DISCIPLES OF JESUS MINISTRY

Where He leads us we will follow

The Biblical teaching on Last Things


 

Eschatology is very important for our understanding of how God is going to bring to a close the whole of human history. We are living in what believers commonly call the end times. The Greek term eschatos is translated into the English word final. We get the phrase last things from the Greek. Eschatology.

             John the apostle believed that he was living in the final hour and Christ’s return was imminent. He was not to know that what he saw would accompany the whole of the church age. (1.Jn.2:18) “Little children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know it is the last hour.”

                I believe John sincerely understood that he and the church were in the final hour. We are in the final hour, but not in the sense you and I understand time. Jesus said a day to him could be a thousand years or a thousand years just like a day.

                 You cannot approach time as the Bible defines it in the sense we understand time. God the Son our risen Lord is not restricted by time, space, and history. This I believe is the only approach to quite a difficult subject. My prayer is that God would enlighten our minds on how he would have us understand such an immense truth. It will enable us to serve him better.

              You and I must pursue holy living regardless of all that is happening around us.

The risen glorified Lord could come suddenly. (2.Tim:4:8) “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” I look   forward with the rest of my brothers and sisters to the sudden appearance of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

            Perhaps if we viewed things through the heart and mind of the apostle John, considering the lateness of the hour, our spirits would be stirred to further God’s Kingdom. Not only does the author of the First Letter of John discuss the lateness of the hour, he brings before us the danger of the Antichrist. A subject belonging to the doctrine of Eschatology which includes the antichrist spirit, the Rapture of the church, the Great Tribulation, the restoration of national Israel , the millennial reign of Christ...

           There are many different views of how these things will take place. It is not my intention to be an antagonist towards my brothers and sisters in other denominations, because we all belong to one risen glorified Lord. Every Evangelical Church who preaches Christ crucified, and resurrected by God our Father, belongs to the universal, visible.and invisible world wide church of our Lord Jesus Christ. My prayer is for harmony, and that we should love one another with the love Christ has deposited in each of us. To be a great light dispelling the darkness that surrounds us for the sake of the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us agree to disagree on the things that pale into insignificance, compared to the greatness of his Majesty Jesus Christ, whom we will all see when he comes for his church. We are the body of Jesus Christ which is also called his church. On these premises let us continue to love one another in the same manner our risen Lord continues to love us.

            I will put forward what I believe my interpretation of events may be as led by the Spirit. I could be wrong, and you could be right. Therefore; with the mercy of God upon us let us agree to disagree.                                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                                      The Rapture.

 

 

The term Rapture comes from the Latin translation of the Bible. A word that reads simul rapiemur cum illis.Roughly translated from the New Spirit Filled Life Bible.NKJV.P1687. “Caught up together with them...” The chief passage for the teaching of the Rapture. (1.Thess.4:15-18) I would like to point out I have no idea about Latin, and I only use the above term, because the title had been designated in the past by scholars in Latin.However;the translation that you and I read is just as every bit as accurate. Do not let this put you off.

               (1.Thess.4:16, 17 ;) “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 (17) 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 believe the key to our understanding lies in the phrase, “And the dead in Christ will rise first.” The apostle envisages a time for those who have died, to be raised to life by the Lord of glory, when he comes for his church. The importance of these words should not be missed, only the dead in Christ will be raised to life. Many different Bible     Commentaries point to Matthew as the beginning of this, but I personally cannot see the connection. (Mtt.24:30, 31 ;) “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (31)And He will send His angels with the great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

              There is no mention of the church here. What is spoken of is Christ’s chosen ones. Jesus Christ uses the title Son of Man. It must be kept in mind that our Lord, although he uses the above title, after his death and resurrection, he will be the risen glorified Lord. He will retain the title that describes him as the Son of Man. On that basis you have his human nature including his deity as one who is God. Conservative New Testament theologians and scholars describe him as the Godman. There are two natures in our Lord that sit perfectly together, one as man, the other God. We see the risen exalted glorified Christ, both as man, and God.

               Christ will gather in his elect through his angels by bringing them together from the four winds, and from one end of heaven to the other. My belief is that the elect spoken of here is none other than Christ’s church. Christ’s church which is you and I is already in heaven. The Rapture has already taken place. Our Lord while on earth in his foreknowledge sees this happening. The Rapture is still to come, and we must live in a manner God expects of us. The time of this prophetic word is closing in fast.

              I find it rather difficult to believe that there are those of my brothers, and sisters, who are of the persuasion that a God who is merciful towards his people, will allow them to face the tribulation with the wicked that have turned their back towards him. You have to ask, what is the point of giving salvation to a people chosen by God, from God through his Son Jesus Christ to allow them to suffer the great tribulation with those who have rejected the claims of Jesus Christ upon their lives? This view does not show the love and mercy of God for those who know Jesus Christ as Lord. How can it? Many quote Matthew chapter 24 as evidence for the second coming of the Lord. I agree. If you read carefully the whole passage, particularly at the end, the church of Jesus Christ is already in heaven. He sends his angels with a loud trumpet blast to gather together the elect from the four winds and from one end of heaven to the other. When the glorified exalted Lord spoke to his prophet John, concerning the Revelation he received from his Father, the prophet John was told to write the words down (Rev.3:10) “Because you have kept the word of my patience to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” The saints at Thessalonica were given the same assurances from the apostle Paul in his first letter to them. (1.Thess.1:10) “…and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” What a great and glorious God you and I have in the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. We must include the Blessed Holy Spirit .He is also God. There are three persons who make up the one God... Praise His glorious name. We look forward to seeing the Son of God coming with the clouds to take hold of his church. What a great day that will be for you and I who know Him as Lord.Amen, and Hallelujah! 

                   From chapter 4 to chapter 22 of Revelation the church is not to be seen. There is only one other reference. Not as the church, but as the bride of Christ. Jesus is spoken of as that of the Lamb. The church is the wife of the Lamb. (Rev.19:7) The Bride has now become the wife. “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” The Church of our Lord Jesus Christ is already in heaven. She is his Bride and He is her Bridegroom. The marriage is now to be consummated. A great and glorious day awaits you and me who love the Lord. We will be at this marriage feast that will take place in heaven at the Lord’s Table. We who belong to the body of Christ, commonly called the church, are his bride. Let us all look heaven ward for his glorious appearing.

                When will this happen? I have no idea. Our Lord spoke on this very important matter to his disciples. (Mtt.24:36-44.) I will quote the whole of the passage, because in it, the Lord gives to us a very serious warning to be patient, and watchful. (36) “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only.(37) But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.(38) For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the Ark, (39) and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also the coming of the Son of Man be.(40) Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.(41) Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. (42) Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. (43) But know this that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. (44) Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. More important than ever in these last days to be obedient and do what pleases God with gladness in our hearts. Not to comply may mean some could be left behind.

               The signs our beloved Lord spoke of can be seen all around us. Do not be deceived by any one. (Mtt.24:4) And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.” Many will be deceived. (Mtt.24:5) “For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ, “and will deceive many.” I am afraid the lies of deception are constantly around us in every shape and form, and we must fight them with Holy Spirit fire. The deception our Lord is speaking of is the religious deception that leads the weak away from him. You and I must pray that they would be strong in the face of temptation. This type of deception is the false religion that would stop the church from following the one true God Jesus Christ.

                    There are those who pastor Christ’s church that do not believe in his virgin birth, and yet without Christ’s virgin birth there would be no Christianity. We must pray that God would send his Spirit into their hearts to soften them in accepting that Jesus Christ was born through the Holy Spirit of a virgin. The virgin was Mary his mother.

                 A new translation of the Bible omits that men should marry women being replaced with the phrase that you can marry a regular partner. Such lies are backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. We need to pray that the truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ will release them from this devilish plot of Satan. The book is called, “Good as New.”  This has been done to conform to the secular world and not to please God. A warning has been fired across our bows we must take heed of it. I am not against these men, but they have fallen a long way, and they need our prayers, that they would repent, accepting the mercy, and love of God, recognizing Jesus Christ is Lord.

End Times and our call to holiness


John 14

1“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also

These are among the most comforting words in all of Scripture Jesus gives us the promise of His return.. He spoke these words to His disciples, and they apply to us as they are a promise to the bride of Christ.
Jesus tells us of a peace, a place, and a promise. He begins with the comforting exhortation: do not be troubled; be at peace. Our peace is based on our belief in God and the Lord Jesus Christ. We know that we can trust Him fully and completely and that gives us a peace upon which we can build our lives. Secondly, Jesus spoke of a place. He has promised to prepare for us a place where we will have eternal fellowship with Him. Finally, we as Christians have His personal promise that He is returning for us. .Isn’t it wonderful! As we have received Him, He is coming to receive us. We should look forward to that day in expectation, preparing ourselves for it, for “everyone who has this hope . . . purifies himself” (1 John 3:3). Do you know that this same chapter John 14 tells us about the coming of the Holy Spirit?

John 14:26“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

1 Corinthians 15. 51Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52in 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. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory
The verses in 1Corinthians 15 tell us that Jesus will return in a twinkling of an eye.
We shall not all sleep, that means not all believers will die.. Those who are alive when the Lord returns will be transported as it were out of here. But whether we have died or are still alive, we shall all be changed. We shall receive our glorified bodies. The last trumpet mentioned here is the one which will occur at the rapture when Christ our Lord calls His saints home.

When a believer dies, he is “present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8). To die is to “be with Christ,” a position which Paul speaks of as “gain” and as being “far better” (Phil. 1:21, 23). This wouldn’t be true if the soul were sleeping! When you as a believer die your soul goes to be with the Lord but you are not given your glorified body until the rapture.

1 Thessalonians
Chapter 4
13But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15For 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 by no means precede those who are asleep. 16For 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. 17Then 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. 18Therefore comfort one another with these words.


Chapter 5
1But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 11Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing

Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

The dead in Christ shall rise first, those who have been dead for thousands of years will bodily resurrect to meet with their Savior in the air Then millions of living believers will someday reach heaven without dying. Their bodies will be miraculously transformed into glorified ones as they are transferred from earth to the presence of the Lord. I believe wholeheartedly that the rapture is coming soon, .Israel has been a nation again since 1948. There is an increase in earthquakes, wars, a move towards one world religion, all that’s happening in Europe and so much centred around the Middle East.

Matthew 24:34“Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.

The generation referred to here in the Olivet Discourse is the generation at the time of the restoration of the land of Israel. It’s not clear how long a generation is though. A lot of folks have speculated 70 years, or maybe a 100 years, but we don’t know when.

Matthew 24:42“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43“But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44“Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

The word rapture comes from the Latin translation of the phrase ( rapturo) . The Greek word used here was harpazo- meaning to snatch up suddenly without warning. Throughout the Bible clouds are representative of the divine glory .We are going to be caught up in the clouds, oh, what a glorious day that’s going to be. The thief in the night heightens the element of surprise for unbelievers in the day of the Lord. Paul possibly taught the Thessalonians the words of the Lord Jesus himself concerning that day; Jesus had also called it “the coming of the Son of man” and had said that the time was unknown to the angels of heaven and to Himself. Jesus had alluded to the flood in the time of Noah and the fact that the people were completely surprised and swept away by the flood. You know the world out there are going to be taken by complete surprise, the folks in Noah’s day probably though he was a mad eccentric little man and paid no heed, but people are going to disappear, many will speculate as to what has happened, believing it to be aliens snatching people away and there will be lots of confusion on that day.

I am going to take a quick look at the other verses in those chapters in Thessalonians because they apply to us as Christians and our current responsibilities before the Lord.

1 Thessalonianans 4:1Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; .......7For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
9But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; 11that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.

1 Thessalonians 5:12And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. 14Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 15See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. 16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise prophecies. 21Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22Abstain from every form of evil.
23Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

Do you know that each of the passages concerning the rapture are surrounded by calls for us to be watchful and waiting, they call us to holiness? They call us to walk in the Spirit, to love one another, to be watchful and sober, we are to flee from the temptations of this world. We are to look towards his coming. There is even an aspect concerning the Lord’s Supper which aside from remembering the cross work of Christ we are to look forward, for we participate of the elements until he comes, when our Lord will once again participate of the elements at the marriage supper of the Lamb, when we as the ‘bride’ the church shall participate with Him. What a day that’s going to be! People wonder what heaven will be like, much speculation goes on , but do you realize that we as believer’s are actually going to spend eternity with the Lord. What a wonderful glorious hope we have.

I firmly believe that the rapture will take place prior to the seven year tribulation period, for we are told in chapter 4 that we are appointed not to wrath and we also can see that the Lord will come for His Saints as ‘a thief in the night’ or as in a ‘twinkling of the eye.’

Also 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2, is clear in telling us that the restrainer will no longer be there during the Tribulation. The restrainer mentioned here I believe, is clearly the Holy Spirit.

. 2Thessalonians 2: 7For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The man of lawlessness is the Antichrist. Folks who are left behind will be sent a strong delusion. During the first three and a half years of the tribulation the Antichrist will appear to be a good man, restoring the world which is hedged into confusion after the disappearance of the saints. I am not going to look properly into the tribulation period here but during the first half of the tribulation the seven seals will be opened and the seven trumpet judgments will take place, earthquakes, volcanoes will erupt. vegetation will be burned up in one third of the earth, possible meteorites hitting the earth, polluted waters, darkness covering the world , a third of the earths light from the sun moon and stars will be taken away causing severe hardship, a plague of locusts, the army of two hundred thousand horsemen will be released, demonic forces sent by Satan allowed freedom now since the restrainer the Holy Spirit is no longer there. That brings us to half way in the tribulation period the seventh trumpet is sounded to herald in the second part of the tribulation and there is worse to come. The seven vial judgments will be poured out and the religious Babylon will be destroyed. People will not be able to buy or sell during that day if they do not take the mark of the beast 666. I believe the vermiform chip is at least a precursor of if not the technology that will be used for the mark of the beast. Revelation ch7: 9ff tells us that there will be a great soul harvest during the tribulation period, not all will accept the mark of the beast. You can read about this for yourselves in Revelation chapters 5-11. Revelation is virtually a closed book to many Christians and to me that is sad. Revelation ch1:3 tells us that there is a blessing for those who read the words of this prophecy.

Now can’t we see the urgency here, Jesus could come back at any time and there are so many folks in need of a Savior. I for one wouldn’t like to be one of those left behind on that day. We need to reach out now, no waiting for us to reach full maturity. Jesus is coming, are we ready, are we waiting, are we busy sharing the gospel, are we living in hope and expectancy, do we love our brothers and sisters as we should, are we moving towards holiness? Let’s give the Holy Spirit full sway in all areas of our lives for only then can the rain fall, the rivers flow, the mountains tremble.

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