If you are a student of the Bible, then you know that we are on the brink of the church being snatched out of here and God’s wrath is about to be poured out upon the earth. The message, that I hear coming out the mouths of those who feel they are the global elite, is that they must reduce the population and control those who are left upon the earth, in a fashion that best suits the lifestyle they want to live.
The combination of God’s judgment and the cruelty of humanity will lead to a slaughter of those who choose to follow Christ during this time frame, and these are considered to be the martyred saints. (For those who think that humanity can be peaceful and fun, think again. At the point at which God had decided to destroy every living thing on earth, this is what He saw.
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5 NASB)
Perhaps the NASB does not convince you of the depravity of the human heart, maybe the CEV translation might.
The LORD saw how bad the people on earth were and that everything they thought and planned was evil. (Genesis 6:5 CEV)
As John looks into heaven for the second time, he sees martyred saints; while the number was remarkably large the first time, it is uncountable the second time. It is the death of these “saints,” in record numbers, that leads Christ to say, “the tribulation will be so great.” I will show you this in scripture but want you to pay attention to the wording and how it changes across translations. I will ask for you, as the Holy Spirit told me that several of you will say, why is that important?
The NASB seems to be the common translation, as far too many of us take those two words and apply them to the time of wrath.
“For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. “Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect, those days will be cut short. (Matthew 24:21-22 NASB)
The word great is the Greek word megas. For many of us, we are familiar with some store having a “mega sale”. The assumption is that their sale is bigger and better than anyone else’s. The simple explanation that the Holy Spirit is trying to make, is that this time, in which some megalomaniac rules the earth, the death toll will be exceedingly great.
It would easy to say, we have never seen anything like this, and though some fool may have told you that there was no holocaust, there was. Jewish death tolls reached 6 million; Soviet civilian death tolls reached 7 million; Soviet prisoners of war were around 3 million; non-Jewish Polish civilians hit around 1.8 million, and more than 700,000 people were killed in the death camps for being dissidents, activists, criminals, homosexuals, Jehovah witnesses, Gypsies, Serbians, and people with disabilities. To add to the graphic nature of these numbers, the people of Warsaw said that it rained ashes daily. There is no doubt that the death toll, primarily of those who follow after Christ, during this time of wrath, will exceed those numbers that the death camps generated.
Tribulation is the Greek word thlipsis and – get this, means pressure, affliction, burdens persecution, troubles, and tribulation.
Dear Lord, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t experience some form of pressure or affliction. It makes me grateful that I was born in America, and up to March of 2020, it was a sane place to live without the threat of violence, as some of you have.
I light of my introduction above, Paul has some sound words for us all.
I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, (1Tiimothy 6:13-14 NASB)
End, page one.
Look at how the ESV expresses verse 13.
1 Timothy 6:13 ESV I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,
Charge, as we see in the NASB, is the Greek word paraggello. It not only means to charge (as in a legal pleading), but it also carries the connotations of transmitting a message, declare, or command.
Paul may well be saying to Timothy, I command you. Wow, that seems like a harsh way of speaking to someone who could easily be seen as a volunteer. Maybe that’s our problem, we merely see ourselves as volunteers, who have the option of walking away at any time.
But there is something I think we need to consider.
Skimming through the Book of Acts leaves you with the impression that everything happened in fifteen-minute increments over a short period of time, and that was not the case. Most of these events occurred over seasons and years.
How would you possibly build the strong bonds that Paul had with the varying bands of new believers he established, in just a few short weeks?
These bonds, built over an extended period of time, allowed Paul to feel that he could speak boldly into their lives, just as we see him doing with Timothy, a young man that may well be in his early thirties by this point.
Some people’s words apparently no longer have any value, but there was a time when we used to have people place their hand upon a Bible and swear to tell the truth; even though they do that, they still lie. Paul tells Timothy, I am writing this to you with God looking on, holding you to what I say. I am even calling upon the witness of Christ Jesus, who beaten and bloodied by Jewish and then Roman soldiers, and yet, still made a good confession before Pilate.
Now here is the punch line. I charge you, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of Jesus Christ. That appearing, was for them, a long way off, but they lived as though it was coming any minute.
On that note, I recently listened to Chelsi Bedell, a Christian vlogger, talk about a meeting that she went to with her husband. There, Benny Hinn was introduced to the audience. This is the same Benny Hinn that cheated on the wife; and, it is the same Benny Hinn who got wealthy from the ministry. After years of this showmanship, he denounced the faith movement that was so lucrative to him. On that stage that evening, Benny Hinn said, coming to Jesus is the easy part, staying close to Jesus is the hard part. Chelsi said when I heard this I knew it was wrong and that he was a false teacher. Think about Benny and the path he put himself on, it only seems logical that he would say, this road we are on is hard, simply because he could not leave the monetary wealth and was therefore sucked into cheating on his wife.
What did Jesus say?
Take my yoke upon you, for it, is easy and my burden is light. I can tell you that Benny struggled, but his struggle wasn’t with God, it was with his own desires, for money and lust.
Once again, Paul tells Timothy, you keep the commandment without reproach.
Well, that’s great, but how do you do that?
The answer had already been given in verses 11 and 12, where it says:
But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:11-12 NASB)
End, page two.
You keep the commandment, without reproach by:
- Fleeing from these things.
- Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.
- Fight the good fight of faith.
- And. take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.
Paul told Timothy, in verse 14, that he should keep the commandment without stain or reproach.
Stain may be best explained through the NLT translation, when it says, “Then no one can find fault with you.”
Reproach is the Greek word anepilēptos. It only occurs three times in the New Testament and all of them occur in 1 Timothy. It is best defined as irreproachable and means free from blame; upright, and innocent.
While God somehow sees us in this manner, it is hard to imagine how as we know the stumbles we make. But God looks through the lens of Jesus on the cross, where everyone was forgiven of sin and redeemed. Sin is that thing which is a permanent part of us thanks to Adam. Since that time every human has been born broken by sin.
Obviously, we needed help.
I have gritted my teeth and sweated as I tried to resist sin, and yet still failed – as far as I was concerned. So there is something here that keeps trying to tell me that staying above reproach is an achievable thing. I will not ask Benny Hinn how to stay above reproach, as he has proven, that he too, is merely a broken man; as we all are.
I want to add one more thing before I end this and move on to the next study.
I put myself in recovery because I was, and still am, an angry man. Before you get all judgmental hold on a minute and pay attention. In recovery I learned, that because of our brokenness we will never be free from our addictions; as I pointed out, mine is anger. But many will say, doesn’t this life in Christ make us free from “everything” that bound us? Having known the Lord for many years, and learned that He is faithful, I know that freedom is His heart toward all of us. He has done everything necessary to make that happen. You might remember that Paul whined about his thorn in the flesh – we, religious zealots, turn that thorn into a variety of things. I happen to think that thorn was anger, just like mine. God’s response to Paul, was that His grace was sufficient. Translation, I have given you everything you need to be free.
Alright, here comes the deep wisdom. An alcoholic, or an angry man, has to realize that while they walk this earth (before the rapture) they are dependent upon God’s grace and the investment that we have made in our relationship with Christ. What is that investment, since we have nothing to give but our lives? It is exactly that, we, knowing that we are incapable of managing our own lives, turn them over – daily, to the grace and mercy of the living God, Christ Jesus. In doing this (I got this from a television show I watch,) have to make a conscious decision to choose wisdom. Is what I am contemplating worth the pain and harm I am going to do myself and those around me? I, like so many others, have been choosing wisely. Note: I am not asking your opinion, but God’s. His opinion is written in His Word. You should consider reading it if you aren’t already.