Subtle Mercies

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

A question, that it is often posed, and used as an accusation of lack from God, is the question of mercy. Believers and nonbelievers alike often question if God is a merciful God. It is easy to live the blessed life when the big paycheck comes in or the loved one we have been praying for is suddenly healed and no longer at death’s door. The point is that we believe and receive the blessings and mercies of God when things are seemingly going well for us. But, what do we do when it is our season to suffer and bear our crosses? Are we able to still see the mercies of God, His justice, and unending love for us? Are we willing to even see His love and mercy in our times of trial? Many of us are not! As soon as trial comes or our season of suffering has arrived, our faith becomes shipwrecked and our belief that God is merciful and loves us is cast wayside. Why me Lord? What have I done to deserve this? Sound familiar? It should, we have all said it at one time or another! But, even still, God remains merciful and His love for us never changes!

The title of this article, “Subtle Mercies”, was chosen with purpose. It rightly suggests that at times we have to intently and with purpose look for the mercies of God. They are not hidden from us; we only have to dig for these nuggets of truth and love. Their subtlety suggests that we are required to pursue God and seek His mercy and love to find them. In our quest we do find mercy and love and a new closeness to our God. If it is worth possessing then it is worth searching for. Personally, I believe God planned it this way. Sometimes His mercies are as obvious as the smile on our face and at other times we must search for them with deliberate determination.

Allow me to share with you one occasion of these subtle mercies I refer to. It is documented in the Old Testament of our Bibles. I’m sure we all remember the story of Moses and how God used him to deliver the Israelites from the hands of slavery under the captivity of Pharaoh. But, do we see the whole story, the “big picture”, and beyond the obvious miracles, blessings, and mercies?

God began His call upon Moses by laying on his heart an unexplained love for his own people and distaste for Pharaoh and the Egyptians. In a sense, God was bringing Moses back to his “roots”. Ultimately, Moses was used of God to deliver His people Israel from the captivity of Pharaoh. These were a stiff-necked people with constant complaints and serious disbelief that Moses or God had their best interest at heart. Let us not forget that God had responded to their cries in the first place. Their prayers for deliverance were being heard and granted. Nevertheless, they remained an infantile bunch and wondered the desert for forty years with Moses in tow as God’s called leader.

During these forty years Moses faced many trials in leading his people for God. Sometimes He was pleasing to God and other times displeasing. Sounds a lot like us too don’t it? Nevertheless, God always remained faithful and merciful to Moses. Several times Moses did quite the opposite of what God had commanded him and furthermore in an angry burst, intentionally broke the tablets of stone that had God’s law inscribed by His own finger! Again, this sounds like us, huh? Foolishness in the wrath of our anger! God was still faithful to extend love and mercy to Moses and He does us too. How many times in our lives have we deserved the wrath of God? Equally, how many times has He extended the hand of grace and mercy to us even though we did not deserve it? Countless, concerning both!

Although there are many, let us note some of the mercies extended to Moses. He (Moses) asked to see God’s glory. God allowed him to see His back as He passed by from the cleft of a rock. Mercy! God allowed Moses to make two new tablets of stone like the previous ones and rewrote His commandments on them for Moses to deliver to the people of Israel. A second chance! Mercy! Although God had told Moses He could not enter the Promised Land because of his disobedience concerning the water and the rock, God did allow him (Moses) to look upon the land of promise in all its beauty. Moses saw with his own eyes what he had suffered and fought for in bringing Israel to the land flowing with milk and honey. Some say this was a cruel act of God and went along with the punishment of Moses. No, I believe it was an act of mercy by allowing Moses to see the fruit of his work and reasons for leadership, although not perfect, were not in vain. Mercy! God had taken Moses atop a mountain to see the land and when Moses had beheld it, he died. God Himself buried Moses and the location of his grave was never revealed. Mercy! Moses is the only person in history that has ever been buried at the hand of God. Burial is an act of honor and respect. Mercy!

Let us not be disillusioned or misinformed. Although God is a merciful God, there are still consequences for our actions. But, we must always remember that the punishment and chastisement of God is in itself merciful. God is many things, but above all He is loving and merciful!

The next time we tend to doubt the mercies of God, let us look upon the life of Moses and view fresh that our doubt simply isn’t true. God is not looking for perfect people, He is looking for those who will believe and receive His love and mercy. All honor, glory, and thanksgiving are to our God, for His love and mercies endure forever! Amen!

The Mercy of the Father: An Underserved Gift

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“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

Greetings and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! The love and beauty of God within the scriptures never ceases to amaze and leave me awestruck! Even in the seemingly harsh encounters we read of in the Bible, I am still able to see His love and mercies abound. Oh, what a treasure He is, and a life lived without Him is certainly void.

I wish to share with you one of the greatest, if not the greatest, acts of mercy that the Father has bestowed on us. The merciful act I speak of concerns our redemption as well as one of the first major prophecies of the Bible.

Please join me on a journey back to the Garden of Eden. Here we find the creation of the heavens and the earth, the birds, animals, and more importantly the creation of mankind. Isn’t the garden wonderful, so much beauty to behold and lovely scents to smell? Do you see it? Even the birds and animals are at peace with man and all creation is in harmony! The presence of God fills the garden as sweetly as the aroma of a gardenia shrub on a summer’s eve. No wonder this place is called “paradise”!

God has demanded obedience to one major rule; “of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat”! He even provided a reason for His demand; “in the day that you eat of this tree you shall surly die”. In these scriptures alone we find that God recognized man as a free moral agent.

Now we find trouble in paradise! The serpent has deceived Eve into eating from the forbidden tree and she shares her bounty with Adam. In an instant, mankind is fallen, made aware of good and evil, inherited a sin nature, and died spiritually! The two that would have lived forever, now later experience a physical death. Although conditional on obedience or disobedience, the death of mankind was among the first major prophecies of the Bible.

The disobedient acts of Adam, Eve, and the serpent did not go unpunished and ultimately the first couple was banished from the garden. Let us look closely at the punishment given the serpent and then Adam and Eve being banished from the garden.

God pronounced a curse on the serpent more than all cattle, every beast of the field, and he was to eat dust all his days. In concluding the judgment passed on the serpent, God reveals His redemptive plan for humanity! “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel”. This prophetic Word of God was fulfilled by Christ Jesus on Calvary’s cross and His resurrection from the dead was the final blow delivered!

Now, let’s consider the first couples banishment from the garden. Was this just part of the justified punishment of God, or was it one of the greatest acts of mercy given to mankind? Carefully read God’s Words: “Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”- therefore the Lord God sent them out of the garden of Eden…”

Beloved, I submit to you that this is the greatest act of mercy bestowed upon mankind from God! Why? If God had allowed Adam and Eve to remain in the garden, eventually they would have eaten from the tree of life. If they had eaten from the tree of life after having eaten the forbidden fruit, they would forever, through all eternity, live in a fallen state, subjected to all the heartaches, pains, disease, sadness, evil, and spiritual death (eternal separation from God) that frail humanity now endures for a short season! Being that Adam and Eve are the beginning of all humanity, and that we inherit our fallen nature from them, we to would have lived in this un-formidable state for all eternity.

The pains, disappointments, and despair we have in this life are only for a short season. We are not destined to live this life forever and we are promised entrance into paradise on the condition of our receiving the sacrifice of Jesus. Beloved, will you join me in raising holy hands to heaven and thanking the Father for His unbound, endless love and mercies? We have indeed received the greatest of mercies and they are new every morning!

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (The “Rapture”)

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

I pray that thus far you have enjoyed our study together, and that the Holy Spirit has brought you abundant “revelations” of Revelation. I promised to take a simple and practical approach, but I never promised it would be short! It is my goal to present God’s Word in all its beauty and wonderment and I hope that this is accomplished here.

After this brief teaching of our study, I am going to begin presenting the Book of Revelation in a chapter by chapter analysis. I have contemplated much about presenting another controversial subject here, and have decided that if I am to present God’s Word in full, and in all its wondrous beauty, I am under obligation before God to do so. That said I will briefly touch on the subject of the “rapture” of the church. We shall prepare in our traditional manner:

Father in the beautiful and mighty name of Jesus, I ask that You guide me as I teach according to Your Holy Word. I ask that if I misrepresent or improperly instruct, You will call me on it, and lead me to the proper rendering. Father, provide for me Your Wisdom and fill me with Your Holy Spirit of Truth. For these that read, I ask for their spiritual eyes and ears to be opened, that they read with an open heart and mind, receive the witness of Your Holy Spirit, and are flooded with the wondrous joy, nay rapturous joy, of soon meeting You in the air. Teach us, Your people, oh Lord. We come hungry for more of You. Satisfy our thirst for righteousness, and lead us into all of Your majestic Truth. It is with praise and thanksgiving that we pray and request. In the name of Jesus, ~Amen

“The Rapture of the Church”

I am well familiar that the word “rapture” is not written in the Word of God, but its meaning and implications certainly are. The word means “caught up” or “carrying off” and is borrowed from the Latin Vulgate Bible (Roman Greek). In the King James Bible the English translation of the word is rendered “caught up”. As I have mentioned before, I will not argue over these doctrines. I will however do my best to answer any questions. What I teach is what I believe, and I believe what I teach because of my study of the Word of God and the witness of His Holy Spirit. I am told in His Word that the Holy Spirit will guide, lead, and teach me in all things, and I just simply study and believe Him for His teaching. If one will apply themselves to the study of the scriptures, you are promised understanding and teaching, in His timing of course.

The “Rapture of the Church” is the moment when Jesus will come and take the believers with Him to heaven. The second coming of Jesus is divided into two parts: “His appearing” (rapture) and “His return”. In His appearing He doesn’t actually return to the earth, He remains in the air and receives the believers to Himself. As, I will later show, His return is when He, and we, return to the earth at the end of the tribulation period to bring an end to the Battle of Armageddon and begin the earthly kingdom and reign of Jesus. Therefore, His appearing is our redemption and His return is as Triumphant King!

The entire Old Testament Exodus story is a type and shadow of these events. God, from the beginning, has established a pattern of protecting, providing for, safely delivering, and sheltering His people! Why would this pattern of deliverance and protection change at the onset of the tribulation period? It won’t! God never forsakes a promise and in His own Words, “changes not”. Consider a few other Old Testament types and examples of the “rapture”; the “translation” of Enoch before the flood, the sealing of Noah and his family in the ark to protect them from the flood, the “rapture” of Lot from Sodom, and the “taking” of Elijah in a whirlwind in the early times of Israel.

Now we shall consider some New Testament scriptures revealing the rapture of the church:

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

(John 14:1-3) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.  Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

(Matthew 24:36-44) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

“In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one, who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.

(Luke 17:26-36) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

“…—such a one was caught up to the third heaven.”

(II Corinthians 12:2) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

 

“For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.”

(I Corinthians 15:21-24) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changedin a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

(I Corinthians 15:51-53) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

(I Thessalonians 4:13-18) NKJV (Emphasis mine) 

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.”

(I Thessalonians 5:9) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth”

(Revelation 3:10) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

      Beloved, I will close here with this portion of our study. I have intentionally submitted the above scriptures without explaining them. I want to allow the scriptures to speak for themselves, affording you the opportunity to listen for the voice of the Lord, concerning their accuracy of our subject. Also, I have intentionally avoided discussing the various beliefs and arguments concerning this subject. I am familiar with them in fair detail, but wanted to present the subject here as neutral as possible, as not to cloud or taint your thoughts. I trust that the Lord will minister to you concerning what I have written. As I have stated before, the scriptures support one another, and I believe those presented support well.

I ask your forgiveness as I am being led to comment on one scripture, the last one, Revelation 3:10 and it is supported by 1 Thessalonians 5:9. This scripture is spoken by Jesus Himself (red letter). He states that He will “keep you [the church] [us] from the hour of trial which shall (meaning it has not happened yet) come upon the whole world (globally, everywhere, worldwide)”. What hour of trial will He keep us from? With respect to biblical history what event(s) have yet to take place? Furthermore, how will He keep us from this hour of trial? Beloved, I have searched the scriptures and inquired of God, the only answers to these questions, are that He will keep us, the church (true body of believers) from experiencing the “Tribulation Period” by removing the church before it begins, which is referred to as the “Rapture”! Until we meet again, I pray for continued understanding and peace.

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (The Seven Year Tribulation Period)

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

Before pressing into a chapter by chapter teaching, I believe it necessary and highly beneficial to discuss the “Tribulation Period”.  This subject by far, has been one of the most controversial concerning the Book of Revelation, especially the “rapture” of the church. Personally, I don’t see the reasons for argument and contention other than Satan wanting to stir strife, and willing people letting him come on in, to steal, kill, and destroy! But, that certainly is his ways and it has caused many people to be “off track” concerning what this period is and how it came to be.

In my opinion, understanding this event is foundational to the understanding of Revelation as a whole. Remember, I mentioned that Revelation was a book of the past, present, and future, meaning the history within is completely harmonized and supported by other scripture. The “Tribulation Period” is a prophesized future event as is the “rapture” of the church. I will teach more about the “rapture” later in our study.

I would also like to bring to remembrance, that I stated that this study is not an exhaustive work, and the subject at hand is no exception. There is much more scripture to support the biblical facts of the tribulation than what I will point out here. I only wish to lay a basic foundation here, and if you study with an open heart and mind, allowing the Holy Spirit to bear witness, you will be supplied with enough information to carry you through eternity!

“The Tribulation Period”

What is it and how did it come to be?

        A quick and simple answer to this question is that it is the seven year period of time remaining before the return of Jesus Christ, to rule and reign in His unending kingdom on the earth. This is a great answer, but it does not answer the second part of our question, how did it come to be?

In Leviticus 25, God commanded Israel to set aside the seventh year of each agricultural cycle to allow the land a “Sabbath Rest”. Leviticus 26 warns Israel of punishments if they did not obey the commandment. Israel lacked proper spiritual response to God’s command and as a result, for 490 consecutive years, Israel never let the land have a “Sabbath Year’s” rest. This totaled 70 missed Sabbath Year’s rest for the land. As a result of Israel’s disobedience, God allowed them to be taken into Babylonian captivity for 490 years.

“Therefore He brought against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or virgin, on the aged or the weak; He gave them all into his hand. And all the articles from the house of God, great and small, the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king and of his leaders, all these he took to Babylon. Then they burned the house of God, broke down the wall of Jerusalem, burned all its palaces with fire, and destroyed all its precious possessions.  And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.

(2 Chronicles 36:17-21) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

        The Babylonian captivity was prophesied by the Prophet Jeremiah. I know that 2 Chronicles comes before the Book of Jeremiah, but allow me to point out that 1 and 2 Chronicles is more or less a summary of 1 and 2 Kings. Therefore, Chronicles contains “chronological” events of the Kings of Israel although they may not have come to pass yet. Remember that the Bible is not necessarily in chronological order from cover to cover. Now let us look at Jeremiah’s prophecy:

“And as the bad figs which cannot be eaten, they are so bad ‘—surely thus says the Lord —’so will I give up Zedekiah the king of Judah, his princes, the residue of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who dwell in the land of Egypt. I will deliver them to trouble into all the kingdoms of the earth, for their harm, to be a reproach and a byword, a taunt and a curse, in all places where I shall drive them. And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence among them, till they are consumed from the land that I gave to them and their fathers.”

(Jeremiah 24:8-10) NKJV (Emphasis mine)

“I will take from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

(Jeremiah 25:10-11) (Emphasis mine)

        In the above scripture, “the bad figs” represent Israel, and all of the above scriptures show that God allowed Israel to fall victim to Babylonian captivity for a “490 year period”.  The Prophet Jeremiah is again used to prophesy concerning the “Tribulation Period” during which Israel will severely be under attack, but this time also speaks of its eventual restoration.

This particular prophecy is known as “Jacob’s Trouble”. Remember that “Jacob”, was the son of Isaac, twin brother of Esau, and the grandson of Abraham. His name was changed by God to “Israel” and out of his loins came “the twelve tribes of Israel”. I point this out because “Jacob’s Troubles” actually mean “Israel’s Troubles” symbolically.

Now, we shall introduce the Prophet Daniel into the equation. It is of utmost importance to give a definition of a prophetic term before we continue. In the Daniel prophecy we read the word “week or weeks”. As used in prophecy, one “week” equals seven years, so seventy “weeks” equals 490 years. Also, remember that God operates on a lunar calendar, and has from the beginning of Genesis. His calculation of “time” only allows each month 30 days, where our civil calendar allows for a 28 and 31 day month.

Toward the end of the 490 years of captivity, the Prophet Daniel realizes that the time is almost complete and prays to God. This is known as “Daniel’s Prayer”, one in which he confesses Israel’s sin, failure of obedience to God’s commands, and failure to follow the messages that God’s prophets spoke. It also recognizes Israel’s captivity as being a direct result of God’s righteousness. God heard his prayer and sent the Angel Gabriel with an answer. Gabriel delivers to the world through Daniel, the “70 Prophetic Weeks” prophecy, or “Daniels Seventy Weeks”. Daniel’s prophecy was to run concurrent with that of Jeremiah, but with a slight difference as decreed by God.

God does not violate His Word nor repent of His promises and the 490 year price charged against Israel will be paid! With Daniel’s prayer and God’s prophetic answer, Israel was credited for their “time served”, but the “full” price would still be paid. As a nation they will go through the tribulation period and suffer the attacks from around the world, but they shall be delivered, restored, and saved. I will bring this prophetic picture into clearer focus with the following scripture and accompanying explanation:

Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty- two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. “And after the sixty- two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”

(Daniel 9:24-27) NKJV

        Now, I will explain the symbolic, as well as the literal meaning of the above scripture. I will be explaining it from beginning to end as if told as a short story.

The “seventy weeks” are the 490 years that run concurrent with the prophecy of Jeremiah. From this point until the “end”, God will accomplish for all, finishing the transgression, make an end of sins, make reconciliation for iniquity, bring in everlasting righteousness, seal up vision and prophecy, and anoint the Most Holy. He will accomplish these through His Son, Jesus Christ!

The command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem including the wall was given in Nehemiah 2:1-8 and was accomplished “Until” Messiah the Prince, meaning the first coming of Jesus. “Seven weeks” equals 49 years, the time that was needed to rebuild Jerusalem and its walls. The “sixty-two weeks” or 434 years, is the time from the completion of rebuilding to the coming of the Messiah. “After” “sixty-two weeks” (the 434 year period), Messiah will be “cut off”. This represents the literal time of Jesus’s birth, ministry, and dying on the cross for the sins of all humanity. It is also the beginning of the dispensation of the Grace of God, or the “church age”.

From the beginning of verse 24 to verse 26 we have accounted for 483 years of the determined 490 years decreed by God, therefore, we have a remaining balance of one “week”, or 7 years.

The “prince who is to come to destroy the city and the sanctuary (Temple)” is Satan through the powers of the Roman Empire. The Temple and city was again destroyed in 70 AD. Remember, Jesus spoke to His disciples about its destruction!

He (the Antichrist) will “confirm a covenant with many for one week” The covenant is a false “peace treaty” between Israel and unknowing to them, the Antichrist. The “one week”   represents the remaining 7 years of the determined 490 years, or “The Tribulation Period”.

This period begins upon the signing of the “peace treaty” with Israel. “In the middle of the week” is the halfway mark or first 3 ½ years into the tribulation period. This is the point where the Antichrist shows his true colors to Israel and revokes the “peace treaty.” The only “exact” time frame we are not given here is the amount of time between the crucifixion of Jesus and the “rapture” of the church. It is an “unknown period of time” that God reserved only for Him to know. This is shown in “until the consummation (wedding of the Bridegroom to His bride) which is “determined”.

The “church age” occurs between the 69th and 70th weeks. It began with the ministry of Jesus and ends with the rapture of the church. Since the “church age” is the same as “the kingdom of God on earth, we know its beginning. We also know that it ends (church age) with the rapture, which precedes God’s last seven years of work with Israel. We are presently living in “this time of the end”, Daniel’s term for the closing of the church age, which does not imply “doom”. At the end of the church age the tribulation period begins.

I pray you will continue to join me in this study. God wants us to know and understand His Word and the Book of Revelation is the beautiful climax of His creation! Until we come together again, I pray you are filled with the peace of God that surpasses all understanding! ~Amen

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Introduction)

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

I pray that you have developed a curiosity about this teaching! We will begin here with an introduction to the Book of Revelation. From this point forward, I will be feeding you “strong meat and not milk”, as similar to the words of the Apostle Paul.

I would like to also point out that this study is certainly not an “exhaustive” work and will not be presented from a “religiously theological” viewpoint. No one person can claim credit for what the Holy Spirit is doing. As I have already mentioned, I will take a practical approach in presentation. It is my desire to present to you the often overlooked view of the book as pertains to the Christian.

This book is in fact the climax of God’s beautiful history in creating humankind! He is not “out to get us” as some would teach and have you believe! He loves us deeply and only wants what is best for each one of us. He has given us certain promises throughout His Word as a whole, and He intends to keep them.

We all will someday soon come face to face with our God, and if you are a “born again” Christian, there is absolutely nothing to fear! I assure you that meeting Him and forever living in His presence will be the climax of our lives! Praise God! Thank you Jesus! I’m excited right now!

Father, I come to you asking for your Wisdom and guidance as I present this teaching. Help me rightly divide Your Word of Truth. By the authority You have given me through Your Son Jesus, I bind Satan and his imps from an attack on this work and anyone who reads and studies it. I ask that You open our spiritual eyes and ears, prepare our hearts, and lead us into understanding. Father You alone holds the key to Your Holy Word. I thank You for hearing and answering our prayer and allowing us to boldly approach Your throne of grace with such requests. In the beautiful and mighty name of Jesus we pray ~Amen

Introduction to the Book of Revelation:

The Book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John whose name means “Jehovah is a gracious giver.” The prophecy was given to John in approximately 95 AD, twenty-five years after the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Through one of His angels, the Lord Jesus Himself gave The Revelation to the Apostle John. After John received the Revelation, he was instructed to send it to the seven churches in Asia. 

“Reasons to study Revelation:”

There are many reasons to study The Book of Revelation. Most importantly it is an intricate part of God’s complete Word, plans, and purposes, and He desires that we read and understand it. I will provide you with a couple of reasons for its study. Why would God give us a portion of His Word that was to only be understood by a select few? He wouldn’t! We can and will understand the prophecy. Those who refer to The Revelation as “a book of mystery and hidden meanings” violate the title that God Himself chose. The word revelation means “that which is revealed or made clearly visible.” Consider these other reasons for its study:

“The Time Is At Hand” The Revelation was important to the early church and it is just as important for the “church” today. Revelation 1:3 ends with “for the time is near [at hand KJV]” I can’t answer for you, but I want to understand all I can of God’s Word, before I meet Him face to face. We are not promised “all the time in the world” so it benefits us to make good use of the time God has given us, including the study of Revelation. After all, it speaks to us about our glorious future!

“A Book of Blessings” God promises blessings to those who read Revelation! “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy.” What “right minded” person would want to pass on the blessings of God?

“Five Keys to Help Unlock the Meaning of Revelation”

Within the book there are five keys to help unlock its meaning. It also contains the “master key” needed to unlock other “obscure” passages of the Bible.

“The Revelation of Jesus”- Many have taught only a part of Revelation. They communicate the period of plagues and tragedies, the Antichrist system of government, the mark of the beast, and the battle of Armageddon. These things are not what should dominate the book; it is The Revelation of Jesus Christ that dominates! The unveiling of Jesus! Since Jesus is the central theme, the book should bring you blessings. “Three Views of Jesus”-The New Testament records three views of Jesus. From the gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we visualize Christ the man who came to save the lost.  From the Epistles (letters, mostly written by the Apostle Paul) we visualize Jesus as the Head of the Church. We see Him as He relates daily with His followers. The Revelation gives us our third view. We visualize Jesus as the triumphant Lord! We learn that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords will rule and reign over His unending Kingdom on earth. 

“The Believer’s Right to Understand Revelation”- “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants– things which must shortly take place…” (Rev. 1:1) Notice the words that I intentionally italicized. “Servants” are plural! Some translations omit the second “s”, and servant in the singular shows that John was blessed above all men, as he received the prophecy. The second key is this: Jesus has given us, His servants the biblical right to understand and enjoy the Book of Revelation. In 2 Timothy 2:15, we are instructed to study the Word. Furthermore, we are told that the Holy Spirit will guide us in all truth. (John 16:13) God does not confuse His Word! With the help of Satan man does! 

“Parallel Accounts of Heaven and Earth”-The chapter divisions of Revelation separate two stories which parallel one another. One occurs in heaven while the other occurs on earth. Both take place during a seven year period. This period is known as the “Tribulation.” I will offer more information on this and how the seven year period was determined by God later in the study. The story of heaven is described in chapters 4, 5, 19, and 20. The story of earth in chapters 6, 8, 9, 16, 19, and 20. Chapters 4 and 5 show the activities of angels and people around God’s throne. There is a transition from the heavenly story in chapter 5 to the earthly story in chapter 6. The activities on earth are described in chapter 6 and originate here as well. There is a lapse of continuity in chapter 6, and chapters 8 and 9 continue the earthly story from chapter 6. Chapter 16 again picks up the earthly story. Chapter 19 begins with the heavenly story and transitions to the earthly one. Chapter 20 continues with the earthly story and concludes with the heavenly one. I’m sorry! That sounds a lot more difficult than it really is! 

“Informational Chapters”- The remaining chapters do not necessarily aid in the continuity of the two unfolding stories. They enlarge upon details concerning a person, group of people, or a particular event occurring in one of the stories. The “informational chapters are 7, 10-15, 17, and 18. Chapters 20, 21, and 22 describe the events after the seven-year period: the thousand year reign of Christ, the new heavens, the new earth, and the New Jerusalem.  

“Past, Present, and Future Events”-“Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” Again, Notice the italics, “have seen” equals the past, “which are” equals the present, and “which will” equals the future. The Book of Revelation describes the past, present, and future! In the theological world there are two schools of thought here: historian and futurist. In a “nut shell”, the historian attempts to show that events in history have already fulfilled the prophecy of Revelation and the futurist teaches that the events in chapters 4-22 are unfulfilled. Both have overlooked the reference to past, present, and, future in Revelation 1:19, so neither view is exactly correct. God moves in patterns, and in His steadfastness He doesn’t break His patterns.

This will conclude our study for now. In the next section, I will discuss what the seven-year Tribulation period is, and how this time frame was determined by God. I pray for your continued desire to study with me, and that all of the pieces of the “puzzle” will be brought to your understanding! As this study advances, I encourage you to go back and re-read the previous articles to help maintain the flow of information and how it is interrelated. I pray the continued abundance of blessings be poured upon you to overflowing! ~Amen

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ”

Rev

Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! I pray that everyone had a blessed Resurrection Day celebration, or Sabbath; however you chose to observe this Feast of First Fruits.

I have given much thought and prayer concerning my next teaching and have decided to go with the book of Revelation. This is the sixty-sixth book of the Holy Bible and the one most often surrounded by major differences of opinion. Nonetheless, I believe that I am led of the Lord to tackle it in all its wonderful glory! I will do my best to avoid giving my opinion and let the scriptures speak for themselves. That said, I will tell you that what I write is what I believe. I do not claim to be a “prophecy” or Bible “expert”. I’m a simple man, in love with a Majestic God, trying to present a simple gospel.

I would also like to express a small disclaimer at the onset of this endeavor. As I stated, what I write is what I believe. You are under no obligation to accept my beliefs concerning this book or the accompanying additional prophecies I will share. I have given much study to this book and the subject of the “rapture” and only offer my work as a blessing and teaching, not as a means of division amongst the flock. I have heard more than once, the many arguments and debates concerning Revelation. I WILL NOT argue or debate with anyone concerning my writing on this subject. I will attempt to answer any questions should they arise, but refuse to “argue”.

I plan to take a straight forward and practical approach to this study and use the scriptures as support, one for the other. I ask you to keep and open heart and mind as we engage this work. The most important thing you can do is to allow the Holy Spirit to witness with what you read, or not witness with it. His leading, guiding, and confirmations are always accurate and best serves our interests and understanding.

I will begin with an introduction of the book and some other useful information that will help us in our study. Keep in mind that this will be a lengthy study and take some time to reach completion. It may even be necessary for me to publish other articles off this subject, but I will continue the work, the Lord willing. Please be patient with me as we progress.

The book of Revelation is the book Satan has, for centuries, opposed. God is not the author of confusion neither has He given us the Spirit of Fear. Thus, all confusion and fear concerning this book is the work of Satan. (I Corinthians 14:33 and II Timothy 1:7)

The book of Revelation is about Jesus; as stated in the first verse. This verse along with verses 1:11 and 22:16 establish God’s plan and will. This book must be properly taught as it is a great discredit to God in not properly teaching it!

All throughout history, men have suggested to avoid this bible book. It has been stated that it is a horror, confusing, scary, spooky, incomprehensible, irrelevant, historical, full of doom and gloom, and a previously fulfilled book of mystery, among many other equally gloomy descriptions. These are fire filled lies straight from the pits of hell! Satan has sown these seeds of confusion and fear and therefore generations of preachers have taught it as a book of “doom and gloom”. I can completely clear this theory out of existence with two verses from chapter 1. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ”, and “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy”! (Revelation 1:1; 1:3)

A revelation of Jesus certainly can’t be gloomy, and in His own words, whoever reads or hears the prophecy is blessed! You see, generations of ministers have only taught about the “antichrist”, “Battle of Armageddon”, “the end of the world”, “the upheavals of nature”, and “the impending destruction of mankind”. All those things are true; for the unbeliever, but the book also reveals the blessed hope of all believers of Jesus! Some say and have said that they do not need to understand the Book of Revelation to know the “truth”. Although this may be true, salvation is not dependent on our understanding this book, consider the words of Timothy as inspired by the Holy Spirit:

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man [and woman] of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16-17)

This includes the Book of Revelation; therefore we mustn’t throw it aside and consider it of no value! God intends for His people to know and understand His Word!

Present day world affairs clearly demonstrate that the ancient prophecies of the scriptures are rapidly coming to pass. These prophetic fulfillments indicate that we are closer now to the fulfillment of the prophecies contained in the Book of Revelation. Technically speaking, the “last days” began over 2000 years ago in the upper room in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. This was the day of the birth of the church, thus the “church age” began. We are currently still in this “church age” and it “ends” at the beginning of the tribulation period. We must also not forget that Jesus Himself is in control of all the events described in the book.

I also believe that clearer vision of the Book of Revelation is being given of God to us in this hour. Why? Because as the events in our world history unfold we are able to more clearly associate them with the fulfillment of prophecies contained in the Holy Scriptures.

God desires that we understand His Word! He would not give us a wonderfully simple book, and close it with a chapter of such theological superiority that no two logically thinking people could agree on its meaning. Furthermore, God would not provide for us anything with the intent to confuse or invoke fear in us.

I will end my dissertation here for now. I only wanted to introduce my readers to the next study and will actually begin teaching in the next published commentary. Please pray for me as I present this study to you and I will pray for both of our understanding. May the God of peace, comfort, and understanding abundantly rest upon each of you ~Amen!

The Life and Person of Jesus Christ (Part IV)

Jesus

Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

Good Evening fellow Sojourners! I trust you had sweet rest in the presence of Jesus? After all, that is the true Sabbath rest! We have faithfully travelled and now reach the climax of our journey. We only have but a short distance left to reach the truth of our quest. Is Jesus the Son of God? At journeys end, we must answer this question and forever reap the consequences of our decision! Do you see that outstretched hand? Jesus desires to carry you the rest of the way. Rest in His arms and let us proceed.

I ask your forgiveness as I may have once again puzzled you? After all, I am not a faultless guide. What could I possibly prove through the parables of Jesus, concerning His life and Person? I shall begin my testimony with an additional prophecy concerning this man Jesus. What I show you was prophesied by two different authors of opposite periods in time. I’m not convinced that these two men even had knowledge of each other:

“I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known,

And our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.”

(Psalm 78:2-4) (King David)

“And He said, Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive. Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes;

Lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return and be healed.”

(Isaiah 6:9-10) (The Prophet Isaiah)

 

      It is of utmost importance, to here provide a little more evidence, to decisively arrive at an answer to our question. The last book of the Old Testament (Old Covenant) is Malachi and the first book of the New Testament (New Covenant) is Matthew. The period between these two testaments is known as the “Intertestamental period” or the “Silent Years”. This is a 400 year period where God was “silent” and revealed nothing new to His people. At the end of Malachi, Israel was under the powers of Persia and the Medio-Persian Empire. When you open the book of Matthew you discover an entirely different atmosphere- almost a different world! Rome is now the dominant power of the earth. Why is this important information? Because, although God was silent for four hundred years, when He decided to again speak to His people, He did so in a magnificent and wonderfully majestic way! He introduced the world to His Son, Jesus, and the Saviour of all mankind! He declared to Himself, “I must go to the earth and give my life for my people!” Wow! What selfless love!

 

      One of the evidences of Christ’s uniqueness is found in the parables, simple in their portrayal of great truths and taken as they are from real life. They possess awe-inspiring depth and scope in their unfolding of the principles of the Kingdom of Heaven. Nevertheless, the parables were not to be understood by all who hears them. This is shown in Jesus’ own words and is also the fulfillment of the aforementioned prophecies:

“And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has [spiritual knowledge], to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:’ Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;  for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

(Matthew 13:10-17)

      Not only do the parables give the Christian insight into the character of Christ, they also show the Christian the way of life while on the earth and through eternity. These parables also give a prophetic view of the church. To list each parable and its meaning is altogether a separate work for another time and will not be accomplished here. I only wanted to show here that we get great insight into the Life and Person of Jesus Christ. We also have great revelation into the heart of God!

In conclusion, it is more than evident that one could write through eternity about the life and teachings of Jesus and what He means to the individual person. For now we only receive beautiful glimpses! I know that one day we will see Him face to face in all His glory, and we shall know all things about Him. The world itself could not contain all the books needed to record His biography and all that He has accomplished:

“And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen”

(John 21:25)

 

Here marks the end of our journey. I have attempted to be a faithful, trustworthy, and true guide. If I have led well you will have met the Living Waters of Life. If I have failed, Jesus remains a mystery. The case has been presented and you have received compelling evidence. The decision and answer to our question is now in the hands of the jury, your hands. Is Jesus the Son of God? Is He your loving Saviour? Did He give His life to pay your sin debt in full? Or, does He remain a man of mystery, a fable of ancient times? I have made my decision and obtained my answer. He is everything to me; Jesus Christ is the Son of God!

I pray you have been blessed and have come to know Jesus for the first or in deeper relationship! Until we meet again, rest, rest beloved in the presence of Jesus

. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

(Matthew 11:28-30)