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.
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...
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.
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...
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...
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?
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.
"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?
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.
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...