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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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My Brother’s Keeper

A Christian first loves himself then he can love his neighbor as himself and of course my brother is my neighbor. So unless I am to keep my neighbors I cannot be expected to keep my brothers. But I do need to love them all as I love myself.

The phrase “my brother’s keeper” occurs in the context of the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:1-9. After the Lord God had expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden for their disobedience, Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy that God had found Abel’s sacrifice acceptable, but He had rejected Cain’s. After the murder, the Lord, knowing full well what had happened, asked Cain where Abel was. Cain’s response was “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

There is a grain of truth in this brazen lie, despite the surly response Cain offers to the God who created him. While no one is the absolute “keeper” of others in that we are not responsible for everyone’s safety when we are not present, every man is his brother’s keeper in that we are not to commit violent acts against them or allow others to do so if we can prevent it. This sort of “keeping” is something God rightfully demands of everyone, on the grounds of both justice and love. But Cain’s reply indicates a total lack of any kind of feeling for another human being not to mention the absence of brotherly love and the overriding presence of the kind of selfishness which kills affection and gives rise to hatred.

So are Christians to be the keepers of other Christians? Yes, in two ways. First we are not to commit acts of violence against one another. This includes violence of the tongue in the form of gossip and “quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder” (1 Corinthians 12:20). Second, we are to exhibit brotherly love toward our brothers and sisters in Christ with a tender heart and a humble mind (1 Peter 3:8). In this way, we “keep” those for whom Christ gave His life.

One of the golden chapters of the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13. In this magnificent portion of the Scriptures, we are reminded that love is even greater than faith and hope. Chapter 13 comes on the heels of Paul’s explanation of how the Body of Christ (the Church) is like the human body and is made up of many members, all of whom are important to the function and well-being of the Body. We are continually encouraged throughout the New Testament to love one another (Hebrews 13:1; Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9). Sometimes love must correct, admonish or reprove (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15; Matthew 18:15). However, correction is always to be done in the spirit of love with the goal of reconciliation.

Paul the apostle wrote to the church at Thessalonica, “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-15).

So, as Christians, we are to be our brother’s keeper. As Paul wrote, “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify (build up) another” (Romans 14:19).

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Lent

Lent is an observation done by the Catholics, but this is an observation that should be done by every Christian, reason being that a time must be set aside dedicated to God through self denial in pleasures of the flesh. During that time of fasting, our spirit which is an official connector to God’s spirit is brought to life, the gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit do manifest themselves in us and the fellowship with God is complete. Even our Lord Jesus upon receiving the Holy Spirit had to fast for 40 days and 40 nights in order for him initiate his ministry here on earth with full experience in temptations. Daniel also did fasting and many more in the Bible and our lord said after being asked why his disciples did not fast, they will fast when he leaves them but not when he is around, Fasting is Soul lifting in worshiping God as he requires us to worship him in spirit and truth.

Lent is a period of fasting, moderation, and self-denial traditionally observed by Catholics and some Protestant denominations. It begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday. The length of the Lenten fast was established in the 4th century as 46 days (40 days, not counting Sundays). During Lent, participants eat sparingly or give up a particular food or habit. It’s not uncommon for people to give up smoking during Lent, or to swear off watching television or eating candy or telling lies. It’s six weeks of self-discipline.

Lent began as a way for Catholics to remind themselves of the value of repentance. The austerity of the Lenten season was seen as similar to how people in the Old Testament fasted and repented in sackcloth and ashes (Esther 4:1-3; Jeremiah 6:26; Daniel 9:3).

However, over the centuries Lenten observances have developed a much more “sacramental” value. Many Catholics believe that giving something up for Lent is a way to attain God’s blessing. But the Bible teaches that grace cannot be earned; grace is “the gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17). Also, Jesus taught that fasting should be done discreetly: “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen” (Matthew 6:16-18). Jesus’ command to “wash your face” seems to conflict with the practice of rubbing ashes on one’s face on Ash Wednesday.

Fasting can be a good thing, and God is pleased when we repent of sinful habits. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with setting aside some time to focus on Jesus’ death and resurrection. However, repenting of sin is something we should be doing every day of the year, not just for the 46 days of Lent.

If a Christian wishes to observe Lent, he is free to do so. The key is to focus on repenting of sin and consecrating oneself to God. Lent should not be a time of boasting of one’s sacrifice or trying to earn God’s favor or increasing His love. God’s love for us could not be any greater than it already is.

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Thousands of Muslims reportedly turning to Christ in Middle East

Scores of Muslims Turning to Christ in Middle East; Churches Expecting ‘Millions’ of Converts

Thousands of Muslims are turning to Jesus Christ and what they view as the “religion of freedom” amid ongoing bloodshed in the Middle East, reports indicate. Some churches hope that millions of people will accept Christ amid a “spiritual hunger” that is forming in the wake of persecution.

Voice Of the Martyrs Canada, which supports Christian radio broadcasts in the region, told BosNewsLife that despite the mass exodus of Christians from Iraq and Syria due to terrorism, persecution, and war, scores of Muslims are making the decision to embrace Christianity.

“There are thousands upon thousands coming to Christ,” VOMC revealed. “We are in regular contact with our FM stations in Iraq and have talked with many people who have family in the Middle East.”

“Some of our Middle Eastern broadcasters have shared testimonies [about many turning to Christ] with us, which they hear directly from listeners when visiting there …”

In Iran, Christian house churches are regularly targeted and shut down by the nation’s Islamic government. Despite this persecution, mission group Elam Ministries revealed that Christians have been growing in terms of numbers, and today estimates suggest there are 360,000 believers in Iran – up from only 500 in 1979.

“Church leaders believe that millions can be added to the church in the next few years — such is the spiritual hunger that exists and the disillusionment with the Islamic regime,” Elam Ministries stated.

“If we remain faithful to our calling, our conviction is that it is possible to see the nation transformed within our lifetime. Because Iran is a strategic gateway nation, the growing church in Iran will impact Muslim nations across the Islamic world.”

Muslim refugees in Europe have also reportedly been undergoing mass conversions of faith. A June 2016 article from The Guardian noted anecdotal data of rising Christian church attendance in Europe by Muslims.

Trinity church in the Berlin suburb of Steglitz, for instance, saw its congregation rise from 150 to 700 due to new Muslim converts, while the Austrian Catholic Church saw its applications for adult baptism swell by nearly 70 percent in the first three months of 2016.

“I found that the history of Islam was completely different from what we were taught at school. Maybe, I thought, it was a religion that began with violence,” an Iranian convert, 32-year-old Johannes, said.

“A religion that began with violence cannot lead people to freedom and love. Jesus Christ said ‘those who use the sword will die by the sword.’ This really changed my mind,” he added.

Iraqi Christians attend a mass on Christmas at St. Joseph Chaldean church in Baghdad, Iraq December 25, 2016

Iraqi Christians attend a mass on Christmas at St. Joseph Chaldean church in Baghdad, Iraq December 25, 2016

More churches in Germany reported this growing phenomena in December 2016, with The Independent noting that Muslims, especially Iranians, are seeing Christianity as a new chance at freedom.

“A lot of them come to Germany and think, here I can choose my religion and I want to choose a religion of freedom,” said Matthias Linke, a priest from the Evangelical-Freikirchlichen Gemeinde in Berlin.

“For many Iranians that I’ve baptized, Christianity is the religion of freedom.”

If your reading this you can find Christ right now as well, Salvation is waiting for you too, in the arms of Christ you can find freedom!

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