Friday, December 16, 2011

Romans Chapter 1 - Part One

Romans – Part One

Romans 1:1-2

The phrase Holy Scriptures refers obviously to the Old Testament and occurs only here in the New Testament (2Ti_3:15 uses different Gr. words for “holy” and “Scriptures”). Paul did not quote any prophets where the gospel was promised, but Philip’s use of Isa_53:7-8 with the Ethiopian eunuch is a good example (Act_8:30-35; cf. Luk_24:25-27, Luk_24:45-47). Since Romans is primarily a work of doctrine, it contains little historical material. Paul does use such familiar Old Testament figures as Abraham (chapter 4), David 4:6-8; Adam 5:12-21; Sarah 9:9; Rebekah 9:10; Jacob chapters 9-11. Chapter 16 provides insightful glimpses into the nature and character of the first century church and its members.
The overarching theme of Romans is the righteousness that comes from God: the glorious truth that God justifies guilty, condemned sinners by grace alone through faith in Christ alone.
Chapters 1-11 present the theological truths of that doctrine, while chapters 12-16 detail its practical outworking in the lives of Individual believers and the life of the whole church.
Some specific theological topics include principle of spiritual leadership 1:8-15, God’s wrath against sinful mankind 1:18-32, principals of divine judgment 2-16, the universality of sin 3:9-20, an exposition and defense of justification by faith alone 3:21-4:25, the security of salvation 5-11, the transference of Adam’s sin 5:12-21, sanctification chapters 6-8, sovereign election chapter 9, God’s plan for Israel chapter 11, spiritual gifts and practical godliness chapter 12, the believer’s responsibility to human government chapter 13, and principles of Christian liberty chapters 14:1-15:12.
In this very first verse Paul introduces himself to the Roman Christians. Notice that Paul calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ. Perhaps these Roman Christians have not heard that Paul was commissioned of Jesus Christ to bring the gospel (good news) of Jesus to the Gentiles.
In Greek culture a servant often referred to the involuntary, permanent service of a slave, but Paul elevates this word by using it in its Hebrew sense to describe a servant who willingly commits himself to serve a master he loves and respects.
The Greek word for apostle is: “one who is sent”. In the New Testament, it primarily refers to the 12 men that Christ chose to accompany Him and Matthias, who the other apostles chose to replace Judas. Christ gave them power to confirm their apostleship with miracles and authority to speak as His proxies. I might also add that New Testament book was written either by an apostle or under his auspices. Their teaching is the foundation of the church. Christ Himself selected Paul for this position and trained him to fulfill this ministry.
Paul’s Jewish antagonists accused him of preaching a revolutionary new message unrelated to Judaism. But the Old Testament is replete with prophecies concerning Christ and the gospel.
In the book of Isaiah, we see numerous prophecies. Of course all of the Old Testament prophets prophesied of Jesus, but Isaiah probably had the most to say. At any rate, I will give you a number of these prophecies from Isaiah. Isaiah chapter 11 verse 3 prophesied Jesus would be Judge, chapter 42 verse 4 shows Him as Law Giver, chapter 42 verse 7 shows Him as Liberator, chapter 53 verse 4 shows Him as Burden-Bearer, chapter 53 verse 6 shows Him as Sin-Bearer, chapter 53 verse 12 shows Him as Intercessor, chapter 53 verse 5 shows Jesus as our only Savior. We see in chapter 7 verse 14, He is Immanuel (God with us), in chapter 9 verse 6, we see Him as mighty God. I could go on and on for there are 35 prophecies in Isaiah alone on Jesus. Of course Jeremiah, Psalms, Ezekiel and all the others prophesied of Jesus too.
Romans 1:3-4

God’s good news concerns His Son, identified as Jesus Christ our Lord. This asserts Christ’s deity as basic to His person and prior to His Incarnation, since His identification with David’s line “came to be,” a literal rendering of the participle genomenou, translated was. He was genuinely human too, as His tie with David and His resurrection from the dead show. Many well known ancient writers, including the Roman historian Tacitus, the familiar Jewish historian Josephus, and Pliny the Younger verify Jesus’ historicity.
John makes believing that Christ has come in the flesh a crucial test of orthodoxy. Because He is fully human, as well as fully God, He can serve as man’s substitute and as a sympathetic High Priest. In Matthew, we see Jesus as descendent of David.
Matthew 1:1 "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."
We can also see David in the genealogy of Jesus in Luke:
Luke 3:31 "Which was [the son] of Melea, which was [the son] of Menan, which was [the son] of Mattatha, which was [the son] of Nathan, which was [the son] of David," This genealogy is of the flesh and not the Spirit.
That resurrection declared Him to be the Son of God because it validated His claims to deity and His predictions that He would rise from the dead (Joh_2:18-22; Mat_16:21). This declaration was made through (lit., “in accord with”) the Spirit of holiness. This is the Holy Spirit, and not, as some have suggested, Christ’s human spirit. Son of God: This title used nearly 30 times in the gospels, identifies Jesus Christ as the same in essence as God.
Jesus was definitely God the Son. The proof was on the 3rd. day he arose from the tomb. The resurrection clearly declared that Jesus was deity, the expression of God Himself in human form. While He was eternally the Son in anticipation of His incarnation, it was when He entered the world in incarnation that He was declared to the entire world as the Son of God and took on the role of submission to the Father. His victory over death was the supreme demonstration and most conclusive evidence that He is God the Son.
Jesus not only had resurrection power, but is in fact the Resurrection and the Life, as he told Lazarus' sister on the way to the tomb.
John 11:25 "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:" Jesus was the Son of God. God the Holy Spirit hovered over Mary and she conceived by the Holy Spirit of God.
Luke 1:35 "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
Spirit of holiness: In His incarnation, Christ voluntarily submitted Himself to do the will of the Father only through the direction, agency and power of the Holy Spirit.
We see that the power of Jesus was unlimited.
Ephesians 1:19-23 "And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power," "Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places]," "Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:" "And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church," "Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
This leaves no doubt that Jesus is all powerful.
Romans 1:5-7

Paul’s ministry from Jesus was among all the Gentiles, which included the Romans, whom Paul addressed not as a church but as individual believers. Paul was the human agent (from and for Christ he received grace and apostleship, i.e., “the grace of apostleship”; cf. Rom_12:3; Rom_15:15) but the calling (God’s summons to salvation; cf. Rom_8:28, Rom_8:30) came from the Lord and set his readers apart as “saints.” Obedience and faith are often linked (cf. Rom_15:18; Rom_16:26; also cf. 1Pe_1:2). Grace is the unmerited favor which God shows guilty sinners. This is the book’s first reference to the most crucial part of the gospel message: salvation is a gift from God wholly separate from any human effort or achievement.
Faith is what saved Abraham. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
Hebrews 11:6 "But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
To become an apostle (one sent with a special message) we must have great faith and be obedient to God. We must make Jesus Christ not only our Savior, but our Lord, as well. We read in 1 Samuel that obedience is better than sacrifice.
1 Samuel 15:22 "And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams."
We were not saved by our great deeds, but were saved because we had faith in God. To work for God, we must submit our will to Him. We must be obedient to His Word and His will.
We will not know what His will is unless we know His Word. The term Apostleship refer to the twelve in a unique way, but in a broader and less official sense it can describe anyone whom God has sent with the message of salvation.
Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Just as Paul was a “called” apostle, so the believers in Rome were called to belong to Jesus Christ (lit., “called of Jesus Christ”) and called to be saints (lit., “called saints”).
Paul’s salutation like that in all his epistles, expressed the desire that they enjoy God’s grace and peace. Always in the New Testament epistles the “call” of God refers to God’s effectual call of elect sinners to salvation, rather than the general call to all men to believe.
Matthew 20:16 "So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen." Salvation is offered to whosoever will.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
God has called everyone to salvation, but He will not override our will. We have to decide to follow Him. “Beloved of God … saints”: The Greek text records these as 3 separate privileges:

1. God has set His love on His own. 5:5; 8:35; Eph 1:6
2. He has extended to them not only the general, external invitation to believe the gospel, but His effectual calling, or His drawing to Himself all those He has chosen for salvation. 8:30; 2 Thes. 2:13-14; 2 Tim. 1:9
3. God has set believers apart from sin unto Himself, so that they are holy ones. 1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Col. 1:2; 1 Thes. 1:1; 2 Thes. 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; Titus 1:4; and Philemon 3
Ephesians 4:10-13 "He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things." "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;" "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:" "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:"
There is a group of the called, who are called to the ministry. My own opinion of those who are called to work for God, is that the call was there even before birth. We see this in people like John the Baptist. God protects these people supernaturally until they accept their call. This is so even before they know there is a call.
Romans 1:8-15
Establishing rapport
Paul made a practice of beginning his letters with a word of thanks to God, a specific prayer, and a personal message to the recipients. For the Romans he rejoiced that news of their faith had spread all over the world, a hyperbole meaning throughout the Roman Empire. His constant intercession for them (Rom_1:9-10) had the new note of petition for his projected visit, a heart-desire of long standing that finally was definitely on Paul’s agenda (Rom_1:10; cf. Rom_15:23-24). It appears that long before Paul goes to Rome there are many Christians there. It seems they are so zealous for the Lord that it is common knowledge. This spreading of this information to the world just means that Rome is a trade center and people who come there to sell or buy have heard of the Christian movement in Rome. As the center of the Roman Empire and the inhabited world, whatever happened in Rome became known universally.
This visit would be mutually beneficial spiritually; he desired to minister for three purposes: (a) to the strengthening of the Romans (Rom_1:11; to impart… some spiritual gift means either to exercise his own spiritual gift on their behalf or to bestow on them spiritual favors, i.e., blessings); (b) to see some spiritual fruit (a harvest, Rom_1:13) among them and, in turn, (c) to be strengthened by them (Rom_1:12). We see here that Paul prays intercessory prayers for these new Christians in Rome. Notice in the verse above that Paul does not serve the Lord in his flesh, but in his spirit. I believe that Paul is saying (only God and myself) know the hours that I have spent praying for you.
In this sense Paul’s ministry at Rome would be the same as in other centers of the empire. Paul will leave Corinth here and go to Jerusalem and be sought after by the authorities. It will be several years after this is written before Paul actually reaches Rome. One important statement above is (by the will of God). Paul has submitted his will to God. Paul is speaking here of laying his hands on them that they might receive the power of the Holy Ghost. 1 Corinthians chapter 12 explains what these Spiritual gifts are. You should read the whole chapter, but I will quote a little here.
1 Corinthians 12:8-11 "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;" "To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;" "To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:" "But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."
The statement (that ye may be established) just means that power to minister will come upon them. Many very shy people, become bold workers for the Lord when they receive the Holy Spirit. Paul had written to these Roman Christians that he would pray for them to receive spiritual gifts to enable them to minister also. Paul says above (we are in this together) we are fellow workers for Christ. This statement in verse 12 is a humble statement by Paul. He is trying to make them understand the equality of the believers in Christ. Paul had felt even when he was at Ephesus, and Corinth, that God wanted him to go to Rome. He had desired from the beginning of his missionary journeys to go to his father's people, the Romans and minister to them. Rome was a center of trade, and if the gospel of Jesus Christ could be established in Rome it could affect all of Europe.
Paul explains, here, that he must continue to minister to the other Gentiles God has sent him to, until he gets to Rome.
Scripture catalogs 3 kinds of spiritual fruit:
1. Spiritual attitudes that characterize a Spirit led believer
2. Righteous actions
3. New converts
In this context, Paul is probably referring to the third one, a desire that was eventually realized during his imprisonment in Rome.
As a result of his “apostleship” (Rom_1:5) to the Gentiles Paul felt obligated (lit., “I am a debtor”) to the entire human race to proclaim God’s good news (Rom_1:14-15). The word translated non-Greeks is literally, “barbarians,” all other human beings from the viewpoint of the Greeks (cf. Col_3:11). Parallel to it is the word foolish (anoētois; cf. Tit_3:3) in the next couplet, which has the significance of uncultured. This is just another way of saying that God is no respecter of persons. God wants the wise Greeks and also the unwise to know Him. The very educated Greeks really thought all others to be barbarians. They were extremely proud of their schools of learning. Worldly education, however, does not impress God. God's message is for those who believe themselves to be high and mighty and for the lowly. I have observed through the years that it is more difficult for those who think themselves wise to receive the good news of Jesus Christ than it is for the humble uneducated person. The wise person has to figure everything out with his or her mind. Christianity is of the heart.
Paul’s sense of debt to the Gentile world produced an eagerness (I am so eager, Rom_1:15) to evangelize it, including Rome, capital of the empire. Debtor: Paul had an obligation to God to fulfill His divine mandate to minister to Gentiles. Paul is saying here that he will do everything he can to come to Rome and preach. In the book of Acts, we find that Paul did make it to Rome and preached in his home while he was under house arrest. All true ministers of God are the happiest when they can bring the true Word of God and see someone saved.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Introduction to the Book of Romans

Book of Romans

Introductory Matters

Epistolary greetings

The customary formula for letters in ancient times included (a) naming and identifying the author, (b) naming and identifying the recipient, and (c) a word of salutation. Paul followed this formula in this letter to the Romans despite the lengthy digression precipitated by the word “gospel.” The same formula is used in all the New Testament letters except Hebrews and 1 John. (See the chart, “Paul’s Introductions to His Epistles.”)
Paul identified himself first as a servant of Christ Jesus. “Servant” (doulos) means slave, a person owned by another. Paul wore this title gladly (Gal_1:10; Tit_1:1), reveling in the Old Testament picture of a slave who in love binds himself to his master for life (Exo_21:2-6).
Paul also identified himself as an apostle — one sent with delegated authority (cf. Mat_10:1-2) — a position to which he was called. (Lit., the Gr. is, “a called apostle.”) This calling was from God (Act_9:15; Gal_1:1), though it was acknowledged by men (Gal_2:7-9). It involved being set apart (from aphorizō; cf. Act_13:2) for the gospel of God, the message of good news from God that centered on “His Son” (Rom_1:2, Rom_1:9) which Paul was “eager to preach” (Rom_1:15) without shame (Rom_1:16). This setting apart did not keep Paul from making tents to support himself and his companions (Act_20:34; 1Th_2:9; 2Th_3:8) nor from mingling freely with all levels of pagan society. It was a setting apart to something — a commitment and dedication, not from things in isolation like the Pharisees. (Interestingly the word “Pharisee” means “separated one” in the sense of being isolated and segregated.) Before we begin in the book of Romans we need to take a look at the penman, Paul. Paul was also known by Saul. Saul means asked and this was the name he was using when he was persecuting the Christians. The name Paul means little. His Jewish name was Saul and his Roman name was Paul. I personally believe that Saul stopped using that name when he was saved by Jesus Christ, and used the name Paul from then on. He was a native of Tarsus, a city of Celicia. Paul was Jewish (in fact a Pharisee). He was from the tribe of Benjamin. Philippians 3:5 "Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, [of] the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;" Paul was also a Roman citizen. His father was a Roman.

Paul was such a controversial figure that I feel our time will be well spent looking into his background. Paul was an educated man. He had studied in Jerusalem in a Jewish school under Gamaliel. We will see in Paul's teachings some leftovers from that early learning of the law. Remember Paul was a Roman citizen, from Tarsus, a Pharisee of the Hebrews. This may explain what he says in 1 Corinthians 9:19-22:
"For though I be free from all [men], yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more." "And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;" "To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law." "To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all [men], that I might by all means save some."

This should make it easier for all of us to understand the seemingly discrepancies in Paul's writings. He does not say the same thing all the time, because he is speaking to people who have different customs. Paul tries to reach them at their level of understanding at the time. He establishes a church in Philippi with 2
women in high position and then writes the Corinthian church for women to be silent in church. In this same 1 Corinthians we read that women should have their head covered when they prophesy in the church.
1 Corinthians 11:5 "But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with [her] head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven."
1 Corinthians 11:15 "But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for [her] hair is given her for a covering."
Paul fights for the new Christian doctrine of not having to keep the old Mosaic law and then observes it himself. The reason for this is not that he is doubleminded, but that as I said, he is keeping the customs of each person he ministers to. Paul was not really a hater of women as many thought, for he travelled with women ministers who worked with him. When God sent him to Macedonia, he ministered to the women on the Sabbath and Lydia and her family were saved. He moved into Lydia's house and established a church there.
Acts 16:12-15 "And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, [and] a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days." "And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted [thither]." "And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard [us]: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul." "And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought [us], saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide [there]. And she constrained us."
It really appears from this that Lydia was a leader of this church in her home.

Paul never married, but it was not because he hated women but because he was so busy working for God. All of chapter 7 of first Corinthians is about this very thing.
Many of the people of our day have deified Paul and that is very dangerous. It appears to me that this is very similar to what the Jews did about John the Baptist. John the Baptist was more acceptable to the Jews than Jesus was. If we Christians are not careful we will forget also that Jesus Christ the Son of God is the focal point of the entire Bible, John the Baptist was a messenger (a truly great servant of God), but Jesus was the Message. The messenger is not more important than the Message. Paul was a servant of Jesus as we read in his own words Romans 1:1
"Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called [to be] an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,"
The One served is greater than the servant. Paul is not at fault in this, we Christians are. We must worship God alone. Paul's writings are really important (some of my favorites). We certainly do not want to down play them at all. Tremendous teachings of the basic Christian walk are taught in the books he penned. Gentiles owe much of their church beginnings to him and Peter.

Paul was a tentmaker by trade and even worked as a tentmaker while he ministered. He tried to make his own way so that he was not subject to any particular church.
Philippians 4:12 "I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."
Paul was satisfied with whatever he had. He did not complain.

Paul was a very special man. He went into the desert for 3 years after his encounter with Jesus and was taught of the Holy Spirit of God.
Galatians 1:16-18 "To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:" "Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus." "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days."
Paul was also carried away into heaven at one point.
2 Corinthians 12:1-5 "It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord." "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven." "And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)" "How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." "Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities."
Paul had been an arrogant man before he met Jesus, but he became humble to the point of calling himself chief among sinners.
1 Timothy 1:15 "This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."
Jesus had called Paul to a life of suffering. Acts 9:15-16 "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:" "For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake."
We see that Paul himself lists some of these sufferings in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 "Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I [am] more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft." "Of the Jews five times received I forty [stripes] save one." "Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;" "[In] journeyings often, [in] perils of waters, [in] perils of robbers, [in] perils by [mine own] countrymen, [in] perils by the heathen, [in] perils in the city, [in] perils in the wilderness, [in] perils in the sea, [in] perils among false brethren;" "In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness." "Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches."
We also see in this verse above that his greatest suffering was for the churches he started. Some of these churches were the church at Corinth, the church at Ephesus, and the church at Philippi.
Paul helped establish the doctrine for the Christians when he fought so hard the Jews and even went to Jerusalem to get the last word from Peter stating that believers in Christ were not to circumcise males and were not to keep the Mosaic law. Chapter 15 of Acts tells of all they were to do in the way of a doctrine.
Acts 15:20 "But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and [from] fornication, and [from] things strangled, and [from] blood."
Paul's part in the founding of Christianity must be admired. He went on 3 missionary journeys establishing churches. He spent more time at Ephesus than any other of these places. On one visit he stayed two and one half years there. Much of his writing was done from Rome where he was under house arrest for a lengthy time.
Paul was a full apostle of Christ. Apostle really means (one sent with a special message.) Paul certainly fell into that category. He not only preached, but healed the sick as well. Paul covered a great deal of the known world at that time also.
He fulfilled the commission that Jesus gave in Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Paul carried a company with him every where he went to preach.
Philippians 4:3 "And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and [with] my fellow laborers, whose names [are] in the book of life."
We see also at Antiock, Paul and Barnabos were ordained for their missionary work together. This can be found in Acts in chapter 13 and 14. John Mark ministered for a short time with Paul and Barnabas. Luke (who wrote the books of Acts went with Paul on these missionary journeys and even went to Rome with him. Many times in Acts, Luke (the beloved physician), when he speaks of Paul`s journeys, says we.

Perhaps Paul was closer to Timothy than any of these others. He loved Timothy so much that he speaks of him as a son.
2 Timothy 1:2 "To Timothy, [my] dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, [and] peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."
This was not Paul`s son in the flesh, but in the spirit. Paul took Timothy as a youth and trained him for a minister of Jesus Christ. We would go on and on like Dorcas who many believe helped Paul financially. He was popular among the followers of Jesus.

Paul was sorry that he had consented to the stoning of Stephen. He and Peter had a few differences which were settled quickly. Paul worked diligently for the Lord Jesus Christ and His church after he received the Lord. At the end Paul was able to say in II Timothy 4:7 "I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at
that day."
We will finish the last of verse 8 out in saying O that I might be like Paul and receive this crown of righteousness.
2 Timothy 4:8 "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

Preparation for the Last Seven Vials

Revelation 15

Revelation chapter 15 begins the preparation for the last seven vials. The wrath of God began with the seven seals in chapter 6 and will be finished with the last seven vials. Chapter 15 is an introduction to these last seven and final plaques on mankind.
Throughout history God has poured out his wrath in judgment on early sinners. Adam's sin in the Garden of Eden brought the entire human race under judgment.
By Noah's days, people had turned so wicked, that God sent the judgment of the flood to destroy the entire world except eight people. Noah, his three sons and their wives.
Centuries of disobedience and wickedness by the Jewish people eventually led to their judgment and captivity. First the northern 10-1/2 tribes in 722 bc by the Assyrian Empire, then the southern kingdom of Judah in 586 bc by the Babylonian Empire.
Cities named Sodom and Gomorrah was completely destroyed by God with fire and brimstone.
Now in Chapters 15 and 16 we see the final outpouring of God's wrath before Christ's return. That wrath is expressed by the effects of the seventh trumpet which was opened in chapter 11, verse 15. Chapter 15 is very short and begins the introduction to those last seven judgments.
This chapter in the book of Revelation sets the stage for the last seven vial judgments that cover the last three and one-half years of the tribulation which are described in Revelation chapter 16.
The seven angels prepare to administer the last seven Tribulation judgments of Christ: the seven vials). Vials are actually shallow bowls (these are called the bowl judgments), used for pouring libations (5:8; 1 Chronicles 28:17; Jeremiah 52:18; Zech. 9:15; 14:20). The bowls are full of the wrath of God (2 Thess. 1:7 - 9). God has the right to judge, because He is the Eternal incense that filled the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle. Until the seven plagues are finished, no one is able to enter into the temple. The time for intercession is past; God's judgment will now be completed.
This "seven" just means this is the end. The only good thing about these plagues is that the Christians are in heaven when this occurs. The wrath of the devil is bad, but to fall into the hands of Almighty God and have His wrath fall on unbelievers is the very worst thing that could happen.
These plagues will conclude with the wrath of God on sinful mankind for rejecting His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The last seven plaques indicate that these are in order and this finishes the 21 total plaques on mankind before the end of time.

Revelation 15:1-2

The seven angels introduced
With the background of the scene in heaven described in Rev_14:1-20, John then recorded more details of God’s judgment. He wrote that he saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign. Seven angels — each having a plague which all together were described as the seven last plagues — were introduced as the final step in the outpouring of God’s wrath on the earth. This final “sign” relates to the preceding great signs of the woman in Rev_12:1 and the red dragon in Rev_12:3. These seven angels should not be confused with the two groups of three angels in the preceding chapter (Rev_14:6-20) or with any other previous group of angels.
John also saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire. This is probably the same sea that was described in Rev_4:6. Beside this sea John saw the martyred dead, the same group described in Rev_7:9-17. The sea of glass was before God's throne in Rev. 4:6. "And before the throne [there was] a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, [were] four beasts full of eyes before and behind."
John was seeing the same crystal platform, but now it was mixed with the fire of God's judgment.
The victory over the beast has been won through faith in Christ and refusal to submit to the Antichrist. These are the Tribulation Martyrs who are rejoicing over the victory they have won. The harps indicate they are rejoicing and singing praise to God. These believers are rejoicing because their prayers for God's vengeance on their persecutors are about to be answered.

Revelation 15:3-4

The victorious saints sang with harps the song of Moses… and the song of the Lamb. These may be two separate songs, the first referring to God’s faithfulness to Israel and the second referring to their present situation in the Great Tribulation. Some, like Walter Scott, refer the song of Moses to Exo_15:1-27 where Israel triumphed over the Egyptians. Others, such as J.B. Smith, suggest that this is the song of Deu_32:1-52, which gives a comprehensive review of God’s faithfulness to Israel. In this song in Rev_15:3-4 God is praised for His great deeds, justice, truth (cf. Rev_16:7), glory, and holiness. This "they" are the believers in Christ. The "song of Moses" and the "song of the Lamb" are the same. This is the song of redemption. God used Moses to redeem His people from bondage in Egypt. Moses had lead the people out of the land of Egypt to the Promised Land prefiguring now Jesus is leading the Saints to that promised land we call heaven.
Who purchased this for us? Who did all the work Himself? Jesus. His works are "marvelous". It is beyond our imagination to see a beautiful snow-capped mountain and realize that the One who created that, also loved us enough that He climbed on the cross and suffered for us. He has every right to be our King. Remember in all of this, He is not just a loving God, but a "just and true" God as well.
The exclamation, "just and true" reflects the Old Testament truth that all of God's works are true and His ways just Dan. 4 v.37; Deut. 32 v.4; and Hosea 14 verse 9.
"Lord God Almighty" celebrates God's omnipotence, essential to the triumphant power of the last judgments and appears frequently in Revelation. This name just tells us of His overwhelming power.
This description of praise to God and prediction of universal worship is in keeping with many other Scriptures and relates, of course, to the second coming of Christ and worship of God by the entire world in the millennial kingdom (Psa_2:8-9; Psa_24:1-10; Psa_66:1-4; Psa_72:8-11; Psa_86:9; Isa_2:2-4; Isa_9:6-7; Isa_66:18-23; Jer_10:7; Dan_7:14; Zep_2:11; Zec_14:9). The awful hour of wickedness and blasphemy against God, which will characterize the period leading up to the Second Coming, will be followed by a full vindication of God’s judgment and holiness in the next period. Then a prediction is made that all the nations will worship God. In Proverbs 9:10 we read "The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding."
We are not to fear the world or its people. We are "to fear" (Reverence) God.
This "all nations shall come and worship", is speaking of the time when Jesus will sit on a throne in Jerusalem and rule the world. There will be a yearly pilgrimage by everyone to worship. We see Jesus is the only Holy one.
Philippians 2 verses 10 -11 says "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father."
After God's righteous acts of judgment has been made manifested or revealed, the time of Isaiah will come: "And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD."

Revelation 15:5-8

As John continued to look at the heavenly vision, he saw the temple described as the tabernacle of Testimony. The vision of a temple in heaven seems to be the heavenly counterpart of the earthly temple actually the earthly temple was designed and laid out by God the Father as it is in Heaven where His Throne resides. This "tabernacle" is the original tabernacle in heaven that the one on the earth was patterned by. Moses was given instruction by God how to build the earthly one. The tabernacle was opened by Jesus, as the temple curtain which was in front of the Holy of Holies, was torn from the top to the bottom, when Jesus died on the cross.
In an earlier vision given John, God's throne room was opened so the faithful could see in. We see here that it "was opened" (past tensed). Now the heavenly tabernacle, which the earthly tabernacle was a copy, was opened to reveal the most severe earthly judgment ever on the unrepentant.
The tabernacle was sometimes referred to as the tabernacle of the testimony, so named as it contained the testimony. The two stone tablets which God had written the ten commandments on.
As it was opened, the seven angels with their plagues exited from it. The clean, shining linen of the angels indicates their purity, and the golden sashes around their chests point to the glory of God. Seven golden vials full of the wrath of God. These are the "plagues" that will strike the earth in the last three and one-half years to punish those who have chosen to serve the Antichrist, doing his bidding to persecute the saints for their faith in Christ.
So many people in this current, new wave of believers think that all punishment comes from the devil and no bad thing comes from God. They better take another look at this Scripture right here. These "angels" are operating under God's orders. They have just come "out of the temple" (which shows the origination). They are clothed in white (which shows they are good angels and not demons). The gold of their breasts show that they have been in the presence of God.
John saw one of the four living creatures give the seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God to the seven angels. Here, again, we see these "vials" are from God, because they are gold. These "sevens" just show the completeness of it all.
And again, we see the eternity of God in the forever and ever. They are ready to pour the wrath out on the inhabitants of the earth. God has the power to put an end to sin so that it can never exist again in His holy presence. When this was done, smoke filled the temple, making it impossible for anyone to enter it until the seven plagues were poured out on the earth (cf. Exo_40:34-35). Taken as a whole, Rev_15:5-8 presents a fearful picture of impending divine judgment on a wicked world. The judgments which are to be poured out (Rev_16:1-21) fully justify this ominous introduction. As soon as the angels in verse 6 come out of the Temple, great smoke from the glory of the presence of God and His power and wrath fills the Temple so that neither angels nor human beings can go back into worship until "the seven plagues of the seven angels are completed."
We know that in the tabernacle in the wilderness, no one could go inside. God is a consuming fire as we read in Hebrews 12:29 "For our God is a consuming fire."
During this time no created human being will have access to the presence of God on His throne until the end of the Tribulation, for He will not be dealing with people in mercy, as is His usual custom. During the latter three and one half years of the Tribulation, He will deal with human beings in judgment.
This glory cloud will remain in the heavenly temple until the earth is completely purged, cleansed and prepared for the King and His kingdom that is coming.
This "smoke" is from the Majesty of God. The children of Israel were led by God Himself. We read that a fire led them by night and a cloud by day, Exodus 13:21. This is the very same presence we read of here. No mere man can enter this holy place. Jesus enters here for us and takes us with Him after we are covered by His (Jesus) blood.
God sees Jesus' shed blood, instead of us, when we enter (after we are a believer); and that shed blood is what keeps us from being burned up in God the Father's presence.
God's anger is kindled at those on the earth who have caused such sorrow to the church and the true believers, and His fury has come in His face. These plagues, as we said before, are from God. What a terrible thing it is to fall into the hands of the Living God and be judged by Him guilty and deserving of His wrath.
In Hebrews 10:30-31, we read about just how terrible it is for the sinner to fall into His hands.
Hebrews 10:30-31 "For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people." "[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Resulting Scene In Earth And Heaven Rev.14

Revelation 14

Revelation 14:1-2

The Resulting Scene In Earth And Heaven (chaps. 14-15)

The 144,000 on Mount Zion (Rev_14:1-5)

In Rev_14:1-20 and Rev_15:1-8 various other details of the world scene in heaven and earth are introduced in preparation for the final series of seven bowl judgments in Rev_16:1-21 and the judgments in chapters 17-18.
First, another view is given of the 144,000 who were standing on Mount Zion with the Lamb. It is reasonable to conclude that this is the same group mentioned in Rev_7:4-8, except that here they are in a later period of the Tribulation. Chronologically the vision anticipates the triumph of the 144,000 still intact at the time of Jesus Christ’s return from heaven to earth. In contrast with many others who become martyrs, these people live through the period. But they are not the only ones to survive, as many Gentiles and Jews will turn to Christ in the end time and somehow escape martyrdom and be honored to welcome Christ at His return.
Again the scene in heaven is dramatic with a loud noise similar to rushing waters… thunder, and harpists (cf. “thunder” in Rev_4:5; Rev_6:1; Rev_8:5; Rev_11:19; Rev_16:18; Rev_19:6).

Revelation 14:3-5

John wrote, And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. These singers were apparently a heavenly group. They could be the multitude in white robes mentioned in Rev_7:9-17. But there is no justification here for symbolizing Mount Zion as heaven. It is better to take the chorus as the 144,000 (cf. Rev_14:1) who had not yet died and would still be on earth at the literal Mount Zion.
Reference to the purity of the 144,000 could be recognition that during the difficult times of the Tribulation they could not have led normal married lives. Or it may refer to spiritual purity, often symbolized by virginity (cf. 2Ki_19:21; Isa_37:22; Jer_18:13; Jer_31:4, Jer_31:21; Lam_2:13; Amo_5:2). In 2Co_11:2 the concept of virginity is extended to the entire church, including both sexes.
Some people believe that the 144,000 will be evangelists in the Great Tribulation. But there is no indication that the 144,000 were preachers or prophets; their testimony was largely from their moral purity and the fact that they were not martyred like many others. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes. John further stated, They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. The word “firstfruits” suggests that these converted Israelites precede many others who at the Lord’s second coming will turn to Him (Zec_12:10; Rom_11:15, Rom_11:26-27). They were also described as blameless (amōmoi, a word used of sacrificial animals without defect) and as those who, living in a period of great satanic deception, were free from lying. The passage as a whole is a prophetic foreview of the triumph of the 144,000 when Christ returns.

Revelation 14:6-8

The message of the three angels (Rev_14:6-12)
John was then given a vision of an angel carrying a message called the eternal gospel. The angel was commissioned to bring his message to every group of people on the earth. Because of the word “gospel,” some have felt that this was a message of salvation or the good news of the coming kingdom. The context, however, seems to indicate otherwise, for the message is one of judgment and condemnation. The angel announced, Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come. So the “eternal” message seems to be a message of God’s righteousness and judgment rather than a message of salvation.
The first angel was followed by a second angel who announced that Babylon the Great, which intoxicated others (the nations of the world) with her adulteries, has fallen.

Revelation 14:9-12

A third angel followed with another judgment that worshipers of the beast and his image who receive his mark will be objects of God’s wrath and will be destined for eternal torment along with Satan, the demon world, and all unsaved people. The everlasting character of this judgment is stated plainly in Rev_14:11 : The smoke of their torment rises forever and ever, and they will have no rest. Those who keep God’s commandments and are faithful to Him will need patient endurance (Rev_14:12; cf. Rev_13:10). The doctrine of eternal punishment, though unpopular with liberal scholars and difficult to accept, is nevertheless clearly taught in the Bible. Jesus and the Apostle John say more on this subject than does all the rest of the Bible. Here is the patience of the saints - Here the faith of the true Christians shall be proved; they will follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, they keep the commandments of God, and are steadfast in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes ἡ ὑπομονη, patience or perseverance, is taken for the reward of these virtues; the text therefore may be thus understood: Here is the reward of the perseverance of the true Christians; for although they die for the testimony of Jesus, yet they shall be unutterably blessed.

Revelation 14:13

The blessing of the faithful saints (Rev_14:13)
After the solemn pronouncement of the third angel John heard a voice from heaven commanding him, Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. To this the Holy Spirit added the promise, they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.
This passage is often quoted in regard to God’s general blessings on all Christians, but the context indicates that the blessing is especially for those who die in the Great Tribulation. For them it is a blessed release from persecution, torture, and trial and a deliverance into the glorious presence of the Lord.

Revelation 14:14-16

The messages of the second group of three angels (Rev_14:14-20)
John in his vision next saw seated on a white cloud one like a Son of Man wearing a crown of gold and holding a sharp sickle. Though some have identified “a Son of Man” as an angel, it is more probable that it is Christ Himself who is frequently called “the Son of Man” (cf. Rev_1:13). In the Book of Matthew alone this title is ascribed to Christ more than 25 times (Mat_8:20; Mat_9:6; Mat_11:19; Mat_12:8, Mat_12:32; Mat_13:41; etc.). The sickle in His hand suggests judgment. And this is supported by the messages of the three angels (Rev_14:15-20).
An angel called out to Christ to reap, because the harvest of the earth is ripe. The ripeness is in the sense of withered or overripe (exēranthē). What follows is judgment as the sickle is swung… over the earth.

Revelation 14:17-20

Another angel had a sharp sickle, and a fellow angel commanded him to gather… clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe. Here a different word is used for ripe (ēkmasan), meaning “to be fully grown” or “in prime condition.” The grapes were full of juice and ready for harvest. In obedience the angel gathered the grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled there outside the city, probably Jerusalem (cf. “the great city” in Rev_11:8).
The custom was to produce grape juice by trampling on grapes in a winepress. The result here, however, is different. Blood flowed out of the press rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia, about 180 miles. While this distance may be literal and may designate the area of judgment as around the city of Jerusalem, it is of course impossible for the blood to reach a height where it would touch horses’ bridles. What this affirms is a tremendous bloodletting in which blood is spattered as high as the bridles of horses. This is a graphic picture of a great slaughter (Isa_63:1-3). Other Scriptures (e.g., Rev_16:14; Dan_11:40-45) make it clear that there will be a world war of tremendous scope underway at the time of the second coming of Christ, and this may be a partial fulfillment of these prophecies.
Taken as a whole, Rev_14:1-20 on the one hand refers to the preservation of the 144,000 through the Great Tribulation. And on the other hand it graphically declares some of the terrible judgments that will be inflicted on the world which rejects Christ and follows Satan’s substitute for the Lord.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Matthew chapter 24 and 25


The following study will provide much light on the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, correct many errors concerning the rapture, and help in a better understanding of the end of the age and the fulfillment of Rev. 6 – 19 during the Seventieth Week. These chapters picture a series of events that are in consecutive order as given. The occasion of this discourse was when the disciples showed Christ the beauties of the temple. Jesus then said, “There shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.” This brought forth three questions as follows:

“Tell us when shall these things be?”

This question refers to the above statement of Jesus concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, which was fulfilled in 70 A.D. by the Romans, (Ref. Dan. 9:26; Luke 21:20-24. This question fully answered in these scriptures.

“What shall be the sign of thy coming?”

This question does not concern the rapture, but the second coming of Christ to the earth with the saints. The disciples new nothing of the rapture for that was reserved for Paul to reveal (Ref. 1Cor. 15:51-58). The disciples had often heard of the Second Advent, (Ref. Mt. 18:1; 19:28). This is further proven by Luke (Ref. Lk. 21:29-33). This question is fully answered in Matthew chapter 24 versus 4-26, 37-39; Mk. 13:5-23; Luke 21:8-19. These passages give the signs of Christ’s second coming that have to do with the answer to this question.

Signs of the Second Coming of Christ

False messiahs before the middle of the Week, or the setting up of the abomination of desolation, (Ref. Mt. 24:4-5, 15; Mk. 13:5-6; Luke 21:8; Dan. 9:27).

Wars and rumors of wars, (Ref. Mt. 24:6; Mk.13:7; Luke 21:9).

Nations against nations, (Ref. Mt. 24:7; Mk. 13:8; Luke 21:10).

Famines, pestilences and earthquakes, (Ref. Mt. 24:7; Mk. 13:8; Luke 21:11).

Persecution of the Jews by all nations, (Ref. Mt. 24:9; Mk. 13:9-11; Luke 21:12).

Many offenses and betrayals, (Ref. Mt. 24:10; Mk. 13:12-13; Luke 21:16).

False prophets before the middle of the Week, (Ref. Mt. 24:11, 15; Dan. 9:27).

Iniquity abounding and love waxing cold, (Ref. Mt. 24:12).

The gospel of the kingdom to be preached again as a witness to all nations, (Ref. Mt. 24:13-14).

The abomination of desolation set up, (Ref. Mt. 24:15; Dan. 9:27; 12:7-11; Rev. 13:1-18; 14:9-11; 20:4-6).

Flight of Israel into the wilderness, (Ref. Mt. 24:16-20; Mk. 13:14-18; Isa. 16:1-5; Ezk. 20:33-35; Hos. 2:14-16; Psa. 60:8-10).

The great tribulation days, (Ref. Mt. 24:21-22; Mk. 13:19-20).

False messiahs after the middle of the Week, (Ref. Mt. 24:23-26; Mk. 13:21-22).

False prophets after the middle of the Week, (Ref. Mt. 24:23-26; Mk. 13:22).

Conditions of the days of Noah repeated, (Ref. 24:37-39).

Fearful sights and distress on the earth, (Ref. Luke 21:11).

Great signs in the Heavens, (Ref. Luke 21:11; Acts 2:16-21).

All these signs, as well as many others, must take place before the second coming of Christ which the disciples had in mind. This proves that the coming asked about by the disciples was not the rapture, but the Second Advent at the end of the tribulation period.

The first nine signs will be fulfilled down to the middle of the week when the abomination of desolation will be set up, as stated in Mt. 24:15. The first four signs were given and then Jesus said, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” The word “sorrows” means “birth pangs” and refers to the agonies of Israel under the ten kings and the whore (Babylon) in the first three and one-half years of the Week. The “birth pangs” must continue until Israel comes to birth at the end of the Week. This means that, from the first sign to the last, there is to be an increase of these sorrows. They are to last throughout the whole Week. Perhaps they will begin sometime before the Week, for Israel seems to be persecuted when Antichrist makes the covenant with her to protect her for seven years, [Ref. Dan. 9:27].

There are three questions that naturally rise at this juncture, in view of this method of exposition:

How do we know that Israel is the one primarily dealt with in these chapters instead of The Church or Christians?


Jesus is speaking to the Jews and is answering a question which is purely Jewish, for it concerns their Messiah and His coming to deliver them.
The deceptions by false messiahs primarily concern Israel.

The fifth sign above can be harmonizing only with what is prophesied of Israel and their times of sorrows.

The sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth signs are also connected to these days of “birth pangs,” and times of sorrows and the end of the Week.
The time of the fulfillment of all these things is during one generation at the end of that age, for those who suffer these things are blessed only upon condition that they endure to the end of the age.

“The gospel of the kingdom” is Jewish and is the good news that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, because of the nearness of the King of the Jews. This gospel will be preached during the tribulation as “a witness to all nations,” and then shall come the end.

The abomination of desolation proves a Jewish connection, [Ref. Mt. 24:15; Dan. 9:24-27.]

The fleeing of the Jews in Judea proves a Jewish connection, [Ref. Mt. 24:16-20; Isa. 16:1-5; Ezk. 20:23; Hos. 2:14; Psa. 60:8-10; Rev. 12:6-17; Dan. 11:41-45].

The “Sabbath day” which would limit the flight of Jews from the Antichrist to a mile proves a Jewish connection, [Ref. Mt. 24:20-22; Jer. 30:1-7; Dan. 12:1].

The great tribulation primarily concerns Israel.

The “elect” in Mt. 24:21-26 are Jews, as proven in Mt. 24:31: Isa. 11:11.
The coming of Christ, referred to in the question, is to deliver Israel and fulfill all the prophecies of their restoration, [Joel 3: Zech. 14:1-21; Rom. 11:24-29].

The judgment of the nations is based upon how they have treated the Jews or “brethren”, [Mt. 25:31-46.

In none of these passages could we insert the Church or Christians, for they are raptured before “all these things,” [Ref. Luke 21:34-36].


Are these things fulfilled in one particular generation? That they are fulfilled in one and the last generation of that age is clear from the following:

“The days of Noah” refer to one generation only, (Ref. Mt. 24:37-39; Gen. 7:1).

That one generation only is referred to in these chapters is stated in Mt. 24:34, and clearly taught in the parable of the fig tree.

Jesus plainly promised that some would escape “all these things” and such could not be true if they were being fulfilled throughout the ages.

Some will “endure to the end” and such could not be unless those who endure were not living at the end of that age.

The abomination of desolation will be set up in the middle of the Week shows that the first nine signs immediately preceding this can easily be fulfilled in the same generation (Ref. Mt. 24:15).


If these things are to be fulfilled during the last generation of that age, what signs are being fulfilled today to show us that we are near the Second Advent and can look for the rapture at any time? The above signs are concerning a definite period just before the end of that age and after the rapture of the Church, as has been proven. If the Church is to escape “all these things” above then all of them must be fulfilled after the rapture of the Church.

3. “And the End of the Age?”

This end of the age is the same “end” mentioned in Mt. 24:13-14. It was a familiar subject of the disciples, as was also His coming, for He had often spoken to them of both.
(Ref. Mt 13:37-42; 49-50; 22:13; 24:3; 25:31-46). This third question is fully answered in Mt. 24:27-25:46; Mk. 13:24-37; Luke 21:24-33.

In the last division of the book of Revelation we have scenes in heaven and events on earth during the final seven years of that age – Daniel’s Seventieth Week – happenings between the rapture of the Church and the second coming of Jesus Christ back to the earth with the “Bride” (Church) to reign for ever (Ref. Rev. 6:1-22:5).

Not one detail of Rev. 4:1-19:21 that concern any event on earth have been fulfilled as yet, but will all be fulfilled after the rapture and at the second coming of Christ. Revelation 20 reveals a thousand year reign of Christ on the earth to put all enemies under His feet and bring an end to rebellion (Ref. Rev. 20:1-10; Eph. 1:10; 1Cor. 15:24-28). Revelation 21:1–22:5 reveals the eternal reign of God, Christ, and the saints on earth after all rebellion has been put down.

If one will take all these events as being literal and in consecutive order as to fulfillment, there will be no mystery about the Book of Revelation, and it will not be hard to understand. We must remember, however, that if we do not keep in mind that every detail of Rev. 4-22 is to be fulfilled after the churches – after the rapture of the Church – we will immediately become confused regarding the fulfillment of “these things which must be hereafter” the churches.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The World’s Last Dictator

Revelation Chapter 13

In chapter 12 the conflict in Heaven ended with Satan’s defeat and his final overthrow from Heaven. He is cast out of Heaven onto the earth. Here in Revelation chapter 13 we have a detail description of his all-out effort on the earth just prior to his being cast into the bottomless pit. It is his last drive to defeat the program of God and establish his own kingdom.
Now we know that Satan is a spirit-being and that he cannot operate effectively on earth except as he does through the passions and personalities of man. He embodies himself in men in order to get what he wants (not physically but mentally as he has a body of his own). He knows his time is short, so he comes in rage and fury to do as much damage as he possibly can. In Chapter 12 we saw the fact of Satan’s hostility; here in chapter 13 we see the means of that hostility. The two worst rebels in all of human history appear on the scene. They are called “beasts.” They are not animals, but men. They are called beasts because of the cruelty of their reign.

The Lamb who holds the title deed to the earth is to come shortly and take over His possession. Satan knows this therefore this is his last all-out effort to throttle the divine plan. It is “woe” time for the world, the day of Satan’s greatest miracles. Demonism at its height will produce a reign of terror throughout the earth. This is the period prophesied by the Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-11, when that wicked one shall be revealed, “Whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.”

The chapter before us prophesies the activity of the two beasts on the earth after the church has been caught up to Heaven to be with her Lord. The first beast appears out of the sea [Ref. Rev. 13:1-10)], while the second comes up out of the earth [ref. Rev. 13:11-18]. Both are Satan-controlled men, so that actually there is in this chapter a trinity of the evil dragon and his two associates. Satan always has been a clever imitator, a device he has used successfully to deceive men. Here in the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet, we see the Satanic trinity, Satan’s imitation of the divine trinity [Ref. Rev. 16:13].
Rev. 13: 1&2
The phrase “the sand of the sea” indicates Satan’s position as usurper of the earth and of his power over its people. The “sand” pictures the many people who will make up the nations, “the number of whom is as the sand of the sea” [Ref. Rev. 20:8]. Satan sees the sea of nations in their restlessness and political agitation [Ref. Isa. 17:12; 57:20; Rev 17:15], and so he stands upon the earth about to proceed in his final struggle for supremacy.
The first beast has “seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns and upon his heads the name of blasphemy” [Ref. Rev. 13:1]. It is clearly stated that he is a man vs. 18, but it is also affirmed twice that he comes out of the abyss [Ref. Rev. 11:7; 17:8], which means he is in league with Satan and energized by Satan. The heads speak of wisdom, the horns confederated power, and the crowns represent ruling authority. The restless world will be desperate for a leader, and this man will represent to the unregenerate mass of humanity what will appear to be the solution to the world’s ills. But all of his genius and ability only combine in blasphemy against God.
The description of this emerging dictator in vs. 2, namely, “like unto a leopard…a bear…and a lion,” is prophesied by Daniel. We should notice here that this beast is a composite of the previous world powers. He combines in himself the abilities and characteristics of the leaders, of the three world empires preceding the Roman Empire, the swiftness of the leopard, the overpowering tyranny of the bear, and the wild ferocity of the lion.
Rev. 13:3
Three times in this one chapter the wound of the beast is mentioned, and in all three verses it is made clear that the wound brought death, but that the beast was restored again [Ref. vs. 3, 12,14]. Satan’s masterpiece of deception will be a clever imitation of Christ. Christ, the seed of the woman, is God incarnate. Antichrist, the seed of the serpent, might well be Satan incarnate. As God raised Jesus from the dead, Satan will or could raise his representative from the dead, for he has certain powers over death [Ref. Heb. 2:14]. Revelation 11:7; 17; 8, 11 says that the beast goes into the place of departed spirits, and then is raised up out of that place of departed spirits. In Rev. 17:8 four things are said of him: “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition.” This indicates quite clearly that the antichrist has been on the earth before.
There is a striking similarity between the antichrist and Judas Iscariot in scripture as an identity to the antichrist. These two only are called “the son of perdition” [Ref. John 17:12; 2 Thess. 2:3]. Judas is the only man of whom it is said that Satan himself entered into him [Ref. Luke. 22:3].
The antichrist is not a system, but a person. When the prophetic scriptures speak of the antichrist, the masculine pronoun “he” is used. While he is the head of the final apostate system, he nevertheless a man, the man who is being looked for by many and whose advent seem to be drawing near. After the true Church has been raptured, and the restraining power of the Holy Spirit has been removed, this coming one will become earth’s dictator.
We are moving toward a “one world system,” that is a unified political system and a unified religious system. The first beast will be the head of a great confederation of nations. It will be the final form of the last great Gentile world power prior to Christ’s second coming to the earth. It is this one great world ruler on whom Daniel focuses attention in the last six chapters of his prophecy. He is the “little horn.” In Daniel 7:8, the “king of fierce countenance” in Daniel 9:26, the “willful king” in Daniel 11:16.
A world which has been denying the resurrection of Christ for centuries now accepts the fact that here is a man who has conquered death. After having denied the One who is the Truth, the world in amazement believes a lie. “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness “Ref. 2 Thess. 2:11-12.

The antichrist will possess an attractive and fascinating personality. His exceptional qualities of wisdom, daring, and leadership will draw to himself the highest admiration from people all over the world. He will be admired for his military prowess, for many shall say “who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” [Ref. Rev. 13:4].
Rev. 13:4-6
The wondering of vs. 3 is followed by worship. Spiritism, which is a form of demon worship and which has advanced with rapid strides in the last century, will reach its zenith during the latter half of the tribulation. While the eternally triune God is being blasphemed by the antichrist millions will worship Satan who controls the man of sin. This is he of whom the Apostle Paul wrote, “who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as god sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is god” [Ref. 2 Thess. 2:4].
The worship of the first beast is enforced by another beast that is called three times “the false prophet” [Ref. Rev. 16:13; 19:20]. Like the first beast, he is a real person, a man who is subordinate to and dependent upon the first beast, as the first beast is subordinate to and dependent upon Satan.
This second beast is seen “coming up out of the earth” [Ref. Rev. 13:11], or more accurately, out of “the land,” meaning the ancient land of Palestine where Christ was born and died. In appearance he is “like a lamb” imitating the Lamb of God and Israel’s Messiah. This clever deception arises in the same land where Jewish prophets announced that the Messiah would appear.
We see in this chapter a world religion under one head with all worship controlled by him. In order to procure results in getting people to worship the first beast, he performs miracles thereby demonstrating that he possesses supernatural ability. We should bear in mind first that a miracle is not necessarily of God. The worship of the antichrist in the tribulation will be forced upon the people even as it was in the ancient days. And at last Satan finds a man who will accept what Christ rejected, and through him will direct the worship of the entire inhabited world. Even now Satan has his forerunners of the antichrist leading many to worship him [Ref. 2 Cor. 11:13-15].
Rev. 13:7-12
The beast makes war with the saints. Now the “saints” here are not the believers of the “church age.” Not all saints are in the church. There were saints in Israel before the Church came into being, and there will be saints on earth during the tribulation after the Church has been caught up to Heaven. Israel and the Church are not the same nor does God deal in the same way with each. The saints mentioned in our verse are saved during the tribulation [Ref. Rev. 7].
For some time the beast is quite popular. His personality, military prowess, great intellect, and ability to empress himself will capture the hearts and the worship of the masses. But suddenly he turns against the Jewish saints at Jerusalem. We must remember he has made a covenant with the Jews, but in the middle of the week he will break that covenant [Ref. Dan. 9:27]. When he comes he will promise them peace in the land of Palestine. The nation will accept him as the promised Messiah and the fulfillment of Abraham’s covenant. But the peace he offers the Jews is a false peace. Daniel prophesied that he “by peace shall destroy many” [Ref. Dan. 8:25]. He will move into Palestine, desecrate the restored temple [Ref. 2 Thess. 2:4]; Rev. 11:1-2], and institute a religious system that will become the worship of Palestine and of the entire earth. He will recognize no religion other than the worship of Satan through himself. Because the people refused to kneel to God’s Christ, they must in that day bow to the devil’s antichrist. His subordinate the second beast, called the “false prophet” [Ref. Rev. 16:13; 19:20; 20:10], will assist the antichrist in enforcing his false religious system.
Rev. 13:13
This second beast is the false prophet who works to support the antichrist. He is an administrator of the affairs of Satan. As a means of impressing the people favorably, he performs miracles. This is a means of accomplishing his purposes. He substantiates his claims by demonstrating supernatural control over the forces of nature.
These signs are religious in character. There is the sign of fire from Heaven. This has been one way that God revealed Himself in history. He sent fire from Heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah [Ref. Gen. 19:24]. He sent fire from Heaven to slay Nadab and Abichu [Ref. Lev. 10:1-2]. He sent fire from Heaven to Mount Carmel in answer to the prayer of Elijah [Ref. 1 Kings 18:38]. Similar miracles will have been performed by the two witnesses [Ref. Rev. 11:3-6], so that the false prophet’s duplication of such wonders will serve an aid in causing the masses on earth to worship the beast. Now consider the last words spoken to the 400 silent years: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” [Ref. Mal. 4:5-6]. Here is a promise that Elijah would come before the second coming of Christ to the earth. We see here that Elijah is one of God’s two witnesses in Revelation 11. We will learn from this the reason why the false prophet calls down fire from Heaven. The devil and his associates know the prophetic Scriptures. So, by imitating the miracles of Elijah through the false prophet, Satan hopes to convince the nation Israel that the false prophet is Elijah, and that the man to whom this Elijah is pointing is none other than Israel’s Messiah, who ought to be worshiped. Oh the cleverness of Satan’s wiles.
Rev. 13:14
Here we see the purpose for the miracles of the false prophet. The real purpose for the miracles was to prepare the minds of the people for the announcement in vs. 14. The false prophet will attempt to lead the people to finance the building of a great image in Jerusalem, thereby making Jerusalem the center of a world-wide religious system. Once again Satan is imitating what is predicted in the prophetic Scriptures. Satan knows that Jerusalem was the center of Christ’s activities when He came to earth the first time, and that it will be His capital city when He comes again at the Second Advent to reign on earth [Ref. Mt. 24:15-24], and see where Christ is referring to these same events [Ref. Mt. 24:21] where our Lord identifies the time period when the false prophet and the antichrist appear on the scene in the Great Tribulation.
Rev. 13:15
We see here that when the image speaks(given breath), the whole world, Jews, Gentiles, Roman Catholics, protestants, whatever they are, will worship the image or be killed if they refuse to.
Rev. 13:16-17
We have here now the mark of the beast. It is an identifying mark indicating that the one bearing it both worship the beast and submits to his rule. To be without the mark will label one as a traitor to government. In order to remain alive one must be able to buy and sell, and these things he will be permitted to do only if he can show the mark of the beast.
There are forerunners today of this intricately planned system which will control world commerce, the latest of these being the European common market. The day will come when the producer and the consumer, the seller and the buyer, will be powerless under the control of the antichrist. Capital and labor are struggling for control of this now, but at that time both will be controlled by the beast. Anyone who is outside of his vast control will be ruthlessly boycotted. No one will employ you or be employed by you. All classes of society are included. No exceptions will be made. All will worship the beast or die.
Rev. 13:18
The Word of God says, “It is the number of a man.” We know that man was created on the sixth day. We know further that seven is the number of completion or perfection. Six then is short of seven, so that man at his best is still imperfect. We know that the antichrist will be the fullest manifestation of man at his best, but any man at his best is a poor imitation of Jesus Christ.
What the world needs is Jesus Christ, not the antichrist. If you have not received God’s Son, do so at once. Trust Him now for eternal life.

Monday, February 14, 2011


The Spirit-filled life is not a mystical, unattainable lifestyle that God offers but keeps just out of reach. It is a life of process--a life of becoming under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Under our Lord Jesus Christ, through His Spirit the essence of each believer priest is shapeable, teachable and flexible; Christ is in the business of building pillars. So we are to deal with foundational truths, to our life in Christ and growth in Him. To do that we must give time to a consideration of the sacraments.

The word “sacrament” is derived from a Latin word that refers to an oath of allegiance. In church terminology, it refers to the practice of a sacred ritual as a declaration that trust is being placed in the potential power of that exercise and that faith is being made manifest by the action taken.

The church’s concept of a sacrament proposes the participation of two parties: God has made the provision, being the initiating party, has made a deposit of gracious provisions. For our part we also have made a deposit; our faith to believe and our willing obedience to participate. The two sacraments most common in the life of the Church are the sacraments of water Baptism and the Lord’s Table.

First, our growth and depth of life as believer priests of Christ’s depend on our moving beyond initiation experiences. Growth requires our seeing those truths and practices we’ve already obeyed (like water baptism) taken on and live out that truth.
Second, we need to rethink discipline of water baptism so we can sensibly and sensitively relay that truth to others. As believer priests, we are given the opportunity to teach and influence new believers, so it is to their advantage and ours that we deepen our insights and understanding of the truths of the Spirit.
Third, there are to many Church’s where water baptism is not being taught, either in the depth of its meaning or in the clarity of its biblical mandate by our Lord Jesus. Water baptism is a personal responsibility, personal in that Jesus has commanded it of each one of us!, It is not a religious idea or ritual. Hear it loved one, Baptism is as important as the great commission, Jesus told His disciples to go to the world, preach the gospel and “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:29). Baptism is a straight forward matter of obedience to Christ. Let’s look at (Acts 10:44-48). Though the group at the house of Cornelius had been filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter still directed that they be baptized in water. Baptism is one of life’s greatest opportunities to be a witness!


Though we have been baptized, fully acknowledging its importance, we’re still called to abide in the truths baptism expresses. So how can we live more fully in the power of those principles as believer priests? The Holy Spirit opens us up to the fullness of the truth, Jesus Himself identified this as a fundamental issue in water baptism (let’s look at Matt. 3:14, 15) Peter tells of the promise awaiting us when we come to the waters of baptism. “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized,” he says “and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).


The apostle Paul reveals to us another aspect of baptismal truth:

(Rom. 6:3, 4) Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Paul shows baptism not only as an act of obedience and an opening to the Holy Spirits fullness to us, but also as an action of Him who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in us. (Rom. 8:11). Being baptized and resurrected with Christ means allowing the life-giving Spirit of God to resurrect you on a daily basis, lifting you above the dead habits of the past and into newness of life for today and tomorrow.


(Col. 2:11, 12) In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

With this picture of our death, burial and resurrection into the newness of life in Christ, God’s Word presents the figure of the Old Testament rite of circumcision. We need to capture this, because a brief moment of insight into the implications of baptism as circumcision can reveal a very powerful but practical truth. In baptism God wants to cut away flesh. That is, He wants to remove carnality from our lives--things that are meaningless to the needs for which He has created us, there are excessive aspects of our behavior that God wants to remove from our lives. There are many realms of fruit bearing capacity in our lives that are only waiting their obedience to Jesus--our circumcision via water baptism. We should see baptism not as a ritual to be performed but rather a truth to be experienced! The analogy of circumcision makes it clear that baptism is a time when God cuts away “flesh” as we come under His order and releases power to bring about His promised life and purpose through us, so these things happen in the privacy of our hearts as our Lord works His will and power in us.


(1Cor. 10:1, 2) Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under a cloud; all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.

A picture of the children of Israel “all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea”. They have come through a pathway of deliverance by the Hand of God. The Bible uses the miraculous moment of the sea’s parting to give us pure insight into the kind of blessing God is ready to impart at our water baptism. Listen, loved one, Water baptism is intended to be our deliverance as well by the hand of God. Things to which we have been enslaved, the fetters by which we’ve been shackled, the snares in which we’ve been entangled through actions of our adversary--when deliverance is needed from hellish oppression, all have been broken by the hand of God. Water baptism is not a church tradition; it is a truth a miracle provision of God to start our lives in His realm of our newness of life as a believer priest.
All this that we may possess the promise and be able to arise and walk in the life-giving power of our living Lord and Savior! These are the truth principles demonstrated in water baptism. Each is a present reality awaiting the believer priest’s obedience. When the sinless Son of God submitted to be baptized, the heavens opened up to Him, the Spirit descended upon Him and the Father spoke from heaven. These blessings also await the believer priest who will follow Jesus in baptism.
“The Heavens opened” means that the realm of invisible reality became perceptible--the spiritual realm became a functional, perceived action for the believer priest’s life. A realm of relationship with Jesus Christ where the invisible is not mysterious to us, but instead is perceived as an action in which we function with confidence with the Spirit dwelling in us. Christ wants us to be as comfortable relating to the things of the Spirit as we are to operating in the physical realm. We need to abide in the fullness that baptism provides, a part of which is seeing (or realizing) the Fathers approval, just as He said to Christ, this is my Son in whom I am well pleased--the same joyous realization will be ours as well--our Heavenly Father say’s I am pleased with you.


Jesus, commanded to all who receive His gift of life, as well as the gift of salvation, is that they be baptized in water. This is a call not merely to observe a duty but, more importantly, to experience the provisional truth of Christ’s Word. Obedience to this command means setting one’s self on a river like pathway of submission to the Lordship of Christ--a commitment to pursue a believer priest’s life as one dead to sin but alive to God through the power of the Holy Spirit.


V. The signs of the Rapture

We may say, and be entirely scriptural, that there are no signs of the rapture as there are of the Second Advent. There never was a sign required to come to

pass or a prophecy to be fulfilled before the rapture. The rapture could have taken place any time in the past since the apostles, and can take place any

time now, or in the future, without a sign or prophecy being fulfilled. If there were certain things to be fulfilled first before the rapture then we would

be looking for those things to be fulfilled first instead of looking for the rapture as the Lord said, and Paul taught.

VI. The Lord’s Comings are Practical Doctrines

These doctrines of the Lord’s events (the rapture and second coming) are two of the most practical and fruitful ones in Scripture. They are real incentives

to holiness [1Jn. 3:1-3]; profitable in exhorting to watchfulness and faithfulness [Mt. 24-25;1Jn. 2:28]; patience [Jas. 5:7-8]; death to self [Col. 3:3-5];

endurance [1Pet. 1:7; 4:13]; holy conversation and godliness [2 Pet. 3:11-13]; soberness and righteousness [Titus 2:11-13]; consolation [1Thess. 4:13-18];

blamelessness [1 Cor.1: 4-8]; pastoral diligence and purity [ 1Pet.5: 1-4]; sincerity [ Phil.1: 9-10]; mildness [ phil.4: 5-6]; and hope [ 1Cor. 15].
The rapture will be to the saints the beginning of eternal and ever increasing joy and glory. The second coming will be to Israel and all righteous earthly

nations the beginning of eternal and ever increasing blessing and favor for believers entering the millennium.

Before considering many proofs that the rapture of the Church takes place before the fulfillment of any event, as revealed in Rev. 4:22, let us emphasize

again the importance of the threefold division of the book of Revelation as stated by Jesus Christ, Himself.

Since “these things” of Rev. 4-22 must be “after these things” of Rev. chapters 1-3 which concerns the churches, then “these things” must be after the

churches. Therefore, any interpretation which mixes the “things” of the Churches with the “things” which must be after the Churches is false and in direct

contradiction to the Lord’s statement and teaching of a threefold division of the Revelation in chapter 1:19; 4:1.

Thus, it is erroneous for instance, to place the historical birth and ascension of Jesus Christ into the 12th chapter of Revelation, identifying Him as the

manchild when the manchild and all that is related thereto are among the “things” which must be after the churches. For the same reason it is wrong to say

that any seal, trumpet, or vial of the book has been fulfilled, or that the 144,000 Jewish remnant could be some religious group of this age, or coming out

of this age.

We must therefore always keep in mind that the fulfillment of all these “things which must be hereafter” including the “things” concerning the two witnesses,

the beasts, the mark of the beast, the great whore (Babylon), and numerous other things will be after the Churches. And, any teaching which violates this

fact in any degree will lead to a wrong understanding of the book of Revelation.

The Rapture of the Church
The rapture of the church is also called “the coming of the Lord” but not ever the second coming of Christ. At this coming He does not appear visibly to the earth but in the air to catch up, or rapture the dead and living saints who rise together to meet the Lord in the air. There are many ideas about these two events, which have made it difficult to distinguish one from the other that it is no wonder that many have found themselves involved in a labyrinth difficulty, from which they are unable to extricate themselves. This event is purely a new Testament doctrine and was first revealed to Paul as a special revelation [1Cor. 15:51-58), while the second coming of Christ is not only a New Testament doctrine, but one of the chief themes of the Old Testament. The Old Testament, prophets never saw the New Testament Church, much less the rapture of the Church.

These two events cannot be mixed and still be clear. The Scriptures that apply to one do not apply to the other. Not one of the passages under the Second Advent refers to the rapture of the Church, and not one of those below refers to the second coming, as can be seen upon examination of them. There is not one passage in the Bible that refers to both events as if they were one. They are two distinct events separated by several years and not two phases or stage of one coming. The rapture takes place several years before the literal advent of Christ to the earth. When Christ meets the saints in the air He takes them back to heaven with Him and presents them to the Father where they remain while the tribulation is running its course on earth. The saints are in heaven before God, and not in the air, from the time of the rapture to their coming again with Christ to reign as kings and priests [Ref. Luke 22:30]. This seems clear from the fact that the saints are judged, and are given their rewards and partake of the marriage supper in heaven and not in the air. Christ departs from heaven at His coming to earth and not from the air, [Rev.19:22:11-21; 2 Thess. 1:7-10. The rapture must first take place before Christ can come back to earth with His saints. At the rapture the Lord is coming from heaven, as far as the air or earthly heavens, and the saints are to be “caught up to meet Him in the air.” At this event the Lord is not to be raptured, but the saints. At the Second Coming the saints are not to be raptured, neither is Christ, but both will come back to the earth together. The rapture takes place before the tribulation, while the Second Advent take place after the tribulation is in place. The rapture may occur any moment. The Second Advent cannot occur until all the signs come to pass and certain prophecies are fulfilled.
We have separated these two events, as they should be separated, for the sake of clearness and because they are always distinct in Scripture. This subject has no part in the chief theme of Revelation, but it forms an integral part of the book. The following points will help the reader to distinguish the rapture from the second coming and give a scriptural understanding of this New Testament revelation.

1. The fact and manner of the Rapture
We need not be ignorant concerning this subject when it is fully and clearly revealed in many passages of the New Testament. The fact and manner of the rapture are clearly revealed in the following Scripture: Lk. 21:34-36; Jn. 14:1-3; 1Cor. 15:23, 51-58; 2 Cor. 5:1-8; Eph. 5:27; Phil. 3:11, 20-21; 1Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-17; 5:9, 23; 2Thes. 2:1, 7-8; Col. 3:4; Jas. 5:7-8; 1 Jn. 2:28; 3:2; 1Pet. 5:4. Not one of these passages refers to the Second Advent. We shall not use any verse in Mt. 24 and 25 in this connection, for there is not one in those chapters which refers to the rapture, as will be seen. We shall deal only with those passages which refer to the rapture as follows;

A .Parousia means “personal coming or appearance” and is used of both the rapture and the revelation of Christ. At the rapture, Christ appears personally in the air to meet the saints while at the Second Advent He appears personally to mankind on earth with His saints. This word is generally translated “coming,” hence the rapture and the revelation are both called “the coming of the Lord” but they are two different comings, and for two different purposes. The word is used in this connection in 1Cor. 15:20-23; 1Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:1; Jas.5:7-8; 1 Jn. 2:28. All these passages are clear as referring to the rapture [1 Thess. 3:13; 5:23] refer to the time when the Father pronounces the saints “blameless” before His throne in heaven after Christ has first met the saints in the air and has taken them to heaven and presented them “before God.”

“The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints” in these passages refers then to the time of His coming back to heaven with the saints to be presented to the Father at the time of the rapture, and not to the time when He comes to the earth with the saints at the Second Advent. We are made “blameless” to be preserved forever in that state at the time of the rapture, and not at the time of the revelation, 1 Jn. 3:1-3; Phil. 3:21; 1Thess. 3:13; 5:23; Col. 3:4. The last reference (2 Thess. 2:1) refers to the rapture also, as is proven from the Greek esposunagoge, which means a complete collection or gathering of all the dead in Christ and all the living in Christ, from all parts of the earth, and out of all denomination and ages to meet Christ in the air. We are gathered “unto Him” at the rapture and not at the revelation Heb. 21:34-36; Jn.14:1-5; 1 Cor. 15:51-58; 2 Cor. 5:1-8; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 2 Thess. 2:6-8.

This event is called in Phil. 3:11 “the resurrection of the dead,” or literally, “the out-resurrection,” that is, the resurrection from out among the dead” is frequently used in the New Testament and includes the resurrection for the just and unjust, Jn.5:29; Acts 24:15. The “out-resurrection” is used only in the above passage and implies the resurrection of some, the former of these two classes the others being left behind, Rev. 20:1-7. These dead “rise first,” then the living who are saved will be “caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,” 1Thess. 4:13-18. All the above passages, as well as those below on the rapture, can be easily harmonized by the reader with these few thoughts on the subject.

B. Phaneros, which means “to shine, be apparent, manifest, or be seen,” is used in 1Jn. 2:28; 3:2; 1Pet. 5:4; Col. 3:4. The English translation is “appear” and means that Christ is to appear to the saints in the air at the rapture and will not appear to the world until His second coming. The rapture will include Old Testament saints and the Church saints who are saved in the scope of redemption from Adam until the rapture, 1Thess. 4:13-18; 2 Thess. 2:1, as explained above. We do not mean to say that the scope of redemption ends with the rapture, for it is eternal as we shall see.

The “trump of God” (1Thess. 4:16) is not the same as the seventh trumpet of Rev. 11:15; 13:18. One is at the rapture of the Church and the Old Testament saints, while the other is at the rapture of the man-child; one is the trumpet of God, the other is the trumpet of the seventh trumpet angel; one is to call about one single event which takes place “in the twinkling of an eye” [1Cor. 15:51-58], the other is to call about many events which are days in duration [Rev. 10:7]; one is a trumpet of blessing, the other is a trumpet of “woe” [Rev. 8:13; 12:12]; one is at or before the beginning of the Seventieth Week, the other is in the middle of the Week; one is before the saints (represented by the twenty-four elders) are caught up, the other is after the elders are already in heaven; one is before the seven seals and first six trumpets (Rev. 6:1-9:21), the other is after them. Thus, we do not need to confuse this trumpet and rapture of the Church with the seventh trumpet and rapture of the man-child.

II. The Purpose of the Rapture

The purpose of the rapture is to take all the saints out of the world before the tribulation comes and to resurrect the just who are dead, in order that they may have fulfilled in them, the purpose for which God has saved them. Jesus told the disciples that some would escape the terrible things that were to transpire on the earth in the last days. He said, “pray that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things [of Mt. 24-25; Luke. 21:1-19, 25-28] that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man,” [Luke. 21:34-36]. This passage is practically the same in essence as Jn. 14:1-3.
These two passages are the only ones in the gospels that are clear concerning the rapture. Jesus did not reveal this mystery. It was revealed by Paul many years later by revelation of our Lord to Paul, [1Cor. 15:51. The disciples did not have the slightest idea as to how they were to escape (therefore they were told to pray concerning escape), unless the thought that Christ would deliver them from these things through His power. The “how” was not revealed or even mentioned before Paul explained how they were to escape. Now in the light of the mystery revealed we can see that the rapture is what Christ had in mind when He spoke of some being worthy to escape these things. The Thessalonians were taught that they could expect the living to be taken out of the world, but some were confused as to whether the dead believers would have a part in the rapture, so Paul explained in his first epistle that both the living and the dead would be “caught up” to meet Christ in the air, [1Thess.4; 13-18]. In this passage we have the purpose of the rapture expressed “so shall we ever be with the Lord.” It is to enable the saints to escape the tribulation days and serve God in all eternity in whatsoever capacity He chooses.

This rapture is the first of a series of raptures that will take place during the first resurrection. Beside this rapture there will be the rapture of the man-child [(Rev. 7:1-3; 12:5; 14:1-5], the rapture of the great multitude of tribulation saints [Rev. 6:9-11; 7:9-17; 15:2-4; 20:4], and the rapture of the two witnesses [Rev.11: 3-13]. The teaching of more than one rapture is not only required and stated in the above passages, but necessary to make clear what Paul meant when he said, “every man in his own order,” [1Cor. 15:20-23]. The Greek word for “order” tagma and occurs only here. It is used in the Septuagint of a body of soldiers and an army, [Num.2: 2; 2Sam. 23:13]. It means a company of or body of individuals. In order for every man to be raptured “in his own order” or company there must be different companies of redeemed people saved and raptured at different periods. There are four different redeemed companies for which we will see.

Summarization of the purpose of the rapture:
A. To receive the saints to Himself, [Jn. 14:1-3; Eph. 5:27; 2 Thess. 2:1].
B. To resurrect the dead “in Christ” from among the wicked dead, [1Cor. 15:21-23; 51-58; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; Phil. 3:11; 20-21: Rev.20: 4-6].
C. To take the saints to heaven where they will receive judgment for works done in the body; receive their rewards; and partake of the marriage supper, [Jn. 14: 1-3; Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 3:13; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 19:1-11.
D. To change the bodies of saints to immortality, [1 Cor.15: 21-23, 51-58; Phil.3: 20-21].
E. To present the saints before God the Father, to be forever with Him, 1 Thess.3: 13; 4: 13-17.
F. To make the saints “whole” in body, soul, and spirit, [1 Thess. 3: 13; 5:23. The Greek word translated “unto” in 1 Thes. 5:23 would better be translated “at” to make the passage clear, as it is translated in [1 Thes. 2: 19; 3: 13.
G. To receive the fruit of the early and latter rain. [Jas. 5:7].
H. To cause the saints to escape the tribulation and “all these things,” and stand before the Son of Man, [Lk.21: 34-36; 2 Thess. 2: 7-8; Rev. 4:1; 1 Thess. 5:9.
I. To remove the hinderer of lawlessness, [2 Thess. 2:1-8].
J. To permit the revelation of the Antichrist, [2 Thess. 2:1-8].

III Qualifications for Partakers in the Rapture
The qualifications for partakers in the rapture are also revealed in the Scripture listed above. The one and only necessary requirement, whether dead or alive, is to be “in Christ,” [1 Thess. 4:16-17; 2 Cor. 5:17; 1 Cor. 15:23].
This qualification is expressed in a nine-fold way in Scriptures; one must

A. Be “Christ’s,” [1 Cor. 15:23; Gal. 5:24]
B. Be “in Christ,” [1Thess. 4:16-17; 2 Cor. 5:17].
C. Be “blessed and holy,” [Rev. 20:4-6].
D. “Have done well,” [Jn. 5:28-29].
E. Be in “the way, the truth, and the life,” [Jn. 14:1-6].
F. Be “worthy,” Luke. 21:34-36].
G. Be in “the Church” or “the body of Christ,” [Eph. 5:27; 1 Cor. 12:13. The body of Christ and the Church are the same, [Eph.1: 22-23; Col. 1:18, 24].
H. Purify “himself, even as He is pure,” [1 Jn. 3:2-3; 2 Cor. 7:1; Gal. 5:16-24; Heb. 12:14].
I. Be without “spot or wrinkle… and without blemish,” [Eph. 5:27]

If one has met these scriptural qualifications, what more could he do? This implies that a person going up in the rapture is walking “in the light as He is in the light,” [1 Jn. 1:7; 2:6; 9-11; 3:8-10; 5:5, 18]. Being “in Christ” means that one is a “new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ,” [2 Cor. 5:17-18]. Again, “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh (of Gal. 5:19-21) with the affections and lusts,” [Gal. 5:24]. What more qualifications could God require? It will be noticed that these nine points on qualifications are quoted from Scriptures definitely dealing with the rapture of the Church. It is the maintenance of the holy walk “in Christ” at the time of the rapture or at the time of death as the case may be.

Why should some be protected and others have to go through the tribulation and be martyred? This is easily answered when we consider that at the rapture everyone "in Christ" is taken up and there are no real Christians left. Those who are martyred in the tribulation are those who have refused to walk in the light and live “in Christ” and are not ready to go at the time of the rapture; else they would go as well as all others in Christ. They are saved after the rapture, having realized by then their mistake of not heeding the many warnings to be ready at any time. They will become determined to be faithful even unto death, which will be their only prospect of having a part in the first resurrection. Those who are not martyred but are taken through the tribulation and are on earth at the second coming of Christ will be permitted to enter the Millennium as an earthly people, who will make a part of the subjects of Christ’s Kingdom over whom the raptured saints will reign forever.

IV. The Time of the Rapture
The time of the rapture, like the Second Advent, is not definitely stated as to the day or hour but we do know that it will take place before the tribulation and the revelation of the Antichrist, as will be proven.