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.

Posted in In Christ, Things I have never noticed before, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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?


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.


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.

Posted in End times, Hope, In Christ, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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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Problems with a parable

I want to talk about a parable that has been on my mind. The reasons why will become clear.

I am using Eugene Peterson’s Message for the parable,

Common vineyard (ca. 1910)

Common vineyard (ca. 1910) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

not because I am thrilled with it but it is broken down in a clear way, and he uses a dollar, something we can relate to. However, the parable, no matter what the translation, has nothing to with money; it is more about the manager’s choice to pay everyone that worked, our future in eternity, and how poorly we react when things do not go the way we thought they should.

Jesus had been talking about end times, so this parable is just a continuation of the theme.

“God’s kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work. “Later, about nine o’clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed. He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage. They went. “He did the same thing at noon, and again at three o’clock. At five o’clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, ‘Why are you standing around all day doing nothing? ‘ “They said, ‘Because no one hired us.’ “He told them to go to work in his vineyard. “When the day’s work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, ‘Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.’ “Those hired at five o’clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, ‘These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.’ “He replied to the one speaking for the rest, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?’ “Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.” (Matthew 20:1-16 MSG)

If we could equate our relationship with Jesus Christ to work, in what form do we get paid?

Our payment then would come in our salvation – a hope of being snatched off this earth before all hell breaks loose, and eternal life with the Father.

Is there anything that impedes that relationship?

There are always things that can pull your attention away from God, but overall, it is not that difficult, unless you start thinking too hard, complicating a simple life of loving people with religious rules, and become confused to the point where you are unable to sort out things like tribulation, resurrections, judgment, and who the dead are brought to the white throne at the end of the thousand years.

It is really not that difficult but I get into these conversations with people who are just stuck and refuse to consider truth. The unsettling conversations that I have had (they are unsettling because of the intense lack of mercy I meet) are about the dead brought before the white throne. Many have the understanding that all those brought before the throne, are judged immediately and thrown into the lake of fire with its eternal punishment. Sorry, but that is just not the case, and here is why.

We find the last judgment in two places, Revelation 20:11-15, and Matthew 25.

Revelation 20:11-15 NASB (11) Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. (12) And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. (13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. (14) Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. (15) And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

This passage comes across like a movie we once paid to see but is now on television, and they had to cut out some of the scenes we liked for the sake of time. This section of Revelation has a huge variable in it, which you find in verse 15. It says, “and if”. This is reminiscent of math class and it’s “if then” statements. Scripture tells us of books, not just one, so Jesus/God is probably reading from the only book important to Him, the Book of Life. I suppose “if” a name is not there, “then” it has to be in the other, and those in the other book have an appointment with hell. But keep in mind that Jesus was here on a mission and at this stage in the plan, it did not include judgment.

Revelation 20:11-15 is describing the same throne as Matthew 25:31-46. The exception is that Jesus, in Matthew’s gospel, fills in the background, explaining that there are sheep, and that they obtain mercy, but we do not see this aspect in Revelation, we only see judgment.

Matthew 25:31-46 NASB “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. (32) “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; (33) and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. (34) “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (35) ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; (36) naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ (37) “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? (38) ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? (39) ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ (40) “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ (41) “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; (42) for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; (43) I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ (44) “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ (45) “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ (46) “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

The first question I need to discuss is: How are these the same scenario?

If this is a misconception, it is a common one. Look at the terminology we see in Matthew’s gospel: “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.” Now, contrast this with Revelation 20: “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.”

Both exude the power and presence of a glorious king taking the throne, exactly what Israel was looking for. However, Revelation – the premier book that demonstrates God’s judgment upon the earth, and the rewarding of the steadfast – shows you the side willing to clean house, and taking the throne. Let there be no doubt that Jesus was and is the express image of the Father, both here on earth, and there in eternity. So, if you see God as sitting on the throne you would be right, because Jesus and the Father are one. However, this is Jesus here.

We find Matthew’s gospel using the phrase, the Son of Man. That is the terminology Jesus used in reference to Himself. Our impression, as the dead are brought to the throne, is still that of a shepherd who cares for a flock. My thought is, why these two personas? God has always loved his human creation, but it is obvious that it did not love him back. Here is where my human thinking gets in my way, for I think back on a relationship I had with a dog that could care less about me. Fortunately, God does not sink to our level of thinking, and no matter how lousy we have treated him, he still loves us and gave his only son, so that we could have the opportunity for a restored relationship with Him. That is why Jesus is portrayed a bit more gently in Matthew’s gospel.

Is Christ now on His throne?

Currently yes, we see him seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us.

Hebrews 12:2 NASB fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Having the ear of the Father, Jesus is constantly running blockade and defending us to the Father as Satan fires off our failures at the throne like a mortar barrage, to defame and convict us.

Hebrews 7:25 NASB Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

That does not mean He stays glued to the throne.

  • We certainly see Him in the clouds, as He comes to snatch His church away;

  • we see Him at the end of the time of judgment (we mistakenly call it “the tribulation”.)

  • We see Him in the end, riding a white horse and slaughtering those who would choose to fight against Him;

  • we see Him standing upon the mount of olives as it splits in two, and we also see Him reigning in the new Jerusalem.

  • One last example of Jesus apparently off the throne. He is showing up in the dreams of Islamic’s on a consistent basis. They know who He is, and they either turn to Him or he directs them to someone who can explain who this Jesus is that they saw.

I can see where some might try to exclude Jesus from the throne of Revelation 20:11 because it talks about “Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them”, and we cannot perceive of Jesus as being or doing this.

Do you not recall how John defined Jesus?

John 1:1-3 NASB In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He was in the beginning with God. (3) All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

John 1:14 KJV And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Jesus was and still is that Word, and he spoke this way about himself all the time.

John 8:51 NASB “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.”

The only separation between He and the Father, was His choice to be a man, and that was because it was the only way to pay the ransom for this world full of people who the Father loved.

So picture this: The earth has been filled with peace for a thousand years. I cannot even imagine what that will be like. Christ reigns upon a throne in the new Jerusalem, as nations continue to come before him once a year and bow in obeisance during the feast of tabernacles. Even then, there is no forced compliance to accept God as the ruler of your heart, however there is a consequence if you do not. These people are still considered the nations. The thousand years comes to an end with a last battle, and now it is time to clean house. This is where we are as we look at Revelation 20, the Great White throne.

The dead are brought before the throne. At this point you need to keep your inventory straight.

  • Since the death and resurrection of Christ, all who have died in Him, are already in his presence, so we are NOT talking about them.

  • Prior to Christ’s death, those that died were either in torment, as the rich man was, or they were in Abraham’s bosom. Our definitions of where they are and condition comes from the parable about the beggar Lazarus, the psalmist’s declaration that the dead know nothing, and Jesus telling the thief on the cross that he would be with Him in paradise.

We are merely making assumptions that Paradise is the only place that Jesus “visited” upon his death. Seriously, think about what transpired there on the cross? Christ became sin, He did not merely take it on as a boxer might, He submitted himself as the sacrificial (“scape”) goat and took all the world’s sin upon himself. That goat was led off into wilderness or killed. This is what Leviticus is trying to tell us. The priest had to lay his hands on the head of the goat and they certainly laid their hands upon Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:21 Moffatt NT (21) For our sakes He made him to be sin who himself knew nothing of sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

What changed that permitted anything different to happen to those incarcerated either in Abraham’s bosom or torment?

This is not a time to try to argue details, I hear that garbage all the time. It is time to accept the fact that God is beyond your control, and He did something so beyond your comprehension that you cannot explain it, so you fight against anyone that breaks with your tradition. That explanation was Jesus Christ, and He changed everything. What do we have to prove that, or as the cantankerous guy at bible study demanded, show me that in the bible! He was directed to Ephesians 4:7-10, to which he replied, where is that in my bible? My guess is that you can see the problem, but don’t laugh, it is a common one.

Ephesians 4:7-10 NIrV But each one of us has received a gift of grace, just as Christ wanted us to have it. (8) That is why Scripture says, “When he went up to his place on high, he led a line of prisoners. He gave gifts to people.” (Psalm 68:18) (9) What does “he went up” mean? It can only mean that he also came down to the lower, earthly places. (10) The One who came down is the same as the One who went up higher than all the heavens. He did it in order to fill all of creation.

Verse seven establishes that we are talking about Christ. Verse eight, in this translation, states that “he led a line of prisoners.” Other translations read, “he led captivity captive”, but how does that make any sense when they moments later refer to Him going up, and if Christ is going up, where is He going and why is He taking these “captives” with Him? The explanation comes when you go the source of the reference Psalm 68:18.

Psalms 68:18 NIrV When he went up to his place on high, he led a line of prisoners. He received gifts from people, even from those who refused to obey him. The LORD God went up to live on Mount Zion.

If you look at parable of the beggar Lazarus and the rich man, where do you find Lazarus? Resting in Abraham’s bosom. Does it sound like he is a prisoner, or captive? No, but that would probably be your first impression of the rich man’s destination. He is across a chasm that cannot be crossed, at least by Lazarus, which he was demanding Lazarus to do. There is no doubt in my mind that Christ was not only put there, but led those willing to come out with Him free, as he rose to the Father.

Revelation 1:17-18 (MKJV) tells us, “…, Do not fear, I am the First and the Last, and the Living One, and I became dead, and behold, I am alive for ever and ever, Amen. And I have the keys of hell and of death.”

My commentary typically sounds like this, “were the keys merely lying on a shelf up in heaven and Jesus simply had to go get them?” Not hardly, Satan had them and Jesus went to where he was and took them forcibly. Freedom was then offered to those trapped there, and obviously, many chose to follow Him out – who would not?

Remember, we are still trying to keep the inventory straight. So, who are the dead?

  • After the Harpazo – the rapture – all who die in Christ, the martyred saints, will be resurrected. This is the FIRST resurrection. (This is another place where we make huge assumptions. We religious tend to think that when we leave the earth we take the opportunity and method of salvation with us; we do not.) These martyred saints are no longer considered among the nations or the dead and reign over the earth for the thousand years.

  • The only people left are those whom we consider to be among the nations. This is the second resurrection. It does not matter your language or nationality, what matters here is that technically you died without a “formal, religious” recognition of God in your life.

These, brought before the Great White throne are those among the nations whom have died since Christ arose from the dead. This includes all who partook in the last rebellion, a strong determinate of which leader you intend to follow – there will, by the way, be no survivors in that last battle.

So, now that we have that sorted out, why do any of them gain mercy, and entrance into heaven?

This is where our parable of Matthew 25 kicks in hard.

  1. Because these did not do any of the mandatory religious acts we consider necessary, at we are not aware that they did.

  2. Having lived an unswerving life of devotion with a payment of heaven as my reward for not breaking any of the rules, these are coming in at the last-minute; even worse, God has brought them back to life and given them another chance.

  3. It seems that all they did was act in a manner outside of selfishness.

This may be a little too graphic, but I need you to think through something. God’s judgment falls upon those that what? Take the mark, AND, worship the beast. Those that do not are beheaded, or in general, martyred in some horrific fashion, all because they would not worship the beast. You cannot let this idea of a “beast” get you confused. It may be that the beast is Islam. I happen to find that very plausible, and by the way, Islam’s primary method of dealing with non-believers is, yes you got it – beheading. Since many of these “Christians” – they are in many cases given that title by Islamic fighters – are not so Christian by American church standards, so their last gasps for breath may merely be to deny the tenets of Islam and die. Ask yourself, is it possible that a merciful God sees that as a rejection of the enemy and an acceptance of Himself, the one true God? Even if it isn’t, having pointed out what Jesus does – as He sits upon the final throne – separating people because their heart moved them to act in a manner that God had actually prescribed. What was the answer when Jesus asked, “what is the greatest commandment? Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself.

I am sorry, I know this makes so many mad; Jesus would have made you mad as well then. Treat this as your wake up call, because time is short and God is calling you to set people free, not enslave them. Show them this Jesus.

See why a person could have a problem with Matthew 25. It is not because God’s word is disputable or untrue, but because it challenges our religious ideas. It also demonstrates a mercy that is beyond our comprehension, and opens the door for fools to try to gamble with God.

When I began to look at the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, I knew nothing about them, outside of what Jesus testimony was, and He points out, by the voice of the rich man’s demands, that the true nature of the man, was still strong and clear, even in hell. Having watched so many in recovery make great strides only to crash and burn, repeatedly, you come to realize that it is not so easy for a cow to change its spots. It is possible to live a life as a moral person, but in reading about God’s reasons for destroying the earth, the blatant evidence of selfishness and violence take precedent. It is much like swimming upstream in a strong current. Can you do that for a lifetime? Some do. I am not a strong swimmer, and not willing to take that chance, especially when I know that simply turning my life over to Christ, submitting to his will, puts me in his care, and Jesus said, I will never lose one of them.

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When is Jesus coming back?

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 that money? You have surely heard the saying, follow the money. Peter essentially told us to do the same when assessing if a person is a false teacher.

Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:2-3 NASB)

I am also painfully aware of my own thoughts on the subject of when Christ would return, and I have had the internal debates as to what I would do if could really know that there was a definite time of removal coming. With that knowledge, would I live like a dog, gambling that I would pay attention to my watch and do the appropriate repenting mere minutes before his arrival. I think he knew that weakness about us and has kept this knowledge appropriately cloaked until recently. Now that I am older and had some time to ponder these bizarre thoughts, the answer is no, I want go out strong like a Billy Graham, or better yet, Smith Wigglesworth; now there’s an interesting man for you.

Anna, the prophetess, whom when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple for circumcision, arrived, as she always did. Luke’s gospel recorded that she was looking for his coming and spoke of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:38 NASB. That implies that some did not care. You learn quickly that you are wasting your time speaking about the things that excite you with some people. So this dear lady, whom had been waiting and longing for the Messiah, knew Him when they brought Him up to the temple. Now how is that possible?

How is it possible, that “heathens” from Babylon, wise men, Magi, would have known that the Messiah had been born, and came looking for Him-to worship Him?

Matthew 2:1-3 MSG After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory–this was during Herod’s kingship–a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. (2) They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.” (3) When word of their inquiry got to Herod, he was terrified–and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well.

The religious leadership of Israel knew, they either refused to acknowledge the Messiah’s.

birth, or just not pay attention to it. Herod called the religious leadership in and ask them point blank, and they answered him.

Matthew 2:4-5 ESV and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. (5) They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

How is it possible, that the learned of Israel, refused to acknowledge or understand the signs that told of His arrival, and yet Simeon the priest, “came by the Spirit into the temple.

And as the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do according to the custom of the Law concerning Him, he received Him in his arms and blessed God, and said, “Lord, now You will let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word. For my eyes have seen Your Salvation which You have prepared before the face of all the peoples,” (Luke 2:26-31 MKJV)

Having come out of a religious upbringing, where church doctrines are shoved down your throat, correct or not, and having a mother that latched on to one of these date setting advocates of the Lord’s return, my reaction as a high school student who struggled with undiagnosed learning disabilities was, this is my ticket out of hard work and I mentally quit trying. I have come to understand that this is the complete opposite of what God’s word tells us to do.

So if you will stick with me, we are going to find out what God’s word says about our ability to know and understand when Jesus is coming back.

For me, it all begins with the disciples pointing out the temple.

Matthew 24 is our starting point, as it has the verse that people love to quote in their efforts to quell the enthusiasm of people like me.

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. (Matthew 24:36 NASB)

We cannot do this verse justice without looking at the context and the context begins with a Jewish oriented statement, directed at Jesus, a Jew. You can find this in Matthew 24:1. And just to be clear, Jesus did not have to switch from being a Gentile God, back to being a Jewish Messiah just to answer their question. He was brought into this earth as a Jew, and he remains a Jew to this day.

Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” (Matthew 24:1-2 NASB)

The statement made by the disciples seemed simple enough, but it demonstrated where their hearts were at, and it was not on Him as the Messiah, it was on a building. The Messiah was there, standing in front of them, and he wanted them to understand that. So His response to their statement was a devastating one: “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” The temple was a national symbol to Israel and a source of pride. The stones are huge, no one could tear it down. Oh yes they can, and will.

Several minutes of silence passed, enough for them all to find a shady place to sit upon the mount of olives, quite probably the same place Jesus always went when they were in town, and here they ask – with their Jewish mindset – the questions that His statement evoked. Stop right here, if this moment in time represents anything else as you read it then you are trapped in a very small box that only allows for a limited mindset, and you are thinking out of tradition, bad teaching, and your culture. Jesus was not a Gentile and He was really quite exclusive for the longest time about speaking only to the house of Israel, you know, the ones standing in front of Him. The disciples were not asking about the snatching away of the church, they were the future of the church, and they did not even believe that there was a Messiah as yet. They asked a question that any good Jew would have an understanding about, and that was when the Messiah would come as the victor they expected.

As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3 NASB)

Do you see it? Three questions, but we all forget that these are questions out of a Jewish mindset. I know, some of you are asking, what does it matter? It matters because Jesus understood precisely what they were asking and answered them accordingly. This is not about riddles, God wanted them and us to understand. If we are having a problem understanding at this point we Gentiles merely need to adjust our thinking to align with the Jewish mentality. Since much of the answer spoke about a time beyond their lifespan, and the fact that they could not yet see who He was, I do not think they even understood the answer.

It was just three questions.

Do you think they understood the depth of what they were asking? Perhaps that lack of understanding is why the answer is exhaustively long, and that is why I will leave you to essentially read the entire chapter at your leisure – Matthew 24:4-51. We should understand that while much of this, for them, will soon be a reality, it is still looking to our present day as well. God saw fit to tell Daniel that what he saw was for a future time; that time is now!

“But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.” Daniel 12:4 NASB.

I was working for General Telephone company in 1994. Then, if you were high tech, you had a car phone, and most all that had to happen at the special services bay where they installed those phones in customers cars. NO ONE had a cell phone, what we did have though, and I hated them, were pagers. Around this time in 1994 IBM came out with a “personal computer”. The beast cost over two thousand dollars and it only had a 10 megabyte hard drive. Your phone has a memory in the 16+ gigabyte range. All of these advancements happened since 1994, the year of the OJ Simpson murder trial. So, has knowledge increased? Absolutely.

So I am looking through Matthew 24 trying to find something that makes my case. What I find sounds very much like what I read in Joel, Daniel, or Ezekiel, when it speaks about the very end; the ending where Jesus actually comes back as the Messiah they awaited. That is until you get to Matthew 24:32. Verse 32 is where we have to start paying attention if we are going to ascertain whether we have the ability to figure out our place in the timing of things.

Matthew 24:32-34 “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; (33) so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. (34) “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.

Who or what then is represented by the fig tree?

If we substitute Israel for the fig tree, and Israel became a nation 1948, can we then say that the fig tree budded in 1948? We are talking symbolically about the nation Israel, and our ability to ascertain the coming of the Lord, and this is one of our clues that telling us we have the ability, like the Magi, to intelligently ascertain the signs of His arrival. I just realized that there is a timing discreetly buried in the statement, and that is summer. It is the time when the figs are ripe.

Here are just a few more things that might help you ascertain the maturity of the fig tree/Israel.

  • The Balfour Declaration (dated 2 November 1917) was a letter from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild (Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild), a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. The Balfour Declaration, declared that the British favored a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

  • The Six-Day War was fought between June 5th and June 10th, 1967. The war was against Syria, Jordan and Egypt. Rather than wait to be attacked, the Israelis launched a hugely successful military campaign against its perceived enemies. The air forces of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq were all but destroyed on June 5th. By June 7th, many Egyptian tanks had been destroyed in the Sinai Desert and Israeli forces reached the Suez Canal. On the same day, the whole of the west bank of the Jordan River had been cleared of Jordanian forces. The Golan Heights were captured from Syria and Israeli forces moved 30 miles into Syria itself. The war was a disaster for the Arab world and temporarily weakened the man who was seen as the leader of the Arabs – Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt. The war was a military disaster for the Arabs but it was also a massive blow to the Arabs morale. Here were four of the strongest Arab nations systematically defeated by just one nation.

I asked you keep in mind the context of Matthew 24, and it is Jesus, a Jew, answering Jewish questions. Therefore, the direct application is to the end of time, the end of God’s wrath upon the earth, the nations, and of Israel. This has nothing to do with the rapture, the snatching away of His church, but that is the very thing we use this verse for when we pull it out in an effort to shut someone up, isn’t it?

How much sense does it make for God to expect us to remain in a state of readiness if we have no clue as to when He coming.

Matthew 24:35,36 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. (36) “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.

Look at the terminology used in the Amplified bible.

Truly I tell you, this generation (the whole multitude of people living at the same time, in a definite, given period) will not pass away till all these things taken together take place. Sky and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. But of that [exact] day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:34-36 AMP)

When I read, “but of that exact day and hour” I come to the understanding that I have the ability – if I may use a golf term – to hit the green. I may not be able to put it in the hole, but hitting the green takes skill. I strongly suggest you read all of Matthew 24 attentively. Apparently the Father wants us looking for His return, and we can see His intensity in verses 44 through 51.

Matthew 24:44 “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.

So, even if we can’t make a hole in one, we are still supposed to be working at it, looking for his return.

I want evidence that demonstrates that He is talking to the church.

The most compelling evidence we have that the Holy Spirit wants us – the church – to understand and know when He is coming, comes from Paul’s letter to the church at Thessalonica.

As regards the course and periods of time, brothers, you have no need of being written to. You know perfectly well that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night; when ‘all’s well’ and ‘all is safe’ are on the lips of men, then all of a sudden Destruction is upon them, like pangs on a pregnant woman — escape there is none. But, brothers, you are not in the darkness for the Day to surprise you like thieves; you are all sons of the Light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-5 Moffatt NT)

The Contemporary English version translates verse 4:

1 Thessalonians 5:4 CEV (4) My dear friends, you don’t live in darkness, and so that day won’t surprise you like a thief.

The word darkness in the Greek also means shadiness or obscurity. If we are in obscurity, it is certainly not because of God. The word day can also be read as: a period of opportunity. Substitute this phrase into the sentence and it messes up the theology of many. But, brothers, you are not in obscurity for this period of opportunity to surprise you like thieves.” The opportunity being the rescue of His church and the launch of the time of wrath. We have the ability to comprehend the time frame.

We are not excluded from knowing.

Matthew 13:10-11 MKJV And the disciples said to Him, Why do You speak to them in parables? (11) He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them.

Three gospel writers recorded the same thing, and repetition compels us to pay attention. It is given to us to know! We find this in: Matthew 13:11; Mark 4:11; and Luke 8:10.

Gill’s commentary on Matthew 13:10 explains: “but to them it is not given; to the wise and prudent, to the Scribes and Pharisees, to the multitude, to the bulk and generality of the people, to the rest that were blinded. Mark calls them “them that are without”; who are not in the number of God’s elect; nor within the covenant of grace, nor among the disciples of Christ;..

What does this mean? Some will simply not get it! God is not playing favorites, the ignorance is wide spread.

Matthew 13:13 MKJV Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not; nor do they understand.

If Anna the prophetess, Simeon the priest, the Magi, and all the chief priests and scribes that Herod called in for questioning, had a knowledge, then why could not all Israel see, understand, and accept Him as the Messiah?

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: ‘AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.'” (Matthew 2:3-6 NASB)

I used to wonder why God was coming back with such a vengeance, and His own people are part of the target, but look at this – all the chief priest and scribes were called before Herod to explain what was going on, and they did. Based on collected information Herod had all the male children two years old and younger, in that particular region, slaughtered. That means the religious leadership had the same information that Anna and Simeon had. However, there is an intentional refusal to accept Jesus as the Messiah.

 A momentary return to everyday life.

As I rejoined the senior group at McDonald’s this particular Tuesday morning, the man that leads the Thursday morning bible study was there. I pulled up a chair and he immediately says to me, “I want to talk to you about Lazarus the beggar and the rich man.” I responded with, “Wow, hi, good morning, but okay, fire away!” He proceeds to spew the doctrines of Hank Hanegraff, while excoriating Kenneth Copeland and Joyce Meyer, for teachings that entertain the idea that Jesus had to be put in hell, which “by definition” has at least two compartments, blah, blah, blah. The intent of his tirade was not discussion, but to set me straight. I said nothing, and he ended with, “I just wanted to tell you that.” I sat there for a moment and said, “Okay, you told me.” That was all he accomplished, for he had changed no ones mind and several of us were little more than irritated at the delivery. He left shortly after that, and that is when I said to the remaining crowd, “now we can talk.”

Communication leaves the door open for discussion and room for correction, should it be appropriate. As a child, I had none of that. Mr. Bible study and I have had these talks before and I see it as role playing game. He likes to play the role of an angry, obstinate father, who is not the least bit interested in your opinion. Not much of a game as only one person gets to play, and once they have played their hand no one is interested in playing anymore. Maybe this is what Gill is trying to point out in his commentary on Matthew 13. The Pharisees too had their minds made up and there was no room for change or discussion in them. Why am I telling you about “Mr. Bible study”, because he, like those pharisees, does not get it. When I spoke about Lazarus and the rich man, I described an unexplained mercy being shown to a beggar, not because he was a beggar, but because there is so much about this man’s life we do not know, and yet God does. Now contrast this with the last judgment of the sheep and the goats, we have little background on those called sheep, until Jesus explains why he is letting them into the kingdom of heaven. Look this up in Matthew 25:31-46.

That period of opportunity is an aspect of our hope.

You can tell by the way 1 Thessalonians 5 opens that Paul is in mid thought, therefore there is a context that we do not pick up on without backtracking. I think that to some degree we are safe in jumping back to 1 Thessalonians 4:13, where Paul says, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” There is that word again, hope.

Paul goes on to explain what they are having hope in and why.

1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 NASB (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. (15) For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. (16) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (17) Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. (18) Therefore comfort one another with these words.

I see two things intrinsically tied together. Our hope in being caught up to meet Him in the clouds, and the benefit of always being with the Lord because of that action. I do not see the idea of inconceivable images of Heaven and our time with the Father, as being our hope because our minds cannot wrap around those images. Salvation and therefore hope, at least for some, is deeply tied to our being caught up and extracted from a world gone mad. The Apostle Paul uses this term hope throughout the New Testament. An example of this is found in Acts 26:6 NASB “And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers;” This too is that hope which is demonstrated in our salvation from this world, into the arms of a loving Father who awaits our return.

Other signs we should pay attention to.

Joel 2:30-31 ESV “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. (31) The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.

Earthquakes are happening everywhere, and with frequency. Volcanoes are coming back to life and erupting. In many areas of China you are lucky to ever see the sun, they even broadcast the sunrise on massive led screens so people there can be reminded of what it looked like. And then there was the ranting about the blood moons, which I ignored for the longest time.

If you are paying attention to what is going on in the world, you surely have heard of the Shemittah and the Blood Moons. I recently asked two young men if they were aware of what the Blood moons were. Their answer was not only no, but they showed no interest at all.

Here is brief synopsis: The blood moons have come in a grouping of four, called a Tetrad. This stretches over a years period and has amazingly occurred in conjunction with Jewish feast days. We are currently in the last Tetrad that you and I will witness in our lifetimes, as documented by NASA.

Just for information sake, the last few of these Tetrads have come in:

  • 1493 – 1494: This corresponds with Spain’s persecution of the Jews which started in 1491 and included the confiscation of gold and their placement in ghettos. The Jews were being expelled in 1492 as Columbus sailed out in search of new lands financed by confiscated gold.

  • 1949 – 1950: 1933 saw an escalation in persecution against European Jews, culminating in 1945 with Hitlers final solution. All the while Palestine, under shared control by British and Muslims, refused escaping Jews the ability to return. The significant event, Israel became a nation in 1948.

  • 1967 – 1968: The six day war. I already presented some details about that.

  • 2014 – 2015: How has Israel been affected in the last couple of years? How about presently?

In the year long period that started with the Jewish New Year in September of 2014, there have been three blood moons so far, and all three of them fell on Jewish feast days. The last blood will occur on September 28 of 2015, the Jewish New Year. It is also within days of the end of the Shemittah, a Hebrew word meaning the Sabbath. The Sabbath in this case is the end of the seven year period in which the land was allowed to rest in the seventh year, sins were atoned for, and debts were forgiven. Israel chose not observe the Shemittah for 49 years.

The Shemittah.

Here is where it comes from.

Leviticus 25:2-6 ESV “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. (3) For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, (4) 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. (5) You shall not reap what grows of itself in your harvest, or gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land. (6) The Sabbath of the land shall provide food for you, for yourself and for your male and female slaves and for your hired worker and the sojourner who lives with you,

This year on the Jewish calendar, 5775 (Sept. 24, 2014–Sept. 13, 2015), is the Sabbatical year. We are there, we are in it, and wouldn’t you know it, on September 13, 2015 the last and final blood moon shows up, and if that were not enough, on that very date at 4:00 P.M. Begins Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year – the Day of Atonement.

I looked at a website http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/562077/jewish/What-Is-Shemittah.htm, for an explanation of what the Shemittah is.

There was the release of debts:

At the end of seven years you will make a release. And this is the manner of the release: to release the hand of every creditor from what he lent his friend; he shall not exact from his friend or his brother, because the time of the release for the Lord has arrived. (Deuteronomy 15:12)

And, this was a method giving the land a chance to rest:

During the Shemittah year, the residents of the Land of Israel must completely desist from cultivating their fields. They also relinquish personal ownership of their fields; whatever produce grows on its own is considered communal property, free for anyone to take. This aspect of the Shemittah year is known as shemittat karka, “release of the land.”


From Charisma magazine online: “As the world waits to see what the end of a seven-year biblical cycle known as the Shemitah may bring this fall, New York Times best-selling author Rabbi Jonathan Cahn issued a warning to prepare for economic calamity, war in the Middle East or even worse.

Every seventh year is a Shemitah, but every seventh Shemitah is a Super-Shemitah, which we call the Jubilee … .”

Despite these patterns, though, Cahn says God is in no way bound by the cycle.

“Now nothing has to happen, but if it follows the course of most times when people predict things like this they’re wrong, but if it follows the course here’s what would happen. According to the pattern, each time it happens, there is war in the Middle East. No. 2, there is a major war focused on Israel—World War I and the 1967 Six-Day War. No. 3, that war results in an end-times restoration of the next step of end-times prophecy.”

Here are the signs that Cahn revealed about the beginning of the Shemitah last year, on or around Sept. 25.


Pastor Blitz’ investigation of the Blood Moon phenomena connected the tetrads to momentous dates in Jewish history such as the 1492 expulsion of the Jews from Spain, the declaration Jewish statehood in 1948, and the Six Day War of 1967. Like Rabbi Cahn, Pastor Blitz is careful not to make predictions of what might occur during this period, but he does encourage a watchful attitude as we witness the progressive unveiling of the Blood Moon Tetrad.

In a recent exclusive article published in the WND, Pastor Blitz delivers what he calls a “bombshell” concerning the significance of the Shemitah and the Blood Moon Tetrad. In referring to the Biblical Tribulation, a seven year period of unprecedented peril and suffering on earth, he goes on to state, “what I am proposing is that it (the Tribulation) is simply a continuation of the Shemitah cycle that has been ticking along for ages. The Tribulation will not be any random sequence of seven years, but the first year of the Tribulation will begin with the first year of the seven-year cycle. This has huge prophetic implications when we realize this Rosh Hashanah is the seventh year of a seven-year cycle, and the fall of 2015 begins a new seven-year cycle.”

He continues, “In plain English, the seven-year tribulation could begin next fall. If it does not, then that means it will not start for another seven years since it is just a continuation of God’s orderly time clock. I am not saying the Lord will return next fall. I am not saying the Rapture will take place next fall. I am just saying regardless of where you want to put us on God’s time line, the seven-year tribulation is part of that time-line and will happen as part of the Shemitah cycle.”

Pastor Blitz reminds us that his theory is not based on a pagan calendar, like the Mayan’s but on the calendar given by the Creator of the Universe, the One who put the sun, moon, and stars in the sky, in part, to mark His “appointed times.” (Genesis 1:14-15)”

Read more at http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2014/September24/241.html#B78OrJFgWMelR9V4.99


It would have been beneficial for to us to understand that God is working with time frames, and that His time frames are coinciding with the Jewish calendar and Shemittah years. We would have been so much farther in our understanding of not only God’s word, but His plans.

Is it possible that we should awaiting anxiously because of these events that are coming?

Absolutely! I have pointed out to you that God has demonstrated that He works in close proximity to these markers, and we are not in the dark. So yes, I would say it is time to get excited, and do not quit, but amplify. Pray against the enemies attacks as he is already putting pressure on the saints. Try to ignite a passion for Christ within people. Show them who Jesus is, not how violent we can become. Lead them to Jesus, because with out Him now, their journey will be a deadly gamble. Violence will soon fill the streets, and our government is playing this as one of their intentional cards. You are seeing the Harlot of Revelation and the beast. The beast is Islam, and all this will come crashing down, but it will take seven years. Get ready now! Do not be like those of Matthew 25 who were not prepared and waiting for Him.

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The Critics of Islam Were Right: An Apology to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Sam Harris, Bill Maher and Other So-Called Islamophobes


Eye opening information and critique.

Originally posted on The World Around Us:

For many Years I have asked people to do some Research and learn for yourselves what Islam is about. Personally I have been called a Nazi, an Islamophobe, a bigot, a moron among other things. As have many others who have dared to speak out against Islam. It is nice to know that the words of all the Islamophobes out there are being listened to. I came across the following story this morning and thought to Myself, finally someone is listening. Not Just to me but to every last one of those who value the freedoms of their country. Mike Dobbins Thank you for taking the time to learn foryourself the truth about Islam..

For years I was an apologist for Islam, as regrettably, many still remain. I only read books and believed those who painted Islam in a peaceful, glowing light. I made excuses for radical Muslims and lived…

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