Peter 2:5, 9 You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ … 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

I had a dear sister ask me what will we be (the saints borne of God) during the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ ? She understood that we will be given duties by our Lord and Savior, but her question was “will we rule over the people still living after the tribulation? Besides what will we be: will there be mortals able to sin during this time?” Good set of questions and those that I feel need further exploration by looking at scripture to get an idea of just what we will be and our task during this 1000 year reign after the rebellion during the great tribulation is put down by our King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. Let’s start in Romans on our journey to identify our future destiny and responsibilities that our Lord will impart to all that are found in Him at His coming. Paul speaking by the power of the Holy Spirit reveals what we will be:

8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

Can you fathom what these verses means? It is almost too glorious to ponder and beyond our immediate comprehension of its full implications. Verse 17 says we will be “joint heirs” of our Savior Jesus Christ. Heirs of what? Simple answer is that all that He is in spiritual composition, in Spiritual matters, in the ability of our mind to comprehend, and in the inheritance that He, our Savior Jesus Christ has, we will be given the same inheritance. We will be adopted into the Family of God Almighty, our Father in Heaven. Our God and our Savior will the source of all of our glory and power upon this earth during a time when the earth is restored to its former glory as during the Garden of Eden. It will be a perfect environment with no war, no inclement weather, no disease, and no tempter of the nations. Satan will be given his Sabbath rest of 1000 years from being the source of all temptation and lies. It will be a near perfect world, but sin will still be around. We, His Saints, will be sinless, immortal and of the same new body that our Lord was resurrected with when He came out of the tomb and appeared to the living. He was able to walk through walls, but be handled and able to eat, but disappear at will. He had a new glorious body, and we will have the same body as He does. Jesus explained this to Nicodemus when he came to Him in the night: John chapter 3,

3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

This totally confused Nicodemus as the following verses after this show that he did not understand what Jesus meant. Jesus went on to explain of being borne of the Spirit and of water (baptism that shows that a man or woman understands that they are buried with Jesus Christ and are dead to the world, but raised a new creature in Him,( by obediently following His footsteps in our life) a man cannot inherit the Kingdom of God or enter therein. He then said something that many overlook what we will be when He changes us into His likeness:

3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Did you catch that? We will be as the wind. We see the affects of the wind through the trees, but we cannot see the wind, but its effects on the material world. Spiritual bodies will come and go much as the wind, but appear at will to whomever we decide to let see us. It’s the ultimate description (to illustrate something we can comprehend) of our bodies when Captain Kirk on Star Trek says “beam me up, Scotty.” Our bodies will move at lightning speed without aid of some transporter as on some popular outer space program.

When Jesus comes for His saints, there will be an awards banquet in heaven. We call it the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Here Jesus will impart to each of His saints a measure of ruler-ship by the deeds they have done for Him in this life. Paul speaks of the revealing of what we have done in the body in this life, and what we have done for Jesus Christ and its eternal rewards: 1st Corinthians:

3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

What we have done in this life for Jesus Christ will stand and for that we will receive a reward, much like the following parable given by Jesus.

Note the parable of the talents: Matthew,

25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. Jesus is this man, who has gone to heaven and is sitting beside our Father in Heaven, His Father and delivered unto us the servants, His goods. What goods? Let’s read on.

25:15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. In ancient times, a talent was a measure of gold. It was the most precious of all possessions. I ask you, what is the most precious possession our God has given us? I tell you plainly, it’s HIS WORD! It is His instructions for living, for His reaching us by His Holy Spirit unto repentance and using that same Word to reach others.

25:16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

25:17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.Each of these servants added to what he was given, by sharing that Word with the world around him. How much of an impact does that Word have on the world? We may never know fully till it be revealed to us at this Marriage Supper, but we are commanded to share it with all who will listen.

25:18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

25:19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

25:20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

25:22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

25:24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

25:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

25:26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

25:27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

25:28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. This unfaithful and unprofitable servant hid His Masters goods, His Word, away and shared it not with those around him. Woe to those who fail to follow the command of our Lord Jesus.

25:29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Did this man believe or just mouthed the words? Only God knows, but to hide away what we have been given determines our reward or our lack thereof. Each of these faithful servants were given a reward. They were made rulers over many things! Listen to what Jesus reveals to John the Beloved in Revelation:

» Revelation 2:7, 26; 3:21: To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. . . . I will give power over the nations. . . . I will grant to sit with Me on My throne.

» Revelation 5:9-10: . . . You . . . have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.

» Revelation 21:7: He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

Note that verse 9 of Revelation chapter 5 says we will be kings and priest before God? We have established that we will rule on this earth in the coming Kingdom of God according to our deeds done in this life for our Lord and Savior, but what about priest? What will be our duties as priest? Jesus Christ embodies all that is royal for a King, but is also our High Priest. He calls us kings and priests. If priest, then who will be minister to?

In ancient Israel, the priest were the ministers of God. They provided direction to the people and point them to God. They did the sacrifices given by the people for the atonement of their sins daily. Although the nation of Israel became blinded by the ceremonies of sacrifices in the Temple being a forerunner of the Supreme Sacrifice in the body of our Lord and Savior, they were the keepers of the oracles of God and were to be a priestly nation to shine before the Gentile world and lead them to God. We know that they failed miserably in their departure from following after God in spirit and in truth. They knew scripture inside and out, but failed to glean the central message when their Messiah was standing right before them.

There are four things that we can learn here about a priest, and actually three of them are spin-offs of the first one, which is this:

A priest had access to God that the other people did not have. Now because he had access to God, we therefore understand that the priest served God personally. Think of this in relation the life that’s coming, but do not detach it from today. Remember, you are a royal priesthood.
The priest ministers to others.
The priest was actually ministering to the average Israelite who came to him whenever he represented him before God. in the Old Testament and we will minister to the mortals who need still a Savior.
He therefore had to have something to give. He had to have something to give to the Israelite, and he also had to have something to give to God. So it will be in the Millennium. You say mortals in the Millennium? That was one of the questions needing to be answered.

During this time of blessed peace and security that comes upon the earth, men will enter into the Millennium as mortal men and women. The Bible speaks of them in Isaiah,

65:20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.

65:21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.

65:22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

65:23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.

65:24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

Verse 20 speaks of the sinner? Yes, men will still have a mortal sin nature, but not to the extent as in our world now, as the tempter has been locked away for a 1000 years. We will be the teachers of the ways of God as spoken in Isaiah:

30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. We, as priest, will teach them the Way of the Lord and point them to the cross.

Understand, Jesus will be known to all, as the sea covers the earth. Hebrews chapter 8:

8:11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

All people on earth will be subject to the righteous rule of Jesus Christ as He sits on the Throne of David and all the earth will know Him…..in their mind they will know, but in their heart they still possess a sin nature. That’s where we come into our responsibility. As princes of the King of Kings, our job, our commission is to be rulers, yes….priests to the people to point them to the Savior, most definitely. We are being instructed in righteousness right now, on this earth, in this time we have left.

I Corinthians 6:9 – 11

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind. Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed (you are changed), but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

I Corinthians 1:26 – 31

For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

God has chosen the humble, not the proud. He has chosen the poor, not the rich. He has chosen the weak, not the noble or strong. He has chosen a select group of people of this earth that you would not consider leaders in this life, but by the Holy Spirit, as 1st Corinthians 6:11 states, we are being changed into His likeness, one day at a time. We are being sanctified, as He also justified by His blood. Romans,

8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

We have an appointment with the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, very soon. One of these days in the near future, Jesus will break out of eternity into our time and say “come up here.” And we will be changed in an instant in the twinkling of an eye. 1st Corinthians:

15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

You ask, “how do I become one of these kings and priest?”It’s so simple, that a child can do it. Want to know the secret to obtaining such a high honor of a king and a priest in God’s Kingdom? John 6,

6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

That’s it in a nutshell. Believe with your heart and ask Jesus to come into your heart and life, and by example, live as He lived, as humanly possible.

And so my reader, thus will begin our eternal destination of being kings and priest before our God, to lead other men who enter the Millennium to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We will rule righteously and give the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ unto the living mortals who still have their free moral will to accept or reject the message. We will not coerce anyone to believe and accept, but as Jesus does by His Holy Spirit now, we will point them to the same cross that we came to know, and the same perfect sacrifice that we accepted upon our own lives for the remission of sins, our Lord, Savior and soon coming King, Jesus Christ. So come Lord Jesus, yes, Amen. Come my Lord. We await our destiny of being redeemed by your blood. That is our destiny of all who believe on His name, by faith and obedience to His call. Will you be counted as being changed into the likeness of Almighty God? Or will your destiny be different, because you have rejected His call, rejected His payment for your sins in His own blood. Today, not tomorrow, is the time to make your destiny sure and set in stone. In comes down to the object of the whole writing of Holy Writ, your bible, in this one verse:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting (eternal) life.” John 3:16.

This is Pastor Mike Taylor praying for your salvation through Jesus Christ, our Lord. If there be any need for prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at realteam1999@sbcglobal.net, God bless you all till we meet at Jesus feet.

What Did God Do On The Eighth Day?

What Did God Do On The Eighth Day? – A Bible Study by Jack Kelley – http://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/tough-questions-answered/what-did-god-do-on-the-eighth-day-2/

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Genesis 2:2-3)

These two verses are much different from those describing the preceding days in the creation account. All of them included the phrase “it was evening and it was morning, day … “. Not so for the seventh day. Also the Hebrew word translated rested is shabath (pronounced sha-BAT). We get sabbath from this word. It appears 71 times in the Bible, and 47 of those times it’s translated “cease”. It only means rest 11 times.

Will This Day Ever End?

Now obviously, the seventh day had a beginning and an end just like all the days before and after it. But the fact that there is no mention of this in the text of the creation account indicates that in a spiritual sense this day has never ended. There is no eighth day of creation. God has never taken up the work of creation again, and that’s why a word that also means ceased was used in describing His Sabbath rest.

Now don’t accuse me of promoting the “Great Watchmaker” theory of creation. That’s the one where God created the world and all that’s in it, then set it in motion, and has been just sitting there watching it run ever since. Let’s look at what God has been doing since He stopped creating. We’ll begin in John’s Gospel.

So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. (John 5:16-19)

This tells us that both the Father and the Son have so much to do that they work every day, even on the Sabbath. So they haven’t been just sitting around waiting. They’ve both been working every day from that day to this.

But that’s not the point. The point is this. Since the end of the 6th day, God has never again taken up the work of creation. Where the creation is concerned he has never ceased his Sabbath rest.

What’s External And Physical In The Old Becomes Internal And Spiritual In The New

In Numbers 15:32-36 we read of a man who was caught gathering wood on the Sabbath. It was a violation of the commandment, but the Israelites didn’t know what to do with him. When they inquired of God, He told them to take him outside the camp and stone him to death. God was serious about not working on the Sabbath.

But when we get to the New Testament we find that the commandment to rest on the Sabbath is the only one of the 10 Commandments not specifically repeated. In fact the most frequent reference to the 4th commandment in the New Testament concerns the Lord’s frequent and flagrant violations of it. On six different occasions, the Lord defended working on the Sabbath, each time showing the religious leaders of the day that their rules for keeping the Sabbath were man made, arbitrary, and counter to God’s purpose. For example the priests in the Temple desecrated every Sabbath by working (Matt. 12:5), and the people could water their animals (Luke 13:15) or rescue them from danger (Matt. 12:11) but they couldn’t heal a person (Luke 13:14).

In Romans 14:5 Paul taught that we have the right to either consider one day holier than the others or to regard all days the same, based on our personal convictions. And in Colossians 1:16-17 he said not to let anyone judge us in regard to a religious festival or a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. He said that these things were only a shadow of things that were coming, that the reality was found in Christ.

Somehow the Sabbath commandment was supposed to teach us something about our relationship with Jesus. So let’s find out what it is.

God created the Heavens and the Earth. They didn’t do anything to help, He did it all. At the end of six days, He rested (ceased) from His work because it was finished. He never again took up the work of creating. He made the seventh day, a day without end, holy. There was no eighth day. Then He created a memorial. From that time forward the seventh day was a day of rest where no work was permitted to remind us that when His work was finished He ceased working.

Since we’re trapped in the dimension of time, we can’t have any days without end. So when God set up our calendar He made every seventh day holy, and then the calendar began again. There’s never an eighth day. This was to help us to see that the seventh day, the day of rest, never ends. To underscore the importance of this, He made working on the seventh day punishable by death.

But man missed the point. We thought it was about working on the Sabbath when it was really about resting when the work is finished, and that’s how all this relates to Jesus.

Jesus came to Earth with one job to do. It was to die for the sins of the people so we could be redeemed and live forever with Him (John 1:29). He was making us into a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). We didn’t do anything to help, He did it all. When He died on the cross, His work was done. That’s why His last words before He died were, “It is finished.” Then He bowed His head and gave up His Spirit (John 19:30).

He never had to take up the work of redemption again, for by that once-for-all-time sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebr. 10:12-14). When He ascended into Heaven, He sat down at the right hand of the Father. The redemptive work of our new creation was finished, so He ceased working. This is why some theologians refer to the Lord’s work of redemption as His “completed” work on the cross.

What Is Our Work?

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28-29)

Jesus forgave all of your sins at the cross (Col 2:13-15) and therefore He saved you completely. Hebr. 7:25 confirms that He is able to do this. According to 2 Cor. 1:21-22 God has accepted responsibility for keeping you saved. He has set His seal of ownership on you and put His spirit in your heart to guarantee this. Believing that means your work of salvation is finished and you have entered into your life-long seventh day, your Sabbath rest. It means you’ve done what God requires and the work of your salvation is finished. You will inherit eternal life. “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40)

Just as God never again took up the work of creation, and Jesus never again took up the work of redemption, you need never again take up the work of salvation. You’re a new creation and the work is finished. Now you rest, as they rested. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:9-10)

As we can see from the above, the folks who keep asking whether Saturday or Sunday is the correct Sabbath for Christians to keep are asking the wrong question. The real question we should all be asking is whether we are keeping our Sabbath rest or not. It doesn’t matter that you say you’re born again. If you are still working to earn or keep your salvation after saying that you’ve accepted the work Jesus did for you, then you are violating the commandment to keep the Sabbath and are subject to the penalty of the Sabbath breaker in Numbers 15. His was a physical death, but yours will be a spiritual one, because you aren’t doing the one and only work He gave you to do; you aren’t believing in the One He has sent. Instead, you’re believing in your own ability to finish the work you think He only began. And that means you aren’t saved.

There isn’t much time left for the Church. The Lord could come while you’re reading this. Please consider these things carefully. Make sure you’re really saved by grace through faith. Not by works, lest anyone boast. (Ephes. 2:8-9) Remember, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness (Romans 4:5). Believe in the One God sent to save you, enter your sabbath rest, and don’t ever take up the work of your salvation again.

”Take Heed That No Man Deceive You”

”Take Heed That No Man Deceive You” – Jack Kinsella – www.omegaletter.com

When He was asked, ‘what will be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?’ (Matt 24:3) one of the first things Jesus said was: “take heed that no man deceive you,” but He warns us not to follow them.

He also warned the Church that in ‘the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33).

That is not to say that the Church plays a role in the time generally referred to as the Tribulation Period. There’s plenty of tribulation in the world for the Christian right now already, but Jesus is letting us know its all according to Plan, so don’t worry.

I believe the Bible makes it clear that the Tribulation Period is the Seventieth Week of Daniel, the time of ‘Jacob’s Trouble’.

It is for this reason that I believe the pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine to be correct according to the Scripture.

To follow the flow of Bible prophecy during the final hours of the Church Age, there must first be an understanding that there IS a ‘Church Age’.

There are few Christians who deny the existence of a ‘Church Age’ — the Bible is divided into Old Testament and New, after all — most churches acknowledge the Birth of the Church at Pentecost, and so on.

But when it comes to the Tribulation, understanding Bible prophecy and the signs of the times, conflicting doctrines are often preached within the same messages by the well-meaning who solemnly pronounce the conflicts as ‘mysteries of faith’ — or they ignore Bible prophecy altogether.

If there IS a Church Age, then there was something before — and something that comes after. That is the basic premise of Dispensationalism. Dispensational theologians divide human history according to the way God interacted with man at that time, into seven ‘dispensations’ of God’s grace.

The time before the Fall was the Age of Innocence, after the Fall, but before the Flood the Age of Conscience, and so on.

Of interest to us at this juncture are the Ages of the Law and the Age of Grace (Church Age).

Don’t get pulled down a rabbit trail, stay with me here. Forget all the clever but somewhat cloudy arguments from those who’ve ‘dug deeper into God’s truth’ and just follow the simple map for now.

You can always go back later if you get lost. I’m not trying to deceive anyone.

Either there was an age under the Law of Moses that ended with the introduction of the Age of Grace at Pentecost, or there was not. If your Sunday School doesn’t teach that, better take another look at your Bible.

The Bible teaches there is a purpose FOR the Church Age. The Jews first, then also the Gentiles.

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in,” Paul writes in Romans 11:25.

The blindness of Israel to the coming of the Messiah Jesus is ‘in part’ and conditional — ‘until the fullness of the Gentiles is come in’ to the Church.

I needn’t go into exhaustive exegesis — it is either clearly what God intended to be understood as written, or it is not. Truth needs no propping up — it can stand by itself nicely, thank you.

Paul pictures the three kinds of spiritual human beings — Jews, Gentiles, and the Christian redeemed out of each group. There is no fourth option in Scripture. Every human falls into one of these three categories, according to the Scriptures.

What happens when ‘the fulness of the Gentiles be come in’ then?

According to Daniel, the Dispensation of the Age of the Law was limited to seventy ‘weeks’ (of years) totaling 490 altogether, starting from the command to rebuild the temple given Ezra by Artexerxes.

Daniel said the time would run concurrently until the Messiah is ‘cut off’ after 69 weeks (483 years). The seventieth week resumes sometime in the future with the introduction of antichrist.

The ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ is the conclusion of the Church Age. It is hard to see that any other way.

Misunderstanding the Dispensations allows one to end the Church age in the middle of the tribulation with the Rapture. But then there is no sense to Daniel’s 70th Week, since it is now just three and a half years.

Set aside all the deep thinking and careful, painstaking calculations and tortured interpretations for now and just look at the obvious, clear and logical flow.

If there IS a point when the ‘fullness of the Gentiles is come in’ AND there is a point in which the 70th Week of Daniel resumes, then there is a point BEFORE and a POINT after. Just like beginning of the Church Age. There was a point BEFORE Pentecost, and a point AFTER.

Since the Church Age is for the gathering of the saints, and Daniel’s 70th Week is set aside for the national redemption of Israel (the purpose specifically given by Daniel FOR the 70th Week) and for the judgment of God against a Christ-rejecting world (the purpose from the perspective of John) why, logically, would the Church Age end with any less definition than it began?

Why would the Age of the Law resume while the Church is still here? What then, is the ‘fullness’ of the Gentiles? Logically, I mean, following the simple path, not the contorted one that creates so much friction and division.

Ignoring the clear pattern of dispensational truth in the Scripture in favor of something more complicated and therefore, somehow, deeper, appeals to the human propensity for pride. (“I know something you’re too stupid to figure out”)

But does it make clear sense? Where does it lead?

Christians are exhorted to walk ‘by faith and not by sight’ but I’ve heard pre-tribulationalism decried as ‘the Great Escape’ and its preachers called false teachers who were not preparing the Church for the coming tribulation.

From this perspective, if I don’t teach that we are going to go through the Tribulation, you won’t be prepared to stand. So you need survival gear, a year’s supply of desiccated food, some gold (money won’t be any good) and maybe a nice underground shelter.

THEN, you will be ‘prepared’ for the coming troubles, during which time you’ll walk by faith and not by sight when the antichrist is about to kill your children in front of you unless you take the Mark. Uh-huh.

My favorite argument is that Dispensational pretribulationism is a new doctrine first introduced by Margaret MacDonald in 1820. So how come I’m quoting the Bible instead of her?

Regardless of when you think the Rapture happens personally, did you ever notice how MAD people get if you don’t agree with THEM?

There is no profit in preaching a pretribulation Rapture and eternal security. I can’t sell you desiccated food, gold for the coming catastrophe or even a book on what to do if you get left behind, because if you are saved, you won’t need it and you won’t get left behind. No money in that.

And if you believe me — then neither can anybody else. (Maybe that’s why they get so mad, who knows?)

We are living in the last days. The signs of the times are all around us. The Lord is coming soon, and when He comes, the Bible says that the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with the Lord in the air. (1 Thessalonians 4)

When Jesus ascended into heaven, an angel appeared to the Apostles, (not to the Gentiles) “Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven. ” (Acts 1:11)

To the Gentile world at the Second Coming; “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.” (Revelation 1:7)

Unless you have different definitions for the words “every” and “all” then what would Christians be ‘wailing about’ at the Lord’s 2nd Coming? It’s what we’ve been waiting for since His Ascension.

A pre-Trib Rapture leaves nothing to sell to see you through the Tribulation. No motive to deceive. Like the Gospel, it’s simple and direct.

First, the ‘fullness of the Gentiles be come in’ and the Rapture, then the pouring out of God’s Wrath on those who make war against the Jews, then the national redemption of Israel at the Second Coming, and finally, the destruction of antichrist and introduction of the Millennial Kingdom.

Simple. In harmony with Scripture.

The only incentive for preaching it is to tell people they need to get saved — NOW, not later when the antichrist hands them his calling card.

“And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:3-4)

What Does The Bible Say About Israel And The Church?

What Does The Bible Say About Israel And The Church? – A Bible Study by Jack Kelley – http://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/the-bibles-authority/bible-say-israel-church/

Someone wrote to ask my opinion about several theories he has read concerning the relationship between the Church and Israel. He asked, “Are the two really the same or are they supposed to be different?” Here’s my response.

The misguided effort to blend the Church and Israel into one entity continues. First it was “Replacement Theology”, the false teaching that because of their rejection of Jesus as their Messiah, God has no more use for Israel. Instead He has transferred to the Church all of the promises He had formerly made to them. According to this view, the rebirth of Israel in 1948 was nothing more than an accident of history, not the fulfillment of prophecy. They say the only future for Israel is through the Church.

The Hebrew Roots movement takes a different road to reach the mirror image of the same destination. They claim the Gentile church has gone way off the track, having been contaminated with Greek and Roman paganism. They advocate a return to the Jewish roots of the Church by keeping the Law, the dietary restrictions, the Feasts of Israel, etc. like the original disciples did. In other words to become Torah observant. They say the only future for the Church is through Israel.

Then there’s the view called “Remnant Theology” that distinguishes between “national” Israel and “spiritual” Israel which they call “remnant Israel”. According to this view “remnant Israel” is a spiritual body just like the Church. They interpret Romans 11:17-19 to say the Church has been grafted into “remnant Israel” and they are now one and the same.

These positions all disregard the fact that in creating His Church God took some who were formerly Jews and some who were formerly Gentiles and made one new man out of the two (Ephes. 2:14-16). Being made new means neither group remains as they were. Paul clarified this in Galatians 3:28 when he said in the Church there is neither Jew nor Gentile. Yes, we’re all Abraham’s seed but that doesn’t mean we’re all Israel. In Genesis 12:3 God said that all the families (clans, tribes) of the earth would be blessed through Abraham.

The purpose of this study is to demonstrate that no matter how some people try to redefine things, Israel and the Church are separate entities in God’s view, and were never intended to become one. Comparing the two we can see that each has a different origin, a unique purpose, and a separate destiny. For this reason, some scholars have labeled the following comparison of Israel and the Church “Separation Theology”.

A Different Origin

Israel came to be through a sovereign act of God, creating a nation out of the direct descendants of Abraham (Genesis 12:2). Later He narrowed this down to include only those who came through Isaac, (Genesis 26:3-5) and Jacob (Genesis 28:13-15). Theirs is a national covenant conditioned upon obedience (Exodus 19:3-6).

The Church consists of individual members from every nation, tribe, people, and language who have been adopted directly into the family of God, based on our personal belief that Jesus died for our sins and rose again (John 1:12-13, Galatians 4:4-7, Romans 10:9-10). Ours is a personal covenant conditioned upon on faith.

You could say that God’s position with Israel is based on a national religion, but His position with the Church is based on a personal relationship.

A Unique Purpose

God gave Israel a fourfold mission. They were to be a repository for His word (Isaiah 42:9), writing down the things He said to them, whether as history or prophecy, and preserving their accuracy. They were to be His witnesses to an unbelieving world (Isaiah 43:10). They were to be a display of His splendor (Isaiah 49:3); in them He would be glorified. And finally, they were to be the channel for the Messiah, through whom He would bring His salvation to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:5-6).

The purpose of the Church is to be a demonstration of the incomparable riches of God’s grace in ages yet to come, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Ephes. 2:7), and to make known God’s manifold wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the Heavenly realms according to His eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ephes. 3:10-11).

A Separate Destiny

Israel was given a homeland on Earth with geographic boundaries as an everlasting possession (Genesis 15:18-21). The Millennial kingdom on Earth is all about Israel and that’s why we have to look in the Old Testament for descriptions of life on Earth during that time. Passages like Isaiah 2:2-5, Isaiah 35, Isaiah 65:17-25, Ezekiel 40-48, and Micah 4:1-8 tell of an Israel restored to a position of preeminence among the nations of Earth, and of the promised land turned into a rich garden paradise where God Himself will once again dwell among His chosen people forever, just like He promised (Ezekiel 43:7).

The Church has no home on Earth. Our citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20), and our Millennial home is the New Jerusalem, an enormous entity that’s too large to fit on Earth, but will be located in Earth’s proximity (Rev. 21). John described it coming down out of heaven after the Second Coming, as beautiful as a bride on her wedding day. Nearly 1400 miles in length, width, and height, it will be two thirds the size of the moon and made of the purest gold and precious gems. This is the place Jesus has been preparing for us and to which He will take us so that we might also be where He is. If it were not so He would have told us (John 14:2-3).

Even when Israel receives the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31), there will still be a temple, a Levitical priesthood, daily sacrifices for sin, periodic Holy Days, and other requirements (Ezekiel 40-46). In the New Jerusalem there is no Temple (Rev. 21:22) and there are no additional requirements.

After the Second Coming only the believing remnant of Israel will be left to dwell in the promised land on Earth. Together with resurrected Old Testament believers, they will constitute national Israel.

At the rapture, the Church will depart the Earth forever to take up residence in the New Jerusalem.

Two Parables

Finally, in the Lord’s teaching on the Kingdom parables, Israel is represented by the treasure in the field who when a man found it, He sold all he had and bought the entire field just for the treasure (Matt. 13:44).

In Exodus 19:5-6 God said to Israel,

Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession (Hebrew: my peculiar treasure). Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’

At the second coming the Lord will become the King of the whole Earth (Zech 14:9), having given His life to redeem it. But His main purpose in doing so will have been to restore Israel, His treasure on Earth.

The Church is represented by the Pearl of Great Price, who when a man found it, he sold everything he had to acquire it (Matt. 13:45).

Oysters are not kosher (Lev. 11:9-12), so pearls are not prized in Israel as they are among the Gentiles. Pearls are formed when a grain of sand gets inside the oyster shell and becomes an irritant. The oyster secrets a smooth milky substance that hardens around the grain of sand and stops the irritation. When the oyster is harvested the pearl is removed from its natural habitat and placed in a fine setting to become an object of adornment.

Jesus purchased the Church on the cross, and it took everything He had. Just before the end times judgments begin, He will remove us from our natural habitat and place us in the New Jerusalem, a priceless setting, to become His object of adornment.

In summary, the Bible is quite clear in portraying Israel and the Church as two separate entities. We’re both part of His kingdom, but our origin, our purpose, and our destiny require that we always be seen as distinct from one another.

Please Don’t Misunderstand Me

None of this is intended to convey the idea that the Church shouldn’t be concerned about Israel, or interested in its history and future. Quite the contrary. God had Israel write the Bible to teach us (Romans 15:4). Events in Israel’s history were recorded as admonitions to us upon whom the fulfillment of the ages has come (1 Cor. 10:11).

Israel’s Messiah is our our Lord and Savior. He was born in Israel and spent all His earthly life there. The New Testament was written by sons of Israel. It’s by observing the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies concerning Israel that we become aware of the impending fulfillment of New Testament prophecies concerning the Church. Aside from Israel itself, no group on Earth has a greater interest in the history and future of Israel than the Church.

The Church is not Israel and Israel is not the Church, but Israel and the Church are two sides of the same coin, and that coin is the Kingdom of God. That’s the way God sees us, and that’s what the Bible says.

Heartlessness and the End Times

Heartlessness and the End Times – Ron & Nathele Graham – www.straitandnarrowministry.com

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Mathew 24:12. Some of the disciples had asked Jesus about when the end of the world would be and this is one of the signs given to them. “…Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Matthew 24:3. They were asking about Jesus’ second coming and the end of the “aiōn”, which means a period of time or age. They weren’t asking about the Rapture and Jesus’ answer was pointed towards a time known as Daniel’s 70th week, which is a seven year time period sometime after the Rapture. Interestingly we can already see this prophecy coming to pass. Jesus told His disciples that this period of time will be unprecedented in human history and that men’s hearts will turn toward so much evil that love shall wax cold.

Paul also wrote to Timothy about the heartless mindset of people in the last days. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;” 2 Timothy 3:1-4. Paul’s words are becoming reality as we see people are becoming more and more heartless. News headlines are filled with cold hearted murders and torture. People’s hearts are growing colder each day and it seems that hatred abounds in every sector of our society. Where will it end? It will end in judgment.

As Daniel’s 70th week draws near Christians will undoubtedly be victims of much heartless behavior. This hatred is inspired by Satan and his minions; he hates Christians because we represent Christ. Long ago there was a young man who hated Christians and did all he could to destroy them. His name was Saul. He obtained orders to persecute Christians and hauled them off to jail and worse. One day as he was off to Damascus to cause more havoc amongst the Christians, Saul met Jesus. A light from heaven shined all around him “And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Acts 9:4. Saul was more than a little confused “And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” Acts 9:5. Saul thought he was going after Christians but in reality he was persecuting Jesus. This encounter left a lasting impression on Saul. That day he met Jesus and his life was changed. He began working for Jesus rather than against Him. We know him better as the Apostle Paul. As time draws short, Christians are again feeling Satan-inspired hatred. Many Christians today are being tortured and killed because of their faith, but it is Satan’s hatred for Jesus that is behind this evil.

Hatred, bloodshed, and death have been around since Cain killed Abel. World wars and more have put multitudes of folks in graves, but what’s coming is far worse than anything previously seen on earth. One day Christians will be Raptured and the Restrainer will be taken out of the way. “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” 2 Thessalonians 2:7. The Greek word “katechō” is translated “letteth” and means “to restrain, hinder – that which hinders Antichrist from making his appearance”. Once the Ekklesia is Raptured the evil forces of Satan will not be restrained. There will be no let up of blood being spilled as most humans will be open to serving Satan. This is the scenario of the last seven years before Christ’s second coming. Paul said the “mystery of iniquity” was already at work when he wrote to the Thessalonians. We are even closer to Daniel’s 70th week and can see evil permeating our world. It will only get worse.

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” 2 Peter 3:3-4. I suspect that very few preachers want to jump into prophecy because they don’t want to be alarmists. We are much closer to the end of time than Peter was and things are worse so it would be a good thing for Christians to be alarmed. Maybe that would spur the lukewarm Christian to action. There are scoffers, but that should not stop us from looking at prophecy and being aware of its fulfillment. Jesus, Paul, and Peter all spoke about the end times. We have been in the last days since Jesus ascended to Heaven, but the birth pains are getting closer. Heartlessness is growing.

There seems to be hopelessness all around. Where there is hopelessness love is easily forgotten. Instead of hopelessness we should feel excitement. We are living in the last days. Christian, the Rapture could happen at any time! That is very exciting. We need to share our hope by spreading the Gospel of Christ.

Even though many Christians are working diligently trying to show the love of God through their lives and through their speech, it is becoming more and more politically incorrect to profess Christ. In school our children are expected to read books that are filled with witchcraft and evil, but the Bible is not allowed. We can celebrate pagan holidays and pretend they are Christian, but whatever you do don’t say Merry Christmas. As time goes on this satanic hatred of Christians, which is really persecution of Jesus, will become worse. Satan will be allowed more rein to guide the feeble minded lost souls toward full blown hatred of all Christians. After the Rapture this hatred will be embodied by the son of perdition (the anti-Christ). Christians will be gone, but there will be those who come to faith after the Rapture. They will be hated and killed.

While we, the Ekklesia of Christ, remain on earth we need to combat this insane cold heartedness at every turn. We need to turn the lost souls of this world to Jesus before it is too late. Sadly the apathy and ignorance within the Ekklesia today is obvious and the hate in the world goes almost unchecked. As Peter said there is a feeling that everything is the same as it always was, but that is just denial. Even many Christians spew hate and they look and act like the worldly people who don’t know Christ. As Christ’s followers we need to represent Him well in all we do. Yes, it might draw Satan’s attacks to us, but our example is Christ and we need to emulate Him.

Cold heartedness abounds and there is evidence everywhere. Millions of mothers kill their babies and call it abortion, governments around the world slaughter their own citizens, and people walk into schools or shopping malls and open fire. Heartlessness is everywhere. Being on the cusp of Daniel’s 70th week can be discouraging as we who await the Rapture hold fast each day and anticipate His inevitable call for us to join Him in the clouds. While we wait we have work to do. No matter how much persecution comes our way we are to hold fast to the faith and occupy until He comes.

If you are a born again believer in Christ but you’re not involved in fulfilling Christ’s command to spread the Gospel, then you best get involved. Time’s a wasting. Do you really want to meet Him face to face and tell Him you were just too busy or too fearful to speak up for Him? Many Christians are giving in to fear, and that’s why the Ekklesia is floundering today. That’s why heartlessness is going unchecked.

Right now, while the Ekklesia remains a force on earth, heartlessness can be combated. Yes, it’s going to get worse and perhaps someday we will need to run and hide to keep from be slaughtered. Then again, perhaps we will be given the courage which the first century saints were given. As we stand in the face of certain death we will smile as we see Jesus standing before us. Stephen was the first Christian martyr, and as he was being stoned he saw Heaven open up “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55-56.

We live in difficult times, but Christians need to honor God by showing His love to this wicked world. “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8. We who are born again enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit living within us; He is an awesome convicting Spirit. If we allow it He will use us to attract the lost and unsaved of this world to us, and thus to Christ. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.” 1 Peter 3:15-16. He may give us words as He moves us in our witnessing tasks, or He may simply use us as an example of what living “In Christ” looks like, but you must always be ready with an answer.

In these last days the Holy Spirit is working overtime to convince as many as possible to join God’s children at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Show God’s love to those who are lost and there will be fewer heartless people in this world.

God bless you all,

Ron & Nathele Graham
Previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html

All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
This commentary was started by Ron Graham before his death on March 14, 2013, and finished by his wife, Nathele Graham

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