Standing in the Gap

Recently I had to preach a sermon on a Sunday morning on short notice. Usually anything less than a month I consider short notice, but this time it actually was a last moment kind of situation. As I thought about what I would say a short time later, this verse popped into my mind:

So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Ezekiel 22:30

Actually, the thought of standing in the gap had been rolling around in my mind for a couple of days, based on some things I heard my pastor and others say. I realized that those thoughts were occurring because of what I was going to need to do this particular morning. There was a gap in the wall that the Lord wanted someone to stand in. And He found me.  A small gap for a short time, but I stood as best I could.

That is how the Lord works. He presents circumstances and opportunities to serve Him. If we are centered on Him, we will stand, for we will see the gap before us that He wants filled. You may never have to preach or teach, you may just be asked to go out of your way to show a kindness, to do something with no expectation of reciprocity or reward, to share your witness and proclaim your Lord to someone you might have just met in passing.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. John 10:11-13

The passage from John was another I used that Sunday morning. When we stand, we need to be shepherds and not hired hands. For what we are doing shows we own the situation the Lord has put us in. We own it for Him and in Him. Hirelings run from trouble, the Lord is asking for us to stand:

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, Ephesians 6:13-14a

This was the last verse I used. Stand, stand, therefore stand. The Lord will not give you more than you can handle. When any of us sees a gap in the wall, we should realize the Lord knows what we see, that the Lord enables us to see that gap. He wants us to stand in it, and what the Lord wants us to do, He will give us the strength and courage to accomplish if we turn to and rely on Him alone.

I will close this post with an excerpt from a personal blog I wrote several years ago, but no longer use as a current blog. I thought of this post as I prepared my impromptu sermon, and editing through it, found this portion helpful to me:

It made me realize that battles fought for the Lord in quiet or dark corners of the world bring no less glory to Him than those on open and public fields of battle. The most difficult struggles are those waged in places where you are the weakest, which is often when you are or feel alone. But God knows and measures the heart, He knows the effort and there is no less glory for God if few, or no one else is watching but Him. Because He has won your heart and you are ready to stand in the gap for Him. So build the wall and stand in the gap. Do not be discouraged, but know in your heart that others are standing in their own gaps, beside their own piece of the wall, waging battle as well. You do not know them, but He does as well as He knows you.

So stand in the gap, because when you step back and look at your daily actions through the lens of eternity, is there anything else for one to do?

Stand therefore, because…

Jesus is coming soon!

 

 

The Last Trump

Two passages teach that the Church will be removed at the sound of a trump. One passage calls it the “trump of God.” And the other passage calls it “the last trump.” The two passages are as follows:

First, Paul wrote to the Church at Thessalonica, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thess. 4:13-18).

Second, Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth, “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (I Cor. 15:51-53).

Faulty Theology

A problem occurs because some of those who believe in the Mid-Tribulation Rapture wrongly teach that the last trump (the trump of God) that removes the Church from the earth at the Rapture is the same as the seventh trumpet blown by the seventh angel in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 11:15-19). Trumpets are mentioned almost 100 times in the Bible. But in those more than 100 verses there are no verses that say the last trump (the trump of God) is the same as the seventh trumpet that will be blown by the seventh angel during the Tribulation Period. Those who say the last trump (the trump of God) is the same as the seventh trumpet that will be blown by the seventh angel during the Tribulation Period just assume that they are the same. It’s their interpretation or probably something that they have heard others say. But it is not a verse of Scripture in the Bible.

There Are Differences Between The Last Trump (The Trump Of God) and The SeventhTrumpet in Revelation

1) It is clear that the last trump (the trump of God) is about believers. More specifically, it is about the removal of believers (the Church) from the earth in the Rapture (I Thess. 4:13-18; I Cor. 15:51-53). The last trump on the trump of God will sound, the deceased believers will be raised (like Jesus, Lazarus and the Old Testament saints who were dead, buried and raised from the dead), the living believers will be changed (like Enoch and Elijah) and the entire Church will be caught up (or Raptured) into heaven at the same time. But the passage about the seventh trumpet is about unbelievers. More specifically, it is about those who are not in the Church (Rev. 11:15-19). When the angel blows the seventh trumpet it will cause anger on earth, lightening, thunder, an earthquake, great hail, and it will lead to the seven last plagues.

2) The last trump (the trump of God) will be an act of grace. It will call the undeserving Church into heaven. But the trumpet blown by the seventh angel during the Tribulation Period will be an act of wrath. It will signal divine judgment upon those on earth.

3) The last trump (the trump of God) will probably be blown by God (I Thess. 4:16). The seventh trumpet will be blown by the seventh angel (Rev. 11:15).

4) Concerning the events that will take place at the last trump (the trump of God), God tells the Church to “Comfort one another with these words” (I Thess. 4:18). Concerning the sounding of the seventh trumpet by the seventh angel, God said, “the nations will be angry” (Rev. 11:18). They will be angry because the first trumpet will be followed by the destruction of one-third of the plants (Rev. 8:7); the second trumpet will be followed by the destruction of one-third of the sea creatures and ships (Rev. 8:8-9); the third trumpet will be followed by the destruction of one-third of the fresh water (Rev. 8:10-11); the fourth trumpet will be followed by changes in one-third of the sun, moon and stars (Rev. 8:12); the fifth trumpet will be followed by the release of demon possessed locusts (Rev. 9:1-12); the sixth trumpet will be followed by the death of one-third of those on earth (Rev. 9:13-21); and the seventh trumpet will be followed by the seven vial judgments (Rev. 11:15-12:12). This is a far cry from the comforting message of the last trump (the trump of God).

5) When the last trump (the trump of God) sounds Jesus won’t be in heaven. Jesus will descend with a shout and remain in the clouds above the earth to meet the Church (I Thess. 4:16-17). There’s no mention of Jesus descending or shouting or remaining in the clouds when the seventh angel blows the seventh trumpet during the Tribulation Period. Jesus will probably still be on the throne in heaven.

6) The voice of God is not the sound of a trumpet blown by an angel (Rev. 11:15). It is a voice that sounds like a trumpet (Rev. 1:10; 4:10). There is a difference between the sound of a trumpet and a voice that sounds like a trumpet.

It’s Not When The Two Witnesses Ascend

Some believe the ascension of the Two Witnesses is a picture of the Rapture. But the Church will be Raptured at the last trump (the Trump of God). On the other hand, the Two Witnesses will be raised from the dead and they will ascend before the seventh angel blows the seventh trumpet during the Tribulation Period. The Church will be Raptured in the twinkling of an eye. But the Two Witnesses will stand on their feet and the whole world will see them. Apparently, instead of being removed in the twinkling of an eye they will remain on earth after they are raised from the dead long enough for the television cameras to view them.

What Some Think

I want to begin by saying this is speculation. It’s not something that I can prove. It’s just a point of information.

Some, not all, believe that an amazing event that took place during the days of Moses in the wilderness may be a picture of what will happen at the last trump (the trump of God). Moses took the Hebrews to meet God near Mt. Sinai. Among other things, he took them there for the purpose of agreeing to keep God’s Commandments.

The Bible says the Hebrews prepared to meet God which reminds some that God wants His Church to prepare to meet God. “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud (Jesus will meet the Church in the clouds) upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet [the voice not the sound] exceeding loud [compare this voice to Rev. 1:10 and 4:1]; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God [a picture of the Church going forth to meet Jesus]; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended [a picture of Jesus descending out of heaven to meet the Church at the Rapture] upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder [the voice of the trumpet sounded several times getting louder and louder], Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up [a picture of the Church going up]. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish” (Ex. 19:16-21).

Notice, that the voice of the trumpet was exceeding loud. It even sounded long and waxed louder and louder. This is important because God told the Jews to make trumpets and blow them on their feast days (Num. 10:2, 10). This would include all seven of the feast days: The Feast of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of First Fruits, the Feast of Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets, the Feast of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:1-36). The Church began on the Feast of Pentecost and some believe the Church will be Raptured on the Feast of Pentecost. Others believe the Church will be Raptured on the Feast of Trumpets. Either way, the Jews blow trumpets on their feast days (Numbers 10:10).

Some of those who believe the Rapture will be on the Feast of Trumpets point out that the Jews blow the trumpet one hundred times on the Feast of Trumpets. The one hundredth blast or the last blast of the trumpet on the Feast of Trumpets is the longest and loudest. The Jews call it the tekiah, teruah, shevarim which means the Great Blast. Some connect last trump (the trump of God) with the Great Blast on the Feast of Trumpets.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com

Delivered from Wrath

Excerpted from the Message “Not Wrath But Rapture” by Dr. H. A. Ironside

First Thessalonians is the earliest of Paul’s letters that the Spirit of God preserved for the edification of the church. In this letter the second coming of Christ was presented as the imminent hope of the saints. No one can read the latter part of chapter 4 thoughtfully without seeing that the Spirit of God intended the church to live in the daily expectation of our Lord’s return. No one can possibly live in the daily expectation of the coming of the Son of man as set forth in the synoptic gospels unless he knows that he is in the very closing days of the great tribulation. Consequently, the hope of the Lord’s return set forth in Thessalonians must of necessity be a different thing to the expectation of His coming to set up His kingdom, and careful consideration of the passage referred to only serves to make this clearer. It is the Lord’s coming for His saints whereas the other is His coming with them.

In chapter 1 in this epistle, Paul spoke of the conversion of the Thessalonians, and the testimony they were giving to the world outside, and he said: “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come”. (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).

The last clause, it is generally conceded, does not exactly represent what the apostle wrote.
The Revised Standard Version translates it, “Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”
J.N. Darby rendered it, “Jesus, our Deliverer from the coming wrath,”
Dr. Young was very explicit: he translated it, “Jesus who is rescuing us from the anger that is coming.”
The point is that it is not simply that we are looking for our Lord as the One Who has delivered us from eternal wrath, but we look for him as the one who is coming to snatch us away from the wrath that is soon to fall on earth. This agrees with the promise in Revelation3:10. And it is in this way that the church will be kept from that hour of trial. Before the judgment’s fall the Lord Jesus will descend from heaven with a shout, the dead in Christ will be raised, and the living saints changed, and we shall be snatched away, caught up to be with Him before the indignation is poured out on this guilty scene.

Turn now to 2 Thessalonians 2. As we read it carefully, let us bear in mind what has already been before us. In order to see the viewpoint both of the apostle himself and of those to whom he was writing at that particular time, it will be well to consider certain facts that may be clearly deduced from a careful study of the entire letter. It is evident that the coming of the Lord had a large place in the hearts and minds of these particular saints. Some among them had become unbalanced on the subject, and were teaching that they were already entering into the time of great tribulation. They believed that the day of the Lord was practically upon them. They were endeavoring to substantiate this teaching by the use of a forged letter purporting to come from the apostle Paul, and the advocates of this system declared that the Spirit had revealed these things to them. Therefore the saints were becoming unsettled, losing the blessedness of the hope of the Lord’s return for His own. They feared they were already entering the great tribulation, and that the next event would be the coming of the Son of man.

Notice carefully 2 Thessalonians 2:1&2“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him. That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”
The Revised Standard Version reads, “To the effect that the day of the Lord is just at hand.” The best manuscript authority authenticates this. The day of Christ is not the same thing as the day of the Lord. The day of Christ refers to the time when believers will stand in their glorified bodies at Christ’s judgment seat. But the day of the Lord is the time when His judgments will be poured out on the earth, and He will descend and take the kingdom. The apostle reminded these believers of what he had already written in his previous epistle. They were not to look for the day of the Lord but for the return of our Savior to deliver them from the coming wrath. So he pleaded with them in view of these facts, that “by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and by our gathering together unto Him,” we are not to be troubled or distressed, no matter what assertions others might make in regard to the day of trouble being already on us. The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto Him must take place before that time of distress can begin. This is exactly what we insist on today, we who do not believe that the church will go through the great tribulation. Our daily expectation is the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto Him. This must precede the judgments. The day of the Lord cannot begin until after it takes place.

This will prepare us to understand what follows: “Let no man deceive you by any means for that day shall not come except there come a falling away [the apostasy] first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) The “day” is the day of trial and distress that we have been occupied with, but it will not come until the apostasy is fully manifest. There cannot be complete apostasy so long as the church of God is in this world. No matter how much there may be in the way of unfaithfulness to Christ and His truth, our Lord has declared, “Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) As long as the church is in the word, it is being led in His triumph. There may be individual apostates, but there cannot be complete apostasy.

But when the church has been caught up to be with Christ, then the apostasy in all its fullness will arrive. Out of that condition of things the son of perdition will arise, “who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped: so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:4) This is the sinister character whose awful features are dimly seen in both Testaments as one of the dominant actors in the last days. The man of sin will be an absolutely self-deified atheist. He will recognize no God but himself. His rise to power is evidently linked with the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place, spoken of by Daniel and referred to by our Lord as the true starting point of the great tribulation.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:6-10 we are told of one who hinders this full manifestation of evil until the set time appointed of God.
And now ye know what withholdeth [hinders] that he might be revealed in His [own] time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth [hinders] will let [hinder] until He be taken out of the way. And then shall that “Wicked” [one] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

There has been a great deal of controversy about this passage. Some claim that the hinderer is Satan who has his place in the heavens until after the rapture of the church, and then he shall be taken out of the way. Others insist that this hinderer is orderly government, and as long as orderly government prevails these things cannot take place. Some of the early fathers thought the hinderer was the Roman Empire, and that Paul dared not put on paper just what was in his mind lest he expose Christians to the charge of plotting the downfall of the existing private information which he had given to the Thessalonians when he was with them that had to do with this subject. But let us remember that this letter, like every other epistle in the New Testament, was written not for the local believers only to whom it was addressed but for all Christians during the entire dispensation. Therefore verse 6 is addressed to believers everywhere, who ought to be capable of understanding it, if they are at all familiar with their Bibles. “Ye know what withholdeth that he [that is, the man of sin] might be revealed in his [own] time.” Every Christian should be able to answer as he reads these words of scripture, “Yes I do know who it is that hindereth the full manifestation of iniquity. There is only one answer possible and that is, of course, The Holy Spirit.”

What Christian is there who would think of any other hindering power in such a connection? In both Testaments this is the very province and work of the Spirit of God. He causeth the wrath of man to praise him and the remainder of wrath he doth restrain (Psalm 76:10). “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him “(Isaiah 59:19). He is working in the church at the present time, convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Moreover, His presence in the church continues as long as that church is here, for our Lord promises, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16) How then will he ever be taken out of the war? This will only occur by the fulfillment of 1 Thessalonians 4, with the return of the Lord and our being caught up to meet him in the air. This is the tremendous event that will clear the way for that time of trouble from which the church of God is to be kept.

Words of Grace for Strength

How thankful we should be, that as members of the Body of Christ, we will be Raptured before the time of Tribulation. As wicked and godless as this world is today, it is beyond comprehension how absolutely evil it will be once the influence of God, through His Holy Spirit, is removed. Satan’s influence in the world grows more evident every day. Christians are suffering persecution in greater measure on an almost daily basis, and I believe the True Church, His Remnant Church in these Last Days, will suffer for our Savior. Yet, we will only face a portion of the wrath of Satan as he attempts to destroy the influence of God in this age. We are promised that we will not face the wrath of God which will be poured out on the earth during the Tribulation.

This is not a health and wealth view of life as a Christian. This is not a prosperity gospel. This is the correct interpretation of Scripture that recognizes the completely fallen and sinful state of the world, but also the love of Christ for His Bride, His Remnant Church. Wrath and judgment is coming to the world in which we will not partake. Trial and tribulation is here today in which some of the body are  His already suffering, more may be every day, and all might someday face a portion of it.

But the Lord Jesus is coming back, and He is coming first for us. He suffered on this earth, and so may all of us. Yet He is coming  one day and it will be a glorious time for His Church, followed by wrath and judgment upon the world, followed by His rule and reign in the Millennial Kingdom.

Take heart, stand firm and await Him. Wait eagerly, anxiously, patiently, obediently. Wait, because…

Jesus is coming soon!

EvenSoCome

The Condemnation of Israel as a Nation is Simply Hatred of the Jews!

Quite frankly, as a Preacher-Teacher of God’s Holy Word and a student of Biblical Eschatology, even though I am fully aware of End Time Prophecies and God’s plans for the Church, Israel, and the nations; I am sickened by the anti-Semitism which daily grows more virulent in the world. Merely one month ago I published an article entitled “Anti-Semitism, by any other name…” which established biblically Israel’s covenant right to exist in the land which God promised to them for eternity. I will not here repeat that article, but invite you to revisit it, or read it for the first time.

In response to what is now thousands of rockets fired on Israel and its citizens (since I published that article) by the terrorist organizations Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have made a military incursion into Gaza to eliminate that continued threat. In the most unusual display of humanitarianism in the annals of warfare, the IDF announced by telephone, and leaflets, where their airstrikes would take place, and since the incursion, have repeatedly warned civilians and non-combatants to move away from the areas of attack. Hamas however has given no such warnings of their rocket attacks on the citizens of Israel, and continually use their own women and children as human shields. For this incursion in defense of its citizens and sovereignty, the Nation State of Israel is being vilified around the world.

In just the past few days, rioting and anti-Jewish protests have risen in cities all across the world. In Europe rioting has taken place in cities in France (where synagogues have been attacked), Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Spain. These protests and riots have also shown up in such divergent places as Thailand and Indonesia. In Canada protests have been seen in Toronto, Montréal, Ottawa, and have even resulted in violence in Calgary. In the United States, protesters have been in evidence in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Houston, New Orleans, and in Boston Jews were physically assaulted. What is most alarming in all of these accounts, is that in every instance the vitriol has gone past a condemnation of Israel, to verbal and visual displays of hatred for Jewish people everywhere. Rather than death to Israel, chants of “kill the Jews, murder the Jews, gas the Jews,” are being heard in all of these protests. The only explanation for this is anti-Semitism.

On virtually every broadcast news channel and in almost every news publication, not only is anti-Semitism on display, it is in fact embraced and espoused by most of these organizations and their employees (I refuse to call them journalists because their bias is evident in their reports). They continually decry the casualties in Gaza (which now numbers near 800 and are the direct result of Hamas’s policy of using its own people as human shields) while ignoring the number of rockets fired into Israel by the terrorists. They also ignore the fact that since the incursion began, every opportunity which has been offered to Hamas for a cessation of hostilities has been rejected by the terrorist organization. The truth of the matter is, they believe that as more of their own people are killed (which is in truth is a result of their own actions), a sympathetic press, the UN and anti-Israel governments will eventually compel Israel to acquiesce to their demands.

One of the most troubling things to me about the reaction of these so-called news organizations, the United Nations, and others who are condemning Israel for the deaths of the nearly 800 Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, is the fact that somehow the deaths of thousands of Muslim Arabs as well as Christian Arabs at the hands of other Islamists does not meet with the same condemnation. In Syria over 150,000 Muslims have died at the hands of other Muslims, in Iraq thousands of Muslims and Christians have died at the hands of Muslims, in Libya thousands of Muslims have died at the hands of Muslims, in Mali thousands are dying at the hands of Muslim extremists, in Nigeria the Boko Haram have murdered thousands of Nigerian Muslims and Christians. Beyond the actions of Muslims, consider the fact that in North Korea thousands have been put to death by that communist regime, or that China continues to eradicate the ethnic Tibetans, or that ethnic cleansing continues in the Central African Republic and Burma, or that in Mexico, on the US’s southern border, well over 100,000 have been murdered by the drug cartels.

Why are all of these not met with the same outrage as is displayed toward Israel? Unfortunately I know the answer, it is because they are Jews. The fact of the matter is this, through the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Psalm 105:7-11) whom, by the way, God renamed Israel, God chose Israel to be the people through which He would offer redemption and blessing to every person in every nation of the world. Along with that fact is the truth that because of this, Satan hates the Jews.

I hope that this article, as well as my other article on anti-Semitism, will serve as a warning to everyone who reads them. If any individual, any news organization or other business, any religion, any nation, and especially anyone who identifies themselves as a “Christian” speaks in condemnation of God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel, they need to understand they face God’s judgment and wrath.

Study God’s Word, God’s Word is Truth, and today we are living in a time in which His revealed prophecy can be understood by those who diligently seek His wisdom. For those of us who study these things it is clear; now the end begins!

Jesus is coming soon!

EvenSoCome

Life, In Christ!

Humanly speaking we are all born with an innate fear of death, no one really wants to die, yet the Scriptures tell us; “it is appointed for men to die once” (Hebrews 9:27). Why is this? I am fairly well certain that everyone is familiar with the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis, and their disobedience to God by eating the forbidden fruit. Adam’s disobedience to God brought sin into the world and caused sins curse to fall on all men for all time. Romans 5:12; “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” So then, inherent within all of us is a sin nature, we are all predisposed to sin. Romans 3:23; “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And because of that sin nature we are condemned to die. Romans 6:23; “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” So even though we are condemned by our sin, through the shed blood of our Savior Jesus Christ at Calvary, we have the opportunity to experience eternal life.

The Word of God teaches us in Hebrews 9:22; “without shedding of blood there is no remission,” and in 1 John 1:7 we are told that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. So Jesus paid our penalty, our sin debt; He died our death. Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for every sinner who was ever born or will be born into this world. So then the only way to experience eternal life is by accepting the free gift offered to us by Jesus Christ. The gift cannot be bought, we can only come into possession of it by accepting it freely from the giver, and it is Christ’s gift of grace to us.

In Ephesians 1:7 the apostle Paul tells us; “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” And again in Colossians 1:14; “in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” The very reason Jesus Christ was born into this world, was to become the perfect sacrifice before His Father so that we might be redeemed from the sin debt of death we owed and given the opportunity to accept His free gift, which is eternal life. Ephesians 2:8-9; “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”

The Scriptures tell us;

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

John 1:12-13 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

1 John 5:11 “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”

There is only one way to be saved from eternal death, and given eternal life, and that is through Jesus Christ. In John 14:6 Jesus himself said; “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus also said in John 5:24; “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

This brings us back to the beginning of our teaching in this article, fear of death. In understanding the truth of Scripture, it is obvious why men fear death. Without a relationship in Jesus Christ, having accepted His free gift of salvation, man condemns himself to eternal death. But in Christ Jesus we are given the promise of eternal life, through His gift. We read in 1 John 5:12; “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” So, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we have life and therefore have no need to fear eternal death.

In fact even temporal death should hold no mystery or fear for those who are in Jesus Christ. Because as Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8; “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Did you catch that? We should be “confident,” and in fact “well pleased” if we no longer inhabit this earthly body, because we get to be with Jesus.

Now then, because we have been given life by Christ, and have no reason to fear death, we ought to live our lives In Christ. Living our lives In Christ means that rather than fearing death we embrace it in that we are dead to the world. In other words the things of the world are not important to us and should have no influence in our lives.

What things are these?

Read to the words of Jesus to the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-22; ‘“Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’” And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”’

Luke 9:57-62 records the words of Jesus to others in regard to what is required of us In Christ. ‘“Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”’

Also in Luke 9:23-25 this is written; ‘“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”’

So in the words of Christ Himself we discover what is required of us In Christ. The list of things which we are to be willing to give up not only includes material possessions, reputation, and even family, ultimately it includes our very lives. Daily taking up your cross is literally daily putting self to death so that the life which you live, is life In Christ. The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20; “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” In his letter to the Romans he also wrote; “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

If we are dead to self, and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, then we are given life by God through the Holy Spirit. Read Romans 8:1-11; “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

Life, In Christ, is evidenced by the willful subjugation of our will and our very lives, to the will of God and the call that He places on our lives. Obedience to Jesus Christ through the instruction of His written Word gives us the boldness to live life In Christ. It is only through living our lives boldly In Christ will we be able to Stand for Him in these Last Days (Ephesians 6:10-13).

Life, In Christ, is living without fear of death, temporal or eternal, because we have been given the gift of life through Christ. In fact, like the Apostle Paul we should be willing to say; “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

Life, In Christ, may involve ridicule, derision, persecution and suffering (2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:15-16; 1 Peter 5:10) but if we endure it we are promised the “Crown of Life.” Revelation 2:10; “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Do you know Jesus? 1 John 5:20; “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”

Do you live; Life, In Christ? Settle the matter with Him today!

The Rapture is imminent, Tribulation and the Day of the Lord are near, and;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

Your Last Appraisal…Are You Making the Grade?

We go through life being appraised: at home, at school, at work. People appraise us as children, as men and women, as husbands and wives, as subordinates, co-workers or bosses. We seek approval, we seek the rewards that will come through what the appraisal defines as good performance, and we seek the praise of others. But we of the True Church, His Remnant Church, should only be seeking that which will turn out to be the last appraisal we will ever receive:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10

As believers, we will face the bema seat judgment before our Lord Jesus Christ spoken of in 2 Corinthians 5:10. It is a judgment of rewards, for all our sins have been paid by His blood shed upon the Cross. There is the grace of God in His infinite mercy at work, all our sins are gone in the eyes of God. We face the appraisal of our work for things done in the body. It is how we have served our Lord since our salvation that is measured here, that which we have done as obedient (or disobedient) children of God. The words we wish to hear should be:

 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ Matthew 25:21

Are you living your life for Him? Are you proclaiming His Gospel, sharing His message and teachings with those around you? Or are you taking what He has given you and hiding it in your heart, treasuring and guarding it as something that you could lose or have taken away? It cannot, and you know it (or should know it). What treasure He has placed within us is meant to be shared and multiplied, for it is the glory of His Name and the growth of His Kingdom that will occur. God will have those that He wills for His Kingdom; He has commanded us to take part in that growth and glory. All of which will happen anyway, with or without us. But what will be missing if we do not partake is the moment we face our Lord and Savior before the bema and the words well done, good and faithful servant are not spoken to us.

Live your life to hear those words one day for the inconceivable and immeasurable joy that will blossom in your heart when you do. And even more than that, live it so that others may hear it as well. For all those who do not trust Jesus as Lord and Savior will face a judgment as well, but one not of rewards:

 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.  The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.  Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.  Revelation 20:11-15

Do as Christ commanded us to do now. Do it today and tomorrow and everyday He gives you on this earth. Make the grade. Do it boldly and with great joy, even in the face of the wickedness of the world, because…

Jesus is coming soon!

EvenSoCome.

Why I Am Watching Israel and Gaza

The little book of Zephaniah (3 chapters or 53 verses) begins by prophesying the destruction of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) in the days of King Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. It moves on to prophecies about Judah and the nations as the day of the Lord (a term often applied to the Tribulation period that Zephaniah used more than any other prophet in the Bible) approaches and plays out. Then, it finishes with Judah’s restoration during the millennial reign of the Messiah.

These prophecies clearly have past fulfillments, but some writers think Zephaniah was saying those experiences would be small compared to a greater fulfillment in the future. One of Zephaniah’s more famous statements reads, “The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities (Israel has built a fence to protect her cities), and against the high towers” (Zeph. 1:14-16).

Dropping down to Zeph. 2:1, God told the Jews to gather themselves together (to assemble) and He calls Judah a “nation not desired.” Israel is clearly the apple of God’s eye, but this could mean she is a nation not desired by God at this time because she has rejected her Messiah. And it could also mean that she is a nation not desired by the nations of the world because they want to destroy her.

In Zeph. 2:2, God told the Jews He wants them to assemble “Before the decree bring forth (before the 7 year covenant is signed), before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you (to assemble before the Tribulation Period comes upon the Jews).”

In Zeph. 2:3, God told the Jews and all who will humble themselves to “Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.” He wants the Jews and everyone on earth who will humble themselves to meet before the Tribulation Period begins to seek three things: the Lord, righteousness and meekness. Those who do may be hidden (Raptured) before the Tribulation Period begins, but after it begins it will be too late.

In Zeph. 2:4, God mentions four cities: “For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up.”

God said Gaza, one of the largest and most northern cities in the Gaza Strip, will be forsaken. As I write this article, IDF planes are dropping leaflets in the northern part of the Gaza Strip for a second time advising residents to forsake their homes and clear out. The first time Israel did this, thousands of residents left, but many stayed because they were told to ignore Israel’s warnings. This time, it looks like Israel’s troops will enter the city and it remains to be seen how many people will stick around.

God said Ashkelon, a Jewish city of more than 100,000 people about 8 miles north of the Gaza Strip border, will become desolate. Its closeness to Gaza makes it a frequent target of Muslim rockets. As I write this article, more than 60 rockets have been fired at Ashkelon in recent days; an Israeli teen has been seriously injured; an Israeli man has been lightly wounded; many Jews are spending the day in bomb shelters; and some have moved to safer territory.

God said Ashdod’s residents will be driven out. More than a quarter of a million people live in Ashdod and it is about 18 miles from Gaza. As I write this, the Iron Dome Missile System has shot down 5 rockets; a Patriot missile has shot down a drone; an 8-year old boy has been slightly injured while playing in his yard; fear and anxiety are spreading in Ashdod; and Hamas has rejected an Egyptian cease-fire proposal.

Kiryat Ekron is a Jewish city of slightly more than 10,000 people. It is named after the Biblical city of Ekron and it is located about the same distance from Gaza as is Ashdod. I have read of sirens sounding in Ekron and the surrounding area, but no injuries.

I can’t predict how things will play out, but a best case scenario could be another temporary suspension of hostilities. And a worst case scenario could be that this conflict spreads into a war with Israel’s neighbors (Psa. 83), including Syria (Isa. 17) and Egypt (Isa. 19), or even the Russian/Islamic invasion of Israel (Ezek. 38-39).

One more thing, based on the Jewish Talmud (not the Bible) some are saying a Tetrad of blood moons are an omen of war for Israel. It is a debatable issue, but no one can deny that the first blood moon in the current Tetrad occurred on April 15, 2014 (the Feast of Passover) and the next one will occur on October 8, 2014 (the Feast of Tabernacles). Between these first two blood moons in this Tetrad war is raging.

[Last minute update: Israel is attacking the Gaza Strip from one end to the other by land, sea and air. It is too early to say that Gaza will be forsaken at this time; and Ashdod, Ashkelon and Ekron are still inhabited; but God is in control, His Word must eventually be fulfilled, war rarely goes exactly as planned and, if God allows it, I plan to keep watching Israel and Gaza.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com (this is my new e-mail address)