Sympathy in Our Weaknesses: Surviving Temptation

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“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

(Hebrews 4:15)

Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

Greetings and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! I pray all is going well with you and that you continue to experience the abundant blessings of God.

In this article, I will share on a subject that I believe is often overlooked in the basic teachings of Christianity. Because of this oversight, Christian’s are often left to “fend” for themselves, thus the flock scattered and seemingly left without hope or answers. This is tragic because the end result is often discouragement heaped with a healthy dose of condemnation.

The subject I refer to is “temptation” and believe it or not, it is not a dirty word. Every child of God faces, and will face, temptation numerous times while upon this earth. It is of utmost importance that believers understand that temptation in and of itself is not sin! What we do with the temptation we face determines it becoming sin or not. All temptation, regardless of form or how it is received, comes from the enemy! God never tempts anyone with evil!

Our enemy knows well the weaknesses of humankind! He is not referred to as the “most subtle” without good reason. Like any good shoulder going into battle, knowledge of the strategies of your enemy gives great advantage. Through the scriptures the Lord has prepared the Christian soldier for warfare.

First of all, the enemy always cheats, and will attack by appealing to the desires of human nature! These desires include appealing to our love of beautiful things, pride, and hunger. We can call these areas of attack, “the lust of the flesh”, “the lust of the eyes,” and “the pride of life”. (I John 2:16) Every temptation that comes at us will appeal to one or all three! In the Garden of Eden, Eve was tempted with all three and so was Jesus during His period of temptation in the wilderness! This brings me to the main point, the temptation of Jesus and how that relates to us.

Our enemy holds no punches and will attack from all directions. Sometimes multiple directions in one assault! He tempted Jesus from multiple directions! We find the account concerning the three ways Jesus was tempted in Matthew chapter four (4). The serpent of old hurled three vicious temptations at Jesus: “command these stones to turn to bread”, appealed to His hunger; “throw yourself down”, appealed to His pride, and “all these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me”, appealed to His like of beautiful things, all three fall under the desires of human nature, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

Now, we have learned the strategy employed by our enemy in assaulting us, but what about our counterattack and weapons of war? Let us go back to Matthew chapter four (4) and see how Jesus handled the situation. In corresponding order, let’s listen to Jesus’ reply to each assault: “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”; You shall not tempt the Lord your God,” and “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve”. Alas! Jesus used His Sword, the Word of God, to counterattack the enemy! What was the end result? “Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him”.

Temptation is a serious matter and can bring great distress to the believer. The attacks are often very intense and always strike at our most venerable weaknesses. That said; we are not left orphaned without the care of our Shepherd. It brings us great comfort to know that “we have a High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses, was in all points tempted as we are, yet remained without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

Of equal comfort are the words of the Lord in I Corinthians 10:12-13: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” This scripture does not indicate that God is the tempter, satan is, and God will not allow him to go beyond what we are able to withstand.

Beloved, God, in His mercies, has taught us the strategy of attack employed by our enemy, as well as, the weapon we use to overcome him. Remember, temptation of itself is not sin; it is how we respond that births sin. I pray that in our time of temptations, we use them as a means to strengthen our Lord’s overcoming power in us, and not allow them to merely be the exposure of our weaknesses. We are engaged in the battle, but the enemy has already lost the war! Beloved, “fight the good fight of faith”!

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 Love Trigger: God or Emotionalism?

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

I am compelled to write this article in light of the tragedy in Boston Massachusetts, United States. Not because I feel I must “weigh in” with my opinion or to add to the ever present rhetoric that has already flooded main stream media and social networks. I write because I have made some observations that caused me to “think” before the Lord.

The tragic event that took place in Boston yesterday caused me to reflect on violence, hatred, and calamity globally. I must admit that only in the last twenty or so years has the United States been plagued with large scale violence and attack. Sadly, it is not only from those that hate America internationally, but also from those within our country. Yes, sadly, we are domestically attacking and killing each other including our children! Evil has no boundaries and Satan has no conscience!

I am in remembrance of the civil wars that have been fought across the world, Syria to name a current one. I am reminded that Israel receives rocket fire daily, religious and political wars are being fought all across the globe. And, to add fuel to the already uncontrolled burning, we too, in America, add to the senseless and shameful taking of innocent life. These horrendous crimes range from petty theft to a demonically deranged maniac walking into an elementary school and murdering innocent school children. The victims themselves barely potty trained. And we ask why? Some look to heaven and curse God! Others are not even fazed, or use tragedy as an opportunity to promote political propaganda and “campaigning” tasks. And still others see tragedy as an opportunity to mass market violence and tragedy to make fortunes selling t-shirts, souvenirs, and the making movies, which we have the audacity to call entertainment and free enterprise.

The filth and disgusting messages that pours from our main stream media and so called Hollywood heroes has only served to numb us to the tragic realities of our world. Hate and violence are very real problems on a global level and sadly enough there is only one solution, the return of Jesus Christ. Not sad because of the return of Jesus, but sad because mankind has set itself on a course of self-destruction and depravity.

Right now, at this very hour, I offer the cry of my heart before Almighty God and all who read this, and shout wake up world, including America, rise from your slumber and realize your need of a Savior! Not only for our sins individually, also for our sins corporately. None, not even one, are exempt from the need of a Savior. Each and every person on the planet has free will and is free to exercise it as they see fit within the laws of their particular lands. People of the world, you have a choice to make; turn aside my words with a deaf ear laughing me off as a “religious nut”, or heed my words of your need for a Savior and ask Him into your life. In the days of Noah the floods came and the people were living life as usual. We are no different across this world today.

This brings me to my point in writing. Have you ever noticed that when tragedy strikes it brings out love and compassion for each other, even if it is only short lived? Is it, that only tragedy is the trigger of brotherly love? Have we allowed the evil of this world to be the only thing that triggers our love and goodwill toward our fellow men and women? Have we reduced the worth of human life to only expressing love in tragic events? I for one am worn out, with rhetorical comments like “America is resilient”, “United we stand”, and “those responsible will feel the weight of justice”! What political nonsense! Is there really justice for such hate, evil, violence, cruelty, and senseless murdering? Do we really stand united? We fight and disagree violently over various political parties! Is this justice? I think not! Only forgiveness, as given and obtained through the love of God can bring peace and justice! The time has come when the people of the world should listen to the voice of God and not the voices of political leaders and governments concerning the things pertaining to God! “Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God”!

The time has come, when we as a people globally, should exercise this brotherly love and compassion toward humanity always, not only during tragedy, and the truth of the matter, this can only be accomplished in the power of the love offered through Jesus! Don’t misunderstand me! I am all for love, kindness and compassion throughout the world, but we need the “here stay” love and not the “whimsical” kind that seems to come and go upon the clock of tragedy. We need an abiding love, and that is only found in Jesus! When the smoke clears and the tragic events are entered into the history books, we tend to revert back to self-love. This is because although heartfelt, the love we had at “the moment of crisis” played more on our emotions, and as soon as the “high” of emotions wore off, we were no longer emotionally supercharged, and went back to living life for ourselves. We must realize that although love is emotional, it is also a choice that must be exercised or it dies!

I write this article fully aware that “world love and peace” is only an unfulfilled dream that cannot be had through mere human effort. It will only be accomplished when Jesus takes the throne in His Kingdom on the earth. So why write such articles and make such brash statement? Simply because I know, that lives are changed one heart at a time, and as a result, one changed heart and life will breed another changed heart, and so on down the line. With every person we have contact, an impression is given and a difference made in their life for the positive or negative. It is possible to love without Jesus but it is not abiding and with the guarantee of eternity. We must choose to live life daily in the love we find through tragedy and we must have Jesus to make this choice, one of abiding love. So, what is your love trigger, God or emotions alone?

Some will read this article and scoff over offering Jesus as a solution to all problems, and others will take issue with what has been stated. But honestly, if this article causes one soul to rethink their spiritual state and receive Jesus, the abiding love, then the “hate mail” will be well worth it. My heart then, has helped another heart change, and that heart will find another heart in need, and so goes the process of spreading the “love bug”. Truthfully, I believe the expressions of love we see through tragedy, is God’s response and love, through people. Some just don’t realize that God is not just using them to reach out to another, but reaching out to them also. The scriptures reveal that “God is love” and His love must come full circle.

Father God; open our hearts to this abiding love, and let our loving response to tragedy be our response to our fellow men and women daily, in times of quiet, peace, or unrest. And thank you Father for not loving us as you do, out of emotions, because if that were the case, we could not be loved at all. ~Amen

Love of the Brethren

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

In our world today it is truly a rarity to find and experience genuine Christian, or Brotherly love. This is shameful considering the masses that profess Christianity throughout the world. We are abiding in evil and violent times, and just watching an episode of our local news seems to sadly confirm this. I’m certainly not saying that Christian love is nonexistent, just that genuine Christian love is a rare find. The selfless, forsake my own desires and convenience, and live for another kind of love. You know; the kind of love as expressed in our Savior, Jesus. A love that richly and deeply testifies, confirms, and bears witness worthy of His attention. If this love is found even in the simplest of acts, it should be cherished and guarded as a gift from God. Godly recognition and honor should be given to the one that allows the love of Christ to so shine from their spirit.

The love I here speak of is not the kind of love the world offers. This love is the manifested love of God through His chosen to another. You see, there is a kind of love available that comes not from the throne of God. One person can love another and remain the enemy of God. The Word of God reminds us that even the heathen can give good gifts, but this love does not have Christ at its center. This love does not flow from the living waters of life. Worldly love, although heartfelt, is still somewhat superficial, and usually has a hidden agenda or some strings attached. Genuine Christian love as expressed from one human being to another is a gift from God and can only be obtained through Him.

I wish to relate to you an experience I recently had, where this Christian love I speak of, was shown towards me and my family.

Several days ago, super cell thunderstorms that were producing tornados moved across the Western to Eastern United States. I live in the State of Georgia and the storms were headed our way! These storms are my least favorite thing about spring in the Southern United States.  Might I add, our home has been struck once, and areas less than one mile from us have had recent tornado touchdowns! Needless to say, I hate these types of storms and over the last several years they have gained frequency and volatility!

Knowing that these storms were coming and already moving across other states, I asked publically for prayer through social networks. Several people responded indicating that they would pray, but one particular “prayer warrior” sticks out from the crowd.

I have never met her face to face and we live thousands of miles apart. She is in England, and I the United States. We have developed a strong spiritual friendship through the Twitter network. In fact, I have come to love her as my Christian sister very deeply, and some day in heaven, will be able to greet her with a holy kiss and hugs. The distance between us is not a hindrance to God. He made sure we met because it was His will. The friendship we share has the foundation of Jesus and through His Holy Spirit we are able to draw close. When God blesses you with a treasure such as this, never let it go! The gift of a person such as this, is valuable indeed!

My friend in England assured me that she would pray for my family and me and even included our entire country! I expected a small prayer to God asking for our safety and wellbeing, but what I received was so much more than that. It is important to point out that there is a five hour time difference between us.

Later that night, I received a Twitter message from my friend. Looking at the clock, I realized it was after three o’clock in the morning in England! She was checking to make sure that we made it through the storms. Her timing was perfect, as the last bands of the storm were moving through as she contacted me. I sent message back letting her know that we had indeed made it through the nasty storms. She replied by thanking and praising God for our safety, sending her love, and telling me that now she was going to bed. She had to be up for work at six o’clock in the morning.

I sat back in awe that my friend was concerned enough to contact me at three o’clock in the morning, her time. As I sat warmly thinking of my friend, the Spirit of God rushed me like a bolt of lightning! She said, “NOW I AM GOING TO BED”! The Ever-Shining Light dawned on me, she has sacrificed her sleep to stay awake and pray for my family and me!

What selfless love! After all, we have never shared the things that most friendships are allowed. Never shared a meal; a quite chat outdoors on a warm spring day, our deepest secrets, or even an encouraging hug. Those things are certainly nice, and I would advocate them to this day, but when Jesus is the founder and the strong root of a friendship they aren’t overly necessary! Through the friendship we share, God has reassured us of His awesome and unending love, gifted us both with a loving friendship, and sealed our covenant through His Holy Spirit, sight unseen.

This experience brought to memory a Bible verse: “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.” (I John 3:14) NKJV

I thank God for the safety and security He provided for my family and me during those storms. But, I am equally thankful to God for my friend in England.

Rosemarie, thank you for your friendship, love, prayers, loyalty to Jesus, and the sacrifice you made for me personally. I love you and you will always have a special place in my heart. You show that you have passed from death into life.

Intercessors aren’t well known and most always go without even a “thank you”, but they are the most important gift in God’s ministry. They are the backbone of any descent and Godly ministry and I believe all fellow Pastors and Ministers would agree. If not, you may have missed your calling! Someone is always behind the scenes praying for the Pastor, ministry, and Ministers. I have certainly come to know my “someone” and again Rosemarie, I thank you from deep within my heart.

Father I thank you for my friend, Rosemarie. I ask that every Christian might experience this love that comes from you and a friendship where words aren’t necessary. In the beautiful name of Jesus, ~Amen

“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)

Rev

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