Thursday, July 24, 2014

Does the Seventh Angel Sound the Last Trump of the Rapture?

Revelation 10:7
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
The mystery of God referred to in this verse has nothing to do with the great mystery that was revealed by Christ to the apostle Paul! A mystery in the Bible is something that was kept secret but has been revealed. The apostle Paul received mysteries (1 Cor. 4:1)  from God concerning the body of Christ and this present age. The pre-tribulation rapture of the body of Christ was one of the mysteries that Christ revealed through Paul and we read about it in his epistles alone (1 Cor. 15:51-52). The words "mystery" and "mysteries" are used 27 times in the Bible and 20 of those references are in Paul's epistles. But there are also mysteries associated with the prophetic kingdom program of Israel (Matt. 13).
The mystery of God in Rev. 10:7 is in accordance with what God declared to the Old Testament prophets (Amos 3:7-8) but the body of Christ was hid from the prophets (Eph. 3:5). This mystery is in relation to the judgments that must fall for Christ to bring in His kingdom and very well may be what the seven thunders uttered.
Revelation 10:4
And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.

The seven thunders uttered things that John understood and was about to write down. The thunders are God’s voice from heaven (Ps. 29; Jn. 12:27-31) announcing the even greater judgments that are yet to come (seven last plagues, Rev. 15). John heard a voice from heaven telling him to seal up what he heard and not write them not. What the thunders uttered were sealed up for the time being but I think they were revealed later in the book as the seven last plagues. Nothing is sealed up by the end of the book (Rev. 22:10).

The mighty angel lifted up his hand to heaven and swore with an oath that there should be time no longer (Rev. 10:5-6). This does not mean that from this point on there will be no more time because the Kingdom Age is marked by time as a thousand years. This means that the time will no longer intervene to answer the cry of the martyred saints for vengeance (Rev. 6:9-11). The seven last plagues will fall when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet ("begin to sound" implies it will be a drawn out process). 
It is a great hindrance in Bible study to think things that are similar are the same. A preacher that believes and teaches a mid-trib rapture of the church told me that Rev. 10:7 refers to the end of the present age with the rapture. He thinks the mystery of God refers to the mystery of the body of Christ and he connects the seventh angel sounding his trumpet with the "last trump" that Paul mentions concerning our rapture. 
1 Corinthians 15:51-52
(51) Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
(52) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Notice that Paul said "last trump" NOT "last trumpet". A trump is the sound that a trumpet makes. This is the last trump of the "trump of God" (1 Thess. 4:16) NOT the trumpet of an angel. It is LAZY "Bible study" to jump to the conclusion that 1 Cor. 15:52 and Rev. 10:7 are referring to the same thing just because both verses mention a mystery and trumpet. There are many different mysteries in the Bible as well as different trumpets that are sounded for different reasons. When the seventh angel sounds his trumpet in the tribulation period it is a long and drawn out event because it introduces the seven last plagues. But at the last trump when the church is raptured it will be “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye”.

Why do so many Bible teachers today insist on putting the body of Christ in the tribulation period? They do not rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). The tribulation period is the time of Jacob's trouble (Jer. 30:7) and is the subject of PROPHECY. The body of Christ was a great MYSTERY that was hid from the prophets. Besides, there are major doctrinal differences between this age and the tribulation period. For example, the gospel of the grace of God is the only gospel that is to be preached in this age but the 144,000 Jewish evangelists will preach the gospel of the kingdom in the tribulation period.
Matthew 24:13-14
(13) But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
(14) And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Paul's gospel went into all the world in the first century (Col. 1:6, 23) and the end still hasn't come! And the gospel of the grace of God certainly doesn't require that we "endure unto the end" to be saved!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Holy Spirit in the Present Age

Romans 8:
(8) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
(9) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Romans 8 presents the victorious Christian life and the Holy Spirit is mentioned nineteen times in this one great chapter! It is impossible to live the victorious Christian life without the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we must be grounded in what the Bible says about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the believer during this present Mystery Age. The Holy Spirit has worked in previous dispensations (Gen. 6:3) but I believe that He is doing more in this present dispensation than ever before.

Sadly, many believers are confused and misinformed about this doctrine. The reality is that most professing Christians just don’t study the Bible and among those that do, most do not rightly divide the word of truth. There are differences in the ministry of the Holy Spirit in different dispensations. Many like to quote Hebrews 13:8 and claim that God never changes in how He works. It is true that He does not change in His Person, but He does in His dealings with man.

For example, in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit is never said to SEAL God’s people:
1 Samuel 16:
(14) But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.
Ephesians 4:
(30) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Here is a simple overview of how the Holy Spirit works in the believer today:

I. The Relation of the Holy Spirit to the Believer
Every believer is in the Sprit and the Spirit is in every believer. This is brought about by five works of the Spirit.
A. He circumcises us – (Col. 2:8-11) Man is a tri-partite being (spirit, soul, and body, 1 Thess. 5:23). When Adam fell he died spiritually (separated from the Spirit of God), his flesh became corrupt, and his soul and spirit became stuck to the flesh. That is the condition of all that are born of the flesh. Upon salvation, Christ by the Spirit cuts away our inner man from the outer man. Our standing is no longer, “in the flesh”.
B. He baptizes us – (Col. 2:12, I Cor. 12:13) This baptism is just as spiritual as the circumcision in Col. 2:11. The word “baptism” primarily means “identification” and does not always involve water. This is a saving baptism and is not to be confused with Acts 1:5 (power vs. salvation, visible manifestations vs. none, prophecy vs. mystery, Christ the baptizer vs. the Spirit).
C. He regenerates us – (Titus 3:4-7) Salvation is not a reformation of the flesh but regeneration (new creature) by the Spirit.
D. He indwells us – (Rom. 8:9, I Cor. 6:19) All of the Spirit lives within every believer. The fact that He DWELLS in us (permanent residence) means we are secure.
E. He seals us (Eph. 1:13-14) – The Holy Spirit is the guarantee that we belong to God and our salvation is secure (Rom. 8:14-16). 

These five doctrines are not based on feelings and experience but on the word of God. They are true of every believer whether we know it or not. Many things happen upon salvation that we must learn about by studying the scripture. We have a STANDING in the Spirit that is unconditional and unchanging!

II. The Responsibility of the Believer to the Holy Spirit
Although the believer’s standing in the Spirit never changes, our STATE is conditioned on fulfilling our responsibility to Him. It is up to us if the Holy Spirit is going to affect our daily walk.

Galatians 5:
(25) If we live in the Spirit [STANDING], let us also walk in the Spirit [STATE].
A. Know about Him through His word (you can be deceived by other spirits, 1 Tim. 4:1)
B. Yield to Him by faith and obedience (Rom. 8:11-13)
C. Do not grieve Him (Eph. 4:30-32)
D. Seek to be filled with Him (Eph. 5:18-21). This is not an event with supernatural manifestations as in Acts, but a goal to press toward (Phil. 3:12-14). We are only filled to the extent we are yielded to Him and filled with His word (Col. 3:16)! 

III. The Results of the Holy Spirit through the Believer 
What can we expect when we are walking in the Spirit?
A. What NOT to expect
1. Signs and wonders - The sign gifts of the Acts period have ceased (1 Cor. 13:8-13).
2. Emotional high - I heard a well known Independent Baptist preacher claim that he gets “drunk in the Holy Ghost”. Many teach that “losing control of emotions” is evidence that you are filled with the Spirit. Yet, a fruit of the Spirit is TEMPERANCE! There is nothing wrong with strong emotions, but they can be deceptive.
B. What TO expect
1. Illumination to spiritual truth (1 Cor. 2:7-13)
2. Victory over the flesh (Gal. 5:16-21)
3. Fruitfulness (Gal. 5:22-23)
4. Communion with God (2 Cor. 13:14, Eph. 6:18)

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