The Devil Came Calling

I wrote a poem titled The Devil Came Calling. I also preached a sermon titled Crucified with Christ in which I was able to use my poem. You can watch the message at this link here which my church posted on facebook. The poem is below.

The Devil

The devil came calling, the night of my death
He found me there helpless; I took my last breath

He was crafty and cunning, deceitful as e’er
The delights at his table were luscious and fair

This man had once devoured them all
But this was the time he ignored the call

The devil was puzzled, and thought to ask
“Why doesn’t he answer as in times past?

For so many nights he played the part
I pulled the strings on this work of art

My faithful client will surely respond
Of our time together I’ve grown so fond

I’ve so many plans; where did we leave off?
A pity ‘twould be if my servant were lost

Your friends await your witty jeers”
But his pleas for temptation fell on deaf ears

“Let’s joke with the rude, making fun of the weak
Some naughty remarks with tongue in cheek

Such dainty delights at the devil’s fine table
No fool can resist; no one is able

Come eat your fill, like you did before
You know you want to; then have some more

What fun we would have, giving ladies a glance
A little excitement, come join in the dance

Come eat the best food, and drink the best drink
Do what you want, and think what you think

Cruel remarks at another’s expense
Laughing out loud at foolish nonsense

What a waste to be dead to all his affection
My loyal disciple followed all my direction

Would you rather be up and dancing around
Or flat on your back not making a sound?

Deep down I know you’re the same old man
Unable to change, come follow my plan.”

The leash that Satan had used to guide
Was attached at the neck, and lay by his side

The chain was still fastened; it had not broke
‘Twould still prevail if he ever awoke

“If he would just get up, he cannot say no
All the passion would come; it surely would flow”

The devil not dissuaded that he could be beat
Tried ever and often to accomplish this feat

But the devil concluded: “he must truly be dead
He cannot be living; no more can be said”

The corpse that remained proved fruitless for him
As there was no power to pull him back in

He finally departed for lack of reaction
To dominate others still bound by attraction.

The Death

The devil came calling, and found a surprise
A man dead on a cross, unable to rise

So much potential for his dearest friend
But lifeless and cold, he had come to his end

He died prematurely; his life had ceased
Now dead with the Savior, he lay there in peace

Try as he might to get him to sin
He lay there dead, without and within

Plague-ridden filthy, and sinner he was
But peaceful and quiet, he would not budge

Lust-worthy, selfish, abominable acts
Were all in his past, and that was a fact

Astray from his birth in vain imagination
Bending his friends to manipulation

Cursing and lying, an occasional jest
Once spewed out his mouth at the devil’s behest

Demanding his way, and never gave grace
Gossip and slander to try to save face

Cut from the cloth of the devil himself
He walked in his steps, and wore his suit well

He would try his best, (as he broke his word)
With a pat on the back, the devil concurred

Even asleep, he did not rest
Constantly dreaming of lusts of the flesh

While the devil lamented incredible loss
He would not move from the old rugged cross

“I cannot go back to playing the fool
Thinking I’m good, not the devil’s tool

‘I’m better than most!’ I used to proclaim
‘I’m a good guy; I have a good name’ ”

Then he would provide those same filthy clothes
Foul rags for good works would again be exposed

As much as I thought my life was good
God showed me in truth: I don’t do what I should

The voice of God said, “Until your flesh dies
You have no part with eternal life

You must experience complete termination
Go to the cross with no hesitation

If you think that you’re good, and need not die too
Then the way of the cross is not for you.”

Then I cried out “Quick! I’ll take my last breath
The world will be better at the time of my death”

In one fell swoop, with victory won
This addict of sin was finally done

I laid down my life, and yielded to Him
Crucified with Christ, and now dead to sin

Totally overcome, broken and beat
Falling on Jesus, I lay at his feet.

The Dawn

The devil came calling, and what did he find?
A man to the cross – completely resigned

Perfectly content to lie there still
If it means not sinning, and doing God’s will

That dirty old man finally met his fate
Nailed to a cross, with the Savior who saves

All he had done, throughout all history
Concealed by the cross in beautiful mystery

Perverted emotions, and shameful disgrace
Once vagabond thieves, now nailed in place

The habits that streamed as water that flows
Like a dry riverbed, now lay in repose

Deserving of death, so I had received
Now crucified, I’m no longer deceived

With no yearning for sin, and penance instead
In this way I found – I was better off dead

Death warrant signed by my own hand
Not merely assent, but willful command

Heaven has won; the enemy lost
The might of the devil failed at the cross

What made the change in his failure to win?
Complete crucifixion of the body of sin

The night of the devil is finally past
Welcome the dawn; it has come at last

This fear I have: that I would revert
Back to the sinner who lies in the dirt

To raise up from the grave this man full of lust
And think by good deeds that he could be just

Boasting out loud, competing with greed
Desiring praise for a meaningless deed

With succulent fruit inside of his mouth
He’d surely concede, I haven’t a doubt

Scrub him up clean; dress him up nice!
A sinner he’ll be till the day that he dies!

Who would have believed if they were told
Beneath the façade he was empty and cold?

I am speaking the truth: stop living a lie
In order to live, we first must die

The hope that I will not concede to temptation
Is not in ability, but in emancipation

For delivery from sin: death is the cure
The blood of Jesus will make you pure

It is said that the dead no longer tell tales
Walk the plank to your death, before your ship sails

The story so great; the plan is so grand
My small finite mind simply can’t understand

Accept it by faith; believe the good news
He died for your sin; you’ve nothing to lose.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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The Commands of Jesus

The Gospel of Mark is an action book. It is full of commands of Jesus. In many situations, Jesus gave a command that was obeyed. Here are some examples.

1:17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”

1:25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”

This shows the authority of Jesus over all unclean spirits. Here is the reaction of those that witnessed this.

1:27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”

1:41 Moved with pity, He stretched out His hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.”

This shows the authority of Jesus over leprosy, usually contagious to those who touched someone with the disease.

2:5 And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

This sparked a debate as to whether Jesus had the authority to forgive sins.

3:5 And He looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”

I am avoiding many of the commands that Jesus gave to people because sometimes they did not obey, such as when Jesus commanded the leper not to tell anyone about what He did. Here, though, the command for the man to stretch out his hand seems intertwined with the healing. It’s as if Jesus was saying to stretch out his completely healed hand, which he did.

4:39 And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”

Here is the command for the wind and sea to obey Him, which they do without protest. The disciples cannot fathom this power.

5: 7 And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have You to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure You by God, do not torment me.” 8 For He was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”

A host of devils cannot withstand the power of Jesus. In Matthew 8:32 it is the little word “Go” that sends them forth.

In the story of the daughter of Jairus and the woman with a flow of blood, here are the following commands.

5: 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

5:36 “Do not fear, only believe.”

5:41 Taking her by the hand He said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”

Even the dead obey him.

6:31 “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.”

A surprising command to rest.

6:50 “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

The command is to the disciples but the result is that the wind stops, and again the disciples are amazed.

7:29 And He said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.”

Not a command, really, but a statement of fact. It reveals His authority and knowledge at the same time.

7:34 And looking up to heaven, He sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”

This is said to the man who is deaf and most likely dumb. It is another one-word command, like Go, or Arise. The power was not in flowery speeches or in right word combinations, like casting a spell. The authority is in Jesus Christ Himself.

8:33 But turning and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Another demonic rebuke, but this time to the future leader (rock) of the church.

9:25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

This was something the disciples had been empowered to do, but they could not. Jesus asserts His authority over the most entrenched of strongholds, one that had been there since childhood.

10:13 And they were bringing children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to Me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Let it happen. Stop stopping it from happening.

10: 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

I include this command to a person for two reasons. #1- It demonstrates the love of Jesus for this man in love with the world. #2- It demonstrates the authority of Jesus over who will receive treasure in heaven.

10:52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed Him on the way.

This is another command to a person as the authority of Jesus over ailments is demonstrated.

11:14 And He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And His disciples heard it.

Now Jesus is talking to trees, and they obey.

11:20 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 And Peter remembered and said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that You cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.”

And once again the disciples are amazed. Jesus always had complete faith in His Father to do what He commanded. This will make my final point quite poignant.

12:17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at Him.

He commands, and they are amazed.

13:33 “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake–for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning– 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

14:13 And He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him.”

Jesus displays divine knowledge as He commands His disciples.

14:36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from Me.”

This is what I am struggling with and amazed by. Jesus makes a command to His Father, and it seems contrary to God’s will. Basically Jesus says, “You can do anything. And since You can do anything, take this away from me.” The other gospels do not word it quite this forcefully. It is in line with the commands that Jesus issues throughout the rest of Mark’s gospel. It is followed by the statement, “Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will.” That doesn’t change the fact that Jesus told His Father to do something, literally commanded Him to take something away that was the Father’s will for Him to accomplish.

I think this demonstrates the sheer terror of the cross that Jesus faced humanly speaking. This was a man that flinched at nothing. Storms that could kill him, demons that overpowered everyone else, crowds wanting to stone Him, lepers that could infect Him, Jesus flinched at nothing. Until He arrives in Gethsemane.

Another point is that the power and authority that Jesus possesses flow from being in line with His Father’s will. All the other times that someone was healed or a miracle was done, it was the Father’s will. When the woman with an issue of blood was healed, Jesus seems to not know the details, as if it was done without His command. But it was the Father’s will. With this command in the garden, though, this is not in line with the Father’s will and therefore it is not done. It doesn’t stop Jesus from commanding multiple times, though.

Father! Anything is possible for you! So take it away!

I can’t get over this.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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The Salvation of the Gentiles in Romans 15:8-12

I wrote a series on Romans 15:8-12 some time ago.  There are so many presuppositions about the relationship between Israel and the church that are disproven by simply reading this passage and looking up the scriptures from the law, psalms, and prophets that are quoted.  I was still formulating my positions as I studied these passages.  These principles are much more solidified in my mind now.

Please note: I am writing as a true amateur, someone who loves the word of God and prophecy.  I have no degree in anything.  I truly am a nobody if you need some sort of official education to be qualified.  The strength of what I write must stand on its own.  I follow no commentary to come to my conclusions, only examining the word of God in context.

Here in these posts, I see Israel and the church side by side.  God in His wisdom ordained for Gentiles to be praising God for His faithfulness to the physical nation of Israel.  These Gentiles which were foretold in the prophets are currently in the church participating in the covenants which were made to Israel.  The earthly ministry of Jesus Christ was almost completely TO Israel but not completely FOR Israel as evidenced by Matthew the tax collector, see Matthew 12:15-21.

This post contains links to all those posts that I wrote some 13 years ago.

Romans 15:3 and Psalm 69:9 ~ This serves as an introduction.

Jesus Christ became a Minister of the Circumcision ~ This explains the opening principle.

Romans 15:9 and Psalm 18:49 ~ Gentiles can rejoice because Israel’s Messiah will eventually rule.

Romans 15:10 and Israel’s Future Covenants ~ The Covenant Foundation

The Song of Moses ~ As an eschatological song and how it relates to the church

Psalm 117 ~ An Introduction ~ The idea that Psalm 117 is a part of a larger whole, namely Psalm 110-118

New Testament Usage of Psalm 110 – 118 ~ Further delving into how the New Testament writers quoted this passage

The Apocalypse of the Great Messianic Concerto ~ The overarching theme of Psalm 110-118

The Salvation of the Gentiles in Psalm 117 ~ Closing thoughts regarding the Great Messianic Concerto

Messianic Gentiles ~ Wait, one more thought

Gentile Nations Will Seek The Messiah ~ Romans 15:12 and Isaiah 11:10

Romans 15:8-12 ~ A Brief Summary

Paul – The Apostle to the Gentiles ~ at the end there are a couple of links to related articles

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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Before the Wrath

Before the Wrath

When Exploration Films announced their upcoming prophecy video was titled Before The Wrath, many prewrathers’ ears perked up and wanted to know who was producing it. Disappointment ensued when it was discovered that this was not a prewrath initiative, in fact, something entirely different. This post is a review of this roughly 1 hour 23 minute video. Here is some of the opening information.

A Film by Brent Miller Jr.
Ingenuity Films/Exploration Films
Based on True Discoveries from the Time of Christ
Narration by Kevin Sorbo

This presentation takes the return of Jesus Christ as true, and immediately equates it as the rapture. There is a recent archaeological discovery which sheds new light on the return of Jesus Christ. This is the big hype throughout the video. This “discovery” proves that He is coming back. It will focus on first century believers and their point of view. For instance, the opening scene is a first century believer writing on papyrus (or something) words which I typed verbatim. Toward the end of the scene, the writing has ceased and he seals the scroll, just as the word “sealed” is narrated. It is unclear if they are portraying this person as writing scripture, which the following paragraph is not scripture, but could be several scriptures patched together. Note also the use of the word “convergence” as this company recently produced another prophecy video titled The Coming Convergence.

“Though He first came to save the world, He will return to judge it. My brothers and sisters in Christ, know that a time of great tribulation approaches such as has not been seen since the beginning of the world nor shall there ever be again. But our Lord will return to retrieve those that follow Him from the wrath that will be poured out upon all who are living on the face of the earth. A time of worldwide wars, famines, great earthquakes, and sickness that will bring an abundance of death. The oceans will rage and the land will burn, as the moon becomes as blood and the sun black as sackcloth. But I warn you, before that terrible day there will be a great falling away from the faith. And when the hour of judgment comes upon this fallen world, few will remain that truly believe. Though the convergence of signs for His return have been revealed to you throughout the scriptures, there are some mysteries that God proclaims will be sealed until the time of the end – understanding that will be unveiled to the generation that will witness the return of the Messiah. I fear, though, that when the Savior returns will He find any faith left on the earth?”

The documentary portion begins stating that there is division regarding the signs about when the Messiah will return. Jan Markell uses the phrase “the timing of the rapture” in the opening sequence to show this is a rapture debate film. She states that the debate “within the past ten years” has gone off the chart. The film was made in 2020, so what exactly in the last ten years has gone off the chart? What in the debate is different between 2010-2020?

J. D. Farag highlights the division about the rapture, stating that the church is fighting with each other instead of loving each other. A study shows that infighting among Christians is deepening. 5 minutes into the video, there is a poll presented by Scott McConnell from Lifeway Research as to when believers think the rapture will occur. The largest group is pretrib at 36%, so there is no consensus on this. They continue with stating that 4% believe it will happen in the middle, 18% believe it will happen at the end, 13% consist of “other timing variations”, 4% aren’t sure about any of it, 25% believe in no rapture at all. Note: there is no attempt to define what is meant by the middle or the end here. Lizette Dillinger of Lifeway Research talks about Christians with a lot of information at their fingertips who want to put together a cornucopia of eschatological beliefs without any kind of hermeneutical framework. [This statement will become quite ironic as we progress.] Jan Markell states that this division will drive people away from Christianity. Scott McConnell adds that if Christians can’t even explain how Jesus is going to return, that this leaves non-believers scratching their heads. Jay McConnell, Middle East anthropologist, makes frequent appearances.

The narrator hints that there is a discovery buried by the sands of time that those who walked with Christ understood which we do not. Jesus and His disciples were Galileans, with customs that were unique to them. He used these words, symbols, and parables to speak to them based on their culture. J. D. Farag states that it is hard for us to understand in our day what it was like for them in their day. They hint at the Olivet Discourse, but then say we must delve into their culture first.

Interjection: I am always suspicious when people tell me that before I read the Bible for myself, that first I have to understand all these principles and ideas that are not even in the Bible. Then after lengthy explanations they say, “Okay, now that you understand all this, now you can read the passage.” That’s exactly what we will see in this presentation.

After 15 minutes of hype about the culture of the Galileans, and a discovery that will change our point of view concerning the rapture, we finally get into an ancient ceremony that the Galileans understood which we don’t. The ancient secret is a “one-of-a-kind wedding”, a wedding that contains a series of customs that would unfold over an entire year, revealing a chronological sequence of events that perfectly aligns with the recorded biblical prophecies leading to the second coming of Christ. They point to early language of Jesus which points to wedding banquet language. Interjection: Interesting how they say the end of the world is going to be like a Galilean style wedding, but the scriptures state that the kingdom of God is (not will be) like a wedding banquet, see Matthew 22:1-3, John 3:29. Jan Markell states that the parallels to the rapture are so incredible and so brilliant.

They take us back to the ancient sequence of events within their wedding ceremonies which will uncover the truth about the rapture, the end of the world, and the second coming of the Messiah. They talk about the wedding at Cana without giving the reference. There is a pretty good reenactment of what this wedding ceremony would have been like. There would be an announcement where everyone would rush to the place where it is occurring to witness it. This would result in wedding guests, or witnesses, to witness the event of the wedding, because you can’t make a covenant without having witnesses to ratify the covenant. There was a written covenant, then the bride and groom would agree to the terms. Gifts would be exchanged with the most extravagant going to the bride. The dowry would be an insurance policy to take care of the bride. The groom takes a pitcher of wine to pour into a cup passing it to his bride. This presentation of the cup to the bride results in her being able to accept or reject the wedding. They highlight the idea that contrary to all other customs in the Middle East, in a Galilean wedding, the bride possessed the final authority to accept or reject the offer of the groom.

Once the bride accepts, then the groom also takes the cup, drinking from it, solidifying the new covenant. Then the bridegroom says, “You are now consecrated to me by the laws of Moses and I will not drink of this cup again until I drink it new with you in my father’s house.” The documentary really didn’t focus on Christ and his first miracle at all, but only on what they believe occurred at a typical Galilean wedding between bride and groom. From here we fast forward from the wedding at Cana, all the way to the last supper. Jesus offered the cup of wine to His disciples to signify a new covenant with them. After the disciples willingly drank from the cup, Jesus said something similar to what they would have heard at a Galilean wedding. “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” They point to the significance of the blood of Christ which is poured out for the New Covenant.

J. D. Farag begins to describe his Arab culture whereby when you eat and drink, you eat from the same bread and drink from the same cup as those around you. This signifies that “what is in you is in me”; this is why it is called comm-union, communion. This was a seal of betrothal in an ancient Galilean wedding. When Jesus said this statement at the last supper, His disciples only heard one thing, “wedding”. They point to the first miracle of Christ being at a wedding.

They shift back to the wedding at Cana, and now the betrothal ceremony is finished, but this leads into a year-long preparation that goes into making the way for the wedding feast. Though man and wife are technically one under the new covenant, they must live apart until the day of their wedding feast. Everything the man does looks forward to being reunited with his bride including making preparations within his father’s house. This evidence (which they haven’t really revealed by way of examining documents and such, just them talking) gives further revelation concerning Christ’s first coming. Then they quote John 14 (but they don’t give the reference) where Jesus states, “I go away to prepare a place for you.” They explain that this means that Jesus will come back for them so that where He is, they may be also. All of this, they assert, was Jesus speaking to them as a bridegroom speaks to a bride, and they assert that they knew this because they knew the culture of the day. J. D. Farag states, “You cannot separate the culture from the gospels. If you take the culture out of the gospels, you virtually gut out the entire meaning of it.”

The narration explains that this is talking about the kingdom of heaven. Jesus is coming back for His church via the rapture, and if we don’t believe this, we have the wrong Jesus. Jesus has to come back. Just a note here, when they are quoting the scriptures, they are not giving scripture references or complete context and are frequently skipping around. It’s not like they say, “In John 14, we read,”, it’s more like, “Jesus said He would come back for them and we have to believe this.” For instance, the narrator states, “And this is further reinforced by Christ Himself when He tells His disciples that when this time comes, there will be those living on the earth that will not taste death.” This is so indicative of the entire presentation that I cannot let this slip by without a comment. Here they are quoting from John 14, but insert the phrase “they will not taste death” which doesn’t appear there.  They may be borrowing language from just before the transfiguration (Matthew 16:28, Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27), or perhaps John 8:51.  The concept of not tasting of death is also found in I Corinthians 15:51 and I Thessalonians 4:15. The point is that these may be taken out of context and not examined within their respective contexts. We jump from here to there, but first going back to first century culture to lay our foundation rather than the word of God. Also, they add the words “for you” after “I will come again”, which are not in John 14:3. There is this pretrib idea that Jesus comes back for the church before the 7 year period, and then comes back with the church at the end of the 7 year period. There is no scripture where Jesus says, “I will come back for you,” but here they are subtly asserting that but not giving you the scripture reference to fact check it for yourself. Note: I believe that there are those who will not taste death at the time of Christ’s coming. That’s not the point I’m making. The point is that each passage is not being examined independently. They are putting different scriptures together and saying, Jesus said such and such, when that wasn’t what He said in that context.

Now we are in this in between time where the groom has gone and the bride is waiting for the groom to return. The bride is staying busy by making the dress, preparing items, etc. Many times, these preparations took months to complete. The bride also remained vigilant and pure, no matter how long it took. The bride was not to sit and wait, but to occupy until he came. Now we have this new archaeological evidence that “is sending shockwaves” through our understanding of the coming of Christ. No one knew the day or the hour that he would come back, not even the bride. Only the father of the groom knew the day, the hour, the time that his son would return for his bride. Jay McConnell, Middle East anthropologist, states that in all the other weddings of the Middle East, the day and the hour of the wedding would be known. It would be a one-year interval, and then the wedding would take place. Galilean weddings, however, were different. Only the father of the groom knew the time of the wedding. He states that the groom would finish the room for his bride, go to his father and say, “I want my bride,” to which the father would respond, “I’ll tell you when.” As of this point in the documentary (35 minutes in), we haven’t seen any documentation that this ever occurred, only this guy telling us the way it happened. They show a little clip of people excavating in the earth, but there is no one showing a scroll or any text that these events were recorded somewhere. It’s this great discovery, but there is no presentation of the discovery, only someone telling us about what they believe the Galilean culture consisted of. Note: I’m not saying it isn’t true, I’m just reviewing the film.

Anyway, back to the narration. The father would announce, son, go get your bride. The father would be the one who would determine the day and the hour. They continue with the same pattern of referencing scriptures without quoting them. They say this goes back to several places in the Bible where Jesus says that no one knows the day or the hour except the Father, without giving any scriptural references. They also add on to these passages by saying that Jesus was saying, “No one knows when I’m going to come back for My bride.” This is immediately followed by a presentation of the question by the disciples. I’ll type this word for word here so you can see the cut and paste type of exegesis that is going on whereby they connect Matthew 24:3 and 24:36 without the intervening verses. “You see, during Jesus’s first coming, when His disciples asked when He would return at the end of days, He also told them – But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Then one of the commentators states, “Jesus Himself, I believe, demonstrated the genuine Galilean tradition by saying that not even the son knows the day and the hour.” So you see, they present the question of the disciples from Matthew 24:3, they skip over the words of Christ in Matthew 24:4-31 where Jesus explains the time frame for His coming, and then they focus on an addendum of Christ in Matthew 24:36. They take out the clear progression of abomination of desolation, then great tribulation, then the coming of Christ and gathering of the elect, and substitute Galilean culture. I just watched a video of Jan Markell and J. D. Farag which they state that Matthew 24 is not for the church but for Israel because of the Sabbath commands. So why are they not tossing out Matthew 24:3 & 36?

Now after saying no one knows the day or the hour, Jesus tells us that we could know the approaching season. So here we have a new section, a description of Jesus in heaven anticipating His coming to get His bride. The bride is also waiting for her groom to come. There is the mixture of referencing the gospels and also first century Galilean customs. “This brings us to a topic that’s fiercely debated today.” Because the message of Jesus in the context of Galilean culture has faded into history, this has sparked heated debate and growing misconceptions. The church has suffered because there are those who want to set dates. J. D. Farag states that these date setters have irreversibly damaged Bible prophecy, which is being systematically erased from Christianity all over the world. They encourage people not to be obsessed with the date, but being prepared for the second coming (rapture). J. D. Farag states that pastors are ignorant concerning Bible prophecy and fearful that prophecy will be controversial. This is marginalizing Bible prophecy.

But wait! It’s worse than you believe. Now we are back with Scott McConnell of Lifeway Research. Their study shows that out of 450 sermons that only 2% were from texts that were prophetic books of the Bible. Since one third of scripture is about prophetic events, this means that churches are intentionally marginalizing the subject. Christians today are dismissive of the Lord’s return, equating this with Biblical illiteracy. Since the rapture is a fundamental belief of the Bible, this is serious. You cannot have the whole counsel of God without having the prophetic word of God. If you take the return of Jesus Christ out of the gospel, you’ve left the gospel out. The reason for prophetic scriptures is to prove that the God of the Bible is the One true God. Interjection: Funny that I believe all of this, but if I bring up my point of view, they would say I’m being divisive and driving people away from Jesus Christ. This is all because I believe that Jesus will come and gather His elect after the great tribulation but before the wrath of God as contained in the Day of the LORD at a day and hour that no man knows. Instead of skipping over Matthew 24:4-31, I take that as the answer of Jesus to the disciples and the church. I just watched a video of Jan Markell stating that rapture views that disagree with hers are Satanic. With a statement like this you have to ask, who is causing division over the timing of the rapture?

Now we transition into the falling away. Because people are ignorant of the prophetic scriptures, this leads into the falling away of those that believe. Because people today do not believe in the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, this is a part of the end-times apostasy, the fall from truth into apostasy. Here we have a clear presentation of the gospel that only Jesus Christ is the way to forgiveness for sins and to eternal life. Lifeway Research shows that many people do not believe that the Bible is the complete word of God.

Since the return of Christ is synonymous with the end of the world as we know it, this explains why we are seeing the trends in our culture. The Bible foretold that this would happen. J. D. Farag states, “I know you have a little strength. This describes this church in the last days prior to the return of Jesus Christ as just hanging on. There are a remnant of believers today that are hanging on to that hope.” Jack Hibbs states that we have a Westernized version of Christianity which is failing. He references II Peter 3 without quoting it that people are going to question and doubt the coming of the Lord Jesus, even mocking it. J. D. Farag states that “It’s going to get exponentially worse.” I’m assuming he means the ignorance of the Lord’s return and people doubting that it will ever happen, which Jan Markell states this is a part of the apostasy. Again, they are not giving any scripture references for what they are saying. Prewrathers understand why. If they turned to II Thessalonians 2:1-4 which is one of the end times apostasy passages, they would have to explain why the text states that this apostasy will occur before the coming of Christ, our gathering together unto Him, and Day of the LORD. Since that is their position in the video, what’s the problem? The contradiction comes with seeing that part of the apostasy that the scriptures describe in that text is the revealing of the man of sin in the temple. Pretribulationalists will tell you the rapture occurs before that, not after. Oops. Read that text before going any further.

At this point, we come back to the first century believer writing on papyrus. Here is what is narrated as he writes, “Considering these trends, it’s not surprising that this is precisely why the scriptures famously warned that in the last days, Jesus will return as a thief in the night into a world that is unbelieving and unprepared.” They state that Jesus warned His disciples to be prepared for His return. Now we are picking up at I Thessalonians 5, but they don’t tell us that. They tell us that there is no need for me (Paul although they don’t say his name so some might assume it’s Jesus based on the previous context) to tell you because you perfectly know that the day of the LORD will come as a thief in the night, but not as a thief in the night to you (meaning believers), because if you’re ready, you’re ready. Now catch this, they state “and we can only be surprised and we can only suffer from it if we’re not ready.” So you see, they quote part of the passage in I Thessalonians 5, but then add on something that is not even in the text. This is why, I believe, that they do not give the scripture references when they quote, “Jesus said…”

Interjection: For those unfamiliar with the rapture debate, pretribulationalists want to equate the entire seven year period known as Daniel’s 70th week as the Day of the LORD and wrath of God. They state that it is entirely tribulation and the wrath of God, and then state that if God doesn’t rapture the church before any of this, that it is like God allowing His bride to suffer. Note that added phrase “we can only suffer from it if we’re not ready.” Which suffering are we talking about though?

Narration opens this next section (55 minutes in) with, “Jesus returning as a thief in the night to those unprepared in the last days appears self-explanatory. And for years, theologians interpreted the meaning at face value. But you see, in ancient Galilee, we know that only the father of the groom knew the day and the hour that the wedding would take place. But what researchers have now discovered is that the hour would be in the middle of the night.” J. D. Farag is back with telling us that in that day, they would have understood exactly what Jesus was talking about. He said, like a thief in the night, because the wedding feast would be in the night which is why they would have to have oil in their lamps. To be dressed and ready for the bridegroom would mean that you would not be overtaken like a thief in the night. This Galilean tradition of the groom coming for the bride in the middle of the night is what Jesus knew and was trying to convey to His disciples. Again, they are quoting scripture from multiple places without referencing. The scriptures being quoted are from I Thessalonians 5, Matthew 25:1-13, Luke 12:31-40, etc. without examining the context of each passage. They tell us to look for the signs that Jesus gave to the disciples in order to be ready.

Interjection: What they are doing is taking one illustration, like a thief in the night, and saying it’s really a wedding feast in the night, no thief at all. Based on Matthew 25:1-13, a wedding feast in the night could very well have been the way they celebrated. The issue is that they are stripping I Thessalonians 5:1-11 of its major metaphor, like a thief in the night. This is a passage about the Day of the LORD which has certain other passages which should be correlated, such as Joel 2:31, Zephaniah 1:14-15, II Thessalonians 2:1-4. Studying these passages will reveal that the Day of the LORD does not begin until after the cosmic signs, see Joel 2:31, Matthew 24:29-31, and especially Revelation 6:12-17 where it states that this is the beginning of the wrath of the Lamb.

At this point, without giving the reference, they begin examining Matthew 25:1-13. Only those with faith in Christ will be prepared. According to Jan Markell, the remnant who is prepared for the return of Jesus Christ are watching and waiting, looking at headlines and current events, but that remnant is getting smaller. Interjection: Not sure what scripture passage encourages us to look at news headlines and such, but it can’t hurt.

There has been this portrayal of what they believe the wedding in Cana looked like. It has been referenced throughout the video. Now they return to this imagery with actors portraying the event, and pretty well I might add. To them, the wedding feast at Cana where Jesus turned water into wine, was where they exchanged vows, but then separated to wait for the time when the groom would return for his bride. The year or so has elapsed and now the time has come. The father makes the announcement for the son to go get his bride. The son leaps to his feet, grabs a shofar, a ram’s trumpet, and wakes up the entire village, including the bride and her family. They talk about what would occur as the announcement of “The Bridegroom Cometh!” prompts the bride to wake up, trim her lamp, and execute her preparedness. As the groom approaches, the guests would be assembled, but only those that were prepared could quickly rise and join them. The bride is dressed in white and after a year of waiting, they are finally together again, reunited as one forever. The bride is carried by a litter back to the father’s house. The ancient Galileans refer to this as “flying the bride to the father’s house”. Jack Hibbs states, “She is lifted up off the ground. She’s escorted with him back to that place of preparation…. She’s borne aloft. She’s taken away with him.” The narration points out the parallels between this and the rapture. Doesn’t this sound like Jesus lifting His bride off the ground to be with Him in the air? Absolutely, in their minds. Jesus made it clear that this is what He was referring to when He spoke of His coming. Now quoting again, “Those that are caught up to be with the returning Messiah will partake in what the Bible refers to as the marriage supper of the Lamb, the Lamb being a clear reference to Christ Himself as the sacrificial Lamb crucified on the cross. In fact, the Apostle John references this wedding feast when believers are reunited with Christ as written in the book of Revelation.” (I believe this is the first time a book of the Bible has been given, maybe I’m wrong.) “To those in the final generation, he writes – Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready.” Again, they point back to the Galilean wedding to state that this is the pattern for Christ’s return.

Many questions about the importance of this event of the uniting of Christ with His bride are given and answered. Then the narration mentions that one of the things that will occur is saving His bride from the wrath to come in the last days. We are now at the 1 hour 9 minute mark with 14 minutes remaining with the title of the film being Before the Wrath. Many will choose not to join in the wedding feast, and these will be left behind. The Galilean wedding feast analogy continues with the doors being shut and no one enters in or leaves for 7 days and 7 nights. In ancient Galilee, if you were locked out, there was no getting in.

Narration: “And just as with an ancient Galilean wedding, Bible prophecy warns that those who missed the return of Christ, are destined to partake in the wrath of God, that will be poured out upon a rejecting world.” Jack Hibbs again, “And the righteous will be removed from the earth, because the Lord says in Isaiah 26, I will put them in their place, I will shut the doors behind them in these inner chambers while I pour out my indignation, wrath, upon all those who dwell on the earth.” Jan Markell continues, “The fact that the church escapes God’s wrath is so important. The church does not escape man’s wrath, and we see that going on – terrible persecution going on in various parts of the world. But the church biblically, scripturally, God says that He’s going to spare us from the wrath to come.” Jay McConnell, our anthropologist friend picks up, “When you look at the whole picture, the Galileans are really the key to understanding the why and what of the rapture. Jesus used this illustration that they knew so intimately over and over and over again – that you have a bride who is loved by a bridegroom, who is betrothed to this bridegroom. And the bridegroom is going to make a covenant with her, and then he’s going to go away. And eventually when, they don’t know, he’s going to come back to take her to be with him where he is.”

Interjection: This is a very interesting way for a group of pretribulationalists to close their video. Prewrathers have been trying to get this message across, that the wrath of God and the wrath of man are two different things. Our title (prewrath) has brought to the forefront within the past 10 years the idea that we will not be here for the wrath of God, but there is no scriptural exemption from tribulation, which is the wrath of man. II Thessalonians 1:4-8 gives one of the reasons for Christ’s return, which is to repay those who are putting the church through tribulation with God’s vengeance. The presenters have stated multiple times that the reasons for the return of Christ are so important, but they are selective with the reasons that they give.

There is a closing encouragement for pastors to teach their congregations what the scriptures teach, because they have more impact with their congregations than others. Those with media influence need to speak out. Each of us needs to share this message with others. We must be prepared to tell others why Jesus is coming back. In closing (7 minutes to go including 5 minutes of credits), before the day of wrath, before the feast begins, before the rapture, before the thief comes in the night, when you are offered His cup, will you accept it?

There are many generalizations in the video without digging into the details. Really this video is aimed at people who don’t know a whole lot about the second coming of Christ. There is no point in the video where they demonstrate that Christ returns before the tribulation, or before Daniel’s 70th week. It is a very superficial presentation as a whole. It really could be a good video with good analogies, but for someone who knows the scripture, I wouldn’t bother. Perhaps something good will come out of someone watching it. Maybe someone will watch it and want to read the Bible for themselves. They will read the scriptures and realize that the video is right. Jesus is coming back. He will save us from the wrath to come. But they will also see that the church will go through the great tribulation. There will be a man of sin, mark of the beast, and great deception. You can’t say that part of Matthew 24 is for the church and the other part that we don’t like is for Israel only.

I really like the wedding and wedding feast analogy that they portray. If that is the way that it happened in Galilean culture, it is a very accurate representation of the coming of Christ. Christ says, I will come again (from heaven to earth) and receive you unto Myself. The bride flies to be with the groom, caught up into the air. There is no reason that Mark 13:26-27 cannot be describing the rapture of the church. Revelation 7:9-17 is the raptured church before the throne of God just after the event of Isaiah 26:19-21. I was surprised to hear Jack Hibbs teach this because the entire context of Isaiah 26:16-18 is the great tribulation, the time of Jacob’s trouble, see also Isaiah 24:19-23, Isaiah 25:8 with I Corinthians 15:51-54 and Revelation 7:17. Revelation 14:14-16 is the therismos harvest of Matthew 13:30, 39, 43.

In closing, my closing of my post, I would like to encourage dialogue about why it is okay for Jan Markell to make a video and talk about her view of the rapture, but if I talk about my view of the rapture, that is causing division. What about my view makes it Satanic? I agree with her that there is a difference between the wrath of God and the wrath of man. It seems to me that titling the video “Before the Wrath” and then not clearly defining when that wrath begins in the scriptures is sloppy exegesis.

That’s the video and that’s my review.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

Posted in Bible, Eschatology, Pre-Wrath, Pretribulationalism, Prewrath, Prophecy, The Olivet Discourse | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Christmas Communion

This year has been interesting as far as our church goes. Our ministries are on pause again as our area is affected by an apparent plague. The elders gave me permission to serve communion in the parking lot during this shut down as they did during the last shut down. Because of the close proximity to Christmas, I wrote and hosted this Christmas Communion devotion. We sang Hark the Herald Angels Sing and What Child Is This? as part of the devotion. So here it is for you.

Hark! The herald-angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald-angels sing
“Glory to the new-born King”

Christ by highest heaven adored
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with men to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald-angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King”

Hail the Heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings;
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the new-born King”

Many times we put Christmas and Communion in two different categories. We put Christmas with the birth of Christ and we put Communion with the death of Christ. But as you just heard in this classic Christmas carol, the story of Christ is one story. The first verse has the line “Glory to the newborn King”, but it also has “God and sinners reconciled”. The entire reason why Christ was born was not so that we would adore this little Baby in a manger, but because God through His Son Jesus Christ would bring sinners like us into fellowship with Him. This is what it’s all about.

Think about the second verse. “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see.” To think that all of God was dwelling in a baby, this Son of Mary, you can hardly understand it. Can you imagine looking on this little child and thinking, “It’s by His power that every single molecule in the entire universe holds together”? And here He is lying in a feeding trough for animals. Think about this line, “Pleased as man with men to dwell.” Imagine yourself in heaven with God in the perfect place. Now imagine God says, I want you to leave this perfect place and go down where people are hating, cursing, lying, killing each other. There are diseases, storms, famines, terrible heartache. How excited would you be to obey God? The Bible says that there was joy for Jesus Christ even in enduring the cross. “For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross,” Hebrews 12:2. Pleased as man with men to dwell. Jesus wanted to come down here and be born into this sinful world. He was pleased to come and walk among us, and even to give His life for us.

In the third verse there are these lines, “Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die.” He left His splendor, His all-powerful seat in heaven, just so that you and I could be welcomed into God’s presence. The entire reason why Jesus was born was so that He would die and be raised from the dead. His entire life was humble. His birth was humble, giving up His throne of glory for a manger. His life was humble, He did not live with the rich and constantly blessed the poor. His death was humble, the most humiliating thing that someone could go through. He was completely innocent, but He was treated as the worst criminal, even by His own Father. God the Father turned His back on His own Son while He was on the cross. Here we have just sung about “Glory to the newborn King!” But the entire reason why the original herald angels were proclaiming the message was because, like the angel told Joseph, “You shall call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins.” If Jesus had not gone to the cross, we would not be singing today.

Christmas and Communion are two parts of the same story. We celebrate the Child being born, but this was for Him to take on flesh. You probably remember John 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” But also remember John 1:14. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory.” It was actually the body of Jesus which was standing in the way of our fellowship with God. Remember how the veil, or the curtain of the temple was torn in two when Christ died. Hebrews 10:20 says that the veil was the flesh of Christ. Jesus Himself stood in the way, symbolizing the holiness of God. The Word became flesh and God ripped the body of Jesus apart so that sinful people could enter into His presence. Those nails pierced His flesh. And that’s why Jesus said, take eat, this is my body which is broken for you. Before we partake, let’s bow our heads and confess our sins to God.

Jesus said, take eat, this is my body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.

When the blood of Jesus was shed, it was the blood of an innocent Man. He was paying the price for our sins. He was establishing the New Covenant in His blood. The terms of the New Covenant are that those who were far off now have access to God by the blood of Jesus Christ, Ephesians 2:13.

Jesus said, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping,
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The Cross be borne for me, for you;
Hail, hail the Word Made Flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
Come, peasant, king, to own Him!
The King of Kings salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone Him!
Raise, raise the song on high!
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy! Joy! For Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

Notice the original second verse. The author tells us the reason why Jesus was lying in such a “mean estate” as the feeding trough. The silent word that was pleading was the humility that Christ would endure, not just in birth, but in death. The Word was made flesh so that He could be pierced with nails and spear. When you see a manger scene, think about the humility of Christ the King, lying in a manger. That humility followed Him all the way to the cross and to heaven, because Christ is still humble. He does not force Himself into your life, you must choose to follow Him.

Let’s close by reciting one of the early creeds found in the Bible. It seems that I Timothy 3:16 contains one of the essential confessions of the faith. Let’s recite this together and note how Christ being manifested in the flesh is one of the essential beliefs of Christianity.

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.

May God bless you this Christmas as we remember the birth of the Savior.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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Psalm 89

Psalm 89

The Instruction of Ethan

The Davidic Covenant after the 70 year exile in Babylon.

I.  The Author

The author of Psalm 89 is Ethan an Ezrahite.  Ezrahite is a unique distinction meaning someone who is “of Ezra”.  Ezra was a scribe after the 70 year Babylonian Exile who arrived at Jerusalem for the sole purpose of teaching the children of Israel the law of Moses.  Ezra 6:6-10 contains a good summary of this man of God.  Ezra was the first of all the scribes to keep account of the words of God.  This was something new after the exile.  The law had been given by Moses.  The psalms and wisdom books were given through David, Solomon, and a couple of others.  Note that the psalms were being compiled into different books after the exile.  The majority of the prophets had already given their oracles.  Only Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi would prophesy after the exile.  I and II Chronicles were compiled most likely by Ezra himself.  The office of Ezra symbolized the completeness of God’s word.  Israel was moving from a place of new revelation, to keeping track of the existing revelation in anticipation of God being true to His word.

II.  Ezrahite

This distinction probably meant “scribe” since they were disciples of Ezra.  Heman, the author of Psalm 88, and Ethan, the author of Psalm 89, were both scribes who studied and preserved the words of God.  But each one of them received a revelation from God in the form of a psalm which was included in Book III of the psalms.

III.  Book III of the Psalms, 73-89

Book III has many post-exile psalms.  One thing that confuses people is to see the designation “Of Asaph” at the top and to think it was written by the man Asaph who lived in the days of David.  Asaph was not just a name of a person, but a title, or designation.  David (under God’s authority) decreed that all children of Asaph would be worship leaders at the temple.  This is found in I Chronicles 25:1 alongside the children of Heman and Jeduthun as well, but Asaph was the chief, I Chronicles 16:5.  The children of Asaph are also well documented in years following to be worship leaders, II Chronicles 35:15.  After the exile, Ezra documents how 128 children of Asaph returned to Jerusalem as worship leaders, Ezra 2:41.  He is careful to note that this is not something they did on their own, but under the authority of King David, Ezra 3:10.  The title “Of Asaph” over some of the psalms simply refers to belonging to the children of Asaph.  Psalm 74 documents how Gentiles defiled the temple and burned it.  Psalm 79 also tells of this time but focuses more on the siege of Jerusalem.  The majority of Book III seems to be songs written after the exile with 88 and 89 being the final entries by these disciples of Ezra.  It is quite possible that the Ezrahites compiled the entire book of Psalms after the exile as they arranged it into five books.  Psalm 73-89 should be studied in conjunction with post-exile prophets.

IV.  The Davidic Covenant

            A.  As it was given to David ~ II Samuel 7/I Chronicles 17

            B.  Throughout the reign of the sons of David ~ Psalm 132

            C.  Preserved by Jeremiah ~ Jeremiah 33:14-18.  This was given in the final year before Israel was carried away captive to Babylon, see Jeremiah 32:1.  It states it was in the 10th year of Zedekiah, which Zedekiah reigned 11 years (I Kings 24:18) at which time Nebuchadnezzar came and destroyed the city, see II Kings 25:1-2.  Jeremiah also notes the reign of Nebuchadnezzar in Jeremiah 32:1 as being the 18th year of his reign and II Kings 25:8 shows the captivity began in the 19th year of his reign.  Even in this final year, God was promising through Jeremiah that the Davidic Covenant would stand.

V.  Psalm 89 ~ How did the Israelites view the Davidic Covenant with no Davidic King ruling from Jerusalem?

            A.  The Declaration ~ Verses 1-4

            B.  Giving God His rightful place in the congregation ~ Verses 5-18

            C.  The Details of the Davidic Covenant ~ Verses ~ 19-37

                        1.  The Choice of David ~ Verses 19-21

                        2.  The Exaltation of David ~ Verses 22-24

                        3.  The Sonship of David ~ Verses 25-27

                        4.  The Perpetuity of the Davidic Covenant ~ Verses 28-29

                        5.  The Condition of the Covenant ~ Verses 30-34

                        6.  The Security of the Covenant ~ Verses 35-37

            D.  The Current State of the Covenant ~ Verses 38-45 (The opposite of God’s promise.)

                        1.  The Messiah is Rejected ~ Verses 38-39

                        2.  Jerusalem is Ruined ~ Verses 40-41

                        3.  Enemies are Exalted ~ Verses 42-43

                        4.  The Throne has Fallen ~ Verses 44-45

            E.  Questioning God’s Timing ~ Verses 46-48

            F.  The Persecution of God’s People ~ Verses 49-51

            G.  Doxology ~ Verse 52

VI.  The Paradox within Psalm 89

            A.  God promised that the Davidic Covenant would endure forever.

            B.  The Davidic Covenant currently had no hope.

            C.  It is to this group of people, who believed in the Davidic Covenant, but saw the hopelessness of the current situation, that Haggai and Zechariah prophesied, see Ezra 5:1.  The prophecies within their books point forward to a Davidic Messiah even though the current state of Jerusalem seemed hopeless.

            D.  What would be the expectation of the Davidic Messiah now that there is no Davidic King ruling in Jerusalem?  Notice the tension between the promise of God and the current problem.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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#16 ~ The Church: Working for the Kingdom of God

#16 ~ The Church: Working for the Kingdom of God

This was the boring lesson.  All the other lessons in this series were packed full of conversation in the classroom as I taught them.  Stories are fun.  The stories of Jesus are conversation starters.  When we discussed the parables of the Kingdom of Heaven, the class was engaged, wanting to understand this kingdom that Jesus never defined except through parables.

But this lesson, it had to be taught as a conclusion, but there was very little discussion.  And no wonder because I did not highlight any one parable.  The connection between the Kingdom of Heaven and the church had to be established, though.  So here it is.  This is the information I presented to help my students understand that the Kingdom of Heaven is not simply this future thing that will one day appear, it is not only this thing that Jesus offered Israel and they rejected it, IT IS the current work of the church.

The following is proof from the teachings of the apostles as they led the church that the kingdom is intricately woven into everything that the church should be doing.  After I taught through the first section, I summarized each week of my teaching on the subject in one sentence where possible, a couple went a bit over.  So I read those 16 descriptions to give a summary of this Kingdom of Heaven that we had been studying about for 16 weeks.

We typically sing a song a cappella out of the hymnals in our classroom.  But I did something different for the first lesson and the last lesson.  We sang accompanied by a CD with Hillsong’s version of This Kingdom by Geoff Bullock.  It was quite fitting.  I love that song.

Here it is.  It’s meant to be a study, where you look up each reference in context to determine the relationship of the church to the kingdom. 

The Resurrection

Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 1:1-5, Acts 4:2, 33.

The Church was commissioned with preaching the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Passages that contain the phrase “the end of the age”:  Matthew 13:39, 49, 24:3, 28:20.

The Church Preaches the Kingdom of God

Acts 8:12-13, 19:8, 20:24-25, 28:23, 31.

The Church was also commissioned with preaching the Kingdom of God.

The Identity of the Church

Colossians 1:13-14, 4:11, I Thessalonians 2:9-12.

We have been brought into the kingdom, we are working for the kingdom, and we are called to walk worthy of that kingdom.

The Unshakeable Inheritance of the Church

I Corinthians 6:2-3, 9-11, James 2:5, II Peter 1:8-11, Hebrews 12:25-29. 

The church will inherit the Kingdom of God and will judge the world.  This eternal inheritance cannot be shaken.

Suffering for the Kingdom of God

Acts 14:21-23, II Thessalonians 1:4-8, Revelation 1:9, 12:10-12, Mark 13:9-13. 

Tribulation is appointed for the church.  When Christ comes in power and glory, He pays back those that have been persecuting the church.  The church is commissioned to preach the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God until the end of the age when Jesus comes in power and glory.

The Future Kingdom for the Church

II Timothy 4:1-2, 18, I Corinthians 15:20-28, 50-58.

Christ’s appearing and kingdom are linked together.  He comes and reigns.  As He is reigning, He defeats all enemies including death.  Then He delivers the kingdom up to His Father.  Our resurrection enables us to inherit this kingdom.

The Resurrection of Jesus is proof of the Kingdom

Acts 1:3

The Kingdom of God, or Kingdom of Heaven, is eternal life.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead was indisputable proof of this eternal life and kingdom.  Jesus walked and talked with His disciples showing them the reality of this future kingdom in the present.

#1-  The Kingdom of Heaven involves judgment, chopping down of unfruitful trees and burning of the chaff.  For the righteous it means being gathered into the barn.  Matthew 3:10-12.

#2-  The Kingdom of Heaven means healing as Jesus came humbly to bear our sicknesses, weaknesses, and sins.  Matthew 8:14-17, Isaiah 53:3-6.

#3-  Jesus came to preach the Kingdom of Heaven and to send forth people to preach, or to evangelize.  Matthew 13:1-23.

#4-  The Kingdom of Heaven is like a harvest which means judgment for the wicked and salvation for the righteous at the end of the age.  Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-50.

#5-  The Kingdom of Heaven is powerful, Matthew 13:31-33, and valuable, Matthew 13:44-46.

#6-  The preaching of the Kingdom of Heaven results in apathy for many people.  Matthew 11:16-19.

#7-  The Kingdom of Heaven is for the lost.  Luke 15.

#8-  The Kingdom of Heaven is a place of forgiveness.  Matthew 18:15-35.

#9-  The workers of the Kingdom of Heaven all get paid the same.  Matthew 20:1-16.

#10-  The Kingdom of Heaven was taken from the nation of Israel and given to people bringing forth the fruits.  Matthew 21:28-46.

#11-  The Kingdom of Heaven is like an invitation to a royal wedding.  Matthew 22:1-14.

#12-  The coming of the Son of Man (the coming of the kingdom) will be like a fig tree when it buds in spring.  It will be preceded by certain signs when it is near.  Matthew 24:1-35.

#13-  Jesus calls us to be prepared for the Kingdom of Heaven and not taken unawares.  Matthew 24:36-25:13.

#14-  Jesus calls us to be productive for the Kingdom of Heaven in the here and now.  Matthew 25:14-30.

#15-  The Kingdom of Heaven will result in a separation.  The wicked depart into eternal punishment while the righteous inherit eternal life.  The entrance depends on how you treated the King, meaning the least of these, the poor, homeless, hungry, sick, etc.  Matthew 25:31-46.

#16-  The church is currently working for the Kingdom of Heaven in preaching the gospel, the resurrection of Christ, and the Kingdom of Heaven.  The entire New Testament.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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The End Times Financial System

The following is an article from Watching and Waiting, a publication by Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony.  The article is titled “Where is Europe Heading?  Part 2 – Financially”, by David McMillan.  Note that I don’t agree with everything in the article, but the main points about the coming financial system are quite perceptive.

                One of the main arguments made for staying in the European Union is commercialism.  This argument is made continually, and it highlights the fact that what most people are concerned about is not Scriptural values, but money and markets.  Sadly, we live in a very materialistic society and most people are not influenced by what is right before God but what is financially profitable.

                In Zechariah 5:6 we are told, ‘And I said, What is it?  And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth.  He said moreover, this is their resemblance through all the earth.’  This is a very significant verse and it is found in a key prophetical passage of Scripture because it reveals to us where Europe is heading financially.  The prophet here draws our attention to the Ephah; which is very interesting and instructive.  The Ephah was the largest measure for dry goods and it reminds us of the marketplace.  In the Bible the Ephah is the symbol of commerce, finance, and trade (Leviticus 19:36; Ezekiel 45:10; and Amos 8:5).  It speaks of the one who is the merchant and the trader.  Why is it used here in this passage by the prophet Zechariah?  So as to stress that the main focus, characteristic and priority of Europe in the future will be commercialism and trade.  The lesson here is that a day is fast coming upon us (if it is not already here) when commerce will control the nations and especially the nations of the prophetic earth around the Mediterranean Sea.  We are also shown that the main centre in all that trade will be Babylon because the final verse of the chapter teaches that the Ephah is going to be carried to ‘the land of Shinar’ (Zechariah 5:11).  Therefore, when Babylon is rebuilt it will become the future commercial centre of the European Confederacy of nations.

Trade Agreements

                It is very enlightening to learn from this passage that the European nations will not use the mitre or the sceptre or the sword as the Roman Empire did in the past; but they will gain control of the nations through the Ephah; in other words, through trade and trade agreements such as the U. K. is still to negotiate with the European Union.  Today there are more trade agreements than ever and it does not matter with whom you make the agreement, or how the agreement is made, or how many laws of God are broken in the carrying out of the agreement.  If it is done in the name of trade and it helps the economy, then it is seen to be good for the nations.

The Common Market

                It is important to notice that the trade about which Zechariah is teaching us will have a great unity to it.  In verse 9 of the chapter he tells us to consider the two women who are carrying the Ephah; here are two groups or two areas that are flying and working together.  Think of the east and the west of the Mediterranean Sea; which were the two main divisions in the old Roman Empire, (the Latin in the west and the Greek in the east).  We learn here that those regions are going to come together and have a united purpose and a united project in the rebuilding of Babylon for trade and commerce.

                The prophet also says of the Ephah in verse 6, ‘this is their resemblance through all the earth.’  The earth of which the prophet spoke is primarily the Roman or the Prophetic earth and he is revealing to us that in that region the standard of trade is going to be the same for everyone.  In fact, you could describe it as a ‘common market.’  Those two word form on of the old names of the European Union and it is what we have in the European Union today; and that policy will be developed more and more in the future.

                It is very significant in this context to point out that the Ephah was measured in multiples of ten.  Ezekiel tells us that an Ephah contains the tenth part of an homer and also that ten baths make up an homer (Ezekiel 45:11 and 14).  It is important to note that an Ephah and a bath were the same quantity (Ezekiel  45:11).  So here is a commercial system that is clearly based on a multiple of tens.  How relevant that is in the light of what is happening in Europe today.  Consider for a moment the decimal system that was introduced in Britain by European influence in February 1971.  Think too of the metric system of weights and measurements that are now used across Europe which all follow the decimal system based on multiples of ten.  Europe is seeking to control commerce and establish a common market in the nations under its control; as the prophet says, “Their resemblance is the same through all the earth.’

                In addition to this, remember that in January 2002 the Euro zone was introduced because they wanted all nations in the EU to use the same currency, which is presently the case with nineteen of the twenty eight member states.  They also want all the EU countries to trade with the same rules and the same prices.  Then on top of all that, they want all member states to have economies which are on the same level; which is very difficult for some countries to achieve.

                These things are unfolding before our eyes and they reveal that the European Union wants to have such control over commerce that it intends the same trade rules to apply throughout the whole of the European region.

Financial Controls

                The Bible also reveals that there is a day coming when political powers, especially in the European Union of nations, will place major controls upon the finances of its citizens and their ability to trade.  The central government of the future Union of nations will even go as far as controlling the ability of people to buy and sell.  In the Book of the Revelation, the Apostle John speaks clearly of this fearful time when he says, ‘And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name’ (Revelation 13:16-17).  These verses are referring to the time of the Antichrist during the last three and a half years of this age, and in those days all who live in the European Confederacy of Nations will not be able to trade without the mark of the beast.  This will be the ultimate control that will be placed upon the finances of the people.

The Mark of the Beast

                A very interesting question that is often asked in this context is, what is the mark of the beast?  We suggest that it could be a type of electronic chip.  If you think of the development in recent years of bank and credit cards that are called chip and pin and the chip contains all your financial details.  Also, all new passports have a chip containing the holder’s personal details.  It will soon be the case that all your personal and financial details will be held on a chip which then for security and to avoid identity theft, will be implanted either in a person’s hand or forehead.  This, of course, is nothing new.  After the tragedy of 9/11 in the USA chips were developed and parents had them implanted in their children so that they would always know their location.  There are also nations like Sweden that have developed chips to replace the use of cash and for people to use in their regular financial transactions.  This new project was publicised in the news in early 2018.  So we expect something of this nature to be developed so that the Antichrist will place such a control on trade that you will not be able to perform even one purchase or sale without it.

How Will People Live?

                That raises the relevant question, how will those who are alive and living in the European Union at that time be able to live and get food, if they do not take the mark of the Beast?  We get some help in answering that question by thinking of the drought that came upon Israel in the days of Elijah.  The drought then lasted for three and a half years.  The story is a picture of the final period of this age, the three and a half years of the great tribulation period when the Antichrist will exercise his rule of terror (Ahab is a picture of the Antichrist).  During the drought in Israel Elijah was so hunted and persecuted by Ahab that he had to go into hiding; and so too will the Christians in the days of the Antichrist.  This meant that Elijah could not buy or sell but the Lord provided for him in a miraculous way both at Cherith and at Zarephath; and the Lord will do the same for His people who will be alive during that awful end-time period.

                We are told that during the years of famine in Egypt money failed.  That was the first cashless society and because they had no money they could not trade to buy food.  However, the Lord met their needs and He will do the same for His people in the days of the Antichrist.

Financial Genius

                Let me point out that one of the characteristics of the Antichrist is that he will be a genius.  In Daniel 8:23 the Antichrist is described as, ‘understanding dark sentences.’  The meaning of those words is, that which baffles others will be simple to him.  The Hebrew word that is here translated ‘dark sentences’ is the same one that is translated ‘hard questions’ in 1 Kings 10:1; where we are told of the Queen of Sheba coming to Solomon to test his wisdom with her hard questions.  It is also the word that is used for Samson’s riddle in Judges 14.  The word indicates that the Antichrist will have great intellectual ability.  Keep in mind how he is described by Ezekiel, ‘Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee’ (Ezekiel 28:3).  His genius will be one of his outstanding characteristics.  His brilliant mind is what will attract others to him and one area in which that brilliance will stand out will be commerce.  The Antichrist will be a financial genius.  Daniel reveals this aspect of his reign when he says, ‘And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand’ (Daniel 8:25).  Antichrist will sort out the entire financial crisis in the nations around the Mediterranean Sea.  All commerce will be under his personal control; no one will be able to trade without his say so (Revelation 13:17).  Great riches will be under his control as we are plainly told by Daniel, ‘ But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt’ (Daniel 11:43).  He will also have great personal wealth because Daniel makes mention of his ‘palace’ (Daniel 11:45).  He is one who will live like a king.

                The reality is that all the current events in Europe and all the financial turmoil in European countries, the great prominence given to business deals and trade talks, is all preparing the way for the emergence of the Antichrist, because one thing that he will do when he arises will be to take total control of and sort out the finances of the nations of the European confederacy of nations.

End of line.

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Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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#15 ~ The Separation of the Kingdom

#15 ~ The Separation of the Sheep from the Goats

What are some ways that we spend time with Jesus?

Note:  My point is that spending time with Jesus usually equates to reading our Bibles, praying, singing, and time alone.  The parable (well, not quite a parable) teaches that when we do things for the poor, unclothes, sick, shut-in, hungry, the least of these, we are spending time with Jesus Christ.

Matthew 25:31-46 is sometimes called the parable of the sheep and the goats.  Part of this can be considered a parable, but some of this will happen literally.  Others term this The Judgment of the Sheep and Goats.  Let’s look at another passage where Jesus speaks of judgment, as in, our final destination.

Matthew 10:26-33.  Destroyed in hell.  These are words of Jesus as He sent the twelve apostles out to preach the kingdom of God in the cities of Israel.  Are we commanded to be public about our faith?  Which verses in this passage would help you decide your position about your faith being public or private?  Who does this passage say we should fear?  Does it name who that is?

Matthew 25:31 ~ Jesus sits on the throne of glory.  Jesus is using language parallel to Zechariah 6:12-13.  What does the passage in Zechariah say about what kind of a King this will be?

Matthew 26:26-29, 64 ~ Further teachings about Jesus coming with the Kingdom of Heaven.  What will Jesus do with us in the kingdom?

Matthew 25:32-33 ~ The separation of the nations.  While He is sitting on the throne of His glory, all nations are gathered.  Then there is a separation.  Where else have we seen this teaching of a future separation?  Key phrase: ________________________________.  Where does this kingdom seem to be?

Note: for those following the entire series, this separation has been a common theme.  See Matthew 3:12, 8:10-12, 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-50, and even as recently as 25:1-13.

Matthew 25:34 ~ The Inheritance.  Does this verse remind you of any other verses?  This is the fulfillment of the ________________.  Jesus usually referred to Himself as the Son of Man.  What new word is He using here to describe Himself?  Why did He wait all this time before using this word?

Answer:  The Beatitudes.  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Matthew 12:33-37 ~ Criteria for judgment.  What has Jesus already said about how we will be judged?

Matthew 25:35-40 ~ Jesus welcomes in the sheep.  How does this passage say we can spend time with Jesus?  Does it seem odd that the ultimate criteria for entering the Kingdom of Heaven mentioned here is how we treat those in need (the poor).

Matthew 25:41 ~ The devil and his angels.  This verse is foundational for any study on the devil, demons (fallen angels), and everlasting fire.  Revelation 12:7 is the closest we can come to the phrase “the devil and his angels”, stating “the dragon fought and his angels”.  The phrase translated everlasting fire is aionios pur.  Aion refers to time and aionios basically means without beginning and without end, hence everlasting fire.  This phrase was used by Jesus in Matthew 18:8, and it is equated with everlasting punishment or torment in Matthew 25:46.  Where have we previously heard the phrase “depart from me”?

Answer: Matthew 7:23

Matthew 25:42-45 ~ Jesus dismisses the goats.  The judgment is the same as the sheep, only in reverse.  Here they are commanded to depart for a lack of the very things that the blessed did throughout their lives.  Last week we learned about staying busy about the business of the Kingdom of Heaven.  According to this passage, what is the business of the Kingdom of Heaven?  Does it seem strange to you that the Kingdom of Heaven would be concerned with these issues?

Matthew 25:46 ~ The Summary.  What is the final destination of the goats?  And of the sheep?  Compare Matthew 25:34 with 25:46.  What conclusions can we draw by this comparison?

Matthew 5:2-12 ~ The Beatitudes.  Matthew places the Sermon on the Mount toward the beginning of his gospel.  These teachings should give us some insight as to what Jesus meant since He speaks of the Kingdom of Heaven, although it never seems like He fully explains it.  Jesus pronounces a series of blessings upon a category of people that we know to be His chosen.  One of these blessings is that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to these people.

From the other blessings we can get a picture of what this Kingdom of Heaven might be like.  Each beatitude puts the characteristic of the people first, then the characteristic of the kingdom second.  We can overlap them to get a composite picture of each.  The people that will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven are:  Poor in spirit, mournful, meek, hungering after righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, and persecuted.  The Kingdom of Heaven can be seen to be:

Verse 3:  The Kingdom of Heaven.
Verse 4:  In this kingdom people are comforted.
Verse 5:  It is here on the earth (read Psalm 37 in its entirety).
Verse 6:  In this kingdom people will be filled and satisfied.
Verse 7:  In this kingdom people will obtain mercy.
Verse 8:  In this kingdom people will see God.
Verse 9:  In this kingdom the citizens will be called the children of God.
Verse 10:  The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to these people.
Verses 11-12:  It is a place of great reward.  Note that the reward is currently in heaven, but this kingdom seems to be here on earth.  See Matthew 16:27 and Revelation 22:12 for more.

Matthew 5:13-16 ~ The role of “The Blessed” while they are here on the earth.  Jesus gives His followers instruction on how they are to influence the world around them.  You are the salt of the earth, the flavor of the whole earth.  You are what makes the world taste good.  You are the light of the world.  You are what allows people to see anything that would bring glory to God.  Without you shining your light, the world is in darkness.  Currently the Father is in heaven, but His followers (the ones to whom the kingdom belongs) are here on earth.

This was a fun lesson to teach.  At the end of the lesson, I drew attention to an older man who goes to visit a friend of his who is shut in on a regular basis.  This faithful friend has nothing to gain by his visits to this shut in.  I said:  “Fred, can you imagine standing before the LORD Jesus and He says, ‘Fred, come on in.  We’ve had such a good time visiting all these years.’  And Fred, you say, ‘I don’t remember visiting with You, Jesus.’  And Jesus says, ‘Don’t you remember, Fred?  We had such a good time visiting week after week.’  And Fred says, ‘I don’t remember that, Jesus.’  And Jesus says, ‘Don’t you remember coming to visit me in that little trailer.  Nobody else would come.  But you did.  We had such a good time.  Come on in.’ “

It’s true.  When you do it for the least of these, you are doing it for the LORD Jesus Christ.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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7 Pretrib Problems and the Prewrath Rapture (Full Movie)

7 Pretrib Problems and the Prewrath Rapture (Full Movie)

Directed and Produced by Chris White

Charles Cooper
Alan Hultberg PhD
Alan Kurschner PhD
David Rosenthal
Ryan Habbena

The following is a summary of a recent video which support the PreWrath Rapture position and exposes the problems with the Pre-Tribulational Rapture position. There are no straw men erected in this presentation. Pretrib scholars are quoted to show what the position actually maintains. Keep in mind this is only a summary which will not do the video justice. If ever you have a question about the content, please watch the video for yourself. The video is over 2 hours long and can be found at this link here:

7 Pretrib Problems and the Prewrath Rapture (Full Movie)

I. The first problem is called the Precursor Problem. When does the wrath of God begin? When does the Day of the LORD begin? There are at least 4 events that will occur before the Day of the LORD. Pretrib believes that the rapture is imminent with no prophetic events occurring before the rapture of the church which they believe will happen in conjunction with the Day of the LORD.

1. Elijah will be sent before the Day of the LORD, Malachi 4:5.
2. A rebellion or apostacy will occur, II Thessalonians 2:2.
3. The man of lawlessness will be revealed, II Thessalonians 2:2-3.
4. The cosmic disturbances will be given as a sign before the Day of the LORD, Joel 2:31.

An examination of Matthew 24:29-31 shows that these cosmic disturbances occur after the great tribulation. The Day of the LORD is shown to be good for believers and bad for unbelievers. This is a good opening section to lay the foundation for the beginning of the Day of the LORD as occurring at the cosmic disturbances recorded in Joel 2:31, Matthew 24:29, and Revelation 6:12-14. This presents a problem for the pretrib position which claims that there are no scriptural signs which occur before the Day of the LORD. A common response by pretribbers presented throughout the video is that there must be 2 different Days of the LORD, one to match up with the above scripture, and one to match up with the idea of imminence.

II. The Olivet Discourse Problem. The rapture is described in Matthew 24:30-31. There are many signs that happen before the rapture which are recorded in Matthew 24:1-28. The abomination of desolation and the great tribulation must occur before the rapture. *Note, I have a minor disagreement with this in that Matthew 24:5-8 is not describing things that occur as signs that occur in relationship to the coming of Christ, but rather this section describes things that are NOT to be considered signs of Christ’s coming at all. They are ongoing events that will occur but are not to be associated as portents of the coming of Christ. In one sense it can be said that these are events that will occur before the coming of Christ, but the subject material that is being covered here is the imminence of the rapture. Specifically, Matthew 24:15-28 is describing events that will immediately precede the coming of Christ and rapture of the church.

There is an insistence among pretribbers that the Olivet Discourse does not concern the church at all. But let’s look at what is taught in the Olivet Discourse. The remainder of the Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24:32-25:46, deals with being watchful of the coming of Christ. This creates a contradiction for pretribbers who insist that the Olivet Discourse as a whole does not contain any reference to the rapture of the church. This is especially problematic for pretribbers who quote Matthew 24:36 in reference to the rapture. There is also the issue of “one being taken and one being left” in Matthew 24:40-41. They believe this must be a reference to being taken to judgment rather than the common sense interpretation that believers are taken to safety, such as Noah being rescued or Lot being rescued by angels. Plus, only the wise virgins are taken in Matthew 25:1-13, which the wise virgins represent believers, not unbelievers. The parable of the fig tree shows that the disciples could have known the signs for the general time of the coming of Christ. The phrase the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24:37, 39 connects the latter parables of the Olivet Discourse with the coming (Parousia) mentioned in the opening questions by the disciples, Matthew 24:3.

There really is no way to separate the Olivet Discourse as being inapplicable to the church. It creates too many inconsistencies and bars pretribbers from being able to apply the latter portion to the church.

III. The 2nd Thessalonians Problem. Certain things have to happen before the coming of Christ, gathering of the church, and the coming of the Day of the LORD. They are the apostasy (rebellion) and the revealing of the man of lawlessness or antichrist. Paul’s answer to the question or misunderstanding of the Thessalonians shows that there are signs to occur before the coming of Christ and rapture of the church. If Paul believed in an any-moment rapture, he would have just stated that the Thessalonians were not in the midst of the Day of the LORD since the rapture has not occurred. These two things must happen first. Since the revealing of the man of sin, antichrist, occurs at the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week, we know that the rapture cannot occur until after the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week, thereby undermining the belief in imminence.

Some pretribulationalists respond by teaching that the apostasia is the rapture. However, there is no evidence that this word can be translated that way. It also creates a nonsensical contradiction in the passage. If apostasia is translated as departure, it is not physical departure, but departing from the faith or some political or religious type of rebellion. If it is still insisted that apostasia is the rapture, it would be saying that the rapture cannot happen until the rapture. The plain sense of the passage is that our gathering together unto Him (Christ) occurs immediately before the Day of the LORD, which of course happens sometime in the second half of Daniel’s 70th week, after the apostasy, abomination of desolation, and revealing of the man of sin. This section also contains a challenge to note how many parallels exist between the Olivet Discourse and the passages in I and II Thessalonians which speak of the coming of the LORD Jesus Christ.

IV. The Revelation Problem. The seals are the result of antichrist’s working, not the wrath of God. Especially the fifth seal shows that this is describing martyrdom, not the wrath of God. But pretribbers must insist that the entire series of seven seals must be the wrath of God and the saints are simply not here. An examination of the seals, especially the fifth seal, shows that these believers are looking forward to the wrath of God on unbelievers, not believers experiencing the [eschatological] wrath of God.

An examination of the sixth seal shows a precursor to the Day of the LORD by way of cosmic disturbance. The wrath of God in the Day of the LORD has not yet occurred as of the sixth seal since it is a specific sign portending the Day of the LORD and His wrath. *Note, I have a disagreement with the way they present this portion with a parallel between the birth pains described by Jesus Christ in Matthew 24:5-8 and the seals. Jesus was describing things that are not signs of His coming and the parallels are forced, not natural. But there is a true parallel with the sixth seal and the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:29-31. The cosmic signs are something of which the nations are in fear which is another noteworthy parallel.

There is a good point about the angels holding back harm from earth, sea, and trees until the servants of God can be sealed in Revelation 7:1-8. This is further evidence that the wrath of God is about to be poured out, not having been what has been occurring throughout the entire seal sequence. The multitude in Revelation 7:9-17 is describing the church coming out of the great tribulation. Again, the church will face the persecution of the antichrist. As with all the issues, the positions of pretribbers about these problems are discussed and refuted.

V. The Imminence Problem. This is a keystone for the pretrib position. Imminence is the idea that the event of the rapture to be sign-less, as in, no prophetic event will precede it. This “doctrine” cannot be found anywhere before 1830. Larry Crutchfield (a pretribulationalist) is quoted to show that what the early church fathers believed should be termed more along the lines of “imminent intratribulationism”. Basically, the church fathers believed that only after the revealing of the antichrist and the great tribulation was upon the church would the rapture be imminent.

The first set of scripture passages which are typically used to teach imminence are really “waiting” passages, whereby the church should be waiting for the coming of Christ. This does not teach that the coming of Christ would occur at any moment with no event interceding. But you can eagerly await all types of things that are not necessarily going to occur at any moment. II Peter 3:13 shows that we should be waiting for the new heavens and new earth, but pretribbers would admit that this event is not imminent.

Another set of scriptures which are used to teach imminence are called “be good because Jesus is returning”. The fear of being caught in the act of sinning because of the return of Jesus is taught as essential to the Christian faith. This seems to be a deficient view of discipleship. Instead, Christians should live godly lives in light of the fact that they have been given eternal life. This is based on Christ’s work instead of our own. The rapture is the moment that believers become immortal and therefore it is a picture (or the very picture) of eternal life. Christians do good works because eternal life is a sure thing. These verses are not any evidence of an imminent return of Christ or imminent rapture of the church.

Another category is that “Christians will not go through the wrath”. This of course does not equal imminence, but serves as proof of a prewrath rapture. Another set of scriptures trying (desperately) to prove imminence is “the rapture is a good thing”. In the minds of pretribbers, because the rapture is good, there can’t be anything bad that occurs before it. The fact that the majority of the disciples were martyred is completely overlooked. There still is not any proof contained in these set of verses that no prophesied events precede the rapture of the church. Another set of texts to attempt to prove imminence are “the nearness texts”. The meaning of near in these verses is relative because of the fact that these verses were written almost 2,000 years ago. James 5:7-9, instead of insisting on nearness, is really teaching patience in light of Christ’s coming. The video parallels this with Matthew 24:32-35 which contains the same language and insists on “all these things” (meaning signs of Christ’s coming) occurring before that. The definition of near cannot mean any-moment.

The final group of imminence proof texts are “the thief in the night prooftexts”. There are several instances where the return of Jesus is spoken of like a thief, I Thessalonians 5:2. This has become less popular among pretibbers because it can be traced back to the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:42-44. Remember before when pretribbers were asserting that this section is not for the church. If we take this to mean it is referring to the coming of Christ, then we have to admit that there is a certain watchfulness and preparedness that is expected of Christ’s followers because they are to look for the signs of His coming. This is also referring to unbelievers who will be unprepared and be caught like a thief, while believers who are prepared will not be surprised like a thief, see I Thessalonians 5:1-11 in context. If you tell someone to watch, there is something that they must be watching for.

VI. The Church and Israel Problem. The 70 weeks of Daniel concerns the nation of Israel. The first 69 weeks were in the past and the final 70th week will occur in the future. There is a current gap of time commonly referred to as the church age. There is this idea that God does not work with Israel and the church at the same time. However, God has worked with both in the past, and can do that in the future. The response in the video cites Jeremiah 31:31-34 which prophesied the new covenant for Israel; note that this was given at a time when the church did not exist. This prophecy applies to the church as the church participates in the new covenant. Pretribbers get around the existence of the church in Revelation (Daniel’s 70th week) by calling them tribulation saints. God has worked with both Israel and the church at the same time according to the following passages: Luke 19:43-44 (the judgment of AD70), Romans 10:19-11:10, Ezekiel 37:1-12, Revelation 7:1-8, Revelation 12:12-17. God is currently saving Gentiles and provoking Israel to jealousy at the same time, Romans 10:19-11:10 . God judged Israel in 70AD while working with the church. God is currently regathering Israel to their homeland. The previous verses show God working in the past while Revelation 12:14-17 shows the future of God working with Israel and the church at the same time during the great tribulation. Both groups are obviously on earth at the same time.

VII. The Early Church Problem. The writings of the early church pose a seriously problem for the pretrib rapture. The sequence taught by them showed that they believed that the church would encounter the antichrist and the great tribulation. A pretribulation scholar writes, “The early fathers largely held to a period of persecution that would be ongoing when the return of the Lord takes place and most would see the church suffering through some portion of the tribulation period.” Statements by the church fathers are examined one by one to see if they support the pretribulational rapture. A bit of a sleight of hand is occurring with pretribbers who try to make it look like church fathers believed in imminence since they acknowledge that the early church did not believe in a pretribulational rapture. Pseudo-Ephraim is mentioned and examined. In response to quotes supporting pre-conflagration theory, the video cites Thomas Ice, a pretribulationalist, to rebuke them. When examining the quotes in context, instead of proving that the church will be exempt from the great tribulation, they prove that the church will go through it.

In closing, if you are interested in how these positions interact with each other, please watch the video. The charts and visual illustrations make it easy to understand. Prewrath scholars appear giving interview type answers to common questions regarding the timing of the rapture according to a plain sense reading of scripture.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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