Tag Archives: Tribulation

How can we know when we are close to the end? Chapter one.

If I was trying to assess what I knew for sure about the seven week period we call the Tribulation. It only seems reasonable that I would try to find things in scripture that speak of this period. For example:

  • Do we know about when this seven-year period will take place.

    Because there are always skeptics, can we know at all?

    The short answer is yes

  • Does God have a seven-year period?

  • Does God have to stick to man’s plan?

  • If it is a man’s plan, then who is this guy?

Do we know about when this Antichrist will show up, or when God will pour out his wrath?

The skeptics will quote, improperly and out of context, that no man knows the day or the hour. So what does scripture say to the believer?

1 Thessalonians 5:2-5 ESV (2) For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. (3) While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (4) But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. (5) For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.

Jesus told the disciples –

Matthew 13:11 And he answered them, To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.”

So apparently not everyone has a security clearance, or the ability to know, and yet we all have the same clues.

What then are the clues that indicate we are close to the end?

Although Matthew 24 is filled with these clues, lets focus on something that we might be able to relate to. Matthew 24:32 begins a parable of a fig tree. Israel is that fig tree.

Matthew 24:32-33 KJV Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: (33) So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

a fig tree beginning to bud

a fig tree beginning to bud

Israel became a nation in 1948, and it is the general assessment that this was the tender branch. All these years later, she has put forth leaves, summer is nigh, and the time to pick the fruit has come. While all these aspects may be telling, it is this part of the statement that draws our attention: “when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” Once again the things we were to look for:

  • The branch putting forth leaves

  • Summer and the time of harvest. (This is not a literal time, but could be.)

  • know that it is near, even at the doors.” What is the “it”? The Day of the Lord.

While the next verse has many interpretations, there is something very plainly stated in it:

Matthew 24:34 KJV Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Remember, we are looking for clues, therefore the general idea is that when Israel became a nation the limb budded, and it is understood that: that generation that would not pass away without all these things being fulfilled, and that includes the coming of the Day of the Lord. However, many feel that Israel did not become the nation God intended until the six-day war of 1967 (I suppose that ignores the fact that the United Nations pressured Israel into giving back much of the captured lands. A person born in 1948 would today be 67, but the person born in 1967 would today be 48. Both of these ages lay outside of a commonly understood time frame, which I discuss in the next paragraph. I suppose the hardest part of this equation is to decide what determines a generation.

Genesis 6:3 tells us that God changed the time frame for man, giving him only 120 years, but it is rare that someone lives that long. Why is that important? What if man, living to be hundreds of years old, as they did in Noah’s day, did not mature or have an interest in starting a family, therefore a new generation, until they had lived at least one hundred years? Ancestry.com writer, Donn Devine, says, As a matter of common knowledge, we know that a generation averages about 25 years—from the birth of a parent to the birth of a child—although it varies case by case. Our western mindset gets in the way of understanding this eastern mentality book we call the bible, therefore the possibility exists that a generation could have been as short as fourteen to sixteen years. All this merely creates confusion, because as we read statements like Matthew 24:34, or possibilities like this we immediately attempt to constrain God into a box of our own proportions and making. Then, because God does not fit into our box, we consider his actions and intent impossible to understand, and everything about him a mystery.

Even though we think we understand the meaning of a simple word like generation, we, because we are astute students of the Bible, look the word up so as to not let anything escape us. The problems we create for ourselves is that we, without further training, do not understand the nuances of the Greek word γενεά / genea, the basis for our word in question. Genea was also translated as nation and age. If I apply either of those words to Matthew 24:34 it opens the door to a rather large and variable time frame.

This (age or nation) shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

With that in mind, this idea of generation does not even apply to us, but to Israel. Therefore what Jesus was saying in Matthew 24, really was Israel (his people specific.)

While we did not pin God down to a specific time, we do have the evidence that He is near, even at the door.

I have for a while now been telling people that we are no longer looking for His return in terms of years, but that we are in the last minutes or seconds of time. Now consider that I have been saying that for a couple of years now. Does that change my enthusiasm about the eminent status of His coming for his church and beginning the final countdown prior to His return as the conquering Messiah that Israel longed for? Not at all, for He created time and passes in and out of it, putting it on hold, even if meant bringing you (that one person) back into the kingdom.

If you can not honestly say you know you are a part of God’s kingdom, then all you really have to do is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord. Allow him to rule your life; you have not been doing all that great of a job ruling it yourself. He will come into your life and make you his. No, he is not going to strip your will and decision-making abilities out of your life, but you will find that things go so much better when you turn those things over to him. He loves you and intercedes for you before the Father.

We have a promised life in eternity, free from the pains of this life, if we will do this. He loves you very much. Now how would I know that, because I have experienced this love for myself, and I now know that it is his character, and the nature of the Father’s.

God bless and have a blessed Christmas.

Wearing out the saints

This phrase “shall wear out the saints,” came up in conversation recently. It begs explanation and answers; at least in my opinion.

Depending on what version of the Bible you are using, wear out is also translated as: exhaust, crush, hurt, and consume. It is the Chaldean word belâ, meaning: to afflict, and it is only used once in the Bible. The terms wear out and to afflict, say two entirely different things to me. One makes me think of the damage I used to do to my jeans during the summers as a child. We climbed and slid across everything we could. Mental pressure could certainly do that. To afflict on the other hand has a broad range of violence attached to it. I can remember the knuckle to the head in grade school, but it can also mean beheadings. Needs some clarity, doesn’t it?

I asked, when does this take place, and is it possible that we are in it now? Does it imply a continuous action, or it could be at a given moment? Is it suggesting common issues of life or a constant threat of death?

Allow me to apologize up front. This piece, as with most of my writings is long. There is a reason for that, and it comes out of conversations and sadly, disputes. The confrontations, when you follow the broken logic, could never end as every illogical argument seems to be thrown at you. Most of these arguments are easily resolved if the person speaking would merely read their bible, but they do not. They only read and hear what they want. That is why these become more of a visual conversation. One in which I could actually pull up concise information, such as quotes from Josephus, that clearly show why the answer is not always so black and white, or narrow-minded. On that note: there is only one way, and his name is Jesus.

The confrontations are not so much on my part, mainly because my memory is shot and I am not retaining scriptural references as I once could. I think that this is the Holy Spirit keeping me in check, because I know me, and I would shred these false teachers if given a chance. Since I cannot, I often defer and withdraw. I hate that, but if I look at this in terms of a warrior who has taken a hit to a dominant arm or hand. They might be rendered ineffective, but you will not remove the warrior mentality from them. That warrior mentality can become a burden at times, primarily because there is no need for a full-on clash. Sometimes all you need to do is reason with people.

I suppose I should tell you that I am still affected by learning disabilities and often find my mind disconnecting from the topic. This is particularly noticeable to me when I am under pressure. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit, and it stuns me the way he kicks in and gives me the words to say. I wish that happened every time.

One other thing; I have also come to realize that I do not have to be heard all the time. This takes a tremendous amount of pressure off me, as I have come to realize that God is in control, not me.

While we understand that Satan is the perpetual enemy of the believer, scripture tells us that there is a particular time range. Unfortunately, this wearing out of the Saints falls during is during a vast, nondescript period, the time of the fourth beast. The particular reference is found in Daniel’s book of prophecies.

“Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them, and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.” (Daniel 7:23-26 KJV)

I felt safe in calling the time of the fourth beast, vast and nondescript because we have a sharp clarity on the identity of the former three kingdoms. The last of the three was the Grecian Empire starting with Alexander and continuing through the Seleucid and Ptolemaic Empires. Although, we like to speculate that the fourth empire was the Roman Empire, which is not spelled out as the others were. The typical approach most use in determining what to call, and therefore decide where the “beast” will come from is published in the book of Daniel, specifically:

Daniel 9:26 KJV And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

If you have followed me, long enough you understand that this has two fulfillments. One came under the rule of the Roman general Titus and the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. However, there is another fulfillment coming in the last days.

Titus, the Roman general, is considered by many to be “the prince that shall come.” However, if you do your research, you find that the evidence leans toward a Middle Eastern people, not Roman.

Here is what the historian Josephus tells us in – The Wars of the Jews – Book 5 Chapter 13

“.yet did another plague seize upon those that were thus preserved; for there was found among the Syrian deserters a certain person who was caught gathering pieces of gold out of the excrements of the Jews’ bellies; for the deserters used to swallow such pieces of gold, as we told you before, when they came out, and for these did the seditious search them all; for there was a great quantity of gold in the city, insomuch that as much was now sold [in the Roman camp] for twelve Attic [drams], as was sold before for twenty-five. But when this contrivance was discovered in one instance, the fame of it filled their several camps that the deserters came to them full of gold. So the multitude of the Arabians, with the Syrians, cut up those that came as supplicants, and searched their bellies. Nor does it seem to me that any misery befell the Jews that was more terrible than this, since in one night’s time about two thousand of these deserters were thus dissected.”

“Moreover, do the Arabians and Syrians now, first of all, begin to govern themselves as they please, and to indulge their appetites in a foreign war, and then, out of their barbarity in murdering men, and out of their hatred to the Jews, get it ascribed to the Romans?”

In The Wars of the Jews book 6, chapter 4, Josephus tells us that many considered the temple a citadel for the Jews and an inspiration to continue rebelling against the Roman occupation. The fire had already been ordered against the gates of the temple, but Titus argued and verbally prevailed in regards to saving the temple.

“But Titus said, that “although the Jews should get upon that holy house, and fight us thence, yet ought we not to revenge ourselves on things that are inanimate, instead of the men themselves;” and that he was not in any case for burning down so vast a work as that was, because this would be a mischief to the Romans themselves, as it would be an ornament to their government while it continued. So Fronto, and Alexander, and Cerealis grew bold upon that declaration, and agreed to the opinion of Titus. Then was this assembly dissolved, when Titus had given orders to the commanders that the rest of their forces should lie still; but that they should make use of such as were most courageous in this attack. So he commanded that the chosen men that were taken out of the cohorts should make their way through the ruins, and quench the fire.”

“Titus’s retiring, the seditious lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again, when those that guarded the holy house fought with those that quenched the fire that was burning the inner [court of the] temple; but these Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the holy house itself. At which time one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house, on the north side of it. As the flames went upward, the Jews made a great clamor, such as so mighty an affliction required, and ran together to prevent it; and now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered anything to restrain their force, since that holy house was perishing, for whose sake it was that they kept such a guard about it.”

Notice the reaction of Titus and ask yourself, does this look like someone bent on a complete destruction of the temple?

  1. “And now a certain person came running to Titus, and told him of this fire, as he was resting himself in his tent after the last battle; whereupon he rose up in great haste, and, as he was, ran to the holy house, in order to have a stop put to the fire; after him followed all his commanders, and after them followed the several legions, in great astonishment; so there was a great clamor and tumult raised, as was natural upon the disorderly motion of so great an army. Then did Caesar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice, and by giving a signal to them with his right hand, order them to quench the fire. But they did not hear what he said, though he spake so loud, having their ears already dimmed by a greater noise another way; nor did they attend to the signal he made with his hand neither, as still some of them were distracted with fighting, and others with passion. But as for the legions that came running thither, neither any persuasions nor any threatening could restrain their violence, but each one’s own passion was his commander at this time;”

I perceive this statement to be the most telling of them all, and it was said by Titus, the Roman general:

“Moreover, do the Arabians and Syrians now, first of all, begin to govern themselves as they please, and to indulge their appetites in a foreign war, and then, out of their barbarity in murdering men, and out of their hatred to the Jews, get it ascribed to the Romans?”

Titus’ fear was that the barbarity of these men would be ascribed to the Romans, and that is exactly what we do when we declare the fourth empire to be a revived Roman Empire. Do you not see that ascribing Rome to the fourth empire also takes our eyes off what could be the true evil of the last days, Islam?

In recent years, I held the position that “the saints” were only those that were martyred during the seven-year period of God’s wrath, that we so foolishly call the tribulation. I did the very thing I despise, spewing out concepts as fact without checking my Bible adequately. Paul used the term saints throughout his writings, and that tends to dispel the idea that the saints are exclusive to the years of wrath. Several examples are Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Ephesians 6:8, and numerable others.

The terminology saint immediately takes me to Revelation where we see things like the woman, drunken with the blood of the saints (Revelation 17:6). It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the largest implication here is the martyred saints.

However, there is something notable about John’s writings. He never used the term saints in speaking about the church outside of the Revelation; the majority of the time he calls them –little children, and brethren. The feel is one of association and an understanding of the heart and character of God. Considering John’s beginnings in comparison to the end, it only makes sense that he would have God’s heart as he unfolds the Revelation, a time of nightmarish destruction and judgment. This time is not directed at “my little children.”

I realize that I initiated this conversation with a portion of Daniel, not John, yet they talk about the same thing. This demonstrates the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit. We cannot discount that John’s recollection of Daniel’s prophecies may have played a role in John’s terminology.

When you look at end times prophecy, there are only three people groups to consider: the Jews, the nations, and the church. While there can and will be some crossing over between the Jews and the church; at that point followers of Christ are considered a part of the church.

Some will say that God gave up on the Jews. I do not think so. He has engraved their names and faces on the palms of his hands. You do not give up something that precious, especially after showing that level of commitment. God has a plan to drive the heart of the Jew, his chosen, back to himself. Unfortunately, there is much pain and suffering involved with that journey.

In general, the Jews have rejected Jesus, the Messiah, and therefore subjected themselves to the wrath that is coming.

And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou had known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knew not the time of thy visitation. (Luke 19:41-44 KJV)

The rejection of God by Israel is a common theme. An example of this is seen in the selection of Saul as king.

And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. (1 Samuel 8:7 KJV)

The nations could also be referred to the as the Gentiles. Daniel referred to them as the people of the prince that shall come. Jesus, talking about the days of vengeance said, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24 KJV)

The church is the entire collection of believers comprising the body of Christ.

And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:22-23 KJV)

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:15-18 KJV)

In general, the church is excluded from the wrath, or vengeance, that is coming upon the earth.

But God proves his love for us by this (James Moffatt), in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Romans 5:8-9 KJV)

“. you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and a real God and to wait for the coming of his Son from heaven — the Son whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who rescues us from the Wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 Moffatt NT)

The church likes to hold itself in exclusivity, thinking that we are protected from tribulation. Look, Jesus guaranteed us three things:

  1. In this world, you will have tribulation.
  2. You will be hated by all men for my names’ sake.
  3. I will come again for you.

Tribulation and Wrath/vengeance is two different things. Tribulation is non-stop and comes in many forms. It has nothing to do with your inability to buy a new propeller for the family ski boat. Get real, people in parts of the world where there is a heavy Muslim influence are being killed daily.

If you lived under a constant threat of death, do you think you would feel as though you are being worn down, absolutely?

Perhaps the Bible in Basic English translates it more appropriately. Daniel 7:25 (a) BBE “And he will say words against the Most High, attempting to put an end to the saints of the Most High;” It is clear that the intent is to kill the saints.

And he shall speak words against the Most High, and he shall wear out the saints of the Most High. And he intends to change times and law. And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and one-half time. (Daniel 7:25 LITV)

Daniel 7:23 Declares what was to come a fourth beast. If the fourth beast is Islam, then that was initiated over 600 years after Christ’s death by Muhammad.

Born approximately in 570 CE in the Arabian city of Mecca,[9][10] Muhammad was orphaned at an early age; he was raised under the care of his paternal uncle Abu Talib. After his childhood Muhammad primarily worked as a merchant.[11] Occasionally he would retreat to a cave in the mountains for several nights of seclusion and prayer; later, at age 40, he reported at this spot,[9][12] that he was visited by Gabriel and received his first revelation from God. Three years after this event Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that “God is One“, that complete “surrender” (lit. islām) to Him is the only way (dīn)[n 3] acceptable to God, and that he was a prophet and messenger of God, similar to other Islamic prophets.[13][14][15] (From Wikipedia.)

Islam has operated under various caliphates since the death of Muhammad in 632 AD (BCE). While all of them caused the Middle Eastern world grief, the largest most powerful were the Ottoman Caliphate.

Ottoman Caliphate (1453/1517–1924)

At the end of October 1922, the Allies invited the nationalist and Ottoman governments to a conference at Lausanne, Switzerland, but Atatürk was determined that the nationalist government should be Turkey’s sole representative. In November 1922, the Grand National Assembly separated the offices of sultan and caliph and abolished the former. The assembly further stated that the Ottoman regime had ceased to be the government of Turkey when the Allies seized the capital in 1920, in effect abolishing the Ottoman Empire. Excerpt from, the Ottomans.org

Is it possible that believers have been under attack for eighteen hundred years, without a doubt!

Pay attention to another aspect of Islam.

“The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Ismailia, Egypt by Hassan al-Banna in March 1928 as an Islamist religious, political, and social movement.[1][2] The group spread to other Muslim countries but has its largest, or one of its largest, organizations in Egypt, where for many years it has been the largest, best-organized, and most disciplined political opposition force,[3][4][5] despite a succession of government crackdowns in 1948, 1954, 1965 after plots, or alleged plots, of assassination and overthrow were uncovered. Following the 2011 Revolution the group was legalized,[5] and in April 2011 it launched a civic political party called the Freedom and Justice Party (Egypt) to contest elections.” (Wikipedia)

Notice that this is two years after the Caliphate was disbanded.

“Links to the Nazis began during the 1930s and were close during the Second World War, involving agitation against the British, espionage and sabotage, as well as support for terrorist activities orchestrated by Haj Amin el-Hussaini in British Mandate Palestine, as a wide range of declassified documents from the British, American and Nazi German governmental archives, as well as from personal accounts and memoirs from that period, confirm.[7] Reflecting this connection the Muslim Brotherhood also disseminated Hitler’s Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion widely in Arab translations, helping to deepen and extend already existing hostile views about Jews and Western societies generally.[8] (Wikipedia)

The point to this is that Islam has been a destructive thorn in the flesh of those who do not comply for over 1800 years. Have they been a global threat throughout their history, no, but it took a global response to subdue them in 1922. I think we can agree that they are global now, and a greater threat than ever before. Aside from that, their prime directive is to kill the people of the book, which would be the Jew and the Christian. Have you noticed that they are making a serious dent in their goals?

If you have watched the news the last couple of years, then you are aware of Christians that are being slaughtered in the mid-East and African nations. Perhaps you have also noticed that attacks against any group outside of Islam are fair game to them. Buddhists, Catholics, you name it. They even fight each other as though there is a competition to see who can follow the Qur’an most precisely. Unfortunately, for the outsider, while the Qur’an does have passages devoted to peace, they are superseded by newer passages that demand a strict and violent compliance.

I think it is evident that there is affliction directed at Christians in certain parts of the world. Not to be left out of this violence against Christians is China and North Korea. I suppose the question is, how long until this level of violence comes to the Americas and afflicts us as well?

Do not think that your non-belief will protect you. In general, Islam feels that any American is a Christ follower and worthy of death. Scripture tells me that you may have a chance to reject God and accept Allah as your God of choice, bowing before him in worship. Perhaps that will save your neck for the moment. I am aware that they cut a man’s head off anyway, possibly because they felt he was a coward with no backbone. I suspect it will not be as easy as that, and they may not have the time to await your decision. Of course giving into this cuts you off from any hope of a relationship with God. In other words, there is no turning back from this decision.

If you do not know this Jesus Christ, you can. Ask him into your life, and turn yourself over to him and accept his forgiveness. Allow him to run it. You do not have to work for your salvation, as it is free and paid for, you merely have to receive this life and salvation. You will experience a peace that you have never known before and a promise that he will come for you so that you can live with him in glory.

At His wrath the earth shall tremble

This all started with our church deciding to take everyone through The Story. It comes across as a novelized version of scripture and bypasses many aspects that would help you to understand the character and nature of the Father.

Personally, I could not stand it. Our men’s bible study, just before this, had spent a year going through the book of John and I needed a change. With no strong direction, I decided to dive back into the Old Testament. The journey started with First Kings and progressed toward the New Testament, taking the time to look intently at things I had confusion about and longed to understand. I bypassed Job, and the poetry books.

I began to see familiar names, men that hazarded their lives to deliver God’s message to ungrateful people. Jeremiah was one of those who braved imprisonment, and the threat of violence from priests and kings.

Jeremiah, under the influence of the spirit of God, spoke about the end of times, but, like so many things God said, we have used them to apply to us, today. That is not necessarily a bad thing because we have passages such as:

All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 MKJV)

Jeremiah 10:10 “But Jehovah is the true God, He is the living God, and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to stand His fury.”

This comes in the middle of a diatribe berating the foolishness of man-made idols that did not make the heavens and the earth.

God is to be feared. That is a hard one for me, for fear was literally beaten into me. If this could be easily replaced with the word respect, I would have an easier time absorbing it. Perhaps we need to accept the fact that God has the potential to destroy as well as create, and how that plays out is entirely up to his volition.

The Hebrew word “yare” shows up 316 times. One hundred and forty-eight of those are interpreted as fear. Very few have a mild connotation.

1a1) to fear, be afraid

1a2) to stand in awe of, be awed

1a3) to fear, reverence, honour, respect

If fear can also be represented by phrases, such as: stand in awe, be awed, or words such as reverence, honor and respect, then yes, I feel that this is my heart and comprehension of who He is, but scripture tells us that God is going to pour out his wrath upon the circumcised and the uncircumcised. That sounds like something to fear, and potentially cause people to turn their hearts from ways contrary to God’s and show Him the respect he is due. However, most will not do that, and will be removed from the earth.

Wrath = rage or strife. Clearly, God does and will get mad.

Jesus was and is God, and as such, a representation of God on earth. An aspect of why he was here was to demonstrate the character and nature of the Father, God. I quickly tried to find references to Jesus mission on earth. Truth be known, I was looking for passages that validated Jesus as a representative of the peaceful kingdom. What I found is a mixed bag.

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill.”

Matthew 9:13 “But go and learn what this is, I will have mercy and not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

If what we see in scripture is an actual progression, then his words of peace and comfort took a sudden shift.

Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword.”

John 9:39 “And Jesus said, I have come into this world for judgment, that they who do not see might see, and that they who see might be made blind.

In John 10:10 he showed his compassion once again by explaining:

John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

He certainly was not the thief and he did not speak in code. They could understand exactly what he was saying. The thief was the destroyer, Satan, and they knew it. Jesus stated clearly, I have come to give life in opposition to the one who takes life away, but not just life, something larger and better than what you comprehend.

Life was not so different back then, for you still had those with money, and those without. Those without suffered just as they do today, and the wants and desires are still here with us. So, what would it mean to have life more abundantly? The word He used was ‘perissos’ and meant something in the sense of beyond. Was he talking about tomorrow? I do not think so, because for so many of us, tomorrow never comes. I think the abundant life has everything to do with relationship and our life with him in the kingdom to come.

The next two passages are short, to the point, and offer little comfort.

John 12:46 “I have come as a Light into the world, so that whoever believes on Me should not remain in darkness.”

John 15:22 “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have had sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.”

The passage that my spirit wanted to find was this:

Luke 9:54-56 In response to how they as a group were treated, we see this: “. His disciples James and John said, Lord, do You desire that we command fire to come down from Heaven and consume them, even as Elijah did? But He turned and rebuked them and said, You do not know of what spirit you are. For the Son of Man has not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save.”

It was not Jesus that was willing to call-fire down from heaven, nor did he tell the two brothers that what they were asking for was impossible. He addressed the spirit that they were responding to, and then he openly clarified that he was here to save lives, not destroy them.

Now, as for when he returns, and that may be any day now, He will come as the conquering king that Israel anticipated, and years of anger and vengeance will be carried out by him. The bible is filled with allegories, and this is one. It represents the nations of the earth, and, sadly, Israel as well, as God slaughters those who choose to stand against him.

“And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.” (Revelation 14:18-20 KJV)

The Millennial kingdom – Who are all these people?

If you read my blogs then you know that much of what I write is what I grapple with. Here goes another one.

Let’s assume a scenario; I just happen to think (based upon what I see in scripture) this is how it will happen: The rapture – the great snatching away of the church (that is a whole other issue I will dive into later) takes place. The rapture, as I see it, is on the cutting edge of God’s wrath. God’s wrath is an part of the Great Tribulation.

The Great Tribulation – Has two components –

God’s wrath being poured out upon the earth in the form of: 1. The 7 seal judgments; 2. the 7 trumpet judgments; 3. the 7 bowl judgments. This may not look like God’s hand when you look at the players involved, but it certainly is. If nothing else happened, such as be-headings in the name of Allah, I cannot imagine anyone surviving on the earth, and yet they do.

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

(Islam fulfills both of these roles in their prophecies. The Mahdi, also known as the 12thImam, and a prophetic person named Isa ben Maryiam. In English, Jesus the son of Mary, not God. I am telling you that if you will find out more about who these characters are that Islam is anxiously awaiting, it will alarm you, and scripture will suddenly make more sense than you ever thought possible. If you are bold enough, find the book “The Islamic Antichrist”, by Joel Richardson and read it.)

Cover of "The Islamic Antichrist: The Sho...

Cover via Amazon

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

(An aspect that has caused me some confusion is “the dead in Christ” shall rise first. I suppose I am confused because if you want to analyze it, we are all dead. We were born into death thanks to Adam’s transgression.) If, as scripture states, to absent from the body is to be present with the Lord then there really are no Christian dead, lying around waiting to be caught up. I am really  not sure why any part of the body needs to be recovered, but there you have it. Clearly God made each one of unique in some way, and that body, in better shape than when you left it, will be restored intact. For you skeptics. Was Jesus body found in the grave after the three days? No. This is making my mind swim as I think about bodies and their propensity to decompose. Really, what are we talking about here? Atoms. Apparently God is able to reconstruct an entire body from whatever molecule is left.

If the church is gone, who is left?

  1. OK, so those who God found awaiting him are gone. Who is left? A lot of religious folk who thought they should have gone; the cults who live on the fringe of acknowledging Christ as Lord, but most have no real idea (I hope that I am wrong about many of them. If they learn of Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God, and anxiously await him, then they should be gone as well), sadly I think that most will still be here. There will be the eastern religions, and a few stray cats mixed in.One of the things that recently caught my attention was Matthew 25:1. Jesus said the last day will be like ten virgins that were coming to the wedding. Jesus Christ is coming on that day to gather us to the wedding. Half of them, though on their way, in their mind, were unprepared, and when the call finally came they started scrambling for oil. A key to understanding what is happening here is Matthew 25:5 which says, “While the bridegroom tarried they slumbered and slept.”

    Even as I write these things, and talk about them with people, this is what I get, “why are you getting all worked up, we have waited for him for over two thousand years. Beside all that, the world is always in turmoil, and people are always in some form of tribulation.” With that being said, they spiritually go back to sleep.

    When you consider that no oil based lamp burns forever and must be refilled, and we are equated to an oil lamp with a limited burn time, then there must be the need to keep replenishing that oil. That would have to be on a daily basis, and multiple times a day.

  2. So we have established that many versions of religious types will be left here, what about the others? While Islam believes in a god, no less than the oriental religions believe in god(s), I did not even, in my mind, include them as I thought about the religious folk that have been left. I suppose you could chalk my attitude up to prejudice. That was a common, and unspoken teaching in church, I cannot remember a colored person in our church growing up. Dear Lord, I hope God can set that tragic problem aside when he comes for us. Islam, though staunchly religious, and appalled at our lack of morality, is entwined in a hatred of the Almighty, and refuses to believe that Jesus Christ, though a good man and a prophet, was the Son of God, or God himself. Bottom line, they are in opposition to everything we believe outside of morality, and yet even that is twisted, for a man can get away with things that a woman cannot.I suppose the bottom line here, on those that are left, are the godless, the unknowing, the scared, and the arrogant. We are not to be naive When Adam committed treason, handing the earth over to Satan, and eating the fruit of the tree that gave knowledge of both good and evil, he passed that knowledge, I suppose genetically, through every generation since. NO MAN will have an excuse, for they know what good is and have chosen not to do it.

    Why do you think that God wreaks such destruction upon the earth’s inhabitants, because having the opportunity to accept the loving act of the one who created you, and paid for your release from the genetic damage that Adam did, with HIS OWN BLOOD, they reject him.

    God out of love, gave man the opportunity to choose for himself, and there in the problem lies.

Alright then, the rapture comes and goes, along with seven years of horrid events culminating in Jesus return to earth (When he returns the first place he plants his feet is the Mount of Olives, NO PLACE ELSE.). The beast, and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire. I suspect primarily because they deceived so many people, and Satan is locked up for a thousand years of peace on this earth.

  1. The saints – those who were beheaded for their testimony are brought back to life, and possibly those who refused to take the mark (this may be something that you wear just as the Jews did during the time of the Holocaust.) and / or refused to worship the beast or his image that speaks – will reign with Christ during the following thousand years.
  2. But there are other people.

 Micah 4:1-5 KJV But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. (2) And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (3) And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (4) But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it. (5) For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.

This is the first time I have ever paid attention to this, but it is not a fluke because other passages substantiate what I am seeing.

Remember, we are considering the millennial reign. Christians taken up in the rapture are stated to be the city, the new Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven. Here on earth, during the 1000 years, in one of those references to that city, it is called “the camp of God”.

At the end of the 1000 years Satan is released and rallies the nations, those outside the camp of God, against the camp of God.

Who is Satan deceiving this time? Not those who live in the city, but those that live outside the city. Were they outside because they refuse to acknowledge Jesus Lordship? There are a lot of possibilities, but exclusion is not one of them. Would they have been safe if they had been inside? Certainly.

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

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

These two verses stun me.
  1. I would have thought that the time of washing of the robes had passed. Perhaps this is a continuing process which implies that Holy Spirit is still alive and active even during the millennial reign.
  2. People are continuing to come to Christ. Sure, Satan is no longer an issue, but man still has the ability to choose. The logical aspect of this is that life continues to go on. Survivors of the Great Tribulation continue to have families and we now have an exponential multiplication of people once again. Everyone of those people will apparently have to choose Jesus over whatever else is being offered to them.
  3. Only those who have washed their robes can enter the gates. Obviously this continues to imply the blood of Christ and salvation. Therefore an acceptance of the price he paid for us is necessary, and continuing to happen.
  4. Verse 15 is the most unnerving part of all. For it implies that sin still runs rampant throughout the earth. Jesus and the millennial saints would seem to be the peace keepers, and I suspect the blatantly sinful indulgences will be dealt with swiftly. But I never in my wildest imagination thought that God, in his mercy, would allow such a thing to happen at this point.

There has to have been survivors of the tribulation that God’s mercy has pulled through. We tend to think of the tribulation as a time of purging, and it is, but of all evil? Apparently not. Man’s ability to make choices has not been taken away, and clearly many have made some form of choice to follow God and not the anti-Christ, therefore he extends his hand of mercy and pulls them into the millennial reign right next to the saints of God.

No evil is allowed in the city. Where is evil coming from if it’s motivation and inspiration is locked up? This can only mean that evil is in the heart of man. Think about it. Adam’s transgression brought us knowledge of good and evil, along with death.

Believers throughout the life of earth have been raised to a new, incorruptible life at the rapture. Tribulation saints are those that were beheaded and resurrected, apparently they too were raised incorruptible.

I am not so sure about those that survived without taking the mark or worshiping the beast. Would not refusal to do take the mark give you an all access pass. We certainly see them here during the millennial reign, but I would not think that the freedom of choice they had and refused, prior to the tribulation, is still on the table merely because they refused the mark, nor worshiped the beast.

But, if, based upon the concept that half the so-called Christian population does not make it in the rapture, this would not necessarily be where such horrible evil comes from.

Others that may not make the rapture are those that are considered the cults, such as the Latter Day Saints and the Mormons. They are on the fringe of the truth, but have been deceived into believing that some other tripe is true, not God’s word. They are fairly decent people, and mind you anyone can go over the edge, but on the whole we do not see that happening with this bunch.

Let’s assume for a moment that intelligent people will suddenly open their eyes, realizing that Islam offers no hope and make a stand against it. Does intelligence make you less evil? No, you are usually just smarter about it. Bernie Madoff who stole millions from investors is no less evil than the murderer.

If there is a point to this oration, it is that my notions have been blown out of the water. Is that a bad thing? No, actually I love that God still chooses to speak to me. What this proves to me, again, is that God’s mercy has exceeded all boundaries and constraints that my mind had.

I am suddenly reminded of a passage that caught my attention as I was eating dinner.

John 9:39 KJV “And Jesus said, For judgment (a sifting) I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.”

Blinded by ignorance or arrogance, I am not sure, but suddenly things just got a little clearer for me. I do not know why, but God just keeps pointing out his mercy to me, and I love him for it. Having received far more mercy than I deserved, I find myself falling more and more in love with the one who showed me that mercy.

Proven by fire and ready to be revealed

A continuing look at the Apostle Peter’s first letter. 1 Peter 1:5-7

 1 Peter 1:5-7 RV (the chosen of God) who by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (6) Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, ye have been put to grief in manifold temptations, (7) that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perishes though it is proved by fire, might be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ:

 One of the internal conflicts I have had, was with the concept of tribulation.

I have found myself directing my sarcasm at an imaginary voice which was whining about their tribulations because they could not get a new racing propeller for their boat (I have actually known a person like this).

Let’s set something straight. Tribulation traditionally implies that you are about to be imprisoned or killed, have your home burned to the ground, and your family viciously molested.

Now that we have that clarified you should know that Jesus told us it is going to get worse, much worse!

How is that even possible? In order for it to get worse it has to increase exponentially, globally, and that is exactly what is coming; much like what Noah and Lot’s neighborhoods experienced, judgment. But there is hope, and Peter give us two scriptural reasons for that hope that we are to be rescued from the “great tribulation” that is coming.

1 Peter 2:21 .. Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example..

2 Peter 2:9 CJB “So the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and how to hold the wicked until the Day of Judgment while continuing to punish them,

 I have to interject a comment for my detractors. We are not, as a general rule, escaping from the daily idiocy of brutal god haters. I understand that, and I believe that most of you understand that concept as well.

 Mary and Joseph escaped the slaughter that Herod was about to bring, thanks to an angel’s warning (sent by God), by going to Egypt. I would not go there now, but perhaps you get the picture. If I could tell you where there was a safe place to run I would. At the moment the United States is not experiencing the onslaught of brutality against Christians, but we are on the verge, and I do not believe that this country will stay safe for much longer.

 Here is the context of 1 Peter 2:21:

1 Peter 2:19-21 CJB For it is a grace when someone, because he is mindful of God, bears up under the pain of undeserved punishment. (20) For what credit is there in bearing up under a beating you deserve for doing something wrong? But if you bear up under punishment, even though you have done what is right, God looks on it with favor. (21) Indeed, this is what you were called to; because the Messiah too suffered, on your behalf, leaving an example so that you should follow in his steps.

 If you are minding your affairs, and living out your “Christ like” ways, whether verbally, or otherwise, then you are doing right, because, aside from being contrary to religious demands, Jesus did not go about stealing, killing and maiming others with car bombs. He went about doing good and healing all that were afflicted by the devil. To be accosted for doing good is a demonstration of Satan’s hatred for anything that looks like God, and there are plenty of people who thrive on maliciousness to fulfill Satan’s demands.

 If we cannot escape from life’s common and daily brutality then what are we hoping in?

1 Peter 1:3 CJB Praised be God, Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, who, in keeping with his great mercy, has caused us, through the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah from the dead, to be born again to a living hope,

 A hope that is alive, guaranteed, fresh, clean, constant, never running out, AND NOT A FALLACY. I am telling you this because someone has to have a backbone, declaring that God is not a made up fictional story. THIS IS REAL, AND REALITY. Jesus had a backbone, and used it to declare, I am going to prepare a place for you, if it were not so I would have told you. (John 14:2)

 Dear Lord he is real! How can I get you to see that. This is exactly what the writer of Hebrews was telling us when he described:

Hebrews 11:35-38 NIV Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. (36) Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. (37) They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated– (38) the world was not worthy of them.

 How do you face all this abuse, with a mindset that this world is not worthy of you, without having a solid hope that what God said is true.

 Consider what we are reading, 1 Peter. He is trying to re-establish HOPE in us; that said, there is good news.

  1. We have hope!. Why? Because Jesus died and rose, as he said. Granting us a place with him in glory.
  2. We also have the promise of being caught up and rescued. Peter was very clear, using Noah and Lot as examples of God deliverance of righteous men from the destruction was about to happen upon the earth. Lot specifically has the angels tell him we can do nothing until you are out of here. At which point they physically removed his family from the place. (Jesus made you the righteousness of God when you accepted him as yours.)
  3. Nothing can damage or disrupt our destination, heaven. There is the implication here that nothing should be able to damage or cause to fade away, your rightful anticipation of a future glory.
  4. God has an established a track record of faithfulness. To those who scoff: Jonah, the prophet, was told to go to Nineveh and declare their doom. Judgment was coming. But he fought against God, because, if you read the story, Jonah had said “you will show them mercy and not do what you say.” How would Jonah have known that God was willing to show people who deserved judgment, mercy? A proven track record! The people of Nineveh repented and God did just that, showing them mercy, that is, until many years later they reverted back to their godless state and they were turned to powder, just as he said and in the way he said it.

Enough with the introductory speech, let’s get to the meat.

 1 Peter 1:5-7 NIV who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (6) In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. (7) These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

  I almost think it would be more correct to show who the “who” is in verse 5. Peter starts this letter off by addressing the Mediterranean Churches, but he also uses the term “the elect of God”. That term alone takes all of us in, for it means those chosen by God, and we all fit that category. There is no benefit to a social class going on here.

I had the opportunity to stand in as bible study leader on a couple of occasions. On one of those, an educated man, an educator, supposedly a member of our Church, rejected what was being said, by pointing out that the Apostle Paul was writing to a specific body of people, and not intended for us today. While I understand the logic, I also know that all scripture is inspired and useful for building up (2 Timothy 3:16). Is it possible that building up also conveys the giving of hope. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, therefore the two are intertwined, just as these letters, compiled into what we call a bible, written to Church bodies long since gone, are meant for our benefit too. I had to disagree with the man for he was speaking explicitly about the book of Romans. Dear Lord that book alone is a foundation of who we are in Christ, and how God sees us. It is in the Letter to the Romans that the declaration is made: Jesus, died for a world undeserving, freeing it from the bondage of the sin debt that it owed. How does one support some form of exclusivity with a statement like that?

 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”

 who through faith are shielded by God’s power Let us ponder this for a moment.

Faith is the basis for this, much like a Chef that uses chicken stock as the starting point for they are cooking. It just makes everything taste better. OK, that was overly simplified. It says that we that have come to know God’s love and have a relationship with him, through faith are shielded by God’s power. But is it our faith? Yes, and yet at the same God’s faith.

 Our faith struggles and often falters, while God’s faith is boundless and unfaltering. My faith seems, at times, to be small, barely holding on, while God’s is like the mountain that I am barely holding on to, and that is what makes this concept of being shielded because of faith an odd picture for me, because if God shields me according to my faith, then I am doomed, and doesn’t that put us back into the competitive playing field where some great TV evangelist, who declares his great faith, and has the money to back it, stands a greater chance of being shielded than I do. Not at all.

 My faith toward this: hope/salvation/shielding, and really the outcropping of his love toward us, may have started as a small mustard seed, but has clearly grown. How big? I do not know, but it is definitely bigger. Maybe my faith is now as big as a small seedling that has just emerged from the ground, it does not matter, for this really is about you having applied enough faith to accept God’s love toward you. (That in itself is a mountain if you really think about it, but all you had to do was step on the first rock, on your way up, and trust that it would support you, and it did.)

 God, who is the one with the Lion’s share of faith, has no trouble applying that faith toward you. So it is working from two directions. You receiving and him retrieving.

 What are we shielded from?

That is a great question. Obviously not everyday life, which often includes emotional turmoil, daily stresses, and deathly tribulations.

What! Do not get me wrong, God steps into our lives on a daily basis, shielding us and we did not even know it. I was stupid enough to verbally tangled with some drunk guys who came into the store one late evening. I have no idea what they could have done, most of the people who come in to shop have some sort of knife on them. The point is I may have been shielded. I have also had the annoyance of missing my turn to get on the freeway, only to find that during that time that I was trying to get back on the freeway I missed being involved in a horrific car crash, and I might have been in the middle of it. You have no idea how many times God has shielded you already.

 But everyday affairs is not what we are talking about here. Look again at 1 Peter 1:3,4 “.. he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,…” (4) “..an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,..”

While the NIV translation uses the term shielded, the King James version uses the term kept. The Greek word is: phroureō, and means: to guard, protect by a military guard, and to prevent hostile invasion

This is all about being shielded from what is coming during the Great Tribulation, and if we take the admonition from Peter seriously, then we can say that God is protecting us in a militaristic fashion. In other words, he is very serious about this concept of keeping us safe while awaiting our salvation.

 I just had a small discussion with my mother. I was trying to show her something I noticed in scripture that intrigued me, and she, as usual, developed that into a bizarre, generalized statement about tribulation, noting that people everywhere are going through it. What I noticed about her comment was the same thing I hear most people say, and that is that tribulation is constant and an aspect of God’s coming. While that is true, tribulation is all around us, it is not the Great Tribulation that Jesus, shockingly stated, would be something that no one would survive if God did not shorten time, and he will.

 Tribulations, or afflictions are really quite common.

2Corinthians_6:4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,

1Th_3:3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.

2Ti_1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

2Ti_3:11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

2Ti_4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Heb_10:32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;

Heb_10:33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazing stock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.

1Pe_5:9 Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

Peter tells us that we are protected “until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” The (CJB) puts it this way, “Meanwhile, through trusting, you are being protected by God’s power for a deliverance ready to be revealed at the Last Time.”

Salvation is the Greek word sōtēria and means 1) deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation

1a) deliverance from the molestation of enemies

How many ways can I say this. It is God’s intent to deliver us prior to any judgment coming.

Rejoice in this, even though you have to experience grief through trials.

1 Peter 1:6 CJB Rejoice in this, even though for a little while you may have to experience grief in various trials.

If I have any reason to rejoice, it is in the fact that there is a salvation. An obvious fact is that Christians have looked for his coming for two thousand plus years. I do not see that as a negative but an act of living in positive anticipation, which is what we have been called to do. I can tell you what it has done in me just within the past two years. It has changed me and my way of thinking. Everyday is much more exciting to me, for I now watch and wait for him. This anticipation has my changed my approach to prayer. I have become less afraid of what man can do to me, and much more bold in sharing what I now consider a passion of mine. I have gained a greater understanding of what Islam believes, and take their impact on the world very seriously.

 …even though for a little while you may have to experience grief in various trials…

I am hoping by now that God’s intent is clear; he is very focused on pulling those that remain, out of here before unleashing his fury upon the earth. Using Lot as an example, I feel confident in saying that he will send his angels and escort you, should you move to slowly.

By the way, God’s desire is that every man come to a knowledge of him, and he is not changing his mind about that, but the world’s choice to blatantly ignore his offers of mercy will not prevent his judgment from coming.

We already touched on Jonah’s angst over this merciful aspect of God. Jonah clearly had a prejudice against these people, and wanted the people of Nineveh gone. Did you ever wonder why? I have heard things put out there as a motivation for Jonah’s hatred of these people, such as offering their children as sacrifices, but history records that they were a violent people.

(Nahum 3:1 Woe to the city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims!); the wall carvings represent the king in the act of putting out his captives’ eyes, and dragging others by a hook through the lips and a cord. Other cities have revived, but Nahum foretells “there is no healing of thy bruise” (From Fausset’s Bible Dictionary)

In spite of depravity, these people repented at the prophetic word from God, and God relented from bringing destruction upon them. (They were eventually wiped off the map.)

…you may have to experience grief in various trials…

While I came off rather hard-core about tribulations, there are certainly things in life that will throw us completely off kilter. I am going through one as I write this.

Vine’s New Testament Words defines grief as “pain,” of body or mind.

Well, I am there, and I, especially with my rants about what tribulations really are, keep thinking that these things that bring me emotionally down, distracting me from daily function, are “light afflictions.”

Look, if the same word for trials is tests then ask yourself who is doing the testing? God? I do not think so. Consider that while the world was messed up and hopeless, unable to even understand love, God sent his own Son to die for us. Why then would he abuse us?

No, I think that the testing comes more from the world and Satan’s direction than God’s. Sure, from a human standpoint I would want to know where your allegiance lies, but God was not concerned about that at all when he gave us life.

Why would Satan be interested in testing us? He probably isn’t, but then there is that Job episode. The whole basis for Satan attacking Job seemed to be in his belief that Job would turn his back on God. Isn’t that what Satan did?

So this brings me to another struggle that we Christians bang our heads into quite often. How far can we go and lose our salvation, our place in the kingdom? Honestly, I do not know. I know how far I have gone, and I can tell you that God was never out of my thinking. Jesus told us that no one can take those that belong to the Father out of his hand. Well I suppose then the question would be, how do I know I am in his hand? If you have accepted that he poured out his grace toward you and has a place for you in his kingdom, then you are his. Plain and simple. Reject that completely and God help you. I do know what the god of this world’s destiny is, and not because of love, he is taking people there with him.

I think the bottom line here is that Satan is attacking anything that looks and acts like God. If he can shut you up or get you to stop responding, as you are focused upon your own pain then he has done what was needed, and taken you out of the fight. What are we fighting for? Souls.

1 Peter 1:7 LITV so that the proving of your faith, much more precious than perishing gold, but having been proved through fire, may be found to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

 so that the proving of your faith, much more precious than perishing gold, but having been proved through fire

The NIV states that these varied trials have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

The Source of Testings

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament

Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener

Jas_1:12. James uses the beatitude form common in ancient literature, especially Jewish literature: “How happy is the person who….” Distresses were viewed as temptations, providing opportunities to sin. The term translated “trials” (NASB, TEV; cf. NIV) or “testing” did not necessarily mean “temptation” (KJV, NRSV) in the modern sense, however; the tester could be interested in the distressed person’s perseverance, rather than his or her defeat. Famines, poverty and oppression were among events viewed as testings.

Jas_1:13-16. God clearly “tested” people in the Bible and later Jewish literature (Gen_22:1; Deu_8:2; Deu_13:3; Jdg_2:22), but he never tested them in the sense that is implied here: seeking for them to fail instead of persevere.Jewish texts distinguished between God’s motives in testing people (in love, seeking their good) and Satan’s motives in testing them (to make them fall). In most Jewish texts, Satan (also called Belial and Mastema) fills the role of tempter. Although James does not deny Satan’s indirect role (Jas_4:7), he emphasizes here the human element in succumbing to temptation. He personifies “desire” (NIV, NRSV, TEV) or “lust” (KJV, NASB) as enticing a person, then illegitimately conceiving the child “sin,” which in turn brings forth “death”; Jewish teachers occasionally applied the rhetorical technique of personification to the “evil impulse” all people had.

I so want this aspect to be exclusively testing by Satan. Perhaps because school was not easy for me, and it seems that I have failed so many of life’s tests that have been thrown at me. I would not want to fail God’s test as well. The absurdity of this thought continually takes me back to a God that loved me when I was unlovely, and gave his life for me.

Satan, however might well test us to see if we will collapse under the stresses of battle. I have been reading a book about the battle for Iwo Jima while writing this paper. One of things you see is men conceiving great goals for the day, only to squeak out mere yards in their advance toward the goal. Marines, in the initial attacks died steadily, averaging one about every 50 seconds, and yet they did not give up. Sadly, even the frightened, emotionally stressed, who in one case sat in the bottom of a shell crater sobbing, incapable of attack, had a mortar land between his feet, exploding, and ending his life. The enemy is indiscriminate about who they mark for destruction. In the case of Satan, it would seem that even the representation of God upon a human life is a target.

Considering the volume and quantity of testing we take from him, it is easy to relate it to being proved through fire.

Proving is equal to refining, and though God might certainly want to do that with many of us, me included, there is the possibility that even Satan’s fire has the ability to refine if we will respond appropriately and let it.