What does it mean to be blessed?


In Matthew chapter five we find the Beatitudes.

You know them as the “Blessed are the ….” statements.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The Sermon of the Beatitudes (1886-96) by Jame...

The Sermon of the Beatitudes (1886-96) by James Tissot from the series The Life of Christ, Brooklyn Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

(Matthew 5:3-5 KJV)

What does it mean to be blessed?

The Greek word from which we get blessed is: makarios – meaning, supremely blest; by extension fortunate, or well off.

So, if I look at this first blessed statement and restate it, I get this: “Well off are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

This alone gives me problems because I see this condition in recovery every time I go there. People that are poor in spirit because of their hangups, but they are anything but well off. So this must have a meaning beyond the idea of bouncing around like a cheerleader, leading people into the kingdom with our phony smiles.

One of the men in our Monday morning bible study responded to some of the foolishness that was being voiced with, Consider that these statements were made to the disciples, while the crowd – in general – was excluded. This information was deeper than Jesus wanted or needed to go with the crowd that followed him around because they wanted to get something out of him.

This entire talk was meant to build something inside the disciples that would sustain them in the future, help them to understand this journey they were going to embark on, and in time, sustain us – the church – as well.

Now I want to know too.

Being well off, does not put smiles on people’s faces all the time. Why not? Because it is never enough.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3 NASB)

Let’s try looking at this in another version.

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule”. (Matthew 5:3 MSG)

Now it is making more sense to me because this is the typical reason you find people in recovery, as they finally hit the end of their rope.

the poor in spirit”

Poor is the Greek word ptōchos – pto-khos’ From πτώσσω ptōssō (to crouch; akin to G4422 and the alternate of G4098); a beggar (as cringing), that is, pauper (strictly denoting absolute or public mendicancy,

MEND’ICANCY, a. [L. medicans.] Beggary; a state of begging.

This person is definitely hurting, but are they willing to be honest. I can just about guarantee you that the community around you are aware of your brokenness.

Spirit is the same word that we use for the Holy Spirit or human spirit.

If the implication here is a human with the Spirit of God in them – and it is, then we are talking about a member of the church body. Look, I get it, we are not all super-fans, or body builders in church. Some don’t even know what a protein shake looks like (that is my analogy to opening their bible.) They are however on the same team, and found in this condition they are broken and desperately needing help, not a baseball bat to the head.

An aspect of the nonsense heard at bible study was the weekly barrage of guilt and condemnation over sin. If you are a follower of Christ, you have received your forgiveness for your sins, and that put you into the arms of the Father, never to be released. So if I continue to “sin” then I need to change my thinking and or surroundings, because I am certainly not thinking as clearly as I should.

“and God’s servants must not be troublemakers. They must be kind to everyone, and they must be good teachers and very patient. Be humble when you correct people who oppose you. Maybe God will lead them to turn to him and learn the truth. They have been trapped by the devil, and he makes them obey him, but God may help them escape.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26 CEV)

If sin is merely missing the bulls-eye, we are all capable of doing that, but in reality the target is large, and for the most part easy to hit. Doesn’t that show that most of us are trying, and really do not wish to find themselves in a beggarly state.

We understand that “blessed” really has little to do with joy or the condition of your face – as in a smile, but could.

Paul wrote to the church in Rome:

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in your faith, that you may be overflowing with hope by the power of the holy Spirit! (Romans 15:13 Moffatt NT)

Joy is the Greek word chara, and means cheerfulness. So while one might obtain a cheerfulness from possessing some thing, like a sixty foot luxury ocean power cruiser, it is not what God wanted us to learn here. I will show you why:

For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life–is not from the Father but is from the world. (1 John 2:16 ESV)

For me, the bottom line here is this. I am better off when I live like this:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are–no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought(Matthew 5:3-5 MSG)

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The Rapture is Imminent – Revisited. Part 1


English: The Flight of the Prisoners, c. 1896-...

English: The Flight of the Prisoners, c. 1896-1902 , gouache on board, 8 15/16 x 11 5/8 in. (22.7 x 29.7 cm), Jewish Museum, New York, NY. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I came across a blog entitled: The Rapture is Imminent. Since I happen to feel strongly about that I indulged myself.

The page began with Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city“, however the prominent caption read:

The Great Tribulation – The Seventieth Week of Daniel – It’s All About Israel.

With a title like The Rapture is Imminent, and an opening line of “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city“, the association my mind wanted to make, but now clarify is: I am supposed to be looking for some connection between the seventy weeks and the Great Tribulation?

What can I determine from the statement, “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city“?

  • That God is mad at Israel and Jerusalem. Is that the case? Absolutely. Israel played the harlot rejecting not only God, but the Son that came in the form of the Messiah.

The quote about “Seventy weeks …” is taken from the prophecy of Daniel, so let’s start there.

“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. (Daniel 9:24 NASB)

Seventy weeks – we are talking about 70 sabbatical periods, each of which is seven years (70×7 = 490 years). Let me be honest, At first I found myself floundering in this, and then I remembered, this a Jewish book and the words that Daniel wrote would have made an immediate connection to the sabbatical years for the Jewish reader.

Moses breaking the tabletsThe LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you, the land shall keep a Sabbath to the LORD. For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the LORD. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. (Leviticus 25:1-4 ESV)

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testamentwww.ivpress.com, tells us: seventy sevens. A period of seven years was the sabbatical year cycle (see especially Leviticus 26:34-35 and the reference to it in 2 Chronicles 36:21). Seven sabbatical year cycles constituted a Jubilee cycle, at the end of which slaves were set free and land was returned to its proper owner (Lev 25). Seventy sabbatical cycles equal ten Jubilee cycles.”

Did Israel follow this rule of keeping the Sabbath years? No, they ignored it and found ways around it, therefore God gave the land its Sabbath. So, over the course of time, God had Israel temporarily removed from their land.

Question: is God more interested in land than people?

No, he was interested in Israel learning to trust and comply. Having lived in Egypt for over 400 years, they were deeply assimilated into the culture of the Egyptians and followed their gods. This is shown rather quickly when Aaron created the half man, half calf god Molech, that the people demanded, because Moses stayed on the mountain so long.

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. (Exodus 32:1-6 ESV)

Offering to Molech (illustration from the 1897...

Offering to Molech (illustration from the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us by Charles Foster) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A golden calf, it sounds rather benign to the non-spiritual ear, but there was nothing benign about it. Stephen – a follower of Christ, whom we find in the seventh chapter of Acts, is dragged before the Jewish council and there he makes an eloquent case for the gospel of Christ in his own defense. Stephen lays out a Jewish history for these learned men, and none of them disputed what he said. In Stephen’s argument we gain details about the events of Exodus 32:1-6 that we do not find anywhere else in scripture. The silence of the council lends validity, but why were they silent?

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible states: “the Syriac version here reads in the singular number, “and he made them a calf”; this was a most shameful and scandalous piece of idolatry. The Jews themselves are so sensible of the horribleness of it, and of the guilt of it, and of the reproach that lies on them for it, that it is common for them to say (c), “there is not a generation, or an age, in which there is not an ounce of the sin of the calf.”

The IVP Bible Background Commentary informs us that: “The episode of the golden calf was the incident in Israel’s history of which the rabbis were most ashamed; they felt it was the most sinful of Israel’s acts. But they grew defensive when pagans queried them about it (Josephus earlier even omitted the incident), and several centuries later they argued that the pagans who accompanied Israel, not Israel, made the calf.”

Apparently the hope is, if you don’t speak of it, then perhaps the problem, or embarrassing situation will go away. Having spent some time in recovery and heard the testimonies of many that have struggled so long to overcome co-dependency, ignoring a problem never made it better. While I can understand the Jews disgust and humiliation over roasting babies on the arms of an idol called Moloch. Perhaps, their dishonor is at the acknowledgment that God, the name they would not even pronounce out of respect, killed about three thousand people over this incident.

Now, here we are talking the rapture being imminent. While the outcome for those caught up, is the glorious reality of a life forever with Jesus in eternity, the grievous facet is upon those left on earth during the seven years that follow. It will be the time of God’s wrath, but it will include the wrath of Satan, lived out in the hearts of evil people.

You can solve the problem of being left behind by acknowledging that Jesus Christ is God, and that you need and receive Him into your life. Should you do that, in that moment you become His and a member of the family of God.

On my original attempt at clarifying and redefining the blog post about the Rapture being Imminent, it turned out to be nine pages long. As much as it bugs me, I am going to turn this into parts, and this is part one.

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We already made the transition. A look at Colossians 1: 13.


Colossians 1:12-15 MKJV

(12) giving thanks to the Father, who has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. (13) For He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son; (14) in whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of sins. (15) who is the image of the invisible God, the First-born of all creation.

English: the first of the Epistles to the Colo...

English: the first of the Epistles to the Colossians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the cross Jesus Christ removed the punishment for sins. As Paul writes: He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son, why then do we keep acting like every infraction requires our putting Jesus back on the cross in an attempt at reestablishing our place afresh in Him. As I watch people continually struggle, it is easy to believe that this life of deliverance must be a process. I think that because we keep slipping into the grip of darkness. Why do we do that? There is an answer!

My first response is that we are probed for weaknesses and then fed some deception based upon that weakness. Adam was not deceived, Eve was; Adam stood right there, watching what happened.

Genesis 3:13 ESV Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

 I think I can understand how Adam felt in those moments. He knew what the Lord had told him, and Adam made sure Eve knew as well; we know this because we have no record of God speaking to Eve. That does not mean it did not happen, but scripture is very intentional in telling you about the path of the man, and though Eve no doubt plays a role, God’s contract is with the man.

Having come from a religious background, one in which so many things had the potential of causing you to lose your salvation, I came home to my beautiful wife, whom, after a little over five years of marriage I almost despised, and she says to me, I have smoked Marijuana with my brother, here have some. What is so odd about this moment in time is that I met her at church, and she never expressed any interest in drugs, and she had a girlfriend that she loved, who almost died in a car crash due to drugs. So what do I say? Well then, let’s go to hell together. No it did not send me to hell, I was living in it. It is possible that Adam thought, I only have this one option for a wife and now she may be dead in a few seconds, there are no other women to choose from, so I will just die with her. (Yes I know, everything about this scenario screams co-dependency, but that is such a major aspect of what we inherited from Adam when he committed treason.)

The second thing I see is the fact that Adam said and did nothing. In those minutes before the fall Adam had choices; he was the healthiest, both mentally and physically, man could ever be, so he did not cower before the pains of codependency; he just stood there watching. Could he have forcibly stopped her? I suppose so, but God gives us the freedom to choose who we will serve, so no, I do not think it crossed Adam’s mind. Perhaps scolding or chiding her about her foolishness, or inability to see the trouble she is heading into. Maybe that would have put Eve back on track. But then I think, God has never spoken to me like this. No, it was all about the free will of the person, and Adam got pulled into the trap, all it needed was the right bait, and Eve was it.

Although history since this time has proven itself to be rather cataclysmic, it is really the result of two things: man’s ability to make his own choices – whether right or wrong, and the fact God needed Adam’s treason to play itself out because in time God would eliminate Satan and any influence this fallen angel had on creation.

Doesn’t this point you to a logical explanation. Colossians 1:13 tells us that people walking this earth, walk as free men; free from the penalties that were passed through Adam’s treason. I feel comfortable saying treason because Adam knowingly subjected himself to a new master – Satan – in taking the fruit from Eve’s hand and eating it.

How is that we walk free on this earth, knowing full well that people, are still to this day in slavery; many, slaves to their own vices?

Because the freedom, in God’s eyes, is from the penalty of what Adam did, which we all inherited. It is so much easier to wrap your mind around if you can picture the result of Adam’s actions as something that changed his DNA. Since then, because he is the genetic father of all, we inherited that same damaged chromosome, God simply calls it sin. This should help to explain why Jesus, had to be born from above, from God; for to be born from man would have caused him to have that damaged chromosome as well, and that would never work.

Because of our foolish actions, motivated by self will, we are taken captive by the enemy to do his will.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 ESV And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, (25) correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, (26) and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Notice though, we have, through the help of others prayers and correction, the ability to escape from the snare of the devil. I see this happen all the time in recovery.

Yes, there are snares – small game hunters still use them. Snares are set with bait for the express purpose of attracting victims into the trap. If you are taking the bait because you are hungry then consider getting fed somewhere else. (Okay, I admit that was meddling, but seriously, if you are not getting fed in your congregation, then GET OUT, and find some church body that will feed you.) I am going to let you in on one of the great mysteries of life – there are no perfect churches, but I can think of a few that are trying. The other side of this snare issue, is that you took the bait because you wanted it. Your actions had nothing to do with the necessity to live, you indulged your selfish desires and got trapped because you wanted what you saw.

———————-

I have heard this question – in various forms – many times. If the penalty for sin has been removed, why then are still being punished, thrown into the lake of fire with Satan and his fallen angels? I rarely hear anyone adequately explain it. Sadly, most people merely assign all those brought before the throne of God to hell. Where do we look to find the answers to this.

While it is God’s hope that all be saved, clearly not all are. If, as I showed you from 2 Timothy 2:24-26, many are taken captive by the enemy to do his will, does that not imply some form of willingness to follow.

Revelation 20:10 ESV (10) and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Revelation 20:15 ESV And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

You are an intelligent person, so you caught this immediately: “the devil who had deceived them”. Yes, many of you got deceived, we saw this in the garden story, but remember Eve was the one that got deceived; Adam, made the choice, knowing full well what he was doing. In that moment Adam switched teams; he committed treason against God. Do not worry too much about Adam though, because Jesus Christ went into hell, ripped the keys to death out Satan’s hand, and preached good news to those in captivity. That tells me that God showed Adam mercy as well.

Keep in mind that the point here is that the tortuous and eternal separation from God was really meant for Satan and those that followed him. Initially, it was only the angels that followed him. Obviously Satan has gained a rather large following by trapping people.

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

A close examination of Matthew 25 where Jesus speaks of the dead being brought before the throne of judgment may shed some light on the character of God. Here the dead are separated into what he refers to as sheep and goats. Since Jesus is presented to us as the shepherd in Matthew’s gospel, it only makes sense that he tells the story in this way. While I strongly suggest that you read Matthew 25:31-46, I am only going to give you a portion of it for space sake.

Matthew 25:31. 32 ESV “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. (32) Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

There is much confusion about this last throne because:

  1. People (“followers of Christ”) cannot see that this throne and the one we find in Revelation 20 are the same.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” (Revelation 20:11-12 ESV)

Let’s talk about this for a minute. “I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne,” At what point do we find everyone among the nations dead? At the end of the millineal reign, after the last great war against God. This war is initiated by the nations; “Christians” have no role in this, unless God has us in the battle as soldiers (Since the time of Christ’s physical return to earth, no Christian has died).

When the “nations” are brought before Jesus, he does not say whether they are dead or not, he merely calls them the nations; this should be easy to grasp for the believer as we understand that it is our bodies that are mortal, while our spirit is eternal. In understanding bible prophecy a clear distinction that there are three people groups is vital. There are the Jews (God’s chosen), the nations (everyone outside of Christ), and the Church – the body of Christ. So the nations are just that. Since no man really dies is it important to distinguish whether there live ones among this group? No, so you do know if this, like what we see in Revelation 20, is a collection of dead being brought before the throne.

One more thing. Some would say that what Jesus does in sitting upon his glorious throne is happening at the beginning of the millenial reign. While that might be, there are some problems with that theory, such as: It is said that he brings all, Christian and non, ignoring that the passage clearly states that he brings the nations before him.

  1. They tend to only see Jesus, represented as the angry, vengeful God, not finding their names written in the book of life, and therefore sends them into the lake of fire where Satan is.

Revelation 20 makes no mention of sheep. The explanation, which you should have already picked up on, is that Matthew 25 shows us Jesus as the shepherd – an aspect of His nature and character – while Revelation 20 presents us with Jesus as an angry God.

  1. Keep in mind that the book of Revelation is a revelation of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the person we are experiencing in Revelation 20 is Jesus. Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit, are one.

——————————–

Colossians 1:13 ESV (13) He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,

Colossians 1:13 not only tells us that we were delivered, but that God has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son. The NASB used the term transferred instead of translated. To be transferred is to be conveyed from one to another. However, here you sit. Doesn’t that show that something beyond your sight, emotions, and feelings is involved.

Paul’s letter to the church at Colossi, is written to followers of Christ. These people understood that our relationship with Christ is being described here in verse 13. That understanding does not happen without a purposeful reading of Paul’s letters, or the Holy Spirit directly teaching you, or someone who has an understanding of Paul’s letters conveying them to you. Therefore I can also learn that this not written to the those outside of the relationship with Christ as they cannot and will not understand.

But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. (2 Corinthians 3:14-16 ESV)

I would completely understand if you said to me, 2 Corinthians 3:14-16 applies to the Jews, and I thought about that too, however, I know people like this. I speak to them about God’s word and their responses cause me to walk away scratching my head and saying, how do they not see that? The other things that convince me that it is for us and for today, is that

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV)

and we are dealing with the New Testament, which was effectively written to the Church – us, therefore I see 2 Corinthians 3:14-16 as useful information.

I recently spoke with someone about the idea that this world is not reality, much like the movie “The Matrix“. Where would I get that idea? Because Jesus – after he was no longer in the tomb – walked through walls, and appeared in various places – without walking. After his death and resurrection Jesus shows up on a beach and eats fish with the guys. How does one explain that, since dead guys tend to not do that? He also ascended up into the heavens, defying gravity, when He was done with His mission here on earth. The only type of being that can do that is someone who lives outside of our reality, time, and dimensions.

His name is Jesus Christ. Receiving him is all about faith. Jesus was hung between two thieves, and too will die, as he did. However they wasted no time giving him lip, and yet, one of those thieves saw something different, and he perceived information about this Jesus he had not understood before. It changed him in such a way that he yelled at the other to shut up, “for this man has done nothing wrong.” Turning to Jesus, that thief asked Jesus to remember him as He went to paradise, and Jesus did. If you feel you have enough information then you should make the decision to believe and follow Him as well. Time for the church – the body of Christ is very short and those of us still alive when Jesus returns for His church will be caught up to be with Him forever. After our departure God will pour out His wrath upon the earth and it’s inhabitants. The deadly aspect of the time of wrath will be magnified after this, as people will continue to kill each other. As a heads up, Islam will become your greatest foe.

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What are the things we cannot see?


While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18 KJV)

“for the things which are seen are temporal“: temporary, transient, for a time, things that don’t last forever, for a season. “but the things which are not seen are eternal.

What are the things we cannot see: Faith; the Father; heaven; or even hope. And yet, I can see those things in my spirit, because of the Holy Spirit that lives in me.

Jesus, said, no man has seen the Father, He is the invisible God, however, Jesus walked this earth, in every occurrence, as the physical representation of God. I have never seen Jesus, and I doubt the shroud of Turin is an accurate representation of him, but I do know he was a Jew, as are some of my family. Because of that I have an image in my memory of an uncle laughing and I suspect Jesus looked a lot like that.

I just finished watching the Matrix once again. If you watch it and connect different aspects with what we see in scripture, you will begin to see that it parallels the story of Jesus, his choice to die, rising to new life, the power He acquires through the process, and the best part, that same life – imparted to us through belief,

poster for The Matrix

poster for The Matrix (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

allows us to become “the one”, just as Jesus is. In believing, and desiring the “meat of the word”, we can begin understand that everything going on around us is not real. Reality, the unseen world, is the real world. This is the world of the Spirit where God exists.

Like Neo in the Matrix, Jesus could see what was going on in the background, not because He was the Son of God, but because He – as a man – believed and chose to understand. In a sense, He took the red pill.

In the movie Morpheus offers Neo two pills. The red pill will answer the question “what is the Matrix?” (by removing him from it) and the blue pill simply allows for life to carry on as before. As Neo reaches for the red pill Morpheus warns Neo “Remember, all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.”

The message received by Neo

The message received by Neo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On more than one occasion, while watching the movie, I found myself sobbing, not because it is sad, but because something inside me tells me there is so much more and I am not living in it. I stopped the movie and said, God, I am not even sure what you are telling me, but if you are inviting me to see and be a part of it, the answer is yes.

The way to begin that transition is to invite Jesus Christ, God’s Son, into your life, giving Him control. It is much like taking the red pill as there is a little mystery involved. All I am offering is truth, nothing more. There will be pain involved, welcome to the world of the believer, but when you begin to see what Jesus saw you will never want anything other than the living water.

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Concerning Eternal Security.


Bible study this morning touched briefly on the subject of eternal security. The man who leads bible study asked, how many of you believe in eternal security. Here is my take on this – if you do not stand for something, you will stand for nothing, and so I was the first to raise his hand. My codependent head anticipates no good coming out my actions, but you have to choose to be brave and do what the Holy Spirit tells you to do. While it went well, there are definitely differing opinions, but the man who got my attention was the brother who told about losing his son. He briefly recapped what that night was like and how the autopsy found alcohol in his boys system. A police officer stayed with the boy all the way to the hospital where he died. When the family made it to the hospital the officer told them, your son has made such an impact on my life, for apparently this young man, who was possibly criminally negligent, spoke of Jesus to the police officer all the way to the hospital before he died. In light of eternal security what does this tell me about this young man? God was not only, in him still, but all over him, and it is quite possible that Christ now lives in that police officer because of him.

At the end of the meeting one of the men came up to me and asked me, what then does Hebrews 6:4-8 mean. I still had the computer on and so I pulled it up quickly. I saw immediately where he was going with it, but he added something. He said, “I fell away for a time.” I responded with, so have I, so it definitely does not mean impossible, now does it. He sincerely wanted to understand, and because they now perceive me as bold and unafraid to challenge scripture he asked. I told him I would find the answer, and this is it.

Think on this – for it seems to speak in opposition to eternal security.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:4-8 KJV)

it is impossible

The translators of the King James Version of t...

The translators of the King James Version of the Holy Bible intentionally preserved, in Early Modern English, archaic pronouns and verb endings that had already begun to fall out of spoken use. This enabled the English translators to convey the distinction between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person singular and plural verb forms of the original Hebrew and Greek sources. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Immediately I am confronted by the difference between the KJV and the NASB. The NASB states the sentence like this.

For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, (Hebrews 6:4 NASB)

They bypass the concept of impossibility. Why?

Here is NASB with the references to the Strong’s numbers. Something is clearly missing, or did the KJV unnecessarily added it.

For in the case of thoseG3588 who have onceG530 been R1enlightenedG5461 and have tastedG1089 of R2the heavenlyG2032 giftG1431 and have beenG1096 madeG1096 R3partakersG3353 of the HolyG40 SpiritG4151, (Hebrews 6:4 NASB+)

Now, compare this with the KJV:

ForG1063 it is impossibleG102 for those who were once enlightened,G5461 G530 andG5037 have tastedG1089 of theG3588 heavenlyG2032 gift,G1431 andG2532 were madeG1096 partakersG3353 of the HolyG40 Ghost,G4151 (Hebrews 6:4 KJV+)

Look at the word impossible in KJV. The reference is to the Greek word adunatos. From G1 (as a negative particle) and G1415; unable, that is, weak (literally or figuratively); passively impossible: – could not do, impossible, impotent, not possible, weak.

G1 A al’-fah Of Hebrew origin; the first letter of the alphabet: figuratively only (from its use as a numeral) the first.

G1415 – dunatos doo-nat-os’ – From G1410; powerful or capable (literally or figuratively); neuter possible: – able, could, (that is) mighty (man), possible, power, strong.

Is possible that the KJV is wrong? Let’s see. We will go to the Septuagint, from which the KJV was derived.

adunatonG102 A-NSN garG1063 CONJ tousG3588 T-APM apaxG530 ADV photisthentasG5461 V-APP-APM geusamenousG1089 V-ADP-APM teG5037 PRT tesG3588 T-GSF doreasG1431 N-GSF tesG3588 T-GSF epouraniouG2032 A-GSF kaiG2532 CONJ metochousG3353 A-APM genethentasG1096 V-AOP-APM pneumatosG4151 N-GSN agiouG40 A-GSN (Hebrews 6:4 LXX-BYZ)

There it is right there, the very first word. Impossible?

As I mentioned, the brother in Christ that pointed this out to me, added, I fell away. I responded with, so did I, and yet I would not doubt for a moment that this man is a man of God who loves the Lord. I know I do. However, if I allow myself to compare myself with others, especially those who have fame and money, the junk we foolishly we think we are entitled to because of false teachings, I will collapse into myself, overwhelmed by self doubts. That is what my codependent head leads toward. This makes me think impossible is not the concept they are trying to convey, or we are just missing the point.

Let’s look at the context of the statement and see if we can sort it out.

For it is impossible for those once having been enlightened, and having tasted of the heavenly gift, and becoming sharers of the Holy Spirit, and tasting the good Word of God, and the works of power of a coming age, and having fallen away, it is impossible for them again to renew to repentance, crucifying again for themselves the Son of God, and putting Him to open shame. (For the earth drinking in the rain often coming upon it, and producing vegetation suitable for those for whom it is also worked, receives blessing from God; “but bearing thorns and thistles,” it is deemed unfit and near a curse, of which the end is for burning.) Gen. 3:17, 18 But, loved ones, even if we indeed speak so, we have been persuaded better things concerning you, even holding fast salvation. (Hebrews 6:4-9 LITV)

For it is impossible” I think we already have the comprehension that impossible is too strong of a word for what the Holy Spirit is trying to convey.

We pointed out that adunatos means unable or weak, as well as passively impossible. But what are we really trying to say.

Let us first consider the subject of these verses. The writer described certain people with four phrases: (1) once enlightened, (2) experienced the good things of heaven, (3) shared in the Holy Spirit, and (4) tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come. Life Application New Testament Commentary

When you take in all aspects, as the commentators have, it sounds like the person in question has experienced the full life in Christ. These people are unable to renew themselves again to repentance.

Heb 6:6  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance;

Another example that conveys the same idea, from the same writer.

For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, (Hebrews 10:26 KJV)

Since Hebrews 10:26 speaks of a sacrifice for sins then we put this idea of impossibility or inability into the realm of a sacrifice. If we were living under the law, there would be lambs still to be slaughtered; that was common place under the law, but we are not under the law, and Jesus Christ, the Lamb, became the last and final sacrifice for sins which separated us from God. We, for some reason, seem to reject this, or ignore it.

So the person who continually comes down front, presenting themselves each week as a sinner, not covered by the grace of God, tends to make God look like a fool, as they expect someone to hang Jesus on the cross for them once again. What is the problem here? Perhaps it lies in what we are or are not telling people.

Paul shows up in a town and this is the message that he preaches – your sins are forgiven and you now have a hope that He will come back for you and receive you into heaven with Him and the Father – no matter how stupid you have been .

If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:6 KJV)

seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

This is very close to what we see in Hebrews 10:26. Our efforts to present ourselves each week, a crying baby that needs its diaper changed because we chose to go roll around in the mud pit that the world offered, demonstrating that we do not understanding this hope that is ours. Know this, you will not get Jesus Christ to put himself back on the cross for you. To ask him to do so is like saying that his sacrifice was not enough for, or you just do not believe what he did.

There is no doubt that we fall into sin, but is not always premeditated. None the less, it still gets us all muddied up, doesn’t it. Does that change how God sees you? Absolutely not! Do you need to get washed up? Certainly. It is only natural for people to cringe when you are covered in mud, trying to hold a conversation with civilized people. So, if you cannot go running back to the cross in an effort to re-crucify Christ what do you do? You repent. In other words own your actions, admit that you are powerless over your own life, and turn your life over to God, yes, once again. Tell God about your failures, talk to him, admit your wrong, and then make a concerted effort to get to know his character through his word, allowing the water of the Word of God wash you.

Jesus, in John 13:4-10 knew full well the nonsense Judas and Peter would pull, and yet he did not berate them, telling either they were eternally lost. He merely pointed out that they were clean because of Him, and merely needed to wash their feet from time to time.

He rose from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then comes he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou know not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needs not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. (John 13:4-10 KJV)

Paul, pointed out in 1Corinthians 6:11 that those who had come to knowledge of Christ through his teaching, were washed and set aside for God’s good work, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11 ESV)

To the Ephesian church he compared the believer to the wife, the bride of Christ. In that comparison he points out that we are cleansed and washed by the water of the word. He did this so that we could be presented to himself in splendor.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV)

There is one last aspect I need to cover. The writer of Hebrews compared this same person to a once productive field, but now bears thorns.

(For the earth drinking in the rain often coming upon it, and producing vegetation suitable for those for whom it is also worked, receives blessing from God; “but bearing thorns and thistles,” it is deemed unfit and near a curse, of which the end is for burning.) (Hebrews 6:7-8 LITV)

Notice that the verse says, “but”. But implies the potential, or a time of neglect. No field is free of weeds, they are always controlled. The mere fact that the wind blows, or birds fly guarantees that you will have weeds at some time. However, the good gardener, or land owner, knows what crop they planted and therefore pulls up things that were not intentional. This is what we do, and we use the word of God to help with that. If you realize that you simply do not have the strength to remove your own weeds then you need to get around people who have strengthened themselves, through trials, and God’s word, and allow them to help you. It is called humbling yourself.

As the bible study came to an end I raised my hand once again and said, I am not even sure why we have to have this conversation, because as a believer I have no intention of doing anything but pursue Jesus Christ, and I dare you to try to strip that salvation out of me. I believe Jesus was speaking to something along this line when he told the listeners this parable:

Again, the kingdom of Heaven is compared to treasure being hidden in the field, which finding, a man hid; and for the joy of it, he goes and sells all things, as many as he has, and buys that field. (Matthew 13:44 LITV)

For me, Jesus was that treasure and many years ago,I stumbled upon it. Having finally found what I was looking for I bought the field and have no intentions of giving it up. I suspect the Word of God is that field, and Jesus is the treasure. Fortunately, He presents himself, and offers himself to all. The result of accepting, or should I say, buying the field, is the joy in knowing that you now have a permanent hope and a knowledge that you will spend eternity with him, if you allow him in. I suggest you give him, on a daily basis, all the corners of your heart.

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When is Jesus coming back?


remso:

Many churches have cut back on studies and groups because it’s summer. Problem there is, God does not take the summer off, and we are quite probably in the last days.

Originally posted on A voice in the wilderness:

Surprisingly, it is often the small things that give me inspiration; I suppose it is because they speak to something deeper within me. Such is the case with this. I feel the need to talk about this idea of knowing or not knowing when Christ will come back.

I know that evokes immediate negative reaction and emotion in many. I am also aware that most of what you feel or think about the topic stems from tradition, an understanding based in what you have been taught, or just another false teacher that led his flock to ruin, death, or at minimum embarrassment, as the entire world watched. The most recent that comes to mind was the guy that told his followers to sell everything because the Lord was coming back at a particular time, and they certainly would not need it. I wonder who got all…

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Life tends to get real ugly.


remso:

In less than a year so many things have changed. Princip Ergodan of Turkey and his Prime minister are setting up the global caliphate, and Ergodan has declared himself god on several occasions. What an exciting time we live in. Stay strong in the Word and do not let false teachers lead you astray. You have the Holy Spirit in you, leading you, and guiding you; you know what is true, stay fast to it. Until then, I will see you on the other side.

Originally posted on A voice in the wilderness:

2 Thessalonians 2:2-3 NASB (2) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. (3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,”

This kicks off with Paul writing to the Thessalonians – a body of believers which seem to be in a panic because someone has sent a letter to the effect that the day of the Lord has already come. They are convinced at this point, that they have missed the bus. Considering how intense life will get immediately after the rapture happens I could understand why they might go into panic mode.

A thought as I make…

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The two witnesses of Revelation 11


The Two Witnesses - These are the two olive tr...

The Two Witnesses – These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. Revelation 11:4 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently I sat through a “teaching” on Revelation 11, and everything pastor spoke about was a type or symbol of something else, primarily the Church. He even defined the two witnesses as the church and told us how their death for three and one half days represents our completeness and migration into eternity. My grandpa taught me a southern phrase I think appropriately describes this sermon, Hog Wash.

That being said, let’s tear it apart and see what we get.

Revelation 11:3-12 ESV And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” (4) These are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands that stand before the Lord of the earth. (5) And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. (6) They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. (7) And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, (8) and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. (9) For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, (10) and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. (11) But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. (12) Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them.

I work on the principle that the bible is essentially a Jewish book, therefore I have to apply a Jewish understanding to grasp what is going on. It is not that difficult, it is just that we either do not teach people that, or we function under the false premise that God has replaced Israel.

Matthew records Jesus as saying:

Matthew 5:17 ESV “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

If anything, the Mosaic law was fulfilled, therefore complete. Sin was paid for in the cross and death of Jesus Christ. Life burst forth anew as Jesus rose from the dead. With the Mosaic law out of the picture, what is left? The Abrahamic covenant, God’s promise to Israel; the promise made to Abraham and his seed after him. We have been made heirs to that promise through our faith in Jesus Christ.

Romans 4:13-16 MKJV For the promise that he should be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. (14) For if they of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is made of no effect; (15) because the Law works out wrath, for where no law is, there is no transgression. (16) Therefore it is of faith so that it might be according to grace; for the promise to be made sure to all the seed, not only to that which is of the Law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all

I do not know exactly where the idea came from, but something inspired me to consider that these two witnesses (prophets) show up at the beginning of the time of judgment; the seven-year period known as the time of Jacob’s troubles. Why do I feel that way? The KJV gives me a clue in that they added a clarifying word, which we find in italics.

Revelation 11:3 KJV And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

There it is, the word power, however the Greek does not give us that word. What then does it give us? The Greek word didōmi which also means to grant or bestow.

Now you have to ask, what is God bestowing on these two guys, and why? We see the things that God bestows in terms of power and effect, but I do not want go into that now.

As to the identity of the two witnesses:

I strongly suspect that we are talking about Elijah and Enoch for they are the only two that we understand to not have died while upon the earth. Some try to make a claim for Moses, but we have scripture indicating that Satan was contending for the body of Moses. You don’t contend for something that does not exist, therefore I firmly believe that Moses died.

Jude 1:9 KJV Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

As to the arrival time of these two witnesses:

Things we know for certain:

  • They prophecy 1260 days; that is 3 and 1/2 years.

    The time of judgment lasts 7 years, so there is a half way point.

  • They slay those that would try to hurt them with fire that comes out of their mouths, and they have power over the earth in many ways; a predominant aspect is the control over the rain. This is hugely significant as the Muslim Jesus (Isa) does the same thing, but apparently not until these two are dead and gone. (This is a get real moment here. Do you believe that God will tolerate mimicry at this point in time? While it is possible, it is not probable. Therefore I do not think that a false prophet with the impact this guy has, will be doing his magic show while the two witnesses are alive on earth.)

Revelation 11:5-6 KJV And if any man will hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth, and devours their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. (6) These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

Their power and abilities take on a different dimension when you contrast them against the Islamic Jesus – the false prophet. He will be calling down fire as well, and the other hugely significant thing will be that he will cause it to rain. Why is that important? Because God’s witnesses, have stopped the rain, at their will.

Take note also of the term “witnesses.” Are we not witnesses? As witnesses, what are we witnesses to? The life and power that is in Jesus Christ. So, these two witnesses will be doing the same thing. You should have begun to grasp something by this point, and that is that Satan has paralleled God with his deceptive imagery and personalities; this Islamic Jesus is no different.

As witnesses, these two are a demonstration of the power of God available to the believer in Christ Jesus. Yes, you understood me correctly. How do I know this? Look at what the prophet Joel had to say about the “believer” in the last days.

Joel 2:28-29 ESV “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. (29) Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.

If you consider yourself an astute student of the bible, then you would have read the context of this verse. Having done that, you now understand that Joel is prophesying about the last days of earth – the time during the seven-year period. And yet, Peter, stood addressing the crowd on the day of Pentecost, saying:

Acts 2:16-21 LITV But this is that which has been spoken by the prophet Joel, (17) “And it shall be” in the last days, God says, “I will pour from My Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy;” “and your young men shall see visions,” “and your old men shall dream dreams;” (18) “and also I will pour out My Spirit on My slaves and slave women in those days,” and they shall prophesy. (19) “And I will give wonders in the heaven above,” and miraculous signs “on the earth below, blood and fire and vapor of smoke. (20) The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the” “coming of the great and glorious” “day of the Lord.” (21) “And it shall be that everyone who shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Verses 19 and 20 do not really apply to us, except that these are indicators that we are in the time period being focused upon. If you have paid attention, those signs are here and have been for a while. As a side note: The last blood moon, that we will see in this lifetime, will come on the same day as the Jewish New Year, on September 14, 2015.

Since the Apostle Peter declared through the Holy Spirit, that the prophecy of Joel is fulfilled, doesn’t that mean that we should be living in the authority of that prophecy? Absolutely. Do we? No. But we were talking about the two witnesses weren’t we. At least, these two witnesses, are doing what Joel spoke of.

In several of my posts I have indicated, as though speaking to those left behind, that they should pay attention to the two witnesses. Why would that make any sense? Because with the church gone from the earth, the only ones left on earth would be those that were previously led astray, deceived, or were false teachers. They may not be best person to look to as you try to find a mentor. Barring EMP blasts, it seems that there will 24 hour coverage of the two witnesses. This is especially significant, as Islamic extremists will be trying to kill them. It has, as of this date 05/25/15 become clear that every major network is quickly turning their hearts in sympathy toward Islam and against believers in Jesus Christ.

Daniel 11:32 KJV … but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

What do exploits look like? Consider some of the events of Daniel writings. Thrown to the lions they did not touch Daniel. And yet, having been pulled out and his accusers thrown in, the accusers were eaten before they hit the ground. Daniel’s Hebrew brethren refused to bow to the idol statue of Nebuchadnezzar. The entire thing was a set up to kill them off. The fire was so hot that it killed the men throwing them in, and yet the flames only burned the ropes and did not as much as leave the smell of smoke on their clothes. A fourth man joined them in the fire, and it is generally understood that this was Jesus. Since these two witnesses are prophets, it should be known that Elijah called fire down from heaven. You have power because of the Holy Spirit, and you still have the name of Jesus. There is much power in that name. Those who work on behalf of the enemy will be trying to kill, but those that know their God shall be strong and do exploits. Find a bible and learn of Samson, Jeptha, Gideon, Deborah, and the prophets. Open your mouth boldly; what is the worst that can happen?

  • when they shall have finished their testimony,” they will be killed by the beast (This is probably one of the points of confusion for this is another beast, also known as the false prophet)

Revelation 11:7 KJV And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

God has finished with them, they have done their job. Jesus walked this earth for about the same length of time, and he was dead about that length too. Rather symbolic isn’t it?

If they have the power to burn up anyone that tries to them, then it might be appropriate to have them also function as a defense system while the temple is being built (I am just speculating.) And with their time on earth accomplished this could easily coordinate with the false prophet desecrating the temple.

  • After lying in the streets three and one half days they arise and God calls them home.

Revelation 11:11 KJV And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

Because scripture tells us that the Saints of this time period rise up and do amazing things in the name of the Lord it seems to imply a freedom, but considering all that is obviously coming, the only freedom would be the freedom you express fearlessly.

Joel 2:28-32 KJV And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: (29) And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. (30) And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. (31) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. (32) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

Then the logical assumption is that there is something or someone who demonstrates what this power looks like. Look around you, can you find this level of belief in God’s power flowing through a human, anywhere. Not likely. Therefore I think it is safe to think that the two witnesses show up immediately.

A second motivation for believing that their arrival is immediate. The beast that comes up fights against them and overtakes them, killing them. The common usage of the term beast poses problems for those not paying attention. This is clearly a second beast personification, and carries multiple names; the false prophet being one of the them, the Antichrist is another.

If the first beast, a Muslim, is busy declaring peace then several other things have to be happening:

The temple gets rebuilt. There is no way that every Muslim will stand idly by while that happens. This may have a role in the fire that comes out of the mouths of the two witnesses. At the moment the Muslims have control of the temple mount area and actively persist in preventing Jews to go there. Clearly that would have to change, but not without some protest.

The second beast, the Muslim Jesus, takes a dominant policing role in Islam. The Islamic prophecies show him fighting against a person they call the Dijal, (their version of a false prophet.) Of course anyone outside of Islam, speaking authoritatively, would or could have that title. Because of the timing of Antichrist’s unveiling and that he desecrates the newly built temple, indicates that the two witnesses are no longer here on earth, because he killed them at the half-way point.

One can make the assumptions about whether the prophets show up at the beginning, the middle, or somewhere between. Let’s try to avoid that and look at what we know. Let’s also try avoid statements that convey a difficulty in understanding because I am here to tell you that God meant for this book to be understood.

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Who are the dead that are brought before the Great White throne?


The imagery of the Great White throne comes specifically from Revelation 20. However, we also find this same throne of judgment, alternately described, in the parable we find in Matthew 25; this is the parable of the sheep and the goats.

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them. And judgment was given to them, and the souls of the ones having been beheaded because of the witness of Jesus, and because of the Word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast nor its image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand. And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4 LITV)

Sitting upon thrones judging, these are those that were martyred during the seven years of wrath upon the earth. Yes, they were killed, but they are resurrected at the beginning of the millennial reign – the first resurrection – and reign with Christ throughout the thousand years. They are not included among the dead gathered at the throne.

Appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene after re...

Appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene after resurrection, Alexander Ivanov, 1835 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. (Revelation 20:5 LITV)

With Christs death and resurrection came the age of grace. This period will end with the rapture of the church.

Those who have died prior to the age of grace:

Those who died in compliance with the Law of Moses

Those who died without the law, the nations

Maybe all have been in Abraham’s bosom much like the beggar Lazarus.

Because Jesus told us the parable about Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16), we know that there was a protected place separated by an impassable gulf, and that those not in the protected place are in torment.

Let me start by saying that this is a broad generalization. My example is the parable of Lazarus the beggar and the rich man. We find out that the rich man was a Jew, and as such, expected by those listening, to be in Abraham’s bosom, because for them, rich meant righteous.

In general, the nations would be considered outside of the law.

Did those who died prior to grace, have a chance? My response is, absolutely. I have spoken of this before with people. The problem is I am typically talking with religious people who absolutely will not allow God to work outside the limits they have placed on Him, nor will they listen to anything other than the tradition they understand. The responses have sounded like Hank Hannegraf’s in that they say it is blasphemy to suggest such a thing. Sounds like I am talking with Jews doesn’t it, but they are not. They are people who claim a relationship with Jesus, just like me.

Look, God did not begin the sacrifice for sin without reason. The sacrifice was symbolic of what His Son was to carry out, and as such, an example of hope. That hope came in the form of Jesus bringing grace to the dead as well. This could only happen because Jesus went to where they were and preached to them.

Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) (Ephesians 4:8-10 ESV)

Jesus went down there and took the keys.

.. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:18 ESV)

Jesus death on the cross and subsequent resurrection, brought the age of grace.

This grace period will end with the removal of the church from the earth.

The dead in Christ

Those alive at His return

Will rise from the grave.

We who are alive will be caught up to meet them in the air, and we will all be together with the Lord.

For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 ESV)

The rapture: the removal of the church from the earth. The end of the age of grace and the beginning of the time of wrath.

Martyred Saints

Everyone else – “the nations.”

Matthew 25 tells us of the ten virgins – all invited to the same wedding. Five are ready and five are not. It is probable that this represents the condition of the church today, and therefore means that fifty percent are not ready, not watching for Jesus to return.

After the rapture I strongly suspect many will hear the wake-up call, but alas, the age of grace will be gone. Therefore. anyone coming to the Lord from this time on, will have to prove their allegiance to Him. It will, probably, cost them their heads.

Who else will come to Jesus during this time. There are no restrictions, all are welcome, and many of those left behind will see the benefit of coming to Jesus; a long-term benefit that far surpasses whatever pain and discomfort they are in. They will come from every nation, tribe, and tongue, and they will all die as martyrs.

The Apostle John, as he looked into heaven, saw the martyred saints before the throne on two occasions. On the second occasion their number was uncountable.

We are, at this point, only concerned with those that die during the years of wrath.

Let me make something clear. There are only three people groups in the world; the Jews, the nations, and the church. Because the church will be gone at the rapture we still have to consider the Jews and the nations. DO NOT assume, that the nations are merely Islamic terrorists. It merely means any one who does not belong to Christ and not a Jew.

Not everyone within the nations will be trying to kill you. They, likely, will be trying to escape from Islam just as you are.

Because God is pouring out his wrath on the earth, many will die from those events alone. However, the armies of the Antichrist, empowered by Satan himself, will still be actively killing off opponents if Islam.

Scripture tells us that three and one half years into the time of wrath, the beast will turn up the heat. Jesus called this a time of “great tribulation”. In other words, if you think it is bad now, it will get worse, and sadly, there are people in the world that are thinking, it could not get much worse, but it will.

The time of wrath has ended and everyone settles into the millennial reign.

Will there be any dead during this time? Absolutely.

And if the family of Egypt does not go up and present themselves, then on them there shall be no rain; there shall be the plague with which the LORD afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. (Zechariah 14:18 ESV)

The plagues we see in the Old Testament, killed off thousands at a time.

One of the questions I get is: will there be any sinners going into the millennial reign?

The prophet Zechariah tells us that there will be, for leaders from among the nations will continue in their arrogance.

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16-18 KJV)

How is it possible that anyone would be left of the nations which came against God?

If you have paid attention to the world going on around you, then you would know that an accepted practice among practitioners of the Qur’an, is the rape of Kafirs, that would be anyone outside of Islam, even Muslim women that do not cover everything but their eyes are not safe. This is not intended to be a bashing session, this is open teachings and practices of Islam. As soon as a Muslim child can comprehend it is taught to hate Jews, Christians, and anyone outside of Islam. The desire and ability to kill Kafirs is indoctrinated into Muslim children at a very early age. So, what am I doing? Assuming, but I am basing my assumptions on logical, demonstrated events and facts.

How does that apply to the possibility that God would leave any “enemies” alive? God is merciful. We do not see many Muslim women engaging in combat, and here in America, we do not put teen boys into war. That is not the case with Islam. Even worse though, is the anger and violence instilled within preschool age children. It is possible that God does not hold these, that did not take part, responsible for the actions of those that did.

Because we see God’s directive in Zechariah 14:16-18, we know that those that chose not to bow before of their own free will, will be made to bow before Him, for seven days, during the yearly Feast of Tabernacles. Failure to do so will be costly, and the second offense brings death by plague.

This then really answers three questions, does it not?

Sin can and will be brought into the millennial reign, but without Satan’s push. People will die, even from old age. And not everyone is slaughtered by God during the time of wrath.

One last point about sin that appears to happen during the millennial reign.

Why does Paul have to point out this list of sins that will not get to enter the kingdom?

Think about it. Christ having died and rose again, put away all sin, therefore we will not be judged for sin, but we will be judged for what we did with God’s Son, Jesus Christ. I accepted him into my life and He gladly received me; from that point on I am covered by his blood, and when God looks at me, all He sees is the blood of His Son.

If there is sin in the millennial kingdom, it is certainly not coming from Satan, he has been bound for the thousand years; it is not coming from believers, nor is it coming from the previously martyred saints, for they now reign – as law keepers – over the earth with Christ. There is still one large cause, which you cannot ignore – the Nations.

Consider 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV)

      • sexually immorality

      • idolaters

      • adulterers

      • men who practice homosexuality

      • thieves

      • greedy

      • drunkards

      • revilers – those who seem to have the habit of degrading people.

      • swindlers

Paul wrote this letter to a church body, many of whom were Jewish converts. Ascertaining the context takes you all the way back to chapter 5:1, where Paul addresses what he has heard about them. And in essence, Paul is telling them to handle it. You will see this as you follow his logic. But, as I pointed out, this is a letter to the church and not necessarily applicable to a scenario in heaven.

The scenario we see in Revelation 22:14,15 is:

Revelation 22:14-15 ESV (14) Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. (15) Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

John is describing those who have washed their robes. That washing of robes may have come through our acceptance of Christ during the age of grace, or it may be an aspect of the martyred saints, but because of its placement in the story there is the possibility that the nations will have this opportunity as well. Having washed their robes, they have access to the tree of life, and entrance into the city through the gates. (This is that tree spoken of in the garden, the same one Adam and Eve had to be prevented from accessing.)

I already pointed out that there will be survivors among the nations going into the millennial reign, and that they will come to Jerusalem once a year and bow for seven days, as they take part in the feast Tabernacles. They will bring their selfish nature and choices with them into this period. Having been changed in the twinkling of an eye, we will not bring our old, sour natures into the millennial kingdom, so Paul and John are not talking to us; washed by the blood of the lamb, the martyred saints will no longer have their old natures, so they are not being addressed by Paul and John either.

Who then is John, in particular, speaking about? The nations, they are the only ones left, and though they no longer have Satan pushing them to make lousy decisions, they have habits and patterns they are accustomed to following. Therefore, God has to set the boundaries for who can and cannot have access to “the tree of life” and the city.

Look at how clearly John paints the picture of what potentially continues outside the city – “Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” Perhaps this answers the question of why God would want or need so many to reign over the earth. Scripture does not tell us how they administer justice, nor does it tell us how swiftly. Even still I can see God’s mercy, because I would have consumed then like dust. None the less here they are, still milling about doing selfish stuff.

I was asked, how then do they come to know God? It would seem that there are two possibilities, but only one makes sense. I will explain. If God saw fit to rebuild everything, including the temple, why then would there not be the opportunity to sacrifice for sins? Here is the problem I have with this. Jesus, was the last sacrifice. However, it seems there is another way.

Revelation 22:2 ESV through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

I looked up the Greek word for healing, and one of its meanings is cure. Rather enlightening. Beyond this I can only guess, as I have nothing more that clarifies how people will come to an acceptance of God’s kingship, but it is clear that they do.

Here is the grand finale. After a thousand years of peace – maintained by an innumerable amount of martyred saints who will reign over the earth – Satan is released and deceives the nations. We make the assumption that this means all, but that is never the case. There are plenty of examples of the bible using the word all, and yet it is clear that not “all” were there; such is the case with the three Hebrew children on the day they were tossed into the fiery furnace. Daniel was not there. Therefore, not “all” those among the nations will be deceived. I know, you still do not see how that would be possible. Look at this example in Acts 13.

Acts 13:6-12 ESV When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. (7) He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. (8) But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. (9) But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him (10) and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? (11) And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. (12) Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

Sergius Paulus saw the power of God and believed. There is nothing to exclude the nations from seeing the power of God, hearing the word about Him, and believing.

Do you not see it? God is still giving these people the chance to choose whom they will willingly serve. True, in earlier ages they could choose not to bow, but that grace is now gone.

I am thoroughly convinced that Jesus is coming shortly; why take the chance, when turning your life to Him is as simple as the thief on the cross who asked Jesus to remember him. Ask Jesus Christ to come into your life. Give it all to Him and know that your home in eternity is guaranteed.

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Did Jesus walk this earth as a man, or did he have supernatural traits?


As I work through a bible study I struggle to give it a title that draws people in. It does not take me long to get thoroughly disgusted because this idea of making things marketable, is part of what has brought our churches to the apostate condition they are now. I thought my title should be, “Are you out Jesus, superhero capes?”

This was the actual question was proposed before the group – “did Jesus walk this earth as a man, or did he have supernatural traits?” It is a fair question, but sadly, it comes out of misinformation, a lack of proper teaching, and a failure of people to read their bibles for themselves (that of course implies that in reading you are reading for depth, asking questions of what you read, and looking up the answers for yourselves.

Let me give you an example of the misinformation we spread.

As children we learned about David and Goliath. The story always came with visuals, as well as verbal descriptions. The image painted of David was that he is a cute, little 12-15 year old, red-headed child; whom, by the way, amazingly killed a bear and a lion. David, at this size and imagined age, is now so strikingly confident that he is willing to take on a man of enormous size. We get this image of David reinforced by adding that King Saul took his massive armor and placed it around David. The armor would, at this age, have fit like a trash can, either that, or Saul was just a little man. Problems any of us should have with this, is that Saul, when anointed as King, was head and shoulders above anyone around him. That would put Saul at close to seven feet tall. Would you attempt to put armor that fit on you, a man who potentially is 6’10” tall, on a boy of only five feet tall, at best? Not a chance. I would not have allowed him out on the battle field either. But David was not five foot tall, he was probably closer in height to Saul. Let just assume he was 6’4” tall, and plenty big enough to take a bear and a lion. David’s resume was all verbal, but the bear and lion are probable, and great selling points. Saul, looked at him, heard what he said, saw a confidence in his eyes, and hesitantly said yes, go get him. Where is the possible hesitancy coming from? From the fact that if David loses, we all lose, and as King, the Philistines will molest him, and when done mount his head on a pole; not to mention what they will do to the others.

So, how did Jesus present himself here on earth?

Philippians 2:5-8 KJV Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

The word reputation – A two-part Greek word, meaning: to make empty, and an obsolete reflexive pronoun that can be translated as he.

He emptied himself. Now the question where and when did this happen?

John’s gospel tells us that He/Jesus was the Word; that the Word created all things, and was there with him, in the beginning. There was no arrogance, no flaunting, it was an interdependent, fluid state of being. Paul explains: “Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” To be honest, I cannot explain how this relationship worked or what it looked, I just know it did. I can also find out that Jesus had a free will, just as the angels did.

At the proper time He took upon himself human form.

and took upon himself” – took is the Greek word lambanō, and means to take in very many applications, literally and figuratively – to get hold of. What does this tell me? That he knew exactly what He was doing, and He knew how tough it was going to be.

With that free will, in a move to recover man on earth, He chose to stop to being who He was. He submitted himself to human birth, had to have his diapers changed, accepted discipline, childhood all that goes with it. And yes, if he had a bicycle he would have fallen off of it, just as we did.

the form – Form is the Greek word morphē, and means: shape; figuratively nature: – form. This tells me that He did not look like any man we have ever seen prior to that decision.

The nature of the man originated in the garden before the fall, and was an exact duplicate of the Father, but there was a huge and obvious shift; it all surrounded the choice and act of eating that fruit. There is a possibility that it went deeper than that, all the way down to the man’s DNA, and every human produced from Adam, from that time forward, carried that damaged DNA. If scientists took a random sampling of DNA from people, and every one of them had that same damage, how would you know it was damaged? Kind of reminds me of an old Twilight Zone television show, where everyone had a duck like face. We were introduced to a patient, wrapped in facial bandages, as they all awaited permission from the doctor to remove the bandages after another attempt to do plastic surgery on this sad but beautiful blond lady. Her malady, she was different, she looked like a human, and she was very distraught. It ended with a handsome fellow who had come to accept his looks taking her away to be with others like them. The point is, if we all looked like ducks, then duck faces would be normal. Sin, an integral aspect of who we are, became normal to us.

of a servant,” – The Greek word doulos means: a slave (literally or figuratively, involuntarily or voluntarily.

In a recent bible study the idea of our being a slave came up. The context: We had touched upon Paul declaring that he was a slave for Christ; as such, how much room did that leave him to decree, “I will do what I please!” Not much, as slaves do what they are told. And yet, as slaves, God does not treat us poorly; He still gives us the freedom of choice, and one of those choices is to return to the previous slave owner.

While the idea of being a slave sounds bad; implemented by man it typically is, this is not the case with God. Our submission leads to freedom, hope, and eternity with Him.

Time to refocus.

How does this apply to Jesus?

All He ever seemed to say was, “I only do what I hear the Father tell me.” He placed himself in submission to the Father. Apparently, the Father gave him the freedom, and we can see this spelled out in Isaiah 61.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion– to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3 ESV)

As Jesus walked this earth, this is exactly what He did. He did not need another word spoken, the directive was already there. There is one huge exception. He did not come to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God. He came as the good shepherd and he came to heal and restore. Wow, if Jesus was a slave, what an exciting job he got. But he was not a slave, He was a beloved Son

Alright, let us apply this to ourselves.

Since you struggle with the word slave, how about employee.

Romans 6:22 Phillips 22 But now that you are employed by God, you owe no duty to sin, and you reap the fruit of being made righteous, while at the end of the road there is life for evermore.

Having worked at several jobs I can tell you that broken people are the same everywhere you go.

Can we speak freely? If you are being paid to do a job and you are standing around, avoiding the responsibilities that the job demands, and yet still picking up a paycheck as though you did what you were asked to do, then you are stealing.

There is a payment for everything; for Christ, there was the joy set before Him, knowing that many would follow, and there would be an eternity of peace and joy for those who come.

Romans 6:23 Phillips 23 Sin pays its servants: the wage is death. But God gives to those who serve him: his free gift is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:18-19 NASB and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (19) I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

Life Application New Testament Commentary says of Romans 6:18. It is impossible to be neutral. Every person has a master—either righteousness or sin. A Christian is still able to sin, but he or she is no longer a slave to sin. This person belongs to God. Believers are set free from the control of their evil desires and their selfish habits, free to become enslaved to righteous living. We serve the righteous God who is in the process of transforming us to become more like him so that we can one day share in glorious resurrection to eternal life. That’s not a bad master to have!

So the short answer to the question, “Did Jesus walk this earth as a man, or did he have supernatural traits?” is NO, he had no supernatural help or traits. Yes, that means that everything he did, he did as a man. Yep, he had to work through the same fears and pressures that we do, but hey, He did it, and succeeded. Oh yeah, He had to decide that following after the Father was the best way to go; this is the same decision that we have to make. I am glad that I made this decision long ago. It is not that difficult, you just have to decide to put Him in charge. Jesus, I give my life to you, you are in charge now.

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