Wednesday, July 23, 2014

FOREHEADS, HANDS, AND HEARTS

Because the human eye is unique to the individual, as are the fingerprints, modern science has developed ways of identifying individuals, using a scan of their eye, or by scanning their hand.  If they are permitted to enter to restricted areas, identification of them by their eye or their hand, grants them access.  But before their data is recorded, their loyalty (their heart) is closely scrutinized by security agents.  In the religious culture of the Jews, they, too, were identified by the wearing of the Word of God as a sign of their love of God.  Here is what Moses wrote:

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:  a
nd thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes" (Deut. 6:4-8).

As a result, devout Jews, even today, own phylacteries, which are defined, according to Lexic.us, as "either of two small leather cases containing texts from the Hebrew Scriptures (known collectively as tefillin); traditionally worn (on the forehead and the left arm)."  Jesus criticized the Pharisees for making them large so everyone could see how religious they were (Mt. 23:5).  God wants them to honor His Word, even above the honor they give His name (Ps. 138:2)!

It is ironic, that the Jews, being the "main target" of the Antichrist (Dan. 9:27; Mt. 24:15-29; Rev. 12 - 18), will be commanded by the False Prophet, to show they worship (their heart) the Antichrist before they are allowed to wear his name, his mark, or his number, on their forehead or their hand (Rev. 13:15-18)!  Here is what the Apostle John wrote concerning this:

"And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.  And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship (their heart) the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.  And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.  And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship (their heart) the image of the beast should be killed.  And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:  and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six" (Rev. 13:11-18).
 
You must choose:  worship God or worship the Antichrist - your choice will show!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

HIS SECOND COMING IN ALL FIVE CHAPTERS

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 - "For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."

1 Thessalonians 2:19 - "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?  Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?"

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 - "And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:  to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints."

1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 - "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.  For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 - "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.  For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.  For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.  But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."

Monday, July 21, 2014

TO THE JEW FIRST

Most students of God's Word are aware that the Gospel of Matthew presents Jesus as Israel's Messiah.  Matthew's genealogy presents Jesus as a child of Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation (Gen. 12:1-2; Mt. 1:1-16); and he repeatedly uses phrases like "this was done that it might be fulfilled" (Mt. 1:22; 21:4; 26:56; etc.).  The following two passages show the Lord's mission was to Israel"

"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:  But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mt. 10:5-6).

"And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.  But He answered...and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mt. 15:22-24).

However, Matthew also records Jesus as praising the faith of two Gentiles:  in 8:5-13, a Roman Centurion pleads with Jesus for help, and after listening to the Centurion, He said, "Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel" (v. 10).  Then, in 15:22-28, the Canaanite woman (Gentile) I referred to above, begged Jesus to heal her daughter.  Her words to Him prompted Jesus to say, "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour" (v. 28).

Then, all four Gospels suddenly change.  What was His mission to Israel, became His ministry to the whole world!  I believe the explanation for that is found in John's Gospel.  He wrote:  "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.  But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (Jn. 1:11-12).  Matthew's final words clearly show the Gospel is now the message of hope to all mankind!  He wrote in 28:18-20:

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you (always), even unto the end of the (age).  Amen."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

THE TEMPLE, THE TRIBULATION, AND THE MILLENNIUM

The Olivet Discourse is Christ's teaching, specifically meant for the Jews during the Tribulation. In Matthew 24:15-16, Jesus says:

"When ye, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whosoever readeth, let him understand), then let them who are in Judea flee into the mountains."

 The people who see the Abomination of Desolation will have read the Book of Daniel, especially Daniel 9:24-27, and they will understand that they are in danger from the one who guaranteed them seven years of peace. Notice, it is to them, and not you. Christians will not be in Judea, or anywhere else in this world, for that matter, because the Rapture will have removed us at least three and a half years earlier (Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Th. 1:10; 5:9; 2 Th. 4:13-18; Rev. 3:10; etc.).
Here are thirteen pieces of evidence to support my view:
*  Matthew 24:4 - Only Jews are still expecting the Messiah (Christ).
*  Matthew 24:6 - Israel hears of wars but does not experience them.
*  Matthew 24:7 - There are famines, pestilences, and earthquakes elsewhere.
*  Matthew 24:9 - Messianic Jews persecuted in synagogues.
*  Matthew 24:14 - The Gospel is about an earthly kingdom.
*  Matthew 24:15 - Only Jews would be outraged at the abomination of desolation.
*  Matthew 24:16 - Those in Judea are warned to flee.
*  Matthew 24:20 - The Jews care about the Sabbath.
*  Matthew 24:23 - The Jews who flee are still looking for the Messiah.
*  Matthew 24:24 - The Jews require a sign (1 Cor.1:22).
*  Matthew 24:29 - The Tribulation is Daniel's 70th Week is for Israel (Dan. 9:24).
*  Matthew 24:30 - The "Son of Man" refers to the Messiah of Israel.
*  Matthew 25:32-46 - Judgment is based upon how people treated the Jews.

His Jewish disciples asked Him when the Temple would be destroyed, and what were to be the signs of His return.  The Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70.  There are no signs for the Rapture of the Church, but all these signs point to His Second Coming, when He will establish His Millennial Kingdom (Rev. 20:1-7).


All the signs listed above, refer to the first half of the Tribulation.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

What I am about to say is my opinion, my theory, as to the identity of the Bride of Christ.  It is not meant to be taken as biblical truth.  It is merely my understanding of God's Word. 

The Old Testament clearly states that Israel is their Creator's bride: 

"For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall He be called" (Isa. 54:5).

And yet, the New Testament is equally clear when it says: 

"And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife" (Rev. 21:9)! 

Does God have two brides?  Is Israel the Father's bride, and the Church the bride of Christ?  It is possible, but I doubt it.  Remember, the Lamb is the Creator (Jn. 1:1-3, 29, 36; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2).

First, let's look at a description of the Bride.  I believe that Revelation 21:9-21 is a metaphorical description of the Bride of Christ.  After all, the Bride is said to be a single city, the New Jerusalem (v. 10).  The walled city will have twelve gates, each one having the name of one of the twelve Tribes of Israel (v. 12).  The wall, itself, will be built on twelve foundations, each one having the name of one of the twelve Apostles of the Church (v. 14).  That means, at least to me, that the Bride of Christ will be made up of both Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ.  In other words, the Church (2 Cor. 11:2; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 22-33; Col. 3:11), and Messianic Jews, whose eyes are opened during the Abomination of Desolation, which takes place in the middle of the Tribulation (Dan. 9:27; Mt. 24:15; Rom. 11:25; Rev. 12-13). 

Also, I find it very interesting that what began with lost mankind being cast out of God's presence, ends with saved humanity spending eternity with Him!  It appears the heavenly city will be like the Garden of Eden after Adam sinned, when God placed angels (plural, and yet only one sword) to prevent sinners from entering (Gen. 3:24).  However, here in the New Jerusalem, there are twelve gates, which never close (Rev. 21:25), and there is only one angel stationed at each, to welcome God's children home (Rev. 21:12; 25-27).  One book (the Word is the sword) kept Adam out, and one book (the Lamb's Book of Life) will ensure our eternal access!

 
Praise God!  We are His children; we are His bride; and we are His workmanship! 

 



Friday, July 18, 2014

THOUGHTS, WORDS, AND DEEDS

Christianity, according to those who claim to know these things, is the world's largest religion.  Of course, their figures are based upon the responses of individuals to the question, "What is your religion?"  Unfortunately, the vast majority of those professing to be Christians, are deceived.  While some of them attend church, far more claiming to be a Christian do not.  I know, "You don't have to attend a church to become a Christian."  But, I have found that those who are born again, more often than not, do attend.  That is because the Lord wants us to go (Heb. 10:23-25).

As I said, the vast majority of those claiming to be Christian are deceived.  The Scriptures say, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:  who can know it?  I, the LORD, search the heart..." (Jer. 17:9-10).  God repeatedly warns man to be on guard (Deut. 11:16; Lk. 21:8; 1 Cor. 6:9; 15:33; Gal. 6:7).  So, how does one know if he is deceived?

First, one must be certain that he is born again.  Until God draws a man's attention to Jesus (Jn. 6:44), until the Holy Spirit convinces him that what the Bible says about Jesus is the truth (Jn. 16:7-15), and until that man acknowledges Jesus as his Lord (Rom. 10:9-10; Phil. 2:9-11), he is lost and condemned to an eternity of suffering and torment (Jn. 3:18; Rev. 20:10).  It is not enough to just believe what the Bible teaches about Jesus; Satan and his devils believe, and yet, they refuse to surrender to His authority (Mt. 8:28-29; Jam. 2:19).

The knowledge about Jesus which has the power to save us, is known as the Gospel (Rom. 1:16).  The Apostle Paul wrote:  "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand.... For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:1-4).  To those of us who are born again, Jesus rules in our lives; He is our "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (Rev. 19:16).

Do you want to know if your are born again?  Check your "fruit" (Mt. 7:20; Gal. 5:22-23)!  What are your thoughts, words, and deeds?  "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:  these are the things which defile a man..." (Mt. 15:18-20).


Be not deceived; God knows your thoughts, your words, and your actions!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

SAVED FROM THE WRATH OF GOD

Because the wrath of God is not mentioned in the Book of Revelation until the fourteenth chapter, some have concluded that only the second half of the seven-year Tribulation can be described as the period known as "the wrath of God," and therefore, the removal of the Church via the Rapture (Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Th. 4:16-17; etc.), must take place at the middle of the Tribulation.  If that were the case, born again believers would know the very day the Rapture will happen, and that cannot be (Mk. 13:32).  In addition, the events described in Revelation 6 - 13 are clearly the result of the wrath of God!

There are ten verses in the Bible which contain the phrase, "the wrath of God."  They are:

Psalm 78:31 - "The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel."
John 3:36 - "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
Romans 1:18 - "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness."
Ephesians 5:6 - "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience."
Colossians 3:6 - "For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience."
Revelation 14:10 - "The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb."
Revelation 14:19 - "And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God."
Revelation 15:1 - "And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God."
Revelation 15:7 - "And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever."
Revelation 16:1 - "And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth."

Note the events which occur during the first half of the Tribulation, that is, those listed as the Seven Seals (Rev. 6:1-8:5), and those listed as the Seven Trumpets (Rev. 8:6-11:19).  Is there any sane person who believes those events are not the result of God's wrath?  I think not! 

 
The Church, by the grace of God, will not be here during any of the Tribulation period!