A Closer Look
17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1Thes 4:)
Our purpose in life. I just heard a talk show presented by a well known and respected minister. A caller asked about our purpose in life. Do you have an answer to this question? I don't think most people give it much thought above the superficial. We all ask that question at one time or another, then we either decide there is no answer, or we settle for one or the other of the stock answers provided us by the experts. This minister said what most people would probably say in one of several ways. He said our purpose in life is to know God. Sounds good, doesn't it? Then he added: Like Adam and Eve knew God in the garden. Still sounds good. But think about it: Adam and Eve, after their fall, knew God much better than they did before their fall. They had learned something that they didn't know before. They learned something that almost all of us don't know, and will not know until it's too late to change our understanding. Adam and Eve learned that God means what He says!
I think there's more to our purpose in life than merely to know God. Give it some thought. What do you think the purpose of life is?
Can you imagine being given a job to tear down and destroy? And this by God? Yet that is exactly the job Jeremiah was given. Why did God want the nation, the Church, His nation, His inheritance (Psalm 33:12) torn down and destroyed?
If you had a building that was poorly constructed or there was something structurally wrong with the building, what would you do? In our town they built a new school gymnasium. Whatever they used for the building of it caused or allowed a mold to form (grow) that made the kids sick. The only way they could repair the damage was to completely tear down the building and start over. When a house in the Old Testament times had leprosy in its walls the law required that the building be torn down because the leprosy would spread. When there is a problem found that can not be repaired, the only thing left to do is tear down and destroy what contains the problem.
The Church and all its members are to be Holy, separated unto God. Israel did not remain separated but instead took on the attitudes and the habits of the sinful nations they were to drive out and be totally unlike. God tried over and over to repair the problem, but eventually He gave up and destroyed the nation, turning the land over to the heathen nations that surrounded them.
I'm speculating here, but I would say this is Jesus talking to the Father (John 15:1), and it's fairly certain, or at least popularly assumed, that the fig tree is the nation of Israel (the Jews).
The nation of Israel is no longer planted in God's vineyard, but the Church is. The Jews had the prophets, those who were sent to collect the fruits, and to warn the Jews what would happen if they didn't deliver the fruit they were supposed to present at the Lord's return. We are given that same warning, and by those same prophets through the writings in the Old Testament. And besides this we have the warnings through the examples of the Old Testament saints and of the Apostles, not to mention the examples and the Words of Jesus. Do we listen? Not at all. We switch the words of the Bible to mean something it does not say, and we discount the warnings by claiming they're for someone else. Jesus said trees that do not bear fruit will be cut down and cast into the fire. We are trees planted beside a goodly stream being nourished by God Himself through the Holy Spirit. If we choose to quench this nourishment and refuse to produce Spiritual fruit, what do you suppose is going to be our outcome?
Doesn't the beginning of this passage remind you of the Song of Solomon? But as the passage is read, we see that instead of a faithful, loving bride, this bride is self-centered and rebellious. I can't help but think of the parables of the ten virgins, five foolish and five wise. I also think of Esther and Vashti. Michal and Bathsheba come to mind as well. And come to think of it so does the woman in white and the whore of Babylon. What a coincidence.
We know the passage above is referring to the nation of Israel. Today we would say the vineyard is the Church and the Vine, as we know, is Jesus.
The fruit produced by the vineyard the Lord planted was not what it was supposed to be. So what did He do with His vineyard? What would you do with a vineyard that brought forth bad fruit? Wouldn't you plow it up, burn it to rid it of weeds and the wild grapes, the replant the field? What is it Jeremiah was told to do?
49I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? (Luke 12:)
4And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 6Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. 7How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. 8Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. (Rev 18:)
Who do you suppose is being spoken of here? Doesn't this sound to you like a vineyard that has been producing fruit to itself and not Spiritual fruit the Lord of the vineyard had planted? Think about these Words of God, they are important:
Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins. Come out of what? Have you ever asked yourself this before? Consider, if we, the Christian haven't come out of the World then God wouldn't be calling them His People, would He? So from this we know He's not calling His people out of the world.
Paul is concerned here with those in the Church, the tares who are sinning as are the world. And isn't this the case today? Isn't there as much sin in the churches as there is outside the Church? Isn't sin becoming more and more tolerated and accepted in the churches? "Be not partackers of her plagues." The churches all think this is speaking of someone else, not them. Because of this the churches will not be prepared when the plages come down on them. In the same way the churches have been preaching a fly-away doctrine that causes them to sleep and not prepare for the Tribulation and the Judgement. They have been justifying their actions and their doctrines rather than look for the truth. And when the truth becomes a reality they will not be prepared. Then it will be too late.
Israel had been divided in to two parts, Israel and Judah. Israel completely separated itself from the Temple and the worship of the true God. They were completely destroyed and heard of no more. Judah was a bit more faithful, but later they too fell to corruption. God then wiped them out and destroyed His own Temple.
17Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment? (Mal 2:)
Every mainline church I've seen has done exactly this. They make no difference between the uncircumcised of heart and flesh (ridding oneself of fleshly desires) and those who do. And while they call for and readily accept anyone into the churches, they condemn anyone who wishes to follow the Lord and grow past their distorted beliefs.
There are two churches. One church is the Babylonian church that is going to be eliminated during the Tribulation. And there is the True Church, those who follow the Lord and are working to cleanse themselves of sin. This True Church is the Woman in White. Why can't the churches recognize that this woman is the true Church and not Israel as they suppose her to be? Because they would have to admit they are Babylon, or at least that Babylon includes their own church. Whatever we're past we can see, but when we have not dealt with a problem we're still in justification and acceptance of that problem, and we build up walls of imagination to protect that justification. We see this in others, but we can't see it in ourselves as long as we continue to justify our own actions and failed beliefs.
The true Church, the Woman in White is not a church building somewhere. The True Church is a heart condition. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Elijah all lived in a very corrupted Church situation, yet they were able to remain righteous. Enoch and Noah lived in a world of corruption, yet they walked with God. The Apostles lived in a period of distorted religions, yet they remained true. It does no good to seek out the True Church because as Jesus said: "The kingdom of God is within you."
Coming out of Babylon is not a physical act. Nor is it a matter of cessation of sin. Those who willingly sin are not "His People." But at least a part of coming out of Babylon is looking beyond the corrupted beliefs the Babylonian church has, as well as the built up walls that are so prevalent in almost every single church, regardless of whether they be mainline or cult. All think they are right and those who disagree with them are wrong. They are all wrong, including me. The beginning of wisdom is not only the fear of the Lord, but it is also the recognizing that we are ignorant and without truth.
"Don't ask, don't tell" is the attitude the churches take toward the members of the congregation. Anyone who comes in and sits in the pews is considered righteous. The worst of sinners is accepted right along with the greatest of saints. They are all told they will receive the same rewards as will the greatest of Apostles, walking on streets of gold and ruling and reigning with Jesus. But there will come a great day of disappointment when those who have believed such nonsense are found to be standing with the goats instead of the sheep they have been told they are.
How can you tell if you're a sheep or a goat? A goat, for one thing, follows the lead of a false shepherd. They believe whatever they're told from the pulpit or from whatever source from which they receive their orders. A goat is a curious animal that has itching ears and seeks information only out of curiosity, not in order to apply it to their own lives. A goat will eat anything, and they will eat a variety of things. They are what we call "browsers," They take a little here and a little there, bits and pieces of whatever happens to be available. Goats love to escape the pasture. They will climb over or under the fence in order to see what's on the other side. Goats have a tendency to butt their owner with their head. They are unruly and self-centered, not thinking of anyone but themselves. Goats chew on anything within reach, destroying that which they nibble on, then leaving it to rot and wither away.
Sheep are followers. They will listen for and follow their shepherd, but no one else. Sheep are grazers, they eat where their told to eat by their shepherd. Sheep stay together and they don't wander off from the place they're assigned. Sheep do not argue (butt with their head) with their shepherd but rather do what they're told obediently. Sheep love to be around their shepherd and to please him, much as we see in a loving puppy. A sheep can accept discipline without becoming angry and rebellious.
What profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts? These are people who are doing what they're told to do, not because they love the Lord, or because they've sacrificially turned their life over to Him, but because of the rewards they've been promised. The churches today that teach a prosperity message of course are included in this, but so are those churches that teach the following of Jesus or whatever they may preach will promise them Heaven. If we do what were supposed to do in order to assure ourself of Heaven and avoidance of hell, we're not doing it out of love and loyalty, but for reward. It appears to me (I don't have specific proof of this) that the concept of Heaven and hell is given to us mainly to provide sufficient reason to do what we're supposed to do. If that great extreme won't cause us to see the light and to seek the Lord with all our might, then what will?
And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. We, the churches, tell the congregation that they are ok in God's eyes just the way they are. If they've been baptized, then God can no longer see their sin. They're told they are delivered, both from the consequences of their sins, and to continue in sin. Some churches are not as permissive as others, but even the best of them have the attitude of: Don't ask, Don't tell.
A book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. We have two separate issues presented here. First we have a book of "remembrance." I think we will all agree that God is referring to the Book of Life. Who is it that will be recorded in the book of life? Is it those who are baptized? No, it's those who "Fear the Lord." Now, this presents a problem since most of the churches teach that God is love and is no longer angry, therefore we're are not to fear the Lord. God is our Father, and we shouldn't fear our loving parent. The Bible tells us that perfect love casts out fear, therefore if God is love, then we're not to fear Him. What does God have to say about this concept?
6A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. (Mal 1:)
And Jesus over and over again said we're to look to God as our Father. He also said of the Father:
Now I ask you, who am I supposed to believe? Am I to accept the words of the man standing behind the pulpit? Or am I going to believe the Words of God, and of Jesus?
And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, Who will be the Lord's? Those who fear God, and those who think upon His name. David, a man we can certainly use as an example, tells us what God desires of us:
And we have this:
1And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. (Rev 14:)
4And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. (Rev 22:)
37And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre [head piece, hat] it shall be. 38And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD. (Ex 28:)
18Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. 19And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 20And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: (Deut 11:)
36Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (Mat 22:)
Does this sound as if God is describing a couch potato Christian more interested in watching a soap opera or a baseball game than they are in reading the Bible and talking to God?
There was a survey taken recently, and in that survey they found that less than 30% of Christians believe the Bible to be the true Word of God. They found that 70 percent of Christians believe the Bible to be a good guideline to live by, and that is all (Don't quote me on this, I'm repeating what I heard as best I can remember it.)
I ask again, who am I supposed to believe, the pastor, or the Bible? Which are you listening to?
In that day when I make up my jewels; What jewels is God speaking of? And what day is He speaking of?
18And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. (Rev 21:)
We discovered in our study [In the Fig Leaves study] that these jewels are also like gold refined in the fires of tribulation. They aren't merely people claiming to be righteous because they attend church and were baptized.
And I will spare them. These are the ones who will be spared. Who will be spared? And what will those who God spares, be spared from what do you suppose?
But also heaven. Does Paul mean the heavens above, or the Heaven that is within us? I suspect he means both. It's fairly apparent that God is going to shake the heavens, but if my understanding is correct, then the Heavens, meaning the Church, is also going to be shaken in order to clear it of all those who are not really repentant and following the Lord. This I believe to be plagues upon Babylon.
I have a picture of God first dealing with the world, those who are not calling themselves Christian, who are not part of the Church. He will cleanse the world, and narrow the Church to those who are at least willing to stand against the world. But not everyone who is not part of the world is truly with the Lord. They are with the church system. We find this in that many people will fight and die for their church denomination, but they don't serve God. We saw that Paul had to deal with sin in the Church, and this quite often. This was during a time of great tribulation upon those bearing the Christian name. It was taking a big chance to be a part of the Church. Yet in spite of this risk, a great many people, both Jew and Gentile, were still not following the Lord, nor were they even particularly interested in being a part of the true Church. Light and darkness can not be present in the same place. Where there's light, there is not darkness. The light has to cast out darkness. However where there is light there is darkness in the shadows. The brighter the light, the darker the shadows. These shadows must be eliminated. Also where there is sheep, there are wolves wanting to harm the sheep and lead them astray. The Church is full of gullible sheep, so naturally there are plenty of hungry wolves about playing like they are sheep. And where there is a wheat field, there will be weeds .(and birds. See Mat 13:4, 19). The ground prepared for wheat is especially suitable for weeds as well. And if you've had a garden or a lawn, you know the weeds will choke out the grass and the flowers if they are not removed by the roots. A lawn or a flower bed not attended will become a weed patch. The churches have been inviting the weeds and discouraging the flowers from blooming. This I believe is what the plagues of Babylon is about, the removing of anything that is not supposed to be in the Church. Those remaining, those who are found to be "precious jewels," will be the ones who will be taken into the Millennium. Does this mean all who enter the Millennium are righteous? I believe so. Does this mean then that there will be no more sin once into the Millennium? Not at all. We know that at the end of the Millennium a great many people will go up against the true Church ("the Beloved City") after Satan's release. These will all be wiped out by fire as were the rebellious in the wilderness, and as will be those in the Tribulation. The Jews, the children of those who left Egypt, were faithful when they entered Canaan land. But their children fell away. God said He created evil, meaning "trouble." God knows that we will sin. God created the line between good and evil. God created a tree of good, and He created a tree of evil. Why did God create a tree of evil (the knowledge of evil) if He didn't want us to partake of it? If God wanted such a tree, why didn't He at least plant it outside the garden somewhere? And in this same way, why did God cast a wonderful angel, Satan, down on this earth (according to the fable) if He didn't expect Satan to effect His creation? If He was going to cast Satan and all those wicked demons somewhere, why not on Pluto of Neptune where they can do no harm? And if Jesus can bind the devil, and if God is going to cast the devil and the demons into a pit, then release him again, then why can't He do so now?
Too many unanswerable questions when things are seen through the eyes of doctrine. We've built up so many fairy tales around the truth we don't recognize the truth when God sticks our nose in it.
Why did God create the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? I suspect it's because His whole intention from the beginning was to provide an opportunity whereby we all can either prove or disprove our willingness to follow Him and to love and obey Him. He already had angels if He just wanted playmates. Man is more of a play thing than a partner in the state we're in, that being the unconverted state. When God gets through with His program He will have a world of obedient servants that have proven their worth. And that's why I think He provided us with a book that we can interpret any way we want to interpret it. If everything was spelled out absolutely, then we would have no choice but to either be blatantly for Him, or blatantly disobedient. He did this with the nation of Israel, and they proved that such a tactic does not work. By giving us a heartfelt choice He will know we could have reasonably gone against Him and still believe we will reap the rewards, but we didn't want to go that route, wanting instead to take the hard, unpopular road of service to Him. We see this choice in Job, David, and the Apostles. God drew a line, and we get to decide which side of that line we are going to stand on for eternity. It's our choice.
Am I correct in my reckoning? I don't know, nor am I trying to claim to be a theologian with all the answers. But this makes sense to me, and it makes a great deal more sense than anything else I've read or heard. And once more I don't have to bring in fallacious information or distort the Scriptures to support this view. Besides, what is to occur in the future is the least of my concerns. I merely presented these things because they seem to fit this area, and because I'm writing stream of consciousness. And who knows? Maybe someone out there will have a light bulb go on in their mind lit by the Lord.
Whatever the reality, whether the churches of today or correct or not in saying that all it takes is a bath to reap all the rewards, I choose to take the hard road. I find it strengthens me, and I enjoy the challenge. I want to please the Lord, to make Him happy, like a small puppy at his master's feet. I'm not interested in the rewards as seen by the churches, I'm taking advantage of the here and now.
Regardless of the eschatological value of what I've presented here, the fact still remains that in order for us to feel confident at all that we are among the jewels God is looking for, we must have our mind in the Heavenlies, and be on our knees before the cross.
Signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. God will shake the earth to remove anything that is not securely attached. Do you think He means things like trees and other such things with deep roots?
Shall go and serve other gods, and worship them. You might well say: "God isn't talking to me here, so I don't have to worry about the Tribulation. I've been baptized and I don't serve other gods. I just don't serve God very well is all." Don't deceive yourself. If you're not serving God, then you're serving other gods. There's no in between. The churches try to name other gods by saying they're something like a possession, or an interest, or money. But Jesus said if we don't forsake everything, even our family and our life also we can't be His disciple. I would say that leaves room for nothing in between. It's all or nothing. Can you find a way around this concept? If you're trying to, then it will do no good to convince me of how good your excuse is, but you'd better be a smooth talker when you stand before the throne (Luke 14:14-29 – realize that everyone thought their own thing was more important than what God called them to do).
"Ye shall be as gods" was the enticement the serpent used to encourage Adam and Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. If we don't serve God as supreme, if we please ourself instead of God, then we make ourself our own god. This is the call of the world, and it's the attitude encouraged in our churches today.
This house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight. God cast out His earthly Temple and had it destroyed. In fact He had two temples destroyed, Solomon's and Nehemiah's (Herod's). This next time it will be His Spiritual house (the Church, His body, which is us) that He will destroy. Only that which is composed of Himself, through the Holy Spirit, will survive.
3Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest. 4Thus shalt thou say unto him, The LORD saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land. 5And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest. (Jer 45:)
46And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: 48He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 49But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great. (Luke 6:)
6But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Heb 3:)
Don't forget to include the IF part of this verse. That IF word is a slippery one that escapes the tongue of almost every preacher.
1And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel;........ 5He took also of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field; he placed it by great waters, and set it as a willow tree. 6And it grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him, and the roots thereof were under him: so it became a vine, and brought forth branches, and shot forth sprigs. 7There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers: and, behold, this vine did bend her roots toward him, and shot forth her branches toward him, that he might water it by the furrows of her plantation. 8It was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine. 9Say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it wither? it shall wither in all the leaves of her spring, even without great power or many people to pluck it up by the roots thereof. 10Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? it shall wither in the furrows where it grew. (Ezek 17:)
Although the application of this parable is not specifically for the Babylonian church, try reading it in such a context. Think of how the false church is taping into the well-watered (prosperous and Spiritual Church) like a leach, but it isn't really a part of the Church. Also consider tares, weeds, feeding on the plowed and fertile ground intended for the true harvest, but is not planting it's roots into the soil (life) of the field, which is the Holy Spirit. Each of us has to plow our own field, break up the clods and get rid of the brambles and the rocks so the seed of the Holy Spirit can take root and grow. Tares in the Church do not think they need to prepare themselves, and they're supported in that notion by the pastors and doctrines of the churches.
While I'm on this subject I think it a good time to tell you that I attend a mainline denominational church that does not believe as do those I speak against. Although they preach the Rapture, which I don't agree with, and a few other such peripherals such as the origin of Satan, the core of their preaching is much what I write about, and that is the absolute necessity to grow, and the command for obedience to the Lord. Everything else is unimportant, unless it serves as a barrier to growth in the congregation, which it all too often does. I also attend another church that is very strong in the teaching of the Holy Spirit. I've been going to that church for many years. A great church, nice people, and a very sincere and capable pastor. They preach almost nothing but the Holy Spirit. But their bottom line is the that one can't lose their salvation. So the people in the church are all too prone to listen to nothing else that is said. A tragic situation in my opinion. But then, that is just what it is, my opinion. But my own opinion is the only one I have to offer since I don't parrot someone else's opinion.
13But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 14Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.(Mat 15:)
12These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. 14And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, (Jude 1:)
18Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Mat 13:)
Notice that the one who is well planted, well grounded, is one who hears and does the Word. He or she is also one who understands the Word. But how can someone understand the Word when the true Word isn't preached? Jesus took care of that by providing the Holy Spirit to instruct those who are listening, and those who are doing what they hear. Understanding comes from doing. Those who have made a hundred mistakes understands a thing far better than one who has attended a hundred lectures or read a hundred books but never put into practice what they they've heard or read.
14For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Eph 3:)
6As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Col 2:)
Yes, I believe the Bible means it when it says God is going to shake this earth, especially His Church, and anything that is not well rooted in Him is going to be taken off this world and it will become the world He originally intended it to be
13Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord GOD. 14And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search. (Ezek 39:)
17And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. 18And the idols he shall utterly abolish. 19And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. (Isaiah 2:)
16And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Rev 6:)
12Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place; 13That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it? (Job 38:)
29Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Mat 24:)
Notice the Bible says "one end of Heaven." Heaven? Are the saints scattered out in Heaven, up there in the clouds, while all this is going on? Do you think maybe He means "ends of the earth? Or do you think He means another Heaven than the one up yonder?
I say again: Yes, I believe the Bible means that God is going to shake this earth, especially His Church, and anything that is not well rooted in Him is going to be taken off this world and it will become the world He originally intended it to be.
For me, I don't want to be "Taken," I want to be left here where the Lord is going to set up His eternal Kingdom
15And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, (Luke 19:)
42And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. (Luke 23:)
28But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. (Mat 12:)
8Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. (Mat 16:)
2And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. (Luke 11:)
6When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. (Acts 1:)
36But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Mat 24:)
1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, (Rev 21:)
There are several such concepts that have been expressed differently in different places. Here, if you want to support such a thing as a pre-trib rapture all you have to do is read Matthew's account of this event and try your best to turn a blind eye to Luke's account that is more specific as to just what is going to happen. It's all in what we want to believe, I've said it before and I'll say it again: You can make the Bible say anything you want it to say if you pick and choose the verses that sound like they support your theory and ignore all surrounding verses.
If we're in truth every verse, all the way through the Bible will agree with every other verse. As you see we have to go into the original language, and we have to find other places the word is used, in order to find the whole impact of what God is wanting us to know. There are things that haven't been revealed to me as yet. And they may never be revealed to me. But I'm going to try my best to avoid my natural tendency to try and force a meaning into Scripture that isn't there, or to say I do know something when I'm not sure I really do. Sometimes I'll be sincerely mistaken. When venturing into the unknown and the unprovable that is likely to happen. After all, I, like we all, are human, fallible, and made of dust.
55But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. (Luke 9:)
28But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. (1Cor 11:)
5Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2Cor 13:)
There are two places this principle can be applied, and actually both are the same. One is within each of us in the Church. We can not be just made over as if we're a car that's being restored. We have been far to corrupted to merely fix what is wrong with us. The fact is, at least with people such as myself, we are too far gone to ever repair. It's like an old rusted automobile that the metal does not even cling together. It may look salvageable from a distance, but touch it and it disintegrates. And besides, it's like Jesus said, we will say the old is better. We like too much of the old man, and we have too much time and effort invested in that old man to just let it go without a fight. The only thing that can be done with the old man is to get rid of it and replace it with a new man. At our conversion we are made over into a Spiritual being. The only problem is, that new person is in an old body. And the old body keeps wanting to drag us back into our old life. The main difference between the new man and the old man before conversion is that as the old man we wanted nothing more than to please that old man, and we did so without guilt. As a new man, when the old man takes control, we very soon afterward feel guilty and want to be rid of that part of the old man. As we grow in the Spirit we want the fleshly Adamic nature to be destroyed and the Spiritual part of us to take over and possess us. If we don't have such a struggle, it very likely means the conversion process was not in earnest, or we have given ourself over to the flesh once more and quenched the Spirit (Mat 13:all).
God does not always completely rid us of the old habits when we want Him to. Some habits and desires He does, but not all the time nor every time. Some of the old habits we either have to learn we, on our own, just can't get rid of, or there's still something we haven't learned from that habit or that desire as yet that God wants us to know. It might also be that we haven't entirely decided we want to be free from that habit. I've certainly experienced that, as I suspect have you.
We have the tendency to blame the devil for all our temptations. But in fact the devil isn't concerned at all with us. He's got plenty of other things to do than to bother with us when we're still dealing with our own problems, our own fleshly lusts. We created our problems, so we have to uncreate them "Tear down before we can build, uproot the old weeds before we can plant the new crop." After we've overcome the flesh we've abused and distorted, then is when the devil will do his job to purify us even farther. We don't worry about polishing a car that's covered with mud. First we wash off the mud, then we can worry about polish.
One of our problems as a new Christian is the direction we're looking. We go the direction we look. We can only see the things in front of us. That's the way our eyes are designed. If we face North, and we start moving, we can't expect to reach a point south. If we want to achieve righteousness, then we have to strive for righteousness. We can't play around in the world and expect to become unworldly. We can't play around the pool if we want to make sure we don't get wet. But that's what we do. We play around the pool we have been fished out of, trying to only stick our toe in the water without falling in. But we know that we really want to dive right in. And before long, we find ourselves right back in that pool we must avoid. You can be sure that if Adam and Eve had been allowed to remain in the garden they would have been at that forbidden fruit every chance they got, even knowing the consequences. It's no different with us, certainly not with me. I know all too well I would have obsessed over that tree, even if the fruit tasted terrible, just because that's the way I am. I hope you are otherwise.
The second application is just the same as the first. We, as members of the Church must cleans ourselves and make us just as holy, just as much like the Head of the Church, which is Jesus, as we possibly can. Some of us will be only partially successful in this endeavor, and some of us will do fairly well. None of us will be totally successful, because success, that is a hundred fold, would be just like Jesus. I suspect there's a cut-off point however where a person can be given credit for being a hundred fold because Jesus said there will be some who are a hundred fold. I suspect those people would be like the Apostles. That's merely speculation on my part, I don't have evidence, and I'm not trying to start a new doctrine.
The Church, except a very small part of the Church, is not even attempting to be like Jesus. Most churches are happy with their fantasies and are content having been baptized. They are merely playing church. Jesus just happens to be the banner they fly. The Hindus have their favorite god, and other religions and groups offer a variety of gods and deities that a person can pick from to follow. The Christian churches just happen to have picked Jesus as their favorite idol. Some Christians might have Elvis Presley posters on their wall instead of Jesus because he is more important to them then is Jesus. And some churches are even placing Jesus on the same level with Buddha and other such, shall I say, characters.
This church, this lukewarm, and even ice cold church called Babylon can not be repaired. It has been too compromised to listen to anything but its pastors and its fantasies and traditions. It, like was the nation of Judah, including the Temple, must be destroyed and a new crop of Christians, a new Temple, planted in its place. Thus the Tribulation.
The Word is a light on the foot. It is not a well-lit highway we're following, but a path that only allows us to see the next step, and no farther. We have to walk in faith, we aren't allowed to see the map of events planned for us. This is what the Hebrews wanted in the wilderness. They wanted everything now. They wanted things their way. What they got was a loss of everything. They died in the wilderness they objected to, after having to endure it 40 more years than they would have if they had walked in faith.
In life there's one thing we have to learn. The Hebrews did not learn this. And the churches for the most part aren't teaching it. We have to learn unquestioning obedience. Adam and Eve was told by the serpent that it's ok to questions God's commandments. They soon learned that what the serpent told them was untrue. We today are still hearing the serpent's voice, but we're not learning the lesson we should.
In the Army I learned one thing if nothing else. I learned that it's ok to not like an order I've been given. It's ok for me to think I have another plan that's better than the one they have. I learned that it's ok to object to the order I've been given. And I also learned that it is not ok to disobey, question or not fulfill the command I've been given. The Bible makes it very clear that being a Christian is no different than being a soldier. I hear in the 50 years I've been out of the service that things have slackened up considerably. That's understandable since in the world things, especially morality and common sense has been reduced considerably, and in the churches it has almost been done away with. But none of this changes God's expectation of us.
That's my opinion and you're welcome to it.
35Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. 36While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. (John 12:)
19And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: 20And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night. (Ex 14:)
I find this passage rather fascinating. The cloud, the Shekinah Glory was a pillar of cloud by day which gave them shade and which led them through the wilderness, and it was a pillar of fire by night providing them light and protection. Can you imagine it? Now, read the 21st and the 22nd chapters of Revelation and imagine this phenomena taking place. Can you do it?
Jesus said He is the light of the world. If we follow Him, we will be in the light. If we stray away, or if we fall behind, or even if we run ahead of Him we will find ourself in darkness.
As the Shekinah Glory moved, the camp moved. If someone in the camp did not move with the camp, then they fell prey to all the wild animals and the enemy (enemies since there were may that wanted these Israelites wiped out, just as they still do today) that surrounded them. Over and over they threatened to leave the light, just as are the camps now who are moving farther and farther from the Light of the Gospel. And the farther we go into darkness, the more we believe we are the only ones in the light. We see this in the Pharisees. They believed they were the only ones in the light, in God's favor, while in fact they were the ones farthest from both the light and from God's good graces. In their wisdom they became fools. And such are the churches today. The farther they move from the light, the easier it becomes to create and to believe the fantasies they invent to supercede the Gospel they are abandoning.
God says He doesn't change. What He said about the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is just as valid today as it ever was. If we continue eating of that tree, we will not be allowed to eat of the tree of life.
God does not change, therefore we have to change if we want to be in His presence.
We have a practice of judging sins and sinners. We say to someone: "God is going to judge you harshly for that." But this is not true, at least not according to the popular view of God's judgement. Like Adam and Eve, their sin wasn't in degrees, it was either yes or no. In this same way we are either in the Church, or we're not. If we're not in the Church, then there's nothing to judge, it's an automatic "No." If we're in the Church, then there's either the right of the throne with the sheep, or the left of the throne with the Goats. That's as far as the Judgement, according to popular belief goes (although what I have just said probably doesn't align with your theological view, nor does it mine, but for a different reason).
There is in fact going to be a judging of those who stand on the right of the throne, and as we are judged, which has to do with our works and our heart, will depend on where we will spend eternity. But that's an entirely different issue far too complicated to be explained in this "short" study.
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