Sunday, December 26, 2010

Why Study End Time Prophecy?

Have you ever wondered the value of studying end time prophecy?  Many Christians don't think it is necessary to study end time prophecy.  Some think that truth cannot be found, that end time prophecy is confusing, that it is too complicated, or too divisive.

Check out this web page at Fulfilled Prophecy.  It gives us ten very good reasons why believers should study end time prophecy.

If you haven't spent much time in that area of study of scripture, why not make it one of your goals in the coming year?

Another question for you - Can you give me a scripture that clearly tells us that Jesus could come at any moment and that no events or signs must come first?

I haven't been able to find one...

If you don't know where to begin your study, I'd like to suggest you check out Kristen Wisen's four lesson study on the prewrath rapture of the church.  She takes you through the well-known end times passages of scripture in a simple and easy to understand fashion.  You will also build a timeline based on these passages.  When you are finished, I think you will have a clearer picture of the value (and excitement) of studying end time prophecy.  Also, a clearer picture of the events that are going to occur prior to Jesus return, if you've been confused.  I also think it will build a hunger for even more study.  

Final question - So what are you waiting for?

Happy New Year, and happy studying...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Run the Race

Jesus has told us how hard life is going to get for His followers before He returns.  We see the rumblings on the horizon of the difficulties coming.  Running the race takes all out effort, because the Christian life is effort-full.  That is the way the Lord has designed it for us.  He did all the work in our salvation. He came.  He died, bearing the wrath of God for us.  He rose again.  He's gifted us with faith.  We are called to then live all out for Him.  I hope this video encourages you on in the race...

Remember, He is our prize, at the end.

Merry Christmas to my dear blogging friends!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

King of Glory

My mind has been in Isaiah 6 over the past couple of days.  I gave you a bit of what Isaiah had seen.  Verse one tells us that the train of the Lord's robe filled the temple.  What a vision of splendor and majesty.  I imagine this beautiful and luxuriant purple robe, swirling and cascading down from the high throne where my Savior is seated.  I wonder if Isaiah was in the earthly temple when he was transported by a way of a vision into what appears to be the heavenly temple?  Now, my friend Orange is much more studied on the New Jerusalem and the heavenly temple than I am, but I also can't help but wonder if this is a glimpse for us of the future.  Certainly we will see the Lord Jesus, on His throne, in the heavenly temple, after the heavenly city has come down out of heaven.  (By the way, I do think the New Jerusalem will be on the earth during the millennium.  Orange has presented the scriptures in such a way on his blog and in the discussion room of Fulfilled Prophecy, that I think he makes a very strong case for it.)

Will we actually see the seraphim?

Why not?  We are told that angels will be at the gates of the New Jerusalem.

Do me a favor just now.  Read Psalm 24.  Yes, right now.  Done?

Can you even imagine what it is going to be like to see Jesus enter the New Jerusalem?  To see Him take His throne after He has finished pouring out His wrath and put down His enemies?  Will there be an actual coronation?  (I could sit here and day dream all day long, but then my dishes wouldn't get done.)  Here is a good place to take a look at Revelation 11:15-19.

It has been getting a little easier over the last two days, to think of what it would be like to be one of the seraphs, that has the absolute and most wonderful and astounding privilege of calling out the holiness of the Lord, over and over and over again.  Can you imagine how beautiful his voice must be?  So clear, so pure?  "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!"  Then another clear, pure voice returns with antiphonal praise the declaration of the most magnificent truth in all of the universe.

Sigh...

You know what, my friends, this is exactly what we should be doing here, and now.  Declaring to a lost world that Jesus is holy, holy, holy!  ...and we are so not.  We are sinful.  We are in need of the righteousness of this holy Savior.  It can be ours.  If we bow the knee to the God of the universe, agreeing with Him that we are sinful and He is so not.  If we believe that He came to this earth two thousand years ago and died on the cross, and rose again, in payment for our sin.  We can get over the fear of what this message often makes us look like to the world.  We have the God of the universe who's glory fills the whole earth residing in us!  We are His temple!  The way to get over the fear is to fill your mind with His majesty and splendor, with His greatness, and then act on the courage that will come flooding into your heart.

Oh Lord Jesus, I can't wait to see you someday...can't wait...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

His Great Love...

Isaiah was given a glimpse of the throne room of heaven...

He sees the preincarnate Lord (John 12:41) sitting on the throne.  The throne is high and lifted up.  The train of the Lord's robe fills the temple.  Angelic beings are standing above the Lord and they call out to one another other, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory."  Can you even imagine doing that for all eternity?  You can't and I can't because we don't understand the worthiness or the holiness of God, but just try to picture His majesty and splendor that this scene is giving us.

Fast forward seven hundred years or so...

This very same Lord is being knit with human flesh in the womb of Mary.  Jesus, the Sovereign God of the universe, who once sat in the throne room of heaven, with special guardians attending to His holiness, is shown a cold, dark, stable.  The inn keeper didn't even know he'd turned God away from the warmth of his dwelling.  Jesus was no longer lofty and exalted.  He gave up the glories of heaven, the adoration and worship of the seraphim, and exchanged it for a place where animals had defecated on the straw on the floor...

Why?

Because of His great love for you and me.

The difference between the glories of the throne room of heaven and a smelly, lonely, dark stable shows the magnitude of love the Lord Jesus has for us.

What are we willing to sacrifice today to show Him our love for Him?  




Monday, December 13, 2010

Scoffer or Accepter?



Thousands of years ago, the Lord released the fountains of the deep and skies, flooding the entire earth, destroying all life which lived on land, except for that which He'd enclosed the doors for on the ark.  It was because the wickedness of man had become great on the earth and every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  The earth had become corrupt in God's sight.  Noah however found favor with God and He spared Noah along with his wife, his three sons and their wives.  Noah found favor with God because in God's plan the Deliverer from sin and corruption would come through him.


It began raining here in Western Washington on Saturday and it didn't let up until more than twenty-four hours later.  All the rain made for an interesting ride to church for me and Tim.  As we made our approach to the on ramp to the freeway, we realized all of a sudden that several vehicles were stopped in front of us.  The reason soon became very clear.  The roadway was completely submerged under water.  A compact car was stuck, right in the middle of the on ramp, water lapping up the sides at least three feet off the ground with two people inside.  Tim pulled over to decide what we should do.  Two 4x4 trucks were ahead of us.  One of the drivers jumped out to assist the people stuck in the submerged car.  The other driver jumped out of his rig and started directing traffic, motioning for the other stopped cars ahead of us to carefully make their way to the left of the submerged car.  The water was not so deep there making it so you could go around the submerged car and proceed on to the freeway.  Cars were starting to back up behind us.  Tim was worried that because we were on a curve, eventually someone would come around the curve, not knowing what lay ahead, and plow into all the stopped cars.  He jumped out, grabbed some flares, made his way back several hundred feet, laying down flares as he went.  As he walked back to our van, he called 911 to notify them of the situation.   By the time he returned to our van, the one 4x4 driver had pulled the submerged car out of the water with a tow rope and over to safety.  There was really nothing more we could do so we proceeded on, carefully making our way through about six inches of water for a hundred feet or so, before we were clear of the flooding and on to the freeway. 


It was still raining when we left church.  We made our way home on the back roads this time instead of the freeway.  In many places, what used to be pastures were now lakes.  In a couple of places the water was rushing over the roadway, just like a river, but passable.  One home was completely surrounded by the rushing current.  At one point the ditch had given way to the pounding water, threatening to undermine the roadway itself.  The power of the water was evident and in the amounts we were seeing, the forces could be potentially destructive.  The Lord will never again destroy all flesh with water but when we see local flooding we are reminded that the curse of sin has not yet been removed.  Praise God, some day it will be, but not before another judgment comes.   


The earth is once again filled with the sinfulness and violence of men.  The creation is worshipped over the Creator.  The Creator Himself is denied to exist.  Scoffers make the biblical accounts of creation and the flood and the first coming of Christ myth rather than truth.  Millions of babies have been murdered in the name of inconvenience for the mother.  Men lust after men and women after women.  The ugly list goes on and on.  


2 Peter 3:7 tells us the other judgment that is coming will be by fire.  This coming judgment is scoffed at as well, or just ignored.  As the ungodly were destroyed by water in Noah's day, the ungodly that fill the earth now will be destroyed by fire.  This judgment by fire is called the day of the Lord and I don't think we have thousands of years before it comes, nor even hundreds.  I think it could come in the next twenty years.      


There is good news for us.  The Lord is patient.  The Lord does not wish for any to perish.  The Lord does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked.  He didn't take pleasure at the death of those who were killed during Noah's time and He will not take pleasure in the death of the wicked during the day of the Lord.  He will execute His justice, however, because He does love justice and righteousness.  Jesus offers us His righteousness in exchange for our sin.  Jesus can be your solid ground - in this world that remains unsettled until creation is restored.  Jesus put on flesh two thousand years ago and bore the wrath of God for sin.  We can scoff at it and call it a myth, or we can turn from our sinfulness and accept Jesus sacrifice of sin on our behalf.  Scoffers will come under God's judgment and be separated from Him and suffer torment - for all of eternity.  Accepters will come into His presence and experience fullness of joy - for all eternity.  


Which do you choose to be?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

That's My King



I rejoice in my King, the Lord Jesus Christ, my God, and my Savior - To Him be the Glory!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Friends of Jesus


"No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you" -  John 15:15.

Believers are called many things in Scripture.  We are called sons of God.  We are called children of God.  We are called brothers of Jesus Christ.  In one passage, we are even called the sisters, brothers, and mother of Jesus.  We are called disciples, which means we are learners.  We are called sheep, which means we are followers.

All these imply intimacy with Jesus.

Here in this verse Jesus goes from calling His followers slaves, to friends.

Think for a minute about what it meant to be a slave.  A slave had no right to enter into the presence of their master.  A slave had no right to know what his master was doing.  There was no intimacy between a slave and master.  A slave was a living tool.  A master never told the slave why, just what to do.  In a slave/master relationship, the master didn't disclose all of his goals, his passions, his loves, his purpose, or his plan to the slave.

Friends, on the other hand, reveal things to each other.  Friends care for each other's lives and have immediate access to one another.

By calling His disciples friends, Jesus is establishing a new kind of intimacy with them.  Jesus has made known to us the Father's goals, the Father's passions, the Father's loves, the Father's purpose, and the Father's plan.  Jesus, the Word, relates to us on an intimate level, coming alongside as our friend, and reveals truths to us about the Father.  As our friend, He shows us the Father.  To know Jesus is to see the Father.  We can also say, since He is the exact representation of God, He is all of God that we ever need to see.  Being a friend of Jesus is knowing and having access to the very heart of God.

Such incredible privilege we have as friends of Jesus!

Which leaves me with a couple of questions for you...

Have you spent time with your wonderful, accessible Friend today?

Who is there that you can tell about this wonderful Friend?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Refrigerator Magnet

Sometimes we need pain relief -
Sometimes we need strength to go through the pain - 
The Lord provides both - 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Living Nativity

This weekend Discovery Baptist is once again having their Living Nativity.  Ben, Mai, and Charlie were one of four couples to portray Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.  This was the first time I actually drove through and took in what was going on.  Over 200 characters participated.  You truly are transported into another world. Everyone is in character, from the Roman centurion who greets your "chariot" to the inn keeper who tells you to move on because there is no room.  There is hustle and bustle at the beginning, with all of Bethlehem involved in the census, the towns people selling their wares and busily living life as you make your way through...

When you come to the manger scene however, it is very quiet.

So many missed just exactly what occurred over 2,000 years ago...God became flesh and dwelt among us.  He who knew no sin entered His creation so He could become sin for us...giving those who turn from their sin and to Him, His righteousness...truly, an incredible exchange.


I'll post a few more pictures, soon...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Having Fun in Photo Booth


Ok, so I am up and running now...this new computer is way too much fun...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thought Provoking Questions

My son posted this question on my Facebook wall yesterday, making me chuckle:

"Did you hook up your amazingly-super-awesome-deluxe-maximized-super-duper-uber-fantasmical-ultra-double-concentrate-turbo-charged-direct-injected-intercooled-computer yet?"

I'm about to become a MAC user for the very first time, and I am pretty excited.  I haven't hooked up my "amazingly-super-awesome-deluxe-maximized-super-duper-uber-fantasmical-ultra-double-concentrate-turbo-charged-direct-injected-intercooled-computer" yet because I am going through all my old files, deleting the ones I don't want to keep and backing up the ones I wish to keep so I can put them on my new iMAC.

I came across this file with these thought provoking questions that I thought were worth passing on to you:
  • Why am I doing this?
  • What is my purpose in life?
  • What will your children remember about you?
  • What image does your family have in their minds about who you are and to what you devote your time?
  • What does God's favor in your life produce?
  • Who is Jesus Christ to you?
Some questions we are asked will make us chuckle and then we'll forget about them...

Some questions we are asked, how we answer them will determine how we live our lives...

That last question, how it is answered, will determine where we will spend eternity...

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    A Great Weekend of Thanksgiving

    Well, we had a wonderful weekend...Thursday was Thanksgiving dinner at our house with all the family...Friday was decorating for Christmas...Saturday was a visit with extended family in Portland, Oregon, where Charlie met two of the three sets of great, great uncles and aunts on my mom's side of the family...Sunday was church with family, including my mom! 

    Here's an album of our visit with my uncles and aunts and mom in Oregon.

    Giving thanks is something that should just naturally fall from our lips to our Heavenly Father, every day.  If our minds are set on the things above and we know from what state we have been saved out of, how can we not help but be thankful?  I've taken the letters for THANKSGIVING and made an acrostic (well, sort of) out of them with some of our blessings listed in Ephesians.  We can never be over thankful because His blessings are limitless!

                              witThout blame
                                cHosen
                              peAce
                      predestiNed to adoption
                            His Kindness
                                  Sealed with the Holy Spirit
                            His Grace
                                  Inheritance
                              aliVe with Christ
                              raiIsed up                          
                     brought Near                                
                  praise the Glory of His grace for eternity

    None of these blessings would be ours without the sacrificial love of Jesus.  Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast as an ocean...in its fullness, over us.  May it cause great waves of Thanksgiving in our lives.

    Friday, November 26, 2010

    This is what you get with some Christmas music,
    fabulous turkey soup made by your very excited daughter-in-law
    who has never celebrated Christmas in America,
    and a goofy teenage granddaughter:

    All decorated for Christmas now!

    Thanks for the help, Mai and Daisy, so much fun!


     

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    From Our House to Yours...

    Happy Thanksgiving! 


    Psalm 92:1-4

    "It is good to give thanks to the LORD
             And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
        To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
             And Your faithfulness by night,
        With the ten-stringed lute and with the harp,
             With resounding music upon the lyre.
        For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done,
             I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands."

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    John 1:16


    "For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace."

       May those words fill your heart to overflowing, with thanksgiving.


    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    The Power and Praise of God

    We had a bit of a windstorm Monday night.  When we woke up Tuesday morning there were branches and needles everywhere. 

    This tree fell across our neighbor's driveway.


    Annie and Ruh lost power, almost as soon as the storm began.  Since we have a wood stove they made their way over to our place, very carefully, as the roads were slick from the snow that fell during the day.  We thought for sure our power would go out.  As the wind howled throughout the evening, the lights flickered, but we never lost our electricity.  The wind was still blowing when we went to bed.  At the back of our 2 acre parcel of property we have about thirty 100 foot tall Douglas Fir trees.  From my bedroom window I could see them bowing to the force of what were probably 75 mph wind gusts. 

    I loved watching it all.

    In Psalm 148, all of creation is invoked to praise the LORD, even the stormy wind which fulfills His word.  Every tree that is uprooted is uprooted according to God's plan and purpose.  Those mighty Douglas Firs sure were praising the LORD last night, and I can't help but think that some ended up falling prostrate before Him!  

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    Heart Melters

    Check out Annie's blog for a short video of my precious boys!

    How Can It Be Said Then?

    This morning, on my way to Annie's to get Daniel, the moon was shining through the clouds.  You couldn't see it, but you could tell it was there.  It made me think of the burden I have that Christians know and understand the truths regarding the Lord's return.  He never told us His return could happen at any moment.  I cannot find a passage anywhere which clearly states this.  You will find passages however which clearly state certain things must take place first before He returns.

    I can remember as a child, and even just up to a few years ago, when I saw sun rays shining through brilliant, white, puffy, marshmallowy clouds, I would just stare at those clouds, yearning with all my heart for the Lord to appear right then and there.  I would pray, "Lord, come right now!"  I would imagine Him suddenly before me and then sweeping me up to Himself.  In Acts 1:10 we find the disciples gazing into heaven, probably much like I would gaze at those clouds.  They had just witnessed the Father taking Jesus back up into heaven where a cloud received Him out of their sight.  Two angels ask them why they are standing there gazing up into heaven.  The angels tell them that Jesus will come in the same manner that they saw Him go into heaven.

    There is much more recorded in Scripture regarding the Lord's return.

    It tells us in Mark 13 that He will come with His angels, sending them forth to gather from the earth and the sky His chosen.  (Paul said the Lord would bring with Him, those who had fallen asleep in Jesus.)

    How can it be said then that this is the gathering back to the land, of Israel, on foot?

    From Revelation 1:7 we know that every eye will see Him when He comes in the clouds.  Mt. 24:30,31 says that when He appears and gathers the elect, all the tribes of the earth will see Him and mourn.

    How can it be said then to be a secret rapture?

    In 2 Thessalonians 2 it tells us that before He comes and gathers us, a man is going to come on the scene, displaying himself as God in the temple, opposing every so called god or object of worship.  That passage also tells us he will amaze the world with power given to him by Satan, doing great signs and wonders.  Watchful followers of Christ will totally get where his power comes from and will know exactly who he really is.  For those who don't love the truth, the true God will send a deluding influence on them.  They will fall for this self-exalting, false god's schemes and give themselves over to him.  Then, from Revelation 12 and 13 and Matthew 24, we know this man is going to go on a world wide killing spree before the Lord returns, requiring the blood of those who do not worship him.  Watchful followers of Jesus will see many who called themselves believers fall away from the faith.  Family members will turn on family members before the Lord returns.  It cannot be overstated that it is going to get really really ugly for those who name the name of Christ, before He returns.  Jesus said that if He didn't cut this killing spree short with His return, all of His chosen ones would perish.

    How can it be said then that the church will escape the great tribulation?

    Praise God that it can be said that through Him we will be overcomers, even in death!  Praise God that it can be said that through Him, we overwhelmingly conquer!

    So now, when I see those brilliant clouds, I no longer expect Him to appear and sweep me out of this sin-encrusted world.  I know certain things will occur first, and I want you to know them too, if you don't already.  But don't just take my word for it.  Get busy, dig into the Word, study it, and see it for yourself.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Thought Provoking Words by Russel Kelfer

    A friend recently emailed me these thought provoking words by Russel Kelfer that I want to pass along to you:

    "Having been born into the kingdom of God, I do hereby acknowledge that God's purchase of my life included all the rights and control of that life for all eternity.
    I do further acknowledge that He has not guaranteed me to be free from pain or to have success or prosperity.  He has not guaranteed my perfect health.  He has not guaranteed me perfect parents.  He has not guaranteed me perfect children.  He has not guaranteed me the absence of pressures, trials, misunderstandings, or persecution.   What He has promised me is eternal life.  What He has promised me is abundant life.  What He has promised me is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, meekness, and self-control.  He has given me all of Himself in exchange for the rights to my life. Therefore I acknowledge this day the relinquishment of all my rights and expectations, and humbly ask Him by His grace to replace these with a grateful spirit, for whatever in His wisdom He deems to allow for my life."



    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Daniel and Charlie

    Daniel turned seventeen months old today...we celebrated with his first new pair of slippers.  He won't keep socks on but he loved these slippers and left them on the whole time his was at grandma's!  (Well, all except for the one time he crawled out of them...)













    Click here to enjoy the entire album.

    Charlie turned two months old on Wednesday.  He LOVES bath time.















    Click here for a smile or two!

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    So They May Learn to Fear Me



    "Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when the LORD said to me, 'Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children' " - Deuteronomy 4:10.

    These words were directed at Moses in regards to the nation of Israel but they have application to us as well.  Some observations regarding the fear of the LORD from this verse:

    1)  Holding the LORD in the proper reverence and awe due Him is something we learn to do.
      
    2)  There is no learning the fear of the LORD apart from His Word because that is where He has revealed the truth of Himself.  It is there where we come to comprehend His greatness and majesty.

    3)  We are to respect His sovereignty, feel wonder at His majesty, and fear offending Him until we take our last breath.

    4)  Learning to honor the LORD and hold Him in high esteem is to be passed down from one generation to the next generation.  

    The Lord has been calling out a people to fear Him ever since the Fall.  Lest we think that God is self-serving and only interested in benefiting Himself by demanding our respect and worship, we need  to remember that He has revealed to us in His Word that He is perfect and holy, without sin.  He abhors evil.  Therefore anything that He does and anything that He commands is good and will result in the benefit and blessing of those who obey. 

    A question for you - Who created us with the capacity to experience joy?  It is the very God who demands that we fear Him.  When we don't take the time to understand who He is in His Word and to give Him the honor that is due Him we dwell in the shallow end of the pool of joy.  Fullness of joy comes from being in the presence of the one and only true God.  Teaching our children then to fear the Lord is to set them on the greatest path to joy.

    So what are you waiting for?

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Free Will But in Who's Realm?

    We are not born God-seekers.  We are born self-indulgers and flesh-pleasers.  The only freedom one has who is dead in their trespasses and sins is found in Satan's realm.

    Ephesians 2:1-3 - "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind..." 


    Our drive towards sinfulness and self-indulgence takes an intervention by the Holy Spirit and God's Word to breath God's eternal life into us, transferring us from Satan's kingdom into God's kingdom.

    Someone illustrated spiritual rebirth for me like this one time.  God takes our lifeless, dead hands in His.  He wraps our hands around His gift of faith and salvation, and breaths eternal life into our souls.

    The death-grip of sin over us is then broken.  Our wills are free from complete bondage to the prince of the power of the air and are now under the influence of the Holy Spirit.  We go from choosing how far we desire to delve into sin to choosing how much we will bring pleasure to our Creator.  Spiritual rebirth gives us the ability to choose to live for God's glory.

    I have a question for you regarding free will to choose God for salvation.  Does it make any sense that God gives us just enough spiritual life to give us the ability to choose Him and then if we don't want Him, we fall back into spiritual death?

    To say we have free will to choose God for salvation makes as much sense as to say a dead body can reach out for a defibrillator and shock one's own heart into beating.

    "In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth" - James 1:18.

    "Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more" - 1 Thessalonians 4:1.

    Our salvation is according to God's will, we then have the choice to excel in our pleasing Him.  Let's be all about that, for His glory!

    Saturday, November 6, 2010

    As You Launch

    Wishing Dave and Kristen Wisen and all those at Harvest Bible Chapel, Spring Lake, a blessed and joyous first Sunday.  May many lives be changed for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ!

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    Deuteromony



    I've spent the last two days reading through Deuteronomy.  I probably haven't read through Deuteronomy since my college days, a long, long, time ago.  It was enthralling to say the least.

    Deuteronomy is a series of speeches by Moses, which consist of divine revelation to the children of Israel.  In these speeches, the character and the attributes of God are put on display.  Your heart will surge with joy as you read through it, seeing that God is faithful, glorious, jealous, just, loving, merciful, powerful, compassionate, a promise keeper, righteous, true, unequaled, wise, and wrathful. You will also gain a clear picture of how we are so not God.

    Israel is encamped on the plains of Moab, getting ready to go in and conquer the promised land as Moses gives these addresses.  In the first address to the children of Israel, Moses reviews their wanderings.  He reminds them of their rebelliousness and lack of faith which brought devastating consequences.  The first generation died off, not living to see the promised land.  He also reminds them of how God went before them, putting dread and fear into the hearts of different people as they traveled, how God delivered the two kings of the Amorites, Sihon and Og into their hand, so they utterly destroyed them and their people.

    Moses then tells Israel to listen to the statutes and judgments which he was going to teach them.  God commands that they hear His words, and fear Him.  His desire was that they walk in His ways, that they love Him with all their heart, soul, and strength.  Moses explains the law to them.  They were then to take what Moses taught them and pass it on to their children.  God's desire was that His people be set apart to Him.  If His people choose obedience, they would receive great blessing and experience great joy.  If they choose to not walk in His ways, they would experience great suffering. This is something Moses repeats, over and over again. 

    Moses not only looked back, but he also looked ahead.  God revealed to him that Israel would fail in the future.  This failure to obey God and to follow after other gods, to not walk in His ways only, would kindle God's anger against Israel and Israel would be scattered among the nations.  Moses was commanded to write and teach Israel a song regarding this rebellion.  The song would be a witness for God against Israel for their future failure.

    The final address is the blessing with which Moses blessed Israel before his death and before they entered the land to conquer it.  The Lord shows Moses from Mt. Nebo all the promised land.  Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died.  He could still clearly see and his death was not due to physical weakness. The Lord simply took him because his work was done.

    If you've never read through Deuteronomy, let me encourage you to take the time.  What a fantastic book to spend time in enlarging your view of God, and gaining a much needed, more humble perspective of ourselves.



    (Did you know that Moses pleaded with God to let him cross over the Jordon?  This was God's answer, "Enough!  Speak to Me no more of this matter."  Deut. 3:23-29)

    The Lord commands the obedience of His children.  There are consequences when His children do not walk in His ways.  

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    The Rock!

    "For I proclaim the name of the LORD; 
         Ascribe greatness to our God!   
    The Rock!   
         His work is perfect, 
    For all His ways are just; 
         A God of faithfulness and without injustice, 
    Righteous and upright is He" - Deuteronomy 32:3,4.

    If anyone had a proper view of God, it was Moses.  Moses spoke these words to all of Israel as he was passing the torch of leadership to Joshua.  That Moses called God "The Rock" lept off the page at me as I was thinking on his words. Remember, Moses broke faith with God right in front of all Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, by striking the rock instead of speaking to the rock.  Moses did not treat God as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel.  This great sin was an affront to a holy God.  God could have struck Moses right then and there for doing such a thing, for not treating Him as holy in the sight of all Israel.  Instead, God showed Moses mercy.  Moses sin did cost him the privilege of leading the Israelites into the promised land, but in His mercy, the Lord allowed him to see it.  


    I wonder if Moses was thinking about the time when he struck the rock, when he called God "The Rock."  Was he thinking that he had struck at God Himself, this One who is a refuge for frail and sinful men?  Of course we don't know, but just as Moses hit the rock, instead of speaking to it, isn't our sin like slapping God in the face?  Just typing that brings grief to my heart.  God is righteous and upright.  Everything He does is perfect, without flaw.  He is holy, holy, holy!  He is utterly and completely without sin.  All His ways are just.  Moses never questions God's punishment for His sin.  Instead, he acribes greatness to God and declares that God is a God of faithfulness and His ways are just.   

    Oh that we would always view our sin as slapping God in the face!  Lord, help us to hate our sin and all sin as much as You do!  Lord, thank you for your grace and mercy!  Lord, You are exceedingly great, You are exceedingly holy, You are exceedingly just, righteous, and upright, in all Your ways!

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    What Do You Value?

















    Christ is honored in us when He is shown to be magnificent...The unwasted life is the life that puts Christ on display as extremely valuable. 

    Live Christ.

    Sunday, October 31, 2010

    Praising Him From East to West

    Psalm 150
      
    "Praise the LORD!  
         Praise God in His sanctuary; 
    Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
         Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
    Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.
         Praise Him with trumpet sound;
    Praise Him with harp and lyre.
         Praise Him with timbrel and dancing;
    Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
         Praise Him with loud cymbals;
    Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
         Let every that has breath praise the LORD.
    PRAISE THE LORD!"

     
    As I woke up this morning, I imagined the praise in the local churches going up to the Lord, all over the world, as the sun made its way around the globe.  Believers in Israel, lifting their voices...West Africa, doing the same...moving across the Atlantic to the Eastern shores of the Americas...praise going forth...across the Pacific and into Asia, believers all around the globe lifting high the name of Jesus.   

    Then I thought about this.

    The sun moves from east to west.  The glory of the Lord is going to appear in the same manner, when He returns, like brilliant lightening, from east to west.



    I hope you have, or had, a wonderful day of worship today.  May we make every day a day of worship and praise for His excellent greatness as we expectantly watch, for His return!

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    The Appointed Time

    Jesus is not going to delay His coming.  He will come at the Father's appointed time and has given us warning as to what is going to happen, what we should do, and what to look for prior to His return...
    • hatred against His followers
    • betrayal
    • the falling away of many
    • abounding lawlessness
    • love going cold
    • the abomination of desolation
    • great persecution
    • false Christs
    • great darkness
    • great light
    • a trumpet
    May we be faithful in passing this along to others as we have been commanded to do. 

      The Blessings of Being in the Word - According to Psalm 119

      • Draws us into praise
      • Directs us away from sinfulness
      • Causes us to rejoice
      • There we will see wonderful things
      • Brings delight to the soul
      • Increases our longing for it
      • Gives us counsel
      • Brings revival
      • Gives strength
      • Enlarges the heart for God
      • Draws us away from covetousness
      • Keeps our eyes off of what is worthless
      • Brings hope
      • Gives comfort in affliction
      • Teaches good judgment
      • When others see our hope in the Word, brings them encouragement
      • Brings life
      • Gain wisdom and understanding
      • Experience sweetness 
      • Illumines our walk to keep us from stumbling
      • We find truth because it is truth
      • Are in great treasure
      • Find peace 
      I'm sure I didn't exhaust the list.  So much benefit from putting forth the effort of being in God's Word!

        Monday, October 25, 2010

        Building the Church, the Process of the Fullness of the Gentiles Coming In, and the Salvation of Israel

        In Matthew 16:18 Jesus states that He will build His church.  When He said those words, the formation of the church was yet future.

        At the end of Mt. 23, just before He began His instruction regarding His return, Jesus gives a farewell to the unrepentant nation of Israel.  He wanted to gather Jerusalem to Himself and He used the analogy of a mother hen gathering her chicks.  Unrepentant Israel however was unwilling.  We see the grief in Jesus heart over the hardness of His people's hearts.  Because of the hardness of Israel's heart, Jesus tells His own that her house is being left desolate.  Jesus came to His own people in truth and light and love and offered them the kingdom God had long promised.  With unrepentant hearts, they rejected the King and did not receive the blessings of the kingdom.

        Is Jesus done with the nation of Israel?  Would they never receive the blessings of the kingdom?  Would He never rule over them as their Savior and King?  Was He giving Israel a final farewell?  Here we can insert an emphatic, no.  Jesus said that they would not see Him again until they say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." (Mt. 23:39)

        This is what the crowds had shouted when He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey just a few days earlier.  These words were taken from Psalm 118:26.  But these words, when spoken at that time, though true and appropriate, were said with mostly unrepentant, hard hearts and blind eyes.  One day, all of Israel will say, in faith, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." 

        Paul spoke of the future salvation of national Israel in his letter to the Romans.  Romans 11:25-26:  "For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery-so that you will not be wise in your own estimation-that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.  THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."

        Isaiah 59:20, 21:  "A Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob," declares the LORD.  "As for Me, this is My covenant with them," says the LORD: "My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring's offspring," says the LORD, "from now and forever."   

        Jeremiah also prophesied of the future salvation of national Israel.  Jeremiah 31:33-34:  "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  They shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

        Before His ascension into heaven, Jesus commanded His Jewish disciples to go and make disciples of all nations.  From the day of Pentecost until now, Jesus has been building His church while the nation of Israel remains in spiritual blindness.  Jesus is in the process of gathering His "other sheep."  (John 10:16)  Jewish people are being saved during this age because Paul tells us that only a partial hardening of Israel's heart has happened.  The fullness of the Gentiles is in the process of coming in.  In Matthew 24:14, Jesus said the gospel of the kingdom would be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.  The fullness of the Gentiles comes in at the end of the age.  Jesus said that He would be with His church always, even to the end of the age.  (Mt. 28:20)  The process of building His church would end, at the end of the age.

        Where does this put the church in relation to the great tribulation?   It places the church on the earth during the great tribulation.

        Let's take a look at Revelation 12:13-17:  "And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child.  But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.  And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood.  But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth.  So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus."

        From Revelation 12:1-5 we know the woman to be Israel.

        From Revelation 12:6, we know Israel will be protected in the wilderness for the second half of Daniel's 70th Week:  "Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days."

        The end of the age has not occurred when Antichrist desecrates the temple, stopping the sacrifices and setting himself up as God. (Mt. 24)  The fullness of the Gentiles has not yet come in so when Israel flees to the wilderness, it will not be in faith with her Messiah.  When Antichrist is revealed, she will only recognize that Antichrist was not her Messiah. 

        The dragon, or the devil, was enraged with Israel.  The devil has always hated Israel because Jesus came from Israel.  The devil is unable to get to Israel with her protected in the wilderness.  He goes off to make war then with the rest of Israel's children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

        The gospel was first preached to Israel.  The first converts were Jewish believers.  Jewish believers were commissioned to make disciples from all nations.  Who are the rest of Israel's children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus?  The rest of Israel's children is the church that the Lord will still be in the process of building at the time Antichrist desecrates the temple.  As the church is being persecuted by Antichrist, the gospel will be going out.  When the number of the elect martyrs is complete, when the last person in this age has heard the gospel, this age will end, bringing the fullness of the Gentiles in, and the Lord will then turn His focus onto the salvation of Israel, the 144,000 being the first fruits.   

        Zechariah 13:8,9:  "It will come about in all the land," 
        Declares the LORD, 
        "That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; 
        But the third will be left in it.  
        "And I will bring the third part through the fire, 
        Refine them as silver is refined, 
        And test them as gold is tested.  
        They will call on My name, 
        And I will answer them; 
        I will say, 'They are My people,' 
        And they will say, 
        'The LORD is my God.' "

        Revelation 14:1, 4:  "Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mt. Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads...These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste.  These are the one who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.  These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb."

        Oh how precious is the blood of Jesus!

        Daniel 9:24:  "Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place."

        I won't post it here, but the twelfth chapter of Zechariah would be a good read now too.  

        Your thoughts on my conclusions are most welcome.

        (By the way, I do think God will use an angel to announce the gospel as well...Check out Rev. 14:6,7.  The second half of Daniel's 70th Week is going to be an amazing time here on earth.)

        One more thought just came to mind...Believing Jews will be in Israel at the time Antichrist desecrates the temple.  It makes sense that as this wave of people flees Judea, believing Jews will be among the crowds...What an opportunity to share the gospel they will have!

        Saturday, October 23, 2010

        Let's Get Biblical Together!

        I never tire blogging about the truths of the return of Christ.

        This post was inspired because I was told the return of Christ was a periphery truth.  In other words, not that important.  Of minor relevance.

        That always lights a fire under me.

        Jesus had much to say about His return.  It is mentioned often throughout scripture.

        Why should we spend time studying the return of Christ?  The first and foremost reason is because it is the great hope of the church!  Second, it is one of the great truths of the Bible. Third, it is part of growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ, something we are expected to do and God's expectations of us are found in His commands.  What He commands us to do is always for our benefit.  Because of all those things we need to study it.  There is disagreement within the body of Christ but truth can be found and when you see it, it is thrilling, because you begin seeing it all throughout scripture.

        I was also told the tribulation was God's judgment on the ungodly.  Does the Bible support that?

        Grab a cup of coffee and let's search for truth together regarding the return of Christ!

        If this is a subject you have never really dug into before, I would encourage you to look up the verses I lay out, if I don't give the actual text itself.  If you are very familiar with this subject, please read along and let me know where I may be in error.

        We're going to search for truth by asking some questions and then digging into what the Bible has to say.

        Let's get biblical together! 

        Ready?
        • Is Jesus instruction on His return really for me?  Should I really be watching for His return?
          At the end of Mark's account of Christ's instruction regarding His return, Jesus says, "What I say to you, I say to all, 'Be on the alert!' "  What He told His immediate disciples is meant for every generation of believers.  Pay attention to what is going on around you.  Don't fall asleep.  Know the signs.  Watch for My return.  (Mk. 13)
          • Does scripture anywhere call all of Daniel's 70th Week, the tribulation?
          In His instruction on His return, Jesus doesn't attribute tribulation to Daniel's 70th Week until the midpoint of the Week.  He tells us that after we see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, great tribulation is going to break out.  The worst ever to come upon the earth.  He called the period before the great tribulation "beginning birth pangs."  He attributed wars and rumors of wars, famine, and earthquakes to these birth pangs.  He said we would also see false Christs.  (Mt. 24:6-8)  The Greek word for "great" is mega.  The Greek word for "tribulation" is thlipsis, meaning a pressing, pressing together, pressure.  It can be translated affliction, anguish, persecution.  At the midpoint of the Week, those on the alert, those who are watching, will see Antichrist stop the sacrifices, and then "mega thlipsis" or great affliction will begin.  (Mt. 24:15-21)
          • Is the great tribulation God's judgment on the ungodly?
          This question can be answered by asking another question - Who is experiencing tribulation or this affliction, this anguish, this persecution, this great pressure?  The elect.  God's called out ones.  God's chosen.  Those who identify with Christ.  Mt. 24:10 tells us many will fall away from the faith at that time.  Their love for Christ and those in the body of Christ will grow cold.  This affliction against the elect cannot be God's judgment according to what Paul wrote the Thessalonians - "For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."  (1 Th. 5:9) The Greek word for "wrath" is orge.  It means anger.  Besides anger, it can also be translated as indignation, vengeance, or wrath.  We are not destined for God's anger.  What is God's anger over?  Sin.  We are not destined for His vengeance because Jesus bore God's wrath on our behalf for our sinfulness.  Jesus did say that in the world we will have "tribulation" - Jn. 16:33.  It's the same Greek word used in Mt. 24, "thlipsis."  We will suffer affliction if we identify with Him.  Even now, before this time of great persecution comes upon the elect, when we identify with Christ it will bring persecution.  Those who fall away now and the many who fall away during the great tribulation are no longer willing to identify themselves as Christ followers.

          So we have false Christs and wars and rumors of wars, famine and earthquakes as this seven year period unfolds.  Then at the midpoint, when Antichrist exalts himself as God, great tribulation will break out against those who are willing to identify with Christ and refuse to worship Antichrist.  It is going to be the worst affliction ever to come upon God's chosen ones.  The great tribulation is not God's judgment on the ungodly. 
          • Can the fifth seal martyrs in Revelation 6:9 shed any more light on this?
          When the fifth seal is opened, we find under the alter the souls of those who had been slain because in the heat of affliction they maintained their testimony.  They didn't fall away.  Their love for Christ did not grow cold.  They ask God a question.  "How long O Lord, holy and true, will you refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"  They understand they are in the presence of the Lord because they didn't love their life more than they loved Christ, not because they were under judgment.  They were slain for standing true to Christ and God's Word.

          They are given an answer to their question.  Rev. 6:11 - "...they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also."

          God's avenging wrath against the sinful acts to His elect, and much more sin, would come after the number of martyrs was complete.  God's judgment cannot be falling during the great tribulation or He would be breaking a promise.  He would be killing His own!  Believers are not destined for God's wrath.  Jesus suffered God's wrath for the elect.  The great tribulation is man's affliction on man.  The great tribulation is the hatred of Satan's offspring towards those who have put their trust in the One who crushed their master's head.  Mt. 24:9,10 - "Then they (man) will deliver you (man) to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations (man) because of My name.  At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another." 
          • When does God's wrath begin? 
          Let's take a look at what John sees when the Lamb breaks open the sixth seal.  Revelation 6:12-17:

          "I looked when He broke the sixth seal,
          and there was a great earthquake;
          and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair,
          and the whole moon became like blood;
          and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind.
          The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up,
          and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
          Then the kings of the earth
          and the great men
          and the commanders
          and the rich
          and the strong
          and every slave
          and free man
          hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains;
          and they said to the mountains and to the rocks,
          "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne,
          and from the wrath of the Lamb; 
          for the great day of their wrath has come, 
          and who is able to stand?"

          The fifth seal calls for God's wrath.  The sixth seal announces it!
          • How do we determine where the sixth seal occurs during Daniel's 70th Week, the announcement of God's wrath? 
          Great tribulation begins at the midpoint.  When the fifth seal is opened and John see the martyrs under the alter, we can conclude it is opened during the great tribulation.  Therefore the sixth seal will be opened sometime after the midpoint.  The announcement of God's wrath falls somewhere in the second half of Daniel's 70th Week.

          We can also verify this by comparing Revelation 6 and Matthew 24.  Both passages contain references to the cosmic signs of the sun, moon, and stars going out.

          In Mt. 24:29 Jesus instructs that "immediately after the tribulation THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED,
          AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT,
          AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky,
          and the powers of the heavens will be shaken."

          Here is Revelation 6:12-13 again:

          "I looked when He broke the sixth seal,
          and there was a great earthquake;
          and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair,
          and the whole moon became like blood;
          and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind."

          The world is going to be plunged into darkness signaling God's wrath is about to fall.  This sudden darkness will also signal the end of the age, the cutting short of the great tribulation, and the return of Christ with His angels to gather the elect.  (Mt. 24:29-31)  It is very important that we remember that Jesus said the days of great tribulation would be cut short for the sake of the elect.  (Mt. 24:22)  The Greek word for "cut short" is kolobo.  It means to shorten, abridge, or curtail and can be translated as shorten or cut short.  So the great tribulation will not run the entire second half of Daniel's 70th Week.  It will be curtailed otherwise all the elect would be killed.  Christ would have no one to return to!  This means the opening of the sixth seal, the announcement of God's wrath falls somewhere after the midpoint but before the end of the Week.

          This is a good time to look at what Jesus says in Luke 18:7, 8.  This is a great parallel passage to the fifth seal.

          "Now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry out to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?  I tell you that He will bring justice for them quickly.  However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"

          He will find faith, but not much.  Many will fall away and many of the elect are going to be killed.  But when He brings them justice, it will be swift.

          And take a look at 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10.  It supports Mt. 24 and Rev. 6, where we have affliction taking place against God's elect and then God's wrath starts to fall:

          "For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed."
          • If the church is subject to great tribulation but not destined for wrath, can we find a reference to it in heaven after the sixth seal?
           After the sixth seal is opened and God's wrath is announced, what does Revelation tell us happens next?

          Revelation 7:1-8:  The 144,000 are sealed.  12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel.

          Then John sees a great multitude which no one could count, from every tribe, people, tongue, and nation.  (Jesus said to make disciples of all nations right before He returned to the Father.)  This great multitude is standing before the throne and before the Lamb.  They are in white robes and have palm branches in their hands.  They are crying out, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."

          John wants to know where this great multitude came from.  In Revelation 7:14 he is told they came out of the great tribulation.  The "mega thlipsis."  Same Greek words here as used in Mt. 24!  The "mega thlipsis" that had been cut short for the sake of the elect.

          This is none other than the afflicted-gathered elect, the raptured church, right where they should be!  They are in heaven, as Lamb is getting ready to pour out His wrath.  In Revelation 7:16 we are told this multitude will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore.  The number of the elect martyrs was complete.  The Lamb opened the sixth seal.  The great tribulation was cut short.  The earth was plunged into blackness.  The end of the age had come.

          Do you remember Christ's words to the church before He went back into heaven to make intercession for us?

          "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" - Mt. 28:20.

          The church, not destined for wrath is now with the Lamb.

          The Lamb is getting ready to pour out His wrath.

          The Lamb is getting ready to bring justice to His elect.

          The Lamb is getting ready to deal out retribution, to pay back affliction with affliction.

          Are you still skeptical about whether this great multitude is the church?

          In 1 Cor. 15:20-23 we are told by Paul that the resurrection takes place at the return of Christ.

          "But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.  For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.  But each in his own order:  Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming."

          In John 6:40 Jesus said that it was the will of His Father, "that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day" - at the end of the age, when He returns and gathers the elect!

          The church is going to enter the great tribulation.  The church will not be raptured before the beginning of Daniel's 70th week.  But the church is not destined for God's wrath.

          Now look what happens at the opening of the seventh seal...

          Revelation 8:1:  "When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour."

          The great multitude has stopped singing praises to the Lamb.

          The angels fall silent.

          Something really, really big is about to happen.

          John sees seven angels.  Seven trumpets are given to them.  After the first trumpet is blown, hail and fire mixed with blood is thrown down to the earth and a third of the earth was burned.

          Now this is God's wrath!!!

          So for the remainder of Daniel's 70th Week God's wrath is poured out onto the earth.  God poured out His wrath on Jesus for the sinfulness of the elect.  The church, God's elect, is safely in heaven when He pours it out on the earth.

          Let me give you one more reference to the cosmic signs that we saw in Mt. 24 and in Rev. 6.  It is found in Joel 2:30-31:


          "I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth,
          blood, fire, and columns of smoke.
          The sun will be turned to darkness
          and the moon into blood
          before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes." 
          • What is the day of the Lord?
          It is mentioned in the Old Testament and Paul talks about it in his letters to the Thessalonians.  Peter mentions it in 2 Peter 3.

          A study of the day of the Lord passages also sheds light on the return of Christ.

          (Now might be a good time to warm up your tea or coffee.  Just don't forget to come back.)

          The day of the Lord is His judgment and destruction of ungodly men.  (2 Peter 3:7)

          Isaiah 2:10-12 tells us it is also when man will be humbled and the Lord alone will be exalted.

          "Enter the rock and hide in the dust from the terror of the LORD and from the splendor of His majesty.  (Remember the sixth seal?!)  The proud look of man will be abased and the loftiness of man will be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.  For the LORD of hosts will have a day of reckoning against everyone who is proud and lofty and against everyone who is lifted up, that he may be abased."

          Antichrist, at the midpoint of the Week, will exalt himself as God.  (2 Th. 2:4)  During the day of the Lord, Antichrist will be brought down along with all the ungodly and all the scoffers, and the Lord only will be lifted high.

          Malachi 4:1 also has a reference:

          "For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evil doer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts."

          Peter said the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.  (2 Peter 3:11)

          Remember the seventh seal and the first trumpet?!

          Paul says the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, but not for believers.  We are not in darkness that the day would overtake us like a thief.  (1 Th. 5:4)

          It will come like a thief for unbelievers.

          While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction will come upon them.  (1 Th. 5:3)  They are saying peace and safety because they are not suffering affliction under the rule of Antichrist, like believers.  They have aligned with Antichrist, taking his mark, so they can proceed with normal, every day life, buying and selling, working, earning money and running businesses.  They are the ones who are marrying and giving in marriage like the ungodly did in the days of Noah before the judgment by flood came.   They will be scoffing and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming?"

          God's wrath against sinful mankind first came in the form of the world-wide flood, except Noah and the members of his household found undeserved favor with God.  God's wrath will come again in the form of fire.  All the elect who have God's undeserved favor on them during the day of the Lord will either be in heaven with Him or will be under God's protection on the earth.

          The Thessalonians, suffering affliction, had been misled that they were in the day of the Lord.  They thought they had missed the return of Christ and the gathering of the church.  Paul wrote to them that they couldn't be in the day of the Lord because the great departure from the faith had not taken place nor had the man of lawlessness been revealed.  Antichrist had not taken his seat in the temple, exalting himself as God.  The return of Christ and the rapture would take place after those things happened.  (2 Th. 2:1-4)

          When the man of lawlessness is revealed, the church will enter into the great tribulation.  The look-a-like believers will fall away.  The true elect will suffer great affliction.  It is not God's judgment.  The cosmic signs will occur at some point before the end of Daniel's 70th Week, announcing the day of the Lord, announcing the end of the age, announcing the end of the great tribulation, announcing the return of Christ, announcing the gathering of the elect, announcing that God's wrath is about to fall.  When the cosmic signs occur, believers are to look up because the blackness and the shaking of the earth is announcing the drawing near of the Savior.  (Luke 21:25-28)  The skies will open up and we will see our Deliverer.  But as the earth quakes, as the earth is plunged into darkness and the heavens are opened up, the ungodly will realize that God's judgment is coming upon them, sudden destruction!  No more peace and safety!  They will be crying out for the rocks to fall on them!

          Genesis 1:14 should be mentioned here.

          "Then God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and for years.'  "

          One star announced Christ's first coming to be the Sin Bearer for the elect.  The sun, moon, and all the hosts of stars will announce His return for the gathering of the elect and the judgment of the ungodly and the unrepentant.

          Let's recap.

          The week begins with a signing of a covenant.  Will we see that?  It is not one of the things for which Jesus said to watch.  It is possible then that we won't.  But we will see wars and hear of wars, we'll experience and hear of earthquakes.  We'll experience and hear of famine.  We'll experience and hear of false Christs.  Those who are alert and watching will see and know exactly who Antichrist is.  He will be revealed at the midpoint of Daniel's 70th Week.  Great tribulation will break out against God's elect.  God's elect will be killed, but not all.  Then the great tribulation will be cut short.  We'll know its over when the world is plunged into darkness on a bright day.  If it is night in our part of the world, a milky white moon will turn red and the stars will fall from their place.  If we are asleep, we'll be woken up by a massive quake.

          Of this day, no man knows, or the hour.  But it will fall somewhere in the second half of Daniel's 70th Week.  After Antichrist is revealed.  When the number of the elect martyrs is complete, Christ will return and gather the elect.  Then, for the remainder of the week, through the sounding of the trumpets and the pouring out of the bowls, ending with Armaggedon, God's wrath will fall.  Revelation 16:17 - "Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne saying, "It is done."

          DANIEL'S SEVENTIETH WEEK=Signing of covenant/Beginning Birth Pangs>>>Great Tribulation>>>God's Wrath 

          Christ's return/the rapture falls in between the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord's wrath, somewhere in the second half of Daniel's 70th Week.

          These are truths I see being supported all over scripture now...

          Romans 8:33-39 has taken on such wonderful meaning to me, but I'll let you look it up.

          Wednesday, October 20, 2010

          Lemon Pie Theology - Part Two

          I have some good news for you...it is not sinful to enjoy food!  Paul told Timothy that God richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.  Food is meant to be enjoyed.  Enjoying food is biblical.  We can have a piece of lemon pie, or whatever our favorite dessert is, and enjoy it and not feel guilty. 

          Here is another truth.  Our eating should be a stage for the glory of God.  God's Word tells us that in everything we are to bring glory to God, even in our eating (and drinking.)  We were made for His glory and we are called to display His glory in everything we do.  This then, includes eating.

          So when does eating become sinful?  When does our eating miss the mark at glorifying God?  Eating becomes sinful anytime it becomes more about us than it does about the Lord.  At the center of the story is the Lord.  When He created us, He created us into His story.  We were made for His glory and we are called to display His glory.  We become glory thieves (a great term coined by Paul Tripp) in our eating when we turn our eating habits into making it about us.  A thin person can eat sinfully just as much as the person who overeats.

          Our calling as believers is to set our minds on things above.  How we think directly affects our behavior.  When all we think about is that next cookie or that we are too fat, we are being sinful because we've placed an idol in our hearts.  We've made our eating about our glory.  

          Much more could be written about this.  I will end though by saying let's humbly and honestly be examining ourselves in this area, and when the Holy Spirit graciously convicts us, may we confess our sinfulness, that we are being glory thieves, and may we put the Lord back on His throne, which is so rightfully His. 

          If this is an area in which you really struggle, there are brothers and sisters in the body of Christ who would love to come alongside and help.  It is an area in our lives where we all miss the mark, every day.  But as we give our thought life over to the Lord, when we set our minds on Him and His Word, replacing our sinful thoughts with biblical thoughts, and then act on them, our behavior will bring glory to the Lord and we will shine brightly as His images bearers.  

          Tuesday, October 19, 2010

          Lemon Pie Theology - Part One

          My husband was sitting in his easy chair this morning with an 8 1/2x11 sheet of paper in his hand.  He was reading it and every once in awhile a chuckle would slip past his lips.  I asked him what he was reading.  He said it was about the topic for his next Men's Bible Study.  I asked him to let me read it.  I too, then,was chuckling.  Well, here, you read it.  It was written by the leader of the study.  In my next post I'll give you my thoughts on the subject but for now, just enjoy the humor.


          I have a friend who is now in heaven where he is far, far away from every temptation of lemon pie.  Years ago, we determined that all of the talk about dieting in our culture was a subtle tactic of the cold war.  Enemies of the United States, we figured out, were behind the push to be thin and healthy (which by the way could make you the object of envy and we all know that envy is sin.)  Here is how it worked...

          The object was to totally take away the pleasure of food which would result in a grumpy population.  Grumpy couples would fight more and that would lead to divorce and divorce would lead to the breakdown of the family and that would in turn lead to the collapse of our culture.

          To combat this, when stressful situations would arise, we could call each other and go out for a piece of lemon pie.  There were few problems in his life that could be lightened by a good piece of lemon pie.

          As fun as it is to reminsce about our irresponsible culinary activity, there is a serious side the subject.  It appears that gluttony has been taken out of our dictionary and replaced with the phrase "eating disorder."  What is it?  Is there anyone guilty of it anymore?  Is it sin explained away?  It is described as excessive eating but what is excessive?  How many of us are one french fry away from this sin?

          In the Bible, the Cretans apparently had the reputation of being, "liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons" - Titus 1:12.  Should a man with a pot belly participate in pot luck gatherings?  Should there be a weigh in requirement to go to the church picnic?  Is the world watching and concluding that many churches are filled with modern day Cretans?  Our Lord was accused of being a glutton - Mt. 11:19, Luke 11:34, so we cannot be fearful of false accusations.

          Most of us like to play our metabolism card when accused of overeating.  In Proverbs 28:24 we read that, "He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife; but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat."  But can that be a life verse?  We certainly can't argue that all fat cells are apostles from God.  The Old Testament wisdom writer says, "The liberal soul shall be made fat; and he that watereth shall be watered also himself" - Proverbs 11:25.  I tried to explain to my wife for years that I am a little overweight because I am generous and God has rewarded me with a fat soul but she is more than a little skeptical.

          There is clearly nothing wrong with having a piece of lemon pie but there is something very wrong with a piece of lemon pie having us.  If we are to be free of guilt from this subject, we must know the difference and stay far away from the line.