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The Answer to Life

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

10 Jun 2018

 

From whence this fear and unbelief

From whence this fear and unbelief,
If God, my Father, put to grief
His spotless Son for me?
Can He, the righteous Judge of men,
Condemn me for that debt of sin
Which, Lord, was charged to Thee?

Complete atonement Thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate’er Thy people owed;
How, then, can wrath on me take place,
If sheltered in God’s righteousness,
And sprinkled by Thy blood?

[If Thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my place endured
The whole of wrath divine;
Payment God will not twice demand,
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
And then again at mine.]

Turn then, my soul, unto thy rest;
The merits of thy great High-priest
Hath bought thy liberty;
Trust in his efficacious blood;
Nor fear thy banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for thee.

Augustus M Toplady (1740-1778)
Updated: 10 Jun 2018

 

Approach, My Soul, the Mercy Seat

Approach, my soul, the mercy-seat,
Where Jesus answers prayer;
And humbly fall before his feet,
For none can perish there.

Thy promise is my only plea,
With this I venture nigh;
Thou callest burdened souls to thee,
And such, O Lord, am I.

Bowed down beneath a load of sin,
By Satan sorely pressed,
By wars without, and fears within,
I come to thee for rest.

Be thou my shield and hiding place!
That, sheltered near thy side,
I may my fierce accuser face,
And tell him, "thou hast died."

O wondrous love! to bleed and die,
To bear the cross and shame;
That guilty sinners such as I,
Might plead thy gracious name.

"Poor tempest-tos-sed soul be still,
My promised grace receive;"
'Tis Jesus speaks, I must, I will,
I can, I do believe.

John Newton (1779)
Updated: 03 Jun 2018

 

What should the Church be Concerned About?

The concern of the Church is preaching the gospel not changing political, economic or social structures of this world

Don’t get me wrong; each and every Christian must be concerned with the immorality that underpins the political, economic and social structures of our culture, and so called, way-of-life. The abysmal birth control method of seeking pleasure and then killing the offspring arising from a moment of pleasure must be a concern of every Christian. However, as will be stated here the Church has no ability to stop abortions, per se. It does however have the responsibility and ability of bringing the gospel to each individual.

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14).

It is the Holy Spirit that frees a person from sin and thus immorality because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  And furthermore, without regeneration – which is re-birth – immorality will reign in our bodies (Romans 5:21) – the consequence being the evil we view each day.

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)

But now having been set free from sin, and having become servants of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)

In these verses we see the reality of sin – sin bounds us in a manner that prevents morality – abortion is an unavoidable consequence of a people without God – because they are simply in bondage to sin. It is only when the bonds of sin are broken can one contemplate dealing with root cause of say abortion.

The real issue is the failure of the Church to preach the gospel – for without the gospel we cannot expect the consciousness of individuals to be aroused to an extent they seek God, and thus be arouse to oppose the evil of our society. No greater example one can one give than that of William Wilberforce, whose pastor preached the gospel to him week by week, and year by year. Wilberforce was no moralist or social leftist, but rather a man who accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour, and when the Holy Spirit provided a clear consciousness of the righteousness of God in relationship to the abject racism and horror associated with slavery he responded. Here we see the Church carrying out its responsibility of preaching the gospel (and providing moral support to the soul), the Holy Spirit giving new life to Wilberforce, setting him free from sin (Romans 6:22, 8:11), and because Wilberforce believed in Christ Jesus (Romans 3) he became a useful vessel for the work of God (Ephesians 2:10). And in this we see the role that God has entrusted him being carried out. This is should be our example.

The mistake the Church makes today is usurping the plan of God, replacing it with some notion that she should, and indeed is able to, change the social, political and economic structure of our civic societies. This is not her role, but that of individual Christians as useful vessels for God’s work (Ephesians 2:10). Martyn Lloyd-Jones, when preaching from Matthew’s Gospel, which speaks about being the salt of the earth, he made the following remark:

The primary task of the Church is to evangelize and to preach the gospel. Look at it like this. If the Christian Church today spends most of her time in denouncing communism, it seems to me that the main result will be that communists will not be likely to listen to the preaching of the gospel. If the Church is always denouncing one particular section of society, she is shutting the evangelistic door upon that section. If we take the New Testament view of these matters we must believe that the communist has a soul to be saved in exactly the same way as everybody else. It is my business as a preacher of the gospel, and a representative of the Church, to evangelize all kinds and conditions and classes of men and women. The moment the Church begins to intervene in these political, social and economic matters, therefore, she is hampering and hindering herself in her God-appointed task of evangelism. She can no longer say that she "knows no man after the flesh", and thereby she is sinning. Let the individual play his part as a citizen, and belong to any political party that he may choose. That is something for the individual to decide. The Church is not concerned as a Church about these things. Our business is to preach the gospel and to bring this message of salvation to all. And, thank God, communists [or any other evil corrupt society, including western society that worships sex, pleasure and materialism] can be converted and can be saved. The Church is to be concerned about sin in all its manifestations, and sin can be as terrible in a capitalist as in a communist; it can be as terrible in a rich man as in a poor man; it can manifest itself in all classes and in all types and in all groups. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1988) Studies in the Sermon on the Mount Chapter 14 The Salt of the Earth, Inter-Varsity Press, England)

In this context we can replace ‘communism’ with every other evil that besets our society – divorce, domestic violence, abortion, same-sex marriage and all other sexual immoral activities men and women practice.  Thus one can see it is the individual whose morality is guided by the Holy Spirit in recognition of the Holiness of God that is the instrument that effects change – the Church is the encourager (Hebrews 10:250, the group, or body (not organisation – see Romans 12:4, 1 Corinthians 12:12-12, Ephesians 5:30 etc.) of praying Christians (Ephesians 6:18, Jude 1:20) that preaches the gospel upon which the Holy Spirit can provoke the ‘grass-roots’ repentance and thus freeing men and women from sin that leads to violence or abortions etc.

Thus for the individual, it is what we say and do and the way we respond to every event in our life that speaks to society – and furthermore we need to understand our society has always been blind and deaf to the prattle of churches concerned with social issues rather than God’s command of delivering the good news of Jesus Christ dying for our sins.

David L Simon
Updated: 20 May 2018

 

The chief dangers of our ‘civilized’ society

Some thoughts on William Booths prophecy

William Booth gave a sobering prophetic thought more than 100 years ago about the then new 20th century. He said: “The chief danger of the 20th century will be religion without the Holy Spirit, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.”

How true it is, that the end of our civilized society draws near – and the reasons are embedded in these six characteristics. These characteristics of our modern society championed by the churches have the rendered the voice of our churches bsolutely impotent. The same-sex marriage debacle epitomises this. The result is a ruined failing society with vast number of children uncared for or abused, wives beaten to death, abortions decimating the diversity and strength of our society and more inequitable now than ever in our history.  Satan is working through the destruction of the family for his purposes – for it is the family that provides an avenue to live out the gospel – where the husband loves his wife as Christ loved the Church, where wives submit to their husbands and were children obey their parents – micking the civil society with roles and order and purposes for every single person. Divorce, allowed by the church, enabled the rapid progression of Satan’s plan to destroy the family totally. The notion of same sex marriage is anathema – it speaks to the very core of the sin of this world. Boothby noted six elements that were required to maintain a civil society. The fall of Rome epitomises all of these – Rome turned to sport, sex and pleasure – and consequently fell.

1.      Religion without the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is shunned by all major churches in this country. A decade or so ago he was held up [wrongly] as a power for personal gain; now he is not even mentioned. The reason is obvious – the Holy Spirit was sent to convict you and I of sin (John 16:8, 9) and the last thing the world wants to here, is that they are sinners, in deep crisis. It is indeed a hard thing to be convicted of sin – for one needs to do something about it. It is the Holy Spirit that speaks to our conscience and produces the guilt within us. Without the Holy Spirit one may interpret the Bible in anyway one might be able to imagine, thus, each church, and indeed each person does what is right in his or her own eyes (Judges 21:55) – the salt has lost its saltiness (Mark 5:13, 9:15), and for this cause, our civil society is collapsing.

2.      Christianity without Christ

It is perhaps farfetched to think of Christianity without Christ, when the very word ‘christianity’ means a follower of Christ. But many millennia before the 20th century, churches commenced following men rather than Christ (c.f. Revelation 2:18-29). Indeed the greatest evil of the Roman Catholic Church is to usurp Christ with human intellect; demanding the confession of sins to men rather than to Christ (1 John 4:15), adding to the Bible the whims of men, and ordering followers to obey the church rather than Christ, in order to satisfy hunger for power and glory. The modern liberal church is no better – Christ is not their head, nor do they bend the knee in acknowledgement of Christ, the supreme judge of the universe.

Without Christ, the church has no civic imperative – their words fall on deaf ears and whatever salt that is left, is effectual. The assertion to the world’s demand for no-fault divorce commenced the churches demise as a voice in civic debate – she lost her imprimatur of being the upholder of all things good, and kind and wholesome.

3.      Forgiveness without repentance

Men and women who wreck evil in our society no-long seek forgiveness, but plead for “a second go”, because they had made a “mistake”, whether it be rape, or murder or sexual assault or deliberate drug doping to cheat. The sinfulness of sin is lost upon this generation – even in cases where the victim suffers for the rest of his or her life. Without a need for repentance, one does not need to come to Christ with a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17) and receive His efficacious propitiatory offering. Indeed one does not need an offering at all, even for restitution for the aggrieved party. The Bible is clear – wrong doing must be paid for by, seeking forgiveness, by repentance – meaning turning around to a completely new direction – so the same ‘mistake’ or sin is not repeated and finally restitution is required for the victim, whether family, neighbour or the state. This is what makes our society civil – where there is order and righteousness and justice with impartiality in dealing with those that ‘run off’ the rails, or do wrong or commit evil.

The gangs of children roaming the streets of main cities terrorising people epitomises the declension of our civil society whose members does not recognise the length and breadth and height of the forgiveness that Christ affords all who believe in him.

4.      Salvation without regeneration

Salvation has been rendered to merely accepting ‘Jesus into our hearts’ which cannot ever provide an assurance of salvation. Indeed it is not salvation but a sop to liberalism. A person must repent – that is, turn around (and literally face God) – and allow the Holy Spirit to renew them. For without being born again one cannot be saved (John 3).

Too much preaching is about “I”. Indeed most, if not all, modern songs, sung (or yelled out) in churches today is about “I”. Can you remember using the word “blood” in any praise song sung recently in church? What about placing God on a much higher mantle than self? No - the liberal church places man on the same stead as Christ – for after all we are ‘mates’, aren’t we? Not in the slightest – we are all hopelessly lost, and only by the GRACE of God have we humans even been considered for salvation – in that God considered sending His son the Lord Jesus Christ to die at Calvary for the sin we committed. Further, there is not a slightest bit of us God can use to rebuild a better and more perfect person – God must start again – this is being reborn; being regenerated (which means new birth).

Humans who believe they are somehow good, cannot see themselves for whom they are. Civil societies fail when pride is the way of men and woman; it is only the love of one for the other that can build a civil society – and this requires newness.

5.      Politics without God

The Ten Commandments sets out the tenets of the natural law of man (Romans 1 & 3). Although the Ten Commandments appears twice in the Bible, they are in Jewish context. However, these tenets where known since Adam – which is why Cain knew he had done wrong when he murdered Able.

The Ten Commandments are the bases of law for all civil societies – children obeying parents, not stealing nor lying or having sex with one who is not your spouse etc. Our parliaments, all of which are authorised by our constitution, which in itself acknowledges God, no longer acknowledge God. The Westminster System of government commenced a parliamentary day with pray to the Lord God Most High – this has been dispensed with – so there is not even a reminder that the leaders of our country are where they are solely because God has allowed it. In the past ten years our parliamentary system has been in a total state of chaos – there is no leadership or even a strong adherence of an ideology or doctrine. Indeed it appears that all our parliamentarians are solely in parliament for themselves – epitomised at local government level where “conflict of interest” has absolutely no bearing on their deliberations. Indeed the greater the level of conflict, the higher the chance the local government will act in that person’s favour.

Without a fear of God no government can possibly govern a people in a civil, equitable and fair manner.

6.      Heaven without hell

For reasons that are completely foreign to born again believers the liberal churches teach a doctrine of heaven without hell. Indeed, it is considered to be unwise and perhaps even antihuman to teach that God will punish those that reject Him by placing them into an eternal lake of fire. This doctrine has rendered the gospel to no effect and thus the relationship of man with God to that of alienation. For without hell, one does not need a propitiatory offering, and therefore Christ is not required; there is not intercession (Hebrews 7:25) – the gospel is null and void. It also allows humans to believe they can do anything they like – leading to a breakdown in society.

 

The result is a society that can do as it pleases – each person does what is right in his or her eyes. The structure breaks down because no lasting and meaningful relationship can be established because self is more important than the society. One can steal or have sex with impunity – pleasure is more important than work; in equitability is the norm and hatred of most others is the norm.

I could say much more – but in essence William Booth’s prophecy has come to fruition.

David L Simon
Updated: 22 Apr 2018

 

The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus

All Christians are agreed that the death of Christ is the basis of all our blessings. Of this there can be no doubt, for "without shedding of blood is no remission." Without the death of Christ we could never be with Him — "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone." He could not then, but in virtue of the death of the cross, have us in glory with Him. But, while all our present and eternal blessings are founded on the death and blood-shedding of Jesus the Son of God, scripture points us again and again to Christ risen and ascended, as the One in whom we stand, and are fully blessed and accepted.

1st, That the resurrection of Christ is the divine demonstration of the person of the Son of Godthe foundation truth of Christianity; for "he was declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by resurrection from the dead." (Romans 1:4.) It also confirmed the truth of His own testimony to His personal glory, when He said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them." (John 2:19-22.) The apostle Paul also quoted Psalm 2 to show that it was the person of the Son of God that was raised again from the dead. He said, "God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again, as it is written in Psalm 2, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." (Acts 8:33)

2nd, The resurrection of the Lord Jesus overcame deathand showed that though He died for the ungodly as an offering for sin, yet having laid down His life and lain in the sepulchre till the third day (thus showing the reality of His death), it could detain Him no longer. "It was not possible that he should be held by death," for He was "the life," "the Prince of life," and "he saw no corruption." That great and terrible foe, which we have because we are sinners, Christ triumphed over in His resurrection from the dead. It is because of this that it is not now absolutely necessary that we shall die. Instead of this, we are told that "we shall not all sleep," but some of us will be "alive and remain to the coming of the Lord," and then, instead of dying, we shall be changed in a moment, our mortal bodies will put on immortality, and we shall be for ever like the Lord and with the Lord. Thus the Lord vanquished death in His resurrection from among the dead.

3rd, He triumphed over the grave. Covered as the mouth of the sepulchre was with a great stone, and a seal set upon it, guarded too with soldiers, all could not prevent the Son of God rising out of it. And be it observed that this the greatest victory over obtained was wrought noiselessly. No flourish of trumpets announced this wondrous triumph. The sepulchre was left in perfect order, the linen clothes carefully put by, and the napkin that was about His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. The whole scene tells us of the most perfect order and quiet. Had He still been in the sepulchre, the grave would have obtained a victory over Him. But, blessed be God, it was not so; and now looking at the triumphant risen One, we can truthfully say, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" And know that all this victory is ours, by God's free gift in the depth of His abounding mercy; so that we can also say, "but thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

4th, Christ defeated Satan. Satan no doubt thought when Christ was nailed to the cross, and the power of death let loose upon Him, so that He bowed His sacred head in death, and gave up the ghost, that the Lord was then made an end of and got rid of. And to the eyes of those who had said, "not this man, but Barabbas," it so appeared. Such however was not the fact. Instead of Satan, who had the power of death, triumphing over Jesus, Jesus triumphed over him. He rose victoriously out of death, and not only destroyed death, but him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. The blessed Son of God thus raised from the dead spoiled principalities and authorities, made a show of them publicly, leading them in triumph by it. He led captivity captive, ascended into glory, received gifts for men, and is henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool.

5th, The resurrection of the Lord Jesus is also God's public attestation to His finished work upon the tree. If in the cry "It is finished," it is implied that every thing had been then accomplished according to the purpose and grace of God, every type fulfilled, every scripture obeyed, all the stern demands of justice satisfied, righteously established, and all the claims of holiness met, so that nothing more remained to be done, all was fully responded to by God in raising Him from the dead. If it had been possible that one sin which He bore had been unjudged, He could not have been raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. But now we do see Him crowned with glory and honour who had been numbered with the transgressors and forsaken by God. We now behold Him righteously welcomed to the place of highest exaltation, instead of being abandoned in unsparing wrath because our sins were upon Him. Thus His being raised from the dead by the glory of the Father is the best possible proof that in bearing our sins He had perfectly satisfied God. He was "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; wherefore God hath highly exalted him." The resurrection of Christ therefore is the undeniable proof of His finished work, that sin had been fully judged, and God glorified.

6th, Christ having triumphed over death, and gone up the path of life, He has made a new and living way for us. When He poured out His soul unto death upon the cross, we are told that "the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom." Thus a new and living way was consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh. But, after this, He rose from the dead and entered into heaven itself by His own blood. He rose from the dead as the "firstfruits" because others are to rise from among the dead; and He went into heaven as the forerunner, because other runners are to follow. What never-ending blessedness God has given us in a risen victorious Saviour!

7th, In Christ risen, we see Him who was dead alive again and that for evermore, and know that God has, in the riches of His grace, given us life in Him. "God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son" — a new life surely, risen life, life in One who is beyond death, the mighty conqueror of Satan, death, and the grave. He who is now in the very glory of God is then our life. Hence we are spoken of as "risen with Christ," having been quickened together, raised up together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. What a marvellous blessing to be thus associated in life with One who has risen triumphantly out of death, and sat down on the right hand of God! What liberty as well as gladness it gives us! How natural therefore it is because of this, that we should be enjoined to seek the things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, to set our mind on things above, and not on things on the earth.

Like us they are looking forward to His coming, when He, who rose so victoriously over death, will apply His resurrection power to our bodies, and then all who are in Christ, whether dead in Christ or alive and remain, will be brought together in resurrection-life and glory to be "for ever with the Lord."

 

Henry H Snell The Bible Treasury - Volume 11
Updated: 01 Apr 2018

 

The Erotic Age - Warning

It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. (1 Corinthians 5:1)

The period in which we now live may well go down in history as the Erotic Age. Sex love has been elevated into a cult. Eros has more worshipers among civilized men today than any other god. For millions the erotic has completely displaced the spiritual….

Now if this god would let us Christians alone I for one would let his cult alone. The whole spongy, fetid mess will sink some day under its own weight and become excellent fuel for the fires of hell, a just recompense which is meet, and it becomes us to feel compassion for those who have been caught in its tragic collapse. Tears and silence might be better than words if things were slightly otherwise than they are.

But the cult of Eros is seriously affecting the Church. The pure religion of Christ that flows like a crystal river from the heart of God is being polluted by the unclean waters that trickle from behind the altars of abomination that appear on every high hill and under every green tree from New York to Los Angeles. BAM036-037.

"Lord, I pray this morning for any of Your servants who are caught in the trap of immorality or pornography. This ‘whole spongy, fetid mess’ has so many in its clutches-give victory today, I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen."

A W Tozer Tozer on Christian Leadership, November 18
Updated: 04 Mar 2018

 

Nearer, my God, to Thee

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.

Refrain

Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone.
Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God to Thee.

There let the way appear, steps unto Heav’n;
All that Thou sendest me, in mercy given;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee.

Then, with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee.

Or, if on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I’ll fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.

There in my Father’s home, safe and at rest,
There in my Savior’s love, perfectly blest;
Age after age to be, nearer my God to Thee.

Sarah F Adams
Updated: 04 Mar 2018

 

The Rapture and the Appearing

It is an actual fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back again! Yet many people, even true believers, seem hardly to believe it. It seems to them a dreamy, visionary, mystical idea, and they cannot help thinking that the enthusiasts who announce it must be mistaking figures of speech for sober facts.

But, after all, why should you be surprised? You believe that He has been here once. Then why not twice?

Consider for a moment what happened when He first came. He was rejected, and His life was cut short. His public mission of three and a half years closed in His sudden death. But being God manifest in flesh, in dying He wrought redemption for His people; He rose again. Is it likely that the story ends there as far as this earth is concerned? Shall the ejection of the Creator from the world by the creature be the last word? By no means. Men despised Him in His humiliation. He will surely return in His glory.

We are not left, however, to consider what seems likely or reasonable. The doctrine of the Second Advent is one of the commonest themes of Scripture. The Old Testament frequently refers to it. In the New Testament the full truth of it is plainly revealed. From the great mass of texts that might be quoted, let us select one which is singularly explicit.

"Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).

This message has about it almost the sound of a legal document. Lawyers write a very simple statement in a rather lengthy way because they find it needful to hedge about their words from possible misinterpretations. So here there is a fulness and almost a redundancy of expression, especially designed to foil any attempt to evade or mystify this great fact.

It is evident from this verse that the Lord Jesus is Himself coming just as He went. How did He go? Personally; then personally He will come. He went actually as a living Man - it was no spirit manifestation. Then actually as a living Man He will come. He went visibly; visibly He will come. He went from the earth. Then to the earth He will return.

The attentive Christian reader, however, is often puzzled as he pursues his studies into this great truth, by seeming discrepancies between different passages, and he needs to have placed in his hands the key that unlocks the door of difficulty.

That key is an understanding of the difference between the two stages of the Second Advent, which for the sake of brevity we term "The Rapture" (i.e., "the catching-up") and "The Appearing."

Take the trouble at this point to thoughtfully read 1 Thessalonians 4:13 to 1 Thess. 5:3. Notice that the Thessalonian believers were troubled because some of their number had died, and they thought that they would therefore miss the glory of the appearing and reign of Christ. Paul tells them not to sorrow, because as certainly as Jesus died and rose again, God will bring WITH Jesus all such when He comes (v. 9). Then the Apostle explains how this is to be brought about, by what means the formerly dead in Christ are found with Him in bodies of glory so as to be able to share in His glorious appearing.

This explanation is prefaced by "this we say to you by the word of the Lord," indicating that what follows is not something which had been previously made known, but something newly revealed: his authority for stating it being not Old Testament scripture, nor any previous utterance, but the direct revelation of the Lord.

And this is the explanation: "The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout . . . and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

Now compare these words with what is written in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, and you will find an additional fact stated. "The dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."

In the light of these two scriptures we gather that:
(1) The Lord Himself shall descend into the air with an assembling shout.
(2) His shout will awaken the sleeping saints and raise them in bodies of glory.
(3) We, the living, will then undergo a corresponding change into a glorified condition.
(4) All believers, whether previously dead or living, will be caught up together, to be for ever with the Lord.
Oh, most blessed hour, the fruition of our long-cherished hope!

All this, however, leaves the great world untouched, save as the sudden disappearance of multitudes of saints may affect it. But the hour of retribution follows on. Hence 1 Thessalonians 5opens by drawing a distinction between the coming of the Lord for His saints with which chapter 4 has dealt, and "the day of the Lord." That comes, not as a bridegroom for his bride, but "as a thief in the night."

When the Lord Jesus in humiliation was led as a lamb to the slaughter, He said to His enemies, "This is your hour, and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53). But the tables are to be completely turned. He comes not in humiliation, but in glory; not as a lamb to the slaughter, but as the Lion of the tribe of Judah; not solitary and alone, but "with ten thousands of His saints"; not submitting to the will of His enemies, but that His enemies may be made His footstool. It is not man's little hour, and the short-lived triumph of evil; it is the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

"The day of the Lord" is not a day of twenty-four hours, but an interval of time like "the day of salvation." It is a period in the cycle of "times and seasons" marked by the absolute supremacy and authority of the Lord. It starts with His public manifestation in the clouds of heaven - His appearing with His saints.

It is to this public appearing that Old Testament prophets so frequently refer, being the consummation of God's ways with Israel and the earth. It ushers in a short, sharp work of judgment whereby the earth is purged of its dross before the shining forth of glory in the millennial reign of Christ.

Before this public appearing certain things must take place as foretold in Scripture. The Lord Jesus Himself plainly predicted certain things (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21). Again 2 Thessalonians 2 shows us that before the day of Christ comes there must first be "a falling away," an apostasy, and connected with that, the revelation of the man of sin, commonly called "antichrist." In him sin will find its culminating expression. He will be its very embodiment.

When the iniquity of man rises then to its full height God will smite in judgment. The Lord Jesus, who once bore judgment for our sakes, is then to be its Executor, and that oldest of all prophecies given through the lips of a man will be fulfilled: "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints to execute judgment upon all" (Jude 14, 15). Previously the saints will have been "changed" according to 1 Corinthians 15, and "caught up" according to 1 Thessalonians 4, hence they are with Him in a glorified condition, and when the heavens open and reveal Him in the "flaming fire" of judgment, they are with Him, and He will be "glorified in His saints" and "admired in all them that believe . . . in that day" (2 Thess. 1:7-10).

Meanwhile our business is "to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven" (1 Thess. 1:9, 10).

F B T Hole Outlines of Truth
Updated: 27 Feb 2018

 

The Importance of Marriage

The importance of the whole subject on which our Lord here pronounces judgment can hardly be overrated [Mark 10:1 - 12; the subject of divorce] . We ought to be very thankful that we have so clear and full an exposition of his mind upon it. The marriage relation lies at the very root of the social system of nations. The public morality of a people, and the private happiness of the families which compose a people, are deeply involved in the whole question of the law of marriage. The experience of all nations confirms the wisdom of our Lord’s decision in this passage in the most striking manner. It is a fact clearly ascertained, that polygamy and permission to obtain divorce on slight grounds have a direct tendency to promote immorality. In short, the nearer a nation’s laws about marriage approach to the law of Christ, the higher has the moral tone of that nation always proved to be.

It is a good idea for all those who are married, or intend to marry, to ponder well the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ in this passage. Of all relations of life, none ought to be regarded with such reverence and none taken in hand so cautiously as the relation of husband and wife. In no relation is so much earthly happiness to be found if it is entered upon discreetly, advisedly and in the fear of God. In none is so much misery seen to follow if it is taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, wantonly and without thought. From no step in life does so much benefit come to the soul, if people marry “in the Lord.” From none does the soul take so much harm if fancy, passion or any mere worldly motive is the only cause which produces the union. Solomon was the wisest of men, but “even he was led into sin by foreign women” (Nehemiah 13:26). There is, unhappily, only too much necessity for impressing these truths upon people. It is a sad fact that few steps in life are generally taken with so much levity, self-will and forgetfulness of God as marriage. Few are the young couples who think of inviting Christ to their wedding! It is a sad fact that unhappy marriages are one great cause of the misery and sorrow of which there is so much in the world. People find out too late that they have made a mistake, and go in bitterness all their days.

Happy are those who in the matter of marriage observe three rules.

  1. The first is to marry only in the Lord, and after prayer for God’s approval and blessing.
  2. The second is not to expect too much from their partners, and to remember that marriage is, after all, the union of two sinners, and not of two angels.
  3. The third rule is to strive first and foremost for one another’s sanctification. The more holy married people are, the happier they are. “Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her, to make her holy” (Ephesians 5:25-26).

J C Ryle (1816 - 1900) Mark (Expository Thoughts on the Gospels) 1857, reprinted 1998 The Banner of Truth Trust, UK
Updated: 04 Feb 2018

 

The Inevitability of Death

Psalm 90: 10-17

Introduction

These a just a few thoughts on Psalm 90 – and in particular the final 8 verses. They were provoked by a sermon given by Alistair Begg[1].

These verses respond to the fact that most, if not all, do not consider their own mortality – indeed, for most, they believe they will live for ever. My wife tells me of many who even in their dying last days believe they will continue to live – what a sad sorry state of affairs. And certainly no teenage believes he or she will die. But how can it be; this fact is not understood until God brings it to our attention.

That all men will die is inevitable.

Verse 10 defines the length of life a person could expect – three score and ten, in the old language or 70 years in the modern. But a word of caution here; this is an expectation, not a fact – some will die sooner, some later. The purpose of the statement is to stop people bragging they will accomplish anything with an extra 10 years – most will certainly not. Hezekiah had his life lengthen 15 years – but in his pride he boasted to his enemies about his richness, with the consequence that all was taken from his family; his extra life was futile (2 Kings 20, Isaiah 39).

The message of this psalmist says that unless a person considers their position before God any extra years will be futile.

And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labour and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away. 

This issue, Alistair Begg contends, arises because people these days live in the here and now – they have no concern about the future. Indeed it is as if they have no capacity to consider the future. Yet Scripture from the very beginning has shown the correspondence between our sin and our mortality.

In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return." (Genesis 3:19)

The fact is inescapable – man will die and his or her body will return to dust. Sin separates us from God and thus God’s righteous anger must deal with the sinner – from whence we get the doctrine that the wages of sin is death followed by judgement (e.g. Romans 2:16). It is this thought the Psalmist ponders. On death our soul will be judged and all sinners will be cast into hell, unless the punishment is paid in full.

The final 7 verses commences with a question in verse 11: “Who knows the power of Your anger?” This is a fact that is totally lost to the world today. God’s holiness demands His anger be directed at those that sin. This consequently prevents communion between Himself and ourselves. One that accepts that God will end our life in death and separation will fear the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom (Job 28:28). A man or women who fears the Lord will have a desire to find a solution to the inevitability of death and judgement. But the world sees not the end, thus sees not the need for a saviour!

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, Hebrews 9:21

From this tenet, the Psalmist goes on and makes six requests.

Six Requests

1.       So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Vs 12)

It is not a matter of innate behaviour we are aware of our own mortality – just watch any teenage in their car! We are very much tied to the immediate and transient – immediate gratification is the requisite of modern life. However, in the reality that death await us all, we require the Lord to raise this awareness, and more to the point, raise the awareness that judgement follows death, for only in this can one realise that salvation is required. Wisdom is knowing the “fear of the Lord” – acknowledging that our days are numbered, and salvation is required.

2.       Return, O LORD! How long? And have compassion on Your servants. (Vs 13)

Here the “Return!” is the cry of the Children of Israel in the wilderness after they rejected the path of God to the Promised Land. ‘Return’ is probably better translated – ‘restore us to our former place’ – see also Psalm 80. It is a cry of one who finds they are lost – headed for death. Alistair Begg reminded parishioners that it is a paradox that it is our doing when our backs are to the Lord, but it is His doing when we turn to him. We go from saying: “I am king and ruler of my own life” as we sully ourselves with the fifth of the world – to crying out; “Return to me, O Lord, have pity on me, a sinner”. It is the Lord that provides the means of doing this.

3.       Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days! (Vs 14)

The Lord leads us to restoration. It is at this point He can satisfy us with his mercy. It is by His mercy we are saved. We can only be satisfied at the foot of cross where God poured out his wrath (c.f. v 11) upon His only Son in righteous indignation, because God the Father loved us so (Ephesians 5:2 etc.). The purpose of our salvation is that we may have joy and be glad – and thus praise the Lord God Most High. The salvation of the Lord is what gets up a Christian every day in joy, rather than depression.

4.       Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us, The years in which we have seen evil. (Vs 15)

Salvation should provide the fulness of joy to a saved sinner because we are in Christ from that point onward (Ephesians 2:4-7). It is the source of eternal glory in Christ that provides our joy. We move from the darkness of our former life and move into the sunshine of a life with Christ (Ephesians 5:8). The saved soul rejoices because God will remember his sins on more (Hebrews 10:17, also Hebrews 8:12) or indeed be consciousness guilt of our sin is done away with (Hebrews 10:2). We are in a state of gladness because He bore the sin of me, and made intercession for my transgressions (c.f. Isaiah 53:12). But most importantly, we rejoice because we can have communion with God Our Father.

5.       Let Your work appear to Your servants, And Your glory to their children. (Vs 16)

The work of God’s providence enters our life. Bad things still happen, but in gladness we accept the instruction and encouragement of our Lord as we walk through the shadows of death: our life is short here we look forward to eternity with Christ. Rather than futility, our life is one of fruitfulness. We want our children to see how God has worked in our lives – the psalmist’s prayer is that his children see the work of God in his life, and thus praise God for it. This is only achievable if we allow God to direct our hands in work that glorifies Him – for this is fruitfulness. That our children see the love, grace, and mercy of God in our lives as we walk according to His precepts (Psalm 119), and as they observe His presence in our daily life’s struggles along with our communion with the Father, they desire to praise Him.

6.       And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands. (Vs 17)

Our life needs to be directed by the Lord. As is the futility of extra years to the non-believer, so would a life that is undirected by the Lord for a Christian be futile.  We are saved for good works, which God has prepared beforehand (Ephesians 2:10) – not to futility. Thus in Psalm 90:10 we have lives that are “cut-off” and remembered no-more, but the life that is restored (saved) is a life useful to our Lord. We lose the desire to manage our own affairs (Ephesians 2:2), and allow the work to be established by God (vs 17). Indeed this is the very essence of this Psalm with the thought repeated twice – “Yes, establish the work of our hands.”

Final remark

That death is inevitable needs to be assimilated in every body’s consciousness. Only then will that person be brought to reason their judgement before God. Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ should provide immeasurable joy. This needs to be coupled with the desire and contentment to be God directed. Will the consequence of your action merely be like blade of grass that withers in the midday sun, or will be it be a work that God has orchestrated, everlasting?

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

[1] Alistair Begg (31 December 2017) Lord in Your Mercy, Hear Our Prayer < https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/sermon/prayer-end-year/ > (Accessed 7 January 2018)

David L Simon
Updated: 07 Jan 2018

 

Why did Jesus Christ have to come into the world?

A Bible Perspective of Christmas

I listened to a sermon last Sunday where the paster was very passionate about “Jesus” but left the audience in a state of unbelief. The mediocre, the apostate or the one the does not read the Bible preaches a false gospel. This man did – he had the congregation pray a prayer to invite “Jesus” into their hearts, yet at no time did he explain why they needed Jesus, other than to say a person was not in a ‘good’ place without Jesus. The Bible is very plain as to how one is saved:

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

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

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:21

In every case, it is by faith a person is saved:

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

However, the gravest error of this pastor, and most others in this country, is they do not, and indeed appear cannot teach the true reason for the need of a saviour – that sin leads to death and all have sinned, thus all will die and be cast into hell unless saved. In doing so these apostate church leaders leave people with the false impression that all is fine. That the wages of sin is death is either forgotten, never learnt or deliberately obfuscated. Furthermore, they do not comprehend, due to blindness (Ephesians 4:18), that the shedding of blood is a requirement for salvation (e.g. Matthew 26:28, Ephesians 1:4, Romans 5:9).  One only needs to read the wretched interviews of church leaders from the same-sex marriage debate this country had in 2017. That the world accepts same sex marriage is irrelevant – what is relevant is what pleases God – sex between two of the same sex is unnatural (even the theory of evolution states this, as does basic observation) and is contrary to God’s will and ordinances – it is sin. So is stealing, coveting (or wanting what is not yours), or blaspheming God (not believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, is blasphemy).

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
Colossians 3:5-7

Sin has separated all humans from God and sin demands justice – all sinners will die and be sent for judgement and punishment, unless they accept the gift from God; the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, as the atonement for their sin. The equation is simple, and it is simple to teach – thus there is no excuse for a pastor not to teach the real meaning of Christmas – Christ came to save the world because all men & women sin and are in need of salvation.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. Romans 5:8-9

Of course the world does not believe this, and nor do a very large number of liberal and orthodox church leaders, yet the entire Bible is about the grace and righteousness of God dealing with sinful mankind, who wants all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). From chapter 3 of Genesis onwards, the Bible speaks about sin, justice, righteousness and the need for redemption through the shedding of blood. For this reason Jesus was born into this world.

God became man (incarnate) providing a redemptive Saviour to deal with the sin of individuals. Born of a virgin (which the apostate church often annuls), Jesus Christ was the Son of God, who came to shed his perfect and precious blood in our place - meaning that if we don’t believe in him we need to bear the punishment ourselves.

Therefore the LORD heard [of their refusal to obey the law, vs 10] and was furious; so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel, because they did not believe in God, and did not trust in His salvation. Psalms 78:21-22

Christmas should not be about a baby born, angels singing (they actually don’t sing) and wise men coming, but the incarnation of the Son of God, born of a virgin, sent by God to save the world, yet humiliated and despicably murdered on upon a cross and in so doing providing a propitiation[1] for our sin (Romans 3:25, 1 John 2:2, 4:10) so we might be saved.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10

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 3:17-18

And how is one saved?

One needs to repent, which means changing one’s mind about God – turning to believing in the Son – The Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing more and nothing less. Have faith that Jesus Christ the Son of God died for your sins, and God the Father will save you from hell. Sure, in due course you will want to adjust your way of life, your life-style, the way you conduct business or conversations in order to please the Father, whose son you have placed your trust – but these actions will not save you. Only by believing on the Saviour, Jesus Christ, can you be saved.

[1] Christ is “the propitiation,” because by becoming our substitute [in the judgement of our sin] and assuming our obligations [all sinners have an obligation before God] he expiated [paid for] our guilt, covered it [with the blood], by the vicarious [i.e. done for another] punishment which he endured on the cross (Easton’s Bible Dictionary). By this we have free access to God – whom we can call Father.

 

David L Simon (24 December 2017)
Questions\Why did Jesus Christ have to come to this world?

 

David L Simon
Updated: 24 Dec 2017

 

Virgin Birth and Incarnation of Christ Jesus

We read in Luke 1:35: "And the angel of the Lord said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that Holy Thing, which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God." Let us notice the two great statements given about His incarnation. "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee." From the Gospel of Matthew we learn the full meaning of this statement. "That which is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit." Therefore His human nature was produced in the virgin by the creative action of the Holy Spirit. Because His human nature was thus produced, it was a nature without sin; not only did He not sin, but He could not sin. He was sinless, absolutely holy, because He was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

The second statement is: "And the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee." This is not a repetition of the same truth as contained in the first statement. If this too would mean the Holy Spirit, we would have to conclude that the Holy Spirit is the Father of Him who became incarnate. We read at once after this second statement, "Therefore that Holy Thing, which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God." The power of the Highest does not mean the power of the Holy Spirit. It is none other than the Son of God Himself. The eternal Son of God, He who is God, overshadowed her and this overshadowing meant the union of Himself with the human nature created by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary.

He is called "that Holy Thing [or One]." He is something entirely new, a Being which cannot be classified. And then we read again, "That Holy One shall be called the Son of God." It does not say "shall be the Son of God;" such He ever was. Incarnation did not make Him Son of God. He shall be called Son of God; God manifested in the flesh.

Much time could be spent in adding to these remarks, or in reviewing the different attempts which have been made to explain the great mystery. We might also enumerate all the evil teachings and theories which are the results of attempted explanations. But all this would be but waste of time. No human mind can fathom the depths of the incarnation, nor fully grasp the wonderful personality of the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Far better it is to abide by these simple declarations of the Word of God, than to enter into speculations, which can never solve this great mystery.

A certain American statesman was once asked, "Can you comprehend how Jesus Christ could be both God and Man?" The great thinker replied, "No, sir; I cannot. And I would be ashamed to acknowledge Him as my Saviour if I could, for then He would not be greater than myself."

This is very true indeed. With joyful and grateful hearts we believe the great revelation given to us in God’s holy Word, that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son and that the Son of God left Heaven’s Glory and came to this earth. He emptied Himself and appeared in the form of the creature. This, however, does not mean what an evil theory, by the name of "Kenosis," teaches, that He emptied Himself of His Godhead. He emptied Himself of His outward Glory. The child which rested on the bosom of Mary is the One, who ever was in the bosom of the Father. Listen once more to the language of the xxii Psalm. "I was cast upon thee from the womb; Thou art my God from my mother’s belly. Thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts." What mere human child could have ever said this truthfully? Nor is this the language of a poet. The child born in Bethlehem alone could speak thus.

A C Gaebelien The Work of Christ Past, Present and Future 1913
Updated: 19 Dec 2017

 

Be Careful; Flee from Evil

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry [evil].

1 Corinthians 10:12-14
Updated: 15 Dec 2017

 

Psalm 2 - A short explanation

A Psalm of the Messiah the Prince

Main Idea

Mankind has deliberately rebelled against God, and unless they submit they will be punished (5, 9 & 12).

Main takeaway message

Raging against God is irrational – God exists and will destroy those who hate him; those that do not believe in Him or trust Him.

Overview

The Psalm is about King Messiah – Yeshua or Jesus Christ. The person, to whom the Psalmist (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is speaking, is being told that the entire world is being placed under his authority and those that don’t obey will be punished.

“Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”

The world – its people have conspired against God. The Theory of Evolution is currently its main instrument, accepted as truth, when it is a lie, leading most to accept unnatural acts such as homosexual relations and same-sex marriages – and here, in this Psalm, we have God laughing at their stupidity (4) and questioning their sanity (1) which is clearly lacking in all nations.

In this Psalm we observe the three persons of the trinity conversing: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in which they demonstrate the absolute sovereignty of God. They remark on the stupidity of nations, in particular its leaders – kings, presidents or prime ministers etc. - who believe they are somehow superior to God, or God does not even exist!

The Psalm states Jehovah (Yewah) will glorify His Son. It of course speaks to every human being – God is Sovereign and His Son will rule this earth. All will need to submit to the Messiah, the Son of God[1]. Those that don’t will be punished.

Outline

Stanza 1 -3         The nations rage against God

Stanza 4 – 6       The Lord derides that nations

Stanza 7 – 9       The degree is proclaimed: the Son has been elected to be King over all.

Stanza 10 – 12  Advice for the nations, in order to be saved.

The Sovereignty of God displayed

The sovereignty of the Lord Jehovah is displayed in this Psalm, in particular verse 6. Messiah the King has been given the seat of power and authority as the King over all. Those that reject Him will be held in contempt, rejected and destroyed (5, 9), unless they trust and believe (12) in him by serving the Lord (11).

The Psalm states that all people, and particular their arms of government have been given to the Messiah, along with the entire earth – the ends (or utter parts) of the earth (8), which means the earth in total. They will all come under subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

What all humans have to do in order not to be punished

The Psalm sets out an invitation to all – serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling: acknowledge that God is in control because he is sovereign. Failure to obey can only end terribly with much pain and suffering - being thrown into hell after judgement.

Verse 12 states “Kiss the Son”. This is a Hebrew way of saying: “pay homage”. The imperative to all people is that they must pay homage and respect to the Messiah – Jesus Christ else they will be punished.

Names of God used

The first stanza speaks about Yewah (Jehovah, often rendered Lord in modern Bibles) (2) and His anointed (mashiyach), which is a reference to the Messiah (or prince[2]); the Son of God, mentioned by position (son) in verses 7 & 12. The narrator is implied but is the Holy Spirit e.g. verses 2-5.

Prophecy

The Psalm is prophetic – it underscores the Messianic Kingdom (thousand year millennial reign) at which time the Lord Jesus Christ will take up his role as King on the throne of David in Jerusalem (Zion), as promised to David[3]. See also Matthew 25:31, a prophesy of the angel Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:32-33).

References

[1] See also Isaiah 45:23 (quoted in Romans 14:11), and Philippians 2:10.

[2] See Daniel 9:24-27, Acts 3:15, 5:31, Revelation 1:5, also For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 etc. not to muddle with the angel of death, that is Satan e.g. John 12:31, 16:11 where Satan is referred to the prince of this world.

[3] See also – The Davidic Covenant in The Eight Covenants of God - http://www.life-everlasting.net/pages/messages/God/Eigh covenants of God - summary.php

 

David L Simon
Updated: 03 Dec 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