Monday, June 16, 2008

If You Have Love To One Another

Another time to WATCH has come and gone and more WATCHES are near......but what did I learn from it ?
I learned that many who disagree can be cold and make fun of their brothers and sisters
in Christ Jesus. Oh well..........that’s nothing new. I received a lot of that from those in
counterfeit churches and denominations of Satan’s. But what really surprises me the most
is that those I know to be born again brothers, could be so harsh to those that disagree on
a matter that has nothing to do with Salvation !? And, I am not talking about the traditional
disagreement between Pre, Mid, and Post Tribulation beliefs. I have made quite a few new friends on the internet these past months, since January 2008, when I started to blog for my Savior. Several have a different view then I have about the timing of the Rapture, but that’s just fine. We agree on Salvation and a lot of other issues. As for myself, I believe pretty much down the line what most Pretrib brothers believe, accept for a few points that have nothing to do with Salvation.
I happen to believe there is more Scripture to prove The Lord will come on or around a Jewish
Holy Day, then there is for what is viewed as Imminency . I believe He is coming soon and I am expectant of His Return because we are in that SEASON. They always try to use Matt 24:36,
where it says no man knows the day or hour, when that verse has nothing at all to do with the Rapture. You can see other posts I have made on that subject. It seems to me, that if one believed that the Lord could come any second, that when another speculated about some date near a Feast day or not, they should say I hope you are right, and not hear a fellow servant bad mouth another like I have heard some brothers call them kooks, etc. etc.......Oh well, even though they think Our Lord will come at any day, they don’t if you thinks so. THEY WON’T WATCH THEN !
I’m not going to bad mouth them for hoping He comes back before I finish writing this...
I too, hope they are right.

Part of prophecy is to try and strive to UNDERSTAND the significance of the DATES and TIMES we live in!

We should always be striving to UNDERSTAND! But can we really KNOW in advance – at this moment in time, for example – exactly WHEN the Messiah will arrive?

In the other passage, Christ declared: “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matt.24:44).....but who was He talking to? He was talking to those not WATCHING, He would come at a time that they didn’t expect if they will not WATCH.

Nevertheless, He did not say we could not know the APPROXIMATE time, the time at the end when the wise are to understand. We KNOW we are living in the time of the END – all the signs are all around us! Israel has been re-established (1948). The Six Day War in 1967 fulfilled a dramatic prophecy pointing to the END TIME (Dan.8 and the 2300 days prophecy). General Allenby’s conquest of Jerusalem in 1917, 2520 years from the fall of ancient Judah (“seven times” punishment), paved the way for the return of the Jews to their homeland. Plus, we see all the signs mentioned in Matthew 24 – wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, plagues, famines, SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS, MOON AND SUN. Soon, very soon, Israel will strike a false peace agreement to divide the Israel and Jerusalem, We are on the verge of even greater war, and Great Tribulation (Matt.24:21-22). Soon a Temple or Holy Place must be rebuilt on the Temple Mount (Matt.24:15; Dan.11:31; II Thess.2:4; Rev.11:1-4).

In view of all the prophecies pointing to OUR DAY as the TIME OF THE END, should we not be expectant, and focused, and looking EAGERLY to the soon coming of our Lord and Saviour, Yeshua the Messiah? Why not? And if we strive to FIGURE OUT, by the CLUES and hints God has left for us in His Word, and calculate the END – what is wrong with that?

Sure, we are human – we all make mistakes. The man who never made a mistake never made anything else! The only people who have never done wrong are those who never did anything – and when you stop to think about it, doing NOTHING IS THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO! (see James, chapter 2, and notice – “FAITH without WORKS is DEAD”!).

What Is the GLORY of Kings?

God Himself says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to SEARCH OUT a matter” (Prov.25:2, NKJV). God wants us to have understanding of prophecy for the end times. He wants us to have insight. But to gain it, we must SEARCH IT OUT – study it – research the Scriptures, in the light of human and world events, history, and current world crises. MANY Biblical prophecies indicate we are living in the END TIMES. But exactly how close we are to the end, NOBODY BUT GOD really KNOWS! You see, we can’t see the future and there are different time zones all around the world.

Solomon wrote, “And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning ALL that is done under heaven” (Eccl.1:13). He added, “I applied my heart to know, to search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things” (Eccl.7:25).

The prophet Daniel received insight and revelation from God because, he was told, “you set your heart to understand and to humble yourself before your God” (Dan.10:12). He was told what would happen in the “latter days” (verse 14). But he was not given ALL understanding – some things were locked up, hidden, and concealed “until the time of the end” (Dan.12:4, 9). Daniel was told that during this end time, “Many shall be justified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand , but the wise shall understand” (Dan.12:10).

Therefore, we SHOULD study prophecy, and all these things! If we don’t get it right the first time, we should try and try again – and strive for insight, revelation, and understanding. We should pray for it, seek it, and strive to use the knowledge and insight God gives us so we can be better servants, help save His people, and give them WARNING!

Jeremiah the prophet, we read, gave a prophecy concerning the “70 years” punishment upon Judah. Daniel STUDIED this prophecy, and thereby came to understand it. Daniel wrote, “In the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem” (Dan.9:2). This led Daniel to PRAY to God to bring an end to the punishment, and to restore His people to their land (Dan.9:3-23).

At the end of this prayer, God sent the archangel Gabriel to share with him the “70 weeks” prophecy pointing to the future first and second coming of the Messiah! When understood, the prophecy pinpointed to the very year the first coming of the Messiah (after 69 “weeks” of years, or 483 years after the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem – given in 457 B.C. by Artaxerxes – see Ezra 7), in 27 A.D.!

The week or seven years leading up to the Second Coming was to occur at the END of the AGE – perhaps the final 7 years of the age, or tacked on to the END of the Age as a special “7 year transition period.”

The Credibility of Paul and the Apostles

I am very sorry some feel mine and others “credibility” is lacking because of so-called “setting dates.” But whatever he or others may think, I have tried to always QUALIFY any “dates” I believe are worthy of being WATCHED in my study of prophecy by saying, “likely,” “probably,” “most probably,” “very likely, this is a WATCH not a WARNING”, etc. – in other words, I have NOT SET DOGMATIC DATES!!! My so-called “dates” have been arrived at by calculation, exegesis, and meditation AND STUDY OF SCRIPTURE FOREMOST, – but I have never claimed them to be absolute “Divine Revelation” or “Thus saith the Lord.” Some I know may be dogmatic about their date, and I may also believe it is, at least worth looking into and watching.

Can we see the difference?

Even Paul and the very apostles thought Christ would come in THEIR generation. Paul wrote, “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the LAST TRUMPET. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (I Cor.15:51-52). This proves he was WATCHING for the soon coming and was EXPECTANT of His soon return, (not imminency).

Paul also wrote, “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will be no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then, we who are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (I Thess.4:15-17).

If the very apostles were wrong on this point, till the very END of their ministry, and God withheld this information from them, and they mistakenly thought Christ would return in their day, DOES THIS FACT INVALIDATE THEIR “CREDIBILITY”? Does this error mean they were “false apostles,” or “false prophets” who were untrustworthy and suspicious and should be ignored and their message rejected? Of course not! That would be very foolish – a stupid thing to think – a foolish assumption to make!

We need to get our priorities straight. When it comes to prophecy, and the nature of God, and many things, as Paul said, “we see in a mirror, DIMLY, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then [in the future, when changed and glorified] I shall know just as I also am known” (I Cor.13:12).

Credibility and Jonah – What Really Counts?

Remember, too, that Jonah was a true prophet of God – one whom Christ Yeshua Himself acknowledged (Matt.12:40). Yet Jonah prophesied under God’s inspiration that Nineveh the capital of Assyria would FALL – be destroyed – “in forty days” (Jonah 3:4). Jonah set a firm date! “YET FORTY DAYS, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” No “if’s, and’s, or but’s!” FORTY DAYS!

But the prophecy or prediction did not come to pass! The forty days went by, and Nineveh was still there! Does this make Jonah a “false prophet”? Not at all! Obviously, because the Ninevites repented, fasted, and humbled themselves before God, God relented, had mercy, and gave them another chance – extra time. “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way: and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it” (Jonah 3:10).

Prophecy, predictions, and especially “dates,” are not things we should get too “up-tight” about. Let’s remember the true priorities of our faith – “He has shown you, O man, what is good: And what does the LORD require of you, But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). “But seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt.6:33). Yeshua remonstrated against the Pharisees, because of their mixed up priorities. They put the physical ahead of the spiritual. They were overly concerned with measuring tithes than the “weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith” (Matt.23:23).

Paul wrote, “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (I Cor.13:2)

What Really Counts

The true criteria of a servant of God is not understanding all things, or getting all “dates” or suggested prophetic scenarios “right.” Rather, as the Messiah said, the two GREAT commandments are not what we think we understand in prophecy, but HOW we think and WHAT WE DO in our lives!

Yeshua declared: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the FIRST and GREAT commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt.22:39-40, NKJV).

This is the true criteria. This is the REAL “bottom line.” Studying prophecy is interesting, even fascinating, and it is truly important, since one third of Scripture is prophecy, and 90% of that applies directly to our day and age. But that being said, we must not make an “idol” out of it, or set false standards regarding prophetic Biblical interpretation.

We are all human. We all make mistakes from time to time. Architects have to redraw building plans because of changes, new data, government rulings, cost analysis, etc. Even so, Biblical interpreters and servants of God must from time to time “redraw” their timelines, scenarios, based on new, incoming evidence not understood before! (LIKE BEFORE ISRAEL WAS BACK IN THE LAND, MAN COULD DESTROY HIMSELF MANY TIMES OVER, WE COULD WATCH A FALSE TREATY ABOUT TO BE SIGNED)

Even so, God’ servants are not perfect. There was only ONE man who ever lived who fit that description – the Messiah Yeshua Himself! So let’s not get “bug-eyed” or knocked out of kilter just because a few suggested “dates” have come and gone we don’t agree with, and Christ has not yet returned! (No beating of our fellow servants required) Rather, let’s keep on watching, and searching the Scriptures, so that we do not need to “be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Tim.2:15)! Let us be very careful about making fun and laughing about others in Christ Jesus who watch when you don’t feel it is as necessary, but who are your born again brothers and sisters in Christ.

Enough said?

God Bless,


Anonymous said...

We do not know the day nor the hour when Christ will return. I agree that arguing over this is not necessary. We do know Christ is returning. Hallelujuah!

Given55 said...

Amen, Amen and Amen.

Brother Mark said...

Dear Karen,

The Word of God is quite plain. It is explicitly stated in 1 Corinthians 15:23, "But every man in his own order [rank; position]: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming [parousia]."

Sister, every saved person is going to be taken in the rapture. It doesn't matter about their degree of faithfulness. We are all individuals, and the Lord deals with us as such. There has never been a time in this dispensation when all true believers had the exact same degree of faithfulness. Some of God's people are far more dedicated to the Lord than others. Some are more or less dedicated. Some are hardly dedicated at all. But if they are God's people [true believers] they all have one thing in common. Their salvation! Read Jude 3. Therefore, when the rapture occurs they will be taken, whether some want to believe it or not.

Sister, we are not saved by our works, we are not kept by our works, we will not be raptured according to our works. Some folks can't seem to get this simple fact through their numb skulls, and I suspect it is because they are so "proud" of what "a fine Christian they are." Sic! Our works have nothing at all to do with our salvation. Our works only have to do with our rewards. The Lord invested His own precious blood in every person who truly believes on Him, and He isn't about to lose His investment.

Every true believer will be raptured, regardless of whether they are living dedicated, sacrificial lives for the Lord or not. But once raptured there will be a judgment to face, 2 Corinthians 5:10. It is there and then that every true believer will receive his or her rewards for our works done in the body in this present life. Some will be ashamed before Him when their works [degree of faithfulness] are examined, 1 John 2:28. Others will receive a crown, or two crowns, or three crowns, or four crowns, or some even five crowns. Never, never, never have all of God's people had the same degree of faithfulness to their Savior. Read Matthew 13:8; 13:23. Is that so hard for true believers to understand? The Lord said, "And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give to every man according as his work shall be," Revelation 22:12.

Sister, I would point out that these Scriptures do not need "interpreted." They just need to be believed for what they literally and actually say. The works of the truly repentant believer have nothing at all to do with the salvation of the soul, Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5. What then makes people think that their works have anything to do with the salvation of the body? Romans 8:22-23. They don't! Read Romans 4:5-8. Now look at Romans 8:11, "But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." The very fact that Christ rose from the dead is our guarantee that every true believer is also going to be raised and caught up to be with the Lord when He comes to resurrect and rapture His people to glory, 1 Corinthians 15:23: 15:50-52. I would add that I don't see two or three or half a dozen resurrections and raptures taking place at different times in these verse. I only see ONE, which occurs at the "parousia" of the Lord Jesus Christ. The "parousia" is not referring to the Lord's return to this earth. That Greek word is "erchomai." Check it out for yourself.

Now let's get down to some serious heartsearching. I have never met a child of God [true believer], including myself, that at some point in their life didn't "backslide." Maybe only momentarily, maybe for a short time, maybe for weeks or months or years. Did that make them lose their salvation? Of course not! It did make them lose their fellowship with God, but it didn't alter their relationship with Him at all. Tell me.....when one of your children is disobedient and rebellious, and does that which you know is wrong, do they cease to be your child during that time of their disobedience? Well.....?? Then what makes these self-appointed "judges" look down their pious noses, and consign a person to hell just because they aren't measuring up to the "standard" that the "judges" think they should be measuring up to at any given point in their life? God is the ONE who knows the hearts, even when He is displeased by the works at any given time in a person's life. We are not going to be judged by a bunch of proud hearted, self-appointed, holier-than-thou, "Christians." [?]. Our Judge, our only Judge, is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, 2 Timothy 4:1. He alone knows whose heart has been washed in His blood, and who is merely a vain "professor," Matthew 7:21-23. When the Lord comes to resurrect and rapture His children to glory, He is going to take very blood washed child of His on the face of the earth. Not one will be left behind.

Does this mean that everyone claiming to be a "Christian" is going in the rapture. When donkeys fly! Many today who claim to be "Christians," some who even work very hard to prove to the Lord how "worthy" they are of being taken, will be left right here. Why? Because even though they are members of some church or other religious organization, they don't know a thing about the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. One thing that it appears most of God's people today are overlooking is the fact that no one on the face of this earth is worthy. Period! We are saved by God's GRACE upon hell deserving sinners, kept by God's GRACE after we have been saved, and will be delivered by God's GRACE into the presence of the Lord when He comes. The term in Luke 21:36 is not "worthy." The term is "accounted worthy." Some people need to learn how to read. The only way any person is ever "accounted worthy" is by having the righteousness of Christ "imputed" to us. This occurs when we repent of our sins with our whole heart and receive Christ by faith as our own personal Savior. In that instant we are "born again" and His righteousness is imputed to us. Glory to God!

As children of God, we should try to live Godly and holy and pure lives for our Lord. But none of us ever reach "perfection" in this flesh. Anyone who thinks they do needs to read 1 John 1:8-10 again, and start confessing. No matter how hard we try, the Scripture still says that when our Lord comes to resurrect and rapture His people to glory, He is going to ".....change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself," Philippians 3:20-21. Glory! Praise the Lord!

Sister, I will address your other questions and specific points raised in another email. I hope what I have written gives you some enlightenment and blessing. Thank you for writing. God bless you. I'll meet you soon in glory.

Pastor F. M. Riley

dave said...

Many Christians have come to believe that "no man knows the day or the hour" about any prophetic event in the future. In other words, they believe we are not supposed to understand it until after it happens. They therefore believe studying prophecy is a waste of time and tend to stay away from it.

In other words, Christians generally understand that when Jesus said "no man knows the day or the hour" it was meant to discourage us from trying to know anything about the future, even if our reason is to be better informed for planning our lives. Believe it or not, this is the very belief that leaves a lot of Christians with a poor understanding of God's plan, too.

Let me ask you a few questions about interpreting Jesus statement in a way that limits us from understanding future timings:

* Do you know what specific event Jesus was talking about when he said that?
* Have you ever noticed that he phrased that in a very odd way, "day or hour" instead of "time," or simply "day"?
* What about Daniel and Revelation where day counts of 1260, 1290 and 1335 days are given from one event to the next. Isn't it clear when you see the starting point event that you can count and know the day of the ending point event, as well?
* Why does Daniel 12 says that "the wise would understand" Daniel's prophecies (including those very day counts in the same chapter) in the time of the end—our time?
* When Revelation 1:1 says it is written to show God's servants what will come to pass, does that mean everything except the timings given all over the place in 42 months, 1260 days, time, times, and half a time, etc.?

The solution to all of this I found was that "no man knows the day or hour" is a Hebrew idiom that was very specificly referring to a single day: the Day of Trumpets. This is one of those "difficult words of Jesus" that you have heard of but did not realize applied here.

See, Jesus used that idiom in the Olivet Discourse in the context of talking about the day of his angels coming to rapture God's servants. It even says a few verses earlier that this gathering will happen with the sound of a great trumpet! (Matthew 24:36, 31)

The reason the Jews referred to it as the feast of the "unknown day and hour" was because it was the only one of their holy days that came on the first day of the Biblical lunar month.

Why is this significant?

Because in Jesus' day the Biblical calendar months were based strictly on the lunar cycle. This meant a month could be either 29 or 30 days since the lunar cycle is 29.5 days long. So the month began on the evening that the first sliver of the new crescent moon became visible. Their system was to wait for two witnesses to confirm that they had seen the new moon before a new month could be declared on the 29th instead of the 30th (today they follow a pre-calculated Jewish calendar devised by Hillel II, instead).

But even with today's technology we cannot predict with 100% accuracy at what day or hour the first day of the new Biblical month of the original observation-based calendar will begin. Weather and atmospheric conditions just are too variable to predict if two sets of human eyes will be able to spot that dim sliver of the new moon.

Therefore the one holy day that falls on the first day of the month is still the "feast that no man knows the day and hour of."

So you can see now that Jesus was not discouraging us from studying prophecy to know the dates of events in advance at all. He was actually confirming that the day of the rapture would be the Feast of Trumpets at the end of the Great Tribulation!

Jesus plainly stated that the rapture would be "after the tribulation of those days" (Matthew 24:29)

Who are you going to believe, Jesus' plain words or prophecy teachers breaking the interpretation rules Jesus taught and adherred to?