Faithfully Scared Witless

Faithfully Scared Witless
Vol: 23 Issue: 23 Tuesday, May 23, 2017

You know, it’s a funny thing.  It is all the horrific events and uncertain finances and wars and tragedies that sap our excitement and fill us with dread when all the while, they are the very reason we got excited in the first place.

I mean, it was seeing these things begin to come to pass that grabbed our attention in the first place.

And as they grew closer and more intense, our excitement built up . . . but now, it has been sign after sign after sign . . . but no trumpet.

And suddenly, all these things, as exciting as they were, begin to take second place to worry; the mortgage market, our retirement accounts, whether war in the Middle East will drive gasoline prices through the roof – and what IF the Democrats win the White House again next year?

Counting on the Second Coming of Christ sounds so . . . well, you have to admit it . . . to most people, it is a bit like counting on a lottery ticket to fund one’s retirement.  And I suspect that the ones to whom it doesn’t probably still support Harold Camping.

We all say we’re counting on Jesus, but are still funding our IRA’s just in case.  We trust in the Lord, but we’re also making sure we’ve got some food reserves and other emergency supplies.  

We claim excitement at the return of the Lord as we see the signs of His coming, but we huddle in fear when it gets too close, just as unbelievers do.

We numb ourselves to the massive death tolls from catastrophic events by focusing in on the significance of the event from the perspective of Bible prophecy, compartmentalizing the horror of the actual event.  

It is only later we are suddenly staggered by the realization of what it really meant to the victims of horrific earthquakes, catastrophic tsunamis, murderous tornado clusters, etc..  

Are we faithless when we cower in fear when calamity comes too close?  Ghoulish when we rejoice from far away?  

These are strange days; one hardly knows what to think, given all that we know.  Who doesn’t flee to shelter at the approach of a coming storm? 

Trusting in the Lord doesn’t mean laying down on a freeway or standing in the path of a tornado.  Expecting His soon return doesn’t mean not preparing for one’s retirement.   

It doesn’t mean you don’t have to finish school.  It doesn’t mean you can quit your job, climb up to a hilltop and wait.  If that is what the Lord expected, He’d have been more specific about the timing.

Instead, our instructions are to behave as if the Lord was coming back tomorrow, but to plan as if He won’t come back in our lifetime.  Before He departed, He left us with two specific orders:

Preach the Word, and in the meanwhile, “occupy until I come”.

Assessment:

In a very real sense, the difference between a believer’s death and the Rapture is primarily one of process and timing.  Barring unforeseen calamity or early-onset disease, one can expect to die of disease or old age, usually in stages.

We don’t know when and we don’t know how, and most everybody has a different way of shuffling off this mortal coil, but we can all expect it.  For some, it will be a peaceful, natural process.

For others . . . well, we all have our own private horrors, ways that we pray won’t mark our transition.  

Nothing is more certain, as they say, than death (and taxes).

At the moment of death, our souls stop receiving input via the five physical senses (carnal) and we begin receiving our input via our spirit.

The Rapture is an entirely different process, which is why the Scriptures call it “the blessed hope.”  Like death, the Rapture could happen at any time, but unlike death, the process is both certain and beautiful.

The Lord Himself descends from Heaven with a shout and then we who are living are suddenly “caught up” (Gk: parousia Latin: rapios) to meet Him in the air.  On the way up, our bodies are transformed and instead of awakening eternally alive, we never have to go through the dying process in the first place.

The certainty is this: if you aren’t Raptured, you will die.  There isn’t a third option. 

Now to the central question; do you know when you will die?

There are those among our fellowship who are terminally ill – some who have even been given a time frame of how long they have left.

Even they have no more idea of the day and the hour of their deaths than they do of the day and hour of the Rapture.  My mother-in-law is approaching ninety, in fine physical health, still has all her marbles and reads five newspapers every day.

She knows her time could come any day, but she doesn’t try to divine the day or the hour.  She understands the futility of it.  She correctly believes she has about an equal chance of death or the Rapture.  

Now suppose that you knew exactly on what day you would die and at what time.  This year, Yom Kippur falls across September 13-14, so let’s say you knew you would die at 11:43 pm this September 13. 

How would your behavior change?  Would you become more spiritual?  Would you pray more?  Would you be more generous?  More thoughtful?  Kinder?  Friendlier?  More honest? 

Your behavior changes are sincere enough, but they are as genuine as the guy who never locks his doors suddenly locking them because of a rash of burglaries in his neighborhood. 

The change isn’t brought about by a sincere change of heart, but rather out of fear.  If the burglars were caught, he’d go back to his old habits.

“And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.” (Luke 12:39)

So we don’t know exactly when we will die.  And we don’t know exactly when the Rapture will occur.  And we don’t know these things for exactly the same reasons. 

We can know approximately when we will die – we can certainly know when it is close, and even at the doors.  And the Lord says that we can know approximately when the Rapture will happen – when it is close, even at the doors.  

I know approximately when I will die, assuming I take care of myself and live into old age.  That knowledge inspires me to take better care of myself.  And the older I get, the more inspired I become.

I know the Rapture is near, and that inspires me to preach the Word, give the warning, tell my friends, but not to empty my bank account, sell my house or quit my job.  

We are to occupy until He comes, planning our individual futures as if we could count on our full three score and ten, or even four score (or more) but to live out our lives the way we would if we knew He was coming tomorrow.

It is ok to be just as afraid of an approaching tornado as the unbeliever in the house next door. Or to be just as careful in traffic.  Or to stock up on emergency supplies, just in case.

(Being dead shouldn’t scare a believer, but I can think of few methods of getting that way that don’t scare the pants off me.)

Trusting in the Lord” is not a synonym for being stupid. 

“But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Thy works.” (Psalms 73:28)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on July 14, 2011

”Christians” Without Christ

”Christians” Without Christ
Vol: 23 Issue: 22 Monday, May 22, 2017

”And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” (Revelation 13:11)

This verse serves as the introduction to the false religion that will sweep the world under antichrist during the tribulation.  Note than John describes the False Prophet as having two horns like a lamb, but that he ‘spake as a dragon’.

The symbolism here is sublimely obvious.  This is, after all, the Bible.  We are introduced to the ‘dragon’ during the Tribulation in Revelation 12:3, where;

“there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.”

The dragon is clearly identified in Revelation 12:9:

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

So, the dragon is Satan and it is his doctrine that will form the foundation of the religion of antichrist.  However, it will appear to be a form of Christianity, symbolized by ‘the lamb’.

The identity of the Lamb within the context of the Book of the Revelation is equally unquestionable:

“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Revelation 17:14)

It is tempting to insert Islam as the false religion of the last days that will sweep the world during the Tribulation Period.  Islam already claims a third of the world’s population, practices forced conversions, routinely uses beheading as a form of execution, and pretty much fits the character of the theocracy in John’s description.

But it is an impossible stretch to envision Islam in the context of a counterfeit Christianity.  Islam’s hatred of Christianity stretches back to the time of the Crusaders, and its hatred of Israel traces back to the sons of Abraham.  No Islamic would identify themselves religiously with either Christianity or Judaism.

But the antichrist is accepted, at least for a time, as Israel’s messiah.  (2nd Thessalonians 2:4John 5:43Matthew 24:15) That completely disqualifies Islam from either direction.

And John is too definite about his depiction of a form of Christianity without Christ for us to wish away as inconvenient to a theory.

Assessment:

When asked of the signs of His impending return by His disciples, the very first sign Jesus cited was that of religious deception.

“For many shall come in My Name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:5)

“And He said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.” (Luke 21:8)

In the last century, there has been an explosion of religious cults that claim to be Christian, while simultaneously denying Christ.

Most call themselves ‘Christians’ use the Bible as their Sacred Scripture, and may even have the name of Christ in the title of their church… but they say that “Jesus is not God”, or that Jesus Christ is god as much as you and I are god, like the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses.

A research paper entitled, ‘Churches and Church Membership in the United States, 1990’ ranked the Jehovah’s Witnesses 9th among the top 10 religious bodies with the most churches in the US.

The Mormons ranked 8 among the top ten, whereas the Episcopal Church, the American branch of the Church of England, ranks 10th.

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the official name for the ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’ was founded by Charles Taze Russell in 1852, with the first formal organization being founded in Pittsburgh in 1872.  They now number three million worldwide and growing, based on the following doctrine:

Jehovah’s Witnesses see the doctrine of the Trinity as a demonic doctrine. Their theology strips Jesus of His Deity, claiming He is not God, but ‘a god’ a created being on a par with Lucifer. They deny the physical resurrection of Christ, and deny the doctrine of an eternal hell.

In the past, they have officially announced the date of the Second Coming of Christ and Armageddon on six different occasions: 1914, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, and 1975.  Yet their membership is among the most active, and their ranks continue to swell.

The Mormons are officially called, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.”  Numbering over ten million, they are one of the fastest growing religious cults in the world.  Among their doctrinal teachings is that God was once a man who became God.

The Mormon god has a physical body, as does his wife, the heavenly mother.  Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate gods.

Worthy men may one day become gods themselves.  Jesus was married and had children with the two sisters of Lazarus, Maria and Martha… and Jesus became God.  And so can a Mormon.

“As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man can become”, is one of the most famous aphorisms of the Mormons.  This elevation to godhood is only open to faithful male Mormons, but this concept of “every man is god”, has been taken up by the New Age Movement, (but using different methods to become god.)

Man as god is also the central tenet of secular humanism, another ‘religious’ cult that has taken root and thrived in the very heart of our global institutions, as well as most national governments.

Then there are the others; Christian Science Church, founded in 1875 by Mary Baker Eddy.  The cult is neither Christian, scientific, nor a church, but wields huge influence through its prestigious daily newspaper, “The Christian Science Monitor.”

The Church of Scientology was founded in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.  It’s doctrine is utterly bizarre; Mankind is descended from a race of interplanetary omnipotent gods called “thetans”.

Gradually they evolved by reincarnation to become humans who could not remember their deified state, but every human is a god!  The problem is the “engrams”, the traumatic experiences in past lives, which impede spiritual progress, and they are the reason of all diseases.

The only remedy is ‘auditing’ which is very expensive.  Auditing runs about $300 per hour, and courses, high level courses, of up to $10,000 or $50,000.

In Scientology, Jesus is not the creator.  He was in control of supernatural powers, “cleared” from mental defects, but he was not an “operating thetan”.  Initially, Hubbard taught that Jesus did not exist.  When Hubbard later acknowledged his existence, he claimed Jesus was gay.  The Holy Spirit is not mentioned. Salvation comes after many “auditings.”

The Worldwide Church of God was founded in 1934 by Herbert W Armstrong.  At his death, his son, Garner Ted Armstrong took over the leadership of the Church.  It teaches that the 10 lost tribes of Israel are the British and that the American descendants of the British are the “Chosen People of God”.  England is “Ephraim”, and the USA is “Manasseh.”

The WWCG teaches that all other churches teach in error.  They deny the existence of the Trinity, and include keeping the Jewish feasts, the Sabbath, and keeping kosher.  Armstrong once taught that Queen Elizabeth now sits on the Throne to which Christ will lay claim at His return.

Each of these former cults are now part of mainstream American Christianity, with huge influence that is translating into rapid growth.

Scientology’s apologists include people like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Isaac Hayes, Patrick Swayze and even Greta Van Susteren of Fox News.

Christian Science has the ‘Monitor’; the Jehovah’s Witnesses sell 100,000 tracts every day door to door; and the Mormons have their own state, Utah, complete with senators and congressmen.

Armstrongism has its “Plain Truth” Magazine, “The World Tomorrow” television program and Garner Ted Armstrong’s “Philadelphia Trumpet” and “Key of David” television program.

Then there are the ‘Moonies’, founded in 1954 by Sun Yung Moon.  The ‘Moonies’ are nothing short of nuts.  They deny Christ’s Deity, claiming Jesus was the illegitimate offspring of Zechariah and Mary.

Moon claims to be the third Adam, the second Christ, and God himself incarnated.  AND . . . Moon owns “The Washington Times” and “Newsworld Magazine.”

The point is this.  Each of these cults, claims to be Christian, while simultaneously denying His Deity.  Each is in a position of tremendous influence.

While some of the media organs are currently benign, (Moon has a ‘no-influence’ contract with Washington Times Editor in Chief Wesley Pruden, who insisted on it before accepting the job), it wouldn’t take much for them to be retooled as propaganda tools to advance the concept of Christians Without Christ as a workable religious system.

The proof is in the preponderance of them that exist already.

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. . . And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1st John 2:224:3)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on October 14, 2005

Featured Commentary: A Game of Thrones ~Pete Garcia

‘Fair’ Is a Call in Baseball

‘Fair’ Is a Call in Baseball
Vol: 23 Issue: 20 Saturday, May 20, 2017

I got an email from a reader recently that complained that God is not being fair by condemning non-Christians to hell. If God was fair, claimed my correspondent, He’d give everybody a second chance.

We’ll deal with the second chance idea first, and then go back to the issue of God being ‘fair’.

Salvation is a win-win scenario, both for those of us who are saved, and for God. God extends His grace to us, which the Bible says gives Him pleasure because He loves us. When we accept the gift of salvation, we do so by faith. God counts that faith towards our account as righteousness and is therefore able to enter into fellowship with us.

It is a two-way street; God chooses us, and we choose Him. Nobody is compelled to come to Christ; Jesus died for the sins of all mankind, but God only has fellowship with those who accept the Gift that is offered. 

It is about faith. Faith that God is. Faith that Jesus has paid the penalty for our sin. Faith that He will keep His promise to save us. Paul notes that ‘we walk by faith and not by sight’ (2nd Corinthinans 5:7) and God loves us for that.

A ‘second chance’ after we are dead is not faith. It is not a choice between trusting in Jesus and trusting in ourselves.

When a criminal stands before a judge, he is almost always sorry. But when he is standing before the judge, his sorrow is for himself. He is sorry he got caught, sorry he got convicted and is sorry he is going to have to pay the penalty.

That is not the same thing as being sorry he committed the crime. He committed the crime because he trusted he would be able to get away with it.

He knew that there was a penalty attached to the crime when he committed it, but criminals operate on the theory that they won’t get caught, or that they will somehow beat the rap.

It isn’t until all hope is lost that they (sometimes) admit their guilt and sorrow, and that admission usually doesn’t come until just before sentencing in the hopes maybe their sentence will be reduced.

The second chance theory is like that. It assumes that once a person actually sees that there is a heaven and there is a hell, they will choose heaven and God will honor that choice because He is ‘fair’.

In that scenario, one is choosing between two certainties. But salvation comes by faith. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

A person counting on a second chance is like a convicted criminal hoping that his apology for his crimes will cause the judge to set aside the jury’s verdict and the proscribed punishment.

And it is because the judge is fair that the criminal knows his apology won’t change his conviction.

But when it comes to God, people assume God is unfair for exactly the same reason.

Assessment:

This will come as a shock to some of you. God isn’t ‘fair’. If God was fair, nobody could be saved. There are good people who are not Christians, but who try to do the best they can.

And there are devoted followers of other gods who go to outrageous lengths to please their deity. Consider the followers of Islam, for a second. Their god is distant, unknowable and demanding.

The observant Muslim prays five times a day, doesn’t smoke or drink, fasts for a whole month every year, keeps strict dietary laws, and knows the only certain way to paradise is death by jihad.

If that kind of dedication isn’t enough to earn one a place in paradise, then a Christian who seldom goes to church, smokes and drinks, doesn’t pray very often and seldom witnesses for his faith shouldn’t have a chance.

But the Scriptures say that the observant Muslim is condemned, but the wishy-washy Christian is redeemed. Does that sound fair to you?

What would be fair would be if God condemned all sinners to hell. And since the Bible says that ‘all have sinned and come short of the glory of God’ then all should be condemned. “Mercy” is not the same as “fairness.”

I know who I am, just as God knows who I am. If I were God, I would be forced to condemn me as a sinner. That would be only fair. Instead, God extended His mercy to me and made a way for me to get around the fairness doctrine because He knew I could never do so on my own.

God knows that there is never enough I could do to blot away my own sins. If I prayed five times in a certain direction every day, fasted for a month out of every year, and performed a litany of other duties as part of my worship to Him, it wouldn’t change the fact that I was guilty of sin.

A man could be a pillar of the community, a well-known philantropist and dedicated to doing good things, but all that is meaningless if he is charged with a serious crime. There is an old saying about not doing the crime if you can’t do the time. THAT is ‘fair’.

Christians are saved, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (Titus 3:5)

‘Fair’ is a call in baseball.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on October 16, 2006

Grace That is Greater Than ALL Our Sin

Grace That is Greater Than ALL Our Sin
Vol: 23 Issue: 19 Friday, May 19, 2017

From time to time, I will receive an email that brings tears to my eyes.  Over the past four days, I’ve received several such emails, all on roughly the same topic.  Let’s call it ‘survivor’s guilt.’

According to a 2010 Census, New York City is one of the most densely populated cities in the world.  It is home to 8,175,133 souls, who occupy every square inch of NY City’s 305 square miles. 

According to Life News, there were more than fifty-two million (52,000,000) abortions performed in the United States since Roe v Wade in 1973.

The number is staggering. .  . we have aborted more than six times the population of New York City since 1973.

That is one reason for the debt crisis we find ourselves in — we are about fifty million workers short of where we should be relative to our national demographics. 

Those fifty million-odd workers aren’t contributing to society or helping to prop up Social Security or paying taxes or otherwise benefitting America because we killed them, one at a time.

America is greatly diminished because we destroyed a significant portion of each generation since Roe v Wade, but that is only one side of the coin.

Every one of those fifty-two million aborted babies had two parents that now have to live with that decision.  What about them?  THAT is what makes me weep. 

One writes about having had an abortion in her early twenties and now is in her late thirties, newly saved and tortured by her past decision. 

Will I meet my unborn baby in heaven?  Will he or she know me?  Hate me?  How could the child I killed forgive me? Will I have another chance?  How can I admit what I have done?”

Another wonders what will happen to babies in the womb at the Rapture – a question dealing with essentially the same topic – so I’ll answer that one first. 

The Apostles told the jailer; “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved – and thy house.” (Acts 16:31)

The Rapture is where Church Age believers receive the Resurrection bodies. A baby – in or out of the womb – is a separate human being.  An unborn babe at the Rapture would also receive his Resurrection body.

The Apostle Paul writes, “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” (Romans 7:9)

The Apostle Paul was born at least 1400 years after Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mt Sinai – how could he have been without the law?  How did the commandment revive sin?  What does he mean when he says, “I died.”?

Babies, born or unborn, are “without the law” because they cannot grasp it.  They are exempt from its provisions, and are therefore without any sin against their account. 

When one is old enough to understand what sin is, that exemption expires, the sin nature is revived and one dies spiritually.

A child that dies physically before it dies spiritually from sin goes directly to heaven.  I have every reason to believe that when we get to heaven there will be a glorious reunion. 

Will the child who was aborted recognize his parents and vice-versa?  Yes.  Will the child hate his parents?  It would seem more than unlikely under the circumstances.

On one hand, the child never experienced life on this earth and all that it has to teach us.  On the other hand, the child never experienced the trials, burdens, pain and suffering that serve as our temporal teachers.

The only ones having trouble with forgiveness with the whole abortion question are the parents – particularly the mother.  Even if they can see how God can forgive them, they cannot forgive themselves.

It is heart-breaking.

Assessment:

The Bible promises that when we get to heaven, God will dry all tears and each of us will receive perfect understanding.  That includes those aborted in the womb.  

Early in the 20th century, Daniel Brink Towner penned the words to the hymn, “Grace That Is Greater Than All Our Sin.”

It begins; “Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!”

Think about that for a second.  Try and get a handle on it.  Understand what it means when we say God’s grace is “greater than all our sin.” 

“My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.” (Psalms 49:3)

What is wisdom? Psalms 111:10 says that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” 

Solomon noted that “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom,” before admonishing us; “and with all thy getting get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7

But how does one make the leap from ‘wisdom’ to ‘understanding’?

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)

“Wisdom and instruction”, applied together, produce knowledge. 

“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.” (Proverbs 2:11)

One can, therefore, express it as a Divine equation: Wisdom + Knowledge = Understanding.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)

‘Wisdom’ is the product of ‘fear’ (or reverence) of the Lord (as expressed in His Word).  Out of His Revealed Word comes ‘knowledge’, which, when applied with ‘wisdom’ gives birth to ‘understanding’. 

Note well that it is ‘understanding’ that the Lord says will KEEP thee.

There are many, many women that have swallowed whole the lie that a fetus is merely a blob of unfeeling tissue, particularly since abortion is most prevalent among young women too young to realize the full consequences of their actions.

And many of the young women who had abortions in the past are no longer innocent school girls, but mature women who have since come to see it in a different light.

The weight of their guilt is crushing, even after they have come to Christ. It is to them, and to those who would judge them, that I want to speak now.

You are NOT guilty.

That guilt is imposed and perpetuated by a Satanically-inspired lie designed to use that guilt to silence greater opposition to continuing the holocaust.  That is one reason that abortion remains legal, despite the fact a majority of Americans oppose it.

Guilt is a powerful motivator for silence.

Deception is what the enemy does.  Forgive is what God does.  He forgives utterly, and completely.  There is no residual guilt to those who have turned their lives over to Jesus.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1st John 1:9)

While abortion is a sin, it is as forgiven as any other sin at the Cross. God forgets it with a perfect forgetfulness. Both the sin, and the guilt, are covered by the Blood of Christ.

Psalms 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.”

The sins of our past were committed by the old creature;

“Therefore if any man [or woman -ed.] be in Christ, he is a new creature: OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY, AND BEHOLD, ALL THINGS BECOME NEW.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)

If a different spiritual creature was responsible, and ‘old things are passed away’, then how can the new creature bear its guilt?

When Jesus said from the Cross, “It is finished” in our English translations, it was translated from the Greek ‘Tetelestai’, literally meaning, ‘paid in full’.

It means exactly that.  Paid in full, due to grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt.  You are theonly one that can’t forgive that sin or let go of the guilt. 

But you are holding it – it isn’t holding you.  You have to let go first.

Hebrews 10:17-18 says of our sins being remitted by His Sacrifice on the Cross;

“And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.”

There is no need for further offering for sin. Jesus did it all, for all time, and, truly, “it is finished.”

“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right Hand of God; From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. FOR BY ONE OFFERING HE HATH PERFECTED THOSE WHO ARE SANCTIFIED.”

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)

And Jesus Christ promised;

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24)

There is NO unforgivable sin, apart from the deliberate choice to reject the free offer of pardon paid for — in full — by Jesus Christ at the Cross. Any who come to the Cross and ask Jesus to forgive them for their sins can be assured that, not only has He forgiven them from their sins and cleansed them from all unrighteousness, but He has also assumed the full measure of guilt associated with it.

So when one is Redeemed, even that sin is washed away, and that guilt is ‘put away’ forever.

“Be merciful, O LORD, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel’s charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them. So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 21:8-9)

Just as abortion is a lie, so is the lifetime of guilt having an abortion often imposes. Guilt is what the enemy trades in. Don’t let the lie steal your victory!

No sin is above another in God’s economy, and Jesus does NOT lie. Rejoice in your victory in Him and forgive yourself, as He has forgiven you.

The enemy wants to keep you in chains of guilt. The Son came to set you free.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on July 18, 2011

Featured Commentary: When Confessing Our Sins ~Alf Cengia

The Prize

The Prize
Vol: 23 Issue: 18 Thursday, May 18, 2017

When somebody dies, it is always an occasion for grief, even among Christians.

I know, I know. When a Christian dies, he goes home to be with the Lord, it is cause for celebration, his suffering is past, and all that.

But I’ve been a Christian for more than half my life, and in that time, many of my loved ones have gone home to be with the Lord. 

I have to admit that I grieved their loss, in each and every case. For some whom I particularly loved, that grief is only diminished, but not gone, even after many years. 

Paul was writing of physical death when he penned; 

“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.” (2nd Thessalonians 4:13) 

Does that mean I am ignorant? Or faithless? I don’t think so. I believe in the certainty of salvation, the literal existence of a loving God and the literal existence of a place called “Heaven.”

My grief isn’t for the person who has gone to be with the Lord. My grief is for my own loss. 

Knowing I will see my loved one in the ‘sweet by and by’ is a source of immense comfort, but it isn’t the same as seeing them now. 

You don’t fully appreciate the measure of comfort offered by the certain knowledge salvation until someone you love dies without that hope. When that hope is absent, the grief is magnified beyond measure. 

Your personal loss is now inconsequential to the complete and permanent loss of the hopeless. Your grief isn’t for yourself, it is truly and tragically for that lost one. 

Your loss is over, his is just beginning. 

We’ve discussed at length in previous briefings what kind of eternity is in store for those who enter eternity without Christ. 

Let’s take a brief look at what the Bible tells us awaits the saved Christian on the other side. 

Is Heaven a Real Place?

“In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2-3)

This is a proof text for the Rapture; Jesus promises that He will come again and receive us personally unto Himself. 

That isn’t the 2nd Coming, where He comes astride a white horse, with ten thousands of His saints, wielding a sword and exacting judgment on a rebellious earth. 

The purpose of this secret ‘coming’ is to take the Church, the Bride of Christ, to the honeymoon mansion prepared for us. 

But note that also that He is speaking of a real place. Heaven is His Father’s house; within which are contained ancillary houses, (mansions) and “if it were not so, I would have told you,” Jesus promises. 

Elsewhere, Jesus teaches: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” (Matthew 6:19-20)

That could only apply to an actual, literal, real physical place.

What Does Heaven Look Like?

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (1st Corinthians 2:9)

Since the Bible says it is beyond our capacity to imagine, those images we are shown are simply that — images. 

John describes it in Revelation 21 and 22, streets of gold, inlaid with precious gems, but I like the picture in Revelation 22:1 of a “pure river of water of life, clear as crystal,” with the Tree of Life growing on its banks, “and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations . . . and there shall be no more curse.” 

Heaven is a place of indescribable beauty, but it appeals to me as a place of perfect peace. 

Do The Saved Go To Heaven Immediately?

Emphatically, yes. 2nd Corinthians 5:8 says: “to be absent from the body,” [is] “to be present with the Lord.” 

Paul wrote to the Philippians: For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.” (1:23)

Man is not ‘a body’, but rather, man has a body. My body is not me, it is my possession. These are my arms, my legs, my eyes, and my hands. 

This is also my keyboard, my monitor and my computer. They are in both cases, my possessions, they are not me.

When I leave this body behind, I leave behind a possession, but that part that is ‘me’ is the eternal part, that which was created in the Image of God. 

But From Body to Disembodied?

There is considerable Scriptural support for the conclusion that we already have some kind of temporary, physical body awaiting us in Heaven — even before the resurrection of the dead in Christ at the Rapture. 

Paul writes to the Corinthians; 

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens . . . . 

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: . . . 

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2nd Corinthians 5:1,6,8)

Paul reveals here that when our bodies die (and are dissolved) there awaits us a “new building of God.”

Since our resurrection bodies are our actual physical earthly remains, reformed in the image of Christ’s Resurrected Body, the ‘building of God not made with hands’ that awaits us in Heaven cannot be one and the same. 

Further, Luke 16 teaches that Lazarus had a finger to dip in cool water, that the rich man had a body to be tortured by the flame, and that the rich man recognized the forms of both Abraham and Lazarus. 

Chronologically, this all took place prior to the death and Resurrection of Christ. 

But they had bodies of some description, notwithstanding. 

If Heaven is a Real, Physical Place, Where is It?

We tend to think of Heaven as ‘up’ and hell as ‘down’ — but the earth is round. 

If, when I die, I go ‘up’ to Heaven, does that mean that a guy in China who dies at that same moment goes ‘down’? 

The idea of Heaven being ‘up’ is derived from the points on a compass. Straight up is ‘north’. 

Christians often refer to the passing of a loved one into Heaven as a ‘promotion.’ Many obituaries announce one’s ‘promotion to Glory’ rather than a death announcement. 

The Psalmist reveals: “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.” (75:6) 

Isaiah recorded the indictment of Lucifer as follows: “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.” (Isaiah 14:13)

Heaven, therefore, is a fixed location in ‘the sides of the north’ from our universe, orienting due north from our North Pole and somewhere north of the highest star. 

Will We Know Each Other?

Undoubtedly. Jesus told the Pharisees; “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.” (Luke 13:28)

Clearly, if they can see A
braham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets, they will also recognize them for who they are. Otherwise, why the weeping and gnashing of teeth?

At the Mount of Transfiguration, both Moses and Elijah were there. Moses and Elijah had never met. (But not only did they know each other, note that they still had the same names.)

The rich man recognized Abraham. Ok, but that’s Abraham! (He also recognized Lazarus)

Paul writes: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1st Corinthians 13:12) 

The Apostle Paul expected to be known when he entered Heaven. So do I. 

Assessment:

Heaven is a real, literal, physical place that will we will inhabit with real, heavenly, physical (but temporary) bodies that we begin to inhabit at the moment our physical bodies are ‘dissolved’ (die). 

According to the Bible, we will know and be known by our loved ones who have preceded us in death. 

Although the literal, physical Heaven is beyond our capacity to imagine, we are assured by our Maker that it will exceed our most optimistic hopes (He should know), that it will be a place of eternal peace, and that our existence there will be one of unimaginable joy. 

The curse will be lifted, man will no longer exist by the ‘sweat of his brow’ there will be no more sickness, no more death, and all our ‘tears will be wiped away.’ 

We began this morning talking about grief and loss. We went on to examine Paul’s admonition that ‘we sorrow not, even as others who have no hope’ — yet we know that we do sorrow at the death of a loved one, blessed assurance notwithstanding. 

But Paul began by saying, “I don’t want you to be ignorant.” 

We can’t imagine Heaven, but we can be certain that it exists, and that every single Christian who ever lived and died is still alive and well and physically in the presence of God and all their loved ones. 

And we can be equally certain that they will still be there, waiting, when we get there. 

If Heaven is such a great place, why is it that we can’t really imagine it? Think that through. God put us on this earth with a mission. 

It is our job to spread the message of Heaven and the path that leads to it. We are given to know just enough to fulfill that message. 

There is an old saying to the effect that “everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.” It’s only true because we really can’t imagine the things that God has prepared for those who love Him. 

That’s how good it is. And how important the message we carry is. So important that God can’t trust us with too much information about the Prize that awaits us at the end of the race. 

Because if we really knew what awaits us, there’d be nobody left down here willing to wait and carry the message to the next runner.

For now, we’ll just have to take His Word for it. On faith. 

Maranatha!

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on January 12, 2008

Featured Commentary: Will Israel Ever Find Peace? ~J.L. Robb

Dualling Covenants

Dualling Covenants
Vol: 23 Issue: 17 Wednesday, May 17, 2017

There is a belief that exists within the Church that argues that because Jews have a special relationship with God, they will be welcomed into Heaven even if they have rejected Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah).

Therefore, the thinking goes, there is no need to evangelize the Jews.  They’ll be saved automatically.  This is known as ‘Dual Covenant’ theology. But is it Biblical? Is it valid?

If not, why is it so popular?  Let’s take the last question, first.  I am a Christian Zionist.  I believe that the Jews of Israel are descended from the Jews of antiquity and that Israel is the Divinely-appointed Jewish homeland.

Christian Zionists love the Jews.  It is painful to think of them as being unsaved because they rejected their Messiah.  Unlike Replacement Theology, which is rooted in jealously and hatred for God’s Chosen People, ‘Dual Covenant’ theology finds it roots in our love for the Jews and our desire to see them saved.

How were Jews saved before the coming of the Messiah?

We know that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. (Romans 4:3Hebrews Chapter 11 addresses the conundrum of salvation for the Jews.  It is a conundrum because we Christians don’t fully comprehend it.

We know that God entered into a special covenant relationship with Israel at Sinai when He gave them the Torah (means teaching / instruction – not LAW).  But how do these covenants, and the additional instructions from God – forming the rest of the Tanakh, work out in the life of the Jew?

God said, “If you will keep all….”  Obey the Torah and all its 316 commandments, you will be right with Me.  Clearly, nobody, Jew or Gentile, is capable of meeting that standard.  The Torah will cause the man of faith to throw himself on God’s mercy for forgiveness.

David was a man after God’s own heart, but he fell well short of Torah standards.  David acknowledged his sin, repented and was forgiven and restored.  The Torah included a system of sacrifices for dealing with sins, but the sacrifice had to be offered in faith that God would accept it as a token of his repentance and forgive him.

The Bible tells us that Abraham, Isaac, David, Joseph, Moses, (and even Rahab the Harlot) were all saved by faith before Messiah came.

Hebrews 11:13 says of the patriarchs:

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”

The OT patriarchs were saved, not by the Abrahamic Covenant, but faith in its eventual fulfillment by the Messiah, Jesus.

The Scriptures say,

“without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Dual Covenant Theology comforts those Christians who love the Jews and can’t bear the thought of their not going to Heaven unless they accept the Messiah.  But for that thinking to work, then there must be two Messiahs — one for the Christians and another for the Jews.

Dual Covenant Theology ignores the fact that Yeshua Hamashiac is, first and foremost, the JEWISH Messiah. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not,” we learn from John 1:11.

Jesus came to the Jews first.  Mark tells the story of the Syrophenician woman who begged Jesus to cast a devil out of her daughter.  Note His reply carefully:

“But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.” (Mark 7:27)

The ‘children’ referred to here were the ‘children of Israel’.  “Dogs” was a slang name among the Jews for ‘Gentile’.

Jesus’ first ministry was to the Jews.

He did NOT teach that the Jews could be saved by trusting in their ability to keep the Law.  He told them, “I am the way, the truth and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by Me.”

Assessment:

Now we run into a major stumbling block.  Did you spot it?  Replacement Theology argues that the Jews have forfeited promises of the First Covenant to the Church.  Dual Covenant Theology argues that the First Covenant has NOT been replaced by the Covenant to the Church.

Replacement theology is wrong.  And so is Dual Covenant.  How do we reconcile these glaring contradictions in Scripture?  By recognizing they cover two separate Dispensations of God.

As we’ve already seen, Hebrews 11:13 says the Patriarchs were saved by faith that God would fulfill His promise of a Redeemer.  During the Age of Grace, we are saved by faith that the Redeemer is come.

Dispensationalism takes into account the unfolding revelation of God.  God exists outside of time and space, but we don’t.  We are bound by chronology.  The Bible ‘dispenses’ revelation progressively throughout history, even as God, at different times in history, dealt differently in his interactions with man.

He walked in the garden with Adam (Age of Innocence).

He allowed Adam’s descendants to conduct themselves according to their own consciences, devoid of further revelation (Age of Conscience).  After the Flood came the age of Human Government.

Abraham’s covenant with God was yet a new progressive revelation (Age of Promise).

But man was not accountable for violating Divine Law until God’s revelation of the Ten Commandments (Age of the Law).  That revelation was truly progressive, in that the longer man had to try, the more obvious it became that it was impossible to keep the whole law.

In keeping with His covenant with Abraham, God provided for a temporary system of sacrifice whereby the blood of bulls and rams would serve as an imperfect covering for the sins of the children of Israel until the advent of the Messiah.

The Prophet Daniel outlined the future history of Israel from the restoration of the Temple sacrifice system following the Babylonian exile until the coming of the Messiah to a period of 490 years, divided into seventy ‘weeks’ of years.

From the issuance of the order to rebuild the Temple by King Artexerxes in 445 BC until the coming of the Messiah, Daniel predicted, would be a period of 69 weeks, or 483 years.  Fast forward the requisite number of years and you come to the third decade of the first century.

Daniel says at the conclusion of the 69th week shall the Messiah be cut off (killed) but not for Himself (for the sins of His people).  The seventieth Week is put on hold to allow for the next Dispensation (Age of Grace) to move forward.  The Age of Grace is the New Covenant which was offered at the Last Supper.

Yet there remains one more unfulfilled week of the Law.  The Prophet Daniel says that a prince of the people who destroyed the Temple (the Romans in AD 70) would confirm a covenant with Israel that will result in the restoration of Temple worship and animal sacrifice on Temple Mount.

“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:26)

The Age of Grace concludes before the 70th Week because they represent two different Dispensations of God.

During the Tribulation, the antichrist desecrates the Temple. Jesus called it ‘the abomination of desolation.’  That raises an interesting question.  If the Tribulation Temple is not legitimate in the eyes of God, how could it be desecrated in the eyes of God?  It is Jesus Christ who links the antichrist’s presence in the Temple with the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel. He ought to know.

Paul describes this coming abomination more thoroughly:

“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, shewing himself that he is God.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:4)

Paul does not describe it as the Tribulation Temple, or the antichrist’s Temple.  He calls it the Temple of God.  Paul was an Apostle of Christ.  Once again, he ought to know.

None of this is possible during the Dispensation of Grace.  During the Age of Grace, those indwelt by the Holy Spirit are ‘the temple of God’.

But Daniel says Temple priests will resume Temple worship, including sacrifices and oblations to God.  The Third Temple will be desecrated, says Jesus.  Paul says it is, at that time, the Temple of God.

Jeremiah refers to Daniel’s 70th Week as the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble”.  Jesus warns those living in Judea that when it comes, “pray it not be on the Sabbath”.

All of this body of evidence taken together suggests that the Tribulation is, as Jeremiah indicates, the time of Jacob’s Trouble, not the Church’s.

There are TWO covenants, and God has not abandoned the First Covenant in favor of the Second.  If He had, Replacement Theology would be valid.  Where Dual Covenant theology is wrong in that it assumes both covenant agreements operate simultaneously.

The Church exists under the New Covenant, or Age of Grace, which is concluded at the Rapture.  The indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit is withdrawn, and with Him, the Temple that He occupied.  That leaves nobody on the earth except the Christ-rejecting Gentiles and the Jews who remain in unbelief.

Jeremiah, Zechariah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Paul all clearly state that the Tribulation results in the national redemption of Israel.

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:10)

Daniel clearly says that God’s covenant with Israel has one more week.  All Jesus’ comments and warnings about the Tribulation are addressed to Sabbath-keeping Jews.  Jesus declares the Third Temple will be desecrated by the antichrist.  Paul describes how, and in so doing, identifies it as “the Temple of God”.  Daniel says that at the time when this abomination of desolation takes place, Jewish priests will once again be offering animal sacrifices.

Remove Dispensationalism from the equation, and Dual Covenant and Replacement theology are either both wrong, or they are both right, while simultaneously contradiction one another.  Introduce the Church into the Tribulation Period without first concluding the Age of Grace at the Rapture muddies the picture still more.

Restore pre-trib Dispensationalism and Scripture is in harmony with itself.  We’re not yet in the Tribulation because the Lord, in His mercy, has not yet concluded the Age of Grace.

Not yet.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on April 28, 2009

Featured Commentary: A Prodigal People ~Wendy Wippel

Are You Still Coming?

Are You Still Coming?
Vol: 23 Issue: 16 Tuesday, May 16, 2017

”Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2nd Peter 3:3-4)

Peter makes a couple of points up front.  The first is that this is a prophecy directed to those living in the last days.  The second is they are ‘walking after their own lusts.’

What does ‘walking after their own lusts’ mean in this context?  Have you ever thought to yourself, (either seriously or not) “I hope that the Rapture will hold off until . . . “.

The reasons can be legion: “Until I get married.  Until my baby’s born.  Until I get that new promotion.  Until I see my first grandchild.  Until I retire.

Then, as the reality of your own mortality really sinks in, it becomes “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” And suddenly, you’re not walking after your own lusts anymore.  And you’re pretty proud of yourself.

(I’ve noticed that as the years pile up, I don’t walk after nearly as many lusts as I used to.  The sin nature is willing, but the flesh is weak.  It’s not exactly virtue, but more a case that the closer I get to Heaven, the more practice the Lord thinks I need before I get there.)

From time to time, along comes some event or happening around which Bible prophecy watchers close ranks announcing, “This is it! He’s coming soon!”

When the end doesn’t come on schedule, they are discouraged.  And worse, those with whom they shared their insights are now confirmed scoffers.  Not to mention the disappointment of the believer himself, especially a new believer.

All that can be damaging beyond our capacity to comprehend.

Who are the scoffers that Peter is talking about?  Most of us assume they are unbelievers and that this verse is talking about how hardened people will become to the Gospel in the last days.

If one reads it carefully, however, one realizes that Peter is talking to believers damaged by somebody misdirecting their faith away from Jesus and into believing in some personal interpretation of prophecy.

We’ve discussed in back in 2009 the teaching that we’ve already entered the Tribulation Period and that Javier Solana is the antichrist.  Except that Solana’s due to retire in October, coincidentally, JUST in time for the Rapture.

Every year at Rosh Hashana, (usually late September or early October) somebody announced they have cracked the mystery of the exact date of the Rapture than that it will either be the last day of the Feast of Trumpets or, alternatively, on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

These are usually accompanied by complicated calculations of days and weeks divided by months starting from some significant starting point – most recently, the 1967 capture of Jerusalem.

Nobody else can decipher the calculations, but the argument is so compelling that nobody bothers.  Here is the logic.

“Every one of the major miracles in the life of Jesus corresponded to a major Jewish feast day. The only two feast days for which there is not a corresponding major miracle are Rosh Hashana – the Feast of the Trumpets – and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.”

This makes PERFECT sense to me.  The Rapture begins with the blowing of the “last trumpet.”

“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.” (1st Corinthians 15:52)

And Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement.  Jesus died to atone for my sins and on the Day of the Rapture, I will be caught up with Him, completing my atonement process!  It is an entirely logical assumption.  It is extremely compelling.  Heck, it might even be right.

Except it isn’t.  Every year, both days go by and we’re still here.  We didn’t go last time around.  Probably won’t go this time around.  And it is just as likely that when we DO go, it will be Good Friday, Easter — or maybe Labor Day.

Religion is bound up in calendars.  If we’re going to put our faith in a calendar date, it would be helpful to know which calendar God uses.

Does God follow the Jewish calendar?  Then today is 22 Iyar, 5773.  Does He follow the Gregorian calendar like we do?  Then today is May 2, 2013. If God follows the Julian calendar, then today is April 19, 2013.

Other choices include the Islamic calendar, the Coptic calendar, the Chinese calendar, the Ethiopic, the Persian, Mayan, French . . . what about the digital ISO calendar?  God invented DNA.  Maybe He works off computer time.

But that’s not the way people are wired to think.  It is ENTIRELY natural for Americans to think of God as an American.  From there, it isn’t that far a stretch to assume He thinks like they do.

Then when He fails to conform to the image in which people have reconstructed Him, they become scoffers.  Who are the scoffers?  They aren’t skeptics, or atheists.

Read Peter’s assessment again. He tells you not only who they are, but WHY they became scoffers.

“And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Peter 3:4)

They are believers who got burned by bad doctrine.

Assessment:

As students of Bible prophecy, we have an awesome responsibility before God because we KNOW what the scoffers don’t.

Bible prophecy is both the proof of God’s existence and the assurance we have of our salvation.

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” (2 Peter 1:19)

The same Voice that proclaimed,

“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

He also proclaimed,

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)

Bible prophecy is not gloom and doom, but is instead hope and a blessed assurance.  It is proof positive that God remains on His Throne and that He WILL do all that He has promised.

Believers are instructed to await the return of the Lord for His Church, but our emphasis is supposed to be on Who is coming, not when.  If the predicted date of the Rapture takes place on schedule, the timing is irrelevant, since the Church Age is over.

If it doesn’t take place on schedule, the predicted date is only relevant in that it provides the skeptics with more ammunition to discredit both the Message and the messenger.

In many cases, when the date comes and goes without incident, it just means readjusting the Rapture from pre-Trib to pre-Wrath to make it relevant again.

1 Thessalonians 1:10 admonishes us; . . .

“to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”

We are to be waiting for the Deliverer from wrath, not the wrath itself.

To the lost the Lord will come unexpectedly like a thief.  But to believers who are expecting Him and do not sleep, Christ will not come “as a thief.”

This does NOT mean that we are prepared because we KNOW the date of His return, rather, we are not surprised because we are EXPECTING an IMMINENT Rapture.

It is the job of the Church to prepare the world for the coming of Christ, not to warn the world of His exact itinerary.

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2nd Peter 1:20-21)

We’re to be witnesses.  Not storytellers.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on July 18, 2009