“Apostasy”: A Solemn Warning!

Apostasy+3

Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! I have recently found myself looking to the grace and mercies of God afresh. As I watch and perceive the world around me, I notice that evil and calamity abounds globally. No, this is nothing really new for our generation, but has become so much more frequent. We are at a place in humanity where we no longer wonder “if” the next round of destruction will come, but instead wait for “when”. There is no escape from becoming aware of tragic news! The world has been saturated with media in all shapes and sizes!

Throughout the world we have witnessed the rise of hatred, violence, and selfishness. The darkness and gloom have reached unfathomable proportions, and if not for the comfort and love of the Holy Spirit, we would not be able any longer to endure and withstand our present world. Most Christians sense the “antichrist” spirit that is lurking our streets and knocking on our doors. Because of these living conditions, people have become angry, which only leads to further lawlessness and violence. There currently abides in our world hurriedness, suspicion, paranoia, impatience, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and uneasiness. Tension and stress have become our everyday realities and no longer is there care or concern for “others”.

The attitudes I describe above are not found in the “world” alone. We have allowed the “world” and its influence to infiltrate our churches. The lack of sound doctrine, the love of money, the senseless killing of innocent churchgoers, the rape of our children, the flirting and entertaining of known sin, and a love that has waxed cold, are also among the contributing factors of our evil world. The church is not the “salt and light” that it is called to be. The vision of the church, as given by Jesus has a mission to influence the world, not be influenced by the world. Where is the voice of reason? Where are those that will preach, “Repent and prepare the way of Lord”? Where are the faithful, who love the Lord, our God, and will boldly declare His love and righteousness? Where is the cloud of Christians, that will follow the example of the Apostle Paul, forsaking all to gain Christ?

Beloved my heart hurts! We are watching a dying world headed straight to hell and are not fulfilling the lifesaving witness we are called to be. We, right along with the world have the attitude of “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die”.  Do the words I write resonate within our spirit? Do we still have hearts of flesh or have they turned to stone?

Although what I write may seem harsh, blunt and, smothered in doom and gloom, I write with sincere Christian love. Then why so pointed, blunt, and seemingly harsh you may ask? Because whether we are paying attention or not, prophecy is being fulfilled right before our eyes! The prophecies I speak of were given by the Apostle Paul under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. These predictions are most serious, and therefore lay the reason for my being forthright. Did Moses, John the Baptist, Paul, Peter, and even Jesus “hold any punches”? No, because their message was most serious and demanded our attention!

The Apostle Paul reveals to us certain conditions and attitudes that will exist throughout the world before the return of Jesus. These are not the only ones given, but are major, and will serve my purpose in writing.

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self- control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (II Timothy 3:1-5) NKJV

Beloved do we not see these things before our eyes? Is not the world drowning in perilous times? Have not some “wolves in sheep’s clothing” crept into our churches peddling “a form of godliness? These traits do not belong to the world alone as the church must acknowledge its intercourse with the world! We are told in the last sentence “from such people turn away”! In this scripture, Paul is warning young Timothy, that his teaching will come under attack as men and women desert the truth for ear-tickling words.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (II Timothy 4:3-4) NKJV

Now, shall we consider the end results of this abandonment of truth and sound doctrine? “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first…” (II Thessalonians 2:3) NKJV

In the above scripture, “that day” refers to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The “falling away” is the apostasy of the church! Apostasy means a total desertion of or departure from ones religion. Beloved there is only one way out of the church of Jesus, by renouncing our salvation. That is the end result of the apostate church and is also known as “the great falling away”!

Beloved I share this warning as it is not the will of God that “any should perish”. I implore you to study diligently the above scriptures and repent where needed, as it would be a most terrible thing to fall victim with the apostate church. God himself has warned us to persevere. He is a merciful and loving God, and He turns none away that come to Him!

The Spirit of the Lord says “Church, awake from your slumber and rise in the power and strength of your God!”

The prophecies of God are as sure to be fulfilled as the rising and setting of the sun! Will we heed His warning or continue in ignorant deception? Jesus has declared that He is “the good Shepherd and His sheep hear His voice.” Will you listen and allow Him to lead you home?

Father it is the prayer of my heart that those with ears to hear and eyes to see will heed Your loving warning. For those that are blinded by deception, I ask that You pour out Your Spirit upon their heart and remove the scales from their eyes. The hour of Your coming quickly approaches as we reach the fullness of the Gentiles. Give us Your strength, power, and encouragement as we press on toward the goal to win the prize and fulfill the high calling in Christ. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for the world at large. Provide fresh waters for Your laborers in the fields. Forgive us individually and as nations for our sins against You. I pray you spare if only one righteous can be found. With love for you and thankful hearts we pray, in Jesus name, ~Amen

Defending the Faith and Promoting Christian Love

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Dear Readers, Beloved of God,

It is amazing how much Satan hates the Book of Revelation! Since posting the first articles, I have been confronted with attack and resistance from several directions. Yes, as does the Lord, so does “ole sleuth foot”, by working through people. I suppose like the “Hatfield’s” and “McCoy’s”, some feuds just never end. One of the strongest arguments concerning this book is the subject of the “Rapture”! Why this subject?

Not very many people take serious issue concerning the tribulation period or The Battle of Armageddon. Have we become so numb by mass consumption of reality television, Hollywood’s latest gossip, and media filled violence that we have lost focus and view these as the “norm”?  Why not attack the rebukes of the Lord and the symbolism that unites our churches of today with those of Asia Minor. Our churches today have only added to the already serious problems brought to light in the seven churches of Asia Minor. Our church leaders, who remain blind to the infiltration of Satan, have accepted genuine false doctrine and turned the Lords houses of prayer into the dens of thieves. They have become the spiritual version of Wall Street! Invest now for a “Big” return! The throne of God has been turned into a virtual ATM and drive through service! Children are being harmed and abused in our churches and we dispute over the “rapture”?

I personally know more Christians right now that do not go to church than ones that do. To be bluntly honest, I don’t blame them one bit. Many of them have received more serious wounds in the “houses of God”, than what the devil or the world could have shot them with on their best day. Pastors and ministers have shipwrecked the faith of many! Why? Why do we not take up these arguments? Why the “Rapture”?

Beloved, please just let me continue a little longer. It is past time that these things are pointed out. Why the “Rapture” when there are so many other things that deserve our attention and firm rejection? You know, this is “the bottom line”; there are two “basic” opposing sides of the rapture argument. One side believes in a pre-tribulation “catching up” of the church and the other does not believe this, but believes that the church will have to endure the hardships and trials of the tribulation period. I happen to be one on the pre-tribulation “catching up” side. No, not because I fear the mark of the beast, the wrath to be poured upon the earth, or the final Battle of Armageddon, or shall we say World War III, but because of my study, deep relationship with the Lord, and the witness of His Spirit.

Now, consider this, if the believers that believe in the rapture are wrong, all we have to do is rely on the supernatural strength of God to see us through for a short seven years and then forever be in the presence of God, but if those that don’t believe in the rapture are “raptured” before the tribulation period, then praise God we all missed the seven years of hell on earth and will remain forever in the presence of the Lord! In either case I imagine while we all stand in the presence of God, it won’t much matter which was right or wrong, and I seriously doubt that the “right” side will be able to gloat very much. Do you see my point? Either way it is a “win, win” situation! We will all still experience and receive the promises God has given us!

I think we would fare better, if we could agree that the only way to get “home” is through the blood of Jesus Christ and His Atoning work on Calvary’s cross, and not dispute about taking the “high” road or the “low” road, as long as we all meet in the “family room” once we get there. It is also beneficial for us to check our motives and position before we bring correction. Correction is not a bad thing if done biblically.

As I have stated several times before, I teach what I believe and I believe what I teach. I teach what I do as a result of my study and the instruction of God through His Holy Spirit. I only share my beliefs and understanding of the scriptures and each one has the liberty to accept or reject what I teach. No one person, denomination, or group has all the answers. We have to at least agree on the basics of Christianity as the Apostle Paul pointed out. God has the power and resources to give us anything we ask for. My greatest request of God has been and remains, His Wisdom and understanding of the scriptures. Armed with these nothing is impossible within the will of God!

Let us as a church, the church of Jesus, period, give ourselves a spiritual checkup and find out where we register on the “pleasing to God scale”. Let us defend our faith righteously and choose our battles wisely. The only common denominator will always be Jesus.

Beloved of God, thank you for listening and please know that what I shared, I shared in Christian love. I love my brothers and sisters, the church of Jesus, and God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit very passionately. I will resume my teaching on the Book of Revelation very soon as I reject defeat. I will finish my course and win my race and would be honored to have you on my team! Blessings to all, and I pray that the clay remains in the hands of the potter. I have provided a couple of scriptures for us to consider:

“But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.”

(II Timothy 2:23) NKJV

 “But foolish and ignorant questionings refuse, knowing that they gender strife’s.”

(ASV)

 “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.”

(ESV)

 “But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.”

(NASB)

 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

(I Peter 3:15-17) NKJV

“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