American Religion

In the book of Acts chapter 17 we find the apostle Paul in the city of Athens, in Roman occupied Greece near the middle of the first century. In verse 16 we read that Paul’s spirit was stirred in him when he saw that the city was “wholly given to idolatry.”

In a close examination of that statement we find that literally, the city was inundated with idols and the practice of idolatry. Petronius, a Greek satirist and a contemporary of the apostle Paul remarked that in Athens one could find a god easier than a man.

And Pausanias, another contemporary of the apostle, said that Athens had more idols and altars than the rest of Greece combined. Here Paul encountered two groups of philosophers:

The Epicureans who had given up the search for truth and instead focused their lives on seeking pleasure. And the Stoics who maintained that self-sufficiency and self-reliance could fulfill all of man’s desires, and that he had need of nothing outside of self.

Luke, in his description of the Athenians said they spent their time either telling or hearing some “new thing.” In other words their lives were completely occupied with an insatiable obsession for the latest gossip, discoveries, philosophies, technologies, entertainment, and other forms of pleasure.

On the whole then, the Athenians were a self-absorbed people whose gods existed to bring them pleasure, and in fact, they even had an altar to the “unknown” god, just in case they had left a god out. They certainly didn’t want to offend him.

Having been invited to speak by the philosophers so that they might examine his teaching, Paul spoke to the crowd from Mars Hill. The apostle Paul’s remarks to the Athenians were such that he perceived them to be very religious.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word religious as:

  1. A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
  2. A specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Buddhist religion; the Christian religion; the Muslim religion, the Jewish religion; etc…
  3. The body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
  4. The practice of religious beliefs; ritual observances.

Understand, although they believed he was being complementary—Paul was not giving them a compliment. You see, the apostle at one point in time had been part of a religious sect of the Jews called the Pharisees. But after his conversion on the road to Damascus he no longer followed a religion, for he had a relationship with Jesus Christ, the very Son of God.

In fact, Paul was condemning them for their ritual observances which, devoid of faith, were no more than exercises in self-satisfaction. However, Paul used their religiosity to declare to them the identity of the “unknown” God to whom they had built an altar.

In Athens of the first century, I see a picture of the United States of America as it is today. This is a land filled with idols and altars to innumerable gods. America is a land filled with religiousness, yet devoid of faith. Like the Epicureans and Stoics, Americans are seekers of pleasure and are self-indulgent in their pursuit of materialism, success and self-glorification.

I believe the apostle Paul describes the condition of Americans today in Philippians 3:18-19:

“For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.”

Many people worship in stadiums, arenas, ballparks, and every other type of sports venue with little gods in uniforms to whom they pay homage. Many others worship in concert halls, theaters, and nightclubs paying homage to musicians and vocalists—whose self-absorbed lives are idolized and aggrandized.

Still many others worship in theaters or in their own homes before altars which are screens showing digital images and stories, which for the most part are filled with fantasy or debauchery and filth—portrayed by actors devoid of morals and any sense of personal accountability.

In America, there are those who worship at the altar of money, some who worship at the altar of fame, some who worship at the altar of politics, some who worship at the altar of education, some who worship at the altar of environmentalism, some who worship at the altar of sex and pornography.

And some who worship at the altars of alcohol and drugs, some who worship at the altar of compromise and tolerance and inclusiveness, and there are some who worship at the altar of atheism and secular humanism. And, in many ways these are all worshiping at the altar of self.

In America today there are many forms of religion from every corner of the earth. There are deists, pantheists, monotheists, polytheists, panentheists, animists, agnostics and atheists. Some of which hope to pacify; others who hope to proselytize. Others who hope to marginalize, and still others who simply desire to enslave or eliminate anyone who does not adhere to their form of religion.

In America today, most churches are institutionalized memorials to religiosity, populated by people who either are seeking approval for their own actions and ideologies, blindly following the unscriptural tenants and teachings of false teachers and false prophets, or are simply going through the motions of ritualistic religion.

For all of the altars at which people worship in America today, unfortunately I have yet to find an altar to the “unknown” god such as the apostle Paul found in Athens. In fact, in America today people seem to be completely satisfied worshiping at the altars of their self-made idols and hedonistic gods.

However the infinite, eternal, God whom Paul declared to the Athenians, is still the immutable, incomparable, inscrutable, unfathomable, unsearchable, transcendent, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, righteous, just, gracious, holy, and sovereign God today. He is the Creator God of the universe who made Man; rather than an idol or object made by Man, who is dependent on Man.

He is the righteous God, who in His sovereignty, yet, requires payment for Man’s sinful rebellion which began with Adam in the garden. He is the gracious God, who provided that payment when His own Son, Jesus Christ, paid the sin debt of all who will believe on Him, by His death on the cross, burial and resurrection.

He is a Holy God, who has provided the Holy Spirit of Christ to indwell everyone who has believed on Jesus, as their Comforter and Teacher. He is a just God, who has appointed a day when everyone in the world will stand in judgment by His Son, if they have not repented of their sinfulness and accepted His free gift of grace.

Today in America (and the world) there needs to be a spiritual revival which causes people to turn away from their self-centered idolatry and worldliness, and turn to the infinite, eternal, creator God of the Bible.

Time is growing short, God could at any time tell Jesus to call out His children, His church; and that my friends will set in motion a chain of events which will culminate with Christ’s return in power and great glory to judge the earth and all of its inhabitants.

Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? Have you, like the apostle Paul, turned away from religion and embraced a relationship with Jesus Christ? If not, I invite you to read the following verses from the book of Romans in God’s Holy Bible.

Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 3:10: “As it is written: ‘THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NO, NOT ONE.’”

Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 10:9-10:  “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Romans 10:13: “For ‘WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED.’”

Romans 8:1-2: “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.”

These verses are commonly known as the Romans Road to salvation. It is a starting point for developing a true relationship with Jesus Christ. He really does desire a relationship with you, which through the study of and obedience to His word, will cause you to grow closer to Him and prepare you to really live.

If you understand these verses in Romans and believe them to be true, and if you desire to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, establishing that relationship with Him, it would be good for you to communicate this with Him through prayer. Understand, that your faith in Christ establishes your salvation, while your prayer begins your relationship in Christ.

The prophet Jeremiah also left an important message for you:

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you” (Jeremiah 29:10-12).

Remember, reciting a prayer cannot save you! If your desire is to receive the salvation that is available through Jesus, you must simply place your faith in Him. Totally trust His death as the sufficient sacrifice for your sins. Absolutely rely on Him alone as your Savior. That is the true biblical way of salvation.

If you have received Jesus as your Savior, please, say a prayer to God. Pray in your own words acknowledging the verses in Romans above. Tell God how thankful you are for Jesus. Offer praise to God for His love and sacrifice. Thank Jesus for dying for your sins and providing salvation for you. That is the biblical connection between salvation and prayer.

If you have made a decision today to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, we would love to hear from you. Send me an email with a way to contact you and we will send you information on how to grow in your relationship in Christ. Like the gift of salvation, the information is free.

“Because the night is far spent, and the day is at hand!” (Romans 13:12a).

EvenSoCome

Dr. Tucker Whitaker

drwhitaker@ymail.com

Jude’s Warning, the Corruption of “Christian”

This morning as I reread the book of Jude, I was once again reminded that not only are we living in the Last Days, we’re living in days of incredible deception within the “church” especially as it relates to those who call themselves “Christian.” In a recent article I mentioned a Barna research study which stated that 85% of people in America identified themselves as “Christian.” However when asked a series of questions about what they believed to be True or Truth regarding the Deity of Christ, the inerrancy of Scripture, or the Biblical truth that through the completed work of Jesus Christ at Calvary lies the only pathway to eternal life, only 9% could affirm a true Biblical Christianity. Understanding this, it is quite apparent to me that in the world today, the majority of “Christians” aren’t and the “church” they may or may not attend isn’t. This comes as no surprise because even from the time of the inception of the Church, Jude warned of this very condition.

“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude 1:3-4 

Jude’s warning here is that certain men have crept in unnoticed and corrupted the “church.” Who are these men? Unfortunately they are men (and women) who purport themselves to be ministers of the gospel. They hold positions of leadership in churches, denominations, and seminaries with titles such as “bishop,” “apostle,” “pastor,” “evangelist,” “doctor,” or simply “minister.” Nevertheless, the one thing they all have in common is that they have corrupted the Truth of Scripture and have invented a liberal theology and a liberal “Christ” denying His authority, deity, dominion, and power.

These false teachers and preachers who have “crept in unnoticed” are no more than self-serving charlatans who use the name of Jesus for self-glorification, and to line their own pockets with what the Scripture calls filthy lucre, by promoting their own agendas and encouraging their faithful to give sacrificially to build their “church.” This is what Jude meant in verse 4 when he said they “turn the grace of God into lewdness.” The “church” of these false prophets and false teachers has no resemblance to the Church in Acts 2:42-47, and they seem only to exist for the purpose of “doing church.” Emotion has replaced Doctrine, Function has replaced Fellowship, Programs have replaced Discipleship, and sadly what passes for Prayer these days sounds more like a “give me” list to God rather than adoration, thanksgiving, and supplication. No longer do they point people to the Cross of Christ where His blood was shed for the remission of sins, but instead teach a false Christ whose inclusive love places no emphasis on their need for repentance. The Cross of Christ has become an ornament to wear rather than a symbol of the pain, suffering, and death which accomplished our Salvation. Again, Jude describes this in verse 4; they “deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Most “churches” today celebrate the humanity of men, pointing to the man (or woman) who leads them, rather than recognizing the sovereignty of God. “Christians” are no longer Christ’s ones as they were so designated in Antioch because of their desire to be like Christ, but instead today the name seems to apply to just about everyone. The name “Christian” has been opened up to so much deception that it is absolutely astounding to me. Many consider themselves “Christian” because America is supposedly a “Christian” nation, there are a plethora of cults that call themselves “Christians” and the majority of institutional and denominational “churches” as well as “Emergent” and “Mega-Churches” are dead or corrupt in their religiosity while still calling themselves “Christians,” yet they do not truly follow Christ!

In the little book of Jude, verses 5-15, God’s attitude toward these apostates who call themselves “Christians” or the “church” today is described. Their sin is defined in verse 8; because they “defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.” And in verse 10; they “speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.” Verse 11 summarizes their sin in examples from the Old Testament with a stinging indictment; “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.” Very simply stated, the way of Cain is the rejection of a blood sacrifice, in other words, they reject the blood of Christ in favor of self-improvement. The error of Balaam is the desire to attain personal wealth by making a business or profit out of the service of God. And those who perished in the rebellion of Korah did so because they rebelled against the leadership of the Lord. Verses 14-16 tell us that God will enact judgment on these false prophets, teachers, and preachers.

Friends, verses 17-23 of this wonderful little book tell us what the believer’s role is in the midst of all of this End Time apostasy. Jude instructs us to be; “building yourselves up on your most holy faith” we do this through being people of the book, studying and obeying the Word of God. He then instructs us to be “praying in the Holy Spirit” which means to be guided by the Spirit in our prayers seeking the Will of God for our lives, And then we are to; “keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” and we do this by living lives of holiness and godliness before Him as we look for and anticipate the imminent return of Jesus Christ for His True Church, those of us who really are “Christ ones” True Christians.

In the darkness of these Last Days where Satan, the ruler of this world, has taken control of so much, having invaded the “church” and its leadership, we True followers of Christ must heed the warning of the Apostle Paul and “put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-18). We must Watch, Stand Fast, and be Strong (1 Corinthians 16:13) until we see Christ. It is our responsibility to be light in this world of darkness (Ephesians 5:8), and we must Watch and Pray (1 Peter 4:7), because;

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

America You’re Too Young to Die!

In the 1970’s a ministry was born under the leadership of Del Fehsenfeld Jr. whose message is to call God’s people to repentance, restoration, and revival; especially here in the USA. From 1980 to 2000 the primary program of the ministry was entitled “America You’re Too Young to Die” and was a call for spiritual renewal and revival in the church and its people to ensure God’s continued blessing on the church and the United States of America. The ministry continues today under the able direction of Byron Paulus who was named national director, after the Lord called Del home in 1989. In the late 1970’s I was a member of the “Action Ranch” staff which at that time was the youth camp ministry of Life Action. While I was not a member of the revival “Teams” or even the counseling staff of the camp (I was the resident “Real Cowboy” overseeing the trail ride horses and barns), I did experience firsthand the powerful message being delivered to churches and individuals alike. The revival message which called for the real and essential need to return to a true biblical understanding of what a relationship with Jesus Christ is, and that a failure to do so would in fact doom America as a nation to an ungodly future.

There are three things which I gained during my short time with Life Action which remain with me today. First, Del Fehsenfeld taught me how to pray. During a road trip, as I drove him from headquarters to meet one of the teams for a revival, he asked me to pray with him for the revival. I learned from his example on that trip, that prayer is part adoration, part thanksgiving, and part supplication; all accomplished in a conversational manner which can be done anywhere anytime. The second thing I learned from Del (though it would be years before I fully embraced it) is a passion for the calling of God in your life. He literally lived every day filled with passion for God’s people to be revived and have a restored, living, obedient, fruitful relationship with Jesus Christ. And the third thing I learned from Del, may have been wholly unintentional on his part, but fully intentional by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. During another road trip Del explained how God in His sovereignty blesses nations or destroys nations depending on their obedience to Him (he used Nineveh in the Old Testament as example). This of course was in reference to the United States and whether it would continue under God’s blessing. My take away from this conversation was that God in His sovereignty has always had a plan, and that plan has been laid out in His Prophetic Word.

My passion is Bible Prophecy. Understanding the Prophetic Word of God, and then to the very best of my ability, in subjection to the Holy Spirit, teaching that Word so that others in the Body of Christ can understand it as well, and then act on it in their lives. As much as 30% of the Bible is Prophetic in nature, yet most mainstream churches seldom teach prophecy, and the majority of pastors in the pulpits of these churches could not begin to explain the significance of the book of Daniel to the Revelation of Jesus Christ as recorded by John. Even worse, their poor theological training or willful ignorance of a literal translation of Scripture, causes, even enables, them to disseminate un-biblical teaching, such as ascribing the promises to the nation of Israel falsely to the church. It is a fact that seminaries have turned from a literal translation of Scripture, and embraced un-biblical liberal theologies that are rife with secular humanism, humanistic psychology and pluralism. Of the literally hundreds of so-called evangelical seminaries, it would be far easier to name the few who remain true to Scripture than to name the vast number of those whose liberalism relegates them to a place of opposition to the teachings of Christ and His Apostles.

We are as a nation, plagued with a form of Christianity which has a “form of godliness” but is “denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). Recently at his Bible conference, Dr. David Reagan shared the results of a Barna research study which said that 85% of Americans consider themselves Christian, and approximately 40% as evangelical Christian; but when asked a series of questions as to whether they were “born again,” or believed Jesus was the Son of God, or that the Bible was God’s inerrant Word, only 9% could affirm a true Biblical Christianity.

My passion for Prophecy brings us back to the plea, “America You’re Too Young to Die!” which was the revival message of Del Fehsenfeld. Unfortunately, in the 40+ years since his call to revival began, America has continued its moral and Spiritual decline into ungodliness. Understand, it is not for lack of dedication on the part of Life Action or the many other ministries (such as our own) who continue “rightly dividing” (2 Timothy 2:15) the Word, and calling for revival, but it is actually rooted in the Prophetic Truth of God’s Word. I believe the United States of America, like many other nations before it, as well as other nations extent, is under God’s judgment. As a nation we have turned from the very things which brought God’s blessings on us, and embraced those things which bring about our own condemnation by Him. Many have twisted and turned and tried to find in God’s prophetic Word, the United States in End Time Prophecy. It isn’t there. That doesn’t mean that the continent is gone, or that the country is gone, or that society is gone, or that there are no people there, but what it does mean is that it has no relevance in the world of the End times.

America isn’t too young to die, but there yet remains millions within her borders who need not face an eternal death. Spiritual revival is still possible in America and in the world. In order for that revival to take place the 9% who have a True Faith in Jesus Christ must be willing to pray for personal revival in their own lives, keeping their sins confessed before God. The 9% must be willing to make a spiritual stand for Jesus Christ. The 9% must find a true passion in their lives for studying the Word of God and applying it to their lives. The 9% needs to understand and affirm that Scriptures which speak to Israel are for Israel, and those which speak to the Church are for the Church. The 9% must develop a distinct prayer life which involves adoration and thanksgiving before supplication; which is both continual and effectual. The 9% must embrace the need to understand, teach, and defend the prophetic Word of God because of the times in which we live. The 9% needs to be actively sharing the importance of biblical prophecy with their children and grandchildren. It is quite probable in my mind that those who are described as being a part of the millennial generation today, or “millennial’s,” who do not come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ may in fact experience the Tribulation and could survive to see Jesus Christ return in power and great glory to establish His Millennial Kingdom. How tragic that would be, to survive in unbelief only to be destroyed at His return.

Pray for revival, pray for it to start within your own life, to start within your family, within your local church, within your community, within the United States of America. Pray for revival because the Rapture of the Church is imminent, the time of Tribulation and the Day of the Lord are near, pray for revival because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

Grace in the Church Age

In Acts 2 we find the birth of the Church at Pentecost, and in 1 Thessalonians 4 we find the description of the Rapture of the Church. The entire period of time between these two events is the Church Age, and the Church Age is encompassed in its entirety by the Age of Grace. Extending from the Cross of Christ, to His Glorious Appearing at the Second Coming to establish His Millennial Reign, the Age of Grace is typified by God’s offer of Eternal Salvation through the shed Blood of Jesus Christ, to all who would trust in Him as their Lord and Savior.

The Church Age within the Age of Grace is the Age of the “ecclesia,” those who are “called out” as the Body of Christ. These “called out” ones, identified as Christ’s Church, exist for the purpose of revealing Christ to the world by carrying out His will as a revelation and example of His Grace. The command to the disciples by Christ in Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” is for them to be witnesses, to share with all mankind the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, within the Scriptures there is not one single passage which states that the whole world will be converted during this Age. In fact, Christ Himself shared this fact within the parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13. In Acts 15:7 -17, in the account of the Jerusalem Council, we find that God’s purpose for this Age is the calling out of a people for His Name which includes both Jew and Gentile. As the Church we are then told in 2 Corinthians 6:17, that because we are called out of the world, that we are to be separate from the world.

The first mission given to us as the “called out” followers of Christ, the Church, is the evangelization of the world, and not the conversion of the world. It then follows that the purpose of God for His Church in this Age is not the reformation of society, or the enrichment of the faithful, and it is certainly not the establishment of His Kingdom.

The Church is the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:17-23), which is joined together to serve one another as we serve God; the Church is the Bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-30), whose purpose is to glorify God; the Church on earth is the habitation of God (Ephesians 2:19-22); the Church is an example and illustration of the grace of God (Ephesians 2:5-7), which in fact is what gives unique character to this Age; and the Church is a royal priesthood (2 Peter 2:4-10), to serve God among men in this Age.

The second mission given to us as the “called out” followers of Jesus Christ, the Church, is to understand the promise that, for the cause of Christ, we will suffer and endure persecution (Matthew 5:12, John 15:20, Romans 12:14, Philippians 1:29, 2 Timothy 3:12, 1 Peter 3:14, 1 Peter 4:16, Revelation 2:10) because of the ever-increasing wickedness of the world in which we live. Yet the blessing in this promise is another promise, the promise of a great inheritance and reward (Matthew 5:12, Colossians 3:24, 1 Peter 1:3-5, Hebrews 11:6, Revelation 3:7-12) for having remained faithful to the calling.

I believe today that the “church” we see in the world has moved very far away from its calling, from the divine purpose for which it was intended. What most people today see as the “church,” has no real resemblance to the Church of Jesus Christ. Today’s “church” has failed to be separate from the world, a “called out” body for the purposes of God. In the “church” today we find that many have embraced socialism, humanism, environmentalism, hedonism, and the worship of Mammon. While in still other “churches” they endeavor to appropriate from Israel, the promises which God intended for Israel alone, which I believe has done more to turn the “church” from its appointed course than any other. This error alone causes the “church” to turn away from a literal interpretation of Scripture, which in turn creates a denial of prophetic truth. By embracing this false theology the “church” relegates itself to a place in the world and defines its mission as a responsibility to improve the world.

So the “church” today defines itself by building magnificent structures, acquiring earthly things, courting political power, embracing social and societal conventions, embracing tolerance, compromise and inclusiveness, in an effort to coexist with all religions. All of this is in direct opposition to the Word of God, and an appointed call to separation and holiness in anticipation of the return of Jesus Christ. The “church” which is most evident in the world today is certainly not the Church of Jesus Christ.

Yet there is still a remnant of believers, who are truly following the mission given by Jesus Christ, who comprise the True Church today, what we see as His Remnant Church of the Last Days. I believe it is the ministry and mission of the Church to be witnesses for Jesus Christ until He returns for His Church (1 Thessalonians 4), and that He alone can effect change in this world, and will do so when He sets up His Millennial Kingdom at His Second Coming (Revelation 19).

I believe the Rapture of the Church is imminent, we are living in a time when prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes. It is my prayer that in this last remnant of time before the “called out” Church is called up to meet our Savior, that a Holy Spirit inspired awakening will take place among mankind, and within the apostate church. It is my prayer that we will see souls saved, and the church restored to its original mission and calling. The end of days is at hand and;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

The Rapture and the Glorious Appearing, Part 2

In our first part of this study we established that the Rapture of the Church and the Glorious Appearing or Second Coming are indeed two separate events. As we continue to look at this subject, in order to defuse any possibility of confusion we need to first understand the fact that the Bible is to be translated literally (here I refer you to our article Biblical Prophecy ~ Part 4 ~ Teachingposted on April 17, 2014). If we apply a systematic, analytical approach to interpret the Word of God literally, we will see that it makes perfect sense. The Holy Spirit did not deliver the Word of God to the writers of the Old and New Testaments in an ambiguous or allegorical way, God means what He says and says what He means. Therefore, as we examine the passages of Scripture delineating the Rapture and Second Coming we can discern the truths taught of the two events.

For instance, in the first part of this study we saw that in the Rapture Christ comes for His Church (1 Thessalonians 4:17) and at His Glorious Appearing or Second Coming He comes with His Church (Revelation 19:14). In other words at the Rapture we meet Jesus in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17), and at the second coming, Jesus literally comes down to the earth setting His feet on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4, 9; Matthew 25:31-32). In the Rapture, the Church leaves the earth (1 Thessalonians 4:17) and at the Second Coming the Church comes back to the earth (Revelation 19:14).

The Rapture is the removal of the Church from the earth for deliverance (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, 1 Thessalonians 5:9) whereas the Second Coming involves the removal of unbelievers in an act of judgment (Matthew 13:36-43; Matthew 13:47-51; Matthew 24:40-41).

The Rapture will happen in an instant and only those who are looking for Him will see Him (1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 1 John 3:2), yet the Second Coming will be visible to all the world (Matthew 24:29-30; Revelation 1:7).

There are no signs that precede the Rapture, it is imminent and could take place at any moment (Matthew 24:36; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13) while there are many signs which precede the Second Coming (Matthew 24:15-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 6:1-Revelation 19:10).

The Rapture of the Church precedes the time of Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 3:10) and the Second Coming will be the culmination of the Tribulation (Revelation 19).

At the Rapture of the Church, Jesus gathers His Bride in preparation for the Marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-9) and at the Second Coming, Jesus establishes His Kingdom (Zechariah 14:3-4; Revelation 19:11-21).

After the Rapture of the Church the Antichrist will appear and go forth conquering (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9; Revelation 6:1-2) but at the Second Coming the Antichrist will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20).

At the Rapture peace will be removed from the earth (Revelation 6:3-4), because the Holy Spirit is all that is restraining Satan at this time (2 Thessalonians 2:6-12), but peace will be restored to the earth at the Second Coming (Isaiah 9:6).

At the Rapture Satan’s activities on Earth increase (2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 12:12; Revelation 13:2) but at the Second Coming Satan will be bound and cast into the Bottomless Pit (Revelation 20:1-3).

Clearly when we read the Scriptures in a literal way we find there are no contradictions or confusion regarding the Rapture and Second Coming (Glorious Appearing) of Jesus Christ. In each event the nature of Christ’s return is different. At the Rapture Jesus is the Bridegroom calling out His Bride, the Deliverer calling out His Church, while at the Second Coming He returns as conquering King to exact judgment, by pouring out the wrath of God on the wicked nations and peoples who rejected His free gift of grace. At the Second Coming, His Bride follows with Him as He establishes His Kingdom. So even though a comparison of 1 Thessalonians 4 and Revelation 19 display an emphasis on Jesus Christ, in truth they have nothing else in common.

The Rapture is the Blessed Hope of the Church, and the Second Coming is the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ as King of Kings, Lord of Lords as He establishes His Kingdom.

The Blessed Hope is imminent, Tribulation and the end of days is at hand, His Glorious Appearing will follow, for;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

Anti-Semitism, by any other name…

It is still anti-Semitism, whether you call it; Supersessionism, Replacement Theology, Liberation Theology, or the BDS movement, it is still the unadulterated hatred of the Jewish people because of their race. Anyone who embraces any theology or position that denies Israel’s right of possession of the land which their Nation State now occupies, is denying a literal translation of the Bible, which is frankly a denial of its veracity, and places them outside of a position of true faith in Jesus Christ who is in fact the Word.

Unfortunately these false teachings, false doctrines, and patently unscriptural theologies have plagued the Jews through the “church” for 1900 years. By allegorizing, spiritualizing, and otherwise denying a literal translation of the Scripture, the proponents of this doctrinal error have throughout history promoted anti-Semitism which led to Jewish persecution and extermination from the ghettos in Eastern Europe, to the Spanish Inquisition, and to the Holocaust of World War II.

It is essential that True Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, approach the Word of God with a clear understanding that God breathed His infallible Truth to the writers of the Old and New Testaments (2 Timothy 3:16, 1 Peter 1:19-21), and in doing so has given us the mind of Christ (John 1:1-17, 1 Corinthians 2:16). When Peter teaches in his second epistle that “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” he is telling us to read the Bible literally, interpret the Bible literally, and if we will simply do this we can avoid doctrinal error.

In the book of Genesis 17:7-8 we find God’s promise to Abraham. “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants (Israel) after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” A covenant is a promise, and this promise God made Abraham was not conditional, it is clear in this passage that the covenant is everlasting, that means it will never be canceled.

This passage, in and of itself, is all the evidence we need as Christians that we (the Church) do not replace Israel in God’s plan. God does not change His mind, and He certainly is not a liar. In Leviticus 26:44-45 God says; “Yet for all that, when they (Israel) are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, nor shall I abhor them, to utterly destroy them and break My covenant with them; for I am the LORD their God. But for their sake I will remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.’” In Psalm 105:7-12 we find these words written; “He is the LORD our God; His judgments are in all the earth. He remembers His covenant forever, The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac, And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan As the allotment of your inheritance, when they were few in number, indeed very few, and strangers in it.” Again, God’s promise to Israel is “as an everlasting covenant” and “He remembers His covenant forever.”

For anyone to deny the eternal covenant or promise that God made with Israel you have to ignore the Holy Spirit inspired words of the apostle Paul in the book of Romans. Romans 11:1-2 “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.” And little further down in the passage he writes; “For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable“ Romans 11:29. The plain sense understanding of the Scripture is this, the reason that God has not cast away His people (Israel) is that God’s gifts and calling are never rescinded. God does not take back His gifts, He does not break His promises, His word is truth. The nation of Israel is mentioned 71 times in the New Testament and never is represented as the church.

In Ezekiel 37:11-14 we find the Dry Bones Prophecy which is a prophecy about the restoration of Israel at the end of the age. It says; Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it,” says the LORD.’” God clearly says the Jews will be “my people” after the nation is restored.

In the last book of the New Testament, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, we find from Revelation 4:2 through chapter 19:3 the future record of God dealing with the nation of Israel and punishing the nations for their persecution of Israel and rejection of God. God is not through with Israel, and the teaching that the Church has permanently replaced Israel as God’s people is a false doctrine. I could write volumes and quote much more Scripture as proof that God’s promise to Israel is eternal, but unless one’s mind is truly open to the Word of God they are going to continue to wallow in the error of the false doctrine which spawns anti-Semitism.

This week it was announced that the Presbyterian Church (U. S. A.) has joined the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement and approved divestment from 3 US companies (Caterpillar Inc., Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions) doing business in Israel. The stated goal of the BDS movement is to delegitimize the State of Israel and even dehumanize the Jewish people. This movement calls into question Israel’s right to exist and seeks to make them a pariah state. While I view this news as tragic, I am not surprised because they long ago embraced Replacement Theology. So the apostate Presbyterian Church joins the ranks of those who accuse Israel of human rights violations while ignoring the fact that it is the Palestinians and Israel’s neighbors who kidnap, torture, abuse, attack, and bomb Israel as they vocalize a desire to wipe her off of the map. This is anti-Semitism in its basest form and in my opinion anyone who is a member of this denomination and does not leave it and denounce this apostasy, in truth has no relationship with Jesus Christ.

The BDS movement is anti-Semitic at its core demonstrating a hatred for the Jews by singling out the nation-state of Israel for supposed human rights violations while ignoring human rights violations documented in other nations, especially those of her Islamic neighbors. The BDS movement has no real desire to help the Arab citizens of Israel or those living in the territories administrated by Israel, but instead desires the destruction of the Jewish state through economic and social warfare. Make no mistake, the anti-Semitic BDS movement isn’t preaching peace but rather hatred. The fact that this movement is growing in intensity in the US and being embraced by so-called “christian” denominations is simply more evidence that this nation and much of its population has turned its back on God.

The knowledge that our government has abandoned Israel and is increasingly persecuting True Christians is telling proof that the US is in desperate need of a spiritual revival. As apostasy grows by leaps and bounds in the “church” which has also turned its back on Israel and Israel’s God, those of us in the True Church must be willing to stand together and with Israel. The Rapture is imminent, the End Times are upon us and;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome