Presentation on theme: "“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word."— Presentation transcript:
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18
Scripturesfulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ The Church was established by Jesus and was inaugurated at Pentecost as described in the Book of Acts. It is comprised by every man, woman, and child who has trusted Christ as Lord and Savior from the time of Pentecost up until the occurrence of the Rapture. It forms the visible expression of the gathered followers of Jesus Christ who have been grafted into a community created by God, and under the banner of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it will remain as a living testimony to Christ until it is called to heaven by the Lord at the Rapture. Unlike the 21 st Century, with its limitless number of denominations and sub-denominations, in the 1 st Century there was only one denomination, and it did not derive its theology or direction from traditions concocted by men, but was founded on the Scriptures and how they were fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ. During the closing months of His earthly ministry, Jesus predicted what events would precede His second coming at the conclusion of human history.
The bible teaches us that the Church will play a pivotal role in the events leading up to the culmination of this age. But this role will also be marked with great deception within the church and will be characterized by the appearance of many false christs and false prophets. In order to understand these events properly we must first gain a correct understanding of what comprises “the Church”. The Church in the context of biblical eschatology does not refer to a building but to the collective of true believers that have accepted Christ as their Savior and are led by the Spirit of God to do the will of the Father. Unfortunately not all that profess to be followers of Christ, truly are. In one of the most sobering passages in the Scripture, Jesus Himself makes the following declaration in Matthew 7:21-23 “21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23 He shows in verse 21 that there will be those that profess belief (“Lord, Lord”) but fail to obey God and do not possess a true love for God or the things of God in their hearts (“but he that doeth the will of my Father”). They subscribe to the mantra of Crowley (“do what thou wilt”) rather than Christ’s self-sacrificing declaration (“thy will be done”). many In verse 22 He declares that this reality is not limited to only a few people, but to a majority of those that profess Him as Lord (“many will say to me”). They loudly demonstrate their supposed righteous works (“done many wonderful works”), but in verse 23, He rejects their alleged righteous works (“depart from me, ye that work iniquity”). us Him His What everyone must learn is that the true Church is not about us or the things we do, but it is all about Him and the salvation that He has purchased for us. Everything we do in the name of the Kingdom must be done with His glory in mind and never for our own selfish wants or from a desire to “play church”. This is what separates the “church” (small “c”) from the true Church (capital “C”). The bible teaches us that the last days will be characterized by a profusion of false christs, false prophets, and the people that have been deceived by them; each professing “Christ” but in reality upholding a self-serving and man-centered theology filled with feel-good easy believism founded upon a smorgasbord-like theology, where everyone can create a god that possesses the characteristics that they desire. This is characterized in Revelation 3:14-17 where Jesus gives the following admonishment to that church of the 1 st Century and to ours of the 21 st Century: “ 14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. because thou art lukewarmI will spue thee out of my mouth 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”
The emergence of false christs, false prophets, and the Laodicean Church
Revelation 13:11-14 “ 11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” In verse 11 we see the False Prophet described as having “two horns like a lamb” (appearing to be righteous) but speaking like a dragon (hurling satanically-inspired false theology and deceiving the world into believing the Christ-less gospel of the Antichrist). We see signs of this already, with the vast majority of “spiritual” leaders advocating theological co-existence and talk of unity in religion. But Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 “ 14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.” Nonetheless, the false prophet will cause all the deceived of the world to be united into a worldwide apostate religion, completely bereft of the true reality of Christ, and it will culminate into what is referred to in Revelation 17 as the Harlot Church. It will be satanically controlled through the Antichrist and his paladin, the False Prophet. REJECTION OF THE TRUTH COMING ONE WORLD RELIGION EMERGENCE OF THE LAODICEAN CHURCH SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS RISE OF FALSE TEACHERS
Rapture Second Coming Eternity Past Eternity Future New Heavens & New Earth Satan Cast Out Innocence Conscience Human Govt. Promise Law First Coming Resurrection Church Age Tribulation Millennial Reign of Christ Wicked Dead Are Raised Wicked Dead Cast Alive Into The Lake of Fire Armageddon Old TestamentNew Testament Creation The Fall The Flood The Tower of Babel The Exodus Judgment Seat of Christ (The Bema) 3½ Years 7 Years Seven Seals Seven Trumpets Seven Bowls As we have noted in Part 1 of this presentation, the secular world believes that time has always existed and that it will continue to exist forever. This fact is revealed by the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 3:3-6 where he states: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” But God’s word teaches that God is not limited by the constraints of time and that He exists outside of time and that time was created by Him and that it had a specific beginning (at the creation of the world) and that it will one day come to an end (at the establishment of a new heavens and a new earth). The Church Age will close and the Tribulation will begin when the true Church is translated to heaven at the Rapture. On this prophetic timeline, we are currently at this position, awaiting the translation of true believers! After this happens the man of sin will soon after be revealed and the Antichrist will begin his satanically-inspired seven- year reign on earth. Satan’s Final Rebellion Satan Bound for 1000 Years
Before Jesus ascended into heaven atop the Mount of Olives, He warned His Apostles that difficult times would precede His return, chief of which would include widespread deception. In Matthew 24:4-5 He warned them to: many shall come and shall deceive many “4 … Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” false Christsfalse prophets He continues this theme in Matthew 24:24-25 where He warns of not only false Christs but the appearance of false prophets as well. The text reads: “24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before.” In just these four verses short verses Jesus provides us with a great deal of information about what will mark the time of His return. First, in verse 5 we read that “many shall come”, warning us that these imposters will be numerous in the last days. Christ’s warning takes on a special significance when we consider imposters like Jim Jones, David Koresh, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Marshall Applewhite, Sathya Sai Baba, along with a plethora of others, that have deceived millions away from the true Christ. We can protect ourselves from charlatans like these by remembering what Jesus declared in Luke 17:24 regarding His return. He declared: “24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.” Jesus is declaring that His return to the earth will be an undeniable event and no one will need to ascertain whether it has occurred or not – it will be an irrefutable fact! This is never the case when dealing with false Christs, as their claims will never be universally accepted, at least while the true Church is still on the earth. Second, in verse 5 He warns that they “shall deceive many”. This tells us that these imposters will build their followings based on lies and deceit and will lead many of the willfully-ignorant to destruction. This fact reinforces the importance of acquiring biblical discernment, as only the insight given by the Holy Spirit can stand against this level of deception! Third, in Matthew verse 24 He declares that they “shall shew great signs and wonders” indicating that these workers of Satan will be empowered to perform false miracles and that they would be of such a convincing nature that “if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect”. This is a sobering foreshadowing of the extreme nature of things to come and that the Church needs to be thoroughly equipped to stand against this deception as there has been a dramatic increase in reports of apparitions and wonders around the world, such as alleged appearances of the Virgin Mary, the multiplying of food, and even claims of people being raised from the dead! Lastly, He declares, “Behold, I have told you before”, indicating that those that have been deceived will be without excuse, as He has openly and clearly declared to them all of this in advance.
These warnings continue throughout the rest of the New Testament and are reinforced in the Epistles of Paul, Peter, and Jude. They issue similar admonitions. In Acts 20:28-30 Paul provided the following warning to the Church: grievous wolves enter in among you “28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” The Apostle Peter continues this theme in 2 Peter 2:1-3 where he warns: there shall be false teachers among you many shall follow their pernicious ways through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you “1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” And in Jude 3-4 we read: ye should earnestly contend for the faith certain men crept in unawares turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness “3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” “23 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 23:1
All of these admonishments were delivered for a very good reason. It is expressly stated that it is God’s desire that all men would turn from their sin-filled ways and repent. This truth is recorded in 2 Peter 3:3-9 there shall come in the last days scoffers “ 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” permanent unchangeable Most people are unaware of the fact that Christ spoke more of the horrors of hell than He did about the glories of heaven. He did so because the human mind is wholly incapable of comprehending what ‘eternity’ truly means. Jesus taught that all men are destined for one of two possible destinations (Luke 16:19-31) and both are permanent and unchangeable. This is why the consequences of deception are so devastating. This is also why He is longsuffering and delays His coming; to provide time for those that are indifferent to His offer of salvation - even those that scoff at the veracity of His written word! God further declares in Ezekiel 18:22-23 that He does not gain any satisfaction in the demise of the wicked: “ 23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? says the Lord God, and not that he should turn from his ways and live?” DEMANDS It is clearly God’s preference that men would turn from evil and rebellion against Him. But make no mistake, God will not force Himself on mankind and unless they repent and seek Christ’s offer of salvation, their ultimate end will be in the lake of fire and eternal separation from their creator. When they worship a different Jesus, one of their own devising; one with a character and nature that is not in accord with what the Scriptures reveal, they are also subscribing to another gospel – a gospel that has absolutely no power to save! And it is to this end that the deceived will ultimately find themselves. The rejection of an eternal God DEMANDS an eternal punishment!
mean to youwhat does God mean by what He said! What must not rely on the traditions our denomination teaches but what God’s word teaches. We hear many teachers asking, “What does this verse mean to you?” But to be quite frank, it does not matter one ounce what a verse might mean to you, the question is what does God mean by what He said! All verses in the bible have many applications but they only have one, true interpretation. And this is the real danger of denominationalism. They oftentimes allow human traditions to supersede the true meaning of God’s word. God is honored when His word is rightly divided and He is dishonored whenever His word is modified or misunderstood. Contrary to popular belief, we cannot know God apart from knowing His written word. God no longer speaks audibly to us, but He communicates with us exclusively through His written word, as the Holy Spirit illuminates to our minds the spiritual truths that His Scriptures contain. Unfortunately, much of the church today has made merchandise of God’s word by sugar-coating it to make it more appealing and palatable to those that seek a god of convenience and of their own design rather than the true God of perfection, righteousness and justice. These purveyors of error will generally take a low view of the Scriptures and will elevate feelings and experience above the truth of God. Once again God’s word provides us with the underlying reason for this view. It is given by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:18 where he writes: men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness “ 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” In verse 18 it speaks of “men who hold the truth in unrighteousness”. The word translated “hold” is from the Greek word ‘katecho’ (pronounced kat- ekh'-o) which means to suppress, hold down, or withhold. The phrase “in unrighteousness” is from the Greek en adikia (en ad-ee-kee'-ah) which can be more clearly understood to mean “in favor of wickedness”. So the passage might read: all “ For the wrath of God is unleashed against all who display irreverence to God and favor wickedness, who suppress and withhold the truth of God in favor of their desire to commit wickedness ”
We have looked at only one aspect of many prophetic programs which are predicted to unfold during the time leading up to the end of the age. Christ warned His disciples and the generations that would follow, that spiritual deception will be one of the primary methods by which Satan will beguile men into rejecting the truth of God and moving them toward a Christ-less eternity. He will use varied methods to accomplish his plan, but none will be more effective than his use of pseudo- religion. What tactic could be more effective than for him to strike at his prey from within the apparent security of the “church”. The minions of Satan will disguise themselves as preachers of righteousness and will even use terms which sound biblical but in reality will have a completely different meaning when they are compared, in context, to the word of God. For the Apostle Paul warned of this in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 where he declared: his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; “ 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” We must remain vigilant and grounded in God’s word and not in the traditions and false-theology of men. Many people today that profess to be believers are in reality believing a half-truth. Most have been taught to speak only of the “love” of Jesus and rarely to consider what He taught regarding His righteousness and the condemnation of unrepentant sin. Many can quote John 3:16 but fail to read just two verses farther where Jesus declared to Nicodemus: “ 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” The phrase “believeth on him” does not mean simply believing that He exists for James 2:19 states: “ 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe — and tremble!” What we can learn from this passage is that intellectual knowledge that Christ exists does not save you, as demons believe that He exists but are still eternally condemned (they tremble at the thought of their coming demise).
We need to understand the true reason why Jesus came to the world and what His primary purpose was. His first appearance was not devoted to making the world a utopia, where everyone was happy, healthy, and wealthy. Instead His purpose was to provide salvation and to rescue those that seek God from the eternally damning effects of sin. For we read: to give his life a ransom for many.” “ 25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28 that he might bring us to God “ 18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” 1 Peter 3:18 that he might redeem us from all iniquity “ 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:13-14 “ 3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:” Galatians 1:3-4 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: “ 12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Colossians 1:12-17
Satan, through his minions, will attempt to distract us away from the true purposes of Christ by utilizing worldliness, the flesh, and his own guile to draw us away from the truth of God. Satan is crafty and sly and will use every advantage to draw us away from Christ and His purposes. He will use the worlds ideas of morality, fairness, social customs, and the philosophies of men to undermine and oppose God’s people and God’s word. He is often successful by appealing to the fleshly desires of men and women which are often hidden inside the development of the “culture” which he himself develops through the lusts of ungodly men and women who have rejected the ways of God in favor of Satan’s system of “do what thou wilt”. Evil spirits will be especially active during the end times, leading people to take part in the occult religions (i.e. New Age Movement, Mormonism, Romanism, Eastern Religion, etc.), sexual immorality, violence, cruelty and mass deception. They will assail and attempt to vilify God’s Word and steer people away from biblical doctrine and truth. For in 2 Timothy 4:3-5 the text reads: “ 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” Stay grounded in the word of God and do not be conformed to the deceptions within the world but have your mind transformed and renewed by the Spirit of God. This is available to all who put their faith and trust in Christ, by confessing their sins before God, turning from those sins through repentance, and believing that Christ came to redeem all who come to Him in spirit and truth, believing that He died in our place for the forgiveness of our sins and rose from the dead to prove that He was who He claimed to be. Be content with the promises of God and the provision that God gives to all who trust Him. Do not seek after the things of the world but seek after the things of God - spiritual things, heavenly things - for one day soon, the trumpet of God will sound and we who have believed in Christ and trusted in Him for our salvation, will be translated into heaven and inherit the Kingdom of God that was prepared for us from before the foundations of the earth, for it is written in 1 Peter 1:3-7 “ 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”