Dec 31, 2011

Mingling With The Seed Of Men by Douglas Hamp

Daniel 2:43 predicts that demonic entities will crossbreed with humans in order to destroy the image of God in the last days.

One of the keys to understanding how the image of God will be corrupted in the last days is found in Daniel 2 where we read of the kingdoms that ruled over Israel beginning with the kingdom of Babylon all the way to the “ten toes”. God used King Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylonian Empire to chastise His people for not following Him. The King carried the Jewish people away in three waves of deportation to Babylon, beginning in 606, then 597 and finally 586 BC, when he also destroyed the city of Jerusalem. Among those taken (during the first wave) was a young Jewish man named Daniel. One night King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream about a massive statue of a man made of different materials. God used Daniel to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, which was in fact a vision of the future kingdoms of the world.

This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together […] And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth [...] you are this head of gold, (Daniel 2:32-35).

Daniel explained to King Nebuchadnezzar that he was the head of gold and after him would come another three kingdoms which are identified as the Medo-Persian Empire, the Grecian Empire and then the Roman empire.

But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay, (Daniel 2:38b-41).

The Roman Empire is described in amazing precision by noting that it would become two legs. The Roman Empire was not divided into two parts, Eastern and Western, until AD 285 by Diocletian – over 700 years later! However, the kingdom will be governed by a group of ten kings represented by the ten toes. The ten toes are equal to the ten kings found in Daniel 7:24 and Revelation 17:12 and they are partly strong and partly weak. “And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile,” (Daniel 2:42).

The Roman Empire (or some expression of it) has not yet become ten toes and therefore this is a future fulfillment waiting to happen. When it does it will be partly strong like iron and partly weak like clay. However we are told that “they” will mingle with the “seed of men” in “these days”.

As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle [mitarvin lehevon מִתְעָרְבִ֤ין לֶהֱוֹן֙] with the seed of men [bizra' anasha בִּזְרַ֣ע אֲנָשָׁ֔א]; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever, (Daniel 2:43-44).

They Are Mingling Themselves

An important clue to understanding this phrase is to understand what is being mixed. This portion of Daniel (Daniel 2:4b-7:28) was written in Aramaic because of the direct communication to Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar and their visions (with the vision of chapter seven happening during Belshazzar’s reign). The word “mingle” [mitarvin מִתְעָרְבִ֤ין] is a third person plural hitpaal (as confirmed by the Westminster Hebrew Morphology Codes). The hitpaal is virtually identical to the Hebrew hitpael. The basic usage is reflexive which means that the subject is also the object, for example: “I dress myself” is where “I”, the subject, do the action (dress) and “I” also receive the action of the verb (being dressed). Thus, the hitpaal verb [i] of Daniel 2:43 conveys that same meaning. Therefore “they” are the ones doing the action, but they are also doing it to themselves. Thus, the idea is that “they” (the subject) will mingle themselves (the object of the verb) with something else. This is reflected in the numerous English translations available of Daniel 2:43.
  • they will combine with one another in the seed of men, (NASB).
  • they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men, (KJV, ASV, ERV, WBT, WEB).
  • …they are mixing themselves with the seed of men, (YLT).
Bible commentators Keil and Delitzsch note the meaning of the mixing of iron and clay in Daniel 2:43: “The mixing of iron with clay represents the attempt to bind the two distinct and separate materials into one combined whole as fruitless, and altogether in vain,” (K&D, Daniel 2:43). In other words, the word is used in Scripture to denote two things that should not be mixed together. Iron and clay can be put into the same mix but they will not adhere (without heat).

While these represent by no means the total consensus of translations, they plausibly provide the preferable (literal) translation based on the grammar. The same Hebrew root (arab ערב) is used in five other passages in Scripture. Though there is a slight grammatical difference between the Hebrew hitpael and Aramaic hitpaal, the root word, nevertheless, is exactly the same in both languages. The first usage we come to outside of Daniel is Psalm 106:35 where the writer recounts the history of Israel noting that Israel did not destroy the wicked (and ostensibly Nephilim) nations that the Lord had told them to destroy – rather they mingled themselves (via marriage to them). “But were mingled [vayitarvu וַיִּתְעָרְבוּ] among the heathen, and learned their works,” (Psalms 106:35 KJV). This unfortunately led them to sacrificing their children to demons (Psalms 106:37).

The next usage of the word “mingle” is in Ezra 9:2. Again, the mingling has to do with exchanging seed or genetic material. In this case, the Jews mingled themselves with the people of the land. The concern was that the holy seed (zera זֶרַע) from which the Messiah was to come, was being mixed with people who were not of the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed [zera זֶרַע] have mingled themselves [hitarvu הִתְעָרְבוּ] with the people of [those] lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass, (Ezra 9:2 KJV).

The holy seed and that of the nations will mix but thereby contaminating the line from which the Messiah will come and therefore the holy seed  should not be mixed with seed from outside of the Abrahamic line.  Coming back to our key verse of Daniel 2:43, we deduce that “they” should not to mix themselves with seed of a different type. Therefore, their type must be something other than the seed of men. [ii] Rendering the translation in modern terms will help to grasp the full implications of the verse: “They will hybridize [mingle, mix, crossbreed] themselves with the genetic material [seed] of mankind”, (translation mine). This rendering is further enhanced when we consider the use of “seed of men” which in Daniel is the Aramaic word for men/mankind [anasha אֲנָשָׁא], “the seed of mankind.” In Jeremiah 31:27 God declares: “the days are coming […] when I will sow [vezarati וְזָרַעְתִּי] the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man [zera Adam אָדָם זֶרַע] and the seed of beast [zera behema זֶרַע בְּהֵמָה],” (Jeremiah 31:27). In this case, God is talking about how He will cause men and animals to flourish in the land of Israel (and Judah). The contrast is made between the seed of men and the seed of beasts (animals), being two distinct kinds. Therefore, if the seed of men refers to humans as a kind (species) then the next question we come to is just who are “they” in Daniel 2:43?

Who Are “They”?

The text says that “they will mingle themselves.” The antecedent of a pronoun usually comes before it, but since there is no other defining noun for “they” we must look at the next possible noun which is “these kings” in verse 44. Thus the word that defines “they” is in fact “these kings”. Just like those two materials do not blend well, neither will “these kings” with the seed of men. This cannot be simply referring to the intermarriage of different human ethnicities. We have explored the seed already throughout the Bible and seen that seed is referring to the genetic information contained in the gametes of both men and women. For a man it is the twenty-three chromosomes contained in the sperm and for a woman it is the twenty-three chromosomes contained in the ovum.

Therefore, what is significant about the statement that “these kings” will mingle with the seed of men? After all, every human on the planet originally came from Adam; we are all sons of Adam in a grand sense. When two people (son and daughter of men [Adam]) get married and have children, they literally mingle their seed – which is what procreation or child-bearing is all about (recall our discussion of the genetics of the incarnation). So, to say that these kings will mingle with the seed of men must necessarily mean that they are different from men. That is, they are not of the seed of men. After all, there really is no need to mention that a son and daughter of Adam (Aramaic Enosh אֱנָשׁ) are mixing their seed; even though procreation is miraculous, it is nonetheless ‘normal’ and ‘ordinary’. Therefore to say “they will mingle with the seed of men” must mean that “they” are not themselves of the seed of men, which is to say that “they” are not human. If they are not human, then what are they?

They (the ten kings) must be some beings that are able to mix their seed with mankind but are different from mankind and just as we saw in the Jude 1:7 passage, the strange flesh reference (mingling with a different kind) seems to be referring to demons (fallen angels) having sexual relations with women. Daniel, in fact, records the answer of who these kings are in chapter ten. As we examined before, an angel [iii] visited Daniel, who described him as:

His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude, (Daniel 10:6).

This angel (possibly Gabriel who visited Daniel in chapter 9) says to Daniel:
Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words, But the prince [sar שַׂ֣ר] of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes [hasarim harishonim הָרִאשֹׁנִ֖ים הַשָּׂרִ֥ים], came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings [malkhei מַלְכֵ֥י] of Persia, (Daniel 10:12-13).

This “man” that Daniel saw, who we would classify as an angelic being, whose “face was like lightning”, was stopped by a being of a similar likeness and power known as the prince of Persia. The word “prince” (sar שַׂר) used to describe the one who withstood is the same word used to describe Michael, the chief prince (sar שַׂ֣ר). The man states that not only had he been stopped by the prince of Persia, but that he remained alone with the kings (malkhei מַלְכֵ֥י) of Persia. The Septuagint interprets the kings simply as rulers or princes [arkhontos αρχοντος], which is the same Greek word in Ephesians 6:12. He then mentions that he must also fight against the prince of Greece.
Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince [sar שַׂ֣ר] of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince [sar שַׂ֣ר] of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince [sar שַׂ֣ר]), (Daniel 10:21).
These princes and kings are the demonic power and influence behind the earthly kings and empires. The kings in Daniel 10 must necessarily be demon kings and not human kings for not even any number of human kings would be able to imprison one (good) angel as witnessed when just one angel killed 185,000 mighty Assyrians in one night (2 Kings 19:35).

In the book of Revelation we find another evil angelic king named Abaddon in Hebrew and Apollyon in Greek. “And they had as king over them the angel (angelos ἄγγελος) of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon,” (Revelation 9:11). Angelic beings (good or bad) are referred to both as princes and also as kings. Therefore “these kings” who “mingle with the seed of men” in Daniel 2 are in fact of the angelic order; the fact that they are destroyed proves that they are not good angels but are fallen angels.

Ten Toes, Horns and Kings Are Demons

Lastly, we note that the four empires in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream are parallel to those in Daniel chapter 7. Therefore, the ten toes of Daniel 2:43 are identical to the ten horns in Daniel 7:7 (and Revelation 13:1) and from Revelation 17:12 we learn that the horns are kings. Note the following verses:
  • And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, […] they will mingle with the seed of men; […] And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed […]. (Daniel 2:42-44).
  • and the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows, (Daniel 7:20).
  • The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings, (Daniel 7:24).
  • And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads, (Revelation 12:3).
  • […] And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name, (Revelation 13:1).
  • The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast, (Revelation 17:12).
We see that the ten toes are the ten horns, which are the ten kings – and these ten kings are demon kings and not specifically human (though human rulers are probably controlled by them). This squares well with the fact that we are told in Revelation 12:3 that Satan has ten horns. [iv] The same heads, horns and diadems which the dragon has are also on the beast. This presents somewhat of a challenge in that the beast sometimes appears as an empire and sometimes as an individual entity; perhaps both are true. At least part of the time the beast must refer to an individual entity because he is eventually thrown into the lake of fire along with the false prophet (Revelation 19:20). Throwing an empire into the lake of fire appears to be impossible in that an empire is not a living entity, but is a collection of individuals performing the wishes of the leader.

Revelation 17:12

The final proof that the toes / horns / kings are demons comes from Revelation 17:12 which we already considered as proof that the kings are equal to the horns. However, if we zoom in just a bit we notice [v] something important; the ten horns “are ten kings” (deka basileis eisin δέκα βασιλεῖς εἰσιν) which “have received no kingdom as yet”. John was told that there are kings (current to his day) that do not yet have a kingdom. However, these same kings (alive in John’s day) will receive their kingdom when the Beast rises to power. It has been nearly two thousand years since John received the Revelation from Jesus on the island of Patmos. What human kings have been alive for two thousand years? Clearly the answer is none! Therefore, the only option left are kings that do not die but continue – demons do not physically die and therefore the ten kings were present back in John’s day, had no kingdom but will receive the kingdom when the Beast comes and so we conclude that the kings are necessarily demonic kings. We know that the understanding of “are kings” signifying that they were alive then in John’s day must be right because Jesus used the same grammatical argument against the Sadducees to prove the resurrection: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living,” (Matthew 22:32).

Thus we see that in the last days, rulers of this dark age (Ephesians 6:12) will mingle their seed with humans just as they did in the days of Noah and also when the children of Israel went into the Promised Land. So, just as Jesus predicted, the days of His return would be like the days of Noah. The sons of God took women and the fruit of their union was the Nephilim. So too the last days will be marked by the coming of these Nephilim. In fact we see that these days have already begun to be fulfilled and so our Lord’s return cannot be far away.

The Pre-Trib Rapture Myth: The Redundancy Of Imminence

One of the philosophical claims of spiritual importance made by those supporting the Pre-Tribulation rapture view, is that it causes Christians to look at each moment as possibly their last.  Jesus Christ could return at any moment, so they claim.  Because of that, we should be living each moment for Christ.  While we should live each moment for Christ, the need for an imminent rapture has never been the reason.

One thing that has been evident to mankind since his creation is that life is fragile and fleeting.  Job, writing perhaps as early as 2000 B.C., penned that in the hand of the Lord is "the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind".  (Job 12:10)  This after watching his family killed in a day.  To our point, Jesus, in Luke 12:16-20.  "The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully.  And he thought within himself, saying, what shall I do, because I don't have room to store all of my harvest and goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast many goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry.  But God said unto him, fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee:  then who shall all of your goods belong to after you are gone?"

Jesus was warning of the danger of taking comfort in wealth, but also warning that everyone's life in this world is one breath away from being over.  It is foolish to assume our future.  We don't need the false teaching that Jesus could return at any moment to warn us to hold life as the most precious gift of all.

James, the brother of the Lord tells us in James 4:13-14 again to take care and not assume tomorrow belongs to us.  "Go now, you that say, today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:  Whereas you know not what tomorrow holds.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, then vanishes away."  While James could be talking about any one of us and the way we tend to make plans without God, the warning is sobering.  This led to the habit of many in the early church of saying, "we will go there tomorrow, God willing", or "if God wills".  The Arabic people continue this custom today in many countries, although it's normally used by them as an excuse for being late, or not showing up at all.

The point is, the idea of an imminent rapture is theologically redundant.  The Lord may require our souls of us at any time, or our alotted time on this earth may simply be up.  There will come a day, not long after the unleashing of the fourth horsemen (Death and Hades), that we those believers still living will anxiously look for the return of our King.  However, until that time comes, I can confidently say, Jesus Christ is not coming back tonight, or tomorrow.  However, my soul might still be required by the Lord.  Until the next post, God willing....

Dec 30, 2011

The Pre-Trib Rapture Myth: It Tickles The Ears

The Crystal Cathedral

Another danger of the Pre-Tribulation view is that it plays neatly into the "health and wealth" gospel that is so popular in the U.S.A., and increasingly in Africa.  The health and wealth lie says that being a Christian means God blesses you in every way right now.  That sounds pretty good.  Except the Bible has all of these passages no one wants to consider.  Like, "If any will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:  and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it."  (Matt. 16:24-25)  As I heard a very famous TV pastor say recently in a sermon, "if you are having trouble paying your bills, it's because you lack faith!"  Another lie of Satan meant to "tickle the ears".

1 Timothy 4:3-4 tells us that "the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching (tickled) ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."  The Pre-Tribulation rapture view has as a central tenet that the rapture could occur at any moment, even as I'm writing this article.  This makes it "signless".  It also tickles the ear of those who believe the Lord will deliver them from the horrors or Daniels 70th week.  This despite the evidence of 2,000 years of suffering for those who "take up their cross".  In fact, Jesus told John in Revelation 12:11 that "they (believers, the faithful) overcame him (the Dragon) by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death."  This occurs during Daniels 70th week.  Christians will overcome by giving their lives, literally, for their Lord.

The Pre-Trib view can be traced back to 1820's and pastor John Darby, usually given the credit for being the "originator" of the idea.  The biggest boost for this belief came from it's inclusion in the 1909 Scofield Study Bible.  Other famous proponents inclued D.L. Moody, John Walvoord, Warren Wiersbe, and the most prolific writers on the idea, Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye.  I do not write this as a personal disagreement, but to state the obvious.  As outlined in my previous article, the rapture is not signless, that is, prophecies must be fulfilled before it occurs.  We know the signs that Paul mentions (2 Thes. 2:1-4) occur at the mid-point of the final seven years of this age (Dan. 9:27).  We also know that Christians have only been promised deliverance from God's wrath that will be unleashed on the Day of the Lord (Rev. 6:12-17, Matt. 24:29-31). 

If you have read the Rev. 6 passage, you know that the Day of the Lord coincides with the opening of the 6th seal.  The 5th seal, the one preceeding the 6th, simply shows an altar before the Lord in Heaven.  Underneath this altar are "the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony they held."  (Rev. 6:9) This 5th seal event also follows the fourth seal opening, which unleashes "Death, and Hell followed with him."  (Rev. 6:8)   These two are given the power to kill one fourth of the inhabitants of planet Earth.  If that indeed happens soon, you are talking about the death of nearly 2 billion people.  And this occurs before the events of the fifth seal, that are clearly aimed at Christians.


The rapture will occur, but it will not deliver believers from suffering or from the Devil's wrath.  (Rev. 12:12)  All the promises of deliverance are for the escape from God's wrath.  Believers have never been exempt from suffering.  Blessings are promised to those who suffer in Jesus service, going back to the beginning of His earthly ministry.  (Matt. 5:11-12)  Suffering for Christians is not a possibility, it's a promise.  (Acts 9:16, Rom. 8:36, 1 Cor. 4:10, 2 Cor. 4:11, 2 Tim. 3:12)

The greatest danger of the Pre-Trib rapture is generations of Christians who are not prepared to suffer.  By suffering, I don't mean missing a meal or going to worship when you don't feel great.  By suffering I mean assault and insult because of Who we love.  I mean imprisonment for what we believe.  I mean likely death in the last days for all who hold fast to the name of the Lord.  As Paul said to the Ephesian church, "Awake thou that sleepest..." (Eph. 5:14).  It's time we awaken and prepare for the coming persecution.


Dec 29, 2011

The Rapture is Real: The Pre-Trib Rapture Is A Myth

The Rapture (Greek harpazo, meaning to seize, carry off by force, snatch away) is a very real event that has been demonstrated scripturally in times past.  (See Enoch, Gen. 5:22-24, Elijah 2 Ki. 2:11)  It's clearly written in prophecies that such an event is coming in the very near future.  (Matt. 24:31, 1 Th. 4:17, 2 Th. 2:1)  However it does not deliver believers from the suffering that is prophesied in the last days.

Let's first define the popularly taught pre-tribulation rapture view.  It states that a final 7 year period of history (Daniels 70th prophetic week, Dan. 9:24-27) is coming.  The rapture will occur before that week (7 year period) begins, saving believers from the horrors that will be unleashed on the earth.  This view defines the final 7 year period as the "Tribulation" (Matt. 24:21, in Greek thlipsis, meaning great crushing pressure) and that the rapture of the saints will take place at the beginning of that final 7 year period.  It also applies the biblical term "Day of the Lord" to this 7 year period. 

Sounds great for believers, doesn't it?  I grew up being taught this view.  Jesus might return at any moment.  He will take us straight to heaven to be with Him.  What could be better?  Leave church on Sunday afternoon, have a big lunch, watch some football, and just as you kick back to take a nap, WHOOOSH!  You are gone.  It does sound great.  Except it's not true.  The Bible says so.

The first problem with this view is that the Day of the Lord event, which is recorded in numerous locations, speaks of an event that happens in one day.  The term in Hebrew for day is yom, meaning a sunset to sunset, 24 hour day.  You can read more about what will happen during the Day of the Lord by checking out some of these passages.  (Is. 2:10-22, 13:6-9, 24:17-23, 34:2-15, Joel 1:15-20, 2:1-11, 3:9-17, Amos 5:18-20, 8:9-10, Zeph. 1:14-18,  Mal. 4:1, Matt. 24:29-31, Luke 21:25-26, Acts 2:19-20, Rev. 6:12-17.)  This is an abbreviated list.  There are plenty more where these came from.  By sheer volume it should be apparent how important this time period is going to be, and how much the Lord wanted His people to be prepared for it's coming.

The second problem lead me to make a bold but Bible backed statement.  Jesus Christ isn't coming back today.  That's because the Bible says certain prophetic events must occur before His return.  And His return is the Rapture.  It's at His return that believers will "meet Him in the air"  1 Th. 4:17.  So what prophecies must first be fulfilled? 

There are three major prophecies that must be fulfilled before the return of Jesus the King and the Rapture.  They are:

1)  The rebuilding of the Temple (or a temple that can be used to reinstitute the Old Covenants system of animal sacrifices) on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, currently home to the Muslim holy site, The Dome of the Rock.  (Dan. 9:27, Matt. 24:15)  This is necessary because the next prophecy needs the Temple in place for it to be fulfilled.

2)  The revealing of the Antichrist in the Temple in Jerusalem.  (2 Thes. 2:3-4)

3)  The Great Apostasy (falling away, from the Greek apostasia), meaning betrayal, defection from a former alliance, or in this case, many who claimed to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will "fall away" and depart the faith for the "power, signs and lying wonders" (2 Th. 2:9) that will be done by the Antichrist.

These three events must be accomplished before the Lord will return and the rapture will occur.  We know from the prophecy in Dan. 9:27 that the Antichrist will reveal himself from the Temple at the halfway mark of the final 7 year period of history.  That means that 3 1/2 years of suffering (at least) must occur first.  Even after these signs take place, we will only know the general time frame, "the season" of Jesus return, not the day or the hour.  And because this is during the Great Tribulation (Great Crushing Pressure), it would appear that Jesus was predicting that few would survive to His coming.  He said "when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8)  We would do well to remember that He compared the time of His return to the "days of Noah".  (Matt. 24:37)  Out of all alive on the earth in Noah's day, only eight escaped alive on the ark.

So to clarify, the rapture is not imminent (it cannot occur at any moment), it is not signless, and therefore it lies somewhere in the near future.  In the second part of this article I will explain why believers should not count on the rapture as their hope.  Things are about to get very, very bad. 

Dec 28, 2011

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

1. The baptism of the Holy Spirit (that is, the initial coming and remaining of the Spirit) was unavailable to believers before Pentecost.
2. It is universal in it’s application. It is applied equally to all believers. (Eph. 4:4-6,1 Cor. 12:12-13)
3. It is a unique occurrence. It only occurs once, not multiple times. (Eph. 4:4-6, 1 Cor. 12:12-13)
4. It is unifying in His effect. It brings all believers together, uniting them into one body.  (Eph. 4:4-6, 1 Cor. 12:12-13)
5. It is unrelated to our future growth. The baptism of the Spirit begins our growth as Christians.  (Rom. 6:3-4)
6. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the work of God, not man. (Rom. 6:3-4)
7. It may occur before water baptism (Acts 9:18, 10:44-47) or after water baptism (Acts 19:3-7)
Scripture references
- Matt. 3:11-12, Jn. 1:33-34 John the Baptist gives prophecy concerning the coming baptism of the Spirit.
- Acts 1:4-5, 2:1-47 Pentecost. Jews from all over the Mediterranean world had gathered to honor the Feast of Weeks. (Lev. 23:15-21) It was one of three yearly feast days that all Jewish men were commanded to attend in Jerusalem. (The others were the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles.) Here was the initial baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is called Pentecost (Greek for "fifty") because the Feast of Weeks was to be held fifty days after the third springtime feast, the Feast of Firstfruits.
A unique aspect of the Feast of Weeks is that it is the only sacrifice prescribed by the Lord that includes leavened bread. Leaven represents sin, corruption, decay and death in scripture. The symbolism represents the initial coming of the Holy Spirit, in that what was once sinful and corrupt (all mankind) is now acceptable to the Lord thanks to the act of our Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary. So what was once an unacceptable sacrifice in leaven is now acceptable to the Lord. The symbolism of the two loaves is interesting in it’s representation of Israel and Gentiles would now become one unified sacrifice before the Lord. (1 Cor. 12:12-13)
- 1Sam. 10:6 The Holy Spirit is given to Saul, but only for a short time. He does not remain. This is typical of the dealing of the Spirit with men in the Old Testament. This is because a suitable permanent sacrifice (Christ Jesus) had not yet been brought forth for the spiritual cleansing and sanctification of all who would believe on Him.
- Joel 2:28 A prophecy of a future outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Peter quoted this verse in it’s partial fulfillment at Pentecost (Acts 2:16-18). The complete fulfillment is still future.
- John 7:37-39 Jesus Himself gives a prophecy of the coming of the Holy Spirit for all who will believe. This prophecy is pronounced on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, a feast where a prominent ceremony is performed with water being poured out. Here Jesus could promise that "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water". This was quoted from Is. 44:3.
- Col.2:12 This passage is written by Paul in reference to the act of baptism. You will find it is often quoted in part when new converts are baptized. That the symbol of water and the Holy Spirit speaks specifically of regeneration (Titus 3:5) is clearly stated in scripture. This is what Jesus spoke of when addressing Nicodemus about being "born again" in John 3:5-8. We see that the administration of the washing water of the Spirit is accomplished through the word of God in Eph. 5:26. Ezek. 36:25-26 is a prophecy given about 7 centuries before Christ. It speaks of the cleansing (regeneration, i.e. giving life to what was dead) and the coming of the Holy Spirit that first began at Pentecost.

Judgment and Sin

The Fall of Man

Matt. 7:1-2 - Judge not, that ye be not judged, for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged:...

Luke 6:37 - Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.

The word used here for judge means to distinguish, and by implication means to try, condemn or punish. We are told not to condemn others as followers of Christ. This is not the same as separation. Jesus called us to follow Him into holiness.

One of the main purposes of a Christian’s life is to be holy. (Rom. 12:1-2, 2 Cor. 6:14-17, James 4:1-4, 1 Jn. 2:15-17) We are told not to closely associate with those who commit evil. The Lord does give direction to pray for them, to be a witness to them, and to be kind to them when they do evil to us. (Luke 6:35, Matt. 5:44-45, Rom. 12:20, 1 Pet. 3:9) However we are clearly told to separate from them. (1 Pet. 1:15-16) This is holiness/sanctification.

What did Jesus do in His life on earth? He preached to men to turn to the Lord and turn from their evil ways. His life was full of acts of kindness and mercy, but their will be no mercy available to those who reject the Lord. As followers of Christ, we need to do just that; follow Him, not the world.

If we choose to maintain close relationships to those who are not believers, we are endorsing their acts and views. We are all called to make a choice.

Below is a list of sins found in the New Testament that we are told not to do/practice. We are also told not to maintain friendships or close relationships with those who practice such things. Our responsibility is to witness to them (constantly if needed) that they might repent and be saved. If they choose not to, then we have to separate from them. This is sanctification. If you read the following chapters, you will see the Lord clearly wants us to separate ourselves from these sins and not to "walk" or live daily in these things. (1 Cor. 5, Gal. 5:16-26, Eph. 5:1-16, Col. 3:1-17)

From 1 Corinthians 1:6
unrighteous - wicked
fornicators - sexual relations outside of marriage
idolaters - (see Col. 3:5)
effiminate - those living for unnatural sexual relations
sodomites - homosexuals
covetous - greedy/gluttonous
revilers - those who speak badly of others

Galatians 5 adds these sins
uncleanness - impurity
lasciviousness - extreme lust and shameful behavior
hatred - hostility
variance - quarreling, fighting
emulations - extreme jealousy
seditions - intentionally causing division
heresies - following the teachings of men against God’s word
revellings - partying, carousing

Ephesisan 5 adds these sins
filthiness - obscenity, shameful behavior
foolish talking - silly talking
jesting - negative or raunchy humor
whoremongers - using or being a prostitute
Colossians 3 adds these sins
inordinate affection - giving in to emotions that desire sinful things
evil concupiscence - evil desires, lusts

Revelation 21 adds these sins
fearful - timid
abominable - to make unclean or foul

What Faith Accomplishes

The problem for most who come to Christ Jesus is that they accept Jesus as their Savior, then try to live a life of righteousness for Him. We need to accept Him (Jesus Christ) as our righteousness, then we can live a godly life IN HIM.

Romans 9:30-33 points out that the stumblingblock of the gospel for those who would not believe was JESUS AS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Going on to Rom. 10:3-4 points out that the people who stumble at the message of the gospel are doing so because they are rejecting the only righteousness that is acceptable to God (the righteousness of Jesus Christ) in favor the the righteousness that they trust in - the righteousness of their own performance.

2 Cor. 5:21 - Jesus became sin for us that we might become the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD in Him.

Rom. 1:17 - The JUST - righteous, innocent, faultless, guiltless, shall LIVE BY FAITH.

Rom. 3:21-22 - The RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD COMES BY FAITH to all who believe.


Rom. 5:19 - As Adam's sin made all men sinners, so JESUS' faithful obedience makes many righteous, as it is acquired by FAITH.

Rom. 10:3-4 - We SUBMIT TO GOD AND OBTAIN RIGHTEOUSNESS BY BELIEVING JESUS' WORDS. Jesus is the end (fulfillment) of the law, meaning that all who believe on Him obtain HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.


Gal. 3:7-9 - THE FAITHFUL WILL JOIN ABRAHAM IN HEAVEN WITH GOD. Rev. 21:8 makes it clear that the fearful and unbelieving will not.

Gal. 3:10 - If you are justified (in your mind) by your works, behavior, etc., YOU ARE UNDER THE CURSE, and therefore not following the Lord in faith. (See Is. 64:6)

We MUST use scripture on a daily basis and cement these truths in our minds. As you begin to verbally (or silently) acknowledge your righteousness in Jesus, your emotions will come in line with the truth. These truths move from being something we simply say or acknowledge to become facts that we believe and feel.

The truth is, YOU WILL NOT GIVE IN TO SIN WHEN YOU BELIEVE AND FEEL YOU ARE RIGHTEOUS. THE RIGHTEOUS WILL LIVE RIGHTEOUSLY. Conquering your thought life will guard your heart against the fiery darts of the evil one and the thinking and system of the world. The reason the defense Paul mentions in Eph. 6:16 is called the SHIELD OF FAITH is that what you believe (your faith) is what guards your heart!

Prov. 12:6 says "The mouth of the upright (righteous) shall deliver them". And we know that what comes out of our mouths is simply revealing what is in our heart. FAITH IS BELIEVING AND CONFESSING. Boldly speak God's words until your thoughts and emotions come back in line, so that you do not frustrate the grace of God.

The scriptures call believers holy in 1 Cor. 3:17, 7:14, 34, Eph. 1:4, 5:27 (the church), Col. 1:22, 3:12, 1 Thes. 5:27, Heb. 3:1, 1 Pet. 2:5, 9, 3:5, Rev. 20:6.

You are HOLY RIGHT NOW, but only if you believe!

It Is Always All Of Grace


When we learn about grace we learn what life is all about. We learn about who we are. But more importantly we learn about who God is, what the gospel is and our relationship with Him. We enter into a dimension of life we never dreamed possible. Nothing is changed and yet everything is changed. Grace is not just getting what you don't deserve. Grace is getting the opposite of what you deserve. Grace is not just another doctrine. Grace is the way God relates to us. Grace is the gospel as the bible says (Acts 20:24). What is grace?

1. Grace is knowing that there is no more guilt, condemnation and punishment (Rom, 8:2).

2. Grace is knowing that God loves me and accepts me just the way I am not because of what I do, but because of the cross (Rom. 5:5-8).

3. Grace is knowing that Satan was defeated at the cross and has no power over me and the only weapon he has is the lie. (Col. 2:15).

4. Grace is knowing that because I died to the law and have been released from it (Rom. 7:4,6), I don't have to live up to anyone's standards.

5. Grace is knowing that I am not under law but under grace (Rom. 6:14) and that Christ is the end of the law (Rom. 10:4), it is not up to me to live the Christian life, but to trust Christ in me to do it (Gal. 2:20).

6. Grace is knowing that there is nothing I can do to make God love me more and nothing I could do to make him love me less (Rom. 8:39).

7. Grace is knowing that Jesus said that all who come to Him will find that the Christian life is easy and their burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30).

8. Grace is knowing that it is not up to me to do or die or strive and strain, but to believe that He will do it all for me (1 Thess. 5:24).

9. Grace is knowing that my sin and failure cannot overcome the grace of God (contrary to popular belief) (Rom. 5:20,21).

10. Grace is knowing that no matter what I do or how I mess up, God is going to love me through all eternity (Rom. 11:6; 1 John 3:1; 1 John 4:6).

11. Grace is knowing that I have all I need because Christ is in me and I am in Him and He is in the Father (John 14:20).

12. Grace is knowing that freedom is my birthright as a child of God and not something I have to attain (Gal. 5:1; John 8:32,36).

13. Grace is knowing that I am dead to sin and alive to God because of what God has done and nothing that I do (Rom. 6:4-7).

14. Grace is knowing that I am righteous because God has placed me in Christ and not because of anything I do (I Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21).

15. Grace is knowing that I have died to the world, it's customs, ways, values and people's demands and expectations of me (Gal. 6:13).

16. Grace is knowing that the important thing is not what I do or don't do, but faith in what God has done and who I am in Christ (Gal. 6:5,14).

17. Grace is knowing that I am secure in Christ, that I do not have to fear any person and that He will never leave me or forsake me (Heb. 13:5,6).

18. Grace is knowing that Christ is my life; that my life is hidden in Him and I have everything I need for life and godliness (Col. 3:3,4; 2 Pet. 1:3).

19. Grace is knowing that victory is not something to work for, but it has already been given to me (1 Cor. 15:56; Eph.2:6; Eph 1:19-21).

We have just waded into the vast, limitless ocean of God's grace. The list is endless and we will spend the rest of eternity adding to our list.

Ulrich Zwingli - Forgotten Leader Of Protestant Movement

October 11, 1531 • Zwingli Perished by the Sword

Ulrich Zwingli was born the first of January 1481. The world he entered was passing into a spiritual and political ferment in which he would be a prime mover. As a boy he distinguished himself at studies and music. He determined to become a priest and was ordained at the age of 23.

Death of Zwingli at Kappel

Zwingli hand-copied and memorized Paul's letters in the original Greek. Impressed by the reform writings of the great humanist scholar Erasmus, he moved toward reformation even before Luther. The use of young Swiss men as mercenaries especially evoked his ire. Having accompanied two expeditions as a chaplain, he spoke vehemently against the practice which squandered their blood. As priest of Einsiedeln, a city whose income came from pilgrimages, he preached against pilgrimages, too, labeling them a corruption. When an indulgence was sold in Switzerland, he denounced it.

The first day of 1519 Zwingli came to Zurich, the city of his life's work. There he continued his battle against indulgences. The Pope recalled the seller. Zwingli also announced that he would not read the prescribed lessons but preach the gospel of Matthew instead. He did so, pouring forth objections to the use of images in the church, to the mass and other practices of the church which he considered to be in error. Christ alone is sufficient for salvation, he said.

It is one of the interesting characteristics of the Swiss Reformation that local leaders voted on doctrine, making religious decisions for their constituents. This practice of Zurich was followed by other Swiss Protestants and was one of the stages that led toward the creation of modern democracy.

Zurich's town leaders took to heart Zwingli's teaching. It was they, not Zwingli, who ordered that the Holy Scriptures be taught "without human additions." It was they who challenged theologians to convict Zwingli of error if they could. It was they who ordered images removed from churches.

Protestant and Catholic in Switzerland remained at odds. The Protestants established a blockade, threatening Catholics with starvation. In 1531 the Catholic cantons marched against Zurich. Zurich's forces ordered Zwingli to take the field bearing their banner.

1,500 men from Zurich faced 6,000 from the Catholic cantons. Under feeble generalship, on badly chosen ground near Kappel, they made critical errors. Failing to maul their opponents at an opportune moment, they allowed them to gain the cover of a beech wood. They did not retreat to a safer line while able. About 4:00 PM on this day, October 11, 1531 the Catholics began the assault. Half an hour later the Protestants were wiped out. Zwingli was among the dead. His body was quartered and mixed with dung. Told the news, Martin Luther replied, "all who take the sword die by the sword."

1.Adapted from an earlier Christian History Institute story.
2.Dowley, Tim. Eerdman's Handbook to the History of Christianity. (Carmel, New York: Guideposts, 1977).
3."Zwingli, Ulrich." Encyclopedia Americana. (1956).
Potter, G. R. Zwingli. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976. )
4.Simon, Edith and the editors of Time-Life Books. Great Ages of Man. The Reformation. (Time Life, 1966).

The Beginning Of Sorrows - The Events Leading To The Return Of The King

As Jesus prepared for the institution of the New Covenant through His crucifixion and resurrection,He showed His disciples the magnificence of the Temple in Jerusalem. He told His disciples that the Temple would be destroyed completely, without a single stone still resting on another. (Matt. 24:2) This was fulfilled some 40 years later in 70 A.D., when the Romans tore the Temple apart stone by stone to retrieve gold that had melted in between the stones. This led the disciples to ask the question that still lingers today. "What shall be the sign of Thy coming and the end of the world (age/aeon)? (Matt. 24:3)

Unlike His teachings of previous months that were usually couched in parables, Jesus spoke plainly and simply as to the signs leading to His return and the end of the age. As many today speak fearfully of the end of the world, let me point out, this is not what the Lord said. Jesus spoke of the end of the age (aeon in the Greek), the end of a specific administration and time period of the world. This age that's soon coming to an end is the "times of the Gentiles". (Luke 21:24, Rom. 11:25)

The first signs are as follows:

False Christs that will deceive many (Matt. 24:4-5)
Wars and rumors of wars (vs. 6)
Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom (vs. 7)
Famines (vs. 7)
Pestilences (vs. 7)
Earthquakes in diverse places (vs. 7)

He punctuates this series of signs by pointing out that "all these are the "beginning of sorrws". (vs. 8) These sorrows are birth pangs. This picture of the world and people going through bith pangs is powerful yet simple. Birth pangs begin small, but increase in magnitude of pain and in frequency as the birth nears. The birth in this case being the coming thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ.

It might be argued that all of these signs are present during just about any age of our history. The significant thing in these last days is the magnitude and frequency of these events. The Lord was pointing us to look for wars larger and involving more peoples than have been experienced before. Famine and pestilence to degrees not seen before. Earthquakes in places they don't normally occur. These are the things we are to watch for. This will be the first of a series of articles on the topic, but I wanted God's people to see the simplicity of the signs. You don't need a degree in theology to understand what Jesus was conveying. These signs are not the end of the age, just signals that it is near. And so it is.

Hidden Code In Plain Sight: The Names Of Genesis 5

Meanings Of The Names In Genesis 5
by Chuck Missler

The background behind the genealogy in Genesis 5 is one of our most frequently asked questions.
Since the ten Hebrew names are proper names, they are not translated but only transliterated to approximate the way they were pronounced. The meaning of proper names can be a difficult pursuit since direct translations are not readily available. Many study aids, such as conventional lexicons, can prove superficial when dealing with proper names. Even a conventional Hebrew lexicon can prove disappointing. A study of the original roots, however, can yield some fascinating insights. (It should be recognized, however, that the views concerning the meaning and significance of the original roots are not free of controversy and are subject to variant readings. This is why we receive so many questions or comments on variations.)


The first name, Adam, comes from adomah, and means "man." As the first man, that seems straightforward enough.


Adam's son was named Seth, which means "appointed." When he was born Eve said, "For God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew."


Seth's son was called Enosh, which means "mortal," "frail," or "miserable." It is from the root anash: to be incurable; used of a wound, grief, woe, sickness, or wickedness. (It was in the days of Enosh that men began to defile the name of the Living God.1 )


Enosh's son was named Kenan, from which can mean "sorrow," dirge," or "elegy." (The precise denotation is somewhat elusive; some study aids unfortunately presume an Aramaic root synonymous with "Cainan.") Balaam, looking down from the heights of Moab, employed a pun upon the name of the Kenites when he prophesied their destruction.2


Kenan's son was Mahalalel, from mahalal, which means "blessed" or "praise"; and El, the name for God. Thus, Mahalalel means "the Blessed God." Often Hebrew names included El, the name of God, as Dani-el, "God is my Judge," Nathani-el, "Gift of God," etc.


Mahalalel's son was named Jared, from the verb yaradh, meaning "shall come down." Some authorities suggest that this might have been an allusion to the "Sons of God" who "came down" to corrupt the daughters of men, resulting in the Nephilim ("Fallen Ones") of Genesis 6.3


Jared's son was named Enoch, which means "teaching," or "commencement." He was the first of four generations of preachers. In fact, the earliest recorded prophecy was by Enoch, which amazingly enough deals with the Second Coming of Christ.4


The Flood of Noah did not come as a surprise. It had been preached on for four generations. But something strange happened when Enoch was 65, from which time "he walked with God." Enoch was given a prophecy that as long as his son was alive, the judgment of the flood would be withheld; but as soon as he died, the flood would be sent forth.

Enoch named his son to reflect this prophecy. The name Methuselah comes from two roots: muth, a root that means "death"5 ; and from shalach, which means "to bring," or "to send forth." Thus, the name Methuselah signifies, "his death shall bring."6

And, indeed, in the year that Methuselah died, the flood came. Methuselah was 187 when he had Lamech, and lived 782 years more. Lamech had Noah when he was 182.7 The Flood came in Noah's 600th year.8 187 + 182 + 600 = 969, Methuselah's age when he died.9
It is interesting that Methuselah's life was, in effect, a symbol of God's mercy in forestalling the coming judgment of the flood. It is therefore fitting that his lifetime is the oldest in the Bible, symbolizing the extreme extensiveness of God's mercy.


Methuselah's son was named Lamech, a root still evident today in our own English word, "lament" or "lamentation." Lamech suggests "despairing." (This name is also linked to the Lamech in Cain's line who inadvertently killed his son Tubal-Cain in a hunting incident. 10 )


Lamech, of course, is the father of Noah, which is derived from nacham , "to bring relief" or "comfort," as Lamech himself explains. 11

The Composite List

Now let's put it all together:

Hebrew English
Adam Man
Seth Appointed
Enosh Mortal
Kenan Sorrow
Mahalalel The Blessed God
Jared Shall come down
Enoch Teaching
Methuselah His death shall bring
Lamech The despairing
Noah Rest, or comfort

Here is a summary of God's plan of redemption, hidden here within a genealogy in Genesis! You will never convince me that a group of Jewish rabbis deliberately "contrived" to hide the "Christian Gospel" right here in a genealogy within their venerated Torah!

Evidences of Design

The implications of this discovery are far more deeply significant than may be evident at first glance. It demonstrates that in the earliest chapters of the Book of Genesis, God had already laid out His plan of redemption for the predicament of mankind. It is the beginning of a love story, ultimately written in blood on a wooden cross which was erected in Judea almost 2,000 years ago.

This is also one of many evidences that the Bible is an integrated message system, the product of supernatural engineering. This punctures the presumptions of many who view the Bible as a record of an evolving cultural tradition, noble though it may be. It claims to be authored by the One who alone knows the end from the beginning,12 despite the fact that it is composed of 66 separate books, penned by some 40 authors, spanning several thousand years.13

* * *
· Missler Chuck, Cosmic Codes: Hidden Messages from the Edge of Eternity, Koinonia House, 1999.
· Jones, Alfred, Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, 1990.
· Kaplan, Rabbi Aryeh, The Living Torah, Maznaim Publishing Corporation, Jerusalem, 1981.
· Pink, Arthur W., Gleanings in Genesis, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL, 1922.
· Rosenbaum, M., and Silbermann, A., Pentateuch with Onkelos's Translation (into Aramaic) and Rashi's Commentary, Silbermann Family Publishers, Jerusalem, 1973.
· Stedman, Ray C., The Beginnings, Word Books, Waco, TX, 1978.

Genesis 4:26 is often mistranslated. Targum of Onkelos: "...desisted from praying in the name"; Targum of Jonathan: "surnamed their idols in the name..."; Kimchi, Rashi, and other ancient Jewish commentators agree. Jerome indicated that this was the opinion of many Jews of his day. Maimonides, Commentary on the Mishna (a constituent part of the Talmud), A.D. 1168, ascribes the origin of idolatry to the days of Enosh.
Numbers 24:21,23.
These were discussed in our book, Alien Encounters.
Jude 14,15.
"Muth," death, occurs 125 times in the Old Testament.
See Pink, Jones, and Stedman in Sources (above).
Genesis 5:25-28.
Genesis 7:6,11.
Genesis 5:27.
Genesis 4:19-25; rabbinical sources, Re: Kaplan, et al.
Genesis 5:29.
Isaiah 46:10; Revelation 21:6; 22:13.
Job was far earlier than even the books of Moses

Trials and Pain: Long Eternity To Enjoy Ourselves

Trials and Pain: Long Eternity to Enjoy Ourselves

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.... And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. --1 John 2:15,17

Any appeal to the public in the name of Christ that rises no higher than an invitation to tranquillity must be recognized as mere humanism with a few words of Jesus thrown in to make it appear Christian....

Christ calls men to carry a cross; we call them to have fun in His name. He calls them to forsake the world; we assure them that if they but accept Jesus the world is their oyster. He calls them to suffer; we call them to enjoy all the bourgeois comforts modern civilization affords. He calls them to self-abnegation and death; we call them to spread themselves like green bay trees or perchance even to become stars in a pitiful fifth-rate religious zodiac. He calls them to holiness; we call them to a cheap and tawdry happiness that would have been rejected with scorn by the least of the Stoic philosophers....

We can afford to suffer now; we'll have a long eternity to enjoy ourselves. And our enjoyment will be valid and pure, for it will come in the right way at the right time. Born After Midnight, pp. 141-142

Dec 27, 2011

The Correlation Of Matthew 24 and Revelation 6


*This period covers the beginning of the final 7 year period of this age, leading up to the Day of the Lord, which is the return of Jesus Christ. This last event occurs somewhere between the mid-point of the final 7 year period and the end of that period.

This passage in Revelation 6 actually begins in Revelation 5 with the revealing of a great scroll in heaven, sealed with seven seals. No one is found worthy to open this scroll until the Lion of Judah steps forward (Jesus Christ). The opening of this scroll means:

-the consummation of this age, including all prophecy given throughout the ages and to bring iniquity and transgression to an end. (See Dan. 9:24)

-judgment for the sins of all who dwell on the earth. This may include all of the covenants God has made with mankind, the law, and all God-given direction for righteous living.

-some have called this the "Title Deed of the Earth", describing the ownership of this earth as it belongs to God. All of the above seem applicable according to the description given in Rev. 5.

The scroll has writing on the outside as well as the inside. The writing on the outside is judgment poured out on the entire earth, believers included. This is symbolic of the fact that our physical bodies must die, but the souls of all believers will be saved. The writing on the inside is spiritual and physical judgment for those who have rejected the Lord.

Rev. 6:1-2 opens the first seal. This passage correlates to Matt.24:3-5, and symbolically relates the coming of the anti-Christ and false christ’s who will conquer to establish his own kingdom. The horse for this rider is white, symbolizing his appearance being one of goodness and holiness. The anti-Christ will come to take the place of Christ as Christ, and will deceive many to believe that he is the true Christ.

Rev. 6:3-4 opens the second seal. This passage correlates to Matt. 24:6, and speaks of coming wars and rumors of wars. These wars will be extremely widespread at the time of this rider is unleashed on the earth.

Rev. 6:5-6 opens the third seal. This passages correlates to Matt:24:7, and describes a black horse whose rider holds scales. It specifically mentions food, the implication being that this horse represents famine on a worldwide scale.

Rev. 6:7-8 opens the fourth seal. This passage correlates also to Matt. 24:7. This passage speaks of a green or pale horse, that symbolizes both pestilence and death. The passage indicates that the result of these four horses and their riders will be 1/4th of the earth being killed.

*At this point, we are still in the first 3 ½ years of the final 7 year period according to Dan. 9:27.

Rev. 6:9-11 opens the fifth seal. This passage correlates to Matt. 24:8-14. This seal reveals martyred believers under the altar of burnt offering in heaven, standing in the place where blood is poured out, symbolizing the great amount of their blood that has been spilled. This event is intimately tied to the revelation of the anti-Christ at the middle of this final 7 year period. This great martyrdom commences immediately after the evil one’s revelation from the temple in Jerusalem (Dan. 9:27, Matt. 24:15-22, 2 Th. 2:1-4).

Matt. 24:15-28 correlate to the time between the opening of the fifth seal and the opening of the sixth seal. This passage describes events that will be occurring during that period, especially focused on Jerusalem.

Rev. 6:12-17 opens the sixth seal. This passage correlates to Matt. 24:29-31. This specifically speaks of the Day of the Lord as a specific time and event. The Day of the Lord is described in Matt. 24:29-30, while the rapture is described in Matt. 24:31. Rev. 7:1-4, 9-17 specifically describes the raptured remnant standing before the throne of God in heaven.

The Day of the Lord is mentioned in a number of passages throughout the scripture. A few are listed here. (Is. 2-4, 13, 31, 61:2, 66:15-16, Joel 2-3, Hag. 2:6-7, Zeph. 2-3:12, Zech. 12-14, 2 Pet.3:3-13)

The rapture is also mentioned in (Ps. 50:5, 1 Cor. 15:52, 1 Th. 4:15-17, 2 Th. 2:1)

William Tyndale

October 6, 1536 • Bible Translator William Tyndale Strangled and Burned

How many Bibles do you have in your house? For most of us, Bibles are easily accessible, and many of us have several. That we have the Bible in English owes much to William Tyndale, sometimes called the Father of the English Bible. 90% of the King James Version of the Bible and 75% of the Revised Standard Version are from the translation of the Bible into English made by William Tyndale, yet Tyndale himself was burned at the stake for his work on this day, October 6, 1536.
William Tyndale, the New Testament a ploughman could read.
Back in the fourteenth century, John Wycliffe was the first to make (or at least oversee) an English translation of the Bible, but that was before the invention of the printing press and all copies had to be hand written. Besides, the church had banned the unauthorized translation of the Bible into English in 1408.

Over one hundred years later, however, William Tyndale had a burning desire to make the Bible available to even the common people in England. After studying at Oxford and Cambridge, he joined the household of Sir John Walsh at little Sudbury Manor as tutor to the Walsh children. Walsh was a generous lord of the manor and often entertained the local clergy at his table. Tyndale often added spice to the table conversation as he was confronted with the Biblical ignorance of the priests. At one point Tyndale told a priest, "If God spare my life, ere many years pass, I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the Scriptures than thou dost."
It was a nice dream, but how was Tyndale to accomplish this when translating the Bible into English was illegal? He went to London to ask Bishop Tunstall if he could be authorized to make an English translation of the Bible, but the bishop would not grant his approval. But Tyndale would not let the disapproval of men stop him from carrying out what seemed so obviously God's will. With encouragement and support of some British merchants, he decided to go to Europe to complete his translation, then have it printed and smuggled back into England.

In 1524 Tyndale sailed for Germany. In Hamburg he worked on the New Testament, and in Cologne he found a printer who would print the work. However, news of Tyndale's activity came to an opponent of the Reformation who had the press raided. Tyndale himself managed to escape with the pages already printed and made his way to the German city Worms where the New Testament was soon published. Six thousand copies were printed and smuggled into England. The bishops did everything they could to eradicate the Bibles -- Bishop Tunstall had copies ceremoniously burned at St. Paul's; the archbishop of Canterbury bought up copies to destroy them. Tyndale used the money to print improved editions!

King Henry VIII, then in the throes of his divorce with Queen Katherine, offered Tyndale a safe passage to England to serve as his writer and scholar. Tyndale refused, saying he would not return until the Bible could be legally translated into English. Tyndale continued hiding among the merchants in Antwerp and began translating the Old Testament into English while the King's agents searched all over England and Europe for him.

Tyndale was finally found by an Englishman who pretended to be his friend but then turned him over to the authorities. After a year and a half in prison, he was brought to trial for heresy -- for believing, among other things, in the forgiveness of sins and that the mercy offered in the gospel was enough for salvation. In August 1536, he was condemned; on this day October 6, 1536 he was strangled and his body burned at the stake. His last prayer was "Lord, open the King of England's eyes." The prayer was answered in part when three years later, in 1539, Henry VIII required every parish church in England to make a copy of the English Bible available to its parishioners.

The Seven Churches of Revelation 2 & 3

There is a pattern and purpose in the letters to the seven churches that are left for us in Revelation 2 & 3.  The purpose is timeless like all scripture.  It had a specific purpose in addressing real churches in the past.  It has a present purpose in teaching us today.  It will have a future purpose in instructing and encouraging the churches of the last days, near the return of Christ.  Perhaps, this will be the case for us.
The first of the letters is addressed to the church at Ephesus.  (Rev. 2:1-7)  Jesus Christ gives a description of some of His attributes at the beginning of each letter.  This has a specific purpose in fitting both the need and hope of the church addressed.  No one person or church can truly focus on all of the Lord's attributes at any given time.  There is a need to focus on Him at all times, but on particular attributes depending on our circumstances.  The church at Ephesus could be encouraged by the fact that they (as well as the other churches) and their angel were in Jesus hands.  This would be critical to helping them overcome their one difficulty, leaving their "first love". 
The church at Ephesus was doing a number of things well. 
-  works
-  labor
-  patience
-  unwilling to bear (accept) those who claimed to be apostles, but were liars
(this would be a serious problem for the church of Thyatira)
-  born afflictions (for the cause of Christ)
-  patience (in difficulty)
-  for Jesus' Name sake had continued in their labors without giving up 
-  and finally, they hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which advocated sexual immorality in the form of adultery and fornications.
However, there was one problem...they had left their first love (vs. 4).  It would seem that this must mean their love and concern for each other, as the above listed good works would have been impossible without a deep and abiding love for Jesus Himself.  This was His "new commandment" to us in Jn. 13:34-35.
As is the pattern in each of the letters, the Lord gives a promise to those who will overcome.  These are meant to be gifts to inspire hope and encouragement in the churches, to help them to overcome the obstacles before them.  The encouragement here to the church of Ephesus is that if they overcome, they will eat of the Tree of Life which lies in the middle of the Paradise of God.  The Tree of Life is a real tree which we will partake of in Heaven.
One thing we must all be aware of is that for all believers in every church, there will be things which we must overcome.  This not in our own power, but in the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.  However, something to be overcome will indeed be a trial of great difficulty.  That these trials come should not surprise us or make us think we are failing in service or ministry.  These trials are for our good.  (2 Cor. 8:2, 1 Pet. 1:7, 4:12-13)
The second letter is to the church at Smyrna.  (Rev. 2:8-11)  Here Christ present that He is the Resurrection and the Life (Jn. 11:25), that He is the One who has the power to overcome death itself.  This is encouragement for the small and persecuted church we see at Smyrna.
He notes these attributes in their favor...
-  works
-  tribulation (suffering)
-  poverty (but they are rich spiritually)
-  suffered blasphemy at the hands of the Jews who reject Jesus as Messiah 
The Lord offers encouragement to some in the church at Smyrna who will suffer tribulation, even unto death (vs. 10).  Those who are willing to suffer this will be given a crown of life.  Only He who had overcome death would have the power and authority to give the crown of life.
The encouragement to the overcomers in vs. 11 is that those who do will not be hurt of the second death, the spiritual death that is everlasting.   (Is. 66:24, Mk. 9:44)
It should encourage us that as in Rev. 2:11 and as to the other churches, the encouragement for overcomers is to "the churches", which we should boldly take as encouragement for us today.
Johns vision on Patmos
The third letter is to the church at Pergamos.  (Rev. 2:12-17)  Here Christ presents that He is the One with "sharp sword with two edges".  This denotes the word of God (Heb. 4:12) with which the Lord will Himself judge the nations at Armageddon.  (Is. 11:4, Rev. 19:15, 21)  This is also what the church at Pergamos most needs to focus on. 
The good deeds of the church here include....
-  good works
-  held fast the Lord's name
-  not denied their faith in Him when Antipas, a member was martyred
There was a problem in the church however.  The "doctrine of Balaam" had been introduced, which we know from Num. 24 & 25 was the teaching of the prophet Balaam to Balak, King of Moab.  Moab wanted Israel cursed, but the Lord would not permit Balaam to do so.  Balaam then gave Balak the idea of sending young women from his tribe to seduce the young men of Israel.  In turn, the men of Israel began to worship the Moabite idols, and idol worship would be a problem for Israel for the next thousand years.  This helps explain the  "Satan's seat" description in vs. 13.  Pergamos was famous for their temple to Aesculapius, the god of healing. 
The children of God in Pergamos had fallen into the sins of fornication and eating things sacrificed to idols, no doubt from accepting some degree of idol worship.  The doctrine of Jesus Christ is pure, simple, completely holy and without fault.  Anything added to it or taken away is corruption and must be dealt with.  This led to the final warning about accepting the way of the Nicolaitans, which involved sexual immorality.
In vs. 16 He advises them to repent, lest they find themselves fighting against the Lord Himself.  The hope and offer to those that overcome is "hidden manna" and a new name written on a white stone.  The manna represents the Bread of Life (Jn. 6:35) which is Jesus Himself, and the new name is indeed an amazing honor put forth, a name testifying to our eternal standing and purpose forever with God.
The fourth church is the church at Thyatira.  (Rev. 2:18-29)  Here Christ speaks of His eyes like a flame of fire and his feet of fine brass.  The brass in scripture represents something tried in the fire that has come forth pure and holy.  This purity and holiness would be needed by Thyatira for the struggle at hand.
The Lord lists these things that the church in Thyatira was doing well...
-  deeds (good works)
-  love
-  faith
-  service
-  perseverance
-  deeds growing greater, signifying spiritual growth
There was a problem in the church at Thyatira.  They permitted a woman here symbolically called Jezebel, who described herself as a prophetess (as though she spoke directly from the Lord) to lead the people astray into fornication and partaking of things sacrificed to idols. 
Jezebel was the wife of King Ahab, King of Israel.  She introduced extreme forms of idolatry to Israel, even going so far as to try and slay all the prophets of the Lord in Israel (1 Kings 18:13).  She would stand for all time as a symbol of wickedness connected to idolatry.  So, the church at Thyatira, instead of trying and throwing out this false prophetess (as we read of the church in Ephesus doing) had allowed her to stay and spread her false teachings.  This should never be allowed in any church, ever.
The church is warned that she and her followers will be dealt with harshly, even unto death.  However, the rest of the church had endured enough, and would be encouraged only to hold fast until the Lord did come.  To those who did hold fast, they would be given power to rule with Christ Jesus over all the nations (Ps. 2:8-9, Ps. 149:5-9) and the morning star, which is none other than Jesus Christ Himself (Rev. 22:16).
The fifth church is the church at Sardis.  (Rev. 3:1-6)  Here Christ reminds them that He is the One who holds the seven Spirits of God (Rev. 5:12 for what the seven Spirits are) and the seven stars (angels of the churches).  This is a warning to the church at Sardis that they stand in danger of losing that part of the Lord Himself that is most precious.
The only positive thing mentioned for the church of Sardis is they have begun some good works, but we read in Rev. 3:2 that their works are "imperfect", that is incomplete or done from impure motives.  These works fall short of God's standard.
Sardis is one of two churches (Laodicea being the second) that are short of positive qualities and in severe difficulty as a body.  Sardis does not have a specific problem troubling it like the symbolic figures of Jezebel, Balaam and the Nicolaitans mentioned earlier.  It simply has a name in the world but nothing spiritually to support that name.  In addition, it's good works fall short of any merit in the Kingdom.  (Read 1 Cor. 3:11-15 for the measure by which all works of the church will be judged.)
The Lord warns the church of Sardis that if they don't repent and watch, He will come upon them like a thief.  As we read in 1 Th. 5:1-11, the Lord will come in that way upon the world that is not awake and looking for Him in the last days.  The true and faithful church will not be taken by surprise at the Lord's return, as they "walk in the light", and will be prepared.  Do not be fooled by modern-day religious myths.  The children of God are instructed to know the time and the seasons of the Lord's return and to be prepared.  (Matt. 24:32-33, 44-47)  We will not know the "day and the hour", but we will know enough to walk in the light (1 Th. 5:4-5).
Sardis is noted for having "some" who have not soiled their garments (with things and ways of the world).  To those who overcome, the Lord will give white garments, symbolic of His righteousness, and He will leave their name in the Book of Life, where all believers have their names written.
The sixth church is the church of Philadelphia.  (Rev. 3:7-13)  To the church of Philadelphia Christ presents Himself as the One who is holy, true, has the key of David (representing the right to rule) and opens doors that no one can shut, shuts doors that no one can open.  He decides the way, the times, the opportunities, the direction of the lives of the faithful.
The Lord begins by noting their deeds, but then quickly notes their great faithfulness with the little that they had been given.  Perhaps little in power, little in numbers, little in money, but certainly not little in faithfulness.  They have kept His word and not denied His name (in persecutions and testimony).  One of their persecutors, the "synagogue of Satan", those who believe they are favored due to their birth as Jews will actually worship (Jesus) before them and be made to know that He loves them (the church) unconditionally.
Because the church here has kept the word of the Lord in great patience of trials, He will keep them from the hour of testing that will come upon "all the world".  This is clearly a prophetic reference for the trials that the faithful church will be delivered from in the future.
The great promises here in overcoming include becoming a pillar of God who shall dwell eternally in the Presence of God, having written upon them the Name of God, the Name of New Jerusalem and Jesus new Name.  What incredible riches await the faithful believer that forevermore follow the way of the church of Philadelphia!
The final church mentioned here is the church of Laodicea.  (Rev. 3:14-22)  Here Jesus presents His attributes of being the Amen (eternal truth), the Faithful and True witness and the Beginning of creation.  This addresses the immediate spiritual needs of the those of this church, who desperately need the full truth of God as well as His power to create.  (This last reference may also refer to many in the churches today who have denied that the Lord did indeed create the world as He said in Genesis.)
Jesus knocks on the door of the lukewarm church
There are no positives for the church of Laodicea.  Their deeds are "lukewarm", and they think they are rich (in goods) but are spiritually poor, miserable, wretched, blind and naked.  Not good.  Worldly wealth is NEVER a measure of spiritual strength or blessing.  Faithfulness, obedience and the fruits of the Spirit are evidence of spiritual strength and God's blessing.  Jesus' did say "blessed are the poor" (Lk. 6:20) but never "blessed are the rich".  Wealth is perhaps the deadliest of all worldly temptations, leading believers astray into every manner of ungodly habit and behavior through laziness and sloth.  There are wealthy Christians faithful to God, but they are rare.  They are full of zeal, discipline and sacrifice.  There are abundantly more poor who will enter by the narrow way.
The Lord is very direct with this church.  First, they must be zealous.  Zealous is intense, passionate, fiery hot.  This is the antidote to lukewarmness.  The second thing is to repent of their ways.  They must turn from their love of wealth and worldly things to follow the words and ways of the Lord.  This is the way of Life eternal. 
Rev. 3:19-20 gives hope to even the most back-slidden believer.  The Lord chastens those He loves, and He stands at the door and knocks.  All we have to do is open the door of our heart to Him.  Here lies the answer to salvation, to zeal, to repentance.  To let Jesus Christ enter and rule in our hearts and minds.  Rev. 3:20 is one of the great witnessing verses in all of scripture. 
The church of Laodicea can buy the holy garments they have need of to be clothed in their nakedness, but they must be obtained by going through the fire (1 Pet. 1:7).  This fiery trial of faith is quite difficult, but all things are possible through Christ Jesus our Lord.  Their is hope even for the arrogant, bloated, prideful church. 
The great promise here to the church is that if they can overcome, they will be allowed to sit on the very throne of Jesus Christ, from which He will rule as Lord of Lords and King of Kings.  What a lasting and exciting promise to encourage believers in the trials and hardships they may face.
For guidance and encouragement in overcoming the trials you will face, read Romans 8:31-39 and 12:21.