The Law is Good. 1 Timothy 1:1 – 11.

Paul, as we have come to recognize, opens with a greeting, however, according to J.Vernon McGee, this greeting is different.

Here is an example of one of Paul’s typical greetings.

Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, (Galatians 1:1-3 KJV)

In Galatians, the manner in which Paul was made an apostle, is not defined outside of saying that this apostleship was not of man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father.

To be honest, until I read McGee’s commentary I had no idea that this was an issue.

What I did see was this line, “Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” For me, this is the pattern that I pay attention to. Having learned that 1 Timothy 1:1-2 intentionally conveys a much deeper meaning intrigues me.

While I still see the line, “Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord,” Paul opened his letter to Timothy with an explicit statement about why he is an apostle, and he does this by telling us that this apostleship was according to the commandment of God.

1 Timothy 1:1-2 NASB Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope, (2) To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee tells us: “The introduction to 1 Timothy is unlike any other in Paul’s epistles. Perhaps you had come to the conclusion that they were all the same, but the introductions to the Pastoral Epistles are a little different. Dr. Marvin R. Vincent has said that the salutation in 1 Timothy as a whole has no parallel in Paul.” To Timothy, he writes, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God.” But in Ephesians 1:1 he says “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,“.

Not being a theologian I operate rather simply and clearly, I see a difference between the personal letter to Timothy and the general address to the church that resides in Galatia. My presumption is that Timothy, more than others, like Barnabas, would have known of Paul’s qualifications to be an apostle, because Paul, being so close to Timothy, would have told him. (He calls him a son.)

In writing this, I am reminded of the pompous religious attitudes we developed in the church that may not have been present at the time of Paul’s writing. In other words, it meant something when Paul said, I am an apostle of Jesus Christ.

Considering that the word apostle merely means one sent, or a sent one; then yes, it is quite possible that much was said to Paul, by Jesus, that day on the road to Damascus, including I will send you. Since we, and I include Timothy, are all broken humans, then even this young man could have been prone to doubts and challenges.

As usual, my examination of simple words may seem unnecessary but look at the variation in uses of the word will.

The word “will” is the Greek word thelēma. It also means a determination, a choice, purpose, decree, inclination, and desire.

The general idea is that these choices would come from God, however, the word thelēma is not specific and leaves the door open to what we think is human desire; that is unless something is added to the sentence that directs us to consider a God-oriented inclination.

McGee continues: “Now what is the difference between the commandment and the will of God? The will of God and the commandment of God are the same, yet they are not exactly synonymous. All the commandments which you will find in the Bible reveal the will of God.
This would include much more than the Ten Commandments.”

By way of example, in 1 Thessalonians we are told that:

Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1Th 5:17-18).

The word will, as seen in 1 Th 5:17-18, is the Greek word thelēma and means a determination, a specific purpose, a decree.

There are many things which are the will of God, and they are expressed in His commandments.” J. Vernon McGee.

Isn’t this precisely what we see in 1Th 5:17-18?

The word commandment as we found in 1 Timothy 1:1, is the Greek word epitagē and means an injunction or decree; by implication authoritativeness.

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; (Romans 16:25-26 NASB)

Paul according to the CJB translation, articulates Romans 16:25-26, in this manner, “but manifested now through prophetic writings, in keeping with the command of God the Eternal.” So, we are merely keeping the existing commands.

One of the points that Paul makes is this:

  • According to the commandment of the eternal God.

So, we too have received the commandment, just as Paul did. As we will see, Paul urged Timothy to stay on at Ephesus, for the purpose of withstanding some teachers that were going off track, preaching something other than what Paul had taught.

Here it is Tuesday evening, July 28, 2020, and I just had a conversation with my wife how I am not Pastor JD Farag or Pastor Jack Hibbs, I am me, and I do things just a shade differently. A short time later we came home from having ice cream and I started watching Pastor JD Farag and he is teaching on this very scripture. The title of his message is, Sharing the truth in love.

To be honest, I didn’t think about this aspect of what Paul was asking Timothy to do.

My current Pastor introduced himself to the church as a recovering pharisee.
Aren’t we all?

As such, I know that I have to choose, at times, to set aside the rage that wants to flare inside me. I also know that I could easily dish out religious legalism. I know this because there is a piece of me that wants to unleash on Christians who choose to believe the lies going on around them, instead of trusting Jesus Christ to bring them through this COVID 19 garbage. This unleashing has rage attached to it, and I, as I write this, am not sure I could restrain myself if I had to do what Paul was asking Timothy to do.

Now, try pushing yourself into Timothy’s situation.

I can see Paul raking some brother over the coals, and not having much in the way of regret over the repercussions. That may not be true, but it is often the impression you get, especially when some rambunctious preacher gets done with you.

I said all that to say, I would not be comfortable withstanding some jerk. I say this because I have had incidents at church, where I was told NOT to teach, read, or talk about eschatology. Clearly, this so-called pastoral person was flying in the face of Paul’s teachings. If you are a Pastor and have done this to someone, you should be on your knees before God repenting; and then, go to the person you have harmed and ask them to forgive you, for being a __________, (you fill in the blank.)

And that brings me to verses 3,4.

1 Timothy 1:3-4 CJB  As I counseled you when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay on in Ephesus, so that you may order certain people who are teaching a different doctrine to stop.  (4)  Have them stop devoting their attention to myths and never-ending genealogies; these divert people to speculating instead of doing God’s work, which requires trust.

This statement then, about how this apostleship comes as a commandment from God, might have been a necessary boost for Timothy, as he may have had to convince these people of Paul’s qualifications to teach, and therefore his own authority to address some flagrant teacher – not everyone is willing to accept the mere fact that you are saying, Paul, told me to do this.

The CJB calls it “teaching a different doctrine,” while the KJV tells us – that they teach no other doctrine.

The phrase different doctrine is seen in the NASB as (teach strange doctrines) is the Greek word heterodidaskaleō. This Greek word is repeated three times to create the phrase different or strange doctrines when it means to teach other or different doctrine or to deviate from the truth.

Look at what Paul is telling Timothy to do (I am not sure here whether this is a request or an order,).

order certain people who are teaching a different doctrine to stop.”

For a very short time, I attended a Saturday night Bible study. The man who led this study is a member of the church I attend, but since everyone comes from somewhere else, and often under duress, this man’s story was not so dissimilar. In other words, he brought his own baggage with him. After several weeks of questionable teachings, he started talking about the multiple layers of hell. He opened the floor to questions and so I took him to the scriptures that refute what he just taught. He seemed flustered and undone, but he had asked. The following meeting (we met every other week,) this man denounced me before the entire group and, he included a lady who had also challenged something he said. Not having the ability to receive correction, he told us that what we brought up were little more than minor doctrinal issues and not be discussed in an open group setting. I never went back.

Paul defines these strange doctrines by saying:

  • Do not deviate from the truth.
  • To not pay attention to myths.
  • And to pay no attention to endless genealogies.

Knowing full well that what he has asked Timothy to do could turn into a disaster, Paul gives this guidance.

1 Timothy 1:5 NASB But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

But the goal of our instruction …” When Paul says this, it includes the original word that was given as well.

As time has progressed we have developed a broader picture of who Paul was and therefore, we get to see an assumed manner in which he preached, and it is not what we would have expected.

By his own words, we see this.

“Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ–I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! I ask that when I am present I need not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh.”
(2 Corinthians 10:1-2 NASB)

Paul uses the word meek. Many associate this word with humility.

Webster’s dictionary tells us that to be humbled is to “be made low; abased; rendered meek and submissive; penitent.” One might be able to see this person as a slave.

Meek, on the other hand, is a position that we submit to.
The dictionary says: to be meek is to be mild of temper; not easily provoked or irritated; yielding; given to forbearance under injuries. Meekness is an act of the will.

One of the reasons a scenario like this has the potential for going wrong comes from the receiving end, as you have to be teachable.

The reality is that those who are in opposition to your teaching, probably already believe that you are wrong, or that you are a false teacher. Some, especially those with Theology degrees (I speak from experience,) feel they are superior because of their education and are unwilling to hear what you are going to say and can often be combative. In light of the potential for a combative moment, then it is absolutely necessary to approach the issue with love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.

1 Timothy 1:6 NASB For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion,

The CEV puts it this way.

There are some who have given up these for nothing but empty talk. (1 Timothy 1:6 CEV)

So when Paul says, “For some men, straying from these things,” What things is he talking about?

This forces us to look, once again, at the context; however, you will not find the context in verses one and two. In verse three Paul is telling Timothy to straighten someone, possibly more, out, as they are twisting and refuting the things Paul had taught. The end result, these false teachers are leading people astray. So I am not sure how that defines “these things.” Except that it says, don’t teach strange doctrines.

Now verse four may answer the question, but it works from the negative because it tells us what Paul did not teach.

You need to warn them:

  • Verse three ends with this instruction, and a comma. “instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines,”
  • nor pay attention to myths
  • and endless lists of ancestors. Such things only cause arguments. They don’t help anyone to do God’s work that can only be done by faith. (CEV)

I covered all of these points already, and yet I still feel as if something is missing. The ERV translation seems to work, and I will show you why.

My purpose in telling you to do this is to promote love—the kind of love shown by those whose thoughts are pure, who do what they know is right, and whose faith in God is real.
(1 Timothy 1:5 ERV)

All corrections should be done out of love.

That means you are making this correction because you love this person or child. Your children may not understand that at the moment, but love desires to save them from corruption and possibly death. Punishment, may instill the fear of God in them and prevent them from committing some serious crime.

Paul, through Timothy, is addressing the false teachers, but perhaps the NLT gets to the core of what is going on here, as it addresses the Jewish aspect of this congregation. You see, even here, we FORGET, that Paul’s audiences, were primarily Jewish converts – a term that in many cases should be used loosely.

1 Timothy 1:7 NLT They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently.

Paul had his time at being a Pharisee and no doubt a few of them remember what that was like. Why would any of these people think it appropriate to go that route? Oh sure, there is the draw of that big paycheck for being the pastor of a mega-church; and the added joy of having the state overstep their constitutional boundaries and shut your church down while keeping casinos and marijuana dispensaries open; it kind of makes you want to ask, then why are you here?

to be teachers” It seems like a simple phrase, but it has hidden darkness to it. The Greek word for a Hebrew action, is, nomodidaskalos. Thayer’s Definition: 1) a teacher and interpreter of the law: among the Jews; 1a) of those who among Christians went about as champions and interpreters of the Mosaic law.

Why refer to the interpretation of the law as hidden darkness?

Because, almost everyone who teaches from the law has an underlying theme, control. Think about the entrance of the law into the lives of God’s people; they had, only recently, come out of Egypt, along with the tent of Moloch; sex gods, and Beelzebul – the lord of the flies/dung. They were, in the majority, Egyptians without a clue and God needed to reign them in. As I have stated before, initially, He only gave them ten rules, and the bulk of those rules spoke of love and treating others right.

they don’t know what they are talking about” Such a large phrase from such a little word. It is the Greek word νοέω meaning to perceive, think: or understand.

Well, that was direct and to the point. You may be able to put words together eloquently, but you don’t have a clue as to what you are talking about.

But Paul had lived the life of a teacher; and not just a teacher of the Mosaic law, he taught a God of mercy and grace, a God who now seemed to some to be in opposition to the law, and there was very little fame or money. Keep in mind that Paul was well versed in the Mosaic law – to the point of destruction, but then something changed him, and that something was to meet Jesus personally – on the road to Damascus. For us, the reader, it seemed like seconds.

How come no one seems to remember that he had others with him? Do you think the merely let him lie there? How undignified! This process may have only taken seconds, however, God doesn’t always work within our time constraints, and may have downloaded everything Paul needed in those mere seconds.

But the law is not dark, it is only made dark by those who talk in endless circles. Paul tells us, the law is good.

1 Timothy 1:8-11 NASB But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, (9) realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers (10) and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, (11) according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

If you walked away with that ONE THING, let it be this, the LAW IS GOOD.

Is it good to everyone?

Hardly, but you have to realize that the law was not made for those that follow the law (righteous persons). Paul told us in his letter to the church in Rome, that the law, which many thought grace freed them from, There is no escaping this law that guides us, and attempts to guide ALL the others.

But for those who are”:

  • lawless
  • rebellious
  • ungodly
  • sinnersperpetually and even in some cases purposefully, because waah, they want to.
  • The unholy and the profane
  • for those who kill their fathers or mothers. Murderers
  • Here is where it gets nasty. For immoral men and homosexuals
  • kidnappers – ask yourself, who are the victims, and why?
  • liars and perjurers – one just lies, the other lies to escape judgment.
  • and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching.

Sound teaching, which Paul reiterates, is according to my word, which I have been entrusted with.

God has entrusted this WORD to us in the form of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

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The prayer of faith. James 5:13-20.

We ended our last look at James with James 5:11.

“We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.” (NASB)

Did you get that?

The Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. I suppose much of this mental confusion that I have endured about His nature and character comes from the horrid sermons I have heard over the years. These messages were laden with guilt and implied that you needed to work harder, perhaps even be a missionary and have a spear run through you to prove your worthiness to God.

This kind of works based thinking is what Islam teaches, even to the point that if you get your blood spilled, you can never be sure it is enough blood.

It is head conversations, such as this, that prompt me to think, “and I am the guy that is telling people that Jesus Christ is coming back, and soon.” When I talk with people, you quickly find out that they are not looking for Jesus to return as what they have is good enough. Their lifestyle and traditions make up their comfort zone and frequent visits to some organized church allow them to call themselves Christians, right alongside the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons.

I don’t know which is greater, the desire to tell people that I am looking for His return in September or showing them the details of what the time after the church will be like. I would be hard-pressed to reduce the time after the church to one word, but chaos just about covers it.

Why would I feel comfortable talking about when He might come back?

Because, as Paul states,

“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; (5) for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness;”
1 Thessalonians 5:4-5 NASB

After Jesus finished speaking to the crowd about the sower and seed, the disciples came to him and asked:

“Why do You speak to them in parables?” (Matthew 13:10b NASB)

It almost comes across as though they understood the parables; I don’t think so. Jesus answered them with:

To you, it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them, it has not been granted. (Matthew 13:11b NASB)

This is not that difficult and the prophet Daniel confirms that God/the Holy Spirit, will give insight to many.

“Those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many;…” (Daniel 11:33a. NASB)

The argument that most throw at you, and some will argue that this is a church doctrine set in stone, is Matthew 24:36.

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

In doing this, these antagonists overlook the context, which I will give you here.

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

It is a safe assumption to say that Israel is that fig tree, and its branch can be seen in some major events like the six-day war which occurred in 1967, in which Israel regained the land that God had spoken to them as being theirs, back. Sadly, that didn’t last long, as the United Nations got involved and Israel relinquished some of the captured lands. The Gaza strip is an example. Israel, to some degree, feels that it is successful and secure. In other words, the fig tree has become tender and has put forth its leaves. Having come to realize that this is happening I look to Jesus’ words when he told those listening; then, you can know that summer is near. This reference to the end of time has little to do with summer, but summer, for the fig tree, is when you can pick the fruit.

Do you not realize that we, the church, are, in a sense, the fruit?

The gathering of His church then is the picking of the fruit. He next says, “when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.” Just looking at Israel alone, puts us in a place where we can look for the door to open and the Father to lean out and call us home for dinner.

Jesus gave us one more huge clue to help us determine where we are in this timeline.

Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”

Israel became a nation in 1948; that date alone should be the lower limit of the timeline. A generation in 1948 was 64.6 years. If you wanted to get technical, Jesus made these statements at a time when the average life expectancy was about 35 years. Based upon the more modern sixty-five-year average, then we are seven years beyond Jesus’ proclaimed time frame.

  • The summer is near;
  • He is right at the door,
  • and this generation will not pass away.

Folks, we are there.

Considering the persecution that is coming, these words from James should bring you hope.

“You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.”

Since you are now filled with hope and know that God is merciful, then you can take your prayers to Him. And thus, this next section is entitled.

The Prayer of Faith

James 5:13 NASB Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises.

Suffering is the Greek word kakopatheō and means to undergo hardship, be afflicted, and endure affliction.

Considering that our churches just recently got shut down again, you might think that many of us are suffering. James tells us, we must pray.

Cheerful means just that, cheerful.

If you are cheerful, then sing!

James 5:14-15 NASB “Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; (15) and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.”

Sick, as used in verse 14, is the Greek word astheneō and means to be weak, feeble, to be without strength, and powerless.

Sound familiar?

There are so many things that can make you feel this way, especially when we, three weeks after reopening our churches, got them shut down again. If that is the way you feel, and many of us do, then call for the elders of the church, and they are to pray over you.

“and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick,”

We just covered the word sick in the previous verse, but look up the word sick, as used in James 5:15, and you find the Greek word kamnō, which is means to toil, by implication to tire (figuratively faint, sicken), and be wearied.

With a purposefully created virus, moving our state governors to open and close our churches, beaches, and restaurants, in irregular, indeterminate cycles – causing us to lose our bearings, it is easy to see how we can be tired, sick and weary.

James tells us the prayer of faith will restore not only the sick but also the weary. The NASB conveys the idea that God will raise you up. Let’s consider the word raise for a moment.

Raise is the Greek word egeirō and means the idea of collecting one’s faculties); to waken (transitively or intransitively), that is, rouse (literally from sleep, from sitting or lying, from disease, from death.

The idea of collecting one’s faculties makes me think of the boxer who has come close to being knocked out. It takes them several seconds to regain their composure and gather their legs back under them. For some, it is called “regaining your bearings;” for others, it conveys the idea of rousing someone from sleep; and, finally, healing from a disease or death.

You go to the elders and lay your tattered life before them, with the hope of collecting your faculties; doesn’t that imply that you have missed the mark somewhere along the line?

Sorry if I keep repeating specific themes like sin, which is, at the least, nothing more than missing the mark.

Regardless, all of it was paid for at the cross.

If that is true, then why do I need to go to the elders, and confess to them that the world is tearing me up, and I am not sure how much more I can take. Only to have them declare that my sins are forgiven?

This is why James continues with,

James 5:16 NASB “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”

Confess. Gr. exomologeō, To confess from the heart, freely, publicly, openly (Thayer)

First off, don’t pour your personal failures out before everyone. Some people are not safe and will spill your information in front of just about anyone; and some of those know full well what they are doing to you. Take some time to find safe people; even then, some people you thought were safe may not be. In that case, you will have to trust the Holy Spirit to lead you to something like Recovery, or a small group where the leader, under guidelines, works to create a safe atmosphere.

Why would you do this confess thing?

For some of us, this missing the mark has become a habit, and not something you think you need to worry about, as you do it so often. Depending on what it is, it can merely be annoying or lead to the destruction of relationships. For others, it can be a step toward imprisonment or death.

The soundness within confessing might be understood aS God giving you a preview of the future and the trouble it holds; that, and a chance to do something about it. Being forgiven does not mean that you continually live your life in a whirlwind and all the destruction that it brings. Confessing puts that “small” thing out in the open and eliminates it from being our secret because our secrets quickly become our prisons. You should know that what you thought was a secret sin is the thing that will get you pulled from power somewhere down the road. If these people you are sharing your small failures with don’t pray with and for you, get away from them. You see, the effective prayer of a righteous person can accomplish much.

It was the words of James that freed me, as one day it occurred to me that this confessing is little more than my admitting my small and big failures, even if it includes the way I recently mishandled my dog.

There are times after I have poured out my heart before the men, that several of them merely sit there staring at me. In my head, I imagine that they do not have a clue as to what I just said since they have never sinned. Now, I know that is not true, and here is why.

James 5:17-18 NASB “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. (18) Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.”

Look up the phrase, “with a nature,” and you get this Greek word homoiopathēs, which means similarly affected or subject to like passions.

What that tells me is that he was capable of sinning, and did so, just as we do. Note how the verse tells us that Elijah prayed earnestly that it would not rain – and the rain stopped for three years and six months. Some preachers will stand before you, and act like this time that Elijah spent in prayer was a consecrated and holy moment; and, that Elijah did this repeatedly in some systematic manner. I don’t know about that, for that inference of a methodical prayer life becomes especially difficult when you are running for your life from the king and his deadly wife, Jezebel.

When you look up the word earnestly, Webster’s dictionary will lead you to the word importunately, which means with urgent request and pressing solicitation. Elijah was trying to affect a turn of this murderous king and his wife, toward God. Even if it stops raining, who knows how long it will take before Ahab and Jezebel respond to God if they ever do. We know they did not. Obviously, the rain did stop, and Elijah sat by what seemed like the only trickle of water in all the land; and, the ravens brought him food because God took care of him.

he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.”

Elijah killed the 400 priests of Baal, and then, almost as if Ahab had been standing there, says, I hear the sound of the roar of heavy rain. Stop here for a moment.

What King travels without his bodyguards?

I suspect they all do, and having witnessed Elijah hack up Jezebel’s priests, why wouldn’t they, in turn, hack up Elijah? Something we may never know here on earth. So it does not seem logical that Ahab stood quietly by as God sent something that acts like a small nuclear blast, to consume the sacrifice, the rocks, and the water in the trench.

1 Kings 18:42 NASB “So Ahab went up to eat and drink. But Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he crouched down on the earth and put his face between his knees.”

“So Ahab went up to eat and drink,” as though it was just another day.

Elijah goes to the top of Mt. Carmel, crouches down with his face between his knees, and WHAT?

We are only left to assume he prayed for rain. How and what that prayer looked like is perhaps intentionally left out, and I can see a good reason for that, just as Jesus used a different technique each time He healed someone. The result of this man’s prayer’s, IT RAINED.

So where have we been in the last few minutes?

We opened with, “Is there anyone among you suffering or sick, they should go to the elders, where they will anoint you with oil and pray, and the Lord will raise you up.”

But we found something interesting.

Those two simple words, suffering or sick, talk about the person who is struggling, afflicted, undergoing hardships, and doesn’t have the strength to stand on their own. Only because they, like Elijah, have learned through the school of hard knocks how to pray, these elders will take your life before the Father, “and He will raise you up.”

And yet there is one more thing that seems unusual: “if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.” Well, of course, he has, we all do, but we confess our sins (one to another,) not because we like embarrassment, but because there is healing and freedom in doing that. Again I tell you, be careful about who you share your sins with because NOT everyone is safe.

James has one more piece of advice.

“My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20 NASB)

If” is a big word, and yet it is a word with hope. I think any of us would rejoice to see even one fellow believer turn back to spiritual maturity. Having been a leader in several recovery groups, there were a couple of men who struggled at the time but still hold tightly to the Lord. Just thinking about them bolsters my heart.

Note how James, reiterates that that one brother who aided in turning back the one who was sinning, saved his soul from death. Here is where it gets complicated for me.

If Jesus could say of the disciples, of all you gave Me I have lost none, and yet we know about Judas Iscariot, then either Jesus lied, or Judas is not lost, or He never had Judas to begin with?

That evokes another question because WE have been given to Him, just as the disciples were, so how can James say we who have turned someone back, will save their soul from death?

That word save is the Greek word sōzō and can also mean to protect.

But for me, there is still that question above.

Soul here is the Greek psuchē. The first thing the Strong’s give us is breath.

We are not talking about something unreal here. We are talking about saving another human being’s life. Since they belong to Jesus, then, NO, they are not going to hell, but their potential and usefulness here on earth can be cut short. Perhaps in saving their life, our selflessness allows them to save someone else from death as well, and thereby, our voices and actions exponentially cover a multitude of sins.

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Do not complain, brethren, against one another. James 5:9-12.

When we ended our last study on James, we covered James 1-8. Let’s look at verses 7 and 8 quickly before we move on. 

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord, is near. (James 5:7-8 NASB)

You may be surprised to know that many farmers have Bachelor’s degrees in Science and Horticulture. This means that depending on the crop, they have done their homework and know when the rains should come. Patience, then, for a farmer is a relative term; sure, they understand, almost to the day, given the correct nutrient and water combinations when the crop should be ready to harvest. 

The point James is trying to make is that with the right ingredients, the Lord, too, will come. 

What are those ingredients for the believer? 

Fulfilled prophecies. One of the most prominent prophecies has to do with Israel becoming a nation in a day; this happened in 1948. As a young lady on social media recently said, as she spoke of her end times dream, that generation alive when this event took place will see the coming of the Lord. The young lady also stated that it would be 70 years. My head said, yes, that is true. She seemed to think she found this information in the Psalms. I have been looking and all I can find this evening is this. 

“Scholars dating the Exodus to about 1250 B.C. usually propose that 1Kings 6:1 refers to twelve generations that have passed. (12 generations × 40 years [the symbol of a generation] = 480 years,) however, the actual years elapsed from one generation to the next would be less than 40 years; for example, the actual calendar years between generations—that is from birth to marriage and children—is much less than 40 years, perhaps closer to 25 years or less.” [From the Holman Bible Atlas] 

I tend to have rather black and white thinking, and so when I hear the word generation, as in the example above, I compare it to my father, who, in his own right, is a generation. When he brought me forth –he initiated another generation. He was eighteen when he married my mother, and a year later, I was born. 

Does that make my father’s generation 18 years? 

Of course not, for it is the span of his life, and I believe he is 87. If he died today, and he will not, that would make his generation 80+ years. 

Our scholarly example above is referring to the exodus from Egypt. Because these people were so rebellious, God made them wander in that miserable desert for forty years until that generation, that had emerged from Egypt, was dead. There were a few exclusion, such as Moses – although he did not get to go into the promised land because he smote the rock instead of speaking to it. By the way, do you understand the problem with that? He misrepresented God to the people like an angry God.

Joshua and Caleb both got to enter the promised land – but why? Because they had faith. Those two men said, we can do this, while all the others whined about the size of the Caananites, and how they saw us grasshoppers they could step on. That may have been the case, but since they were supposed to be spying, and not making contact I am not sure how they would have come up with that theory.the 

Based on this information, can I say that a generation is forty years? 

It seemed to work for this group, but then, it is evident that their deaths appeared to be mandated; and, they were in a miserable environment that surely took a heavy toll on them. 

So what do we know for sure? 

That a generation is the average age of life (for that period of time.) Does it make sense that in 1948, when Israel became a nation, that the average life span would have been affected by war, and the fact that they were still an agrarian society? Sure it would, but even in 1948, the world was becoming modernized. Science was influencing our lives, and the average age should have been increasing. 

But the key for us is, what does God have to say about it?

Amid a God-hating, pre-flood world; where a generation for humans and Nephilim was an average of 900 years, God stepped in and said that’s it, and He reduced the age limit to 120 years  (Genesis 6:3.) Wikipedia tells us that during the days of Jesus, the average life span was 35. Considering the hard, physical labor that most did, this is not surprising.

“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:33-34 KJV)

So when Jesus said this, those that heard could make an immediate assumption that the period of time would cover 35 years. But He was not talking about an event that would happen soon; this was an event that would not come for over 2000 years. 

The average life expectancy in 1948 was 64.6 years for men, and just one year later, it was 65.2 years. 

But what does the Bible say? 

“As for the days of our years, in them are seventy yearsand if men should be in strength, eighty years: and the greater part of them would be labor and trouble; for weakness overtakes us, and we shall be chastened.” (Psalms 90:10 Brenton)

There it is, seventy years (70). So the generation, born that year, would be the boundary in terms of length of time.

Are you aware that Israel, the nation, is 72 years old? 

And yet, here we are, sitting on 72 years. 

Do you realize that we are on borrowed time? 

In that borrowed time, end times events have accelerated.

Have you seen any of the social media content that speaks to what “they” have done to force us into a state of compliance in as little as FOUR MONTHS?

For example: 

  • In March, we were put on lock-down. You can call it quarantine, but the name alone implies that you have or had an easily spreadable disease, and when this started there was NO workable way of testing you to see if you had the COVID. 
  • According to Allen West, in a commentary he wrote for “CNS news,” entitled Tyranny, Not COVID-19, Is America’s Most Dangerous Virus, We have seen parents being arrested for playing with their children in parks. We have seen people getting citations for driving alone in their cars — just taking a drive. The real meaning of “lock-down” has become house arrest — illegally implemented martial law.
  • People were allowed to congregate in our streets for the purpose of destruction, with no repercussions, and yet, you can be arrested to going to church or to the beach. If you have ever seen me at the beach, you would know that I don’t want you within six feet of our perimeter, especially if you are some runny nose brat, that does nothing but kick sand.

Working on borrowed time, we have seen an acceleration of events that will most certainly lead to a One World Government, like the mandatory chipping of all people. This is a control issue so that a citizen cannot shop or work without this mark. And the worst part of it all, driven by fear, we have given up our freedoms. 

If you know the Lord is near, and it is evident that He is, then, 

“Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.” (James 5:9 NASB)

Many years ago, I heard the Holy Spirit say this to me; I have called you to be a watchman upon the wall. The watchman is supposed to alert those within the walled city, that trouble is coming. The people, on the other hand, should respond appropriately. All I have spoken of is that blaring call, not just of danger, but of the Lord’s soon return. 

Immediately, this takes an interesting turn because the Greek word translated as complain has several other meanings: to moan, groan within myself, a deep sigh, murmur, and grief. Many of these terms are the kind of posture that can be associated with complaining; but, they are also terms related to praying in the spirit. 

In the same way, the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27 NASB)

Everything around me seems to cause me to groan within (I just learned that here in So. California, we just canceled the Rose Parade, and this is over and above a new, indefinite Church closure.) If I am being told by James, NOT to sigh deeply, then perhaps God should not have given me breath, as breathing facilitates my ability to groan. 

But James 5:9 gives us a clue, as it tells us that this is, brethren, against each other. 

In my own life, I have “brethren,” who recently shunned my wife and me because we refused to wear our masks in church, and we sang. Before the Governor’s closure mandate, we, as a church, opted to have our church service in the parking lot. Apparently, you can obtain enough social distance in a parking lot. My wife did what she is accustomed to doing, as she excitedly went around greeting people who have been her friends for over 20 years. That same lady that shunned us on Sunday had denounced my wife for not wearing her mask in the parking lot,  only weeks before. 

In our house, I have a stepdaughter and her family living with us. This same stepdaughter, who hates President Trump, sporadically tries to shame us over our clear statements about how we wear our masks; she is especially vocal toward my wife for not wearing a mask anytime she goes outside. 

Wait a minute, this verse opens with “Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged.

We have seen this before, only there it tells us,

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1 NASB)

What is different? 

Not that much as Complain is the Greek word stenázō and leans itself toward feeling contracted (as when one is squeezed or pressed by circumstances); to groan or sigh. It is used of persons in distress, who have affliction or grumble from impatience. The word judged, as used in Matthew 7:1, is the same Greek word that James uses, krinō, which means to separate, distinguish, discriminate between good and evil, select, choose out the good. In the NT, it means to judge, to form or give an opinion after separating and considering the particulars of a case.(WSD)

With such an emphasis on not complaining against brethren, you have got to ask why

The answer is two-part: 

  1. Because we will be judged, now, here on earth, based upon how we judge. The reason I say that is because I have experienced this judgment personally. 
  2. The Judge, Jesus, is standing right at the door. Doesn’t this imply the Bema seat, and yet, having looked intently at the Bema seat, I found it to apply to rewards, not punishment/judgment.

You can whine all day long about how some of us, have been saying this “ Jesus, is standing right at the door” thing for over two thousand years. Well, contrary to your wishes, it’s finally here. The ironic part of this is that most will not affirm that statement. 

Having done all that we can do, such as NOT whining about our brethren who choose to wear face masks 18 hours a day, we can, like the farmer, finally expect to see the harvest. 

Everything necessary has taken place; there is no prophecy left to fulfill, except possibly one, and that would be Luke 21:24b

“and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” NASB

As I recently noted, the annexation that Israel intends to do may be the very thing that, for the moment, fulfills this prophetic word, as Israel will technically be in control of the temple mount once again.

I suppose with the COVID 19 lock-downs, you may be at the end of your patience. James continues this theme in verse 10. 

James 5:10 NASB As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Alright then, let’s look at these prophets for a moment. 

“The LORD, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple. But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the LORD’s anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done.” (2 Chronicles 36:15-16 NLT)

Isaiah, the prophet, in Isaiah 39:6-7, was ignored, and earlier in his prophetic career, the Lord asked him to go naked for three years to make a point with Israel (Isaiah 20.) 

Micaiah, the prophet, finally delivered the word that the Lord wanted these two kings to hear, and for his trouble, King Ahab of Israel had Micaiah put in prison until his death. 1 Kings 22.

There were, of course, success stories like Elijah and Samuel, but for the most part, the prophets, much like me, were not accepted. 

Maybe the writer of Hebrews summed it up best. 

All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. (Hebrews 11:13 NASB)

They still looked for and longed for the day of the Lord’s return.

“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.” (Hebrews 11:24-26 NASB)

But above all, my brethren. 

James 5:11-12 NASB “We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. (12) But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.”

Our job, if I can call it that, is to wait for the Lord.

He is coming, and this time, it is soon.

So, in the meantime, let your yes be yes, and your no be no.

Be straight with people.

Walk-in love whenever possible.

And practice this, “if the Lord is willing, then this or that will happen.” 

The Lord is full of compassion, and He is mercy. Give people a chance, so that you may not fall under judgment, because it is so uncomfortable when it comes.

Posted in End times, forgive, Freedom from sin, grace, James, judgment, judgment, Mercy, mercy, parables, Prophetic, stumble, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Warning to the Rich. James 5:1-8

We ended James chapter four with this:

You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.” As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil. In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil. (James 4:14-17 MSG)

In James 4:14-17, we found the person who had developed the habit of pushing God aside, thinking that they were in control, and doing everything at their whim. Since the acknowledged, right thing to do is to consult with God, then that lack of consultation represents what most translations call sin. Sin, as you will recall, is merely missing the mark, something we all do, all the time, and in a variety of ways.

With that grand opening, we enter into James chapter five, which most translations entitle:

A Warning to the Rich.

I came to terms with destructive patterns, like envy, and jealousy, a long time ago. I had to because I was raised to be envious, and that childhood rearing taught me to hate those who had what I did not. One of the blessed things about this life in Christ is that, much like you find in Recovery, you have to own your lousy feelings and decisions. As a thinking adult, I have had to choose to relish and accept my circumstances as part of my decision-making process.

James 5:1-3 NASB  Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. (2) Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. (3) Your gold and your silver have rusted, and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!

That title is a warning and not simply a dangerous thing coming from someone like me; this has to be from God; and, as such, is quietly taking on a much broader view here lately. Keep in mind that, as far as we know, there was no drive to create a New World Order during James’ day. Besides that, James, we assume, was merely writing these words to the Jewish/Christian community, that held tightly to their Jewish customs, and a few laws. But we seem to forget that God destroyed the Tower of Babel, changed their language, and scattered the people. Why? Because, in their own way, they were trying to make a New World Order, and it did not include Jehovah. Things then, are not so different today, are they?

Because of the COVID 19/Chinese flu as my President likes to call it, who have we seen at the forefront of this global pandemic?

Global elitists, gathering under the guise of the Global Economic Fund; the Bilderberg Group; The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and surprisingly, The World Health Organization.

Who can we find at the World Economic Forum meetings?

Around 3,000 participants are drawn from all over the world and from every sphere of influence: business, government, civil society, academia, arts and culture, and media. From January 22 – 25, they will be convening in the snowbound Swiss town of Davos to discuss how to build a better version of globalization.

Or, as I like to call it, a One World Government.

The 2020 itinerary included our own President Donald Trump, which makes me wonder whose side of this insane fence, he is on.

Pastor Danny Jones, of Northlake Baptist Church, in Georgia, put together, in the early days of this COVID quarantine, a timeline that spells out exactly how this global pandemic came to be.

Here is just a little of that timeline.

January 17, 2017 – The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where 3000 of the worlds wealthiest gather every year to figure out how to rule the world. Bill Gates initiated a new working group called CEPI – The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation. CEPI is a collaboration of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Norway, India, Germany, Japan, and two big pharmaceutical companies called Inovio and Moderna. CEPI began working on the next epidemic there in Davos in 2017. Also there at Davos, Bill Gates began working on a Netflix video called “Pandemic.” It was released in November of 2019. The plot of the movie was a Coronavirus that originated in a wet market in China, leaving millions of people dead.

Almost two years later.

October 18, 2019 – There was a pandemic exercise called event 201, at John’s Hopkins University. The exercise was conducted by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The World Economic Forum, and Michael Bloomberg’s School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University; and yes, that is the same Michael Bloomberg that tried to run against the President. The pandemic simulation predicted that the virus would have the same kill rate as the Spanish flu of 1918, which cause around 55 million deaths worldwide, in an eighteen-month period. It is also good to note that Dr. George F. Gao, the director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control was involved in the simulation.

October 18-27, 2019 – On the same day, at the same time (as the pandemic exercise event 201, at John’s Hopkins University,) the World Military games were being held in, of all places, Wuhan China. 10,000 athletes from 110 countries and the United States delegation was about 300 people.

2 months later.

January 7, 2020 – China reports the CORONA outbreak in Wuhan.

We have now learned, that China NEVER announced the Corona outbreak, this information was all generated by the deep state and leaked for their convenience.

January 21-24, 2020 – The World Economic gathering in Davos, Switzerland. Bill Gates and the CEPI announced a Coronavirus vaccine program, with partnerships including Inovio and Moderna; the United States Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is led by none other than Dr. Thomas Fauci. (Remember, this is Davos, where plans are made.) Dr. Fauci is now the Chief Medical Adviser to President Trump.

Dr. Fauci wrote in March of 2020, in the New England Journal of Medicine, that this Coronavirus was going to be nothing but the seasonal flu. But when he went before America, on camera, he told us that this virus was going to be 10x worse and may kill two million Americans if we do nothing; It may still kill 200 thousand Americans even if we shut down the country and shelter in place. He said, there is NO known vaccine and it’s going to take 12 -18 months to get a vaccine ready for trials. Of course, the question is, where did Dr. Fauci get his numbers; where did he get the model that projected that quantity of deaths? It turns out, that information came out of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Nexus and Evaluation, which happens to be funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

We Americans were not even aware of how bad this could be. I remember thinking, good, maybe this will kill all you Chinese, so just keep your lousy virus in China. Little did we know that China, fully aware that their people were contaminated, was putting 8000 infected travelers a day on planes and spreading their love across the globe.

With NO declared pandemic, the US was making preparations for what they knew was coming.

January 24, 2020 – The US House of Representatives began drafting a Corona Virus stimulus bill called the CARES act. So the money we got in April started back in January. So somebody in Washington knew that we were going to need relief.

On the same day.

January 24, 2020 – The US Senate was getting an ultra-secret briefing on this event that was about to get unleashed upon the United States. Senator Kelly Loeffler, all of a sudden, made major changes made to her own investment strategy.

January 30, 2020 – The United Nations World Health Organization officially launches a worldwide public health emergency for what the called a Novel Coronavirus, even though, at that time, there were only 150 declared cases in the world. But they knew it was going to be an emergency. By the way, Novel means newly discovered, never seen before. That means COVID 19 didn’t just come crawling out of the woods. That should make you wonder, where did it come from?

January 31, 2020 – President Trump orders a travel ban on anyone traveling from China.

So while we are all distracted by this bogus impeachment trial.

February 4, 2020 – The Centers for Disease Control decided NOT to use the World Health Organizations COVID 19 test kit, as they did not think they were good enough; and they (The CDC) had to come up with their own. So the CDC made their own tests and they were defective; and they had to pull them off the market. CDC got out some new tests by the end of February. But they (the CDC) were backlogged, taking from one to two weeks for people to find out if they had it (COVID 19) or not.

At this point in the video Pastor, Jones talks about his own resume and how he was a pre-med student at the University of North Georgia (North Georgia College.) He continues: “And so I went to the CDC website and looked at those test instructions to see what was involved in a Coronavirus test.” “A positive COVID 19 test, DOES NOT rule out bacterial infections, or, co-infections with other viruses. COVID 19 may NOT be the definite cause of the disease, however, continue to report autopsy cases to the CDC as such.”

February 5, 2020 – President Donald Trump was acquitted on the articles of Impeachment. So we had been watching the news about the impeachment and we knew nothing about this COVID 19 thing that was going on out there in the world.

March 11, 2020 – The World Health Organization officially declared COVID 19 as a global pandemic.

March 14, 2020 – The Associated Press announced that volunteers in Seattle were given the COVID 19 vaccine, that was made by MODERNA, and it was approved by Dr. Fauci of the National Institute of Health. Pastor Jones again interjects: “that is less than two months, and yet Dr. Fauci had earlier said, it would take up to 12 to 18 months to get a vaccine ready for trials, so something is going on there.

March 16, 2020 – President Donald Trump declares a state of emergency for the United States, for COVID 19, and that is when we began the social distancing, standing six feet apart, sitting six feet apart, and no meetings with over ten people.

So, once again, I show you James 5:1.

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you.”

In light of what these Globalists have done, and want to do, this makes a tremendous amount of sense.

James 5:2 ERV  Your riches will rot and be worth nothing. Your clothes will be eaten by moths.

Riches can also be read as wealth or possessions.

To say that they will all be worth nothing could be indicative of a devastating financial crash, but think about this, they are not trying to crash, and yet they will.

Look at what Peter has to say.

“to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,” (1 Peter 1:4 NASB)

If Peter can speak of an inheritance that cannot fade away, then obviously, the riches of this world, will, at some point, fade away. The Prophet Isaiah also tells us a similar story.

“Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, A people in whose heart is My law; Do not fear the reproach of man, Nor be dismayed at their revilings. “For the moth will eat them like a garment, And the grub will eat them like wool. But My righteousness will be forever, And My salvation to all generations.”
(Isaiah 51:7-8 NASB)

When it comes to the word rot, the KJV tells us that their riches are corrupted.

The rich tend to have more than enough so that you or I never witness them wearing something that is corrupted. When we think of or use the terminology that we see in Matthew 7:1,2, why do we NOT comprehend that this applies to everyone?

Matthew 7:1-2 AMP DO NOT judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. (2) For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.

Matthew’s gospel tells us that all of the earth’s treasures are subject to moth and destruction.

Matthew 6:19-24 NASB “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. (20) “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; (21) for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (22) “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. (23) “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (24) “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee says, “In light of the coming of Christ, they are warned that all the riches of the world will come to naught. This obviously would not impress a godless rich person on that day any more than it would today; however, the rich man knew that the future was uncertain for him, just as many realize that today. There is always a danger of a panic, a crash, a drought, or a depression. That has been the order of the day since men started to mint money.”

James 5:4 NASB Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabbath.

It may not be laborers who mowed your fields. Just this morning, my wife pointed out how factory workers, in foreign countries, were putting together expensive tennis shoes for Nike, and paying these laborers $0.20 cents an hour, so that a football player like Colin Kaepernick can take a knee in disrespect for the national anthem and the American flag.

Their crimes, sins, and general abuse of the masses cry out against them.

Haven’t you ever wondered, why God comes back with such a vengeance?

James 5:5-6 NASB You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. (6) You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.

“You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.”

There is no doubt in my mind that James is speaking of the time of God’s wrath upon the earth. Look at the description of the crowd gathered for battle in Revelation 19:17,18.

Revelation 19:17-18 NASB (17) Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in mid-heaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, (18) so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves and small and great.”

  • Kings
  • commanders
  • mighty men
  • horses, and them that sit on them
  • the flesh of all men, both free men, slaves, the small, and the great.

Their end comes rather quickly.

Revelation 19:19-21 NASB (19) And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. (20) And the beast was seized, and with him, the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. (21) And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

Although the NASB pushes the next two verses under the title of “Patient in Suffering” these two verses are a continuation of thought.

James 5:7-8 NASB Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it until it gets the early and late rains. (8) You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord, is near.

When James chapter five opens, there is no doubt that these are angry uncomplimentary words being spoken.

“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. (2) Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten.”

And yet, with verses 7,8 James is now trying to comfort who are suffering while they look for the Lord’s return. James tells them twice that He is coming, and that He is near. It is obvious that there is a 2000 plus year gap between these words of encouragement and today; and yet, we are implored to wait, just as a farmer waits for their crop. In the meantime, strengthen your hearts.

What does it mean to strengthen your heart?

It means to turn resolutely in a certain direction; confirm. Establish, and set yourselves.

In listening to Pastor JD Farag speak about 2 Thessalonians 2:3, he effectively said, I went back and forth on my understanding of this passage, and attempted, much to my chagrin, both schools of thought. Thankfully, there was a day, with the help of Dr. Andy Woods’s book, The Falling Away, that allowed me to settle it. Pastor JD, went on to explain what settling meant to him. It meant, that he came to grips with a firm comprehension and understanding that there was to be a gathering of the church before the Antichrist would come on the scene.

Let me show you a fairly standard reading from the NASB.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 NASB (3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

As you can see, there is nothing about this verse that implies a gathering of the church. The other problematic point is that it also says, “and the man of lawlessness is revealed,” This usage of the word “and” could be understood to be an additional requirement. This is where Dr. Woods comes into play, as he did the background work for us, and discovered that original English manuscripts translated the word apostasia into the English word departing. The Catholic church, angered at the large number of people leaving the church, pressured Jerome into transliterating apostasia in apostasy because they wanted to make a statement against the migration to the upstart Protestant church.

So now, let me show you the Geneva bible, a very early translation, which uses the correct translation for apostasia, in this case, to a departing.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Geneva (3) Let no man deceive you by any mean: for that day shall not come, except there come a departing first and that that man of sin be disclosed, even the son of perdition,

I too wanted to have this settled, and yet, even here is that peculiarity that I stumbled at – “and that that man of sin be disclosed.” If I follow the context of the 2 Thessalonians 2, I continue on to verses 5-8, and suddenly there is NO doubt in my mind.

2 Thessalonians 2:5-8 NASB (5) Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? (6) And you know what restrains him now so that in his time he will be revealed. (7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. (8) Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;

We are watching the rich of this world at work, trying to gain total control of the populace while reducing the overall quantity of people on the earth. Aside from God’s anger at Israel for their rejection, He is also angry at these rich people who are abusing His creation.

James is just one more piece of evidence that He is coming soon.

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A call in my Spirit to pray, that, and a word to the servants of the Lord.

Here it is, mid-July 2020, and if I were to try and analyze my emotions over the last few days, I would have to say, I am troubled by what I see coming.

Am I worried?

Not about my relationship with Abba, but I do have concerns about whether the violence we are experiencing will spill over into my home. You see, I have been dealing with rage issues for most of my adult life, and I do not believe that God is calling me to take a sword and cut these people in half. Thankfully I have a deeply inset relationship with Jesus Christ and a wee bit of maturity.

This morning, after hearing about more ugliness, such as New York now subpoenaing people who refuse to comply with the COVID tracers, I felt a tremendous call in my spirit to pray.

This is not just about me praying, but it is an attempt to get this dead entity we call Church to pray. Understand this, we, the church, dead as it is, are the very thing that is holding back this onslaught from going full frontal attack; now that will happen, but NOT on our watch. 

2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 NASB (6) And you know what restrains him now so that in his time he will be revealed. (7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. (8) Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;

Do you understand what this is saying to you? 

There is a man of lawlessness coming; we like to call him the Antichrist. He has many names scattered throughout the Bible. But lawless is an excellent description; and, he is being restrained or held back, but only until the Church is taken out of the way. 

Does that mean that we, the Church, will not have to suffer in any manner? 

Pansies, Jesus told us that tribulations would be a way of life for Christ-followers. He also said that we would be hated because of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Count yourself fortunate that you have been able to live in the United States for the better part of your life, because our brothers and sisters in the Lord, in other parts of the world, get dragged from their churches and shot or get firebombed, among other things. So, no, there is no guarantee of safety and security, especially now that fools are defunding the police.

Consider something, if lawlessness is a demonically driven attribute, is it possible that others could be infested with this demon of lawlessness? 

Look around you; what do you see? 

Lawlessness permeates the very being of those we have entrusted with our money, lives, health, and safety. New York Mayor Bill De Blasio is an excellent example of this lawlessness as shootings have gone up 205% since he defunded the NYPD. The New York City Mayor, while helping to paint the words – black lives matter, on the street, in front of Trump Tower, has canceled all large gatherings in New York City, except for the Marxist BLM group. This is the same organization that wants to dismantle our society.

I might as well throw in my own Governor, Gavin Newsome, into the mix, who, while closing the parks and beaches, is annoying enough, but he crossed the line and the constitution when he closed our churches. Under threat from the President of the United States, he, and other Governors, allowed churches to reopen but then many of these same Governors decided that we can only hum while wearing our masks. This mandate occurred at the same time as bars and Wine tasting rooms were being re-closed. I did not know our self serving Governor owned a wine tasting room. Wouldn’t you know it, the county in which his winery sits did not go back on restriction. Many noticed that he snickered when he pointed out in an interview that his winery was still open. I do not know if it was Christians standing against the tyrant, but a substantial crowd went to his winery and protested. Guess what; he shut the doors on his winery.

The morning that I heard this call to pray, the Holy Spirit said to me, amongst other things, tell them that you are to call confusion down upon them.

I run a lot of things through my wife, as I am trying to keep my gifting of rage out of the mix. She responded with, I never thought of that. I decided (as though I have original thoughts) that I would start looking at passages to find the word confusion and see if there was a precedent for its usage against an enemy. I also wanted to know what the effect would be when this was prayed over those who are choosing to riot, loot, and take six city blocks captive.

So I did a search for the word, and here is what I found. 

Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt. Psalms 35:4 KJV

Confusion is the Hebrew word châphêr, pronounced khaw-fare’ – and means to be: ashameddisappointed, confoundedbrought to confusion.

Confounded is also a great word. It is the Hebrew word bûsh, and much like confusion means to be ashamed, disappointed or delayed.

King David held back very little and said what his heart felt. I suppose that is one of the reasons that God seemed to love this man so much.

So I want you to also note that David wanted this particular enemy also to be put to shame. Strangely, confounded and confused should have covered that, but look the word shame up, and you find this.

Shame is the Hebrew word kâlam and means to wound. It also conveys the idea of taunt or insult, along with meanings comparable to what we see with confusion and confounded.

David was asking God to wound them.

Let them be turned – is the word sûg = to flinch, go back, retreat, or apostatize, go back, turn away, and turn back.

Apostatize is a bit of a church word, but take the religious bent out of it, and it becomes a powerful weapon. APOS’TATIZE, v.i. To abandon one’s profession, to forsake principles which one has professed, or the party to which one has been attached.

We see this enemy that David is facing, devising his hurt. 

Devise is H2803 châshab and means to plait or interpenetrate that is, (literally) to weave or (generally) to fabricate; figuratively to plot or contrive. To plait is to braid or weave, and we see these words conveyed in the phrase devise. 

Hurt is the Hebrew word ra. In its purest form, the word means bad, or evil: – The implications of this action against you can lead to your defamation or death. The overall hope of the enemy is that you are destroyed and left ineffective.

Doesn’t this imply that this enemy is trying to work their way into your life to convert you or kill you, slowly and intricately?

Peter, on the Day of Pentecost, spoke these words over the crowd of 3000. 

Acts 2:16-18 KJV But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; (17) And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: (18) And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy:

Why would they need to prophesy? 

Prophesy – prophēteuō means to foretell events, to speak under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Why would there be a need to do this, especially since we have the scriptures to tell us, with almost exacting precision, what will happen next? 

The answer is because MOST of you have no clue what is in that stack of Bibles you own.

To make myself clear, my wife got invited to go to a friend’s Bible study. The friend rented a room out to a lady that is a proficient bible teacher and a bit of a prophet. The friend, who calls herself a Christian, lives like the devil, has no clue what the bible says, and had the audacity of telling the group how her father came back to her after his death, made her feel all peaceful, and moved some stuff around the room to prove he was there. The Bible teacher told her what I would have; you just told us that demons visited you. She argued for her point of view, even after the Bible teacher left the room.

Let’s push this just a little bit further. Remember when Saul ordered all the mediums out of the kingdom and went searching for one himself later. At this point, Samuel, the only man that seemed to hear from God, was dead. Saul convinced the medium to call up Samuel. This was not the typical demonic adventure for the dear lady, as Samuel did come up, and she freaked out. Samuel, on the other hand, angry that he had been awakened, verbally lashed Saul and told him that his kingdom was now permanently stripped from him. [Read the story for yourself in 1 Samuel 28.]

So, the prophet Joel, many years before Jesus’ death, declares “on my servants and on my handmaidens, I will pour out in those days of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.” Well, guess what, you and I, those that follow after Jesus, are his servants and handmaidens. 

That morning that the Holy Spirit said to me, pray confusion over them, He was telling me to prophesy to His people a directive on how to pray. 


Because it is time to draw up the battle lines. We are not fighting a conventional battle, and we are not doing it with useless, conventional weapons we have had our weapons upgraded thanks to the Holy Spirit, to more powerful spiritual weapons, we call them the Sword of the Spirit. 

(Why would I say that we are not fooling with conventional, useless weapons? Maybe it’s because I watched a man in Salt Lake City, get out of his car with a compound bow and a limited amount of arrows. This poor guy made angry motions toward what could be equated to the walking dead, they swarmed him, took his weapons, turned his car over, and burned it.)

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 MKJV  For though walking about in flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. (4) For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, (5) pulling down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ; (6) and having the readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Tell me you caught all that! 

  • Yep, we walk about in the flesh, and there should not be a single person denying that fact.
  • But we should all understand something about our circumstances; THIS WORLD IS NOT OUR HOME.
  • But we cheat because we do not war according to the flesh.

That means these unsuspecting fools will not know what hit them, and there is little to nothing that they can do about it, because Jesus, our intercessor, pleads with the Father on our behalf.

Think of this as though you are about to knock down a hornet’s nest. If you have ever done that, then you know that the hornets are going to come after you. NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, WE WIN. 

Our weapons are not the kind you are used to; they are not fleshly weapons like knives and guns. They are, however, MIGHTY through God, for the purposes of pulling down strongholds.

Strongholds are the Greek word ochurōma and mean fortifications, castle, a stronghold.

Since the Jewish council was the direct ruling authority over the Jews, they laid down the law to Peter and John; and in Acts 4:18, the disciples were threatened and commanded never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. Some would tell us that we are to obey the law of the land.

Look at what the disciples said. 

Acts 4:19-20 NASB But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; (20) for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Once again, we have a precedent set in which we are to obey God rather than men. In my case, it’s the Governor. 

Do you have the possibility of being put in jail? 

The short answer is yes.

When the disciples were released, they returned to their companions and told them what had happened. Their response – they worshiped God and prayed.

Acts 4:24 NASB And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, it is You who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM,

The disciples pointed out the situation.

Acts 4:25-28 NASB who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, ‘WHY DID THE GENTILES RAGE, AND THE PEOPLES DEVISE FUTILE THINGS? (26) ‘THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TOOK THEIR STAND, AND THE RULERS WERE GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS CHRIST.’ (27) “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, (28) to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.

And then said: 

Acts 4:29-31 NASB “And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, (30) while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” (31) And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

One of our weapons is the Angels. 

AND LIKE A MANTLE YOU WILL ROLL THEM UP; LIKE A GARMENT THEY WILL ALSO BE CHANGED. BUT YOU ARE THE SAME, AND YOUR YEARS WILL NOT COME TO AN END.” But to which of the angels has He ever said, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET”? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:12-14 NASB)

So you have the right to dispatch angels against your enemies. Keep in mind, that God, through the action of an angel, killed the firstborn of Egypt in one night. 

Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand, and he bowed all the way to the ground. The angel of the LORD said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out as an adversary because your way was contrary to me. “But the donkey saw me and turned aside from me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, I would surely have killed you just now, and let her live.” (Numbers 22:31-33 NASB)

In 2 Samuel 24, we see an angel stretch out his hand, and 70,000 people died. 

Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us now fall into the hand of the LORD for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning until the appointed time, and seventy thousand men of the people from Dan to Beersheba died. When the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD relented from the calamity and said to the angel who destroyed the people, “It is enough! Now relax your hand!” And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. (2 Samuel 24:14-16 NASB)

For David’s sake, 185,000 were killed by an angel.

‘Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, “He will not come to this city or shoot an arrow there; and he will not come before it with a shield or throw up a siege ramp against it. “By the way that he came, by the same he will return, and he shall not come to this city,”‘ declares the LORD. ‘For I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.'” Then it happened that night that the angel of the LORD went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead. (2 Kings 19:32-35 NASB)

Are you beginning to understand that we have a variety of weapons at our disposal; use them all. 

Prayer, which is you talking to Abba, is priority one.

Acts 12:5 So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. 

Romans 12:12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer

Ephesians 6:18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 

Philippians 4:6 NASB Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 

1 Peter 3:12 NASB “For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

It is fascinating how Peter could write these words all those years ago with the same enthusiasm as I feel now. The difference is, the end of the church on the earth is here. 

1 Peter 4:7 NASB The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.

Now, more than ever, it is time to stand in the face of the enemy. 

What you pray is not necessarily important; and, I am not trying to tell you how to pray.

If you feel the need to say poetry to God, then you go ahead and do that.

To me, prayer is more of a battle cry, something in which I restore my strength and faith. The idea behind all this is to fuel your fire.

We are not here to bow before an enemy.

In the days of the Philistines, if they took you captive, your male organs were removed, and they lopped off one ear.

This is a battle for our lives and the lives of others.

With that being said, say what you mean and mean what you say. Lives are on the line.

Consider these words: 

Father, the rulers of this world, and the people have gathered together against your people and Christ Jesus. Take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence. 

(More than anything else, at this time, we need strong words based in the Word of God. Contrary to what my mother believed, God is not asking us to just stand there and let the enemy slap our faces, or order us to bow. God never asked any of His people to do that, and I will never ask you to do that. I will tell you that if you choose to fight on their terms, you will die on their terms. Peter tried that trick, and Jesus told him to put his sword away. Those who live by physical weapons will die by physical weapons.)

Father, I ask that you bring confusion upon them and thwart every plan that they endeavor to do. 

Cause their plans to fail. 

Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after our souls: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise our hurt. 

Let our adversaries be clothed with shame, as with a mantle, and wound them.

Father, I ask that the ministering angels not only encamp about your people but go after those that would try to harm us.

Knock their teeth out. 

Bring upon them the plagues of Egypt, and Cause locusts to disrupt their actions by getting in their eyes and mouths. 

Put open sores and boils upon the flesh of those that mean us harm.

Cover them with a veil so that they cannot see and cause them to stumble as though they were in darkness. 

Open the windows of heaven and pour out torrents of rain upon them. Send hail and lightning. 

Cause the earth to open and swallow them. This action is not new to you, and you can do it again.

I pray these things in Jesus’ name because you said I could, knowing that Jesus stands on my behalf before you Abba. You are the great God, and I know that you hear me when I call on you, Lord, because I belong to you, and I am calling on you now to save us. Do what you do best and save your people, the church. 

In Jesus precious name.

Posted in angels, Antichrist, Apostasy, COVID 19, deception, End times, enemies, Jesus, lawlessness, ministering spirits, Prayer, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Coming Antichrist and the Rapture of the church. Chapter 3, the last in this series. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10.

Still looking at 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;  (KJV)

and that man of sin be revealed,”

Sin (as the KJV states) is the Greek hamartia and also means offense. However, the NASB uses the word lawlessness, and it is another Greek word altogether, anomia, and means illegality, that is, violation of law. ( – ah, but whose law?)

Revealed is the Greek word apokalupto and means to take the cover off or disclose.

If I stopped here I don’t think I would be any the wiser, but, I have learned that because of the political emphasis going on in the early 1500s, the Catholic Church pushed to have the wording changed to reflect their disgust with people leaving the “mother” church and going to the newly formed Protestant churches. In many early English manuscripts, 2 Thessalonians 2:3 was less confusing and read similar to this:

“…for that day shall not come, except there come a departing first and that that man of sin be disclosed, even the son of perdition, …” (2 Thessalonians 2:3 Geneva)

There is something absent from the sentence above, in my opinion, and therefore, makes the sentence misleading. Having listened to Pastor JD Farag reread this passage from the Geneva Bible, it is obvious to me that he did what I did, and Americanized the passage. I don’t really see a problem with that, but I still have difficulty with this fuzzy transition that verse three gives. As it reads, although we gained an understanding about how apostasia means a departure, yet, we still have an issue as it appears that the son of perdition must appear before the catching away of the church. This hesitation about the man of lawlessness might then put us into the category of mid-tribulation saints, and that would make those that stand against a pre-tribulation rapture, ecstatic. Sorry to disappoint, but not really, because Pastor JD Farag did the same thing that I did, as he too changed one of those “that’s” to a “then”, and that made the sentence flow.

Can we or should we do that? Legitimately, no, but, if you read ahead to verses seven and eight, where the story is basically retold from another angle, we see verse seven end with “until he is taken out of the way,” while verse eight begins with, “then that lawless one will be revealed.” “He” is the church filled with the Holy Spirit, and has been, in every way, shape, and form, standing against the lawless one, and those who represent him. Because it is the same story, then by the usage of “then” we have a precedent established and can legitimately use the word “then” to convey a timing, that is otherwise not given.

In continuing to define the man of sin, we move on to verse 4. 

(2 Thessalonians 2:4 NASB) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

Daniel tells us this: In emphasizing an attempt at changing God’s Law and the sacred seasons, it confirms that the majority of the thrust is toward the Jewish people in the nation of Israel.

Daniel 7:25 CEV “This king will speak evil of God Most High, and he will be cruel to God’s chosen ones. He will try to change God’s Law and the sacred seasons. And he will be able to do this for a time, two times, and half a time.

The scriptures use words like deceitful, crafty, policy, trickery, and cunning. Doesn’t this sound like almost every politician? But this guy takes these two steps to the extreme.

Daniel 8:25 CEV His deceitful lies will make him so successful, that he will think he is really great. Suddenly he will kill many people, and he will even attack God, the Supreme Ruler. But God will crush him!

This person, whether he is a king or not, is not essential; what is critical is that he gains immediate control. Now, considering where the real focus is – Israel, then it would be logical to assume that this man is associated with the Middle East, and he is quite probably a Muslim, controlling Islamic armies. Islam is anticipating a powerful Muslim man, the reincarnation of the 12 Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi, to do this very thing.

Daniel 11:36 NASB “Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.

Consider for a moment this portion of the passage above, as he, “exalts and magnifies himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods.” Did you catch that? He exalts himself above all other gods. I know what that says to me, he is attempting to set himself above Yahweh. There are thousands of gods that people worship. Why wouldn’t a large variety of people suddenly rise up against this guy? Perhaps they will, but since he may total control, our cries against his actions will probably be quickly squelched. 

If there were ever a revealing collection of verses, it would be these we see in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-10, for they tell us plainly, that something MUST be removed, and then the lawless one will be revealed. That something is the Holy Spirit-filled church, which has been praying and voicing their displeasure at this drive for a one-world government. 

2 Thessalonians 2:7-10 NASB (7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. (8) Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; (9) that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, (10) and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

Since the passage defines who this lawless one is, we can now recognize the timing and method of his departure. Although Daniel makes it look like the beast is vaporized, the spirit remains alive and is dealt with.

Daniel 7:11 NET. “Then I kept on watching because of the arrogant words of the horn that was speaking. I was watching until the beast was killed and its body destroyed and thrown into the flaming fire.

Revelation 19 also tells us the story of the lawless one, or beast, being destroyed and put away.

Revelation 19:19-20 NET. (19) Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to do battle with the one who rode the horse and with his army. (20) Now the beast was seized, and along with him the false prophet who had performed the signs on his behalf — signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. Both of them were thrown alive into the lake of fire burning with sulfur.

What is it that I have now settled in my mind?

  • That we are neck-deep in apostasy; although, I have learned that the word apostasy was inserted thanks to the Roman Catholic church and is a rabbit trail because the best and previous terminology was “the gathering.”
  • The gathering is imperative and something that we, the church, have been looking for since the church came into being.
  • Since the word apostasia, transliterated into apostasy, can also indicate a defection, I have to ask the question, has the church, in the majority, turned their backs on God? The answer is yes.
  • Another thing that I have established or settled is that there are no prophecies left to fulfill prior to the return of Jesus Christ to gather His church; and is, therefore, imminent.
  • And, according to 2 Thessalonians 2:7-10, the Antichrist will NOT come into view until after the removal of the church.

One other thing before I move on.

I have had many discussions about the war of Ezekiel 38,39. In this war, God jumps in and sends a firestorm upon Gog and his armies, while they are on the hillsides within Israel. Why is that significant? Because, the Antichrist calls out for peace, and, comes to a seven-year agreement with many. That word many does NOT have to include Israel and very well may not.

If what we know from the Word of God is true, then, there are only seven more years after the church is taken away. Where then do we fit all these events that happen during “the day of the Lord?” If the Antichrist is a Muslim, speaking to the Muslim nations, then there are a multitude of reasons to call for peace, one of which is that the Islamic nations in the Middle East would have taken a tremendous beating from this firestorm and need to regroup and resupply, possibly even get themselves a new leader, since Gog is now gone.

How about this? God, sends two witnesses, who stand in the streets of Jerusalem and prophesy for forty-two months. The word “prophesy” is a wide spectrum term. See Revelation 11:3-14. When does this take place? During what appears to be the first 42 months of God’s wrath.

Sadly, not everyone who calls themselves a Christian will go up in the catching away of the church.

How do I know that?

Because Matthew 25:1-13, tells us of ten virgins who were all invited to the same wedding. They all got an invitation, but not all made it inWhy? The story is told in terms that were relevant to the Jewish audience that used oil lamps, and therefore may not strike us as significantly; because of that, we simply change the oil to flashlight batteries that fit in a digital flashlight. A digital flashlight does not warn you that it is going to quit by dimming, as an older style might. If you pick it up, push the button and it works, you have NO idea if it will work the next time you push the button, not to mention continuing through the night.

Might I equate the oil to fresh batteries and the impact they could have on my life and my ability to see clearly?

That’s great, you have fresh batteries on the shelf. In this scenario, did you check? I always have a few backups, because I have a couple of flashlights that I go to consistently to deal with bangs in the house (we have cats inside during the night,) and peculiar noises outside. It is very annoying to grab a flashlight and not have it work. And, in the case of this wedding that we were invited to, they may not have checked to see if the flashlight was even working, as it was light when they left the house. Let’s just say I get to the meeting point, as these all did, and night falls; when the call comes to go, and my light did not work. Those in the story had already been demanding that the others share what little bit of extra oil they had, with them. Well, that’s no way to ask, and the obvious thing, for a time and place such as Nazareth, would be that the town shut down completely in the dark hours. There was no place to go and find more. But since they were all invited to the same wedding, surely they all knew each other.

Why then wouldn’t you simply follow along with those who had light?

I have run that through my mind many times. I would have done that. And, even if you did not want me near you, I would have followed. I may have stayed out of swinging distance, but I would have come. Considering the nature of this crowd, I can’t imagine such hostility, nor someone trying to keep you away from the wedding, but as I was writing these words, haven’t we, as the church, done that? I don’t try to focus on church history but wasn’t there something called the inquisition. Yeah, I thought so.

Some have told us that oil is representative of the Holy Spirit-filled life. Since having the Holy Spirit is thought by many to be an aspect of our salvation, you would think that we should be permanently filled. If that were the case we would not be having so many ugly moments where we act like angry cave dwellers. So my answer to this is to pursue a constant, daily infusion of and from the Holy Spirit. NO, I don’t ask, much like some who struggle with negativity, for God to save me, once again. But I consciously put my life into the hands of the Holy Spirit daily. I want Him to possess me, and fill me. Keep pouring your life in me until you and I are one. You did that for Enoch, do it with me.

Posted in 2 Thessalonians, antichrist, apostasia, Apostasy, apostasy, Apostle Paul, bible study, Catholic Church, departure, Douay-Rheims Bible, Geneva Bible, lawlessness, Protestantism, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Coming Antichrist and the rapture of the church, chapter two. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10

“The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

If you understand that one of the NEXT events on the horizon is going to be God’s wrath being poured out upon the earth then we can move on.

(Why did I say “one of the next events”? Because Daniel 9:26 tells that this time frame will come with a flood – not a literal flood, although that could happen, but a flood of armies coming at Israel from every direction; and Israel will be at war, and they will be desolated. Ezekiel chapters 38,39 tells us that God interrupts this war with fire from heaven. Strangely, Ezekiel speaks of people merely marking the bodies that lie on the hills of Israel, so that specialists can take care of them; from that, we might assume that this fire is nuclear. This theory makes sense, considering the players involved.)

These events happen so rapidly and include the entrance of the Antichrist who declares that there will be a seven-year peace treaty. (Here again, we can see from Daniel 9:27 that someone rises up as a “global” leader. I suspect that he will be a global leader over the Islamic nations. Keep in mind the territory that this scenario is focused on.) With that understanding we can move forward and discuss what we the church will experience just moments before this wrath – our being gathered to Him. (“Him,” is Jesus Christ, and you can see that distinctly in 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17)

While these two verses (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2) are the entrance into a solid and critical understanding of the rapture of the church, the first three verses used to bring me much confusion. The confusion came because verse three, which we will get to shortly, is typically written in such a manner that it comes across as though the Antichrist will come first. Let me show you.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 NASB (3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

See how it says, “it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed.” The word “and” is merely a conjunction and not a mandatory timing. The major problem with this verse is the word apostasy, and we will get into that.

“… and our being gathered together to him,”

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, (2 Thessalonians 2:1 ESV)

Gathered or gathering it is the Greek word episunagōgē and means a complete collection, to gather together, or an assembling.

At some point, soon, we are going to be gathered and collected, back to Jesus.

Our gathering together to Him is the catching away of the church, or, if you wish, the rapture.

… unless the apostasy comes first, …”

2 Thessalonians 2:3 NASB Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

If I read this passage, as is, it gives the impression that two things have to happen before the rapture, but that is NOT what it says. Yes, the apostasy must come first, but the second half of this sentence says nothing about the church’s rapture, nor does it define what the apostasy means. It does, however, speak of a moment when the man of lawlessness will be revealed, and if we migrated forward to 2 Thessalonians 2:7,8 we can see this clear definition.

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 NASB)

Comes is the Greek word erchomai and means to be established, become known, arise, come into being, show itself, find a place, influence.

In light of verse one, where it speaks of our being gathered together with Him, we know that the “it” is the catching away of the church, however, it could also be pointing to the seven-years of God’s wrath.

“unless the apostasy comes first,” 

This section has been the game-changer for me.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 in the NASB, tells us that the church will not be caught away until there is, as the NASB states, an apostasy, but, as I have learned, the text and interpretation of the word apostasia, was changed to fit a Roman Catholic motive.

G646 apostasia; from G868. G868 is the word aphístēmi, and is derived from From G575 and G2476 and has the meaning to remove, or to put away.

Who or what then, is to be removed? The church.

Now let’s get back to apostasia for a moment.
The Word Study dictionary tells us that apostasia means to depart, or departure.

The simple word and, is our problem child here. While I have a clear understanding, based upon apostasia meaning to gather or remove, the word “and,” can in some cases, infer that an event or action must occur at the same time.
And is the Greek word kahee and apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force. It can mean: and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.

Since we are looking at 2 Thessalonians 2:3 then let’s see how this changes the way we look at this verse with some original wording.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 NASB (3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the (departure, gathering, or removal – of the church) comes first, and (then) the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, (The bold type is mine.)

One of the early texts was the Geneva Bible. (Imprinted in London, by Christopher Barker, Printer to the Qveenes Maiestie. 1587.) A Swedish translation covers the word apostasia most appropriately.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a departing first, and then that man of sin be disclosed, even the son of perdition, (2 Thessalonians 2:3 Geneva) 

To read this passage, with this understanding, for me, eliminates any confusion I might have had, as we should have been looking for our removal by means of the harpazo, or catching away.

The clarity goes away quickly if I focus on what the Douay-Rheims Bible says. This is the early Catholic translation in which we find the effects of their displeasure with people leaving the church.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for unless there come a revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3 DRB)

The Rheims New Testament first published by the English College at Rheims, A.D. 1582. The Whole Revised and Diligently Compared with the Latin Vulgate by Bishop Richard Challoner, A.D. 1749-1752. This translation reflected the angst of the Catholic church during the Protestant revolution, where radicals were pulling away from the Catholic Church, the state church – also considered to be the mother church. Hence, we have terminology such as revolt. This translation seems to have been a catalyst for an entire shift in understanding and interpretation, so the degree that we now looking, not for a departing to be with the Lord, but a falling away from the Lord and traditions, in our church bodies. Strangely, a falling away from the Lord, is exactly what is happening, but the focus improperly changed, and confusion entered.

So the Roman Catholic Church had the word apostasia which means to gather, transliterated into the word apostasy, and changed its meaning to a falling away from the truth. Truth, of course, meant the state church, the Catholic Church also deemed the mother church.

We, slightly less than efficient Bible students, may not realize that something like the Strong’s concordance could be driven by error. Look at what we get from Strong’s concordance. Apostasy is the Greek word apostasia and means a defection from truth, a falling away from the truth.

Now examine what the Word Study Dictionary tells us about apostasia. It means to depart, but the WSD doesn’t stop there, it gives us more. “In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 the word apostasía does not refer to genuine Christians who depart from the faith, but mere professors who, without divine grace, succumb to the Satanic deception of the Antichrist.”

Think about these words and phrases for a moment. To fall away from truth implies time, deception, and disinterest. 

If what we are looking for is a disinterest in church, we got it.

Having watched Ultimate Fighting Championships and Mixed Martial Arts, they interest me for a time but then it gets boring, and so I “fall” away. Church has always had problems like this, as some mighty move of God, or an evangelist, comes to the church, and everybody gets excited – we had one evangelist at our church when I was a teen, that continued for 13 weeks. My church doubled in size after so many came and stayed for a time. But then, the excitement turned to mundane daily living once again and the church retracted in size. 

A defection, on the other hand, implies an intentional turning away from.

We typically associate defection with “spies,” but it does not have to be that dramatic. Yes, some, for whatever the reason, become disenchanted and turn against the church. To be honest, because of events I experienced that were brought on by pastors and church leaders, I could have been one of those defectors, and I have been at times as I think about it. Only in my case, the events, for the most part, did not turn my heart away from God

It is not as though He is giving us another 500 years to get it right, it is time to turn up the fire in your own life now. History has demonstrated that most of what we call church has turned into deterioration and religious practices under a phony pretense. My own Pastor, while standing on a platform in the parking lot, stood before us and talked of God pushing the reset button, (but, he equated the church to a cat litter box, owned by a crazy cat lady, who has so many cats that she can no longer manage to clean up after the cats, nor does she care to.)

Have we as a church fallen away from what is right? 

There is no doubt in my mind that we have. 

The IVPBBC says this about verse 3-4.

2Th_2:3-4. The first prerequisite is either the “rebellion” (NIV, NRSV, TEV) or the “apostasy” (NASB). If it is a “rebellion” against God, it is the world’s final insult to him (2Th_2:4); if “apostasy,” it refers back to Jesus’ sayings later written in Mat_24:10-13. Both sins are characteristic of Jewish lists of end-time sufferings, but because Paul omits most of the signs found in such lists and focuses only on those cited by Jesus, the term here might mean apostasy. In either case, Paul indicates that the term does not apply to his readers (Mat_2:10-15).

(For those who will not read the passage from Matthew 2, let me give you a taste. Herod has noticed a large dust cloud in the distance, has sent out spies, and now knows that it is the Magi with a large entourage. Nothing in your Bible says that there were only three Magi. It does say that they brought three gifts. I might also note, that these gifts were of such large amounts, that when you next see Joseph and Mary, they are living in a home, and Jesus is now two years old. Herod calls in the chief priests and scribes to find out what is going on. Surprise, they knew but refused to acknowledge or have anything to do with this king of the Jews. So, while the Jewish leaders were rejecting Jesus, the Magi came from afar and fell to the ground before Him.

Now, since the other twisted possibility is a defection, have we done that as well? 

Defection = Want or failure of duty; the act of abandoning a person or cause to which one is bound by allegiance or duty, or to which one has attached himself; and revolt. 

The answer is a resounding YES. To prove my point look at the descriptions that the NASB/Apostle Paul gives us in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 NASB.

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NASB)

This is the world we live in.

It seems the entire Congress of the United States operates on these principles. If that is not enough, we ended the month of May and a part of June of 2020, with looting and rioting across the nation, and for convenience sake, blamed it on the murder of one black man. I don’t mean to sound callous, but Chicago alone has multiple killings of black people daily, but NO ONE seems to care about it, or them.

Posted in 2 Thessalonians, antichrist, Antichrist, Apostasy, Apostle Paul, bible study, Cult teachings, death, deception, End times, false teaching, gullibility, hypocrisy, Jews, judgment, judgment, strongholds, Thoughts on scripture, wrath. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Coming Antichrist and the rapture of the church. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10

Chapter one

I had recently written, once again, a study on 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10, and thought I did a fairly good job of making my point, that the rapture comes first and then Antichrist arrives, along with God’s wrath, but things change.

What changed you might ask?

First, there was the COVID 19 virus, that put the world in a panic. We, as a nation, also got put in quarantine. That quarantine turned into something of a joke as it got extended, first by the President, then by our California Governor multiple times, to the point that we were under quarantine for three months. During that quarantine, we were told that the church was non-essential, and churches were ordered closed. Surprisingly, our government, namely our California Governor, seems to have forgotten that we had a First Amendment to the constitution.

It reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

After a reasonable amount of time, many Pastors began to push back against the California Governor. Our own President Trump even got involved on behalf of the churches by demanding that the dictatorial Governors reopen churches because they are essential. In case you had not heard, here in California, by the end of the three months, we had more people die from suicide than from the COVID 19. My own church, did not take assertive action along with the others, but we did, in time, institute a drive-up/or sit in the parking lot church, and that was fine. All this initiated in early March of 2020.

As I look back, I am thankful that this seclusion led me to find other pastors on the internet. I found bold men, such as Pastor JD Farag, in Hawaii; Pastor Tom Hughes, from San Jacinto California; Pastor Jack Hibbs, of Chino Hills California, and James Kaddis, the Pastor of Signal Hill Church in Long Beach, California. These men preach a powerful, fearless gospel, and most opened their churches early. But the best of it was the messages that they brought and how they pulled no punches.

This time with these pastors, and the messages about the end times, was one of the biggest changes for me.

Here it is mid-June of 2020 and Pastor JD Farag recently stated,

after years of teaching, he still found himself struggling to sort out the timing of the rapture and Antichrist’s entrance into the end times scenario based upon 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3. (This struggle to understand the chronology of what is going to happen, is all to common in the church.)

But then, as he said, I settled it. (That means he got the facts straight in his thinking, applied some faith to the subject, and settled it; never to struggle with it again.)

It is my belief that settling the timing associated with the rapture and the Antichrist has become pivotal to me, since March of 2020; because, since the beginning of March, we, the church, have submitted to:

fear; quarantines; a voluntary loss of our rights; the loss of our ability to assemble at church; the mandatory wearing of face masks, and soon, a mandatory “vaccination,” which we have learned will do nothing outside of marking you with a scannable nanodot. Many of us, are alarmed at how rapidly these changes have altered not only our world but us. If it goes the way the globalists want, we will not be able to work, shop, or go anywhere without this “vaccination.” And, if you are not aware, this is all meant to show you your need for a centralized government under one leader – a one-world government.

Does anyone else see the biblical themes running through the current events we are dealing with here?

What does this all mean?

It means that the emergence of the Antichrist and a one-world government is right around the corner. Thus, I implore you to settle these details about the catching away of the church and the coming of the lawless one in your heart and mind as well. And no, this is not just about you, although you should be capable of expressing and explaining to others this hope that we rest upon.

Why did Paul write this letter to the church in Thessalonica?

Because a fraudulent letter had at minimum, been distributed, to the church in Thessalonica; the effect of which, disturbed their peace, and filled many in the church with fear, as they thought had been left behind.

How did Paul respond to this fraud?

By reestablishing truth with them. He wrote them a second time, in an effort to refresh their thinking, and by reexamining a vital truth without rehashing all the details he previously taught. An example was given of a college professor who gives a lecture, upon which the students will be tested. Several weeks later, days before the exam, he reexamines many of the vital points he made. Does he, once again, give the entire lecture? No, because they should have gone over those notes themselves. He is merely reestablishing in them, what is coming. And thus Paul begins to write, now, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 ESV  Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,  (2)  not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

“Now concerning the coming.” Coming is the Greek word parousía and means to be present. It also implies a coming to a place or an arrival. 

Eugene Peterson in his version of the Bible expresses this about verse one.the day when our Master, Jesus Christ, will come back and we assemble to welcome him.”

Other translations read like this: The CJB states- “in connection with”; the NASB reads – “in regard to,”; and the Amplified Bible declares, “But relative to the coming.” As long as the terminology conveys the association and immediacy of His coming, we should be good.

The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is interpreted in one of several ways:

Primarily, “The day of the Lord” is one of those interpretations and pertains to several events, all of which are associated with the seven-years of God’s wrath. The Word of God also speaks of this in terms of a day

If you do a search for the phrase, “the day of the Lord” and it shows up over 22 times across the Bible. In the book of the Prophet Joel, we get this.

“Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, And it will come as destruction from the Almighty.” (Joel 1:15 NASB)

And He also addresses it as a week of years. For example, in Daniel we see –

“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. (Daniel 9:24 NASB)

If God were talking about actual weeks, to the Jews that would be about a year-and-a-half. It is actually 70, seven-year periods of time, and it took us up to Jesus’ resurrection. However, that only covered 69 of those time periods. The seventieth has been on hold, waiting for its moment to arrive that is described as “when the fullness of the Gentiles has come.

Romans 11:25 NASB “… a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;

In the Revelation we see many martyred saints getting this answer from Jesus.

Revelation 6:11 NASB And there was given to each of them a white robe, and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.

That seventieth, seven-year period is the time of God’s wrath upon the earth, and you see that in Daniel 9:24 (which I have shown you above.) This time is what we refer to as the tribulation, however, the tribulation is a highly inappropriate term as tribulations are what Jesus described would be a daily aspect of our lives. There is, however, a segment of time, within the seven-years, which will become so deadly that Jesus calls it a time of great tribulation and points out how God has to bring it to an end or no one would survive. This scenario is associated with Matthew 24:15, however, Daniel 9 tells us, another one will cause the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION. At this point, if you are in Israel, run for your lives.

for then shall be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world to this time; no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved. But for the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:21-22 MKJV)

I wish I could tell you that this ugliness will be confined to Israel, but I cannot.

Secondarily, there is another advent associated with Christ, which is frequently thought of as the day of the Lord, and that is when Jesus returns to earth as the warring Messiah.

Revelation 19:11-15 NASB (11) And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness, He judges and wages war. (12) His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems, and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. (13) He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. (14) And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. (15) From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

His coming back in this manner is at the end of the seven-years.

If you were one of the survivors I would think you would be screaming Hallelujah because all sufferings are about to end, as we enter the thousand years of peace that takes place right before eternity and the total elimination of Satan.

3. The third and most vital interpretation, as concerns the church in relationship to God’s wrath, is what we call the rapture.

When it comes to the catching away of the church, we, the church, are looking for Him to come in the clouds, but He, at this point, will NOT physically return to earth and will merely gather us back to Himself. Scripturally, we have this:

They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11 NASB)

This was not said to the disciples to clarify the day of the Lord; this was said to strengthen and encourage hope in the disciples who saw the most amazing man, die, come back to life, and leave them. They had a hope that He was the one who would save them, but standing there watching Him ascend into the clouds must have stripped the hope right out of them. They needed more hope – a hope that He would return for us.

Another passage that speaks of this time is 1 Thessalonians 1:10.

“and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:10 NASB)

Since we know that the wrath, according to 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10, comes almost immediately after the church has been removed, then what we see in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 is indicative of His gathering of His church; and, the church is not included in “the day of the Lord,” which includes His wrath.

Having a clear understanding that this “day of the Lord” and what so many call The Tribulation, are the same thing, is essential.

Continued: See chapter two.

Posted in 2 Thessalonians, antichrist, Antichrist, Apostle Paul, bible study, COVID 19, End times, Jesus, rapture, Thoughts on scripture, trials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Where Do We Go When We Die?

This is in response to a video made for a class, put on by the World Video Bible School. The teacher in that class was not identified.

Where Do We Go When We Die?

James 2:26 tells us, The body without the spirit is dead… (NIrV)

The speaker in the video makes a statement, and then asks the question of us, when we die, the soul leaves the body, but where does it go?

James, as we see above, states the body, lacking the spirit, is now dead.

So let’s assume two scenarios:

  1. I die as a believer. Now, Paul’s writings speak to us.

2 Corinthians 5:1 NLT  For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.

In 2 Corinthians 5:1, having left the body for our heavenly home, the body should be dead.

2 Corinthians 5:6 NASB Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord–

2 Corinthians 5:8-9 NASB (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.

  1. I die without the saving knowledge of Christ.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 NASB For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten.

In the video, the speaker now shows us a graphic, where the upper portion is paradise, and the lower portion is Hades, the place of the dead. The speaker goes on to say that Hades is not only the dwelling place of the dead but a holding place for disembodied spirits.

He then says,

the good who die go to Hades;

the bad who die go to Hades.

The speaker continues with, the reason we are confused is because, the King James Version of Matthew 16:18 translates hades, as hell.

Matthew 16:18 MKJV  And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

I guess I am not understanding for in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is replying to Peter, after asking Peter a question, to which Peter responded with, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” To this astounding response by Peter, Jesus replies, flesh and blood did not reveal this you but My Father in Heaven. Jesus might as well have said, the Holy Spirit of God revealed this to you. But Jesus continued, by disclosing to Peter, and whoever else was listening, that by saying, “on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” Jesus was going to build His church on the principle that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God, but note, the gates of hades shall not prevail against His church, NOR the principle that the church is founded upon – Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God.

Continuing to speak about our confusion, the speaker, as though he is telling us that what we see here in Matthew 16:18 has two different words to represent this word hell. I can tell you that I looked the verse up and all I see is one hadēs, a word that has unseen as its first choice in the Strong’s concordance. The speaker has now added Gehenna/hell to the mix and says that the KJV translated both words, Hades and Gehenna, as hell. As the speaker continued to articulate about Matthew 16:18, he said, this means that death would not stop His kingdom. The Old Testament word for the dwelling place of the dead is Sheol. Sheol and Hades are the same places.

Now, this is where I get annoyed. He says, “once you understand that all people go to Hades when they die it is going to clear up some things for you.” Well, NO!

I (Ozzie) can plainly see that those who do not have a relationship with Christ are merely lying quietly in the ground,

Ecclesiastes 9:5 NASB For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten.

while those in Christ are immediately found in the presence of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:1 NLT  For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.

Paul continues with,

2 Corinthians 5:6 NASB Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord–

Again, there is a logical path here. If, we are absent from the Lord while we are at home in the body, then, to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord. It is not that difficult.

Perhaps the foolish assumption is that NO ONE gets to migrate one direction or the other, until at least the first resurrection, otherwise, how would anyone be in heaven, and yet we know that there are people in heaven during the time of wrath because John tells us about seeing the martyred saints, on two occasions, and he sees the Saints come riding back to earth with Jesus to wage war with the beast and the false prophet, and therefore we all rest quietly in Hades. The problem with the video teachers’ logic is that the first resurrection applies to the martyred saints during the time of God’s wrath upon the earth. The church does not have the term resurrection applied to it at any time.

In the video, the speaker attempts to justify our being in Hades by using Acts 2:31. While the speaker uses the NKJV, I will use the MKJV, they both say something similar.

Acts 2:31 MKJV  seeing this beforehand, he spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor would His flesh see corruption,

What is the context of this verse? Is it Hades, or is it the resurrection? If it is the resurrection, then we are NOT being directed to focus on Hades as a subject central to the conversation. What is central, is Jesus submitting fully to being a human, the Son of God; He did so to pay the full price for our redemption. Having put Jesus on the cross, Satan thought he had won and defeated God Himself, but he missed one critical thing, Jesus never sinned – nor was He born into sin, as a normal man, and therefore there was NO sin in Him. Satan had put him in hell illegally. As such, it is NO wonder hell could not hold Him.

Why would David speak prophetically about Jesus, and that God would not leave His soul in hell?

Psalms 16:10 MKJV  For You will not leave My soul in hell; You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

Hell is the word she‘ôl and means hades or the world of the dead including its accessories and inmates: – grave, hell, pit.

One more piece of logic and comparison before I move on. Jesus, in response to the scribes and the Pharisees, said, you will get no sign, but the sign of Jonah. You can pursue this story in its entirety in Matthew Matthew 12:38-41, but suffice it enough to say,

“An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; (40) for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Why is this significant, and why would Jesus refer to the incident?

  1. No one gets swallowed by a fish, they get eaten by sharks.
  2. If you got swallowed by a fish, NO ONE would expect you to live.
  3. Three days is the time frame, that the Jews clung to, pertaining to the soul leaving the body – we also see this in the case of Jonah. It was understood that Jonah’s soul left his body. Now Jesus uses that same time frame and says, that He will be in the heart of the earth for three days. Since they understood that the heart of the earth was Sheol, then they knew He meant hell; and, they knew that this was the formal time frame for an official separation if that is what God was going to do to Him – and they, because of His “blasphemy,” saying that He was the Son of God, would have been the event that caused Him to be sent to hell.

When Jesus came to heal His friend Lazarus, he was four days dead, a very intentional move on the part of Jesus.

The thing that gives us trouble is this passage from Luke16:19-31.

Considering what we just finished talking about, and how Jesus came to fulfill every demand necessary to purchase our freedom, it should be a done deal already, not worthy of a discussion.

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.  (20)  At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores  (21)  and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.  (22)  “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.  (23)  In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.  (24)  So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue because I am in agony in this fire.’  (25)  “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.  (26)  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’  (27)  “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family,  (28)  for I have five brothers. Let him warn them so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’  (29)  “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’  (30)  “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’  (31)  “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'” NIV 

Who is Jesus talking to?

Jews. Jews that had an understanding of the concept of soul sleep. They knew that God had promised them eternity, but it was always a future event, and not to worry about.

Is it possible that this depiction of paradise and Sheol, is or was a reality?

Because Jesus describes in such detail, I can only assume that it was a reality.

What would have changed?

  1. We now have a personal relationship with Jesus, and the great mystery of Christ being in us, was solved, and therefore, where He is, we will be. This had to have an impact on this working relationship.
  2. Is it possible that the rich man was in some form of sheol/hell/? Again, Jesus gives us the details, and they are not rosy for this guy. “The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment.” However, for Lazarus, he was comforted.
  3. There was a monumental change. Who were these captives and where did He find them? Perhaps Sheol/Hell/Hades. It doesn’t matter and here is why. So if, you, like the video preacher/teacher, want to get technical, and say that Hades is little more than a calm resting place for the soul, distinct from the torment of hell, then know this, Jesus got the keys to both places, and neither is, for the believer, a place to be feared.
Posted in 2 Corinthians, absent, bible study, body, death, death, Ecclesiastes, Hades, Hell, hell, know nothing, Matthew's gospel, Our being caught up, prevail, rapture, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I was asked the question, does the Lord give us trials that we cannot handle?

Shortly after the question had been put forth, George Floy was murdered; a new, riotous, political, protest group was formed and began to rampage across the nation; and not just protests, but rioting, and looting broke out. I don’t care who you are, if you are human you have been taunted by the demons to hate, rage, and fear. We, have to get a handle on our own emotions.

Now, the person asking, was probing, because he already had an answer, and it was a correct one, but what I believe he wanted, was my take on the subject. In truth, this type of question has been around for a long time, and in almost every circumstance the question has been improperly represented.

Look at the NASB, which I have provided.

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NASB)

An alternate version.

You have been put to no test but such as is common to man: and God is true, who will not let any test come on you which you are not able to undergo; but he will make with the test a way out of it, so that you may be able to go through it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 BBE)

As we see in 1 Cor 10:13, where it says, “No temptation” has overtaken you. I want to look at that word for a moment.

Temptation, as used here, is the Greek word peirasmos and also means “a putting to proof,” solicitation, discipline, or provocation; by implication adversity.

In tearing apart the word temptation, with the twisted concept that God tests us, I get the idea that God is attempting to prove that we are worthy; the problem with that is that the theory stands in opposition to the work of the cross; it’s either that, or I am to perceive that God is bringing adversity into my life, but then for what reason? Again, both of these trains of thought run in opposition to the cross.

But, we have a problem as we try to mount an apologetic against God testing us, and you encounter it as you continue in the verse, where it says, “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted.” I fully understand there is a context here, but I am trying to make a point, as this again implies God’s involvement in the testing. In this usage of the word tempted, the Greek word is peirazō and it carries with it the connotations that we are most familiar with, such as: to test (objectively), scrutinize, entice, discipline, assay, examine, prove, and tempt.

If I accept the NASB translation literally, I cannot read the statement, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man,” and make a sensible determination as to where this testing is coming from. Neither can I say, with any resoluteness as to where the test is coming from if I use the BBE version.

Now I will be frank, there are many who would say, if you look at the NASB it says, “but with the temptation will provide the way of escape.,” Sadly, most end the sentence there. The BBE translation also gives a kindred thought, as it says, “but he will make with the test a way out of it.” Here too, the sentence continues, but we rarely pursue the verse to the end, because we want it to stop; we don’t want to have to go through it.

So, does the implication that God may have His hand in the test or temptation exist?

Absolutely, for NOTHING happens on this earth without God’s ordination.

What do I have to prove that?

Job, for in Job we see Satan pointing out Job to God, and making statements to indicate that God has the man protected. God is not a man that He should lie, and therefore told Satan that the barriers, which had previously protected Job, were broken down; and, that the man was in his hand. With all that, God tells Satan, “but don’t take his life.” If you read the story in Job you will see Satan trying to get God to set His hand against the man, but that doesn’t happen.

Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing? “Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. “But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:9-12 NASB)

So God limited the actions Satan could take against the man.

I have heard great negativity about Job, and those same speakers have God putting the tests on Job when the direction that the tests come from are clearly laid out as being from Satan. Few have been able to give a satisfactory explanation as to why God had this unusual conversation, and why He had to relinquish Job over to Satan.

Here is a powerful reason as to why Job’s barriers had come down. God expects us to walk in faith, and there is little in the scenario below that demonstrates faith.

(Job 1:4-5 NASB) His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.

Now, before we move on, there is this in response to “does God have His hand in the testing?”

Let no one say when he is tempted, I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. (James 1:13-14 NASB)

Here in James, there is that word peirazō once again. The word is still being translated as tempted, but can also mean discipline, scrutinize, or entice. And yet, it is, without question, exclusive from God.

Can I perceive that Satan would do that very thing?

Absolutely, and James tells us that when he says, “each one is tempted (scrutinized, enticed, disciplined, assayed, examined, and proved. So, based on this, you can see that Satan’s goal and purpose in life, is to punish us when we do not comply with the ways of his kingdom.

Posted in enticed, Faith, false teaching, God's character, Hope, In Christ, James, overtaken, Sin, temptations, tests, Thoughts on scripture, trials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment