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.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Late, Great Book of the Revelation

Republished from omegaletter.com
In Defense of the Faith
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Wendy Wippel

From where I sit (and I sincerely hope I’m wrong. But I don’t think so) the church as a whole seems to have kicked the prophetic Scriptures to the curb lately (despite the fact at least a third of the Bible is blatant prophecy). Notably, the book of Revelation (Despite the fact that the book of Revelation is the only book that promises special blessings to the saint (or sinner for that matter) who takes it on).  What gives?

Particularly with such obvious fulfillment of Biblical prophecy in our relative lifetimes, beginning with Israel’s return to the land in 1948 and continuing at a rapid pace since.
Particularly since the first verse of Revelation explains its importance:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. (Revelation 1:1-3)
So I did some research, and as it happens, pastors that do teach prophecy have considerable insight into the reasons that their colleagues shy away.
Actually, “Why they chicken out” would be more accurate. And the reasons fall into a few categories.
  • Too controversial  There are several different interpretations of  prophetic scriptures, which could cause division.  So pastors don’t want to go there.
(As a famous Memphis pastor Adrian Rogers use to say, better divided by truth than united in error.)
  • Too Complicated.. you can pretty much master many Bible topics in a fairly short amount of time, but understanding Revelation really requires mastering most of the Bible first, and then a fair amount of time in the prophetic scriptures themselves.  A seminary told me today that their Master of Divinity degree included only one course on prophetic scriptures, composing less 5% of prospective pastors’ total study.  And once working as a pastor, with management and meetings and counseling and squbbles over which shade of rose to pain the sanctuary? Who’d have the time? 
  • Too Depressing  Revelation is about death, destruction, and punishment for sin, which just isn’t very uplifting.  Well, and about the long-awaited establishment of the Kingdom of Jehovah God himself on earth.   But lots of pastors would rather just think positive thoughts about the little fiefdom they are creating all inside the walls of their church.
  • Too dangerous, Part I.  People (read that “potential giving units”) may think that their church is full of the kind of looney toons that actually believe that a risen Christ will return. (Exacerbated by all the date-setters that do, in fact, perpetuate that stereotype.)
  • Too Dangerous, Part 2. People (read that “potential giving units”) may think we’ve saying Jesus is coming back for forty years and nothing has happened, so we better stop.
Actually, the Bible saw that coming:
"Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us,the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." (2 Peter 3:1-7)
‘nough said.  
Too Chicken
The reality is that as the 21st century progresses the Berean saint (Acts 17) who accepted the Word of God eagerly and studied it daily is rapidly being replaced by the Burger King Saint who wants it their way—meaning self-help, feel-good, uplifting and encouraging  messages.
Think Joel Osteen and “your best life now". And nothing else. 
Heavy Sigh.
Last but not least,
Too Impressed with Themselves (Way too)
Some pastors have just decided to edit the Bible so they like it better. Rick Warren, for example, who said in the Purpose Driven life that prophecy is a distraction from our mission and that those who study prophecy (as part of the Holy Scriptures) are somehow “not fit for the kingdom of God.”
Funny, but if I remember correctly, didn’t Jesus kind of chew the Pharisees out for not knowing what was predicted? (Matthew 16:2-3)
Didn’t he tell us to watch? (Matthew 25:13)
Didn’t Peter tell us to look for his return?
“The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” (II Peter 3:10)
Didn’t Paul tell us that,
“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. (I Thess 5:1-6)
Prophecy is-- at the least--watching God keep His promises. (And on that basis I know some very lost people who nonetheless have some interest. And for those who know him, the relationship itself should be motivating enough.)
Because  for those saved by His Blood it’s much more.  He is our bridegroom. And what kind of bride is ambivalent about her wedding day? Any bride who loves her intended longs for the next time they’ll be together. Anticipates it. Waits for it. Longs for it.
Which makes a verse in II Timothy all the more interesting:
“There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8 NKJV)
The crown of righteous is given to those who love his appearing.
What does that say about those who don’t care about prophecy?
About Wendy Wippel
Last week: A Saint by any Other Name

© www.omegaletter.com

Habakkuk Speaks Again

Republished from  gracethrufaith.com
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

The prophet Habakkuk wrote about the same time as Jeremiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel. It was just before the Babylonians swooped down upon Judah to punish them for their idolatry, finally carrying them off in 586 BC after 19 years of siege and failed diplomacy. As they left, they destroyed the city and the Temple, taking its priceless artifacts along with their captives to Babylon for 70 years of servitude. All this had been foretold by Jeremiah from Jerusalem and Ezekiel from Babylon, where he and Daniel had been held as hostages since the early stages of the conquest.

First, A Summary

Habakkuk’s message differs from the other prophets in that it consists solely of a dialog with God. It opens with Habakkuk’s complaint that God would allow so much evil to prosper in the land without doing anything about it.

In response, Habakkuk learns that God is finally going to act, but has chosen the Babylonians, a people much more evil than the Israelites, to do the job. He can’t believe it. Sure, Judah deserves to be punished, but how can a righteous God justify using such an evil force as Babylon against His own people? Instead of being judged themselves, the most depraved and unjust nation on Earth is going to be rewarded with the chance to punish God’s people. How is that fair? Now Habakkuk’s really upset!

Throughout he gets the benefit of God’s perspective and finally, as is always the case when man questions God, winds up apologizing.

Now, The Application

While the prophecies of Habakkuk were largely fulfilled in the Babylonian conquest, there’s a striking similarity between conditions in Judah in 600BC and those in the Western World, especially America, today.

Commenting on Israel’s history, the Apostle Paul said, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.” (1 Cor. 10:11) In other words, events in Israel’s history had the dual purpose of instructing them through experience and us through observation.

I believe it was Mark Twain who said, “The only time experience is the best teacher is when it’s somebody else’s experience.” This is exactly what God had in mind for us, to learn from Israel’s experience. And that includes the events of Habakkuk’s time.

Someone else said that those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it, so as we go through this study let’s remember that, like ancient Israel, much of the West at one time claimed to believe in God and pledged our fidelity to Him. But now we’ve denied that belief in large part, and have withdrawn our fidelity.

Like Israel we began by first tolerating and then following other gods. Like Israel we started out by including them with Him in our worship and moved from there to excluding Him altogether in favor of them. As we’ve done this, our system of justice has failed and evil is triumphing over good all too often. In short we’re as ripe for judgment as they were.
Is it merely coincidence that a powerful force from the very region on Earth that spawned the Babylonians, a force we consider to be much more evil than we are, has arisen with the stated goal of judging God’s people both Jew and Christian? Or is history repeating itself? If it is then the Prophecies of Habakkuk could have easily been written for our time as well. Let’s find out.

Habakkuk’s Complaint

The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet received. How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted. (Habakkuk 1:1-4)

As it was in Habakkuk’s time, concerned believers bemoan the current state of affairs in the world wondering why God puts up with it. They witness the break down of family, the increase of violence, the systematic perversion of justice, and the seeming triumph of evil over good, and shake their heads in bewilderment.

The Lord ‘s Answer

“Look at the nations and watch- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own. They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor. Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like a vulture swooping to devour; they all come bent on violence. Their hordes] advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand. They deride kings and scoff at rulers. They laugh at all fortified cities; they build earthen ramps and capture them. Then they sweep past like the wind and go on— guilty men, whose own strength is their god.” (Habakkuk 1:5-11)

Many wonder if the dramatic increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters is signaling God’s displeasure, but very few have defined the sudden rise of Islamic terrorism as a judgment from God. Even considering the possibility provokes the same question from us as it did from Habakkuk. How could a righteous God use such an evil force against His people? And yet in the past He’s used the Egyptians, the Philistines, the Assyrians, the Romans, the Germans, the Russians and others, all godless in their time and all evil in their motivations. The only difference is that He came right out and told His people He was using many of those others, and so far as we know He hasn’t said anything like that about Islamic terrorism. (Of course the terrorists have said it, but nobody believes them.) Again I ask, is it just coincidence or are we supposed to draw conclusions about this from history? Maybe we’re just like the people of Habakkuk’s time in that we wouldn’t believe it even if we were told.

Habakkuk’s Second Complaint

O LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die. O LORD, you have appointed them to execute judgment; O Rock, you have ordained them to punish. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? You have made men like fish in the sea, like sea creatures that have no ruler. The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad.
Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives in luxury and enjoys the choicest food. Is he to keep on emptying his net, destroying nations without mercy? (Habakkuk 1:12-17)

Surely the Lord couldn’t be behind the rise in terrorism. He’s too pure. He couldn’t possibly condone that kind of evil, could He? But somehow, like the tentacles of some giant yet invisible octopus, Islamic terrorists have slithered into every western society and according to some have positioned themselves undetected at our most vulnerable points, awaiting the signal to strike. And we admittedly have no certain defense against what will surely be a devastating attack. “It’s inevitable,” we’re told. How did they accomplish this? Will the Lord really permit this to happen to his own people?

And if He does, will the terrorists then acknowledge Him as their benefactor after they’ve struck? Will they proclaim Him as their God? Or will they give the credit to the one they worship, offering sacrifices and burning incense to him as if he had brought them the victory?

The Israelites expected God to protect them from the Babylonians. They convinced themselves that He would never permit any harm to come to them, even as the Babylonians were camped outside their gates. They were His people, after all. Never mind their unfaithfulness, their lusting after false gods, their disrespect for the fatherless, the down trodden, the widows. Never mind that they only gave lip service to their beliefs, that their worship had become form without substance, ceremony without meaning, that they sacrificed their children in the name of prosperity, and worshipped the idols of the harvest.
It’s different now, we say. But is it? We sing, “God bless America” playing lip service to our relationship while our sins pile up to the heavens just as theirs did. And even now, as our leaders admit the inevitability of further attacks and as our countries suffer storms and earthquakes and the threat of pandemic disease, are our churches and synagogues full of repentant worshipers, praying as Habakkuk did, “In wrath, remember mercy”? (Habakkuk 3:2)

For over 50 years Christians have looked with concern on the plight of Israel while Islamic enemies periodically tried to wipe them off the face of the Earth. Now the fight’s come to us, just as they promised it would, and we seem surprised. We don’t even consider that this might be another, stronger warning from God.

A few conservative preachers call terrorism an attack on our religion, but not even they suggest that it might be more than that. They join the secular voices demanding stronger fences on our borders, bigger weapons in our arsenals, and tighter restrictions on our populations, but where are the voices calling for repentance from our lifestyle, or for mass prayer vigils in our auditoriums and stadiums? Are we already so far gone that God has spoken to them as He spoke to Jeremiah. “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. (Jeremiah 7:16) We’ll find out next time in the conclusion of our study in Habakkuk.

America´s last call

Brexit: Soros Defeated by Act of God


Republished via olivetreeviews.org


As Breitbart News predicted, severe flooding hammering the UK on Election Day depressed British turnout enough to assure a victory for the “Brexit” from the European Union.

Breitbart News reported that George Soros had served as “The Puppet Master” of the E.U. “remain” campaign by mobilizing British elites to spread fear that a vote to “leave” would cause the pound to be devalued by 15 to 20 percent and GDP per household to fall by $6,321

With the pre-election polls showing the “remain” leading and London bookies offering 13 to 1 odds against the “Brexit,” the shock and awe of the leave vote winning by 52 to 48 percent sent UK stock prices crashing down harder than the initial September 15, 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers hit US markets.

Breitbart News on the eve of the vote predicted that an “Act of God” level storm system was about to wallop the UK and favor the Brexit. The worst of the day’s torrential rain storms and severe flooding hit hardest in Southeast England, which was expected to be the strongest area for the pro-remain vote.

The chaos depressed the national vote to a turnout of just 72 percent, versus the approximately 80 percent expected in the days preceding the referendum. The bad weather did not deter “leave” voters, but meaningfully suppressed the “remain” vote
With Breitbart News now predicting the Brexit will cause the United Kingdom to lose their top-tier AAA bond rating, the British pound plunged by -11 percent (its biggest decline in 45 years) and FTSE stock market tanked by -8 percent.
The Brexit “contagion” spread globally as Japanese stocks tumbled by -8 percent, Hong Kong shares were down by 5 percent and the U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 4 percent.

But gold surged by almost 6 percent and continental Europe shares rose by 1 to 2 percent.
Professor Rob Ford of Manchester University told Bloomberg, “This is the biggest shock to European politics since the fall of the Berlin Wall.” He predicts that Prime Minister David Cameron, who championed the “remain” effort, will resign tomorrow “after a rejection as emphatic as this.”

The reverberations from the Brexit triumph will motivate populist insurgent parties across the European continent to demand similar referendums. Nigel Farage, who led the fight for the Brexit, told the BBC, “Let June 23rd go down in our history as our Independence Day.” He added, “The euroskeptic genie is out of the bottle and it will now not be put back.”

How deep the Father´s love for us - Selah


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Final Wake Up Call


A Final Wake Up Call
 
Commentary by Two Norwegian brothers
Understand The Times International: Roger Oakland Ministries
www.understandthetimes.org
1.800.689.1888

We were musing in a conversation the other day about some of the issues associated with the difficulties of doctrinal divergence. Our discussion focused on a certain fellowship of churches.  Like countless others, we were greatly disturbed by the seemingly steady shift to the slippery slope of doctrinal relativism that seems to be plaguing many within this movement at the moment. 
 
Although we completely believe God is in control and will ultimately perform His will in and through the lives of people within His Church, we also see a call to the leadership of any movement in order to do so. A lack of action in the midst of opportunity, for the sake of “letting God handle it,” is nothing short of Christian fatalism. 

We believe 2 Timothy 4:2 makes it clear that we are to “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” These are not passive but an active response to the need for direction and correction with the church. As we well know, Paul says in
1 Timothy 5:20:

Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
We were both part of a fellowship for many years. One of the main themes was the “perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry.”  We were inspired by our leader to be reproducers of all we were taught by word and works.
We have both felt an “uneasiness” with this subtle shift of emphasis of ministry and saw a “new breed” of pastors being raised up. Many of them seemed to have a strangely different ethos for ministry than what we both had witnessed during our years of association with this fellowship. Some leaders often proudly announced, “We don’t need to follow in the footsteps of our leaders.” They did not seem to understand that in taking the name of the mother church, they were to adhere to some basic essential doctrines for the sake of unity in order to avoid confusion.

As we struggled to understand this new paradigm, we decided to do a simple comparative analysis of great church movements of the past and see if there were any similarities with their rise and ruin that we were witnessing within the broader landscape of this worldwide fellowship.  

We hereby offer an abbreviated overview of our findings for the consideration of the leaders of this fellowship of churches before it is too late.
…………………………………………………
We have all heard of the M-Model for the life cycle of movements of God through men. We heard the founding pastor of this movement once teach that God starts with a Man who is given a Mission by God that becomes a Ministry. It may later grow and turn into a Movement which ultimately ends up a Monument. Are we therefore destined to see the day when the movement we once participated in will end up as another monument that will be dissected in Church History lessons and discarded by critics like all other movements before it?
What is fascinating about this M-Model representation is although it accurately identifies the five phases of past movements that became monuments, it does not address the “how” question. How does this problem arise, and will the leaders resign themselves to their ultimate destiny by becoming yet again another Monument rather than a Movement that continues from generation to generation?

In summary, we have found through our research and observation there is a P-Model (as we call it) that is interesting to consider as we believe there are a number of examples of this principle in Scripture. Simply put the Man on a Mission with a Ministry generally starts out with a heart for the PEOPLE.  The people are simply the focus of the ministry, and all resources flow in the direction from the minister to the people.

As the ministry grows into a Movement, some who join have their eye on a POSITION over the people. We believe these pseudo pastors are more interested in standing in the Pulpit than washing the feet of the people.  In this type of ministry, the people are there to give the minister his audience.

Over time, as the popularity of the movement grows, they acquire PROPERTY. The acquisition of tangible assets within a movement is inevitable as the natural desire of most ministers is to move out of the “tabernacle and into the Temple.” They see this as God’s provision for the ministry. 

But as we all know, “owning things” can sometimes really mean that those things “own us.” People are therefore encouraged to “support the ministry” and the flow now runs from the people to the “ministry.”  Worse yet, now that they have a temple, they have a very large staff and a very large budget to meet. They find it difficult to address certain issues that should be addressed because they need to raise a lot of money to keep the machine running. If they were to address some of these very important issues that have prophetic importance, many of their big supporters would leave and find another church where they are more comfortable and where things are less controversial. This is a dangerous pathway that is well understood in light of what is often known as “Peter Druckerism.”

Such methods are described in the Bible as the scratching of “itching ears.” This can and will include many church-growth methods that may even introduce heretical teachings that lead to ecumenism that leads to Rome that leads to a one-world religion. This, of course, leads us back to the Word of God that many will not read nor understand because the leaders tell stories or entertain their flocks with a lot of stand-up humor. As we know, going to Hell is not funny at all. Hell is real, and Jesus said there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth there. 

During this phase of development (apostasy), it could be said that the “Flock is being Fleeced” by the wolves in sheep’s clothing. The Bible does mention this has happened throughout history. Because of the many doctrines of demons, apostasy will be repeated in the Last Days before Jesus comes to take His bride.

As the property holdings of the ministry increase, the next phase kicks into gear where the ministry team is infiltrated and finally overrun by those who are interested in the POWER that Position and Property yield. At this point, the ministry to the people begins to breakdown completely as they are viewed as subservient to the leadership of an institution that has eclipsed the free-flowing movement of God.
 
Corporate style structures and controls are put into place to “manage the masses.”  In the Bible, we are told about the Ichabod account. Some years ago someone tried to warn the leaders about what was taking place and no one paid any attention. Some became very angry and stated that this person had fired a missile over the bow. Actually, it was not a missile, it was the truth because it was biblical to warn the “brothers” of the dangers of operating a church like a business. Anyone could see this if they were not too close to the epicenter. 

Now, with the people in submission to the powerful leaders, moguls in the Movement take over. The PERPETUATION of the movement becomes of paramount importance. When the original leader starts to age, those who want to take his place rear their ugly heads. While not obvious to the sheep, it is obvious to some of the Cardinals. When they meet, they ask the leader to leave the room and then they ask each other – “Who will be the next Pope?” 
This is when the Movement really starts to fall apart. Some see this happening and take down the logo that the movement has endorsed. They put up their own logo and even slightly change their name. Apparently, they do not want to be totally associated. Some have names already made up so that if something happens they will say, “NOT US,” we are not of that brand. 

Worse yet, many of the leaders are not concerned with sound doctrine. They continue with their position of power and assemble more property and want even more and more. They also love notoriety.  Rather than being led by the Spirit of God, they now are led by their flesh. As Paul wrote to the Galatians in Chapter 3 verse 3:
Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
The movement finally reaches the stage of becoming no more than a monument to something that happened in the past. The leadership members are now more interested in continuing a dynasty rather than the distribution of God’s Word, God’s way. Sadly, the survival of the organization becomes more important than the service of the people. Perhaps the best way to understand what has happened is to read Zechariah chapter 11. Then it will be easy to understand why this is happening now and why it happened before throughout biblical history.

To illustrate this from a biblical point of view, we will take you to the familiar story of Gideon. Gideon had a great start. He is one of those characters who springs to mind when you consider how God uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things. His unique blend of humility and determination made him an ideal person for God to demonstrate both His incredible power and His supernatural provision through this judge of Israel. 
In Judges chapters 6-7 we are confronted with his modest beginnings, his zeal for righteousness, and his deep commitment to the calling of God. His performance as an unwavering leader in the face of insurmountable odds has become an icon of fearless commitment to duty.  

Judges 6:13-15:
Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.  And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?  And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.
He had a passion for the People of God. We are all familiar with his mighty victory over the Midianites because of his obedience to God. But watch what happens after the victory.
Judges 8:22:  

Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian
.
They wanted a King. Not only did they want Gideon to “rule over them,” they wanted to establish a dynasty.  Rather than remain humble and submitted to God, Gideon allowed the people to “bless him.”
Judges 8:23-27:
And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you. And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey. (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) And they answered, We will willingly give them. And they spread a garment, and did cast therein every man the earrings of his prey.  And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels’ necks. And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.
Gideon’s mishandling the result of God’s victory became a “snare” to him and also to his house. HOW?  Property always seems to be an Achilles Heel for many ministers over the years. 

The problem really escalated with one of Gideon’s sons named Abimelech. Interesting that the name Abimelech means “my father is king.” It is also the title given to the king of the Philistines (Israel’s arch enemy).
Judges 9:1-2:
And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother’s brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother’s father, saying, Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether is better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, which are threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I am your bone and your flesh..”
Judges 9:5
And he went unto his father’s house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, being threescore and ten persons, upon one stone:
Abimelech carries out a classic corporate consolidation of power—kill-off the competition, and establish fear in the hearts of anyone who would oppose him.

Is there a lesson in all of this for the leadership of the fellowship we are writing about? While we are not giving specifics, as the saying goes, time will tell.
It is very important to follow the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, and not to follow any man or any movement.  Otherwise the movement will be judged just like the children of Israel were judged over and over again.

God used the prophets to warn the leaders of Israel, but they hardened their hearts and refused to listen. They did not repent but instead they lied and kept on sinning. They had no fear of God. Worse yet, many did not know God at all.
As Jesus will state on Judgment Day as recorded in Matthew 7:23-24:
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock..
This is very sobering for those who think they are home free and that they will spend eternity with Jesus. 

Remember the question Jesus asked in
Luke 18: 8:
Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
Now finally, it would be good for everyone to read the entire chapter of Ezekiel 8. If you want to know the end of the story, you will have to read the secular papers. What is coming is ugly. Christianity will suffer greatly. Tragically, because of jealousy, there will be a lot of arguing and fighting. No one will want to take the blame and will pass the blame onto someone else.

What’s more, other things will be revealed that have been hidden because the God of the Bible sees everything.
History repeats itself according to Solomon (Ecclesiastes 1:9). We need to be like the Tribe of Issachar:
And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment. 
1 Chronicles 12:32:
And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.

This is a serious reminder based on the Word of God.
We also know that God is merciful. He is not willing that “any should perish.” There is not one without sin except the One who took all of our sins upon Himself and shed His blood that we might have eternal life. Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd. Jesus lived a sinless life and then sacrificed His life that whoever believes on Him will live eternally with Him. He died, and then He rose from the grave, and He lives today.

There is still time for all those who will just bow their knee and repent from sin.
The time is short. We both know the verse we learned by memory when we were little boys – from our Norwegian Dads. John chapter 3 verse 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.

Jesus is coming soon – Maranatha.
Written by two Norwegian brothers
(based on God’s Word)

Monday, June 27, 2016

J.D.Farag- Mid-East Prophecy Update June 26 2016

Another civil war on its way, thanks to the media


Another civil war on its way, thanks to the media

Janet Mefferd, host of "The Janet Mefferd Show," a radio program heard coast to coast, has more discernment in her vintage mic than most reporters have in their entire newsrooms. Recently she tweeted: "Left won't stop Muslim ‘refugee' flood to U.S. just b/c small % are violent jihadists. But they apply reverse logic to try to…

The Second Advent of Christ - Pr. Charles Lawson

Topics that are not preached anymore - Pr. Charles Lawson

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ironside: Are You Born Again or Merely Trying to Imitate Christ?

Ironside (1876-1951)
Ironside (1876-1951)
By Harry Ironside
 
It is important for us to have God’s Word. If you do not remember a thing I say, if you will only get what is written here into heart and mind, it will be well worth while. For after all, as David says: “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple,” and Paul tells us that we are cleansed by the washing of water by the Word. The Epistle to the Ephesians, as you doubtless well know, carries us up to the very highest peak of Christian privilege. It is the letter that pictures believers as having been raised up together and seated together in Christ in the heavenly places. You could not get any higher, as long as you are here on earth, than Ephesians carries you, but, on the other hand, this letter is just as intensely practical as it is deeply doctrinal.


The first three chapters are largely doctrinal, being mainly occupied with our place, our position, and our privileges in Christ. They contemplate us as members of that new creation of which our risen glorified Lord is the Head. But the last three chapters are perhaps as intensely practical as any portion of the Word of God. Unfortunately, very often in our study of this Epistle, we stop at the end of the third chapter. We delight to read of our privileges in Christ. We glory in the fact that we have been made accepted in the Beloved, that God has linked us up eternally with His Blessed Son, but we are inclined to forget that privileges such as these imply tremendous responsibilities. So if we delight in the first three chapters, we, should be glad to let the last three search us to the very depths of our being. You will notice in this Letter there is a great deal about the Christian’s walk. Seven times we have the word “walk,” and once the word “walked.” Twice the reference is to our walk in our unconverted days, the way we behaved before we were saved, and the other six references have to do with the walk of the new creation, that which should characterize us now as redeemed men and women.

Both appear in the 17th verse: “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.” That is the way we used to walk, when we were unsaved. We walked in the vanity of our minds, just chasing after the vain empty things of this world, and we never found any satisfaction. Yet men and women all around us are living like that. Solomon tried it to the full and then gave his verdict: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity and vexation of spirit,” or, as it might be rendered, “Emptiness of emptinesses, all is emptiness, and a chasing after the wind.” That is what the men of the world are doing. That is what we were once doing, we who are now saved; we walked after the vanity of our minds, until God, in infinite grace, awakened us and gave us a sight of His Beloved Son. What a wonderful event that was! What a marvelous thing, when we were brought to see something of our lost, ruined, undone condition, as poor, guilty sinners going on to judgment, and then God turned our eyes to the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, and trusting in Him, our souls were saved!
“I once was far away from God,
On ruin’s dark and fatal road,
And little dreamed I’d see the day
When I should tread the narrow way.
“But while from God I wandered far,
And with His holy will made war,
My Saviour met me far astray,
And beckoned me to come away.
“He said on Calvary’s Cross He died;
A sacrifice for sin was made.
And all because He loved me so,
Then how could I do else than go?”
So that ended one chapter in my life; that ended the times past, when I walked in the ways of the Gentiles. You know what that means, don’t you? Let me plead with you, whoever you may be, if you are out of Christ today, don’t think to find satisfaction in a world that has never satisfied anybody. It has disappointed everybody whoever sought satisfaction in it, during all these vast millenniums, and you can depend upon it, it is going to disappoint you. But oh, that even today, you might turn to One Who never disappoints, to our blessed Lord Jesus, and find in Him everlasting salvation! Then you may be able to sing:
“I tried the broken cisterns, Lord,
But ah! the waters failed!
E’en as I stooped to drink they’d fled,
And mocked me as I wailed.
“The pleasures lost I sadly mourned,
But never wept for Thee,
Till grace the sightless eyes received,
Thy loveliness to see.
!‘Now none but Christ can satisfy,
None other name for me;
There’s love, and life, and lasting joy,
Lord Jesus, found in Thee.”
The apostle Paul to the Ephesians is addressing people who have found Christ and been found of Him, and yet he has some very serious things to say to them, because the remarkable fact is that salvation does not necessarily imply that one enters immediately upon full holiness of life. Salvation is the start, it is the entrance into a new life, and then we shall know, if we follow on to know the Lord and to walk in His ways. So the command comes: “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk.” You are not to be like the world: you are not to go on in the way you once did, “in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them because of the blindness of their hearts.” We who have trusted Christ have received divine life, and with that there come new cravings and new longings, and, thank God, new possibilities! Our outward ways are expected to be different because of the light that we have received. He is our Lamp, and will lighten our darkness.

A great many people make the mistake of trying to live the life before they receive the life. The hardest thing I know is to try to live the Christian life when you do not have it to live. There must be a Christian life first, before you can exemplify and manifest it. To try to live a Christian life when you have never been born again is just as hopeless as for a chimpanzee to try and live a human life. I have seen some chimpanzees that could copy things people do in a remarkable way. At a Zoo in Philadelphia, they once said to me, “Come along and see a couple of your ancestors!” I went along; there were two trained chimpanzees who had learned to mimic human beings to a remarkable degree. They wore clothes, sat at a table, ate and drank, and in a clumsy way handled a knife and fork. When they got all through, they settled back, and put cigarettes in their mouths, and a keeper lit them, and they looked to me exactly like a lot of our own people do when smoking cigarettes. I never was in such difficulty in assuring myself that there is no truth in Evolution! But although they could do all those things, they did not know anything about real human life. They did not know anything of the principles controlling men and women. They were simply imitators.

Many people imitate Christians, and try to behave like them. They do not know anything of the power of the Christian life. They have never been born again. “Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of Cod.” Some people are seeking holiness of life when they need to be born again. They have joined the Church, they have observed certain ordinances. They hear people talk of a deeper, more wonderful life, and they say, “That is what I want: I must go on and get into this richer, more blessed life.” They try and try, and never get anywhere, because they have never begun right. They did not get in by the wicket gate. You remember in Bunyan’s immortal Allegory how Christian is going along a road, and a couple of fellows come jumping over the wall. “Who are you, and where do you come from?” he asked.
“We come from the town of Carnal Security,” they say to him. “We are going to the Celestial City.”
“Well, you didn’t get in where I did,” says Christian in surprise, “I got in at the wicket
gate.”

“Oh, that is the old-fashioned way!” they reply, “we have a short cut over the wall. After we are over the wall, what difference does it make? You are in the way and we are in the way, and we are all headed for the same place. You’ll see we will come out just as well as you.” But they didn’t have the seal on their forehead. They had never been to the Cross; they did not have the robe of righteousness. You remember one fell over the cliff, and the other was lost in the forest. They never made their way to the Celestial City.

A lot of people get over the wall and not in by the wicket gate; never born again, they go striving for holiness, purity, and higher life, but it will be all in vain until they confess their sins in the presence of God, and trust the Saviour for themselves. They must give up all hope of righteousness in themselves, of being able to do anything to retrieve their condition, casting themselves wholly on Divine mercy. Then they are in the way, and can grow in grace.

The apostle talks to people in the way; be careful, don’t allow the spirit of the world to control you. In the world, you find people in ignorance, blindness, past feeling. The word “feeling” (v. 19 – it is a peculiar thing) this is one of the only two places where it is found in the New Testament. A lot of Christians talk so much about feelings that you would think it was to be found in every third chapter. Certain heathen here are “past feeling.”

The other place is in the Epistle to the Hebrews. “We have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” The word “feel” only occurs once in the New Testament. Paul was talking to the Athenians and said that God is not far from any one of us, “if haply they might feel after Him and find Him,” as “An infant crying in the night, An infant crying for the light, With no language but a cry.”

What are our words? “Trust,” “believe,” “receive.” When we believe God, there follows the happy, joyous emotion; no question about that, as we walk in fellowship with Him. The thing we are to be concerned about is not feeling, but trusting. Someone said: “Believing is the root, and feeling is the fruit.” So when we believe first, the joy comes. These outsiders are “past feeling, and have given themselves over to lasciviousness to work all uncleanness with greediness,” but you who are saved, “ye have not so learned Christ.” You have been linked up with a Risen Christ at God’s right hand, and He is the Holy One, the High Priest holy and undefiled. He says, as it were, Do not dishonor Him by linking any kind of impurity with His Holy Name. “Ye have not so learned Christ. If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus.”

Why does he say “Christ” in the one place and “Jesus” in the other? You see, you and I became acquainted with Him in the glory. “God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified to be Lord and Christ,” and He is there, the Anointed One in the Glory. That is where we became acquainted with Him. We did not know Him down here on earth as Jesus. We never had that privilege. We know Him up there in His glory. He, the glorified One, undertakes to show you and me how we ought to live. He undertakes to show us the truth as to holy living. Do you know that He does? He points us back to the life Jesus lived on earth. There is the truth as to holy living, fully manifested. There is the truth in Jesus. The Risen Christ says: Go back now and see the path I took through this world, if you want to find out how you should walk in the world. I have left you an example, follow in My steps.

What a searching thing this is! I can hear all kinds of stirring sermons, perhaps, and they may deal seriously with sin and all the rest of it, but I can bow the head and let it roll over, and say, “I do hope those folk behind are taking it.” But bring me face to face with Jesus, solely Jesus. Occupy my mind with the life He lived when He walked in this scene, and I begin to shrivel up. I say “Oh, dear, is that what a man should be for God? Is that the divine ideal? Is that what I ought to be as a Christian?” I see the truth in Jesus, and while it does shrivel me up, and while it does humble me, it stirs within my soul an earnest desire to become increasingly like Him. I want to walk as He walked. I want to be before God as He was when He was in this scene. So the risen Christ is teaching us the truth in Jesus.
(An excerpt of Harry Ironside’s book, Changed by Beholding – in public domain)

Brexit: The nation is back

  • In France, before the British vote, the weekly JDD conducted an online poll with one question: Do you want France out of the EU? 88% of people answered "YES!"
  • In none of the countries surveyed was there much support for transferring power to Brussels.
  • To calm a possible revolt of millions of poor and unemployed people, countries such as France have maintained a high level of social welfare spending, by borrowing money on international debt markets to pay unemployment insurance benefits, as well as pensions for retired people. Today, France's national debt is 96.1% of GDP. In 2008, it was 68%.
  • In the past few years, these poor and old people have seen a drastic change in their environment: the butcher has become halal, the café does not sell alcohol anymore, and most women in the streets are wearing veils. Even the McDonald's in France have become halal.
  • What is reassuring is that the "Leave" people waited for a legal way to express their protest. They did not take guns or knives to kill Jews or Muslims: they voted. They waited an opportunity to express their feelings.
"How quickly the unthinkable became the irreversible" writes The Economist. They are talking about Brexit, of course.

The question of today is: Who could have imagined that British people were so tired of being members of The Club? The question of tomorrow is: What country will be next?

In France, before the British vote, the weekly JDD conducted an online poll with one question: Do you want France out of the EU? 88% of people answered "YES!" This is not a scientific result, but it is nevertheless an indication. A recent -- and more scientific -- survey for Pew Research found that in France, a founding member of "Europe," only 38% of people still hold a favorable view of the EU, six points lower than in Britain. In none of the countries surveyed was there much support for transferring power to Brussels.

With Brexit, everybody is discovering that the European project was implemented by no more than a minority of the population: young urban people, national politicians of each country and bureaucrats in Brussels.

All others remain with the same feeling: Europe failed to deliver.
On the economic level, the EU has been unable to keep jobs at home. They have fled to China and other countries with low wages. Globalization proved stronger than the EU. The unemployment rate has never before been so high as inside the EU, especially in France. In Europe, 10.2% of the workforce is officially unemployed The unemployment rate is 9.9% in France, 22% in Spain.
And take-home salaries have remained low, except for a few categories in finance and high-tech.

To calm a possible revolt of millions of poor and unemployed people, countries such as France have maintained a high level of social welfare spending. Unemployed people continue to be subsidized by the state. How? By borrowing money on international debt markets to pay unemployment insurance benefits, as well as pensions for retired people. So today France's national debt is 96.1% of GDP. In 2008, it was 68%.

In the the euro zone (19 countries), the ratio of national debt to GDP in 2015 was 90.7%.
In addition to these issue all, European countries have been remained open to mass-immigration.
Immigration was not an official question of the British "remain" or "leave" campaign. But as noted by Mudassar Ahmed, patron of the Faiths Forum for London and a former adviser to the U.K. government, the question of immigration and diversity has been latent:
"In personal conversations, I have found those most eager to leave the European Union are also most uncomfortable with diversity -- not just regarding immigration, but of the diversity that already exists in this country. On the other hand, those who are most eager, in my experience, to support remaining in the European Union are far more open to difference in religion, race, culture and ethnicity".
In France, the question of immigration tied to an eventual "Frexit" is not at all latent. The Front National (FN) strongly supports leaving the EU, and that position is tied to immigration. In France, 200,000 foreigners have been coming annually for several years -- from poor countries such as those in North Africa, as well as sub-Saharan countries. The growing presence of Muslims has brought a growing feeling of insecurity, and the cultural traditions of Arab and African countries has created in Europe a cultural "malaise." Not to everyone, or course. In big cities, people accept diversity. But in the suburbs, it is different. Because those who were on welfare, who were poor, who were old -- all these people are living precisely in the same neighborhoods and the same buildings as the new immigrants.
Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National, celebrates the Brexit vote under a sign reading, "And Now: France!", June 24, 2016.
In the past few years, these poor and old people have seen a drastic change in their environment: the butcher has become halal, the café does not sell alcohol anymore, the famous French "jambon beurre" (ham and butter) sandwich disappeared, and most women in the streets are wearing veils. Even the McDonald's in France have become halal. In Roubaix, for example, all fast food has become halal.

An eventual "Frexit" vote by the poor, the old, and the people on welfare would mean only one thing: "Give me my country back!" Today, to be against the EU is to reclaim the possibility of remaining French in a traditional France.

With the Brexit, the question of the nation is back in Europe. Without immigration, it might have been possible gradually to create an eventual European identity. But with Islam plus terrorism at the door, with politicians saying after each terrorist attack, "These men shouting, 'Allahu Akbar' have nothing to do Islam," the rejection is big.

This "give me my country back" seems frightening. And it is. It is tainted with chauvinism, and chauvinism is not a good thing for any minorities in any country. Jewish people paid a heavy price for chauvinism in WWII.

What is reassuring, nevertheless, is that the "Leave" people waited for a legal way to express their protest. They did not take guns or knives to kill Jews or Muslims: they voted. They waited an opportunity to express their feelings. The "Leave" may not look modern or trendy, but it is peaceful, legal and democratic.
Hope things stay like that.
Yves Mamou, based in France, worked for two decades as a journalist for Le Monde.

New World Order Finished - Judge Janine´s Opening Statement


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Rapture References

rapture-references
This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Rapture references
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

Recently I was challenged to make a list of all the passages in the Bible that hint of a pre-trib rapture. As you may know I believe Paul was the first person on Earth to present a clear pre-trib teaching, about 20 years after the cross. Before that time it was unknown because Jesus didn’t teach it to His other disciples during their time together. And since the Olivet Discourse is directed at Israel, there’s no mention of it there either, even though the end times is in view. Israel will not participate in the rapture.


Now I’ll be the first to admit that doing this requires that you already have a working knowledge of the pre-trib position, because without it you wouldn’t recognize some of these references as being pertinent to the subject. But ever since Paul revealed the rapture, scholars have been seeing hints of it here and there, even in the Old Testament.

Before we begin, in 1 Cor. 2:6-8 Paul explained why God’s plans for the Church had been kept secret until after the crucifixion. He said that if the rulers of this age (Satan & Co.) had understood all that God intended for us they would not have crucified the Lord. Not that they could have stopped it, of course. But had they known God was going to use the murder of His Son to save us all, they wouldn’t have gone ahead with it, and in fact would have tried to prevent it. It wasn’t until He was on the cross that they discovered the Lord’s death was going to become payment in full for all our sins, so instead of it being cause for a great celebration it totally disarmed them and made them into a public spectacle (Colossians 2:13-15).

Then, 20 years later, they learned about the rapture. These were both things that God had planned from the beginning, but a good general keeps his strategy a secret in order to take his enemy by surprise, so God didn’t let Satan (or anyone else) know about these things until it was too late for him to react. Even now, Satan doesn’t know when the rapture is coming. All he knows is what we know, that each new believer could be the last one, the one that takes us all out of here and beyond his reach forever.

I’m convinced that God’s plan requires the Church to disappear before Daniel’s 70th week begins. Remember, the Lord set aside 70 weeks (490 years) for Israel to accomplish 6 things. (Daniel 9:24) At the end of 69 weeks (483 years) Jesus was crucified, the clock suddenly stopped, and Israel disappeared along with its Temple and Old Covenant worship. Daniel’s prophecy was left incomplete and from that time on, God’s focus was on the church.

The reappearance of Israel in 1948, the promised rebuilding of a Temple, and the resumption of Levitical sacrifice during the 70th week make it clear that the Church didn’t end the dispensation of Law but only interrupted it seven years short of its intended duration. We would all agree that if the introduction of a dam into a stream of water interrupts its flow, then it’s reasonable and logical to conclude that removal of the dam will be necessary for the flow to resume. Therefore if the introduction of the Church after the 69th week of Daniels prophecy caused the interruption in its fulfillment, it’s reasonable and logical to conclude that the Church will have to be removed before the final seven years of the dispensation of Law can run their course and Daniel’s prophecy can be fulfilled.

Of course there are other sound reasons why the church has to disappear before the End Times begin in earnest. Not having a destiny on Earth, our presence here would serve no purpose during the time of Earth’s liberation from bondage (Romans 8:19-21). Not being subject to judgment the Church has no unfinished business with God that could be concluded during the End Times. Unlike Israel we don’t need to be made righteous because we’re already as righteous as God is (2 Cor. 5:21).

Jeremiah 30:11 says the End time judgments will serve a two fold purpose, to completely destroy all the nations among which Israel has been scattered and to discipline Israel. Since God does not consider the Church to be part of either Israel or the nations, our presence on Earth during that time would be unnecessary.

But the most important reason, as we’ll see, is that God said we won’t be here. Those who teach the Church’s presence on Earth during any part of Daniel’s 70th Week have to re-define grace, re-invent the church and re-interpret the Scriptures to support their position.
With that introduction, let’s look at some of the clearest hints God placed in the Scriptures to show He has always planned for a pre-tribulation rapture of the church. Naturally, we’ll begin in the Old Testament.

Enoch Disappeared

Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took Him away. (Genesis 5:24)
In Matt. 24:37, Jesus said that the time of His coming would be like the days of Noah. He went onto explain that just as all the unbelievers perished in the flood, all unbelievers would perish at the time of His 2nd coming as well. Those who survive the devastation of the Great Tribulation will immediately face judgment and be taken off the planet. The parables of the servant, the ten virgins, and the talents explain this, as does the account of the Sheep and Goat judgment. (Matt. 24:45-25:46)

But if you give the Lord’s statement its widest possible application, you can see that as the time of the Great Flood drew near there were 3 kinds of people on Earth. There were the unbelievers who perished in the flood, Noah and his family who were preserved through it, and Enoch, who was taken by the Lord well before it.

Just so, as the End of the Age draws near there will still be three kinds of people on Earth. They are the unbelievers of our time who will perish in the End Times judgments, modern Israel who will be preserved through them, and the Church who will be taken by God well before they begin.

There some interesting similarities between Enoch and the Church. For starters, the name Enoch comes from a root which means to train or teach. To the church Jesus said, “Go and make disciples (students) of all men.” (Matt. 28:19) And according to Hebrew tradition, Enoch was born on the day that would become Pentecost. It’s the same day the Church was born. I believe Enoch was an early type of the Church and his disappearance before the flood gave the first hint of a pre-tribulation rapture.

Lot Had To Leave Sodom

But flee there quickly, because I can not do anything until you reach it. (Genesis 19:23)
Abraham had struck a bargain with the Lord that if even 10 righteous people could be found in Sodom and Gomorrah He would spare the cities. The fact that the cities were destroyed indicates 10 righteous people could not be found there. But there was one, and though He wasn’t bound to do it, the Lord instructed the angels to get Lot out of town before commencing their judgment. As you see above, Genesis 19:22 tells us the angels could not execute the judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah until Lot was safely away.  Peter referred to Lot’s rescue from Sodom as evidence that the Lord does not judge the righteous with the wicked (2 Peter 2:7-9).  Lot therefore becomes a model of the Church, who with a righteousness imputed by faith, has to be removed from the time and place of judgment before it begins.

Where Was Daniel?

Daniel 3 contains one of the most popular children’s stories of the Old Testament. Many don’t realize that it’s also one of the clearest models of the End Times anywhere in the Bible. King Nebuchadnezzar represents the anti-Christ who decrees that anyone who refuses to bow down and worship the statue he has made will be put to death in the fiery furnace, which represents Great Tribulation. Daniel’s three friends, representing Israel, refuse to worship the image and are thrown into the furnace to die. While in there they encounter the Lord, are preserved through the judgment, and are elevated to positions of honor in Babylon.

But where was Daniel? He was a prominent figure both before and after chapter 3. But in this episode his name was not even mentioned. Did he worship the statue to escape judgment? If you think that, you don’t know Daniel. Did he refuse to bow down but was not accused? If you think that, you don’t know his enemies. After all they rounded up his three closest friends. For the purposes of this story it’s as if he has disappeared altogether. In chapter 3, Daniel was a model of the Church, who during the End times judgments will have disappeared altogether, while a believing remnant of Israel will be preserved through them, meet the Lord in the midst of them, and be elevated to positions of honor in the Kingdom Age.

Isaiah Said It Best

But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.
Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.
See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer. (Isaiah 26:19-21)

Without a doubt this is the clearest statement of the Lord’s intentions for the Church anywhere in the Old Testament. It can’t be tied to any event in history, but clearly awaits a future fulfillment. And it can’t be intended for Israel, whose resurrection will come after the time of God’s wrath, not before it. (Daniel 12:1-2)

Some day soon a group of people will suddenly rise from the dead. Another group, still living, will be whisked away to rooms prepared for them to be hidden from the time of God’s wrath. Then the Lord will punish the people of the Earth for their sins. The fact that the groups being resurrected and hidden are not objects of his wrath is indicated by the switch from second person (resurrected and hidden) to third person (punished). Notice how similar the wording is to 1 Thes 4:16-17 & 5:9, Paul’s teaching on the rapture.
But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. (The dead in Christ will rise first).
Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; (After that we who are alive and left will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air)

It’s appropriate to insert John 14:2-3 here as well to see what rooms Isaiah was talking about.
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
This promise does not point to the 2nd Coming when the Lord will come to Earth to be with Israel here, where they are. This is a promise to the Church that He has gone to His father’s house to prepare our rooms for us. Then He will come for us to take us there, where He is.
See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. (For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.)

I’m convinced this is the passage Paul had in mind when he said “According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.“ (1 Thes. 4:15). I say this because with the exception of 1 Thes 4:16-17 there is no passage in all the Bible that so clearly describes the pre-trib rapture of the Church.

This is not the sum of Old Testament verses that point to a pre-tribulation rapture. But it’s a good sample of the clearest ones, to help you see that God always intended to take us to be with him before He unleashes the End Times judgments upon the unbelieving Earth. Next time we’ll take a similar survey of the New Testament. See you then. 01-30-10
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