Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Major Doctrinal Differances Between the Present Age and the Future Tribulation Period (part 2)

The Lord Jesus Christ plainly said that the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world and then the end shall come. The gospel of Christ went into "all the world" in the first century (Col. 1:6) and the end still hasn't come! The only way to truly believe what the Bible says, as it says it, is to rightly divide it (2 Tim. 2:15). If you think that the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of the grace of God are the same gospel... I am sorry, but you are making Christ out to be a false teacher.
(Matthew 24:9-21) Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.  {10} And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.  {11} And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.  {12} And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.  {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.  {15} When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)  {16} Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:  {17} Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:  {18} Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.  {19} And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!  {20} But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:  {21} For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Have you ever noticed in this passage that Christ was preparing His disciples to go through the tribulation ("you", "ye")? Why would He do such a thing? Because the revelation of this present dispensation was not yet given (Eph. 3:1-12; Col. 1:24-29)! The revelation of the mystery given through the apostle Paul is the explanation as to why v.14 has not been fulfilled. We are living in a parenthetical age that was a mystery hid to the prophets and when it ends with the mystery of the rapture, THEN the 70th week of Daniel will be fulfilled.
If you believe the Body of Christ is going through any part of the tribulation period, what are you going to do with what Paul said to the Body of Christ in the following passage in light of the FACT that the gospel of the kingdom (which requires baptism and works) will be preached in the tribulation period?
(Galatians 1:6-12) I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  {7} Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  {8} But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  {9} As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.  {10} For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.  {11} But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  {12} For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
In the book of Galatians the apostle Paul rebukes and corrects the churches at Galatia for allowing legalizers to bring them back under the law. The apostle Paul is the ONLY writer in the Bible who says, "for ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Rom. 6:14). That is a unique truth for the Body of Christ in this present age. We are not to keep the sabbath in this age (Gal. 4:9-11; Col. 2:16). The sabbath days are for Israel (Ex. 31:12-17). Did you ever notice what Christ said about the sabbath in Matt. 24:20? The tribulation saints will be observing the law in the tribulation period (Rev. 12:17; 14:12). That will not sound wrong to you if you understand that "out of Zion shall go forth the LAW" in the kingdom age (Isa. 2:3). The law will not be a "yoke of bondage" to the kingdom saints that will be filled with the Spirit (Jer. 31:33; Ezek. 36:25-28).
2. Justification by the Faith OF Christ versus by a Man's Faith
Israel receives remission of sins AS A NATION at the second coming of Christ (Acts 3:19-21; Rom. 11:25-27) when God puts them under the New Covenant (Heb. 8:7-13). The baptism of repentance (Acts 2:38) was not looking back to the cross (John preached it BEFORE the cross) but ahead to the second coming of Christ when His blood will be APPLIED to the nation on the Day of Atonement. The gospel of the kingdom requires water baptism, keeping commandments (Matt. 3:7-12; 7:21; 19:16-22; Jn. 15:10), and enduring to the end (Matt. 10:22; 24:13-14) to be saved. Tribulation saints will have to overcome in order to have right to the tree of life and not be hurt of the second death (Rev. 2:7, 11). If they take the mark of the beast they will be eternally damned (Rev. 14:9-13). That is why James, writing to the twelve tribes scattered abroad (Jam. 1:1), taught that justification was by faith that works (Jam. 2:14-26). Faith is believing what God says. If a Jew really believes the gospel of the kingdom he will DO what that gospel requires. In the tribulation period God will test the faith of Israel (Jam. 1:1-4; 1 Pet. 6-9). God will not accept works without sincere repentance and faith (Matt. 7:22-23). So, salvation under the gospel of the kingdom is not by works. It is by a faith that works. They will need the mercy and grace of God to make it.
God has not always told men NOT to do any works but to simply trust the finished work of Christ alone for salvation as He does in this age (compare Acts 10:35 with Titus 3:5). In times past He required works of men to prove their faith and He will do so again after this age. If God requires works, real faith will seek to do those works. But the works in and of themselves have never and will never save a sinner. Why doesn’t God require us to do works to prove our faith for justification in this age? Why is our justification instant and permanent? We receive justification by faith but we are justified by the faith of Christ (Gal. 2:16; Phil. 3:9) and His faith is perfect and proven!
(Habakkuk 2:2-4) And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.  {3} For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.  {4} Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
(Romans 1:16-17) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  {17} For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Notice that Paul omitted "his". We must never omit, add, or change the word of God (Prov. 30:5-6). But Paul was writing by inspiration of God! The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to omit "his" when quoting Hab. 2:4 because the book of Romans teaches that the Body of Christ is justified by the faith OF Christ (Rom. 3:21-22).
The Body of Christ is not told to "endure to the end"! Consider what Paul wrote to the carnal Corinthians:
(1 Corinthians 1:8) Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Every member of the Body of Christ has the same perfect and complete standing in Him (Col. 2:10). We are blessed with "all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3) the moment of salvation but the tribulation saints must overcome in order to obtain the blessings that are promised to them (Rev. 2-3).

Monday, March 23, 2015

Major Doctrinal Differences Between the Present Age and the Future Tribulation Period (part 1)

Several years ago I was told by a preacher who believes that the Body of Christ is going through the tribulation period that the major difference between his view and mine is one of timing. He said, "You just think we are going up a little sooner than I do." Actually, the major difference is one of DOCTRINE. Here are just a few examples of the major doctrinal differences between the present dispensation of the mystery (Col. 1:25-26) and the future tribulation period.
1. The Gospel that is to be Preached
Those who have completed the elementary level in their Bible study understand that there is more than one gospel message in the Bible. This fact is clearly seen by simply "comparing spiritual things with spiritual" (1 Cor. 2:13). There is only one gospel to be preached in this age and that is the one that Christ revealed through the apostle Paul (Gal. 1:6-12). Paul is the first one in the Bible to glory in the cross and preach it as GOOD NEWS (Gal. 6:14; 1 Cor. 1:17-18). Christ BEGAN to speak to the His 12 apostles about His death, burial, and resurrection at the END of His earthly ministry and they did not believe it because the purpose of it was hid from them (Matt. 16:21-23; Lk. 18:31-34). For over three years they preached the gospel without even believing in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ! Paul defined the gospel he received as how that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day (1 Cor. 15:1-4). The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ was prophesied in the OT ("according to the scriptures", Ps. 22; Isa. 53) but it was not understood or preached as good news until Paul. The 12 preached the "gospel of the kingdom" which was the good news that the prophesied kingdom promised to Israel was at hand. After His resurrection, Christ opened the understanding of His disciples concerning how His sufferings had to precede His kingdom glory (Lk. 24:13-53). Their question after being taught by Christ over a forty day period was, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). When Peter preached to the "men of Israel" (Acts 2:22) on the day of Pentecost, he charged them with murdering their Messiah (bad news, not good news), proclaimed that He was risen from the dead, and preached the gospel of the kingdom.
(Mark 1:4) John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
(Acts 2:37-38) Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?  {38} Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Peter was filled with the Holy Ghost and was faithful to boldly preach what Christ commissioned the apostles to preach after His resurrection!
(Mark 16:15-18) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  {16} He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  {17} And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;  {18} They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
The gospel of the kingdom required water baptism and was accompanied by the signs of the kingdom. All the signs of Mk. 16:17-18 will be manifested in the tribulation period. The apostle Paul was sent "not to baptize" (1 Cor. 1:17) and therefore could not have been sent under the same commission as the 12 apostles. He worked the "signs of an apostle" (2 Cor. 12:12) in the transition period but he taught that those signs would cease (1 Cor. 13:8-13) and they did after Acts 28. I know that Christ was referring to the gospel of the kingdom in Mk. 16:15 because just a few weeks prior He had said to the apostles:
(Matthew 24:14) 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.
Why didn't the 12 go to all the world? They were commissioned to BEGIN in Jerusalem (Lk. 24:47; Acts 1:8) which will be the capitol city of the kingdom of heaven (Jer. 3:17). Because the nation of Israel did not repent of killing their Messiah there was no need for the 12 to go to the rest of the world. According to prophecy, the Gentiles are blessed through the rise and instrumentality of Israel. Israel fell in Acts 7 and at that point Christ was prepared to bring them through the tribulation and come again to establish His kingdom (that is why He was standing, Acts 7:55-56). Instead of pouring out wrath He poured out grace by saving the leader of the rebellion against Him (Saul who became the apostle Paul) and revealing through him the mysteries of the present age. This was not an afterthought or "Plan B"! It was according to God's eternal purpose that He purposed in Christ before the world began but kept secret until He revealed it through Paul (Eph. 3:1-12). In this age the Gentiles are blessed through the fall of Israel (Rom. 11:12) and all believers are baptized by one Spirit into one body (1 Cor. 12:13) wherein there is neither Jew nor Gentile (Gal. 3:27-28). God used Paul's ministry to get the gospel of Christ to all the world. In fact, over fourteen years after his salvation he went up by revelation to the apostles who were still in Jerusalem and communicated to them the gospel that he preached among the Gentiles (Gal. 2:1-10). They recognized Paul's distinct ministry and came to an agreement:
(Galatians 2:9) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

Paul said that his gospel went into all the world in his lifetime and yet the end still has not come! Comparing Matt. 24:14 with Col. 1:6 proves that Paul did not preach the gospel of the kingdom.

(Colossians 1:5-6) For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;  {6} Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:

All those who believe the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24) are baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ (Eph. 3:6). The Body of Christ is God's heavenly people (Eph. 2:6) and He has given us an heavenly hope (Phil. 3:20-21). We are not looking for the antichrist from the earth but for the Lord Jesus Christ to catch us up to be glorified with Him in heaven (Col. 3:1-4). It is a serious error to exchange our heavenly hope for Israel's earthly hope (Col. 1:21-23)! Those who believe in a mid-trib, pre-wrath, or post-trib rapture have been moved away from the hope of Paul's gospel and will suffer loss at the judgment seat of Christ.

After this present age ends with the rapture, God will resume His dealings with Israel (His earthly people) and the seventieth week of Daniel's prophecy (Dan. 9:24-27) will be fulfilled. In the first 3 1/2 years of that week the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all that world just like Christ said. This will be accomplished through the ministry of the 144,000 (Rev. 7). Once again, the kingdom of heaven will be at hand. I believe that the 144,000 will be raptured in the middle of the tribulation just before Satan is cast out of heaven (Isa. 66:5-8; Rev. 12:1-6; 14:1-5). In the last 3 1/2 years of the tribulation an angel will preach the everlasting gospel to the whole world (Rev. 14:6-7). God does not use angels to preach the gospel in this age (Gal. 1:8) or to give messages to the Body of Christ (Col. 2:18). This gospel is called “everlasting” because its basic truth has been declared from the beginning: man should fear God and worship Him because He is the Creator. The world will be deceived into worshipping the beast (Rev. 13) and so this angel will preach that the hour of judgment has come and men must worship the true and living God who made all things in order to escape His judgment. 

My question to those who believe the Body of Christ is going through the first half of the tribulation period is: when are you going to start preaching the gospel of the kingdom with signs following?

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Day of the LORD

The Bible has much to say about the day of the Lord. It is the most anticipated day on the Lord's calendar. Satan is the god of this present evil world (2 Cor. 4:4; Gal. 1:4) and it is still the "times of the Gentiles" (Lk. 21:24). But the times will change drastically when Christ comes again!

(1 Timothy 6:15) Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;

(Isaiah 33:5-6) "The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness. {6} And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure."

God is allowing man to have his day but it will come to a destructive end when the Lord has His day! Man seeks to abase the LORD and exalt himself but in the day of the LORD the pride of man will be abased and the LORD alone will be exalted in the earth. The first mention of the "day of the LORD" plainly tells us what that day will be all about.

(Isaiah 2:10-12) ¶ Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. {11} The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. {12} For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:

Is the day of the Lord just one 24 hour period? The word "day" when used without any limiting words may refer to a long or prolonged period: as, the "day of visitation", the "day of salvation", the "day of judgment", etc... But when the word "day" is used with a numerical, as one, two, three, etc..., or first, second, third, etc..., "evening and morning" (Gen. 1), it is defined, limited, and restricted to an ordinary day of 24 hours.

I believe that the day of the Lord is over a thousand years long and that it includes the tribulation period, second coming of Christ, millennial kingdom, final battle with Satan, and the renovation of heavens and earth by fire. This explains the seeming contradiction between passages that describe the day of the Lord as a time of great destruction and others which describe it as a time of great blessing.

The day of the Lord begins before the kingdom age because it includes the destruction of the wicked at the end of the great tribulation.

(Isaiah 13:6-11) ¶ Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. {7} Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: {8} And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. {9} Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. {10} For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. {11} And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

A thousand years is as one day to the Lord (2 Pet. 3:8). The millennial reign of Christ will be the seventh millennium of human history. The Lord pictured this by making the heavens and earth in six days and resting on the seventh. Did you ever notice that the Bible does not say, "And the evening and the morning were the seventh day" (Gen. 2:1-3)? It is like the seventh day has no end. The kingdom age will run a thousand years and then there will be a final battle, the renovation of the heavens and earth with fire, and a new heaven and a new earth. But, "Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever." (Isa. 9:6)

(Hebrews 4:4-11) For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. {5} And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. {6} Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: {7} Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. {8} For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. {9} There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. {10} For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. {11} Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

(Isaiah 28:11-12) For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. {12} To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

(Isaiah 11:9-10) They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. {10} ¶ And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

(Psalms 118:22-26) The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. {23} This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. {24} This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. {25} Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. {26} Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.

The final battle with Satan at the end of the millennial reign is also called the day of the LORD.

(Revelation 20:7-11) And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, {8} And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. {9} And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. {10} And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. {11} And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

(2 Peter 3:10) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

But does the day of the LORD include the entire seven year tribulation period? Many believe that it doesn't and they use the following verses as proof.

(Malachi 4:5) Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: [Elijah is one of the two witness in the tribulation, Rev. 11]

(Acts 2:20) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

Both prophecies are referring to the second coming of Christ in particular. The second coming of Christ is certainly the day of the Lord but the Bible does not limit the day of the Lord to that one glorious event. The wrath of God will reach its climax at the end of the great tribulation ("in them is filled up the wrath of God", Rev. 15:1) but that does not mean that God's wrath was not active until then.

Those who believe in a mid-trib or pre-wrath rapture of the Body of Christ claim that the wrath of God does not come until the end of the great tribulation. Therefore, they claim that when Paul says we are delivered from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10) and not appointed to wrath (1 Thess. 5:9), he is not teaching that the Body of Christ will be raptured before the tribulation period. But I know that the Body of Christ is not going through any of the seven years of tribulation because that whole week is the subject of prophecy concerning Israel (Dan. 9:24-27) and we are the mystery that was hid from the prophets (Eph. 3:1-12). The Body of Christ was revealed through Paul and so was our rapture (1 Cor. 15:51). He exhorted the Body of Christ to look for Christ from heaven (Phil. 3:20-21), not the anti-Christ from earth (for more reasons why I believe in a pre-tribulation rapture of the Body of Christ see this post: the pre-tribulation rapture).

We are saved from the wrath to come (Rom. 5:9) and all seven years of the tribulation period is a result of God's wrath. The six seals that are opened in Rev. 6 provide an overview of the entire tribulation period (see this post: overview of Daniel's 70th week). The first seal produces the antichrist (Rev. 6:1-2) and the sixth seal shows us the second coming of Christ (Rev. 6:12-17). Who opens the seals? The Lamb of God! Some teachers claim that the tribulation will be the result of the wrath of man and Satan but not God. We are well aware that Satan will be wroth with the godly remnant of Israel and seek to destroy them (Rev. 12:17) but it is THE LORD who has Michael and his angels kick Satan and his angels out of heaven and down to the earth (Rev. 12:7-12). Before that takes place it is THE LORD who sends the strong delusion causing the Christ-rejecting world to believe the lie of the antichrist that they all might be damned (2 Thess. 2:11-12). The antichrist will be able to deceive the world as a result of God's wrath on those who rejected Him. Throughout the tribulation God's wrath is active to a limited extent (millions die during that period) but at the end it is FILLED UP and fully poured out. 

The entire tribulation period is the Lord's day.

(Revelation 1:10) I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

Many teachers claim that the “Lord’s day” in this verse is not referring to the day of the Lord. They actually think this verse means that John got happy on Sunday! Nowhere does the Bible refer to the first day of the week as the Lord's day! So, why "Lord's day" instead of "day of the Lord" as its always written in the OT? There is no adjective for “Lord’s” in the Hebrew language and therefore it is always expressed by two nouns. In Greek and English it can be said either way. When translating the phrase from the Hebrew the translators consistently translated it with two nouns in English.

Revelation is a book of prophecy (Rev. 1:3) and therefore John writes as a prophet. We must compare scripture with scripture (1 Cor. 2:13) to understand what it means for a prophet to be “in the Spirit”. Every believer is in the Spirit (Rom. 8:9) but that is not what is being referred to here. John was in the Spirit in the same sense that this phrase is used throughout the book of Revelation (4:2; 17:3; 21:10). John was not the only prophet to be moved "in the spirit" to different locations and time periods. 

(Ezekiel 37:1-2) The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, {2} And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.

This reference confirms that the Spirit can literally move a prophet to another location (for other examples see: Ezek. 3:14; Acts 8:39). Since the Spirit is eternal and omnipresent, is it not possible that the Spirit moved John into the future day of the Lord to be an eyewitness of the things he wrote? This is not speculation or far-fetched because the scripture records that others had a similar experience! Ezekiel saw and described the future millennial temple (Ezek. 40-48). Isaiah saw Christ in the millennial temple when “the whole earth is full of his glory”(Isa. 6). Peter, James, and John were “eyewitnesses” of the majesty of Christ in His kingdom glory (2 Pet. 1:16-18).

When we simply compare the references to "the day of the LORD" with the contents of the book of Revelation it is obvious that “the Lord’s day” refers to this same prophetic day. John was in the day of the Lord when as an eyewitness he wrote about the events of all seven years of the tribulation period, the second coming, the millennial reign, the final battle with Satan, and the renovation of the heavens and earth with fire. Therefore I conclude that the day of the Lord includes the entire tribulation period which will be
the time of Jacob's trouble.

(Jeremiah 30:4-11) ¶ And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. {5} For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. {6} Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? {7} Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. {8} For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: {9} But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them. {10} ¶ Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. {11} For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.


Monday, March 9, 2015

An Interpolation?

(Romans 8:1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

The last ten words of this verse are omitted in most of the modern versions. The translators claim that these words are not in the best manuscripts. The manuscripts they are referring to, Vaticanus and Siniaticus, are utterly corrupt. There is a pure stream (Ps. 12:6-7) of manuscripts and a corrupt stream (2 Cor. 2:17). The pure stream of manuscripts that flows from Antioch ("the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch") do not omit these words. The corrupt stream flows from Alexandria, EGYPT ("Out of Egypt have I called my Son"). The self-appointed Bible correctors say this is a scribal gloss. They claim that somewhere along the line a scribe that was copying the passage mistakenly took the words from v.4 and added them to v.1 and his error has continually been reproduced since then. A marginal note in the Old Scofield Reference Bible says these words are "interpolated" (inserted or added to the original). That is not the only note in the Scofield Bible that casts doubt on the word of God (for other examples see Mk. 16:9-20 and 1 Jn. 5:7, “It is generally agreed that v.7 has no real authority, and has been inserted”). This is just a classic example of men changing God’s word when they don't understand it. Because they don’t understand the verse in its context they think it’s implying that a believer can lose salvation and so they change it to match their limited understanding. We must change our beliefs to match the word of God, not change the word of God to match our beliefs. We must believe what the Bible says, as it says it, and where it says it. God will give us further light as we study His word with a BELIEVING heart. 

The King James Bible is perfect because it is the inspired word of God in the English language. To mess with one word is to throw things out of sorts and cause a real problem. God’s word is exact and precise. In the immediate context we have an example of the precision of God’s word. 

(Romans 8:3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

It wouldn’t have been doctrinally sound to say:
1. Christ came in sinful flesh (He was without sin)
2. Christ came in the likeness of flesh (He came in actual flesh)
3. Christ came in the flesh (He has an immortal flesh and bone body after resurrection that was not in the likeness of sinful flesh)

Romans 8:1 is certainly not teaching that we can lose salvation. This very chapter teaches the eternal security of the believer (Rom. 8:28-39)! 

According to the scripture, a believer can bring temporal condemnation on himself in this life if he gives place to the flesh (1 Cor. 11:27-34). This has to do with our temporal state (changeable condition) and not our eternal standing (unchangeable position in Christ). But I think that Romans 8:1 is speaking of our standing, not our state. In fact, I think the whole passage is about our standing. Notice that it does not say, “IF they walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”. It says “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”. The latter part of v.1 is a descriptive clause, not conditional. 

Upon salvation we are made a "new creature" in Christ (2 Cor. 5:16-17). Immediately "all things are become new" because in our standing we know no man "after the flesh". We are in one new spiritual body and our identity is in our Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile (Gal. 3:27-28). Being baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ, we are identified with Him in every way. We are crucified, buried, risen, and seated in heavenly places with Him. We are justified by HIS righteousness!

Paul often uses the word “walk” in regard to our state but in Romans 8 he is talking about our standing. All members of the Body of Christ are in the Spirit and therefore not in the flesh (Rom. 8:8-9). All members of the Body of Christ are led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14). 
(Romans 8:14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

To walk after the Spirit is to be led of the Spirit. Not all believers walk IN the Spirit like they should (Gal. 5:25) but all believers walk AFTER the Spirit. Those that are not led by the Spirit are trying to keep the law for their justification (Gal. 5:18). Those who have confidence in their flesh to keep the works of the law are walking after the flesh (Phil. 3:3-9). Religion is of the flesh (Gal. 6:12-15; Phil. 3:18-19)! 
Always trust the word of God! Never trust the "scholars"!
(Psalm 118:8) It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Who are the Other Sheep?

(John 10:16) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

This is a proof text for those who believe that the truth of the one spiritual church which is the Body of Christ was revealed before Paul. But if the plain words in Ephesians 3 have any meaning (and of course they do, God says what He means and means what He says), we know Christ is not referring to the Body of Christ in this passage. Besides, since when is one fold with one shepherd the same thing as one body with one head? The sheep Christ is talking about in John 10 are said to be in His hand (vs.27-30). That is certainly a secure place to be, but it's even better to be His hand (1 Cor. 12:13)!

(Ephesians 3:1-12) For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, {2} If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: {3} How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, {4} Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) {5} Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; {6} That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: {7} Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. {8} Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; {9} And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: {10} To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, {11} According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: {12} In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

We may spiritually apply Jn. 10:16 to this age in light of the fact that Christ laid down His life for us (Jn. 10:14-18) and the church of God is His flock (Acts 20:28). But the doctrinal interpretation is not about us.

Christ did not say the "one fold" was a mystery. According to prophecy, the scattered sheep of Israel will be re-gathered and united as one in the kingdom. The kingdom of heaven will not be divided like Israel's kingdom was for most of its history. Because Christ came to CONFIRM the promises made to the Jewish fathers (Rom. 15:8), we know that what He said in John 10 was based on prophecy. There was only a remnant of Jews in the land during the earthly ministry of Christ. Most of them were scattered among the nations (Acts 2:5-11). Christ said that He was "not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 15:24).

(Ezekiel 34:20-31) ¶ Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. {21} Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad; {22} Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. {23} And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. {24} And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it. {25} And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. {26} And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. {27} And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. {28} And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid. {29} And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. {30} Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD. {31} And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.

(Ezekiel 37:15-28) ¶ The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, {16} Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: {17} And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. {18} ¶ And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? {19} Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. {20} ¶ And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. {21} And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: {22} And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: {23} Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. {24} And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. {25} And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. {26} Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. {27} My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. {28} And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

If Christ had Gentiles in mind in Jn. 10:16, then He was talking about the nations that will enter the kingdom, not the Body of Christ.

(Matthew 25:31-34) ¶ When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: {32} And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: {33} And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. {34} Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

There will be a distinction between Israel and the nations in the kingdom. Israel will reign over the Gentiles! But there is neither Jew nor Gentile in the one spiritual Body of Christ. The way most Bible teachers interpret Jn. 10:16 is a classic example of anticipating revelation. They take truth that Christ revealed from heaven through the apostle Paul and read in back into the earthly ministry of Christ. Why is that so many Bible teachers just refuse to acknowledge the distinct ministry that Christ gave Paul for us in this age? They accuse us of magnifying Paul as a man but nothing could be further from the truth! Paul himself said that he was "less than the least of all the saints" (Eph. 3:8). But Christ gave him an "abundance of revelations" (2 Cor. 12:7) and the grace to make them known. We seek to follow Paul even as he followed Christ because that's what the BIBLE tells us to do!

(1 Corinthians 11:1) Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Two Distinct Ministries of Christ

(Rom. 15:8) Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

(Rom. 15:16) That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

A simple comparison and contrast of these two verses will help us immensely in understanding the Bible if we will believe what they clearly say.
It’s imperative to understand that the earthly ministry of Christ was one of CONFIRMATION (to confirm what was already promised) and not INAUGURATION (to reveal His secret purpose, Eph. 3:1-12)! Israel is God’s earthly people and He promised them a land and world-wide kingdom over the nations. Christ plainly said that He was “not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 15:24). It was not that He didn’t care about the Gentiles but just that according to His prophetic plan, the Gentiles were to be blessed through Israel’s RISE and glory (Isa. 62).

In this present age, as revealed through Paul’s ministry, the Gentiles are blessed through the FALL and diminishing of Israel (Rom. 11:12) and believing Jews and Gentiles are baptized by one Spirit into one spiritual body wherein there are no earthly distinctions (Gal. 3:27-28).
When did Israel fall? Many think it was when they crucified Christ but after that they were given an opportunity to repent as recorded in the first part of the book of Acts (Lk. 23:34; Acts 3:17-21). Between His resurrection and public ascension forty days later, Christ opened the scriptures to the apostles (explaining and reconciling the suffering and glory prophecies, 1 Pet. 1:10-11) and instructed them concerning the kingdom (Acts 1:1-6). That's why they asked Him if He was going to restore again the kingdom to Israel at that time. In accordance with prophecy, ten days later on the Jewish feast day of Pentecost when Jews of the dispersion were in Jerusalem, Christ baptized the apostles with the Holy Ghost for power (Acts 2) and they preached the gospel of the kingdom to Israel with great signs and wonders (what took place in Acts 2 is different from 1 Cor. 12:13). Peter was preaching about things spoken of the prophets since the world began (Acts 3:21). The leaders in Jerusalem stubbornly continued to reject Christ and in Acts 7 they stoned a man they knew was filled with the Holy Ghost. Strike three! They had rejected the Father, the Son, and now the Holy Spirit! According to prophecy, the tribulation could have begun (that's why Stephen saw Christ standing, Ps. 110:1; Jam. 5:9). 

But instead of pouring out wrath, He poured out exceeding abundant grace (1 Tim. 1:11-16)by saving the leader of the rebellion (Saul of Tarsus who becomes the apostle Paul) and began to reveal the mysteries (i.e. secrets, not things too hard to be understood) of this present age of grace to him (1 Cor. 4:1). In this age God is building one spiritual body with a heavenly position (Eph. 2:6). We are blessed with "all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3). Paul’s ministry was actually the ministry of Christ from heaven and concerns things that were kept secret since the world began (Rom. 16:25; Col. 1:21-29). After this parenthetical age ends with the mystery of the rapture (1 Cor. 15:51) God will resume His dealings with Israel, bring them through the tribulation, come again in glory to set up His kingdom, save Israel, and put her under a new covenant. He will literally fulfill all that He promised her (Rom. 11:25-29).

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