I realize that I might be going through this somewhat quickly. The reason is to try to explain ( Tribulation ). However, I feel a need to point out a few things here. As we head into the next event let’s s look at a few more things we might have overlooked in the last segment. We seen the building of a nation ( The Nation of Israel ). Within that time, God also handed down the law ( we call it basically the Ten Commandments ). Although it’s more to ( the Law ) than just the Ten Commandments ); these were written or given to the Nation of Israel; some real laws to govern them.

I tried to point out that before this period of time it was as simple as people that trusted God, had faith in God to spread his knowledge to the masses. There was no law to speak of. We could asked the question, up until that time: ( who is God )? When God seperated a people unto himself ( the Nation of Israel ) he also, through the law revealed who he was, what he expected from people that followed him. If you study through Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus you will see the giving of that law. It was given to Moses.

I’d like to share something with you that many people misunderstand. Actually, the law was never given to live by. As a matter of fact, it is impossible to live by. Another point that needs to be made is that ( the law ) was only given to ( the Nation of Israel ). It was not given to the Gentiles. These things are easily proven but, hard to comprehend by many people. As I make that statement, it’s not to say God isn’t pleased with people seeking to live a life that pleases him but,rather that he knows and, always has that it is an impossible task.

So, let’s take scripture and prove these two things. First of all, Moses led ( God’s people ) out of Egypt. He also continued to lead them all through his life. But to take it a step farther, look at this verse: ( Romans 3:2 ) Much every way:chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. In the first verse: ( Romans 3:1 ) we see ( What advantage then hath the Jew ) ? God gave his law, expressly to his people. As a matter of fact, every Gentile, even up until the days of Jesus Christ were considered ( dogs ), ( worthless ), ( without hope ).

Look at this statement made by Jesus Christ: ( Matthew 15:26 ) But he answered and said, it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. If you go back to ( verse 24 ) here, he says this: ( I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of Israel. At the same time I say that, I still want you to see this: ( verse 27-28 ) And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from the master’s table. ( 28 ) Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that hour.

Do you remember, I said, it has always been by faith? We see that here! Although this woman was a Gentile, she received the blessing from God. However, that doesn’t change the fact that God gave the law to the Jews.

With that knowledge, what then is the purpose of the law? ( Galatians 3:24 ) Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

It’s a lot to see; however, God’s desire was for Israel to understand that, as people, they were not perfect but, God wanted them to walk with him by faith, just simply trust him. But, what did Israel do? If you will read the gospels you will see that the high priests of that day had changed ( God’s law ) into laws that they demanded of the people. Instead of simply understanding God’s will, they set out to become a law for themselves.

I’ll try to put this in my own words. Let’s say there’s a choir leader. He or she tells the choir member that; if they desire to sing in the choir that they must abide by these rules. The choir leader writes ten rules to abide by. Each person that desired to sing; agreed to abide by those rules. What does that mean? It means that the choir leader was well pleased with his choir but, not one of them were any closer to God the father! do you see what I’m saying?

Even if you were able to keep all of the commandments of God, to the letter, that’s not what God desires. He desire is for you to love him, even in your imperfections. He desires for you to see your need for his forgiveness.. To walk with him, seek to please him by choice, not by any law.

The nation of Israel never could see this concept. Now, let’s look at one other verse: ( Luke 14:23 ) And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

God gave the Nation of Israel every opportunity to follow him, seek him but, they would not, So, what did God do? In my simple terms; God pick Israel up and set them on a shelf. ( Romans 11:24-25 ) For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these , which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? ( 25 ) For I would not, brethren, that ye be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

This is exactly what happened when Jesus Christ died and rose again. In the Book of Acts ( Acts 2 ) we see where the Spirit of God fell on 120 believers. This was the beginning of the Church. I’ve shared with you how God spoke directly to Adam, Noah and Abram. Then we could see how God spoke to his people through prophets all through the Old Testament. We seen how ( in the last days ) he spoke through his son Jesus Christ. When the Church was born in ( Acts 2 ) we now see how God has placed his spirit on ever born again believer. Now, even at this time, when any person is born again, God’s Spirit moves into that heart and God teaches that individual and, equips that person to be able to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I’ve tried to show you a beginning and an end to each time God used a different way of touching, speaking to his people. Here we see the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the end of the ( 69th week ) and now the beginning of the Church. For now, just over 2000 years, depending on what time table one might use, God, through and by His Spirit has been calling out, whosoever will come to be a part of the Church. It will continue until ( the fulness of the Gentiles be come in ). No one knows when that will be.

( The Church ) is a called out. peculiar people. Our responsibility on this earth, once Christ comes and lives within our hearts is to be ambassadors for Jesus Christ to this sin cursed world. Remember, it’s to whosoever will. That means that even every Jew can become a member of the body of Christ as well.

Each period of time had a beginning and, an event that marked the end. So, what will be the end of what we call the Church age? If you will notice; in ( Romans 11:25 ) the last part of that verse says this : ( until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in ). What are those Gentiles ( come in to ) or ( born in to )? We; as Gentiles are born into ( the Church ). There’s not but two groups of people as far as God the Father is concerned. You are either a Gentiles or, you are a Jew meaning, you are born into the family of ( God’s Chosen People ).

If you remember, the Bible says ( whosoever will ). That means that Gentiles and Jews alike can be born into the body of Christ; which is ( the Church ). Now, I’m going to say here that, ( The Rapture ) will happen when ( the fulness of the Gentiles are in ). When the rapture takes place then, the 70th week will begin. That week has nothing to do with the Church, It’s all about God dealing with Israel as spoken by Daniel.

( Has it ever occurred to you, that nothing has ever occurred to God )? If you have been following with each segment, all the way through this, you know we started all the way back with Adam and Eve In Genesis. Now, I want you to see something here:

( Ephesians 1:1-6 )

( 1) Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: ( 2 ) Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. ( 3 ) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: ( 4 ) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: ( 5 ) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, ( 6 ) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

I wanted you to see this to show you that ( the Church ) was in the mind and heart of God before he created Eden, and place Adam and Eve in that garden. ( The Church ) is a called out group of people, we are the bride of Christ. That whole concept was in God’s mind from the very beginning. ( The Church ) has nothing to do with a building, even a place; as a matter of fact, we are not of this world, we are ambassators for Jesus Christ in the world. ( 2 Corinthians 5:20 ) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did besceech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

We are a ( chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people ).

( 1 Peter 2:9 )

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Now, look at this nrxt verse:

( 1 Peter 2:10 )

Which in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

( THE CHURCH ) was completely non-existant other than in the mind and heart of God; before the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Church had its beginning in ( Acts 2 ) and it will end when we are ( taken up ) just before the final week of ( desolation ) God determined on the Nation of Israel. so now, let’s try and prove some of this.

First, let’s establish the fact that Jesus was seen of people after his resurrection. ( 1 Corinthians 15: 5-7 ) And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: ( 6 ) After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some have fallen asleep. ( 7 ) After that, he was seen of James, then all of the apostles.

We could go back in the gospels and see some of these events but, we’ll simply look at one of them. ( Luke 24:46-49 ) And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: ( 47 ) And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. ( 48 ) And ye are witnesses of these things. ( 49 ) And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

If you continue to read there you will see that he was ( carried up into heaven ). Actually, and it’s a proven fact that ten days later, they were endued with power from on high. That happened in ( Acts 2 ). You can read somewhat the same thing in ( Acts 1 ) but, it actually happened in:

( Acts 2:1-4 ) And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. ( 2 ) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. ( 3 ) And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. ( 4 ) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

There were 120 believers there that day. Those were the very first members of the new born Church. This was the first time in history that God’s Spirit was upon every believer. Up until now, at this time, God, himself choose to whom he would allow his spirit to be upon. On this day, just because someone ( believes ) God’s Spirit comes upon them and dwells there. If you will continue to read in ( Acts ) you will see that the preaching of God’s word caused many others to believe and, God’s Spirit was upon them as well.

Today, some two thousand years later, when any person asked Jesus Christ to be their savior, the very instant they believe, that same spirit comes upon them as well. At that moment they also become a member of ( the univeral Church ). That Church is a living organism, it lives it breathes just like a living body. As some die off, others are born into it.

The true picture of the ( living organism ) we call ( the Church ) is of men and women, willingly ( dying to self ) and allowing Jesus Christ, God’s Holy Spirit to live through their walk and talk. Do you realize that the very same Spirit that lived in Jesus Christ; now lives within you; if you are born again?

The Church, if it’s done correctly is an organized organism. What does that mean? It means that it’s just like your body. As your life continues, you have cells that die off and other are made but, you always keep the same basic form. God gave, some pastors, teachers, evangelist and so on for the develpoment of the body he created. ( Ephesians 4:11 ). And he gave some apostles, and some,prophets, and some evangelist, and some pastors and teachers. If you continue to read here; it says it’s there for the ( perfecting of the saints ) ( for the work of the ministry ) ( for the edifying of the body of Christ ).

Now, I’d like to point out something here. In every other period of time we mentioned, as time moved foward, men became less about God and more about their own personal desires. They began to basically make or create their own laws that they live by. We also see that in the Church. We won’t look at it all but, let’s look at:

( Revelation 3:14-19 ) 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. ( 16 ) So then because thou are 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:( 18 ) I councel thee to by of me gold tried with fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. ( 19 ) As may as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Now, look at ( Verse 20 ) Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him. and will sup with him, and he with me.

This is a picture of the ( last days of the Church ). Does it sound familiar? Now, before we move to the rapture; I’d like to make a comparison here. The very same way that the ( Holy Ghost ) of God fell on 120 believers that brought the Church into being, when the rapture takes place, that ( Holy Gost ) will be removed from this earth.

If we go back to ( the flood of Noah ). In ( Genesis 5:25-26 ) we see a man named ( Methuselah ). This man lived longer that any other human on the face of this earth. ( nine hundred and sixty nine years ). ( I believe ) this man is a type of the Holy Ghost of God. In other words ( when Methuselah died ) the flood came.

The picture is that ( the Holy Ghost of God ) basically speaking, came to live on this earth through born again believers in ( Acts 2 ). He will be on this earth all the way up until the rapture. When the rapture happen; ( Tribulation begins ). The 70th week of what God determined upon the ( Nation of Israel ).

The word ( rapture ) is not found in scripture. The meaning of that word is : ( a feeling of intense pleasure or joy ). That definition is the excitement felt when someone longs for home and finally gets to go.

Before we get into this. I’d like for you to ask yourself something. if you consider yourself as ( born Again ). Do you long for; look for; the return of Jesus Christ? Are you excited about going to your heavenly home? If you can answer that question with a ( yes ) then that in itself is a blessing ( to God ) ( from you ). ( 2 Timothy 4:8 ) Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

If you’ll notice here, it says ( a crown of righteousness ). This is one of five crowns we see in the New Testament that born again believers can win. We see here that this one can be won simply by ( longing for, looking for for, his appearing.

What we call the ( rapture ) is not easily seen in scripture. God designed it just that way. Look at this verse: 1( 1 Corinthians 2:14 ) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are sipritually discerned.

Even as people that are born again, we must get beyond our natural way of thinking and allow God’s spirit to teach us truth. Althouth I ( as an individual ) am born again, I am still in my flesh. I must be willing to overcome the weakness of my own flesh to allow God to reveal truth to even me.

Now, speaking of being ( caught up ) let’s look at a couple of verses: First ( 1 Corinthians 15:50-52 ) Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. ( 51 ) Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, ( 52 ) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Now, let’s look at these verses: ( 1 Thessalonians 4: 13- 18 ) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are sleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. ( 14 ) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. ( 15 ) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that they which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. ( 16 ) For the Lord himself shall descend from with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: ( 17 ) 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. ( 18 ) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

So, to take this one step further, who is it that wrote both of these letters and, why is that important? The Apostle Paul wrote both of these letters. Let’s look at why we need to know this and, why it’s important. ( Ephesians 3:1-4 ) For this cause I Paul, the prinsoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, ( 2 ) If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: ( 3 ) How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery;( as I wrote afore in few words, ( 4 ) Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ ) ( 5 ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and the prophets by the Spirit;

The whole concept of the Church is a mystery. Do you see in that group of verse it says ( WHICH IN OTHER AGES WAS NOT MADE KNOWN )? Did not Jesus Christ bring an end to ( the age of Law ) when he died on the cross ? Therefore, although we can read about aspects of the return of Christ in the gospels, we can see a lot of things that will transpire, we cannot see the catching up of the Church. That whole mystery was revealed to the apostle to the Gentiles ( the Apostle Paul ).

I can show you that there is a vast difference between the ( Kingdom of Heaven ) and ( the Kingdom of God ). We are simply not being taught that difference. Now, let me ask you something! When we speak of ( the rapture ) or ( being caught up ), where are we going to be caught up to and, why?

I’ll try and address this in the next segment. I’ve tried to show you why the rapture will take place before any part of the Tribulation. Just as the Church was started, had its beginning after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, ( the age of Grace ) The Church age ) will end when Jesus shouts from the clouds to call the Church home. Where is our Home? The answer in the next segment!

Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7

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