I think it’s a useful idea, given current events, to examine the biblical “birthpangs” or the “beginning of sorrows”. We might actually be moving into that time of history, or indeed have been there for quite a while already. Let’s see.Continue reading
As I was browsing Quora for an entirely different reason, I came across this statement, which blessed me and caused me to think beyond it to the Rapture and the Bride of Christ. Here’s the original question and the answer:
Why did Joseph take Mary with him to Bethlehem when they weren’t even married and there was no need for her to go?Continue reading
With events escalating worldwide, Christians are thinking more and more about the Coming of the Lord. However, a very large portion of the Church adamantly professes a “pre-trib rapture”, by which they mean that Christians will suddenly and unexpectedly be taken out of the earth before anything remotely unpleasant can happen to them.
That is such a comforting belief that it’s believed by many, including myself for the greater part of my Christian life.Continue reading
I have recently been thinking about Paul’s reference to The Restrainer in his letter to the Thessalonians. It’s been a matter of much speculation over the years as to who or what is restraining the evil that will bring forth the Man of Sin.
I am not much closer to an answer, although most people believe it is either the Holy Spirit, the Church, or the Government that restrains evil, so preventing the appearance of the one we call Antichrist.
In researching the passage, however, I came across some books and website studies that helped me translate more accurately the verse that suggests the Restrainer must be “taken out of the way” in the endtimes. Continue reading
I have been reading the book of Acts. When I came to chapter 14 suddenly for the first time something occurred to me. On checking my thoughts on the Net, it seems I wasn’t the only one!
In Lystra, where Paul and the others has gone to escape the persecution in Antioch, Paul was stoned by some of the Jewish elders of Antioch who had travelled there on purpose to harass him.
My thought was this: when Paul was stoned by the Jews and left for dead, did he actually die? And was THIS the time he later referred to as his visit to heaven: Continue reading
The description of the endtimes in Matthew 24 has become a focus of attention in past months. It has been used to show the differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming.
However it’s also been used to eliminate the Rapture and even the Church entirely from what Jesus said.
Some deny that Jesus was talking to Christians at all. They see no correlation between Matthew 24 and the Book of Revelation, and fix all the events Jesus mentioned during what they claim will be seven years of Tribulation. Although these beliefs are commonplace, are they actually supported by the bible text itself?
In Matthew 24 Jesus answered three questions asked by the disciples:
- When will the Temple be destroyed, no stone being left upon another
- What are the signs that you are coming back for us?
- What are the signs of the End and Final Judgement, and the setting-up of the earthly kingdom?
I am reluctantly joining the current pre-trib debate. I have hesitated very much in writing about this, as I know that most have already hardened into one side or the other, and I refuse to engage in pointless debate.
But after prayer, I read this [about a different topic] on a post to my Facebook “It is love to warn someone of deception and falsehood. It is a believer’s obligation if you know the truth to warn a brother or sister of deception and of wolves in sheep’s clothing. To say nothing at all is to not care about that person’s soul.”
So I am going to post this, because I believe the time is right.
I’ve been noticing an escalation in the age-old rapture debate with people taking sides on what at first glance seems a trivial and even minor doctrine of scripture, compared to everything else in the gospel.
And the endless debate isn’t even about the FACT of the rapture, but its TIMING.
Now it’s getting even more unworthy of the Body of Christ, with some calling others heretics, and breaking fellowship, and even saying that anyone who doesn’t believe the classic pre-seven-year theory is ignorant, stupid, apathetic, backslidden or “will be left behind to suffer God’s wrath”. Where does such thinking and talking come from? It’s not from God!
I haven’t made the rapture timing a focus of my writings, because there are more important and less divisive things that need to be said. I hate confrontation and I am grieved by pointless sniping at the jots and tittles of doctrine. Didn’t God warn us against debating over words for no particular reason?
The Church started arguing over the rapture almost from day one! And how are we to respond? Let’s see what the bible commands….
For many years, the classic evangelical interpretation of the first seal opened in Revelation – the Rider of the White Horse – is that it’s the Antichrist. It is said he comes at the beginning of a seven-year tribulation before which all the Church is taken out of the world by the Rapture.
This bedrock teaching has hardly ever been challenged in the modern day, except perhaps by those who see the first seal as Jesus Christ, or as a metaphor for a historic event.
Let’s deal with this first theory, which began to be taught from around 150 AD. The white horse rider cannot be Jesus Christ, because He is seen in Heaven when the four riders are sent forth (and the living creatures do not command Jesus Christ but the other way round.)
To say that the first rider is Jesus Christ is inconsistent with the nature of all four horsemen, who are spirit beings causing chaos on Earth. They cause a series of preparatory disasters and judgements, leading to mankind’s yearning for a new messiah.
Article continues HERE. Please click to keep reading.
I have decided to continue my series on the Four Seals of Revelation Chapter 6 by updating the information to include the fourth seal.
We have no real proof of what that seal may be, as the bible does not (contrary to popular belief) say that the pale horse with Death and Hades is “plague”. It only speaks of “death” in various forms. Nonetheless, I thought it would be a good idea to look into current events to see how they might fit in to the sequence that has been unfolding since 1994.
As some of you will know, I differ from the traditional opinion, in believing we are already in the time of the opening of the seals of Revelation. Anyone curious about my viewpoint of the endtimes should have a good look around my Birthpangs website, and perhaps it would be useful to glance at this chart which accompanies my lengthy article on Revelation and Yom Kippur in the Temple.
In short, I do not hold to the conventional pre-seven-year rapture position. I am what you might call a “mid-seal rapturist”. Nonetheless I DO believe in the rapture of the Church! But in that context, I will dive straight into the subject at hand, the fourth seal.
To continue reading, please click here to go to my website.
I have actually completed (gasp!) some new articles for my Birthpangs.org website.
The new articles are “Jesus or Paul: will you withstand the testing of the last days?” and two small pieces attached to that, one on the Greek translation of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 (about the endtimes and rapture – you might be surprised or shocked!) and another short digression about the Restrainer.
That one needs more work so it’s only a note at present. I may continue to work on it.
Secondly, I’ve finally uploaded Craig’s excellent set of studies on Bill Johnson and Bethel, which were originally posted to his blog CrossWise. Thanks Craig! Visit his blog for even more articles.
Jesus would have been so familiar with these lamps and I think he used them as an illustration more than once. It’s a very good picture of the body, the soul and the spirit. The bible often refers to the human body as the “vessel”, in this case one made of clay – how apt, becuase God formed Adam from the clay and his name (Adam/Edom) means ruddy because the clay was red. Inside the lamp would have been two things working together to provide light, oil and a wick. Olive oil was used for the fuel and the wick was made of flax. This is a picture of the soul and spirit of a human being, bringing the vessel to life.
So the lamp itself is just an clay vessel. Empty and unlit it’s just an ornament really – pretty, interesting to look at, but essentially useless. Man without the illumination of the Holy Spirit is just a vessel. We all have a soul and a spirit but they do not function properly or give a pure light until the oil becomes the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit. The fuel of our own spirits is dark and smokey, foul and smelly, and it gives a dim unhealthy light if any at all. (How can light be darkness? Read this verse: “take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.” (Luke 11:35-36)
When the wick is renewed and set alight by the power of God and the lamp is filled with the pure oil of God, suddenly there is sweetness and light! “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (2 Cor 4:7-8) Then, most of you will be familiar with the comment that Jesus made about hiding your light: “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light”. (Luke 8:16-17) So this light of God is not a personal and private illumination but meant to give light to those around us. If it doesn’t, something is wrong!
Lessons can be learned from all these scriptural references but I feel one of the most important is found in Matt 25:1-13.
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying,’Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”
All those who thought the Lord would return one day started out in a state of readiness, because they ALL had oil-filled lamps. But only the wise went further. They made sure the light of the Holy Spirit was not only in their hearts and souls (the wick) but in their “vessels” also – that is, they topped up their lamps to make sure there would be enough for a long wait. The work of God has not just saved them and renewed them but had been allowed to mould and transform their OUTER lives also.
It’s glorious to be saved! Praise God for every man woman and child who is filled with the Spirit and had their sins forgiven. But these coming days also require endurance. “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (Mark 13:13) Will your anchor hold in the storms of life? Not only our spirits, but everything else must be lit by the oil of the anointing Spirit. Our minds, our activities, speech, relationships, financial affairs, outlook on life – you name it! Unless the transforming light touches our vessels as well as our wicks, we are in danger of deception and stumbling in these last days. LET that oil seep into every part and LET God have his way with you entirely. Make sure you have oil in your vessel as well as your wick.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Tim 4:2-5
This is a faithful saying:
For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.
If we endure, We shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him, He also will deny us.
If we are faithless, He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself.
2 Tim 2:11-13