In the last segment I sought to point how God, through the loins of Abraham brought about a nation to which he calls his own. That nation was the Nation of Israel. We called that segment (Law). The period of time extended all the way up until the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We also looked at a few events that took place at the very time Jesus Christ died and, some things that took place after his resurrection.
Fifty days after his resurrection came the (day of Pentecost). On that day the spirit of God fell on 120 believers that were in one accord in one place. We see this in:
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 A RUSHING MIGHTY WIND, AND IT FILLED ALL THE HOUSE WHERE THEY WERE SITTING. (3) AND THERE APPEARED UNTO THEM CLOVEN TONGIES 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.
Here, we see the birth od the Church. I feel it necessary as we continue toward the time of tribulation to stop here and teach a few defining factors about what we see here. I realize that it takes God’s spirit to teach and reveal all truth to any person. With that being stated, I pray he can use me as a vessel of his use to teach this to the understanding of many people.
Beginning in this segment we’ll see the word (whosoever) used many times. We can see that word all the way through the Bible and, it would be a very good study to see just how it’s used all the way through. For the sake of this study and the trail toward tribulation, I’d like to show you how it’s used in the gospels and beyond.
As we look at all four gospels, we see the word (whosoever) in all four. However, when that word is used in the gospels it’s not all conclusive. We can see a distinct change inn how it’s used in the gospel of John. What would be the reason for this? The reason for this is all about the progression of time toward the end times. The spiritual growth of the people of Israel and also the Church as time moves forward.
First, let’s see Jesus Christ himself. In the four gospels, he reveals himself in four different ways. In the book of Matthew, he is the King of the Jews. In the book of Mark, he is the servant of man. In the book of Luke, he is the son of man and in the book of John, he is the Son of God.
In the book of Matthew, it’s all about the Jews, the Nation of Israel. As we move through the next two books, we see that he becomes more about all people the way things are worded and not just about the nation of Israel. When we get to John, (the Son of God) the word (whosoever) is always about any person that desires his saving grace. Let’s look at a couple of examples.
One of the best examples of this is seen in the conversation with the woman from Canaan. We see this first in :
AND, BEHOLD, A WOMAN OF CANAAN CAME OUT OF THE SAME COASTS, AND CRIED UNTO HIM, SAYING, HAVE MERCY ON ME, O LORD, THOU SON OF DAVID; MY DAUGHTER IS GRIEVOUSLY VEXED WITH A DEVIL. (23) BUT HE ANSWERED HER NOT A WORD. AND HIS DISCIPLES CAME AND BESOUGHT HIM, SAYING, SEND HER AWAY; FOR SHE CRIETH AFTER US. (24) BUT HE ANSWERED AND SAID, I AM NOT SENT BUT UNTO THE LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL. (25) THEN CAME SHE AND WORSHIPPED HIM, SAYING, LORD, HELP ME. (26) BUT HE ANSWERED AND SAID, IT IS NOT MEET TO TAKE THE CHILDREN’S BREAD, AND CAST IT TO DOGS. (27) AND SHE SAID, TRUTH, LORD: YET THE DOGS EAT OF THE CRUMBS WHICH FALL FROM THE MASTER’S TABLE.
If you continue to read in this scripture, you will see that he does heal this woman’s daughter because of her great faith. However, that is not the point. He makes it clear that he is there just for Israel.
Now, let’s read this same account in the book of Mark:
BUT JESUS SAID UNTO HER, LET THE CHILDREN FIRST BE FILLED: FOR IT IS NOT MEET TO TAKE THE CHILDREN’S BREAD AND TO CAST OT TO DOGS.
Can you see the difference in the way it’s worded in this book? Here, he is not completely leaving her out but rather making sure Israel is first to get the blessing.
We don’t see this conversation with this woman either in Luke or John. However, we do see the use of the word (dogs) in Luke.
AND DESIRING TO BE FED WITH THE CRUMBS WHICH FELL FROM THE RICH MAN’S TABLE: MOREOVER THE DOGS CAME AND LICKED HIS SORES.
Here we see a story about a man named Lazarus that was full of sores and begged to be fed from the rich man’s table. The word dogs in this are not a reference to him however, we see that he is in the same place the dogs would be. We don’t see any mention of dogs in the book of John. I mention these things to make a very powerful spiritual point. When we see (the crumbs); that is a reference to the very word of God we now have the ability to read. It’s in no way all that God the Father knows or even has to say but, it’s all we need to know as we travel through our lives that we might know him, and salvation might be ours.
In the gospels we see a progression toward (whosoever will). In the gospels that progression is about Jesus Christ being to king of Israel and changing to the savior of the world. We see that same progression continued in the Book of Acts. The Apostles begin the preach the gospel to the Jews only and then we see that it becomes to again (whosoever will). The teaching is important to understand as it might relate to the Tribulation period how things change from the nation of Israel and that nation being set aside with the Church becoming the body of Christ.
Before we seek to prove that the nation Of Israel was, shall we say (placed on a shelf), I’d like to take the time here to make a very important spiritual point. When we speak or see the reference of dogs used in the verses we read and Lazarus begging for the crumbs I like for you to consider something. A hungry dog or, in the case of Lazarus isn’t choosy with what crumbs fall from the table. Every crumb that falls, they eat!
As born-again believers are we not hungry for every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God? Have we become selective in what we choose to take in spiritually as far as what we study? I believe so! I say this because of the simple fact of the denominations we see. Most of us will go to our perspective Churches, sit and listen to a pastor a few minutes, get up and go home. If we attend Sunday School, we’ll say we study our Sunday School quarterlies and simply believe what we read there.
When we become spiritually hungry for the crumbs of God’s word, truth it will cause us to find every crumb we can as we seek to find truth as revealed by God’s Spirt through his word. We’ll stop being selective in what we hear or believe and reach far beyond the teaching of any one denomination. Do you realize it cannot be but one truth therefore, can’t we find error in any denomination? Far too often we fall in love with pastors, people and Churches and not in love with the truth and seek to know Jesus Christ from the word he gives us.
Even as I write these chapters seeking to show what tribulation is and why, are you going to simply take my word for it and not find out truth for yourself? I beg you to allow God’s spirit to prove me right or wrong that you might know truth beyond what I might say.
In the previous chapter we seen what God said to Daniel as it relates to the Nation of Israel. We’ve seen that the sixty- nineth week ended at the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As we now get into the age of grace, I believe it’s something we must point out about what we now call the Church. We can get very deep into this but, since we are seeking to teach tribulation, we’ll simply show things that can be seen as relative to that study.
First of all, the Apostle Paul is the Apostle to the Gentiles. The other eleven Apostles are there for Israel. We have already point out that the gospel was to the Jew first and then to the uttermost parts of the earth. Even the Apostle Paul in the book of Acts started his ministry offering the gospel to the nation of Israel. However, look at this verse:
AND WHEN THEY OPPOSED THEMSELVES, AND BLASPHEMED, HE SHOOK HIS RAIMENT, AND SAID UNTO THEM, YOUR BLOOD BE UPON YOUR OWN HEADS; I AM CLEAN: FROM HENCEGORTH I WILL GO UNTO THE GENTILES.
We see that it came a day when even the Apostle Paul had done all he was supposed to for the nation he loved, his people. While his calling was to the Gentiles, he still offered the gospel he preached to the nation of Israel first in obedience to God’s word. I feel we must make this point. It is the nation that is blinded to the gospel of Jesus Christ, not individual Jews. For instance, all the Apostles were Jews, even the Apostle Paul, they all believed. On the day of Pentecost, all the one hundred and twenty believers in which the Holy Ghost fell were Jews.
The time to which we now live has been in existence for some two thousand years. From the very beginning of the age of law the nation of Israel was blinded to the very concept of what we know as the Church. The Bible calls it a mystery meaning it could have been seen in the Old Testament, but a person would have to be desirous to see it with the spiritual eye.
From the very start of the Church all the eleven Apostles at that time didn’t understand the concept of what God was doing. Each of them in the very beginning truly believed that Jesus Christ would be back very quickly to be their king. It would take years for them to be taught by God’s spirit exactly what had transpired, In the very beginning they couldn’t even see the Apostle Paul or recognize him as their equal.
As it relates to the Tribulation period, this age (the age of grace) will end with the rapture of the Church. The word (rapture is not seen in scripture but there are verses we can see and know what it relates to the word (rapture). So, let’s look at a few 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 WE 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 HEAVEN 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 COUGHT 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.
This event, the calling up of the body of Christ from this earth marks the end of this age. We can also see a verse or verses in the Revelation that we can relate to this event.
AFTER THIS I LOOKED, AND, BEHOLD, A DOOR WAS OPENED IN HEAVEN: AND THE FIRST VOICE WHICH I HEARD WAS AS IT WERE OF A TRUMPET TALKING WITH ME; WHICH SAID, COME UP HITHER, AND I WILL SHEW THEE THINGS WHICH MUST BE HEREAFTER.
If you’ll read the first three chapters, you’ll see that Jesus is basically talking to the Churches and sharing how he feel about the Church as the centuries go by. Every Church he names relates to a period of time during this age. After we see the verse in (chapter four) the Church is not mentioned again until the end of the book of Revelation when Jesus returns for the Nation of Israel to establish his kingdom here on this earth.
During the next seven years, the Church is above this earth watching the things as they unfold upon this earth. The Church has no part in the tribulation that God has determined upon his people, Israel.
Here, I will mention that there are at least three different opinions about this, and I’ll mention all three. However, there can’t be but one truth. I personally believe that we must allow God’s spirit to teach and never men, even me. As we consider the other mindsets, only you can allow God’s spirit to show you truth.
The way many describe what I teach is called a (pre-millennial). That word simply means that the Church will be raptured before the tribulation starts. In my heart, I don’t need a word to describe truth as revealed by God’s spirit, it’s simply truth and can be studied out as fact. I, myself have often wondered about that word and what it means. Does it mean that the tribulation period (seven years) are seen as part of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, it’s just seen as the first part of that time?
If we compare it to Noah’s Ark and flood, can we say that the flood was a part of the next few years of life after the flood? or, can we call the time that Noah and his family stayed on that Ark a completely different time than the time before or after? In my opinion and, only my opinion, this makes a valid point. We can compare the time on the Ark to the Church in the sense that they are kept above and away from to chaos on the earth during the change from one period of time to another.
We’ll get more into the next segment of tribulation and even describe some things but, there is a vast difference in the time of the flood and the tribulation period. At the same time, they both are a transition from one way God deals with people to another. Even the Book of Acts is a transition period from one period of time to another in which we have mentioned.
One of the other mindsets of teaching is called (post millennial). In this mindset these people believe that Jesus Christ established his kingdom on earth through his preaching and redemptive work in the first century and that he equips his church with the gospel, empowers the church by the spirit and charges the church with the great commission (Matthew 28:19) to disciple all nations. Postmillennialism believes that eventually the vast majority of the people on earth will be saved as time moves forward. After an extensive era of such conditions, Jesus Christ will make himself visible bodily, and gloriously, to end history with the general resurrection and the final judgment after which the eternal order follows.
This is somewhat of my own understanding of what they believe. And I’m sure that there are various versions of what each mindset teaches.
The (amillennial) believe that there will be no millennial reign of the righteous on earth. They believe that the thousand years spoken of in (Revelation 20) is symbolic in nature. Again, I don’t study what they believe and I’m sure there are various versions of this as well.
Personally, while I might relate to the (Premillennial) I believe we should forget each teaching and simply study God’s word to see truth and believe God’s word as I have already stated. (In my opinion) many people have a tendency to simply believe what some denomination teaches or a specific group such as either one of these three millennial mindsets.
I’d like to share something about the period of time to which we live. From the beginning of this period of time as we see in (Acts two) until it ends at the rapture of the Church is the only period of time when God’s spirit has the ability to live within the heart of every believer. The way God work in this period is like this. In the beginning of this period, God placed his Spirit in the heart of (120 believers). Those one hundred and twenty believers at that time began to share what was within them and many other people believed. As that happen those people went about sharing what was in their heart and, that still takes place today some two thousand years later.
What the Bible teaches during this age is that as time passes there is less and less of that spirit within people and therefore less and less people truly hear truth. There are many verses that teach this. We’ll look at a couple.
2 Timothy 4:1-4
I CHARGE THEE THEREFORE BEFORE GOD, AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, WHO SHALL JUDGE THE QUICK AND THE DEAD AT HIS APPEARING AND HIS KINGDOM; (20) PREACH THE WORD, BE INSTANT IN SEASON, OUT OF SEASON, REPROVE, REBUKE, EXHORT WITH ALL LONGSUFFERING AND DOCTRINE. (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 TURN TO FABLES.
Now, look at these verses:
2 Thessalonians 2:1-7
NOW WE BESEECH YOU, BRETHREN, BY THE COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND BY OUR GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO HIM, (2) THAT YE BE NOT SOON SHAKEN IN MIND, OR BE TROUBLED, NEITHER BY SPIRIT, NOR BY WORD, NOR BY LETTER AS FROM US, AS THAT THE DAY OF CHRIST IS AT HAND. (3) LET NO MAN DECEIVE YOU BY ANY MEANS: FOR THAT DAY SHALL NOT COME, EXCAPT THERE COME A FALLING AWAY FIRST, AND THAT MAN OF SIN BE REVEALED, THE SON OF PERDITION; (4) WHO OPPOSETH AND EXALTETH HIMSELF ABOVE ALL THAT IS CALLED GOD, OR THAT IS WORSHIPPED; SO THAT HE AS GOD SITTETH IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD, SHEWING HIMSELF THAT HE IS GOD. (5) REMEMBER YE NOT, THAT, WHEN I WAS YET WITH YOU, I TOLD YOU THESE THINGS? (6) AND NOW YE KNOW WHAT WITH-HOLDETH THAT HE MIGHT BE REVEALED IN HIS TIME. (7) FOR THE MYSTEY OF INIQUITY DOTH ALREADY WORK: ONLY HE WHO NOW LETTHETH WILL LET, UNTIL HE BE TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY.
2 Timothy 3:1-7
THIS KNOW ALSO, THAT IN THE LAST DAYS PERILOUS TIMES SHALL COME. (2) FOR MEN SHALL BE LOVERS OF THEIR OWN SELVES, COVETOUS, BOASTERS, PROUD, BLASPHEMERS, DISOBIENT TO PARENTS, UNTHANKFUL, UNHOLY, (3) WITHOUT NATURAL AFFECTION, TRUCEBREAKERS, FALSE ACCURSERS, INCONTINENT FIERCE, DESPISERS,OF THOSE THAT ARE GOOD, (4) TRAITORS, HEADY, HIGHMINDED, LOVERS OF PLEASURES MORE THAN LOVERS OF GOD; (5) HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS, BUT DENYING THE POWER THEREOF: FROM SUCH TURN AWAY. (6) FOR OF THIS SORT ARE THEY WHICH CREEP INTO HOUSES, AND LEAD CAPTIVE SILLY WOMEN LADEN WITH SINS, LED AWAY WITH DIVERS LUSTS, (7) EVER LEARNING, AND NEVER ABLE TO COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH.
We mentioned (Revelation 4:1) which I believe is a picture of the rapture of the Church. If we will study the last part of (Revelation 3) we can see what Jesus Christ has to say about the period of time in which we live today. Not only the last two thousand years but what is happening right now in the last days of this period of time.
In closing this chapter, let’s look at :
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.
Today we have a lot of buildings we call Churches, worship centers, houses of prayer and so on. However, will we allow God’s Spirit, which is Jesus Christ into those places? That’s what we see in the verses we looked into. People would rather have someone to (tickle their ears) than to truly know what God has to reveal unto them. We have (in these day) sought to change the name of Jesus Christ into a person we can relate to rather than to just be willing to allow his word to change us into all he desires for us to be.
As I write this, the rapture of the Church hasn’t taken place as of yet. It can happen at any time. As we get into the next period of time which is the actual (Tribulation period) I’ll refer back to something we see in the epistles that the Apostle Paul wrote to show you just how important it is for any person that is living in this age not to forsake the conviction, the call of God to salvation while we each have the privilege to be saved.
HOW SHALL WE EXCAPE, IF WE NEGLECT SO GREAT SALVATION; WHICH AT THE FIRST BEGAN TO BE SPOKEN BY THE LORD, AND WAS CONFIRMED UNTO US BY THEM THAT HEARD HIM;
Please, I beg you to asked Jesus Christ to be your savior before the door of salvation is closed during this time of grace to which we live. As we get into the next age you will clearly see why!
2 Timothy 1:7