They That Wait Upon The Lord. . .

They That Wait Upon The Lord. . .
Vol: 27 Issue: 30 Saturday, September 30, 2017

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

The word translated as “wait” in this verse is qavah, a root word with a number of different meanings.  As a root word, it literally means ‘to bind together’ in the sense of collecting, or twisting together.    

Figuratively, it is used in the same sense as our literal understanding of the English word, ‘wait’ , but the use of the word qavah adds two new dimensions, one in the sense of being “gathered together” and the second  in the sense of collectively looking for, or waiting upon, something or someone, in this case, the Lord.

The traditional understanding of this verse is its literal, historical context, which is that of an exhortation to the children of Israel suffering a long and miserable captivity in Babylon. 

The Kingdom of Israel had been destroyed by Sargon the Assyrian a generation before, and there was little reason to believe the Kingdom of Judah would fare any better.  As the years dragged by, the captives lost all hope of deliverance. 

The Prophet Isaiah exhorted them with words of comfort and hope:

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:1-3)

The Prophet goes on, offering comforting visions of future prosperity, mixed with promises of a Deliverer . . .  yet the people remained in bondage.  Isaiah closes with the exhortation about “waiting upon the Lord”  . . . yet the people remained in bondage.

In the Big Picture, Isaiah’s vision spans the scope of history, from the Captivity through to the Diaspora, the Holocaust, and finally, the restoration process that began with its political revival in 1948 and will conclude with Israel’s national salvation at the conclusion of the Tribulation Period.

But it is also something of a metaphor for the Church in the last days.  The Prophet Jeremiah prophesied Judah would serve Babylon for seventy years.  So when the seventy years were over, all the Jews could expect to go home.  

(If only they knew for sure when the seventy year time-clock started.  Was it from the beginning of the siege in 597?  From the date of the Destruction of the Temple in 586?)   

And if one examines Jeremiah 25:9-12 closely, Jeremiah never said the captivity would last seventy years — he said the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years .  This is confirmed by the Prophet Daniel:

“In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” (Daniel 9:2)

But is only with the benefit of hindsight that we can see clearly that the seventy year time frame spanned the period of the Temple’s Desolation.

The Temple, and Jerusalem, were destroyed in 586 BC by the Babylonians.  The Temple, which was rebuilt, was consecrated in 516 BC, exactly 70 years after its destruction.

But if you were a Jewish captive serving your Babylonian masters, until it was history, you might as well be trying to guess the date of the Rapture.

Assessment:

“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)

In a sense, that’s where we are on the prophetic time clock today.  Somewhere between the Temple Desolation Periods.  The Temple was desolated in AD 70.  The Bible predicts that at some point at or near the start of the Tribulation Period, the Third Temple will be rebuilt.

The Prophet Daniel predicted that the antichrist,  — a prince of the people who destroyed it in AD 70, will confirm a covenant that will permit the Jews to rebuild the Temple and restore the Temple worship and sacrifice system.

“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 9:27)

So, Israel was restored politically in May, 1948 which is just over sixty-four years ago.  For the first time in 2520 years, Israel was again in control of her own destiny.  So, is this event thetimeclock?  It hasn’t been seventy years yet, but it is close. 

Jesus prophesied that Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.  Did that event trigger the timeclock?

Jerusalem was recaptured in June, 1967.  And here we are, forty-seven years later, still arguing about whether Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Israel, or of the non-existent state of Palestine.

Like the Babylonian captives, we won’t know exactly what event started the timeclock until afterwards.  Like them, we look around for signs that will give us hope that our deliverance is near.  

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 Hashanah – the Feast of the Trumpets – and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

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.

So we fixate on this sign, or that, while guys like Harold Camping give guys like Bill Maher all the material necessary to discourage guys like you and me.

And, as each period passes, more scoffers come out.  Go back to 2 Peter 3 and read Peter’s assessment of the scoffers in full — and see if you can identify them from his description.  

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.”

The scoffers know of the Promise.  It isn’t guys like Bill Maher that Peter is talking about.  The scoffers are believers who got burned by bad doctrine.  They got tired of waiting for the Lord and started looking for teachers offering shortcuts that ultimately didn’t pan out.  

As students of Bible prophecy, we have an awesome responsibility before God.  We’re to be witnesses.  Not storytellers.

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)

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 instead offers 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. 

But it is NOT a parlour game to be used to impress people at parties or to divine the future.  There must be a million websites devoted to identifying the antichrist (and selling you provisions to escape the coming wrath.)

Believers are instructed to await the return of the Lord for His Church, not the coming of the antichrist.  Signs that the world is preparing for the antichrist are really signs the Lord is preparing to come for His Church first.

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 instructed to wait 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, the Bible says that 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 try and figure out His exact itinerary.

Guys like Bill Maher are rich enough already.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on  July 3, 2012

A Man after God’s Own Heart

A Man after God’s Own Heart
Vol: 27 Issue: 29 Friday, September 29, 2017

In Paul’s sermon at Antioch, in which he briefly recounts the history of Israel, he refers to the statement made by God concerning David:

“I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own Heart, who will do all My will.” – (Acts 13:22 [cf. 1 Samuel 13:13-14])

It is especially interesting, given the fact that David is among the patriarchs with the most checkered past.

The portrait of King David painted by Scripture is hardly the picture of what one might consider ‘a man after God’s own heart’.

At various times during his lifetime, he was deceitful and corrupt, a widely despised tyrant who lacked for justice, and a murderer. From the slaughter of seven sons of Saul to the murder of one of his most loyal lieutenants, whose wife he seduced, David was no paragon of virtue.

What was there about David that caused God to extend such a sweeping compliment as to pronounce him a man after His own Heart? David understood his relationship with God like few others in Biblical history.

After committing adultery with Bathsheba and then having her husband, Uriah killed, the prophet Nathan stood before King David and accused him before God.

“And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.

The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.

And there came a traveler unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.

And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.

“And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man.” (2nd Samuel 12:1-7)

Note that Samuel carefully records that “the Lord sent Nathan unto David” to convict him of his sin. In his prayer of contrition in Psalm 51, David reveals much of what it was that caused God to pronounce him a ‘man after His own heart.’

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” (Psalms 51:1)

David understood that his relationship with God was ‘according to His lovingkindness’ and not according to David’s definition of what God should do. He also understood that his sin, as horrendous as it was, could be blotted out, not by some act of David’s, but solely due to the ‘multitude of God’s tender mercies’.

David appeals;

“Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.” (v.2.3)

David knew that God knew what his sins were, but the important point was that DAVID knew what his sins were, and the importance of honest confession before God.

David understood also that his sin was against God, that it was deliberate, and that the reason his sin haunted him was because of its offense before God. David understood that, since it was a sin against God, only an act of God could blot it out. Nothing David could do to make restitution would ever be sufficient.

“Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest.” (v.4)

David understood that there was no ‘wiggle room’ before the Lord and that God’s justice is as absolute as His mercy.

But David was also a realist;

“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

David understood the dual nature of fallen humanity, that which caused the Apostle Paul to cry out,

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24)

Paul explained,

“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” (Romans 7:14-15)

Having expressed his frustration with his own struggle with his dual nature, Paul summarized that which David understood, saying,

“So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25)

David prayed,

“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” (Psalm 51:6)

Assessment:

God’s truth is that nothing we can do by our own effort will ever make restitution for our past sins. Each of us shares the same conflict between the carnal nature and the spirit.

Paul’s equation of the sin nature to ‘the body of this death’ refers to a particularly brutal form of execution sometimes practice under the Romans. The condemned would be chained to a corpse, and food and water withheld until the condemned either died or resorted to cannibalism.

That is how Paul viewed the cohabitation of the spirit with the sin nature of the flesh.

David trusted God to lead him, even when he was out of fellowship, having faith that ‘in the hidden part’ — in his spirit, God would ‘make him to know wisdom’.

David’s understanding of the grace of God as expressed in his prayer in large part, fits with God’s description of him as being a man after His own Heart.

It was this understanding of unmerited grace that formed the centerpiece of the ministry of Jesus. One of the Lord’s earthly titles is the “Son of David.”

David expresses his understanding of how the process of forgiveness operates in God’s economy.

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (v. 7-10)

Note the role David plays in his redemption. Admit, confess, repent and trust. To ‘repent’ means to change one’s mind about sin. David saw himself as King of Israel, and therefore, whatever he did was above reproach.

David sat on his throne, and passed judgment on the wicked rich man of whom Nathan spoke. Until he realized Nathan was speaking about HIM, at which point he changed his mind about his sin and laid himself bare before the Lord.

All the rest of the redemptive process David placed in the Hands of God. ‘Purge me, wash me, forgive me, bless me and renew me.’

Even his sense of conviction came through a direct message from God through Nathan, just as we are directly convicted by God through His indwelling Holy Spirit.

David’s only role in his redemption was to trust in God to make the changes that David knew he could not effect himself.

David accepted the earthly consequences of his sin, such as the death of his son, but with the clear understanding that the spiritual consequences of his sin were forgiven.

“While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?

But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I SHALL GO TO HIM, but he shall not return to me.” (2nd Samuel 12:22-23)

What made David a man after God’s own heart was his understanding of the consequences of being out of fellowship with God, and how to get back into right fellowship with God.

Ask Him.

“Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit.” It is the joy of knowing one is saved and in fellowship with the Lord that shines through and attracts the lost.

Having been spiritually restored, notes David;

“THEN will I teach transgressors Thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.”(v. 11-12)

Often, I read in the forums of members lamenting their ineffectiveness for Christ and wondering what it is they are doing wrong. Spend a few minutes meditating on these two verses with me.

GOD restores our joy, GOD then subsequently upholds us with His Spirit. THEN we find ourselves effective witnesses, teaching people His ways, and leading the lost to Christ.

It is deceptively simple. Trust God. Be joyful. Allow Him to lead you and not the other way around.

David makes it clear that the redemptive process is in God’s Hands, understanding grace so well that he could see past the Temple rituals of the Mosaic Law and peer into God’s Heart, saying,

“For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (v. 51:16-17)

One of the most debilitating emotions to one’s Christian witness is the weight of the guilt we heap on ourselves for being what we KNOW we are in our own ‘inward parts’.

David understood, in his spirit, that God’s forgiveness is total and absolute, and leaves no spiritual residue of guilt. At the Cross, the Son of David cried out in a loud voice, ‘Tetelestai!’ which means, ‘paid in full’.

Jesus promised,

“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on August 27, 2005

Featured Commentary: Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign ~Alf Cengia

And If The Dead Rise Not. . .

And If The Dead Rise Not. . .
Vol: 27 Issue: 28 Thursday, September 28, 2017

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1st Corinthians 15:51-53)

Throughout the New Testament, the word translated as ‘mystery’ comes from the Greek‘musterion’ which literally means ‘secret’ or ‘hidden thing’. In our modern English, however, ‘mystery’ is understood in the Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmesian sense of the word.

Paul’s use of the word ‘mystery’ when describing the Rapture in 1 Corinthians 15:53 means a truth that had not yet been revealed.

Paul cannot be referring to the Second Coming of Christ; His return at the end of the Tribulation is one of the oldest prophecies recorded in Scripture.

Daniel 12:1-3Zechariah 12:1014:4 all mention the 2nd Coming, and Jude quotes Enoch, the “seventh from Adam” who “prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints.” (Jude 1:14)

The Rapture, therefore, is a previously unrevealed secret, a ‘hidden thing’ of God previously unknown to men.

As the end of this present Age approaches, there are many Christians who are beginning to wonder if we might already be in the Tribulation now.

We aren’t.

Assessment:

There are lots and lots of folks who think I am ‘way out there’ for adhering to a pre-Tribulationist doctrine. (I know this to be true, also, because I get emails from them every time I comment on the Rapture, saying, “Kinsella, you’re way out there!”)

They’ll go on smugly (and endlessly), playing word games like “the word ‘Rapture’ isn’t even in the Bible’ — as if that meant something.

(Try and find the word ‘Bible’ in the Bible. Does its absence from the Scriptures mean there is no Bible?)

Or babble mindlessly about Margarent MacDonald and C.I. Schofield, before pronouncing Dispensationalism and a pre-Trib Rapture a modern-day ‘invented’ doctrine.

I say ‘mindlessly’ because they don’t know what they are talking about — they are just quoting somebody else’s research as if it were the Gospel itself.

We have dealt with the Margaret MacDonald argument in previous Omega Letter reports, so we won’t address that particular ‘controversy’ here, other than to note that the Apostle Paul wrote of the Rapture 1800 years before Margaret MacDonald.

Instead of building the argument based on what the Bible doesn’t say about the Rapture, it is helpful to take a good close look at what it DOES tell us about the Rapture.

First, notice that the Rapture involves the movement of believers from the earth to Heaven:

“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

The ‘dead in Christ’ rise first, those believers who are ‘alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds. The operative word here is ‘rise’.

On the other hand, at the Second Coming, the Lord returns WITH His saints;

“To the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” (1st Thessalonians 3:13)

So the Rapture is not the same event as the Second Coming.

And things that are different are NOT the same.  What would be the point of Rapturing the Church then, anyway? The Lord returns to establish His kingdom on earth, so why pull out all the Christians?

Who is He gonna rule?

“And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And He shall set the sheep on His right Hand, but the goats on the left.” (Matthew 25:32-33)

If all the believers are raptured at the Second Coming, that would also include the Tribulation saints. Where would the believers in mortal bodies come from, if they are raptured at the Second Coming?

Who would be able to enter into Christ’s Kingdom? Enquiring minds want to know.

Then there is Daniel’s 70 weeks. The Church was absent for the first sixty-nine weeks — the countdown was suspended at the Cross so the Church could be born.

Daniel makes it clear that all 70 weeks are determined upon Israel.

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Revelation 19:7-8)

If the Bride is made ready to accompany Christ to the earth at the Second Coming, (while part of the bride is still on earth during the Tribulation) then how does the Bride (the Church) also come with Christ at His Return?

There is the example of Enoch: “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24) Not only does Enoch prefigure the Rapture, note that Enoch’s Rapture waspre-Flood,  and not mid-Flood or post-Flood.

The Scriptures are plain, clear and concise on the topic of a pre-Tribulation Rapture — provided one interprets the Bible literally, instead of figuratively or symbolically.

While no man knows the day or the hour of the Rapture, the Second Coming can be accurately predicted, since Daniel tells us He returns exactly 1,290 days after the antichrist;

“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)

“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” (Daniel 12:11)

The pre-Tribulation Rapture is often called the “Blessed Hope” by those who look for His return before the Tribulation begins. Those who believe the Church will go through the Tribulation sneeringly call it the ‘Great Escape’.

Don’t let anybody steal away your Blessed Hope:

“For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised,your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1st Corinthians 15:16-19)

The Rapture happens before the Tribulation, which means that He is coming for us soon! Call it the Blessed Hope or the Great Escape, He IS coming.

And given the current state of global affairs, it  can’t be too much longer until we hear that trumpet.

Maranatha!

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on February 13, 2010

Featured Commentary: Mulligans ~J.L. Robb

The Judgments and the Crowns

The Judgments and the Crowns
Vol: 27 Issue: 27 Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Judgment is a central theme throughout Scripture; the Old Testament is filled with accounts of judgment.

The judgment on Adam and Eve, the Flood judgment, the judgment against the Unfaithful Generation during the Exodus, Sodom and Gomorrah, the various judgments against Israel, the Ultimate Judgment at Calvary, just to name a few.

Some in this generation will face the 21 judgments outlined in the Book of Revelation during the Tribulation Period. 

The writer of Hebrews tells us, “. . .it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)

There are five individual judgments identified in Scripture, that differ in five general aspects; the subjects, the time, the place, the basis and the result. 

There are two judgments for believers.  The subjects of the first judgment are sinners.  The time of this judgment was roughly AD 33.  The place was Calvary.

The basis for the judgment was the finished Work of Christ.  And the result was justification for the believer. 

This first judgment is in three parts; as a sinner, as a son, and as a servant. 

The ‘sin’ question is settled at the Cross.  The ‘son’ question is an ongoing series of personal judgments that the Bible calls ‘chastisement’. 

When a believer steps outside God’s permissive will, it brings about judgments designed to bring that believer back into line.

“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:7-8)

Then there is our judgment as servants, which leads us to the Judgment Seat of Christ, or the Bema Seat.

The subjects are believers.  The time is after the Rapture.  The place is the Bema Seat.  The basis for judgment is works.  The result is reward — or loss of reward.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2nd Corinthians 5:10)

Those who stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ are not there to be judged worthy of entry into heaven. That question was settled at the Cross. 

This judgment will be for our works as servants. At the Bema Seat;

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” (1st Corinthians 3:13)

Think about that for a moment!  Everything you ever did will be analyzed and scrutinized openly by the Lord Jesus Christ.  Every good thing. . . and every bad thing.  We’ll be called on to give account of every word, every deed, every thought. 

For most believers, the Judgment Seat of Christ will be an excruciating experience. “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men . . .” Paul wrote. 

But, the result of the Bema Seat judgment isn’t to determine if you will enter heaven — that isalready assured.  The result is reward.  That is where a believer’s works come into play.  Rewards.  Or loss of them.

“If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1st Corinthians 3:14-15)

There are five possible rewards, or “crowns” that believers can earn for their works at the Bema Seat. 

The Crown of Life.  This is the Martyr’s Crown.  You get this one the hard way; “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)

The Crown of Glory.  This the the ‘Pastor’s Crown’ given by the Chief Shepherd when He shall appear to those who serve;

“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” (1st Peter 5:2-3)

I readily admit that I am working to earn this crown.  Salvation is a gift of grace through faith, and that not of yourselves — crowns you have to work for.

“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (1st Peter 5:4)

The Crown of Rejoicing.  This is the Soul-winners crown.  Those brought to Jesus by us will be our “crown of rejoicing” at His Coming.

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?” (1st Thessalonians 2:19)

The Crown of Righteousness.  This is the crown earned by the Watchmen on the Wall who give the warning of His soon appearing.

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” (2nd Timothy 4:8)

The Incorruptible Crown.  This is a tough one to earn.  This is the “Victor’s” Crown, which is set aside for those who master temperance in this lifetime. 

Those who don’t yield to the lusts of the flesh, saturate themselves with alcohol and drugs, and keep themselves separate from the world can expect to be rewarded with the Incorruptible Crown. 

The Judgment Seat of Christ takes place concurrently with the Third Judgment identified by Scripture taking place on earth.

In this third judgment, the primary subjects are the Jews.  The place is Jerusalem.  The time is called the ‘Time of Jacob’s Trouble’ or, the Tribulation Period. 

“Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.”  (Jeremiah 30:7)

The basis for this judgment is Israel’s continued rejection of the Messiah, and the end result is the national redemption of Israel. 

The fourth judgment identified in Scripture also takes place during the Tribulation.  The subjects are the Gentile nations.  The place is the Valley of Jehoshaphat.  The basis for this judgment will be their treatment of the Jews.

“And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth His sheep from the goats.” (Matthew 25:32)

The nations will be divided into the “Sheep nations” and the “Goat nations”.  The result is the Sheep nations will be permitted to enter into the Millennial Kingdom.  The “Goat nations” will be destroyed. 

This judgment takes place at the conclusion of the Tribulation Period. 

The fifth and final judgment identified in Scripture is the Great White Throne Judgment.  It will take place at the close of the Millennium a 1000 years after the judgment of the Nations, and before the “Great White Throne.” 

All the righteous (saved) dead arose at the First Resurrection, or the Rapture. 

Those who are saved and die between the First Resurrection and the Second Resurrection, (like the Tribulation and Millennial Kingdom saints), must rise with the wicked at the Second Resurrection. 

The words; “Whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life” imply there will be some saved who will be present at the Great White Throne.  So possibly there will be some whose names will be found in the Book of Life, but they are post-Church Age believers. 

I want you to notice something.  This entire outline only works if the Rapture takes place beforethe Tribulation.  If the Church is on the earth during the Tribulation Period, the entire outline falls apart.

BUT — and this is the important part — this is the only outline there is!  There is only one Bible from which to work, and it doesn’t give an alternative scenario.  

It is the key to understanding the outline of Bible prophecy as it unfolds before this generation. 

The Bible identifies five judgments and five crowns.  The judgments are as I’ve outlined them, by those who are subject to them, when, where, why, and how. 

I’ve supplied chapter and verse.  Go back and review it all.  It’s the only outline there is.  And for it to work, the Church must be Raptured before the Tribulation begins. 

If not, we have the Church on the earth during the judgment of Israel, and not in the air for the Believer’s Judgment, and, in some views, on the earth during the division of the Sheep and Goat nations. 

Jesus sets up His Millennial Kingdom at the close of the Tribulation Period.  Before that comes four of the five judgments, all of which He presides over as the Righteous Judge. 

When the judgments of the Tribulation are over, all that remain are the sheep nations and the Jews.  Who is there left to Rapture?

The Rapture is the First Resurrection that predicates the Judgment Seat of Christ.  As the Church is judged at the Bema Seat, the twenty-one Tribulation judgments are executed on the world.

They are different judgments, as to subject, basis, place and result, but within the same general frame of time called the Day of the Lord or the Day of Christ.

It is all interconnected — and indivisible from the Big Picture.

The outline of Bible prophecy is deep and complex, and each part is interdependent on all the others in order to complete the Big Picture. 

It isn’t about being right. It’s about understanding the times in which we live, so that we can fulfill the commission given us.

“. . .sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1st Peter 3:15)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on July 8, 2010

Featured Commentary: Through the Desert on a Force with No Name ~Wendy Wippel

Dueling Mythologies

Dueling Mythologies
Vol: 27 Issue: 26 Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A nine-page essay published in TIME Magazine took pains to explain, scientifically, why Karl Marx was right when he opined, “Religion is the opiate of the masses.”

Or, to lift a quote from the article quoting Yale psychologist Paul Bloom, “Religion and science will always clash.” 

Notes TIME ‘objectively’, “The market seems flooded with books by scientists describing a caged death match between science and God–with science winning, or at least chipping away at faith’s underlying verities.”

Before moving on, let me observe that, while the TIME article uses the generic term ‘religion’ — it isn’t ‘religion’ that the essay aims to discredit. It is American Christianity that is in TIME’s gunsights. 

Although it attempts to argue that it is ‘religion’ that is at odds with science, the only doctrines the essay attacks are Christian doctrines. And lest anybody mistakenly assume it is an ‘objective’ debate, the essayist immediately puts that idea to rest in his preamble.

“Can religion stand up to the progress of science? This debate long predates Darwin, but the anti-religion position is being promoted with increasing insistence by scientists angered by intelligent design and excited, perhaps intoxicated, by their disciplines’ increasing ability to map, quantify and change the nature of human experience.” 

“Brain imaging illustrates–in color!–the physical seat of the will and the passions, challenging the religious concept of a soul independent of glands and gristle. Brain chemists track imbalances that could account for the ecstatic states of visionary saints or, some suggest, of Jesus.” (See? Jesus is really a chemical imbalance in your head.)

“Something called the multiverse hypothesis in cosmology speculates that ours may be but one in a cascade of universes, suddenly bettering the odds that life could have cropped up here accidentally, without divine intervention. (If the probabilities were 1 in a billion, and you’ve got 300 billion universes, why not?)” 

Why not, indeed? When you get to make up the numbers yourself, you can prove anything. 

The TIME essayist cites several books that TIME describes as “riding the crest of an atheist literary wave.” One, entitled “The End of Faith’, TIME notes triumphantly, has “over 400,000 copies in print.” 

(That’s a ‘literary wave’? Hal Lindsey’s Late, Great Planet Earth sold 35 million copies. Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind” Series sold millions — per installment. THAT is a ‘literary wave.’ 400,000 copies is not)

TIME notes that the ‘atheist literary wave’ is met by “a swarm of articulate theological opponents,” but, says TIME, “the most ardent of these don’t really care very much about science . . ” 

But of course! How could any country bumpkin simple-minded enough to believe in God have any grasp of science? 

Assessment:

The hero of the TIME essay, noted scientist and atheist apologist Dr. Richard Dawkins, told TIME that;

“The question of whether there exists a supernatural creator, a God, is one of the most important that we have to answer. I think that it is a scientific question. My answer is no.” 

Hmmm. Calling the existence of God a ‘scientific question’ presupposes that there could be a scientific method for determining the answer. Generally speaking, to be accepted science, something must be observable, measurable and reproducible under ideal laboratory conditions. 

There is no way to observe God. There is no way to measure God. There is certainly no way to reproduce, or even fathom, the characteristics or nature of God in a laboratory experience. 

BUT — there is no way to observe evolution, either. There is no way to measure evolution to any discernible scientific standard. Those estimates offered by science differ by BILLIONS of years. 

Nobody has reproduced evolution in a laboratory, since nobody has figured out a way to compress billions of years into an observable time frame. 

But that bothered neither TIME nor featured ‘expert’ Dr. Dawkins, who cheerfully admitted evolution was as unprovable as God. 

“For centuries the most powerful argument for God’s existence from the physical world was the so-called argument from design: Living things are so beautiful and elegant and so apparently purposeful, they could only have been made by an intelligent designer,” Dawkins sneered. 

Then he offered his scientific argument:

“But Darwin provided a simpler explanation. His way is a gradual, incremental improvement starting from very simple beginnings and working up step by tiny incremental step to more complexity, more elegance, more adaptive perfection.” 

THAT is a simpler explanation than that of an intelligent Designer? The Tornado in a Junk Yard Theory? 

Take DNA, for example. It ‘evolved’ by accident, somehow, into a bio-computer so elegant that it can be adapted for use AS a computer. 

By this point in the interview, both TIME and Dawkins have dropped any pretense that the discussion was about ‘religion’, saying, “The chance of its being a particular God, Yahweh, the God of Jesus, is vanishingly small. . . ” 

According to Dr. Dawkins, the open-minded scientist, those who think otherwise ought not “to be given the time of day,” dismissing Christians by saying, “Why bother with these clowns?” 

Why indeed? Dr. Dawkins is in search of provable ‘knowledge’ like the theory of evolution. And if believing in evolution means chucking out the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which is provable, measurable and reproducible in a laboratory, then so be it. 

Laughably, later in the interview, Dawkins remarked indignantly, “My mind is not closed.”

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, one of the immutable laws of physics, says that ALL things break down with time. Evolution argues that is only true until you add an unknowable, unprovable and unmeasurable billions of years. 

Then the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics magically reverses itself without explanation. 

According to TIME and Dr. Dawkins, THAT is science. That biological microcomputers like DNA could possibly be the product of design is dismissed out of hand as ‘unscientific’. 

It is like arguing that my IMac is the product of intelligent design, but DNA, a computer so complex no human being or group of human beings could reproduce anything remotely as elegant, is purely coincidental. 

The essay in question was published in the form of a debate between Dr. Richard Dawkins, and Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the National Genome Research Institute. 

Although Dr. Collins is one of the guys who first mapped the human genome, it was striking how condescending both Dawkins and the TIME essayist were in their questions to him — almost as if he were an idiot savant. 

Dr. Collins, TIME warned early in the interview, is a “forthright Christian who converted from atheism at age 27.” 

It was presented almost as a disclaimer, as if his being a ‘forthright Christian’ meant his scientific opinions were biased, whereas Dr. Dawkins was presented as a “scientist and more recently as an explicator of evolutionary psychology so lucid that he occupies the Charles Simonyi professorship for the public understanding of science at Oxford University.”

I read the entire nine-page essay — twice — and could find little in the way of scientific argument. Dawkins’ beef wasn’t with religion — it was with the Christian God. He said so several times. 

Most amazingly, having wrapped up his argument that God cannot exist, in his concluding remarks, he acknowledges that God MIGHT exist, but that He isn’t God, or at least, He isn’t the God of the Bible. Or something. You tell me. 

“My mind is open to the most wonderful range of future possibilities, wh
ich I cannot even dream about, nor can you, nor can anybody else,” argues Dawkins. “I provided what I thought were cogent arguments against a supernatural intelligent designer.” 

Having alternatively claimed open-mindedness and then postulated a zero probability for the existence of God, Dawkins admits, “But it does seem to me to be a worthy idea.” 

A worthy idea, but not worth considering. Or something. Whether he meant to or not, Dawkins’ arguments proved themselves to be Biblical, after all. And his arguments proved he was the right man to advance them. 

“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. . .” (Psalms 14:1, 53:1)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on November 18, 2006

For This They Were Willfully Ignorant. . .

For This They Were Willfully Ignorant. . .
Vol: 27 Issue: 25 Monday, September 25, 2017

After searching for half his lifetime, Ehud Netzer, an archeologist from Hebrew University, claims to have found, to an historical certainty, the tomb of Herod the Great, ruled Judea from 37 BC to 4 BC.

The tomb was located at the base of Herodium, a man-made mountain on which Herod had build one of his most ornate summer palaces. The tomb is located nine miles south of Jerusalem and east of Bethlehem.

Herod was the king who, according to Matthew, ordered the “Massacre of the Innocents.” Herod had been elected “King of the Jews” by the Roman Senate in 40 BC, so the Magi’s claims were news to him.

When the Babylonian astrologers (the Magi) went to Herod to enquire about the birthplace of the “King of the Jews”, he ordered all male children under the age of two years in Bethlehem to be slaughtered, hoping, in the process, to kill this possible challenger to his rule.

The Bible says that Mary and Joseph fled into Egypt to avoid the slaughter, taking the infant Jesus with them.

Like all New Testament accounts, the Massacre of the Innocents is hotly disputed by ‘scholars’ who grow increasingly desperate in their efforts to discount the New Testament as a book of fables.

Many denied the existence of Herod the Great, despite eyewitness accounts of his life, his bloody reign and his slow, miserable and painful death.

Historical accounts by 1st century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus indicated that Herod was buried at Herodium, and Netzer had been excavating there since 1972.

He finally found the grave midway between the upper part of Herodium and the lower palaces, an area not previously studied.

Herod was also the king credited with expanding the second Jewish Temple atop Temple Mount, which was known to history as “Herod’s Temple”. (The Arabs — and in particular, the “Palestinians” continue to deny any such Temple ever existed.)

The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism declined to comment until the site could be examined by a team of Arab archeologists.

Assessment:

It is almost painful to watch the skeptics’ efforts to deconstruct this latest in the long list of archeological finds confirming the accuracy and reliability of the New Testament accounts. 

I read through some of the reader’s comments on the story at the website of Canada’s Globe and Mail (2007).

Writing under such names as “Just the Truth From Canada” and “Truth Seeker” one finds comments like, “Ancient Israel, as described in biblical accounts, complete with magnificent gilt palaces, and huge, conquering armies, etc., etc. . . . is not historically accurate, but is folklore, a bunch of tribal fantasies.”

Note that this comment was attached to a story about the discovery of Herod’s tomb in EXACTLY such an ‘magnificent gilt palace’.

Writes another: “Israeli archaeologists probably have no right to dig in the occupied Palestinian West Bank .” To this writer, the discovery is irrelevant to history.

The West Bank is Palestinian, and no stupid historical facts are going to change his mind.

The facts are these, and they ARE facts, even if someone doesn’t like them. There has never been an archeological find that disputes any Bible account. Not a single one.

Pontius Pilate was once deemed by those claiming to be ‘scholars’ to be a New Testament myth. Why? Because there was no archeological confirmation. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, the absence of evidence was universally accepted by liberal ‘scholars’ as evidence of absence.

But in 1962, an inscription was found in the town of Caesarea that said, “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea, has presented the Tiberium to the Caesareans.”

Sir William Ramsay, one of the greatest archeologists in history, was a confirmed atheist when set out on a quest to disprove the historical accuracy of Luke. What he discovered was that Luke was historically accurate to the tiniest detail. His conclusions?

“I began with a mind unfavorable to it…but more recently I found myself brought into contact with the Book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities, and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth.”

Consequently, Ramsay wrote, “Luke is a historian of first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy…this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.”

Sir William Ramsay died a Christian.

Dr. William F. Albright, initially as skeptical as Dr. Ramsay, eventually came to write;

“The excessive skepticism shown toward the Bible [by certain schools of thought] has been progressively discredited. Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of numerous details.”

Caiaphas, the High Priest of the Sanhedrin who ordered the execution of Jesus, was another such New Testament myth until the Caiaphas family tomb was accidentally discovered by workers constructing a road in a park just south of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Other recent archeological digs have uncovered:

1) The synagogue at Capernaum where Jesus cured a man with an unclean spirit and delivered the sermon on the bread of life.

2) The house of Peter at Capernaum where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law and others.

3) Jacob’s well where Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman.

4) The Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem, where Jesus healed a crippled man.

5) The Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem, where Jesus healed a blind man.

6) The tribunal at Corinth where Paul was tried.

7) The theater at Ephesus where the riot of silversmiths occurred.

8) Herod’s palace at Caesarea where Paul was kept under guard.

9) An Egyptian parchment confirming the census order that brought Mary and Joseph out of Egypt to Bethlehem to be taxed.

There are at least thirty-nine verifiable extra-Biblical accounts, (including 17 non-Christian sources, that bear witness from outside the New Testament to over 100 details about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Apart from archeology, there is the question of logic. Dr. Ramsay and Dr. Albright both confirm, using scientific, archeological and historical evidences, Luke’s accuracy as an historian.

It is not logical to assume that, although accurate in every possible confirmable aspect, Luke lied about Jesus and then permitted himself to be martyred for that lie.

Neither is it logical to assume that, since Luke confirms the rest of the Gospel writers, they also allowed themselves to be put to death to preserve a lie.

It is illogical to argue that they were sincere, but that they were deceived about Who Jesus was.

Each recorded more or less identical events, under more or less identical circumstances. If it were one witness, one might assume he was mentally unbalanced, or hallucinating.

But twelve?

(Plus the uncounted multitudes who, within living memory of Jesus, gladly embraced martyrdom at Roman hands for their witness?)

The discovery of Herod’s Tomb is just one more rock atop a mountain of overwhelming evidence confirming the reliability of the New Testament accounts. Keep in mind that in every case, (every single solitary case) where evidence DOES exist, it confirms the Bible account.

Not one shred of archeological evidence disputes a single point of the Gospel account. At worst, there remain unconfirmed details.

It is upon such thin suppositions as the absence of confirmatory evidence that Bible skeptics build their argument that the Bible is an unreliable book of myths.

As each new piece of evidence is uncovered, they scurry to seek some other unconfirmed detail to replace it as the bedrock of their argument.

Peter predicted that “there shall come in the last days, scoffers,” explaining the motive for their skepticism as “walking after their own lusts.”

Paul, in describing the ‘strong delusion’ gave as the motivation for their rejection of the truth the fact that they ‘had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:11)

The skeptic delights in arguing that a righteous God would never condemn someone to eternal damnation just because they were unable to believe. I agree. God doesn’t condemn unbelievers because they CAN’T believe. They condemn themselves because they WON’T believe. Peter called them “willingly ignorant.”

There is more historical and documentary evidence attesting to the life and times of Jesus Christ than there is of Julius Caesar. But there are no skeptics of whom I am aware that have dedicated their lives and fortunes to denying the existence of Julius Caesar.

It takes conscious, deliberate effort — and a lot of it — to convince oneself, especially in the face of such overwhelming evidence, that Jesus Christ was less an historical figure than Julius Caesar.

There is no price, real or perceived, attached to belief in Julius Ceasar.

Belief in Jesus Christ, however, demands a change in perspective. Logically, if one believes in eternal accountability before a Righteous Judge, it therefore follows that it would throw a damper on the ‘pleasure of unrighteousness’.

In the final analysis, there is but one sin for which the unbeliever will stand convicted.

“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” (Matthew 12:31)

The term ‘blasphemy’ can best be understood as ‘defiant irreverence’. It is a state of defiant unbelief, despite the evidence. Or, as Peter describes it, “willful ignorance.”

“Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost” can be understood as a continued and persistently stubborn rejection of the gospel of salvation. This would be THE “unpardonable sin” because as long as a person remains in unbelief, he voluntarily excludes himself from forgiveness of sin.

It isn’t God that condemns the unbeliever to eternal separation in the Lake of Fire.

The unbeliever condemns himself by his choice to believe a lie, preferring instead, as Peter noted, to walk after their own lusts, thus ignoring the evidence out of willful ignorance.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

The same choice faces us all.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on May 10, 2007

Featured Commentary: SIGNS ~Pete Garcia

The Gift of God

The Gift of God
Vol: 27 Issue: 23 Saturday, September 23, 2017

“Salvation: The act of saving; preservation or deliverance from destruction, danger, or great calamity.”

Generally speaking, the Omega Letter is primarily aimed at those who are already saved, and today’s is no exception, so don’t write this one off as a refresher that you don’t need.

It is one thing to experience salvation, but it is quite another to explain it. Especially to someone that has no Bible background. Being ‘saved’ — by definition — means that until the moment of salvation a person is ‘lost’.

To someone that IS lost, this is a very difficult concept to communicate.

If salvation means to be ‘preserved or delivered from destruction, danger or great calamity’ the skeptic cannot even consider his need to be saved unless he first recognizes such destruction, danger or great calamity exists.

I never cease to be fascinated by the atheist who denies the existence of heaven and hell, but admits to fearing death. If there is no certain judgment beyond the grave, what is there to fear? Death is merely a cessation of consciousness, an end to existence.

Without the fear of judgment, what is so terrifying about death? We aren’t terrified to go to sleep. We aren’t terrified of general anesthesia, in and of itself, before an operation.

Humanity fears death because of the existence of God, whether the atheist wants to admit it or not. We are all built with a God-shaped vacuum in our being. Humans try and fill that void with all kinds of things; money, drugs, sex, pagan religions, personal relationships, and on and on, but nothing ever quite fits except God.

One cannot communicate the need for salvation without first communicating what one is being saved from. The atheist demands to know, “how can a loving God condemn people to hell?”

It is the nature of all human beings to sin, which further separates them from God, which turns that aching void into an insurmountable chasm.

All human beings are sinners, by nature and by personal action, and none are righteous. Some may sin to a greater or lesser degree, but all have failed to attain to the standard of God, which is perfection of character, spiritual righteousness and performance (Romans 3:9-10)

Since God created man in His eternal image, all human beings have an eternal destiny. We were created to spend eternity in God’s presence, but the fall of man and our inherited sin nature render us ineligible for heaven.

The Lord created the Lake of Fire for the devil and his rebellious angels, and not for mankind. But since sin bars us from heaven, and since we are eternal, when we shuffle off this mortal coil, our spirit has to go SOMEWHERE.

If not to heaven, well, then, there is only one other place left. God doesn’t condemn us to hell; we condemn ourselves by choosing to go there.

It IS a choice, but it is NOT God’s choice. If it were God’s choice, He would not have provided the way of salvation. Confronted with the choice of condemning the human race, God’s choice was to bear the condemnation in His Own Body at the Cross, so that the human race might be saved through faith in His accomplished work.

Through Jesus Christ, God paid our ransom to deliver us from the bondage (and the consequences) of sin.

Sin places humanity into a state of captivity from which a price must be paid in order that a person might be redeemed or purchased out of that state.

The state of captivity, brought about by the sinful condition of humanity, is like a slave market where people are sold as the possession of the purchaser, and in order to be free, the slave must pay for a release or deliverance; this is a ransom.

Humanity is “sold under sin” (Romans 7:14) and therefore fall under the judgment of God.

The judgment has already been pronounced by God and the penalty is eternal death.

The death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the ransom paid in order to redeem the human race from the penalty of sin. The ransom is paid to God, as a payment for the release of humanity from the penalty of their sinful state. (cf. Matthew 20:28, 1 Peter 1:17-19, 1 Timothy 2:5-6, Galatians 3:13)

God’s perfect justice that a penalty for sin be paid. Jesus Christ is a propitiation that satisfies the justice of God and allows Him to forgive sinful human beings through His mercy and grace.

By committing sins, which all have their direction toward God, humanity has become separated and alienated from God. Reconciliation cannot be effected because humanity cannot meet the requirements of God in a sinful state and cannot be removed from the authority of judgment by God.

It is Jesus Christ who is the Mediator of the reconciliation between man and God.

Finally, God Himself provided a Substitute to pay that penalty for us. The perfect and sinless life of Jesus Christ is the substitute for that of sinful human beings, and His death is also a substitute for the eternal spiritual death that has been pronounced as the judgment against all sinful human beings.

The problem with salvation, from the perspective of the lost, is admitting that they have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

Pride will not let them depend entirely on the substitutionary payment made on their behalf — pride demands that they participate in some way in the process.

But to the lost, participation in the process means giving up all the stuff they like, living like a monk, wearing a hair shirt and walking around praying all the time. It is too much to contemplate, so they prefer not to contemplate it at all.

Being saved means BEING saved. One doesn’t save oneself from drowning — in fact, a drowning person’s panicky flailing about can pull down both parties.

Being saved means relaxing and allowing Jesus to save you. Your participation is limited to accepting the fact you cannot save yourself.

Imagine you have a child that gets lost in the woods for days. You are out there, searching under every bush for your lost child, when suddenly, you see him afar off. You run to the child, calling his name, as he runs to you, in slow motion, like in the movies.

Both of you have your arms outstretched, but, just as you are about to embrace your lost child, you notice that he is all dirty and smelly and matted from his time in the wilderness.

So, instead of embracing your lost child, you hold him at arm’s length, scold him for being dirty, and tell him you will embrace him after he’s had a bath.

That is the way the lost generally understand salvation. That before they can embrace Jesus, and He them, they must first clean themselves up. That is too big a job to contemplate, and so they hide under a bush.

The lost fail to grasp the simplicity of salvation. Ephesians 2:8 explains, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: “

Look at the elements: For BY GRACE are ye saved — through FAITH — and THAT not of yourselves — it is a GIFT of God.

It is so simple that most people can’t explain it, and even if they can, even more can’t accept it without further complicating it. God grants the ‘grace’ (an unmerited, undeserved gift) through faith that is ‘not of yourselves’ but is rather a gift from God.

There is no room in that equation for us to play any greater role than accepting that gift with gratitude.

Thank you, Jesus, for the Gift of eternal life. I pray right now that You will burn its truth into my soul, and help me to effectively communicate to others their own need for salvation.

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude:24-25)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on February 10, 2010