Why Does God allow evil things to happen?
Why has God allowed sin? Why did He allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why did God allow the Holocaust? (The Jewish people have been asking this questions since it took place.) It is always more difficult to deal with this issue when it becomes personal. The answer to this question is not simple. Proverbs 1:7 says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…”This kind of wisdom is “truth”- the real view of what life is all about. We call it reality. It must be seen from God’s perspective, not our twisted and distorted way of thinking because of our sin nature. We do not think like God! (see Isaiah 55:8-11).
1. All of our mental struggles are caused by our faulty view of God and man. According to the Bible, God is holy, pure, merciful, and good. Man is sinful, bad, evil, and unforgiving. In our sinful way of thinking, we always have a tendency to blame God for the pain and sin in our world. For example: some blame God for what their mother did to them. However, they need to realize their sinful mother did this, not God. God did not create their mother, or any of us, as robots, whom He can directly control. He created us in His image with a mental capacity to make choices. God knew Adam and Eve, and all of us, would choose to sin. He warned Adam of the consequences of his disobedience. (Genesis 2:15-17) However, note that the Bible states that Jesus is the “lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”(Revelation 13:8) This simply means that God had a divine purpose and plan in place before He created the heavens and the earth in the beginning of time. All of His decisions, plans, purposes, words and thoughts are perfect and good. This is at the heart of the very person of God. Therefore, we cannot blame God for the sins of our world. We are all a part of a fallen world. God is good. Because of man’s sin, our world is evil and broken. We suffer because of man’s sin. Therefore, we should not blame God, but man.
2. But, why does God allow man to sin? Please notice that the major purpose behind everything is the glory of God. That is why sin is described as falling “short of the glory of God.”(Romans 3:23) God created everything to glorify Him. So, how can God allow evil to enter His creation to glorify Him? That is the big question. Here’s the only answer that seems to agree with the entire message of the Bible. We have been created as creatures of comparison. We talk about someone being tall, short, skinny, fat, dumb, intelligent, pretty, ugly, etc. When we make these kinds of statements or think this way, we are comparing people to our own mental standard. The nature of God is the real standard of what is right and wrong! So, how could we ever measure our infinite God up against any finite thing that is the opposite of who He is unless He allowed it to come into existence? God allows the darkness of sin in order for us to see how glorious (good) He is! Illustration: Do you know that an artist always paints the backdrop of a painting before he paints the major point of his focus in the foreground? In God’s divine plan for His creation, He had to permit sin (darkness) to form a backdrop for all of human history, so He could display His glory (light) to all of mankind. Everyone knows that a burning candle shines the brightest in the darkest environment. Application: If people do not see the spiritual darkness of their world (everyone around them) they will not be able to see the glory of God before them. The Lord wants us to focus on His glory, not the darkness of the backdrop of our lives. Only God’s revelation, the Bible, can pull back the curtain of reality and help us to see all of this!
3. This point is very painful for us to accept. Why does God allow us to personally face wickedness and even death? Read Romans 8:28 and 1 Corinthians 10:13. When a person becomes a believer, he develops a relationship with Jesus and learns the truth behind these two verses. The Lord is at work in the background of our lives. His purpose is never to destroy, harm us, or cause us to live in defeat. He allows us to face difficult things to drive us to Himself so that we can be saved and have a relationship with Him. God is running a rescue mission on earth and rejoices when people come to Him. (Luke 9:56; 15:10; 19:10) We don’t like to face the real fact that we all deserve to go to hell. We are not good people. (Read Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10-18) We are all running from God. (Romans 3:11) However, it is God who pursues us. (Luke 19:10) Look what the Father did to Jesus to save us. (Read Isaiah 53) Who do we think we are? Are we better than Jesus? Do we think that we are too good or important for the Lord to guide us through some horrific things on this earth – both before and after we are saved? It is very humbling to realize that He allows things to happen to us for a reason and purpose. And, that reason and purpose is for our good and His glory! He did not create or save us so He could bless us, but so that we might glorify Him!
4. If we must point our finger at someone in the spirit world who has had a part in the wickedness of this creation, we need to point it at Satan, not the Lord! (Read John 8:44; 10:9-11) Satan and his demons are behind much of the murder, hate, wickedness, etc, of this age. None of this flows from the holy and pure throne of God!
What about all of the human suffering and death due to natural disasters? Some have pointed to Isaiah 45:7, where the Lord declares, I “create evil.” The word translated “evil” in the KJV is not moral evil, but should be translated as “disasters.” It is true that God is behind all of the actions of His creation. He creates and releases all natural disasters. (Read Psalm 147:8.) God cannot be charged with creating moral evil. He only creates everything as being good. Notice after each creation day, the Lord declared all that He created as being“good,”(Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, and 31) If God were to be responsible for moral evil then He would not be holy. The Bible repeatedly declares that God is holy. This means He is infinitely pure, good, perfect and righteous. There can be no evil in God. If evil can be found in God, then He ceases to be the God that He declares Himself to be in the Word of God.
How can God be good when He sends natural disasters that cause death and human suffering? As mentioned before, God does create natural disasters for His purposes, which are always good. Because God is holy, He must judge sin. He has declared, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” (Romans 12:19) A study of the Scriptures reveals that God uses natural disasters as a form of His holy and righteous judgment. The Tribulation Period is the ultimate example of this. The book of Revelation makes it clear that the horrific judgments at the end of this age flow from the throne room of God. He is good, but His goodness is tempered by His holiness.
Why does God allow bad things to happen to His own children? Both in the days of the Old Testament with Israel, and in this age of Grace, with the church, it is apparent that the Lord allows bad things to His own children. Why? While we cannot always understand this, we must agree with the Word of God that declares: “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Suffering and death are sometimes the will of God for His own children. (1 Peter 4:12-19; Revelation 6:9-11) Sometimes God uses tests and trials to make us more mature in our faith. (1 Corinthians 10:13) Sometimes He uses difficult times to discipline us for our sin (Hebrews 12:7-11), and sometimes it can bring us to the ultimate sin unto death. (1 Corinthians 11:30)
We must realize that the Lord loves us and is pursing us to have a relationship with Him. When people sin against us, we must not blame God. We need to recognize that the one sinning against us is responsible for our injury. However, we must recognize that the Lord has allowed it for His purposes. We need to forgive those who sin against us and move on with our life for the glory of God. We must remember that forgiveness is based on mercy, and not justice. None of us deserve to be forgiven. However, we must forgive like God forgives, and that is always based on mercy without any limits! (Read Ephesians 4:22-32) This is want it means to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”(2 Peter 3:18)
by Mike Wingfield- www.ptnews.org
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-05-26 15:20
What to do about the cultural decline of America?
I agree with words expressed recently by national evangelist, Franklin Graham, who said, America is increasingly embracing a “culture of death” that stems from “a sinful worldview that rejects Christ.” When a nation begins to slide down the slippery slopes toward divine judgment, the righteous should always be concerned, and ask, “What can we do?” Long ago, the Psalmist expressed these sentiments when he asked: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3) In this context, the godly were facing a time when the righteous order of their culture had been destroyed by the wicked. Law, justice, order, truth, morality, decency, and integrity were all beginning to disappear. The wicked were attacking the righteous. Consequently, the righteous were so filled with despair, they wanted to run away and hide. Sounds like the world we live in today, doesn’t it?
So, what can we do? We must realize that there is no sudden fix to these problems. Our nation did not arrive at this perilous time in a few years, and any hope to turn the tide toward righteousness will take some time. Let me share with you from the Scriptures what it will take to turn this nation back toward the Lord, and righteous living.
FIRST, WE MUST SEE THE DESPERATE PLIGHT OF OUR NATION!
America is in a state of rapid moral collapse. With great defiance and rebellion against the Lord and His commandments, America is acting as if it no longer has a moral conscience. This is a very serious and deadly matter. Believers have a right to be concerned. If we are not, we are spiritually asleep, or worse – spiritually dead!
Many godly men of the past have recognized the sins of their own nation. And, they were broken, and cried out to God. Read Daniel’s moving prayer in Daniel 9:1-19. The Apostle Paul was broken over the sins of his own people- Israel. Read Romans 9:1-3; 10:1-3. Many of the Old Testament prophets could be added to this list.
In the Old Testament, we read about the Lord using prophets to serve as watchmen and issue warnings to the people. (Read Ezekiel 3:16-21; 33:1-9) Notice that the Lord commanded His servants to warn the wicked to flee from their wicked ways. He declared that if they did not warn the wicked, their blood would be upon them when their judgment day would come. The message is clear. God has given us His Word. He has entrusted us with the duty to set forth the holy standards of God before all people, calling them to repentance. And, we are to warn them of the immediate and eternal consequences if they do not heed God’s warning.
SECOND, WE MUST RECONGIZE THE ONLY SOLUTION THAT MEETS THIS NEED!
The answer to our gravest problems in America will not come from Washington! A better administration, educational system, or economy will not fix our problems. America’s plight requires a spiritual miracle from God. The greatest need in America is a real revival of a remnant of God’s people. God has promised: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”(2 Chronicles 7:14) America needs a spiritual heart change. Only Jesus Christ can do that!
So, what can we do?
First, we need to win people to Christ. People who are not saved don’t have the Holy Spirit living in them, thus they have no hope of being a morally good people. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”(Romans 3:23)“There is none righteous, no, not one. … there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”(Romans 3:10, 12)“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”(Jeremiah 17:9) Jesus said: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies.”(Matthew 15:19) The real hope for America is for Americans to get saved by coming to Christ and repenting of their sins. As believers in Jesus Christ, we must get back to following Christ’s command to carry out the Great Commission. It is imperative that we make disciples for Christ by sharing the gospel with those around us. (Matthew 28:19-20)
Second, we need to pray for a spiritual awakening among our spiritual leaders. God holds the spiritual leadership of a nation accountable for the sins of that nation! While judging the false spiritual leadership in Israel for the sins of the nation, the Lord said: “But if they [the spiritual leadership] had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doing.”(Jeremiah 23:22) I firmly believe that the moral collapse in America is the direct result of the failure of the pastors and churches across this land. Our pastors and churches must faithfully confront people’s sins and unashamedly declare the Word of God. In particular, we need to reach our younger generation. The leaders of the churches in America have drastically failed to set an example of godliness to provide the light that America needs in this time of spiritual darkness. They have failed to sound a warning of the consequences of sin. The words “sin” and “repentance” are rarely mentioned from the pulpits of our churches. This must change if there is to be any hope for revival!
The church needs to teach its people how to discern right from wrong and how to Biblically address the cultural issues that are destroying our families, churches, communities, and nation. We need to equip the church with the truth so they will not fall prey to the deception of these issues in our culture. I really believe that the church is failing in this area. Pastors and teachers in the church are not addressing the cultural sin issues of our day. What does the Bible say about sex outside of a Biblically defined marriage between a man and a woman? Why is abortion a sin? What does the Bible say about pornography, drugs, divorce, mutilation of the body by cutting, cremation, sorcery, etc. Believers need to know what the Bible teaches about these subjects, and why certain things are offensive to God, and are deadly for us. Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Without the sound teaching of the Word of God, there can be no ability to discern right from wrong.
Third, we need to have strong, Biblical marriages, homes, and churches. The home should be the place where spouses hold each other accountable to God. Parents should act as wise and moral guardians of their children’s conscience. Paul told his young disciple, Timothy, that having a good conscience is a very significant goal in the Christian life. (1 Timothy 1:5) The conscience is the part of our inner spirit that acts as a spiritual warning system against the deadly dangers of sin. (Romans 2:14-16) All men have a conscience. It is the conscience that separates man from the animal kingdom. Man was created in the image of God as a moral creature. (Genesis 1:26) Since the fall, man’s conscience has been defiled or weakened, but still functions in a partial and limited sense from the moment of birth. (Titus 1:15)Proverbs 4:23-27 tells us to be on guard and not allow our conscience to be defiled. We experience a defiled conscience when we participate in sinful practices. We are to feed our conscience the Word of God to strengthen it. (Psalm 119:11, 105, 128) It is God’s design for parents to serve as moral guardians for their children. With the help of the church, parents should aim to shape and strengthen the conscience of their children. In doing so, they will teach their children vital lessons as they venture into the world around them. These lessons will also shape their lives as they grow older. If we do not help our children and grandchildren develop a godly conscience, the moral collapse of America will continue to spiral out of control.
I personally believe the church in America is failing our children. Most churches are not taking children’s ministries seriously. The cults all recognize how important it is to indoctrinate their children. However, it seems that the average evangelical church does not understand how significant it is to equip our children with the teaching of the Bible so as to help them have a strong faith and conscience. Most children and youth ministries in churches are nothing more than a play time.
Statistics indicate that the majority of children and youth leave the church when they become young adults. I believe this is the direct result of the failure of the home and the church to equip these children to be able to discern between truth and error, and godliness and wickedness. These are life and death issues for our children and our nation. Most parents are too preoccupied with things of lesser value. Raising our children and grandchildren to know God, and to live godly lives, should be one of the most important pursuits of the home. The Biblical discipleship of our children and youth should be one of the highest priorities of the ministry in every local church. The greatest time to shape the mind and conscience of a person is when they are young. This is why the Holy Spirit directed King Solomon to write: “Remember now thy creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt ay, I have no pleasure in them.”(Ecclesiastes 12:1)
In the community, children are the greatest mission field. Satan and his crowd know this. This is why our children and youth are the target of the godless media and many others who have a wicked agenda. It is imperative that we love, guard, protect, and disciple our children for the glory of God, and to rescue them from eternal damnation.
Please see a suggested overview of a Biblical approach to children’s ministry at the end of this article.
Fourth, we need to seriously pray for those who have authority over us. These leaders make decisions and enforce laws that either promote lawlessness, violence, and immorality, or promote the laws of God. (See 1 Timothy 2:1-2) When governments give people permission to sin by making sin lawful, it always leads to the destruction of the collective conscience of that culture. We need to make this a priority when the church gathers to pray. We complain too much and don't pray enough!
Fifth, we need to contact our political representatives and make our voice heard. We have this privilege in our country and it is our duty to make our voice heard. This is a part of being "salt" in our country. (See Matthew 5:13)
Sixth, we need to vote for those who rule over us. I personally believe that it is a sin for Christians to not vote for our local, state, and national leaders. We need to study the candidates and their political platform, and in some cases we have to decide between the lesser of two evils. These government leaders are called by God to protect and lead us. (See Romans 13:1-7)
Seventh, we need to pray for and support the Christian leaders who are leading the way in confronting and challenging the church and the nation when it comes to dealing with these sinful cultural trends. We need to pray for those whom the Lord has called to be a watchman on the wall of this nation. (See the example of Ezekiel in Ezekiel 3:16-21; 33:1-9)
Eighth, as individual believers we need to use every means available to declare the way of the Lord. We can make an impact by the use of social media. “And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”(Colossians 3:17)
Brethren, we have our work cut out for us. We are living in a pagan culture that is far away from God! I am of the opinion that we will not see a national revival sweep across America. I believe that the collective conscience of our nation is too far gone, and God has given up on many in this nation. (Read Romans 1:18-32) The conscience is where the Holy Spirit strives with sinners to bring them to repentance. When a nation is ripe for the judgment of God, God declares, “My spirit shall not always strive with man.”(Genesis 6:3) When men’s consciences have been “seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:2) they are in league with demons and are no longer open to the reception of the light from God’s Word. When this happens, God gives them up and there is no hope for them to be saved! If the Holy Spirit cannot strive with them in their conscience because it has been destroyed by a lifestyle of willful wicked acts of disobedience, then God cannot save them. I fear that many in America have arrived at this spiritual point of no return!
Our best hope is to for a pray for is a revival in some of our churches and communities. This is my prayer and the passion of this ministry!
We must understand that when we attempt to shine the light of the Word of God into the path of those in darkness, it will not be well received. Don’t forget what Jesus taught: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”(John 3:19-20)
Many Americans have been living a lifestyle of wickedness and rebellion for several decades now. They are in love with their sins. Unfortunately, they have lived at a time in America when the church has been very weak. They have experienced very little restraining influence on the part of the church, the culture, or the government. They no longer have any shame or guilt about their sin. Rather, they are flaunting it with great pride! Therefore, we must understand that their resistance to the light of God’s holy standards in the Word of God will be very passionate and strong. This is what we are experiencing, and I fear that it is going to get a lot worse.
Please remember that we are living in “perilous times.”(2 Timothy 3:1) And, during this time, “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”(2 Timothy 3:12)
May our Lord give us grace, strength, and wisdom as we attempt to reach out to America with the only message of hope. That hope is in Jesus Christ, and in Him alone!
An Overview of a Biblical children’s ministry
By Mike Wingfield
An overview of the purpose of this ministry: To connect kids with God, His Word, and world.
Proverbs 22:6- “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Ecclesiastes 12:1- “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth…”
3 John 4- “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
(It is not the goal to communicate these Biblical purposes directly to the children. However, every worship activity, Bible lesson, and other activities should be evaluated in light of these overall Biblical prayer goals. What is communicated to and modeled before each child involved in this ministry should be a reflection of these purposes that flow out of the heart of God in His Word.)
WE MUST RECOGNIZE THE BIBLICAL VALUE OF A CHILD
This ministry recognizes that how people value children, treat children, guard children, teach children, and love children is a reflection of their relationship with God, or lack of a relationship with God. God places a very high value upon children. Genesis 1:28; Deuteronomy 6:1-7; Psalm 127-128; Proverbs 17:6; Matthew 18:1-6; 19:13-15; Mark 9:42; 10:13-15; Luke 18:15-17; 3 John 4
WE MUST RECOGNIZE THE GREAT NEED FOR A PASSIONATE FOCUS ON OUR CHILDREN
We are living at a time when marriages and homes are collapsing in our culture. The only answer to this tragedy is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ, who can change the hearts of spouses, parents, children, and grandchildren. The Bible is God’s prescription for renewal of a right relationship with Him and our families.
Malachi 4:6 and Matthew 17:11
When Elijah comes in the last days his ministry of restoration will begin withthe restoration of the relationship the fathers and their children.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
Notice that the sinful focus on self in the last days leads to the disobedience of parents and theloss of the natural love in the home, etc.
Suggestion: It would be great to have a meeting with parents and grandparents of the children that are involved in this ministry and to openly share with them what this ministry is all about. It may be good to do this with the entire church, since the church should have a proper Biblical view and value of children, and the ministry to them in the local church.
1. Connected with God
A. The personal salvation of each child
2 Peter 3:9
B. The spiritual growth of each child
- To know God (Proverbs 9:10)
At the heart of all things, it is vital to build into the minds of our childrena true Biblical view of God. Everything we believe and know that will produce a great faith will grow out of the greatness of our God. This is at the heart of the message of the Bible. God desires to be glorified because of who He is. In a very simple way we need to teach them about the attributes of God.
The goal is to develop a mindful presence of God in the daily lives of the children. This is the practical outworking of Proverbs 3:5-6. We want them to practice the presence of the living God in their lives.
God is holy.
Exodus 3:5; Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8
God is kind, good, gracious, and forgiving.
Matthew 23:34; 1 John 1:9
God loves us.
John 3:16; 1 John 4:7
God cares about us. He understands us. He knows about our joys and hurts.
Matthew 11:29-30; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 5:7
God is always there.
God sees everything we do, hears everything we say, and knows what we think.
Psalm 139 & Proverbs 15:3
- You cannot run and hide from God. He knows everything about us.
- God knows all things.
God is faithful. He never changes.
Malachi 3:6; Hebrew 13:8
- To learn what worship is and to practice in daily.
Worship is the response of the human heart in the power of the Holy Spirit to who God is and all that He has done. Teaching our children to be worshippers is a major priority. They need to learn to see God in the Bible and in their daily lives. Worship must precede service. (Matthew 4:10)
Praise- 1 Thessalonians 5:16
Thanksgiving- 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Prayer- 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Giving- 1 Corinthians 9:7
- To learn the importance of the confession of our sins
1 John 1:5-10- In a simple way, we must teach the children that if they want to walk with God each day and want God to bless them, they must confess their sins to him. Emphasize that this is something everyone needs to do every day because we all sin every day.
- To learn how to serve God
The goal here is to build into their minds that they have been saved to serve God.
- To learn how to live for God- Romans 12:1-2
A. Giving our bodies to Jesus
B. Giving our minds to Jesus
The goal here is to help kids to make good choices in everything that would influence the way they think. What they read, see, hear, etc.
- To establish a solid Biblical foundation of priority doctrines
There are certain Biblical doctrines that must be firmly entrenched in the minds of our children at an early age:
Jesus is God- see John 20:31
Each lesson on an aspect of Jesus’ earthly ministry should always highlight the divinity of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ created in all of the heavens and earth by His spoken word in 6 days and rested on the seventh day. We must begin at an early age to foster an unwavering conviction that believes in divine creation. We must begin to prepare them to defend the faith against evolution.
It is important to build into the minds of the children the Biblical story of redemption from the garden of Eden to the Garden Tomb.
Leviticus 3:1-11- The offering of a lamb as a sacrifice to establish peace with God
John 1:29- Jesus as God’s Lamb
It is important to build a foundation of faith in the Bible as the Word of God.
2 Timothy 3:16
2. Connected with family
A. Understanding each person is a special creation of God
B. Understanding God’s plan for the family
- The Biblical role of parents & grandparents
To be a role model for their children & grandchildren
2 Timothy 1:5
To teach their children
To mold, shape, and guard a young child’s conscience.
To discipline their children
- The Biblical responsibility of children
To honor and obey parents- Ephesian 6:1-3
- The model of living with and loving their siblings
1 John 4:20-21- The core problem in sibling rivalry is our sin nature. Love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Sibling rivalry is natural, but wrong. Only the Lord can help a child to deal with their sinful pride and love their sibling(s). Parents should realize this as a spiritual struggle between their child’s sin nature and (if they are saved) the Holy Spirit living in them. Sibling rivalry can be compounded by parents playing favorites among their children. The Bible gives us some powerful examples of how this can add fuel to the sin nature of sibling rivalry.
Examples of sibling in the Bible:
Cain and Abel- Genesis 4:1-8; 1 John 3:11-16
Ishmael and Isaac- Genesis 21:9-11
Esau and Jacob- Genesis 25:21-34; 27:1-46
Joseph and his brothers- Genesis 37-35; 45:1-8; 50:15-21
Moses and Miriam- Exodus 2:1-9
Challenges and Struggles in sibling rivalry
Love vs. hate- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 1 John 4:7-21
Tattling vs. love covering up sins of others Proverbs 17:9; 1 Peter 4:8
Lying- Proverbs 12:22; Ephesians 4:25
Stealing, coveting- Ephesians 4:28
Kindness- 1 Corinthians 13:4
Jealousy & envy- 1 Corinthians 13:4; Philippians 2:1-11
Quarreling & fighting vs. peace - Matthew 5:9; Romans 12:18; Ephesians 4:26-27
Speaking harshly- Ephesians 4:29, 31
Forgiveness- Matthew 6:12, 14-15; Ephesians 4:32
3. Connected with the church
- To teach the children the Biblical view of the church and how they fit into the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12 -
All believers are a member of a local church. God gives a spiritual gift to each person and each person has a place of service in the body of Christ. It might be good to help children start thinking of how they would like to serve in the church. They may start thinking about what career they want to have when they grow up. Likewise, it is important that they understand that serving in the church has greater eternal value than the choice of a career.
It is important to obey those who lead us in church.
Create opportunities for children to serve each other and reach out to others.
To prepare children to understand the true nature of the church.
To prepare children to corporately worship with the church.
To prepare children to give their tithes and offerings to the Lord.
To prepare children to serve in the church.
4. Connected with peers and other people
A. Evangelism of peers
Build into the heart of every child a desire to see all of their friends come to Christ.
Develop a prayer list of peers that need to be saved.
B. How to choose good friends that will help them walk with God.
Notice that this Psalm was chosen by the Holy Spirit to be the foundation Psalm for worship and service of the believer. So, a child’s choice of friends is very important and vital.
C. Respect of adults, especially the elderly
Leviticus 19:32; Malachi 4:6
This is another problem in our society. This should be built into the minds of our children.
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-06-11 22:11
What about the destruction of Damascus, Syria in Isaiah 17:1?
It is interesting that the Bible seems to be somewhat silent on the future of Syria. There are only 10 direct references to Syria in the prophetic books of the O.T. and none of them have any reference to the future. If there was a future prophecy for Syria, it seems that it would have been listed by Jeremiah. Even Jewish scholar and author, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, has no comments on Syria in his excellent study on “the Arab States in Prophecy.” It has become very popular for some to point to Isaiah 17 as a reference to the future destruction of Damascus. However, most Bible scholars correctly note that the context does not warrant such an interpretation. Isaiah 17 was fulfilled in 732 B.C. when the Assyria army destroyed Damascus. The same context speaks of God’s judgment on the northern state of the 10 tribes of Israel.
My guess is that Syria will become a part of Turkey. If that occurs, Syria could be included with Turkey in the future Ezekiel 38-39 war. The conjecture is based upon the fact that Syria is mostly Sunni Muslim and has been ruled by the minority Shi’ite Muslims in modern times. The rebels that are fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are all part of Sunni jihadist groups. All of this is only a guess. We will have to wait and see what develops, or maybe we will be raptured beforehand.
By Mike Wingfield- www.ptnews.org
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-12-14 20:41
Can those who reject the gospel now be saved in the Tribulation Period?
For many years I held the traditional view, based upon 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12, that a person who rejected the gospel before the Rapture would not have an opportunity to be saved during the Tribulation Period. Since this is the only text that seems to directly address this consideration, the Bible student must be sure he is properly interpreting this text, or his answer will be wrong.
I want to remind us all that it is important to not look for verses in the Bible to prove what we or someone else believes or teaches. If we do this, we will not be honest in our search of the Scriptures. We will have a tendency to read our interpretation into the Bible because that is what we want it to say. This is dangerous! I do not want to prove what I believe, but honestly discover from the Bible what God says, even if I have to stand alone in what the Holy Spirit has taught me. This is always a challenge. Our real problem is our pride. We do not like to admit that we have been wrong in what we have believed and taught in the past. However, I hope you agree with me that it is better to discover God’s truth and get it right now, than to say that God has said something when He really did not. It is better to admit we are wrong than to answer to Him for our error in the future. We should never want to put words in God’s mouth.
While interpreting any passage, we must pay attention to the context – the verses around the verses in consideration. Many honest and good Christians have unknowingly made poor interpretations of passages because they refused to pay close attention to the context. In this text, the context is very important.
First, please notice that 2 Thessalonians was the second letter the Apostle Paul sent to the church at Thessalonica as a result of questions they had sent to him concerning the Second Coming of Christ. In the first letter (1 Thessalonians) the believers were concerned about what happens to dead believers when Jesus returns. Paul’s response, as a Word from the Lord, gave them instruction concerning the order and events of the Rapture, as explained in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. In the very next chapter, He informed them they had been taught concerning “the day of the Lord,” which is the Tribulation Period. He told them they were children of light and the approaching Tribulation Period should not be a surprise to them. But he said it will be like “a thief in the night” for the world. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3) Therefore, he exhorted them to be ready for the Lord’s coming at any moment.
Sometime after the believers in Thessalonica received Paul’s first letter, they were confronted with another major question. Apparently the rumor was being circulated that they were already in “the day of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:2) – the same as “the day of the Lord,” a phrase used throughout the Bible for the Tribulation Period. In other words, they were being told they were already in the Tribulation Period. This was confusing to the believers, because they were looking for Jesus Christ, not the Tribulation Period! However, they were experiencing a time of great difficulty (see 1:6-8) and were wondering if their tribulation was The Tribulation. [Please remember that all believers have tribulation (John 16:33), but we have been promised to be delivered from The Tribulation- Revelation 3:10.]
As Paul wrote back to them, he wanted to explain to them that they could not be in the Tribulation Period because the Antichrist (“the man of sin”)had not yet been revealed. (verse 2) According to Daniel 9:27, the Tribulation Period will begin when the Antichrist confirms a false peace covenant with “the many” Jews who have returned to Israel. Therefore, in our context, Paul informed the Christians at Thessalonica that they could not be in the Tribulation Period because the Antichrist had not yet been revealed. In order to help them know about this chief figure of the Tribulation Period, the Holy Spirit directed Paul to inform these believers concerning what the Antichrist will do when he comes.
Verse 3- The Antichrist will come only after there has been “a falling way.” This speaks of a time of departure by the professing church from the doctrines of the Apostles. (See and compare 1 Timothy 4:1.) This had not yet taken place. So, Paul was saying it was impossible for the Antichrist to have already come.
Verse 4- The Antichrist will ultimately enter the temple and declare himself to be God. (This happens at the mid-point of the Tribulation- compare Daniel 9:27 with Matthew 24:15-26 and Revelation 11:1-2.)
Verses 6-8a- The Antichrist will not be revealed until after the Holy Spirit, uniquely indwelling the church, is removed. In these verses, Paul states that the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit, through the church, will be removed before the Antichrist comes. This has been very confusing for many to understand. In order to understand this, the believer must understand how the Holy Spirit restrains the world concerning sin. The answer lies in our understanding of the nature of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling work in the life of every true believer. When a person is really saved, he will be filled with the Spirit and become“salt”and “light” for those around him. (See Matthew 5:13-16 and John 16:18-17; 16:8-11) In other words, the Holy Spirit, Who lives in the believer, uses the holy life of the believer as a restraining influence in the world. Therefore, the removing of that restraining influence must be understood as the Lord simply removing His church at the time of the Rapture. The same sense in which the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost (Acts 2), will be the same sense in which He will leave with the church at the Rapture. This does not mean that the Holy Spirit will be completely removed from the earth during the Tribulation Period. Note what Jesus said to His disciples in the Upper Room before Pentecost: “for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”(John 14:17) Notice that before Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was with the believer. However, after Pentecost He was in the believer. (1 Corinthians 6:19) So, after the Rapture, the Holy Spirit will be with believers, but not in believers. Furthermore, we know that some Jews and Gentiles will be saved during the Tribulation. (See Zechariah 12:10-13:9; Revelation 6:9-11; 7:9-17; 20:4) It is impossible for a person to be saved without the work of the Holy Spirit. (See 1 Corinthians 12:3) Therefore, the Holy Spirit must be at work during the Tribulation Period. As a matter of fact, God told Joel: “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh” during the Tribulation Period. Please read the entire context of Joel 2:27-32. According to these verses, God will uniquely pour out His Holy Spirit upon the Jewish people during the Tribulation to evangelize the world. Compare this with the ministry of the 144,000 sealed Jewish witnesses in Revelation 7:1-8 and the two Jewish witnesses in Revelation 11:3-6. The fact that the Lord will once again empower the Jewish people to be His mouthpiece during the Tribulation is an indication that the Church (which is predominately made up of Gentile believers) has been raptured. We are presently living in the Church Age, with the church serving as God’s mouthpiece, reaching Jews and Gentiles. During the Tribulation, Israel will be God’s mouthpiece to reach Jews and Gentiles. “For in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.” (Joel 2:32)
We will next examine 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12. Before we do so, please notice that verses 8-10 are one sentence. This is a significant observation that demands we treat these verses together within the proper context. Let us look at each of these verses and ask what event in the last days they are speaking about.
Verse 8a- “And then shall that Wicked [one] be revealed,…” The wicked one is the Antichrist, who will be revealed at the beginning of the Tribulation, when he “confirms” the covenant with Israel. (Daniel 9:27) This is the event that starts the Tribulation Period. Antichrist will arrive riding on a white horse, which the Bible tells us is a sign of his appearance. (Revelation 6:2)
Verse 8b- “…whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: …” The Antichrist will be destroyed at the end of the Tribulation when the Lord speaks and he is cast alive into the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 19:20) The prophet Daniel wrote that the Antichrist will “come to his end, and none shall help him.” (Daniel 11:45) Therefore, please notice that verse 8 is speaking about the Tribulation Period, mentioning the opening event (the revelation of the Antichrist) and the concluding event (the destruction of the Antichrist).
Verses 9- “… Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, …” At the mid-point of the Tribulation Period, the Antichrist will be empowered by Satan to perform supernatural works (signs and miracles) in order to deceive many. (Compare Matthew 24:4-25; Revelation 13:4-18.) The Antichrist will be indwelt by Satan at the mid-point (Revelation 13:4), having just been cast out of heaven. (Revelation 12:9-12) Notice that the words “power,” “signs” (same Greek word translated as miracles), and “wonders” are all found in 2 Thessalonians 2:9 and Revelation 13:11-15. Therefore, in this verse, the Apostle Paul was speaking of events that will take place at the middle of the Tribulation Period.
Verses 10- “… And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in then that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” The Antichrist will deceive many because God will send a strong delusion, leading some to believe the Antichrist is god. Many will take the mark of the Antichrist-666. (Revelation 13:16-18) Notice that according to Revelation 14:9-11, all who take the mark of the Antichrist will be damned, which means they can never be saved.
Verses 11-12- “And for this cause God shall sent them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” With these verses the Apostle Paul begins another sentence. However, we must conclude that he is referring to the same people as in verse10, which speaks about people living during the Tribulation Period. The pronouns,“them”(verse 10),“they…they”(verse 10), “them”(verse 11),“they” (verse 11), and “they” in verse 12, according to the context, must all refer to those who will be deceived by the Antichrist’s false miracles in verses 9-10. Compare Revelation 9:20-21, which is a statement about those who have rejected the Word of God and have refused to repent of their sinful pleasures, even after all of the judgments of the first half of the Tribulation. Therefore, it is wrong to refer to “those who have received not the love of the truth”in verse 10as those who heard and rejected the gospel before the Rapture, which takes place before the Tribulation Period begins. Instead, to be true to the context, it must refer to those who hear the gospel during the Tribulation and reject it and believe the lie that the Antichrist is god, and receive his mark and are damned forever.
So, we must conclude that people who have rejected the gospel before the Rapture may have a chance to be saved during the Tribulation Period. Some may respond that we are giving these people “a second chance.” So what? Many people have had many chances to be saved. Even some of those who lived before the death of Christ and rejected Him got saved after He ascended back to heaven. Please remember that “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”(2 Peter 3:9)
However, we must be careful to not provide any notion that it is permissible for a person to wait for a second chance to be saved. It is absolutely foolish for a person to reject the gospel and hope he will have another chance at a later time, even during the Tribulation Period. We must warn those who hear the gospel in this age of grace to not spurn the call of the Holy Spirit to salvation. We should give them the following warning:
Thinking that you can wait and receive Christ on your timetable is dangerous. You are not seeking Him. Romans 3:11 says, “there is none that seeketh after God.” He is the One who is seeking you. (Luke 19:10) You have no guarantee that He will send the Holy Spirit to draw you to Him at another time. (1 Corinthians 12:3) He, not you, is the One who opens and closes your heart to the gospel. God declares: “I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I [assisted] thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2) No one has any guarantee he will be alive in the next few minutes. Furthermore, the last days are becoming increasingly filled with deception and people’s hearts are being hardened by their sin and the temptations around them. The Bible warns us: “But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13) Many people in hell had good intensions of getting saved. But, they waited too late! Don’t let that happen to you.
If you choose to wait, you are taking a big and dangerous gamble. Hell is real. Jesus said so. (Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-31) Eternal damnation is forever. “For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-05-26 15:22
Will people be saved during the Tribulation Period?
There will be people saved during the 7-year Tribulation Period. Doubt and confusion about people coming to salvation during this unique time, center on a misinterpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2. Some students of the Bible point to 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 and conclude that the Holy Spirit will not be on the earth during the Tribulation. This is not what this passage is teaching. It is teaching that the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit through His indwelling presence in the church as salt and light(Matthew 5:13-14) will be removed when the church is raptured to heaven before the Tribulation begins. However, the Holy Spirit will be here in the same way He was on earth during the Old Testament days. While speaking to His disciples about the Old Testament period, and looking forward to the Church Age, Jesus said the following about the Holy Spirit and the believer: “…for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.”(John 14:17) During the Church Age, the Holy Spirit indwells every believer. (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19) However, during the Tribulation Period, it will be like the Old Testament period when the Holy Spirit did not indwell the believer. All of this indicates the Spirit of God will be present on the earth during the Tribulation. Remember that the Holy Spirit is God and God is omnipresent (everywhere present at the same time). See Psalm 139:7-12. Furthermore, the Scriptures clearly speak about the Holy Spirit being here during the Tribulation Period. The Lord revealed to the prophet of Joel that He will "pour out His Spirit" upon His Jewish people during the Tribulation. (Joel 2:28-32)
No one can be saved without the work of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:3) We know that a multitude of Gentiles will be saved and killed during the Tribulation. See Revelation 7:9-17. Note especially verse 14. It plainly states these martyred believers from all of the nations who are in heaven were saved out of the Tribulation. There will be some Gentiles who will be saved, survive the Tribulation, and inhabit the Kingdom of 1,000 years. This is taught in a multitude of passages in the Old Testament. (Isaiah 2:1-4; 62:1-2; Zechariah 14:16-19) The fact that there will be a judgment (Matthew 25:31-46) at the end of the Tribulation to separate the saved Gentiles from the unsaved Gentiles clearly indicates that some Gentiles will be saved during the Tribulation Period.
According to several passages there will be a multitude of Jews that will be saved during the Tribulation. This is one of the major purposes of this unique phase in human history. See Deuteronomy 4:29-31; Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:13; and Romans 11:25-26. The Lord will save and uniquely seal 144,000 Jews at the beginning of the Tribulation Period. (Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-5) Notice that Revelation 14:4 says that these saved Jewish men are "the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb." This means they are the first ones to get saved in the Tribulation Period. Please study Zechariah 12:10-13:9, which takes place at the end of the Tribulation Period. Notice that Zechariah13:8-9 teaches that one-third of the Jewish people will be saved and survive the Tribulation to inhabit the Kingdom for 1,000 years. All of the Jewish people, the entire surviving nation, will be saved when Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation. (Romans 11:25-26)
Furthermore, the Scriptures speak about the saints of God during the Tribulation Period. While speaking about the Antichrist as “the little horn” in Daniel 7, the prophet Daniel wrote: “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out [oppress] the saints of the most High…”(Daniel 7:25) In Revelation 13:7, it is said that “it was given unto him [the Antichrist] to make war with the saints, and to overcome them…” These verses demand the presence of those who will be saved and opposed by the Antichrist during the Tribulation Period.
Think about this! All of the saved on the earth will be raptured to heaven before the Tribulation Period begins. This would mean that there will be no saved people left on earth. Consequently, if no one would be saved during the Tribulation Period there would be no one to physically inhabit the Kingdom. Only the saved can enter the millennial kingdom on this earth. Jesus told Nicodemus that unless a person is born again they "cannot enter the kingdom of God."(John 3:5) So, if no one were saved in the Tribulation Period, there would be no one to inhabit the Kingdom. As mentioned above, Jews and Gentiles from every nation will be saved, physically survive the Tribulation, and inhabit the kingdom. It will be these people who will populate the earth during the kingdom of God.
Overall, we must conclude that holding the position that no one will be saved during the Tribulation Period is not biblical and creates many problems in understanding other related prophetic considerations in the Scriptures. While the major thrust of the Tribulation Period is a time of God’s wrathful judgment, we must conclude, on the basis of the Scriptures, that most of the believers that are saved in the Tribulation Period will be martyred for their faith, while many others will survive to inhabit the kingdom of God. (Zechariah 12:10-13:9; Revelation 7:9-17)
by Mike Wingfield- www.ptnews.org
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-05-26 15:23
Is Eternal Damnation Eternal?
The Bible teaches that when the sinner dies, he immediately goes to hell. (Luke 16:19-31) Those who are suffering in hell do so until the day of their resurrection to stand before the Lord at the Great White Throne judgment. (Revelation 20:11-15) This judgment takes place at the time the old heavens and earth are passing away, at the end of the millennial kingdom. (Revelation 20:7-11) After their judgment, all sinners are cast into their final place of eternal punishment – the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 20:15)
Some people ask: Will those who go to the Lake of Fire ever be forgiven and allowed to join the saints in the new heaven? (See Revelation 21-22) They believe that the expressions “forever” and “eternal” leave the door open for this possible interpretation. In essence, they do not believe that eternal damnation lasts forever. Let us examine the evidence.
1. The sinner’s resurrection is a resurrection and judgment of damnation or punishment.
When people are resurrected, after being in hell since their death, they are not resurrected to stand before the judge (Jesus Christ) to have a second chance to confess and be forgiven. Clearly, the Scriptures declare that their resurrection and subsequent judgment is unto damnation. The Apostle John recorded the words of Jesus, when He said: “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5:28-29) Many years later, the Holy Spirit revealed to the Apostle Peter that God reserves “the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” (2 Peter 2:9)
2. God is just in His punishment of the wicked unto damnation.
The Scriptures state that God is just in His sentence of damnation given to the wicked. (Read Romans 3:3-8 and 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10) Therefore, He would be unjust in removing the wicked from their state of damnation. One must remember that God’s judgment is not based upon His love or mercy, but His holiness. His judgments must be just – fitting for what He has declared and what the wicked deserve.
3. The state of the wicked in their punishment in hell and the Lake of Fire is declared to be “eternal,” “everlasting,” and “forever.”
The Scriptures repeatedly state that the judgment of the wicked is “eternal,” ‘everlasting,” and “forever.”
Look at the following passages:
Matthew 25:46- “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
Mark 3:29- “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.”
Mark 9:42-48- In this text, it is recorded that Jesus taught that those who are in hell never die and “the fire is not quenched.”
2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
4. All unbelievers go to hell upon their death, where they will wait their resurrection for their judgment at the Great White Throne Judgment, described in Revelation 20:11-15. All are judged and all are cast into the Lake of Fire.
Revelation 19-20 gives us great insight into the reality of those who suffer in the final place of punishment – the Lake of Fire. Notice that in Revelation 19:20, the Antichrist and the False Prophet are cast into the Lake of Fire at the end of the Battle of Armageddon. Then, 1,000 years later, the Devil and his angels (demons) are cast into the Lake of Fire, where the Antichrist and False prophet are still suffering. They have not been annihilated. The punishment in the Lake of Fire is declared to be “day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)
We are living at a tragic and deceptive time at the end of this age. It is a time of great spiritual darkness. This darkness exists because of people’s ignorance of the Bible and their wrong view of God and man. The tendency of our sinful heart is to elevate man and dethrone God. We make man more like God and God like man. We live in a day when people like to focus on certain words, without studying their historical usage in the original language in which the Scriptures were given, to force an interpretation upon the Bible that is foreign to the overall context of the Bible and the very nature of God.
Concerning the fate of the wicked after death, there are two growing views that attempt to give some relief to the sinner. Those who hold these views believe that the unsaved will not suffer in the fires of the Lake of Fire forever.
Annihilationism- This view teaches that everyone will be eventually burned up in the Lake of Fire. It teaches that the bodies and souls of the wicked will cease to exist at some point in time. They point to words that are used to speak of the wicked after death, such as “perish,” and “destruction.” Obviously, this is not what the Scriptures teach. God can make bodies that can burn and never be consumed. Two Biblical illustrations of this are the burning bush in the days of Moses (Exodus 3:2), and the 3 Hebrew children in the fiery furnace in the days of Daniel. (Daniel 3:14-25)
Universalism- This view basically teaches that at some point in time in future the Lord will forgive those in the Lake of Fire and allow them to join the redeemed in the new heaven for the same blessings for the rest of eternity. This view does not agree with the statements of Scripture which declare that the eternal punishment of the wicked is based upon God’s justice, because He is holy.
Mike Wingfield - www.ptnews.org
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-05-26 15:23
What is the trumpet of the Lord?
“When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more, and the morning breaks, eternal, bright, and fair …” Most of us have been singing these words for a very long time. What should we think about when we consider the trumpet of the Lord?
The trumpet of the Lord is associated with many prophetic events in the Bible. The trumpet of the Lord will sound at the time of the Rapture, along with a shout from the Lord, “with the voice of the archangel.”(1 Thessalonians 4:16) This trumpet blast will signal the resurrection of the dead church saints. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52) Seven years later, the trumpet will sound to resurrect the Old Testament saints and dead Tribulation saints at the end of the Tribulation when the Lord returns in all of His glory to establish His kingdom. (Daniel 12:2-3; Matthew 24:31)
During the Tribulation, the Lord will send forth seven angels with seven trumpets. When they sound their trumpets, God’s wrathful judgment will fall upon this earth. (Revelation 8:2-9:21; 11:15-19)
All of the references to trumpets in these prophetic texts are significant, and can help us understand the nature and time of the end-time events. Therefore, it is important for us to answer four significant questions about the trumpet of the Lord.
What is the trumpet of the Lord?
The trumpet in all of these prophetic texts will be a shofar --- a horn made from a curved horn of a ram or ibex. This horn could give a good, clear, loud, distinct tone that could be heard from a distance.
To the ancient Israeli believer, this horn was associated with the voice of God. Like the shofar, God’s powerful voice always gave them a good, clear, authoritative message. When trumpets sounded loudly at Mount Sinai at the giving of the law, the children of Israel connected it to the voice of God, thus they trembled. (Exodus 19:16-19)
Fifteen centuries later, when the Apostle John was on the island of Patmos, he identified the voice of the Lord with a trumpet. (Revelation 1:10) Later in his report about his journey into the Lord’s day, John wrote, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which much be hereafter.”(Revelation 4:1) Once again, this trumpet was associated with the voice of the Lord Jesus.
It is worth noting that the Lord instructed Moses that the sounding of the shofar was given to Israel, as “an ordinance forever throughout your generations.”(Numbers 10:8) As we shall see in this article, the sounding of the trumpet of the Lord has a significant message for the children of the Lord, and especially Israel.
How was the trumpet sounded?
The congregation of Israel was given instruction concerning the sounding of the shofar. The time and place of the sounding, the length and number of blasts, and the number of trumpets sounding were all significant. When God gave Israel specific instructions concerning the unique method of the military attack against Jericho, the shofar played a significant role in God’s instructions. Read Joshua 6:1-6.
Many centuries later, when the Apostle Paul communicated with the church of Corinth concerning the gift of speaking in tongues, he referenced the use of the shofar. In the church at Corinth, immature believers (see 1 Corinthians 3:1) had elevated the sign gifts above the teaching and preaching of the Word of God. Paul instructed them in 1 Corinthians 14 that these sign gifts were inferior to the greater gifts of teaching and preaching. Notice what he said in verses 6-12: “Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or knowledge, or by prophesying [preaching], or by doctrine [teaching]? And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to battle? So, likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? For ye shall speak into the air. There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” Paul’s divine instruction reminded the church that God’s message must be clear, like the sounding of the shofar.
Why will the Lord use a trumpet to call us home in the Rapture?
In ancient Biblical days, the shofar had four major applications:
(1) The shofar was used as a call to worship. The priests blew the trumpet for sacrifices and during the feast days. When we are raptured it will be a call to worship in heaven. This worship service is recorded for us in Revelation 4-5.
(2) It was used as an instrument of instruction. The trumpet was used to call the assembly together, to make camp, and to signal marching orders. The trumpet of the Lord will be the final call for the church’s marching orders. It will be our retreat from earth – and our call to join Jesus in the air for our flight to heaven.
(3) The ram’s horn was an instrument of time. It signaled the new moons (the beginning of the Jewish calendar month), new beginnings (the Jewish new year and the year of Jubilee), and the coronation of a new king. When the trumpet of the Lord sounds at the Rapture, it will be the signal of a new beginning for the church. We will be joined to our bridegroom, Jesus Christ. (Revelation 19:7-9) It will be a new beginning for our Lord. He will be crowned as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – and will be known as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.”(Revelation 5:5)
(4) This unique instrument was used to announce war. The shofar sounded the alarm that the enemy had been sighted, as a military charge, and for instructions during the military campaign. When the trumpet sounds for the church, it will be the sound of retreat for the church. Our spiritual warfare upon this earth will be over. However, for those who are left behind, it will signal that the final campaign of the spiritual warfare that has been raging for about 6,000 years will be entering its final phase.
What does this tell us about the time of the Rapture?
Some people have concluded that the Rapture will take place with the sounding of the seventh trumpet mentioned in Revelation 11:15. They have arrived at this conclusion because in 1 Corinthians 15:52, the Bible declares that the Rapture will be “at the last trump.” They believe that this “last trump” is a reference to the last of the seven trumpets mentioned in the Book of Revelation. However, the Bible student must remember that the Apostle Paul wrote the Book of 1 Corinthians in 55 A.D., while the Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation at least 40 years later, around 95 A.D. The Apostle Paul would not have been pointing the church at Corinth to a Biblical reference that had not yet been revealed.
Remember that the sounding of a shofar was given to Israel, as “an ordinance forever throughout your generations.”(Numbers 10:8) While the Rapture is for the church, it will also be a clear sounding from the Lord that the following seven years have direct application to Israel. Those who have studied Daniel 9:24-27, will remember that about 2,500 years ago, the angel Gabriel informed Daniel of 70 groups of seven years each [490 years] that were given to the Jewish people. Daniel was informed that 483 of these years would lead up to the rejection of the Messiah. After Israel’s rejection of Jesus Christ in 32 A.D., God’s prophetic clock in heaven stopped, with seven years remaining. That final seven years is now identified as the Tribulation Period. The final seven years, just like the first 483 years, will be for Israel. Therefore, when the trumpet of the Lord sounds, it will signal the end of the predominately Gentile church age, and the renewal of God’s program for Israel. This is the meaning of Romans 11:25-26:“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness form Jacob.”
Therefore, for these reasons, and many more, the Rapture must take place before the Tribulation begins. The Tribulation is not for the church, but for the completion of God’s work with Israel before the beginning of His earthly kingdom for 1,000 years. The trumpet of the Lord at the Rapture will mark a new beginning for the church in heaven, and for Israel on the earth.
Like the watchman on the wall in ancient Israel, we must sound the trumpet of God’s Word to warn sinners to repent, and turn from their wicked ways. (Ezekiel 33:1-9) They need to be saved, and get ready for the trumpet of the Lord that will call His children home to heaven at any moment!
As one looks around and sees the prophetic stage set for the Tribulation Period, he has to wonder if the sounding of the trumpet of the Lord is near. Like the watchman on the wall, it is our moral and ethical responsibility to warn this present generation of the approaching war that is ahead.
by Mike Wingfield – www.ptnews.org
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-05-26 15:24
Why church members and pastors avoid Biblical prophecy?
As I travel and speak on various themes of prophetic truth in the Bible, I have observed that we are witnessing a serious departure from the consistent preaching and teaching of the doctrine of last things. People do not want to hear prophetic truth, and most pastors refuse to teach or preach it. Why?
Some professing believers give various reasons why they are not interested in Biblical prophecy. They claim that it is too complex and has little practical application to daily living. Many could care less about the time of the Rapture, or the nature of the Kingdom of God. They are not interested in a study on heaven or the eternal rewards of the believer. Most professing Christians today view Bible prophecy as a pessimistic view of the future. They do not want to hear messages on the future judgments of God that will be poured out upon a godless generation in the last days. They want to hear positive messages that make them feel comfortable about themselves and give them hope for their generation in this world.
Many pastors do not want to study or preach on prophetic themes because it is not what many of their people want to hear. There are many different and opposing interpretations of various prophetic themes that they fear may polarize their people and bring unnecessary division over a doctrine that they view as not being all that important.
Many pastors in the liberal denominations teach that God has no future program for Israel and arrive at this position by using an allegorical rather than a literal interpretation of the prophetic texts in the Bible. They have concluded that God has rejected Israel and the church has replaced Israel as God’s chosen people. This position, called “replacement theology,” is promoted by the World Council of Churches, a fellowship of 347 church organizations in 120 countries. According to the research of Bill Koenig, about 63 percent of American Christians hold this position that is promoted by 14 of the largest 25 church denominations in the U.S. (Bill Koenig, “President Bush, the Bible & Israel,” Hope for the World, Summer 2005, p. 5)
As a result of these attitudes, we have arrived at a time when many professing believers and pastors know very little or nothing about Biblical prophecy. Koenig concludes, “Today there are approximately 100 million American church members who have very little to no understanding of Bible Prophecy.” (Bill Koenig, “President Bush, the Bible & Israel,” Hope for the World, Summer 2005, p. 5)
All of this is a Biblical fulfillment of spiritual conditions that would prevail in the last days. Jesus said that His return would be at a time when the believers were not even thinking about it (see Matthew 24:44). The Apostle Peter warned, “… there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming?”(2 Peter 3:3-4) The Apostle Paul exhorted his young son in the faith, Timothy, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”(2 Timothy 4:1-4) Earlier, in his first letter to Timothy, Paul gave him this warning, “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons …”(1 Timothy 4:1)“The faith” is a reference to the accepted doctrines of the apostles. An examination of the New Testament writings of the apostles reveals that about one out of three verses in the New Testament addresses some aspect of the future. That means that about 30 percent of “the faith” is about prophetic truth. Approximately 80 percent of prophetic texts focus upon the events surrounding the Second Coming of Christ, His millennial kingdom, and the New Earth.
It has been my personal observation and experience that Satan hates Bible prophecy, and especially the doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ. He is doing everything he can to oppose it and bring great confusion to this area of Biblical truth. Those who avoid Bible prophecy have fallen into the snare of God’s adversary! They are aiding his kingdom efforts to blind people from God’s revelation, and especially the doctrine of last things. Why does Satan hate Bible prophecy? Let us examine five reasons why Satan hates Bible prophecy.
Satan hates Bible prophecy because it is centered upon Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the central Person and focus of the entire Bible. He is the central figure in Bible history, poetry, the epistles, and prophecy. Revelation 19:10 declares that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” The major reason why Satan hates Bible prophecy is because it reveals that Jesus is God, the Lord and Savior of His creation, and the coming Judge and King. The holiness of Jesus Christ is the common thread that runs throughout the Biblical prophetic texts. Because He is holy, He hates sin and must ultimately judge all sin and sinners. He has promised, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.”(Romans 12:19) The day when Jesus Christ will pour out His holy wrath upon a godless, immoral, rebellious, and wicked world is fast approaching.
The church today wants to focus upon the grace, love, and mercy of God. These are precious attributes of our Lord Jesus. However, we cannot ignore the fact that the Bible also speaks of His wrath and judgment. The Bible speaks of His love and hate, and His grace and vengeance. All of this can only be comprehended in the light of His holy nature. His holiness demands what He loves and hates, and to whom He will extend grace or vengeance.
Satan is the author of confusion, not God (see 1 Corinthians 14:33). Satan is “an angel of light.”(2 Corinthians 11:14) He delights in using the Scriptures to His advantage (see Matthew 4:6). He loves to twist and distort God’s Word. He has many ministers preaching today in many very influential churches in our world (compare 2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Many of his ministers refuse to speak about the wrath of God, the judgment of God, and the Second Coming of Christ. They don’t like to speak about sin or repentance. They only speak of the grace, mercy and the love of Jesus Christ! They refuse to proclaim that there is only one God, one Bible, and one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ. Beware of these men!
Satan hates Bible prophecy because it is God’s Word.
As previously pointed out, prophecy is a major portion of the Word of God. The prophetic theme begins in Genesis and continues as a thread that is interwoven into the entire fabric of Scripture, concluding with a summary chronological overview in the final book of the Bible, the Revelation.
Satan has a hatred for the Bible, but especially the prophetic portions of Scripture because they present the clear evidence that the Bible is the Word of God. Long ago the Apostle Peter proclaimed, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21)
One of the reasons that God has given us prophecy is to prove that He is the one and only true God and that the Bible is the only true revelation from Him! In Isaiah 46:9-10, the Lord declared this truth. “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”
If a prophet makes one prediction and it does not come to pass, he is a fraud and is not a messenger from God (see Deuteronomy 18:21-22). God cannot lie! If God were to give a prophecy, and it should not come to pass in every detail, then it proves that He is not God! Therefore, the accurate and detailed fulfillment of the many prophecies of the first coming of Christ, and those that are now setting the stage for His Second Coming, clearly demonstrate that the Bible is the Word of God.
One of Satan’s chief tools of deception is to arouse doubt concerning the divine origin of the Bible. If the fulfillment of these divine prophecies given over 2,000 years ago prove beyond any doubt that the Bible is the very Word of God, then Satan must challenge them. He must bring confusion or silence this evidence. His efforts are great at this hour, and his agents are very busy.
Satan hates Bible prophecy because it focuses upon the sovereign will and power of God.
The devil does not like prophecy because when people consider it, they come face to face with a holy God Who created everything and is directing everything from His throne in heaven, to bring it all to His end, fulfilling His eternal purposes for His glory. Satan does not like that and does not want people to hear it or believe it. His message is one that promotes luck, fate, or chance. Satan does not want people to know that even he is under the power and control of God (clearly illustrated in Job 1-2). He does not want to face the reality that what God has purposed will come to pass. He would rather think that he and his demons, and all of mankind, have some chance of defeating Jesus Christ when the end comes. Therefore, he must minimize the church’s effort in the proclamation of the prophetic Scriptures that define and display the sovereign will of God.
Jesus and His prophets and apostles repeatedly declared that what He has revealed about the future will come to pass. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”(Matthew 24:35) All of this is true because “by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”(Colossians 1:16-17)
Satan, as a foolish, finite, and sinful creature, has a record of attempting to challenge the sovereign plan of God. He tried to cause Jesus to fail in His divine mission to earth almost 2,000 years ago. He has attempted to destroy the chosen people of God. He has tried to destroy the nation of Israel and her occupation of the Holy Land and the city of Jerusalem. He knows that if he can alter or stop one of God’s purposes spelled out in the prophetic Scriptures, then he will have made God a liar and will have dethroned the holy God of the Bible. While he works on that impossible option, his next best plan is to silence the proclamation of the prophetic Scriptures that proclaim the sovereign plan and power of God. If people hear and believe this message they will, from his perspective, reduce his chances of defeating God.
Satan hates Bible prophecy because of its powerful impact upon man for the glory of God.
Satan hates the prophetic Word of God because, like all Scripture, it has a profound effect upon those who hear, believe, and apply its message. Bible prophecy causes each individual to consider their own future judgment by God. Through the prophetic Word we all come face to face with the reality that we have been created for the glory of God and will all stand before Him some day! This forces us to think about death, eternity, our future eternal destination, and many other aspects of the future for those who have been created in the image of God. Satan’s objective is to keep all of this far away from our knowledge or consideration.
Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit would come He would “reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John 16:8) The proclamation of Bible prophecy is a method that the Holy Spirit uses to accomplish this work of conviction. I have observed that the preaching of the prophetic Word is used by the Holy Spirit to bring sinners to repentance. Many people have shared with me how they came to Christ as a result of the preaching of the prophetic Word of God. Satan does not want men to consider that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this [is] the judgment.”(Hebrews 9:27) He does not want sinners to repent and be saved!
The Holy Spirit also uses the prophetic Word to provoke believers to godliness. For example, after Peter had written about the final judgment of God upon His creation that will usher in the new heaven and the new earth, he reminded the believers that this should have a very sobering effect upon them and drive them to “godliness”(2 Peter 3:11), and to be “without spot, and blameless.”(2 Peter 3:14) Speaking about the Second Coming, the Apostle John wrote, “And every man that hath this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.”(1 John 3:3) Obviously, this is something that Satan opposes. He hates moral purity and holiness!
One of the Lord’s major purposes for Bible prophecy is the development of an eternal perspective in the daily life of the believer. If we live our lives in light of the eternal plan of God, then we will have great wisdom for living today! Jesus and His Apostles spoke much about the Tribulation and His earthly kingdom. In each context it is clear that what we think about the future will impact how we live today! If we are living for Christ for this moment only, then we will live foolishly. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”(1 Corinthians 15:19)
When believers live their daily lives without a sense of the urgency that comes when they are anticipating the coming of our Lord for His church, it will result in a condition of spiritual apathy, complacency, disobedience, and immorality (for example, see Romans 13:11-14)! The New Testament is filled with exhortations concerning the believer’s longing for the return of our blessed Lord! The expectation of His imminent return is the “blessed hope” that motivates us to be a people who are “zealous of good works.”(Titus 2:13-14) Today, in most churches, the return of the Lord is not considered to be “blessed,” and therefore most believers are living as if Jesus Christ will not return in their lifetime! I personally believe that most professing Christians hope that Jesus will not return during their lifetime! This is a pure delight to Satan. He loves to keep the church lazy and asleep! If the preaching and teaching of the prophetic Word of God will arouse and alarm the believers and motivate them to serve the Lord, you can believe that he will do everything he can to prevent pastors from preaching Bible prophecy!
Satan hates Bible prophecy because it exposes his nature and future.
One of the chief reasons why Satan must hate the prophetic portions of the Bible is because it exposes his nature, his deceptive strategies, his desperate agenda, and his ultimate defeat in the end. From his finite and sinful perspective, he must keep believers in the dark about all of this if he is to have a chance to defeat God.
As the ruler of the evil rebellion against his Creator, Satan’s ultimate objective is to defeat God and to enthrone himself as the god of all of heaven and earth (see Isaiah 14:12-14). According to the Bible, when the end of this age comes, he will attempt to create a one-world government that will be directed by the Antichrist (see Daniel 7:8, 23-25). Satan will indwell this man and will empower him to blaspheme God, oppose God and His people, and declare himself to be god (see Revelation 13:1-10). He will cause the world to hate the believers in Jesus Christ and the nation of Israel (see Revelation 12; 13:7-10). He will fill the world with a hatred for Israel and cause the armies of all the nations to gather in the valley of Armageddon in Israel to drive the Jewish people from the Holy Land (see Revelation 16:12-16 & Zechariah 12:1-9; 14:1-3). Satan’s ultimate objective for Armageddon, knowing the prophetic plan of God, is to gather the armies of the world to the Mount of Olives for his ultimate showdown with God. In Revelation 19:19, the Apostle John wrote, “And I saw the beast [the Antichrist], and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse [the King of Kings], and against his army.”
Satan is a defeated foe! The Bible teaches that he will be defeated at Armageddon (see Revelation 19:20), and finally, in the plan of God, when he is released for a brief and final attempt to defeat God (see Revelation 20:7-9). After this final defeat, John wrote, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”(Revelation 20:10)
It is evident that Satan is doing everything he can to keep pastors from preaching about his ultimate doom. The lack of preaching and teaching on these prophetic themes has created a spiritual ignorance concerning revealed truth about our adversary. This has increased his ability to deceive not only the world, which is already in spiritual darkness, but also the professing body of Christ.
I am alarmed that so many pastors and Christians think that they can treat the Bible as a spiritual cafeteria, where they can pick and choose what they want to believe and cherish, and reject those portions of the Bible that do not appeal to them. Who do we think we are? Do we think we know more than God?
I would like to remind us all that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) A major portion of the written revelation given to us is prophetic in its nature. God intended for us to study these portions of His Word and to understand and apply them. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) This is not an option! Notice that this is a command!
The church is in a sad spiritual condition today! If you do not agree with this statement, then you do not agree with the prophetic Word of God and have been deceived by the master deceiver! I believe that one of the major reasons why the church is so spiritually weak today is because it is void of Biblical truth, and especially prophetic truth! As the prophet Hosea said long ago, “Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood touches blood. … My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:1-2, 6a)
If the cry of your heart is not, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20), then, something is spiritually wrong! If this world is your comfortable home, then you are too much like the world, and heaven may not be your home! We are to be content and enjoy the life He has given us here and now, but we are at best “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”(Hebrews 11:13) Our joy and affections are to be “on things above, not on things on the earth”(Colossians 3:2). This kind of mindset and lifestyle does not come except through the renewing of our minds through the prophetic Word of God.
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-05-26 15:24
Do you really believe Jesus is coming soon?
Do you believe the Lord could come for His church at any moment? There are a few thousand pastors and a few million believers in the U.S. who claim they believe Jesus could come today. However, do they really believe that? If they really believe that Jesus could come today, why have they not connected the dots to realize what that means for all those who would be left behind? A brief reading of the book of Revelation indicates that within a very short period of time, perhaps in the first year of the Tribulation, one-fourth of the world’s population will die as a result of the wrathful judgments of God. (Revelation 6:7-8) How can pastors and church members who claim to love the Lord and sinners be so silent about what they say they believe is about to take place? The silence of the church with regard to this message of warning is sinful! To not warn this present generation of the impending wrathful judgment of God is ethically wrong! We have a moral obligation to warn those with whom we come in contact about the divine judgment that will fall, both in this age and in eternity to come, upon all those who reject Jesus Christ!
If believers really do believe that Jesus could come today, there should be at least three things that would be different about their lives. First, there would be a fresh sense of daily urgency in their lives. If one is really expecting the Lord to come at any moment, it will change his outlook on life. The real, daily anticipation of the coming of the Lord is the “blessed hope” that will fill our hearts with the joy of the Lord and spur us on to be “zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:13-14) There is no room for apathy in the heart of a believer who is honestly watching, looking, longing, and waiting for the coming of his Lord! This was the Apostle Paul’s point when he wrote, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”(Romans 13:11) Does your heart beat with excitement as you contemplate that He could come for us today?
Second, if a person really does believe that Jesus could come today, it will have a very sobering impact upon him. Do you realize if Jesus should come today that it would be our judgment day? The thought of entering into the presence of a holy God who knows everything about us should have a spiritually purifying effect upon us. It should cause us to flee from sin and to take sin seriously, confessing it immediately! This was the impact that the imminent return of Jesus had upon the early church. Note what the Apostle John said, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him: for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”(1 John 3:2-3) Does your personal sin bother you? If it doesn’t, you are not in fellowship with the holy Lord Jesus, and you are not looking for His coming today!
Furthermore, if a person is looking for Jesus to come today and realizes what horrible judgments await those who will not be raptured out of this world with us, he will be moved with fear and a holy boldness to warn his family and friends of the approaching judgment of God. Because he fears God, believes His Word, and loves his unsaved family and friends, he will be compelled to warn them of the judgment of God in this life and in the next to come! Long ago the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…”(2 Corinthians 5:11) Where are the voices of warning in our homes, schools, shopping malls, factories, offices, and churches? There is currently a deafening silence within the church concerning a message of warning from God.
Our world is pregnant with the signs of the approaching wrathful judgment of God! Note that the Apostle Paul warned that when the world would be crying for peace and safety in the last days that “sudden destruction [would] com[e] upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they [those left behind] shall not escape.”(1 Thessalonians 5:3) Speaking about this period of time, our Lord gave the following warning, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”(Matthew 24:21-22)
It is obvious that the world and the professing church are preoccupied with their own personal agendas, to the point that they are oblivious to the approaching judgment of God. This is also a fulfillment of prophecy. Jesus said that the beginning of the tribulation period would come upon the earth’s inhabitants as a total surprise as did the global flood in the days of Noah. He said, “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:37-39) In light of this, Jesus gave this most solemn warning to His disciples, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with [excessive indulgence in pleasures], and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:34-36)
According to Daniel 12 the Lord told this great prophet that the prophetic knowledge of God’s revelation would be “shut up” and sealed until “the time of the end.”(Daniel 12:4, compare with 12:8-9) This would indicate that the Lord, in His sovereign plan, has chosen to blind the eyes and minds of believers concerning certain prophetic matters until the last of the last days. Then, He told Daniel, “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.”(Daniel 12:10) Why would the Lord choose to wait until “the time of the end”(Daniel 12:4) to illumine the minds of His people concerning the prophetic truths that were recorded in His book over 2,000 years ago? The answer to that question is very simple. He has chosen to increase the knowledge of prophetic truth among His people in the last days because He is a gracious and merciful God, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”(2 Peter 3:9) Also, the church is His mouthpiece, and as salt and light, we are being enlightened by His Spirit to warn the world because we are living in that generation that will suffer the vengeance of a holy God who has promised, “Vengeance is mine: I will repay.”(Romans 12:19) My friend, if we are where I think we are in God’s prophetic plan, you and I are looking into the eyes of a world that will experience the judgments spelled out in God’s prophetic Word! That very thought should cause us to weep and pray that the Lord will give us a holy boldness to sound the message of God’s warning to a world in spiritual darkness!
We live at a time when most preachers are proclaiming a message that is rocking the church to sleep, rather than sounding the alarm and preaching the whole counsel of God, which includes a message of warning. This too, is a fulfillment of prophecy. Paul exhorted young Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)
Our Lord has given us a book that is full of warnings. The Bible warns us about the judgment of God in His prophetic plan for the last days, and about the eternal fires of hell and the Lake of Fire. Speaking of the Word of God, the psalmist proclaimed, “Moreover by them is thy servant warned.” (Psalm 19:11) Jesus, as the living Word, modeled this in His earthly ministry. He was faithful to His Father and displayed the mercy of God by continually warning people of the consequences of their rejection of Him and His eternal Word. Jesus had far more to say about hell than He did about heaven. He continually warned those who would listen to Him about the judgment to come and the fact that many would be deceived, thinking they were saved, when they were not. (Matthew 7:13-27)
When John the Baptist began his public ministry, he looked into the eyes of the godless religious leadership of his day and warned, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”(Matthew 3:7) John’s message was not popular with men, but it was with our Lord! Later, Jesus spoke to His disciples about John, saying, “Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.” (Matthew 11:11) John had been preceded by many great prophets who also had warned their generation of the approaching judgment of God.
Jeremiah stood alone in his day to warn his people of the judgment of God because of their sin. There were many other false prophets that were speaking words of blessing to the people, making Jeremiah look like a radical prophet who was out of step with the rest of the prophets. However, listen to God’s indictment against the false prophets of Jeremiah’s day: “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? Who hath marked his word, and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. … I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? Yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbor … Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words everyone from his neighbor. Behold I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:16-22, 25-27, 30-32)
Jeremiah, known as the weeping prophet, stood up for his Lord in the face of all these false prophets and faithfully delivered his message of warning from the Lord. He wasn’t popular with the people. They even put him in a pit and tried to kill him. However, the Lord raised up this prophet to deliver His message of warning. Jeremiah was popular with God, but not with the people!
Several years later, after Judah had been carried away into captivity in Babylon, God raised up a street preacher named Ezekiel. The Lord said to him, “Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.” (Ezekiel 2:3) God told him that they would not listen to him and that he was not to be afraid of them. The Lord clearly warned him of the consequences if he failed to deliver His message of warning to Israel. “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die: and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou has delivered thy soul. Again, when a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.” (Ezekiel 3:17-21)
Some might want to argue that Ezekiel’s commission and assignment were unique and that the Lord does not require us to warn people today of the judgment of God. While Ezekiel’s commission and assignment were unique, they do illustrate for us the moral obligation that all believers have concerning warning sinners of the judgment of God. This was certainly modeled in the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul. When Paul met with the Ephesian elders, with whom he had ministered for three years, he warned them that false teachers would rise out of their own congregation “to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:30-31) Later, when he wrote to the church at Colosse, he reminded them that his ministry among them was one of “warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Colossians 1:28)
Long ago, the father-in-law of Moses gave him counsel concerning the appointment of men to help him shepherd the flock of Israel. He said, “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them …”(Exodus 18:21) This is the kind of leadership we need in the church today. We need men who fear God more than they fear men! We need men who speak the truth and know the truth and are compelled to live it and proclaim it with without favor or compromise. We need men who are not in love with material things and do not covet them, or the power and prestige that they appear to bring. Oh that the Lord would raise up men in the church today who are not afraid to preach the Word and warn this present generation of the imminent wrath of God. If the men that stand behind the pulpits of our churches do not rise up and warn those who listen to them, God will require their blood upon their hands. They need to be reminded that they will soon fall into the hands of the living God, who “is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29)
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-05-26 15:25
Will violence continue to increase until Jesus comes?
For those whose eyes are open to the reality of what is taking place in our world, it is evident that we are witnessing an alarming trend toward an increase in brutal acts of violence. No area of life is immune from this disturbing trend. Violence is on the rise in our homes, workplaces, schools, communities, nation, and world. As we witness these acts of violence as they are reported on our daily news, some are asking if this is a passing tide of wickedness that will eventually subside, or will it only continue to increase until Jesus comes to establish His kingdom of peace upon this earth at the end of the Tribulation Period? The Bible does give us the answer to this question.
While answering the question of His disciples about the signs of His coming, Jesus warned them that the last days would be “as the days of Noahwere.”(Matthew 24:37) According to Genesis 6, the society of Noah’s day had departed from the Lord. Consequently, the Holy Spirit would “not always strive” with them. (Genesis 6:3) This means the people of Noah’s day had consistently resisted God and refused to respect Him. Therefore, He gave up on them, and allowed them to live with depraved minds that were void of His truth. With this absence of truth, they were not able to reason. They lived and acted in a way that appeared to be crazy, foolish, or mad. (Romans 1:18-22) This society had ignored its God-given conscience to the point that it was no longer functioning, as if it had been “seared with a hot iron.” (compare with 1 Timothy 4:2) In essence, Noah lived in a society that was self-destructing because the culture had effectively silenced their collective conscience. There were many spiritually wicked “giants”[spiritual giants for Satan], who were controlled by demons, and lived lives of total immorality, accompanied by violence. (Genesis 6:4-13) Carefully read God’s observation of that society, which was ripe for a supernatural visitation of His wrathful judgment. “The earth was also corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and behold it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”(Genesis 6:11-13)
Without question, our world is becoming more like the days of Noah with each passing day! Each day our world moves a little further away from God and His Word. Each day brings more immorality and violence. In 2 Timothy 3:1, the Bible warns, “This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come.”In the following verses, the Bible reveals that in the last days people who have a “form of godliness”will have no love or respect for human beings. They will be filled with brutal violence, and an unforgiving hatred. (2 Timothy 3:2-8; compare Romans 1:24-32) Furthermore, it is most important to observe that the original Greek word that is translated “perilous times” is found only one other time in the New Testament. In Matthew 8:28, this same word is translated “exceeding fierce,”describing the brutal violence of a man who was possessed by many demons. When one compares the revelation about the violence that will permeate the culture of the last days in 2 Timothy 3 with Genesis 6, it is very apparent that the Bible is revealing that the brutal violence and shameless immorality of the last days will be influenced or controlled by demons.
While we cannot and should not conclude that everyone who is filled with hate, violence, and immorality is demon possessed, we can and should conclude they are, in some way, being influenced by demons in their godless society! It is very revealing to note that the demon-possessed man in Luke 8:26-39 (see also Matthew 8:28-34 and Mark 5:1-20) was violent toward innocent people just passing by his location. He was physically self-destructive and cutting himself (self-inflicted-pain). He was shamelessly nude, and comfortable living in the presence of death among the dead in the tombs. He was acting in such a way that he appeared to be mentally deranged. Note that after Jesus cast the demons out of him, it is reported that he was “sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind.”(Luke 8:35) Therefore, it is obvious that the actions of this man were caused by the demons that possessed him.
What restrains a person from carrying out evil thoughts that go through his mind? Only the Bible gives us this answer! God has given to each person a conscience, impressing upon their inner spirit what is right and wrong. (Romans 1:18-19) Everyone is born with a conscience that in some basic way communicates with the inner man right from wrong. He knows right from wrong because of his conscience. Romans 2:15 teaches that even the unsaved have the moral law of God “written in their hearts [mind], their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.”
The conscience should be viewed as a God-given spiritual warning system within man that instructs him to follow what is godly and right, so as to not self-destruct. With each thought or action, our conscience either accuses us, telling us it is wrong, or excuses us, telling us it is good. The Bible warns us that “the wages of sin is death.”(Romans 6:23)“For to be carnally minded [to follow the evil, sin-nature within us] is death; but to be spiritually minded[to follow the conscience, built up by the Word of God] is life and peace.”(Romans 8:6)
The Apostle Paul testified that he exercised himself “to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men.”(Acts 24:16) Adam’s conscience was originally programed to function based upon the holy character and laws of God. However, after the fall of man the conscience was defiled. Consequently, people are not born with a perfect conscience. The conscience of every sinner must be built up, strengthened, and exercised on a daily basis. We must inform our minds, by examining the Word of God, who God is and what He says is right and wrong! When we do this, our conscience will more frequently and powerfully warn us of our own personal sin and the sin of others around us. This is what we call conviction, guilt, and shame! This is spiritually healthy, promoting a strong conscience that leads to holy living and pleasing God.
We cannot rely upon our ability, or someone else’s ability to reason what is right and wrong. Proverbs 16:25 says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Speaking to the nation of Israel long ago, our Lord revealed to them His holiness and gave them His moral law. With this written revelation as their guide, He declared, “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; That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life.”(Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
Because God does not change, His moral laws of right and wrong never change! (Malachi 3:5-6) Sin is always offensive to a holy God. The moral laws of God may be old, but they are never out of date with God!
When people say no to their conscience and attempt to silence it, they weaken it. (1 Corinthians 8:7) They ignore God and His Word; their conscience grows weaker and weaker, gradually leading them to a point of self-destruction, opening the invitation for demons to move in and take control to promote Satan’s hellish agenda.
Those who travel down this path of self-destruction, resisting God and ignoring their conscience, feel safe and normal as they move deeper and deeper into spiritual darkness. Jesus said, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”(John 3:19-21) It is the natural and normal sinful tendency for all of us to resist God. In this sinful foolishness, we reject His revelation (light) about Himself and His holy commandments and laws. It is natural and normal to resist our conscience that is telling us sin is wrong. We then, proceed down a path of self-love to please ourselves because we have been deceived into believing that what we are looking for is not found in God, but in the pleasure, power, popularity, and prestige offered by a lifestyle that is wrapped up in a world system that ends in despair, distress, depression, destruction, and death.
Those who commit the ultimate act of violence, murder, have one thing in common. They do not wake up one morning and decide to go out and violently kill innocent people. They said “no” to their conscience long before they murder a person created in the image of God. They have consistently resisted the God of the Bible and His moral laws. They have rejected the light of God and filled their minds with an acceptance of rebellion and violence that is constantly promoted by the music and entertainment industry in their culture. This culture has captured the minds and souls of this youthful generation.
The Islamic terrorists in the Middle East have rejected the revelation of the God of the Bible and have replaced it with an Islamic system that promotes hatred of all non-Muslims. They excuse their consciences so there is no shame or remorse for killing innocent people. In their deception, they actually believe, as they have been taught, that they are doing the will of Allah, their god. Long ago, Jesus warned His Jewish disciples about this kind of hatred. He told them, “the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (John 16:2)
Violence, hatred, intimidation, vengeance, persecution, and murder are not God’s way! Jesus’ teaching and lifestyle provides us with the God-given path of life and godliness. Read Matthew 5:1-12. After hours of both verbal and physical abuse at the hands of the Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers, Jesus did not lash out at them or threaten revenge upon them, but instead prayed, “Father, forgive them,; for they know not what they do.”(Luke 23:34) This is God’s way for those who follow Him! The message of the Bible is loud and clear! All those who are filled with hate, violence, and murder are acting like their spiritual father, Satan. (1 John 3:7-15)
As more and more people depart from the light of God, His revealed nature, and His laws recorded in the Bible, we will witness increased hatred and violence on a global level. This departure from the Word of God is taking place even in traditional conservative evangelical circles! 1 Timothy 4:1-2 is being fulfilled TODAY: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of [demons]; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron …”
When the true church is physically removed from this earth in the Rapture, violence will abruptly move to an unprecedented hellish level. The Holy Spirit’s restraining influence is deposited in the body of Christ, as the salt and light (moral restraining influence) of the world. (Matthew 5:13-16) As the professing church gradually departs from truth (2 Thessalonians 2:3), we are simultaneously witnessing the gradual withdrawal of the Holy Spirit’s restraining influence through the church in our world. When the lifestyles of believers are the same as those in the world, the church has ceased to be salt and light. This is producing and promoting the growing climate of hatred, violence, and immorality that we are witnessing on a global scale at this hour!
When the true remnant of believers in Jesus Christ have been raptured, the remaining restraining influence of the Holy Spirit will suddenly depart with the church. Then, the lawless one, the Antichrist, will be revealed. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8) Jesus has warned us that the following period, known as the Tribulation, will be a time of hatred, violence, and wars and rumors of wars. The Tribulation will be a time of great carnage with a total breakdown of all submission to the authority of God invested in the home and human government. (Matthew 24:6-13; Luke 21:9; Revelation 6:1-8)
The only hope and peace for this world is found in the return of the King of Kings to establish His kingdom of peace upon this earth for 1,000 years. (Isaiah 2:1-4) Peace will reign upon all the earth. Speaking to Israel, the Lord has promised: “Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy boarders; but thou shall call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.”(Isaiah 60:18) The historical future of the world for 1,000 years will never experience any military conflicts. “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”(Isaiah 2:4) Until this kingdom comes, violence will increase at an unprecedented level.
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”(Revelation 22:20)“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”(Matthew 6:10)
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-05-26 15:20
What will we do in heaven?
When a person thinks about heaven and the future hope of entering God’s home in the heavens, he always asks this question: “What will we do when we get to heaven?” Our life here on earth is wrapped up in our experiences, and we think about heaven in these same terms.
Upon our death, or rapture, true believers will be ushered into the presence of our Lord in His dwelling place called heaven. (2 Corinthians 5:8) We will remain with the church in heaven with the Lord until the seven years of the Tribulation are completed on earth. At the end of the seven years in heaven, we will descend to the earth in His revelation at the end of the Tribulation Period. (Revelation 19:11-16) The church will return to this earth with the Lord to rule with Him in His earthly kingdom for 1,000 years. (Revelation 20:6) After the conclusion to His earthly reign, the church, together with all of the saints of all of the ages, will once again join Him in His heaven for eternity. (Revelation 21-22)
When we think about heaven, we must be careful to not think of it only in terms of our present earthly experiences. The Apostle Paul declared this in 1 Corinthians 2:9-10: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” So, we must search the Scriptures for our answers to these questions about heaven. What a joy to contemplate and reflect upon these things which are “not seen”and “eternal.”(2 Corinthians 4:18) At best, we now “see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.”(1 Corinthians 13:12)
When we enter into God’s heaven, we must remember that we will not think like we do now. Our new bodies and minds will be perfect. (Philippians 3:21) While we are here on this earth in this temporary setting, as born-again believers, we have been exhorted to dedicate our bodies to God in worship as a “living sacrifice.”(Romans 12:2) We are to renew our minds (Romans 12:2) so as to have the mind of Christ. (Philippians 2:5) The Holy Spirit is living in our bodies and it is His desire for our bodies to glorify our Savior. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) He wants to reprogram our minds with the word of Christ. (Colossians 3:16) Finally, at our resurrection during the Rapture, Jesus and His Spirit will complete this work which they began in us at the time of our conversion. (Philippians 1:6) Our bodies and minds will be perfectly tuned for God and His heaven.
When we are at home in heaven, our experiences will be viewed from the perspective of our new heavenly perfected minds. We will know the very purpose for which we have been created. When we enter into God’s throne room, we will be in awe of His splendor, greatness, majesty, and holiness. (Isaiah 6:1-4; Revelation 4:1-9) We will be moved to hear the special angels, called seraphim and cherubim, who have not rested for thousands of years and have been praising their Creator by declaring: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”(Revelation 4:8) As we look upon our Savior, and experience His angels’ worship of Him, we too we be moved to worship Him.
When we enter heaven after the Rapture and our judgment, we will worship Him as we cast our rewards, the crowns, before His blessed feet. These crowns will represent all of the works in our life on earth that were given as sacrifices of praise and worship to our Lord. Then, we will be overwhelmed with the most awesome understanding of our purpose for living: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”(Revelation 4:11) In that awesome and holy moment, we will know that worshipping God is the greatest honor and privilege in our lives. We were created by Him, just like the angels around His throne, to worship Him. Then, we will also experience what happens when we obey our Creator and truly worship Him. We will be overawed with the greatest joy we have ever experienced in all of our lives. Psalm 16:11 says it all: “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”None of our experiences on earth will begin to touch the awesome and holy joy of that glorious moment that will become an eternal lifestyle in heaven.
Worship is the response of the human heart in the power of the Holy Spirit to who God is and all that He has done. The Scriptures teach that worship is the Spirit directed response to the stimuli of the person of God and His glorious works around us. When the believer is focused up God and His works, the Spirit of God will spiritually stimulate them to worship. Isaiah 26:3 declares: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed [fixed] on thee.” While we are here on this earth we are preoccupied with the things that are temporary, and are seen. When we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, we will focus upon those things that are eternal and unseen. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) Therefore, when we are finally in heaven, we will be face to face with our Lord as we see Him in all of His infinite glory and majesty. In heaven there will be no distractions and we will not be preoccupied with things of lesser importance.
Here is the glory of heaven. We will live in His presence. (John 14:3) We will live with Him and for Him. We will be in total ecstasy as we adore Him and are constantly in awe of Him. Our finite minds cannot comprehend what it will be like to see and continually learn about our incomprehensible God! “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.”(Psalm 145:3)“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out.”(Romans 11:33) Life in heaven will never be boring or common. With our perfect minds, we will be constantly stunned by the amazing greatness and majesty of our God. Long ago, the prophet Isaiah was given a heavenly vision of the majesty of God. He wrote: “I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train [the robe of His glorious majesty] filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with [two] he covered his face, and with [two] he covered his feet, and with [two] he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.”(Isaiah 6:1-4) About 800 years later, the Apostle John wrote of His experience when He was caught up into the throne room of God in heaven. Read his report in Revelation 4:2-8. These two Scriptural reports of the throne room of God give us a little peek into heaven.
The book of Revelation is one of the greatest books in Bible that gives us a window into the worship of heaven. Each time the Apostle John was allowed to look into heaven, he was moved to write about the anthems of praise and adoration that were given to our Lord by the heavenly hosts of the redeemed and the angels. Please read these passages and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you about the worship of heaven. (Revelation 5:11-13; 7:9-12; 11:15-17; 19:4-6)
Added to joy of worshipping our Lord will be the experience of being with other believers who also have been completely transformed. Our combined experiences of worshipping Him will not be interrupted with mundane or sinful experiences that flooded our lives on earth. We will love our Lord and one another unconditionally. Our love for others in heaven will be pure and holy. It will not be motivated by selfish manipulation or hypocritical pride. The first and second most important commandments will be perfected in us forever. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”(Matthew 22:37-39) Like our triune God, we have been created in His image. We were made for a relationship with Him and others who have been created in His image.
I have had several encounters in my lifetime of gathering with the saints of God to worship our Lord. It has been my observation that this corporate time of worship, when empowered by the Holy Spirit, is a most sweet and rewarding experience. As we sing and pray with other Spirit-filled believers, we are moved to joyfully lift up our Lord in great praise. All of this is a little taste of heaven. We cannot begin to imagine what it will be like to gather with all of the saints of all of the ages in the throne room of God. We will, with heavenly perfection and holy motives, in spiritual oneness express our adoration of the One who has chosen us and changed us to be like Him. There will be a real sense of belonging. We will be at home with our Savior and all of the redeemed of all of the ages. What a day that will be!
Heaven is not just a place of worship, but also a place of work. The Lord has created us to worship and serve Him. (Ephesians 2:10) Real worship always leads to sacrificial service. When Jesus repelled the temptation of Satan to worship him, Jesus said: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”(Matthew 4:10) We always serve whatever or whoever we worship. What we treasure is what we worship. (Matthew 6:19-24) As believers, we are exhorted by the Bible to set our minds on Christ and things above. (Colossians 3:1-4)
The treasure of heaven is not streets of gold, but Jesus. It will be our highest honor to serve Him in whatever capacity is demanded in our new life in heaven. Believers are repeatedly called “servants” (the original Greek word means “bond servants” or “slaves”) in the book of Revelation. (Revelation 1:1; 6:11; 19:2, 5; 22:3, 6)Revelation 22:3 simply declares: “… and his servants shall serve him.” Speaking of the martyred Tribulation saints, Revelation 7 gives us an incredible insight into the worship and service of the saints in heaven. Verse 15 says: “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” Therefore, we can conclude that our constant and endless service to our Lord will take place around His throne. Our service will also be viewed as a participation in reigning with Christ forever in His eternal kingdom in the new heaven and new earth. (Revelation 22:5)
Our experience in heaven will be similar to things on earth. We will eat. (Revelation 22:2) We will travel about within the New Jerusalem and the new earth. (Revelation 21:10, 12-14, 24-27; 22:14) We will enjoy living in the New Jerusalem, with incredible views within this city that is a cube in shape, measuring about 1,500 miles in each direction. We will occupy our dwelling place that Jesus promised to prepare for us. (John 14:2-3)
Our experiences in heaven will also be different than life on the earth. The newly created earth within the newly created heavens, and its city, will be perfect and pure. The city of the New Jerusalem and its streets will be “pure gold.”(Revelation 21:18, 21) The river flowing out of the throne of God will be “pure” and “clear as crystal.”(Revelation 22:1) The new earth and its city will be flawless. Nothing will ever defile this new heaven, earth, and its city. (Revelation 21:27) The construction of the city will remind us of our redemption. The 12 gates into the city will be named after the 12 tribes of Israel, reminding us that “salvation is of the Jews.”(John 4:22) The foundations of the walls of the city contain the names of the 12 apostles, who gave us the gospel of redemption and the New Testament. The 12 gates of the city each had a door that is one pearl, which will remind us of the suffering of our Lord Jesus from our salvation. (Revelation 21:21)
The dimensions of the New City of Jerusalem, being 1,500 miles high, tell us that there must be a totally different arrangement of space and gravity compared to earth. Since there will be no sun or moon (Revelation 21:23) there will be no concept of time like on planet earth. Best of all, when the end comes after Christ’s kingdom on earth, there will be no Satan, sin, sinners, or effects of sin in our eternal dwelling place in God’s heaven. Satan will be banished to the Lake of Fire “to be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)“And God shall wipe away their tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more plan: for the former things are passed away.”(Revelation 21:4)
However, we must understand that this perfect description of heaven where there is no Satan, sin, sinners, or effects of sin, does not come until the end of time, after the kingdom of our Lord ends on earth and the first heaven and first earth are passed away. (Revelation 21:1) Many preachers have quoted Revelation 21:4 and interpreted it out of its context. The promises of Revelation 21:4 do not take place until the end of time. Many believers think that there will be no disappointments or tears in the believers’ current experiences heaven. Please notice that Satan is constantly before the throne of God, accusing the saints of God “before our God day and night.”(Revelation 12:10) This will continue until he is cast out of heaven at the mid-point of the Tribulation Period. (Revelation 12:9-12) Some believers come before the Lord in heaven with great passion calling for the Lord to bring His vengeance upon those who persecuted and killed them. (Revelation 6:9-11) Some saints will be moved by great sorrow in heaven and “God shall wipe tears from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:17) During the Tribulation Period, believers in heaven will be very much aware of the wrathful judgments of God taking place on earth. At one point, heaven will be silent in anticipation of the awesome and deadly judgments that are about to take place on earth. (Revelation 8:1) When the great evil religious power structure on earth is finally destroyed near the end of the Tribulation Period, all of heaven will erupt in anthems of praise. (Revelation 19:1-3)
From these texts, we must conclude that the current experiences of the believers in heaven will be a godly reaction to being in the presence of the One who is directing His creation from His throne in heaven. Those in heaven seem be able to observe the flow of angelic traffic as angels are dispatched to earth to carry out their godly assignments. (Revelation 8:1-2; 11:15-17) These saints must be in constant awe of their Lord as He carries out His will on earth “as it is in heaven.”(Matthew 6:10) In heaven, their future is bound up in His purposes. Their personal agendas will be completely surrendered to the will and plan of God as they perfectly worship and serve Him in His throne room.
The contemplation of these future experiences and privileges in heaven give us great hope and joy. It is no wonder that the reader of the book of Revelation is promised a special blessing. (Revelation 1:3) When the believer looks at the earthly judgments of the Tribulation Period, he can look at them, with the aid of the Scriptures, from a heavenly, rather than an earthly perspective. There is no wonder that the Apostle John was moved by the Spirit of God to respond: “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”(Revelation 22:20)
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-06-04 20:59
When will the world end?
In recent years, there have been many religious or scientific groups that have predicted the end of the earth and our world as we know it. They believe that the earth is destined to be destroyed by some uncontrollable and unpredictable catastrophic event. These groups believe that the end of life as we know it is not controlled by the One and only divine Creator, but is a matter of blind chance and fate.
The message of the Bible is emphatically clear. There is no fate or chance. When a person casts the dice, it is not luck or chance that determines the outcome. The Lord is in control! “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:33) If you don’t believe this, read Jonah 1:7. The Lord is the One who works “all things after the counsel of his own will.” (Ephesians 1:11)
The Lord is in control of all of His creation. “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” (Psalm 33:6) The Lord created everything out of nothing! (Hebrews 11:3) Everything that happens in God’s creation has a purpose and is perfectly timed to accomplish His purposes “from the beginning to the end.”(Ecclesiastes 3:11)
According to the Bible, the Lord is directing the earth to His determined end. “The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand. … This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all nations. For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?”(Isaiah 14:24, 26-27) God alone is eternal! Psalm 102:25-26 declares: “Of old thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment: as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed.” The day will come when the present heavens and earth will flee from the face of the Lord and there will be found “no place for them.”(Revelation 20:11)
In the Bible, the Lord has informed us of many of the details that will lead to the end of the world, and the general chronological developments that will lead up to it. However, no one knows precisely when the beginning of the end will take place. Jesus said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”(Matthew 24:36)
According to the chronology of the prophetic Word of God, the world will not come to its complete catastrophic end for at least another 1,007 years! Hundreds of verses in the Bible give us details concerning the devastating judgments of God that will fall upon the inhabitants of earth during the Tribulation – the seven years after the church has been raptured to heaven. After that, the saved who have survived this horrific period of time will live on this earth for another 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-7), in the perfect earthly kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We do know exactly how and when the world will end. After the millennial kingdom of our Lord on this earth, this world will be directly and supernaturally renovated by the spoken word of the Lord Jesus. The Apostle Peter wrote: “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. … in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”(2 Peter 3:7, 10) With the passing away of the old creation, the Lord will create a “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”(2 Peter 3:13) Several decades after the Apostle Peter received this revelation, the Holy Spirit directed the Apostle John to write: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.”(Revelation 21:1)
I want to remind you that this earth will pass away. Jesus clearly and emphatically declared that this world will pass away, but His Word will not pass away, and every Word of God will come to pass! (Matthew 5:18; 24:35) Therefore, rest assured that the earth will not come to an unexpected and sudden end! The Lord is in complete control and nothing or no one can change that! The souls of men and the life of every living creature are in the hands of Almighty God. (Job 12:10)
We should think about all of this very often, and it should have a profound impact upon our daily living. Read 2 Peter 3:11-14.
How do we know that all of this is true? The Bible has proven itself to be true! There are thousands of detailed, complex prophecies in the Bible. Twenty percent of these 333 prophecies were literally fulfilled when Jesus came the first time. Therefore, we can rest assured that the remaining 80 percent of the prophecies about the end times will also come true, every one of them, just like the Bible has predicted! “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater.”(1 John 5:9)“Forever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.”(Psalm 119:89-91)
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-06-24 23:20
Will Tribulation Saints receive rewards?
First, it needs to be established that all saints are judged and receive their rewards at the time of their respective resurrections. All saints are not resurrected at the same time, but in their “own order.” (1 Corinthians 15:23) The resurrection of all saints are directly connected to the coming of the Lord. (Revelation 22:12) For example, the church believers are not judged at the time of their death, but are judged at the rapture of the church. (1 Corinthians 4:5)
Some people are asking questions about the rewards of the Tribulation saints because they know the church saints will be raptured before the Tribulation Period begins, and will be judged and receive their rewards in heaven. (Revelation 4:4, 10) So, since there seems to be so little revealed about the judgment of those who are saved in the Tribulation Period, the question rises about these saints and their judgment and rewards.
While it appears that all New Testament references to “crowns” seem to be a promise of rewards for the church saints, it would appear that all saints will receive some tangible rewards for their faithfulness to their Lord while living in their respective dispensation. Note Revelation 11:18: “and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great…” The context demands that this is a promise to the believers who will be resurrected and judged at the end of the Tribulation. This would include the Old Testament saints and the Tribulation saints. (Daniel 12:2-3; Revelation 20:4) Also, consider Revelation 22:12: “And, behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be.” This promise at the end of the Scriptures seems to be a general promise to all the saints of all ages.Other references to rewards are: Matthew 5:12; 6:1; 10:41-42; Mark 9:41; Luke 6:23, 35. In many of these contexts these promises of a heavenly reward was made to those living in the Old Testament Age.
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-08-01 00:27
What should be our attitude toward the book of Revelation?
One of the most misunderstood and least studied books of the Bible in our time is the book of Revelation. Most American pastors avoid the book of Revelation. They claim that it is not relevant or practical to the Christian life. They fear that teaching this book would frighten their people, or bring division over the many various interpretations of the book, and prophecy in general. Some church leaders go so far as to tell their people to avoid the book of Revelation, stating that no one can really understand this final book of the Bible.
Let us briefly consider the name, place, and message of this Biblical book. This book is called “The Book of the Revelation,” and begins with the words: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.”(Revelation 1:1) According to the Bible, the grand climax of God’s redemptive plan is the revelation of Jesus in the heavens when He returns to earth at the end of the 7-year Tribulation Period. The Greek word that is translated “revelation” means “unveiling.” This will be the most awesome unveiling of God ever displayed in the history of man. For the first time ever, Jesus Christ will be seen by every living person on earth. (Revelation 1:7) The glory and power of God will be supernaturally unveiled in the person of Christ when He descends to the earth. (Matthew 24:29-30)
If a person only preaches and teaches the gospel, which is very important, and avoids the end of God’s eternal plan for the glory of God, he has failed to proclaim all of God’s divine revelation given to man. The Bible is not man centered. It is not about redemption, but about the redeemer! It is not about God blessing us, but about us glorifying Him! The glory of God is at the center of all of God’s revelation! Therefore, it is only fitting that the grand climax of God’s revelation is the personal and powerful display of the glory of God that will precede His coming to directly rule over His creation for His glory for 1,000 years!
A very significant question to answer is: Why did the early church place this book at the end of God’s written revelation to man? First, notice that the Bible is a collection of 66 books that contain the progressive revelation of God to man through 40 different writers, spanning a period of 1,500 years, on three continents. The fact that the Bible represents a progressive revelation indicates that God’s truth is like building blocks. The top blocks rest upon the ones beneath them. Even so, the New Testament rests upon the foundational truths of the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit assumes that the reader has read the previous books as the newer truth is anchored in previously revealed truth. The same can be said for the New Testament itself. The New Testament books were given through the apostles of our Lord from 45 A.D. to about 100 A.D. It is a known fact that the last living apostle was John, and it was through him that the Spirit of God gave to us the last book—the Book of the Revelation. This means that the book of Revelation is the capstone or climax of God’s written revelation to man. This book is the pinnacle of God’s revelation to man! In essence, the first 65 books of the Bible have been preparing the believer for the final revelation given to mankind. To say that the final book is irrelevant, insignificant, or impractical is basically challenging the knowledge and wisdom of the eternal omniscience (all-knowing) God!
Furthermore, look at the message of this book. It is all about the grand climax of God’s dealings with all of mankind through His Son, Jesus Christ. The central focus of the Bible and this final book is Jesus, because “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10) This book builds its crescendo of history until the reader reaches the climax in the final four chapters. In these last four chapters we are told about: the church’s grand celebration with her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, in heaven; the revelation of Christ at the end of man’s rule over God’s creation; the final defeat and imprisonment of Satan; the judgment of all of the sinners of all the ages; and the gathering of all the saints of all the ages to live in their eternal home on the new earth in the New Jerusalem where there will be no more Satan, sin, sinners, or consequences of sin. Therefore, the record of God’s written revelation would be incomplete without the book of Revelation. In this final book, the Holy Spirit takes all of the scattered prophecies in the first 65 books of the Bible, and puts them in a chronological sequence as they will unfold according to the predetermined will of God. So, the divine purpose of this book is to bring to conclusion and clarify the entire story of the Bible, from God’s perspective.
Is there any wonder that Satan is doing all he can to discredit the book of Revelation? As previously mentioned, many preachers have fallen into the trap of believing that it is not relevant or important to consider the end-time events. Such an attitude does not agree with God’s revelation! Can you imagine a person reading a novel that they cannot put down, only to finally conclude that it is not important to read the last chapter to see how it all ends? All of this just does not make godly sense!
Please note that we are promised a blessing if we read the book of Revelation: “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”(Revelation 1:3)
I believe that our attitude toward the book of Revelation, and Biblical prophecy in general, is a test of our devotion to the Lord Jesus. If He is our Lord, how can we not be focused upon what He is doing, and will do in the end? Is our agenda more important than His agenda? If it is, then He is not the Lord of our life! And that, I believe, is the real problem in these last days! Our churches and pulpits are filled with carnal people who are focused upon self and others, rather the Lord Jesus! Many of these are simply not saved. Remember the message of our Lord to the church of Laodicea: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will [fellowship] with him, and he with me.”(Revelation 3:20)
My friend, are you sure that Jesus is your Lord and Savior? We are saved by grace, but our faith must be judged by our works. “Faith without works is dead.”(James 2:20) At the heart of being a true disciple of Jesus Christ is a lifestyle of self-denial. Jesus said: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he CANNOT be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, CANNOT be my disciple. … So, likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, CANNOT be my disciple.”(Luke 14:26-27, 33) This is the measuring stick that we will all face on the judgment day. It will not matter what you think or what you have heard, or just how sincere you really have been.
Here is the bottom line – is Jesus really first in your life and your lifestyle? The Bible declares: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Corinthians 15:19) Take a few minutes to really think about this verse! Are you living for the future when you will be with the One who died for your sins? If this is not the main focus of your life, then something or someone else is the priority of your life.
When a person’s life is totally focused upon their future in Jesus Christ, they will be riveted upon Biblical prophecy. Look at the godly men in the Bible who were intently focused upon the end-time events: Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Malachi, Jesus, and all of the apostles.
Finally, here is a question that we all need to seriously contemplate. Are you asking the Lord to join you in what you are doing, or are you seeking to join the Lord in what He is doing? How you answer this question will greatly determine what kind of attitude you will have toward the book of Revelation.
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-08-15 17:28
Will there be tears in heaven?
Many Christian spiritual songs suggest that there will be no tears in heaven. Therefore, it is common belief in Christian circles that from the moment we enter heaven at the time of death, or at the rapture, heaven will be a place with no more sorrows or cares. This teaching is taken from Revelation 21:4-5, which says, "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new." However, those who quote these verses and draw this conclusion have failed to interpret this verse in its proper context.
Revelation 21-22 records the future events that will transpire in the New Jerusalem, in the new heaven and upon the new earth, after the old earth has passed away. (Revelation 21:1-3) This final chapter in the revealed eternal plan of God for the redeemed saints takes place after the 1,000 kingdom reign of our Lord upon this earth. (Revelation 20:3-6) Following the last events on the old earth (Revelation 20:7-10), the old creation will pass away. (2 Peter 3:10-14; Revelation 20:11) While the present creation is being supernaturally renovated by fire, the final judgment of all of the sinners, called "the Great White Throne Judgment," will take place. (Revelation 20:11-15) At this judgment, all of the sinners of all the ages shall be called up from hell and be made to stand before Jesus for their judgment. After this judgment, all sinners will be cast into the final place of judgment, the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 20:14)
All of the saints of all the ages will be present to witness the sinners' judgment. How do we know that? After the time of the resurrection of saints, they will always be "with the Lord."(1 Thessalonians 4:17) That simply means that where ever Jesus is, we will be there. We know that He will be the judge at the Great White Throne Judgment. In John 5:27, Jesus said that the Father has given him, Jesus, "authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man." Therefore, we will be witnesses at the Great White Throne judgment of all of sinners. We will watch Jesus cast some of our loved ones into the Lake of Fire. This will be a very painful moment for all of us! This must be the reason for our tears as mentioned in Revelation 21:4, as we enter into the New Jerusalem. So, at that moment at beginning of the new earth, and not before, the Lord will cause "the former things"(Revelation 21:4) that would cause us sorrow, to not enter into our minds any more. Isaiah 65:17, speaks of this same time: "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." He will not wipe out all of our memories. Our memory is part of who we are. He will only delete from our memory all related sin issues or memories that would cause any future sorrow. From that moment on, there will be no more sin, or memory of sin.
Therefore, before the heavenly saints enter the New Jerusalem on the new earth at the end of this age, there will be moments of sorrow in heaven. Notice that in Revelation 6:9-10, the martyred saints in heaven are crying. In Revelation 7:17, Jesus is said to be wiping away tears from their eyes. This all takes place in heaven during the Tribulation Period.
Currently, heaven is a place of godly sorrow and joy. Are we to believe that when God looks down from heaven upon the inhabitants of earth and sees their sin that it does not grieve Him? All sin grieves God! (see Ephesians 4:30) We need to remember that when we are with Christ, our emotions will reflect His emotions. Furthermore, heaven is the place where sin originated in the heart of Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12), and he continues to falsely accuse believers before the throne of God in heaven until he is forced out at the mid-point of the Tribulation Period. (Revelation 12:8-10)
Consequently, it is not Biblically accurate to sing about no tears in heaven.
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-12-14 16:20
How can we be sure about the purity of the Jewish Race?
Some have challenged the fulfillment of the prophetic Scriptures by stating that the Jewish people have all intermarried with Gentiles in the last 2,000 years. Therefore, in their critical view, there is no pure Jewish race to return to Israel and fulfill Biblical prophecy.
First, I believe it is important to note that our Lord Jesus did not have a "pure" Jewish background. In Jesus' genealogy, recorded by Matthew, verse 5 lists two Gentile women, Rahab and Ruth. Yet, this did not taint the Messianic line required for Jesus to be a true Jew who has the legal and physical right to the line of David through both Joseph and Mary.
In reality, there are probably very few Jews who have not at some point had some Gentile connections in their genealogy. We must remember that this is not an issue for man to settle, but a divine Overseer is taking care of this matter. Today, only a few Jews know their tribal identity because all of the Jewish genealogical records were kept in the temple that was destroyed in 70 A.D. In recent years, Israel has been able to isolate the genetic code of the tribe of Levi (the priestly tribe). This was the result of checking the blood samples of a pool of men whose last name is Cohen (which is the Hebrew word for priest). They were able to determine that all of these men had a unique formation on the "y" chromosome. However, these Jews will not need to know their tribal identity. God knows who they are. Furthermore, look at the 144,000 Jewish witnesses in Revelation 7 and 14. These 144,000 are divinely chosen and sealed. We know there will be 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. In a broader sense, I believe that the same thing is true of all the true Jewish people who will return in the last days. For example, note Ezekiel 36:24, where the Lord declares that He will gather them out of the nations and bring them home to Israel. This is a supernatural work, with a supernatural calling. Several other Scriptures suggest that non-Jews will accompany the Jewish return to Israel. Note that during the Kingdom these non-Jews will inherit the land along with the Jews. (Ezekiel 47:22-23) God knows who qualifies for the Jewish return and who qualifies for the non-Jews who will accompany His people. We must focus upon the reality that our Lord is doing this today and without question, His hand has been, and will continue to be upon the process of the completion of the rebirth of Israel. At the end of this process, every Jew will be back in Israel and every living Jew will be saved! (Ezekiel 36:10-11: Zechariah 12:10-13:9)
By Mike Wingfield- www.ptnews.org
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-05-26 15:29
Has God forsaken Israel?
Has God forsaken Israel?
“Arguments against “Replacement Theology”
The Bible presents the story of God’s eternal purposes and plan. It is obvious to the Bible student who examines the entire Bible that this God has invested a testimony of who He is in His chosen people, Israel. In the Bible, God repeatedly calls Himself “The Holy One of Israel,” “The God of Israel,” “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” and “The God of Jacob.” God has invested His glory in His eternal plans for Israel. (Isaiah 46:13) God has declared that He will not rest until the entire living nation of Jewish people is saved (Romans 11:26), and becomes a spiritual light unto all of the nations. (Isaiah 62:1) The same God who has disciplined Israel and scattered them across the face of the earth, will cause them to return, and complete an incredible process of the redemption of the entire living nation. (Deuteronomy 30:1-6; Ezekiel 36:21-32)
Those who think and teach that the church has replaced Israel, called “Replacement Theology,” cannot have a true Biblical view of God. God has established an unconditional covenant with His people. (Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-15; Psalm 89:27-37; Jeremiah 31:35-37) This means that the future of Israel is not tied to the nation’s performance. Israel’s future is directly linked to the unchangeable nature of the eternal God of the universe. He has said:“For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6) This does not mean that the Jewish people will not suffer the consequences of their sin and temporary rejection of their Messiah, Jesus. God has promised that He will discipline Israel for their rebellion and rejection. (Psalm 89:31-32; Jeremiah 30:11) However, He has proclaimed that He will never forget His eternal covenant He has made with His people. (Psalm 89:34-37; Romans 11:26-29)
In the great chapter on the greatness of God, Isaiah 40, the ancient prophet Isaiah was directed by the Spirit of God to directly connect the greatness of God with His promises to “His flock”(verse 11), Israel. Read Isaiah 40. When we look at Israel, we must not judge the Jewish people in light of their past or current failures. God is not finished with them yet. The big picture of God’s eternal work in Israel is summarized in Isaiah 40:1-2: “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people saith your God. Speak 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.” In this text, the Spirit of God speaks in the present tense as if Israel’s days of war are over, and her sins as a nation have be pardoned. However, we all know this has not yet been fulfilled. It is still in the future. God says He is “the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy.”(Isaiah 57:15) He is the One who sees everything from His “eternal now.” He sees everything that is in the future as having already been accomplished. From our human perspective, as finite creatures of time, space, and matter, we cannot rely on our human reasoning to know the plan and purposes of the Holy One of Israel. Our frail and twisted human reasoning has been anchored in a distorted view of reality since mankind was alienated from God with the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. (1 Corinthians 2:9-14) We do not think like God! (Read Isaiah 55:6-11) We must rely upon the written revelation of God (the Bible) to correct and formulate what is true. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) I have discovered that the real problem with Replacement Theology is that is has been crafted, influenced, and perpetuated by a twisted and distorted interpretation of the Scriptures. At the heart of all of this is an unbiblical view of God!
In Romans 11:25-34, the Apostle Paul concludes three great chapters in the book of Romans (chapters 9-11) that are focused upon God’s salvation of mankind. In this great declaration, the Spirit of God caused the Apostle Paul to illustrate the assurance of salvation of those who have called upon the Lord and are saved. In essence, he states that God has not forsaken Israel. He repeatedly illustrates from references to Old Testament history that the Lord chose Israel and He will complete His eternal covenant with them. In the closing verses of this declaration, he reminds the church that God’s promises to the church and Israel are bound up in “the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counselor?”(Romans 11:33-34) The same God who guarantees the salvation of the New Testament believer, is the One who has guaranteed His future plans for Israel. Both of these promises are anchored in the unchangeable nature of our eternal God!
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-06-24 22:48
What security threats does Israel face now? - 8/1/2015
When Jesus responded to His disciples’ question about the signs that would mark His coming at the end of this age, one of the signs pointed to the dangerous security threats the newly reborn nation would face. He said to His Jewish disciples: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”(Matthew 24:6)
Today, Israel faces the greatest security threats since the beginning of the nation. Israel must be ready to go to war at any moment on multiple fronts, dealing with six ongoing major rumors of wars.
1. The Sinai- Israel must guard its southern border with Egypt along the Sinai. Since the beginning of 2010, the Sinai has been occupied by several radical Islamic terrorist groups. Israel recently completed a security fence along the entire Sinai border that is monitored 24 hours a day by highly trained Israeli personnel. Israel has given Egypt special permission to use powerful military force against these terrorist groups operating in the Sinai, including ISIS agents. However, Israel realizes that the calm it now enjoys along this border could end at any moment.
2. The Gaza Strip -This area continues to be a source of great concern for Israel’s security. Hamas continues to rebuild for the next war with Israel. This is of great concern because these terrorist activities are being funded by Iran. To complicate matters even more, ISIS fighters are also threatening to topple Hamas and take over the Gaza.
3. The “West Bank” (Biblical Judea and Samaria) continues to be a security threat that could erupt at any moment. Iran is trying to help Hamas gain a foothold in the area, while attempting to supply Palestinian terrorists with weapons to fight against Israel.
4. Syria- The Syrian border with Israel along the Golan Heights continues to be a real security concern for Israel. The war between the radical Islamic elements that are fighting against the Assad forces have come very close to Syria’s border with Israel. On a couple of occasions, missiles have landed on the Israeli side. All of this is of great concern to Israel because Assad and his military are being funded by Iran.
5. Lebanon- Perhaps one of the most immediate threats to Israel’s security is along its border with Lebanon. This area is occupied by another radical terrorist entity that is controlled by Iran, Hezbollah. Israeli intelligence reports that Hezbollah, with the help of Iran, now has over 30,000 trained military personnel and approximately 100,000 missiles, some of which have the capability of accurately striking targets anywhere in Israel.
6. Iran- The most dangerous of all military threats against Israel is in the radical Shiite leadership in Iran. This fanatical Islamic group has ambitions of becoming the Islamic leader in the Middle East and desires to reestablish the ancient Persian Empire. They know that the successful annihilation of Israel would garner great support for their leadership role in the region. While Iran moves ahead with the development of a nuclear arsenal, the West (and especially the U.S. administration) is playing a deadly game of chicken with Iran.
All of these security threats will never annihilate Israel or drive the Jewish people from their ancient home. (Amos 9:15) The stage is set for the God of Israel to demonstrate to the world that He alone is God. Through a series of prophetic events documented in the Bible, the Lord will repeatedly and supernaturally defend His people and His land. He has declared: “I will seek to destroy all of the nations that come against Jerusalem.”(Zechariah 12:9)
For more information and updates on Israel’s security issues, check out the following websites:
Debka file (an Israeli site that updates Israel’s security concerns)- http://debka.com
Israeli Defense Force site- https://www.idfblog.com
For an excellent overview of Israel’s missile defense systems (Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and the Arrow) go to the following website: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/talking/88_missiledefense.html
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-08-01 14:44
Should Christians serve as politicians?
I realize this is a hotly-debated issue. All of my life I have heard it said that a person should not mix religion and politics. However, is this a Biblical view? It is my opinion that the church is suffering today because of this wrong view of a believer's involvement in the earthly affairs of his country's government.
Many Christians say they believe that God is sovereign over all spiritual matters. But at the same time, they feel He has surrendered all civil matters to the state. From their point of view, government is being totally directed by carnal men and ultimately Satan. Consequently, they believe that it is not God's will for believers to be involved in public government. This may be a religious view or tradition, but it is not in agreement with the Word of God.
God is not opposed to human government. In fact, He ordained and established it as an extension of His authority upon the nations of the earth. The Bible says God has all authority and He alone should be worshipped. In the first of the 10 commandments God declared: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:3) William Penn, the founder of the Providence of Pennsylvania, once wrote: "Men must be governed by God or else they will be ruled by tyrants." History demonstrates that when people use government to oppose God they will eventually be ruled by an evil dictator and become slaves of the state. Consequently, it is imperative that we think Biblically when we engage our attitudes, prayers, and actions concerning civil government.
Government is God's business and the overall testimony of Scripture gives witness to His sovereignty over all creation. Jesus declared, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." (Matthew 28:18) God rules over all His creation and is the "King of nations." (Jeremiah 10:7) He is "the Judge of all the earth." (Genesis 18:25) As the lawgiver, His moral laws flow out of His unchanging holy character and they are for all people of all generations. When Jesus returns to this earth He will be King and Judge over every nation, "for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." (Isaiah 2:3)
While we anticipate the coming of this earthly Kingdom of our Lord, we should never lose sight of the fact that He is now ruling over all His creation from His throne in heaven. The Scriptures teach that both God and Satan are ruling over their servant angels in very highly organized governmental structures. (Psalm 103:19-21; Ephesians 6:12) The governments of this world are being targeted by this spiritual battle between God and Satan. As we will examine in this article, the Lord is directing human agents in civil government to carry out His agenda. Satan is attempting to oppose God by tempting these same human governmental leaders to join his rebellion against the Lord. (Psalm 2:1-3; Isaiah 14:12-13; Revelation 16:12-16) If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, it is your responsibility to stand with the Lord in your home, church and government. We are to glorify the Lord and rescue the souls of men from the wages of sin in this life and eternal damnation.
An examination of the prophetic Scriptures, and especially the book of Revelation, causes our hearts to rejoice. As we read them, we know the Lord will defeat the satanic forces when the end comes. All the dead of the nations who historically joined Satan's rebellion are now in hell. Psalm 9:17 declares: "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." When the end comes, Satan will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. (Revelation 20:10) Immediately after this, all those who are in hell will be resurrected to be judged by Jesus at the Great White Throne Judgment. (Revelation 20:11-14) Finally, death, hell and all those who rebelled against the Lord will be cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:14-15)
As part of the new heaven, the redeemed of all the ages will dwell with our Lord in the New Jerusalem on the new earth. (Revelation 21:1-3) We are told that "the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it [the Temple in heaven]: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it." (Revelation 21:24)
What a glorious ending!
However, it is imperative that the church awaken from its slumber and realize that we are the prime target in the ongoing war that is taking place in the spirit world. The church must realize that Satan is attempting to destroy our homes, churches, and nation. At times, it seems that we are very aware of the spiritual warfare within our homes and the church, but at the same time, neglect the battle Satan is waging against our nation.
First, let us rejoice in the reality that our Lord is directing the affairs of this world to His end. In His universal kingdom, the Lord is the "God ... of all the kingdoms of the earth." (2 Kings 19:15) He is infinitely more powerful than all the nations and their governments. "All nations before him are as nothing ... the princes [are] nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity." (Isaiah 40:17, 23 - Read verses 12-24) Despite the efforts of demonic powers that are influencing human governments, the Lord's decrees or plans will come to pass! (Isaiah 14:24-27; Psalm 33:10-12) Long ago Job said: "He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and [governs them]." (Job 12:23)
In order to fully understand God's design for human government, we must go back to the book of beginnings – Genesis. The nations were created after the global flood (Genesis 10) and more clearly defined and divided by the divine judgment at Babel with the creation of languages. (Genesis 11:1-9) Prior to the creation of the nations, the Lord instituted human government with these words: "Whoso shedeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." (Genesis 9:6) Most Bible students refer to the time before the flood as "the Age of Conscience." This simply means that God restrained man's evil through the work of the Holy Spirit within the consciences of men. (Genesis 6:3) The indictment of mankind that demanded God's divine judgment in the days of Noah indicates that this period of time ended in moral corruption and violence. (Genesis 6:1-13) Consequently, after the flood, God instituted human government. God gave human agents the authority to execute governmental punishment as an external form of control. Government would restrain man's lawless impulses and institute capital punishment as the highest form of penalty.
While commenting on Genesis 9:6, Alva J. McClain, in his classical book on the Kingdom of God, states: "What we call civil or organized government, whether simple or highly complex, exists for one reason – the protection, conservation, fostering, and improvement of human life. Genesis 9:6, therefore, becomes one of the most important landmarks in all of human history; for it is here God not only decrees the beginning of human government in the sinful world but also lays down the moral and social foundations of all such government. As Luther has well said of the text, 'This was the first command having reference to the temporal sword. By these words temporal government was established, and the sword placed in its hand by God.'
"What we have here, then, is something wholly new upon earth; an institution by which God will now mediate His government over the nations through human rulers, who whether they acknowledge Him or not, are nevertheless 'ordained of God' as 'ministers' of His; and therefore will be held responsible before God for the manner in which they discharge their duties 'for good' to mankind in general and to 'execute wrath' upon those who do evil. (Romans 13:1-6)." (Alva J. McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom, p. 47)
God has ordained that government must protect its citizens by the use of force (notice the use of "sword" in Romans 13:4). Notice that when government leaders use force to promote good and restrain evil, they are called "the minister of God." (Romans 13:4) They are exercising the ordinance of God on earth as His divinely appointed servants. (Romans 13:2)
The Bible does not endorse any particular political system. However, any political system that reflects God's purposes for human government must take into account the Biblical view of human nature. Sinners are not capable of governing themselves. Anarchy exists in a nation with no government. Government exists because all human beings are sinful (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10-18, 23), even though they have been created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26-27; 9:6) God created human government to restrain evil and protect human beings from each other. (Genesis 9:6; Romans 13:3-4)
In light of this, it is imperative that governments properly look upon all human beings as having worth because they have all been created equally in the image of God. From conception to death, all human beings must be treated with dignity and respect. This lies at the very heart of God's design for human government. (Genesis 9:6)
God intended that government be rooted in morality. The government is to promote and protect good actions and restrain and punish evil deeds. (Romans 13:3-4) Therefore, when human government is functioning as it has been designed; it will promote the moral law of God. Law is foundational to the function of any government. Until recent years, it was recognized throughout the Western world that common law was founded upon God's law – His moral absolutes. It was an understood and accepted fact that law promoted by government, because it is the exercise of God's authority on earth in the nation, must be rooted in His moral law. This divine moral code is grounded in the perfect and unchangeable character of God. Both good and evil are moral evaluations that are anchored in the holiness of God. Therefore, the law promoted by civil government should not be conditioned by the opinions, philosophies or sinful desires of man. It is not a law of the majority or militant minority. It is the law of God.
Our present cultural and political climate in the U.S. is in the process of abandoning our constitution and Bill of Rights. These founding documents are grounded in the Biblical law of God. However, our society and its liberal political leaders are adopting a path of moral relativism and/or utilitarianism. Relativism simply operates upon the false assumption that there are no moral absolutes. Right or wrong is defined by the wishes or new standard of the individual or community. Utilitarianism simply means that the end justifies the means. If it appears to work, regardless of the Biblical moral standards, it becomes the adopted path to follow. All of this makes sinful, finite man the final authority, rather than the infinite, omniscient, holy Creator – Jesus Christ. Relativism and utilitarianism ignore the Biblical warning: "There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12)
This was understood by our founding fathers. In principle, God's moral code was promoted during the first 170 years in America. The framers of our founding documents warned us that if America ever departed from its Biblical heritage and the very laws which flow out of it, the nation would collapse. We are perilously close to seeing that happen at this very hour!
It should be noted that human governments also exist to honor the Lord and serve Him. The Lord Jesus Christ has authority over all. Human authority in a home, church or nation cannot exist outside of Him. Nations and governments exist for the advancement of the Lord's divine purposes, both now and in eternity. All powers and authorities in heaven and earth were created by Jesus Christ and are under His control. He uses them as instruments of His divine will, for blessings or judgment, both temporally and eternally. (Daniel 4:34-35; Colossians 1:16)
The leaders of the world's governments may not know it, but they – even if they are atheists or worship other idols or gods – are an instrument in the hand of God to promote His divine plan in these last days. Proverbs 21:1 proclaims: "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it [wherever] he wills." Daniel 2:20-21 reveals that God raises up good and evil leaders and uses them to orchestrate the events that bring them to power. Furthermore, God directs their policies and actions to fulfill His divine will whether they are good or evil. Yes, God permits their evil strategies to carry out His eternal plan. For example, during the Tribulation Period the Lord will direct the kings of the earth to join with Satan's antichrist in a rebellion against Him. As a result of these evil acts, God will collectively judge them at Armageddon. (Joel 3:2; Zechariah 14:2) Revelation 17:17 states: "For God hath put it in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the [antichrist], until the words of God shall be fulfilled."
While God is sovereign and rules over men, this does not mean that we are mere robots. We have been created in the image of God as willful, moral agents that make choices and decisions for which we are accountable to our Creator and Judge, Jesus Christ. This is true on both the individual and national levels. Leaders in the home, church and community/nation are held accountable to the Lord for their leadership over those who have been entrusted to them. (Romans 14:11-12)
Because government is a divinely ordained institution, believers should not avoid exercising political influence or involvement. Christians are better suited to lead government since it was created to promote Biblical truth through God's moral laws and place high values on human beings. If human governments exist for the glory of God and the advancement of His divine plan, who better to be involved in that government than the saints of God? We are called to be "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world." (Matthew 5:13-14) We are to pray for a lifestyle of peace, godliness, and honesty. (1 Timothy 2:2) Therefore, shouldn't we expect the Lord to answer our prayers by calling and equipping a child of God to be involved in government? In our age, God has ordained three spheres of influence to promote His authority and His moral law: the home, the church, and civil government. If we are serving God, we should have the right attitude toward serving Him in all three spheres of influence. Obviously, God has called and gifted certain believers to function in two or all three of these areas. All believers are commanded to serve God in the home and through the church in some capacity. However, it makes Biblical sense that if God has ordained human government, He would call and equip some of His godly servants to be directly involved in it (from the local to the national level).
God has ordained that the home, the church, and government are to function independently, but collectively function together for the glory of God and the good of man. The interference of government into the affairs of the home or church is legitimate only when there is an act of evil threatening the greater community. Such incidents also fall under the responsibility of the government - life, liberty and property.
At the heart of all of this is the recognition that children belong to God and they are given to their parents as a gift from Him. (Psalm 127:3) Children are not wards of the state or the property of some religious cult leader. The future of any society can be seen in how it views children and how they are educated. According to the Bible, the education of children is the responsibility of the home, not the church or state. (Ephesians 6:4) The church and state can assist the home, but the education of children is the parent's responsibility. Once again, our founding fathers recognized this and promoted the education of children in the home, assisted by the church.
This foundational truth is found in the heart of our holy God. He loves sinners, but hates their sin. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten [means unique – one of a kind] Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) The Lord is exercising great patience with mankind today as He waits for them to respond to His servants in the home, church and civil government. The ultimate goal for mankind in this overall structure is expressed in 2 Peter 3:9: "[The Lord] is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." It is His perfect will for parents, members of the church (Christ's body on earth) and governmental leaders to promote His law to bring repentance for His glory and the salvation of man. What happens in the home, church and government is God's business because we are created in the image of God and destined to stand before Him on our judgment day.
By Mike Wingfield- www.ptnews.org
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-05-26 15:26
Are people in heaven watching us?
Many believers are wondering if their loved ones in heaven are watching them and other events taking place on the earth. While the Bible does not directly give an answer to this consideration, there seems to be some Biblical evidence that gives us insight into what believers in glory know about events on earth.
First, we need to understand that the ability to look down from heaven and see all of the events taking place on earth is something only God can do. Because of His infinite character, only God has the power and ability to do this. Please consider the following verses.
Psalm 14:2- "The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God."
Psalm 33:13- "The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of his habitation he looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth."
Psalm 53:2- "God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God."
We must understand that when the believer receives His eternal heavenly resurrected body, he will be like his Lord. (Philippians 3:21) However, the Lord will always be infinite, while the resurrected believer in heaven will always be finite. There is no hint in all of God's revelation that the saints of God are able to look down upon earth and watch what is taking place.
In general, people in heaven will be made aware of some events on earth as the angels in heaven react to significant events from God's perspective. For example, when a person gets saved, the angels in heaven rejoice. Luke 15:10 states: "... there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." One can only image that this angelic celebration of a person coming to salvation on earth will be shared with the saints already in heave.
A study of the book of Revelation demonstrates that believers in heaven will be aware of some events transpiring on earth. All of this is due to the believer's awareness of God's plan being implemented by Jesus, and His angels being sent from heaven to carry out God's wrathful judgments. Believers will watch all of it unfold from the control center of the throne of God in heaven. All of this will be aided by the fact that people in heaven are made aware of events on earth due to the recent saints who have died and entered into heaven
Revelation 8:1 states that when Jesus opens the seventh seal in heaven during the Tribulation Period, the heavenly response will be silence in heaven. It is apparent that people in heaven have been made aware of events on earth because of the testimony of the great number of martyrs in heaven during the period of the first six seals opened in heaven by Jesus in Revelation 6-7. In Revelation 6:9-11, when Jesus opens the fifth seal, the martyrs in heaven are heard crying out to God for vengeance upon those who killed them. In Revelation 7:9-17, after the sixth seal is opened in heaven, a great number of martyrs from all nations are comforted by their Lord as they tell their story and shed their tears in heaven. Therefore, as Jesus opens the seventh and final seal, it creates a sense of horrific anticipation concerning what will transpire on earth, expressed by the interruption of praise in heaven, replaced by silence.
Revelation 11:15-19- As the angel in heaven sounds the seventh trumpet and judgment falls on the earth, all of heaven will erupt into praise. The saints of God will watch the action from heaven as God's angels sound out the previous six trumpets. Because of the testimonies of the saints who are entering heaven out of the Tribulation on earth, they must be aware of the severe judgments that are inflicted upon the earth and all of creation. Therefore, when the seventh trumpet is sounded, they rejoice that their righteous Lord is about to take control of the earth as "the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever."(Revelation 11:15) They rejoice that the Lord is about to "destroy them which destroy the earth." (Revelation 11:18) This clearly indicates that they are aware of the devastation on the earth
Revelation 19:1-3- In these verses, the saints in heaven verbalized their praise to their Lord because of the destruction of the great false religious system on earth that had opposed Christ and were responsible for "the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon earth."(Revelation 18:24) This reveals that the saints in heaven are made aware of the events transpiring on earth that relate to the glory and honor of their God
In conclusion, it seems that the previously mentioned texts give us an insight into the heavenly common knowledge of events on earth shared by the saints in heaven. When the saints of God enter into the presence of God at the time of their death or the Rapture, they are made aware of and begin to experience the reality of what really matters on earth -- those things which honor and glorify their Lord! Consequently, contrary to what some may think, the saints in glory are not interested in and will not know about the many mundane developments in the lives of their family and friends. They are in the presence of Jesus, and their heavenly life is all wrapped up in worship, praise, and service to Him. They are not watching us, they are watching Him.
Oh that we could begin now to live our lives with a view of what matters in heaven! "If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on earth. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then you shall also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:1-4) The saints in glory are doing this now
Author: Mike Wingfield
Last update: 2015-12-03 18:19