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    Christ/Elect/Tribulation/Rapture- Part 3

    Friday, May 22, 2015, 1:42 PM [General]

    The word ‘rapture’ isn’t used in the Scripture to refer to Christ calling His followers up to be with Him, but it is a term that is used to describe that event.  This, as we saw in the earlier post, will be with a great trumpet.  Let’s look for a moment at the trumpets in the New Testament.

    Matthew 24:30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

    1st Corinthians 15:51 Behold!  I tell 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 trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.  53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."

    55 "O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?"  56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Paul speaks of the ‘last trumpet’.  Paul does not mean that there will never be trumpets played in Heaven, so which trumpet could he be referring to?  The New Testament speaks of Seven Trumpets to be sounded during that period of great tribulation.  Jesus had earlier said that the tribulation will be cut short for the sake of the elect.  Now the period spoken of as that great tribulation by theologians is that time referred to in the book of Revelation when there will be the seals, trumpets, and bowls.  There are to be seven seals, and when the first seal is broken, the “Great Tribulation” (as called by the theologians) is to begin.  This is to be followed by seven trumpets, which are signaled by the breaking of the seventh seal.  Then at the breaking of the seventh trumpet, the seven bowls will appear.  These seven bowls are to be filled with God’s wrath.  Christians are to be spared from the wrath of God, and it would certainly seem that the sounding of the seventh trumpet which sets the stage for God’s wrath would be that last trumpet that will sound that Paul spoke of, and that Jesus said would be when His elect would be gathered.

    The Bible tells that Christians may be subject to discipline including chastening, which involves the normal upbringing of a child, but also scourging, which literal translation means flogging.  It is not the Lord’s desire for His children to be flogged, but people who understand discipline know that in the self-willed and stubborn nature of humans, it is sometimes necessary to inculcate proper training.  As to the persecution and tribulations the Scriptures teach that Christians are to endure, this is to be due to the fact that Christians are contrary to the ruler of this world, and this world (under the influence and control of the ruler of this world) will be naturally against Christianity.  If a person finds many friends in ‘this earthly, materialistic world’ ruled by Satan, then that person is not living to the expectations of his Creator.  In other words- if you are an enemy to the ruler of this world, then could you expect this world to be obliging to you?  Christians are to love and pray for their enemies, but how do the people of this world generally respond to enemies?  So then what else could Christians expect from this world?

    This is why you should be careful of false teachers who tell you what you ‘want’ to hear.  If one promises you prosperity in this world, then they are not seeing this world as contrary to our Heavenly Father’s rule.  If you truly believe, as the Bible teaches, that this world is ruled by Satan, and you see politics as ‘running’ the world, then how much trust should you expect to place in politics?  People should be very careful about seeing how what their teachers teach compare with what the Bible truly says.

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    Christ/Elect/Tribulation/Rapture- Part 2

    Friday, May 22, 2015, 11:00 AM [General]

    In the earlier post we asked, “Who do you say is the Christ/Messiah/Deliverer?”  Now let’s consider who those are who are called ‘the elect’.

    Mark 13:19 For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.  20 And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved.  But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.

    21 And then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it.  22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.

    Jesus refers to the elect twice in the passage above.  From the original language, the elect are those who are chosen/selected as being apart from the rest.  Jesus taught that those who believed in Him and chose to follow Him become the children of God.  Those are the ones who are separate from this world who is ruled by Satan.  They do not look for science, technology, or politics to transform this world to a New Era, New Age, New World Order, or some paradise that will live in peace, love, and harmony.  They are the ones who pray for their Savior to deliver them from this world.

    There will be that ‘great tribulation’ which will shake this world to the core.  The elect will experience tribulation.  Many times in the New Testament it teaches that we must come through the tribulations of this world.  Jesus taught that we would be persecuted and held in low esteem by the people of this world.  This is a cross we are to carry and a time that we are to overcome the insults of this world.

    Most people don’t want to hear this, so they will heap up teachers that tell them what they want to hear.  These are the false teachers who will seek to lead away, if possible, even the elect, as Jesus said above.  Notice that He said “if possible”.  You see, the truth is, Satan cannot break the bond that our Heavenly Father has between Himself and His children, but Satan will try, and Satan will lead some (perhaps many) astray into confusion, as Lot was vexed in sore derision in Sodom, but yet, Lot was delivered.  This being ‘vexed in sore derision’ leads many to doubt their salvation and may lead them into a life that is not compatible with living as a Christian should.  But the seal of the Holy Spirit on God’s elect cannot be broken, and the Good Shepherd will find His sheep, even though they stray from the fold.

    Notice also in the passage above that Jesus says there will be such a tribulation, but that it would be shortened for the sake of the elect.  This indicates that the elect will be in that tribulation, but that it would be shortened for their sake.

    Matthew 24:30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

    Jesus said that all would see the Son of Man (a reference referring to Himself as being God, yet He came to earth as a Son of Man- this is prophesied in the Old Testament, and Jesus several times referred to Himself as the Son of Man, a descendant of David as was prophesied).  He said that He would gather His elect with a ‘loud trumpet call’.  Next we need to discuss the trumpets in the New Testament associated with that great tribulation.

    1st Corinthians 15:51 Behold!  I tell 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 trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.  53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."

    55 "O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?"  56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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    Christ/Elect/Tribulation/Rapture- Part 1

    Friday, May 22, 2015, 9:33 AM [General]

    There are a few subjects heavy on my mind that will require at least two, if not more posts: Who is the Christ; Who are the elect; Who will experience the ‘great tribulation; and when will the rapture be?

    Mark 8:27 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?"  28 And they told him, "John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets."  29 And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?"  Peter answered him, "You are the Christ."

    Many people have many ideas about who the Christ is.  Who do you say that He is?

    Mark 13:19 For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.  20 And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved.  But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.

    21 And then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it.  22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.

    The first subject above is about the tribulation, but this discussion is about who do you say is the Christ.  Jesus said that there would be many who say who the Christ is, but Jesus here says that there will be many false christs and prophets.  The New Testament teaches that there will be many false teachers.  Christians are to carry the message of Christ throughout the world.  Yet with so many teachings (sects and denominations) about who the Christ is, who do you believe?  With so many different ideas about Who He really is and what His life and works were about, Who is He really?  This is part of why people are to ‘work out their salvation with fear and trembling’ (Philippians 2: 12).  You are responsible for finding God’s Christ (Yahweh’s Mashiach/Messiah) within your own self.  You will find Him when you search for Him with all your heart (Jeremiah 29: 13; Hebrews 11: 6).  With so many teachings abounding, then it should be evident that all of them are not the TRUTH, so there are evidently many false teachings.  Jesus said that He is the TRUTH, so you are to seek Him, the Truth, with all your heart.

    Aside from many false teachers, many people look in many other places for the Truth.  The Bible teaches that Satan is the ruler of this world, and politicians are also rulers in this world.  It is very hard to find an honest politician.  There may be some who think they are honest, but unless they are seeking government from God’s Word then they are looking in all the wrong places.  So how many politicians are known for their ‘honesty’.  Satan is the ruler of ‘this world’ (this materialistic society).  How many politicians are known for their materialism?  Satan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8: 44), and again, how many politicians are known for their honesty.  Yet when many search for truth, they look for ‘honest politicians’.  They turn to Liberals or liberal news sources or to Conservatives and conservative news sources.  They are looking for truth in all the wrong places.

    Who do you say is the Christ?  Who do you look to for your salvation and deliverance?  Do you seek whatever teachers tell you, and accept the ones that sound best to you, the ones who tell you what you want to hear; or do you search for the Lord to reveal Himself to you through your diligently, earnestly seeking Him?  Do you look for politicians to deliver you from the tribulations to come?

    Matthew 24:30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

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    Faith- Part 5

    Thursday, May 21, 2015, 8:27 AM [General]

    So from previous posts (and the Scriptures- Habakkuk) we saw that the just shall live by their faith.  We saw that the just are those who walk the path (travel the journey) as prescribed by our Creator/Heavenly Father.  That is a path that seeks peace with all and love for all.  It is not a path that seeks to elevate one’s self above others, but recognizes that all that is in this world is ruled by the lord of this world, Satan.  Therefore, this world is evil, and even within our own selves dwells no good thing.

    Now we must say that Christians have received the Holy Spirit, and with the Holy Spirit within, then the Christian has perfection dwelling within; however, we must maintain that humility that recognizes that of ourselves, and in this earthly, fleshly body dwells no good thing, but that we owe our Savior for His love and forgiveness.  The perfection of the Holy Spirit within us is not something that we have earned or deserve, and that though the Holy Spirit within us may be perfect, that does not mean that we are perfect or that we, of ourselves fully follow that Spirit’s guidance.  So we, as just (not a justness of our own, but justified by the blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ) are to live (travel the journey of this life) by faith (that firm conviction that He is able to keep that which we’ve committed unto Him against that day of judgment that is sure to come upon this wicked world).  We know that the day of judgment is coming, and the wickedness of this world will be banished to everlasting separation from our Creator to live in torments as foretold by Jesus.  So in love we are to warn this wicked world of that judgment to come and pray that their ears and eyes will be opened to the TRUTH, and that their minds will understand and their hearts may be transformed.  At the same time, we must remember that we have not yet arrived at that glorious state of perfection, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us as we strive to walk that path of justice (travel that journey of life) following the road map our Father has given us in His Word.  His Word is not based on the letter of the legal aspects of law so but based on love, and we need to learn to better understand that love even to those our earthly fleshly bodies may not be inclined to love.

    So again, we have to consider, do we truly know and understand what we believe or where is our faith and why we believe or have that faith?  Many people have many opinions, and people say we must respect the opinions of others.  I say that this is a lie that Satan has spread throughout the world.  We are not to respect ‘opinions’.  We are to search for the truth, and respect only the TRUTH.  So do we really know the TRUTH or do we have opinions about the truth.  We are to respect people, even though they have different ‘opinions’, but we are not to respect the ‘opinions’.  Liberals have ‘opinions’.  Conservatives have ‘opinions’.  This denomination has its ‘opinions’.  That denomination has its ‘opinions’.  We are to respect the people, but carefully examine the ‘opinions’ to sort out the TRUTH.  However, that does not mean that we will all agree on the truth, but the Lord/our Creator/Heavenly Father/Yahweh will search our hearts to see that we are truly seeking for what is purely right and true.  Just because all of our ‘opinions’ may not be purely right and true does not mean that we are not saved, but whether in our faith we are searching for that TRUTH and not merely accepting opinions.

    I believe in the TRUTH.  That does not mean that I know all of the TRUTH, or that I am an expert in TRUTH.  I am searching for TRUTH, and I have faith that God will lead me into that TRUTH, though I will not have it perfectly until I see Jesus, face to face as He, the TRUTH, truly is (1st John 3: 2).  This is the reason from time to time in my posts I stress for people not to believe anything I say because I say it.  I cannot save anyone.  Believing in me will not save anyone.  Believing in what I say because I say it will not save anyone.  Believing in what you find to be TRUE in keeping with the Scriptures and in your own lack of worthiness and in the grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is what will save you.  But each individual must search for Him, His TRUTH, and His LIGHT with all their hearts.  As it is said in Jeremiah 29: 13, you will search for Him and find Him when you search for Him with all your hearts.  This is the journey of the just who live by faith.  We are not just by our own merit or deserving or works.  We are justified by our faith.  Our faith is through the Lord Jesus Christ and we are to live in the search for that TRUTH in His Word.  Now remember from John chapter one- Jesus is the Word that was in the beginning with God and was God.  Is God’s Word the map you are using to follow your journey through this life?

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    Faith- Part 4

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 3:48 PM [General]

    Back to Habakkuk 2:3 “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie.  If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.  4 "Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith,” I had talked about the Hebrew roots for faith/believe etc.  I think we need to look some at the root meaning righteous/just (remember, the word ‘righteous’ in this verse is translated ‘just’ in the KJV).  There are two main Hebrew words that ‘just’ and ‘righteous’ are translated from.  One of those words is ‘yashar’ which generally means to be ‘just, equitable, up-right, etc.” and the other is ‘tsadiyq’ which is usually translated as just or righteous, and generally means the same.  Here we need to get into a little on how the Hebrew words are derived from root words.  I apologize that I cannot give direct credit for each phrase that I use, but the following derivations come from the works of Jeff Benner, a writer and professor on Hebrew and from The Written Language of Abraham, Moses, and David by Andre Roosma.

    From the Hebrew root ‘yrh (yud-resh-hey)’ comes the word yarah which means to throw sometimes translated as ‘cast’ or ‘shoot’ (as in throwing/shooting arrows).  This same word, yarah, is also translated teaching, as teaching is intended to instruct someone in which direction to go in their learning and living.  From the word yarah also comes the word torah which means ‘teach’ as in teaching the directions one are to follow.  The Jews refer to the first five books of the Tanach (Old Testament for Christians) as the Torah, which is the ‘teachings of God as handed down from Moses’ or the ‘directions the Jews are to travel on their path to their Creator’.  See any connections?  Directions and paths are things one may find on a map.  Have you ever heard the expression that the Bible is like a map people are to use to travel the road of life?

    Another important word to consider here is ‘tvh (tsady-vav-hey)’ or tsavah which refer to directions whether on a map or teachings as in the Scriptures.  Another word formed from tsavah is mitsvah which involves the teaching of these directions, or directions given as teachings.  These words may sometimes be translated as commandments or orders, but they are more in the sense of directions to be followed by choice (not so much as a forced direction).  So people have a choice to follow God’s directions, and following those directions will lead one on the path of life.  However, no one on earth has perfectly followed those directions, so that is why God in His love provided for salvation for all who choose to put their faith in Jesus.  So think in these terms and consider this copy and paste from The Written Language of Abraham, Moses, and David by Andre Roosma.

    תורה (torah), which is usually translated as "law," but literally means the "journey," מצוה (mitzvah), usually translated as "command," but literally means the "directions for the journey," צדיק (tsadiyq), usually translated "righteous," but literally means "traveling the path," and רשע (rasha), usually translated as "wicked," but literally means "lost from the path."

    Now in Habakkuk 2: 4 where the ‘righteous (just) shall live by his faith’, we find ‘righteous (just)’ translated from ‘tsadiyq’ meaning the one who traveling the path (not a path of his own choosing, but the path the Lord laid down in the Torah) will live by his faith (emunah- that firm trusting conviction/belief/steadfastness).  No one has perfectly followed the path prepared by our Creator Yahweh, so that would mean we would all be ‘rasha (lost from that path)’ except for that faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Where is your faith.  What do you believe and why do you believe it?  Do you really know where your faith is?  A lot of people can say, “I believe in this or that,” but do they really understand what it is they believe or why they believe it?  For myself- I can’t say that I fully know, or understand.  I can only say that I am searching for the Lord, I hope as best I know how, with all my heart, but I know that even in that I am not perfect.  Yet He said that those who search for Him with all their heart will find Him (Jeremiah 29: 13).  Where do we search?  How do we find a ‘road map’ to find Him.  His road map/ the directions for us to follow are provided in His Word.  Are we searching with all our hearts for the Source of that faith that delivers us from His wrath which is soon to come?

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