said the obvious fact that their long awaited Messiah had visited them would hence forth be hidden from their eyes. Paul said this would be the case all through the time the Lord was focused on the Church. The fact that some say more Jews have come to Jesus in the past 19 years than in the previous 1900 years may be an indication that the time of hardening is coming to an end.

In Paul’s day, the Greek word translated full number (fullness) was often used in a nautical sense. It referred to the number of crew members necessary for a commercial ship to set sail. Because of the dangers involved in being caught short handed during a storm at sea, ships could not leave port until they had the full number of sailors aboard. Also the word translated “come in” meant to arrive at a scheduled destination. (We’ve all heard the phrase “waiting for my ship to come in”.) In Romans 11:25 Paul used these metaphors to describe the Church leaving Earth and arriving at our Heavenly destination before Israel’s heart is softened.

When the full number of the Gentiles has been reached we’ll be whisked away to our Father’s house (John 14:2-3) while He turns His attention back to Israel. At that time, the remaining seven years of Daniel’s prophecy will play out. Through the most devastating judgments ever visited upon Earth the nations among which Israel has been scattered will be completely destroyed, Israel will be purified to prepare for the coming Kingdom Age, and the remnant of the Gentiles will get their final chance at salvation.

But Wait, There’s MoreIf you stop to think about, it these few verses in Acts 15 answer several important theological questions. They show the New covenant did not replace the Old Covenant, but merely interrupted it. They prove God didn’t intend for the Church to replace Israel in His plan forever, He just set Israel aside temporarily so the door of salvation could be opened to the Gentiles. In Isaiah 49:6 the Father said to the Son;
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
With the added insight from Romans 11:25 we can also confirm that Israel and the Church are like oil and water in that they don’t mix. For one to be here the other has to be gone. The two systems are theologically incompatible. You can’t have a system of faith evidenced by obedience to the Law complete with daily animal sacrifices functioning beside a system of grace through faith alone with no other requirement than to believe in the one He has sent (John 6:29).
Therefore the Church is not the next dot on a straight line from Creation to Eternity. It’s a giant right hand turn that takes believers to a unique and exclusive destiny that no other believers will share, and allows the Lord to fulfill His promises to Israel at the same time.
We tend to think the only reason for the rapture is to get the Church out of the way of the End Times judgments. But this shows us there’s another reason why the Church can’t be on Earth during any of Daniel’s 70th Week. We have to leave so Israel can come back to God. From the looks of it, our departure is coming soon. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 10-08-11
Tags: Daniel's 70th Week, End Times, Rapture
Related Posts:
◦No Salvation After The Rapture?
◦The Fullness Of The Gentiles
◦The Rapture. Now or Later?
◦Why The Rapture Will Precede Ezekiel 38
◦Israel And The Church. Mutually Exclusive
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