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An uncontrolled tongue cannot produce righteouness

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

James 1:19-20

19 Nov 2017

 

O LORD, we adore Thee

O LORD, we adore Thee,
For Thou art the slain One
That livest for ever,
Enthroned in heaven;
O Lord, we adore Thee,
For Thou hast redeemed us;
Our title to glory
We read in Thy blood.

O God, we acknowledge
Thy greatness, Thy glory,
For of Thee are all things
On earth and in heaven;
How rich is Thy mercy,
How great Thy salvation!
We bless Thee, we praise Thee,
Amen, and Amen.

F Naylor
Updated: 19 Nov 2017

 

Christian Marriage

Marriage possesses the unique feature of being an institution established by God from the very beginning of human history. God's authority is, therefore, behind the prominent place it occupies in man's social life. The first marriage was ordained in the Garden of Eden for the increase of Adam's comfort and the consummation of his bliss.

...

Another aspect of the marriage tie may now be considered. As a relationship established by God in the original circumstances of man's creation, it possesses a pure and holy character. It is obvious, however, that in Eden there were necessarily no human witnesses to the first marriage contract. But with the multiplication of the human species, there arose the necessity that each matrimonial alliance should have a propriety in the eyes of men generally, and should receive public confirmation and approval.

From the days of Noah, God set up among men forms of government for the maintenance of civil order and social well-being. The “powers that be” in the community are ordained of God, and their regulations are to be recognised and obeyed by the Christian (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13, 14). It is seemly, therefore, that Christian marriage should conform to the requirements of the law of the land. Indeed, it is expressly enjoined upon the believer to “be subject to the higher powers,” and to submit “to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake.” Where this is done in the case of marriage, the act of union is formally and legally recognised, and its validity established in the eyes of all men.

The ceremony of marriage required by civil laws to bestow a wedded status upon the persons concerned is altogether distinct from the spiritual union of husband and wife which results from the exercise of God's own will and guidance upon the hearts of the same two persons. The latter is the most serious and yet the most happy side of the undertaking. For this reason, the married couple, realising the solemn nature of the initial step they have taken in the united life to which they have committed themselves, seek the fellowship and prayers of the assembly of God on their behalf. Thereby, they openly confess that in their new relationship, their joint desire is to receive divine help that they may walk together in the fear of the Lord, in obedience to His word, and in the furtherance of the glory of His name.

...

Another feature of pious marriage life made prominent in this passage is that matrimonial union involves the establishment of a new household. The apostle says, “Because of this a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be united to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh” (ver. 31). By entrance into the marriage relationship, two parental homes are vacated, and a new Christian home set up by the married pair.

The advantages and far-reaching influence of a truly pious dwelling-place cannot easily be over-rated. As a national feature, home life is not cultivated on scriptural lines now to the degree that it was formerly. Families thoroughly united in the bonds of piety and walking together in the fear of the Lord are not found so frequently as they should be.

It is a striking testimony to the value in the divine estimation of the home that in the scriptural history of man, family life is given precedence to national life. A great part of the Book of Genesis is devoted to the record of family life set apart in the world as a witness for the living and true God against the corrupting influence of idolatry; while national history begins in the Book of Exodus.

This form of effective witness for God is sorely needed today. And it devolves upon the newly-married couple to organize a home which shall in its primary purpose be entirely controlled by the will of the Lord. Under such management, the home will become a centre from which the light of God's truth will shine upon the darkness and ungodliness of the surrounding world. Its occupants will be recognized as the servants of Christ.

A home is not to be confused with a house. An architect plans the house, but love and order construct the home. It is important that in the new Christian home an agreed policy between husband and wife should predominate; “and they two shall be one flesh.” Particularly in things God-ward concerted action should prevail. The former spiritual habits and activities hitherto practised by each need not cease, only they may now be prayerfully pursued with the enhanced energy that concord and consultation supply to Christian service. The two happy persons will unite as they never could before in “labour for and with the Lord.” And the former effect for good and blessing will not diminish, but will rather be increased by the intimate wedded union of two hearts devoted to the Lord.

Joys Doubled

The shepherd in our Lord's parable sought in solitary places for the sheep which was lost, and his success in finding it was a joy to him. But in the loneliness of the wilderness this joy was restricted. He wanted some hearts to share his joy. And “when he comes home”, he called his friends together, saying, “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost”.

Home is the sphere of joy, especially of private and personal joy. The joys of married life are more than doubled in intensity just because they are shared by the two who have become one, and who are now everything to one another. Small matters bring great joys in the intimacies of home life, in which strangers may not meddle.

The daily offering of praise and thanksgiving to God, no longer strictly personal to each, has fresh fervour to which each contributes from a grateful heart. The joint prayers of husband and wife are the more powerful in their intercession, seeing they are offered from the hearts of those whom God has joined together. These devotional exercises carry with them their own peculiar and almost inexpressible joys, which are all the sweeter to the taste because they are shared together in the new home.

In service to the Lord each is strengthened by the other, and what otherwise might be lacking in either is supplied. New forms of service become possible through joint desires and efforts. When an Apollos needed instruction in the things of the Lord, the house of Aquila and Priscilla was opened to receive him; and the husband and wife united in expounding the way of God to him more perfectly (Acts 18:24-28).

They agreed to use the convenience of their house for the spiritual benefit of one who, though not lacking in zeal and ability, was immature in the faith. And the pious pair had the joy of finding that the hospitality and the Christian atmosphere of their home was turned to good account in the after-life of Apollos. The newly-married might well seek to emulate the home service of Aquila, of Gaius, and of Lydia, as recorded in the New Testament. It will be a new form of service for them, and is well within their reach.

Sorrows Halved

New homes are so bright and fresh and joyous that it may seem churlish to suggest that some day sorrow will be an uninvited visitor. But it must be so. Tribulation of some sort is inevitable in every household; but if the Lord is there, the inmates will have His peace. Dark thunder-clouds may steal across the bright blue above, but the believer knows that the sun still shines in the heavens, and that the rainbow is in the rain.

Moreover, in married life there are two hearts to bear one sorrow, and each striving to take the greater share of grief and loss. The strong man shields his partner from the impending stroke, and the loving wife hides in her bosom many a pang lest her dear man should have still more to bear. But sharing is better than concealment. Men and women are made strong in hours of sorrow by sympathy; and there is no sympathy so choice and so effective as that which dwells in the Christian home-life.

(From an Address)

W J Hocking
Updated: 05 Nov 2017

 

The Anvil of God's Word

Last eve I paused before a blacksmith’s door
and heard the anvil ring the vesper chime.
And looking in, I saw old hammers on the floor,
Worn by the beating years of time.

“How many anvils have you had,” said I,
“To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
“Just one,” said he, then with a twinkle in his eyes,
“The anvil wears the hammers out you know.”

And so I thought, the Anvil of God’s word,
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon,
Yet though the noise of falling blows was heard
The Anvil is unharmed—the hammers gone!

ANON [Some attribute John Clifford]
Updated: 15 Oct 2017

 

Praise the Saviour, ye who know Him!

Praise the Saviour, ye who know Him!
Who can tell how much we owe Him?
Gladly let us render to Him
All we are and have.

Jesus is the name that charms us;
He for conflicts fits and arms us;
Nothing moves and nothing harms us
When we trust in Him.

Trust in Him, ye saints, forever;
He is faithful, changing never;
Neither force nor guile can sever
Those He loves from Him.

Keep us, Lord, oh, keep us cleaving
To Thyself and still believing,
Till the hour of Thy receiving
The victorious Bride.

Then we shall be where we would be;
Then we shall be what we should be;
Things which are not now, nor could be,
Then shall be our own.

Thomas Kelly (1806)
Updated: 18 Sep 2017

 

What Happens Next in the Word's History

A Bible Perspective from Thessalonians

Current: Church Age – Waiting for the Return of Yeshua the Messiah – Jesus Christ

For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.
And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.
For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.
For they themselves declare [report] concerning us what manner of entry [reception you gave us] we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 1 Thessalonians 2:19

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23

But we ought to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, that God has chosen you from the beginning to salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 2 Thessalonians 2:13

Christians are taken to heaven – known to Christians as the ‘rapture’

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus [have died as believers].
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.
And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

The Church is not for Judgement

Paul’s prayer for the Church at Thessalonica:

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

Called to Holiness

For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4:7

People of the light [truth] But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God." John 3:21

 

But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5

Our sin has been forgiven – there is no need for further judgement

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10

Christian Believers are taken to heaven before the judgement known as the Tribulation

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
For when they [non-Christians] say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labour pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
But you [Christians], brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You [Christians] are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.

But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.

For God did not appoint us [Christians] to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

The Day of Tribulation is God’s Judgement on those that hate him or don’t know him    

When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. 2 Thessalonians 1:7b-10

The Second Coming of Christ occurs after the Tribulation as judge

And to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10

David L Simon
Updated: 11 Aug 2017

 

Is the Church taken to heaven before the Tribulation as JN Darby stated?

The rapture of the Church pre-tribulation

Response

Hold on! We need to deconstruct this question as it makes some assertions in amongst a couple of questions. The assertions I see are:

  1. J.N. Darby created the doctrine of the rapture of the church (the technical term for the church being taken to heaven), and he created the doctrine of pre-tribulation removal of the church.
  2. There is some doubt in the questioner’s mind as to whether or not the Church will go through the seven year period of tribulation, coming shortly, which ends with the Battle of Armageddon

The questions are:

  1. Is the Church taken to Heaven?
  2. When does this occur?
  3. One could also answer whether Darby found these answers.

A supplementary question

  1. What is the purpose of the tribulation – referred to as Armageddon in this question – and is the Church part of this.

Interpretation of the question

The question asks whether current believers in Jesus Christ (the Church) are taken to heaven prior to the Battle of Armageddon, which occurs in the seven year period prophesied by Daniel, and other Old Testament prophets, and whose timetable is spelt out in the Book of Revelation. The question asserts this interpretation is not true because it was ‘invented’ by J.N. Darby a Christian who was born in 1800.

Short answer

J.N. Darby did not ‘invent’ or ‘create’ any new doctrine in relation to the transfer of believers from the earth to heaven prior to the End Days of this world, called the Days of Tribulation. The early believers wrote about this nearly 1700 years before Darby! Darby resurrected this doctrine, lost by the reformers and forgotten by the Church who were more concerned with form than substance. The 1800’s ushered in a period of frank re-examination of the Scriptures, and these lost doctrines, lost due to the introduction of allegorisation of Scripture (see below) by Augustine and embedded in law by Constantine and others in A.D. 313. This method of  interpretation lingers today and is the basis of much apostasy in the modern church.

The events to come are:

Believers those that that make up the Church, who are saved by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ - will be taken to heaven by Jesus Christ himself – immediately after the resurrection of Christians that have died (i.e. the dead rise first, followed by those living Christians). This is called the rapture.

Sometime later, and perhaps within months or years, a seven reign of terror will fill the earth with two notable events: 1) believing Jews will evangelise the world and many millions will come to the saving knowledge of Christ – they will be severely persecuted, 2) the period will be dominated by an imposture of the Messiah, called the Antichrist, who inflicts wrath on all peoples, ending in a war against Israel, at which point God physically takes control and defeats the world, leaving the remnant of believing Israel to usher in the Millennial Kingdom of 1000 years (the Messianic Reign or Millennial Reign).

What the early believers believed

The early believers knew the Bible was to be read literally (see The Five Solas of Christianity) so that the times and places must be read as given, unless the context said otherwise. Thus the events of Revelation occur in the order they are given and in the exact time as indicated – down to the day). That is, the early church used a literal historical interpretation of the Bible, which included understanding the world was created in six days, and would end over a period of seven years.

The understanding that believers in the Church would be resurrected in bodily form was known in the first century, and that following this, the Messianic Kingdom would be established for a thousand years (e.g. Justin Martyr A.D. 80). That a Messianic Kingdom would be established was known millennia before Christ came by the Jews, and indeed, was what the Jews were hoping Jesus would usher in (e.g. Luke 7:19). Today some Jews still wait for the Messiah to come and return Israel to its former glory – but the Jews need to believe in Yeshua first. Various texts from the first century clearly articulate that there would be a resurrection of believers before the judgement and establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. References quote Barnabas, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Lactantius, Methodius, Papiasa and Tertullian as writing about the visible resurrection of the Church and the coming thousand year reign. They also believed that God created the earth in six days etc., showing their literal interpretation of scripture.

Why is this doctrine not spoken of in the Middle (Dark) Ages?

As the early apostles predicted, wicked and evil men entered the church and destroyed the truth being taught. Most notably the grace of God was made of no-effect initially by stating that the Bible was a series of allegories, which could only be interpreted by those with special knowledge (read: those in power), and later to ensure no-one could check against Scripture what was being taught, the Bible was only made available in a foreign language (Latin, which the common person did not learn). Indeed it became a capital offence to own and read the Bible during periods of the Dark Ages – which was the age of illiteracy.

I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Acts 20:29-30

The truth was rendered impotent by the church of the day – the Roman Catholic Church – who usurped Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible by giving herself the power to forgive sins (only God can forgive), and to make laws, rules and dogmas that originated from the Church and not God (We are under grace not the law). This enabled a rich, ruling class to develop with absolute power even unto salvation, whose ideology was underpinned by superstition and fear for nearly 1400 years.

[T]hus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do. Mark 7:13

It was not until Luther and others read the Holy Scriptures was the evil promulgated by the Catholic Church revealed. However, even these reformers were trapped by the ideology of the Catholic Church, and in particular the allegorisation of prophecy, and therefore did not reform the lies promulgated concerning the coming judgement of all who reject Christ. Other evil doctrines were also not reformed such as celibacy of the priesthood which contributes to the sexual abuse seen today in churches.

What’s wrong with allegorisation[1]

  1. Allegorisation takes the true meaning of the Canon and turns it into the imagination of a human, rending false doctrine.
  2. The text is not being interpreted at all. Indeed the simple and common meaning of the words and displaced entirely by the imagination of the interpreter.
  3. The interpreter becomes the authority, rather than the Cannon (Bible) – indeed the interpreter become supreme, for no-one else knows how to interpret the words other than the interpreter, and there is no method to convey how this is done.
  4. Since the interpreter does not work by a set of testable rules (as exegesis does), but rather it uses mysticism, often of other heathen religions, nothing the interpreter says can be tested.
  5. Further, since the common meaning of the words are circumvented, the output is governed solely by the imagination of the interpreter.

The evil behind this is self-evident, but also warned about in the Bible. Paul speaking to the Colossian Church states:

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8

What about John Nelson Darby

J.N. Darby who was a lawyer and Anglican clergyman observed the apostasy in the church which had replaced Scripture for Dogma and fallen into utter desolation – with no guidance from the Holy Spirit who was unheard and un-valued. He did not accept the Augustine method of interpretation and thus relied upon Scripture alone – resurrecting what the earlier church had found. Thus, he promulgated the truth that the church would be taken to heaven before the tribulation which precedes a 1000 year Millennial Reign by the Messiah a teaching of the first century.

The illogical notion of the Church in the Tribulation

One can ponder the logic of espousing that the Church will enter the Tribulation. That the tribulation will take place is un-deniable. All news-broadcasts these days point to the coming end of this age – along with the formation of Israel, and Jerusalem being a cup of trembling[2]. The modern church however fails to understand that the seven years of tribulation, described in Revelation and Old Testament prophecy, is a judgement, exercised by God on those that have rejected him – first the Jews (of whom a remnant will return to Christ and evangelise the world; Romans 9-12, Revelation 7 etc.) and secondly of the nations who did not accept Christ.[3]

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14

What is illogical, is a believer, saved by the grace of God, and whose sins have been propitiated by the blood of Christ, being punished for that sin again – for God cannot see it (since it has been propitiated!) For this is what would happen if church believers entered the Tribulation. If a believer needs further punishment, it means that the blood of Christ is not efficacious, and logically it means no believer knows he or she is saved. This is false doctrine and an evil that has been promulgated in our churches. John writes that: He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). Christ’s blood is either the propitiation or it is not – it cannot be half one thing and half another. The Scripture is adamant, and the Holy Spirit testifies of the efficacy of the Christ’s blood – we are saved unto the uttermost – meaning we are indeed saved and have no need to be punished, because God cannot see our sins which have been done away with!

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25

Furthermore, sin has been put away – it does not need to be judged again; only the evil one needs to be judged.

He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Hebrews 9:26

Furthermore, the Church is told it will not be punished – we have been kept from this trial:

Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Revelation 3:10

Where does the Bible speak about the Church being taken to heaven?

Paul writes to the Church at Thessalonica because it was ravished by false teachers, teaching in error about the second coming of Christ, thus it is a very useful book to understand about when Christ will return. Believers will be taken to heaven (in Latin this is called the ‘rapture’, and in Greek harpazo, meaning “to be caught up”), at the end of the Church age and before the Tribulation. Note that we do not use the teaching of Jesus from Matthew to find this – Matthew concerns the Jews and much is about the coming Messianic Kingdom, and not the Church. One of course could use the teaching of Jesus from John 14:1-4, but better still, teaching by Paul to those that needed to clearly understand the events to come:

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

That Believers are to be taken to heaven in bodily form is also found in Scripture:

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians 3:20-21

Summary

The Church will be taken to heaven before the Battle of Armageddon, and indeed before the commencement of the Tribulation – a doctrine understood nearly two millennia before J.N Darby, who promulgate this view after it had been obliterated by evil that wrought abject havoc in the Church through, in part, the allegorisation of Scripture along with dispensing with the authority of Christ and the Canon of Scripture. Darby simply went back to Scripture and read it!

Some of this answer has been given in very short form, for example, evidence from Scripture of the rapture – authors such as Arnold Fruchtenbaum provide an excellent detailed response to the question.[4]

 

 

[1] This was lifted from a Sermon of Andy Wood (Sugarland Bible Church) – Protestant Reformation Series 01 (2017) which quotes from Things to Come: A Study of Biblical Eschatology by J Dwight Pentecost. pp 4-5) see http://slbc.org/media/sermon-archives/ (Accessed 6 August 2017)

[2] Zechariah 12:2

[3] One purpose of the Tribulation is to evangelise the world – God in his grace provides a means – the repentant Jews will go out, under heavy persecution, and bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations. The other purpose of the Tribulation is to punish Israel, or rather, bring them back to Jehovah by breaking their will and bringing national regeneration:

"As I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out I will be king over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, declares the Lord GOD. I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. I will purge out the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against me. I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD. Ezekiel 20:33-38

[4] For example; Arnold Fruchtenbaum (1983, 2005) The Rapture of the Church, Ariel Ministries < http://www.arielm.org/dcs/pdf/mbs039m.pdf > else < http://www.arielm.org > (Accessed 6 August 2017)

David L Simon (Aug 2017)
\Questions\Is the Church taken to heaven before the Tribulation?

David L Simon
Updated: 06 Aug 2017

 

Is there a Hell?

A Biblical Perspective

Short Answer

Take note God has two sides – one mercy, the other justice. The two go hand in hand; one cannot have one without the other. A just God exercises justice, impartially and fairly, a merciful God offers grace. One cannot have mercy without justice; they are mutual.

Grace provides salvation to all who are judged; and all have been judged. The Bible is adamant that sin must be dealt with by death; “the wages of sin is death”. God provided a substitute person to bear the punishment for our sin who is the Lord Jesus Christ. This Jesus was crucified for our sin, dying instead of you. Believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God will save you.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18

A just God exercises justice – those that reject the Son of God reject God. Those that reject God are punished by being placed into hell. Thus hell is a real place; and at the end of your life you will either be send to hell (only believing in the Lord Jesus Christ will save you) or you will go to heaven, to be with God.

Yes there is a hell!

Yes there is a hell. Quoting George Macleod “If hell is not proven, I deny the truth of God in toto; and therefore I am finished, and thus I am prepared to impeach the prophets, and apostles as liars, and Jesus Christ as the biggest impostor that ever trod God’s earth!” This I cannot do! Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is proven; the prophets and apostles are proven true to their word and thus Hell is proven, being a real place for real people.

The soul of every person – that includes yours – will be judged by the just and righteous God. If found wanting which means having any guilt of sin in you, the soul will be cast into hell – this is the final death or true death. This death will separate you for ever from God and every other human for that matter. Initially an unsaved soul is placed in Sheol also called Hades (in Greek) and from there you will be judged and after which cast into hell. You cannot be found wanting if your sins have been paid for – this only the Lord Jesus Christ can do, as it requires one who is perfect to do so.

What is Hell?

The Hebrews took the idea of Hell from the awful place called the Hinnom Valley (in Greek called Gehenna), a deep gorge towards the south of Jerusalem. Into this valley the waste and sewage was placed, which was constantly on fire, smouldering and emitting putrid smoke. The stench and smoke was simply too awful to describe. Vultures and other birds foraged amongst the muck and filth. The place was considered cursed (Jeremiah 7:31, 19:2-6) due the sacrificing of children by fire in the valley, and along with the later use as a sewage and waste depot the Hinnom Valley provided a grim picture of hell.

Yes there is a place called hell (also called the accursed place). It was prepared for Satan and his angels who attempted to usurp God (Matthew 25:41). Jesus described it as a fiery furnace (Matthew 13:50) and John saw a vision of hell as a lake of fire and brimstone (burning sulphurous substances). The devil (called Satan) because he deceived Adam and Eve (and millions of others) will be tormented for ever in hell.

The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Revelation 20:10

People were call upon to believe God, but when they refused, God in his righteousness declared hell would also be used for those that reject Him. Those who are currently in Hades and those in the future that reject God and not believe in Him will also be cast into hell.

He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Revelation 21:7-8

The Universalists cannot have this, but they lie. One cannot reject God, and have Him accept the rejecter; the two are mutually exclusive. Those that accept God will enter into His presence in Heaven, those that reject God will be cast into Hell.

You say a just loving God will not do so. You are wrong because your logic is wrong. Love must be exercised with justice - reject God and you cannot love Him. A loving God must therefore exercise justice – the rejecter must be rejected. What God is, is patient. He longs for your acceptance of Him. You have had all your life to date to change your mind (which is what ‘repent’ means) and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. God always gives adequate time – because God is both merciful and just.  He has extended His hand of mercy through the Lord Jesus Christ – accept him or be thrown into hell! Reject God and He must, being a just and holy God, reject you. The sexual immoral, the liar, the thief, the hypocrite, backbiter or blasphemer can all be saved if they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; else they will be judged and be cast into hell.

If there is no hell there is no heaven!

If there be no hell there is no heaven. If no heaven we are mere robots; clumps of chemicals that undergo various reactions then fade away at death. If this were true, it would make this conversation pointless – illogical. Clumps of chemicals cannot ask questions! Indeed it is illogical that clumps of chemicals have any semblance of cognitive discernment. The Bible says if this was true, we would be men and women ‘most miserable’ (1 Corinthians 15:19). But people are much more than mere clumps of chemicals – we have a spirit and soul, giving as a conscience, allowing us all to reason; ask questions and seek answers; set out logical arguments and prove or disprove them. It causes us to experience guilt when we do wrong. Furthermore, the spirit allows people to have an intimate relationship with God. Bags of chemicals such as dogs, have no spirit or soul, and therefore cannot do any of these things. Humans have souls and that soul is the very you. On death your soul either passes to heaven or to Hades, where upon judgement by God, is cast into Hell as punishment.

And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." Acts 16:30-31

 

David L Simon (13 March 2017)
Questions\Is there a Hell?


Updated: 13 Mar 2017

 

The Seven Dispensations of God's Governance

Importance

One cannot possibly understand the Bible without having an understanding of the Dispensations of God. The apostasy of the modern church in part comes from failure to understand the governance of God in the current economy leading to an ineffective (and dangerous) gospel which does not lead to salvation, along with misleading Christians in relation to the doctrine of end times (eschatology). It is vitally important to always place every verse of the Bible in its appropriate context to enable an exegesis that renders the passages as the author intended. As stated above, the gospel has been perverted so much it has become words of no-effect because men do under understand the Age of Grace, in which we are in!

Definition

A dispensation is a period of time during which God administers the affairs of His realm in a particular manner. Therefore, the definition incorporates both time and method so that during each period of time (hundreds and sometimes thousands of years) God administers the world in a particular way, and different from the previous. Thus God's will is implemented in specific and unique ways during history in order to fulfil His good purpose.

There are seven dispensations from the time of Adam until the second coming of the Messiah who reigns during the Millennium Kingdom. These are given various names although the periods are all the same. A very brief summary of each is provided below.

1. The Dispensation of Innocence – Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:28 – 3:8).

Man's responsibility was to obey God and not eat of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

Man was tested by this command, which he failed for which he was judged and cast out of the garden. He could therefore not eat of the tree of life nor any more of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Thus this dispensation ceased when Adam sinned.

2. The Age of Conscience or the Age of Self-Determination - From Eden to Noah's Flood (Genesis 3:9 – 8:14)

Man's responsibly was to obey God set out in the Adamic Covenant (Genesis 3) which mainly had to deal with physical death – the toil to produce fruit and subjection of women to their husbands. Part of the obedience was to believe God would send the Messiah to redeem them from the prince of this world, Satan who had lied to them.

Man was tested by his conscience due to knowledge (gained when Adam took of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil). If he failed he was to provide a suitable sacrifice to God – here we see Abel succeeded and Cain failed (Hebrew 11:4). God ceased the dispensation due to the immense evil found upon the earth, vowing to kill all people, except one family - Noah.

3. The Dispensation of Civil Government - From the Flood to the Tower of Babel (Genesis 8:15 - 11:32)

Man's responsibly was to obey God set out in the Noahic Covenant (Genesis 9) which mainly concerned replenishing and filling the earth after the flood. The Covenant provided for the consumption of meat (up to this time only vegetable were consumed), and the establishment of civil governments. The rainbow is the sign of the Noahic Covenant.

Man failed this covenant by using the building of the Tower of Babel as its power to prevent people from moving out and populating the earth. Furthermore, empires were built under one man (Nimrod) rather than separated kingdoms as God has ordained.

4. The Dispensation of Promise or Patriarchal Rule - From Abram to the Exodus (Genesis 12:1 – Exodus 18:27)

Man's responsibility was to obey God set in the Abrahamic Covenant, and although it started well with Abraham leaving his native country and setting out for Canaan.

Man's failure appear to be their desire not to take procession of the Land of Canaan God had promised them. Indeed during this period, the various patriarchs left the land including Abraham who went down to Egypt, and thus the tribe of Israel ended in Egypt, enslaved.

5. The Dispensation of Law - From the Exodus to Christ (Exodus 19:1 – Acts 1:26)

Man's responsibility was to obey God set out in the Mosaic Law. This lengthy dispensation covers the Old Testament period of the children of Israel, from the Exodus until their consent to the death of their Messiah.

Man failed to keep the law, replaced God with idols, and latter created their own form of the law (pharisaic law) and rejecting their own Messiah, who came to save them.

6. The Dispensation of Grace (The Church Age) - from Pentecost to the Second Coming of Christ (Acts 2:1 – Revelation 19:21)

Man's responsibility is (note the tense) to obey God set out in the New Covenant. This is to accept the gift (Romans 5:15) of the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ the Messiah – which is grace, obtained through faith in Yeshua (Jesus Christ) the Messiah.

Man fails in this dispensation by rejecting the gift of salvation (the gospel) which leads to death, along with failure to teach the New Covenant truths, leads to an ineffective and apostate Church. Only few will be saved from this dispensation.

7. The Dispensation of the Kingdom or Millennium - from the Second Coming of Christ to the New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 20:1-10)

Man's responsibility will be to obey God as set out in the New Covenant (salvation will be through faith) plus the ordinances of the Millennial Kingdom.

Men will fail to accept the Messiah and they will be caste into Hell with Satan at the end of the period.

David L Simon (4 Feb 2017)
\Doctrine\The seven dispensations of God's governance

David L Simon
Updated: 05 Feb 2017

 

I Need Thee Every Hour

I need thee ev'ry hour,
Most gracious Lord.
No tender voice like thine
Can peace afford.

(Chorus)
I need thee, oh, I need thee;
Ev'ry hour I need thee!
Oh, bless me now, my Saviour;
I come to thee!

I need thee ev'ry hour;
Stay thou nearby.
Temptations lose their pow'r
When thou art nigh.

I need thee ev'ry hour;
teach me thy will;
and thy rich promises
In me fulfill.

I need thee ev'ry hour,
In joy or pain.
Come quickly and abide,
Or life is vain.

I need thee ev'ry hour,
Most holy One.
Oh, make me thine indeed,
Thou blessed Son!

Annie S Hawks (1835-1918)
Updated: 02 Oct 2016

 

Salvation is Through Faith Only (Sola Fide)

Some Bible References for Consideration

Faith is to believe, to believe means:-

To trust, to have confidence in, to have reliance upon, to depend upon Jesus alone (God's promises) for one's eternal safe destiny of the soul.

pisteuō (ποιέω) "to believe," also "to be persuaded of," and hence, "to place confidence in, to trust," signifies, in this sense of the word, reliance upon, not mere credence. It is most frequent in the writings of the Apostle John, especially the Gospel. He does not use the noun (see below). For the Lord's first use of the verb, see John 1:50. Of the writers of the Gospels, Matthew uses the verb ten times, Mark ten, Luke nine, John ninety-nine. In Acts 5:14 the present participle of the verb is translated "believers." See COMMIT, INTRUST, TRUST.[1]

The Bible says at least 200 times that you can only be saved through faith, and faith alone

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram….And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness."
Genesis 15:1,6.

Note that salvation is open to everyone – it is to whoever believes

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." John 5:24

Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." John 6:28-29

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. John 6:47

And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; John 16:8-9

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:30-31

And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." Acts 16:30-31

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. Romans 1:16

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Faith provides no merit to the believer – it is non-meritorious

Everything we do is unclean and what we do does no please God

But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. Isaiah 64:6

Our works, or the things we do cannot be credited as faith – a person earning a wage does not thank her or his employer for the 'gift' on payday.

"Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favour, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness." Romans 4:4-5

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

Faith gives God all the credit thus giving Him all the glory

I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images. Isaiah 42:8

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Romans 3:27.

See also Ephesians 2:8-9

If we boast we are giving glory to one's self: faith gives glory to God

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Faith provides an offense of the gospel – it wounds pride, because the sinner finds he or her cannot approach God on his or her own terms.

And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision [symbolism for working for salvation], why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. Galatians 5:11

What to believe

Believe that Jesus Is the Son of God, that is Jesus is diety

Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. John 8:24

Who is "He" – the I Am from Exodus 3:14, that is deity.

And He said to them, "You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. John 8:23

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:30-31

Believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again on the third day

For I delivered to you first of all [of first importance] that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

How not to believe

Believing is not merely an intellectual acceptance of a fact. It is trusting, accepting, having confidence in, and relying upon Jesus Christ. Note the following warning from James:

You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble! James 2:19. See also Matthew 8:28,29 (The demons not only knew Jesus was the Son of God, but that their time was short), Acts 19:15.

Points for Evangelising[2]

You are a sinner before a holy God

Bible: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23

The penalty for your sin is death

Bible: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Genesis 2:17

Bible: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

But: God in His infinite love provided His Son Jesus Christ who died for you and paid your sin penalty

Bible: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

But: You can be saved from hell by depending upon Jesus Christ alone to save you by believing that Jesus if the Son of God.

Bible: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God Ephesians 2:8

But: God wants you to know with absolute certainty that you are saved and have eternal life

Bible: These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5:13

Bible: "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." John 5:24

Bible: Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. John 6:47

[1] W. E. Vine (1940), Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Hendrickson, Nashville reprint, 411. (< http://www.menfak.no/bibelprog/vines?word=%AFt0000260 > (Accessed 5 March 2016)

David L Simon (5 March 2016)
\Doctrine\Salvation is through Faith only

David L Simon
Updated: 06 Mar 2016

 

Life-Everlasting.net

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Scriptures to Ponder

An uncontrolled tongue cannot produce righteouness

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

James 1:19-20

19 Nov 2017

 

O LORD, we adore Thee

O LORD, we adore Thee,
For Thou art the slain One
That livest for ever,
Enthroned in heaven;
O Lord, we adore Thee,
For Thou hast redeemed us;
Our title to glory
We read in Thy blood.

O God, we acknowledge
Thy greatness, Thy glory,
For of Thee are all things
On earth and in heaven;
How rich is Thy mercy,
How great Thy salvation!
We bless Thee, we praise Thee,
Amen, and Amen.

F Naylor
Updated: 19 Nov 2017

 

Christian Marriage

Marriage possesses the unique feature of being an institution established by God from the very beginning of human history. God's authority is, therefore, behind the prominent place it occupies in man's social life. The first marriage was ordained in the Garden of Eden for the increase of Adam's comfort and the consummation of his bliss.

...

Another aspect of the marriage tie may now be considered. As a relationship established by God in the original circumstances of man's creation, it possesses a pure and holy character. It is obvious, however, that in Eden there were necessarily no human witnesses to the first marriage contract. But with the multiplication of the human species, there arose the necessity that each matrimonial alliance should have a propriety in the eyes of men generally, and should receive public confirmation and approval.

From the days of Noah, God set up among men forms of government for the maintenance of civil order and social well-being. The “powers that be” in the community are ordained of God, and their regulations are to be recognised and obeyed by the Christian (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13, 14). It is seemly, therefore, that Christian marriage should conform to the requirements of the law of the land. Indeed, it is expressly enjoined upon the believer to “be subject to the higher powers,” and to submit “to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake.” Where this is done in the case of marriage, the act of union is formally and legally recognised, and its validity established in the eyes of all men.

The ceremony of marriage required by civil laws to bestow a wedded status upon the persons concerned is altogether distinct from the spiritual union of husband and wife which results from the exercise of God's own will and guidance upon the hearts of the same two persons. The latter is the most serious and yet the most happy side of the undertaking. For this reason, the married couple, realising the solemn nature of the initial step they have taken in the united life to which they have committed themselves, seek the fellowship and prayers of the assembly of God on their behalf. Thereby, they openly confess that in their new relationship, their joint desire is to receive divine help that they may walk together in the fear of the Lord, in obedience to His word, and in the furtherance of the glory of His name.

...

Another feature of pious marriage life made prominent in this passage is that matrimonial union involves the establishment of a new household. The apostle says, “Because of this a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be united to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh” (ver. 31). By entrance into the marriage relationship, two parental homes are vacated, and a new Christian home set up by the married pair.

The advantages and far-reaching influence of a truly pious dwelling-place cannot easily be over-rated. As a national feature, home life is not cultivated on scriptural lines now to the degree that it was formerly. Families thoroughly united in the bonds of piety and walking together in the fear of the Lord are not found so frequently as they should be.

It is a striking testimony to the value in the divine estimation of the home that in the scriptural history of man, family life is given precedence to national life. A great part of the Book of Genesis is devoted to the record of family life set apart in the world as a witness for the living and true God against the corrupting influence of idolatry; while national history begins in the Book of Exodus.

This form of effective witness for God is sorely needed today. And it devolves upon the newly-married couple to organize a home which shall in its primary purpose be entirely controlled by the will of the Lord. Under such management, the home will become a centre from which the light of God's truth will shine upon the darkness and ungodliness of the surrounding world. Its occupants will be recognized as the servants of Christ.

A home is not to be confused with a house. An architect plans the house, but love and order construct the home. It is important that in the new Christian home an agreed policy between husband and wife should predominate; “and they two shall be one flesh.” Particularly in things God-ward concerted action should prevail. The former spiritual habits and activities hitherto practised by each need not cease, only they may now be prayerfully pursued with the enhanced energy that concord and consultation supply to Christian service. The two happy persons will unite as they never could before in “labour for and with the Lord.” And the former effect for good and blessing will not diminish, but will rather be increased by the intimate wedded union of two hearts devoted to the Lord.

Joys Doubled

The shepherd in our Lord's parable sought in solitary places for the sheep which was lost, and his success in finding it was a joy to him. But in the loneliness of the wilderness this joy was restricted. He wanted some hearts to share his joy. And “when he comes home”, he called his friends together, saying, “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost”.

Home is the sphere of joy, especially of private and personal joy. The joys of married life are more than doubled in intensity just because they are shared by the two who have become one, and who are now everything to one another. Small matters bring great joys in the intimacies of home life, in which strangers may not meddle.

The daily offering of praise and thanksgiving to God, no longer strictly personal to each, has fresh fervour to which each contributes from a grateful heart. The joint prayers of husband and wife are the more powerful in their intercession, seeing they are offered from the hearts of those whom God has joined together. These devotional exercises carry with them their own peculiar and almost inexpressible joys, which are all the sweeter to the taste because they are shared together in the new home.

In service to the Lord each is strengthened by the other, and what otherwise might be lacking in either is supplied. New forms of service become possible through joint desires and efforts. When an Apollos needed instruction in the things of the Lord, the house of Aquila and Priscilla was opened to receive him; and the husband and wife united in expounding the way of God to him more perfectly (Acts 18:24-28).

They agreed to use the convenience of their house for the spiritual benefit of one who, though not lacking in zeal and ability, was immature in the faith. And the pious pair had the joy of finding that the hospitality and the Christian atmosphere of their home was turned to good account in the after-life of Apollos. The newly-married might well seek to emulate the home service of Aquila, of Gaius, and of Lydia, as recorded in the New Testament. It will be a new form of service for them, and is well within their reach.

Sorrows Halved

New homes are so bright and fresh and joyous that it may seem churlish to suggest that some day sorrow will be an uninvited visitor. But it must be so. Tribulation of some sort is inevitable in every household; but if the Lord is there, the inmates will have His peace. Dark thunder-clouds may steal across the bright blue above, but the believer knows that the sun still shines in the heavens, and that the rainbow is in the rain.

Moreover, in married life there are two hearts to bear one sorrow, and each striving to take the greater share of grief and loss. The strong man shields his partner from the impending stroke, and the loving wife hides in her bosom many a pang lest her dear man should have still more to bear. But sharing is better than concealment. Men and women are made strong in hours of sorrow by sympathy; and there is no sympathy so choice and so effective as that which dwells in the Christian home-life.

(From an Address)

W J Hocking
Updated: 05 Nov 2017

 

The Anvil of God's Word

Last eve I paused before a blacksmith’s door
and heard the anvil ring the vesper chime.
And looking in, I saw old hammers on the floor,
Worn by the beating years of time.

“How many anvils have you had,” said I,
“To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
“Just one,” said he, then with a twinkle in his eyes,
“The anvil wears the hammers out you know.”

And so I thought, the Anvil of God’s word,
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon,
Yet though the noise of falling blows was heard
The Anvil is unharmed—the hammers gone!

ANON [Some attribute John Clifford]
Updated: 15 Oct 2017

 

Praise the Saviour, ye who know Him!

Praise the Saviour, ye who know Him!
Who can tell how much we owe Him?
Gladly let us render to Him
All we are and have.

Jesus is the name that charms us;
He for conflicts fits and arms us;
Nothing moves and nothing harms us
When we trust in Him.

Trust in Him, ye saints, forever;
He is faithful, changing never;
Neither force nor guile can sever
Those He loves from Him.

Keep us, Lord, oh, keep us cleaving
To Thyself and still believing,
Till the hour of Thy receiving
The victorious Bride.

Then we shall be where we would be;
Then we shall be what we should be;
Things which are not now, nor could be,
Then shall be our own.

Thomas Kelly (1806)
Updated: 18 Sep 2017

 

What Happens Next in the Word's History

A Bible Perspective from Thessalonians

Current: Church Age – Waiting for the Return of Yeshua the Messiah – Jesus Christ

For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.
And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.
For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.
For they themselves declare [report] concerning us what manner of entry [reception you gave us] we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 1 Thessalonians 2:19

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23

But we ought to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, that God has chosen you from the beginning to salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 2 Thessalonians 2:13

Christians are taken to heaven – known to Christians as the ‘rapture’

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus [have died as believers].
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.
And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

The Church is not for Judgement

Paul’s prayer for the Church at Thessalonica:

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

Called to Holiness

For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4:7

People of the light [truth] But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God." John 3:21

 

But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5

Our sin has been forgiven – there is no need for further judgement

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10

Christian Believers are taken to heaven before the judgement known as the Tribulation

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
For when they [non-Christians] say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labour pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
But you [Christians], brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You [Christians] are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.

But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.

For God did not appoint us [Christians] to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

The Day of Tribulation is God’s Judgement on those that hate him or don’t know him    

When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. 2 Thessalonians 1:7b-10

The Second Coming of Christ occurs after the Tribulation as judge

And to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10

David L Simon
Updated: 11 Aug 2017

 

Is the Church taken to heaven before the Tribulation as JN Darby stated?

The rapture of the Church pre-tribulation

Response

Hold on! We need to deconstruct this question as it makes some assertions in amongst a couple of questions. The assertions I see are:

  1. J.N. Darby created the doctrine of the rapture of the church (the technical term for the church being taken to heaven), and he created the doctrine of pre-tribulation removal of the church.
  2. There is some doubt in the questioner’s mind as to whether or not the Church will go through the seven year period of tribulation, coming shortly, which ends with the Battle of Armageddon

The questions are:

  1. Is the Church taken to Heaven?
  2. When does this occur?
  3. One could also answer whether Darby found these answers.

A supplementary question

  1. What is the purpose of the tribulation – referred to as Armageddon in this question – and is the Church part of this.

Interpretation of the question

The question asks whether current believers in Jesus Christ (the Church) are taken to heaven prior to the Battle of Armageddon, which occurs in the seven year period prophesied by Daniel, and other Old Testament prophets, and whose timetable is spelt out in the Book of Revelation. The question asserts this interpretation is not true because it was ‘invented’ by J.N. Darby a Christian who was born in 1800.

Short answer

J.N. Darby did not ‘invent’ or ‘create’ any new doctrine in relation to the transfer of believers from the earth to heaven prior to the End Days of this world, called the Days of Tribulation. The early believers wrote about this nearly 1700 years before Darby! Darby resurrected this doctrine, lost by the reformers and forgotten by the Church who were more concerned with form than substance. The 1800’s ushered in a period of frank re-examination of the Scriptures, and these lost doctrines, lost due to the introduction of allegorisation of Scripture (see below) by Augustine and embedded in law by Constantine and others in A.D. 313. This method of  interpretation lingers today and is the basis of much apostasy in the modern church.

The events to come are:

Believers those that that make up the Church, who are saved by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ - will be taken to heaven by Jesus Christ himself – immediately after the resurrection of Christians that have died (i.e. the dead rise first, followed by those living Christians). This is called the rapture.

Sometime later, and perhaps within months or years, a seven reign of terror will fill the earth with two notable events: 1) believing Jews will evangelise the world and many millions will come to the saving knowledge of Christ – they will be severely persecuted, 2) the period will be dominated by an imposture of the Messiah, called the Antichrist, who inflicts wrath on all peoples, ending in a war against Israel, at which point God physically takes control and defeats the world, leaving the remnant of believing Israel to usher in the Millennial Kingdom of 1000 years (the Messianic Reign or Millennial Reign).

What the early believers believed

The early believers knew the Bible was to be read literally (see The Five Solas of Christianity) so that the times and places must be read as given, unless the context said otherwise. Thus the events of Revelation occur in the order they are given and in the exact time as indicated – down to the day). That is, the early church used a literal historical interpretation of the Bible, which included understanding the world was created in six days, and would end over a period of seven years.

The understanding that believers in the Church would be resurrected in bodily form was known in the first century, and that following this, the Messianic Kingdom would be established for a thousand years (e.g. Justin Martyr A.D. 80). That a Messianic Kingdom would be established was known millennia before Christ came by the Jews, and indeed, was what the Jews were hoping Jesus would usher in (e.g. Luke 7:19). Today some Jews still wait for the Messiah to come and return Israel to its former glory – but the Jews need to believe in Yeshua first. Various texts from the first century clearly articulate that there would be a resurrection of believers before the judgement and establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. References quote Barnabas, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Lactantius, Methodius, Papiasa and Tertullian as writing about the visible resurrection of the Church and the coming thousand year reign. They also believed that God created the earth in six days etc., showing their literal interpretation of scripture.

Why is this doctrine not spoken of in the Middle (Dark) Ages?

As the early apostles predicted, wicked and evil men entered the church and destroyed the truth being taught. Most notably the grace of God was made of no-effect initially by stating that the Bible was a series of allegories, which could only be interpreted by those with special knowledge (read: those in power), and later to ensure no-one could check against Scripture what was being taught, the Bible was only made available in a foreign language (Latin, which the common person did not learn). Indeed it became a capital offence to own and read the Bible during periods of the Dark Ages – which was the age of illiteracy.

I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Acts 20:29-30

The truth was rendered impotent by the church of the day – the Roman Catholic Church – who usurped Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible by giving herself the power to forgive sins (only God can forgive), and to make laws, rules and dogmas that originated from the Church and not God (We are under grace not the law). This enabled a rich, ruling class to develop with absolute power even unto salvation, whose ideology was underpinned by superstition and fear for nearly 1400 years.

[T]hus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do. Mark 7:13

It was not until Luther and others read the Holy Scriptures was the evil promulgated by the Catholic Church revealed. However, even these reformers were trapped by the ideology of the Catholic Church, and in particular the allegorisation of prophecy, and therefore did not reform the lies promulgated concerning the coming judgement of all who reject Christ. Other evil doctrines were also not reformed such as celibacy of the priesthood which contributes to the sexual abuse seen today in churches.

What’s wrong with allegorisation[1]

  1. Allegorisation takes the true meaning of the Canon and turns it into the imagination of a human, rending false doctrine.
  2. The text is not being interpreted at all. Indeed the simple and common meaning of the words and displaced entirely by the imagination of the interpreter.
  3. The interpreter becomes the authority, rather than the Cannon (Bible) – indeed the interpreter become supreme, for no-one else knows how to interpret the words other than the interpreter, and there is no method to convey how this is done.
  4. Since the interpreter does not work by a set of testable rules (as exegesis does), but rather it uses mysticism, often of other heathen religions, nothing the interpreter says can be tested.
  5. Further, since the common meaning of the words are circumvented, the output is governed solely by the imagination of the interpreter.

The evil behind this is self-evident, but also warned about in the Bible. Paul speaking to the Colossian Church states:

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8

What about John Nelson Darby

J.N. Darby who was a lawyer and Anglican clergyman observed the apostasy in the church which had replaced Scripture for Dogma and fallen into utter desolation – with no guidance from the Holy Spirit who was unheard and un-valued. He did not accept the Augustine method of interpretation and thus relied upon Scripture alone – resurrecting what the earlier church had found. Thus, he promulgated the truth that the church would be taken to heaven before the tribulation which precedes a 1000 year Millennial Reign by the Messiah a teaching of the first century.

The illogical notion of the Church in the Tribulation

One can ponder the logic of espousing that the Church will enter the Tribulation. That the tribulation will take place is un-deniable. All news-broadcasts these days point to the coming end of this age – along with the formation of Israel, and Jerusalem being a cup of trembling[2]. The modern church however fails to understand that the seven years of tribulation, described in Revelation and Old Testament prophecy, is a judgement, exercised by God on those that have rejected him – first the Jews (of whom a remnant will return to Christ and evangelise the world; Romans 9-12, Revelation 7 etc.) and secondly of the nations who did not accept Christ.[3]

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14

What is illogical, is a believer, saved by the grace of God, and whose sins have been propitiated by the blood of Christ, being punished for that sin again – for God cannot see it (since it has been propitiated!) For this is what would happen if church believers entered the Tribulation. If a believer needs further punishment, it means that the blood of Christ is not efficacious, and logically it means no believer knows he or she is saved. This is false doctrine and an evil that has been promulgated in our churches. John writes that: He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). Christ’s blood is either the propitiation or it is not – it cannot be half one thing and half another. The Scripture is adamant, and the Holy Spirit testifies of the efficacy of the Christ’s blood – we are saved unto the uttermost – meaning we are indeed saved and have no need to be punished, because God cannot see our sins which have been done away with!

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25

Furthermore, sin has been put away – it does not need to be judged again; only the evil one needs to be judged.

He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Hebrews 9:26

Furthermore, the Church is told it will not be punished – we have been kept from this trial:

Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Revelation 3:10

Where does the Bible speak about the Church being taken to heaven?

Paul writes to the Church at Thessalonica because it was ravished by false teachers, teaching in error about the second coming of Christ, thus it is a very useful book to understand about when Christ will return. Believers will be taken to heaven (in Latin this is called the ‘rapture’, and in Greek harpazo, meaning “to be caught up”), at the end of the Church age and before the Tribulation. Note that we do not use the teaching of Jesus from Matthew to find this – Matthew concerns the Jews and much is about the coming Messianic Kingdom, and not the Church. One of course could use the teaching of Jesus from John 14:1-4, but better still, teaching by Paul to those that needed to clearly understand the events to come:

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

That Believers are to be taken to heaven in bodily form is also found in Scripture:

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians 3:20-21

Summary

The Church will be taken to heaven before the Battle of Armageddon, and indeed before the commencement of the Tribulation – a doctrine understood nearly two millennia before J.N Darby, who promulgate this view after it had been obliterated by evil that wrought abject havoc in the Church through, in part, the allegorisation of Scripture along with dispensing with the authority of Christ and the Canon of Scripture. Darby simply went back to Scripture and read it!

Some of this answer has been given in very short form, for example, evidence from Scripture of the rapture – authors such as Arnold Fruchtenbaum provide an excellent detailed response to the question.[4]

 

 

[1] This was lifted from a Sermon of Andy Wood (Sugarland Bible Church) – Protestant Reformation Series 01 (2017) which quotes from Things to Come: A Study of Biblical Eschatology by J Dwight Pentecost. pp 4-5) see http://slbc.org/media/sermon-archives/ (Accessed 6 August 2017)

[2] Zechariah 12:2

[3] One purpose of the Tribulation is to evangelise the world – God in his grace provides a means – the repentant Jews will go out, under heavy persecution, and bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations. The other purpose of the Tribulation is to punish Israel, or rather, bring them back to Jehovah by breaking their will and bringing national regeneration:

"As I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out I will be king over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, declares the Lord GOD. I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. I will purge out the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against me. I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD. Ezekiel 20:33-38

[4] For example; Arnold Fruchtenbaum (1983, 2005) The Rapture of the Church, Ariel Ministries < http://www.arielm.org/dcs/pdf/mbs039m.pdf > else < http://www.arielm.org > (Accessed 6 August 2017)

David L Simon (Aug 2017)
\Questions\Is the Church taken to heaven before the Tribulation?

David L Simon
Updated: 06 Aug 2017

 

Is there a Hell?

A Biblical Perspective

Short Answer

Take note God has two sides – one mercy, the other justice. The two go hand in hand; one cannot have one without the other. A just God exercises justice, impartially and fairly, a merciful God offers grace. One cannot have mercy without justice; they are mutual.

Grace provides salvation to all who are judged; and all have been judged. The Bible is adamant that sin must be dealt with by death; “the wages of sin is death”. God provided a substitute person to bear the punishment for our sin who is the Lord Jesus Christ. This Jesus was crucified for our sin, dying instead of you. Believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God will save you.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18

A just God exercises justice – those that reject the Son of God reject God. Those that reject God are punished by being placed into hell. Thus hell is a real place; and at the end of your life you will either be send to hell (only believing in the Lord Jesus Christ will save you) or you will go to heaven, to be with God.

Yes there is a hell!

Yes there is a hell. Quoting George Macleod “If hell is not proven, I deny the truth of God in toto; and therefore I am finished, and thus I am prepared to impeach the prophets, and apostles as liars, and Jesus Christ as the biggest impostor that ever trod God’s earth!” This I cannot do! Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is proven; the prophets and apostles are proven true to their word and thus Hell is proven, being a real place for real people.

The soul of every person – that includes yours – will be judged by the just and righteous God. If found wanting which means having any guilt of sin in you, the soul will be cast into hell – this is the final death or true death. This death will separate you for ever from God and every other human for that matter. Initially an unsaved soul is placed in Sheol also called Hades (in Greek) and from there you will be judged and after which cast into hell. You cannot be found wanting if your sins have been paid for – this only the Lord Jesus Christ can do, as it requires one who is perfect to do so.

What is Hell?

The Hebrews took the idea of Hell from the awful place called the Hinnom Valley (in Greek called Gehenna), a deep gorge towards the south of Jerusalem. Into this valley the waste and sewage was placed, which was constantly on fire, smouldering and emitting putrid smoke. The stench and smoke was simply too awful to describe. Vultures and other birds foraged amongst the muck and filth. The place was considered cursed (Jeremiah 7:31, 19:2-6) due the sacrificing of children by fire in the valley, and along with the later use as a sewage and waste depot the Hinnom Valley provided a grim picture of hell.

Yes there is a place called hell (also called the accursed place). It was prepared for Satan and his angels who attempted to usurp God (Matthew 25:41). Jesus described it as a fiery furnace (Matthew 13:50) and John saw a vision of hell as a lake of fire and brimstone (burning sulphurous substances). The devil (called Satan) because he deceived Adam and Eve (and millions of others) will be tormented for ever in hell.

The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Revelation 20:10

People were call upon to believe God, but when they refused, God in his righteousness declared hell would also be used for those that reject Him. Those who are currently in Hades and those in the future that reject God and not believe in Him will also be cast into hell.

He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Revelation 21:7-8

The Universalists cannot have this, but they lie. One cannot reject God, and have Him accept the rejecter; the two are mutually exclusive. Those that accept God will enter into His presence in Heaven, those that reject God will be cast into Hell.

You say a just loving God will not do so. You are wrong because your logic is wrong. Love must be exercised with justice - reject God and you cannot love Him. A loving God must therefore exercise justice – the rejecter must be rejected. What God is, is patient. He longs for your acceptance of Him. You have had all your life to date to change your mind (which is what ‘repent’ means) and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. God always gives adequate time – because God is both merciful and just.  He has extended His hand of mercy through the Lord Jesus Christ – accept him or be thrown into hell! Reject God and He must, being a just and holy God, reject you. The sexual immoral, the liar, the thief, the hypocrite, backbiter or blasphemer can all be saved if they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; else they will be judged and be cast into hell.

If there is no hell there is no heaven!

If there be no hell there is no heaven. If no heaven we are mere robots; clumps of chemicals that undergo various reactions then fade away at death. If this were true, it would make this conversation pointless – illogical. Clumps of chemicals cannot ask questions! Indeed it is illogical that clumps of chemicals have any semblance of cognitive discernment. The Bible says if this was true, we would be men and women ‘most miserable’ (1 Corinthians 15:19). But people are much more than mere clumps of chemicals – we have a spirit and soul, giving as a conscience, allowing us all to reason; ask questions and seek answers; set out logical arguments and prove or disprove them. It causes us to experience guilt when we do wrong. Furthermore, the spirit allows people to have an intimate relationship with God. Bags of chemicals such as dogs, have no spirit or soul, and therefore cannot do any of these things. Humans have souls and that soul is the very you. On death your soul either passes to heaven or to Hades, where upon judgement by God, is cast into Hell as punishment.

And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." Acts 16:30-31

 

David L Simon (13 March 2017)
Questions\Is there a Hell?


Updated: 13 Mar 2017

 

The Seven Dispensations of God's Governance

Importance

One cannot possibly understand the Bible without having an understanding of the Dispensations of God. The apostasy of the modern church in part comes from failure to understand the governance of God in the current economy leading to an ineffective (and dangerous) gospel which does not lead to salvation, along with misleading Christians in relation to the doctrine of end times (eschatology). It is vitally important to always place every verse of the Bible in its appropriate context to enable an exegesis that renders the passages as the author intended. As stated above, the gospel has been perverted so much it has become words of no-effect because men do under understand the Age of Grace, in which we are in!

Definition

A dispensation is a period of time during which God administers the affairs of His realm in a particular manner. Therefore, the definition incorporates both time and method so that during each period of time (hundreds and sometimes thousands of years) God administers the world in a particular way, and different from the previous. Thus God's will is implemented in specific and unique ways during history in order to fulfil His good purpose.

There are seven dispensations from the time of Adam until the second coming of the Messiah who reigns during the Millennium Kingdom. These are given various names although the periods are all the same. A very brief summary of each is provided below.

1. The Dispensation of Innocence – Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:28 – 3:8).

Man's responsibility was to obey God and not eat of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

Man was tested by this command, which he failed for which he was judged and cast out of the garden. He could therefore not eat of the tree of life nor any more of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Thus this dispensation ceased when Adam sinned.

2. The Age of Conscience or the Age of Self-Determination - From Eden to Noah's Flood (Genesis 3:9 – 8:14)

Man's responsibly was to obey God set out in the Adamic Covenant (Genesis 3) which mainly had to deal with physical death – the toil to produce fruit and subjection of women to their husbands. Part of the obedience was to believe God would send the Messiah to redeem them from the prince of this world, Satan who had lied to them.

Man was tested by his conscience due to knowledge (gained when Adam took of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil). If he failed he was to provide a suitable sacrifice to God – here we see Abel succeeded and Cain failed (Hebrew 11:4). God ceased the dispensation due to the immense evil found upon the earth, vowing to kill all people, except one family - Noah.

3. The Dispensation of Civil Government - From the Flood to the Tower of Babel (Genesis 8:15 - 11:32)

Man's responsibly was to obey God set out in the Noahic Covenant (Genesis 9) which mainly concerned replenishing and filling the earth after the flood. The Covenant provided for the consumption of meat (up to this time only vegetable were consumed), and the establishment of civil governments. The rainbow is the sign of the Noahic Covenant.

Man failed this covenant by using the building of the Tower of Babel as its power to prevent people from moving out and populating the earth. Furthermore, empires were built under one man (Nimrod) rather than separated kingdoms as God has ordained.

4. The Dispensation of Promise or Patriarchal Rule - From Abram to the Exodus (Genesis 12:1 – Exodus 18:27)

Man's responsibility was to obey God set in the Abrahamic Covenant, and although it started well with Abraham leaving his native country and setting out for Canaan.

Man's failure appear to be their desire not to take procession of the Land of Canaan God had promised them. Indeed during this period, the various patriarchs left the land including Abraham who went down to Egypt, and thus the tribe of Israel ended in Egypt, enslaved.

5. The Dispensation of Law - From the Exodus to Christ (Exodus 19:1 – Acts 1:26)

Man's responsibility was to obey God set out in the Mosaic Law. This lengthy dispensation covers the Old Testament period of the children of Israel, from the Exodus until their consent to the death of their Messiah.

Man failed to keep the law, replaced God with idols, and latter created their own form of the law (pharisaic law) and rejecting their own Messiah, who came to save them.

6. The Dispensation of Grace (The Church Age) - from Pentecost to the Second Coming of Christ (Acts 2:1 – Revelation 19:21)

Man's responsibility is (note the tense) to obey God set out in the New Covenant. This is to accept the gift (Romans 5:15) of the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ the Messiah – which is grace, obtained through faith in Yeshua (Jesus Christ) the Messiah.

Man fails in this dispensation by rejecting the gift of salvation (the gospel) which leads to death, along with failure to teach the New Covenant truths, leads to an ineffective and apostate Church. Only few will be saved from this dispensation.

7. The Dispensation of the Kingdom or Millennium - from the Second Coming of Christ to the New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 20:1-10)

Man's responsibility will be to obey God as set out in the New Covenant (salvation will be through faith) plus the ordinances of the Millennial Kingdom.

Men will fail to accept the Messiah and they will be caste into Hell with Satan at the end of the period.

David L Simon (4 Feb 2017)
\Doctrine\The seven dispensations of God's governance

David L Simon
Updated: 05 Feb 2017

 

I Need Thee Every Hour

I need thee ev'ry hour,
Most gracious Lord.
No tender voice like thine
Can peace afford.

(Chorus)
I need thee, oh, I need thee;
Ev'ry hour I need thee!
Oh, bless me now, my Saviour;
I come to thee!

I need thee ev'ry hour;
Stay thou nearby.
Temptations lose their pow'r
When thou art nigh.

I need thee ev'ry hour;
teach me thy will;
and thy rich promises
In me fulfill.

I need thee ev'ry hour,
In joy or pain.
Come quickly and abide,
Or life is vain.

I need thee ev'ry hour,
Most holy One.
Oh, make me thine indeed,
Thou blessed Son!

Annie S Hawks (1835-1918)
Updated: 02 Oct 2016

 

Salvation is Through Faith Only (Sola Fide)

Some Bible References for Consideration

Faith is to believe, to believe means:-

To trust, to have confidence in, to have reliance upon, to depend upon Jesus alone (God's promises) for one's eternal safe destiny of the soul.

pisteuō (ποιέω) "to believe," also "to be persuaded of," and hence, "to place confidence in, to trust," signifies, in this sense of the word, reliance upon, not mere credence. It is most frequent in the writings of the Apostle John, especially the Gospel. He does not use the noun (see below). For the Lord's first use of the verb, see John 1:50. Of the writers of the Gospels, Matthew uses the verb ten times, Mark ten, Luke nine, John ninety-nine. In Acts 5:14 the present participle of the verb is translated "believers." See COMMIT, INTRUST, TRUST.[1]

The Bible says at least 200 times that you can only be saved through faith, and faith alone

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram….And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness."
Genesis 15:1,6.

Note that salvation is open to everyone – it is to whoever believes

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." John 5:24

Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." John 6:28-29

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. John 6:47

And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; John 16:8-9

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:30-31

And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." Acts 16:30-31

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. Romans 1:16

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Faith provides no merit to the believer – it is non-meritorious

Everything we do is unclean and what we do does no please God

But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. Isaiah 64:6

Our works, or the things we do cannot be credited as faith – a person earning a wage does not thank her or his employer for the 'gift' on payday.

"Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favour, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness." Romans 4:4-5

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

Faith gives God all the credit thus giving Him all the glory

I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images. Isaiah 42:8

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Romans 3:27.

See also Ephesians 2:8-9

If we boast we are giving glory to one's self: faith gives glory to God

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Faith provides an offense of the gospel – it wounds pride, because the sinner finds he or her cannot approach God on his or her own terms.

And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision [symbolism for working for salvation], why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. Galatians 5:11

What to believe

Believe that Jesus Is the Son of God, that is Jesus is diety

Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. John 8:24

Who is "He" – the I Am from Exodus 3:14, that is deity.

And He said to them, "You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. John 8:23

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:30-31

Believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again on the third day

For I delivered to you first of all [of first importance] that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

How not to believe

Believing is not merely an intellectual acceptance of a fact. It is trusting, accepting, having confidence in, and relying upon Jesus Christ. Note the following warning from James:

You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble! James 2:19. See also Matthew 8:28,29 (The demons not only knew Jesus was the Son of God, but that their time was short), Acts 19:15.

Points for Evangelising[2]

You are a sinner before a holy God

Bible: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23

The penalty for your sin is death

Bible: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Genesis 2:17

Bible: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

But: God in His infinite love provided His Son Jesus Christ who died for you and paid your sin penalty

Bible: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

But: You can be saved from hell by depending upon Jesus Christ alone to save you by believing that Jesus if the Son of God.

Bible: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God Ephesians 2:8

But: God wants you to know with absolute certainty that you are saved and have eternal life

Bible: These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5:13

Bible: "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." John 5:24

Bible: Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. John 6:47

[1] W. E. Vine (1940), Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Hendrickson, Nashville reprint, 411. (< http://www.menfak.no/bibelprog/vines?word=%AFt0000260 > (Accessed 5 March 2016)

David L Simon (5 March 2016)
\Doctrine\Salvation is through Faith only

David L Simon
Updated: 06 Mar 2016

 

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The weakness of any Christian website is the failure of the author to truly know the mind of God. His weakness due to sin (and there will be weaknesses) can always be revealed if checked against the Bible. Therefore, it is urged that anyone using this website must check the information against the Holy Scriptures - for the test of any such information, by any person, is measruing it against the Canon. For this reason the Canon is called simply that - deriving its name from 'cane' meaning measuring stick. Even the early Christians checked what the Apostle Paul had spoken against Scripture in order to test its veracity. You need to do the same.

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11

Furthermore, we must test all things:

Test [prove] all things; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:22


Updated: 11 Feb 2017

 

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Updated: 08 Jun 2015