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The Marriage Feast of the Lamb in Jewish Wedding Customs

Since June is the month of weddings, there is no better time to reflect on the much anticipated gathering of the bride (kallah) and the wedding of the Lamb!
“For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. … Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”  (Revelation 19:7, 9)
While the exchange of covenant vows between a man and woman who love each other is a blessing in any culture, there are aspects of the Jewish wedding celebration that are rich in spiritual truths.
This ancient ritual prophetically points to the coming of the Messiah and the great celebration of the marriage supper of the Lamb.  It also teaches us unique lessons about God’s covenant love for His people.
One would be hard pressed to find an occasion more joyous than that of a Jewish wedding.  In Hebrew, it’s called a simcha (a joyous occasion).
“Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither people nor animals, there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom.”  (Jeremiah 33:10–11)
 
An Orthodox Jewish wedding in Jerusalem: Traditionally, the chatan
(groom) on the day of his wedding first wears the kittel (white linen garment),
which signifies purity, holiness, and new beginnings.  Thereafter, he wears it
on special occasions such as Rosh Hashanah (New Year’s), Yom Kippur
(Day of Atonement), and Pesach (Passover).
Since Yeshua (Jesus) used the model of the ancient Jewish marriage ceremony to refer to His future second coming, to recognize exactly what He was talking about, it’s helpful to understand the nature of marriage during His earthly ministry in Israel.
There are three distinct parts to the ancient Jewish wedding:
  • shiddukhin (mutual commitment),
  • erusin (engagement), and
  • nissuin (marriage).
Shiddukhin:  A Time of Mutual Commitment
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.’”  (Genesis 2:18)
Shiddukhin refers to the preliminary arrangements prior to the legal betrothal.
 
Signing the ketubah (marriage contract): in ancient times, the ketubah
protected the rights of the wife by specifying the groom’s responsibilities in
caring for her, and the amount of support that would be due her in the event
of a divorce. 
In ancient times, the father of the groom often selected a bride (kallah) for his son, as did Abraham for his son Isaac (Genesis 24:1-4).
In Ultra-Orthodox Judaism today, many marriages are still arranged by a marriage broker or matchmaker called a shadkhan.  It’s considered an exalted and holy vocation to find and arrange a good marital match, called a shiddukh, between a man and woman.
In ancient times, marriage was looked upon as more of an alliance for reasons of survival or practicality, and the concept of romantic love remained a secondary issue, if considered at all. Romantic love grew over time for some.

Rebecca at the Well, Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini
Of course, the consent of the bride-to-be is an important consideration. Rebecca (Rivkah), for example, was asked if she agreed to go back with Abraham’s servant to marry Abraham’s son, Isaac.  She went willingly (Genesis 24:57–59).
Likewise, we cannot be forced into a relationship with the Son, Yeshua (Jesus).
In the same way that Rebecca was asked if she would go with Abraham’s servant, the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) asks us if we are willing to follow Him to be joined in a covenant of love with Yeshua.
Traditionally, in preparation for the betrothal ceremony, the bride (kallah) and groom (chatan) are separately immersed in water in a ritual called the mikvah, which is symbolic of spiritual cleansing.
In Matthew 3:13–17, we read that Yeshua has already been immersed (baptized) by Yochanan (John) in the waters of mikvah at the Jordan River.
As the Bride-to-be, we are also asked to be immersed.
“Whoever believes and is baptized [ritually immersed] will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”  (Mark 16:16) 

A groom rejoices by dancing with his friends after immersing
himself in the mikvah.  The water for this mikvah bath is outside
and fed by a spring from which the natural water runs down a
hill into the mikvah, just outside of Jerusalem.

Erusin:  The Betrothal

“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.”  (Proverbs 18:22)
After the immersion, the couple entered the huppah (marriage canopy), symbolic of a new household being planned, to establish a binding contract.
Here, the groom would give the bride money or a valuable object such as a ring, and a cup of wine was customarily shared to seal their covenant vows.
In this public ceremony under the huppah, the couple entered into the betrothal period, which typically lasted for about a year.  Although they were considered married, they did not live together or engage in sexual relations.

An outdoor Jewish wedding under a huppah in Vienna
To annul this contract, the couple would need a religious divorce (get), which had to be initiated by the husband.
 Matthew 1:18–25 provides an excellent example of this.
 During the erusin of Yosef (Joseph) and Miriam (Mary), Yosef discovered that Miriam was pregnant, and he considered divorcing her, although he had not yet brought her home as his wife.
“…he had in mind to divorce her quietly.  But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.’”  (Matthew 1:19–20)
During the erusin period, the groom was to prepare a place for his bride, while the bride focused on her personal preparations—wedding garments, lamps, etc.
 Although the bride knew to expect her groom after about a year, she did not know the exact day or hour.  He could come earlier, and it was the father of the groom who gave final approval for him to return to collect his bride.
 For that reason, the bride kept her oil lamps ready at all times, just in case the groom came in the night, sounding the shofar (ram’s horn) to lead the bridal procession to the home he had prepared for her.

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, by William Blake
In the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1–13), Yeshua (Jesus) likened the Kingdom of Heaven to this special period of erusin, when the groom comes for his bride:
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom!  Come out to meet him!’  Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.”  (Matthew 25:6– 7)
So too today, in the season of Yeshua’s end-time return, we should be careful to remain alert and prepared for His coming, since Yeshua was speaking to His disciples prophetically about the condition of the Church in the last days.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”  (Matthew 7:21)

In Jewish weddings today, there are two cups of
wine during the wedding ceremony.  After the rabbi
recites the betrothal blessings accompanying the
first cup, the couple drinks from it.  Since wine is
associated with Kiddish, the prayer of sanctification
recited on Shabbat, and since marriage is the
sanctification of the bride and groom to each other,
marriage is also called kiddushin.
Nissuin:  The Marriage
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  (John 14:3)
The final step in the Jewish wedding tradition is called nissuin (to take), a word that comes from naso, which means to lift up.
At this time, the groom, with much noise, fanfare and romance, carried the bride home.
Once again, the bride and groom would enter the huppah, recite a blessing over the wine (a symbol of joy), and finalize their vows.
Now, finally, they would consummate their marriage and live together as husband and wife, fully partaking of all the duties and privileges of the covenant of marriage.

It is traditional in some Jewish communities for the
bride to circle the groom seven times and then stand to
the groom’s right side under the huppah.  Since the
number seven biblically symbolizes completion and
perfection, this represents the wholeness and
completeness that they cannot attain separately.
Likewise, the Messiah, as the Bridegroom, has gone to prepare a place for us.
The day of the return of the Messiah for His Bride is soon approaching.
Although, we know approximately the time of His return from the signs of the times, “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”  (2 Peter 3:10)
The Bride (Believers in Yeshua) should be living consecrated lives, keeping themselves pure and holy in preparation for the Nissuin and the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, when the Groom comes with the blast of the shofar (1 Thessalonians 4:16) to bring His Bride home.

A Jewish bride and groom take a walk beside the ocean together for the first
time as man and wife.
Traditional Jewish Marriages Today
“Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber [huppah].”  (Joel 2:16)
Today, in traditional Judaism, the erusin and the nissuin are combined into one.
The bride and groom sign the marriage contract (ketubah) in the presence of the rabbi and two witnesses before the ceremony.
Unlike a Christian wedding, where it’s generally taboo for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony, in a Jewish wedding, the groom must see his bride before the ceremony.
Why?  Remember the story of Laban, who tricked Jacob into marrying his eldest daughter, even though he loved Rachel?
Since Jacob didn’t ensure the identity of his bride, he ended up marrying the woman he thought would be his sister-in-law, Leah (Genesis 29).

Jacob Meets Rachel at the Well, by William Dyce
In ancient times, the wedding feast (seudah) after the nissuin might have included seven full days of food, music, dancing and celebrations (Judges 14:10–12).
Today, the Jewish ceremony is usually followed by a wedding supper and reception with food, wine, music, and dance!
However, Orthodox Jews do celebrate after the wedding for seven nights with friends and family, hosting festive meals in honor of the bride and groom.

Jewish Wedding in Morocco, by Eugene Delacroix (Louvre Museum)
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”  (Revelation 21:1–2)
When Messiah returns for us, and everything in the world today indicates that this will be very soon, we will celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb with Him and our joy (simcha) will be beyond measure.
But there will be those who won’t share in our simcha or celebrate with us because they do not know Yeshua!
Now is the time to reach out to them, while we are still in the erusin period, before the Bridegroom comes.
“Behold, I am coming soon!  My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. … The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’  And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come.”  (Revelation 22:12, 17)
Now so much more can be said on how Jesus has already fulfilled the first two distinct parts to the ancient Jewish wedding, like the covenant has been fulfilled by God, giving us His word the Holy Bible! and how He plans on fulfilling the third! But for now the point is made, and I hope you have a fresh understanding on what is in God’s heart for you and me!
In these end times, please help us bring the Good News of Yeshua and of His Salvation to Israel and the world, so that everyone has the opportunity to come to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Time is Short!

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The Body Of Jesus Christ is also The Bride Of Jesus Christ

The Body Of Jesus Christ is also The Bride Of Jesus Christ. How The New Testament Church Can Be Both The Bride And Body Of Jesus Christ At The Same Time.

Going 6,000 years back into the past, in the very beginning of Genesis, God has placed a wonderful and amazing type of the New Testament Church in the creation of Adam and Eve.

“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.” 1 Corinthians 15:45-47 (KJV)

On a fairly regular basis, people will send us emails or comment on our site about the identity of the body of Christ and the bride of Christ. And more often than not, people seem confused about who this Bride is, and what constitutes the Body of Christ. Rarely do people make the connection that the Bible teaches us that the Bride and Body of Jesus Christ are one and the same entity, the Church. The trail of Scripture which proves that goes all the way back to the creation in Genesis, where we read about an amazing event that almost no one connects with the New Testament church.

Adam’s bride was taken from his own body

“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Genesis 2:21-23 (KJV)

The Bible tells us that God created Adam in His own image in Genesis 1, right? If you would have been alive in the Garden of Eden and seen Adam, you would have seen the very image of God Himself. OK, shortly after God created Adam, it was decided that he needed a wife for him to be complete, so God created a bride for Adam. But Eve was not taken “from the ground” as Adam was, she was made up of very different material. Eve was formed from one of Adam’s ribs, from Adam’s own body. This means that Adam’s bride was also his body at the very same time. You might want to pause here for a moment and reflect on that, and allow that thought to wash over you as it did me the very time the Holy Spirit revealed that to me.

Jesus’ bride is taken from his own body

Going 6,000 years back into the past, in the very beginning of Genesis, God has placed a wonderful and amazing type of the New Testament Church in the creation of Adam and Eve. For the “first Adam”, God fashioned him a bride out of his own body. For the “last Adam” which 1 Corinthians tells us is Jesus Christ, God has done exactly the same thing. He has given Him a body from which He also has created a Bride.

“For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:30-32 (KJV)

If you are a born again, saved sinner in the Church Age, you are part of the body of Jesus Christ. You have been grafted in to His Body so that He now dwells inside of you. This doctrine is one of the great mysteries revealed to the apostle Paul:

Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Colossians 1:26,27 (KJV)

The Church is both the body and bride of Jesus Christ

Just as Adam was presented with a bride that was taken from his own body, so will God also present His Son, Jesus Christ, with a Bride also taken from His own body.

“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:2 (KJV)

If a “virgin” is presented to a “husband”, then by very definition she is a “bride”. This is exactly what the Holy Spirit had in mind when He wrote the following through the apostle Paul:

“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” Ephesians 5:23,24 (KJV)

Now we also know the identity of New Jerusalem

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:2 (KJV)

This verse puzzles a whole lot of people who study the Bible, and rightly so, it’s a tough one. I “chewed on it” for quite some time before the Lord allowed me to “connect the dots”. The question here is this – if the Church made up of people is the bride of Jesus Christ, how is it possible that it can be a “city” at the same time? A city is a place where people live, yet Revelation seems to somehow be merging the two.

In John 14, beloved by so many millions of Christians, we read about the promise of Jesus to build us a “mansion” in Heaven. Not only that, the same passage also tells us that Jesus will “come and get us” in the Pretribulation Rapture. Those “mansions in Heaven” is what makes up the New Jerusalem from Revelation 21.

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3 (KJV)

So now we clearly see where where the Church, the Bride, will live for eternity, but how is the Bride also a physical city? The answer is found in 1 Peter:

“To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” 1 Peter 2:4-6 (KJV)

And here is where the “dam breaks open”, and it all comes together in one glorious revelation

All through the Bible, Jesus Christ is revealed the foundational building block of our salvation, please note the following:

  • THE STONE MADE WITHOUT HANDS: “Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.” Daniel 2:34 (KJV)
  • THE CORNER STONE: “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” Isaiah 28:16 (KJV)
  • A STONE OF STUMBLING AND ROCK OF OFFENCE: “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” 1 Peter 2:7,8 (KJV)

If you have been born again, you are “flesh of his flesh” and “bone of his bone”. Jesus is the “chief corner stone”, we are His precious “living stones” who make up the New Jerusalem.

“And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.” Revelation 21:19,20 (KJV)

We don’t just live in the New Jerusalem, we are the New Jerusalem, though yes there is still a physical building that does come down from Heaven. What I’m saying here is, it was made for us!

The Church is the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, and the New Jerusalem where God will once again and for all eternity “dwell with man”. God’s glory will be forever made manifest in the thing for which He shed His own blood – the Church of Jesus Christ.

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5,6 (KJV)

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Acts 20:28 (KJV)

“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” Hebrews 13:12 (KJV)

Amen, come and get us Lord. We’re ready! If your your not ready click here: Salvation

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If You’re Left Behind After The Rapture Of The Church

If You’re Left Behind After The Rapture Of The Church: When I scoured my Bible for verses showing people who rejected the gospel of the grace of God in the Church Age, getting saved after the Rapture, unlike the Left Behind series I could not find it.

“And for this cause God shall send 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.” 2 Thessalonians 2:11,12 (KJV)

Like most of Christian America, I was thrilled when the Left Behind book series came out back in December of 1995. It accurately showed that the Rapture of the Church must take place prior to the start of the time of Jacob’s trouble, commonly referred to as the Great Tribulation. It showed characters acting out Bible prophecy in a realistic and exciting fashion, and we rejoiced with them as one by one they came to get right with the Lord and become born again.

My King James Bible in a plethora of places shows me the events surround the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church. It shows up as early as chapter 2 in the Song of Solomon, is all throughout Paul’s writings, and has its main crescendo in chapter four of the book of Revelation. But when I scoured my Bible for verses showing people who rejected the gospel of the grace of God in the Church Age, getting saved after the Rapture, unlike the Left Behind series I could not find it.

What I did find, however, shook me to my core.

God sends a strong delusion on the heels of the rapture of the Church

The apostle Paul tells us that the two things that must take place in order for the Rapture of the Church to start are

1). The great falling away from gospel truth, and

2). The revealing of the Antichrist.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4 (KJV)

Now anyone with eyes and ears who is even mildly awake can tell you that the falling away has been in full swing for quite some time now. Nearly 100% of the preachers on television and radio are preaching lies to get money from people. Fakers like Rod Parsley, Paula White, Todd Bentley, Hillsong, Joel Osteen and all the others are nothing more than end times charlatans who make up the Laodicean Church from Revelation 3.

As far as when the Antichrist is revealed, it looks like that and the Rapture happen at very close to the same time. The rapture of the Church is shown in Revelation 4:1,2 (KJV), and the releasing of Antichrist by the Lord Jesus Christ happens in Revelation 6:

“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” Revelation 6:1,2 (KJV)

John, a type of the Church, watches Antichrist let loose almost as soon as he arrives in Heaven. This shows you that very little time passes between the Rapture and the Antichrist. When we go back to 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 to pick up the action, we see something quite startling. We see that what accompanies the releasing of Antichrist on the Earth is a strong delusion, given to people who had rejected the preaching of the gospel before the Rapture.

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send 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.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 (KJV)

You will note the following regarding the context of these verses:

  • Antichrist is revealed on the heels of the Rapture of the Church.
  • Antichrist comes with “signs and lying wonders”.
  • The people who rejected the gospel of the grace of God while the Church was still on the earth are rebuked.
  • Those same people are given a “strong delusion”.
  • Those same people are all damned.

What you don’t see anywhere is people being given a second chance like in the Left Behind series

All the seals that are opened in Revelation 6 match exactly with the action happening in Matthew 24, but we don’t see a whole lot of gentiles. What do we see? We see the Jews back in the spotlight now. And instead of an “end times revival” of the people who missed the Rapture of the Church, we see unsaved gentiles cowering in rocks and caves, begging for death rather than face King Jesus.

“And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:14-17 (KJV)

In chapter 7 of Revelation we see the marking and commissioning of the 144,000 servants of God, but not a gentile in the bunch. God’s entire focus has now shifted from dealing with the Church of Jesus Christ made up of Jews and gentiles, to once again dealing with His chosen people the Jews. But what about the unsaved gentiles who missed the Rapture? Sadly, it appears that the vast majority of these people wind up taking the Mark of the Beast and worshipping Antichrist. And just so you know, in the time of Jacob’s trouble, the unpardonable sin is taking the Mark. God offers zero forgiveness for those who accept it

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:9-11 (KJV)

As you march through chapter after chapter in Revelation, you see many amazing and terrible sights, but one thing you don’t see anywhere is the much ballyhooed “end times revival” of gentiles who missed the Rapture of the Church. No matter how much heat God applies to them, they refuse to repent.

“And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.”Revelation 16:8,9 (KJV)

Even when the Lord Jesus Christ finally makes his spectacular grand entrance, no one on the Earth seems overly happy. Why not?

“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” Revelation 1:7 (KJV)

For one reason, the Church who is very excited to see Jesus is not on the Earth, and we were very excited when we saw Him at the Rapture. Now we are on horseback with the Lord at His return as seen in Revelation 19. Secondly, the people who made it through the Tribulation realize the great price they paid by their refusal to get saved while they had the chance. The vast majority of the unsaved gentiles appear to have taken the Mark during the strong delusion, and have joined Antichrist in his satanic army to fight with Jesus at His return.

“And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” Revelation 19:19,20 (KJV)

The gentiles who do get saved and refuse to take the Mark of the Beast pay for those decisions with their life by beheading! Hopefully there will a lot of those people, but in order to do it they must overcome God’s strong delusion, the revelation of Antichrist, the Mark of the Beast, and a never-ending barrage of supernatural and physical judgements falling down on them from above. Tribulation saints are not the same as Christians in the Church age. And because they’re not in the Church Age like we are now, they won’t have eternal security.

Whew…tall order that one.

Better to get saved now and not have to wonder if you would “make it through the Tribulation because billions will not.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV)

 

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Where The Wrath Of God In The Time Of Jacob’s Trouble Really Begins May Surprise You

From the perspective of the time of Jacob’s trouble, a.k.a the Great Tribulation, there is only one “wrath” the world needs to be concerned with. The wrath of God.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4 (KJV)

When you understand that the Bible was written dispensationally, and that God commands us to search out and find those divisions, as seen in 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV), you naturally come to the conclusion that the Bible holds to and teaches a Pretribulation Rapture of the Church. When you don’t do that you come to a number of other conclusions unsupported by scripture like the post-tribulation rapture, the mid-tribulation rapture. no rapture at all, and the rather silly pre-wrath rapture.

The pre-wrath rapture was conceived in the 1970’s by a man named Robert Van Kampen, who died in 1999. This view was then picked up and endorsed by Marvin Rosenthal who wrote his book ‘The Pre-Wrath Rapture Of The Church’. The “Pre-Wrath” view of the Rapture argues that the first three-fourths of the Tribulation is the wrath of Man and the wrath of Satan, and not the wrath of God. Therefore, the proponents of this view argue that the Church will suffer through the first three-quarters of the Tribulation since the Church is promised protection only from the wrath of God.

As you can see, the entire premise of this view is built on a very shaky foundation.

From the perspective of the time of Jacob’s trouble, a.k.a the Great Tribulation, there is only one “wrath” the world needs to be concerned with. The wrath of God. The Bible makes no distinction of the wrath of man and the wrath of Satan. James 1:20 (KJV) mentions the “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” but it is only talking about men displaying anger toward their fellow man. As far as the “wrath of Satan” goes, the book of Job shows us that Satan is an instrument of judgement from God, and can only do what God allows him to do. So the “wrath” that Satan yields during the time of Jacob’s trouble is actually God’s wrath, as he is one of God’s instruments of judgement.

Surface-skimming students of prophecy will read Revelation and not see God’s judgments until the first of the Trumpet Judgments start firing off. But God’s wrath begins a little bit earlier than that. The wrath of God starts almost immediately after the rapture of the Church. That happens in Revelation 6 with the opening of the First Seal:

“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” Revelation 6:1,2 (KJV)

So there very first judgment/wrath sent on the world is the opening of the First Seal, which reveals the Antichrist, two chapters after the Church typified by John in Revelation 4 is safely taken to Heaven. Further light on this event is shed in 2 Thessalonians, the entire chapter, that breaks down the rapture of the Church and what must immediatly follow after our departure.

Paul starts the chapter by comforting the people and telling them that they have not missed the “day of Christ”, the rapture of the Church.

Paul teaches us that the two events that precede the rapture of the Church are

1). The great falling away in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (KJV) which matches with Revelation 3:14-22 (KJV) and,

2). The revealing of the Antichrist. The Church does not live under the rule Antichrist, but Paul says he will be revealed to us. (For more on that, please read our article entitled “Does The King James Bible Reveal The Identity Of The Antichrist?“)

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10 (KJV)

2 Thessalonians continues on its merry way, describing the Antichrist, and more importantly, those who have been left behind after the rapture. It is in this section where I see the very first place where God begins to pour His wrath out upon the Earth in judgment. The Bible tells us that those left behind that were exposed to the gospel and rejected it would be subject to the wrath of God as His judgement on their refusal to believe and receive the Truth. And here is where the wrath of God in the time of Jacob’s trouble actually begins. Please note the following:

“And for this cause God shall send 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.” 2 Thessalonians 2:11,12 (KJV)

And there you have it, God’s wrath at the very start of the time of Jacob’s trouble that comes in the form of an irresistible lie spoken by the father of lies, Satan. This lie, that the Antichrist is the Messiah, will be believed by all those who rejected the gospel preached during the church age, and will lead to their ultimate damnation in a place called Hell. This will cause the vast majority of the world’s population to worship the Antichrist and take the Mark of the Beast. A sin which the Bible declares their is no forgiveness for.

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:9-11 (KJV)

Passages like this are further proof that the Church cannot be in any part of the time of Jacob’s trouble, because in the Age of Grace, we have full and complete pardon for all our sins from the moment of salvation. In the time of Jacob’s trouble, they do not have eternal security as evidenced the verses quoted above and also appearing in Revelation 20:4 (KJV).

Where does the wrath of God begin? Immediately after the Church is removed and the “strong delusion” is cast down in judgment. Long before the first trumpet is blown, or the first bowl is poured out, the wrath of God is dispensed on a Bible-rejecting world in the form of a strong, soul damning delusion that cannot be resisted. And it won’t be until the 144,000 male, virgin Jews  are raised up to finally fulfill the Great Commission of Mark 16 with anyone have a chance to get saved.

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LONDONISTAN: Christianity In Massive Decline In London With 423 New Mosques As 500 Churches Close

The Gatestone Institute reports Sunday on the striking rate of closures of churches in the United Kingdom’s capital city, a trend mirrored elsewhere in Europe, and the blooming number of mosques that have been established in their stead.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you try and publish an article like this, Liberals across the globe instantly cry “Islamaphobia” the second it is released. When we give facts and figures on Islam’s unstoppable rise in the UK, and warning of massive Sharia creep, we are labeled as “racists and xenophobes”. But the hard, sad truth is that London has become a Muslim-majority city, and all traces of its Christian roots and heritage being blown away like so much chaff in the wind. The land that gave the world the King James 1611 Authorized Version Holy Bible is about to become a Sharia-dominant society. You are watching it happen. 

Reporting on the change in religious observation in London, the Gatestone Institute writes:

“London is more Islamic than many Muslim countries put together”, according to Maulana Syed Raza Rizvi, one of the Islamic preachers who now lead “Londonistan”, as the journalist Melanie Phillips has called the English capital. No, Rizvi is not a right-wing extremist. Wole Soyinka, a Nobel Laureate for Literature, was less generous; he called the UK “a cesspit for Islamists”.

“Terrorists can not stand London multiculturalism”, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan said after the recent deadly terror attack at Westminster. The opposite is true: British multiculturalists are feeding Islamic fundamentalism. Above all, Londonistan, with its new 423 mosques, is built on the sad ruins of English Christianity.

Islam and the Intercultural Enrichment of London

The Hyatt United Church was bought by the Egyptian community to be converted to a mosque. St Peter’s Church has been converted into the Madina Mosque. The Brick Lane Mosque was built on a former Methodist church. Not only buildings are converted, but also people. The number of converts to Islam has doubled; often they embrace radical Islam, as with Khalid Masood, the terrorist who struck Westminster.

The Daily Mail published photographs of a church and a mosque a few meters from each other in the heart of London. At the Church of San Giorgio, designed to accommodate 1,230 worshipers, only 12 people gathered to celebrate Mass. At the Church of Santa Maria, there were 20.

The nearby Brune Street Estate mosque has a different problem: overcrowding. Its small room and can contain only 100. On Friday, the faithful must pour into the street to pray. Given the current trends, Christianity in England is becoming a relic, while Islam will be the religion of the future.

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The Book Of Amos Reveals Amazing Insight Into The Time Of Jacob’s Trouble And The Battle Of Armageddon

This is the whole point behind the time of Jacob’s trouble, and one of the strongest reasons I know why the Church will not and cannot possibly be here for it. It has nothing to do with the Church, it is a JUDGEMENT on Israel.

“The Lord GOD hath sworn by himself, saith the LORD the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein.” Amos 6:8 (KJV)

Have you ever read through the little book of Amos of the Old Testament? Perhaps you glanced through it once or twice, but never really dug deep into it because, honestly, it just didn’t seem all that interesting. Well, too bad. Because if you like end time Bible prophecy, the book of Amos is one of the most exciting and revealing books in the Bible that describes tons of events that take place during the time of Jacob’s trouble.

“And he said, The LORD will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither.” Amos 1;2 (KJV)

Verse two in the first chapter may sound familiar to you, especially if you read the book of Joel right before reading Amos. Amos 1:2 is a time clue reference, and it repeats what we read in Joel 3:16. So from that we know right from the opening of Amos, that the time in which Amos vision will take place will be in the time of Jacob’s trouble. Otherwise known as the Great Tribulation from Matthew 24, and Revelation 6 – 19.

Right off the bat, Amos launches into a series of intense judgments that fall on places connected with the time of Jacob’s trouble leading into the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the Battle of Armageddon. Take a look at the list and you will see immediately what I mean:

  • Damascus in Syria, north of Galilee.
  • Gaza where the mythical present-day region of Palestine is located.
  • Tyrus north of Palestine.
  • Edom south of the Dead Sea.
  • Ammon east of Jordan, and above the Dead Sea.
  • Moab east of Jordan opposite the Dead Sea
  • Judah
  • Israel

If you have read our work entitled “The Real Meaning Of The Word Selah As Found In The King James Bible“, then all these places will immediately stand out to you. If not, please take a moment to read it now and get acquainted with these end times hot spots.

So as we travel through the opening chapters of the book of Amos, we see that God is drawing our attention to areas in the end times where His judgment is going to fall either at the beginning, middle or end of the Battle of Armageddon. This is the main thrust of Amos’ vision, he takes us from the start of judgement in the time of Jacob’s trouble, and ends up all the way with a restored Israel during the 1,000 Year Reign of Jesus Christ from Jerusalem.

But as you have already noted from our bullet point list, Israel is included in God’s judgments as well.

Starting in chapter 2, God begins laying out His grievances with His chosen people for their rebellion and iniquities, and by chapter 3 really lets them have it.

“Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” Amos 3:1,2 (KJV)

God continues through chapters 4 and 5 describing the coming time of affliction to Israel for their transgressions. This is the whole point behind the time of Jacob’s trouble, and one of the strongest reasons I know why the Church will not and cannot possibly be here for it. It has nothing to do with the Church, it is a JUDGEMENT on Israel.

“Hear ye this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel. The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up.”Amos 5:1,2 (KJV)

Take modern-day Israel, right now in 2017. In just about 7 weeks from now, they will celebrate their 69th years of being regathered back in the Biblical land of Israel. It is an amazing fulfillment of Bible prophecy that they are even back there. They are the blooming fig tree from Matthew 24. But look closer at Israel, and what do you see? You see a nation that mentions the Lord God only in passing, as a point of historical interest, or parlaying their rich history into tourist dollars.

But Israel in 2017 has become the LGBTQP capital of the world in Tel Aviv, something for which the Bible says God destroyed both Sodom and Gomorrah. An article in the Boston Globe calls Tel Aviv “THE GAYEST CITY ON EARTH”. Any fear of God in their eyes? Nope. None at all.

And because Israel will not return to the LORD, the LORD is going to send judgement on His own chosen people the Jews, and in His own chosen land of Israel. He is going to do it with the judgments of fire, hail, pestilence and famine that the book of Revelation says will fall down from the sky, and by raising up the Antichrist to attack and besiege them from ground level.

Are you one of those people who are looking forward to the Day of the Lord? God warns you against it.  This is the opposite of what happens at the Rapture of the Church, which Paul says is our “blessed hope” and a “comfort”.

“Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?”Amos 5:18-20 (KJV)

Chapter after chapter, God delves deeper and deeper into why He is causing this time of judgment to fall on His own people. He is going to shake Israel and its inhabitants to their very core to remove from them the iniquity that is keeping them from a right relationship with Him.

“Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD. For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.” Amos 9:8,9 (KJV)

Then after 7 solid chapters of judgement on Israel in the time of Jacob’s trouble, God devotes the last 5 verses of Amos to describing Israel’s restoration. And it’s beautiful.

“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.” Amos 9:11-15 (KJV)

Yes, Israel’s glory is yet still future, and it is amazing. But in order to get to that point, they will have to endure the greatest, single event of tribulation in human history. The vision of Amos tells us what’s coming for them, and more importantly why it’s coming for them.

The Church will not be here for this time, but you can right now pray for the Jewish people and for the nation of Israel. As Bible believers, we can see this coming from miles away, but they cannot. When the time of Jacob’s trouble begins, they will be utterly unaware what’s happening to them. Even though their own Book describes it in great and graphic detail.

“Behold, I have told you before.” Matthew 24:25 (KJV)

ARTICLES RELATED TO THE TIME OF JACOB’S TROUBLE:

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Non-Denominational Church and Beliefs

With each denomination and each non-denomination usually a person started the movement. This question really has several answers, and they can be either simple or complex. The simplest answer is that a non-denominational church is any church which is not part of a larger denomination. A denomination is a church organization that exercises some sort of authority over the local churches that comprise it. Or a denominational church is a large organization of churches that fall under one single authority (the head church), with a strong culture and rich history that they’re all connected to.  Examples of denominations are Southern Baptist, Episcopal, Wesleyan, Methodist, Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians etc. Non-denominational churches go by many different names and hold to a wide variety of beliefs. A non-denominational church usually means a new church organization that does not fall under any of the mainline churches.

Why do some churches choose to be non-denominational? Though the answers will vary somewhat, a major consideration is the freedom to direct the ministry and teaching of the local church without interference or control from without. When we look to the Bible, the evidence points to each church as self-governing and answerable directly to God Himself. In the book of Acts, where we read of the first missionary journeys and the establishment of many churches, there is no indication of a hierarchy of authority beyond the local elders of the church. Some people point to the Jerusalem council in Acts 15 as a pattern for denominational structure, but it is nothing of the sort. The Gentiles had been given the gospel under the ministry of Paul and Barnabas, by the direct authority of the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:2; 15:7). The churches established in that first journey were left under the care of elders (Acts 14:23) from their own ranks, after having been taught by Paul and Barnabas. When the council was called at Jerusalem, it was not because of any question of organizational structure or control, but to discuss doctrinal matters about what constitutes salvation (Acts 15:5-6). The apostles who had been directly commissioned by Jesus were the only people who could properly address the question authoritatively.

When a church is non-denominational, does that mean it has no need of other churches? That may be the belief of some, but it is certainly not the example we find in Scripture. The book of Acts and the New Testament Epistles make it clear that the churches communicated with one another regularly. As Paul and his companions made their missionary journeys, it was not uncommon for the believers to send letters to the other churches (Acts 18:27), or to greet one another through his letters (Romans 16:16). Likewise, when there was a great need, the churches worked interdependently to meet that need-for example, the collection for the famine in Jerusalem (Acts 11:29; 2 Corinthians 8:4). The various churches of the New Testament, though independent, self-governing bodies, were definitely connected in fellowship and cooperative ministry, giving us an example to follow today.

The measure of any church, whether inside or out of a denomination, is not how it is organized nor what name it is called, but rather how faithfully it adheres to the teachings of the Word of God. No church is inerrant, because churches are made of people who are capable of error. Even the apostles, with all the gifts God gave them, were not without error. Paul records in Galatians 2:11 that “when Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.” Peter, the first to give the gospel to a Gentile, gave in to pressure by the Judaizers to separate himself from Gentile believers. Paul’s ability to confront Peter was not based on his position as an apostle, but on the revealed truth of God’s Word. Paul complimented the believers in Berea (Acts 17:11) for checking his own teaching against the Bible to find out if he was telling them straight doctrine.

All believers need to be like the Bereans, checking what we are taught against the Word of God to find out if those things are so. If our church is out of line with God’s Word, we must lovingly, patiently give instruction or correction. If it will not be corrected, then we should seek out a church that is faithfully obeying God’s Word.

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Post-Modern Christianity

Post-modern Christianity is just as difficult to lock down in a concise definition as post-modernism itself. What started in the 1950s in architecture as a reaction to modernist thought and style was soon adopted by the art and literary world in the 1970s and 1980s. The Church didn’t really feel this effect until the 1990s. This reaction was a dissolution of “cold, hard fact” in favor of “warm, fuzzy subjectivity.” Think of anything considered post-modern, then stick Christianity into that context and you have a glimpse of what post-modern Christianity is.

Post-modern Christianity falls into line with basic post-modernist thinking. It is about experience over reason, subjectivity over objectivity, spirituality over religion, images over words, outward over inward. Are these things good? Sure. Are these things bad? Sure. It all depends on how far from biblical truth each reaction against modernity takes one’s faith. This, of course, is up to each believer. However, when groups form under such thinking, theology and doctrine tend to lean more towards liberalism.

For example, because experience is valued more highly than reason, truth becomes relative. This opens up all kinds of problems, as this lessens the standard that the Bible contains absolute truth, and even disqualifies biblical truth as being absolute in many cases. If the Bible is not our source for absolute truth, and personal experience is allowed to define and interpret what truth actually is, a saving faith in Jesus Christ is rendered meaningless.

There will always be “paradigm shifts” in thinking as long as mankind inhabits this present earth, because mankind constantly seeks to better itself in knowledge and stature. Challenges to our way of thinking are good, as they cause us to grow, to learn, and to understand. This is the principle of Romans 12:2 at work, of our minds being transformed. Yet, we need to be ever mindful of Acts 17:11 and be like the Bereans, weighing every new teaching, every new thought, against Scripture. We don’t let our experiences interpret Scripture for us, but as we change and conform ourselves to Christ, we interpret our experiences according to Scripture. Unfortunately, this is not what is happening in circles espousing post-modern Christianity.

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Different Spiritual Gifts Mentioned in the Bible

There are actually six places in the New Testament where spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit are listed. Romans 12:3-8 mentions seven gifts, 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 lists nine gifts, 1 Corinthians 12:25-31 mentions eight gifts, 1 Corinthians 13 & 14 compares three gifts, Ephesians 4:11-13 mentions four gifts (though not all consider these spiritual gifts), and 1 Peter 4:10-11 mentions two gifts (although they may be two categories representing several other gifts). Only one gift appears in all lists (if we assume that “speaks” in 1 Peter 4:11 is a category that includes the gift of prophecy). But most gifts occur in more than one list. Some scholars consider “serving” in Romans 12 the same as “helping others” in 1 Corinthians 12. Also, some consider “leadership” and “administration” in those same two lists to be the same gift. Also, in Ephesians 4 some consider “pastors and teachers” to be two gifts, while others cite reasons it may be better to take them as one gift. With all these variables, there are various counts that are suggested for the actual number of spiritual gifts mentioned in Scripture.

Others, including myself, notice that no two of these six passages completely agree with any of the others in listing spiritual gifts. Since every list leaves off gifts that appear on other lists, none of the lists is comprehensive, listing all the gifts. If this is so, how can we be confident that there might not be other gifts the Spirit could bestow that are not on any of the existing lists? If this is so, then perhaps we cannot come up with a single specific number of spiritual gifts. My efforts to arrange and count the gifts mentioned in the Bible comes to eighteen, but I suspect there are likely others which are not mentioned in Scripture. It may be presumptuous to guess what some of these might be, but I would not be surprised if there might be gifts of such things as apologetics, music, mediation/reconciliation, motivating others. Now most assume there are eleven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Most Bible scholars recognize more than that, although there are reasons not everyone agrees exactly how many there are.

1. Prophecy
2. Serving/Helping Others
3. Teaching
4. Encouraging
5. Giving
6. Leadership/Administration
7. Showing Mercy
8. Message of Wisdom
9. Message of Knowledge
10. Faith
11. Healing
12. Working Miracles
13. Distinguishing Spirits
14. Tongues
15. Interpreting Tongues
16. Apostle
17. Evangelist
18. Pastor/Teacher

In God’s great gift of salvation, we have a number of benefits and responsibilities. Most Christians are quick to point out the personal benefits we receive with our salvation, but we are a little slower to focus on the responsibilities that come with it. When people speak of spiritual gifts, the focus is often on questions like, “Do you know what your spiritual gift is?” or “Have you taken this spiritual gifts survey?” While the knowledge of one’s gifting can be beneficial, we often lose sight of God’s design in these matters. Yes, the particular gifts of the Spirit are benefits to each believer, but they come with great responsibilities. Let’s take a walk through the biblical lists of gifts during this spiritual gifts survey.

There are two Greek words that are primarily used to describe the gifts of the Spirit. Pneumatika refers to their source, the Holy Spirit (pneuma) of God, and charismata refers to the fact that they are granted as an act of God’s grace (charis). Since they are given by grace, we are reminded that they are not based on our worthiness or personal abilities, but on God’s sovereign choice. Since they are given by the Spirit of God, they are a part of the new life granted to us in Christ (and may be drastically different from our perceived capabilities or desires prior to salvation). A brief examination of three key texts (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 1 Peter 4:10-11) will show us God’s design regarding His gifts.

One of the first things that becomes clear in these passages is the diversity of the gifts. When Paul listed the gifts in Romans 12; he identified different gifts than what he wrote in 1 Corinthians 12; and when Peter spoke of them in 1 Peter 4:10-11, he didn’t even bother specifying them. Among the things listed are prophecy, ministry, wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, teaching, exhorting, giving, ruling, showing mercy, speaking in languages, and interpreting languages. Whatever the specific use of each one was, they each fit together as the parts of the body work together to make a functional whole (Romans 12:5).

There are varying opinions regarding the number of spiritual gifts, as well as what the gifts are. Romans 12 lists at least seven, and 1 Corinthians 12 lists nine. There is some overlap in these, and there are certainly indications that God has more that He gives His children. What are some of these gifts? First Corinthians says God gives the word of wisdom and knowledge to some. This would seem to identify a particular ability to grasp spiritual truths in the Word of God and apply them to life. Prophecy is the ability to proclaim divine revelation to the church. As it is used in the New Testament, this gift seems more focused on determining God’s will in particular circumstances than on foretelling future events. Discerning of spirits seems to be connected with the gift of prophecy, and refers to checking the authority and validity of the message, in order to prevent false prophecy. Healing and miracles are often referred to as ‘sign gifts,’ since they were part of the validation for the ministry of Jesus and the apostles. God certainly still heals and does miracles, but these gifts to the church have largely ceased with the completion of the Bible and the validation of its message.

One of the most misunderstood gifts is that of language and interpretation. ‘Tongues’ in the KJV is simply a translation of the Greek glossa, which is the normal word for any language. In Acts 2:6-11, the people who were gathered in Jerusalem marveled that, even though the disciples were all untrained Galileans, they heard the ‘wonderful works of God’ in their own languages. Whatever else people might teach, two things here are clear: 1) The people in the crowd heard and understood what was being said about Jesus Christ, and 2) we are told what languages the message was received in at that time. Other gifts mentioned are faith, serving, encouraging, giving, ruling, and showing mercy. These are fairly self-explanatory. Whatever gift we look at, one common denominator is always in place-gifts were given by God Himself and are to be used for His glory in His church.

We can certainly learn of the gifts from these lists, but if we limit the gifts of the Spirit to those few that were enumerated, we miss the point. In all three passages, we are given a specific purpose of the gifts, and that is where we should direct our attention. In Romans 12:8, we are told to use the various gifts according to the character of God and His revealed will “…with simplicity…with diligence…with cheerfulness.” In 1 Corinthians 12:25, we are told that these gifts were given “so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.” In 1 Peter 4:11, the purpose is “that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” The best way for us to understand spiritual gifts is to know how we can care for and serve one another to the glory of God. Whether we do that through teaching, feeding, healing, or any other method, we have a responsibility to God and to one another to offer ourselves as servants (2 Corinthians 4:9). So we also see that no one person is to have all the gifts, they are dispersed within the body of Christ, to make the body of Christ whole.

Here are a few more.

Vocational Gifts.

1. Apostles-Special Messengers Commissioned by Christ (the 12 Apostles of the Lamb) And those sent forth by the Holy Spirit Acts 13.

2. Prophets-The office of a Prophet in the Bible is different to an OT prophet. Agabas was a prophet in the New Testament Context and he demonstrated his office by revealing the future famine coming and that Paul would be bound when he went to Jerusalem. A prophet in the New Testament also receives Revelation but not to change anything in the Bible nor to contradict it.

Act 21:10..And as we stayed more days, a certain prophet from Judea named Agabus came down.
Act 21:11..And coming to us, and taking Paul’s belt, and binding his hands and feet, he said, The Holy Spirit says these things: So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man whose belt this is, and will deliver him into the hands of the nations.
Act 11:27..And in these days prophets from Jerusalem came to Antioch.
Act 11:28..And one of them named Agabus stood up and signified by the Spirit that there should be great famine over the world (which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar).
Other NT prophets mentioned.
Act 15:32 And Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, exhorted the brothers with many words and confirmed them.

There were prophets and teachers in the Church mentioned in Acts 13.
This ministry is still functioning today and plays a vital part in Church growth and protection from false prophets and teachers.
3.Pastors– Shepherds of God’s flock, leaders, elders. Mostly known and accepted by all denominations.
4. Teachers– distinct from Pastors and deal more with explanation rather than leadership. Pastor’s teach but in a different perspective to the distinct gift of teaching. Pastors teach with a father’s ability and include discipline and organization.
5. Evangelists– Preach the Good news to bring the message of Salvation to the unconverted and often have the miracles signs and wonders mentioned in the Bible following their ministries. Such was the case with Philip the Evangelist and a host of others recorded in Church history and our modern day.

The gifts of Power revealing God’s Omnipotence
1. The Gifts of Healings (miracle healings)

2. The Gift of Faith (drained of unbelief by the Spirit for a particular miracle purpose)

3. The Gift of working of Miracles. The active operation of a miracle like stretching the rod over the red sea.

The Gifts of Revelation Revealing God’s Omniscience
1. The gift of the discerning of spirits (this is where the Holy Spirit gives a person a view into the spirit world to distinguish a devil spirit, an angelic spirit and the ability to know a prophetic utterance is inspired by the human spirit, a demon spirit, Or the Holy Spirit.

2. A Word of Knowledge- the revelation given to a person by the Holy Spirit of facts past and present that are not known to the person except by the Holy Spirit. Peter knew what Ananaias And Saphira had done by this gift. Cornelius was told facts about where Peter was by this gift. Acts 10:5, 6.

The Gifts Of Inspired Utterance Revealing God’s Omnipresence.
1. Diverse tongues- Ability by the Holy Spirit to speak languages never learned

2. Ability to interpret the Message Of a Language never learned by the power of the Spirit.

3. The Gift of Prophecy- an utterance whereby God puts His word in the mouth of the speaker and the speaker becomes literally the mouthpiece of God.
The real gift of prophecy is just that. God transforms the person prophesying in such a way that God Himself is speaking directly through the human instrument. This is clearly what God is able to do and indeed it’s what He does. Mat 10:20..For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. Numbers 22:8

In addition to knowing what the spiritual gifts, I believe it is important to get a perspective on;

1) why the gifts were given,

2) how the spirit uses the gifts to benefit the local church, and

3) what we can learn from personal experience.

I organize the gifts in four ways;

1) Role,

2) Gift,

3) Ministry, and

4) Office. Each gift has a corresponding role, ministry and office. If we want to know what all the gifts are then we need to start with the lists provided in scripture as already referenced, then add to and define all the other roles that Jesus performed when he ministered to people. Jesus commanded us to learn and obey everything he had commanded and carry on the ministry he established through the local church.

As individual Christians we are responsible to fulfill each one of these roles, when the opportunity presents itself, using the natural abilities God has given. We fulfill these roles in order to obey Jesus command to Love One Another. However, this love is first stirred in our hearts by the Holy Spirit and then we are given opportunities to pray, speak and act to express this love to our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.

As we demonstrate our faithfulness in carrying out these roles, the Holy Spirit begins to release the spiritual gifts were we given on the day we were saved. We will be able to identify these gifts by the impact they have on ourselves and those we serve. For ourselves, I believe we will discover that;

1) our service feels effortless,

2) we have an abiding love and concern for the needs of others, and

3) we experience a joy that is deeply satisfying.

For other believers whom we care for;

1) they often feel incredibly blessed,

2) they encounter God’s presence through us,

3) they are filled with the Holy Spirit,

4) their faith grows and

5) they want to please God with their own service.

As we discover our gifts and begin to faithfully use them, the Holy Spirit then increases the occasions for using our gifts and establishes our ministries. If our eyes are open to the opportunities, I believe we will have occasions to use our gifts on a daily basis. This level of ministry has a profound effect in building up the body of Christ to maturity and completeness.

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