The Millennial Kingdom – How did all these people get here?


This is a heavily edited reblog from 2012.

If you read my blogs, then you know that I grapple with much of what I write. Another way to put this is, I sit with guys who wrestle with understanding and fail to get clear answers from the group leaders.

Here goes another one. Let’s assume a scenario; I just happen to think this is how it will happen (based on what I see in scripture):

The Rapture comes – The great snatching away of the church (that is a whole other issue) takes place. The rapture, as I see it, is on the cutting edge of God’s wrath, and God’s wrath is an integral part of the Great Tribulation.

Sadly this is also an argument that I encountered, as the group leader of another group could not handle the idea that the “great tribulation” was exclusively God’s wrath being poured out upon the earth and it’s inhabitants. The inhabitant’s aspect has very specific targets: Israel and the nations. Here is why.

Israel

2 Kings 22:13-17 NASB “Go, inquire of the LORD for me and the people and all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found, for great is the wrath of the LORD that burns against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.” ……. “Behold, I bring evil on this place and on its inhabitants, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read. “Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods that they might provoke Me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore My wrath burns against this place, and it shall not be quenched.“‘

While it is almost mandatory to have two witnesses, I find the theme about God’s wrath in many places throughout the Bible. 2Kings 22:13-17 states it so clearly that I am not going to expound any further, save to say. God is angry with Israel. Don’t get all happy about that, because the astute will find in Scripture that God has never given up on Israel and will open their eyes so that they can see Jesus as the Messiah they are looking for. God then places them in positions of authority during the millennial reign.

The nations

First, you need to understand that this originally meant anyone outside of God’s chosen people. Consider that Caleb was only considered a Jew because of conversion and yet we are endeared to him for his courage and bravery while spying for Israel. For a portion of Caleb’s life, he was considered to be from among the nations.

Since the door was open to us to be ingrafted into the vine, which is Israel, those of us from among the nations, also known as the Gentiles, are now an aspect of the church. If you are astute, then you picked up on the idea that there are only three people groups in God’s consideration – the Jews; the nations, and the church. With the church being raptured the only two people groups considered are the nations and Israel. At any moment, before the rapture, anyone can change their category by accepting Jesus as Lord.

Just because I made a statement about providing two witnesses, I will do just that.

Exhibit A:

Isaiah 13:3-16 NASB I have commanded My consecrated ones, I have even called My mighty warriors, My proudly exulting ones, To execute My anger. (4) A sound of tumult on the mountains, Like that of many people! A sound of the uproar of kingdoms, Of nations gathered together! The LORD of hosts is mustering the army for battle. (5) They are coming from a far country, From the farthest horizons, The LORD and His instruments of indignation, To destroy the whole land. (6) Wail, for the day of the LORD, is near! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. (7) Therefore all hands will fall limp, And every man’s heart will melt. (8) They will be terrified, Pains and anguish will take hold of them; They will writhe like a woman in labor, They will look at one another in astonishment, Their faces aflame. (9) Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it. (10) For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises And the moon will not shed its light. (11) Thus I will punish the world for its evil And the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless. (12) I will make mortal man scarcer than pure gold And mankind than the gold of Ophir. (13) Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, And the earth will be shaken from its place At the fury of the LORD of hosts In the day of His burning anger. (14) And it will be that like a hunted gazelle, Or like sheep with none to gather them, They will each turn to his own people, And each one flee to his own land. (15) Anyone who is found will be thrust through, And anyone who is captured will fall by the sword. (16) Their little ones also will be dashed to pieces Before their eyes; Their houses will be plundered And their wives ravished.

The thing you might try to challenge is that it says He will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity, and you would be right, but what is the nations if it is not the world in general? The other aspect of this is that it says that mortal man will be scarcer than pure gold. A generalization I could make is that the survivors making it into the millennial reign will be relatively few.

The second scriptural witness (Exhibit B), is Jeremiah 10:10.

Jeremiah 10:10 KJV But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

While Jeremiah 10:10 does not give specific examples of how that indignation will be delivered, an honest realization would tell you that the entire period of God’s wrath is His indignation.

Jeremiah 10:25 is indicative that God is coming with a fury upon those that do not know Him. The implication is willful rejection and this can apply to the religious who are left behind.

Jeremiah 10:25 Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not,

The Great Tribulation

The Great Tribulation Has two components –

The first being God’s wrath being poured out upon the earth in the form of:

      1. The seven seal judgments;

      2. the seven trumpet judgments;

      3. the seven bowl judgments.

        These judgments may not look like God’s hand especially when you look at the players involved, but it is. If nothing else happened, such as beheadings in the name of Allah, I cannot imagine anyone surviving on the earth, and yet many do.

The second component is the work of the Beast, (The beast in this instance is a man driven by a Satanic spirit. That spirit has shown up many times, in many people, throughout man’s tenure here on earth.) and the False Prophet.

(Islam fulfills both of these roles in their prophecies. The Mahdi, also known as the 12th Iman, and a “prophetic” person named Isa ben Maryiam – in English, Jesus, the son of Mary, not God. I am telling you that if you find out more about who these characters are that Islam is anxiously awaiting, it will not only alarm you, but scripture will make more sense than you ever thought possible. The former President of Iran, in three addresses to the United Nations, has opened his speech with a prayer and call for the Mahdi to come quickly. When the Mahdi comes it will be during a time of chaos and destruction.)

At the Rapture of the Church, those awaiting the return of Jesus Christ will be removed from the earth.

If the church is gone, who is left?

  • Religious folk.

These include those who thought they should have gone and cults who live on the fringe of a relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord.

A quick commentary on the religious folk that get left behind:

One of the things that caught my attention was Matthew 25:1 where Jesus said the last day would be like ten virgins that were coming to the wedding. Half of them, though invited and on their way, were unprepared when the call finally came. They all seem to meet up at some appropriate place, but in the course of time, they ran out of lamp oil. Immediately they started scrambling for oil; demanding oil from the others. A key to understanding what is happening here, which Matthew 25:5 explains, “While the bridegroom tarried they slumbered and slept.” When you consider that no oil based lamp burns forever and must be refilled, then there must be the need to replenish that oil continuously. That would have to be on a daily basis, and multiple times a day.

I believe I understand what this tarrying and slumbering looks like, for as I talk about the imminent return of Jesus for His church with people, this is what I get, “why are you getting all worked up, we have been waiting for him for over two thousand years. Besides, the world is always in turmoil, and people are ever in tribulation.” With that being said, they spiritually go back to sleep. This lack of concern has a familiar ring to, as it should, and we find it in 2Peter 3:3-5.

2 Peter 3:3-5 KJV Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, (4) And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (5) For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

  • The nations.

    The nations are a broad and varied mix of people; of which, some, as we will see, have a wanton desire to kill anyone who comes into a knowledge of or relationship with Jesus during the period of God’s wrath, called the Great Tribulation.

  • And some Jews

    The effect this has on the Jews is played out as the angel Gabriel spells out the last days for Daniel.

Daniel 12:9-12 NASB He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. (10) “Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand. (11) “From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. (12) “How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!

[Do the math. The days numbered here equal 7.2 years.]

So we established that many religious types will be left here; what about the others?

While Islam believes in a god, no less than the Eastern religions, I did not include them as I thought about the religious folk left behind. In general, one is left to assume that those left behind are the completely godless and arrogant.

  • The saints – those beheaded for their testimony, among other things, during the time of wrath.

    Many of these are the religious that finally are awakening but not all; this can include the Jews for scripture tells us that God will lift the veil off their eyes and they will see that Jesus is the Messiah they longed for. There will be those we often deem the cults. I believe that the truth is in the books they carry but it is masked in deception. Can you imagine the anger they will feel when they realize how deceived they were?

Revelation 20:4 KJV And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

  • The rich and the poor

The poor are already being slowly exterminated, while the rich will hide in luxury caves. Scripture tells us that the rich will be crying out for the rocks to fall on them to hide them from the wrath of God. Odd that they recognize it as such.

  • And because there are always those who wantonly kill, we will have:

    • Religious zealots who will kill you because you are not Islamic.

      We already see this happening.

    • And the bullies.

      Those that attempt to control remaining resources for a profit, people will be killed by these during this time.

       

But there are other people.

Revelation 21:8 KJV But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

The fearful; unbelieving; abominable; murderers; whoremongers; sorcerers; idolaters, and all liars. This list makes up quite the rogues gallery. The question is, where did they come from?

Why is it a question at all?

Because as I sit in Bible Study – we are told only Christians survive the tribulation, and everyone else goes to a fiery hell. This teaching is not only wrong but an example of the false teachers we see in 2Peter 2:1.

2 Peter 2:1 KJV But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

Why make a point of this? Because the things these false teachers scream at us attempt to make, us believe that God’s character and nature are anything but love and mercy.

Consider a piece of logic. Since Satan is bound during the Millennial reign, then Revelation 21:8 shows me that people still have the freedom of choice, and part of that choice is not to serve Him willfully. I say that because the nations, those who would not bow willfully before God before this time, will be forced to bow before Him, in Jerusalem, during the Feast of Tabernacles, which transpires over a seven day period.

At the end of the 1000 years, Satan is released and rallies the nations, those outside the camp of God, against the camp of God. Who is Satan deceiving this time? Not those who live in the city, but those that live outside the city. Were they outside because they refused to acknowledge Jesus Lordship? There are a lot of possibilities, but exclusion is not one of them. Would they have been safe if they had been inside? Certainly.

A quick reassessment.

We have people during the millennial reign that are walking in the name of their god and living outside the city.

Revelation 22:14-15 CEV (14) God will bless all who have washed their robes. They will each have the right to eat fruit from the tree that gives life, and they can enter the gates of the city. (15) But outside the city will be dogs, witches, immoral people, murderers, idol worshipers, and everyone who loves to tell lies and do wrong.

These two verses in Revelation 22:14-15 stun me.

  1. I would have thought that the time of washing of the robes had passed. Perhaps this is a continuing process which implies that Holy Spirit is still alive and active even during the millennial reign.

  2. People are continuing to come to Christ.

    Sure, Satan is no longer an issue, but people can still choose. The relevant aspect of this is that life continues to go on. Survivors of the Great Tribulation continue to have families, and we now have an exponential multiplication of people once again. Every one of those people will apparently have to choose Jesus over whatever else is being offered to them.

  3. Only those who have washed their robes can enter the gates.

    Apparently, this continues to imply the blood of Christ and salvation. Therefore an acceptance of the price he paid for us is necessary and continuing to happen.

  4. Verse 15 is the most unnerving part of all. For it implies that sin still attempts to run rampant throughout the earth. Jesus and the millennial saints would seem to be the peacekeepers, and I suspect that blatantly sinful indulgences will be dealt with swiftly. But I never in my wildest imagination thought that God, in his mercy, would allow such a thing to happen at this point.

Therefore it is safe to assume that there have been survivors of the tribulation and that God’s mercy has pulled them through.

We tend to think of the tribulation as a time of purging, and it is but of all evil? Apparently not, and scripture proves that out; for man’s ability to choose has not been taken away. Many have made some form of choice to follow God and not the anti-Christ; therefore what we see in Matthew 25 with the sheep and goats, is God extending his hand of mercy and pulling them into the eternal heavens right next to the saints of God. I do not thoroughly understand how those that survived without taking the mark or worshiping the beast, according to Revelation 20:4, get to enter into God’s grace, for it seems that their previous refusal to comply should play a negative role in God’s decision-making process. And yet, He appears to give them an all-access pass to, at the least, the millennial reign. Indeed, these are included among the people we see here during the millennial reign, and the only explanation is God’s mercy.

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Will the old and new Jerusalem exist at the same time? And, If so, where?


One of the questions that came up recently; an offshoot of Dake’s commentary on the Millennium, was, “Will the old and new Jerusalem exist at the same time? And, If so, where?

The short answer is No; the where is in proximity to where the old Jerusalem is currently. (Keep in mind the overall dimensions, which are 1500 miles square; significantly surpassing the current day Jerusalem.)

Because the simple answer is rarely enough and leaves so many questions unanswered, let’s try an in depth response.

To answer the first part of the question let’s start with old Jerusalem.

  • At some point, the last temple, constructed by man, must be built.

This cannot be called the last Jerusalem because it is not. The new Jerusalem, not made with hands will come down, but there is a rather accurate timing for that – sometime after the time of wrath, we love to refer to as the “The Tribulation.”

Has that happened yet? The short answer is no.

The discussions about where to put the new temple range from the temple mount to the city of David, a short distance away. Oh, make no mistake about it, the temple will be built. All the plans are in place, and the preparations have been made. But, there is a huge problem. If the Jews decide that it must be built on the temple mount, the Muslims have their Mosque there and have claimed possession. What does that mean? It means that God is going to have to do something drastic.

Ezekiel 39 shows us an extreme possibility.

Ezekiel 39:1-6 NASB “And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal; 2) and I will turn you around, drive you on, take you up from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel. 3) “I will strike your bow from your left hand and dash down your arrows from your right hand. 4) “You will fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you as food to every kind of predatory bird and beast of the field. 5) “You will fall on the open field; for it is I who have spoken,” declares the Lord GOD. 6) “And I will send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coast lands in safety; and they will know that I am the LORD.

Let’s assume that Gog is Vladimir Putin of Russia (There are enough commentary and evidence to motivate some logical thought in that direction.) God, it seems, will turn Gog around, and drive him, and his forces, against the mountains of Israel. As you can see in verse 3, God will strike the bow from his hand and “you will fall on the mountains of Israel, along with all your troops.

How might that happen, seeing as Israel is outgunned?

The answer is found in verse 6, where it says, “I will send fire upon Magog ..

The Hebrew word for send is to shoot out, but a fire is a fire. How many many ways has God sent fire upon the earth? Several when you think about it. Sodom and Gomorrah come to mind. Archaeologists have found burnt, encapsulated sulfur.

Encapsulated sulfur found in Sodom and Gomorrah

Encapsulated sulfur found in Sodom and Gomorrah

The photo and information below come from http://www.arkdiscovery.com/sodom_&_gomorrah.htm

“At left is brimstone with a burned, hardened shell that has the unburned sulfur inside, and next to it is brimstone without a burned shell.”

During the days of Samuel, God sent lightning upon the Philistines. Considering the heat, voltage and God’s ability to direct a lightning strike, this would be deadly. So, the first thing we should be looking for is some change that allows for the temple to be built.

Back to the original question:Will the old and new Jerusalem exist at the same time? If so, where?

The obvious point to make here is that during the time of this modern day temple’s existence, Jerusalem will exist. However, the destruction of Jerusalem is spelled out plainly in scripture.

Daniel 9:26 NASB “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.

One of the men from Bible study pointed out how he had read the Bible and found that instances of destruction were specifically for the moment and the nation in question. He told how this makes understanding the Bible and particularly prophecy very confusing for him.

The book/prophecy of Daniel is one of those instances where the destruction is both eminent and yet for the future. In this case, Israel was destroyed, and yet, it also speaks of time yet to come.

I thought, much like the man at Bible study, how do you know the difference?

Again, the short answer is:

You must look at the context; see if there are other, more modern applications, and, in the case of Daniel, there are. You need to look at an interlinear concordance and find out if there are multiple applications of a particular word; in so doing you may find that the translation you enjoy does a frail job of painting an appropriate picture. I would consider looking at a variety of translations, simply because one, while being a step down intellectually, may convey the heart of God more clearly. (Keep in mind that the Apostle John told us God is love and that there is no darkness in Him. In short, His nature is mercy and Jesus lived that out in front of many.)

The The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury tells us that the words “Then after, or, And after” indicate:

that two events are stated to take place after the sixty-nine weeks have concluded: (1) the death of Messiah; (2) the destruction of Jerusalem. These cannot be understood to take place during the Seventieth Week, for the Crucifixion would cut the time too short, and the destruction of Jerusalem would stretch the time too long to be accommodated within the seven-year time frame of the Seventieth Week were it to be considered contiguous with the Sixty-ninth Week. This absolutely proves, therefore, that there is a gap of unannounced duration between the Sixty-ninth and the Seventieth Week specifically stated right here in Scripture. Further proof is that Jesus himself placed events of Daniel’s Seventieth Week to a time just prior to his Second Advent (Mat_24:5; Mat_24:15; Luk_2:10; Joh_5:39; Rom_1:4.”)

Unfortunately, few would know this.

What else do we have from scripture that foretells the destruction of Jerusalem?

Ezekiel 32:12 (Darby) By the swords of the mighty will I cause thy multitude to fall: the terrible of the nations are they all: and they shall spoil the pride of Egypt, and all the multitude thereof shall be destroyed.

A point of possible confusion would be the aspect where it says, “they shall spoil the pride of Egypt,” What then, would be the pride of Egypt? The answer to the question lies in Joseph, the son of Jacob, the Father of the nation of Israel. In Egypt, Israel became a mighty nation, in terms of numbers.

A clear example comes from Daniel 11.

Daniel 11:16 CEV The king who invaded from the north will do as he pleases, and he will even capture and destroy the holy land.

Daniel 9:2 also speaks of the desolations of Jerusalem.

Daniel 9:2 NASB in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.

This is another of those passages that require that you do your homework; for we have only accomplished 69 weeks. The emergence of the seventieth week has been on hold for over two thousand years. I can prove this out, but it is time consuming and lengthy, so I won’t, but I will give you a clue. Daniel, in chapter 9, verse 24 began to receive the explanation of all this.

Take the time to look at these verses, as they too reflect the destruction of Israel. This has everything to do Israel’s rebellion against the Lord.

Jeremiah 11:11 NASB Therefore thus says the LORD, “Behold I am bringing disaster on them which they will not be able to escape; though they will cry to Me, yet I will not listen to them.

Jeremiah 50:29 NASB “Summon many against Babylon, All those who bend the bow: Encamp against her on every side, Let there be no escape. Repay her according to her work; According to all that she has done, so do to her; For she has become arrogant against the LORD, Against the Holy One of Israel.

Ezekiel 6:3-10 NASB and say, ‘Mountains of Israel, listen to the word of the Lord GOD! Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains, the hills, the ravines and the valleys: “Behold, I Myself am going to bring a sword on you, and I will destroy your high places. 4) “So your altars will become desolate and your incense altars will be smashed; and I will make your slain fall in front of your idols. 5) “I will also lay the dead bodies of the sons of Israel in front of their idols; and I will scatter your bones around your altars. 6) “In all your dwellings, cities will become waste and the high places will be desolate, that your altars may become waste and desolate, your idols may be broken and brought to an end, your incense altars may be cut down, and your works may be blotted out. 7) “The slain will fall among you, and you will know that I am the LORD. 8) “However, I will leave a remnant, for you will have those who escaped the sword among the nations when you are scattered among the countries. 9) “Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations to which they will be carried captive, how I have been hurt by their adulterous hearts which turned away from Me, and by their eyes which played the harlot after their idols; and they will loathe themselves in their own sight for the evils which they have committed, for all their abominations. 10) “Then they will know that I am the LORD; I have not said in vain that I would inflict this disaster on them.”‘

We can be fairly confident that Israel will succumb to oppressors. But, God will leave a remnant and bring down a New Jerusalem, not built with hands. Considering the size of the new Jerusalem – 1500 square miles, it is hard to imagine where something of this size would go, as there not enough level land on which to place such a structure. Well, there are passages that answer how that will happen.

Isaiah 40:4-5 NASB “Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley; 5) Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

Zechariah 4:7 NASB ‘What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”‘”

While many will argue the context of the previous verses, the context of the next is beyond debate as it speaks about the time when Jesus touches his feet upon the mount of Olives once again. Then the new city comes down, upon level ground.

Zechariah 14:10 NASB All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin’s Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses.

This entire scenario is not typically one that draws, as scripture says, all men unto Christ. It is more educational, or perhaps even correctional. Most of these topics come out of conversations, most of which are where some leader; a self-appointed group pastor, makes incorrect and false statements. They attempt to back up their claims by taking scripture out of context and mixing timings and scenarios to create an environment that you won’t find in scripture. In an ideal environment, this could easily be conveyed to many at one time, or directly to the individual who is espousing improper teachings.

Scripturally, the appropriate way of dealing with “abusers” within the church, is to first go to the person. I sit with these men two days a week. I have challenged their teachings to the point that I stormed out of the room and stayed away for six months. Nothing changed. At one venue, which still meets at a large church, I asked the pastor to come sit in on the meetings, because they are seriously out of control. If the next and appropriate step is to bring in the elders of the church to address the problem child; in this case, I do not see the elders having an interest in knowing there is a problem or fixing it.

So, that is why I write, because I think there are others who believe inappropriate teachings or are seriously confused. My hope is that we, as a church body, can come into an agreement; not with me, although that would be nice, however, it is vital that we agree with the Word of God; the Holy Spirit.

Posted in bible study, End times, false teaching, Hope, Prophetic, Revelation, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Bema seat of Christ; what is it? – 2 Corinthians 5:10


For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ

We hear this phrase constantly in religious circles. It is an aspect of our mean-spirited nature, and is often used to obtain compliance or to get us, the body, to do more, especially when it comes to “soul winning.” You know what? God can win souls just fine without us. In many cases He invades the dreams of those He is trying to persuade, and from what I have seen, it works quite well. If you are interested here is a link to Amazon.com and Tom Doyle’s book about such things.

Dreams and Visions, by Tom Doyle

 

Dreams and Visions, by Tom Doyle

The passage that gives us this reality check about judgment upon followers of Christ is:

2 Corinthians 5:10 NASB 10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

As usual, we need to break this down.

  • For we all must appear…”

The consensus, as I perceive it, at least from the leaders who feel we need to be reminded of how bad we are, implies that lacking enough merit, we are going to hell.

This heavy handed attitude instantly conveys some huge assumptions.

  1. A major assumption is that there is some separate judgment, in which you stand fearfully before a throne, where Jesus/God looms ominously over you.

  2. This angry portrayal also assumes that this judgment is a win or lose situation where you can be rejected from heaven because you did not witness enough, or act like some great evangelist.

  3. We also convey the idea that God is mad at you and awaiting an opportunity to come crashing down on you, a person that He calls beloved.

Do any of these make sense? The answer is NO; however, we do not base our theology on whether things make sense to us personally or not.

Don’t get me wrong, the Word of God was meant to be understood. Since we are deeply entrenched in selfishness anything or anyone telling us we are wrong tends not to make sense, because we, at that moment, are choosing not to understand. It is a choice, or we are blinded by the veil Satan puts over us, preventing us from seeing the truth.

The idea that we must appear, as it stands, sounds more like a warrant for our arrest; an order that comes with a detrimental result. If you look at the word judgment in Greek, you find a much less threatening situation. One source, The Complete Word Study Dictionary tells us that it is: necessary, has need of, or is inevitable in the nature of things.

So if I reread this with Greek eyes, 1Cor 5:10 could just as easily say:

It is necessary, and, inevitable in the nature of things that we stand before Christ.

  • “..before the judgment seat of Christ.”

Moffatt’s translation puts it this way: “for we have all to appear without disguise before the tribunal of Christ, each to be requited for what he has done with his body, well or ill.

What does it mean to be requited?

Webster’s dictionary gives us: REQUI’TED, Repaid; recompensed; rewarded.

Does this sound like you are being judged? Not hardly, but as we shall see, you can’t take that sin-ridden body into the new kingdom. So, we apparently leave our bodies at the door (so to speak.)

  • If I merely focus on the word judgment for a moment, I think we would all agree that it sounds ominous, but, as we have seen, it is a time of rewarding and repayment. The Greek word is bḗma and means “A step, i.e., a pace or footstep. By implication any elevated place to which the ascent is by steps.” (WSD)

We have another huge piece of information that can help us understand what and when this judgment/Bema seat is:

1 Corinthians 15:50-52 NASB 50) Now I say this, brethren, that flesh, and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51) Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

Consider what this says:

  • First – ”Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;”

As we sit here reading this, we are flesh and blood. It is evident that we cannot take these bodies, as they are, into heaven.

Considering that we cannot take these bodies, with their built-in propensity to sin, why even have this conversation? We should understand by now, that Adam’s treasonous choice caused us all to inherit something comparable to a damaged DNA string. In other words, you are not going to shake the effects this has on you. You can, however, overcome the influences of the sinful nature through the blood of Jesus Christ when you accept His life as yours.

  • Secondly – “nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”

An obvious observation, but the opposite of perishable is imperishable, and vice-a-versa. What does that mean? Slightly more than merely being subject to physical death. We, without the promise of life with the Father, are subject to an eternal perishing; a death we were not meant to endure. Hell, the fire that burns eternally was intended for Satan and his angels/followers.

  • Third – “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,

    A mystery? Is death a mystery? Not really, for everyone dies and we all know that. Some may try to evade its effects through cryogenics, but that has not worked as yet. Since the obvious factor is that everyone will die, except for those who are alive when Christ returns; then there has to be another implication; that this change will happen before our transference into heaven.

So where is the mystery? Perhaps it lies in the idea that the definition of death has changed to sleep, and that without “sleeping” we will migrate into the kingdom of God.

  • Fourth – “ in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;”

Currently, the Greek word we use to create the idea of the rapture is harpazo. It means a snatching away. Rapture, on the other hand, has no associated word in the Greek. We get our word rapture from the Latin Vulgate which uses the word rapio. Rapture also conveys the idea of a mass removal of Christ followers from the earth.

When is the last trumpet?

Obviously, there are several. Matthew 24 tells us of one:

Matthew 24:29-31 NASB “But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30) “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. 31) “And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET, and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

I can quickly determine that this is not the last trumpet call because of the phrase, “..immediately after the tribulation of those days..” That statement places this event approximately seven years after the rapture of the church. While it may be the last trumpet, it is not the trumpet blast being referred to.

There is one other clue to solving any mystery we find here, and that is the fact that the angels from God will gather His elect. These are Jews being spoken of here. Don’t make the foolish assumption that everything the Apostle Paul said and did was directed at Gentiles, as the intentional preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles did not become a push until he made the plea to take his case to Caesar, in Rome.

What do I take away from all this?

That the bema seat of Christ:

  • Maybe a seat of high position, that carries authority.
  • The nature of this place and time is to reward not punish.
  • It has much to do with leaving our broken natures behind.
  • It will happen in that twinkling of an eye.
  • And, as 1 Corinthians 15:50-52 tells us, we are not taken our broken, selfishness into heaven with us. God will not allow that in there.

So, all of it gets burned up, attitudes, beliefs, traditions, and brokenness, in a moment. If you notice anything it will be the freedom and normalcy. Something we have never experienced.

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Discernment and a piece of wisdom.



Discernment

When the Wednesday morning group began to gather, at least one was still riled about the absurd application and misuse of the word paradise. Since I had done my homework, I was able to make some reassuring comments about paradise, as the Bible explains it, and quell the wrath this brother-in-Christ seemed to feel toward the man that made the statements – as though they were a standard church teaching.

Here is a piece of wisdom for you.

If you cannot do something about it, then it is either time to move along or let it go. No one is asking you to change what you believe to be right, but there is certainly no sense in giving yourself an ulcer over the issue. Aside from that, you will eventually drive everyone away from you.

As the others gathered that morning, it was obvious they wanted to move on. The self-appointed leader indicated that one of our group had some thoughts on the subject of discernment. Since among the religious discernment means dealing with the demonic, we tend to make problems much larger than they are and overlook common sense and logic. The man who did the talking that morning apparently has a fair grasp of Biblical language; either that or he capable of retaining information, unlike myself who tends to forget everything. Unfortunately, his delivery was dull, for he began a long oration on the variations of the Greek word diakrino.

As often happens with me, one word sends my mind in pursuit of an answer. Within moments the speaker lost me. I feel that we, as a church body, need to have a commonsense perception of what discernment means to us.

Discern– Gk word – diakrino¯ (G1252) and means to separate thoroughly, that is, (literally and reflexively) to withdraw from, or (by implication) oppose; figuratively to discriminate (by implication decide), or (reflexively) hesitate: – contend, make (to) differ (-ence), discern, doubt, judge, be partial, stagger, waver.

The Complete Jewish Bible uses the word discernment, while many others like the ESV use the word understanding. Since discernment/diakrino means to separate thoroughly, then, the other translations are equivalent terms as understanding is an act of separating facts or aspects of a matter.

In 1Chronicles 22, we see King David gathering the materials to build the temple. God, however, had different plans and told David that because he had shed too much blood that the job would now go to Solomon. King David passes this along duty along to Solomon with a blessing and admonition.

1Chronicles 22:12 And may GOD also give you discernment and understanding when he puts you in charge of Israel so that you will rule in reverent obedience under God’s Revelation.

So, what aspects of discernment did Solomon, the general contractor, need to build the temple? Almost every aspect of the definition comes into play here.

When trying to understand the Bible, and lacking resources, so much depends on translation. The KJV uses the word wisdom. This usage of the word wisdom sounds very much like the answer Solomon gave when asked what he wished above all else. Here the Greek word is śêkel, and means intelligence; by implication success: – discretion, knowledge, policy, prudence, sense, understanding, wisdom. Are the words understanding and wisdom comparable? Yes, if I consider decision making and a proper response an act of wisdom.

We have an example of discernment in the form of wisdom and understanding in the life of Daniel.

Ponder all the things Daniel had to consider. Taken into Babylonian captivity, and castrated as a young man of marrying age, the hope and dream of being a husband and father went out the window. As a prisoner, any attempt at escape would mean certain death. Over the course of time, Daniel becomes the head of the Wise men – the Magi. So Daniel uses and demonstrates discernment, understanding, and wisdom on a practical basis, throughout his life in Babylon.

Daniel 2:21 He changes the seasons and guides history, He raises up kings and also brings them down, he provides both intelligence and discernment,

Matthew 16:3 counsels about the practical side of discernment.

Matthew 16:3 KJV And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

Since judging the weather does not require great wisdom, then the application of discernment leans toward making a decision about a situation or circumstances. Some of those decisions can be as simple as deciding what to wear, while others can be life changing.

The word discernment is really not that ominous, but we tend to make it that way as we apply the word to things we deem intensely dark and foreboding, such as demonic oppression or possession. The majority of translations use the term diakrino in relation to making sound judgments.

1 Corinthians 6:5 MKJV For I speak to your shame. Is it so that there is not a wise one among you, not even one in your midst who shall be able to judge between his brother?

The NASB uses the term decide, while the ESV translates diakrino as wise enough for a situation that is described as a “matter of life.” So, in a life matter where believers within a church body are struggling with each, we are supposed “to separate thoroughly, decide and judge.”

Because we seem to have no sensibility when it comes to prophesy within the church, we have an instruction that challenges the prophets to judge or weigh what is being said, and we see this in 1Corinthians 14:29.

1 Corinthians 14:29 ESV Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.

While the commentary picked a translation that used the word contending the NASB translated diakrino as disputed. Jude gives us the only example of contending with the spirit world, specifically the devil.

Jude 1:9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses,..”

Is Michael the archangel using discernment to back off the devil? Not hardly. Fortunately for us, the word diakrino also means to oppose. Michael very definitely opposed the devil, and won! So, even though we love to used the word discernment when trying to assess the demonic, that is not the primary application. If it were not for Michael, the archangel, as our example, we would have little else, except for the wisdom we gain looking at the actions of Jesus, Peter, and Paul. I say that because they all contended with the demonic rather successfully.

One last example.

Another word that can be used to define diakrino is doubt. We find this in Mark 11:23, and it applies to faith.

Mark 11:23 ESV Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

Do we as believers deal with the demonic? Most assuredly. Most of us never even know it; maybe that is because we don’t use discernment and accurately assess the situation.

Even if you did, would you know what to do?

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This idea of paradise, where we go when we die, and false teaching.


An observation was made in Monday morning Bible study about where we go when we die. The statement excluded us from heaven by placing us in paradise, where we are held until the Harpazo or rapture, and then we, the church, are all taken up.

However, that is not what 2Corinthians 5 implies.

2 Corinthians 5:6-8 NASB 6) Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7) for we walk by faith, not by sight– 8) we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5 is the only place we find a reference like this, and, when we are in the mood, we use it to imply that it means in dying here, we take our next breath in the presence of Jesus. It is a common passage at funerals. Logic also tells me that if I absent from the Lord while in my body, then to be present would mean I am dead. I admit that I could read these passages as some future hope and speculation, and, without a context that would probably be true. That is why we have to look beyond the verse that is leaving us with gaps in our understanding and consider the whole of the thought. For us, that is 2 Corinthians 5:1-9.

2 Corinthians 5:1-9 NASB 1) For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2) For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, 3) inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 4) For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. 5) Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. 6) Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord– 7) for we walk by faith, not by sight– 8) we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9) Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

  • the earthly tent” – Which happens to be our bodies.

  • which is our house is torn down,” – Equates to death.

  • in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven,”

Scripture tells us that all of creation groans, longing to be released from the damage placed upon them with the fall of man, and so do we.

So then, the context is about death and where we, as believers, go after death.

We say that, but apparently, we are not so convinced, as those same people who made the statement at last week’s funeral will also tell you that there is a “paradise” for you to wait, much like we see in, “The Inferno” by Dante Alighieri. A fictional story in which people he knew, who had been negligent or criminal in the positions they held, were placed by him in horrific levels of hell until they could come to some form of repentance and then maybe be moved to a lesser hell.

Perhaps the problem lies in our not having multiple corroborating witnesses. Do we have other methods of corroborating Paul’s assertion that there is a heaven awaiting us? The answer, though not so direct, is yes.

Such a statement comes from James 2:26a where we are told, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead,” From this I can ascertain that the body is just a useless hulk without the spirit or soul. However, denoting that the body is useless without the spirit does not answer the question as to where the soul goes as Paul did in his letter to the Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 15:42-44 NASB 42) So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43) it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44) it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

Once released from the bondage of the body we recognize that our life merely continues with the Lord in Heaven, or the Eden that defines paradeisos.

Strangely, all three instances of paradise, found in the New Testament, use the same word – paradeisos. It is clear that what Jesus described for Lazarus was no park like setting, and we assume that this is the same place that the thief on the cross was taken.

Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

G3857 paradeisos / par-ad’-i-sos. A park, that is, (specifically) an Eden (place of future happiness, “paradise”): – paradise.

What does not make sense here is the definitions assignable to this word, because we assume that the thief went to Abraham’s bosom as well.

Paul wrote about an experience he had. I too have had two of those experiences in my life. One happened while I was playing golf, so there is no chance I was asleep. However, for those seconds nothing else existed in my mind. The other was what I believe to be a dream, but it was so vivid that it exists in my mind as real. In it, Jesus came to me and laid my life out before me. I thought I would never forget this and chose not to write anything down. All I remember now is that He was there, that every detail of my life was explained to me, and that I awoke with such joy. I will say that having lived most of my life now, I am hard pressed to understand the joy aspect.

2Corinthians 12:4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

Paul is telling us that he was caught up in a park-like setting, the place of future happiness – heaven, where Jesus is at.

The Apostle John had seen the most incredible vision when he saw into the heavens. In Revelation 2:7 he calls it paradeisos.

Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Having given some thought to this idea of paradise, it seems to me that we make the assumption or maybe connection with the story, which I happen to think were real people that Jesus had experienced, that we find in Luke chapter 16. There is no mention of paradise there, but there is the concept of a beggar now being comforted in Abraham’s bosom, while the rich man, a Jew, was now in torment – in Hades.

Since this is lacking the terminology and the park-like setting, it is inappropriate and invalid as a witness and does not have a tie-in to the idea of paradise. As I mentioned a moment ago, the thief on the cross was told, you will be held in Abraham’s bosom until I can get you out of there. No, he was invited into paradise, a park like setting, an Eden where Jesus could be found.

No, there is no paradise in hell, and, we know that Jesus snatched the keys to hell, fear and the grave, out of Satan’s hands. (Yes, I said fear, because death has nothing less than fear attached to it.) Death has been conquered by Jesus and so has Satan. Since he does not seem to believe that, you may occasionally have to remind him and put him in his place through the name of Jesus.

I am hoping that you picked up on the fact that I am writing to those who should have an understanding of the things of God. Sadly, most of us in the church have no understanding at all. In saying that I am saying that we do not understand God’s nature and character, and therefore attribute garbage to Him that He does not deserve.

If you don’t know Him, you can. Merely start by saying, I believe in you, Jesus. You paid the price for me, to set me free and I accept you into my life. Trust me on this. Jesus Christ will flood into your life and start a process of changes that will boggle your mind if you let Him. I implore you to let Him, for time is short. Look around you, and you can see that.

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DEMOCRAT Congresswoman Just CONFIRMED America’s WORST NIGHTMARE – TRUMP Was Right From The Beginning!


Friends of Syria

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is an Iraq war veteran and an Army Captain who has finally had ENOUGH of Obama and just EXPOSED him on life TV…. AND SHE’S A DEMOCRAT!

Gabbard went on Tucker Carlson about Obama and ISIS and she confirmed America’s worst nightmare!

CONGRESSWOMAN GABBARD CONFIRMED THAT OBAMA’S ADMINISTRATION HAS BEEN FUNNELING MONEY TO ISIS THROUGH THE CIA AND SAUDI ARABIA!

Here is Tucker’s exchange with Congresswoman Gabbard: (Video Below)

Tucker: The average American, you, me, are not allowed to send weapons to terror groups.

Rep. Gabbard: We would be thrown in jail

Tucker: But the U.S. government, as a matter of policy, arms and aides these groups?

Rep. Gabbard: This is the problem tucker, is that… there’s a double standard here… For years now, our government, working with countries like Saudi Arabia, turkey and Quatar, have been through the CIA, quietly arming and supporting these groups that are directly working…

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The topic of sheep won’t go away. Matthew 25.


This topic of the sheep and goats won’t go away; it just keeps popping up it’s twisted little head.

Last Monday, this was the leaders opening statement,

“..if I am wrong with any of my statements, then you men stop me and correct me.”

He then proceeded to say,

“as we have been talking about, for weeks now, based on Dake’s notes concerning the Millennium, the sheep we see in Matthew 25 are those who have helped Israel.”

This man was and still is, sporadically, a Mathematics teacher at a community college. Before that, he taught high school in a tough neighborhood. So he is adept at quelling loud mouths and rebellious talk, and, anything we say or do, is often taken as such. On several occasions he has loudly slapped the table as he brashly stated, that is my opinion, and I don’t care what you say. Now get realistic. What is that supposed to mean? And, if it is not some arrogant attitude, then it is intended to intimidate those who are rebutting his opinions concerning scripture.

Later on that same week I ran into one of the men who did not make the study. I told him what the major topic was that morning. Immediately began his agreement with the thesis and got rather defensive of it. I tried to make him understand how and why this is wrong, but he refused to hear the truth. The sadder truth is that there are more people just like this, and false teachers, teaching the doctrine of demons, have created this confusion and prevented people from finding the truth in God’s word.

Here is a clue to help you lead Bible study:

If you don’t know what the answer is and can’t find at least two scripture passages to validate what you are saying, then you are preaching opinion and conjecture. Your opinion may have a logical path, but it needs to designated as such and not spoken as though it is the word of God and church doctrine. Since it is your opinion, then you need to allow for rebuttal, because you are going to get plenty of it, and deservedly so.

Back to the presumptuous statement in question:

the sheep we see in Matthew 25 are those who have helped Israel.”

  • I have looked intently, and there is nothing in scripture to back this statement up.

  • The leader acted as though he was basing his statements on comments made by Francis Jennings Dake. I happen to use a Dake’s commentary Bible, and I do not see this statement anywhere in there. So, this is conjecture on the part of the leader.

  • And, the most foolish aspect of this is that the leader is trying to force a twisted teaching upon us. This is easily resolved if you are willing to pay attention to the context, and Matthew 25 has a framework that starts in Matthew 22.

Since I directed us to consider the context, then let’s do that.

Matthew 25:32 CJB All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates sheep from goats.

So, I know that it is the nations that are assembled before him. If I consider that there are only three people groups in the world right now – the Jews, the nations, and the church; I also have to consider that historically the nations were nothing less than harmful to the nation Israel. Why then would I make the assumption that the sheep would be supportive of Israel? Can I exclude the possibility that the sheep, some subset within the nations, are supportive of Israel? No, but since we find nothing to validate this assertion, then it is foolishness to push it off on people.

A second point when considering the context.

Matthew 25:31 CJB “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, accompanied by all the angels, he will sit on his glorious throne.

While the idea of Jesus coming in his glory is spread across multiple sources, there is only one place in which he will sit on his glorious throne, and that is on the final throne of judgment, which Revelation 20 tells us is the great white throne. In either case, this is the only place where people are judged and sent to eternal punishment. So, when I put the phrase, “..the Son of Man comes in his glory,” together with the final judgment, then it is easy to see that Matthew 25 and Revelation 20 are the same event.

What kind of problems does this understanding cause us?

In Matthew Jesus is represented as the loving shepherd, while the Revelation reveals him to be the angry God that brings final justice, and I can tell you from experience that the deluded cannot and will not accept that these two events are the same.

What else proves that these two events are the same?

Matthew 25:41 CJB “Then he will also speak to those on his left, saying, ‘Get away from me, you who are cursed! Go off into the fire prepared for the Adversary and his angels!

Since the sheep, who obtain mercy are on the right, then these are the goats, and destined for what the Amplified calls, “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!”

What is the contrast comparison of Revelation 20?

Revelation 20:12 CJB And I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of the throne. Books were opened; and another book was opened, the Book of Life; and the dead were judged from what was written in the books, according to what they had done.

It happens everywhere you go, whether in Bible study or church; the assumption is made that everyone we see in Matthew’s account is alive, and we disassociate these dead from the nations when we read the Revelation. It is these assumptions that cause us great grief when we try to understand God’s word. Maybe we can quell our arguments if we consider that just a few verses prior God deceives the nations and then kills them.

Revelation 20:8 CJB and will go out to deceive the nations in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for the battle. Their number is countless as the sand on the seashore;

So the nations are involved, as is their demise:

Revelation 20:9 CJB and they came up over the breadth of the Land and surrounded the camp of God’s people and the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them.

If I wanted to make the statement that someone from the nations showed Israel some useful help, as the Bible study leader asserts, I do not see that here; we see them surrounding the city and God’s people, for the purpose of harm.

Revelation 20:9 CJB and they came up over the breadth of the Land and surrounded the camp of God’s people and the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them.

The judgment and finality of that decision are seen in both Revelation 20 and in Matthew 25, adding to the evidence that they are the same incident.

Revelation 20:10 CJB The Adversary who had deceived them was hurled into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Matthew 25:41 CJB “Then he will also speak to those on his left, saying, ‘Get away from me, you who are cursed! Go off into the fire prepared for the Adversary and his angels!

Matthew 25:46 CJB They will go off to eternal punishment, but those who have done what God wants will go to eternal life.”

A third and final comment on context.

Dake’s notes direct the reader to Matthew 13:24 – 43 when you digging a little deeper. Here is what many of the translations entitle that section of scripture. So let’s examine how the parable compares with Matthew 25 and Revelation 20:

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

Matthew 13:24-43 CJB

  • Jesus is speaking. This same person speaking in our parallel passages. Why is that important? Because we are looking for validation and similarity.

  • The context is the kingdom of heaven, and this is found in every instance.

  • While I have not defined what the field is I can conjecture that it is the nations. Unquestionably, Matthew 25 says that he calls the nations to him, but can we say that about Revelation 20? The answer is yes, and we know this from the context which initiates around verse 8 where he draws the nations to surround the city of God – the New Jerusalem.

    Ask yourself: What is a field? Fallow ground; untamed; unusable; or land that is useful and merely awaiting preparation and planting?

     

  • This “field” has been planted, intentionally, with weeds – bad seed. In horticulture, we learned that even a pleasant plant, such as a daisy, is considered a weed if it is growing somewhere where it is not intended.

  • Both good seed and tares (bad seed) are allowed to grow together until they are harvested. Because Matthew 25 presents Jesus as the gentle shepherd, an image he intentionally conveyed to the Jewish people of His day, we miss the concept of a harvest. But let’s get real for a moment. Would a shepherd be raising sheep because he enjoys them as pets? No, and so there is a time of harvest for the sheep, and, even the goats.

  • Just as the weeds are collected and burned up in the fire, so will it be at the end of the age.” In both Matthew 25 and Revelation 20, that thing that looks so similar to the good – whether a weed or a goat, is gathered and burned for eternity.

  • Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.” In Matthew’s account, the righteous are the sheep. Since we know that no man comes to the Father but through Jesus, here they are, standing before Jesus, being declared righteous, and given entrance into the kingdom. While we do not see those exact words, you should know that the unrighteous will not gain entrance into the Holy City or the Kingdom. Therefore, when verses like Matthew 25:34 tell us, “the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” then we can only assume that by their actions they have obtained a righteous standing.

I understand how Matthew 25 can throw your religious teaching and traditions concerning faith and works right out the window. At the least, it challenges our thinking, and no, I do not have the strongest handle on it yet. But I have come to understand one thing above all else, God is in control and not me. Therefore He gets the final word, and my judgments have to step aside. This control is exactly what Jesus was talking about when he told the parable of the man who hired people for the vineyard at the beginning of the day, and some were hired at the last minutes of the day. It did not matter to the owner for they all got paid the same. These, we see in Matthew 25 did nothing religious, as many of us have, and therefore did not pay the price we paid, like perhaps Jim Elliot did, with his life, and yet, they still gained entrance based upon giving someone a drink of water or feeding another. It seems to boil down to their lack of selfishness in those moments.

I have never been good at gambling. So to place my hope in a good deed seems like too large a gamble for me. No, life is not a gamble, it is all about faith and trust; therefore I put my trust and faith in Jesus Christ. He proved himself trustworthy and gave himself for me. Because I love him, I give myself to him, and that gives me hope. There is no gamble to it, merely trust.

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Doctrines of Demons, false teachers, and other foolishness. Revelation 3:9


As I mentioned in a previous post, involving yourself with incompetent Bible studies can give you a constant supply of fresh material. In this case, the self-appointed group leader of the morning coffee shop crowd opened with, “I have put several hours into this study of demons, and I believe we need to pursue this theme today.” He continued, there are demons all around us, and it is getting worse.

I feel I need to say; I understand there are demons. I believe they are fallen angels, and I also believe that they have arisen in greater numbers in these last days. We, who follow scripture, are aware that there are four awaiting their release from the Euphrates river in the last days, and they will do substantial and fearful damage. But, this is not them, yet. Satan is not producing more; however, I think that he has recruited people, in many cases, to help him. Is it possible that some of these fallen angels have been held in reserve, maybe? If not, they are no longer holding anything back.

An example of what I speak of could be found in one of my grandsons. This child seemed to be rather ordinary as a toddler. His older brother began to be somewhat relentless in what he thought was spirited humor, and now we are dealing with behaviors that appear to be demonic.

Why say that? To answer that question you need to consider some of Jesus encounters.

With the mad men from Gergesenes. A story you can find in Matthew 8, we find two who would

English: Site of Gadara (Umm Qais), Jordan Fra...

English: Site of Gadara (Umm Qais), Jordan Français : Vue du site de Gadara (Umm Qeis) en Jordanie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

not allow others to pass anywhere near them. Jesus cast the demons out of them and into the swine that were nearby. (This of course ruined a small economy and prompted them to ask Jesus to leave.) Mark’s gospel records a single mad man in the Gadara region, who had been bound on several occasions with no success. It is possible that this is the same story as the first for Jesus also cast the demons into the swine. In Matthew 9:32,33 we see the demons preventing a man from being able to speak. One more and I will move on. Both Matthew 17:15, and Mark 9:22, we see a father bringing his son to Jesus seeking relief because demons were throwing his boy into the fire and water.

What are the commonalities:

  • Irrational behavior

  • Irrational anger

  • Tremendous strength

  • Inability to speak

  • Diseases

These things can be found in people around us on a daily basis. What if, we have been trying to treat demonic infestations with drugs that merely sedate you?

Ask yourself, did Jesus approach these situations with fear? Not at all, and neither should we. Sadly we will though if we are not prepared to address the situations when they arise.

The leader asked us to first read Revelation 3:9.

Revelation 3:9 NASB ‘Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie–I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you.

From this verse, he concluded that Satan has a church. I can tell you that my immediate reaction was a heavy sigh, as I knew there were some there, that will not read their Bibles for themselves, and therefore be taken in by this garbage, especially since he claims to have been a pastor previously.

While most would agree that there is a Satanist church among us today, there was nothing so blatant at the time of John’s writing. Therefore, to call this, a Satanist church is clear false teaching. The leader asked the group what they thought of this assertion, to which several of us quickly offered opposing thoughts on the subject.

What do you use to debunk such a statement? The primary response is context.

The NASB categorizes this section of the Bible (Revelation 3:7-13) as being addressed to the “church” in Philadelphia. Because we Westernize the Bible, we take this concept of the church to be the building in which we converted Gentiles gather and that was not the case. While Peter was the one who initially got the invitation to take the message to the Gentiles, he did not follow through wholeheartedly, and therefore we eventually see the former Pharisee Saul, turned Paul, take the message to the Gentiles. The Apostle John, it would seem, did not waste his time on Gentiles, focusing on showing Jews this Messiah they had found. Fortunately, God extended His grace and mercy toward us Gentiles, and we learn of this through Paul’s writings.

So, it is a logical assumption that the Revelation was written to the Jewish community. This hypothesis is evidenced by the usage of the term synagogue, which would have been Jewish with minor exceptions; the exceptions would have been converts to Judaism. While not evidence, religious teachers/pastors will tell you outrageous things like the Revelation is written in code to prevent the Roman occupying forces from finding out what God’s plans were and therefore prevent an early demise for the church body. This code idea is not the case, for the book of Revelation was intended to be read and understood. Since we are now living at the time of its revealing it would be wise to comprehend what is going on around us.

So what is the purpose of John’s usage of the phrase “synagogue of Satan”?

It was an analogy designed to grab attention. It also establishes a divine power or deity

Do not make the immediate assumption that this implies God.

  1. A spirit being inferior to God.

  2. Evil spirits messengers, or ministers of the devil.

The KJC translates daimonion as devil 59x and god 1x.

be partakers” – Greek, metechō. Strong’s defines it as: to share or participate; by implication belong to, eat (or drink): – take part in an established prophetic pattern, and, John knew too well that the analogies he was using were familiar, scriptural terms.

Because several of us balked at the leader’s opening comments he quickly moved on to the next point he wanted to make, and here is where he directed us to look at 1Corinthians 10:21.

1 Corinthians 10:21 NASB 21) You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

He quickly tried to make assertions about this passage by saying, “see here, even the demons have a cup of communion.” While that might be true in some twisted sense, it is not even close to what is being said here. A good deal of the time digging a bit deeper into the sentence can help you understand what the Holy Spirit is trying to say. Watch as I take a simplistic approach.

On my first approach, I see two differing assertions: “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons.” This theme is reiterated using an analogy to “the table of the Lord,” which we understand as communion. Since the idea of communion carries great depth and signifies the joining of ourselves into the life and death of Jesus Christ through the symbolic partaking of His body and blood when we eat the bread, whatever form that comes in, and drink the dark red grape juice, which represents His blood. Having retold the act of communion in this manner, I am suddenly and intensely aware that our act of “drinking the cup of the Lord” from the “table of the Lord” is a serious commitment on our part. There is nothing about our simple monotonous routine, at least that is the way we act when taking communion, that would show the world the commitment we have to this life in Christ; unless of course, we are not serious.

The other approach is to look at the words Paul used.

drink” – the Greek word is pinō.

  • Thayer’s definitions tell us that the word means: “ figuratively, to receive into the soul what serves to refresh strengthen, nourish it.”

    Strong’s concordance adds: to imbibe (literally or figuratively)

the cup” – Again from Thayer:

  1. cup, a drinking vessel

  2. metaphorically one’s lot or experience, whether joyous or adverse,

We understand the cup to mean, that which belongs to.

of the Lord” – Greek: Kyrios, meaning to whom a person or thing belongs

of devils” – Greek is daimonion

Usage:

  1. divine power or deity

    Do not make the immediate assumption that this implies God.

  2. A spirit being inferior to God.

  3. Evil spirits messengers, or ministers of the devil.

The KJC translates daimonion as devil 59x and god 1x.

be partakers” – Greek, metechō. Strong’s defines it as: to share or participate; by implication belong to, eat (or drink): – take part in.

If I consider the depth in these words, I see a context that has little to do with a cup of communion as much as it has to do with persons who are imbibing in the things of the world, while trying to keep their toes in the waters of the kingdom of God.

Why would that be a problem? It would seem that a love of the world displaces the love of and for the Father, and encompasses everything.

1 John 2:15-16 NASB Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

You should know what God calls this attempt at a balancing act, being lukewarm. You have no passion for anything. This is stated clearly in Revelation chapter 3.

Revelation 3:15-18 CJB “I know what you are doing: you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were either one or the other! 16) So, because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth! 17) For you keep saying, ‘I am rich, I have gotten rich, I don’t need a thing!’ You don’t know that you are the one who is wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked! 18) My advice to you is to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich; and white clothing, so that you may be dressed and not have to be ashamed of your nakedness; and eye-salve to rub on your eyes, so that you may see.

But we are not directly talking about love here, are we? We are talking about imbibing, and we naively think this is merely taking a little sip now and then. However, the Greek conveys someone who is gaining their experience, whether joyous or adverse from their indulgences. Not only that, the implication is, they belong to the things to which they have indulged. Since the idea of imbibing is frequently associated with drinking, then you must know that you rarely see anyone “imbibing” with restraint. Since those that drink usually have the goal of inebriation whether partial or wholehearted. These partakers are not just foolishly sipping, they are wholeheartedly indulging in a world that sets itself against God.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are demons, which I believe are fallen angels, all around us. I don’t have to go looking for them as these fallen angels seem to have a determined purpose of killing or disrupting the lives of those who look like Christ; that happens when you accept Him and make Him a part of your life. The demons also seem to have the generalized job of disrupting God’s plan for the salvation of man. These attempts at disruption, unfortunately, impact the lives of innocent children and adults.

Some would see this picture I have painted, as a hopeless and impossible life to live. It is, however, the opposite, for we are endowed with power; which is the life of Christ and His infinite power. We have been given a hope of a life filled with peace, as well as a love we have never experienced here on this earth; and, He has given us authority over the defeated foe, called Satan, through the name of our risen King, Jesus. Merely having this knowledge and accepting it gives me the reason to keep my feet out of the mire that is called the world, and walk through this land as a prophet and warrior king. I pray that this becomes your reality in Jesus name.

Posted in bible study, Cult teachings, End times, false teaching, Hope, In Christ, Prophetic, Revelation, The supremacy of Christ, The Word was God, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Matthew 25 and the fall from grace. An edited reblog.


Well, I did it. I went back to the Monday morning men’s bible study. No, nothing has changed, and, six months later, they are still on the same subject. While I have no issue with spending over a year in the book of Revelation there needs to be a pointed purpose, and, the audience should walk away with a firm and decisive grasp on the subject matter; none of those aspects exist here in the Monday morning study.

(Dr. Hugh Ross, of Reasons to Believe [www.reasons.org], recently spoke to the men’s breakfast at the church I go to. There he explained, to make a point, that he had only recently finished teaching a seven-year study on the book of Revelation. Considering the level of intelligence and depth of instruction you would get with Dr. Ross, I can understand. I do not feel that I nor you, have that kind of time.)

After 18 minutes of preliminary discussion, several of which were testimonies and checking on the health of attendees and their wives, we “dove” into Matthew 25:31-46. Since this blog already covers that subject, and I have spoken about it on a previous occasion, I will merely make this opening statement and a few minor adjustments.

I have something I need to talk about. Hopefully, I can keep it short. This has more to do with a question I have repeatedly been asked. I try to answer the question, but, because of tradition, bad teaching, or a lack of desire to pursue the answers, the question keeps coming up.

The question goes something like this, “There are obviously those that make it through the tribulation. Are they saved?”

I thought about it for a second, and then I responded with, what does it mean to be saved? He answered back with,

“You know, saved!”

No, I don’t know. If you are trying to say that these survivors by merit of merely existing to the end are similar to finding salvation in Christ, then the answer is NO. But if you were to be contrasting salvation with pulling someone out of a fire, then, YES, I think they are. How do I liken making it through the hell of the tribulation years to getting pulled out of a fire? They will both kill you.

So the essential question that needs definition is, what does salvation mean? But that is not what you are asking me, is it. You already have this crazy notion of what things look like and want me to validate your misconceptions. Well, that is not going to happen. I am going to try to get you to look at the truth, which happens to be the word of God; but there is a problem in that. The problem is that the answers to your question are not neatly packaged in one place, so this forces both of us to do our homework, and we have to have open minds about the answers we find. Lacking that, you are no better off than a rock.

When I try to respond with an answer, most remove logic from the equation and discard the truth of scripture because it conflicts with their traditions. Having attempted a reply to the question, I referred the person asking to Matthew 25. I did this because he opted to change projected history by putting the great white throne judgment immediately before the 1000 year reign.

He quickly opened the Bible program on his cell phone and with a hostile tone in his voice read,

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats”. So there it is. He gathers the nations before him and judges them.

Yep, it says that.

However, it does not tell you when that takes place, neither does it explain that this throne is the same throne that we see in Revelation 20. There is nothing in Matthew 25 to indicate that these are souls that have died from quite probably Christ’s resurrection forward, we are the ones who make the assumption that they are breathing air; and, it makes no clarification as to who they are or how they got there. The most astonishing and alarming aspect of all is, that contrary to popular belief, they are not all sent to eternal punishment (hell.)

I want you to understand the things involved in the original question: “ those that make it through the tribulation, are they saved?”

Because I told this person to look at Matthew 25, I want you to look there also. Before you jump into Matthew 25, you need to understand that there is a context to what Jesus said.

  1. What we see in Matthew 25 is a continuation of a response that started in Matthew 24:1.

  2. The things that motivated the disciple’s question actually began in Matthew 21 when they placed him upon the colt. Ask yourself why that would be significant.

  3. So what happened between them placing him on the colt and leading him into town in Matthew 21 and the end of Matthew 23, that would prompt them to say, when will these things happen and what will be the sign of your coming as the Messiah we anticipated (My version.)

In Matthew 21, at his direction, the disciples went and took the donkey, and it’s colt. This was finally it. Jesus was going to step up as the Messiah they anticipated for every king triumphantly rode into town like this, but that did not happen. After all the fanfare and adulation Jesus sees the money changers in the outer court of the temple, makes a whip of cords and drives them out. This, of course, brought the wrath of the Chief priests and elders upon him, and he battled with them verbally for two days. We seem to forget that they disciples were right there; they had no place else to go (we assume).

Jesus finally says, let’s go to the mount. It was his favorite place to rest and recover when he was in Jerusalem, and it is only a short distance away from the temple.

The disciples discouraged, disillusioned, fatigued by the intercourse are now probably grateful to get out of harm’s way. Trudging along behind him they try to lighten the mood by pointing out how great the temple was, and at this point, they were making comments about its massive stones. Sadly, Jesus, the true temple, was standing right there and they did not yet realize it. I happen to think this understanding plays a role in how Jesus responds. Thus begins a rather lengthy discourse and the answers to some very Jewish questions.

Matthew 25:31-46 is an aspect of Jesus response, and is to be taken in context. In the context timing is everything, and the timing has everything to do with, when will you come back as the Messiah we were hoping for?

Matthew 25:31-46 ESV “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

While I did not quote the verse in rebuttal, there is no doubt that it says, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations,”. If all you ever read was this, you could build a variety of themes around it, and be rather convincing.

Here is one of the aspects that give people trouble: Before him will be gathered all the nations,”

Do you understand that there are only three people groups (as far as God is concerned) in the Bible narrative? They are:

  • The Jews – Israel

  • The nations – Also called the Gentiles. This is literally anyone outside of Christ – those who refuse to follow him.

  • And, the church. The church is the followers of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He is not a gentile God, He is God, and he is Jewish. Those of us who have accepted that he paid the price for us have been adopted in; we Gentile believers were at that point grafted into the root stock – Israel. Paul explained that having accepted him, he received us and made us be in Him.

So, God calls all those outside of a relationship with Jesus the nations. (I am comfortable using the name God because in the book of Revelation we find all that happens there a revealing of Jesus.)

What we see here in Matthew 25 has nothing to do with the Bema seat judgment of the church. Considering that we are told that NO evil thing will come into the New Jerusalem, then one must assume that all that junk we tote around with us will be gone somewhere between here and the “pearly gates.” Leave your worries about that crud behind and move forward. I also strongly suggest that you stay out of the arena of judgment since the manner in which you judge is how you will be judged.

I told the person asking the question that Revelation 20 is the same story as we see in Matthew 25. There will be some obvious differences, but I will attempt to explain.

Revelation 20:1-3 ESV Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. (2) And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, (3) and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

When does this take place?

After the tribulations of the seven years (it may not be a precise seven-year period.)

Read Revelation 19: 17-21.

  • There you see Jesus coming back with a mighty army, and where all those who choose to fight against Him are slain.

  • In Ezekiel, we find that the new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven and the martyred reign with Christ during the thousand years.

    Are these seated on the thrones holding judgment over the nations as we see in Matthew’s account? No.

    With Satan bound for a thousand years, any evil that is done is entirely the creation of man’s desire, and that will continue to happen. I believe that these judges will be keeping rein over that kind of nonsense.

  • All oppression shall cease.

Revelation 20:4 ESV Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

So let’s address the major point of contention.

The idea that Jesus sets up the great white throne at the beginning of the millennial reign; judges the survivors, and sends them all off to hell.

This is not what is described in Matthew 25, nor do we find this in Revelation 20:11-15.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15 ESV)

Is that what we see here in Revelation 20:4? No.

Revelation 20:4 NASB Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Can you see why?

  • Instead of one throne, there are many.

  • Instead of one person, Jesus, all the martyred take part in the judgment.

  • In Matthew, we find a glorious throne instead of the great one we see in Revelation 20.

  • Matthew 25:32 Before him will be gathered all the nations.

    Look at how John describes those standing before him in Revelation 20, “and I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and the books were opened.

  • In Revelation 20 the crowd is separated according to their deeds found in the books.

    Matthew 25 shows the Son of Man separating them into sheep and goats. We must assume that the sheep are those whose names are found in the books, and the deeds must be expected because of the separation.

This recurring event is intentional and meant to register quickly in the mind of the Jewish reader/hearer. Why?

Because repetition is the standard pattern for prophecy to the Jews, and this book we call the Bible is a very Jewish book.

In Revelation 20:12 we see books opened, and the book of life.

Revelation 20:12 ESV And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.

Catch the distinction here: The dead are judged out of the books based on what was written in the books, according to what they had done. When you contrast this to the single book of Life, the contents and impact to the goats are not revealed. However, Revelation 20:15 shows the judged thrown into the lake of fire.

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

I realize this is hard to grasp, but God can and has shown mercy. He has done it too and for me. One of those pieces of evidence was the price His son paid on the cross.

Posted in bible study, End times, false teaching, Hearing God, In Christ, Prophetic, Revelation, The supremacy of Christ, The Word was God, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Years day and this is what you preach, the institution of the Lord’s supper? Mark 14:22 – 42


Yeah, I know, burning your bridges gives you limited access back across the river, and that, unfortunately, is where some of the humans are, but I have done just that on several occasions. One of the problems this act creates is that I lose access to new material. What do I mean? It is in conversations and or, in listening to a sermon, that the Holy Spirit gives me new stuff to about which to write. This last Sunday morning was one of those.

The sermon title, as listed on the clean note sheet we were handed was “Happy New Year.” That makes sense because it was January 01, 2017. However, the scripture passage that I assumed would be the main topic source was Mark 14:22 – 42. This is where Jesus tells the guys, “I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of

The hands of Jesus holding wine cup, symbol of communion

The hands of Jesus holding wine cup, symbol of communion

God,” and, where Peter, as Eugene Peterson’s Message states, “Even if everyone else is ashamed of you when things fall to pieces, I won’t be.” I find neither of these scenarios to be motivators for some immediate happiness.

I cannot stand people who through rose colored glasses, try to get you to ignore the pain enveloping you and look to the future goal as your constant source of feelings. If there was a person qualified to do that it would have been Jesus. Seeing as Jesus, the creator of eternity, the one who knows the end from the beginning, was standing there in front of them, and He did not say anything like that then maybe just trying to divert people from their momentary reality is not the answer. He tried to cheer them up knowing full well the anguish He was feeling in his soul, and we see the evidence of that anguish a few minutes later when He takes the three with him into the mount of olives.

Jesus, being greatly distressed said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” And He went a little beyond them and fell to the ground.

New Year’s day, and this is what you preach?

We did take Communion this morning, and that being significant could well have played a role in theme, Happy New Year. However, communion was also one of the things we find Jesus doing with the disciples in Mark’s gospel, but none of this engendered happiness in them. Jesus, well aware of the forlorn looks on their faces tried to cheer them up a bit with this:

John 16:6-7 NASB “But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7) “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

But this did not and would not bring hope to their hearts, for none of them understood what was happening. They anticipated Jesus taking a commanding role in overturning the rule of the Romans. So the sorrow and grief filled the faces of every one of them as they were faced with the thought of losing the best thing that ever happened to them. In that moment looking to a future hope, you do not understand borders on the impossible. Where is the happiness in this?

I point this out, and yet pastor spent more time focused on Jeremiah 29:10,11 than anything else. As I read the words of Jeremiah, over and over that morning, the pastor was acting out how excited (and presumably happy) he believed Jeremiah might have felt as he heard these words. That prompted me to make some quick notes so I could do a little background investigation on Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 29:10-11 NASB “For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. 11) ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

These words, “When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place,” may not have had the exciting impact we presume. Why would I say that? While it is possible that Jeremiah understood the threat that Assyria and the Babylonian empire posed; Israel, it would seem, had yet to be taken into Babylonian captivity. Allow me to demonstrate with this timeline.

Jeremiah's-time-frame

Jeremiah’s-time-frame

As you can see Jeremiah, born before 630 BC, did not experience the reign of Nebuchadnezzar until somewhere around 605 BC, some twenty-five years later.

What then would Jeremiah have had that would have given him “a world view”?

This catch phrase “world view” came into my hearing several years ago as I began to pay attention to apologetics teachers. Focus on the Family – a radio ministry, has this definition for world view:

A worldview is the framework from which we view reality and make sense of life and the world. “[It’s] any ideology, philosophy, theology, movement or religion that provides an overarching approach to understanding God, the world and man’s relations to God and the world,” says David Noebel, author of Understanding the Times. For example, a 2-year-old believes he’s the center of his world, a secular humanist believes that the material world is all that exists, and a Buddhist believes he can be liberated from suffering by self-purification. Someone with a biblical worldview believes his primary reason for existence is to love and serve God.

Lacking nonstop televised news and high-speed international travel we could be surprised to find that Jeremiah believed the world was anything other than flat. Fortunately, news, travel adventures, and history were passed along by mouth (oral history.)

One of the people who lived at the same time as Jeremiah and may have played a huge role in Jeremiah’s formation, is Jonah, a man with an intense hatred for the Assyrians, most specifically the Ninehvites and their king. Nineveh was the city God had told Jonah to go to with a message of absolute destruction should they not repent. Sadly, as far a Jonah was concerned, they did repent; therefore, God relented – no he did not forget but set aside his judgment temporarily, and they were spared destruction.

Now mind you this is merely a logical speculation but it has potential; and, it is intended to make you think differently about the human side of Godly events.

So again, what did God say to Jeremiah?

Jeremiah 29:10-11 NASB “For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. 11) ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

What of this though?

“When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.”

To put this in perspective we need to consider the captivity that we were in prior to accepting Christ. Some aspects of this life as I understand it, is:

  1. There are wealthy people in the world, and even though there is no apparent Christ in their lives they have little comprehension of captivity. Why is that? In spite of the pain, which is great – although they will never openly tell you that; the pleasures they seek are never enough. They can never be satisfied, and that alone brings them a captivity.

  2. Many, followers of Christ, neither have nor will they have anything other than the misery they live in (we see so much of this in third world nations and the Middle East.) Our considerations of this are horribly tainted by the various worlds we live in. I will use myself as an example: Having never lived in a third world nation I have no idea yet (I say this because the global agenda to bring all nations down to the same level) what it is like to scrounge through the trash piles hoping to find something to eat. Because of this I only comprehend the discomfort of others by watching it on television while stuffing my face with cheesy chips. Hopefully, you get my point?

If you had been a captive and received this word as Jeremiah did, you may have had reason to rejoice or be happy. And yet there is that phrase “when seventy years have been completed” to put a damper on your rejoicing and happiness, because, at this point, we have no idea how long Jeremiah had been a captive if that was the case. However, there is another way of looking at this prophecy which says, you will be going into captivity, and it is going to last for seventy years. This conclusion probably brings no joy with it. Let me point out (the prophet) Daniel. It is alleged that he was taken captive at a time when he should have been getting married; the prime of life, so to speak. Once a decision was made as to what to do with him, he would have been castrated – a strong demotivator in your decision to attempt to return to the girl of your dreams. By the time Daniel figured out that Israel only had a short period left in captivity, he was already an old man. Keep in mind that Daniel ascertained this information by reading the scroll/prophecy of Jeremiah.

Are we captives?

If I accept Christ’s life in me, and the understanding that my act of faith moves me immediately into His kingdom and family, then I affirm that I have been released from (Satan’s) captivity.

What is the scriptural backing for our being released from captivity?

Revelation 5:9 ESV (b) … for you were slain, and by your (Jesus) blood, you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,

Acts 20:28 ESV (b) … the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

In visualizing this ransom scenario – something I constantly do with scripture, I see an old picture from American history of slaves on an auction block. Jesus, having the one resource that meets all the demands, pays the price and sets all civilization free – past, present, and future. And yet it seems we are still captive, while others come off as though they have no clue about what I am saying. People were never meant to be items for trade, and yet, through the act of choice, Adam made us all slaves. In CS Lewis’s book, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, the White “witch”/ ice queen refers to all of the humans as “Sons of Adam.” Why? Because the damage it seems was a genetic predisposition to act selfishly.

This release is entirely independent of feelings and circumstances and is fully wrapped up in God’s promises and His ability to carry them out. Plainly stated, placing our lives in Christ has removed us from captivity, no questions asked. Are there those still trapped in the grasp of Satan’s captivity; certainly, but only because their actions caused addictions and habits. We will always be responsible for our actions while we are here on this earth. It is only by God’s mercy that we occasionally escape due punishment. To recognize God’s mercy and grace in my life brings me great joy and happiness.

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